2

At first I thought short-form adjectives were quite easy after seeing how they are formed. But when to use them turned out to be more complex. Here I have 5 sentences that made me confuse since they are all similar in terms of structure:

Александр очень ленив.

Маша очень общительная.

Моя бабушка очень добрая.

Он очень глуп.

Итальянки очень красивы.

How do I decide which form to use when?

3
  • 2
    Traditionally, the long (full) forms mean a permanent feature/state, short forms mean a temporary, short-time feature/state. But most people use both forms indiscriminately. Also, some adjectives in the full form mean something completely different than in the short form. The rule of thumb for a beginner-level learner of Russian is always use the full form, with the course of time you'll learn when short forms are also possible. The short-form adjectives is a thing that's dying out in Russian right now.
    – Yellow Sky
    Jun 8 '20 at 21:52
  • 1
    Short/long forms are interchangeable only then the adjective is a predicate (or postpositive adjective, as in all of your examples), but never interchangeable as prepositive adjective (always use long form). "Ленивый Александр" is quite different from "Ленив Александр".
    – Alexander
    Jun 9 '20 at 18:56
  • @YellowSky, you should have posted it as an answer. Steve, at least in your five examples, you can certainly use either way.
    – Zeus
    Jun 11 '20 at 2:37
2

All your examples can use short and long forms alike.

Short and long forms do have some very finely different stylistic shades: statements with short forms sound a little bit more certain and categorical. But it's not perceptible in isolation, outside of a larger context.

You should use short forms for:

  • Adjectives whose meanings have split for the short and long forms: малый, великий, живой etc: свитер мал; штаны велики; ребёнок жив

  • Past passive participles: я польщён, она влюблена etc.

2
  • All your examples can use short and long forms alike. With one exception: X добрая and X добра ко мне are perfect, but on reverse X добра and X добрая ко мне are quite off.
    – DK.
    Jun 16 '20 at 18:33
  • @DK: your phrases are not mentioned in op's examples. Of course you can only use the short form with adjuncts, but I was writing specifically about bare subject + predicate sentences
    – Quassnoi
    Jun 16 '20 at 18:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.