Adjectives in Russian

Adjectives are words that describe nouns or pronouns. All Russian adjectives must agree with nouns in number, gender and case. For example, if you have a book (книга) and want to say that it is interesting (интересный), you must know that the noun книга is in the nominative-feminine-singular form. Then you should give the correct form to the adjective you are using. You will be on the right track if you say интересная книга (intresting book).

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Note that in  dictionaries all adjectives are given in the nominative masculine singular, like интересный, хороший, весёлый.

To form the proper form of an adjective, you should know how their endings change depending on number, gender and case. We listed the most common endings for adjectives in the nominative singular and plural forms, so that you are able to compose simple phrases.

The majority of Russian adjectives have a stem ending in a hard consonant. In other words, their last letter before the ending is a hard consonant (новый, белый). In the nominative case, such adjectives have the ending -ый if they are masculine singular, the ending -ое if they are neuter singular, and the ending -ая if they are feminine singular. The plural form of such adjectives is the same for all genders and always ends in -ые.


Endings for adjectives in the nominative singular and plural
(stressed vowels are underlined)

Singular Plural
(any gender)
(-ые)
masculine
(-ый, -ой)
neuter
(-oe)
feminine
(-ая)
новый, красный
молодой, лесной
новое, красное новая, красная новые, красные

The adjectives with a stem ending in the soft н sound acquire the endings -ий, -ее, -яя, -ие in the nominative feminine singular, neuter singular, masculine singular, and plural respectively. These adjectives are called soft adjectives and always have a stress on the stem, as in синий.

The adjectives with a stem ending in letters к, г, х, ж, ш, ч, щ have the mascular singular ending -ий (маленький - small), the feminine singular ending in -ая (маленькая), and the plural ending -ие (маленькие). In the neuter singular such adjectives end in -oe after г, к, х (маленькое), and end in -ee after ж, ш, ч, щ if stress is on the stem (свежее молоко - fresh milk) otherwise is has the ending -oe (большое окно - big window).

There is a small group of adjectives called stressed adjectives. They have the ending -ой instead of -ый or -ий in the nominative masculine singular. This ending is always stressed on the letter o as in молодой (young), большой (big), другой (another).


Endings for adjectives with a stem in к, г, х and ж, ш, ч, щ
(stressed vowels are underlined)

Stem ends in Singular Plural
(any gender)
(-ие)
masculine
(-ий, -ой)
neuter
(-ое, -ое)
feminine
(-ая)
к, г, х маленький
морской, другой
маленькое
морское, другое
маленькая маленькие
ж, ш, ч, щ свежий свежее свежая свежие

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