Negative Constructions With Genitive As A Means Of Expressing Absence


This article is devoted to the study of the peculiarities of using negative constructions with the genitive case in Russian when expressing the absence of someone or something, as well as comparing negative constructions with the genitive case and negative constructions with the accusative case. As you know, negation is one of the original, semantically indecomposable semantic categories characteristic of all languages of the world, which cannot be defined through simpler semantic elements. Negation is an element of the meaning of a sentence, which indicates that the connection established between the components of the sentence, according to the speaker, does not really exist or the speaker as false rejects the corresponding affirmative sentence. The question of the linguistic nature of denial is occupied by many scientists. In the scientific literature, negation can be defined as a grammatical category, a logical-grammatical category, a syntactic category, semantic and grammatical category, conceptual category. By its status, negation belongs to the functional-semantic categories of the language and has an extensive corpus of specialized means of expression. In the Russian language, unlike other languages, there are special structural schemes for expressing the idea of ​​the non-existence or absence of someone, or something made it possible to put forward a hypothesis about the nationally specific nature and significance of the category of negation, as well as about a special status for the Russian linguistic consciousness.

Keywords: Genitive case, accusative case, structural schemes of simple sentences, negation, Russian language


The category of negation is an object of study in many sciences: linguistics, philosophy, logic, psychology and other sciences. Both ancient Indian and ancient Greek philosophers and modern philosophers, when speaking about the category of negation, noted that negation is non-being, represented by such concepts as “absence”, “deprivation”, “difference”, “opposite”.

As a result of a review of logical-philosophical literature, we concluded that there is no generally accepted, consistent answer to the question of the essence of denial, negative judgment. This conclusion is supported by several concepts, each of which has its pros and cons: the concept of a particular negative reality; the concept of a reality other than the given; the concept of denial as supposing the conceivable to be non-existent, the concept of overcoming false knowledge, psychological and meaningful concepts of denial.

A review of the linguistic literature on the research topic showed that there are different interpretations of linguistic negation. As the basic, most adequately reflecting the essence of linguistic negation, the position of A.I. Bakharev on denial in language as a statement of the absence of an object, feature, phenomenon, expressed by linguistic means.

Problem Statement

The category of negation in Russian can be represented in various ways. This article focuses on the expression of denial at the syntactic level through the structural schemes of a simple sentence, expressing the denial of the existence of someone or something in the world, as well as the denial of the presence, finding of the object or subject of the utterance in a certain place and at a certain time and in the mental space of perceiving person. The possibility of expressing negation through vocabulary and word formation is not considered in this article.

Research Questions

The position of an object, which is not in the observer's field of perception or not in the world at all, in Russian, is marked with the genitive case: "who / what is not where", "who does not do what." Potebnya (1958) believed that the genitive ablative was used for this purpose, expressing the idea of moving away from the starting point.

All the considered constructions with the genitive case of an absent object in the Russian language indicate that the ancient Slavs recognized the division of objects into the present and absent as very important. This fact is confirmed by the use of double negation, expressing the complete absence or non-existence of someone or something in the world.

The category of negation in the Russian language is inseparable from such philosophical categories as being and non-being, which played a very important role for the Slavs since it was in the Russian language that different structural schemes of simple sentences were used for representing the ideas of being and non-being. For example, the "existential" structural diagram of simple sentences looks like this: "who / what is where", and the "non-existent" structure looks like this: "who / what is not where". Thus, BEING and NON-BEING represented different categories in the linguistic picture of the world of the ancient Slavs.

Even though the means of expressing the category of negation in the Russian language at the syntactic level can be used to the idea of non-being, the very idea of non-being is broader than just negation.

Scientists continue to argue about what is primordial: being or non-being. European philosophers interpret non-being as an obligatory side of being. The ontological basis of the world is being, being, something, and not nothing. Non-being is a component of being. However, such a philosophy of being does not answer the question of where everything is from, where is being itself, from which real existence comes.

