Lesson 093

Nothing and never in Russian

Russian negative pronouns starting with HИ

We have already learned a whole bunch of Russian pronouns: personal, demonstrative, possessive, determinative and reflexive ones. There is one more group of Russian pronouns that we have not covered yet, it is called negative pronouns. So in this lesson, we will learn what they are and how to use them.

The same way as in English you have such negative pronouns as nobody, none, nothing, never, nowhere, etc., there are equivalents of them in Russian.

They are:

никто́ [nee-któ]nobody

ничто́ [nee-chtó]nothing

никако́й [nee-ka-kóî]none

ника́к [nee-kak]by no means, not at all, in no way, nowise

ниче́й [nee-chyeî]nobody’s, no one’s

ниско́лько [nee-skól’-ka]none at all

никогда́ [nee-kag-dá]never

нигде́ [nee-gdyé]nowhere (location)

никуда́ [nee-ku-dá]nowhere (direction)

ниотку́да [nee-at-kú-da]from nowhere

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As you can see, all of them are formed by simply adding the prefix ни- to the pronouns that you already know.

Let’s have a look at how and when you can use them:

Никто́ не мо́жет мне помо́чь.
– No one can help me.

Ничто́ не пропа́ло.
– Nothing is missing.

Како́й рюкза́к тебе́ бо́льше нра́вится? – Никако́й.
– Which backpack do you like more? – None.

Я не могу́ тебе́ ника́к помо́чь.
– I can’t help you in any way.

Чей э́то мяч? – Ниче́й.
– Whose ball is this? – Nobody’s.

Я ниско́лько в тебе́ не сомнева́юсь.
– I have no doubt in you.

Никогда́ не говори́ никогда́.
– Never say never.

Я нигде́ не могу́ найти́ то, что мне ну́жно.
– I cannot find what I need anywhere.

Мы никуда́ не пое́дем.
– We’re not going anywhere.

Он взя́лся из ниотку́да.
– He came from nowhere.


As you have noticed, all the negative sentences above have both a negative pronoun and не, which is unusual for English. It is because double negation is a norm in Russian. If you followed us from the beginning, you remember a lesson about that.

Declension of negative pronouns

The negative pronouns change in cases the same way the pronouns on which they are based.

Such pronouns as сколько, где, когда, куда and откуда don’t change in cases, so the negative pronouns based on them do the same.

As for others, to know how to decline them you need to simply follow the declension rules for the main pronoun. Some of them we already covered in our lessons:

declension of кто and что
declension of какой
declension of чей

Others we will cover in the future lessons.

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Negative pronouns with prepositions

Pay attention, that used with prepositions, negative pronouns separate in two parts (prefix and the base pronoun), the preposition goes in between the parts.


Ни у кого́ нет вопро́сов.
– No one has any questions.

Он пришёл ни c чем.
– He came with nothing.

And this is it for this lesson. Practice what you have learned with the audio file and come back for the next lesson, to learn Russian with us!

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