Adjectives & Gender Agreement [UK. GRAMMAR PORTAL]
Ukrainian is an East Slavic language spoken primarily in Western and Central Ukraine by 40 million people making it the third most spoken Slavic language by number of native speakers in the world!
If there is any words you don't understand please refer to the glossary
Note There was a few problems with links, copy past, etc. I'm really sorry about it. It should be OK now.
What is an adjective?
An adjective is a describing word, used to describe nouns (people, places, things, etc.). Here are some examples; adjectives are in bold
- The big man is in the new house.
- Why is the fluffy kitten on my old tomato?
- I've got thick skin and an elastic heart.
What do you notice about all these? They are all describing nouns and this is exactly what adjectives are for!
What is gender?
Gender (in linguistics) is a label given to nouns. If you have learned a foreign language before, you have more than likely come across this since most languages have this (such as French, German or Spanish). In Ukrainian, all nouns are either masculine, feminine or neuter. This affects things like adjectives and verbs. You can read more here
What is gender agreement?
Gender agreement (in adjectives at least), is when an adjective changes to match the number and gender of the noun that it is describing. Some examples from other languages would be bon vs. bonne and bueno vs. buena.
How do adjectives agree in Ukrainian?
To make adjectives agree with their noun in Ukrainian is very easy! For this example we will look at the roots for green and dark blue which are зелен- and син-.
The word green in Ukrainian is a hard adjective, this means it gets different endings to the word for dark blue. There is no rule for knowing whether an adjective is hard or soft but you can generally tell by looking at the endings. Here is a table of endings, you needn't learn them now but just to show you that adjectives take on different endings.
In this post we are only going to look at the Nominative case. This is the basic subject (do-er) form of the noun and also the form you find in dictionaries.
Hard Adjective Endings
For masculine words add -ий e.g. добрий чоловік, a good husband
For feminine words add -а e.g. моя нова рибина, my new fish
For neuter words add -е e.g. глибоке море, the deep sea
Soft Adjective Endings
For masculine words add -ій e.g. стародавній замок, the ancient castle
For feminine words add -я e.g. їх третя донька, their third daughter
For neuter words add -є e.g. середнє місто, a typical town
For the plurals of all types of adjectives just add -і.
- Гарна машина - Гарні машини
Posts on case endings for adjectives will be in future posts and if you have any questions in relation to adjectives, gender and/or agreement, feel free to ask in the comments! :)
Basically you look at the adjective in one of its forms. If you see "глибоке", with the e in the ending and not є, you know that word uses the hard endings. So:
Deep fish: глибока рибина
Deep man/husband: глибокий чоловік
third castle: третій замок
third daughter: третя донька
third city: третє місто
-ий, -а and -е go hand in hand.
-ій, -я and -є go hand in hand.
The adjective might of course be conjugated in some manner, but the same two groups apply anyway. From the conjugated form you can figure out the basic form.