My grammar book states (as quoted below) that ею is preferred to ей in the instrumental case for educated speech. Is it worth using this form in everyday speech?

Я слежу за нею.

Дракон летит над нею.

и тд

And as a side note, when should (can) I use тобою, моею and all the other similar forms?

(c) The alternative instrumental form of она́ (е́ю) is preferred to ей in educated speech and is particularly important in passive constructions, avoiding possible confusion with the dative:

Револю́цией перестро́йку мо́жно назва́ть в си́лу радика́льности поста́вленных е́ю це́лей (Izvestiya)
Restructuring can be called a revolution by virtue of the radical nature of the goals set by it

(Ей would imply a dative meaning: 'the goals set for it'.)

(2) The oblique cases of он, она́, оно́, они́ take initial н- when governed by a preposition: от него́ 'from him', к ней 'to her', с ни́ми 'with them' etc. However, some compound prepositions take a third-person pronoun without initial н-. They include:

(i) A number of derivative prepositions governing the dative: благадаря́ им 'thanks to them', ему́ навстре́чу 'to meet him', на зло ей ' to spite her'. Others include вопреки́ 'contrary to', напереко́р 'counter to', подо́бно 'similar to', согла́сно 'in accordance with'.

2 Answers 2


The rationale behind recommending ею is that ей is easily confused with the dative. Nothing else has this problem, and it's already gone when using the form with a preposition. The dative only governs two prepositions, к and по, and both are exclusive to it. So the ней forms following prepositions are never ambiguous (yes, it's also the prepositional case form, but no prepositions overlap with the instrumental there either), and there's no particular reason to use нею.

Generally, the instrumental in sounds archaic/poetic, and with literally everything except ею, they're not something a person would use nowadays unless they're deliberately trying to come across as either affected or facetious.

(I might just add that none of this applies to the 3rd-declension noun instrumental -ью, where the ю never goes away. That said, it is itself a contraction of the older -июмыслию, совестию — which is even more distinctly archaic than the -ою/-ею on 1st declension nouns, adjectives, and pronouns.)


No, it is not preferred for educated speech, the standard form is "ей". "Ею" sounds either uneducated(country-style) or archaic.

  • 1
    Well, he disagrees google.ru/imgres?imgurl=http://t2.gstatic.com/… It's what Nikolay mentioned. The instrumental looks like the dative in passive constructions, so that's were ею can be used. I just didn't get that at first when I read in the book.
    – VCH250
    Sep 15, 2016 at 19:52
  • @VCH250 it can be used in fringe cases (maybe, I never encountered this) but it looks strange, archaic and/or country-style.
    – Anixx
    Sep 15, 2016 at 19:56
  • That's literally the opposite of what every "educated speech" authority out there says. thedifference.ru/kak-pishetsya-pravilno-ej-ili-eyu I don't personally think there's anything wrong with ей unless there's true ambiguity, but actually claiming that ей is preferred is the same kind of uninformed (or revisionist) folk prescriptivism as the dot-your-Ёs movement. Sep 15, 2016 at 22:43
  • @Nikolay Ershov ею is just wrong if school education concerned.
    – Anixx
    Sep 15, 2016 at 23:31
  • @Anixx Any sources? Sep 16, 2016 at 0:01

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