Lesson 018

The gender of Russian nouns

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As you know from our lesson about Russian personal pronouns, the nouns in Russian language are divided into three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter.

It’s quite easy to figure out the gender if we are talking about people, but what do we do if the subject is inanimate? The answer is: look at the word’s ending.

Feminine nouns

The feminine nouns end in , or .

Examples:

– кни́га [knée-ga]book
– неде́ля [nee-dyé-lya]week
– ночь [noch’]night

Russian Pod 101

Neuter nouns

The neuter nouns end in -O, or -МЯ. Examples:

– о́блако [ób-la-ka]cloud
– зна́ние [zná-nee-ye]knowledge
– со́лнце [són-tse]sun

Masculine nouns

The masculine nouns often have no ending, i.e. the last letter is a consonant. Sometimes they end on . Examples:

– день [dyen’]day
– год [got]year

Exceptions

There is also a number of exceptions. For example, some words are masculine despite their endings:

пáпа [pá-pa]dad
дя́дя [dyá-dya]uncle
ко́фе [kó-fye]coffee

These words are neuter despite ending in -Я:

– вре́мя [vryé-mya]time
– и́мя [ée-mya]name *

Some words can be masculine and feminine at the same time:

колле́га [kal-lyé-ga] – colleague
копу́ша [ka-pú-sha] – slowpoke

* Temporarily not in the audio

Now you know how to determine the gender of Russian nouns. Practice all these words with the audio recording. And come back to learn Russian with us!

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More lessons on the Russian nouns

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9 comments on “018 – The gender of Russian nouns”

  1. Sachin says:

    I have also taken a test on genders from the link on this page,

    слуга is placed in Masculine how?

    Its ending in ‘A’ right?

    should it not be neuter ? a servant can be of any sex, unless we know that its a He/She, it should be addressed as Neuter, right?

    1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

      Hello Sachin,

      Слуга is indeed masculine. Служанка is feminine. As you might have already noticed, there are quite a few exeptions of the basic rules in Russian.

      If a word can be masculine and feminine at the same time (for example, копуша – slowpoke), their gender is masculine or feminine depending of context, but not neuter.

      The neuter gender is a separate category.

  2. Sachin says:

    masculine nouns often have no ending, sometimes they me end with a soft sign as understood from the above lesson.

    Your very example ‘ночь’ is placed under feminine, why?

    It ends with a consonant and is also followed by a soft sign.

    Regards,
    Sachin

    1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

      Hello Sachin,

      Thanks for the question.

      In Russian, both masculine and feminine nouns can end in -Ь. And since -Ь always follows a consonant, it is always a consonant and the soft sign.

      However, in most cases (if not all), the nouns ending in -ЧЬ are feminine:

      – ночь (night)
      – дочь (daughter)
      – горечь (bitterness)
      – печь (stove)

  3. Röyal says:

    How can I learn the most essential words in Russian?

    1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

      Hello Röyal,

      You can use an app, like Memrise, Google it, or/and check out these links:
      https://learnrussianwords.com/tag/easy-russian/
      https://learnrussianwords.com/tag/essential-russian/
      https://learnrussianwords.com/tag/basic-russian/

  4. Röyal says:

    Hi! I want to build up some Russian vocabulary. How can I find the most essential nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns and adverbs? If it is not the right time to learn them, then please show me the rightest way.

  5. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

    Thanks for your feedback.

  6. Samuel Sitompul says:

    Thank You Very Much… this is great

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