The possessive pronouns tell you who things belong to
Flower   The Not Too Overly Possessive Pronouns   Flower

The possessive pronouns are, as their name implies, selfish, because they insist on doing the work of the genitive form of the personal pronouns. These pronouns are adjectival since they occur in attributive position before the noun they modify and agree in case, number, and gender with the noun. There is one corresponding to each of the 'persons' of personal pronouns. Here is a list of their citation (nominative singular masculine) forms.

The Possessive Pronouns
Person Singular Plural
1st мой my наш our
2nd твой your ваш yalls
3rd её her, its
его his, its
их their

The good news is this: the first- and second-person possessive pronouns follow the general rule of pronouns stated at the top of the page. That is, these possessive pronouns have noun endings in the nominative and accusative and adjective endings everywhere else, so you already know their endings. The even better news is that the 3rd person possessive pronouns, её, его and их are indeclinable—their form never changes! (Russians will do anything to keep their language simple.)

её стол
her table
её книга
her book
её письмо
her letter
его стол
his table
его книга
his book
его письмо
his letter
их стол
their table
их книга
their book
их письмо
their letter

So, you have no further memorization if you just keep in mind two spelling rules: [1] the й + vowel spelling rule for forms like моё "my (neuter)" and твоя "your (feminine)", the 7-consonant rule for forms like наши "our (plural)" and the 5-consonant rule for those like ваше "your (plural)". In the table below, the 1st person pronouns are given in the Masculine - Neuter, while the 2nd person pronouns are in the Feminine.

Possessive Pronoun Declensions:
1st & 2nd Persons
Case 1stSg 2ndSg 1stPl 2ndPl
Nominative мой, мое твоя наш, наше ваша
Accusative мой, мое твою Nom/Gen вашу
Genitive моего твоей нашего вашей
Dative моему твоей нашему вашей
Prepositional моём твоей нашем вашей
Instrumental моим твоей нашим вашей
Nominative мои твои наши ваши
Accusative Nom/Gen Nom/Gen Nom/Gen Nom/Gen
Genitive моих твоих наших ваших
Dative моим твоим нашим вашим
Prepositional моих твоих наших ваших
Instrumental моими твоими нашими вашими

Don't be intimidated by the size of the possessive pronoun declension table. Take a close look and you will see that in the nominative and accusative of both declensions (which I've darkened to help you spot them), the ending is the same as the nouns of the corresponding gender and that all other endings are the same as the corresponding adjective endings. You already know them! Congratulations on a job well done!

The only catch to the possessive pronouns is found in the interrogative possessive pronoun, the one that means "whose" чей, чья, чьё, чьи. You have to remember that, except in the masculine singular, чей, there is a soft sign before the endings. Otherwise, this possessive pronoun declines like all others.

Чей стол?
Whose table?

Чья книга?
Whose book?

Чьё письмо?
Whose letter?
Чьего стола?
Of whose table?

Чью книгу?
Whose book?

На чьём письме?
On whose letter?

Oh, by the way. . .the possessive reflexive pronoun свой, своё, своя; свои is declined the same as мой and твой It is used when the referent of the possessive is identical with that of the subject, e.g. Я взял свою книгу "I took my (own) book".

Flower   Test Your Knowledge of Possessional Pronouns   Flower

Here are a few exercises to test your grasp of possessiveness in Russian. Choose the correct case form of the pronoun listed to the right of the sentence and type it into the appropriate space. (Be sure to distinguish e and ё).

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Possessive Pronoun Exercises
Gloss Fill in the correct form of the pronouns to the left Push Response

я Это— книга.

кто это комната?
вы Где бывший муж?
ты Вот общежитие!
он Я знаю брата.
они Можно видеть дачу отсюда.
я Все любят фотографию на почте.
она Я люблю играть с собакой.
вы Мы говорили о друге в Сибири.
ты Митя говорил с мамой в баре.
я Они говорили о подмышках.
мы Они купались с соседями.
ты Аня живет у знакомых.

Aren't pronouns fun? Want to do some more? The next set of pronouns are the most demonstrative of all the Russian pronouns.

Back to the personal pronouns Up to the alphaDictionary Homepage Up to the top of this page To the Interactive Reference Grammar's table of contents Onward to the demonstrative pronouns!
© 1996 Robert Beard