Plural of Nouns

  • Posted on: 14 June 2015
  • By: Tatiana Shutova
plural of nouns

In this lesson we we are going to learn Plural of Nouns.

This topic is very important as it is used in all aspects of the language. In English we create a plural by simply adding the letter 's'. In Russian the system is quite different. In general, plural forms of nouns are made by adding or changing the ending of the word. Keep in mind that in Russian the hardness or softness of a stem should always be preserved as you add endings to it. If you are not sure how to tell if a consonant is hard or soft, review our Reading lessons.

You can see below all possible endings of Russian nouns depending on gender:

  Singular Changing of ending Plural
ОН

университет

hard consonant --> -Ы

университеты

  музей -Й  -->  -И музеи
  словарь -Ь  -->  -И словари́
ОНА комната -А  -->  -Ы комнаты
  неделя -Я  -->  -И недели
  история -ИЯ  -->  -ИИ истории
  дверь -Ь  -->  -И двери
ОНО письмо -О  -->  -А пи́сьма
  море -Е  -->  -Я моря
  здание -ИЕ  -->  -ИЯ здания

As you can notice to form the plural of most masculine and feminine nouns replace the singular ending by  for hard stems and  for soft stems.

To form the plural of neuter nouns replace the singular ending by  for hard stems and  for soft stems.

When forming the nominative plural of nouns (either masculine or feminine) never break the 7-letter spelling rule: after г, к, х, ж, ш, щ, ч write -и , not -ы :

книга (book) - книги 

рука (hand) - рýки

учебник (textbook) - учебники 

стих (poem) - стихи́ 

нож (knife) - ножи́ 

карандаш (pencil) - карандаши́

ключ (key) - ключи́

Masculine nouns with stems that end in -ок or -ец lose the vowels о, е  whenever an ending is added: 

подарок (present) - подарки

напиток (drink) - напитки

огурец (cucumber) - огурцы́

немец (a German)- немцы

Pay attention that some Russian nouns shift their accent (stress) in the plural. Such words are marked in the dictionaries. 

 

There are some nouns with plural form that does not follow the above-mentioned rules:

  • some masculine nouns with the stressed ending -а/-я (instead of -ы/-и):

глаз (eye) - глазá 

номер (number) - номерá 

дом (house) - домá 

вечер (evening) - вечерá 

поезд (train) - поездá 

адрес (address)- адресá

город (city) - городá 

паспорт (passport) - паспортá 

профессор (professor) - профессорá

учитель (teacher) - учителя́

  • some masculine and neuter nouns have the ending -ья in plural. NB! There are stem changes in some of them:

стул (chair) - стулья 

брат (brother) - братья

лист (leaf) - листья

друг (friend) - друзья́

сын (son) - сыновья́

муж (husband) - мужья́

дерево (tree) - деревья

  • feminine nouns дочь and мать have stem changes in plural:

дочь (daughter) - дочери

мать (mother) - матери

  • some neuter nouns form the nominative plural with the ending :

яблоко (apple) - яблоки

ухо (ear) - уши

  • some words are different in singular and plural:

ребёнок (child) - дети

человек (person) - люди

 

There are some nouns in Russian that are always plural:

деньги  (money)  

часы (watch, clock)

ножницы (scissors)

духи́ (perfume)

каникулы (vacation)

шахматы (chess)

очки́ (glasses)

брюки (trousers)

родители (parents)

There are some nouns in Russian that are always singular:

молоко (milk), масло (butter, oil), хлеб (bread), пиво (beer)   and other uncountable substances

любовь (love), счастье (happiness), ненависть (hatred)   and other abstract notions

теннис (tennis), баскетбол (basketball), футбол (football) хоккей (hockey)   and other kinds of sport 

мебель (furniture), обувь (shoes), одежда (clothes), посуда (crockery, dishes)    and other collective nouns

 

You can also check:

Gender of nouns

Adjectives

and share the knowledge if this material is useful ;)