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Noun declension – Feminines

June 19, 2010
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This post, as its title shows, is about the declension of the feminine nouns (it is a little bit long so read it with your responsibility) which is not so complicated like the masculine but there are still some issues to clarify. We have also in feminines two categories of nouns

  • Ισοσύλλαβα (isosillava) , where belongs the most of them. Usually Greek feminine noun endings are mostly in -α  , like η μητέρα, η καρδιά, η καρυδιά  etc. or in -η, like η νίκη, η αλλαγή, η φήμη, η δίκη etc.  These ones form their plurals in -ες (except the genitive which ends always in -ων).
  • Ανισοσύλλαβα (anisosillava), where we encounter only a few nouns ending in -ού , like  η αλεπού (the fox), η υπναρού (the female person who sleeps too much), η γλωσσού (the one with a big tongue ) e.t.c. These nouns form plural in -δες (except the genitive ).

Let’s examine each category separately.


  • The one’s that have endings in -α  , like the feminine noun η γλώσσα (language)
Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative
η γλώσσα της γλώσσας την γλώσσα γλώσσα
οι γλώσσες των γλωσσών τις γλώσσες γλώσσες

In the same declension category belong the nouns ημέρα, ώρα, ρίζα, χώρα, γυναίκα, μανούλα etc….Note that in Russian and Italian language the nouns endings in -a are also feminine. Perhaps this is a common feature of the Hindo-european languages, but this is a matter of comparative linguistics rather and out the scope of this post.

  • Feminine nouns ending in -η , like η γραμμή  (the line)
Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative
η γραμμή της γραμμής τη γραμμή γραμμή
οι γραμμές των γραμμών τις γραμμές γραμμές

In the same declension category we have the nouns η αλλαγή, η ψυχή, η  βροχή,  η δίκη,  η πλώρη, η άνοιξη, η κούραση etc. Both categories above form the plural in -ες.

  • Feminines with ancient declension forms ending in -η. These ones are different from the regular type mentioned before and have a double genitive in the singular , and mostly are words like η δύναμη (the power), η λέξη (word), η πράξη (action), η αίσθηση (the sense) etc …Let’s see how the word απόφαση (decision) is declined
Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative
η απόφαση της απόφασης,  αποφάσεως την απόφαση απόφαση
οι αποφάσεις των αποφάσεων τις αποφάσεις αποφάσεις

Just note that between the two genitive types of singular the one ending in -ως is more official or formal. Scarcely used in everyday conversations. So, you can see that as useless information, which I had to refer to only for reasons of completeness.

  • Feminines with ancient declension forms ending in -ω. These ones are feminine names and have only a singular declension …An example is the name Καλυψώ , declined as
Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative
η Καλυψώ της Καλυψώς την Καλυψώ Καλυψώ
η ηχώ της ηχώς την ηχώ ηχώ

Other feminine names of the same category are Ερατώ, Κρινιώ, Ηρώ, Λητώ, Ρηνιώ etc. Also the word ηχώ (echo) only in the singular …like when you scream in a well and the your scream comes back.

  • The last category of ancient declension forms is these ending in -ος. Usually this is a masculine ending but it is also common for some feminines, which are declined like the word η είσοδος (entrance)
Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative
η είσοδος της εισόδου την είσοδο είσοδος
οι είσοδοι των εισόδων τις εισόδους είσοδοι


  • Mentioned above , these nouns have the -ού endings.  Word example : η  παραμυθού (storyteller – do not forget that anisosyllava means that we have one more syllable in the plural)
Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative
η παραμυθού της παραμυθούς την παραμυθού παραμυθού
οι παραμυθούδες των παραμυθούδων τις παραμυθούδες παραμυθούδες
  • There are , and this is the last, some anisosyllava ending in -α. They are just 3  the nouns η γιαγιά, η μαμά, η κυρά …
Nominative Genitive Accusative Vocative
η κυρά της κυράς την κυρά κυρά
οι κυράδες των κυράδων τις κυράδες κυράδες

It is indeed the longest of the my posts on this blog. I hope you did not find it that tiring or something like hieroglyphics. Grammar is boring and I hate it myself. Though, since I took this path I have to finish all the declension of nouns on my next post about neuters. Hope it will be soon, surely sooner that the 1st July when I fly to Slovakia to participate in an Esperanto summer camp.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 20, 2010 10:44 am

    Nice post! It is not boring if you put it the right way. It seems to me that feminine nouns in general are not difficult at all.

    Beforehand, one interesting thing is that ος ending feminine nouns follow the masculine article. Masculine ος forms also follow the masculine article, so a general rule is that ος always follow the masculine article doesn’t matter if the word has a feminine or masculine article before it.

    Anyway, let’s have a summary:

    Plural is formed by changing the ending to ες (stress remains in the part of the word where it was) or sometimes δες if the number of syllables becomes diffent in the plural form.
    All forms (singular and plural) are always the same except genitive is +ς in singular and ών in plural.
    The ος ending feminine nouns follow the masculine article in all forms!

    That’s it. Three rules and you got the feminine declension down to pretty good accuracy. How many rules did we have for masculine – four, or five, or something?

  2. June 20, 2010 3:52 pm

    I do not remember ..I never was good in memorising the rules. But it looks like you got the essence of the point, if I might say so.

  3. has2bgreek permalink
    October 13, 2011 8:04 am

    delicate and difficult greek language

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