Russian adjectives

Here’s an overview of Russian adjectives:

On separate pages you’ll find:

Full declension of Russian adjectives

Adjectives describe the nouns and pronouns to which they refer. Russian adjectives agree with the gender, number, and case of the nouns or pronouns they are describing.

Adjectives take three forms: normal, comparative, and superlative. This page covers just the normal form, like “интерестный,” which you’ll see in a dictionary. Comparatives and superlatives are covered separately on this page.

Additionally, Russian has a separate long-form and short-form for each adjective. Right now, we’ll focus on the more common long-form and how it declines. For short-form adjectives, please look further down the page.

Now, without further ado, here are how Russian adjectives decline. More specifically, here’s how normal, long-form adjectives decline.

Hard-stem adjectives

Most Russian adjectives have a stem that ends with a hard consonant. Examples include: белый, красивый, молодой.

If the adjective’s stress is positioned on the final syllable, it will have the ending “ой” in the masculine nominate. If the adjective’s stress falls on the stem, the masculine nominative ending will be “ый.”

CaseMascFemNeutPlural
Nom-ой/-ый-ая-ое-ые
Acc-ой/-ый-ую-ое-ые
Gen-ого-ой-ого-ых
Dat-ому-ой-ому-ым
Inst-ым-ой-ым-ыми
Prep-ом-ой-ом-ых

Soft-stem adjectives

Soft-stem adjectives are those whose stem ends in a soft “н.” Examples include: синий, ранний, мгновенный.

CaseMascFemNeutPlural
Nom-ий-яя-ее-ие
Acc-ий-юю-ее-ие
Gen-его-ей-его-их
Dat-ему-ей-ему-им
Inst-им-ей-им-ими
Prep-ем-ей-ем-их

Adjectives with stem ending in “г,” “к,” “х”

CaseMascFemNeutPlural
Nom-ой/-ий-ая-ое-ие
Acc-ой/-ий-ую-ое-ие
Gen-ого-ой-ого-их
Dat-ому-ой-ому-им
Inst-им-ой-им-ими
Prep-ом-ой-ом-их

Adjectives with stem ending in “ж,” “ш,” “ч,” щ”

CaseMascFemNeutPlural
Nom-ой/-ий-ая-ое/-ее-ие
Acc-ой/-ий-ую-ое/-ее-ие
Gen-ого/-его-ой/-ей-ого/-его-их
Dat-ому/-ему-ой/-ей-ому/-ему-им
Inst-им-ой/-ей-им-ими
Prep-ом/-ем-ой/-ей-ом/-ем-их

    Long and short form adjectives

    Most Russian adjectives have a short form, a concept we don’t exactly have in English. The short form is used to make a statement about something, generally in a simple sentence without a noun that involves the verb, “to be.” It generally replaces “to be” and implies a temporary state. For example:

    • Эта комната занята. = This room is occupied.
    • Эта проблема (была) очень важна. = This problem is (was) very important.
    • Вчера вечером он был очень счастлив. = He was very happy last night.
    • Я с Вами согласен. = I agree with you

    Declining the short form

    Short form adjectives must agree with the subject of the sentence on gender and number. However, short form adjectives do not decline – they only exist in the nominative case. As such, they decline fairly easily – for example:

    MascFemNeutPlural
    --ы or -и
    веселвеселавеселовеселы
    готовготоваготовоготовы
    красивкрасивакрасивокрасивы
    хорошхорошахорошохороши

    Short form exceptions

    Normally, masculine short form adjectives have no endings. However, if the adjective’s stem ends in a cluster of two or more consonants, the masculine short form has a vowel inserted between the two final consonants. The rule here is that an “о” is inserted before a “к,” and an “е” is inserted before a “н.” For example:

    • редкий → редок
    • низкий → низoк
    • важный → важен
    • трудный → трудeн

    Also, it’s important to note that some adjectives do not have a short form. Generally, these are adjectives formed from nouns and have the endings:

    • -ский (братский, дружеский)
    • -овой, -евой (деловой, боевой)
    • -ной, -ный, -ний (главный, лишний, поздний)

    Finally, please note the short form for маленький is мал, and for большой you should use the short form, велик.

     

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