Telling time: Seasons, months

stasya | 10.06.2012 | 2

In this set of articles I am going to write about time and everything (as much as I can) what is connected to it.

First of all, if you want to understand how to tell "what time is it now?" or to talk about when and where were you going on vacation or things like that, you will need to remember about grammar, of course, and proper usage of nouns (gender, cases), prepositions, numerals and other parts of speech.

Let's begin with some vocabulary and write down names of seasons and months in Ukrainian:

Image: /upload/article_images/24_eef8d018fcca2530793f7337b78fc976.png

season — пора року (пора — feminine); пори року (pl.)

What season is it now? — Яка зараз пора року?

What seasons do you know? — Які пори року ти знаєш?

month — місяць (masculine); місяці (pl.)

What month is it now? — Який зараз місяць?

How many months are there in a year? — Скільки в році місяців?


  1. The new year begins on the 1st of January (Gregorian calendar).

  2. Names of seasons, months are written in lower-case letters.

  3. Зима, весна, осінь (winter, spring, autumn) are feminine and літо (summer) is neuter.

  4. All months are masculine.

Names of seasons, months are all nouns and obviously when you are making sentences using them, they will change according to genders and cases. To keep yourself out of trouble of making mistakes and figuring out what case to use, here are some useful tips:

How to tell

in winter/spring/summer/autumn?

  • in winter: взимку (prep. в + зима) or зимою (Instrumental case)

  • in spring: навесні (prep. на + весна) or весною (Inst. case)

  • in summer: влітку (prep. в + літо) or літом (Inst. case)

  • in autumn: восени (prep. в + осінь) or осінню (Inst. case)

взимку, навесні, влітку, восени already have prepositions so you don't have to use additional ones and зимою, весною, літом, осінню are the same nouns зима, весна, літо, осінь respectively but chaged according to Instrumental case which is used when telling "when?" + season.

For example:

I like skateboarding in winter. — Я люблю кататись на сноуборді взимку. / Я люблю кататись на сноуборді зимою.

The snowdrops bloom in spring. — Навесні розцвітають підсніжники. / Весною розцвітають підсніжники.

I am going to visit my grandmother in summer. — Я збираюсь провідати свою бабусю влітку. / Я збираюсь провідати свою бабусю літом.

Children go to school in autumn. — Восени діти йдуть до школи. / Осінню діти йдуть до школи.

last/this/next winter/spring/summer/autumn?

When? = last/this/next (Genitive case) + winter/spring/summer/autumn (Genitive case)

What? = last/this/next (Nominative case) + winter/spring/summer/autumn (Nominative case)

last — минулий (masculine), минуле (neuter), минула (feminine);

this — цей (masculine), це (neuter), ця (feminine);

next — наступний (masculine), наступне (neuter), наступна (feminine).


last winter/spring/autumn — минулої зими/весни/осені

last summer — минулого літа

this winter/spring/autumn — цієї зими/весни/осені

this summer — цього літа

next winter/spring/autumn — наступної зими/весни/осені

next summer — наступного літа


It was very hot last summer. — Минулого літа було дуже спекотно.

When was it hot? — Last summer.

This summer is hot. — Це літо — спекотне.

What summer? — This summer.

in January/March/September/…?

First of all you will need prepositions у, в. These prepositions require usage of Locative case if asked "when?".

Nouns which represent months грудень, січень, березень, квітень, травень, червень, липень, серпень, вересень, жовтень decline like ones from the second declension, soft group (e.g. день), листопад like one from the second declension, hard group (e.g. чоловік) and лютий like adjectives from hard group (e.g. високий).

For example:

Summer holidays begin in June. — У червні починаються літні канікули.

June: червень — Nominative case;

(in) June: (у) червні — Locative case.

We will go to Turkey in November. — У листопаді ми поїдемо до Туреччини.

November: листопад — Nominative case;

(in) November: (у) листопаді — Locative case.

It is very cold in February. — У лютому дуже холодно.

February: лютий — Nominative case;

(in) February: (у) лютому — Locative case.

21 of January/March/September/…?

