Russian Fractions

If you already know about cardinal and ordinal numbers, it is time to start using them together to say fractions in Russian. Fractional numbers are used to designate fractions. The basic examples of fractions in Russian are:

1/3 - одна третья [ahd-nah tryeht'-yah]
1/2 - одна вторая [ahd-nah ftah-rah-yah]
2/9 - две девятых [dvyeh dee-vyah-tikh]

As you might have noticed from the examples, the first part of a fractional numeral is the cardinal number, the second part is the ordinal number.

Agreement with nouns

The numbers in Russian follow the same grammar rules as adjectives. They must agree with nouns in gender (masculine, feminine, neuter), number (singular or plural) and case. You should use the feminine form of numerals 1 and 2 if they are located in the numerator, as in одна пятая (1/5). The noun after the fraction is always in the genitive, as in две девятых класса (two third of the class). As you can see from this example, the word класса is in the genitive form (the dictionary form is "класс").

In addition, Russian fractional numerals change by cases (i.e. decline). Both parts of the numeral must change. The first part (the numerator) is changed like the corresponding cardinal number. The second part (the denominator) is changed similar to the adjective интересный or синий. You may want to check out the lesson on declension of adjectives if you wish. The table below gives a few examples:

Case Numeral
две третьих (2/3)
Numeral
две пятых (2/5)
Nominative две третьих две пятых
Genitive двух третьих двух пятых
Dative двум третьим двум пятым
Accusative две третьих две пятых
Instrumental двумя третьими двумя пятыми
Prepositional (о) двух третьих (о) двух пятых

Decimal fractions in Russian

Now look at the examples of decimal fractions. Notice that unlike in English, Russians use a comma (not a dot) to distinguish between the whole and the remainder.

0,5 - ноль целых, пять десятых
1,04 - одна целая, четыре сотых
2,75 - две целых, семьдесят пять сотых

Mastering Russian decimal fractions is a two-step process.

  1. Say the number placed before the comma, followed by the word целая for numbers ending in 1, or the word целых for all other numbers.

    For example: 0,.. - ноль целых; 3,.. - три целых; 41,.. - сорок одна целая

  2. Then say the number after the comma followed by the word десятых (10th), сотых (100th), тысячных (1000th) depending on the type of a fraction.

    For example: ..,5 - пять десятых; ..,41 - сорок одна сотая; ..,009 - девять тысячных

Shortcut names for some fractions

In spoken Russian, some fractions have special names:

1/2 is половина [pah-lah-vee-nah] (half)
1/3 is треть [tryeht'] (third)
1/4 is четверть [chyet-vyehrt'] (quarter)
1,5 is полтора [pahl-tah-rah] (one and a half)

The fraction половина declines like feminine nouns ending in -a (доска).

Declension of полови́на (a half)

Case Singular Plural
Nominative полови́на полови́ны
Genitive полови́ны полови́н
Dative полови́не полови́нам
Accusative полови́ну полови́ны
Instrumental полови́ной (полови́ною) полови́нами
Prepositional полови́не полови́нах

The fractions треть and четверть decline similar to feminine nouns ending in (степь).

Declension of тре́ть (a third)

Case Singular Plural
Nominative тре́ть тре́ти
Genitive тре́ти трете́й
Dative тре́ти третя́м
Accusative тре́ть тре́ти
Instrumental тре́тью третя́ми
Prepositional тре́ти третя́х

Declension of че́тверть (a quarter)

Case Singular Plural
Nominative че́тверть че́тверти
Genitive че́тверти четверте́й
Dative че́тверти четвертя́м
Accusative че́тверть че́тверти
Instrumental че́твертью четвертя́ми
Prepositional че́тверти четвертя́х

The fractional numeral полтора declines as shown in the table below. Note that it has the form полутора in all cases except the nominaitve and accusative.

Declension of полтора
(stressed vowels are underlined)

Case Numeral
полтора галлона
(a gallon and a half)
Nominative полтора галлона
Genitive полутора галлонов
Dative полутора галлонам
Accusative полтора галлона
Instrumental полутора галлонами
Prepositional (о) полутора галлонах

This concludes the lesson about Russian franctions. The following lessons will help you learn more about numerals and improve your understanding of the Rusian grammar.

Related lessons

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