A Genius Approach to the Russian Genitive Case (An introduction) - Live Fluent

A Genius Approach to the Russian Genitive Case (An introduction)

Learning Russian can seem like fun yet puzzling game, especially when it comes to cases. Russian doesn’t have articles, so to create links between words it changes the word endings according to a word’s role in the sentence.  In Russian everything changes: nouns, pronouns, adjectives, even numbers. 

To give you an idea of home this works: In English we will say:

The house of my brother / My brother’s house

In Russian we won’t have “of” or ‘s, instead we change the ending of my brother (мой брат/moy brat in Russian):

Дом моего брата (Dom moego brata).

The 6 cases and how to learn them

There are six cases in Russian. But don’t be afraid, some endings are the same in several cases. If you start learning Russian vocabulary, you’ll automatically learn the Nominative case, the dictionary form of the word. There are three important things you have to do when you learn cases:

  1. Understand its functions.
  2. Memorize its endings by heart.
  3. Do lots of exercises and practice.

Language is a lot like sports or music, others can’t practice in your place to help you improve, you have to do it on your own. To help you do this you can find grammar tables with all the cases in it, there are also hundreds of Youtube videos in all the languages explaining cases.

 As for exercises, I highly recommend Мои друзья падежи(My friends cases) by Bulgakova and Russian in exercises by Khavronina.

The Genitive Case

  1. After нет and не (negative) 

В этом городе нет школы, нет магазинов и нет стадиона.

In this town there are no schools, no shops and no stadium.

  1. I have, you have, he has…

У моего дедушки есть сотовый телефон.

My grandfather has a cellphone. (“At my grandfather’s there is a cell phone”).

  1. Quantity 

Много машин, немного друзей, мало денег, несколько студентов.

Lots of cars, few friends, little money, some students.

  1. After numbers 

From 2 to 4 : GENITIVE SINGULAR

У меня два брата и три сестры.

I have two brothers and three sisters.

From 5: GENITIVE PLURAL

Я купил шесть бутылок вина.

I bought six bottles of wine.

  1. With prepositions ДЛЯ, У, БЕЗ, ДО, ИЗ, ПОСЛЕ, КРОМЕ and many others

Подарок для красивой девушки. 

A gift for a pretty girl.

Как жить без борща?

How to survive without borscht?

Алексей сейчас у хорошего врача.

Alexey is now at a good doctor’s..

  1. With dates: 

Я родился десятого декабря.

I was born on the 10th of December.

  1. After certain verbs (read this article about verbs demanding Genitive)

Бояться – to be afraid of

Желать – to wish

Избегать – to avoid. 

Final thoughts

There you are, now when it comes to the genitive case you are unstoppable! To further your learning here are some videos about Russian Genitive case endings. I recommend you write them down and start practicing the exercises. Remember, in order to have strong grammar muscles, you need to exercise them!

About the Author Tatiana Klimova

A native Russian speaker as well as teacher, Tatiana created the Russian Language Podcast to help students learn the language. In addition to Russian she also speaks English and French.

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