9.1 - About adjectives

Given below are some of the phrases you met in Unit 3:

обласний центр a regional centre
Чорне море the Black Sea
історична церква a historic church
сусідні країни neighbouring countries

The words highlighted in bold print give us more information about each noun e.g. what kind of centre / church? which countries? what sea? etc. These words are adjectives and generally, though not exclusively, come in front of the noun in Ukrainian.

Just as nouns change their endings according to case, number etc., so do adjectives.

As can be seen from the above phrases (all of which are in the nominative case), an adjective must agree with the gender and number of the noun it describes:

  • центр is masculine, so the adjective ends in -ий
  • церква is feminine, so the adjective ends in -а
  • море is neuter, so the adjective ends in -е
  • країни is plural, so the adjective ends in -і.

The endings given above are for hard adjectives. There are also adjectives with soft endings (-ій, -я, -є, -і). More about this on page 9.3.

The ability to "match" which adjective describes which noun in a sentence is an essential skill to acquire when reading Ukrainian, as this may not always be obvious, in particular if the sentence is long and involved!

To begin practising this, go to Exercise 9.1A and Exercise 9.1B.

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© 2007 Marta Jenkala