Grammatical gender in Russian influences many things, but mainly the spelling. Here's the ouline for this article:
LET’S START WITH THE BASICS
In Russian, we have 4 genders:
Plural isn't really a "gender", but in a grammatical sense it will act exactly all other genders.
Adjectives, verbs, numbers can have gender in Russian, but they are all led by the noun gender. Think of nouns as a leader in a group, while others follow. Nouns set the gender, while adjectives, verbs, numbers just mimick it!
Nouns set the gender, while adjectives, verbs, numbers just mimick it!
Let’s take an orange! In Russian it’s Апельсин, and it’s masculine (we will learn how to tell the gender next)
And since the noun will set the "trend", the words that are connected to Апельсин also have to be masculine!
Красивый апельсин (a beautiful orange). Красивый has to be masculine, because it's describing апельсин.
Один апельсин (one orange). Один has to be masculine, because it's describing апельсин.
Апельсин упал (an orange fell). Упал has to be masculine, because it's describing апельсин.
Hope that is clear, let's learn how to tell gender in Russian.
HOW TO TELL GENDER IN RUSSIAN
It's fairly easy to tell gender of a noun in Russian. We simply have to look at the very last letter of a word!
See! Pretty simple, right? In Russian, we have 2 letters to each gender (besides masculine). Let's see how well you've understood this!
What's gender of
The gender is feminine (highlight this sentence to see the answer). The reason for that is because вода ends on а.
The gender is masculine (highlight this sentence to see the answer).
and lastly, what's the gender of
The gender is feminine (highlight this sentence to see the answer). But this is a trick one, because we haven’t learned gender of words that end on Ь!
And the best way to master gender in Russian is through exercise. We have a ton of them on BeFluent! Practice telling gender with BeFluent! Click the image below to try it out!
WHAT'S THE GENDER OF WORDS ENDING ON SOFT SIGN?
If a word ends on a soft sign, like words дверь, мышь, гость, then we have no way of predicting which gender is used. We have to go on a word-to-word basis!
However! Feminine is more common than masculine with words that end on a soft sign
The words that are mentioned above are:
дверь (a door) - feminine
мышь (a mouse) - feminine
гость (a guest) - masculine
HOW VERBS ARE AFFECTED BY GENDER
In Russian verbs can be affected by the gender of the subject, like we saw with the orange example. But it's only going to happen for the past tense! Present and future tense are unaffected by the gender.
This is how a verb like играть would be conjugated to the past tense:
The rest of the verbs will be conjugated in a similar fashion. There are, as always, going to be exceptions, but past tense is pretty consistent with endings.
HOW ADJECTIVES ARE AFFECTED
Also adjectives are affected by the gender of a noun they're describing. Here's a table for adjectives:
So, if a word an adjective is describing is masculine, take a masculine form of that adjective. Same for feminine, neuter, and plural. Nouns will lead the way!
HOW NUMBERS ARE AFFECTED
And lastly, let's talk about how numbers are affected by the gender of nouns. In Russian, numbers for 1 and 2 will change depending on the noun they're quantifying.
Feminine will be slightly different from masculine (or the default version of those numbers).
And that's all for this topic, I hope this subject is now clear! Practice telling gender with BeFluent! Click the image below to try it out!