5 Russian cases you didn’t know existed
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The content of this blog post is taken from the book Russian Cases Made Simple.
There are more than 6 cases in Russian language. These cases which we’re going to consider are not taught in most of schools and courses. Because they can be applied only to special contexts. However, I think it is necessary to know them to better understand the whole picture of the Russian language.
This case is usually not separated from Prepositional. However Prepositional and Locative are different cases, but their rules are similar and usually they match.
Locative case indicates a location of an abject. It answers the question Где? – Where? And always used with prepositions:
НА – on
В – on
Answers the question Где? – where?
Same as Prepositional, excepting some preposition (О, ОБ) that are added to the Prepositional case. The easy thing is that only some masculine nouns have a Locative form, and they all have the ending –У. Here they are:
На носу – on the nose
На шкафу – on the cupboard
На мосту – on the bridge
В аэропорту – in the airport
На полу – on the floor
На посту – it the post
And here is the difference between Locative and Prepositional case for these nouns:
О носе – about nose (Prepositional)
На носу – on the nose (Locative)
Об аэропорте – about airport (Prepositional)
В аэропорту – in the airport (Locative)
This case is widely used in other Slavic Languages, but in Russian just a little.
Vocative case is used for identification an addressed person.
Primarily the vocative case is used when one calls a person by name, for example “John!” or “Kate!” etc. Not all names have vocative form. Let’s learn how to know if a name has a vocative form:
Names ending in –Я will have Я changed to Ь:
Аня (nom.) – Ань! (voc.) – Anya, female name
Сеня (nom.) – Сень! (voc.) – Senya, male name
Женя (nom.) – Жень! (voc.) – Zhenya, male/female name
Толя (nom.) – Толь! (voc.) – Tolya, male name
Настя (nom.) – Насть! (voc.) – Nastya, female name
Оля (nom.) – Оль! (voc.) – Olya, female name
Names ending in –А will have zero ending:
Серёжа (nom.) – Серёж! (voc.) – Seryozha, male name
Нина (nom.) – Нин! (voc.) – Nina, female name
Зина (nom.) – Зин! (voc.) – Zina, female name
Ира (nom.) – Ир! (voc.) – Ira, female name
Лена (nom.) – Лен! (voc.) – Lena, female name
Саша (nom.) – Cаш! (voc.) – Sasha, female name
Names with zero ending don’t have vocative form (i.e. vocative form matches with nominative):
Андрей (nom.) – Андрей! (voc.) – Andrey, male name
Вадим (nom.) – Вадим! (voc.) – Vadim, male name
The types of names considered above are types of Russian names. A non-Russian name can have vocative form only if it has the same ending as a Russian one. Other non-Russian names don’t have vocative forms.
Also, not only names can be declined in Vocative case:
Мама (nom.) – Мам! (voc.) – Mom
Папа (nom.) – Пап! (voc.) – Dad
This case is used when we need to indicate a part or share of an uncountable item. Partitive case can be used with some instead of Accusative, and it has the same endings as Genitive. Also, the Partitive case can be used with nouns instead of English preposition “of”, as well as Genitive, but it almost always matches with Genitive, there are only some words that have own Partitive form – you will find them in this chapter.
When we use Partitive case with a verb – this case indicates a direct object, like Accusative.
Partitive case is used with these verbs:
Хотеть – to want
Требовать – to require
Желать – to wish
Просить – to ask
Искать – to look for
Я хочу пиво – I want beer (Accusative) – it means what I want a beer, one of beers, any beer – one of many items.
Я хочу пива – I want some beer (Partitive) – it means that I want some beer, as a part/share of uncountable item “beer”.
Преподаватель требует внимание – The professor requires attention (Accusative)
Преподаватель требует внимания – The professor requires attention (Partitive)
Они просят деньги – They ask for money (Accusative)
Они просят денег – They ask for some money (Partitive)
Желать счастье – To wish happiness (Accusative)
Желать счастья – To wish happiness (Partitive)
Искать смысл – To look for a sense (Accusative)
Искать смысла – To look for sense (Partitive)
Partitive case with nouns and words that have own Partitive form:
Сахар – sugar (Nominative)
Ложка сахара – spoon of sugar (Genitive)
Ложка сахару – spoon of sugar (Partitive)
Песок – sand/sugar (Nominative)
Стакан песка – glass of sand/sugar (Genitive)
Стакан песку – glass of sand/sugar (Partitive)
Чай – tea
Чашка чая – cup of tea(Accusative)
Чашка чаю – cup of tea (Partitive)
Чеснок – garlic
Головка чеснока – head of garlic (Genitive)
Головка чесноку – head of garlic (Partitive)
This case is used with the verb ЖДАТЬ – to wait and similar verbs by sense, e.g. ОЖИДАТЬ – to expect/to wait, ДОЖИДАТЬСЯ – to wait
After these verbs we use the Accusative case, however sometimes we also can use the Waitative. The form of Waitative case always matches with Genitive, so there are not special endings:
Я жду письмо – I wait for a letter (Accusative)
Я жду письма – I wait for a letter (Waitative)
Мы ожидаем поезд – We are waiting for train (Accusative)
Мы ожидаем поезда – We are waiting for train (Waitative)
This case indicates transition from one state to another. Translative case always matches either the instrumental case or the plural nominative depending on way of use.
There are two ways of use:
– To run for/To be going to become – Translative case matches with plural nominative
Баллотироваться в президенты – To run for president
Выбрать в руководители – To elect to be a chief
Идти в актёры – To be going to become an actor
Идти в космонавты – To be going to become an astronaut
– To change a state of a verb’s object from one to another – Translative case matches with Instrumental
Мы сделаем Америку великой снова! – We will make America great again! (motto of Donald Trump):
Verb – сделать (to make), its object – Америка, its new state – великая (great)
Опыт сделает тебя востребованным специалистом – Experience will make you an in-demand specialist (востребованный – in-demand):
Verb – сделать (to make), its object – ты, its new state – востребованный специалист (in-demand specialist)
Давай сделаем обложку книги красивой – Let’s make the book cover beautiful (обложка – cover):
Verb – сделать (to make), its object – обложка книги (book cover), its new state – красивая (beautiful)
How to master Russian cases
Russian Cases Made Simple is the ultimate guide to Russian cases that covers everything you need to know to use cases in Russian language. Comprehensive lessons with a lot of examples, exercises and explanations. Order your copy of ebook or paperback now and start understanding how the Russian cases system works!