Consider the following sentence

Купи нам какого-нибудь хлеба.

I would have thought to express it as "Купи нам какой-нибудь хлеба", reasoning that "Купи нам какой-нибудь" is a perfectly sound sentence with "какой-нибудь" being the object of купи, and that хлеба could be thought of as a sort of subordinate to какой-нибудь. However, I've been told that this is incorrect.

Is the reasoning given above wrong because какой-нибудь is an adjective, and therefore must have the same case as хлеба? In the same vein, does какой-нибудь ever act like an object?

  • Just an adjective.
    – SAH
    Dec 15, 2016 at 7:35

2 Answers 2


Купи какой‐нибудь хлеб. Купи какого-нибудь хлеба.

You can use either accusative or genitive in this sentence The meaning is slightly different. The accusative signifies the item itself or the whole item. The genitive means "some," "a little". Some nouns have the special form of genitive which is called the partitive. Хлеб doesn't have it. You can see the partitive in action when you hear "сахару" for example. There are three possible variants:

Хочешь сахар? - accusative. It refers to a substance as a class. Соли нет, хочешь сахар?

Хочешь сахара? - genitive. One of the multiple functions of genitive is to refer to some amount of a substance: "стакан воды", "ложка сахара".

Хочешь сахару? - partitive. It's the special form of genitive to refer to some amount of a substance: "ложка сахару".

Какой‐нибудь is a pronoun in Russian (terminology is different in Russian and in English ) and is used as a determiner to a noun хлеб, so it should be declined какого-нибудь хлеба (used attributively) Купи хлеба would mean "some bread", when you add a pronoun, you mean "a sort", "a kind". It is not used as a noun or its substitution.We use что‐нибудь in that case. In a conversation the noun хлеб can be left out

Какой хлеб/какого хлеба купить? – Да купи какой‐нибудь, не важно.


Какой-нибудь is a pronoun , not adjective.

You can say:

Купи нам какой-нибудь хлеб. "Buy us any bread"


Купи нам какой-нибудь. "Buy us any"

if from the context it is clear you mean bread.

  • So what's the difference between what you've written and "Купи нам какого-нибудь хлеба."?
    – DanielSank
    Nov 28, 2016 at 1:15
  • @DanielSank case Accusative vs. Genitive.
    – Anixx
    Nov 28, 2016 at 1:18
  • Heh, I know that much, but why would I use one version versus the other?
    – DanielSank
    Nov 28, 2016 at 1:19
  • @DanielSank "Купи нам какой-нибудь хлеб" means "buy us any bread" (any kind), "Купи нам какого-нибудь хлеба." means "buy us some of bread" or "a little of bread" (any amount, not necessarily a whole piece).
    – Anixx
    Nov 28, 2016 at 1:22
  • "Buy us some of bread" doesn't sound natural at all to me, so I'm not sure what you mean there. "Buy us a little bread" makes sense and I see the difference between that and "Buy us any kind of bread".
    – DanielSank
    Nov 28, 2016 at 1:23

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