28 votes

Why did "он" suddenly become so much more common?

Actually, the year is not "around 1915", but the beginning of 1918 when the orthography reform began. Before 1918 "он" was written as "онъ", and naturally before 1918 "он" was not used. Have a look: ...
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  • 25.8k
16 votes
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Why "их" instead of "его" in Dostoevsky's Adolescent?

Russian has the T-V distinction. This means that you use the plural version of "you" (вы) when addressing a person who is senior, superior, or just someone you're not too acquainted with. ...
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  • 47.6k
14 votes

How to say "give to my girlfriend's mother" in Russian?

Your guess is both grammatically correct and idiomatic: Я хочу́ подари́ть э́ту кни́гу ма́ме мое́й подру́ги (на Рождество́). You used the dative case for ма́ма -> ма́ме 'to mother' and the ...
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13 votes
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How does a traditional family address one another?

Usually ты is used when addressing parents/children. But if a child is not very close to the grandparents, uncles, aunts etc (for instance - see them very rarely), вы is used. Practically, the ...
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  • 8,055
11 votes

Why is the possessive pronoun for "имя" "Мое", even though "имя" is a feminine word?

Имя is neuter noun, not feminine. There is a set of similar neuter nouns: имя, вымя, пламя, семя, время, темя, стремя, знамя, племя, бремя etc. All of them originate from PIE words with -men suffix. ...
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  • 14.1k
10 votes
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How to say "give to my girlfriend's mother" in Russian?

You guess is absolutely correct, technically there's an other valid option: Я хочу подарить эту книгу подругиной маме. But while this is grammaticaly valid talking of specifically word подруга it'...
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  • 37.4k
10 votes
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Often 2 variants of feminine instrumental...?

The -ою/-ею forms are older and sound archaic/poetic. -ой/-ей is the modern form, reflecting the same trend towards loss of semantically weak final vowels that turned -ти infinitives into -ть. With ...
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9 votes
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Почему так часто "ничего" а не "ничто"? (Why "ничего" and not "ничто"?)

Negation of existense (i.e. "no such thing") in Russian requires Genitive. Ничего is Genitive. That's it. Accusative Ничто is a special object. It isn't nothing. It's Nothing. But the difference may ...
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  • 15.2k
9 votes
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Asking to take photos in Russian

It's можно вас сфотографировать? Фотографировать is Russian for "photographing", "taking a picture", and it has a direct object in accusative, so there is not need to recourse to ...
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  • 47.6k
8 votes

Why is the possessive pronoun for "имя" "Мое", even though "имя" is a feminine word?

Имя belongs to a special group of 11 nouns ending in -мя, all of which are of the Neuter gender: бремя, время, вымя, знамя, имя, пламя, племя, семя, стремя, темя, голомя All of them also decline ...
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  • 25.8k
8 votes
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What is the difference between что-то, нечто и кое-что?

что-то would be normally used when the speaker has no knowledge of what the object is, e.g.: кажется, я что-то вижу - I think I see something что-то не так - something is not right что-нибудь would ...
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8 votes

What's the difference between -либо and -нибудь?

The suffix -либо underlines that the choice is from among a limited, known set or interval, while -нибудь usually refers to a choice from an infinite or indefinite set or intervals. So -либо means &...
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  • 14.1k
8 votes

How does a traditional family address one another?

Random facts in addition to other answers: Among upper class since XVIII (when вы was established as formal singular) until early XX century (Socialist Revolution) children saying вы to their parents ...
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8 votes

"вы с Адамом близки": Why use the plural "вы" to supposedly refer to the casual, singular "you"?

so it seems logical to discard the inexplicably plural "вы" in favour of the casual, singular "ты": This premise is wrong. It is plural "вы". It is absolutely legit to use "вы" referring to a single ...
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  • 4,194
7 votes
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Why use dative in "Сколько тебе лет"?

