The Reflective Pronouns in Russian Language

When we talk about an object which is reflected the subject, we use reflective pronouns. We use the reflective pronouns in everyday conversation. Therefore, if it’s taken out of the sentence, it will sound weird and confusing. The reflective pronoun in the Russian language is not complicated, as long as you already have an understanding of Russian cases. If you have forgotten some of grammar or you want to learn deeper about the Russian language, then you are in right place. First, if you are beginners in learning Russian, you can find basic knowledge about Russian language in How to Learn Russian for Beginners

A reflective pronoun ‘Себя’

In the Russian language, a reflective pronoun ‘self’ is expressed by a word “Себя”. This word can be used to describe the first, the second, or the third person. “Себя” can means myself, yourself, herself, himself, ourselves, itself, yourselves, or themselves.

How to form a reflective pronoun “Себя” in the sentence?

There’s a simple formula to use Себя in five of the six Russian cases.


[tr][th]Russian Cases[/th] [th]Pronoun[/th][/tr]

[tr][td]Genitive[/td] [td]Себя[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]Dative[/td] [td]Себе[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]Accusative[/td] [td]Себя[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]Instrumental[/td] [td]Собой[/td][/tr]

[tr][td]Prepositional[/td] [td](о) Себе[/td][/tr]


You can see the examples from each Russian case in the below:

Genitive case:

  • Она заперлась у себя в комнате.
    She has locked herself in the room.
  • Давид купил подарок для себя.
    David bought a present for himself.
  • Я ненавижу себя сейчас.
    I hate myself now.

Dative case:

  • Я купила себе журнал в книжном магазине
    I bought a magazine for myself in the bookstore.
  • Джон написает письмо себе.
    Jon writes a letter for himself.
  • Он подарил себе подарок
    He gave himself a present.

Accusative Case:

  • Ирина чувствует себя одинокой.
    Irina feels lonely.
  • Я люблю себя.
    I love myself.
  • Я видела себя по телевизору.
    I see myself on television.

Instrumental Case:

  • Мой друг часто разговаривает сам с собой.
    My friend often talks to himself.
  • Карина возьмёт с собой сумку.
    Karina will take a bag with her.
  • Я думаю, что он собой гордяится.
    I think he is proud of himself.

Prepositional Case:

  • Она не любит говорить о себе.
    She does not like to talk about herself.
  • Олег никогда думает только о себе.
    Oleg never thinks only about himself.
  • Риса уверена в себе.
    Risa does not have confidence in herself.

Is not hard as you think, right? For mastering the reflective pronoun, you just need to remember the formula and understand Russian cases which include genetive case, dative case, accusative case, instrumental case, and prepositional case. You can start practicing by making several sentences use the reflective pronoun from each case. The more you practice, the more you learn and understand how to use reflective pronouns. Good luck!

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