1. Russian adjectives exist in long and short forms.
Long form: e.g. красивый
Short form: e.g. красив/а/о/ы
- The short form exists only in the nominative case
- Short form adjectives are usually found at the end of a phrase or sentence
- Short form adjectives are less common than long form adjectives
2. The long form is used attributively, i.e. in front of a noun,
e.g. Известный актёр живёт в Москве. The famous actor lives in Moscow.
- The short form is used predicatively, i.e. after the noun. The verb ‘to be’ in English is usually implied.
e.g. Климат суров. The climate is harsh.
3. Short forms are formed by shortening the long form of the adjective and then adding the necessary ending depending on the gender:
Long form: красивый
Masc. short form: красив
Fem. short form: красива
Neut. short form: красиво
Plural (all genders): красивы
4. Some adjectives will be left with a cluster of consonants in the masculine form, so the vowel е (or sometimes о or ё) must be inserted:
e.g. известный famous, well known
Этот факт известен. This fact is well known.
5. Russian adjectives that have no short form include:
- substances (e.g. wooden, metal)
- ordinal numerals (i.e. first, second, etc.)
- soft adjectives.
NB: The adjective рад (glad, happy) exists only in the short form.
6. If the adjective comes before the noun/needs to be in a case other than the nominative, the long form must be used.
- Most of the time you can use the long or the short form:
e.g. ‘The town is beautiful’ can be either:
- Some adjectives must be used in the short form predicative, because the long forms and short forms would give different meanings.
e.g. the long form, больной, ill, implies chronically sick, whereas the short form, болен, implies not too well at the moment.
Other adjectives like this are:
занятый, occupied (short forms: занят, занята, занято, заняты)
свободный, free, vacant (short forms: свободен, свободна, свободно, свободны)