Accusative Case in Russian

The accusative case (винительный падеж) is used for the direct object of the sentence – the thing or person to which or whom a verb’s action is being performed. There are two important things to remember about the accusative case: animate objects in the masculine gender decline like the genitive case; and when using with prepositions of direction, the accusative implies motion.

Declining the accusative case

Animate vs. inanimate objects

For nouns and adjectives in the feminine and neuter genders, the accusative declines the same for animate and inanimate objects. However, for nouns and adjectives in the masculine gender, inanimate objects decline like the accusative case, and animate objects decline like the genitive case. For example:
  • Я люблю музыку. = I love music.
  • Я люблю маму. = I love my mother.
  • Я вижу море. = I see the sea.
  • Я люблю брата. = I love my brother.
  • Я вижу стол. = I see the table.

Uses of the accusative case

  • As the object of a transitive verb
    • Я люблю тебя. = I love you.
  • In certain impersonal constructions
    • Мальчик рвёт. = The boy feels sick.
    • Дом зажгло молнией. = The house was struck by lightning.
    • Мне жаль сестру. = I feel sorry for my sister.
  • Prepositions of direction where you're going somewhere
    • The prepositions “в” and “на” combined with the accusative case denote direction. For example:
      • Я еду в Москву в эти выходные. = I am going to Moscow this weekend
      • Я иду на пляж. = I am walking to the beach
    • This contrasts with the meaning of “в” and “на” combined with the dative case, which instead denotes location in, rather than direction to.
  • Duration in time
    • Все лето было жарко. = It was hot all summer
    • Всю зиму было холодно. = It was cold all winter
  • Duration in space
    • Всю дорогу они шли молча. =  They walked in silence all the way.
  • Repetition of actions
    • Он ходит в спортзал каждый день. = He goes to the gym every day.
    • Она видела это сотни раз. = She has seen this hundreds of times.
  • Used for weights, measures, and costs
    • Пиво стоит доллар. = A beer costs a dollar.

More info on the Russian cases

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