Grammar Reference

Prepositions are parts of speech that connect the relationship between a noun, pronoun, adjective and/or phrase to other parts of the sentence. In Ukrainian, each preposition requires the noun, pronoun or an adjective to be used in a particular case.

Common Ukrainian Prepositions (в/у, на, о, з, про)

These are the very common Ukrainian prepositions that one would encounter in everyday language:

в/у “in/at”
в/у “into/to”
в/у “at” [one’s place]
в/у “_” [at one’s possession/one has]
на “on/at”
на “onto/to”
o “at” [time]
з “from”
з “with”
про “about”

Prepositions в/у “in/at” and на “on/at”: Location

в/у “in/at” and на “on/at” are used when expressing the location of things and people such as, places of work or places of study.

Ex: Марина працює в ресторані, а Микола працює на телебаченні. “Maryna works at a restaurant and Mykola works in television.”
Ми вчимося в університеті. “We study at a university.”
Наші друзі тепер в спортзалі. “Our friends are now at the gym.”
Мої сестра і брат тепер у бабусі. “My sister and my brother are currently at my grandma’s/visiting grandma.”

[See more under the Locative case of nouns and pronouns]

Prepositions в/у “in/at” and на “on/at” with Nouns in the Locative Case: Places of Work

Nominative ⟶ Locative
Nominative ⟶ Locative
журнал ⟶ у журналі
компанія ⟶ у компанії
лікарня ⟶ у лікарні
магазин ⟶ в магазині
ресторан ⟶ у ресторані
студія ⟶ у студії
театр ⟶ у театрі
університет ⟶ в університеті
школа ⟶ у школі
завод ⟶ на заводі
телебачення ⟶ на телебаченні
фірма ⟶ на фірмі

Although the meaning of both в/у and на may be “at,” there is a difference when each preposition is used. The general rule of thumb is:

  • в is used with concrete places that have boundaries, walls and some type of limits such as: ресторан, університет, офіс.
  • на is used with more abstract nouns, those that do not have clearly defined boundaries, such as events: лекція, екскурсія, заняття, and also other abstract nouns such as: телебачення, радіо.

However, certain “concrete” places are used with the preposition на. These are: на заводі, на фірмі.

Prepositions в/у “in/at” and на “on/at”: Streets and Public Areas in a City

When discussing streets and public areas in a city, prepositions в/у “in/at” and на “on/at” are used with nouns in the Locative case as follows:

на: вулиці, площі, бульварі, проспекті
в/у: сквері, парку, провулку

Note that nouns with the suffix –(о)к– usually take the locative ending .

Ex: Музей історії України знаходиться у Десятинному провулку. “Museum of the History of Ukraine is in the Desiatynnyi alley.”
Фонтан знаходиться у парку імені Олеся Гончара. “The fountain is in the Oles Honchar park.”

Preposition на “on”: Wearing Clothes

на “on” is used when talking about clothes, which a person is wearing.

Ex: На Оксані сині джинси і футболка “Oksana is wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt”.
На ньому білі шорти “He is wearing white shorts.”

Prepositions в/у “in/at” and на “on/at”: Directional Movement

в/у “in/at” and на “on/at” are also used when expressing directional movement, from one place to another. In this scenario, the accusative case is used following в/у and на.

Note that the difference between в/у used with concrete objects and на with abstract nouns is the same as discussed above.

[See more under the accusative case of nouns and pronouns]

Prepositions в/у “in/at” and на “on/at” with Nouns in the Accusative Case: Directional Movement

Nominative ⟶ Accusative
Nominative ⟶ Accusative
університет ⟶ в університет
кіно ⟶ у кіно
гори ⟶ у гори
магазин ⟶ в магазин
ресторан ⟶ у ресторан
спортзал ⟶ у спортзал
театр ⟶ у театр
екскурсія ⟶ на екскурсію
дача ⟶ на дачу
море ⟶ на море
концерт ⟶ на концерт
Ex: Влітку ми їздили на море. “In summer we went to the seaside.”
Вранці вони поїхали в університет. “In the morning they went to university.”

Prepositions в/у “in/at” and на “on/at”: Time and Dates

в/у “in/on” is also used when expressing time: days of the week, months, and years.

  • With days of the week, the preposition в/у is followed by the accusative case: в понеділок “on Monday,” у вівторок “on Tuesday,” у неділю “on Sunday.”
  • With months and years, this preposition is followed by the locative case: у травні “in May,” у липні “in July,” у вересні “in September,” у дві тисячі п’ятому році я вчилася у школі “in 2005 I studied in school.”

Preposition о “at”: Asking for and Telling the Time

о “at” is only used when asking for and telling the time:

Ex: О котрій годині ти прокидаєшся? “At what time do you get up?”
Я зазвичай прокидаюся о сьомій годині. “I normally get up at seven o’clock.”

Preposition з “from” and “with”

з, when used meaning “from,” is followed by the genitive case. For instance, when saying that you are from a particular city or country:

Ex: Я з Канади. “I am from Canada.”
Вона з Франції. “She is from France.”
Наші друзі з Києва “Our friends are from Kyiv.”

[ See more under the genitive case of nouns and pronouns]

з, when used meaning “with,” is followed by the instrumental case. A common use of з is when discussing foods and drinks, such as:

Ex: Вони люблять вареники з квашеною капустою. “They like dumplings with sauerkraut.”
Олена часто їсть голубці з м’ясом і сметаною. “Olena often eats stuffed cabbage rolls with meat and sour cream.”
Вчора ми їли торт з вишнями. “Yesterday we had a cake with cherries.”

[See more under the instrumental case of nouns and pronouns]

Preposition про “about”

про “about” is followed by the accusative case. Про is commonly used in narrations.

Ex: Розкажи нам про себе. “Tell us about yourself.”;
Оксана розповідає про улюблений фільм. “Oksana is talking about her favourite film.”
Він говорить про зимові канікули “He talks about his winter break.”

[See more under the accusative case of nouns and pronouns]