There is a lyric that goes:

"ты подели небо поровну"

What is the meaning of подели in this context?

Could I use дели and would it change the meaning?

Can I use this form with я, мы, он, etc? And can I use other verbs in this way?

Thanks in advance.


I'd love to know the English equivalent of this sentence so I can properly understand the use of the imperative in this context.

I understand that people use the imperative form as a command like "listen" or "take off your coat", and as far as I understand "подели" on its own could be used as a command to say "divide" (correct me if I'm mistaken here).

But when used with "ты" like in "ты подели небо поровну", I'm not sure of the English equivalent.

  • qualifying question: What it's means the "others verbs"? Other by its close similarity in both grammatical form and meaning, or what?
    – Avtokod
    Jun 9, 2015 at 5:15
  • 1
    Дели and подели differ in aspect. There is a bunch of related QA, e. g. russian.stackexchange.com/a/121/2060.
    – jwalker
    Jun 9, 2015 at 8:56
  • @Avtokod I'm meaning just grammatically... Jun 10, 2015 at 5:41

3 Answers 3


дели instead of подели would certainly change the meaning — from a single, completed action to either a repeated one, or prolonged and not necessarily completed.

Using ты with an imperative form is poetic licence, mostly used in songs and generally shunned by "serious" poets and songwriters. Which particular verb it's used with is of no real significance. It also works with вы (the plural one, not the formal one; that is to say, a formal Вы поделите небо поровну is theoretically possible but a kind of stylistic oxymoron.)

There are two other, one might say unrelated, usages ты or вы (both plural and formal this time) with imperative.

(Note: for the purposes of this comment, I won't dwell on those technical imperatives that aren't imperative at all, and can be used with any pronoun, or noun for that matter — such as знай я заранее "had I known beforehand" or the surprise-conveying а он и упади. To keep this from getting too long, let's just note that they also exist.)

So as I said, there are two more "shades" of imperative that take a second-person pronoun. Both are colloquial. The first one has the tone of a suggestion that's either mildly insistent or novel within the context:

Ты не думай, я не шпион. "Now, don't think I'm a spy or something."

Вы расскажите всё как было, вас там привлечь не за что. "Tell everything as it happened, there's nothing there to prosecute you for."

Ты ему лучше зёрен насыпь, у хомяков от печенья диабет бывает. "Perhaps you should better give it some cereals; cookies can give hamsters diabetes."

In the second usage, the pronoun is placed strictly after the imperative, almost as if it were an emphatic particle such as же. It conveys impatience or annoyance.

Оставьте вы меня в покое! "Leave me alone already!"

Or the iconic Иди ты [...]! "Go to [one of a wide choice of established destinations of various degrees of profanity]!".

  • This is all very useful info, I appreciate it. Just to be clear, if using "ты" with imperative is poetic licence, am I right in thinking that "ты подели небо поровну" and "подели небо поровну" mean the same thing? And the equivalent in english would be "divide the sky equally"? Jun 12, 2015 at 10:33
  • @UnpronounceableSymbol Yes, "ты подели небо поровну" is basically a way of saying "подели небо поровну" that can only occur in verse, and somewhat sentimental verse at that; and it means "divide the sky equally/in equal parts". Jun 12, 2015 at 10:41

дели небо поровну  
    время:          сейчас/завтра;          
    как:            как обычно / как всегда / как прежде, не один раз;           
    совершенность:  кто говорит, не знает, завершится процесс "делить" или нет;
    длительность:   от мгновения до бесконечности;    
    результат:      никто не заботится о результате процесса "делить";          

    = начинай!

подели небо поровну 
    время:          сейчас/завтра;
    как:            предполагают, ты знаешь/умеешь "делить" вообще, и "поровну";
    совершенность:  предполагают, что процесс "делить" завершится (удачей/неудачей);
    длительность:   от мгновения до конечного интервала;
    результат:      нужен; => процесс "делить" должен/обязан завершиться; 

    = начни, и закончи!

