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The Indefinite Pronouns

The words некто (a certain person), нечто (a certain thing), некоторый (some, certain), несколько (some, several), ктo-то (somebody), чтo-то (something), ктo-нибудь (anybody), чтo-нибудь (anything), какoй-то (some kind of), кoе-ктo (somebody) are the indefinite pronouns. They refer to indefinite or unknown things, people, features or quantities. The pronunciation samples for these pronouns are given below.

Let's consider some examples:

  • В некотором царстве жил царь.
  • (In some kingdom there lived a king.)
  • Кто-то взял мою ручку.
  • (Somebody took my pen.)
  • Скажите что-нибудь.
  • (Say something.)

Pronunciation of indefinite pronouns

Use the table below to practice your pronunication of the Russian indefinite pronouns.

Audio  Russian word   English translation   Pronunciation

Flash required.

некоторыйsome, certainNYEH-kah-tah-riy

Flash required.

несколькоsome, severalNYEHS-kahl'-kah

Flash required.

ктo-тоsomebodyKTOH-tah

Flash required.

чтo-тоsomethingSHTOH-tah

Flash required.

ктo-нибудьanybodyKTOH-nee-boot'

Flash required.

чтo-нибудьanythingSHTOH-nee-boot'
   ---нектоa certain personNYEK-tah
   ---нечтоa certain thingNYEHSH-tah
   ---какoй-тоsome kind ofkah-KOY-tah
   ---кoе-ктosomebodykoyeh-KTOH

How to form the indefinite pronouns

The indefinite pronouns are formed from the interrogative pronouns with the help of such prefixes as не-, кое- and suffixes -то, -либо, -нибудь.

Note, that the suffixes -то, -либо, -нибудь and the prefix кое- are written with a hyphen. On the contrary, the pronouns with the prefix не are always written as a single word. The prefix кое loses its hyphen when it is separated from a pronoun by a preposition, for example:

  • Эта книга заставила меня кое о чём подумать.
  • (This book made me think about some things.)

The good news is that the indefinite pronouns некто and нечто do not change by cases. They are always used in the nominative. The rest of the indefinite pronouns change like their interrogative counterparts.

The indefinite pronouns with the prefix кое- are used to talk about things known to the speaker but unfamiliar to the listener.

  • Мне нужно тебе кое-что сказать
  • (I have something to tell you.)
  • Он пытался выудить у меня кое-какую информацию.
  • (He tried to fish some information out of me.)

The indefinite pronouns formed with the suffixes -то and -нибудь are the most common ones. There is a difference in the meaning of these two suffixes. The suffix -то is used to talk about people, things and features which are real and definite, but not familiar to the speaker.

  • Кто-то поёт.
  • (Somebody is singing.)
  • Я нашёл чей-то портфель.
  • (I found somebody's case.)
  • Какой-то человек искал тебя.
  • (Some man was looking for you.)

The suffix -нибудь is used when people and things are indefinite or not chosen by the speaker from several possible ones.

  • Пусть кто-нибудь останется и поможет мне.
  • (Let someone stay and help me.)
  • Давай посадим на клумбу какие-нибудь цветы.
  • (Let's plant some flowers into the flowerbed.)

Related Lessons

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