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5 comments

Comment from: Andrey [Visitor] Email
Please note: "при помощи" is used on inanimate objects only. So "починил унитаз при помощи молотка" is ok, but "при помощи брата" is not entirely correct. I guess it's somewhat equal to English "make smth with smth", like "I fixed the toilet with a hammer", "I fixed the toilet with my brother" (correct me if I'm wrong with that analogy)

Don responds: Андрей, thanks so much for your thought. Here's the scoop. Although I agree with you that the phrase при помощи is used with an inanimate complement for best style in Russian, I found when writing the blog entry that in fact in conversational Russian people do use the phrase with people sometimes. At the moment I consider the use of «при помощи брата» to be one of those things that is an exceedingly minor error, so minor in fact as to now be part of the standard conversational language. If I were to make a comparison, I suppose it is about equivalent to saying “Did you eat lunch?” instead of “Have you eaten lunch?” The former nowadays is extremely common in American English, so common as to not sound wrong to most people in casual conversation, although some of us still try to maintain the distinction. (I believe the distinction may still have more force in Britain, though I am not sure.)

To my ear “I fixed the toilet with a plunger” and “I fixed the toilet with my brother” are both perfectly fine sentences, so I think I didn't quite follow your point on that one.

Peace, joy and light to you, Don.
09/30/13 @ 00:42
Comment from: Richard [Visitor]
Don,

1.) I noticed that you used the feminine form "нужна" in all of your examples. Does this mean that "нужен" must always agree in gender and number with the noun to which it is referring?

2.) I found a couple of handy phrases related to "помощь" in my dictionary:
-"машина скорой помощи" --> "ambulance" (literally "car of quick aid" which is kinda cool, I like the literal definition better! :)
-"первая помощь" --> "first aid"

Don responds: Richard, yes, indeed, it is the thing needed that determines the ending of нужен, not the person who needs it.
10/02/13 @ 08:18
Comment from: Andrey [Visitor]
Don, I guess I was just happy about I've got something to say and haven't noticed being a nuisance :) Anyway, your Russian is a way better than my English!
10/09/13 @ 21:38
Comment from: David Emerling [Visitor] Email
Is there any difference in saying "Мне надо помощь" and "Мне нужна помощь"? I know the topical word is помощь, but the above sentences got me thinking about надо/нужно.

Don responds: What an excellent question. Although in terms of meaning they are basically the same, grammatically they are different. In «Мне надо помощь» the word помощь is in the accusative case, and there is some implied infinitive (although I'm not at the moment sure which verb, perhaps получить?). It is an impersonal sentence with надо as the predicative. In «Мне нужна помощь» we have a personal sentence with помощь as the nominative subject and the short form adjective agreeing with it. Interesting, eh?
11/11/13 @ 16:21
Comment from: MMM [Visitor] Email
You can say "Мне нужно/надо получить помощь" or "Мне нужно/надо помочь". But the last example also can be used when help is needed for someone else, like "Мне нужно помочь ему".
02/06/14 @ 10:09

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