Russian Language Grammar
The stress in Russian words is most important. A misplaced stress may alter the meaning of a word (зáмок – castle; замóк – lock), or render it incomprehensible. A stressed vowel is pronounced louder; it is also slightly lengthened – except when final. Only a few helpful rules can be given in regard to stress.
Remark: The letter ё is always stressed!
- The ending is always stressed in masculine nouns which end in -у in the prepositional case: в саду – in the garden; на полу – on the floor.
- The ending is always stressed in masculine nouns which end in -a or -я in the nominative plural: дома – houses; края – edges; учителя – teachers.
- Feminine nouns, as a rule, are not stressed on the ending in the nominative plural: руки – hands; горы – mountains (with the singular: рука, гора).
Exceptions: статьи – articles; скамьи – benches; черты – traits; and a few others.
- Most neuter dissyllabic nouns change the stress in going from singular to plural: окно – окна (windows); поле – поля (fields).
- The stress remains fixed in all nouns which in the nominative singular are not stressed on the first or on the last syllabic: учебник – manual; газета – newspaper; внимание – attention.
- The only exceptions are masculine nouns which in the plural end in stressed -a or -я: профессора, учителя (for example: профессоров, учителей, etc.).
In the same word, the stress never varies. Thus, “красный” will retain the stress on a in all genders, numbers, and cases.
In the comparative degree and with short adjectives, it may or may not vary: “красный, краснее, крaсна”. But: “красивый, красивее, красива”.
The stress is fixed throughout a verb when it does not fall on the ending of the infinitive: слушать – to listen; плавать – to swim.