The Russian Prepositional Case, and Going Places
Russian Language Lesson 8

In this lesson we will introduce the prepositional case. It will also attempt to expand your vocabulary to include a number of places. The prepositional case is one of the easiest Russian cases to learn. It is also one of the most useful. It will allow you to expand your use of Russian phrases to include useful phrases like “I live in Russia”. The prepositional case has no meaning of it’s own. It is simply used after certain Russian prepositions. Afterwards we will introduce you to the Russian words for ‘to go’.

The prepositional case is used after the prepositions “в” (in), “на” (on/at), “о” (about).

Forming the prepositional case

To form the prepositional case you should take the nominative form (dictionary form) and do the following to the end of the word:

Masculine Nouns:
1. Add : “е”.
2: Some nouns (mostly single syllable) take “у” (but not after preposition “о”)

Feminine Nouns:
1. Replace “а” with “е”.
2. Replace “я” with “е”.
3. Replace “ь” with “и”.
4. Exception: Replace “ия”, it becomes “ии”

Neuter Nouns:
1. Replace “о” with “е”
2. “е” remains unchanged.

Using prepositions and the prepositional case.

As with any language, Russian prepositions can sometimes have slightly different uses and meanings than in English. Here are some tips to help you, although these aren’t precise rules.

The word “в” (in) is used to replace the English word “at”, when you are referring to enclosed spaces or buildings. (Eg. ‘at school’)

The word “на” (on/at) replaces the English word “at” when you are talking about open spaces or places that were traditionally open spaces. (Eg. ‘at work’, ‘at a station’, ‘at a concert’).

Now you can easily tell people where you live:

PlayГде вы живёте? - Where do you live?

PlayЯ живу в Москве - I live in Moscow.

PlayЯ живу в Лондоне - I live in London.

PlayЯ живу в Петербурге - I live in St. Petersburg.

PlayЯ живу в Сибири - I live in Siberia.

As with "Лондоне" you should change the case of other cities, suburbs and places, even though they are not Russian.

You can also describe where something or someone is:

Где она? - Where is she?

на вокзале - at the station

на почте - at the post office

в саду - in the garden

в лесу - in the forest

на улице - on the street

PlayЧто на столе? - What is on the table?

PlayНа столе книга и карандаш - On the table is a book and a pencil.

Other Places

Here are some names of other useful places. (They are in dicionary form)

кино - cinema

театр - theatre

аптека - pharmacy

парк - park

стадион - stadium

школа - school

работа - work

библиотека - library

кафе - cafe

площадь - square

ресторан - restaurant

банк - bank

гостиница - hotel

музей - museum

больница - hospital

квартира - apartment

дом - house, home

университет - university

The following locations are always preceded by 'на' instead of 'в' when describing location or motion towards.

север - north

юг - south

восток - east

запад - west

вокзал - station (usually large train stations)

станция - station (smaller train and tram stations)

завод - factory

концерт - concert

площадь - square

работа - work

рынок - market

стадион - stadium

улица - street

почта - post office

Location and Direction

Sometimes, prepositions have more than one meaning, you can tell this by the case. When answering questions asked with the word "Где" (Where is (location)), your answer will involve the prepositional case. However, when you answer questions asked with "Куда" (Where to), you would use the accusative case. Here are some examples for you to compare.

PlayКуда вы идёте - Where are you going (to)?   (Indicates direction)

PlayЯ иду в школу - I am going to school.

PlayГде вы работаете? - Where do you work?   (Indicates a location)

PlayЯ работаю в школе - I work at (in) a school.

Here are some useful words and phrases for finding your way around Russia.

Playпрямо - Straight ahead.

Playналево - To the left.

Playнаправо - To the right.

прямо, потом направо - Straight ahead, then to the right.

Going Places in Russian

In Russian there are two words that can be used to express “I am going”. The first indicates you are going on foot, the second indicates that you are going by some form of transport. Both these words are verbs of motion, and are grammatically quite complex, but as these words are so important for basic Russian, we will introduce them now in a simple way. A more detailed lesson on verbs of motion will follow at a later stage

Each of these 2 verbs (and all verbs of motion) come in pairs. The first indicates ‘to go in one direction’, the second indicates ‘to go in more than one direction’ or to ‘go somewhere repetitively’. You will notice from the examples that this often relates to when you use 'going' or 'go' in English. So to express ‘to go’ in Russian, there are actually four ways:

Идти - To go on foot, in one direction.

(Я иду, Ты идёшь, Он идёт, Мы идём, Вы идёте, Они идут)

Я иду в школу - I am going to school.

Я иду в кино - I am going to the cinema.

Ты идёшь в кино? - Are you going to the cinema?

Он идёт в гостиницу - He is going to the hotel.

Мы идём в кафе - We are going to the cafe.

я иду в университет - I am going to the university

Ходить - To go on foot, in more than one direction, or repetitively.

(Я хожу, Ты ходишь, Он ходит, Мы ходим, Вы ходите, Они ходят )

Я хожу в школу - I go to school.

Я часто хожу в кино - I often go to the cinema

Мы ходим в кафе каждый день - We go to the cafe every day.

Ехать - To go by transport, in one direction.

еду, Ты едешь, Он едет, Мы едем, Вы едете, Они едут )

Я еду в школу - I am going to school. (by transport)

Я еду в кино на метро - I am going to the cinema on the metro.

Он едет в гостиницу на такси - He is going to the hotel by taxi.

Мы едем в кафе - We are going to the cafe. (by transport)

Он едет в Лондон - He is going to London

Ездить - To go by transport, in more than one direction, or repetitively

езжу, Ты ездишь , Он ездит , Мы ездим, Вы ездите, Они ездят)

Он часто ездит в Лондон - He often goes to London

Я езжу в театр каждый день - I go to the theatre every day.

Они часто ездят в Амстердам - They often go to Amsterdam


You should now be comfortable using the prepositional case. Combined with the your knowledge from the previous lessons, you should be a little more confortable expressing yourself in Russian. If you have reached this point in the lessons, then you now know a number of basic phrases and concepts that will help you get by in Russia. You may not yet sound like a native Russian speaker, but you will definitely be in a better position to make yourself understood by others. The people you meet on your travels in Russian will no doubt appreciate that you have made an attempt to learn Russian. In future lessons we will continue to introduce more vocabulary and grammar concepts.

Be sure to learn the different words for ‘to go’ as these are fundamental to using Russian effectively.


Recommended Books For Learning Russian

The New Penguin Russian Course: A Complete Course for Beginners - Probably the best course in a book.

Russian-English Bilingual Visual Dictionary - A visual dictionary with lots of illustrated examples.

A Comprehensive Russian Grammar - A great reference on Russian grammar.

The Big Silver Book of Russian Verbs - A great reference book of conjugated Russian verbs.

Russian Learners' Dictionary: 10,000 Russian Words in Frequency Order - A simple but powerful concept. Expand your vocabulary by learning the most used words first.