Lesson 102

The Instrumental case and its prepositions


We have already covered the Nominative, Genitive, Dative and Accusative cases in the Russian language.
In this lesson we start learning the Instrumental case. Today we’ll give you a general explanation of the Instumental case, the prepositions its used with, and some examples.

The Instrumental case answers the questions:

– by means of what/whom?
– with what/whom?

In Russian, those questions are кем?, чем?.

Nouns, pronouns and adjectives in the Instrumental case are highlighted in this lesson.

Use of the Instrumental case

Russian Pod 101

1. The Instrumental case denotes the instrument or agent by which the action is performed. The instrument can include parts of the body.

– Я откры́ла дверь ключо́м.
– I opened the door with a key.

– Он пнул мяч ного́й.
– He kicked the ball with his foot.

2. We use the Instrumental to talk about the accompaniment (usually with the preposition c):

– Он ушёл гуля́ть с детьми́.
– He went for a walk with the kids.

– Мы с тобо́й давно́ знако́мы.
– You and I have known each other for a long time.

3. The instumental case is often used without any prepositions with the following verbs (many these verbs can be used with other cases too):

рабо́тать – to work
быть – to be
явля́ться – to be
станови́ться – to become
оказа́ться – to turn out to be
каза́ться – to seem
занима́ться – to be engaged/occupied with
интересова́ться – to be interested in
управля́ть – to govern, to manage
владе́ть – to posess
облада́ть – to have, to posess
торгова́ть – to trade in
горди́ться – to be proud of
по́льзоваться – to use
рискова́ть – to risk
е́здить – to go/drive


– Он рабо́тает учи́телем.
– He works as a teacher.

– Э́то ка́жется интере́сным.
– It seems interesting.

– Вы интересу́етесь поли́тикой?
– Are you interested in politics?

– Его́ роди́тели им гордя́тся.
– His parents re proud of him.

The prepositions used with the Instrumental

The Instrumental case can be used with or without any preposition. Somе prepositions are used only with the Instrumenal case, for example:

ме́жду – between
пе́ред – in front of
ря́дом – next to, near
над – above/over

Other prepositions that can be used with the Instrumental case:

под – under
за – behind
c – with


Ме́жду на́ми два ме́тра.
– There are two meters between us.

Над го́родом ту́чи.
– There are clouds over the city.

– Он останови́лся пе́ред две́рью.
– He stopped in front of the door.

– Я с удово́льствием помогу́ вам.
– I’ll help you with pleasure.

In the next few lessons we will learn how to form the Instrumental case with masculine, feminine, neuter and plural nouns.

Spotted an error? Let us know please!

2 comments on “102 – The Instrumental case and its prepositions”

  1. Suporn says:

    For the sentence: Мы с тобо́й давно́ знако́мы.
    (You and I have known each other for a long time.)

    Could you help explain a bit the way to structure this kind of statement ‘Мы с тобо́й’ ?
    Normally Russian will say ‘We, with you’, instead of ‘You and I’, is it correct?

    1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

      Hello Suporn,

      Yes, this is a more natural way to say it in Russian. For example:

      – my husband and I – мы с мужем
      – your wife and you – вы с женой
      – you and I – мы с тобой or мы с вами (when you is plural)

      I.e. first you summarize (we) and then specify with whom (with …).

      But it’s mostly applied to the first and second person. When you talk about the 3d person, you might use a structure more close to English:

      – он с друзьями ушел в поход – he went camping with friends
      – она с ним давно знакома – she knows him for a while

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