Lesson 19. Small Talk: Family and Constructions with Genitive

Today we are going to discuss family in Russian. Family is a big part in everyone’s life and without any doubt this topic comes up in conversations every so often. Your new acquaintances will be curious to know about you and your family background. So, you definitely need to have some back up in terms of language here.

We have had some talk about family back in the lesson 10 but today we will get to know some new stuff based on the grammar we learned since then.


Below you will find a few basic words that relate to the topic of the family. You will need memorize them to communicate effectively. It will not be complicated because you know some of these words from our previous lessons.

Russian English
мать mother
мама mom
отец father
папа dad
родители parents
сын son
сыновья sons
дочь daughter
дочери daughters
жена wife
муж husband
брат brother
братья brothers
сестра sister
сёстры sisters
ребёнок child
дети children
бабушка grandmother
дедушка grandfather
бабушка и дедушка grandparents
внук grandson
внуки grandchildren, grandsons
внучка granddaughter
внучки granddaughters
дядя uncle
тётя aunt
племянник nephew
племянница niece
семья family

I have…/I don’t have

In English everything seems so easy, you just say:

I have a brother.


I have a sister.

The structure you will have to use in Russian to express the same meaning looks a little bit more complicated.

Preposition “у” + noun/pronoun  in Genitive + verb “есть” (to have) + noun


У меня есть сестра. I have a sister.

У моего брата есть жена. My brother has a wife.

We have already gone through the cases patterns and rules in lesson 12 and lesson 13 and you will be able to create grammatically correct sentences to tell about your family.

Let’s see how much you have learnt so far. Please translate into English.

1. У меня есть дочь.

2. У моей сестры есть сын.

3. У меня есть внучка.

4. У моей мамы есть племянница.

5. У моего папы есть внук.

And now please translate into Russian.

1. I have a brother.

2. My brother has a daughter.

3. My son has a sister.

4. My parents have two children.

5. We have a grandmother.

Now you know how to explain who is there in your family. But sometimes you have to say that you don’t have a brother, or a sister, or any nephews, children, etc. Please refer to the structure below to see how you form a particular sentence.

Preposition “у” + noun/pronoun in Genitive + word “нет” (no) + noun in Genitive


У меня нет сестры. I don’t have a sister.

У моего брата нет жены. My brother doesn’t have a wife.

In most cases you will need to use plural form of the noun, that too in Genitive case. The plural forms of some family members are irregular, so you will need to memorize them.

братьев – brothers in Genitive

сестёр – sisters in Genitive

сыновей – sons in Genitive

дочерей – daughters in Genitive

детей – children in Genitive


У меня нет дочерей. I don’t have daughters.

У меня нет сыновей. I don’t have sons.

У меня нет детей. I don’t have children.

As you understand this construction I have/I don’t have can be used in any way, not necessarily related to family.

I have a dog.

We have a flat.

My daughter has friends.

We don’t have money.

In Russian it will be:

У меня есть собака.

У нас есть квартира.

У моей дочери есть друзья.

У нас нет денег.


1. Tell in Russian that you have and that you don’t have

  • a cat
  • a house
  • a laptop
  • a friend
  • a car

Use these words in both singular and plural.

2. Tell us about your family, who all you have or don’t have as family members

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *