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Basic grammar

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Regarding plurals:

- For nouns, add ы to the end of the words which end with a consonant. These are masculine nouns. Example: билет ticket becomes билеты tickets.

- Nouns ending with a are feminine so to make it plural you drop the a and add ы instead. Example: зима winter becomes зимы winters.

- Nouns ending with the soft sign (ь) or with я are feminine and so you drop those letters and change the ending to и for plurals. Example: melon дыня
becomes дыни melons.

- Neuter nouns end either in o or with e. The o is changed to a and a noun ending in e is changed to я to make it plural. Examples: Regarding o, wine вино becomes вина wines. Regarding e (hard as so few nouns end with e), платье is a dress and more than one dress becomes платья.

There are exceptions. This exception is called the 7 Letter Rule:
After these consonants: г х ч ш ж щ k you make a noun plural by changing the ending letter to и (instead of ы). Example: juice сок becomes соки juices.

There there are exceptions with words that don't change. Cafe is one example as it is кафе with either.


May I pick on the author and say, "It is about time!"  Without picking a fight that is.


I'll be leaving for Moscow in a few days but wanted to add another piece to the grammar puzzle.

Nouns and Gender

Every Russian noun has a gender. There are three genders:
1- Masculine, (мужской род)

2- Feminine (женской род) 

3- Neuter (средний род).

Look at the ending in the nominative (dictionary) case to tell the gender of a noun. The nominative case is the default case for words.

Masculine nouns end with a consonants or with й.

Feminine nouns end with а, я, or ия.

Neuter nouns end in е, о, or with ие.

As with any language there are exceptions so we'll help with few of the more common ones.

- A few masculine nouns end in a or я; these are usually associated with male names or titles. You'll see this with мужчи́на (man,) дя́дя́ (uncle,) де́душка (grandfather,) and this is very common with shortened nicknames of masculine names. Think of Sasha, Dima and others like Воло́дя, Бо́ря. These decline like feminine nouns.

- Neuter nouns ending in о or и are often borrowed from foreign languages. Examples include кинo, ко́фe, кафe, and and такси. These borrowed words do not decline.

- There are a handful of neuter nouns that end with я. These include вре́мя (time), зна́мя (banner), и́мя (first name,) се́мя (seed) and те́мя (crown.)

- There are a few nouns that can be either masculine or feminine. These few all end with which end in the soft sign, ь.

The 5-Letter Rule
After Ш, Щ, Ж, Ч, Ц, don’t write O if it’s unstressed; instead write e.

The Hush Rule
After Ш, Щ, Ж, Ч, don’t write Я or Ю; instead use А or У.

Russian Vowels:

Russian has 10 paired vowels. In other words there are 5 vowel sounds but expressed in pairs, depending on whether the word needs a hard vowel sound or a soft vowel sound.

Hard Vowels

а  э  ы  у  о

Soft Vowels

я  е  и  ю  ё

So, how easy are they to learn? Very, because you have to learn only the 5 hard vowels and since they're paired you simply add the English "y" sound to the beginning of each to form the pair.

Here is how it works:
- a is a hard vowel. It is paired by adding a y to a and you have я (ya).

- э (eh) is a hard vowel. Add y and we have e (ye). 

- ы (euh) is a very hard sound. It is paired with и (e). Okay, that is the only one you don't add the y to on the front.

- у (oo) is hard and we soften it by adding the y sound to make ю (like "you").

- o (oh) is a hard vowel and we make it soft by again adding the y sound which makes ё (yo).


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