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Some time ago I took a Russian test that contained the following question:

В об(о,е)их коробках оказались семена.

1) обоих

2) обеих

3) оба варианта корректны

4) оба варианта некорректны

I chose answer 2 and got zero points for that question, whilst a coursemate of mine chose option 3 and got her answer marked as right.

I'm very much confused. As far as I understand and verified on the Internet, feminine nouns in the prepositional case require обеих, which means that choosing обоих for a feminine noun in the prepositional case is a mistake.

I asked the coursemate as to why she had chosen answer 3, and she said she believed that in conjunction with a feminine noun in the prepositional case, it is okay to use either form - обоих and обеих.

I did some research in Google and found that обоих is indeed often used in conjunction with feminine nouns in the prepositional case, and here are some examples:

В одной коробке в 6 раз больше ручек, чем в другой. А в обоих коробках 84 ручки. Сколько ручек в каждой коробке? (Source)

Заказывала два размера 35.5 и 36.5, на обоих коробках указан 37. Сами кроссовочки хорошенькие. (Source)

Копирайт на обоих коробках гласит 2004 год. В коробке с SV96 лежат отлитый в синий пластик кузов, 3 синих, 4 черных, 2 хромированных и 2 прозрачных литники. (Source)

But such usage, albeit common, seems to be formally against the grammatical rules as they are written.

So what is the correct answer to the test question? Do I have a strong case to challenge the score given to me by the teacher?

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    As already answered by @AR. this is called коробóк, it requires обоих and indeed is often used to store seeds. Given that the stress was not indicated in your test there was no way to tell whether they meant коробкáх or корóбках, so the correct answer was 3. – tum_ May 20 at 21:37
  • @tum_ : Okay, I see I've been tricked again. The teacher again weaseled his way to give me less than the maximum number of points. I really wonder whether native speakers would be able to get the maximum number of points on his tests. And I feel there's some unfairness in that my coursemate got a better score for that question than I did. – Mitsuko May 21 at 10:28
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    Being a native speaker doesn't mean being able to pass university grammar tests, the majority of the native speakers struggle with mere spelling, and for them the words "adverb" or "participle" sound like obscure oriental esoteric sect terms. – Yellow Sky May 21 at 21:23
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You can interpret "коробки" as a plural of "коробка" or "коробок", so it's obviously a trick question. With seeds either one would make sense. The examples you've found are indeed utterly incorrect and your friend is wrong as well - she simply guessed.

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корОбка - в обеих корОбках

коробОк - в обоих коробкАх

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  • Попробуйте дать более развернутый ответ, пожалуйста. – Ivan Olshansky May 21 at 8:48
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    Please, try not to duplicate the answers that had already been given before. – Yellow Sky May 21 at 21:17

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