4. Syntax: The Use of Cases

4.1 Use of the nominative case

This case is taken by the subject of the sentence. If the verb of the sentence is ёсць, or if there is no verb, then the object of the sentence also takes the nominative case.

Белару́сьпрыго́жы кут. Belarus is a beautiful land.*   td>але́ ён дурны́, а я разу́мны. But he is foolish, and I am wise.*

The direct objects of verbs such as зваць, to call, and its derivatives, often take the nominative case.

Яго́ заву́ць Са́ша. His name is Sasha*

The direct object of the verbs быць, to be, and стаць, to become, can take the nominative case if the direct object is an adjective that is being used as a predicate.

Яна́ ста́ла цяпе́р жва́вая. She’s now become lively.*   td>Ра́на ці по́зна бу́дуць назва́ныя злачы́нцамі і пракла́тыя. Sooner or later, they will be labeled criminals and damned.*

4.2 Use of the accusative case

The direct object of most verbs usually takes the accusative case. Certain prepositions are followed by nouns in the accusative case, often when motion is implied. a period of time placed in the accusative case, with no preposition preceding it, indicates that an action was carried out over the course of that time.

Скажы́ мне, ты запра́ўды мяне́ каха́еш? Tell me, do you really love me?*   td>Я жыў з і́мі ме́сяц. I lived with them for a month.*

Prepositions with the accusative case

The following prepositions can be followed by the accusative case. Often, the meaning of the prefix revolves around a sense of motion. The meaning of each preposition in that context is given.

аб gainst<br / br /> br />            
  br /> о́дка стукну́лася аб бе́раг. he boat bumped against the shore.            
  br /> br /> br />            
з bout br /> br />            
  br /> райшо́ў з кіламе́тр. walked about a kilometer.            
  br /> br /> br />            
за ehind br /> br />            
  br /> н пайшо́ў за ха́ту. e went behind the house.            
  t br /> br />            
  br /> аджу́ся за стол. sit down at the table.            
  fter br /> br />            
  br /> авары́лі далё́ка за по́ўнач. hey talked well past midnight.            
  [not translated,
esses distance] br />            
  br /> ыве́ за 40 кіламе́траў за го́рада. e lives 40 kilometers from the city.            
  n br /> br />            
  br /> э́та мо́жна зрабі́ць за два дні. his can get done in two days.            
  br /> br /> br />            
на n br /> br />            
  br /> аста́віць яго́ на стол. e will put it on the table.            
  o br /> br />            
  br /> дзё́м на Магілё́ў. e’re going to Mohilyou.            
  [not translated,
lar to ‘per’] br />            
  br /> ва разы́ на ты́дзень. wice a week.            
  y br /> br />            
  br /> ыван тры на шэсць ме́траў. he carpet is three by six meters.            
  br /> br /> br />            
па p to br /> br />            
  br /> таі́ць у вадзе́ па по́яс. He stands in water up to his waist.*            
  or br /> br />            
  br /> айдзі́ пад сту́дню па ваду́. Go to the well for water.*            
  to* br /> br />            
  br /> юдзі ішлі́ па той бок. People were walking along that side.*            
  br /> br /> br />            
пад under*<br / br /> br />            
  br /> хава́ў яго́ пад паду́шку. He hid it under the pillow.*            
  about*<br / br /> br />            
  br /> адо́ў пад со́рак. about forty years.*            
  to* br /> br />            
  br /> Пайдзі́ пад сту́дню па ваду́. Go to the well for water.            
  br /> br /> br />            
паўз by* br /> br />            
  br /> раязджа́лі паўз лес. We drove by the forest.*            
  br /> br /> br />            
пра about*<br / br /> br />            
  br /> ы гавары́лі пра яго́. We were talking about him.*            
  br /> br /> br />            
праз through*<br br /> br />            
  br /> райсці́ праз нато́ўп. To pass through a crowd.*            
  after*<br / br /> br />            
  br /> рыйшло́ праз дзве гадзі́ны. It arrived after two weeks.*            
  because of* br /> br />            
  br /> раз гэ́та я мно́гае стра́ціў. I suffered a lot because of this.*            
  br /> br /> br />            
скрозь ‘through’[implying difficulty]   br />            
  br /> ромні прабіва́ліся скрозь галі́ны. Sunbeams broke through the branches.*            
  br /> br /> br />            
це́раз across*<br br /> br />            
  br /> ераступі́ць це́раз паро́г. To step across the threshold.*            
  through*<br br /> br />            
  br /> ождж ішо́ў це́раз по́ўнач. It rained right through midnight.*            
  br /> br /> br />            
у to* br /> br />            
  br /> зе́ці хо́дзяць ў шко́лу. The children go to school.*            
  in* br /> br />            
  br /> апіса́ў гэ́та ў сшы́так. He wrote it down in his notebook.*            
  into* br /> br />            
  br /> ны́ ўвайшлі́ ў лес. They walked into the forest.*            
  on* br /> br />            
  br /> тука́ць у дзве́ры. To knock on the door.*            
  at* br /> br />            
  br /> траля́ць у праці́ўніка. To shoot at the enemy.*            
  up to*<br / br /> br />            
  br /> амяло́ сне́гу ў по́яс. Snow drifted up to waist height.*            
  [not translated,
lar to ‘per’] br /></td> ‘’   <td> br /> адзі́н раз у год. ‘Once a year.’
  on* br /> br />            
  br /> е працу́ю ў выхадны́я. I don’t work on weekends.*            
  [used to denote
iplication] br />            
  br /> ва ў трышэсць. Two times three is six.*            

