Nouns and Gender


There are three genders in Russian: masculine, feminine and neuter. You can tell them apart by their ending.

masculine: masculine nouns end in a consonant, or in , or : го́род (a town), друг (a friend),  музе́й (a museum), учи́тель (a teacher) etc.

feminine: feminine nouns end in -a or in or : ла́мпа (a lamp), подру́га (a girl friend), семья́ (a family),  дверь (a door) etc.

neuter: neuter nouns end in -o or in -e or in -мя: окно́ (a window), со́лнце (the sun), вре́мя (time) etc.

  • Some masculine nouns that refer to people end in -a or -я. They decline like feminine nouns, but words that refer to them (adjectives for example) are masculine. This applies equally to masculine diminutive name forms that end in -a :

мужчи́на (a man), де́душка (grandfather), дя́дя (uncle), ю́ноша (young man), Серёжа (Серге́й), Пе́тя (Пётр), Са́ша (Алекса́ндр), Ми́ша (Михаи́л)

  • Nouns that end in can be either feminine or masculine.

[col type=”half”]

день (the day)
Кремль (the Kremlin)
гость (the guest)
слова́рь (the dictionary)
дождь (the rain)
жи́тель (the inhabitant)


[col type=”half last”]

мать, дочь (mother, daughter)
но́вость (a piece of news)
тетра́дь (the exercise book)
соль (salt)
о́сень (autumn)
ночь (the night)


  • Certain nouns that denote a profession have no feminine form: адвока́т (a lawyer), врач (a doctor), исто́рик (a historian), инжене́р (an engineer) etc.

Он инжене́р. He is an engineer.  Она инжене́р. She is an engineer.

When such nouns are used with the name of a person and a verb in the past tense, the verb agrees with the name of the person:

Инжене́р Петро́ва пришла́. Engineer Petrova has arrived.

  • The word колле́га can be masculine or feminine:

Это мой коллега Виктор. This is my colleague Victor.
Это моя коллега Ольга. This is my colleague Olga.

  • There are invariable nouns, usually nouns of foreign origin. Most of these nouns are neuter: пальто́ (a coat), кино́ (the cinema), метро́ (the metro), but ко́фе (coffee) is masculine.
  • The gender of invariable proper nouns (geographical names, newspaper titles, etc.) corresponds to the gender of the noun denoting the category to which they belong:

Далёкий Ка́при (о́стров: island) (far away Capri)
Но́вый “Пари́ Матч” (журнал: magazine) (the new Paris Match)