7.1 - The nominative case

This is the case in which nouns are listed in the dictionary. Most nouns are given in the nominative singular (many dictionaries also list the genitive singular ending, as this gives us additional information about the noun).

To revise the concept of a noun’s “dictionary form”, look through the nouns in our dictionary and, on the basis of what you learned in Unit 5, try to decide the gender and type (hard, soft, mixed) of the nouns listed.

Some nouns are listed in the dictionary in the nominative plural only, because they don’t have a singular form in Ukrainian, e.g. двері – door. (In some cases this is equally true of the corresponding English nouns, e.g. штани – trousers, ножиці – scissors.)

Principal uses of the nominative

Naming people, places, objects, concepts, etc, for example:

Як її звати? Її звати Людмила. What's her name? Her name is Liudmyla.
До зустрічі у ресторані «Карпати». See you at the "Karpaty" restaurant.

As the subject of a sentence, for example:

Художниця буде малювати картину. The (female) artist will paint a picture.

When a noun is equated with the subject after a dash (which replaces the verb "to be"), for example:

Лондон – столиця Англії. London is the capital of England.
Роман – журналіст. Roman is a journalist.

With the numbers 1 (nominative singular) and 2-4 (nominative plural); for example:

один брат one brother
чотири брати four brothers

Knowing, or being able to work out, the nominative case from other forms of the noun occurring in a text is a skill you have to acquire if you are to access Ukrainian dictionaries (and search engines) efficiently. Hence the importance of the various rules and charts given in previous pages (and a few more in pages to come!).

If you wish to practise this again, go back to Exercise 5.1A on page 5.1.

N.B. Remember the following rule: many nouns have the vowel і in closed syllables (i.e. syllables in which the vowel is followed by a consonant, e.g. стіл, кінь, ніч). This і changes to о (or sometimes е) in open syllables (i.e. syllables where there is no consonant after the vowel, e.g. сто-ла, ко-ня, но-чі). It can be particularly difficult to recognise certain feminine and neuter nouns if you initially come across the genitive plural, e.g. діб comes from доба, пір comes from пора, сіл comes from село, etc.

To practise identifying this kind of noun, go to Exercise 7.1A.

Part of the collection of resources at UkrainianLanguage.org.uk
© 2007 Marta Jenkala