What are Reflexive Pronouns in Russian

Reflexive pronouns in Russian are relatively easy to learn. Actually, there’s only one pronoun that we should keep in mind first.

It’s the pronoun “себя”, Russian version of ‘self’.

Себя (себе, собой, о себе)

We don’t change its form depending on gender or number. But don’t forget that we have cases!

Case Pronoun
Nominative
Genitive себя
Dative себе
Accusative себя
Instrumental собой
Prepositional (o) себе

Examples:

Он говорит о себе. – He talks about himself.

Она любит книги и считает себя интеллигентной дамой. – She loves books and considers himself an intelligent lady.

Я чувствую себя счастливым. – I feel happy. (Notice that we always use the verb чувствовать with the reflexive pronoun when talking about the subject’s feelings).

Я купил себе новую машину. – I bought myself a new car.

Вы, кажется, довольны собой. – You seem pleased with yourself.

See Also: Personal Pronouns in Russian

And now the most difficult part. Well, maybe.

We can add the suffix -ся to some verbs to indicate that an action is directed onto the person who performs the action. In other words, we often use the verb with -ся instead of reflexive pronouns. And you should remember these verbs:

мыться – то wash yourself

умываться – to wash face (if you do it yourself)

расчёсываться – to comb hair (if you do it yourself)

одеваться – to get dressed (if you do it yourself)

раздеваться – to get undressed (if you do it yourself)

обуваться – to put on shoes (if you do it yourself)

разуваться – to put on shoes (if you do it yourself)

and other verbs

Свой (своя, своё, свои)

Свой is a reflexive possessive pronoun and it means “one’s own”. You can read more about it in the article about possessive pronouns in Russian.

Examples:

Он любит меня как свою дочь. – He loved me as his own daughter.

Одно из самых важных событий в жизни человека – обретение своего дома. – One of the most important achievements in life is having your own home.

Друг друга

It’s a reciprocal pronoun, wich corresponds to English ‘each other/one another’.

Here we have two words (nouns), the first one doesn’t change at all, but the second one declines as an ordinary noun.

Case Pronoun
Nominative
Genitive друг друга, друг от друга
Dative друг другу, друг к другу
Accusative друг друга, друг про друга
Instrumental друг другом, друг с другом
Prepositional друг о друге

Examples:

Это возможность получше узнать друг друга. – It’s an opportunity to get to know each other better.

Мы должны помогать друг другу. – We should help each other.

Эти двое не ладят друг с другом. – Those two don’t get along.

Leave a Comment

WC Captcha 30 − 21 =