A Guide to Using ЭТО

I've seen so many people confused with "это" and "этот/эта/эти" that I decided to write an explanation of these. I have not seen any special post for this so far.

ЭТО - the demonstrative pronoun

It means "this/these" as in "This is a pen" or "These are ducks". Note that we don't use any equivalent of "is" in Russian, so you can even think of the pronoun-like "это" as of "this is/these are" (even if it is not exactly correct).


  • Это собака. This is a dog.
  • Это мальчик. This is a boy.
  • Это кошки. These are cats.
  • Это моя машина. This is my car.
  • Это правильный ответ. This is the correct answer.

"Это" is also used in definitions:

  • Собака - это животное. A dog is an animal.
  • Курица - это не рыба. Chicken is not fish.

You can omit "это" in such cases, but keep the dash.

ЭТОТ / ЭТА / ЭТО / ЭТИ - the demonstrative adjectives

They mean "this" or "these" as in "this pen" or "these ducks". These words are always used with a noun and must agree with its gender:

ЭТОТ is for masculine nouns:

  • этот стул = this chair
  • этот мальчик = this boy
  • этот рис = this rice

ЭТА is for feminine nouns:

  • эта девочка = this girl
  • эта тетрадь = this notebook
  • эта лошадь = this horse

ЭТО is for neuter nouns:

  • это яблоко = this apple
  • это море = this sea
  • это задание = this task

ЭТИ is for plural nouns of any gender:

  • эти мальчики = these boys
  • эти девочки = these girls
  • эти яблоки = these apples

What Is Confusing

You may have noted that "это" can be both a demonstrative pronoun and a demonstrative adjective of the neuter gender. So, "это яблоко" may mean both "this apple" and "this is an apple", and without context you can only tell them apart by the first capital letter and a fullstop in case it is a sentence.

  • это яблоко = this apple // a phrase
  • Это яблоко. = This is an apple. // a sentence

A Rule of Thumb

  • If you can replace "this/that/these/those" with "it" or "they" → use the undeclined "это" (demonstrative pronoun)
  • If you can't → use the declinable "этот/эта/это/эти" (demonstrative adjective)


  • This is a table → It is a table? Looks fine! → Это стол.
  • This table is mine → It table is mine? No way! → Этот стол мой.
  • These are books → They are books? Looks fine! → Это книги.
  • Are these books yours? → Are they books yours? No way! → Эти книги ваши?


For those who already made it to the Russian case system, here is the declension table for the demonstratives. I placed neuter next to masculine because their forms are the same in many cases.

Sorry, Dropbox has broken something and I can't paste it as a picture any more.

The accusative forms written with a slash are for animate/inanimate nouns (like "этого кота / этот стол").

Hope this helps!

November 6, 2015


How would you say, "This is boring?" Not saying that this is boring, I just really want to know.

November 6, 2015

"Это скучно" :)

November 6, 2015

Interestingly one of my favourite parks in Moscow is called "Нескучный сад" which more or less translates as "The not boring park" :),37.5881317,14.5z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0000000000000000:0x1ad024ed390a76e5

December 20, 2015

Ah, thank you. :)

November 6, 2015

Also: "Это скучновато", "Это скучненько" :)

March 28, 2017

Any chance you can expand this to include like....exactly where этого fits in? I think that's the...accusative or genitive form, but if you can list all the forms of it and where we use them, that would help complete this!

November 6, 2015

As a pronoun adjective, этот should agree with the noun it describes in gender, number and case. So it has forms for oblique cases, too.

November 6, 2015

I added a table of declensions. I won't cover the usage of every case in this guide, though - I don't want to overwhelm you with information. It is better to learn cases and their usage one by one, like it is done in the course.

November 15, 2015

Right you are olimo, although I also find it helps to have a slot into which to pigeon-hole cases when learning. One of the very helpful things you've provided here is a partial structure for that, pre-assembled. So it's a matter of making the right use of the tool. Rather than trying to learn things a whole structure at a time, just know they're there, reference each new item as it comes and find its place, and look back there also for refreshers and comparisons. Best of both worlds. Thanks so much for this very useful aid!

November 16, 2015

Awesome, thank you!

November 16, 2015 has pages in English for most Russian words, and they include declension and conjugation tables. I've found it to be super helpful!

November 8, 2015


November 12, 2015

thank you

December 2, 2015

Hmmm, I don't think cases are really necessary in this basic guide, but l will think of a way to add a table of declensions.

November 7, 2015

Я не знаю этого мальчика (nom. этот мальчик). Я не видел этого дерева ("Я не видел это дерево" тоже правильно).

