In English, the citation form of a noun is the singular: e.g., mouse rather than mice. For multi-word lexemes that contain possessive adjectives or reflexive pronouns, the citation form uses a form of the indefinite pronoun one: e.g., do one's best, perjure oneself. In languages with grammatical gender, the citation form of regular adjectives and nouns is usually the masculine singular. If the language additionally has cases, the citation form is often the masculine singular nominative.
In many languages, the citation form of a verb is the infinitive: French aller, German gehen, Spanish ir. In English it usually is the uninflected form of the verb (that is, "run", not "runs" or "running"); the present tense is used for some defective verbs (shall, can, and must have only the one form). In Latin, Ancient Greek, and Modern Greek , however, the first person singular present tense is normally used, but the first two occasionally use the infinitive instead. (For contracted verbs in Ancient Greek, an uncontracted first person singular present tense is used to reveal the contract vowel: φιλέω philéō for φιλῶ philō "I love" ; ἀγαπάω agapáō for ἀγαπῶ agapō "I love" ). In Japanese, the non-past (present and future) tense is used.
The form that is chosen to be the lemma is usually the least marked form, but there are occasional exceptions: Finnish dictionaries list verbs not under the verb root but under the first infinitive, marked with -(t)a, -(t)ä.
In Arabic, which has no infinitives, the third-person singular masculine of the past tense is the least-marked form, and is used for entries in modern dictionaries. In older dictionaries, which are still commonly used today, the triliteral of the word, either a verb or a noun, is used. Hebrew often uses the third-person masculine perfect, e.g., ברא bara' create, כפר kaphar deny. Georgian uses the verbal noun. For Korean, -da is attached to the stem.
In Irish, words are highly inflected depending on their case (genitive, nominative, dative and vocative); they are also inflected on their place within a sentence because of initial mutations. The noun cainteoir, the lemma for the noun meaning "speaker", has a variety of forms: chainteoir, gcainteoir, cainteora, chainteora, cainteoirí, chainteoirí and gcainteoirí.