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Linguists have noticed that all languages could be divided into two categories: "to have" languages and "to be" languages.
"To have" languages are mostly European languages such as English, German and French. They use the verb "to have" to express an idea of possession, as in "I have a car" or "He has a brother".
"To be" languages are presented by Russian, Japanese and others which say about possession as quality or even location. For instance, Russians normally use structures like что-то у кого-то есть (there is smth. at smb.) or что-то где-то есть (there is smth. somewhere) to express possession. A possessor is passive in the languages of a "to be" group.
У меня есть ключ.
I have a key.
Literally: At me there is a key.
У сестры есть
The sister has a cat.
Literally: At the sister's there is a cat.
У тебя есть
Do you have a computer?
Literally: Is there a computer at you?
I am a tutor.
Literally: I -- tutor.
I am cold.
Literally: Cold to me.
At the same time, "to be" is used in the future and past tense:
Я буду читать
I will read the book.
Я был в театре.
I was at the theatre.
Ask them in the Russian Questions and Answers — a place for students, teachers and native Russian speakers to discuss Russian grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and other aspects of the Russian language.
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