Russian nouns perform the same function as in any other language - they name a person, place, animal, thing or idea. The key difference with English, however, is that nouns in Russian also have a gender.
There are three genders of nouns:
1. Masculine nouns
2. Feminine nouns
3. Neuter nouns
Every person, place, animal, thing or idea in the Russian language, has a gender associated with it. The good news is that for the majority of these nouns, you will be able to identify the gender by the letter(s) at the end of the word.
There are some exceptions of course, and for those you will simply need to learn and memorise them. But for the most part, you will be able to tell easily when you learn the below rules.
In the next part of our series on Russian grammar, you will be introduced to the concept of 'cases'. In order to correctly amend the nouns (and any associated adjectives or pronouns), you will need to first know the gender of the nouns.
(See here for further information on Russian cases.)