December 10, 2015

That would be information overload

May 14, 2017

Это очень полезно спасибо :-)

November 6, 2015


November 7, 2015

OK, so basically, to recognize between the demonstrative pronoun and the demonstrative adjectives, you only have to ask yourself: Which is the subject? Is "This" or another word?" If it's "this" the subject then, you only have to use ЭТО. Is not "this" the subject? Then use ЭТОТ / ЭТА / ЭТО / ЭТИ.


This is a pen

Which is the subject? "This"

So "this" is ALWAYS translated as ЭТО.

This chair

Which is the subject? (The) chair. "This" acts as an adjective (in this particular case, this indicates how close is the chair to).

So you have to use ЭТОТ / ЭТА / ЭТО / ЭТИ.

I get crazy trying to understand this. But I think that I finally did it!

December 2, 2015

This is a great rule of thumb!

December 2, 2015

nice profile pic :)

May 26, 2016

спасибо большое

March 22, 2017

thanks a lot :)

December 17, 2015

What will help immensely is context as stated. If you need to identify something, ( Что это)?, the response will start with Это. On the other hand, if you know the topic (normally the grammatical subject), then the demonstrative is used.

Почему ты не смотришь спортивную программу по телевизору? Этот телевизор не работает.

In Russian, these "identifying" words are used less often.

Боже мой, ещё раз Телевизор не работает. Is more likely.

The demonstratives are needed when there is confusion.

Не на той странице но на этой!

October 10, 2016


This is a 'pronoun.' In the first sentence, the subject is 'pen.'

April 21, 2016

I don't think so :P.

The subject of a sentence is a person or thing that performs the action of the verb. And in the first setence the one who is performed an action (the action is the verb "to be") is "this". Not the "pen". But well, maybe I'm wrong so...can you explain why do you think other thing?

April 24, 2016

I see this a LOT on Duo.

There is a huge difference between passive and active in English. The pen performs the action of the verb, but 'to be' only denotes STATE, not action. Therefore, the subject is actually 'pen.' And 'this' is functioning as a pronoun adjective (IIRC).

And to think, I HATED sentence diagraming in 6th grade.



April 24, 2016

Actually, words like "pen" in sentences like "This is a pen" are predicative nominals (i.e. they are the part of the predicate).

April 24, 2016

Both are used. Though, the usage of "This is him" suggests that many native speaker intuitively feel that the thing that goes after a copula is not the subject. The point of divergence between prescriptive grammars of the past and actual usage is whether you should use the subjective or the objective form with a copula. The confusion naturally comes from the fact that English does not distinguish between its grammatical cases, except for personal pronoun.

  • Russian does distinguish them, for one. Depending on the copula, the tense and the exact meaning, a predicate nominal may use the Nominative of the Instrumental.

You may build your own grammar of English (if you wish). Then Bob in "Bob is a cat" and this in "This is a cat" may very well be adjectives, and "cat" may a subject of both. If we are talking about grammar you studied at school (or any theory of syntax in use by linguists, for that matter), they are not.

  • the English copula allows for an inverse structure. You may use both "The issue is the increase in the core's temperature" and "The increase in the core's temperature is the issue", sometimes only different in intonation (and even that is not guaranteed). In such cases, one should pick the interpretation first, and only then pass judgements about the structure (usually, "the issue" would be the subject).
April 25, 2016

So, are you saying, "This is him" is correct rather than "This is he?"

April 24, 2016


But then in a phrase like "This is blue", according to you, which is the subject of that phrase?

April 24, 2016

I studied Russian for many years, though I didn't go full-on, balls-to-the-wall with it (hence why I'm using Duolingo to practice vocab). With a solid base, but being extremely far from any kind of fluency, even I have been able to find some definitively incorrect things in the Russian beta exercises. One of them involves Это. (There are a lot of issues with synonyms not being accepted.)

"That." It doesn't accept "that." In all the sentences with "это" that I've seen so far, "that" would've been valid.

That's all I have to say about Это. )))

November 6, 2015

If you find examples of that, report them :)

Thanks for the excellent explanation, Olimo!

November 7, 2015

How do I do that? I couldn't find any links, which is why I posted here.

November 7, 2015

When your answer is not accepted in a lesson, you can use the "Report mistake" button and select "My answer should be accepted". If it's valid, the course developers will add it.

This option is only present in the full web version, though.

November 7, 2015

It is also an option on the iOS app

January 28, 2016

I also see it on the Android app. But when I view the full web version, there are some contexts where the button doesn't appear. For example, if I use my Nexus 7 and view the web version in portrait orientation, the button is missing. But it reappears when I switch to landscape.

That's just one of several differences in the web layout I see on my Nexus 7 in landscape vs. portrait. Another is that the Latin/Cyrillic toggle button in the Russian course seems to disappear in portrait. (On the other hand, with my Nexus 9, I always seem to see the full site in either orientation.)

