Accusative Case

Overview and explanation of the accusative case in the Russian language

In this guide, we'll go over everything that we need to know about the accusative case in the Russian language. We'll go over how to form an accusative case and when to use the accusative case.

How do we form it?

Nouns (Существительные)

Accusative Masculine / Neuter Feminine Plural
Animate Object - КОГО? = genitive

-У / -Ю

* Ь = Ь

= genetive pl
Inanimate Object - ЧТО? no change

-У / -Ю

* Ь = Ь

no change

Genetive Case

  1. In Russian, we differentiate animate nouns and inanimate. Animate nouns are people and animals. In the accusative case, nouns change their form only in the feminine and in the animate masculine and animate plural. Animate masculine and animate plural nouns will take genetive endings in all accusative situations. Without these nouns, the accusative case is easy to learn.

  2. Feminine gender nouns change endings –А to –У ( hard- stem nouns) and –Я to –Ю (soft- stem nouns).

    газета - газету ------> Я читаю газету.

    статья - статью ------> Я читаю статью.

    * Feminine gender nouns ending with Ь (soft sign) do not change their form:

    Он ещё плохо знает жизнь. - He doesn’t know life well yet.

  3. Masculine gender nouns and plural nouns don't change unless they are animate. Again, refer to the Genetive Case guide to learn about the endings of nouns of that type.

    Я читаю письмо. - I am reading a letter.

    Я читаю статьи. - I am reading articles.

  4. Neuter nouns don’t change in Accusative.

    Я не люблю вино. - I don’t like wine.

  5. Remember that nouns with fleeting vowels lose the final vowel when declined.

Personal Pronouns (Личные местоимения)

  1. All personal pronouns decline in the accusative case.

    Singular Plural
    Nominative Accusative Nominative Accusative
    Я меня мы нас
    ты тебя вы вас
    Он его они их
    Она её
    Оно его
  2. Do some of these forms look similar?

    Many learn the phrase "Как вас зовут?" and "Меня зовут...", but few realize that "вас" and "меня" are actually part of the Accusative Case. This is because in Russian, we literally say "What do (they) call you?" and "(They) call me ..." where pronouns "you" and "me" are the direct object and therefore in the accusative form. Notice that the subject (they) is not expressed.

    Как его зовут? - What is his name?

    Его зовут Егор - His name is Yegor.

  3. A more comfortable word order is when a personal pronoun precedes the verb.

    Вы меня понимаете? - Do you understand me?

    Я вас понимаю очень хорошо. - I understand you very well.

Adjectives (прилагательные)

Russian adjectives agree with nouns they modify in gender, number, and case. This means that if the noun is in the Accusative Case, then the adjective should also be in the Accusative Case. And again, all adjectives that are modifying masculine animate and plural animate nouns will take the endings of the Genetive Case.

  1. Feminine adjectives take the following endings.

    –ая (hard stem) changes to –ую (acc.)

    новая статья → новую статью

    –яя (soft stem) changes to –юю (acc.)

    последняя книга → последнюю книгу

    Я читаю русскую книгу. - I am reading a russian book.

    Вы видели последнюю статью? - Did you see the last article?

    Он плохо знает наш город. - He doesn’t know the city well.

  2. Notice that the adjectives modifying feminine nouns ending with Ь (soft sign) change even though the nouns don’t change.

    Он всегда покупает дорогую обувь. - He always buys expensive shoes.

    Ты ещё плохо знаешь эту трудную жизнь - You don’t know this hard life yet.

Possessive Pronouns and Demonstrative Pronouns (притяжательные местоимения и указательные местоимения)

  1. Possessive Pronouns are words like мой, твой, ваш, их

  2. Demonstrative Pronouns are words like этот, эта, тот, та. They function as adjectives and therefore decline in the same case as the noun they modify.

  3. Just as with nouns, only feminine, animate masculine, and animate plural pronouns change. Inanimate masculine and plural nouns do not change.

  4. Feminine gender takes ending if the stem is hard and -Я if the stem is soft.

  5. Possessive Pronouns ЕГО (his), ЕЁ (her), ИХ (their) never decline. So, we are only left with the following forms.

    Nominative Accusative
    моя мою
    твоя твою
    ваша вашу
    эта эту
    та ту

    Я люблю мою собаку. - I love my dog.

    Я не знаю вашу тётю. - I don’t know your aunt.

    Ты видишь эту машину? - Do you see this car?

Interrogative Pronouns (вопросительные местоимения)

The question word for inanimate nouns ЧТО? stays the same. The question word for animate nouns КТО? is declined to КОГО?

Что дети изучают в школе? - What do children study at school?

Кого ты любишь? - Whom do you love?

Я люблю Марину. - I love Marina.

When do we use the Accusative?

  1. To express the direct object after transitive verbs. The direct object is the thing or the person that receives the action. For example, in the sentence "I am writing a letter", the "letter" functions as the direct object because it's the thing that is being written. In Russian, the words upon which the action is performed will be in the Accusative Case.

    Я вижу красивую девушку. - I see a beautiful girl.

    Она хочет большую пиццу. - She wants a large pizza.

  2. With Verbs of Motion

    Ты идёшь завтра на работу? - Are you going to work tomorrow?

    Летом мы ездим в Турцию. - We go to Turkey in summer.

    Notice that your choices of prepositions В and НА is the same as in the Prepositional Case.

  3. In situations that imply direction, destination, or motion.

    Он ставит машину на парковку. - He puts his car in a parking lot.

    Куда ты смотришь? - Where are you looking?

    Я смотрю на ту красивую девушку. - I am looking at that beautiful girl.

    Моя жена хочет в Венецию, а я хочу в Россию. - My wife wants to travel to Venice, but want to go to Russia.

    У вас есть виза в Америку? - Do you have a visa to Russia?

    Я звоню на работу. - I am calling to work.

  4. Accusative is used to specify days of the week.

    Когда ты идёшь в бассейн? - When are you going to the swimming pool?

    В среду и субботу. - On Wednesday and Saturday.

    А я думал, в пятницу. - I thought, you were going on Friday.

  5. Conveying the idea of playing a sports game or a table game

    Вы играете в волейбол или баскетбол? - Do you play football or volleyball?

    Нет, но мы играем в шахматы, а иногда в “ Монополию”. - No, we don’t. But we play chess and sometimes we play “Monopoly”.

  6. Accusative is used to describe how long the action lasts and how often the action happens.

    Как долго вы уже здесь? - How long have you been here?

    Неделю. - A week.

    Как часто вы тут?. - How often are you here?

    Каждую неделю.. - Every week.