The Genitive Case

The genitive case is used in the sentences like "Каковы́ сво́йства ..." (What are the properties of ...). The English equivalent of the genitive case is the preposition "of". The nouns in the genitive answer such questions as Кого́? Чего́? (Of whom? Of what?).

Сво́йства чего́? Сво́йства мета́лла. - The properties of what? The properties of metal.
Это бе́рег чего́? Это бе́рег реки́. - This is the bank of what? This is the bank of the river.
Это кни́га чья? Это кни́га Ле́ны. - Whose this book is? This is Lena's book.

The main role of the genitive is to show where the person or thing belongs to or what it relates to. For example: кры́ша до́ма (the roof of the house), па́чка ча́я (the pack of tea).

Remember:

Numerals 2, 3, 4 and their compounds are always followed by the genitive singular case.

Example: два до́ма,
два́дцать три до́ма

Usage of the Genitive case

The genitive is usually used with the following prepositions: без, для, до, из, из-за, из-под, кро́ме, на, от, с, со, у, о́коло, вокру́г, недалеко́ от, позади́, напро́тив, посреди́, ми́мо, вдоль. However you should know that the genitive is not the only case used with these prepositions.

без воды́   without water
для Ва́ни   for Vanya
до окна́   to the window
для ча́я   for tea

The genitive is used after the verbs проси́ть, хоте́ть, тре́бовать, иска́ть, ждать, достига́ть, жела́ть, боя́ться  with nouns designating abstract and indefinite objects. For example:

Учи́тель про́сит внима́ния.   The teacher calls for attention.
Ро́зы боя́тся хо́лода.   The roses are afraid of cold.

The genitive is also used after the words нет, не бы́ло, не бу́дет. For example:

У него́ не было де́нег.   He did not have money.
У меня́ нет бра́та.   I do not have a brother.

How to form the Genitive case

Forming the genitive of Russian nouns is pretty easy. You will need to remove the last vowel from the nominative singular of a noun and add one of the following endings: -а, -я, -и, -ы (singular); -ов, -ев, -ей (plural). If the noun ends in a consonant, just add the appropriate ending. This process is summed up in the tables below.

The Genitive of singular nouns

   Nominative   Remove   Add   Genitive 
 masculine  брат
чай
--
й
а
я
бра́та
ча́я
neuter окно́
мо́ре
о
е
а
я
окна́
мо́ря
feminine печь
вода́
ь
а
и
ы
пе́чи
воды́

Explanation of the table:

Add to masculine nouns ending in a hard consonant (брат) and neuter nouns ending in -o (окно́).

Add to masculine nouns ending in -й, -ь (чай, учи́тель) and neuter nouns ending in -е, -ие (мо́ре, ору́дие).

Add to feminine nouns ending in -я, -ь (печь).

Add to feminine nouns ending in -a (вода).

Exception 1: Because of the spelling rules, you should use the ending instead of in feminine nouns ending in hard к, г, х or ж ш. For example: де́вочка - де́вочки, кни́га кни́ги.

Exception 2: Because of the spelling rules, you should use the ending instead of in masculine nouns ending in ч, щ. For example: ключ - ключа́, товарищ - това́рища.

Exception 3: Masculine nouns ending а, я follow the same pattern as feminine nouns ending in а, я. For example: па́па - па́пы.

The Genitive of plural nouns

   Nominative singular  Remove   Add   Genitive plural
 masculine  мост
брат
край
трамва́й
учи́тель
--
--
й
й
ь
ов
ьев
ёв
ев
ей
мосто́в
бра́тьев
краёв
трамва́ев
учителе́й
neuter окно́
мо́ре
--
--
--
й
о́кон
море́й
feminine печь
коса́
ста́я
ь
--
--
ей
--
--
пече́й
кос
стай

Explanation of the table:

Add -oв to masculine nouns ending in a consonant.

Add -ев to masculine nouns ending in . Add -ёв to one-syllable nouns like край, чай. Exceptions are nouns like брат, лист which get the ending -ьев.

Add -ей to feminine nouns ending in and masculine nouns ending in -ь, ж, ч, ш, щ.

Add to neuter nouns ending in -e.

Neuter nouns ending in -o and feminine and masculine nouns ending in -а, -я lose their endings.







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