by Don  

The most common word for one in Russian is один in its various forms. Morphologically it is an adjective, which means it occurs in masculine, feminine, neuter, and plural forms in all six cases:

Singular Plural
Masc Neut Fem
Nom один одно одна одни
Acc * одну *
Gen одного одной одних
Pre одном
Dat одному одним
Ins одним одними

Since один is an adjective, it has to agree with its noun in gender:

Вот один доллар. Here is one dollar.
Вот одна ручка. Here is one pen
Вот одно перо. Here is one feather.

Why would you need the plural of the number one? You may encounter the plural of один when specifying that you have one item that is pluralia tantum. Plurale tantum are nouns that only occur in the plural. In English we have a few nouns like that, such as pants. You don't say “Hand me the pant” even if you mean just one item of clothing. Instead you say “Hand me the pants.” In Russian the words брюки pants and часы “a watch” only occur in the plural, so if you want to specify one pair of pants or one watch, you theoretically can use the plural of один:

Жанна купила одни брюки за шестьсот рублей. Zhanna bought one pair of pants for six hundred rubles.
Олег купил одни часы и два галстука. Oleg bought one watch and two ties.

Alas, the Russian number system is not entirely stable, and occasionally you might find an odd bird who objects to using одни with these words. The issue of how to combine numbers with plurale tantum is quite complex, so for the moment trust me that the Russians often say it this way.

* acc copies nom if modifying an inanimate noun
acc copies gen if modifying an animate noun

1 comment

Comment from: Victor [Visitor]

Also: We left alone - Мы остались одни.

07/24/13 @ 06:30

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