I know it is used as an interrogative pronoun ('Чей это дом?') - "whose", but I've also seen:

For example

-Turn one's attention to something
 обратить чье-либо внимание на что-либо

I understand that there it is linked to the direct object in gender, but i don't understand why it isn't using the possessive pronoun "своё"

Info on this is hard to find anywhere on the net! Any resources you could link would be nice too )

  • 2
    Do you mean "Обратить чьё-либо внимание на что-либо"? Full form would be more readable I think. Also could you please elaborate more. May 7, 2014 at 21:36

3 Answers 3


You are right, words "чей\чья\чьё\чьи" are interrogative pronouns similar to English "whose".

However, in the example that you gave, "чьё-л" is not the same as simply "чьё"; "чьё-л" is an abbreviation of "чьё-либо".

"чьё-либо" is an indefinite pronoun in neutral gender. It is formed by adding a postfix "либо" to the interrogative pronoun "чьё". It means "somebody's" and is used when the noun that it refers to is indefinite. For more explanation on pronouns with postfix либо, see this question.

The possessive "своё" should indeed be used in this example! The correct way to translate "to turn one's attention to smth" is "обратить своё внимание на что-либо". The use of "чьё-либо" is incorrect. "Обратить чьё-либо внимание на что-либо" means "to turn somebody's attention to something".


Words have gender in Russian. If you look for ownership so something having female gender you tell like чья, чья это шаль?, for male чей этот мяч for no gender чьё, чьё копьё? and finally for plural чьи, чьи эти прыгалки


I think the dictionary just explains how to use the word in the most general way. Thus, it tells you how to say it when one whould draw someone else's attention to something.

Obviously, you don't need this if the attention, err.. "belongs" to the same person who is trying to draw it. In this case you usually just omit "своё" altogether (though you may use it to sound more serious and formal): "Обратите также внимание на окна" = "Note the windows, too"/ "Pay attention to the windows as well"

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