Russian For Everyone. Learn Russian Language Online
Self study guide for elementary level learners of Russian and for intermediate level students who wish to review basic grammar and vocabulary

Grammar Lesson 26

Denoting an Indirect Object. Dative Case of Nouns. Uses and forms. Dative Case of Personal Pronouns

Russian Grammar Lessons. Unit 6
Grammar Lesson 22
Expressing Possession: Genitive Case of Nouns (introduction). Uses and Singular forms. Question Чей? - Whose?
Grammar Lesson 23
Genitive Case of Adjectives, Possessive and Demonstrative Pronouns
Grammar Lesson 24
Indicating Having And Not Having Something. Genitive Case of Personal Pronouns
Phrasebook Topic 17
Check Yourself Quiz 14
Check what you have learned from Grammar Lessons 22-24 and Phrasebook Topics 17 with this 15 minute quiz.
Grammar Lesson 25
Verbs of Going (introduction). Going by foot vs. going by vehicle. Saying "Let's go!". Asking Where: Где? vs. Куда?
Grammar Lesson 26
Denoting an Indirect Object. Dative Case of Nouns. Uses and forms. Dative Case of Personal Pronouns
Grammar Lesson 27
Dative Case of Adjectives, Possessive and Demonstrative Pronouns
Check Yourself Quiz 15
Check what you have learned from Grammar Lessons 25-27 and Phrasebook Topic 17 with this 15 minute quiz.
Test 6
Check what you have learned from Grammar Lessons 22-27 and Phrasebook Topic 17.

 Грамматика                           Denoting an Indirect Object. The Dative Case 

1. Uses of the Dative Case. Introduction 

The Dative Case is used to indicate a receiver of the action of a verb. It is used for indirect objects. An indirect object is a person to whom or for whom an action is done. Study the following example:

1. Я хочу купить Тане книгу.

1. I want to buy Tanya a book.

The book, the thing being given, is the direct object; it is in the Accusative (answers the question what?). Tanya, the person for whom the book is intended, is the indirect object (the word Tanya is in the Dative case).

In English, the indirect object answers the two-word question to whom? or for whom? asked after the verb. More examples:

2. Я пишу письмо другу.

2. I am writing my friend a letter.

3. Она купила подарок сестре.

3. She bought her sister a gift.

Note that in the English sentences above the words "to" or "for" do not appear. But we can rewrite these sentences inserting to and for without changing their meaning. Compare: 
1. I want to buy a book for Tanya.
2. I am writing a letter to my friend.
3. She bought a gift for her sister.
As the examples above show, the indirect objects can be expressed in two different ways in English: 
  • with the indirect object before the direct object:
  •                                                                                 I want to buy Tanya a book;

  • with the indirect object after the direct object as part of a prepositional phrase with the preposition to or for :
  •                                                                                 I want to buy a book for Tanya.

In Russian, when a sentence has both a direct object and an indirect object their order is not fixed. Case endings enable us to distinguish the direct object from the indirect object. Compare and analyze two nouns used in the following sentence:
Я хочу купить Тане книгу.



Я пишу письмо Ивану.

Тане (Dat. fem. sing. noun -> indirect object)

книгу (Acc. fem. sing. noun -> direct object)


письмо (Acc. neut. sing. noun -> direct object)

Ивану (Dat. masc. sing. noun -> indirect object)

  • Do not confuse Acc. fem. sing. ending -у (книгу) with Dat. masc. sing. ending (Ивану, другу). Always keep in mind the gender of a noun which is shown in the Nominative case: (книга - feminine; Иван, друг - masculine).
  • Dative case endings of nouns are introduced in the chart below.
The Dative Case is also used to designate the indirect object of certain intransitive verbs (i.e. verbs which do not take a direct object) and for objects of some prepositions. These uses will be discussed latter on.
2. The Dative Case of Nouns (Formation of Singular and Plural Forms)
The Dative case of nouns is formed from the Nominative case. Study the formation of the Dative Case of nouns:

Hard stem nouns

Nominative -> Dative

Soft stem nouns

Nominative -> Dative

Masculine and Neuter 

Иван -> Ивану

Игорь -> Игорю

музей -> музею

кресло -> креслу

море -> морю

здание -> зданию

Feminine inanimate

сестра -> сестре

песня -> песне

история -> истории


Иваны -> Иванам

Игори -> Игорям

музеи -> музеям

 кресла -> креслам

здания -> зданиям

моря -> морям

 сёстры -> сестрам

песня -> песням

история -> историям

Dative case endings:      -у (-ю); -е,-и; -ам (-ям)


  • The Dative case endings for masculine and neuter nouns are (hard stem) and (soft stem).
  • The Dative case endings for feminine nouns are (hard stem and soft stems) and (soft stem nouns in -ия).
  • If a feminine noun stem ends in ь (soft sign) the Dative singular ending is (тетрадь -> тетради).
  • The Dative case endings for plural nouns are -ам (hard stem), and -ям (soft stem).
3. The Dative Case of Personal Pronouns
All personal pronouns change their form when used in the Dative case. Memorize the Dative case of personal pronouns:
 Nominative: Кто? Что?  Dative: Кому? Чему?


 он, она, оно






he, it, she,






 ему, ей




 for/to me

 for/to you

 for/to him, her

 for/to us

 for/to you

 for/to them

Study the following examples. Click on each statement to listen, then say it. 

1. Папа купил мне машину.

1. Dad bought me a car.

2. Мы купили тебе подарок.

2. We bought you a gift.

3. Иван пишет ей письмо.

3. Ivan is writing her a letter.

4. Бабушка читала нам сказки.

4. Grandma used to read us fairy tales.

5. Что говорил вам преподаватель?

5. What did the teacher tell you?

6. Я купила им русские книги.

6. I bought them Russian books.

Reading   Чтение
Read the following text aloud, then answer the questions. Use personal pronouns in the Dative case in your answers (ему, ей, etc).


Игорь и Ира близнецы. Вчера у них был день рождения. Родители подарили сыну новый компьютер, а дочке они подарили велосипед. Друзья подарили Игорю книги и диски, а Ире — цветы и фотоальбом. Бабушка купила внуку модные джинсы, а внучке она купила красивую белую кофту.


Questions - Вопросы

1. Что подарили родители сыну?

2. Что подарили родители дочке?

3. Что подарили друзья Игорю?

4. Что подарили друзья Ире?

5. Что подарила внукам бабушка?



Exercises  Упражнения
Form the Dative case of nouns
Form  the Dative Case of Personal pronouns

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