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When using pronouns, it is necessary to avoid ambiguity in sentences. This ambiguity can be caused by the inappropriate position or form of the pronoun: *Вследствие интенсивного лова в Охотском море возникла угроза исчезновения минтая, которая является наиболее ценной рыбой в этом море. The sentence is agrammatical because of the incorrect form of the pronoun которая following the masculine and feminine nouns. The relative pronoun here should have been used in the masculine gender, since it refers logically to the word минтая. The feminine gender forces the reader to look for a nearby noun in the feminine, which proves to be the word угроза, though evidently the author of this translation intended to make agreement between the relative pronoun and the noun that follows, рыба.




A sentence with the English impersonal pronoun one can be rendered by a Russian impersonal sentence: One can easily understand peoples’ aspirations for world peace. – Легко можно понять стремление народов к миру во всем мире.131

Another way of translating English indefinite sentences with one is the Russian generalizing personal sentence implying the general ты: One is free to do as one likes so long as one’s habits do not irritate one’s companions. – Делать волен все, что хочешь, пока твои привычки не досаждают окружающим.

Pay attention to using the pronoun one’s in the possessive form, if the sentence subject is expressed by one (the possessive pronoun is not substituted for any other pronoun, for instance, your.): e.g., One has to do one’s best.

There is another way of rendering a universal meaning of an English sentence: with the help of the pronoun you. However, this can be understood as being directed to the receptor and, therefore, it can cause misunderstanding, as was brilliantly shown by J. London in his novel 'Martin Eden': “By the way, Mr. Eden,” she called back, as she was leaving the room, “what is booze? You used it several times, you know.” “Oh, booze,” he laughed. “It’s slang. It means whiskey, and beer – anything that will make youdrunk.” “And another thing,” she laughed back. “Don’t use ‘you’ when you are impersonal. ‘You’ is very personal, and your use of it just now was not precisely what you meant.” “I don’t just see that.” “Why, you said just now to me, ‘whiskey and beer – anything that will make you drunk’ – make me drunk, don’t you see?” “Well, it would, wouldn’t it?” “Yes, of course,” she smiled. “But it would be nicer not to bring me into it. Substitute ‘one’ for ‘you’, and see how much better it sounds.”*

A translator should also know that you and one differ stylistically, you being informal and colloquial, and one sounding very formal and official.

The English one can also function as a noun substitute. In translating to Russian, it is desirable not to repeat the word, but to use a synonym if the noun reduction is impossible: Tokyo – Japan’s most serious problem – and the one that is least discussed – is overpopulation. – Самая серьезная проблема Токио и всей Японии – вопрос, который обсуждается менее всего – это перенаселение.

Russian-to-English translation is challenged by the choice between one and it. Compare, Надень шлем. Нельзя ездить без него. – Put on your helmet. It’s illegal to ride a bike without one. «Мне нравится этот шлем.» «Ну, и купи его.» “I like the helmet.” “So buy it.” The pronoun one represents a general notion; it refers to a specific thing.




These pronouns correspond to English each and every. But they are not interchangeable in all cases.

The pronoun every makes reference to a number of three or more. It correlates with unknown persons or things and has a collective reference. Therefore, every is usually translated by the Russian pronoun все. Each refers to a number of two and more. It stresses the idea of discreteness and refers to individuals already specified.132

This can be illustrated by the following sentences:

Вседома на той улице были выкрашены в белый цвет. Они входили по очереди в каждый дом. – Every house in the street was painted white. They went to each house in turn.

As compared with every, the pronoun all refers to the complete amount or number (of), or the whole (of): Весь импортируемый лес должен быть подвергнут химической обработке от всяких болезней. – Allimported timber must be chemically treated against disease.




The indefinite (partitive) pronouns some/any correspond to the Russian какой-то/какой-нибудь/какой-либо/немного. Their usage is determined by a positive or negative meaning implied by the speaker.

Some is associated with the positive meaning; any, with the negative meaning. Cf., If you eat some porridge, I’ll give you a candy. – Если съешь немного каши, я дам тебе конфетку. (the implied consequence is positive.) If you eat any candy, I’ll punish you. – Если съешь хоть какую-нибудь конфету, я тебя накажу, where the consequence is sure to be negative.

The same thing happens in negative sentences where a contrast of form and meaning takes place: I don’t mind some coffee. Я не против выпить немного кофе. (the affirmative meaning: I am going to have a cup of coffee). I do mind any coffee. – Я возражаю против какого-либо кофе (the negative meaning: I won’t have coffee).

In interrogative sentences, by using some the speaker anticipates an affirmative answer. When s/he uses any, the expected answer is likely to be negative. For example, Didn’t you publish some poems in this volume? – Разве неправда, что вы опубликовали несколько стихотворений в этом томике? Didn’t you publish any poetry in this book? – Правда, что вы не опубликовали никаких стихов в этом сборнике?

In the interrogative sentence, the partitive any can presuppose the meaning of even the smallest amount or number of something: Is there any of that lemon cake left? In Russian, this partitive meaning can be stressed by the particle хоть: Остался хоть какой-нибудь кусочек лимонного торта?

Another meaning of any – that of ‘not important’ which corresponds to the Russian любой: You can come any day you like. – Можешь прийти в любой день, когда захочешь.

The partitive pronoun some can be substituted in Russian by the word одни ifthe sentence implies enumeration: Some blame it on television, or the weather, or bad films, or slimmer purses. – Одни винят в этом телевидение, другие – плохую погоду, третьи – плохие фильмы, четвертые – отощавшие кошельки. In this case, a translator must supply a sentence subject to all parallel objects.

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