Get up to 45% Off with the 12-month challenge. Ends soon!
Get up to 45% Off with the 12-month challenge. Ends soon!
RomanianPod101.com Blog
Learn Romanian with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

Ultimate Guide to Cracking the Cipher of Romanian Pronouns

Thumbnail

Romanian has a lot of personal pronouns.

Significantly more, in fact, than other related languages in Europe.

Nobody knows who came up with this system, but it’s not going away anytime soon. Are you ready to rise to the challenge?

You should be, because although the Romanian pronoun system is complex, native speakers use it without thinking. If it was too unwieldy, it would have been pared down and simplified over time.

We’ll be here to guide you as well. We’ll provide a couple of tricks and links that you might not find in other resources.And besides, it’s not like you can just ignore this. You already know quite a bit of it from just a few simple introductory phrases! Pronouns are so integral to the Romanian language that you’ll soon integrate them perfectly into your own speech and writing without breaking a sweat.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Romanian Table of Contents
  1. How to Talk About Pronouns in Romanian
  2. Romanian Personal Pronouns: Case by Case
  3. Romanian Possessive Pronouns
  4. Pronouns in Questions
  5. Conclusion

1. How to Talk About Pronouns in Romanian

Team Working Together on Something

First, you should know about cases. Did you ever take Latin, German, or Russian?

If so, don’t panic! Romanian cases are significantly simpler than cases in those three languages. But they’re still there, and we’ll be describing its cases here in this article. Yes, Romanian has three cases (which are an inheritance from Latin), but truly, there are a lot of words that don’t change.

Romanian has a bit of terminology here that’s pretty unique among European languages, namely the terms “stressed” and “unstressed.” These refer to two different forms of the pronoun in each case.

“Unstressed” is a simpler way to say “clitic,” which is a technical term that pretty much nobody needs to know (but if you’re interested, you can look it up).

All it means is that the pronoun accompanies a verb. In most cases, it’s actually folded into the verb. In English, we contract “I am” into “I’m.” That same process happens quite a bit more in Romanian, and you’ll learn all about it!

In contrast, “stressed” pronouns appear by themselves, always with a preposition. One of the most common prepositions is pe, which is used when talking about people. You’ll see this a lot in emphatic sentences.

  • Te iubesc pe tine.

I love you (and nobody else).

Here, te is an unstressed form (matching with the verb iubesc), and pe tine is the stressed form to add emphasis.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves!

Let’s start from the beginning and learn each form of Romanian pronouns.

2. Romanian Personal Pronouns: Case by Case

Introducing Yourself

Learning the pronouns all at once is going to be pretty confusing. We’ll definitely have a good selection of example sentences for you to look at, but count on re-reading this as a reference page in the future.

1. The Nominative 

Cute Owls

The nominative case is the “basic” case for all nouns and pronouns. This is what you use for the subject of a sentence, and what you’ll see in a dictionary.We’ll start with the informal Romanian nominative pronouns. This is what you’re likely to hear the most in songs and on TV, though when you actually go to Romania, you’ll want to crank up the politeness factor a little bit.

EnglishRomanian
Itu
youtu
heel
sheea
wenoi
you (plural)voi
they (men; men and women)ei
they (only women)ele

Here you can note that Romanian distinguishes between men and women when referring to a group of people, and indeed between masculine and feminine when referring to a group of nouns.

  • Fără ele ești pierdut.

Without them (women) you would be lost.

  • Eu sunt la magazin.

I’m at the store.

  • Ea este cea mai bună.

She’s the best there is.

Also, in English we say “It’s him!” but in Romanian the literal equivalent would be “It is he!”

  • El este!

It’s him!

And now for some formal pronouns. Romanian has formal versions of everything except the first-person “I’ and “we” pronouns.

What’s more, there are actually several levels of politeness for all this. We’ll go with the most commonly used variants in speech first.

EnglishRomanian (polite)Romanian (polite and formal)
youdumneatadumneavoastră
hedânsul   dumnealui
shedânsadumneaei
you (plural)dumneavoastrădumneavoastră
they (men; men and women)dânşiidumnealor
they (women)dânseledânsele

The “polite” category is slowly falling out of use, as many people feel that it’s actually just about the same as the “informal” category anyway. However, among people who still use it, the difference is subtle yet apparent.

“Polite” pronouns are for people you know but aren’t very well-acquainted with, like coworkers or people you meet up with for classes. “Polite and formal” indicates not only an absence of friendship, but also a difference in societal ranking, for example a professor and students.

Note that the formal “you” is conjugated the same way in singular and plural form—in fact, it’s always the plural form, following the pattern in German, Spanish, and other languages with this distinction.

  • Dumneavoastră aveți timp?

Do you have time?

That’s a long word! And that’s why you’ll much more commonly see it dropped entirely, using only the verb to connote politeness.

  • Aveți timp?

Do you have time?

So for the subject of a sentence, as you can see, Romanian usually drops the pronoun entirely.

But that doesn’t mean pronouns in Romanian are useless. Far from it.

2. The Accusative

Woman Holding Kittens in Box

The accusative case refers to the direct object of a verb. Now we’ll start breaking things up into stressed and unstressed variants. Here’s a table of the Romanian accusative pronouns.

EnglishRomanian accusative (stressed)Romanian accusative (unstressed)
Imine
heelte
heelîl
sheeao
wenoine
you (plural)voi
they (men; men and women)eiîi
they (women)elele

Oh man.

Remember, though, that only mine and tine actually changed in the stressed form. And yes, you do have to learn new unstressed forms, but it’s not so bad because the consonant remains the same for all the words that have consonants.

