что нового?

что интересного?

I've read a lot about grammar this year, and nothing seems to fit with this usage.

Is it an abbreviation of some fuller phrase from the past? Many times if one can find the origins of a phrase one can understand its current usage.

I read another post here, that talked about differences between что новое и что нового. But nobody explained why the genitive is used. In my opinion there is no good reason, based on most of the grammar rules, unless, it was part of some fuller phrase. Or unless it's saying something like what is new AROUND you, in which case there is a missing предлог or an implied one like (около или у или...)

  • 2
    I think the answers provided are already good enough, yet you'd better recall one more use of Genitive: amount of something ("new stuff", "interesting stuff"). Since it is obvious you'd use Genitive with «ничего» or «много», it is actually not surprising that «что» also wants it when used this way. – Shady_arc Jan 24 '15 at 0:24

It's not an abbreviation; an adjective governed by что basically requires genitive, and this as far as I can tell is very old Slavic grammar; at least it also occurs in Polish and Czech, which take it even further (or should I say, preserve it even more faithfully) and have coś dziwnego/něco divného "something strange" where Russian has the nominative что-то странное (however, Что в этом странного? "What's strange about that?")

Also, the same general construction is used in Spanish: ¿Qué hay de nuevo? So it's basically genitive with a partitive or ablative meaning: "what's there of the new?"

  • weird, ive never come across this in any grammar book. thanks)) – VCH250 Jan 23 '15 at 22:38

Using Nomenative is grammatical but has different meaning.

Что новое? = Which [things] are new?

Что нового? = Are there any of the news? (literally, "What's there of the new?" as Nikolay pointed out).


it's plain & simple!

What's up? or What's the news? is Что нового?. You could also use Что У ТЕБЯ нового? as Do YOU have something new?

But Что интересного? could be applied only to the second "rule" in this case: Что У ТЕБЯ интересного? - Do YOU have something interesting?

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