"я маю" or "у мене" (to have)?

chris | 25.06.2012 | 1

I find it difficult to understand how to write "I have" in Ukrainian. I see people writing "у мене" instead of "я маю". Doesn't "у мене" mean "in me"?

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stasya | 25.06.2012 | #

First of all both я маю and у мене are correct.

Now let me explain this question more thoroughly.

Unlike English in Ukrainian we often express possession of something by adding у(в) to the noun or pronoun, instead of using verb мати (to have). Plus when talking about direct possession we use verb є (am/are/is). Even if it is something abstract like an idea, є can also be used, because it is still in possession of somebody.

English: noun/pronoun + “to have”

Ukrainian: у(в) + noun/pronoun (Genitive case) + є


у(в) + noun/pronoun (Gen.)


Що у мене є? — What do I have?

У мене є машина. — I have a car.

У неї (є) чудова ідея. — She has a great idea.

У мого сина вітрянка. — My son has chickenpox.

У цьому містечку є дуже гарна площа. — This little town has a very beautiful square.

If there is an adjective near noun it also has Genitive form:

У цієї маленької дівчинки є пухнасте кошеня. — This little girl has a fluffy kitten.

[i]In a set phrase meaning “I'm all right” as a respond to “How do you do?” or “How's it going?”:

Як у тебе справи? Як справи? — How do you do? How's it going?

У мене все добре/гаразд. — I am fine/all right.

У нього все добре/гаразд. — He is fine/all right.

Other examples of using preposition у (в) look here.