5.4 - Hard, soft and mixed

Not only do noun endings change according to gender and number, in Ukrainian all nouns are also sub-divided into hard, soft and mixed. This is illustrated below, using endings for the most common groups of nouns:

Hard nouns

masculine for example
nouns ending in one of the consonants б, в, г, ґ, д, з, к, л, м, н, п, с, т, ф, х посуд, чоловік, аналіз
some nouns ending in р долар, сир
a small number of mainly personal names and kinship terms ending in the above consonants + о батько, Петро, тато, Дмитро
feminine
nouns ending in а preceded by one of the consonants б, в, г, ґ, д, з, к, л, м, н, п, с, т, ф, х кімната
(some masculine nouns also have this form) Микола
neuter
nouns ending in о preceded by one of the consonants б, в, г, ґ, д, з, к, л, м, н, п, р, с, т, ф, х * село, місто, перо

Soft nouns

masculine For example
nouns ending in ь preceded by д, дз, з, л, н, с, т or ц кінь, хлопець, зять
nouns ending in й preceded by a vowel Андрій, чай
some nouns ending in р поштар, лікар
feminine  
nouns ending in я preceded by д, дз, з, л, н, с, т or ц учениця, Оля, німкеня, гостя
(some masculine nouns also have this form) суддя
nouns ending in я preceded by р буря
nouns ending in я preceded by a vowel надія, Марія
neuter  
a small number of indigenous words ending in е preceded by л, р or ц * поле, лице, море
nouns ending in є preceded by a vowel (now mainly archaic)* євангеліє
nouns ending in я preceded by a double letter (the only exception to this is стаття which is feminine) життя, заняття

Mixed nouns

masculine For example
nouns ending in ж, ч, ш or щ ніж, меч, марш, плющ
feminine  
nouns ending in а preceded by ж, ч, ш or щ вежа, груша, площа
neuter  
nouns ending in е preceded by ж, ч or щ * віче, ложе, прізвище

* There are also a number of foreign loan words in е, є and о whose endings don't change, e.g. аташе, фойє, метро.

To practise recognising the type to which a noun belongs go to Exercise 5.4A.

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© 2007 Marta Jenkala