The Plural of the Russian Nouns in the Nominative Case

Posted on January 17th, 2013

You already know how to tell the gender of a Russian noun,  and you also know that the Nominative case is the dictionary form of a noun. It’s high time for us to talk about how to make the plural of Russian nouns.
You can also read more about the Russian nominative case and watch the video lesson in the article – Cases of the Russian Nouns & The Nominative Case.

But first, let me clarify the difference between the hard and soft stem of a word in Russian.

Hard vs. Soft Stem of the Russian Words

Hard stem: the stem of the word that ends with a hard consonant. Letters indicate that the preceding consonant is hard: а, э, о, ы, у, no consonant.
For example, these words below have a hard stem:
Село, компьютер, часы.

Soft stem: the stem of the word that ends with a soft consonant or a vowel. Letters indicate that the preceding consonant is soft: е, ё, ю, я, и, ь.
The words below have a soft stem:
Дядя, конь, печенье.

The Plural of the Masculine Nouns in the Nominative Case in Russian

You can use either of these rules below to form the plural of the Russian masculine nouns in the nominative case.

1. If a masculine noun has a hard stem than you will need to add ending – ы.

You can also follow this rule: if a word ends with a consonant or –a, to form the plural, usually you need to add ending – ы to the end of the word.
Example:
Компьютер – Компьютеры
Папа-папы

2. If a noun has a soft stem, you will need to add ending – и to the end of that noun.
You can also follow this rule: if a noun ends with a soft sign, –й, or –я you will need to replace them with –и
Example:
Конь-кони
Музей-музеи

The Plural of the Feminine Nouns in the Nominative Case in Russian

1. If a noun has a soft stem than you will need to add ending – ы
You can also follow this rule: if a word ends with -a, to form the plural you need to replace it with – ы
Example:
Газета – газеты
Мама – мамы

2. If a noun has a soft stem than you will need to add ending – и
If a noun ends with a soft sign –ь or –я, you need to replace –ь or –я with –и
Example:
Дверь – Двери
Тётя – тёти

The Plural of the Neuter Nouns in the Nominative Case in Russian

If a noun ends with -o, you need to replace it with –a to form the plural
If a word ends with -e, you need to replace -e with – я
Example:
Здание – здания
Платье – платья

The 7 Letter Spelling Rule in Russian

Never ever write letter – ы after the letters г, к, х, ж, ч, ш, щ. These letters will always be followed by –и. This rule is called the 7 letter spelling rule.

Example:
Малыш – малыши
Книга – книги
Врач – врачи

When forming the plural of the nouns remember:
• To add the ending that will allow the step to retain it’s hard of soft nature (unless this would cause you to break a spelling rule, of course!).
• Never break a spelling rule!

If you would like to learn about the exceptions from these rules, you can watch this Russian grammar video lesson – The Plural of the Nouns in the Nominative Case: Exceptions.
And a quick exercise to help you practice the new material:

Make the plural of the following Nominative nouns, and make sure to post your answer in the comment section below: 
Девочка
Принтер
Дядя
Здание
Врач

Have fun learning Russian!

Viktoria.

Related Posts:

Comments

Study with Maxim Achkasov

Study

The courses of Russian as a foreign language with FunRussian take place online via Skype. The teacher works with adults individually since he is convinced that each person must receive maximum time for practice and professional attention while learning a foreign language.