Soviet philosopher A.N. Chanyshev considered non-being to being absolute and primary, and he indicated several ways of proving non-being. Unlike Western culture, Eastern culture is closer to the philosophy of non-being, which offers something completely different: it takes not being as the starting point, the point of world reference, but it is opposite - non-being. Everything comes from nothingness and leaves nothingness. Non-being is understood as the absence of being. Otherwise, in the philosophy of non-being, the object under study is either in being or in non-being. The person in whose mental space this occurs determines whether the subject is existential or non-existent.

Thus, in modern philosophy, non-being is divided into absolute and relative (concrete): absolute non-being implies the non-existence of a subject or object in the world, and relative non-existence of an object or subject in the speaker's mental space or the absence of a subject or object in a specific place and at a specific time (Kurbanov, 2004).

Based on the previous, we can say that non-being is interpreted, firstly, as the absence of someone or something in a conceivable space or time, and secondly, as non-existence in general, in some cases death. However, non-being, as noted above, is broader than the concept of death. Therefore, it is inappropriate to talk about their identity, especially since birth is thought of by philosophers as a transition from non-being to being, which means that the unborn child is in non-being, but there is no talk of death.

For the Slavs, non-being and being were also different categories, and this, most likely, can be explained by the proximity of the ancient Slavs to the tribes of representatives of Eastern culture, as a result of which the idea of being and non-being was formed in the linguistic picture of the Slavs world, similar to the representation of these categories, in particular in some Altai languages. The researchers attribute the formation of particular syntactic ways of expressing the non-existence of an object to the Balto-Slavic period (Sprinchak, 1962).

As mentioned above, in the Russian language special structural schemes of simple sentences have been formed to express negation, non-existence, absence, there are no such structural schemes of simple sentences, for example, neither in English nor in German. Their negation is expressed through the inclusion of a negative word in a construction expressing existence. For example, (Russian); (English).

However, such specialized structural diagrams of simple sentences can be found not only in Russian. So, a sign of the Balto-Slavic community is the structural diagram of simple sentences "who does not do what" with the genitive case of the noun when negated (Otrembskiy, 1954). "" ("He (Ippolit Matveyevich) did not wear glasses") (Ilf, Petrov, 12 chairs)); "!" ("I will not change my orders!") [L. Tolstoy, Childhood]. " " ("Why doesn't he hit the flies near Volodya's bed?") (Tolstoy, Childhood).

Structural diagrams of simple sentences common for closely related languages are noted. For example, the scheme "who / what is not where" with the genitive case of the subjective is typical for Slavic languages Paducheva (1997): "" ("There was no (pulse) in his cold hand") (Bulgakov, Notes of a young doctor).

Let us compare the English “(сегодня нет занятий, lit. * there is no class today); “” (его нет дома, lit. * he is not at home). Compare also in German: er ist nicht zu Hause (его нет дома, lit. * he is not at home) (Popova, 2004).

In other European languages, the idea of non-being is not implemented at the syntactic level. "That is why when studying the Russian language, German and English-speaking students find it difficult to comprehend the difference between the statements of “and “. The construction with the nominative case is also possible in Russian. It denotes a certain object that IS but is absent in this place. A construction with a genitive subjective means an indefinite object, the existence of which is unknown, which for the speaker is in "nothingness".

– none, any, it is not known what.

– ours, yours, neighbours, well known to the speakers" (Popova, 2004).

In the works known to us, describing sentences of the type “, and “, they are usually placed in one row and are interpreted as affirmation and denial of the existence of an object. However, if the approach is from the side of the form, it will have to admit that the structural schemes of such proposals differ significantly. Supporting structures are nominative (the nominative case denotes the object of being), negative structures are genitive (the genitive case denotes the absent object). It was in the genius structure that a particular word emerged from the combination of NOT IS – the negation of NO. However, the most important feature of such a structure, we still see in the form of the genitive case (Popova, 2000).

All the considered constructions with the genitive case of an absent object indicate that the ancient Slavs considered it very important to divide objects into the present and absent: (There was no left leg) (Bulgakov, 1925). (She has no blood!) (Bulgakov, 1925). “(No, husband. He is in the city) (Bulgakov, 1925). The particular attitude of the Slavs to absent objects explains the use of the second negation and other means of strengthening the indication of the absence of something: “(And it seems that they do not have a single living soul) (Bulgakov, 1925). "(There was no windpipe anywhere) (Bulgakov, 1925). “(There was not a penny, but suddenly altyn) (proverb).

