Gender of Russian Nouns: Exceptions from the Rules

Posted on November 28th, 2012

genders of Russian nounsToday we will talk about genders of the nouns in Russian again but in more depth, and will specifically take a look at the exceptions from the rules.

Here is the video lesson:

Watch Gender of Russian Nouns Part 1 lesson that I mention in my video.

As you probably already know, Russian language is full of exceptions! Let’s take a look at the following rules:

1. In our previous lesson you’ve learned that nouns ending with a consonant or – ь are masculine. However, some nouns ending with –а, -я, -е, -о, -и are also masculine. You need to remember that all nouns denoting male are always masculine despite their ending:
Папа [PA-pa] Dad
Маэстро [ma-E-stra] maestro
Портье [par-T’YE] receptionist

2. A similar rule applies to feminine nouns. Nouns denoting females are always feminine despite their endings:
Мадам [ma-DAM] madam
Леди [L’YE-dee] lady
Мисс [MEES] miss

3. Nouns with -ь (мягкий знак):
Most nouns ending with are feminine:
Мать [MAT’] mother
Морковь [mar-KOF’] carrot
Мышь [MISH] mouse

However, some of the nouns ending with – ь are masculine. For these words you will need to learn their gender when you learn the word. For example:
Октябрь [ak-TYA-br’] October
Олень [a-LYEN’] deer
Рубль [ROOBL’] rouble

4. Nouns ending with –и, -у, or –ю are most likely to be borrowed from a foreign language and are neuter. For example:
Алиби [A-lee-bee] alibi
Меню [mee-NYO] menu
Такси [tak-SEE] taxi

5. Nouns ending with –мя [MYA] are exceptions from the rules and are neuter gender, you will need to remember these words.

время, имя, знамя, семя, стремя, вымя, пламя, племя, темя, бремя

If you are a beginner, it’s possible that you won’t come across these words too often, so don’t worry about memorizing them all at once. Take your time. The only word I would strongly recommend to remember for now is “имя” [EE-mya] it means “name”.

I hope you are not too overwhelmed! Just try to remember the basic rules we’ve learned in our previous Gender of Russian Nouns lesson and then one by one rules in this lesson.

Now, let’s do a couple of exercises to practice the rules you’ve learned in this and previous grammar lesson – Gender of Russian Nouns.

Please, don’t worry, if you are a little confused, this is not a test and if you really need to, you can always look up these words in the dictionary.

Exercise 1:
Indicate the gender of the following Russian nouns:
Дочь, имя, мадам, жюри, леди, папа, такси, меню, дядя, миссис.

Exercise 2:
Вымя, батарея, сын, лампа, принтер, ноябрь, гривна, окно, имя, мать, алиби, мисс, мистер, портье, свитер, кошка, облако, плоскость, компьютер, отец, солнце.

This is all for today! Don’t forget to leave a comment below and let me know how your Russian studies are going! I am always happy to hear from you.

And, of course, as always, have fun learning Russian! :)


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The courses of Russian as a foreign language with Russian4real take place online via Skype. The teacher works with adults individually since he is convinced that each person must receive maximum time for practice and professional attention while learning a foreign language.