How to Indicate Possession: I have in Russian

Posted on March 13th, 2013

I hope you had a great productive week learning Russian. Time to learn some more Russian grammar rules! In today’s video lesson, I will teach you how to say that you have something in Russian.

Here is a formula to help you remember how to indicate possession:
У + the possessor in the genitive case + есть (present form of verb быть)+ object possessed in the nominative case

For example:
У моего брата есть машина.
My brother has a dog.

У моей подруги Тани есть собака.
My friend Tanya has a dog.

How to Say “I don’t Have” something in Russian

Here is the formula you can use to deny possession in Russian:
У the possessor in the genitive case + нет + object possessed in the nominative case

A couple of examples:

У моего брата нет машины.
My brother doesn’t have a car.

У моей подруги Тани нет собаки.
My friend Tanya doesn’t have a dog.

Notice that you don’t need to use verb “есть” in this case.

Omitting Verb Eсть

The word есть is not always necessary. In some cases you can omit word  есть, especially when there is an adjective in the sentence.

For example:

У меня нет времени. (denying possession)
У него серые глаза. (adjective in the sentence)
У вас просроченный паспорт. (adjective in the sentence)

Pronouns in the Genitive Case

You can also use pronouns to indicate the possessor:
У меня есть [oo mee-NYA YEST’] I have
У меня есть яблоко. I have an apple.

У нас есть [oo nas YEST’] we have
У нас много работы. We have a lot of work.

У тебя есть [oo tee-BYA YEST’] you have
У тебя есть собака. You have a dog.

У вас есть [oo VAS YEST’] you have
У вас есть часы. You have a watch.

У него есть [oo nee-VO YEST’] he has
У него есть сестра.
He has a sister.

У неё есть [oo nee-YO YEST’] she has
У неё есть брат she has a brother.

У них есть [oo NEEH YEST’] they have
У них есть дача. They have dacha.

Asking Questions and Giving Answers

You’ll be happy to hear that the structure of the sentence doesn’t change very much when forming a question and you can use the same formula:

У + the possessor in the genitive case + есть + possessed object in the nominative case
У тебя есть ключи?

As you know, the words can be swapped in a Russian sentence and the meaning of the sentence will stay the same.
For example:
Есть у тебя ключи?
Ключи у тебя есть?

And a few more examples of the questions and answers:

– У тебя есть собака?
– Да, у меня есть собака.

Or you can also say:
– Да.

Denying possession:

– У тебя есть собака?
– Нет, у меня нет собаки.

Or you can also say:
– Нет.

Here is another example:

– У вас есть часы?
– Да, у меня есть часы.
– Нет, у меня нет часов.

– У вас есть часы?

– Да.
– Нет.

Now it’s your turn to tell me what you have in Russian. You can start your sentence with У меня есть…

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Have fun learning Russian!


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The courses of Russian as a foreign language with Russian4real take place online via Skype. The teacher works with adults individually since he is convinced that each person must receive maximum time for practice and professional attention while learning a foreign language.