Suppose one wishes to quote a Russian text, say, the following well-known one:

«Наука же говорит: возлюби, прежде всех, одного себя, ибо все на свете на личном интересе основано»

Which way of the following (if any) would be correct to quote the author and work?

A. От романа «Преступление и наказаниe» Ф. Достоевского.
В. Из романа «Преступление и наказаниe» Ф. Достоевского.

Now, the title of the novel is in genitive, as far as I know. Should I change the endings even though, perhaps, the title should be conserved original? What about the correctness of the following sentences:

C. Из/От «Преступление и наказаниe» Ф. Достоевского, моего любимого романа.
D. Из/От «Преступление и наказаниe» Ф. Достоевского, мой любимый роман.

  • The difference between из and от was explained to me this way: из is "from the inside" while от is "from the surface". That's why a citation from a book is из книги (literally, from inside the book), whereas something you receive from me is от меня (definitely not из меня -- I'm not taking the item from my stomach). Similarly, if you send someone a postcard from New York it is из Нью-Йорка because it is being sent from within New York (not at its edge). And a trip from NY to LA would be от Нью-Йорка до Лос-Анджелеса, not из Нью-Йорка...; I guess you think of NY and LA as points. – KCd Jan 6 '13 at 21:06
  • Along the same lines, a quote (citation) from someone is цитата от кого-то, not из кого-то. – KCd Jan 6 '13 at 21:08
  • Correction: A trip from NY to LA is из НЙ до ЛА, from an answer posted at my question russian.stackexchange.com/questions/1670/…. – KCd Jan 6 '13 at 23:53

In the above quotes, the correct preposition to use is из. In general, you should use preposition из when referring to a particular piece of literature:

Из романа «Преступление и наказаниe» Ф.Достоевского. Из «Преступления и наказания» Ф.Достоевского, моего любимого романа

Note that in the second quote the title of the novel should also be in genitive, and the endings should change accordingly.

You can use preposition по when referring to an author without mentioning specific literary piece:

По Ф. Достоевскому, что-то всегда происходит...
(Similarly) По народным приметам, птицы летают низко перед дождем.

Preposition от in such context is used very rarely. It is sometimes used when there are multiple source of the same/similar piece and you need to refer to a specific author, for example:

Евангелие от Матфея

  • Спасибо большой! – c.p. Oct 5 '12 at 20:48
  • 1
    It should be Из «Преступления и наказания» Ф.Достоевского, моего любимого романа not Из «Преступления и наказания» Ф.Достоевского, мой любимый роман. – Yury Oct 6 '12 at 0:28
  • 1
    I think that Из романа Ф.Достоевского «Преступление и наказаниe» is used more often than Из романа «Преступление и наказаниe» Ф.Достоевского (at least in written language). – Yury Oct 6 '12 at 0:32
  • 1
    @JorgeCampos: gramatically correct way to say this would be спасибо большое. Спасибо here is a nominalized particle derived from спаси бог ("save you God"), and as a noun it's perceived as having neuter gender (due to ending). – Quassnoi Oct 6 '12 at 9:26
  • 1
    @JorgeCampos: actually, this could be a complex sentence, in which case the subordinate clause would go in nominative. However, it would require different puctuation: Из «Преступления и наказания» Ф. Достоевского (мой любимый роман) – Quassnoi Oct 6 '12 at 18:10

The correct way in the most cases would be:

Из "Преступления и наказания" Ф. Достоевского, моего любимого романа.

For formal speaking try to use the generic word before the title:

Из романа "Преступление и наказание" Ф. Достоевского, моего любимого.

The following examples are not correct:

Из "Преступление и наказание"...
Из "...", мой любимый роман.

Also, it is more traditional to use parental name for writers and poets like Dostoevsky, Puskin etc.

Ф. М. Достоевский А. С. Пушкин А. П. Чехов

Form 'Ф. Достоевский' name sounds a little less respectful.

But it's ok to use 'international' form of name for modern writers: Сергей Есенин Владимир Маяковский Борис Пастернак

  • +1 for keeping me from writing something disrespectful. – c.p. Nov 9 '12 at 18:49
  • @c.p. I don't think I understand your comment. – Aleks G Nov 12 '12 at 11:02
  • @AleksG, ah nothing important. I would just have written "Ф. Достоевский" instead of "Ф. М. Достоевский" if I haven't read this answer. – c.p. Nov 12 '12 at 15:13

Actually, you can use preposition “по” even when referring to some literary pieces. I.e., when you describe a movie based on a novel or a tale. As in

Фильм снят по роману Достоевского «Преступление и наказание».

  • 1
    It seems that construction with по suggests an indirect quotation. We had a similar question here – Olga Nov 9 '12 at 12:02

The phrase Из «Преступления и наказания» Ф. Достоевского, мой любимый роман is also grammatically corrrect, at least when spoken in conversational Russian.

It is all about the punctuation; there should be brackets, semicolon, or a separate sentence.

So the options are

Из «Преступления и наказания» Ф. Достоевского (мой любимый роман). Из «Преступления и наказания» Ф. Достоевского; мой любимый роман. Из «Преступления и наказания» Ф. Достоевского. Mой любимый роман.

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.