Reflexive possessive pronoun ‘свой’

In today’s lesson for beginners we’ll have a closer look at the Russian reflexive possessive pronoun свой, which depending on context can mean “my”, “your”, “her”, “his” etc.

Read the lesson and listen to the audio recording which contains all today’s examples. Feel free to listen to the audio as much as you need till the words sound natural.

Russian reflexive possessive pronoun свой is used to refer back to the subject of the sentence. It declines as follows:

masculine feminine neutral plural
Nominative свой своя́ своё свои́
Genitive своего́ свое́й своего́ свои́х
Dative своему́ свое́й своему́ свои́м
Accusative своего́ свою́ своего́ свои́х
Instrumental свои́м свое́й свои́м свои́ми
Prepositional своём свое́й своём свои́х

Use of the reflexive possessive pronoun свой

Russians use свой instead of possessive pronouns. The use depends just on the gender and number of the object (not subject).

For example:

Я забы́ла свои́ ключи́. – I (subject) forgot my keys (object).
Он забы́л свои́ ключи́. – He (subject) forgot his keys (object).
Мы забы́ли свои́ ключи́. – We (subject) forgot our keys (object).

ключи́ is plural, so we use свои́

Talking about 3d person, be careful choosing the right pronoun:

Она́ забы́ла свой а́дрес. – She forgot her (own) address.
Она́ забы́ла её а́дрес. – She forgot her (someone else’s) address.

Talking about 1st or 2d person, you can use the possessive pronouns, but it will be more natural to use свой in these cases:

Я люблю́ свою́ соба́ку. / Я люблю́ мою́ соба́ку.
I love my dog.

Ты пода́ришь мне свою́ фотогра́фию? / Ты пода́ришь мне твою́ фотогра́фию?
Will you give me your photograph?

Вы ещё не зако́нчили свою́ рабо́ту. / Вы ещё не зако́нчили ва́шу рабо́ту.
You haven’t finished your work yet.


Talking about body parts Russians tend (but not always) to omit personal and possessive pronouns all together.

Он умы́л лицо́. – He washed his face.
Она́ слома́ла но́гу. – She broke her leg.


6 comments on “Reflexive possessive pronoun ‘свой’

  1. akın rodop says:

    Reflexive possessive pronoun “Свой” , how can it be used in O (об) preposition in Sentence? Especially 3.persons examples please..

    • Everyday Russian says:

      Hello Akin,

      If I understand you correctly, this is what you want:

      Она забыла о своём собственном дне рождения.
      She forgot about her own birthday.

      Он никогда никому не рассказывал о своих проблемах.
      He never told anyone about his problems.

      I hope it helps.

  2. in this sentence: Я забы́ла свои́ ключи́ why don t we use the accusative plural? Among the schedule upthere I see the nominati e plural
    thank you

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