The genitive case of personal pronouns

You’re not through with the genitive case yet. Russian pronouns change by cases, too. The good news is that we can kill two birds with one stone. While learning the genitive case of personal pronouns, we’ll also practice a very useful expression of possession.

Let’s say that you’ve got two tickets for the Nutcracker ballet by Tchaikovsky. Now you want to break the good news to your best friend from Russia. In the preceding lesson, you learned how to ask someone to join you. But how do you say that you have the tickets? That is relatively easy when you know the genitive form of the personal pronouns, as shown in the table below. You are familiar with these pronouns from the previous lessons. This time, however, you should understand that they are in the genitive case in order to show possession.

               Nominative                    Genitive     
Я (I)
Мы (we)
Ты (you, singular)
Вы (you, plural and polite)
Он (he)
Она (she)
Они (they)
Меня (me)
Нас (us)
Тебя (you)
Вас (you)
Него (him)
Неё (her)
Них (them)

Now simply combine a pronoun in the genitive with the preposition У and the verb ЕСТЬ (have) as follows:

Russian:   У + [personal pronoun in the genitive] + есть + [noun].
English:    [personal pronoun] + have/has + [noun].

Russian:   У меня есть два билета.
English:    I have two tickets.

If you try to translate this construction into English you might get something like “At me there are two tickets”. Although the literal tranlsation sounds strange in English, it is perfectly fine in Russian.

When asking if someone has something, you should use the same construction as before. The difference will be in the intonation, which should be raised on the word ЕСТЬ in questions.

У вас есть машина? - Do you have a car?
У тебя есть машина? - Do you have a car?
У него есть машина? – Does he have a car?
У неё есть машина? - Does she have a car?
У них есть машина? - Do they have a car?

The answer to this question can be either positive or negative. You already know how to answer positively:

У меня есть машина. – I have a car.
У него есть машина. – He has a car.
У неё есть машина. – She has a car.
У них есть машина. – They have a car.

If you want to answer negatively then you should use the word НЕТ instead of ЕСТЬ. As we have just learned, the word НЕТ must be followed by the genitive noun.

У меня нет машины. – I don't have a car.
У него нет машины. – He doesn't have a car.
У неё нет машины. – She doesn't have a car.
У них нет машины. – They don't have a car.

Quick quiz 1

Answer the questions positively and negatively.
Example: У вас есть телефон? - У меня есть телефон. (positive) У меня нет телефона. (negative)

  • У вас есть работа?
  • У вас есть ручка?
  • У вас есть квартира?
  • У вас есть собака?
  • У вас есть сестра?
  • У вас есть брат?
  • У вас есть компьютер?
  • У неё есть виза?
  • У них есть билет?
  • У тебя есть сок?
  • У тебя есть карта?
  • У них есть автобус?

Quick quiz 2

Use the word ДВА or ДВЕ to finish the sentences.
Example: У меня есть .......... квартиры. – У меня есть две квартиры.
    У меня есть .......... компьютера. – У меня есть два компьютера.

  • У него есть ........... брата.
  • У неё есть ........... сестры.
  • У них есть ........... машины.
  • У меня есть ........... словаря.
  • У нас есть ........... билета.
  • У него есть ........... журнала.
  • У меня есть ........... часа.


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