The Dative Case

The dative case is an oblique case. It is used in the sentences like "Я даю это... учителю, отцу, матери" (I give this to... a teacher, father, mother). You should easily remember this sentence, because the Russian name of the dative comes from the verb "давать", i.e. "to give". The nouns in the dative answer such questions as Кому? Чему? (To whom? For what?).

Я даю ручку кому? Я даю ручку учителю. - To whom do I give the pen? I give the pen to a teacher.
Катя радуется чему? Катя радуется солнцу. - What is Katya happy at? Katya is happy at the sun.

The dative can be used with prepositions or without them. The typical prepositions for the dative are: к, по, подобно, согласно, благодаря, вопреки. For example:

к сестре   to a sister
по воде   by water
согласно расписанию   according to time-table
благодаря брату   thanks to a brother

The principal meaning of the dative is "to" or "for". The dative is used to designate an addressee (recipient). For example: написать письмо другу (to write a letter to a friend), дать совет сыну (to give a piece of advice to a son).

The dative is also used to show an object towards which an action is directed. For instance, верить другу (to trust a friend), помогать сыну (to help to a son).

The dative is formed from the nominative singular nouns with the help of the following endings: -у, -ю, -е, -и (singular); -ам, -ям (plural). In most cases, you should remove the last letter from the nominative of the noun and add one of the mentioned endings (сестра less plus = сестре). In some cases, the endings are to be added to the nominative singular noun without taking the last letter off (брат plus = брату).

The tables below sum up how the dative of nouns is formed.

The Dative of singular nouns

   Nominative singular  Remove   Add   Dative 
 masculine 
брат
чай
папа
--
й
а
у
ю
е
брату
чаю
папе
neuter окно
море
о
е
у
ю
окну
морю
feminine ночь
вода
ь
а
и
е
ночи
воде

Explanation of the table:

Add to masculine nouns ending in a hard consonant (брат) and neuter nouns ending in -o (окно).

Add to masculine nouns ending in -й, -ь (чай, учитель) and neuter nouns ending in -е, -ие (море, орудие).

Add to feminine nouns ending in -я, -ь except some personal names (печь, армия).

Add to feminine and masculine nouns ending in -a (вода, папа).

The Dative of plural nouns

   Nominative singular  Remove   Add   Dative plural
 masculine  мост
брат
край
учитель
--
--
й
ь
ам
ьям
ям
ям
мостам
братьям
краям
учителям
neuter окно
море
о
е
ам
ям
окнам
морям
feminine дочь*
коса
стая
ь
--
--
ям
м
м
дочерям
косам
стаям

* The noun "дочь" changes its stem.

Explanation of the table:

Add -ам to masculine nouns ending in a consonant, neuter nouns ending in -o and feminine nouns ending in -a.

Add -ям to masculine nouns ending in -й, -ь, -я, neuter nouns ending in -e and feminine nouns ending in -я, -ь.

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