The Most Comprehensive Guide to the Russian Accusative Case

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

In one of my previous posts, I have already covered the Russian Genitive case.

I recommend you learning it right after discovering the Russian Nominative case (initial forms) because it is one of the cases that is used the most in sentences. You can check the Most Comprehensive Guide to the Russian Genitive case if you wish to learn it easy and fast.


And after learning all situations when the Russian Genitive case is required, I recommend you to shift to the Russian Accusative case. Why? Because these two cases are often in competition and even Russian natives tend to make mistakes when choosing which of these cases to use. The Russian Accusative case acts like a chameleon. When it is used with inanimate objects, it answers the question 'Что?' (What?) and replicates the Nominative case. But when it is used with animate (alive) objects, it answers the question 'Кого?' (Who(m)?) and is similar to the Genitive case depending on the gender. There are many different situations when you need to use the Accusative case to show an indirect object.


The functions of the Accusative case can be really tricky. To remember them better, you can associate the Accusative case with a car. Just look at the situations when we need to apply it:


Russian accusative case

Overall, you can see that all these situations have a lot in common and they are interconnected. We also need to use the Accusative case with certain prepositions and verbs that you can discover in this guide. As you can see, there are a lot of situations that require the usage of the Accusative case in Russian. And, therefore, you need to master it as soon as you can to be able to start speaking confidently.


We will first look at how we need to change the endings to form the Accusative case. You will find the tables below. Don't try to simply memorize the endings, you need to learn them with examples.


Endings for singular nouns in the Accusative case (with example sentences)

Have you noticed?

Only feminine singular nouns, animate(nouns which name human or animal life forms) masculine singular nouns change form in the Accusative case. Animate masculine nouns take the Genitive case endings in all contexts in which the Accusative case is required. There is no change for inanimate masculine and neuter singular nouns (keep the Nominative form).


Let's sum up the Accusative case endings for singular nouns and create a clear system out of it to make it more simple.

Before doing this, let's learn some important definitions:

  • A stem of a word – the whole word without ending

  • Soft consonants – consonants followed by the letters и, е, ё, ю, я and a soft sign. The letters ч, щ, й are always soft.

  • Hard consonants – all other consonants except for the soft.

You need to know which consonant stands in the end of the word stem to put the correct endings for masculine nouns.

Ба́ня*- a Russian-Eastern Slavic steam bath with a wood stove.


To make it easier for you to remember these endings, memorize them in example sentences. You can create your own or use mine:

Мы пошли́ в лес и уви́дели там во́лка, медве́дя, лису́, змею́ и ло́шадь. (We went to the forest and saw a wolf, a bear, a fox, a snake and a horse there).

Russian Accusative case

Russian genitive case table with endings
As you have seen, the animacy of nouns is an important factor for the Accusative case endings. The general rule states that animate nouns are living things like people or animals while inanimate nouns are things that are not alive. However, that is not that simple in Russian and there are some exceptions that you need to know in order to choose the correct endings.


Some forms of nouns denoting dead people and those creatures, who don't belong to the world of alive, have the same endings as animate nouns in the Accusative case: 'поко́йник' (m.) - the deceased, 'мертве́ц' (m.) - a dead man, 'вампи́р' (m.) - a vampire. Do you know why? It can be explained by the fact that they were alive before and they still have an image of a living thing.

Russian genitive case examples

BUT! Words 'труп' (m.) - a corpse and 'зо́мби' (n.) - a zombie do not change their endings in the Accusative case as they are considered as inanimate nouns.


Words like 'ро́бот' (m.) - a robot, 'ки́борг' (m.) - a cyborg,'ку́кла' (f.) - a doll and 'матрёшка' (f.) - a matryoshka are also considered as animate nouns since they have similar features with people.


The word 'наро́д' (m.) - 'a public, a nation, a crowd' is on the contary considered as an inanimate noun. It can be explained by the fact that this word implies a group of people. The word 'group' by itself cannot be animate. Ex.: Он подде́рживает наро́д - He supports the public (meaning people).


Endings for plural nouns in the Accusative case (with example sentences)

Good news! Only animate plural nouns of any gender change form in the Accusative case (take the same form as in the Genitive case). There is no change for inanimate plural nouns of any gender. But there are also some irregular plural forms of nouns in the Accusative case. Look at the table below.


Irregular plural forms in the Accusative case

So, we have covered the endings for nouns in the Russian Accusative case. But you should also know how to change endings of adjectives in the Accusative case. Let's look at the tables below.


Endings for singular adjectives in the Accusative case

(with example sentences)

Let's sum up the Accusative case endings for adjectives and create a clear system out of it to make it more simple.

As for plural adjectives in the Accusative case, the rule is very simple. Adjectives for plural inanimate nouns do not change their form (stay in the Nominative case).

Adjectives for plural animate nouns can only have 2 types of endings. If a stem ends with a hard consonant, change the ending to -ЫХ. If it is a soft consonant - put the ending -ИХ.


Let's create an example sentence that will help you remember these rules for singular adjectives in the Accusative case.

Russian accusative case