Multiple references classify каждый, другой, and иной, etc. as determinative pronouns (e.g. here, here)

However, these words seem to function as typical adjectives as in: Я читал каждую книгу. While they don't describe specific attributes of the noun being modified, they nonetheless seem to modify the noun rather than standing in for a noun as pronouns do. I realize the distinction might be pedantic but I wonder if I'm missing something.

  • 3
    This was the question of the year, asked in the 6th grade on Russian lesson in a class of native speakers. Mar 29, 2016 at 3:31

4 Answers 4


Adjectives are describing words which give more information about the object. The determinative adjectives point to the reference of the noun in the context not describing its quality. The determinative adjectives (определительные местоимения) are каждый, весь, всякий, сам, самый, любой, иной, другой.

Я хожу в школу каждый день. Приходи в любой день. Иные берега манят нас.

The same words can serve as determinative pronouns. They are not followed by objects.

Каждый знает, что всякое может случиться в походе. Быть может, это все пустое, обман неопытной души, а суждено совсем иное( А.Пушкин).

  • Thank you very much. This is the point that many online references fail to make: "The same words can serve as determinative pronouns. They are not followed by objects." Most (including the ones I linked) try to illustrate their point by using the word in an adjectival context. Mar 29, 2016 at 9:14

I think it's usually an adjective but sometimes can be used as a pronoun.

Каждый can sometimes be used to mean каждый человек:

  • Каждый делает свой выбор
  • Каждый должен знать свои права

I think this is a rarer form, used mostly when you want to be very concise, for instance in proverbs and sayings.

Probably the same is true for иной and другой, although it's harder to think of sample sentences.

  • This usage is not rare at all, but quite common, in any kind of speech.
    – Lara
    Mar 29, 2016 at 8:22

There is no such thing as "typical pronoun". Standing for noun is the most common pronoun function, but full list of functions is pretty huge.


For example, Reciprocal pronoun is nothing like noun. It's more like preposition. And yes, determinative pronouns are grammatically similar to adjectives in Russian, the difference is in semantics.


The root of confusion lies in the fact that the two words, 'pronoun' and 'местоимение', although usually deemed translations of each other, have different meanings.

Pronoun literally means 'instead of a noun'. Pronouns substitute nouns (or noun phrases).

Местоимение means 'вместо имени'. Now, there are several parts of speech called имя: имя существительное (noun), имя прилагательное (adjective), имя числительное (numeral). For every of these parts of speech there's a class of местоимения which may serve as a placeholder (and actually for adverbs as well).

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