In Сонет by Pushkin, we have this verse:

Им скорбну мысль Камоэнс облекал

Why do we have скорбну and not скобную? I don't understand what скорбну is from a grammatical viewpoint.

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  • @alamar Your link says: "Качественные прилагательные могут иметь не только атрибутивные (полные), но и предикативные (краткие) формы" and "Предика́т (лат. praedicatum «заявленное, упомянутое, сказанное») — это утверждение, высказанное о субъекте." but, here, смысль is not a субъект and, by the way, that's why ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/скорбный does not give the form скорбну, which would be a краткая форма in the accusative, while a predicate should be in the nominative case.
    – Bruno
    Commented Jan 15 at 13:12
  • Wiktionary does not list declensions for short forms of adjectives, but they are declensed, and indeed it is in accusative.
    – alamar
    Commented Jan 15 at 13:53

2 Answers 2


This is the short form of the adjective in the accusative.

It answers the question какову мысль? скорбну.

It is a rare word in modern Russian but valid when this adjective takes the place of a verb, and always valid in poetry.

You can look them up using ruscorpora if you use the grammatical qualifier brev.


The link to the national corpus of the Russian language provided by Alamar gives 135 examples and only one of them corresponds to your question.

  1. П. И. Мельников-Печерский. В лесах. Книга первая (1871-1874) "Я кляну да свою буйну́ головушку, Я корю свое печально скорбно сердечушко!"

But this example immediately reminds us of many similar phrases from the Russian epic.

Что, Иван-царевич, невесел, буйну голову повесил

смотрит он на красну девицу

взяли молодца за белы рученьки

закрыл он ясны оченьки

выпил зелена вина

Alas, I'm not a linguist or a philologist, so I can't say whether it's called the ancient Russian language or the poetic language or something else. Perhaps one of the experts will clarify.

  • Thank you very much! I think you should be more precise about where the citations are taken from because "the Russian epic" is a bit too vague to me and my knowledge of Russian literature before Pushkin is almost null.
    – Bruno
    Commented Jan 20 at 19:17
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    These are phrases from Russian medieval ballads and fairy tales. The fact is that the poetic language of the Russian epic is characterized by stable combinations of "adjective + noun". The девица is always красная, the молодец is always добрый, etc. So these are not quotes from any particular work, these are phrases that are repeated in many ballads and fairy tales.Now I remember another song from the XVII century "и сорвали чёрну шапку с моей буйной головы".
    – Elena
    Commented Jan 20 at 22:49

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