The Prepositional Case in Russian – Explained and Simplified

Russian grammar can be a challenging terrain for learners, and one of the key features that often perplexes students is the use of cases. Among these cases, the prepositional case (предложный падеж) plays a vital role in conveying location and position.

In this comprehensive guide, I will break down the intricacies of the prepositional case, offering clarity and practical insights for Russian learners.

Prepositional case: example sentence

Forming the Prepositional Case

The prepositional case is formed by adding specific endings to nouns, adjectives, pronouns and numerals. The ending used depends on the gender and declension group of the word.

Noun Declensions

For masculine nouns, the ending is -e. For example:

стол (table) becomes столе

город (city) becomes городе

парень (guy) becomes парне

концерт (concert) becomes концерте

стиль (style) becomes стиле

Feminine nouns ending in “” or “” take the ending “,” while nouns ending in “” typically take “.”

семья (family) – семье

идея (idea) – идее

ночь (night) – ночи

печь (stove) – печи

Neuter nouns take the ending -е. For example:

окно (window) becomes окне

But:

здание (building) becomes здании

So, in general, most nouns get the ending “-e” in the singular:

Nominative Prepositional
Masculine человек человеке
Feminine жена жене
Neuter дерево дереве

 

But let’s not forget the exceptions.

Nominative Prepositional
Masculine (-ий) крематорий крематории
Feminine (-ия) фотография фотографии
Feminine (-ь) площадь площади
Neuter (- ие) упражнение упражнении

 

In the plural, nouns receive -ах/-ях endings.

столыстолах

городагородах

парнипарнях

концертыконцертах

окноокнах

зданиезданиях

семьисемьях

идеиидеях

See Also: Everything You Need to Know About Forming Plural Nouns in Russian

Adjectives Forms

Adjectives must agree with the gender, number, and case of the noun they modify. Therefore, adjectives also change their endings together with the nouns they accompany in the prepositional case.

For example, “красивый дом” (beautiful house) becomes “в красивом доме” (in the beautiful house).

For adjective and pronoun declension, the pattern is:

Masculine and neuter singular: -ом / -ем

большой/большоео большом

голубой/голубое → о голубом

синий/синеео синем

Feminine singular/plural: -ой / -ей

большаяо большой

голубаяо голубой

Plural adjectives: -ых / -их

большиео больших

голубыео голубых

седыео седых

Pronouns

The main pronouns decline as follows:

я (I) – мне

ты (you informal sing.) – тебе

он/оно (he/it) – нём

она (she) – ней

они (they) – них

мы (we) – нас

вы (you, plural) – вас

Possessive pronouns declension table:

Masculine Feminine Plural
моём моей  моих
твоём твоей твоих
нашем нашей наших
вашем вашей ваших

Numerals

The main numerals decline as follows:

один (one) – об одном

два (two) – о двух

три (three) – о трёх

пять (five) – о пяти

See Also: Cardinal and Ordinal Numerals in Russian

Uses of the Prepositional Case

The prepositional case in Russian grammar gets its name because it is only used after certain prepositions: в (in, at), на (on), о (about), при (by, near). This case shows location, time, and other oblique relationships.

Prepositional case in Russian: usage

Location

The prepositional case is commonly used to indicate the location where something is situated or where an action takes place. Some examples:

Я живу в Москве. (I live in Moscow.)

В школе много учеников. (There are many students in the school.)

Кот спит на кресле в гостиной. (The cat is sleeping on the armchair in the living room.)

Студенты сидят в аудитории. (The students are sitting in the classroom.)

Он работает в этой компании с 2010 года. (He has worked at this company since 2010.)

Я очень люблю гулять по вечерам в парке около дома. (I really enjoy taking evening walks in the park near my house.)

Я читаю книгу в комнате. (I am reading a book in the room.)

Он работает на компьютере. (He is working on the computer.)

You must be careful with the prepositions “в” and “на, as the prepositional case is only used to indicate location. To show direction of movement, the accusative case is used instead.

For example:

Я иду в школу. (I am going to school.) – accusative case

Книга лежит на столе. (The book is lying on the table.) – prepositional case

In the first sentence, “в школу” is accusative case because it indicates motion in the direction of the school. In the second, “на столе” is prepositional because it shows where the book is located.

