Genitive Case

Overview and explanation of the Genetive Case in the Russian language

In this guide, we'll go over everything that we need to know about the genetive case in the Russian language. We'll go over how to form the genetive case and when to use the genetive case.

The Genetive Case is the most difficult case as far as Russian cases go, but extremely important in expressing possession, quality, and negation. It is used with many prepositions, and its forms are equal to the forms of the animate masculine and plural Accusative forms. It is one of the most important cases to master.

How do we form it?

Singular Nouns (cуществительные в единственном числе)

Genetive Masculine / Neuter Feminine
Кого? (animate)

-а / -я

-ы / -и

Что? (inanimate)

Masculine hard-stem nouns take the ending -а, and the soft-stem nouns take the ending -я.

Стол -----> cтола (hard stem masculine noun)

Музей -----> музея (soft-stem masculine noun)

Лампа -----> лампы (hard-stem feminine noun)

Аня -----> Ани (soft-stem feminine noun)

Книга -----> книги (hard stem feminine noun, but the spelling in the ending is affected by the 7 Letter Spelling Rule)

Plural Nouns (существительные во множественном числе)

The formation of the Genitive Plural is irregular. While we rely on the nouns' genders and numbers when forming other cases, in Genetive Plural the form is ordered not by the gender but by the ending in the Nominative Singular.

Masculine / Neuter Feminine Neuter
All consonants (besides ж, ш, ч, щ and ц) Nouns ending in й ж, ш, ч, щ, нож, and Ь ь all nouns ending in a vowel all nouns ending in a vowel
nominative singular стол музей словарь ночь





genitive plural









Zero ending





  1. When forming the Genitive Plural, don’t think of the gender. Instead listen to the last sound in the Nominative Singular. If it’s a consonant, add -ов

    Компьютер -----> компьютеров

    Апельсин -----> апельсинов

    Город -----> городов

  2. If it’s the soft consonant Й, then it’s the soft variant of the ending -ев. Don’t forget to drop й before adding the ending!

    Трамвай -----> трамваев

    Попугай -----> попугаев

  3. If a noun ends in one of the hushers (ж, ш, ч, щ) or a soft sign Ь (regardless if the noun is masculine or feminine) add -ей

    Этаж -----> этажей

    Ключ -----> ключей

    Гость -----> гостей

  4. Regardless if the noun is feminine or neuter, drop the vowel to form the Genitive Plural.

    лампа -----> ламп

    место -----> мест

    This is also true for those nouns that end in -ИЕ. -ИЕ since their last vowel is [ә].

    экскурсия -----> экскурсий

    упражнение -----> упражнений

  5. If a consonant cluster occurs at the end after dropping the vowel, insert О or Е (е in case of the 5 Letter Spelling Rule or a soft stem). ст cluster is an exception, for example in the word мест.

    сумка -----> сумок

    кошка -----> кошек

    девушка -----> девушек

    письмо -----> писем

  6. There are quite a few exceptions and inconsistencies in forms of the Genitive Plural. All the exceptions are usually marked in the dictionaries.

  7. As expected мать and дочь take infix -ер

    мать -----> матери

    дочь -----> дочери

  8. Those nouns that have irregular Nominative Plural are also exceptions in the Genitive Plural:

    друзья - друзей

    братья - братьев

    стулья - стульев

    деревья - деревьев

    сыновья - сыновей

    Мужья - мужей

  9. Nouns that have only the plural form have the Irregular Genitive.

    деньги - денег

    часы - часов

    люди - людей

    дети - детей

    волосы - волос

  10. There are a few Genitive Plural exceptions that is good to remember.

    год -----> лет

    человек -----> человек

    раз -----> раз

Personal Pronouns (личные местоимения)

The forms of the Personal Pronouns for the genetive case are the same as the ones in the accusative.

Singular Plural
Nominative Accusative Nominative Accusative
Я меня мы нас
ты тебя вы вас
Он его они их
Она её
Оно его

When the pronouns его, её, and их are preceded by a preposition, add Н.

для неё

у неё

без них

Adjectives (прилагательные)

Masculine and Neuter Feminine Plural
-ого / -его -ой / -ей -ых / -их
  1. Hard-stem masculine and neuter adjectives take the ending -ОГО. Soft-stem (those ending in -НИЙ) and those undergoing the 5 Letter Spelling Rule (whenever there is a grammatical need to put О after Ж, Ш, Ч, Щ, and Ц in an unstressed position, you have to put Е instead) take the ending -ЕГО. The -ОГО and -ЕГО endings are pronounced as [-ово] and [-ево]

  2. Hard-stem adjectives in the plural form take a hard variant -ЫХ, and as expected soft-stem take ending -ЕГО. Beware of the 7 Letter Spelling Rule. Change Ы to И after Г, К, Х, Ж, Ш, Ч, Щ!

    новый -----> нового

    большое -----> большого

    горячий -----> горячего

    старая -----> старой

    свежая -----> свежей

    умные -----> умных

    русский -----> русских

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive Pronouns change just like adjectives. Remember that ЕГО, ЕЁ, and ИХ don’t decline. They all take the soft variant endings. -ЕГО is pronounced as [его]

Masculine and Neuter Feminine Plural
Мой (my) моего моей моих
Твой (your) твоего твоей твоих
Our (наш) нашего нашей наших
Your (ваш) вашего вашей ваших

Interrogative Pronouns (вопросительные месоимения)

Кто? becomes КОГО? In the Genitive, and ЧТО? becomes ЧЕГО?

Uses of the Genitive Case

  1. The Genitive is used to convey the English preposition "of"

    Можно, пожалуйста, стакан воды? -----> May I have a glass of water?

