Russian Adjectives

By optilingo

Learn how Russian adjectives work, including Russian comparative adjectives and Russian superlative adjectives

Understanding grammar will help you on your way to foreign language fluency. When learning the Russian language, it’s important to know that adjectives are also divided into hard-ending and soft-ending types. Keep in mind when you’re studying Russian grammar [How to Learn Russian Grammar] that many adjectives have a long form and a short form. The stress on adjectives does not shift. Like nouns, adjectives decline. The accusative is the same as the nominative when the adjectives describes an inanimate noun, and the same as the genitive when it describes an animate noun. The endings of soft-ending and hard-ending adjectives are very similar. Some hard-ending adjectives are stressed on the final syllable, in which case the masculine ends in ой: большóй, big.

Hard-ending adjectives (бéдный, ая, ое, poor) and soft-ending adjectives (си́ний, яя, ее):

Singular

Masc / Neut

Feminine

Masc / Neut

Feminine

Nominative

бéдный, бéдное

бéдная

си́ний, си́нее

си́няя

Genitive

бéдного

бéдной

си́него

си́ней

Dative

бéдному

бéдной

си́нему

си́ней

Accusative

N or G

бéдную

N or G

си́нюю

Instrumental

бéдным

бéдной

си́ним

си́ней

Prepositional

бéдном

бéдной

си́нем

си́ней

 

Plural (all genders)

Nominative

бéдные

си́ние

Genitive

бéдных

си́них

Dative

бéдным

си́ним

Accusative

N or G

Instrumental

бéдными

си́ними

Prepositional

бéдных

си́них

The adjectives такóй, such, and какóй, which/what, decline like any other adjectives with a final stress, like большóй. The spelling rule leads to the following ending changes: ыйий; яяая; unstressedоеее: бы́вший, бы́вшая, бы́вшее, бы́вшие, former; высóкий, высóкая, высóкое, высóкие, high.

Singular

Masculine/ Neuter

Feminine

Masculine/ Neuter

Feminine

Nominative

бы́вший, бы́вшее

бы́вшая

высóкий, высóкое

высóкая

Genitive

бы́вшего

бы́вшей

высóкого

высóкой

Dative

бы́вшему

бы́вшей

высóкому

высóкой

Accusative

N or G

бы́вшую

N or G

высóкую

Instrumental

бы́вшим

бы́вшей

высóким

высóкой

Prepositional

бы́вшем

бы́вшей

высóком

высóкой

 

Plural (all genders)

Nominative

бы́вшие

высóкие

Genitive

бы́вших

высóких

Dative

бы́вшим

высóким

Accusative

N or G

Instrumental

бы́вшими

высóкими

Prepositional

бы́вших

высóких

Short-Form Adjectives

The short form of an adjective is used attributively with the verb to be. Этотчеловéкмóлод,That man is young (the verb to be is omitted in the present tense). Also note that мóлод is the short-form adjective of мóлодой.

Short-form adjectives agree in number and gender: онмóлод, онáмолодá, онóмóлодо, они́мóлоды. The short form is also used in exclamatory phrases: Какздеськраси́во!-It’s so beautiful here (“how here beautiful”)!

Short-form adjectives express a temporary state whereas the long form refers to a consonant characteristic. For example:

Сегóдняонáсли́шкомвеселá!

She’s too cheerful today!

По-мóемуонáвсегдáтакáявесёлая

I think she’s always that cheerful.

Унегóбы́липроблéмысногóй, носейчáсонздорóвиготóвигрáть.

He had problems with his leg, but now he’s healthy and ready to play again.

Онздорóвыйчеловéк

He’s a healthy person.

Some adjectives only have a short form: рад(m.), рáда(f.), рáды(pl.), glad.

Comparatives

Adjectives and adverbs have the same comparative form. The compound comparative is formed using the adverb бóлее, more, plus the adjective or adverb: бóлеемолодóй, younger; бóлееинтерéсный, more interesting; бóлеедорогóй, more expensive.

The simple comparative is formed using a suffix. In most cases, add the suffix ееto the adjective or adverb stem:

дли́нный(adj.), longдлиннéе, longer.

интерéсно(adv.), interestingинтерéснее,more interesting.

нóвый(adj.), newновéе, newer.

The comparative of adjectives and adverbs that end inг, к, х, д, т, or, less frequently зor с, is formed using the suffix е, which is never stressed. These words undergo stem consonant shift: the consonant г, дand зshift to ж: молодóй, youngмолóже, younger; дорогóй, expensiveдорóже, more expensive.

The consonants хand сshift toш:ти́хо, softly ти́ше, more softly. The consonantsк and тshift to ч: богáтый, richбогáче, richer (but not all тadjectives follow this pattern: жёлтый, yellowжелтéе, yellower); легкó, easy лéгче, easier.

The consonant cluster стshifts to щ:прóсто, simplyпрóще, more simply. There are some exceptions:

большóй, big бóльше, bigger;

высóкий, highвы́ше, higher;

далекó, far дáльше, farther;

дешёвый, cheapдешéвле, cheaper;

дóлгий, longдóльше, longer;

мáленький, smallмéньше, smaller;

хорóший, good, хорошó,wellлýчше,better, best.

Comparatives can be accompanied by the construction чемplus the object of comparison in the nominative case: Этакни́гаинтерéснее, чемта, This book is more interesting than that one; Тыговори́шьти́ше, чемя, You speak more softly than I do. Note that there is always a comma before чем.

Superlatives

The compound superlatives is formed using the adjective сáмый, the most, plus the adjective (which may be followed by извсех, of all): сáмыйинтерéсныйизвсех, the most interesting of all.

The simple superlative is formed using the suffix ейший, –ая, –ее. It cannot be followed by извсех:

интерéсный, interestingинтерéснейший, the most interesting. бéдная, poor беднéйшая, the poorest.

After a sibilant, the suffix changes to айший, ая, ееand the stem consonant frequently shifts:

бли́зкий, nearближáйший, the nearest. ди́кий, wildдичáйший, the wildest (the кshifts to ч). This suffix is always stressed on the second-last syllable.

Another simple superlative is formed by adding the prefix наи-to the long-form adjective: наилýчший, the best.