February 27, 2016

Thank you for this guide! It is very clear and informative. I have only just begun the Duo Russian program, and so far it seems to use eto for everything, and doesn't really specify or make note anything you've written here. Maybe it does later, beyond the basics. But I feel like maybe this should be mentioned in the beginning, to prevent those of us who are new to the language from getting into bad habits and using wrong pronouns that will slow us down later when we have to relearn what we thought we understood.

I know the program is still in beta. I'm just glad it is finally accessible. I'll keep an eye out for corrective guides - yours and others!

November 8, 2015

To check if you should say "Эти яблоки" or "Это (-) яблоки", think like that: 1) Do you see these apples (to point at them as at the particular apples you are going to talk about) or ever mentioned THESE apples before? 2) Do you want to emphasize that these things on a table are apples and not watermelons?

If yes is the answer on the 1st question then you say "Эти яблоки" (it is usually a part of a sentence and after goes smth else, for example what has happened or will happen to THESE apples), because in such a case "Эти" would mean "These": "Эти яблоки очень сладкие" - "These apples are very sweet". If yes is the second answer then you say "Это (-) яблоки", because you are talking to an idiot who doesn't know that these little fruits on a table are apples: "Это яблоки, а не бананы, болван" - "These are apples, not bananas, dumby".

Another case: "Это облако" and "Это (-) облако" ("this cloud" and "this is a cloud") (WARNING: in this case the only difference is intonation) 1) Do you see this cloud (to point at it as at the particular cloud you are going to talk about) or ever mentioned THIS cloud before? 2) Do you want to emphasize that this thing in the sky is a cloud and not a bird/ rainbow/ whatever can be in the sky?

1) Your friend sees a cloud shaped like a cat. He points at it to show this particular cloud to you and says: "Это облако похоже на кошку" - "This cloud looks like a cat". You remember this cloud the next day and tell your other friend: "Недавно видел облако. Это облако было похоже на кошку" - "I saw a cloud not so long ago. This cloud looked like a cat". 2) You and your friend are playing football. Suddenly your friend sees a shadow on the ground and asks you: "What the hell it is?" You reply: "Это облако" - "This is a cloud".

December 10, 2015

That's a great guide, very good work! But I wanted to point out two minor issues: when "это" is omitted there is no need for the dash in the negative sentences, i.e. "курица — это не рыба", but "курица не рыба". Also we do have an equivalent of "is" — "есть", although it is rarely used. You can say "собака есть животное", even though it sounds rather old-fashioned.

December 19, 2015

To be even more old-fashioned, we have the plural of "есть" -- "суть" (not a noun in this case, seeбыть for other old forms of "to be": "есмь", "есмы", "еси", "есте" ): "Cобака и кошка суть животные" (but people do not usually speak this way).

March 27, 2018

This is a very well written guide! I would be interested in seeing some future guides from you as they are written so clearly and with samples! Thanks for writing this.

November 7, 2015

I think I might also have seen это as a translation for 'the' in the reverse course, even though normally Russian doesn't use articles.

November 7, 2015

Yes, you can translate "the" with "этот/эта/это/эти" if you can replace "the" with "this/these" in English.


I see a boy. The boy is eating an apple. → I see a boy. This boy is eating an apple.

Both "Я вижу мальчика. Мальчик ест яблоко" and "Я вижу мальчика. Этот мальчик ест яблоко" are fine.

If "this" does not fit instead of "the", you shouldn't translate "the" as "этот":

I need to go to the bathroom - Мне нужно в ванную (not "в эту ванную" because you don't mean "this bathroom" but just bathroom).

Enforcing "этот" as a translation for "the" was a workaround for the course developers to give the learner some clue about using the definite article. It was the best way they could think of, and I can hardly think of anything better in Duolingo environment.

November 7, 2015

Indeed, I teach English to Russian speakers, and knowing when to use the article is one of the most difficult aspects of English for them to master. I have Russian colleagues who publish academic articles in English and still make rampant article mistakes.

November 9, 2015

My inlaws came to the US and learned English in the late 70s and they STILL mess up definite and indefinite articles more than pretty much any other thing.

The only other thing they do (which I don't believe is technically wrong, just awkward) is construct future tense like they would in Russian: "You will go to the store and pick up groceries?". That could possibly be a request "Will you go to the store..." or it may also just be a question "Are you going to the store.."

December 11, 2015

It's the true hell of English language (and other languages with articles) for those who don't have these articles at all. I still don't understand why you use them even though I've been studying English for more than 10 years now. But sometimes I find them pretty useful.