It can be seen in other verbs as well, examples with a context:

VERB_imperative + ... + поровну

noun/pronoun + ... + verb + ... + поровну

You can't use я, мы, он + делить_imper:
http://rifmovnik.ru/find > словоформы > "делить"
credit: @CocoPop

ед  дели
мн  делите

You can't use я, он + поделить_imper:
http://rifmovnik.ru/find > словоформы > "поделить"

2л,ед   подели
2л,мн   поделите
1л,мн   поделим
1л,мн   поделимте
  • Thanks, this is very useful, especially the references to rifmovnik.ru, it's the first time I've seen this website. Now I am clear on the aspect, and I'm also clear that there are different imperative forms for 2nd person singular and plural, and 1st person plural. All I'm missing is what the word "подели" is actually translated as in this situation. Is it a command - "divide the sky equally"? Or is it more like a suggestion - "you could divide the sky equally"? Jun 10, 2015 at 6:20
  • On a side note, is "поделимте" a polite form of "поделим"? Jun 10, 2015 at 6:28
  • @UnpronounceableSymbol When you call a single person, пойдемте! is a polite form. Because somewhere virtually exists the pronoun Вы that you carry it in your mind. But, при обращении к множеству людей (many individuals), пойдемте означает лишь (just a) форму повелительного наклонения (imperative form) без подтекста (w/o connotation) вежливости. ~~~ I need more time to answer on(/to?) the first question.
    – Avtokod
    Jun 10, 2015 at 11:13

This answer will be given to the second part of the OP question, specifically for the English native speakers, as opposite to the languages Latin, Russian, etc., with Declension and Conjugation including all forms of the reflexive and personal pronoun (let's call it the DC-language). This is the standard and often repeating confusion regards of the question "why is no subject-pronoun used in that sentence?"

There is not always the case when two subjects does correspond to given two pronouns and one verb.
Quick Example 1:

  And... um... he, he was standing there. 

Have we two subjects for given verb "be" there, or have we none? Have we any subject at all? Yes, we have. Is it the first or second one? If the second pronoun is the subject, what is the precise role and functions of the remaining one?

In the DC-language, there is no grammatical need for a related subject pronoun, if a form of a given verb has such grammatical properties reflected in the morphology of the verb, that it unambiguously pointed out at the unique pronoun. Hence the two examples were given by me: "Подели небо поровну", instead of "Ты подели небо поровну". The pronoun "Ты" is completely unnecessary, from the grammatically point of view.

Quick Example 2:

  I am not going to give myself up.
             Не дамся.

In the DC-language, "where is it" and "who is the subject", what tense, perfectiveness, and other grammatical values can be packed tightly, fulfilled, literally, in one word. So, in the DC-language, when reader has received this information expressed in an extra word, this word is to become for him the amplification particle. In English, it is "um... he, ..." from the example 1. As a vivid example in Russian, look at the phrase "да нет", where 'да' is not 'yes' but an unstressed particle emphasizing 'нет'. What a meaning speaker is amplifying, depends on the context. "Я не дамся" is emphasizing, in the DC-language, that it is namely Me, not You. "Ты подели небо" give us the same additional point, namely You, not Me.

There is nothing specifically related to the lyrics domain. It's everyday usage.

  • Thanks. I understand that it's a regular occurrence for the verb to be used without the pronoun, this wasn't the source of my confusion. It was the mere fact I hadn't come across the use of the imperative with a pronoun and I wondered what affect this had... Jun 14, 2015 at 19:24
  • @UnpronounceableSymbol , Подели has no options, it will be stressed. Mentor-military style. But if the sentence do have been grammatically redundant pronoun, they could shift the stressing to the pronoun too. Hence imperative mode of the verb would weaken, while more emphasis should be put on "You, not Me" — Ты подели .... One might further impairs the mode, by alternate inserted word, А вот подели ... — this will help it to sound more softly.
    – Avtokod
    Jun 15, 2015 at 7:48

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