• Olga Jarrell

You Expect Them to Be Masculine Nouns, but They Are Not

Updated: May 16

Quite a few English nouns ending in a consonant have corresponding cognates in Russian. The confusing thing is that these English nouns end in consonants while their Russian counterparts are feminine and end in “-a”.
When you hear them in phrases, you might think they are in their nominative forms. The following corresponding pairs look normal to English speaker, don’t they?

problem – проблем

program - программ

minute - минут

group - групп

However, you should remember that Russian “программ”, “минут”, “планет”, “проблем”, “групп” etc. are not the nominative but genitive plural forms. They are often used after “нет”, “не́сколько”, “мно́го”, “мало”, “недоста́точно”, “доста́точно”, “ско́лько”.

You might hear these words in such phrases as:

нет пробле́м = no problem

мно́го програ́мм = a lot of programs

ско́лько мину́т = How many minutes?

мно́го кома́нд = a lot of commands (teams)

не́сколько причи́н = several reasons

Here is a list of these confusing nouns:

пробле́ма = problem

програ́мма = program

мину́та = minute

секу́нда = second

па́ника = panic

гру́ппа = group

причи́на = reason

нау́ка = science

плане́та = planet

схе́ма = scheme

форма = form

кома́нда = command

грамма́тика = grammar

диагра́мма = diagram

инфогра́фика = info-graphics

олимпиа́да = Olympiads

If you are interested in learning more about the genitive case, you can watch these videos.

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