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они

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Russian

Pronunciation

  • IPA: [ʌ'nʲi]

Pronoun

они (oní)

  1. third-person plural pronoun: they.

Declension

masc. sg. fem. sg. neut. sg. plural
nominative он она́ оно́ они́
genitive его́ её его́ их
dative ему́ ей ему́ им
accusative его́ её его́ их
instrumental им е́ю, ей им и́ми
prepositional о нём о не́й о нём о ни́х
N.B.— Whenever a preposition stands immediately before any of the oblique cases of the third-person pronoun (singular or plural) and directly governs it, then an н- must be prefixed to the pronoun: от неё (ot nejó, from her), на нём (na njom, on him), у них (u nikh, they have), к нему (k nemú, to him), с нею (s néju, with her).
The explanation for the н-prothesis is that, originally, some Russian prepositions ended in the letter -н: сън (sŭn, “with”...cf. Greek σύν, Latin cum, English on, in). Eventually, the final н of these prepositions migrated across to the pronoun, so that сън ими became modern с ними, and then this was extended to include all prepositions when governing any third-person pronoun.
Note that if the preposition does not directly govern его/её/их (i.e., when they are possessive pronouns), then н- is not inserted: у его брата (u jevó bráta, at his brother’s), о её матери (o jejó máteri, about her mother), в их комнате (v jikh kómnate, in their room).

Related terms

See also

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