Those Sexxxy Russian Nouns!

Gender and Agreement

The previous page dealt with how well adjectives and verbs in predicate position get along with subject nouns. Adjectives and verbs are just as agreeable in attributive position, the position immediately preceding the noun. In the English phrases, the dean is crazy, crazy is in predicate position; in the crazy dean, it is in attributive position. Adjectives and verbs have a special set of agreement endings for attributive positions and verbs have a special form, called the participle, which will be dealt with separately. This page deals with the nominative case of adjectives in attributive position.

OOO Attributive Agreement OOO

The simpler predicate form of the adjective is called the short form because it is shorter than the attributive form. The attributive agreement endings for adjectives in the nominative case are given in Table 1.

Table 1: Attributive Adjective Endings
Class Ending Example Gloss
Masculine -ый/ий красивый стол. (a) beautiful table
Feminine -aя/яя красивая книга (a) beautiful book
Neuter -oe/ee красивое окно (a) beautiful window
Plural -ые/ие красивые очки beautiful glasses

The paradigm of attributive endings are not as mnemonic as the predicate paradigm. However, there are three tricks which may help you remember these endings.

  1. The masculine and the plural attributive endings begin with ы/и; the masculine is distinguished from the plural by its final letter й (-ый); the final letter of the plural ending is e: -ые.

  2. The feminine ending is nothing more than both the hard (a) and soft (я)variants of the feminine short form ending (-ая.

  3. The neuter ending is nothing more than both the hard (o) and soft (e) variants of the neuter short-form ending (-oe).

The same two caveats apply to attributive adjectives that apply to predicates: (1) be careful to distinguish masculine and feminine nouns that end on soft signs and (2) don't forget that all nouns ending on мя are neuter, not feminine.

Table 2: Nouns on Soft Signs and МЯ
Agreement Noun Gloss
красивая дверь beautiful door
красивый учитель handsome teacher
красивое имя beautiful name

OOO Attributive Agreement Exercises OOO

Now you try a few a few exercises to see if you've caught on. Convert the following sentences with predicate adjectives into corresponding sentences with an attributive adjectives as shown in the example. Next push the button to the right of the sentence and see if your form is correct. Font information here.

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Predicate Adjective Attributive Adjective Check Correct?

Эта книга—красива Это— книга.
This book is beautiful.This is a beautiful book.

Эта дверь—красива Это— дверь.
This door is beautiful.This is a beautiful door.

Этo море—тихо Это— море.
This sea is quiet. This is a quiet sea.

Это мыло—ново Это— мыло.
This soap is new. This is new soap.

Эта сталь—крепка. Это— сталь.
This steel is strong. This is strong steel.

Эти студенты—умны! Это— студенты!
These students are sharp! These are sharp students!

Это пламя—красиво. Это— пламя.
This flame is beautiful.This is a beautiful flame.

Этот город—чист. Это— город.
This city is clean.This is a clean city.

Эта машина—быстра. Это— машина.
This car is fast. This is a fast car.

Этот учитель—глуп. Это— учитель.
This teacher is stupid. This is a stupid teacher.

Эти блины—вкусны. Это— блины.
These blinys are delicious. These are delicious blinys.

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© 1996 Robert Beard