Холодно (часть первая)

by Don  

The word холодный is an adjective; adjectives are used to directly modify nouns:

Я люблю холодный борщ. I love cold borscht.
Вампир ласкал Беллу холодной рукой. The vampire carressed Bella with a cold hand.

Many qualitive adjectives in Russian can be turned into adverbs by removing the adjectival ending and ending -о, thus the adjective холодный ‘cold’ becomes холодно ‘coldly’ (note the stress shift):

Она холодно смотрела на меня и сказал: «Это не твоё дело». She looked at me coldly and said, “That's none of your business.”
— Я с ними не общаюсь!— холодно ответил он. “I'm not on speaking terms with them!” he responded coldly.

But one of the most interesting uses of adverbs in Russian is in impersonal sentences. Do you remember back in high school that you learned a rule of English grammar that says, “A complete sentence must have a subject and a verb”? That's not true in Russian. Some sentences in Russian have neither subject nor verb. More specifically, when a sentence in Russian has no nominative subject, neither expressed or implied, that sentence is called an “impersonal sentence” «безличное предложение». For instance:

Холодно. It's cold.

That's right «Холодно» all by itself is a complete sentence in Russian. If you want to put the sentence into the past you use было (not был, была or были). If you want to put the sentence into the future, you use будет (буду, будешь, будем, будете or будут):

Холодно было. It was cold.
Холодно будет. It will be cold.

You can add modifiers of place to such sentences as well:

Тут холодно. It's cold here.
Там было холодно. It was cold there.
В Гонолулу не будет холодно. It won't be cold in Honolulu.
На Аляске холодно. It is cold in Alaska.
В Москве было холодно. It was cold in Moscow.
В Архангельсе будет холодно. It will be cold in Arkhangelsk.

There are many other words in Russian that can be used this way, among them quite a few that have to do with weather or light or darkness:

В Финиксе было жарко. It was hot in Phoenix.
На улице темно. It is dark outside.
На Гавайях бывает тепло. It is usually warm in Hawaii.
В Вашингтоне летом влажно. It's humid in the summer in Washington.
В Барроу, штат Аласка, всё лето светло. In Barrow, Alaska, it is light out all summer long.
У нас сегодня облачно. It's cloudy here today.

Isn't that great? There are so many things in Russian that are so complicated that it's a joy for us foreigners to find something that's easy to say in Russian!


Comment from: Edgar [Visitor]

So happy that you are back. I missed your posts–they are the best! Thanks so much for all that you do, Edgar

04/13/11 @ 07:58
Comment from: Brandon [Visitor]

I agree. Finally– you’ve returned!

04/13/11 @ 07:13
Comment from: Jack [Visitor]

Yess! At long last, you’re back!

Keep up the good work! :-)

04/12/11 @ 03:51

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