142 – Russian Interrogative Pronouns: кто, что

We’ve already covered Russian personal, demonstrative, and possessive pronouns, as well as reflexive pronoun себя, reflexive possessive pronoun свой, and emphatic definite pronoun сам. So you already know quite a bit about Russian pronouns, but not everything yet.

Today we start learning the Interrogative pronouns. Interrogative pronouns are used to ask questions. In this lesson we’ll cover two of them: кто (who) and что (what).

You might have already met these two before, but today we’ll learn them, as we say in Russia, “вдоль и поперёк” [vdol’ ee papeeryók], which means “thoroughly, inside out”.

Russian Interrogative Pronouns: кто, что

Pronouns кто and что change only by cases (don’t change by number). So let’s start with a little table that will help us to learn all the cases of interrogative pronouns кто and что.

Case кто что
Nominative
(именительный)
кто что
Genitive
(родительный)
кого́ чего́
Dative
(дательный)
кому́ чему́
Accusative
(винительный)
кого́ что
Instrumental
(творительный)
кем чем
Prepositional
(предложный)
(о) ком (о) чём

Now, let’s have a look at some examples:

– Кто разби́л ва́зу?
[kto razbéel vázu] (Nominative)
– Who broke the vase?

– Кого́ не хвата́ет в гру́ппе?
[kavó nye hvatáeet v grúpye] (Genitive)
– Who is missing in the group?

– Кому́ нужны́ два биле́та в кино́?
[kamú nuzhný dva beelyéta v keenó] (Dative)
– Who wants a pair of tickets to the movies?

– Про кого́ ты расска́зываешь?
[pra kavó ty raskázyvaeesh] (Accusative)
– Who are you talking about?

– С кем ты то́лько что разгова́ривал?
[s kyem tui tól’ka chto razgováreeval] (Instrumental)
– To whom were you talking just now?

– О ком э́та кни́га?
[a kom éta knéega] (Prepositional)
– Who this book is about?

– Что случи́лось?
[chto sluchéelas’] (Nominative)
– What happened?

– Из чего́ сде́лана э́та скульпту́ра?
[ees cheevó sdyélana éta skul’ptúra] (Genitive)
– What this sculpture is made of?

– Чему́ ты ра́дуешься?
[cheemú ty rádueeshsya] (Dative)
– Why are you so happy? (What made you so happy?)

– Что ты изуча́ешь в шко́ле?
[chto ty eezucháeesh v shkólye] (Accusative)
– What do you study at school?

– Чем ты откры́л буты́лку?
[chem ty atkrýl butýlku] (Instrumental)
– What did you open the bottle with?

– На чём ты сиди́шь?
[na chyom ty seedéesh] (Prepositional)
– What are you sitting on?

Practice the pronunciation with the audio recording and feel free to ask you questions in the comment section.

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