Lesson 131

The short form of Russian adjectives

The audio for the lesson is available at the bottom of the screen under the blue button.

As we mentioned before, there are a few forms of adjectives in Russian. You are already familiar with the most used one – the long form. Today we are going to learn another one – the short form.

Use of the short form of adjectives:

1. While the long form describes a permanent or intrinsic conditions, the short form is linked to the subject as it’s temporal condition or limited quality. Compare these examples:

Он о́чень занято́й челове́к.
He is a very busy man. (in general, the long form)

Он о́чень за́нят.
He is very busy. (right now, the short form)

Ты счастли́вый челове́к?
Are you a happy man? (in general, the long form)

Тепе́рь ты сча́стлив?
Are you happy now? (in this moment, the short form)

Э́тот го́род краси́вый.
This city is beautiful. (in general, the long form)

Э́тот го́род краси́в зимо́й.
This city is beautiful in winter. (a limited quality, the short form)

2. If any additional description goes with the adjective, the short form is used:

The glass is full.
Стака́н по́лный. / Стака́н по́лон. (long or short form)

The glass is full of water.
Стака́н по́лон воды́. (only the short form)

This man is famous.
Э́тот челове́к знамени́тый. / Э́тот челове́к знамени́т. (long or short form)

This man is famous for his fortune.
Э́тот челове́к знамени́т свои́м состоя́нием. (only the short form)

3. Some adjectives change their meaning being used in the short form:

Он о́чень живо́й и позити́вный челове́к.
He is a very lively and positive person.

Он ещё жив?
Is he still alive?

Она́ о́чень хоро́шая и до́брая де́вушка.
She is a very good and kind girl.

Она́ о́чень хороша́ собо́й.
She is a very good-looking girl.

Russian Pod 101

4. Some adjectives have no short form. These are adjectives that describe time, place, material, substance, “animal” adjectives and adjectives with -ск-.

зи́мний – of winter
техни́ческий – technical
ме́стный – local
коша́чий – cat’s
желе́зный – of iron

Listen to the audio track and practice the examples of today’s lesson.

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