Notes from Schaum’s Russian Grammar: Pronouns

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Russian pronouns are tough.

Take The Three Musketeers, for example. A simple phrase in English requires some serious declension in Russia, including two forms of the same pronoun.

English: One for all and all for one.

Russian: Один за всех и все за одного.

Just like nouns and adjectives, Russian pronouns need to be declined. I’m just starting to wrap my head about the intricacies of verb conjugation…. but declining stuff? I have a looong way to go.

So much red pen! 😀

This chapter took nine months to get through and I desperately wish I had photocopied it to do a second time in the future. There was a solid mini review of pronouns in every possible case: grammar table, example sentences, exercises. I’m still digesting a lot of the examples but in the meantime, here are some of the lessons that stood out:


Pay attention to the stress in самом here: Она живёт в самом центре города. vs Она живёт в самом центре города. (She lives in the very center of the city. vs She lives in the city center itself. ) One is actually a form of самый, the other is the emphatic pronoun сам.


I knew about you and I (мы с тобой) but didn’t realize it happens with names too. My version of Sasha and Natasha was always Саша и Наташа but the textbook offers Саша с Наташeй.


Она очень хороша собою. = She’s very good-looking.


Something I’d never considered: кто is used for animals.

“А кто это?” Это мой кот. Он очень устал.


Я кого-то спросил. = I asked someone. (A specific person.)

то = used in present/past tense statements unless the action is repeated or habitual, rarely used in future tenses.

Я кого-нибудь спрошу. = I will ask someone. (Don’t know who I will ask.)

нибудь = used in questions, after commands, in future statements, and with repeated actions in the present tense.


One of my big pronoun challenges is recognizing when to use тобой vs тебе. I still don’t get it after this chapter. Are these forms just fixed to certain verbs?

Я любуюсь тобой. = I admire you. Я довольна тобой. = I’m pleased with you.

Я тебе люблю. = I love you. Я тебе горжусь. = I’m proud of you.


Verbs that imply “each other” like обниматься (hug), целоваться (kiss), встретиться (meet), don’t actually need the pronoun друг друга (each other). It’s assumed in the reflexive -ся ending of the verb.

Они всегда обнимаются. = They always give each other a hug.


According to the textbook, кто is always masculine. Even if you ask a bunch of girls a question, кто should be followed by a masculine form.

Example from the text: Кто готов выйти замуж? Who is ready to get married? (Not Кто готова выйти замуж?)

However, I did a Google search and found things like Кто готова рожать каждый год? Кто готова стать моей женой? When I asked my husband, he agreed with the book: always Кто готов?, never Кто готова?


Unlike in English, reported speech in Russian gets a question mark.

Он меня спросил, кто эта девушка? = He asked me who that girl was.


Весь/вся is the singular form of все.

Весь город = the whole city. Все города = all the cities.

Вся страна = the whole country. Все страны = all the countries.


The Russian language sure loves commas! Remember to always use them in phrases like these:

все, кто… = everyone who…

те, кто… = those who…

любой, кто… = anyone who…


Useful: некто + name = a certain someone. Некто Варламов = a certain Varlamov.


Halfway through the textbook now: only prepositions, adjectives/adverbs, numbers/dates/times, and verbs left to go! 🙂 (In other words, I saved the toughest stuff for last.)

3 Responses

  1. J.T.
    | Reply

    Which edition of Schaum’s are you using?

    • Katherine
      | Reply

      It’s the very first edition. Are you working through the same textbook?

      • J.T.

        Nope, just curious! I currently don’t have a textbook.

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