Lesson 15. Adjectives in Russian Language

If you followed our lessons you know that in the last three of them we were trying to get to know more about Russian nouns and cases. This week we will go even further in our quest into the wilds of Russian grammar and will learn about Russian adjectives.

As you know adjectives are used to make our speech more beautiful, to decorate it in some way. And if you truly want to master a language, you have to master adjectives.

Now, if you are confused what an adjective is, here is a definition for you:

An adjective is a word that describes, or modifies, a noun or a pronoun, Basically, words like nice, sweet, or beautiful, are adjectives.

And in today’s post you will learn how you can use adjectives, what endings they take, and what are the differences between adjectives in Russian and English.

First of all, Russian adjectives always are used with a noun or a pronoun. And the most important thing you have to remember is that Russian adjectives always agree with the noun or pronoun it is used with. It means that the adjective will be changed based on the gender, number and case of the noun.

When you open a Russian-English dictionary you will find an adjective in its singular and masculine form.

Example:

Белый – white

Красивый ‑ beautiful

At the same time adjectives will never provide you with any other forms because you are supposed to know them. “How?” you will ask. Well, there are patterns (yes, again!) that you have to learn (again!).

However, you are lucky because patterns are not really that complicated. The only complication might be the number of endings you will have to memorize. If you remember there are six cases in Russian, and adjectives get new endings in all of the six cases. In total, there is quite a lot of endings. It will take time and some practice to get to know them but eventually everyone nails them.

Below you will find a table with adjective endings in the nominative case singular and plural.

Singular Plural
Masculine 

какой?

what (sort of)?

Neuter 

какое?

what (sort of)?

Feminine 

какая?

what (sort of)?

for all the genders 

какие?

what (sort of)?

Adjectives whose stem ends in a hard consonant have the endingsый, ой, ая, ое
depending on the noun’s gender
новый (дом) 

new (house)

большой (дом)

large (house)

новое (здание) 

new (building)

большое (здание)

large (building)

новая (комната) 

new (room)

большая (комната)

large (room)

новые большие (дома, здания, комнаты) 

new large (houses, buildings, rooms)

-ый/-ой -ое -ая -ые/-ие
Adjectives whose stem ends in a soft consonant have the endings ий, яя, ее
зимний (день)  

winter (day)

зимнее (утро) 

winter (morning)

зимняя (ночь) 

winter (night)

зимние (дни, утра, ночи)  

winter (days, mornings, nights)

-ий -ее -яя -ие
In the endings of masculine and plural adjectives и is written after the consonants г, к, х, ж, ш, щ, ч: 

строгий приказ (strict order) – строгие приказы (strict orders), русский язык (Russian language), тихий голос (low voice) – тихие голоса (low voices), свежий воздух (fresh air), хороший ответ (good answer) – хорошие ответы (good answers), горячий чай (hot tea).

хороший (ответ)  

good (answer)

хорошее (письмо) 

good (letter)

хорошая (ночь) 

good (night)

хорошие (ответы, письма, ночи)  

good (answers, letters, nights)

-ий -ее -ая -ие

It can be overwhelming at first sight but I can assure you you will be able to handle it after some time. Just take one step at a time.

Exercises:

Please translate the following  phrases into English:

1. интересная книга

2. маленькая девочка

3. красивый дом

4. белый лист

5. синее небо

6. большая собака

7. чёрный квадрат

Please translate the following  phrases into Russian using information from the table above:

1. a beautiful girl

2. a smart child

3. a large house

4. a new pencil

5. a red dress

6. a sweet candy

7. interesting books

Match the English phrases in the left column with Russian phrases in the right column

1. blue sky 1. новая работа
2.red shoes 2. синее небо
3. a new job 6. превосходный фильм
4. a large store 4. красные туфли
5. a small child 5. большой магазин
6. a great film 6. чёрные коробки
7. black boxes 7. маленький ребенок

We will post correct answers to these questions at the beginning of our next lesson.

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