The idea of subject–object in the Russian language

If you want to understand the idea of subject-object in Russian, first you need to see, how it works in English with pronouns. Let me remind you what a pronoun is. Pronouns are the words that replace nouns in a sentence. For example, I, he, she, it, you, they, us, him etc.

We have two kinds of personal pronouns in the English language. The first kind is always the subject in a sentence (the person or thing  that makes an action). Example,

He  works everyday (“He” is a subject, because he makes an action).

And the second kind of pronouns is for objects (someone or something that accepts other people’s actions) . For example,

I love him (he is my object. Because I’m doing the action on him and he’s just accepting it. I don’t say, “I love HE”).

The same thing is existing in the Russian language. You just need to learn 2 kinds of pronouns:

Subject (субъект)

  • I –  я
  • you (singular informal) – ты
  • he – он
  • she – она
  • it – оно
  • we – мы
  • you (plural and formal) – вы
  • they – они

Object (объект)

  • me  меня
  • you (singular informal) – тебя
  • him – его (it sounds like  /ee-vO/)
  • her – её
  • it – его (it sounds like  /ee-vO/)
  • us – нас
  • you (plural and formal) – вас
  • them – их

Look at the examples:

  • Я люблю их – I love them
  • Ты смотришь на меня – you look at me
  • Я знаю вас – I know you (formal/plural)
  • Я слушаю тебя – I am listening to you (informal)
  • Он понимает меня – he understands me

And there is one more kind of objective pronouns in Russian which beginners should learn.  I call it “Dative pronoun”. Dative Pronoun is a special form of pronouns which is used in 3 situations:

1.    When we want to say that we need something with “нужно

  • Мне нужно работать –  I need to work
  • Тебе  нужно это? – Do you need this?

2.     With the verb “нравиться” which means “to like”

  • Мне нравится это – I like it
  • Тебе нравится это? – Do you like this?

3.   When we are talking about age

  • Мне 26 лет. – I am 26 years old.
  • Ему 80 лет. – He is 80 years old.
  • Ей 15 лет. – She is 15 years old.

So here is the form of Dative pronouns

  • мне – me
  • тебе –  you (singular informal)
  • ему – him
  • ей – her
  • ему – it
  • нам – us
  • вам – you (plural or formal)
  • им – them

Later, when you will be more advanced, you will learn 3 more forms of pronouns and cases when to use them. But for beginners to know these 3 kinds of pronouns is more than enough.

I hope it was useful!

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