Construction “I have” / Конструкция “У меня есть”

In Russian when we want to say that we have something we use a special construction, which literally can be translated as “there is something near me”. For example,

  • У меня есть дом – I have a house (There is a house near me)
  • У меня есть машина – I have a car
  • У тебя есть собака – You have a dog (you informal)
  • У вас есть ручка? – Do you have a pen? (you formal)

So first you say “у” then name a person who has, and then use the word “есть“.

русский как иностранный

Pay attention that there is “н” added to pronouns starting with a vowel (него, неё, них).

  • У него есть семья – He has a family
  • У неё есть друзья – She has friends.
  • У них есть – книга – They have a book.

And if we are talking about events (abstract nouns we cannot touch, like “lesson”, “date” etc.), we skip the word “есть”.

  • У меня урок – I have a lesson
  • У нас проблемы – We have problems

If you want to say that you don’t have something, you should say “У меня нет …”. One of the common mistakes I hear foreigners make when they speak Russian is, “У меня не есть”. Forget it and never say it. Say, “У меня нет”. For example,

  • У меня нет фото – I don’t have a photo.
  • У Диего нет кофе – Diego doesn’t have coffee.

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