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Nouns of Common Gender in Russian

Of what gender a noun in Russian can be? 'Masculine, feminine or neuter gender', you will answer, and you'll be right.  However, there is not a very big group of words denoting people in Russian language. All these words end in –а or –я. They can change their gender to masculine or feminine. Gender of these nouns depends on whom they denote: a man or a woman. That's why such words are called nouns of common gender.For example, the word ''orphan''. Orphan is a child, who's parents died. We can say, ''Антон – круглый сирота'' /Anton is a full orphan/, which means that Anton has neither dad, nor mom. Or: ''Лена – круглая сирота'' /Lena is a full orphan/. Pay attention that in the first sentence the word ''сирота'' /orphan/ is of  masculine gender, because it denotes a boy. That's why adjective ''круглый'' /full/ is also used in masculine  gender: круглый сирота. And in the second sentence we tell about a girl, that's why the word ''сирота'' /orphan/ and adjective ''круглая'' /full/ is used in the form of  feminine  gender.Here are some more words of common gender:невЕжа /cad/ – an impolite, ill-bred personневЕжда /boor/ – an illiterate personнерЯха /sloven/ – an untidy personобжОра /glutton/ – a person, who eats too muchУмница /head-piece/ – a smart person; a person, who does something well.

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