Russian Substantives

Table Of Contents

Substantive Genders

Russian nouns come in three gender classes: masculine, feminine and neuter. Sometimes gender can be recognized from the singular nominative form, which is the basic dictionary form of the word. Most words which denote family relations, profession etc. are either feminine or masculine depending on the gender of the person they refer to. Non-person substantives can belong to any class.

Neuters end in -e or -o when in singular nominative case. All words ending in -e or -o are neuters.

Feminines end in or or . All words ending in -а or -я are feminine, but words which end in -ь can be either feminine or masculine.

Masculines are the residual class for all words ending in any other letter except -е, -о, -а, -я or -и. -и is the plural identifier. Also words which end in -ь can be either feminine or masculine.

There are some exceptions to this basic rules.

Substantive Inflection

Russian substantives have singular and plural forms in six different cases. Plural forms are handled in the case pages.

Case MasculineFeminineNeuter
Final letter(any other) ь
Plurality sng.pl. sng.pl. sng.pl. sng.pl. sng.pl. sng.pl. sng.pl. sng.pl.
Nominative -
Genitive -ов -ей -ев - -ия -> ии
-я -> -ьев
-ей - -ей
Accusative N or G N or G N or G
Dative -ам -ям -ям -ам -я -> -е
-ия -> -ии
-ям -ям -ам -ям
Instrumental -ом-ами -ем-ью-ями -ем-ями -ой-ами -ей-ями -ью / -ём-ями -ом-ами -ем-ями
Prepositional -ах -ях -й -> -е
-ий -> -ии
-ях -ах -я -> -е
-ия -> -ии
-ях -ях -ах
-ие -> -ии
-ях

Nominative is the case of the subject - who takes action?

Genitive expresses ownership - whose?

Accusative is the case of the object - what is the target?

Dative tells the receiver - for whom?

Instrumental tells what was used to make things happen - with what or in which role?

Prepositional tells where things happen.

In addition, many syntactic structures use specific cases.

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