Gender of Russian Nouns

  • Posted on: 31 May 2015
  • By: Tatiana Shutova

The gender of nouns plays an important role in Russian grammar. It is important to know the grammatical gender of Russian nouns because the forms of adjectives, pronouns and past-tense forms of verbs depend on the gender of the noun they refer to. It is hard to build even a simple phrase in Russian without knowing the gender of nouns. Gender comes in three types: masculine, feminine and neuter.

You can usually determine the gender of a noun by its ending:

Masculine  (ОН)

Word Ending
дом (house) in hard consonant
чай (tea) in -й
словарь (dictionary) in -ь

+ папа (dad), дедушка (grandfather), дядя (uncle), мужчина (man), кофе (coffee)

 

Feminine  (ОНА)

Word Ending
квартира (apartment) in -а
неделя (week) in -я
история (history) in -ия
кровать (bed) in -ь

 

Neuter (ОНО)

Word Ending
письмo (letter) in -о
платьe (dress) in -е
здание (building) in -ие

+ имя (name), время (time)

 

Nouns ending in -ь can be either masculine or feminine: день (masculine), жизнь (feminine). The best way to tell the gender of such nouns is to memorize them as you progress with your Russian language study.

These are the most common words with -ь:

Masculine

  • гость (guest)
  • день (day)
  • дождь (rain)
  • календарь (calendar)
  • словарь (dictionary)

Feminine:

  • мать (mother)
  • дочь (daughter)
  • тетрадь (notebook)
  • ночь (night)
  • осень (autumn)
  • кровать (bed)
  • соль (salt) 
  • жизнь (life)

 

To be sure that you have learnt the gender of Russian nouns

I recommend you to take a small TEST (click here)