The Instrumental Case

The instrumental case is used in the sentences like "Я пользуюсь... машиной, домом, водой" (I make use of ... a car, house, water). The nouns in the instrumental answer such questions as Кем? Чем?.

Я восхищаюсь чем? Я восхищаюсь его талантом. - (literally)
By what am I admired?
I admire his talent.
Катя работает кем? Катя работает врачом. - (literally)
As who does Katya work?
Katya works as a doctor.

The instrumental case is called so because it is used to describe the instrument by which and action is performed. For example: забивать гвоздь молотком (to drive in a nail with a hammer), писать ручкой (to write with a pen), ехать автобусом (to go by bus).

Using the Instrumental Case

The instrumental case is widely used to describe one's job - Я работаю учителем (I work as a teacher), Отец был рабочим (The father was a worker).

It is also used in space and time phrases. For example: ехать полем (to go through the field), проснуться утром (to wake up in the morning), вернуться летом (to come back in summer).

The instrumental case is used after such prepositions as за (behind), между (between), над (over), перед (in front of), под (under), c (with). For example:

за домом   behind the house
над столом   over the table
перед рекой   in front of the river
под водой   under water
с учителем   with the teacher

The instrumental can also be used without prepositions.

Instrumental Case Endings

The instrumental is formed from the nominative singular nouns with the help of the following endings: -ом, -ем, -ой, -ей, -ью (singular); -ами, -ями (plural).

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

The instrumental of singular nouns

   Nominative singular  Remove   Add   Instrumental 
 masculine 
брат
чай
папа
--
й
а
ом
ем
ой
братом
чаем
папой
neuter окно
море
о
е
ом
ем
окном
морем
feminine ночь
вода
ь
а
ью
ой
ночью
водой

Explanation of the table:

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

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

Add -ей to feminine and masculine nouns ending in (тётя, дядя).

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

Add -ью to feminine nouns ending in (ночь).

The instrumental of plural nouns

   Nominative singular  Remove   Add  Instrumental plural
 masculine  мост
гость
край
учитель
--
ь
й
ь
ами
ями
ями
ями
мостами
гостями
краями
учителями
neuter окно
море
о
е
ами
ями    
окнами
морями
feminine коса
стая
а
я
ами
ями
косами
стаями

Explanation of the table:

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

Add -ями to masculine nouns ending in a , neuter nouns ending in -e and feminine nouns ending in -я, -ь.

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