Dative case

Всем привет!

Today we’ll talk about the dative case in Russian. The dative case is used to say who or what an object is addressed to. The questions in the dative case is: “to who/what? (Кому́? Чему́?)”. It’s commonly used when you are saying that you are giving a gift to someone, when you call someone over the phone (we say, “give them a call” in English, right?), or when you are sending a letter to a friend. It’s also used to say how you feel, and especially when you are saying that you like something. 

Here are the changes for the nouns.


Below are some nouns in their dative forms. If the nouns are in their dative forms, remember that it means “to ‘noun’”.

Example 1

Влади́мир (Vladimir; masc.)  Влади́миру (to Vladimir)

Алекса́ндр (Aleksandr; masc.)  Алекса́ндру (to Alexander)

брат (brother; masc.)  бра́ту (to brother)

Диа́на (Diana; fem. ) Диа́не (to Diana)

ба́бушка (grandma; fem.)  ба́бушке (to grandma)

сестра́ (sister; fem.)  сестре́ (to sister)

As I’ve written above, the dative case is mainly used to explain the action of giving. Let’s learn some verbs that would help us during this lesson.


Example 2

- Кому́ ты пи́шешь? (Who are you writing to?)

- Я пишу́ Диа́не. (I’m writing to Diana.)

- А кому́ Тимофе́й звони́т? (And to who is Timofey calling?)

- Анто́ну. (Anton)

Next, we’ll learn the dative personal pronouns. They are used quite often, so make sure you know them.

You can use these pronouns just like how we used them above. For example: Он пи́шит мне. (He is writing to me.)

The dative case is also used to express how you feel. We would also use the dative case when you want to say that you like something. If you’ve taken Spanish or other language courses that teach “I like it” as “to me it pleases” ("me gusta" in Spanish), then you would understand this. In Russian, it’s the same.

If not, here’s a quick explanation. In Russian, when we want to say “I like it”, we would say it as “to me it pleases”. That would be the literal translation, but when you hear it in a conversation, it simply means “I like it”.

The verb “нра́виться” is used when you want to say that someone likes something. We always use pronouns in their dative form when we use “нра́виться” (hint: to me it pleases).


The pattern goes as: Dative (person) + нра́виться + nominative (object that is pleasing)

Example 3

Мне нра́вится! - I like it! (lit. It’s pleasing to me!)

Мне нра́вится моро́женое. - I like ice cream (To me, ice cream is pleasing.)

Тебе́ нра́вится э́та пе́сня? - Do you like this song? (lit. To you, is this song pleasing?)

Ты мне нра́вишься. - I like you. (lit. To me, you are pleasing.)

Мне нра́вятся э́ти кни́ги. - I like these books. (lit. To me, these books are pleasing.)

Ему́ нра́вится Москва́. - He likes Moscow. (lit. To him, Moscow is pleasing.)

Vocab: моро́женое (ice cream; neuter), э́тот/э́та/э́то/э́ти (this/these), пе́сня (song; fem.), кни́ги (book; pl. of кни́га; fem.)

Notice that нра́виться is conjugated. It conjugates depending on the object that is pleasing the person. For example, look at “Мне нра́вится моро́женое”. “Моро́женое” is an object that would be in its 3rd person singular form, because it’s attempting to please the subject (I know, that sounds weird, but it literally means that the ice cream is doing the action of pleasing the subject).

If you’ve noticed… look at the very beginning of this post. I wrote “Всем приве́т!” which literally means, “To all, hello!” or just “Hey everyone!” "Всем" is the dative form of the word "все" (plural of весь) which means "all/everyone".

Now you know the basics of the dative case! If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

До свидания! :)