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Когда Дубровский убил медведя, Троекуров не обиделся, а только приказал снять с него шкуру.

This is a quote from a student's work. Is this a grammatically correct Russian sentence? (Personally I doubt a lot, but it theoretically may be. My high doubts are the reason why I decided to ask this question.) If the phrase is wrong and you can't use it, then how would you correct it? I really do not want to use the word "медведя" twice (at school, we were punished for tautology, i.e. word repetition).

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    The phrase is grammatically correct but semantically ambiguous. – mustaccio Jan 14 at 14:51
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A sentence being grammatically correct is not the only requirement we have to being able to label sentence as stylistically flawless or even just non-ambiguous.

This is a grammatically correct sentence. In theory there is disambiguation, practically the majority of us knows for sure - usually it's killed bears we are skinning off, not Russian noblemen.

Of course, any attentive editor would've tried to improve such sentence, but even repeating the same word twice is actually acceptable, so this:

Когда Дубровский убил медведя, Троекуров не обиделся, а только приказал снять с медведя шкуру.

is totally fine - text editing is not always a "never-repeat-same-word-in-one-sentence" game, however picky editor would also attempt to do something like this:

Когда Дубровский убил медведя, Троекуров не обиделся, а только приказал снять с несчастного животного шкуру.

Possibilities are quite limitless, as of stylistic value of any such changes (including abovementioned) - this is too broad and just cannot have a single answer.

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Когда Дубровский убил медведя, Троекуров не обиделся, а только приказал снять с него шкуру.

On the semantics, grammar and stylistics of Russian speech.

  1. The nature of the study work is determined at first glance, but at first everything seems quite acceptable: there is no repetition of words, the semantics are clear, and stylistic incorrectness can be excused. But then I don't like everything.

  2. Is the style correct? It would seem clear to us that the skin will be removed from the bear, and not from the teacher. But even the possibility of misunderstanding irritates our aesthetic sense and can even serve as a topic for jokes.

  3. Is the grammar correct? The union connection "a только" implies a comparison, and here the two actions are compared poorly. Not angry, why? What feelings the act aroused in him. Formally, there are no questions to the sentence, but the grammatical meaning of a complex sentence is the semantic relations between its parts. Therefore, there are also questions about the correct use of the union.

  4. Is the semantics correct? This should be judged by the context, but even here it is already clear that the author does not disclose the content of the episode correctly. Troyekurov's reaction to Dubrovsky's act cannot be determined in relation to the bearskin.

Edit options

The first (formal version):

Когда Дубровский застрелил медведя, Троекуров не обиделся, а только приказал снять с убитого зверя шкуру.

The second option:

Когда Дубровский застрелил медведя, Троекуров выслушал его объяснения, но ничего ему не ответил, а только приказал своим людям снять шкуру с убитого зверя. Но позже он высказал свое мнение о французе: «Каков молодец! не струсил, ей-богу, не струсил».

Перевод: When Dubrovsky shot the bear, Troyekurov listened to his explanation, but did not answer him, but only ordered his men to remove the skin from the dead animal. But later he expressed his opinion about the Frenchman: "What a good fellow! I'm not afraid, by God, I'm not afraid."

  • Minor correction: "не струсил, ей-богу, не струсил" is about the teacher, not about Troyekurov. – Igor G Jan 14 at 9:16
  • That's what I say: Но позже он (Троекуров) высказал свое мнение о французе: «Каков молодец! не струсил, ей-богу, не струсил». – Sharon Jan 14 at 11:05
  • Right, but that also means the translation is: "What a good (brave) fellow! He didn't lose courage, by god, he didn't lose his nerve". I.e. "he" rather than "I". – Igor G Jan 14 at 14:19
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    You write about comparison in point 3, but in fact it's contrast, not comparison. Degree, quantity, and quality are things that can be compared, but you cannot compare the existence of two facts (убил vs. не обиделся). Besides, a is a contrasting conjunction, it just implies contrast by its mere presence in the sentence. I wonder why comparison and contrast are so often mixed up. Comparison either equates things (he's as strong as you are) or states one is greater/worse than the others, so if there's no such relations, there's no comparison. – Yellow Sky Jan 14 at 14:19
  • Спасибо за ваш комментарий и извините меня за неправильное использование термина (я имела в виду не сравнение, а сопоставление). В грамматике сказано следующее. Союз А имеет значение СОПОСТАВЛЕНИЯ, но при этом сопоставляются предметы, признаки, действия из ОДНОРОДНОГО ряда. В нашем случае это чувства или действия, связанные с их проявлением. По времени в романе изображены два эпизода. Сначала Троекуров изумлен, он требует объяснений, получает их – и молчит, только дает указание убрать убитого медведя. – Sharon Jan 15 at 7:41

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