How to figure out genders of nouns

Russian from scratch
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Published: 07.09.2021
A rule to define the gender of the noun

If you have just started learning Russian, this article is for you! Here Russian teachers are going to help you how to define gender of nouns. Probably you have already noticed that Russian nouns have various endings and sometimes it is not easy to understand what gender they stand for. Let's have a look at the most common endings:

  1. If you see a consonant, or "й", the word is masculine. For example, банан, шоколад, офис, ноутбук, and also музей, гений, кафетерий.
  2. If you see the letters "а" or "я", it is feminine. Подруга, опера, музыка, линия, абстракция, адаптация, мотивация.
  3. If there is "о" or "е", the gender of the word is neuter. Look here: манго, авокадо, кафе, радио - these words are definitely neuter!
  4. If it is a soft sign "ь" then it could be either masculine or feminine! Yep, Russian is full of surprises but don't let it stop you from learning this language! For instance, календарь is masculine but ночь (night) is feminine. When you see a word ending with the soft sign, we recommend looking it up in the dictionary to define its gender.
It is an open secret that every language has exceptions, and the Russian language is not an exception! Speaking of genders, we can point out a few nouns that gender cannot be defined by their endings.

Memorize these words:

  • Кофе is masculine, although it looks like it's neuter. This is a borrowed word and a long time ago it used to have both masculine and neuter genders.
  • Папа, дядя, дедушка, мужчина (father, uncle, grandfather, man) have feminine endings а and я but they are masculine. Perhaps, it is related to their physical gender.
We hope that you got the idea how to define genders! Remember, only practice makes perfect! Speak Russian on your own or join our individual course.

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Это Настя. Настя - учитель русского языка. Она ведёт уроки и пишет интересные статьи про грамматику. "Я даю пропуск в русскую культуру и русскую душу через язык".

Anastasia, Enjoy Russian teacher

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