December 11, 2015

I'm sure it feels very foreign to Russian speakers. The thing is (normal, unemphasized "the"), it gives room for considerable subtle nuance. "A" thing is one particular thing singled out from among other possibilities, which is also why one is able to make it into "a thing" (a one-and-only type of thing) that virtually draws attention to itself without overt action, which articles themselves can become for Russian speakers. And that's how it can develop into "the thing about English", that emphatically bothersome sticking point that never fails to confuse or mystify. It's all about emphasis and distinction, and I can understand why it would be so hard to understand when it's not a native type of expression. But the lowly article can be rich in connotation. A lot of it lies in the intonation of how it is said. "A thing" is just some specific thing until you heighten its pronunciation to "a thing", which draws attention to the fact that there are other things also, a fact that might not seem to be so apparent or so important in context, at first sight, but whose significance is thus highlighted. And that's nearly opposite to "the thing", which is so emphatic that (almost) no other thing at all is even possible in context (nothing else matters). I hope this serves to give you a little of the flavor of the thing (the article, that is) - "the" serving in this case to indicate that "article" is used as the name of a classification of word, and "thing" as the abstract idea of its usage, in both cases a concept rather than something concrete. Yikes! It almost confuses me to try to explain it!

December 11, 2015

Has this этот for "the" workaround then in turn influenced the Russian for English Speakers course? Этот, along with the other demonstrative adjectives, appears so frequently here that I can't help but think the course developers just transferred over already built sentences, or am I mistaken in thinking that the demonstrative adjectives can't honestly be as common as the Duolingo course makes them seem?

November 9, 2015

A bit not as common. If we would stay completely tru to reality, people rare say something like "I already read a book", they usually say "I already read it".

However, making up every sentence with "it" would no be very educational. If we refer to objects and persons more specifially that "she, "he" and "it", I don't think there's something wrong with " I already read that book" or "That woman did not say anything".

November 9, 2015

Thank you for your quick reply! The insights of native speakers are invaluable. I realize that to get the true sense of a language you must immerse yourself in a lot of both the spoken and written forms. In any case, you're absolutely right about the way we generalize in English using "it", and such generalizations don't lend very well to vocabulary building.

November 9, 2015

All languages tend to be economical. I even think that textbooks and courses are very useful to have because it has slightly higher concentrations of new material. The idea that first 2000 words cover 70% of what is said is a double-edged sword: it means that after a certain threshold you do not learn much new even if you digest huge quantities of new texts and conversations every day.

November 9, 2015

Seconding the rec for the frequency dictionary for anyone who wants to get serious. It was our bible in 4th year.

Some kind and conscientious person has put all 10K on a Memrise course, which is a fantastic resource.

November 9, 2015

You're absolutely right Shady_arc. What you're talking about is that vocabulary threshold often mentioned that needs to be overcome when going from the intermediate to advanced level. The 2000 words number you mention seems to be the common consensus for the intermediate level of any language, which then frighteningly jumps to between 10 and 20 thousand words when approaching an advanced or "mastery" level. Fortunately we're not left without the tools for the task. I've found the Compact Oxford Russian Dictionary (denotes key words) and Russian Learner's Dictionary to be very helpful in this regard, the latter being a 10,000 word frequency dictionary. I would recommend both to anyone who wants to eventually move beyond the basics offered by textbooks and courses such as Duolingo, though I must admit not everyone probably finds dictionary reading as enjoyable as I do. ;)

November 9, 2015

How would you say "These are apples"? Is it эти яблоки also?

November 8, 2015

«Это яблоки».

Sentences like "This is ...", "These are ...", "That was ..." etc. always start with an «это» in Russian and with a «це» in Ukrainian. The gender and number of what follows does not matter.

November 8, 2015

My understanding is that:

"Это яблоки." = "These are apples.", and "...эти яблоки..." = "...these apples..."

November 8, 2015

That's right!

November 8, 2015

So how do you say, "that was fun, but this is not fun"? Twice "это"? A form of Тот is never used?

November 9, 2015

I'd say "это (pointing) было весело, а это (pointing again) нет". But it would be better to name the exact things that were fun/not fun.

"Тот" is mostly used as a demonstrative adjective. Эта книжка интересная, а та нет.

November 9, 2015

I feel that when using "то" and "это", "это" should go first (just like you did): "Это было весело, а то -- нет".

March 27, 2018

so helpful ;) ty

November 8, 2015

Yes, very, you're totally right!

November 8, 2015

Fantastic. Guides like this are super helpful.

November 8, 2015

this is a good post very helpfull

November 8, 2015

This is very helpful.

November 8, 2015

This is phenomenally helpful. Thank you very much for writing this up. I think I'm going to bookmark this so that I can come back to it for future reference. I just have one question, in regards to this:

"это яблоко = this apple // a phrase Это яблоко. = This is an apple. // a sentence"

Does "this apple" always strictly have to be a phrase, and can never be a complete sentence? What about situations where it might be an answer to a question? Such as: A: "Which apple did you take?" B: "This apple." Would person B's answer here be automatically interpreted as "this is an apple", and just cause confusion for person A? If so, how would one say the equivalent of "this apple" as a full sentence response?

