In a very simple clause such as "I am an actor," would 'actor' be in the accusative or does the accusative require an actual verb to be present?

Also, if it is in the accusative, could one write "Мы — актёров"?

  • 1
    Closest construct with an accusative would be я представляю собой актёра
    – Quassnoi
    Apr 3, 2016 at 19:50
  • 1
    could one write "Мы — актёров"? That would be understood as if there is some verb omitted: for example, "[that's] we [who have beaten] the actors [,not they have beaten us]".
    – Matt
    Apr 3, 2016 at 20:26
  • 1
    @Matt, so... it's the answer to the eternal question Кто кого? Apr 4, 2016 at 1:54
  • 2
    Even in English, the verb "to be" is not supposed to take the accusative. In colloquial English you would say "It's me" (for instance if you knock on a door and your friend on the other side asks "Who's there?"), however in excruciatingly correct formal English you are supposed to say "It is I". Almost no one ever says this, however. Even the most pedantic speakers of English can't bring themselves to say something that sounds so awkward. Apr 4, 2016 at 2:00
  • @ghostarbeiter: in Italian, they've finally given up with the whole lui/egli business, lui is now officially correct nominative.
    – Quassnoi
    Apr 4, 2016 at 8:50

2 Answers 2


Apart from following a preposition that governs the Accusative case (like в, на, за, etc. when they mean direction), the Accusative case nouns can only be used as direct objects to a transitive verb. Since "to be", быть, is not a transitive verb, it cannot have any direct objects, nothing in the Accusative case can follow it, in the Present tense the verb "to be", быть, is omitted in Russian, and the predicate is in the Nominative case. On the other hand, if "to be", быть, is used in the Past or Future tense, what follows it must be in the Instrumental case, that is why:

Present: Я – актёр. (Nominative) - 'I am an actor.'

Past: Я был актёром. (Instrumental) - 'I was an actor.'

Future: Я буду актёром. (Instrumental) - 'I will be an actor.'

  • +1 Добавьте в примеры мн. число.
    – V.V.
    Apr 3, 2016 at 19:16

In "Я - актёр." sentense "актёр" is in nominative case. So, in plural it will be "Мы - актёры". If there is a verb, for example, "являться", than you need instrumental case, i.e. "Я являюсь актёром" and "Мы являемся актёрами". Accusative is not used for this kind of sentences.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.