Lesson 052

"I have" in Russian

Now, when we have learned Russian personal pronouns in the Genitive case, we can learn how to say “I have” in Russian. To do that, Russians use a very specific construction which is very different from English.

I have in the Present tense

If you want to say I have… or I have no…, use the following constructions:

I have: у меня́ есть + subject in the Nominative

I don’t have: у меня́ нет + subject in the Genitive

Translated literally, it means in my possession there is (no).

Есть is the Present tense of the verb быть (to be).

As we learned in the previous lessons, the pronoun меня is the Genitive form of я.

Using the formula above and the Genitive form of other personal pronouns you can figure out how to say you have, he has, etc.:

у меня́ есть (I have)
у тебя́ есть (you have, singular and informal)
у него́ есть (he has, it has)
у неё есть (she has)
у нас есть (we have)
у вас есть (you have, plural or formal)
у них есть (they have)

To ask if someone has something, just add a question mark and an intonation to your sentence:

у тебя́ есть…? (do you have…?)
у него́ есть…? (does he have…?)

Russian Pod 101


У меня́ есть кни́га.
I have a book.

У тебя́ есть запасна́я ру́чка?
Do you have a spare pen?

У него́ нет де́нег.
He does not have money.

У нас есть вре́мя вы́пить ко́фе?
Do we have time for a coffee?

У вас есть для меня́ вре́мя?
Do you have some time for me?

У них нет уро́ков сего́дня.
They have no lessons today.

Talking about non-physical things

We use the same formula but without есть to talk about health issues, physical states, planned events, etc.

У меня́ боли́т голова́.
I have a headache.

У меня́ уста́ли но́ги.
My legs are tired.

У нас за́втра выходно́й.
We have a day off tomorrow.

У неё сего́дня день рожде́ния.
Today is her birthday. (She’s having a birthday today.)

Specifying location

Using the same formula again (without есть) you can specify the location of something or someone at somebody’s place/possession:

У нас до́ма го́сти.
We have guests at home.

У меня́ твоя́ су́мка.
I have your bag.

На́ши де́ти у ба́бушки.
Our kids are at grandma’s.

Твои́ докуме́нты у нас.
We have your documents. / Your documents are at our possession.

Ключи́ у меня́.
I have the keys.


“I have” in the Past

To express the idea of “having” in the Past tense, you only need to conjugate the verb быть accordingly:

былfor masculine subjects
была́for feminine subjects
бы́лоfor neuter subjects
бы́лиfor plural subjects


У меня́ вчера́ была́ температу́ра.
I had fever yesterday.

У него́ бы́ли пробле́мы, но сейча́с всё хорошо́.
He had problems, but now everything is ok.

In the negative sentences, however, you need to use бы́ло regardless of the gender of the subject.

Also remember that the subject in the negative sentences is always in the Genitive case:

У нас не́ было де́нег.
We had no money.

У них не́ было докуме́нтов.
They had no documents.

У него не́ было вы́хода.
He had no way out.

У меня́ никогда́ не́ было велосипе́да.
I have never had a bike.

“I have” in the Future

Same here, to say “I/you/etc. have” in the future use the conjugated verb быть accordingly:

бу́детfor singular subjects
бу́дутfor plural subjects


У меня́ бу́дет но́вая маши́на.
I will have a new car.

У тебя́ бу́дет мину́тка поговори́ть?
Will you have a minute to talk?

У вас бу́дут пробле́мы.
You will have problems.

In the negative sentences, you only need the singular form – бу́дет. As usual, the subject goes in the Genitive case:

У меня́ не бу́дет но́вой маши́ны.
I will have not a new car.

У вас не бу́дет пробле́м.
You will have no problems.

Now you know how to say “I have” in Russian. Practice the examples with the audio track and come back for the next lesson to continue to learn Russian!

The offline version of this lesson is available here

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6 comments on “052 – “I have” in Russian”

  1. Tom Robertson says:

    How would I say a thing has? Like, “It has…”

    1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

      Hello Tom,

      Thanks for the question. First, you need to determine the gender of “it” (in Russian, everything has a gender). And then you can use the corresponding pronoun:

      – у него (есть) – masculine & neuter
      – у неё (есть) – feminine


      – Это сумка. У неё два кармана.
      This is a bag. It has two pockets. (feminine)

      – Это трёхколесный мотоцикл. У него два колеса спереди и одно сзади.
      This is a tricycle. It has two wheels in front and one in the back. (masculine)

      Note that when you describe things this way, есть is omitted.

  2. Edgar says:

    I really liked your explanation

    1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

      Hello Edgar,

      Thanks for your comment. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. 🙂

  3. Superman says:

    Very good)))

  4. Oksana says:

    Thanks for many examples.

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