It is known that other European languages do not use the second negation and do not have such an abundance of means of strengthening the negation.

It turns out that the Slavs understood the absence of an object not merely as a denial of presence, being, but as a special status of the object's position in the world of non-being. According to the SSPP that has come down to us, it can be concluded that the expression of negation using specialized structural schemes with the genitive case is typical for Slavic languages, in particular for Russian.

The following schemes can be attributed to the structural schemes of a simple sentence with negation: "who / what is not where when" (Yesterday there was no bench at this place), "who does not have who / what" (The father does not have a car), "who does not (does not wear ) what" (the girl does not have a coat), "who doesn't have anything" (There's no zest in his companion), "who doesn't have anything" (There is no mutual understanding among friends), "who doesn't have anything" (There was no friendship between classmates) , "For whom there is no who / what" (There is no news for you), "without whom / which there is no one / what" (Without water, there will be no plants), "who / what is not with whom" (There were no children with the parents), "Who doesn't have what" (you don't have a letter), as well as the phraseological scheme "there is not enough (lack) someone / what" (We lack a reliable person), "not enough of what" (money is not enough), "who does not do what" (Mom does not carries bread), "who cannot do (do) what" (you cannot buy a single pill without a prescription), "wait (want, look for) what" (Wait for the train; Look for money), in which either the very fact of the action is denied, or an object that had to be influenced, or the object to which the action is directed is not thought of as existing.

The structural schemes of a simple sentence are with the genitive case with negation, there are also schemes where verbs of speech-thinking activity can be used in the position of the predicative. The absent/non-existent object is expressed in the genitive case: "who does not say (does not know) what" (I do not read poetry), "who cannot say (know) what" (you cannot say unnecessary words).

The structural scheme of a simple sentence "who does not see (hear, feel) what", (there are no stars in the sky) also contain genitive when negated.

All of the above structural schemes are united by the fact that an absent or non-existent subject or object is expressed in the genitive case.

Sentences formed according to non-existent structural schemes, as a rule, belong to the category of impersonal (except for the structural scheme of a simple sentence "who does not do what") since they lack the subject in the nominative case (Beloshapkova & Shmeleva, 1985). The subjective, as a rule, is expressed in the form of the genitive case (Inside the fashionable hat workshop there was no sparring, no decoration, no headless mannequins with an officer bearing, no head blanks for elegant ladies' hats” (I. Ilf, E. Petrov)). If we are talking about the structural scheme of a simple sentence "who does not see (cannot hear, does not feel) what", "who does not have what", then in such sentences the subjective is in the form of the dative case, and the absent object is in the form of the genitive (“ “Come back, my angel, otherwise this winter I will have no one to share my innocent observations with and there will be no one to transmit the epigrams of my heart” (Pushkin)).

The subjective structural schemes of a simple sentence with negation is represented by nouns - proper and collective, animated and inanimate (" “There were no children, no fluttering scarves, no cheerful babble” (I. Ilf, E. Petrov); “Approaching the church, he saw” (Samson Vyrin), “ “that the people had already dispersed, but Dunya was neither in the fence nor the porch” (A. S. Pushkin); “ “True, there is no running water or electricity, the nearest source is the Druze” (L. Ulitskaya)); personal, negative and demonstrative pronouns ("No one was seen yet, suddenly from behind the gazebo Dubrovsky found himself in front of her” (A. S. Pushkin); " “But in fact, this will never happen again” (I. Ilf, E. Petrov)).