The dative case marks the indirect object of a verb, but your example does not have a verb. You may think it is a shortened form. Please look at this examples, with a verb: verb ...
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  • 2,399
7 votes

Often 2 variants of feminine instrumental...?

The usual ending of feminine adjectives in the instrumental is -ой or -ей. Летом мы лакомились вкусной ягодой. Вода была горячей-прегорячей. Feminine adjectives can have the ending -ою,-ею in ...
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  • 20.5k
5 votes
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Do gender-neutral pronouns exist in Russian?

Uh, that's difficult. As it was said, you can use imperative constructions to hide gender, but you can't use them always. Other option is plural forms (most of them are genderless), but again, you ...
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  • 2,749
5 votes

What's the difference between -либо and -нибудь?

I'm answering this question even though it's old because it seems to me that though there are already several interesting answers, none of them is simple and direct. Words ending in -нибудь refer ...
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  • 1,096
5 votes

clarification on the proper form of a possessive pronoun

"Вашей" is definitely wrong, it should be "вашу": Нет, я не видел вашу машину. The direct object of the sentence, "машину", is in the Accusative case, that is why its attribute should also be in ...
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  • 25.8k
5 votes
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clarification on the proper form of a possessive pronoun

Ваш is a possessive pronoun and as such has to agree in case with the noun it defines. This means that in your example, where машина is in sg. acc., the pronoun should be in sg. acc. as well, so вашу ...
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  • 47.6k
5 votes
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How to determine the initial form of the words like "самого", "самой"?

The initial form (and the stress) depends on the meaning: са́мого, са́мой (from са́мый) usually come before an adjective to form the superlative: са́мого лу́чшего, са́мой краси́вой. самого́, само́й (...
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4 votes
Accepted

Third Person Plural Pronoun for Inanimate Objects in Accusative Case

Yes, они has the accusative их for both animate and inanimate. (Your intuition is correct about there being a "missing" inanimate form; it was supplanted by the animate one and went extinct. Had it ...
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4 votes

How does a traditional family address one another?

In modern language always ты is used between parents and children (unless the person who makes address wants to explicitly underline they do not recognize the other party as their relatives). ...
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  • 14.1k
4 votes

Impersonal pronoun (English one/you)

TL;DR: The less impersonal (generic, abstract) the sentence is, the more you tend to use plural for politeness. There is no impersonal pronoun in Russian; impersonality is conveyed with the sentence ...
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  • 1,267
4 votes

Do gender-neutral pronouns exist in Russian?

They do not. As you may have heard from video games localisation companies, there are ways to translate things to obfuscate the gender of a person. But they are not quite natural — actually, any ...
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  • 5,120
4 votes
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Interrogative pronouns taking different case than it's noun

A relative clause in Russian is joined by a pronoun, the relative pronoun который "who, which, that". Actually, который is a conjunction, joining a subordinate clause. Который introduces a sentence ...
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  • 20.5k
4 votes
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'all of the' vs 'all the' : using весь

You can say either: Почти все из сорняков в цвету or Почти все сорняки в цвету Those are quite close in meaning, but the former can clarify the meaning when the noun is uncountable. Весь персонал ...
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  • 47.6k
3 votes

What's the difference between -либо and -нибудь?

The difference between Кто-нибудь and кто-либо is akin to that between somebody and someone. либо is also generally a bit more formal and is more likely to be used in a formal context than нибудь, ...
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3 votes
Accepted

How do you most commonly use чей/чья/чьё/чьи?

You are right, words "чей\чья\чьё\чьи" are interrogative pronouns similar to English "whose". However, in the example that you gave, "чьё-л" is not the same as simply "чьё"; "чьё-л" is an ...
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  • 6,468
3 votes

How does a traditional family address one another?

Don't know if personal experience is indicative, but my own experience corroborates Dmitry's reply. I have always addressed members of my family using ты, which included my mother, my father, one of ...
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