There’s more logic, too: The vowel î is a relatively hard sound to make, and so you’ll see in a moment how it disappears when our unstressed (connected) forms start getting slapped onto verbs.

The hard part is that the unstressed forms combine in different ways. Since this is already a lot to swallow, we won’t go into detail about the rules for the unstressed forms. Many learners pick it up from lots of examples, and if you end up reading and listening to a lot of Romanian, you will too!

  • I-ai anunţat?

Did you tell them?

Here we’ve combined îi with the helping verb ai. We’ll use the easier vowel, so the î drops away and leaves us with a combining i-. Romanian is nice enough to keep the hyphens for our reference!

Now some more examples of combined pronouns.

  • Daniela mi-a telefonat.

Daniela telephoned me.

  • Îi voi da cartea mâine.

I will give him the book tomorrow.

  • Ni s-a spus că putem pleca acasă.

We were told that we could go home.

3. The Dative

We’re on the home stretch now with the last of the three cases in Romanian. The dative case usually translates pretty well with the pronoun “to” in English. For example: “I sent a letter to her.” It’s also called the indirect object. Here are the Romanian dative pronouns:

EnglishRomanian dative (stressed)Romanian dative (unstressed)
Imieîmi
youțieîți
heluiîi
sheeiîi
wenouăne
you (plural)vouă
they (men; men and women)lorle
they (women)lorle

Oh jeez.

Again, it’s not as bad as you might think. These dative pronouns are so common in the words and phrases that beginners learn most, that you probably already recognize one very important one.

  • Îmi pare rău.

I’m sorry.

In this example, one of the first phrases that everybody learns in Romanian is a dative pronoun. Specifically “to me,” because what you’re literally saying with this expression is “It is bad to me.”

3. Romanian Possessive Pronouns

Basic Questions

In continuing the theme of Romanian grammar being at once alike and different from other European languages, there’s a subtle yet tricky difference in the matter of possessive pronouns.

First, the pronoun comes after the noun. That’s relatively normal, though, occurring also in Spanish and Italian.

  • Pisica mea.

My cat.

What’s unusual is that the word for “my” changes depending on gender and number of the object.

  • Pisicile mele.

My cats.

Let’s have a look at another Romanian pronouns table:

Singular masc./ntr.Singular fem.Plural masc.Plural fem./ntr.
mymeumeameimele
ournostrunoastrănoștrinoastre
your (singular)tăutatăitale
your (plural)vostruvoastrăvoștrivoastre
his/hersăusasăisale

Wow.

But wait! There’s still a pattern. Look carefully and you can see that the same consonant roots hold true from the Romanian nominative pronoun chart. Furthermore, the plural first-person (our) and second-person (your) share the same pattern, as do singular second-person (your) and singular third-person (his/her).

It’s a lot to take in, no doubt about it.

Remember to pay special attention to how, in the singular, masculine and neuter nouns are grouped together. In the plural, it’s feminine and neuter.

We’re definitely going to need some examples here.

  • Fraţii noştri sunt studenţi.

Our brothers are students.

  • Pe masă sunt cărţile mele.

My books are on the table.

In fact, this chart could be significantly more complicated if we added all of the formal forms. 

We will, however, include the most common: dumneavoastră. As the formal “you,” this gets used very often in Romanian, and it’s also dead simple to understand.

It doesn’t change at all!

  • Prietenii dumneavoastră.

Your friends.

  • Prietenul dumneavoastră.

Your friend.

Ironically, if you happen to study in a way that makes you used to applying rules for meu, mea, mei, and so on, you might look at an example sentence with dumneavoastră and think that something’s missing. Nope, it’s just the Romanian language cutting you a break.

4. Pronouns in Questions

Woman Thinking about Something

The last major thing we need to cover here is when we ask questions with pronouns. This is an incredibly common situation, as you probably know.

Right now, we’re only going to cover the nominative case. They do change for case, but questions outside the nominative are relatively rare and we all know that you’ve seen a lot of charts today.

1. Who? – Cine?

  • Cine este acolo?

Who’s there?

  • Cine este responsabil?

Who is in charge?

2. What? – Ce?

  • Ce i-ai spus?

What did you say?

  • Ce este asta?

What is that?

3. Which? – Care?

  • Pe care o vrei?

Which do you want?

  • Care e al vostru?

Which one is yours?

4. Whose? – A cui?

  • A cui pantofi sunt aia?

Whose shoes are these?

  • A cui idee a fost?

Whose idea was it?

As you can see, learning only the nominative case for these question pronouns is definitely enough to get you going on your road to Romanian fluency!

5. Conclusion

Improve Listening

So throughout this article, we’ve mentioned that there’s more.

More pronouns to learn, more cases in which pronouns might or might not change, and so on.

How can you get a handle on it? How can you ever commit all of this to memory?

One of the best ways is seriously to copy down these charts. Even better is if you copy down our charts, and then go find another one, then copy down that one too. By copying information down in your notes from two different sources, you’ll get to actually see the relationships between these words and their functions, and through that you’ll boost your memory.

The other way is to rely on immersion.

Mix a little bit of grammar study (such as reading these articles) with immersive, interesting content in Romanian. That’s going to make a lot of these pronoun tricks fall into place.

And what better place for interesting and immersive content than RomanianPod101? You’ll get access to all of our lessons on vocabulary, grammar, conversations, and more, in an easy format for you to take wherever you need to!

There’s no reason to delay. Get your free access to RomanianPod101 today and start taking charge of Romanian pronouns!

In the meantime, let us know in the comments how you feel about Romanian pronouns after going through this Romanian pronoun list. Are there any questions you still have? We’ll do our best to help you out.

Happy Romanian learning!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Romanian