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Hopefully it-ogo is available for grammar help. I found a copy of the Lord's Prayer in Russian. As you know, it goes like this:

во имя Отца

и Сына

и Святого Духа.

I'm trying to dissect the grammar behind this prayer. Based on the endings of the words Сына and Духа, I take it that they are being used in the genitive case (and, because they represent animate masculine nouns, in the gentive case). My question is about the usage of the word Отца. Technically, would it be correct to say that it is being used in the genitive (and not the accusative) case because it relates to имя?

Also, I understand that either the accusative or the prepositional can be used after в (or во) depending on whether the object is stationary or movement towards. Can you help clarify this? For example, why is the accusative (rather than the prepositional) being used here?

asked Jun 1, 2014 by robdavis54 (190 points)

1 Answer

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Here Отца is in Genitive. "In the name of Father". The words after "of" most often are translated in Genitive. 

Yes, after в/во either Prepositional or Accusative can be used. The different cases make different meanings, for example в+Prepositional can mean "in/inside something" (static position) while в+Accusative can mean "to/into something" (target of the direction). But that preposition can have a whole bunch of other meanings (as well as "in" in English). All I can advice is just remember that kind of usage: "in the name" = "во имя" (Accusative). It is not a kind of formal logic, it is a way of thinking. After you get used to it you will be able to manipulate it intuitively. Compare:

Во имя Отца = in the name of Father. (Accusative)

Что в имени моем? = What's in my name? (Prepositional)


answered Jun 1, 2014 by it-ogo (18,220 points)
Okay. Now what about this phrase in "Hail Mary":

"благодати полная"

If I was given only the word "полная," I would say that the noun that полная is modifying must be a feminine noun in the nominative case. However, the word "благодати" is either in the genitive, dative, or prepositional case. Can you explain to me what's going on here? Is it being used in the genitive case because it's an "of" phrase? If that's the case, why is пoлный not in the genitive case?
"благодати полная" = "full of grace". Probably Mary is full of grace. Mary is feminine so "полная" is in feminine form and takes the same case as Mary. "благодати" is in Genitive.
Thanks for all the help here. I have two more questions for you, if you don't mind (albeit they have nothing to do with Catholic prayers).

I'm using both Pimsleur and Assimil to help me learn Russian. On Lesson 19 in Assimil, I came across two sentences that were giving me difficulties:

1. The first sentence that is giving me problems is, "Роберт, тебя к телефону." I understand what the sentence means; I even understand how it translates directly from Russian to English (i.e., "Robert, you to the telephone."). My question is why is the preposition "к" used? Is it just the way Russian is spoken?

For example, in English I would say, "My name is Robert"; in Russian, however, I would say, "Меня зовут Роберт." In reality, these two phrases mean the exact same thing. The difference is that the two languages use two difference structures (e.g., I wouldn't say "мое имя Роберт"). Is that what's happening in this sentence?

Also, why wouldn't в + acc. be used in this situation? I guess this latter question leads to a bigger question I've had for the past few days: When do I use к + dat. instead of в + acc., and vice versa? Or can the two be used interchangeably?

2. The second sentence that's been giving me problems is, "Вы ошиблись номером." Here, I know what the sentence means (i.e., You have the wrong number). Similar to my first question is why is the sentence structured this way and not, for example this way: "У вас оши́бочный номерю."

Thanks again, it-ogo. You truly have been a big help.
"Роберт, тебя (зовут) к телефону." = "Robert, (they call) you to the phone" = "Robert, you are called to the phone". AFAIK it is so called impersonal sentence where the subject is skipped. (Actually here even the predicate is skipped.)

"к телефону" is a usual way to say that. It comes from the old ages when all phones were stationary objects and to use a phone one should approach its position: "to the phone".

"Меня зовут Роберт." = "(They) call me Robert." = "I am called Robert" Again it is an impersonal sentence. Impersonal sentences are used in Russian more often than in English. "Моё имя - Роберт" is also a correct sentence but it is not the usual way to say that. It sounds a bit pompous, something like "The name of mine is Robert".

I don't understand your question about в+acc. You cant't say "в телефон", because Robert is asked to approach the phone, not to get inside it.

2. "Вы ошиблись номером." - You got to the wrong number (means you mistyped a digit in a phone number and called a wrong person). That is the way to say. Вы ошиблись улицей - You got to the wrong street. etc.
"У вас оши́бочный номер." is a bit enigmatic sentence. "У вас... номер" implies that the numbers belongs to the second person, not to the one who speaks. It can have some bizarre interpretations.
So why is "номер" in the instrumental case in the sentence "вы ошиблись номером"? Also, what part of speech is "ошиблись" (e.g., adverb, verb, etc.)? Would "ошиблись" change to something else if I were to use "ты" instead of "вы"? So the overall structure is "вы ошиблись + instrumental case"?
Why? Well, I can make theories why, but that is the way to speak. The language works that way. One more function of Instrumental case.

 "ошиблись" is a Past Plural form of the verb "ошибиться" - "to make a mistake". The Past Singular form is "ошибся". Ты ошибся номером.=You have made a mistake in number.

So the overall structure is "вы ошиблись + instrumental case"? - Yes. "You have made a mistake in ..."