The Nominative case in Russian
Today, we start a large and complicated topic of the Russian grammatical cases. You might find it daunting in the beginning, but don’t worry. We will walk you through all of the cases step by step and help you to master them all. So let’s begin.
While in English the order of words in a sentence plays a big role, in Russian, you can enjoy the freedom of putting the words in any order you like. So for example the phrase “mom loves dad” can be translated in Russian as:
– ма́ма лю́бит па́пу,
– па́пу лю́бит ма́ма,
– ма́ма па́пу лю́бит.
With such an approach of structuring sentences, the only way the Russians can understand “who loves whom” is by looking at the endings of the nouns which change depending on the situation.
There are just 6 possible ways of how the noun endings can change. These ways are called cases. These cases are:
You are already familiar with the Nominative case. This is the initial case and the dictionary form of the nouns. It answer the questions “who?” (кто?) or “what?” (что?).
The other 5 cases we will learn in the following lessons.
How to distinguish the Nominative case?
In a sentence, the Nominative case is taken by the subject – acting noun or pronoun. For example:
– Челове́к идёт.
A man is walking.
Челове́к is in the Nominative
– Ча́шка упа́ла и разби́лась.
The cup fell and broke.
Ча́шка is in the Nominative
Sometimes, entire phrases may act as a subject and take the Nominative case, for example:
– Рестора́н “Добро́ пожа́ловать” и́щет официа́нтов.
Restaurant “Welcome” is hiring waiters.
Рестора́н “Добро́ пожа́ловать” is the subject in the Nominative case
Some sentences may consist of just one word in the Nominative case.
This is it for this lesson. Practice the examples with the audio track and come back for the next lesson where we will continue to learn Russian and Russian grammatical cases.