How and When to Use the Russian Prepositional Case

  • November 11, 2017

As far as Russian cases go, the prepositional case isn't all that bad. The noun endings are simple with next to no exceptions. Moreover the case is super common, which makes learning it very useful. 

Let's take a look at one my favorite cases to learn in the Russian language! 

The prepositional case is the only case in the Russian language that is always used with a preposition (hence the name). 

Common uses

Here are the three most common prepositions used with this case: 

в (in, at)

в машине

in the car

в комнате

in the room

в университете

in/at the university

на (on, at)

на концерте

at the concert

на столе

on the table

на лекции

at the lecture

о (about)

When used with the prepositional case "о" in Russian corresponds to the English word about, as in thinking about something or talking about something. 

о концерте

about the concert

о России

about Russia

об этой книге*

about this book

*In this last example we use the alternate form of the preposition о: об. We use об before words that start with vowel sounds.

A Closer Look:

The differences between в and на

Noun endings in the prepositional case

Masculine noun endings

In the prepositional case masculine nouns will receive an added at the end of the word. Here's few examples:  




в чемодане


в словаре

Feminine and neuter noun endings

With feminine and neuter nouns the prepositional ending replaces the last vowel of the nominative form.




в книге


в кухне


в окне


в платье

Notable exceptions (the -и ending)

There are two groups of nouns that receive a instead of the usual ending.

Feminine nouns ending in ь

The first group is feminine nouns that end in ь (soft sign). In this case we drop the soft sound and add -и in its place




в кровати


в тетради

Any noun ending in -ий, -ия, or -ие

No matter the gender, any noun ending in -ий, -ия, or -ие in the nominative will end with . In this instance the -и replaces the last vowel of the word. 




в кафетерии


в России


в общежитии

Final thoughts

That covers everything you'll need to get started with the prepositional case. Again, in my opinion, this is one of the easiest and most useful cases in Russian. Knowing how to use the prepositional case will go a long way toward increasing your ability in the language. Good luck!

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