Russian Pronouns: Usage and Examples

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Pronouns in Russian are used in the same way as in English: as a substitution for nouns. In this article, we will look at personal pronouns: I, we, you, he, she, it, and they.

Russian Personal Pronouns

  • Russian pronouns are used as a substitution for nouns, just like in English. However, in Russian, personal pronouns can refer both to people and to objects.
  • Just like nouns, pronouns in Russian change according to the case they are in.

Russian personal pronouns can be associated both with a person and an object. This is because all Russian nouns have a gender that can be feminine, masculine, or neuter. While in English objects are defined by the pronoun "it," in Russian, an object can be of any gender, for example, a book is feminine (книга - KNEEga), a phone is masculine (телефон - tyelyeFON), and a ring is neuter (кольцо - kal'TSO).

When listening to Russian speech, bear this in mind so you don't get confused when an object is referred to as он (ohn)—"he" or она (aNAH)—"she."

Russian Personal Pronouns
Russian English Example Pronunciation Translation
я I Я не люблю мороженое ya ny lyubLYU maROzhenaye I don't like ice cream.
мы we Мы едем на трамвае my YEdym ftramVAye We are on a tram.
ты you (singular/familiar), thou Ты хочешь сходить в кино с нами? ty HOchysh skhaDEET' fkeeNOH SNAmee? Do you want to come to the movies with us?
вы you (plural or respectful) Вы прекрасно выглядите vy pryKRASna VYGlyditye You look very well.
он he Он уезжает в Москву OHN ooyeZHAyet vmasKVOO He's going to Moscow.
она she Она пришла домой поздно aNAH priSHLA daMOY POZna She came home late at night.
они they Что-то они никак не идут SHTOta aNEE niKAK ny eeDOOT They are taking a while to arrive.
оно it Оно не включается aNOH ny vklyuCHAytsa It's not switching on.

Pronouns and Russian Cases

Since pronouns in Russian are used for substituting nouns, and all Russian nouns change according to one of the six declension cases, all pronouns in Russian also change depending on the case that they are in. Below are the personal pronouns in all six cases.

Nominative Case (Именительный падеж)

The nominative case answers the questions кто/что (ktoh/chtoh), meaning who/what, and identifies the subject of a sentence.

Pronoun in Russian Translation Pronunciation Example Translation
я I ya Я даже не знаю, что тебе ответить (ya DAzhe ny ZNAyu shtoh tyBYE atVYEtit') I don't even know how to respond to you.
мы we myh Мы живём в большом городе (my zhiVYOM vbal'SHOM GOradye) We live in a big city.
ты you (singular/familiar) tyh Ты любишь кататься на велосипеде? (ty LYUbish kaTAT'sa na vylasePYEdy) Do you like to ride a bike?
вы you (plural) vyh Вы не обижайтесь (vy ny abiZHAYtys) Don't take offense.
он he ohn Он уже давно здесь не живёт (on ooZHE davNOH sdyes ny zhiVYOT) He hasn't lived here for a long time.
она she aNAH Она мечтает съездить в Париж (aNAH mychTAyet s YEZdit' fpaREEZH) She dreams of visiting Paris.
они they aNEE Они во сколько приедут? (aNEE va SKOL'ka priYEdoot?) What time will they arrive?
оно it aNOH Оно сработает (aNOH sraBOtaet) It will work.

Genitive Case (Родительный падеж)

The genitive case answers the questions кого/чего (kaVOH/chyVOH), meaning "of." It shows possession, attribution, or absence (who, what, whose, or what/who is absent) and can also answer the question откуда (atKOOda)—from where.

Pronoun in Russian Translation Pronunciation Example Translation
меня of me myNYA Если спросят, то меня нет дома (YESlee SPROsyat, to myNYA nyet DOma) If they ask, I'm not at home.
нас of us nas Нас очень беспокоит твое поведение (nas Ochyn byspaKOit tvaYO pavyDYEniye) We are very worried about your behavior.
тебя of you (singular/familiar) tyBYA Тебя разбудить утром? (tyBYA razbooDEET' OOTram?) Do you want me/us/someone to wake you up in the morning?
вас of you (plural) vas Простите, как вас зовут? (prasTEEtye, kak vas zaVOOT)? Excuse me, what's your name?
его of him/of it yeVOH Его везде искали (yeVOH vyzDYE isKAli) They were looking for him everywhere.
её of her yeYOH Что-то ее всё нет (shto-ta yeYO vsyo nyet) She's still not here for some reason.
их of them ikh Я их встречу в аеропорту (ya ikh VSTREchu vaeroparTOO) I will meet them at the airport.