November 16, 2015

Sure, you can use the phrase as a short answer (rather than say Я взял это яблоко). You will also stress "это" or even drop "яблоко".

  • Какое яблоко ты взял?
  • Это яблоко. // or even simply: Это. Or even: Вот это (showing it).

  • Что это?

  • Это яблоко.
November 16, 2015

Could "Вот это" be translated to something like "this [one] here"? Or perhaps "here [is] the [one]"?

November 17, 2015

Yes. We don't have the word for "one" as in "this one", so we just say "this" - это. "Вот" is to emphasize pointing to or showing something.

November 17, 2015

That's what I thought. Thanks. =)

November 18, 2015

Another use of the demonstrative pronoun: Что это такое, Как это сделано.

November 22, 2015

Does Russian differentiate between proximal, medial, or distal demonstratives?

December 6, 2015

Yes, этот / это / эта / эти are proximal and тот / то / та / те are distal.

December 19, 2015

Would it be wrong to say that это is the same as the French cela/ceci/ça (demonstrative pronouns), with этот/эта/это/эти being ce/cet/cette (demonstrative adjectives)? Since in English they're the same, was wondering if I could make a connection to French.

February 3, 2016

It is a perfect connection! Feel free to use it!

February 3, 2016

so does "eto" mean "this is"?

April 5, 2016

As someone who is a Russian native speaker , I've never learnt the rules - I use this account to teach friends Russian ! And I've had a hard time explaining the technical words to them ! THANK YOU !

December 19, 2016


December 31, 2016

This was very helpful, and much more clearly explained than anything I've found so far.

February 22, 2017

this is a good explanation thanks!

May 9, 2017

As you can see, I'm still at the beginning of my journey through the Russian language, but this was super helpful! I was actually wondering about this earlier... Thank you!

May 17, 2017

Ахаха, кто бы знал что у вас с этим будут эти проблемы, это ж надо только подумать об этом "это" как о том. Это интересно. Это есть познавательно. Это тому хорошее подтверждение, что об этих ваших правилах в России только слыхали. Я бы дал вам реформировать это, это было бы здорово. Это хорошо.

December 11, 2017


February 24, 2018

thanks a lot!! I had this problem for a long time, but now I understand very clearly. thank youuuuu.

March 22, 2018

Oh, thank you so much! I was struggling with that! I was able to copy the chart and save it.

April 1, 2018

Very helpful and clear. Спасибо

April 8, 2018

Wow, you are the bomb. So helpful! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

April 10, 2018

Thank you for this timely explanation

November 7, 2015

This is helpful, thank you !

November 7, 2015

А также, "с этим" сказать "with it" :)

November 7, 2015

What do you mean? It would be «с этим» but I am not sure what would you use it for.

November 7, 2015

Извините. Это был ошибка, но есть "об этом" который значит "about it." Спасибо вам за ответ! Всё ясно)

November 7, 2015

Thank you for this!

November 8, 2015

My Russian is on Duolingo home page and not the duo icon with my other language, so I have to go to Siri and open duo site is this normal. If not tell me how to fix it please. Thank you

November 8, 2015

Yes it is normal! Because Russian is still in Beta I believe it is not yet available on the duo app.

November 8, 2015

Russian was moved to the app a few days ago. The grammar tips are not available there though, unfortunately.

December 20, 2015

Большое спасибо

November 8, 2015

Good thing I came across this guide. I will find it useful further on my Russian studies.

November 9, 2015


November 9, 2015


November 10, 2015

Very helpful, thanks

November 10, 2015

Thanks for posting this. I found it very useful!!

November 11, 2015

Thank you for this very concise and informative lesson!

November 12, 2015

Someone directed me to this point and this was incredibly helpful!

November 14, 2015

Does anyone know when the app will be released? ?

November 14, 2015

Incredibly helpful, thank you so much.

November 15, 2015

Thanks for the help.. now it's clear to me.

November 15, 2015

Your text and table greatly clarified my confusion. Thank you for answering my unasked questions!

November 16, 2015


November 17, 2015

Your chart has Assusative, instead of Accusative.

November 21, 2015

Thanks, fixed!

November 22, 2015

Did you understand it?

December 1, 2015

Wow thank you so much. I was really struggling with this and your explanation makes it all so logical and understandable. I'm definitely bookmarking this page since I'm going to need it a lot until I get the hang of это and his alternates. XD

December 1, 2015

Hm. I wonder if we should include a few lines about ЭТО in our Tips :)

December 1, 2015

I'm sure that will be helpful for new, as well as intermediate learners of the language. I'm just now starting to notice how often это is used in the language.

