I`m a newbie and I`m studying the rules for possession. As I have got the у preposition calls, the personal pronoun in genitive, but then the noun in nominative. Ex. У меня есть книга.

But why in this sentence друг is in genitive plural?

Анастасия изучает литературу в университете в Москве, у нее там много друзей;

Can you help me? Thanks.

Edit: the two phrases upon here are in my textbook, I did not made them up. I`m just trying to figure out why in the first with у + genitive + nominative and the in the second у + genitive + genitive.

Edit 2: just found this other sentence:

У меня новый русско-итальянский словарь

so nominative case after genitive personal pronouns. I`m so confused right now. First a nominative with книга, then a genitive with друзей and then a nominative again.

  • Много кого/чего? Много друзей, много книг.
    – Abakan
    Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 8:27
  • 4
    Why do you use Genitive in "a lot of friends"?
    – Anixx
    Commented Jan 1, 2016 at 11:21
  • I did not made that phrase up, I just copied from my textbook. thanks
    – mario
    Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 8:20

5 Answers 5


I learned it like this way:


  • if things are countable than you take genetiv plural
  • if not countable than genetiv singular

So because the friends are countable you have to use the genitiv plural case here. Hope that helps you too!


Think of it like this:

What do I have? --> У меня есть книги
How many books do I have? --> У меня есть много книг

That is here the Genitive case is mostly about the quantity, not just possession.

UPD. On the matter У меня [есть] что-то vs. Я имею что-то, the former is more preferable way to express possessive in Russian. Technically it's something like "The thing is near to me" (which is why Genitive is used), but you've got just to remember this.


Word много and any other word meaning quantity need an object in the genitive case. Your examples can be expanded:

У меня есть книга. Nominative
У меня [есть] много книг. Genitive
У меня три книги. Genitive
У меня есть друг. Nomenative
У меня [есть] много друзей. Genitive
У меня [есть] куча друзей. Genitive
У меня [есть] новый русско-итальянский словарь. Nominative
У меня [есть] два русско-итальянских словаря. Genitive
У меня [есть] несколько русско-итальянских словарей. Genitive


"To have __" is "У меня/тебя/нас/них __", with the blank in nominative.

To fill in the blank you can say:

1) "У меня друг." I have a friend - emphasis on friend.

2) "У меня есть новый словарь." I do have a new dictionary - emphasis on "do have".

3) "У меня много друзей." I have many friends - emphasis on plural ("many").

Много always takes genitive.


The number of cases in modern Russian is disputable (some researchers say that there are over 20 of them), but the thing is that a meaning of Genitive is not unified.

Hence, when you use it in phrases like I have, than it is a Genitive-with-a-preposition (and this is the case to be used with the majority of Russian prepositions).

When you count things (and Slavic counting can be quite a drama to beginners :-) ) you use it as a Genitive-For-Quantifucation (e.g. when counting animate/inanimate objects up to four items, or sayning that there many/much/little/some/few objects, or making phrases like 'a glass of vodka', where of+noun stands for a Russian noun in Genitive).

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