Lesson 090

Russian interrogative pronoun ЧЕЙ

In this lesson we study the Russian interrogative pronoun чей (whose?).

The interrogative pronoun ЧЕЙ agrees in gender, number and case with the noun or pronoun it refers to. For example:

Чей э́то кошелёк?
Whose purse is this? (masculine)

Чья э́то су́мка?
Whose bag is this? (feminine)

Чьё э́то пальто́?
Whose coat is this? (neuter)

Чьи э́то ключи́?
Whose keys are these? (plural)

To answer these questions we can use:
possessive pronouns (мой, твоя́, ва́ши, их, etc.),
– nouns in the Genitive case (дру́га, бра́та, ма́мы, etc.),
possessive pronouns with nouns, both in the Genitive (моего́ дру́га, твоего́ брата, etc.)

Let’s look at each of these options on examples (nouns and pronouns in the Genitive are highlighted):

Чей э́то рюкза́к? – Э́то мой.
Whose is this backpack? – It’s mine.

Чья су́мка на моём столе́? – Э́то моя́ су́мка.
Whose bag is on my desk? – This is my bag.

Чьи э́то очки́? – Э́то его́.
Whose glasses are these? – It is his.

Чей э́то портфе́ль? – Э́то портфе́ль до́ктора.
Whose briefcase is this? – It’s the doctor’s.

Чья э́то кварти́ра? – Э́то кварти́ра мое́й подру́ги.
Whose apartment is this? – This is my friend’s apartment.

Чьи э́то кни́ги? – Э́то кни́ги учи́теля.
Whose books are these? – This is a teacher’s book.

Я нашла́ ключи́ на полу́, чьи они́? – Моего́ брата.
I found the keys on the floor, whose are they? – My brother’s.

Чья э́то фотогра́фия? – Э́то фотогра́фия Ната́ши.
Whose picture is this? – This is a picture of Natasha.

Чей сего́дня день рожде́ния? – Сего́дня день рожде́ния А.С. Пу́шкина.
Whose birthday is today? – Today is the birthday of A.S. Pushkin.

Russian Pod 101

If the gender of subject is unknown, use the neuter form to ask and answer the question:

Чьё э́то? – Э́то моё.
Whose is this? – It’s mine.

All the examples we look at so far include the pronouns ЧЕЙ, ЧЬЯ, ЧЬЁ, and ЧЬИ in the Nominative case. Now let’s look how it can be used in other cases.

Genitive case
У меня́ нет фотогра́фии.
I don’t have a photo.
Чьей фотогра́фии?Whose photo?
Её фотогра́фии.Her photo.

Dative case
Мы позвони́ли роди́телям.
We called the parents.
Чьим роди́телям?Whose parents?
Твои́м роди́телям.Your parents.

Accusative case, inanimate
Она́ разби́ла ва́зу.
She broke the vase.
Чью ва́зу?Whose vase?

Accusative case, animate
Я встре́тила друзе́й.
I met friends.
Чьих друзе́й?Whose friends?

Instrumental case
Я откры́ла дверь ключа́ми.
I opened the door with the keys.
Чьи́ми ключа́ми?Whose keys?
Свои́ми.My own.

Prepositional case
Он сиде́л в маши́не.
He was sitting in the car.
В чьей маши́не?In whose car?
В маши́не моего́ отца́.In the car of my father.


Declension of the pronoun ЧЕЙ

Here is the declension of the pronoun чей in all genders and cases (not included in the audio).

case masculine feminine neutral plural
Nominative чей чья чьё чьи
Genitive чьего́ чьей чьего́ чьих
Dative чьему́ чьей чьему́ чьим
Accusative inanimate чей чью чьё чьи
Accusative animate чьего́ чью чьё чьих
Instrumental чьим чьей, чье́ю чьим чьи́ми
Prepositional чьём чьей чьём чьих
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2 comments on “090 – Russian interrogative pronoun ЧЕЙ”

  1. Jovanka says:

    hello, I am from Bosnia and trying to learn Russian, and You are great, it really is STEP BY STEP. Although Russian is similar with Serbian, much more than with English I am learning it with a help of yours lessons.
    best regards

    1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

      Hello Jovanka,

      Thanks for the message and welcome to the site! If you have any questions, we are here to help. 🙂

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