English construction looks like: (the) date (ordinal numeral) + of + month (noun);

Ukrainian construction looks like: date (ordinal numeral, neuter, Nominative case) + month (noun, masculine, Genitive case).

If you pay attention to rules you probably may ask why ordinal numeral does not have the same gender as the noun. Well, this is because it is connected to the noun “число” (means ‘number' and is neuter) which is omitted and is not used in phrases but still has grammatical influence. Basically when we say, for example, "тридцяте грудня" (thirtieth of December) we in fact mean "тридцяте (число) грудня" (thirtieth (number) of December). Again, we never say or write "число" in this constructions it's just for you to understand why there is the mismatch of genders.

More examples:

What day is it today? — Який сьогодні день?

What date is it today? — Яке сьогодні число?

Today is the 1st of January. — Сьогодні перше січня.

Tomorrow will be 13 of July. — Завтра буде тринадцяте липняя.

One more thing to note. In English one may say, for example, 5 of November or November 5 but in Ukrainian both of them are translated as: “п'яте листопада”.

on 21 of January/March/September/…?

English construction looks like: on + date (ordinal numeral) + of + month (noun);

Ukrainian construction looks like: date (ordinal numeral, neuter, Genitive case) + month (noun, masculine, Genitive case).

For example:

When was he born? — Коли він народився?

He was born on 14th of October. — Він народився чотирнадцятого жовтня.

in 1895, in the 18th century etc.?

In English when telling the year the cardinal numeral is used. Besides fisrt come ‘hundreds' then ‘tens' and ‘ones', so the numeral divides it in two halves.

In Ukrainian the ordinal numeral is used and it is not dived in two halves. The word рік (year) is also added in the end of the numeral when talking about year.

For example:

English: 1988 = 19 80-8 — nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, or nineteen eighty-eight

Ukrainian: 1988 = 1000 900 80 8 — тисяча дев'ятсот вісімдесят восьмий (рік)

in 1988 = in + year (cardinal numeral) = year (ordinal numeral, masculine, Genitive case) + року (noun, masculine, Genitive case)


у (в) + year (ordinal numeral, masculine, Locative case) + році (noun, masculine, Locative case)

Ray Bradbury was born in 1920. — Рей Бредбері народився 1920 року. — Рей Бредбері народився тисяча дев'ятсот двадцятого року.

About centuries:

the 18th century = the + ordinal numeral + ‘century' = ordinal numeral, neuter, Nominative case + століття (noun, neuter, Nominative case) = вісімнадцяте століття;

in the 18th century = in + the + ordinal numeral = у + ordinal numeral, neuter, Locative case + столітті (noun, neuter, Locative case) = у вісімнадцятому столітті.

Want to reply? Sign in!

ingolf | 12.03.2013 | #


Let me add, that the months in ukrainian language derive from words, which characterise circumstances of the corresponding time in Ukraine.

Eg. Квітень (April) derives from квіти (flowers), therefore April is the month of flowers in blossom.

Червень (June) derives from червоний (red), therefore June is the month of red berries.


Unfortunately, I don't remember all derivations, so I would be happy if you could add it here, quasi as background info.

Thanks a lot.

stasya | 14.03.2013 | #

Here you are, Ingolf :)

січень (January) — сікти (cut or chop), meaning that it is biting cold;

лютий (February) — лютий (cruel, very harsh or angry) — the coldest month of the year, when the weather/frost is very harsh;

березень (March) — береза (birch) — the month of birches;

квітень (April) — квіти (flowers) — the month when flowers begin blossoming;

травень (May) — трава (grass) — the month of first grass;

червень (June) — червоний (red) — the month of red ripe berries;

липень (July) — липа (linden tree) — the month of the linden tree, which is commonly used in alternative medicine, tee, honey etc.;

серпень (August) — серп (sickle) — the month of harvest (long time ago people used sickles to cut wheat or rye);

вересень (September) — верес (heather) — the month of heather (e.g. very tasty heather honey);

жовтень (October) — жовтий (yellow) — the month when the leaves and grass are becoming yellow;

листопад (November) — листопад (falling leaves) — the month of the falling leaves;

грудень (December) — груда (pile, heap) — the month of the frozen piles of ground.