December 1, 2015

Yes - please do! A table of some sort would have been very helpful even if we didn't know how to use all the forms right at the beginning. Same goes for everything else with different forms that change depending on case, gender, number, and so forth. It all gets very confusing without something complete to refer back to and put the different forms in context.

September 29, 2016

Thanks a lot, i had problems defining the use of each one :S

December 2, 2015

Thank you very much :) I get confused in usage of - мои, моя, моё

December 6, 2015

They all mean my/mine, but мои is used to refer to multiple objets (my cats - мои кошки), мой is used with masculine gender (my house - мой дом), моя is feminine (my dog - моя собака) and моё is neuter (my name - моё имя). Similar to the French mes (plural), ma (feminine) and mon (masculine).

December 19, 2015

Thanks! I've been confused about that for a long time.

December 11, 2015

I admit I haven't read all 103 current comments (104 counting this one!), but I agree that this is a nice explanation. I have one other small point to add, though: it might be worthwhile to give a brief explanation of how a demonstrative pronoun differs from a demonstrative adjective even in English - something along the lines of "This is a man" (where you can substitute "he" for "this" and it makes perfect sense, showing that it is a pronoun) vs. "This man is tall" (where substituting "he" for "this" makes no sense at all, showing that it is an adjective). That might make the distinction easier to understand in Russian or any other language.

December 12, 2015

I added a rule of thumb that just came into my mind. I hope this will help you to quickly determine whether you have to use "этот/эта/это/эти" or just "это".

December 20, 2015

Thank you for the time and trouble you took to make this.

December 22, 2015

Certainly, a great job. This was a perfect answer for the questions floating in my head.

December 25, 2015

thanks a lot. i was confused a lot about это and all the others this really helped.

December 27, 2015

This helps so much! Thank you!!

December 28, 2015

Very helpful! Thanks

December 29, 2015

I'm just starting, and haven't learned the declensions yet. But I just wonder if the instrumental or prepositional is somehow related to the ablative declension in latin (specially the prepositional). Instrumental is a new idea for me, though its name makes sense.

January 1, 2016

Casus Ablativus is genetically unrelated to any Slavic case. However, Latin Casus Ablativus and Slavic Intrumental Case share some common roles, particularly the instrumental role. Prepositional case is former Locative which had disappeared in Latin. Well, it's another function of Casus Ablativus being with a preposition, yes.

I personally thought of Casus Ablativus as of Instrumental case since it can be used without prepositions.

January 1, 2016

Oh, I didn't even know that there was a Locative, very interesting. But thank you for the answer, exactly what I wondered. Спасибо!

January 2, 2016

Sorry, I have no idea.

January 1, 2016

ЭТО = it/this P.s. i'm native russian speaker

January 3, 2016

I've just run into this area and you've made it a lot easier. Большое спасибо!

January 8, 2016

Thank you this helped

January 8, 2016

A very clear and helpful explanation. Thank you!

January 14, 2016

thanks for the guide

January 15, 2016

That explains a lot! Thanks!

January 17, 2016

this was so helpful thank you!! it would be awesome if you could make one for the differences between мой/ моя/ мне etc as well!!! (because that confuses me a lot...)

January 19, 2016

thanks, veeeery good explained !

January 31, 2016

[deactivated user]

    @olimo, в Вашем сообщении сбилось форматирование. Не могли бы вы его поправить?

    Заголовки первого уровня сейчас не работают, зато с заголовками второго уровня (поставьте ---- на следующей строке после заголовка или ## перед текстом), третьего (### перед текстом) и так далее работают.

    February 8, 2016

    Спасибо за напоминание. Знала, но все никак не могла собраться сделать таблицу картинкой и поправить заголовки. Исправила.

    February 8, 2016

    Amazing guide! Thank you for this, I was so confused that I didn't even know where to be confused!

    February 9, 2016

    Very helpful. Thank you!

    February 11, 2016

    Could you do one on the difference between the "моя"s please? I can't find anything online about it :/

    February 19, 2016

    I'm not an expert with them, but this resource can get you started with them (they're called "possessive pronouns" in grammar-speech):

    February 19, 2016

    This should be incorporated as a lesson, if it isn't, already. Great article! Отлично!

    February 22, 2016

    Спасибо тебе автор, иностранцы всегда путаются в таких правилах :) А ещё в "тся/ться"(хотя я и некоторые русские/белорусские/украинские и т.д. люди также их путают), так забавно было видеть как какой-то англоязычный человек написал "очинь срасибо"! Это было мило :)

    February 23, 2016

    Very nice explanation!

    February 29, 2016

    Thanks, this was an answer I was looking for! :)

    March 1, 2016


    Мы опускаем глаголы. Вместо "Это является яблоком" в устной речи мы говорим "Это - яблоко".

    Когда мы начинаем учить английский, мы учимся не пропускать глагол "является".