4.3 Use of the genitive case

This case is used both by certain prepositions and also to express ownership and relationship. Some verbs, like баяцца, to fear, and хацець, to want, require that the direct object be placed in the genitive case. To negate a sentence, the particle не is placed before the direct object, and the direct object is placed in the genitive case. a lack of something can be expressed by the word няма, followed by the noun in the genitive plural, or genitive singular if the noun has no plural form.

Расліны баяцца марозу.Plants fear frost.

Я сама гэтага хацела.I wanted this myself.

*Невядома, хто гаспадар гэтагаNoone knows who the owner of this*

катэджа.cottage is.

Я не маю часу.I do not have any time.

Я нічога не разумею.I do not understand anything.

Шкада, але і ў мяне нічога няма.It is sad, but I do not have anything either.

Prepositions with the genitive case

The following prepositions can be followed by the genitive case. The meaning of each preposition in that context is given.


ад сасны адламалася галінка.a branch broke off from the tree.

Схаваліся ад дажджу.They hid from the rain.

ад вясны да восені.From spring to fall.


Мацней ад грому.Stronger than thunder.


*Там нікога не былоNo one was there*

акрамя мяне.but me.


*Там нікога не былоNo one was there*

апрача мяне.besides me.


Без усялякай прычыны.Without any excuse.


Вакол яго сабраліся людзі.People gathered around him.

воддальfar from

Воддаль дарогі стаяла вёска.Far from the road stood a village.


Яшчэ некалькі дзён да жніва.It is still a few days until harvest.


Дадаць пяць да трох.add five to three.

Ужо да берага падплываў.He had already swam to the bank.

дзеляfor [someone’s benefit]

*Зраблю* гэта дзеля цябе.I will do this for you.


Для яго гэта лёгкая справа.It is an easy thing for him.

зoff of (opposite of на + accusative)

*out of *(opposite of у + accusative)

Выйшаў з вады.He got out of the water.


Хочаш вады замест чаю?Do you want water instead of tea?

звышmore than

Набраў звыш двух дзесяткаў.He gathered more than twenty.


*Дрэва расце* каля плоту.The tree grows near the fence.


Каля пяці гадзін.about five o’clock.


н там ля лазьні блізка жыў.He lived there, close near the bath-*



Спрэчка між сябраў.an arguement among friends.

паводлеin accordance with

апранутая паводле апошняйDressed according to the latest



Стаяць паміж двух агней.To stand between two fires.


Пасля абяднання, яныafter the unification, they selected

выбралі старэйшага.an elder.

*Настаўніца, якая прыедзеThe teacher, which will come after*

пасля вучылішча.the school.


Хата стаіць супраць школы.The house is across from the school.


Плысці супраць цячэння.To swim against the current.

Хто «за» і хто «супраць»?Who is “for” and who is “against”?

Здарылася супраць маёйIt happened against my will.


сяродin the middle of

Дрэва стаіць сярод поля.a tree stands in the middle of a


у[used to show possession]

Няўжо ў іх няма сабакі?Do they really not have a dog?

У яго баліць галава.His head hurts.


