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Russian grammar - Some and the Partitive Genitive

Some and the Partitive Genitive

When the object is a whole or complete thing we typically use the accusative form.

But when the object is part of the whole, Russian uses the genitive.

Note that some common words have special partitive genitive forms. Here are a few:

лук (onion): regular genitive: лука; partitive genitive: луку

сахар (sugar): regular genitive: сахара; partitive genitive: сахару

чай (tea): regular genitive: чая; partitive genitive: чаю

суп (soup): regular genitive: супа; partitive genitive: супу

These special partitive genitives usually happen with masculine nouns ending in consonants.

Examples:
Он съел весь хлеб.
He ate all the bread.

хлеб (accusative) хлеб

Он съел немного хлеба.
He ate some bread.

хлеб (genitive) хлеба

Он выпил всю водку.
He drank all the vodka.

водка (accusative) водку

Он выпил немного водки.
He drank some vodka.

водка (genitive) водки

Он нарезал целую луковицу.
He chopped the whole onion.

луковица (accusative) луковицу

луковица means 'whole onion bulb'

Он нарезал немного лука.
He chopped some onion.

лук (genitive) лука

Он положил весь сахар в чай.
He put all of the sugar in his tea.

сахар (accusative) сахар

Он положил немного сахара в чай.
He put some sugar in his tea.

сахар (genitive) сахара

Там весь лимон.
All of the lemon is there.

лимон (nominative) лимон

Там есть немного лимона.
Some of the lemon is there.

лимон (genitive) лимона