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Genitive is the thirteenth skill of the Russian language tree. It has 5 lessons.

This skill teaches Russian Skill:Genitive.

Grammar Notes[]

Genitive Singular Formation[]

Genitive singular formation is summarized in the following table.

Genitive singular
Nominative singular ending Prepositional ending Example
Masculine Consonant Consonant + а брат = брата
-й -я чай = чая
-ь -я учитель = учителя
Feminine -ы мама = мамы
к, г, х, ш, ж, щ, ч + а кошка = кошки
-и семья = семьи
тетрадь = тетради
Neuter -о -а масло = масла
-е -я море = моря

Use of the Genitive[]

"I have"[]

A use of the genitive which was already seen in previous skills is to say "I have", "you have", etc. This is done with the construction:

У + [genitive of the possessor] + есть

For example, in У меня есть, the pronoun меня is the genitive of я. The other personal pronoun genitive forms are тебя, его/него, её/неё, нас, вас, and их/них.

You can use the same construction not only with personal pronouns but also with nouns, for example:

У мамы есть = У + [genitive of мама] + есть = Mom has...

English 's (possession or relation)[]

The genitive of a word is equivalent to the English 's to indicate that someone possesses, or has a certain relationship, with something/someone. The construction in this case is:

X's Y = [Y] + [genitive of X]

For example:

  • брат мамы = брат + [genitive of мама] = Mom's brother
  • стол папы = стол + [genitive of папа] = Dad's table

Note how in Russian the genitive goes after the other word, unlinke in English, where the 's form goes before the other word.

"A X of Y" (partitive genitive)[]

Genitive can also be used to say "A X of Y", in the sense of "A part of something", "A certain quantity of something". For example:

  • Чашка чая = Чашка + [genitive of чай] = A cup of tea.

In this case, the word order is the same as in english.

"I don't have"[]

To say "X doesn't have Y" the construction in Russian uses two genitives: the one of the subject (i.e. who doesn't have something) and the one of the object (i.e. what is not had). The construction is:

у + [genitive of X] + нет + [genitive of Y] = X doesn't have Y

When нет is used in this sense, to show the absence of something, it "wants" the genitive case.

For example:

  • у меня нет собаки = у + [genitive of я] + нет + [genitive of собака] = I don't have a dog.
  • у мамы нет брата = у + [genitive of мама] + нет + [genitive of брат] = Mom doesn't have a brother.

"Nothing", Negation, and Double Negatives[]

Unlike in English, Russian uses double negation to say things like "I have nothing"/"I don't have anything". To say "X doesn't have anything", the construction is:

у + [genitive of X] + ничего + нет

ничего is a pronoun, more specifically it is the genitive of ничто, which means nothing. It is in genitive form because, as we just saw, нет "wants" the genitive.

The literal translation of this construction would be: "X doesn't have nothing", with a double negation. This double negation is necessary in Russian.

For example:

  • у меня ничего нет = у + [genitive of я] + ничего + нет = I don't have anything. (lit. I don't have nothing.)

Genitive "of Absence"[]

Genitive is also used to say that something is not present, is "away". To say that "X is away", or "X isn't here", the construction is simply:

[genitive of X] + нет

For example:

  • Мамы сейчас нет = [genitive of мама] + сейчас + нет = Mom isn't here now.

Genitive with Prepositions[]

Finally, some prepositions require the following noun to be in the genitive case. We already saw a couple of them, such as:

  • из = from
  • возле = near


Lesson 1[]

  • у него нет = he doesn't have
  • у них нет = they don't have
  • у меня нет = I don't have
  • у неё нет = she doesn't have
  • у тебя нет = you don't have
  • сестры = genitive of сестра (sister)
  • воды = genitive of вода (water)
  • пиццы = genitive of пицца (pizza)
  • собаки = genitive of собака (dog)
  • кошки = genitive of кошка (cat)

Lesson 2[]

  • брата = genitive of брат (brother)
  • мамы = genitive of мама (mum)
  • утки = genitive of утка (duck)
  • чая = genitive of чай (tea)
  • супа = genitive of суп (soup)
  • папы = genitive of папа (dad)
  • мужчины = genitive of мужчина (man)
  • ребёнка = genitive of ребёнок (child)

Lesson 3[]

  • рис (m) = rice
  • масло (n) = butter
  • девочки = genitive of девочка (girl)
  • меня = genitive of я (I)
  • вас = genitive of вы (you plural or formal)
  • тебя = genitive of ты (you singular informal)
  • от = from (+ genitive)

Lesson 4[]

  • ешь = you eat (singular)
  • сока = genitive of сок (juice)
  • стола = genitive of стол (table)
  • хлеба = genitive of хлеб (bread)
  • масла = genitive of масло (butter)
  • молока = genitive of молоко (milk)

Lesson 5[]

  • женщины = genitive of женщина (woman)
  • ничего = genitive of ничто (nothing)
  • яблока = genitive of яблоко (apple)
  • учителя = genitive of учитель (teacher)
  • карандаша = genitive of карандаш (pencil)
  • мальчика = genitive of мальчик (boy)
  • этого = genitive of этот/это (this, masculine or neuter)