    March 3, 2016

    позволю себе уточнить Ваш коммент. В русском опускается глагол "быть" в настоящем времени. Мы не говорим "я есмь девочка", или "это есть лошадь". Хотя в прошлых веках назад глагол "быть" в настоящем употреблялся, спрягаясь соответственно "я есмь", "ты еси", "они суть" и т.д. Иногда сейчас можно сказать тоже, употребив форму глагола "быть" , но это будет звучать в пафосных и торжественных событиях. К примеру, "Это ЕСТЬ наша грандиозная задача!"

    March 7, 2016

    Интересно, спасибо!

    May 13, 2016

    Это к чему?

    March 3, 2016

    Это долго. Если коротко, учу корейский и мне очень помогает знание трудностей, которые возникают у корейцев, изучающих русский. Иногда это дает больше, чем объяснение правил. Если еще короче, могу удалить.

    March 3, 2016

    Thanks for putting this together! (: This is really helpful for distinguishing between these words. I will definitely refer back to this the more I delve into the Russian language.

    March 8, 2016

    this a great guide bro!! Since you are lvl 20 in spanish... yo creo que deberías hacer una guía para hispanohablantes porque entender la lógica del inglés para poder entender la del ruso es bastante difícil. Cuál es tu idioma nativo, por cierto?

    March 15, 2016

    Mi idioma nativo es ruso ;-)

    March 15, 2016

    Eso explica mucho!! No lo hubiera notado. Your english is very neat, gratz for that!! спасибо :D

    March 15, 2016

    Thank you! This is very helpful!

    April 14, 2016

    Thank you so much for posting this! I will certainly utilize this guide as I continue studying Russian!

    April 23, 2016


    April 25, 2016

    Very helpful, thank you!

    May 12, 2016

    Thank you very much for this incredibly useful guide. Спасибо

    May 13, 2016

    Olimo, спасибо большое!

    May 13, 2016

    This is super helpful, thank you!

    May 15, 2016


    May 23, 2016

    Большое спасибо! Этот руководство очень полезный! (I hope I got all of this right!)

    I'm so glad that these demonstratives only have one declension for plurals, unlike, say, Polish, which has something like 4 on top of the declensions of seven often irregularly declined (except feminine and feminine-ending nouns) cases (throw a vocative case in there) for the three genders.

    May 27, 2016

    Большое спасибо! Это руководство очень полезно! (I hope I got all of this right!)

    May 27, 2016

    Да, всё правильно!

    May 27, 2016

    Thank you! I didn't examine all of my resources. :P

    May 27, 2016

    That clears it all up. Thanks!!!

    June 9, 2016

    It is helpful - I always get this wrong in lessons and end up trying to use ето for everything

    June 11, 2016

    Ето - it is wrong. Это - it is right!

    June 11, 2016

    Oh, yeah sorry.

    June 11, 2016

    I'm confused, so how do you say "is this apple yours/ are these apples yours"?

    June 23, 2016

    Это яблоко твоё? Эти яблоки твои?

    June 23, 2016

    This post clear everything! thank you a lot!

    July 9, 2016

    Спасибо! That was a welcome, wonderful and much needed explanation.

    July 12, 2016

    Brilliant explanation! Thanks!

    August 11, 2016

    Thank you for this it is helping me understand Russian better.

    October 16, 2016

    wow I never realized there were so many

    October 23, 2016

    [deactivated user]

      that was awesome thank you

      November 19, 2016

      Молодец! Спасибо!

      November 26, 2016

      this helps a lot!

      December 4, 2016


      December 5, 2016

      This is exactly what I've been looking for. Thanks a million!

      December 13, 2016

      It seems like a good way of understand the distinction between the demonstrative pronoun and the demonstrative adjective is to describe a neutral object that can take the form of any object (not considering anything in particular):

      это собака (this neutral object that happens to be a dog)

      Whereas the adjective-form describes something unique or in particular:

      эта тетрадь (this exact notebook)

      December 23, 2016

      Oh yes, you helped me a lot. Thank you so much

      January 26, 2017


      January 28, 2017

      great information, thanks

      February 5, 2017

      How do you insert pictures in articles, like that table at the end?

      February 21, 2017

      [deactivated user]

        You can use the Markdown syntax for images:

        ![fallback text](image URL)

        The fallback text will be used when the reader can't see the image. For example, when your image was deleted, when a reader’s internet connection is too slow and the image wasn’t loaded, or when a reader uses a screen-reader. It’s advised to include fallback text for all the images you use, because otherwise you make the Internet less welcoming for many people: people will know they are missing something, but won’t know what exactly.

        The image URL should start with https:// or http:// or //. If you want to use a file from your computer, you need upload it on some server in the internet, and then use the URL of that image. olimo used Dropbox to upload the image. I personally tend to use When writing the image URL, make sure you reference the image directly, and not the page with that image. I.e. your Image URL should normally end in .jpg, .jpeg, .png, or .gif, but not in .html.