The predicative structural schemes of a simple sentence with negation are represented primarily by the negative particle not present in the present tense, and also by the verb to be with negation not in the forms of the past and future tense (there was, will not be): " "The temple was destroyed almost two thousand years ago, and the temple there is no more service, but the liturgical life has been so rebuilt that one part of it has passed into the family form, the other into the synagogue, and Judaism itself has survived" (Ulitskaya); "", “The narrow place that I occupy is so tiny in comparison with the rest of the space where I no, and where I do not care; and the part of the time that I manage to live is so insignificant before eternity, where I have not been and will not be" (I. Turgenev)). In the position of the predicative, other verbs characteristic of genitive sentences can also be used. Paducheva (1997) compiled a list of about 300 verbs characteristic of such sentences.

In sentences built according to structural schemes of a simple sentence, "who does not do what", "who does not say (does not know) what", "who cannot be told (know) what", the predicative position can be occupied by verbs of movement, object displacement, verbal activities and other verbs denoting an action aimed at influencing an object (" “He (a person) does not pay taxes, does not have a wife, acquaintances do not lend him money "until Wednesday", taxi drivers send him offensive words after him, girls laugh at him: they do not like idealists” (I. Ilf, E. Petrov); " “You must understand me correctly – I do not give any assessments, it is just a social situation that reflects some side of the human being” (L. Ulitskaya)).

Structural schemes of a simple sentence with the genitive case are different in their component composition. Our material allows talking about three and four component schemes.

The most productive scheme is the structural scheme of a simple sentence "who / what is not where when". Next are the structural scheme of a simple sentence: "who does not have whom / what", "who does not have (is not wearing) what", "who does not have anything", "who does not have anyone / what", "between whom and whom there is no what", "for whom there is no who / what", "without whom / what there is no who / what", "who / what is not with whom", "who does not have what".

In modern Russian, in sentences with negation, not only the genitive case but also the accusative case can be used. For example, " ("I do not see the stars") and " ("I do not see the stars”). If back in the 19th-century constructions with the genitive case were considered the norm in negation, and constructions with the accusative case in negation were considered a violation of the norm, then already in the 20th century they began to talk about the possibility of replacing the genitive case with the accusative in the transitive verb with negation. According to modern norms, in many cases, the use of the accusative case is not only preferred but also the only correct one (Fesenko, 2016).

This suggests that the structural diagrams with the genitive case in the case of negation cease to be productive; the structural diagrams replace them with the accusative case in the negation. However, the genitive case in negation is still used. It will remain in the future in stable expressions that have appeared in the Russian language thanks to the "non-existent" structural schemes of a simple sentence: “ (neither stake nor court); “ (no fluff or feathers); “ (neither skin nor face); “ (no belmes); " (who is not in sight).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this article is to describe and characterize the structural schemes of a simple sentence of the Russian language with a genitive case in negation, expressing the absence or non-existence of someone or something.

Research Methods

The specificity of the research subject and the tasks set led to the use of the following methods in the work:

descriptive, including the techniques of linguistic observation, comparison, generalization, systematization of linguistic phenomena, techniques of distributive and transformational analysis;

contextual and functional analysis;

modelling and field structuring of the material.


The results we have come to in this article help to identify the role and place of structural schemes of a simple sentence with the genitive case when negated among other structural schemes of the Russian language. Besides, this article made it possible to describe and systematize all structural schemes available in the Russian language that contains the genitive case with negation. This article can help, first of all, when explaining the choice of the accusative or genitive case in speech, as well as in teaching the Russian language to foreign citizens, since such schemes with negation are not typical for most languages, which causes certain difficulties for those who begin to learn Russian.


Summing up the above, we come to the following conclusions:

1. In Russian, as well as in several Eastern European languages, there are structural schemes of simple sentences with a genitive case in negation, expressing the absence, non-existence of someone or something.

2. In modern Russian, structural schemes of a simple sentence with the genitive case when negated are displaced by the structural scheme of a simple sentence with the accusative case when negated.

3. The structural schemes of a simple sentence with the genitive case when negated are very idiomatic and expressive, which contributed to the formation of a large number of phraseological expressions on their basis.


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17 May 2021

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Ochirova, I. N., Golubeva, E. V., Kitlyaeva, S. D., & Staroverkina, L. A. (2021). Negative Constructions With Genitive As A Means Of Expressing Absence. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization, vol 107. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1180-1187). European Publisher.