From what I understand, чем is used for the instrumental case and чём is for the prepositional case. I have listened to an audio recording of both and they were pronounced the same way. Is that true? I thought they were pronounced chyem and chyom respectively.

No, I do not have access to a native speaker, nor will I ever have access, so please don't ask. Thank you.

  • Can you provide the text that was recoded? I cannot imagine them being pronounced the same way; maybe it was чем/чём in both of the cases in the text? Feb 27, 2016 at 19:51
  • @AntonPoznyakovskiy Hopefully no one shames me for this, but I listened to google translate. Not a good source, but just about the only one I have. I entered "with what" in hopes it would use the correct form, but it most likely did not. Wasn't sure though.
    – casey
    Feb 27, 2016 at 19:59
  • 1
    We have a number of posts about letter Ё here: russian.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/… I think you might find them useful.
    – Artemix
    Feb 29, 2016 at 12:01
  • @Artemix Yes I was confused by the audio clips I heard and their being the same. I think it was because it thought I was typing чём without the dots above the е. Thanks for the reply!
    – casey
    Feb 29, 2016 at 12:06

2 Answers 2


For some reason, Google translate pronounces an isolated чем or с чем (with е, not ё) as чём. This is definitely incorrect. The phrase "Лучше поздно, чем никогда", however, is pronounced correctly.

  • Thanks for clearing that up. I always thought twice about using GT, but now I will think thrice haha.
    – casey
    Feb 27, 2016 at 20:16

oh, there is a problem with a letter 'ё' somebody trys to erase that letter from russian alphabet and history, and there was a rumor about try to make any law to change ё on е. but anyway, this is a different sounds, and letters too. чем and чём is two diffent words. о чём ты говоришь? what do you talking about? a subject чем ты это докажешь? how will you prove that? a property

  • Yeah I tried to enter in the translate "с чем" so that it would see I'm using the instrumental and not prepositional, but it didn't recognize it :/
    – casey
    Feb 28, 2016 at 21:09
  • с чем - is : with what? and you can't use " с чём ", because of difference in sounds : е sounds like " и - е "
    – user6861
    Feb 28, 2016 at 21:20
  • yes that's why I tried to use "с" was to make it recognize the case :)
    – casey
    Feb 28, 2016 at 21:22
  • с чем - is : with what? and you can't use " с чём ", because of difference in sounds : е is sounds like " и - е " , and ё is sounds like " й - о ". and also google speaker system displays these sounds differently, in 1st case almoust right, in 2nd case totally incorrect ( it's when you hear them as the same ), and it depends on what order words will appear, with ё first, or with е first. so should try it by yourself to see.
    – user6861
    Feb 28, 2016 at 21:30
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    and yes - you've made it right! smart move! now I see))
    – user6861
    Feb 28, 2016 at 21:41

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