Lesson 151

Russian interrogative pronoun ЧЕЙ (whose?)


In one of the previous lessons we have already covered the Russian interrogative pronoun ЧЕЙ (whose?). Today we will look at it in more details and learn how to use it in different cases.

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.

Russian Pod 101

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.

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?
Ва́шу. – Yours.

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.

Listen to the audio and practice all today’s examples and the declension of the interrogative pronouns ЧЕЙ, ЧЬЯ, ЧЬЁ, and ЧЬИ with the table below.

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


Translate the sentences and ask questions with the pronoun ЧЕЙ that refer to the underlined words. Identify the case of the underlined nouns and pronouns.

1. Э́то моя́ подру́га.
2. Твой брат тебя́ и́щет.
3. На твоём ме́сте я бы подождала́.
4. Его́ роди́тели им гордя́тся.
5. Чемода́н оста́лся в мое́й кварти́ре.
6. Ты не ви́дел мой телефо́н?
7. Пей свой чай.
8. Я поговорю́ с твои́м отцо́м.

Check the answers

1. This is my girlfriend.
Чья э́то подру́га? (Nominative)

2. Your brother is looking for you.
Чей брат? (Nominative)

3. In your place I would wait.
На чьём ме́сте? (Prepositional)

4. His parents are proud of him.
Чьи роди́тели? (Nominative)

5. The suitcase stayed in my apartment.
В чьей кварти́ре? (Prepositional)

6. Have you seen my phone?
Чей телефо́н? (Accusative inanimate)

7. Drink you tea.
Чей чай? (Nominative)

8. I’ll talk to your parents.
С чьим отцо́м? (Instrumental)

Spotted an error? Let us know please!

2 comments on “151 – Russian interrogative pronoun ЧЕЙ (whose?)”

  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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