30 Days of Russian – Day 7: The Genitive Case

Привет! It’s been a week and I’ve learned a lot, but it’s time to take it more seriously. I mentioned in my previous post that I must start learning grammar properly. The most challenging aspect (from my perspective) about Russian grammar is the existence of six different cases for nouns. That is, nouns change depending on their function in the sentence. This is one of the reasons why it’s so hard to write or say something in Russian at the beginning. The word “fork,” for example would be spelled differently in the sentences “the fork is small,” “give me the fork,” or “I eat pasta with a fork.”

Today, when I started studying my daily Duolingo lessons, it so happened that I made it to a lesson called “The genitive case.” This lesson showed me the way some pronouns change when you’re saying that someone has something (I have… = у меня есть…) and how a noun changes when you’re talking about something you don’t have (apple = яблоко, but “I don’t have an apple” = у меня нет яблока). The genitive case, as far as I know from what I’ve studied, besides being used for expressing the lack of something, is what you would answer if you ask a question like “of what” or “of whom.” That is, it’s similar in usage to the preposition “of” in English. The word “tea” in sentences such as “a pack of tea,” or “David’s tea” would be declined in the genitive case.

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This Duolingo lesson turned quite dark all of a sudden.

I believe that just trying to memorize cases is very hard and that actually reading or listening to Russian-speakers is more effective since it’s easier to develop some sort of intuition for these things. However, I decided to study all the rules at least once before trying to learn them by context, and I found that the website Master Russian has very good explanations about the cases in Russian. I also practiced with some examples of the genitive case on the website Russian for Free. Thanks to that, I learned the way regular words change depending on their gender and number. Now I can continue using Duolingo to learn it slowly, but now I know what to expect.

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This is the genitive case (plus some exceptions).

Thank you for reading! See you next time! Пока!


Gerardo Urbina is a Chemistry student at Nagoya University who loves reading and learning about anything. Born and raised in El Salvador, he speaks Spanish, English and Japanese, and is currently learning French and Russian. Read more about him and his ideas for The Relearner.

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