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

If you already have my Guide to the Genitive case, you can compare these example sentences. You will notice that masculine adjectives for animate nouns in the Accusative case share the same endings with the masculine adjectives (for both animate and inanimate nouns) in the Genitive case.


The same rule applies to plural adjectives used with animate nouns that share the same endings with plural adjectives (for both animate and inanimate nouns) in the the Genitive case.

Russian accusative vs genitive case

So, when does the Russian Accusative case is used in Russian language? Let's look at the most common situations:


  • Accusative case: Direct object

One of the main functions of the Accusative case is to show a direct object (object of an action). In simple words, when you have a subject + a verb that requires a direct object (a person or a thing which receives the action of the verb) you will most likely need to put this object in the Accusative case. If a noun is a direct object of the verb, it looks like this:

Subject + Verb + Object (Accusative case).


Let's compare these contructions with subjects (Nominative, active) and objects (Accusative, passive):

There are lots of verbs that require the Accusative case. They are known as transitive verbs (verbs that require an object to receive the action). Here are some common transitive verbs without prepositions that require the Accusative case.


Verbs that require nouns in the Accusative case


There are also some verbs which are in competition with the Genitive case. In fact, the rule is easy: if you speak about some particular things / people - then use the Accusative case. But overall, even Russian natives make mistakes with these verbs all the time. You can see below such verbs that can be followed either by the Genitive or the Accusative case depending on the context.


You can find all tables and grammar explanations for the Russian Accusative case in the Most comprehensive guide to the Russian Accusative case.

Russian cases book

Below you will find the preview of my new guide to the Russian Accusative case. This guide is not a simple book with grammar explanations. It is a whole course that will help you master the Russian Accusative case in a fun, engaging and easy way. Learning Russian cases can be a really daunting task if you use wrong materials with boring grammar explanations and complicated tables of endings. But this guide will show you that you can hack this system and understand how it works instead of merely memorizing tons of information.


I have created this guide because I couldn't find a good book with easy, entertaining and full explanations of Russian cases. The majority of books just provide short and boring grammar explanations with no real-life examples and ready constructions to use. That is why many foreigners get frustrated as they cannot see the whole picture of each case. In this guide, you will find all possible situations when the Accusative case is needed. Moreover, you will learn lots of fixed expressions with the Accusative case that you will be able to use in your speech. The key to learning any grammar topics is through the context. You will discover some interesting tasks that will make you speak and use the Accusative case straight away.

And the 'treasure' of this guide is a final story about a housespirit named kuzya (association with the Accusative case). This story contains situations that require the use of the Accusative case. This story was created based on a TPRS method (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) that is extremely effective for learning new languages.


Here is the preview of the guide to the Russian Accusative case with the table of contents:

Preview of the Guide to the Russian Accusative case
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This was a preview of the Guide to the Russian Accusative case.

You can purchase this guide on Amazon:

USA, UK, FR, ES, DE, IT, JP, CA, AU


I hope you will enjoy learning the Russian Accusative case with this guide. Have fun!

 

Hello! My name is Mila and I am a founder of Hack Your Russian language platform. You can find me here:

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