It seems that many English (online) sources list cases in the following order:

Nominative - Accusative - Genitive - Dative - Instrumental - Prepositional

I guess that this ordering is inspired by the unfamiliarity of many English speakers with case systems. Other sources use an ordering that is obviously inspired from Latin grammar schools:

Nominative - Genitive - Dative - Accusative - Instrumental - Prepositional

A similar issue arises with the gender. The standard Latin grammar school ordering is

Masculine - Feminine - Neuter

while some sources, like the Wikipedia article on "Russian grammar", sometimes employ the ordering

Masculine - Neuter - Feminine

I would like to learn which of these ordering, or maybe something different, is to be considered authorative. I am beginner in Russian, but I think the question is beyond standard text books and therefore appropiate for this site.

1 Answer 1


The one you say to be inspired from Latin grammar schools seems to be the one used in Russian schools. See this page: Russian Declension Overview.

The Linguistic order, so to speak, is

Nominative, Accusative, Genitive, Prepositional, Dative, Instrumental.

The Russian school order is:

Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Instrumental, Prepositional.

I think this last is used in universities but this order is not really to be followed strictly. For example, I'm not sure whether the last two are switched, but in my studies, I studied them in another order. The prepositional came before the Genitive and the Instrumental because it's simpler.

So the order of show could be this one, but the order of learning is not to be considered strict as you can choose to learn whatever you want first. Certainly choosing the simpler stuff first (or the most used) could be a good strategy in your studying.

  • 1
    When I studied at school in the Soviet times, the order was always like this: Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Instrumental, Prepositional, Accusative.
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 10:28
  • 4
    Oh yes, the famous "Иван Романыч, Дайте Вашу Трубку Покурить" =) However, here Accusative and Instrumental are interchanged.
    – petajamaja
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 12:06
  • 1
    In my class at a US university the order in textbook tables was Nom., Gen., Dat., Acc., Instr., and Prep. This matched the order in all tables I found in Russian grammar books. About 10 years later I sat in on a Russian class at another US university and the chosen textbook had two of the cases switched in the tables. I don't remember which ones they were (not nominative), but it was disorienting when looking things up; the way I learned first had somehow been burned into my brain. I'd advise you to choose (if you are in a position to choose) the order NGDAIP, matching Russian school order.
    – KCd
    Commented Mar 28, 2013 at 0:02
  • The order of cases in the tables shouldn't be considered relevant to the order in which cases are learned. I learned about prepositional case endings before instrumental, but the instrumental nevertheless came earlier in the table.
    – KCd
    Commented Mar 28, 2013 at 0:03
  • @KCd Yes I learned Prepositional almost as the second case. It's very simple, if compared to others like Genitive or Instrumental, yet very useful (expressing location, etc).
    – Alenanno
    Commented Mar 28, 2013 at 10:20

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