    Вот фотография моей семьи. -----> Here is a picture of my family.*

    * Invert expression into an "of" construction. "This is my family's picture" is the same as "This is the picture OF my family."

  2. To show possession

    Чей он друг? -----> Whose friend is he?

    Он друг моего сына. -----> He is my son’s friend.

    Чьи это документы? -----> Whose documents are these?

    Не знаю. Может, Артура? -----> Don’t know. Perhaps, Arthur’s?

    If you are familiar with the prepositional construction "У МЕНЯ", you know that it is used to express the owner: У меня есть семья. (Literally - At me, there is a family). The preposition У requires the Genitive. When we establish the existence of something, you need to use ЕСТЬ.

    У нашего директора есть офис - Our boss has an office.

    Once the existence has been established, to give attributes and to say location of the mentioned object, there is no need to use ЕСТЬ.

    У нашего директора большой офис. -----> Our director has a big office (the existence is now established, literally you are saying HIS office is big)

    У кого ключи? У тебя? -----> Who has the keys? You?

    Нет, ключи у Наташи -----> No, Natasha has them. (literally, the keys are at Natasha)

  3. To express the idea of absence.

    A person or a thing that is absent is expressed in the Genetive Case.

    У вас в офисе есть принтер? -----> Do you have a printer in your office?

    У нас нет принтера, только сканер. -----> No, there is no printer, just a scanner.

    У них в квартире есть интернет? -----> Do they have internet in the apartment?

    Нет, интернета нет. -----> No, they have no internet.

    Не видел мою ручку? -----> Did you see my pen?

    Нет. Здесь ручки нет. -----> No, it’s not here.(the pen is not here).

    As you see, in Russian it's one and the same construction that expresses two things in English. "I don't have" = "there is no". Compare.

    В стране нет денег. -----> There is no money in the country

    У него нет денег тоже. -----> He has no money as well. (Literally "there is no money at him")

    Notice the formation of the genitive case in the past and the future. Since the subject is absent, the sentence is impersonal. Therefore the verb is in the neuter form.

    Директор был на презентации? -----> Was the boss at the presentation?

    Нет, директора не было. -----> No, the director wasn’t there.

    Твоя семья будет на вечеринке? -----> Will your family be at the party?

    Мужа и сына не будет, только я. -----> My husband and son won’t be there. Just me.

  4. To express quantity.

    Words that express quantity such as много, мало, сколько, столько take the Genitive Plural with countable nouns, and Genitive Singular with uncountable nouns

    У тебя сейчас много работы? -----> Do you have a lot of work?

    Сколько у вас детей? -----> How many children do you have?

    Я бы хотел немного воды. -----> I’d like some water.

    The Cardinal Numerals 2, 3, and 4 take the Genitive Singular.

    Note that два agrees in gender with the nouns it modifies. ДВА is for masculine, and ДВЕ is for feminine.

    Сколько у тебя сестёр? -----> How many sisters do you have?

    У меня 2 сестры, а ещё есть 3 брата. -----> 3 sisters, but I also have 3 brothers.

    В Москве 22 парка, 52 университета, 34 фонтана, 33 музея. -----> There are 22 parks, 52 universities, 34 fountains, and 33 museums in Moscow.

    The Cardinal Numerals from 5 to 20 take the Genitive Plural. After 20, if the compound numeral ends in два, три, четыре, it’s the Genitive Singular. If it ends in пять, шесть, семь, восемь, девять it’s the Genitive Plural. For example:

    Одиннадцать дней

    Двадцать два дня

    Двадцать восемь дней

    Сто дней

    У нас в классе 15 мальчиков и 9 девочек. -----> We have 15 boys and 9 girls in our class.

    А cколько всего детей в школе? -----> And how many kids do you have at school in total?

    250 детей и , представляешь, только 18 учителей. -----> 250 kids, and only 18 teachers, can you imagine?

    Genitive forms are used with masculine animate and plural animate nouns in all Accusative Case situations.

    Видишь того маленького мальчика? Знаешь его? -----> Do you see that little boy? Do you know him?

    Мальчика не знаю, но знаю его старшего брата и папу. -----> I don't know him, but I know his older brother and Dad.

  5. Some verbs take the Genitive Case to perform the direct object instead of the Accusative Case. Here are some of these verbs:

    Бояться собак - be afraid of dogs

    Желать счастья - wish happiness

    Добиваться успеха - achieve success

    Касаться руки - touch the hand

  6. After a number of prepositions:

    All prepositions are governed by a certain Case. Some prepositions can be governed by more than one Case.

    Here are the most common Genitive prepositions:

    Для for Это подарок для детей.
    без without Я пью чай без сахара.
    кроме Besides, except Все были дома, кроме Саши, Иры и Дениса.
    с since Мы здесь с пятницы.
    до until До понедельника я свободен.
    после after После ужина он идёт делать уроки.
    У At, by (right next to) Моё рабочее место у окна. Я была у врача. ( when preposition у is used with a person it means "at someone’s place"
    около By, near Я ждала тебя около входа в метро.
    Далеко от Far way from Наша дача далеко от города.
    из * from Он идёт из магазина.
    c * from Она звонит с работы.
    от * from Дети едут от бабушки.

    * In Russian, the answer to the question "From where...? is directly connected with the choice of prepositions В and НА in the Prepositional Case. If you choose preposition В to answer the question "Where...?", then to answer the question " From where…?", choose preposition "ИЗ". In the same way, the preposition "НА" is related to "С" , and "К" (Dative Case, if it’s a person you are going to) to "ОТ". Here are examples to observe this connection:

    Я звоню в Москву -----> Я звоню из Москвы

    Он сидит на стуле -----> Он встаёт со стула (use preposition со to break the cluster of consonants)

    Она ходила к директору -----> Она идёт от директора