Dative Case (Дательный падеж)

The dative case answers the questions кому/чему (kaMOO/chyMOO)—to whom/(to) what, and shows that something is given or addressed to the object.

Pronoun in Russian Translation Pronunciation Example Translation
мне to me mnye Когда ты отдашь мне книгу? (kagDA ty atDASH mnye KNEEgoo) When will you give me back the book?
нам to us nam Нам обоим было очень неудобно (nam aBOyim BYla Ochyn nyooDOBna) We both felt very awkward.
тебе to you (singular/familiar) tyBYE Сколько тебе лет? (SKOL'ka tyBYE LYET) How old are you?
вам to you (plural) vam А это вам! (a EHta VAM) This is for you.
ему to him yeMOO Ему казалось, что все на него смотрят (yeMOO kaZAlas', shtoh VSYE na nyVOH SMOTryat) It seemed to him that everyone was looking at him.
ей to her yey Ей это не понравится (YEY EHta ny panRAvitsa) She won't like this.
им to them eem Им на всё наплевать (EEM na VSYO naplyVAT') They don't care about anything at all.

Accusative Case (Винительный падеж)

The accusative case answers the questions кого/что (kaVOH/CHTO)—whom/what, and куда (kooDAH)—where.

Pronoun in Russian Translation Pronunciation Example Translation
меня me myNYA Что ты всё меня дёргаешь? (shtoh ty VSYO meNYA DYORgayesh) Why are you constantly bothering me?
нас us nas А нас пригласили в театр! (a NAS priglaSEEli ftyeATR) We have been invited to the theatre!
тебя you (singular/familiar) tyBYA Тебя это не касается (tyBYA EHta ny kaSAyetsa) This is none of your business.
вас you (plural) vas Давно вас не видел (davNO vas ny VEEdel) I haven't seen you for a while.
его him yeVOH Его долго поздравляли (yeVOH DOLga pazdravLYAli) He was congratulated for a long time.
её her yeYOH Я же говорю вам, что у меня её нет (ya zhe gavaRYU vam, shtoh oo myNYA yeYOH NYET) I'm telling you that I don't have it/her.
их them eekh Их забрали родители (EEKH zaBRAli raDEEtyli) They were collected by their parents.

Instrumental Case (Творительный падеж)

Answers the questions кем/чем (kyem/chem)—with whom/with what, and shows which instrument is used to do or make something, or with whom/with the help of what an action is completed. It can also be used to talk about something that you are interested in.

Pronoun in Russian Translation Pronunciation Example Translation
мной/мною by me mnoy/MNOyu Ты за мной заедешь? (ty za MNOY zaYEdysh) Will you come and pick me up?
нами by us NAmee Перед нами расстилалась долина. (PYEred NAmi rastiLAlas' daLEEna) A valley spread before us.
тобой/тобою by you (singular/familiar) taBOY/taBOyu Я хочу с тобой (ya haCHOO staBOY) I want to come with you.
вами by you (plural) VAmee Над вами как проклятье какое-то. (nad VAmi kak prakLYATye kaKOye ta) It's as if you have been cursed.
им by him eem Это было им нарисовано. (EHta BYla EEM nariSOvana) This was drawn/painted by him.
ею by her YEyu Всё было ею сделано заранее (VSYO BYla YEyu SDYElana zaRAnyye) Everything had been prepared by her in advance.
ими by them EEmee Стена была покрашена ими за час (styNA byLA paKRAshyna EEmee za CHAS) The wall was painted by them within an hour.

Prepositional Case (Предложный падеж)

Answers the questions о ком/о чем (ah KOM/ah CHOM)—about whom/about what, and the question где (GDYE)—where.

Pronoun in Russian Translation Pronunciation Example Translation
обо мне about me abaMNYE Он это написал обо мне в прошлом году (OHN EHta napiSAL abaMNYE FPROSHlam gaDOO) He wrote this about me last year.
о нас about us aNAS О нас давно все забыли (aNAS davNO VSYE zaBYli) Everyone has long since forgotten about us.
о тебе about you (singular/familiar) atyBYEH О тебе ходят слухи (atyBYEH HOdyat SLOOkhi) There are rumours going round about you.
о вас about you (plural) aVAS Я слышал о вас. (ya SLYshal a VAS) I have heard about you.
о нём about him aNYOM О нём долго говорили (aNYOM DOLga gavaREEli) They were talking about him for a long time.
о ней about her aNYEY О ней написано много книг (aNYEY naPEEsana MNOga KNIG) There are many books (written) about her.
о них about them aNEEKH О них ни слова (aNEEKH ni SLOva) Not a word about them.