Russian Language Grammar

    Short Adjectives

Short adjectives are formed from most qualitative ones. Masculine short adjectives drop the characteristic endings -ый, -ой or -ий. Feminine short adjectives add -a, neuter -o or -e, plural -ы or -и to the short masculine form:


















1.  The following qualitative adjectives have no short form:

   (a)    Those with the suffixes -ск or -ов which were originally relative adjectives: дружеский – friendly; практический – practical; деловой –  business-like; передовой – leading, progressive.

   (b)    A few others: цельный – whole, entire; родной – native, own; отдельный – separate; прошлый – past, last. Also, some adjectives pertaining to colors.

2.  Short adjectives are practically never formed from soft adjectives in -ний, such as утренний, средний.

3.  Remnants of the short form of relative adjectives are found in some geographical names:  Архангельск, Полоцк, Смоленск, Магнитогорск.

4.  Two important adjectives have a special short form:

маленький:   мал, мала, мало, малы.

большой:      велик, велика, велико, велики.

5.  The following short adjectives do not have a corresponding long form of the same meaning: (я) должен – (I) must, and (я) согласен – (I) agree. A long form of рад (glad) does not exist.

6.  Short adjectives are not declined. They are used only as predicates: Он богат. Она была красива. Expressions such as: за сине море (beyond the blue sea); среди бела дня (in the middle of the day, in broad daylight); по белу свету (the wide world over), etc. are remnants of old declinable forms. Likewise, a few nouns, originally short adjectives, are regularly declined: спальня – bedroom; колокольня – belfry; вечерня – vespers, etc.

Insertion of "о" or "е" in Short Adjectives

Short masculine adjectives frequently insert о or e in front of н and к when the ending of the adjective has a "cluster of consonants" in the long form.

(a)   о is inserted in front of the suffix -к – unless this suffix is preceded by -ь, -й or -ж :   краткий: краток – short, brief;   низкий: низок – low.   Also in:   полный: полон – full;   смешной: смешон - funny;   долгий: долог – long.

(b)   е (ё) are inserted in front of -к preceded by -ь, -й or -ж: горький: горек – bitter; бойкий: боек – smart, dashing; тяжкий: тяжек –  heavy, serious, grave.

e (ё) are inserted in front of the suffix : бедный: беден – poor; больной: болен – sick; нужный: нужен – necessary; умный: умён – clever;   сильный:   силён – strong.

Also in кислый: кисел – sour; острый: остёр – sharp;  хитрый: хитёр – sly, cunning.

Notes :

(а)    When the long form ends in -енный, the short adjective – with few exceptions ends in -ен (-ный is simply dropped from the ending): уверенный: уверен – sure.

(b)    Feminine, neuter, and plural short adjectives do not insert о or eполна, горько, бедны.