In a journal article I came across a claim that "сноск" is the "genitive plural zero ending" form of the word "сноска" (English: footnote). However, a Russian speaker I know is insistent that this is incorrect, and that the only correct genitive form is "сносок".

A Google search for "сноск" doesn't turn up any uses which can't be discounted as typos for "сноска" or other forms. We also can't find the form "сноск" in any online dictionary which gives inflectional tables. Can anyone here confirm whether the form "сноск" is actually attested anywhere in print?

  • 1
    Your Russian speaker is correct, there is no such form.
    – Anixx
    Apr 27, 2013 at 15:41
  • I should add that the author claims the word is from the 1960 edition of Словарь русского языка by С. И. Ожегов.
    – Psychonaut
    Apr 27, 2013 at 15:48

4 Answers 4


The thing is in Russian there are tens of different types of noun declensions, the most well known and widely accepted classification of such patterns is one that had been assembled by Andrey Zaliznyak, a famous Russian linguist.

According to this classification, the word "сноска" belongs to 3*a type of Russian nouns. That is:

  • the stem of the word (this should not be confused with the root of the word, it is slightly a different concept) ends with г, к или х
  • the stem is always stressed
  • there is so called беглая гласная in the stem, which means that, depending on declension vowel is or not present.

To decipher, yes, according to Zaliznyaks` classification the only accepted form for word сноска is "сносок". I cannot recall any moment on Russian language history when сноск had been an accepted form.

  • 1
    Thanks for this. I take it, then, that соска and маска would also be classified as 3*a nouns, and therefore always be inflected in the genitive as сосок and масок rather than маск and соск?
    – Psychonaut
    Apr 27, 2013 at 19:51
  • 2
    @Psychonaut, yes, precisely :)
    – shabunc
    Apr 27, 2013 at 19:53

As with other nouns ending with the diminutive suffixes -ок and -ка, the -о- in the suffix is fleeting. It falls in the penultimate position and retains in the ultimate:

пал-∅-ка - палок

носок - нос-∅-ка

This is a trace of so called reduced vowel ъ which historically was in the suffix:

палъка / палъкъ > палка / палок

носъкъ / носъка > носок / носка

So the correct form of сноска (< cъносъка) in pl. gen. would be сносок.

There exists another suffix -ок in Russian (which is not diminutive and etymologically not connected to -ък) in the words ходок, игрок etc.

Those words don't have a fleeting vowel in the suffix: ходока, игрока (with exception of стрелок / стрелка which is most probably due to contamination).


"Сносок" is the only correct genitive plural of "сноска". In case of doubt, check yourself against this online tool:



The word сноск sounds quite non-pronounceable and non-understandable for a native speaker (me). Forms of this words are (singular/plural):

именительный сноска/сноски родительный сноски/сносок дательный сноске/сноскам винительный сноску/сноски творительный сноской/сносками предложный о сноске/о сносках

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