I have been struggling with possession in my Russian lessons. Any clarification would help.

How do you show possession? [ex. You have, she has, they have, we have.] Like if I were to say, "I have apples." Which words do I include in the sentence.

September 2, 2019


I have an apple, literally (at/near me there is an Apple) у меня eстb яблоко)

From Tips and notes


English prefers to express ownership and “possession” with the verb “have”. In Russian “existence” is almost universally used instead (in the official/academic style «иметь» to have is OK to use). Use it like that:

У A есть X ~ by A there is an X → A has an X

The owner is in the Genitive case (more on that later) while X is formally the subject. For now we will only study the Genitive form for some pronouns.


Omit ”есть” if the existence of the object is obvious or not the point — very typical for describing traits or a number of objects (“Tom has a beautiful smile/large eyes”, “She has a very fat cat”). This also applies to expressing temporary states and illnesses (“She has a migraine”).

ИМЕ́ТЬ «име́ть» is a formal verb for "to have" used in business and official language (у кого-то есть что-то is neutral). However, there are a few set expressions where the verb can be used even in normal speech. «име́ть в виду́» = "to mean". When a person means something, it is what they wanted to say. «име́ть пра́во»/«не име́ть пра́ва» = "to have the/a right to"/ "to have no right to".

September 2, 2019

Thank you, that helps greatly!

September 3, 2019
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