        For example, to show the Wikipedia logo, you can use the following:

        ![Russian Wikipedia logo](

        And it will be displayed this way:

        Russian Wikipedia logo

        February 21, 2017

        thank you picture in many languages

        February 21, 2017

        This is excellent and informative, and super helpful. Thank you!

        March 4, 2017

        THANK YOU!! I'm just starting Russian and this helps me alot :3

        March 7, 2017

        You are like an angel who cleared my confusion when i needed it the most! Thank you for this perfect guide!

        April 4, 2017

        Thank you. This really helped me a lot especially that i was confused! 2 thumbs up!

        April 4, 2017

        The link to the image for the declension of это table is broken. The image doesn't appear to be there any more or the site no longer exists. Does anyone have a different link to the same image>

        April 6, 2017

        This explains it so well, thank you!

        April 7, 2017

        Very good guide, Tks!

        April 17, 2017

        thanks a lot for so useful suggestions!:)

        April 21, 2017

        What happened to the table? I was hoping to figure out what этой is...I assume it's prepositional feminine, based upon the context - ?

        April 24, 2017

        Sorry, this is something in Dropbox, and I can't insert it as a picture anymore. For now, I inserted a hyperlink.

        April 25, 2017

        Cool. I can know more about Russian !!!!

        May 4, 2017

        Thank you!! :D

        June 25, 2017

        Good Thank you

        August 5, 2017


        August 16, 2017

        Большое спасибо

        October 7, 2017

        sweet, thanks so much!

        November 2, 2017

        Thanks. I was very confused.

        November 19, 2017

        Very Good !

        December 19, 2017

        thank you for information

        January 1, 2018

        Very easy to understand if you understand some spanish grammar as well

        January 5, 2018

        `Thanks for this.

        January 10, 2018


        January 29, 2018

        If эти is for Plural Nouns, why did you say "Это книги." ? is that a typo or correct?

        April 23, 2018

        «это книги» — "This is books" (What's this? This is books!)

        «эти книги» — "these books".

        April 1, 2019

        Спасибо большое. Мне нравится твоё комментарии.

        July 29, 2018

        spasibo tavorisch!

        August 31, 2018

        Very helpful! Спасибо!

        October 5, 2018

        What would этом mean?

        October 6, 2018

        It's Prepostional from «этот» or «это»

        April 1, 2019

        This is super-helpful. I can see that. Yet I still struggle because I do not understand the terms 'Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Instrumental and Prepostional. Whenever I have tried to find an explanation, I find these terms are described with the use of other terms I am equally unfamiliar with. Within an arena of native English speakers, English has always been my 'strong subject' and I have consistently been 'above average' but I begin to suspect it is more 'instinct' than learning. Much as a piano player can be taught with great skill and exactitude while a few others simply sit, play and amaze us with unlearned ability. I am hoping that as I plod through, since I am bamboozled by English grammatical terms, I might find my instinct for русский язык simply kicks in. In the meantime, I read many of your explanations, Olimo, and appreciate them very much. It is my hope that I shall, by some marvellous process of linguistic osmosis, eventually chock up some authentic ability. This will not be without the kindness demonstrated by yourself and others who take the time to explain and share your skills with those of us who require a lot of coaching! Please accept this as a sincere expression of gratitude!

        October 21, 2018

        Thank you very much. it is really helpful for me.

        November 19, 2018

        Great post. Very helpful explanation. Очень спасибо

        November 30, 2018

        Just starting Russian and getting used to the vowel sounds. It's interesting that о sometimes sounds like а, always in это. I also notice that Я can be pronounced ya or more like ye. It will take some getting used to.

        December 10, 2018

        It depends on the accent. If the o has accent it must be read o, otherwise it sounds like a. Like in молоко (accent is on the final o, so it's read as malakó)

        December 10, 2018

        Thanks for the explanation!

        December 11, 2018

        But in some Russian dialects "o" is pronounced as "o":

        December 12, 2018

        How do you tell what is masculine and feminine?

        December 10, 2018

        By word endings...

        April 1, 2019

        That was so helpful.
        благодарю вас

        December 11, 2018

        Thanks for the guide it really helped! Спасибо за руководство, это действительно помогло!

        December 18, 2018

        благодарю вас

        January 3, 2019

        Thank you this is very helpful. Last use unexplained remains this one : why is “чей это телефон?» and not «чей этот телефон?»? It doesn’t fit into the rule and just drives me crazy, all Russian just tell me « it’s like that » :) Thanks!

        January 29, 2019

        Thank yoi

        February 8, 2019

        Thank you so much for this it's really useful

        February 25, 2019
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