Expressing Time

Expressing time in Russian can be quite difficult, since different cases can be used.

But if we are talking about events that took place in a particular month, the names of months are used in the prepositional case.

Я родился в феврале. (I was born in February.)

В августе я планирую поехать отдыхать на озеро Байкал. (In August I’m planning to go relax at Lake Baikal.)

Target or topic

The prepositional case marks nouns that are indirect objects denoting the target or topic of certain verbs (with the preposition ‘о’ [about]).

Мы говорим о погоде. (We are talking about the weather.)

Я думаю о своём друге. (I am thinking about my friend.)

О чём вы спорили с подругой? (What were you arguing with your friend about?)

Я беспокоюсь о здоровье мамы. (I worry about my mom’s health.)

Я мечтаю о путешествии по Европе. (I dream about traveling around Europe.)

Врач спросил меня о самочувствии. (The doctor asked me about my health.)

Оля мечтает о карьере юриста. (Olya dreams about a career as a lawyer.)

Брат рассказал мне о своей новой работе. (My brother told me about his new job.)

See Also: How to Use the Preposition ‘о’ in Russian

Preposition ПРИ

The preposition “при” is used only with the prepositional case in Russian.

При входе в метро есть билетные кассы. (There are ticket booths at the metro entrance.)

При температуре выше 38 нужно вызвать врача. (If the temperature is above 38, you need to call a doctor.)

При первой возможности я отправлюсь в путешествие. (At the first opportunity I will go on a trip.)

При жизни мы не всегда ценим близких. (During our lifetime we do not always appreciate loved ones.)

При упоминании её имени он покраснел. (At the mention of her name he blushed.)

Мы гуляли при лунном свете. (We were walking under the moonlight.)

При Петре I в России начались большие перемены. (Big changes began in Russia under Peter the Great.)

Он сидел при открытом окне. (He sat by the open window.)

При сильном ветре деревья сильно раскачивались. (In strong wind the trees swayed a lot.)

При виде паука девочка вскрикнула. (At the sight of the spider the girl shrieked.)

При сильном дожде дороги размывает. (Heavy rain washes out roads.)

При встрече они крепко обнялись. (When they met they hugged tightly.)

При тушении пожара пострадало трое пожарных. (Three firefighters were injured while extinguishing the fire.)

При правильном уходе растения хорошо растут. (With proper care plants grow well.)

При всех его недостатках, он хороший муж. (Despite all his shortcomings, he is a good husband.)

The prepositional case has other minor uses, but these are the most common and important ones. Mastering when to use this case to express location, time, and direction is key for fluency in Russian.

Verbs Used With the Prepositional Case

Here are some common verbs that are used with the prepositional case in Russian:

Думать (to think about) – Он всегда думает о работе. (He’s always thinking about work.)

Говорить (to talk about) – Мы говорим о погоде. (We are talking about the weather.)

Мечтать (to dream about) – Она мечтает о путешествии. (She dreams about traveling.)

Беспокоиться (to worry about) – Мама беспокоится обо мне. (Mom worries about me.)

Спрашивать (to ask about) – Я спрашиваю о его планах. (I’m asking about his plans.)

Просить (to ask for) – Она просит о помощи. (She’s asking for help.)

Сообщать (to inform about) – Нам сообщили о переменах. (They informed us about the changes.)

Молить (to beg for) – Он молит о прощении. (He begs for forgiveness.)

Заботиться (to take care of) – Ты позаботишься об этом? (Will you take care of this?)

Verbs like “ask about”, “think about”, “talk about” and others inherently involve a target or topic that is not a direct object. This indirect object, expressing the thing asked about, thought about, etc. naturally fits the prepositional case in Russian grammar.

Conclusion

The prepositional case may seem confusing or intimidating initially, but it becomes much simpler with regular practice and exposure. Focus on the key usages like expressing location, direction, and time, while also paying close attention to the prepositions it follows. Drill the noun endings and forms until they become second nature as well.

With a solid understanding of the rules outlined here, you’ll be able to use the prepositional case confidently in your written and spoken Russian. Remember to be patient with yourself as you improve your skills over time. Perfection comes with diligence. I hope this overview gives you a foundation for building your prepositional case prowess.

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