Assume that you are talking with a woman whom you address with "вы".

If you want to say, "You were here", which would be correct?

Вы была здесь.
Вы были здесь.

I assume that the second one is correct, using the plural rather than the feminine form of the verb. Is that correct?

If you want to say, "You are beautiful", which would be correct?

Вы красивая.
Вы Красивые.

I assume that the first one is correct, using the feminine rather than the plural form of the adjective. Is that correct?

If I am correct in both of these cases, is there any explanation for this inconsistency? And how would you say, "You were beautiful"? With the plural verb and the feminine singular adjective?


1 Answer 1


There's a subject-verb agreement like in your first sentence.

Я иду, ты идешь, он идет, мы идем, вы идете, они идут (see verb conjugation)(present).

Я был (была), ты был (была), он был, она была, мы были, вы были, они были (past)

So вы были is correct. As for adjectives, you should bear in mind that they denote nouns and thus should agree with nouns. If you want to say "You are beautiful (handsome)" to a woman, change a bit your sentence to make it clear who is your compliment addressed to.

Вы – красивая (женщина, девушка) (You are a beautiful girl (woman).

Вы – красивый мужчина (парень, юноша) (You are a handsome man (fellow).

Вы – красивые люди. (plural)

So, if a woman is meant Вы (polite form) – красивая is correct. But (thanks to Yellow Sky) there should be an important addition. If we have a short form of the same adjective красив, -а, -о, -ы which functions as a part of a predicate, the picture will be different.

Вы красивы. (No matter who it is addressed to, a man, a woman, some people, after a polite "Вы")

Other forms with a short form would be:

Я красив/красива, ты красив/красива, он красив, она красива, мы красивы, вы красивы, они красивы.

Tbe past forms are either

Вы были красивы (a polite вы, a verb +a short adjective) or

Вы были красивой(instrumental case). There's no change in meaning.

  • 1
    You can add that when a short form of an adjective is used as a predicate, it is in the plural even if one person is being addressed: Вы красивы. Вы так умны.
    – Yellow Sky
    Jul 3, 2016 at 7:22
  • 1
    Thanks for reminding, having bad connection at the weekend, sorry
    – V.V.
    Jul 3, 2016 at 8:09
  • Okay, this confuses things. So is there a difference in meaning between "Вы были красивы" (short form), "Вы были красивая" (long form, nominative case), and "Вы были красивой" (long form, instrumental case)?
    – oz1cz
    Jul 3, 2016 at 10:14
  • 1
    @oz1cz - "Вы были красивая" is ungrammatical, and there's practically no difference between "Вы были красивы" (short form) and "Вы были красивой" (long form, instrumental case).
    – Yellow Sky
    Jul 3, 2016 at 12:33

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