Here is the sentence: "У меня есть друг, который имеет четырех сыновей и двух собак. Твоему другу повезло, мой брат имеет четырех сыновей и двух жен!".

After "имеет" all the numbers and words are in genitive plural, can you tell me why?

With "У меня есть" I use nominative case, but why with имеет is in genitive? Thank you very much!

  • 3
    It is accusative, not genitive. Иметь is a transitive verb, it has direct objects in the accusative case.
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 9:14
  • that makes perfect sense, thank you very much!
    – mario
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 9:24
  • can I ask you another thing? In this sentence: Какой вес этой большой рыбы? which case are этой большой рыбы? thanks
    – mario
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 9:27
  • 1
    @yellowsky: why not make it an answer?
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 10:08
  • 1
    By the way, the topic should be: "Why is the genitive case used in this sentence?" In English, you cannot change the order of words from subject-verb-object.
    – user31264
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 10:31

3 Answers 3


The verb имеет is transitive just like in English, German, etc., that is why what follows it are its direct objects and, naturally, they are in the Accusative case. In your example all the nouns are animate, and in Russian all the animate plural nouns (сыновей, собак, жен are plural and animate) have their Accusative case the same as their Genitive case, that is why you had mistaken it for the Genitive case.

As for У меня есть, what follows this expression is the subject of the expression, that is why it is in the Nominative case, you can easily see that in the past of future tense where the predicate verb быть (Present есть, Past был, Future буду) agrees in number with the subject:

Past Singular: У меня был друг.

Past Plural: У меня были друзья.

  • Specifically animate MASCULINE forms overlap for accusative and genitive in both singular and plural. For feminine nouns the overlap is only in the plural.
    – MAA
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 20:33

Это винительный падеж (кого, что?): имеет (кого?) четырех сыновей и двух собак, имеет (кого?) четырех сыновей и двух жен.

Но правильно по-русски это пишется так: "У меня есть друг, у которого четыре сына и две собаки. Твоему другу повезло, у моего брата четыре сына и две жены!"

  • Maybe they are perverts.
    – user31264
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 10:44
  • Страшная семья извращенцев.) Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 12:14
  • 1
    "Я купил себе постоялый двор, женился и таперичка деточек имею, а он спалил свои деньги в печке." - Чехов. "Данные требования относятся к тем, кто имеет детей в возрасте до 16 лет." - израильский новостной сайт. "Если же какая вдовица имеет детей или внучат, то они прежде пусть учатся почитать свою семью и воздавать должное родителям, ибо сие угодно Богу. " - Первое послание к Тимофею, перевод 1982 года.
    – user31264
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 14:44
  • 1
    "Таперичка, вдовица, деточек имею, имеет детей или внучат" - здесь употреблены устарелые слова в сочетании с просторечными. К современному литературному русскому языку всё это не имеет никакого отношения. Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 18:59
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    это частично вводящий в заблуждение ответ. "Иметь сыновей" - менее разговорная, но вполне употребимая и не устаревшая форма. "Человек, который имеет" - да, так никто не говорит.
    – shabunc
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 10:57

The form "который имеет..." is not Russian. The correct form is: "У которого есть...", that implies Nominative case. For not repeating the same form twice in the same sentence, that is ugly, in one of them you should omit "есть".

Edit. You can use the form "который имеет..." in the technical description.

"имеет...", especially used with living object could and would be understood as slangish "has a sexual intercourse with...". So, your anecdote as you put it in Russian, is much more funny than you expected. But very improper.

  • It is interesting however that "имеет" is often used in English textbooks for Russian speakers to translate "have/has" verbs. There was a discussion about this word: russian.stackexchange.com/q/2509/551
    – Artemix
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 14:40
  • What do you mean with "it is not Russian"? It's either correct or it isn't
    – c.p.
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 20:09
  • @Artemix the verb иметь is not "often used" in English textbooks about Russian. Students are not really taught such a construction as an option. They focus on the у кого есть construction.
    – KCd
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 23:41
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    @c.p. In any language there are many forms that are syntactically correct, but stylistically are ugly or funny. As for this case, "имеет..." could and would be understood as slangish "has a sexual intercourse with...". ... Such unnatural construction being direct translation from one language into another, could be used only as intermediate stadium of translation, for analyzing the text.
    – Gangnus
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 9:29
  • Ладно, я теперь понял. +1
    – c.p.
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 10:25

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