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I know that decimal numbers containing a whole number plus one or more fractional numbers are referred to as целая (whole number) plus десятая (a tenth) or сотая (a hundredth), etc.

"целая" is feminine because it stands for the noun "часть".

However, it seems to me that целая, десятая, etc., don't decline the usual way after a numeral.

If I'm not mistaken, a masculine adjective after 2/3/4 takes the genitive plural, while a feminine adjective after 2/3/4 takes the nominative plural.

Examples:

  • Два быстр-ых (G.pl.) самолёта (G.sing.)

  • Две быстр-ые (N.pl.) машины (G.sing.)

But afterwards, we have одна целая (1,x) and then две целых (2,x).

I understand why number 0 takes the genitive plural (ноль целых), because all numbers ending in 0 typically demand it.

So, why isn't "2,x" две целые?

I guess this is one more grammatical whim which adds up to the truckload of irregularities featured by the Russian language. Like the word год, whose genitive plural is лет in every situation except for decades, in which it becomes [девяностых] годов, when the decade is referred to in the genitive.

On a side note, here's my attempt at transcribing the pronunciation of the following decimal numbers:

  • 0,1 - ноль целых, одна десятая
  • 0,01 - ноль целых, одна сотая
  • 0,001 - ноль целых, одна тысячная
  • 0,2 - ноль целых, две десятых
  • 0,02 - ноль целых, две сотых
  • 1,2 - одна целая, две десятых
  • 2,22 - две целых, две десятых две сотых двадцать две сотых
  • To me "две целые" is correct. Do you have a book that requires to use "целых" instead? – AlexVB May 24 '18 at 20:33
  • Sorry, checked some online sources and indeed they prescribe to use "целых" with all numerals. Well, then it must be just for unification. Math took over. – AlexVB May 24 '18 at 20:40
  • could be just a convention, to me две целые, двадцать две сотые doesn't sound wrong, however i get a feeling of a lack of continuation, i mean this inflection variant sounds better with an object две целые, двадцать две сотые + процента etc, and likewise with 3 and 4 – Баян Купи-ка May 24 '18 at 21:24
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    Gramota.ru says the correct variant is две целых три десятых, and with the ending -ые it's wrong. By googling, the -ых variant is used 3 times more often than the -ыe one (1.2 mln vs. 0,4 mln finds). – Yellow Sky May 25 '18 at 15:43
  • if only Gramota.ru butressed their answer, Google and corpora attest for frequency and although frequency in most cases does correlate with correctness, with variant or competing forms higher frequency could point at a convention rather than correctness – Баян Купи-ка May 25 '18 at 17:23
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It's about grammatical case, not gender. Generally, a version like две быстрые is preferable in more 'personalized', less abstract cases like speaking about available couple of things:

-- Могу по этому случаю одолжить две быстрые машины. - Которые две? - Оба мои "Феррари".

-- Правлению банка нужно выделить машины. - Сколько каких? - Две быстрых - например, "Феррари".

Probably, numerals tend to be perceived as parts of an abstract concept, and that would make the internal part две целые (части числа) of a numeral sound informal.

0

Please notice, we are speaking about fractions, parts of a whole. In Russian, we usually don't pronounce (or write) the word 'part', but we have it mind (though, often unconsciously).

  • 1/5 - [одна] пятая [часть];
  • 1/10 - [одна] десятая [часть];
  • 0,1 - ноль целых [частей], [и] одна десятая [часть];
  • 2,3 - две целых [части], [и] три десятых [части].
  • why not две целыЕ части and три десятыЕ части? what's the grammatical logic? – Баян Купи-ка May 25 '18 at 21:49
  • If you were talking about numbers in math, would it sound wrong to refer to 1/10 as десятый, 1/100 as сотый, and 1/1000 as тысячный instead of using the feminine form? – KCd May 27 '18 at 0:52
  • Languages are as irrational as people; we shouldn't look for the logic there. Can somebody answer why writers can write, but fingers can't fing? We just can use some mnemonics that help us to remember that Russian requires the subjective case for the numerator and genitive - for the denominator (all in the feminine gender): три десятых [части от целого]. Also, "десятый" is an ordinal number that shouldn't be confused with fractions. – Boris May 29 '18 at 17:50

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