The Gender of Nouns

Род имён существительных


Russian nouns are distinguished by gender and change for number and case. All the nouns belong to one of three genders: masculine, feminine or neuter. The gender of a noun is generally shown by its ending.


Nouns without an ending whose stem terminates in a hard consonant or the consonant are masculine:


                                                        дом - house (ending in a consonant)

                                                        город - city (ending in a consonant)

                                                        музей - museum (ending in )


Nouns ending in -a or -я are feminine:           страна - country (ending in )

                                                        земля - earth (ending in )


The gender of nouns denoting persons is determined by the sex of the person concerned. The words папа (papa, daddy), дедушка (granddad), дядя (uncle), юноша (youth), мужчина (man), мальчишка (boy) etc., which denote males, are masculine (no matter what their endings are).

All masculine names (whatever their endings) belong to the masculine gender: Саша (Александр), Миша (Михаил), Володя (Владимир), Коля (Николай), Серёжа (Сергей), Ваня (Иван), Валя (Валентин), Сеня (Семён), Дима (Дмитрий) etc.


The word дитя (child) is neuter.

There are 10 Russian nouns ending in -мя: имя (name), время (time), пламя (flame), знамя (banner), племя (tribe), семя (seed), темя (top of the head), бремя (burden), стремя (stirrup), вымя (udder); they are all neuter.


Nouns ending in or -е/-ё are neuter:           письмо - letter (ending in -о)

                                                        море - sea (ending in -е)

                                                        здание - building (ending in -е)

                                                        ружьё - gun (ending in )

The word кофе (coffee) is masculine.


Nouns ending in -Ь (the soft sign) make up a separate group and may be: 


masculine or feminine:
рубль - rouble   мать - mother
словарь - dictionary тетрадь - exercise-book

Their gender must be memorised!