The Noun: Declensions

stasya | 25.01.2011 | 0

From the previous article you have found out more about cases and their main points, so the next question you would probably ask is:

How to change the nouns according to the cases?

Well, for this purpose there are four declensions. Declensions are actually groups of nouns gathered due to their specific endings and genders. The first and the second declension also are divided into three different groups: hard, soft and mixed.

It looks like this:

  1. I declension

    • hard group

    • soft group

    • mixed group

  2. II declension

    • hard group

    • soft group

    • mixed group

  3. III declension

  4. IV declension

I declension (Перша відміна)

  • feminine, masculine and combined nouns with -а(-я) ending: суддя (a judge), стеля (a ceiling), жінка (a woman), базіка (a chatterbox), каліка (a cripple) etc.;

  • depending on what consonant stands before the ending there are three groups of nouns:

    Group The last consonant in the word Example
    hard a hard consonant, except ж, ч, ш, щ, дж голова (a head), рука (a hand),
    дорога (a road), краса (a beauty)
    mixed a hard consonant (ж, ч, ш, щ, дж) вежа (a tower), миша (a mouse),
    площа (a suqare, a palce), круча (a steep)
    soft a soft consonant мрія (a dream), земля (a ground),
    свииня (a pig), пісня (a song)

Read more about the first declension here.

II declension (Друга відміна)

  • masculine nouns with zero and endings: кінь (a horse), сон (a dream), рот (a mouth), батько (a father) etc.;

  • neuter nouns with -о,-е,-я endings: слово (a word), вікно (a window), горе (a grief), серце (a heart), знання (a knowledge), обличчя (a face) etc.;

  • depending on what consonant stands before the ending there are three groups of nouns:

    Group The last consonant in the word  Example
     hard  a hard consonant, except ж,ч, ш, щ, дж

    зуб (a tooth), зошит (a notebook), дід (a grandfather),
    село (a vilage), крило (a wing)

     mixed  a hard consonant (ж, ч, ш, щ, дж)

    ніж (a knife), читач (a reader),
    плече (a shoulder), прізвище (a surname, a second name)

     soft  a soft consonant (masculine nouns) учень (a student), день (a day), біль (a pain),
    герой (a hero), край (a land, a region)
    a consonant, except ж,ч, ш, щ, дж before ending (neuter nouns) сонце (a sun), море (a sea), серце (a heart)
    a soft consonant before ending (neuter nouns) уміння (a skill), знання (a knowledge),
    полум'я (a flame), пір'я (a feather)
  • nouns with suffixes:

    Group Rule Example
    hard Nouns with -ар, -ер, -єр, -ир, -ір, -їр, -ор, -ур, -юр, -яр suffixes; the stress does not change after declension

    жар (a fever), фужер (a wine glass), кар'єр (a pit),
    жир (a fat), звір (an animal), Каїр (Cairo), інспектор (inspector),
    абажур (abat-jour), бардюр (border stone), капіляр (capilar)

    mixed nouns with -ар, -ир suffixes; the stress switches to an ending in plural form лікар (a doctor), воротар (a goalkeeper),
    секретар (a secretary), поводир (a sighted person; a guide-dog)
    soft names of people by their profession or activity with stressed -яр suffix маляр (a painter), школяр (a schoolboy),
    каменяр (bricklayer), газетяр (a news-agent)

Read more about the second declension here.

III declension (Третя відміна)

  • feminine nouns with zero ending: річ (a thing), тінь (a shadow), сіль (a salt), любов (a love) etc.;

  • feminine noun мати (a mother).

Read more about the third declension here.

IV declension (Четверта відміна)

  • neuter nouns with () endings, which after declension achieve ен-, -ат-, -ят- suffixes: кошеня (a kitten), ягня (a lamb), плем'я (a tribe), ім'я (a name) etc.


  1. -ат-, -ят- suffixes

    теля — теляти

    ягня — ягняти

    порося — поросяти

    курча — курчати

    Such neuter nouns with -а(-я) endings mostly mean little animals or names of undersized things.

  2. -ен suffix

    ім'я (a name) — імені

    плем'я (a tribe) — племені

    сім'я (seed) — сімені (there is also a word “сім'я” which means “a family”; they may be written the same way, but they have different stresses: “сім'я” (a family) and “сім'я” (seed))

    вим'я (udder) — вимені

    тім'я (a krone) — тімені

    These are all neuter nouns with “-ен” suffix. As you can see their special feature is an apostrophe before “-я” ending.

Read more about the fourth declension here.

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