Russian grammar

Long and short forms of adjectives

Adjectives that describe a state of being have two forms, a long form and a short form:

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интересные факты – interesting facts
факты интересны – the facts are interesting
пустой холодильник – an empty fridge
холодильник пуст – the fridge is empty


Note: рад (glad) and должен (obliged to) have only short forms

  • Long forms of adjectives agree in gender, case and number with the noun that they refer to:

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Я люблю снежную солнечную зиму.
I love the snowy, sunny winter.


  • Short forms of adjectives agree in gender and number with the noun that they refer to. They do not decline. They are used only as predicative adjectives.

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Это прекрасная картина.
This is a splendid picture.

Эта картина прекрасна.
This picture is splendid.



Long form (nominative) Short form
singular masculine красивый город
a beautiful town
город красив
the town is beautiful
feminine глубокая река
a deep river
река глубока
the river is deep
neuter правильное решение
a correct decision
решение правильно
the decision is correct
plural красивые дома
beautiful houses
дома красивы
houses are beautiful

Fleeting Vowels

When there are two consonants together at the end of the stem of the long adjective, then a «fleeting» or -е (-ё) is inserted in the masculine short form:

близкий (close by) → близок, долгий (long) → долог, бедный (poor) → беден

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fleeting vowel : -о
before -к-
низкий (low) – низок
лёгкий (light) – легок
сладкий (sweet) – сладок
тонкий (thin) – тонок
узкий (narrow) – узок


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fleeting vowel : -е(-ё)
before -н
больной (ill) – болен
вредный (harmful) – вреден
полезный (useful) – полезен
трудный (difficult) – труден
нужный (necessary) – нужен


But: полный (full) – полон, горький (bitter) – горек, смешной (funny) – смешон

There is no fleeting vowel between and : простой (simple, easy) – прост, пустой (empty) – пуст, толстый (fat, thick) – толст, чистый (clean, pure) – чист

Function in the sentence

  • Long adjectives can be used to qualify nouns or after certain verbs (быть, стать…):

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Я смотрел интересный фильм. – I watched an interesting film.
Фильм был интересный. The film was interesting.


  • Short adjectives can only be used as predicative adjectives.

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Эти встречи интересны.
These meetings are interesting.


The use of long and short forms of adjectives.

Long form

1. spoken language
2. for a permanent characteristic
3. a characteristic of the person or object described

Short form

1. more literary, formal language
2. for a temporary state
3. a characteristic that depends on exterior factors


  • With word ‘это’ always use neuter short form:
    Это понятно. – That makes sense.
    Это было странно. – It was odd.
  • Certain adjectives have very different meanings in their long and short forms
    Пушкин – великий поэт. – Pushkin is a great poet.
    Эти туфли мне велики. – These shoes are too big for me.

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Read also: Adjectives in Russian language

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