I have seen both the constructions ‘Что нового?’ and ‘Что новое?’. I believe that both mean ‘What is new?’, but I cannot tell whether they are interchangable. (Edit: cha mentions ‘Чего нового?’ below; any information on this construction in addition to the previous two would be welcomed.)

A quick Google search yields this article, but my Russian is not good enough for me to read it without the help of a dictionary/translation programme, and when I try to copy the text it turns into boxes 􀉤.

Edit: Would the same comments apply for ‘что-то нового’, ‘что-то новое’ and ‘чего-то нового’? A Google search seems to suggest otherwise, but I do not understand the reason why.

  • do not forget "чего нового?" – cha Feb 24 '14 at 6:25
  • Why don't you write to the author of the article? The article itself is very good, but too brief to be understood without the talk, especially if you're not a linguist. In particular, it doesn't contain any definitions. – Olga Feb 24 '14 at 8:04
  • @Olga Thank you for the suggestion. As things stand, my Russian isn’t good enough to tell what points are made in the article, so I would be grateful if someone could summarise it briefly so that I could write to the author with something more than ‘I saw that you wrote an article about “Что нового?” and “Что новое?”, but that is all I can tell.’ :) – Valiowk Feb 24 '14 at 15:12

Что нового? Is standard phrase when you meet friend and ask "What's new".

Что новое? Have right to exist, however by most it will considered as a low education level of a speaker. In very rare conditions you can ask so about some new things really existing or really happen, but again I'd advice don't use this variant by non native speakers - it's very difficult to use in a right context.

  • 2
    Based on the linkd article, "что новое" is not considered as low education level of a speaker. – Artemix Feb 24 '14 at 7:50
  • You are right considering the overall context, I meant that you cannot use this phrase as an isolated question without additional sentence parts. If you do add them - it's absolutely ok, but here we should say that you don t use this for greetings – user3575 Feb 24 '14 at 8:07
  • Thank you. In the rare cases where ‘Что новое?’ is valid as part of a larger sentence, would ‘Что нового’ be an equally valid substitute, or would it be incorrect in those cases? – Valiowk Feb 24 '14 at 18:06
  • In rare cases you can use one instead another, but I would recommend never use "что новое" in any sentence by non native speaker – user3575 Feb 24 '14 at 18:09

Here is a short summary of the article. I personally find some of the examples unnatural and therefore cannot support the hypothesis of this paper.


Section 1

There are two constructions of pronoun "что" with an adjective, which may be illustrated by examples "что нового" (adjective in genitive) and "что новое" (adjective in nominative\accusative). They both mean the same ("something new"). They can be used in questions, in relative clauses, in subordinate sentences with "if" and with some demonstrative particles. The question that this work is trying to answer is "In what cases which of the two constructions should be used?".

The main hypothesis of the paper is that "что новое" is employed more often with indefinite and demonstrative "что", while "что нового" is more frequently employed with "что" when it is used to form a question or a relative clause. Examples:

1 A question: Что нового/новое произошло? (нового is preferred)
2 A relative: единственное, что нового/новое произошло (нового is preferred)
3 A demonstrative: вот что новое/нового произошло (новое is preferred)

Section 2 Semantically, any adjective may be used in these constructions. When it is used with adjectives "такой" and "свой", the genitive case is seen more often.

Section 3 Syntactic position and the type of the predicate have strong influence on the type of construction that can be used. If the construction is used as a subject of an active action, nominative case is preferred (4). If the verb denotes a state or is passive, both nominative and genitive are allowed. (5 and 6) More examples:

4 Так что же хорошее может порадовать, дать надежду нам, людям старшего поколения (...)?
5 Что такого случилось, что я должен уйти? 6 Что своего вы привнесли в сюжет романа?

Section 4 Pronoun may or may not be placed together with the adjective (Что у тебя нового? vs. Что нового у тебя?). When adjective and noun are placed together, the probability of nominative case is higher (about 25 percent) than when they are placed separately (10 percent). The statistics is collected for 4 constructions, see section 4 of the article for examples.

Finally, in construction with conjunction "если" (see 7), the probability of nominative case is higher than in other constructions (about 48 percent when placed together, about 90 percent when placed apart). Example:

7 Так что если что новое узнал - пиши, звони, кидай на E-mail.

In these constructions "что новое" actually means "something new" and can be changed into "что-то новое".

Section 5

"Чего нового" is a colloquial variant, it is used with genitive more often, but nominative cases exist, too.

Section 6. The tendency of using the adjective in the nominative\accusative case together with pronoun "что" in case if they are put together is a sign that here pronoun "что" is an indefinite pronoun (I didn't get why this conclusion is made, but I guess it has something to do with the fact that using nominative\accusative case looks like agreement, and the use of genitive looks like government).


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.