I encountered a sentence: Я был дома.. However, the sentence uses дома, the genitive form of a noun дом. But I cannot understand why the genitive is used in this case.

Specifically, why not say Я был дом.? Isn't it that the genitive is used in a sentence in which a negation occurs?

  • 1
    if you would use Я был дом it would have a meaning of I was a house, while Я был дома means I was at home. But why all this happens I cannot tell you definitely. The only thing I remember from the school is that дома in this case is (I don't know the correct terms for the next items in English) обстоятельство (a circumstance) which is второстепенный член предложения (a subordinate member of a sentence) and must be always in an indirect case. For me it is obvious and what I'm used to, but it is hard to explain from the scientific point.
    – d.k
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 2:09
  • @user907860 Thanks. But then why is a prepositional such as на or в not used? I cannot get when you use a prepositional and when you use only genitive... And what is "indirect case"?
    – Blaszard
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 2:14
  • the indirect case is any case, except nominative.
    – d.k
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 2:26
  • the word дом has at least two meanings, which are a house, a home, a building and home (in its broader sense, that is one's place of living, a place where one come from etc.). If you use a preposition на, в, перед, под, к etc. then the meaning will be the first one a house. I would not vouch for the 100% correctness, but I think that the only preposition which is used with дом in the second meaning (home in its broader sense) is из (from), when you say из дому. But if you say из дома (with A at the end) then the word has the first meaning (a house)
    – d.k
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 2:32
  • in your example Я был дома it has the second meaning, that is I was at home
    – d.k
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 2:35

4 Answers 4


There is no applied case for any grammatical case at all. It is adverb, at least, from our Grammarians.

Главным формальным признаком наречия как части речи является отсутствие словоизменения.

дома, там, вчера, вместе, вдвоем, ... — are all adverbs

For example, in the phrase:

   noun    adv
  встреча вечером
  дорога  домой

see more: http://rusgram.narod.ru/1645-1668.html


Дома - is the remnant form of the old Russian Local case(местный падеж) which has not been retained in modern Russian.

In modern Russian such forms are considered to be adverbs.

See: "Морфология русского литературного языка. Наречие. Форма и значение наречий" (№ 36/2004 газеты "Русский язык" издательского дома "Первое сентября") UPD По мнению Макса Фасмера, форма "дома" ("Я дома") является древней формой местного падежа. Реже эту форму определяют как форму Р.п., однако это маловероятно, так как историческим окончанием Р.п. слов склонения на -у, в которое входило слово "дом", было окончание -у (например, "из дому"). См.: Фасмер М. Этимологический словарь русского языка: в 4 т. Изд. 3-е. Т. 1 (А - Д). СПб., 1996. С. 526-527.

  • Местный падеж в данном случае "дому", а не "дома". Наречий от местного падежа хватает - вверху, внизу, долу, горе и т.п. Но здесь не тот случай.
    – Matt
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 8:22
  • user4419802, первоначально у местного падежа была беспредложная форма, которая сейчас полностью утрачена. См.: "Морфология русского литературного языка. Наречие. Форма и значение наречий" (№ 36/2004 газеты "Русский язык" издательского дома "Первое сентября")
    – Серж
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 14:06
  • @Серж "дома" — это не местный падеж, тем не менее, а очень древний творительный. как "вчера" от "вечер". могу путать, но газете вашей что-то верю меньше, чем себе. Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 7:41
  • В другой статье написано, что наречие дома образовалось от родительного падежа существительного дом.
    – Серж
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 9:34
  • Наречия же образованные от творительного падежа имеют следующие окончания: -ом/-ем/-ой/-ей/-ами/-ями.
    – Серж
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 9:35

I too was looking for answer to the same question: why "I'm at home" would be translated "я дома" with дом in the genitive as opposed to maybe with a preposition, like "я на доме" or "я в доме". I guess sometimes you just have to accept that that's the way it's said and that's what it means. Really, that's how all children learn their native language. Everything is taught by repetition and only after a good few years of learning to use the language by trial and error can one then reflect back on the why's of it all.

  • The oblique form of вечер that led to вчера is believed to be a very old instrumental (of all things). Could that be the case with дома as well? Doma also exists in Czech and doesn't match any regular case form at all (the genitive is domu). Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 14:17

because your house is your home and your home is a house (or mostly).

дом -> (a) house/home

  • where are you? -> где ты?
  • at a house -> в доме
  • at home -> дома (this is the prepositional way to say AT HOME in Russian, not any genitive form)

as some people have already explained, it has nothing to do with Домой, they are not interchangeable because they don't have the same meaning (when it comes to the case they belong to) this last one would be the accusative form of дома.

  • where are you going to? -> куда ты идешь?
  • I am going to a house -> Я иду в дом
  • I am going home -> Я иду домой

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