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Endings of nouns of 2 and 3 declensions. How to avoid mistakes

Hello, dear student!
Today we are going to analyze the 2nd and 3rd declensions. But at first, let's call to memory that the 2nd declension includes nouns of masculine and neuter genders with zero ending or soft sign "-ь" and words ending with -o/-e. For example,

Город_ [gorad] - a town/city - the word ending with a consonant. Such phenomenon is often called in Russian "нулевое окончание" [nul'evoye akanchaniye] - zero ending.

Уголь [ugal'] - coal - the word ends with "-ь" (soft sign) and is masculine.

Foreigners who learn Russian often ask me: "It's all clear with endings but what should I do, if I'm not sure which gender a word has?"

Dear friends, for that you need a lot of practice. I advise beginners to buy a dictionary and learn words - usually in dictionaries there are written gender, number and case which a word has, more often it is nominative case, i.e. a root form.

Some examples of neuter words:

Пальто [pal'to] - a coat - Please, note that the word ends with a letter "-o". This word is a borrowing, that's why it doesn't decline in cases but remains its form like "пальто" but has a neuter gender.

Поле [pole] - a field - the word ends with -е and belongs to a neuter gender, 2rd declension. Let's decline analogous masculine words in cases:

Nominative есть Что?/Кто?- there are what/who? Стол / Конь [Stol/Kon'] - a table/a horse
Genitive нет Чего?/Кого? - there are no what?/who? Стола / коня [stala / kan'ya]
Dative дарю Чему? /кому? - give to what?/whom? Столу / коню [stalu / kan'yu]
Accusative вижу Что? / Кого? - see what?/whom? Стол / коня [stol / kan'ya]
Instrumental горжусь Чем? / Кем? - proud of what?/whom? Столом / конём [stalom / kan'yom]
Prepositional думаю О чем?/о ком? - think about what?/whom? О столе / о коне [a stal'e / a kan'e]

Masculine nouns of 2rd declension always have the following endings:

Case Ending Examples
Nominative -zero,-ь город, пень [gorad, p'en'] - a city, a stump
Genitive -а, -я города, пня [gorada, pn'ya]
Dative -у, ю городу, пню [goradu, pn'yu]
Accusative -zero, -я, -ь город, пень [gorad, p'en']
Instrumental -ом, - ём городом, пнём [goradam, pn'yom]
Prepositional о городе, о пне [a gorad'e, a pn'e]

Neuter nouns of 2rd declension have the same endings as masculine of 2rd declension do, for example:

Nominative есть Что? - there are what? Окно [akno] - a window
Genitive нет Чего? - there are no what? Окна [akna]
Dative дарю Чему? - give to what? Окну [aknu]
Accusative вижу Что? - see what? Окно [akno]
Instrumental горжусь Чем? - proud of what? Окном [aknom]
Prepositional думаю О чем? - think about what? Об окне [ab akne]

For practice decline the following words:
Платье [plat'ye] - dress
Сердце [s'ertse] - heart
Минутка [minutka] - a minute
Дорога [daroga] - road
Дочь [doch'] - a daughter
Крест [kr'est] - cross
Солнце [sontse] - the Sun
Речь [r'ech'] - speech
Уголь [ugal'] - coal

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