by Don  

In English the word time has several meanings: a) it means a repetition, as in “She kissed me three times,” and b) it means time in the sense of “I don't have time to clean the kitchen today.” Russian distinguishes those meanings. The former is раз, and the latter is время, which we will discuss today. Время is one of the ten neuter nouns in modern Russian that ends in -мя in the nominative singular. It is declined like this:


Probably the first place we encounter this word is when discussing whether we have time to do something:

Мне нужна твоя помощь переместить шкаф в другую комнату. У тебя будет время сегодня днём? I need your help to move the armoire into the other room. Will you have time this afternoon?
У меня нет времени. I don't have time.
I don't have the time.
Сегодня у меня было свободное время. Я ходила в парк, сидела на скамейке, слушала, как поют птицы. I had free time today so I went to the park, sat on a bench and listened to the birds sing.

When you are talking about having the time to do something, you use the infinitive of the verb:

У тебя будет время сходить в магазин? Will you have time to go to the store?
У меня не было времени купить продукты. I didn't have time to buy groceries.

When you are talking about time for something, you use the preposition на followed by the accusative case:

У меня теперь нет времени на мангу, хотя раньше я её читал постоянно. Nowadays I don't have time for manga, although I used to read it constantly.
— Если у тебя есть время на Тетрис, то у тебя есть время убирать на кухне. Иди туда немедленно и помоги маме.
— Папа, почему ты не можешь помочь ей?
— Не спорь со мной, а то тебе будет плохо. Я весь день работаю и не буду терпеть дурацкие споры.
“If you have time for Tetris, then you have time to clean the kitchen. Go there right now and help your mother.”
“Papa, why can't you help her?”
“No back talk or you'll regret it. I work all day long and I’m not going to tolerate stupid arguments.”

1 comment

Comment from: Arseny [Visitor]

What about дитя, теля and порося - all of them neuter in nominative case and end at -я?

Don responds: Good point. I should have written «-мя». The text has been updated. Thanks!

02/04/11 @ 12:08

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