Learn How to Use Russian Possessive Pronouns

In a previous article on the gender of nouns we learned to say “This is a ….”We now take this further using possessive pronouns: e.g. “This is my mother.”

Basic forms

The following are the basic possessive pronouns:

  • my = мой
  • your (singlular and informal) = твой
  • his / its (masculine nouns) = его (pronounced "yevo")
  • her / its (feminine nouns) = её
  • its (neuter nouns) = его
  • our = наш
  • your (plural and/or formal) = ваш
  • their = их

Endings

As we saw in the last lesson, there are three genders in Russian – masculine, feminine and neuter. Each of these can necessitate a different ending on the possessive pronoun.

The endings for мой are мой (masculine), моя (feminine) and моё (neuter).

твой declines in the same way as мой.

наш has these forms: наш (masculine), наша (feminine), and наше (neuter) – which are actually just the "soft" versions of the endings above.

ваш follows the same pattern as наш.

его, её and их, however, never change.

A complete table of the possessive pronouns (including the plural forms) is available.

Who’s that?

Now let’s use what we’ve learned to introduce people. The gender for people is obvious: брат (brother), oтец (father), сын (son) etc. are all masculine, while сестра (sister), мать (mother), дочь (daughter) etc. are all feminine.

Who’s that? = кто ето?

  • that’s my father = ето мой oтец
  • that’s your sister = ето твоя сестра
  • this is my (male) friend = ето мой друг
  • is she your (female) friend? = она вашa подруга?
  • is she his mother? = она его мать?
  • is he their brother? = он их брат?
  • is this her child? = ето её ребёнок?

What’s that?

Of course, the same pattern can be used with animals and objects.

What’s that? = что ето?

  • that is a house = ето дом
  • that is my house = ето мой дом
  • is this your dog? = ето твоя собака?
  • no, that is her dog = нет, ето её собака
  • is this his letter = ето его письмо?
  • no, it’s my letter = нет, ето моё письмо