Шыць паліто ў краўца.To have the coat mended at the


4.4 Use of the dative case

This case is used to signify indirect objects, and is also used by certain prepositions. Very often, words in the dative case can be translated into English as having the word ‘to’ placed before them. There are also certain constructions with predicates that use the dative case.

| Вы даяце́ прыкла́д усі́м на́шым калга́снікам. | You give an example to all our workers.* | |td>Мне трэ́ба вы́йсці. | I have to leave.</td> | |td>адстава́ць жа не́льга нам! | We must not become separated! | | два́ццаць табе́ ле́таў`! | You are not even twenty years old!*</td> </tr>

Prepositions with the dative case

The preposition most commonly used with the dative case is па. There are many different meanings of па + dative, but a few examples are given below. For these usages, the preposition па only takes the dative when the indirect object is singular. If the object is plural, it must take the prepositional case.

| Я даў дзе́цям па я́блыку. | I gave the children one apple apiece.* | |td>Паляўні́чы ідзе́ па сляда́х зве́ра. | The hunter went a | |td>Спабо́рніцтвы па футбо́лу. | Soccer competition.</td> | | Не прые́хаў па хваро́бе. | He did not come because he was sick. | |ва́рыш па універсітэ́ту`. | a friend from college.*</td> </tr>

The preposition к is also used with the dative case. This preposition is not as common in Belarusian as it is in Russian. Often, the preposition да is used in Belarusian in situations where Russian uses к.

[used to indicatemovement towards] br />     <td> ра́вы цягну́ліся к со́нцу.</td> ‘The plants strained towards the sun.’   <td>for br /></td>     <td> пякла́ піро́г к свя́ту. ‘She baked a pie for the holiday.’
just before br />                          
  рышо́ў на сход к дзвюм гадзі́нам. ‘I came to the meeting just before two o’clock.’                        

4.5 Use of the instrumental case

This case is used by certain prepositions and also to signify that the noun functions as some means for an action. The direct object of some verbs, especially those that translate as to be, also takes this case. a word in the instrumental case can often be translated into English by preceding it with the preposition “with.”

Галоўнай іх сілай былі *гранаты.Their main weapon was grenades.*

Мы давай паедзем машінай.Let’s take the car.

Ты павінна валодаць гэтай мовайYou should have such control of this

так, каб чулася як удомаlanguage that you feel at home

між людзей, якіяamong people, who speak Belarusian.

па-беларуску гавораць.

Prepositions with the instrumental case

The following prepositions can be followed by the instrumental case. The meaning of each preposition in that context is given.


Я пайшоў з імі.I went with them.


Ідзі за мною.Walk behind me.


Дарога ўецца між палямі.The road winds between fields.


Над лесам навісла хмара.a stormcloud hung over the forest.


Мароз над усімі маразамі.a frost exceeding all frosts.


*Жыта* залоціцца пад сонцам.The rye ripened beneath the sun.


Быць пад строгай аховай.To be under heavy guard.


Паміж небам і зямлёю.Between heaven and earth.

перадin front of

Не адступаць перадDo not retreat in the face of



Перад тым, трэба падумаць.Before that, one must think.

compared to

Яны нішто перад ім.They are nothing compared to him.

4.6 Use of the prepositional case

This case is only used when following prepositions, hence the name. The following prepositions can be followed by the prepositional case. The meaning of each preposition in that context is given.

аб about*<br / br /> br />
  br /> авары́лі аб усі́м. We spoke of everything.*
  br /> br /> br />
на on* br /> br />
  br /> ні́га ляжы́ць на стале́. he book lies on the table.
  in* br /> br />
  br /> а вайне́ куды́ бо́лей патрэ́бна така́я вось ду́жасць. In war, such strength is needed much more.*
  br /> br /> br />
па movement al br /> br />
  br /> ́хаць на саня́х па лё́дзе. To ride a sleigh over the ice.*
  among*<br / br /> br />
  br /> у́ткі хадзі́лі па вё́сках. The rumors circulated among the villages.*
  after*<br / br /> br />
  br /> а абе́дзе. after dinner.*

For the usages of па given below, the prepositional case can only be used if the object is plural. If it is singular, the dative case must be used, see 24.2 for examples.

Пайшлі́ па яго́ных сляда́х. They followed in his steps.
Снабо́рніцтва па лы́жах. Skiing competition.
пры near* br /> br />
  br /> н быў пры сме́рці. He was near death.*
  with* br /> br />
  br /> заста́ўся пры сваё́й ду́мцы. I was left with my opinion.*
  br /> br /> br />
у in* br /> br />
  br /> таі́ць у пако́і. He is standing in the room.*
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