16.7 - A different type of case

To conclude this unit, a different type of case – upper or lower – needs to be considered. In many situations word-initial capital letters are used in Ukrainian just as in English, although there are some differences. When reading, of course, you do not have to worry about when to use upper or lower case. Awareness of the rules, however, can facilitate understanding of a text.

Lower case is used (in contrast to English) in the following situations (unless the relevant word occurs at the beginning of a sentence).

  • in nouns (and adjectives) denoting nationality or origin as, for example:
українець, українка (український) a Ukrainian (Ukrainian)
киянин, киянка (київський) a Kyivite (Kyivan)
гуцул, гуцулка (гуцульський) a Hutsul (Hutsul)*

* Ukrainian ethnic group living in the Carpathians

  • in the names of months of the year and days of the week:
січень, лютий, березень, January, February, March,
квітень, травень, червень, April, May, June,
липень, серпень, вересень, July, August, September,
жовтень, листопад, грудень October, November, December
понеділок, вівторок, середа, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
четвер, п'ятниця, Thursday, Friday,

субота, неділя

Saturday, Sunday

  • for nouns denoting geographical features, institutions, towns, villages, streets etc., where these are used in apposition to proper nouns, in addresses etc:
озеро Сонячне Lake Soniachne
майдан Незалежності Independence Square
Південно-Західна залізниця South-Western Railways
вулиця Пилипа Орлика Pylyp Orlyk Street
  • in noun groups denoting names of events, organisations and institutions (other than the highest Ukrainian state instututions and international bodies - see below), titles of publications etc. only the first noun in the group is capitalised, as, for example:
Головна державна податкова інспекція Principal State Tax Inspectorate
Українська греко-католицька церква Ukrainian Graeco-Catholic Church
Міжнародний з'їзд славістів International Congress of Slavists
Принципи термодинаміки Principles of Thermodynamics

For comparison, uses of upper case (mainly as in English) are given below.

  • in nouns and phrases denoting countries and states as, for example:
Україна Ukraine
Автономна Республіка Крим Autonomous Republic of the Crimea
Сполучене Королівство United Kingdom
Сполучені Штати Америки United States of America
Об'єднані Арабські Емірати United Arab Emirates
  • in nouns and phrases denoting certain unions of states as, for example:
Європейський Союз European Union
Організація Об'єднаний Націй United Nations Organisation
Співдружність Націй Commonwealth of Nations
  • in phrases denoting the highest Ukrainian state institutions and international bodies:
Верховна Рада Supreme Council (Parliament)
Кабінет Міністрів Cabinet of Ministers
Конституційний Суд Constitutional Court
Генеральна Асамблея ООН UN General Assembly
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Part of the collection of resources at UkrainianLanguage.org.uk
© 2007 Marta Jenkala