The Noun: Gender

stasya | 22.01.2011 | 0

The noun (іменник [i'mɛn:ɪk]) — is the main part of speech and it is the basis of Ukrainian grammar. Ukrainian nouns have three genders, they can be singular and plural and what is more important they have seven cases. Unlike English they do not have articles.

Depending on the noun's gender, number or case the other parts of speech (i.e. adjectives, pronouns, prepositions, numerals and verbs) will change.

For example:

Цей чоловік кладе книжку на стіл. — This man is putting (puts) a book on the table.

What we have here is the main noun “чоловік” (a predicate) which is masculine, singular and in nominal case (answers the question: “who?”). According to this we have to change the pronoun and the verb.

Let's talk about the genders

There are three of them:

  1. Masculine (чоловічий рід).

  2. Feminine (жіночий рід).

  3. Neuter (середній рід).


  • nouns that are obviously “male”: чоловік — a man, хлопець — a boy, батько — a father, брат — a brother, друг — a (boy)friend, містер — Mister, бик — a bull, півень — a rooster etc.;

  • mostly all animals which don't have a specific gender distinction in their names: поні — pony, шимпанзе — chimpanzee, какаду — cockatoo, кенгуру — kangaroo etc.;

  • mostly have no endings: дуб — an oak, лоб — a forehead, зошит — a notebook, клас — a class, біль — a pain, сміх — a laughter etc.;

  • more rarely have or endings: Микола — Mykola (Michael), дядько — an uncle, тато — dad.


  • nouns that are obviously “female”: жінка — a woman, дівчина — a girl, мати — a mother, сестра — a sister, подруга — a (girl)friend, місіс — Missis, корова — a cow, курка — a hen etc.;

  • mostly have or endings: голова — a head, рука — a hand, шафа — a wardrobe, стіна — a wall, земля — an earth, мрія — a dream etc.;

  • more rarely have no endings: тінь — a shadow, ніч — a night, радість — a joy.


  • nouns that indicate animal babies and have -a or endings: курча — a chicken, ягня — a lamb, теля — a calf, порося — a piglet, цуценя — a puppy, кошеня — a kitten etc.;

  • mostly have or endings: вікно — a window, дерево — a tree, село — a village, дзеркало — a mirror, плече — a shoulder, море — a sea etc.;

  • may also have endings: знання — a knowledge, обличчя — a face, плем'я — a tribe, ім'я — a name.


There is also a combined type of gender which works both for masculine and feminine, masculine and neuter, feminine and neuter or even three of them.

Such are:

  • nouns that mainly have emotion value, name some creature or a specific person and point at their inherency: бідолаха — a poor thing, волоцюга — a tramp, заїка — a shutterer, ненажера — a heavy eater, слуга — a servant, сирота — an orphan, листоноша — a postman etc.;

  • foreign surnames, Ukrainian surnames with -ко or -чук endings: Шевченко, Петренко, Демчук, Ковальчук etc.;

  • some alien words, such as: директор — a principal, director, економіст — an economist, менеджер — a manager, декан — a warden, кандидат — a candidate, доцент — a docent, хірург — a surgeon, стоматолог — a dentist etc.;

  • nouns that have ending and mean bad qualities of a person: ледащо — a lazybone, базікало — a chatterbox etc.

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