I know that technically, the prepositional (предложный) case is only used for objects of four prepositions: в (in), на (on), при (in presence of / at time of), and по (upon). However, can the prepositions be elided, for example, in dialog?

- О ком вы говорили?
- Маше.

To my non-native ear this sounds strange, but I wonder what native speakers would say. Can you provide good, natural-sounding examples where the prepositional case is used without a preposition?

2 Answers 2


No, as the name suggests, the modern prepositional case used with prepositions always. That wasn't so in old times, when there was a locative case, not a prepositional one. That is, all "natural-sounding" examples are about 500-900 years old.

Солнце ему тъмою путь заступаше;
нощь стонущи ему грозою птичь убуди, свистъ звѣринъ въ стазби;
дивъ кличетъ връху древа... (i.e. at the top of the tree)

What still remains in modern language is considered to be adverbs, like

Я возвёл очи горе́ --> I looked at the sky

Here горе́ actually means to the hill / mountain in a prepositionless form of locative case, but from the point of view of modern grammar it's an adverb.

  • The text you quoted is not Russian language (even not old Russian).
    – Anixx
    Oct 15, 2015 at 22:41
  • 1
    @Anixx - That's from The Tale of Igor's Campaign. What language do you think it was written in?
    – Yellow Sky
    Oct 17, 2015 at 11:14

This short-form answer (actually, dative case without additional context) to a question in prepositional case is impossible, it should be "О Маше". However, it is possible to answer indirectly - with an extended sentence where the subject in question is mentioned in any other case (dative here).

- О ком вы говорили?

- Маше отдавали должное - всё никак забыть её (выходку) не можем.

Sometimes a short indirect answer without a preposition can substitute for the subject meant in prepositional case:

- На чём поедешь, на телеге или в карете?

- Верхом (= на лошади, на ишаке).

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