The Prepositional Case in Russian: Usage and Examples

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The prepositional case in Russian answers the questions о ком (ah KOM)—about whom—, and о чем (ah CHOM)—about what—, as well as the question где (GDYE)—where. It is the last case out of the six Russian cases.

The prepositional case is only ever used with the prepositions:

  • на (na) - on/at
  • в (v) - in
  • о (oh) - about
  • об (ohb/ab) - about/on
  • обо (aba/obo) - about
  • по (poh/pah) - at
  • при (pree) - with

While other Russian cases are used both with and without prepositions, the prepositional case can only be used when a noun is accompanied by one of the prepositions above.

Quick Tip

The prepositional case in Russian answers the questions о ком/о чем (ah KOM/ah CHOM)—about whom/about what—, and the question где (GDYE)—where.

When to Use the Prepositional Case

The prepositional case can have the following main functions:

Content or Theme

The main function of the prepositional case in Russian is the function of content. The case is used with a number of verbs and other words that are roughly divided into the following groups:

Verbs related to speech:

  • беседовать (beSYEdavat') - to converse
  • молить (maLEET') - to plead
  • говорить (gavaREET') - to speak/to talk
  • договариваться (dagaVArivat'sa) - to agree, to come to an agreement
  • просить (praSEET') - to ask
  • советоваться (saVEtavatsa) - to advise/ask for advice
  • спорить (SPOrit') - to argue
  • узнавать (ooznaVAT') - to learn/to find out

Example:

- Нам нужно поговорить о твоих планах. (nam NOOZHna pagavaREET' a tvaEEH PLAnah)
- We need to discuss your plans.

Words related to text (including aural):

  • договор (dagaVOR) - an agreement
  • лекция (LYEKtsiya) - a lecture
  • заключение (zaklyuCHEniye) - a finding
  • конвенция (kanVENtsia) - a convention
  • меморандум (memaRANdoom) - a memorandum
  • рассказ (rasKAZ) - a short story
  • история (isTOria) - a story
  • резолюция (rezaLYUtsia) - a resolution
  • репортаж (reparTAZH) - a report

Example:

- Я иду с лекции о млекопитающих. (ja eeDOO s LEKtsiyi a mlekapiTAyushih)
- I'm coming from a lecture about mammals.

Verbs related to thought:

  • мечтать (mychTAT') - to dream/daydream
  • вспоминать (fspamiNAT') - to remember/recall
  • думать (DOOmat') - to think
  • забывать (zabyVAT') - to forget

Example:

- Я не забыл о твоей просьбе. (ya ne zaBYL a tvaYEY PROS'bye)
- I haven't forgotten about your request.

Verbs related to an emotional state:

  • беспокоиться (bespaKOitsa) - to worry
  • сожалеть (sazhaLET') - to regret
  • волноваться (valnaVAT'sa) - to worry
  • плакать (PLAkat') - to cry about something
  • жалеть (zhaLET') - to be sorry

Example:

- Она жалела о сказанном. (aNAH zhaLEla a SKAzanam)
- She regretted what had been said/what she had said.

Verbs related to goal-oriented action:

  • заботится о (zaBOtitsa oh) - to care about/for/to look after
  • хлопотать о (hlapaTAT' oh) - to get something sorted out

Example:

- Катя заботилась о младшей сестре. (KAtya zaBOtilas' a MLATshey sysTRYE)
- Katia looked after her little sister.

Aspect or Field

This function indicates a field or area of knowledge.

Example:

- Эти пункты совпадают в самом главном. (EHti POONKty safpaDAyut v SAMam GLAVnam)
- These points all agree on the most important question.

Circumstantial: Place, Time, and Conditions

Finally, the prepositional case in Russian has the function of indicating circumstances that can be related to time, place, and other details.

Examples:

- Учиться в школе. (ooCHITsa f SHKOle)
- To study at school.

- Мы сидели в темноте. (my siDYEli f temnaTYE)
- We sat in the dark.

The Prepositional Case Endings

Declension (Склонение) Singular (Единственное число) Examples Plural (Множественное число) Examples
First declension -е (-и) о лотерее (a lateRYEye) - about a lottery

о папе (a PApye) - about dad
-ах (-ях) о лотереях (a lateRYEyah) - about lotteries

о папах (a PApah) - about dads
Second declension -е (-и) о столе (a staLYE) - about a table

о поле (a POle) - about a field
-ах (-ях) о столах (a staLAH) - about tables

о полях (a paLYAH) - about fields
Third declension о печи (a pyeCHI) - about a stove -ах (-ях) о печах (a pyeCHAH) - about stoves
Heteroclitic nouns о времени (a VREmeni) - about the time -ах (-ях) о временах (a vremeNAKH) - about the times

Examples:

- Мы долго говорили о наших папах. (my DOLga gavaREEli a NAshikh PApakh)
- We talked about our dads for a long time.

- Я написал рассказ об этой известной площади. (ya napiSAL rasKAZ ab EHtai izVESnai PLOshadi)
- I wrote a short story about this famous square.