The Accusative case in Russian
The next case we learn is the Accusative case. In this lesson we will see when it’s used and how to distinguish it in a sentence.
Use of the Accusative case
The Accusative case is used to designate:
- Direct object of a verb: to see what? to love whom? (without prepositions)
- Direction, location or circumstances: where to? when? how? (with various prepositions)
- Reason: for what? (with the preposition за)
- Subject of a discussion: about whom? about what? (with the preposition про)
- Period of time: in an hour, after two weeks (with the prepositions че́рез, спустя́)
In Russian, the Accusative case is used to answer the questions кого́? (whom?) and что? (what?).
The Accusative case is the only case that makes a difference between animate and inanimate objects. So the rules of forming the Accusative case are different for the objects that are “alive” (people, animals) and “not alive” (things, natural phenomena, etc.).
Prepositions used with the Accusative case
Very often the Accusative case is used without any prepositions. Other times, you can distinguish the Accusative case by the prepositions:
в / во – in, to
на – on, onto
за – for, behind
о / об / о́бо – against
по – over, by, via
под / по́до – under
про – about
че́рез – through
спустя́ – later, after
Examples of the Accusative
Let’s have a look at the most common uses of the Accusative case on examples. The nouns and pronouns in the Accusative are highlighted with their prepositions.
Direct object of a verb:
Он ест чи́псы.
He is eating chips.
Я люблю́ мою́ семью́.
I love my family.
Мы идём в теа́тр.
We are going to the theater.
Мы перешли́ че́рез доро́гу.
We crossed the road.
Положи́ докуме́нты на стол.
Put the documents on the table.
Он поста́вил су́мку за кре́сло.
He put the bag behind the chair.
Я люблю́ петь под гита́ру.
I like to sing with a guitar (lit. – under guitar).
Я уда́рилась о ка́мень.
I hit myself against a stone.
Reason (for what?):
Спаси́бо за по́мощь.
Thank you for your help.
Subject of a discussion:
Про него́ говоря́т, что он хоро́ший специали́ст.
He is said to be a good specialist. (lit. – They say about him, that he is a good specialist)
Period of time:
Магази́н закрыва́ется че́рез час.
The store closes in an hour.
Спустя́ вре́мя все всё забы́ли.
After a while, everyone forgot everything.
Keep in mind that the some of these prepositions can be used with other cases with slightly different meanings!
Make sure to memorize the prepositions and practice all today’s examples with the audio track. In the next few lessons we will learn how to form the Accusative case with nouns of different genders and with pronouns.