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Duolingo is teaching me that pronouns can never be omitted in Ukrainian sentences, but someone here said otherwise in another answer and I'm wondering what the situation really is, especially since in the present and future tenses the pronoun can be inferred from the verb form (this is also the case in Polish and in Polish we omit pronouns nearly all the time). So, what are the rules about omitting pronouns when they're the subject of the sentence, and what does real language usage look like? Would you normally say "Я бачу тебе" or "Бачу тебе", "Знаєш ти його?" or "Знаєш його?", "Ми не будемо їсти" or "Не будемо їсти"? (Feel free to add other examples, I'm sure yours will be better than mine.) Does it differ between written/spoken or formal/casual modes? Anything else I'm missing?

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    Proactive notice for those who will post answers to this question: please try to back your answer with credible references and more or less academic sources. It would be certainly not enough to tell how the things are within your circle. :) Aug 12, 2022 at 20:44
  • good point, thank you! Sorry for forgetting that this being an SE site means there has to be a single right answer and I shouldn't just use it to poll people about their personal opinions/experiences, oops...
    – weronika
    Aug 12, 2022 at 21:15
  • I am not a linguist but here is my thought on it. I suppose you can omit pronouns. However, if I personally stopped omitting them, very few people would probably notice that. On the other hand, native speakers do omit pronouns every now and again, especially in casual talks. Though, omitting does not neceserilly mean you are being casual or disrespectful. The main point is that the interlocutor just should not be confused about what you are saying. Aug 14, 2022 at 21:14
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    For this answer someone need a good article, or work with corpus. I can only notice you about two things for compare to Polish: 1) Ukrainian verbs in the past tense usually require any pronoun. 2) Ukrainian has a widly used phenomenon as zero copula, it means that speaker usually drops a copula as бути, like in я тут.
    – Sútnôstj
    Aug 15, 2022 at 4:24
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    Therefore IMHO: 1) Ukrainian definitely allows ommit pronounce, itʼs more about technical problem of Duolingo, or someoneʼe laziness; 2) in my exp., thereʼre no rules, maybe in very pro sphere; 3) how often? again in my exp.: less than with pronounses, also because of those mentioned reasons.
    – Sútnôstj
    Aug 15, 2022 at 4:29

1 Answer 1

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I failed to find appropriate rules for this in verified sources. If I do I will update this answer at some point.

However, I managed to find "Правопис займенників. Пропуск особових займенників. Українська мова 11 клас"(Spelling of pronouns. Omission of personal pronouns. Ukrainian language for 11th grade) video on the YT channel called "Підготовка до ЗНО"("Preparation to the EIE").

From 4:21, she says personal pronouns are omitted frequently, especially in feature texts. This grants particular emotional expression.

The provided then examples are exaggerated because you are unlikely to go "pronounless" for several sentences straight in spoken language* but this whole explanation holds for the vernacular, everyday language for the most part. You get the idea.

On a side note, on 4:56, she goes to say a widespread mistake is to use personal pronouns excessively. Thus never omitting pronouns is an actual mistake.**

At this point, you should approximately assume how often you should omit pronouns.

It's hard to answer this properly - the answer lies somewhere in between for the spoken language. It takes some intuition and experience to figure out whether you are doing it too much or too little.

* - although you totally can, it'll likely just sound off

** - again, people will understand you for sure, there will be people who won't even consider that a mistake, but for the most part it is likely to sound at least off for the majority

P.S. However, if you are Polish I assume the cases for the omission of personal pronouns in the spoken language must be at the very least similar to those in Ukrainian.

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  • Плюсанув. Але не зовсім розумію, що означає «not omitting pronouns at all is an actual mistake». (Здається, що там пропущено якісь розділові знаки чи службові слова; а навіть якщо й ні — може, зможете його переформулювати, щоб стало очевидніше?)
    – Sasha
    Aug 29, 2022 at 18:46
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    "не нехтувати займенниками взагалі - фактична помилка." В інгліші правила пунктуації кардинально відрізняються від наших - в більшості випадків, там де у нас по дефолту коми, у них ставити нічого не треба.
    – improbable
    Aug 29, 2022 at 18:48
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    [До речі, зверніть увагу, скільки в попередньому коментарі пропущених займенників :). Але, припускаю, якби я казав те саме усно, а не писав, то я би вживав їх частіше. Імовірно, якби я казав усно, це був би тришки інший стиль, а стиль впливає на частоту.]
    – Sasha
    Aug 29, 2022 at 18:49
  • Мабуть, Ви маєте рацію, що те, як написано, теж цілком коректно. Проте цю відповідь намагатимуться читати навіть люди з дуже низьким рівнем англійського, тож, може, якось спростити? Ну, наприклад, «[so/thus/therefore] never omitting pronouns is an actual mistake»?
    – Sasha
    Aug 29, 2022 at 18:54
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    Я не бачу ніяких проблем для розуміння, але якщо наполягаєте, я подумаю.
    – improbable
    Aug 29, 2022 at 18:57

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