The Personal Pronouns

Usage

Pronouns are words that are used as substitutes for nouns. They do not name objects, their characteristics or quantity but only refer to them. There are nine types of pronouns in Russian.

Let's take a look at the Russian personal pronouns.

  • я (I)
  • мы (we)
  • ты (you - singular; thou*)
  • вы (you - plural)
  • он (he)
  • онá (she)
  • онó (it)
  • они (they).

*In Russian, as in many other languages, ты (thou) is used generally among people very familiar with each other, or by superiors to inferiors.

The Person

As you may know, the first person grammar term refers to someone who is the author of the narration. Therefore я, мы are the first person pronouns; they refer to the speaker.

Я стал медленно взбираться на холм.
I started to climb the hill slowly.
(я refers to someone who is actually saying this sentence)

In addition, the pronoun мы refers to people who perform an action along with the speaker.

Мы все éли яблоки: и я, и Миша, и Толя, и Дима.
We were all eating apples: I and Misha and Tolya and Dima.
(мы refers to all people who were performing an action)

The second person describes someone who was addressed by the utterance. In other words, it is the person you are talking to. Therefore ты, вы are the second person pronouns; they refer to one or more people.

Лéна, ты тáк хорошó поёшь.
Lena, you sing so well.
(ты substitutes for Lena, the person being addressed)

Когдá вы пойдёте на пляж?
When will you go to the beach?
(вы substitutes for the people addressed)

The third person pronouns он, она, оно, они refer to the person or thing being talked about.

Он заинтересовáлся игрóй.
He became interested in the game.

Онá былá единственным ребёнком в семьé.
She was the only child in the family

Они встáли и поздорóвались.
They stood up and greeted.

Declension

All personal pronouns change by cases.

Я, ты, мы, вы

Case Singular Plural
Nominative я ты мы вы
Genitive меня тебя нас вас
Dative мне тебе нам вам
Accusative меня тебя нас вас
Instrumental мной тобой нами вами
Prepositional (обо) мне (о) тебе (о) нас (о) вас

Он, она, оно, они

Case Singular Plural
Nominative oнa oнo oни
Genitive его её его их
Dative ему ему им
Accusative его её его их
Instrumental им ей, ею им ими
Prepositional (о) нём (о) ней (о) нём (о) них

The personal pronouns do not change by number, they belong to either singular or plural number. я, ты, он, она, оно are always singular. мы, вы, они are always plural.

All personal pronouns are used in all six cases.

The nominative:
Мать спрашивает: «Кто это?»
Сын отвечает: «Это я, ты, он, она (singular), мы, вы, они (plural)»

The Genitive:
Мать спрашивает: «У кого есть книга?»
Ребёнок отвечает: «У меня, у тебя, у него, у неё есть книга (singular), у нас, у вас, у них есть книга (plural)»

The Dative:
Кому мать даёт книгу?
Мне, тебе, ему, ей (singular), нам, вам, им (plural) даёт мать книгу.

The Accusative:
Кого спрашивает мать?
Меня, тебя, его, её (singular), нас, вас, их (plural) спрашивает мать.

The Insturmental:
Кем довольна мать?
Мной, тобой, им, ей, ею (singular), нами, вами, ими (plural) довольна мать.

The Prepositional:
О ком думает мать?
Обо мне, о тебе, о нём, о неё (singular), о нас, о вас, о них (plural) думает мать.

Related Lessons

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