9 votes
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How should I inflect animate nouns when they are used to figuratively call inanimate objects, and vice versa?

It's a complicated matter, and as a native speaker I'm lucky not to think about it consciously. Typically, when a person is named after an inanimate object, the word behaves as if it were animate ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Why is "животное" neuter even though it's animate?

The real answer is the claim that "in principle all animate nouns are either masculine or feminine but cannot be neutral" is false. For instance, we consider obsolete yet existent word "дитё" (or "...
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  • 37.3k
2 votes

Does the Russian numeral rule for the adjective that comes between the number and the noun (see below) apply to animate nouns in actual usage?

Yes, this rule applies to animate nouns as well. 2/3/4 + старых/молодых + мужчины/мальчика/солдата for masculine or neuter. 2/3/4 + старые/молодые + женщины/девушки/кошки for feminine. For feminine ...
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2 votes

How should I inflect animate nouns when they are used to figuratively call inanimate objects, and vice versa?

A human language develops over time, and its rules often become counterintuitive. Whether you want it or not, even native speakers have to look into the dictionaries. "Козёл", as a gymnastic tool, is ...
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1 vote

How should I inflect animate nouns when they are used to figuratively call inanimate objects, and vice versa?

Usually noun in such usage just preserves the category it belongs "originally", so it's just Я вижу всех твоих тараканов. (since "таракан" is animate) - the same about "поставить на доску ската" -...
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