Lesson 14: Nouns and Cases in Russian. Instrumental and Prepositional Cases

In the last two weeks we have been working on a complex grammar topic of Russian Cases. Again, I would like to remind you what a case is.

A Case is a set of endings to indicate words’ functions and their relationship to the rest of the words in the sentence. There are six cases in Russian, and so far we have got to know four of them – Nominative, Genitive, Dative and Accusative.

Today we will learn two more cases – Instrumental and Prepositional.

Instrumental Case

The Instrumental case of a noun denotes the instrument or means by which the action is performed. This case answers the question чем? (with what?)

Example:

Я пишу ручкой. – I write with a pen.

As you see the instrumental case is used to indicate the instrument that helps to carry out an action.

There are certain prepositions after which a noun is always used in the instrumental case. These are the following prepositions: с (with), между (between), над (above, over), под (below, under), перед (in front).

Examples:

С мамой – with mother

Между домами – between houses

Над кроватью – above the bed

Под столом – under the table

Перед домом – in front of the house

As all the previous cases Dative Case changes the endings of the corresponding noun. Once again, you will have to learn the pattern. Please see the table below.

Gender Nominative

что? (what?)

Instrumental

чем? (with what?)

Endings


Masculine мел (chalk)

чай (tea)

рубль (rouble)

мелом

чаем

рублём

–  to -ом

-й to ем

-ь to ём

Neuter мыло (soap)

полотенце (towel)

чтение (reading)

мылом

полотенцем

чтением

о to –ом

е to –ем

ие to –ем

Feminine

 

ручка (pen)

земля (land)

армия (army)

дверь (door)

ручкой

землёй

армией

дверью

-а to -ой

-я to -ёй

-ия to -ей

-ь to -ью

Prepositional Case

The prepositional case of a noun is used with prepositions (as the name can tell you) such as в (at, in) or на (at, on) and it denotes the place of action and answers the question где? (where?).

There are also other prepositions  (о, об (about)) that are used with the prepositional case of nouns. О is used if the following word begins with a consonant. Об is used if the following word begins with a vowel.

Example:

О работе – about work

Об отпуске – about vacation

Below you will find a pattern of endings of the noun in prepositional case.

Gender Nominative

что? (what?)

Prepositional

где? (where?)

Endings
Masculine класс

музей

словарь

санаторий

в классе (in a classroom)

в музее (in a museum)

в словаре (in a dictionary)

в санатории (at a sanatorium)

–  to -е

-й to -е

-ь to -е

-ий to -ии

Neuter окно

поле

здание

в окне (in a window)

в поле (in a field)

в здании (in a building)

-о to -е

-е to -е

-ие to -ии

Feminine школа

деревня

площадь

академия

в школе (at school)

в деревне (in a village)

на площади (in /on/ a square)

в академии (at an academy)

-а to -е

-я to -е

-ь to -и

-ия to -ии

A small number of masculine nouns take the ending у in the prepositional case:

Gender Nominative

что? (what?)

Prepositional

где? (where?)

Endings
Masculine шкаф

угол

лес

сад

снег

мост

берег

нос

в шкафу (in a cupboard)

в углу (in a corner)

в лесу (in a forest)

в саду (in a garden)

в снегу (in snow)

на мосту (on the bridge)

на берегу (on the bank)

на носу (on the nose)

–  to -у

Now we have learned about all cases in the Russian language. As you can see the nouns change their endings based on the case. All you have to do is to learn the pattern.

However, there are few nouns that do not change their endings in any case (mostly these are words of foreign origin):

кино (cinema), метро (underground railway), пальто (overcoat), кафе (cafe), кенгуру (kangaroo), жюри (jury), шоссе (main road), кофе (coffee).

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