From examples that I have seen, I understand that titles of media (books, films etc.) enclosed in quotation marks that are nouns (possibly modified by adjectives) or adjectives in the nominative case and that are not preceded by the type of media are declined. For example,

Я прочитала «Вечного мужа».

Актёр из «Утомлённых солнцем» подозревается в убийстве.

My question is: are there any other types of grammatical structures for titles within quotation marks that are declined?

(My apologies if there is already an answer in English available on the internet. The only related page I could find was this question on Yahoo! Answers, which answers a slightly different question (should one write ‘see: “Venera-9”’ as ‘см.: «Венера-9»’ or ‘см.: «Венеру-9»’?). I also do not understand why «Венера-9» should not be declined for this example.)

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    As of "см.: «Венера-9»" - dictionaries usually try to avoid declentions, so an article about "Абсурдный анекдот о попугае" will have a title "Попугай, абсурдный анекдот о" etc., so that the person that seeks the information about parrot (попугай) will always find an article in its alphabetic order - the articles about parrot will stick together without being "interrupted" with articles about "попугаа" or something. On the other hand a usual non-encyclopedic article can decline the name of the appratus: "Данные полученные с "Венеры-9" убедительно доказали наличие в атмосфере водорода". – Artemix Dec 2 '13 at 11:12

There are two grammatically correct variants: For example: "Я прочитал «Войну и мир»" or "Я еще не смотрел последний эпизод «Звёздных войн»" are correct as well as "Я прочитал книгу «Война и мир»" or "Я еще не смотрел последний эпизод эпопеи «Звёздные войны»".

But there can also be such titles that hardly possible to use without the media type. For example: "Что вы думаете о фильме «Здравствуйте, я ваша тётя!»?"

In some cases if the title doesn't sound like a title, though easily declined, the media type is better to be used: "Вы читали «Братьев Карамазовых»?" For a person who is not well-read, it may sound like you ask about some brothers Karamazovs who wrote some book.

Speaking of «Венера-9» vs «Венеру-9», «Венера-9» is used in case of "см. Венера-9". It's because it can be extended to "смотри статью с названием «Венера-9»". So, nominative case is used when you refer using "см.". But if «Венера-9» were a movie, we would say: "посмотри «Венеру-9»" or "посмотри фильм «Венера-9»".

  • Referring to your example "Что вы думаете о фильме «Здравствуйте, я ваша тётя!»?", does this mean that if it is not possible to decline the title (e.g. (I am guessing) if it is the infinitive or imperative form of a verb or a complete sentence), then one must mention the type of media in front so that the title itself would then not need to be declined? – Valiowk Dec 1 '13 at 17:50
  • Well, it's not a must, But using media is preferred when cases other than Nominative (именительный) and Accusative (винительный) are used. You can safely omit the media if you say "Ты смотрел «Здравствуйте, я ваша тётя!»?" It sounds good (not declined, Accusative is used). But if you use other cases, although you can omit the media, but any native when formulating a sentence will feel that gap (missing media). This is because cases other than Nominative cannot have the same form as Nominative (while Accusative can). And thus natives feel lack of declination and tend to add the media type. – Denis V Dec 1 '13 at 18:00
  • Thank you. ‘And thus natives feel lack of declination and tend to add the media type.’ is very useful information. Returning to the example of «Венеру-9», why is ‘см. «Венера-9»’ short for ‘смотри статью с названием «Венера-9»’ but ‘Я прочитала «Вечный муж»’ not short for ‘Я прочитала книгу с названием «Вечный муж»’ (in fact ‘Я прочитала «Вечный муж»’ is grammatically incorrect)? – Valiowk Dec 1 '13 at 18:59
  • ‘Я прочитала «Вечный муж»’ is a short for ‘Я прочитала книгу [с названием] «Вечный муж»’. And if you think of this shortening, it will be grammatically correct. However, it doesn't sound good. It's because ‘«Вечный муж»’ is easily declinable. Therefore, it's better to decline when you speak. But whenever you are unsure, just prepend it with the type of media. – Denis V Dec 2 '13 at 8:42
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    Aha! So the ‘rule’ is really more like ‘make sure something in the sentence is declined appropriately so that it will sound right’? :) (But at the same time do not overdo the declension by declining both the type of media and the title if the type of media is included.) – Valiowk Dec 2 '13 at 16:18

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