Adjectives to describe colors in Russian

There are so many colors around us. All of them make our life diverse, entertaining and cheerful. In this lesson you’ll learn how to describe colors in Russian.

First of all, I’ve got to say that it’s much easier to do it in English. And there are some reasons. Depending on the gender of a noun, the adjectives get different endings. And there are three genders of nouns (and adjectives) in the Russian language: masculine, feminine, neuter.

Basic colors in Russian

белый (m.), белая (f.), белое (n.) – white

чёрный (m.), чёрная (f.), чёрное (n.) – black
красный (m.), красная (f.), красное (n.) – red
розовый (m.), розовая (f.), розовое (n.) – pink
оранжевый (m.), оранжевая (f.), оранжевое (n.) – orange
жёлтый (m.), жёлтая (f.), жёлтое (n.) – yellow
синий (m.), синяя (f.), синее (n.) – blue
голубой (m.), голубая (f.), голубое (n.) – light blue
зелёный (m.), зелёная (f.), зелёное (n.) – green
фиолетовый (m.), фиолетовая (f.), фиолетовое (n.) – violet, purple
серый (m.), серая (f.), серое (n.) – grey
коричневый (m.), коричневая (f.), коричневое (n.) – brown

basic colors in Russian

Genders are not the only difficulty. Don’t forget that adjectives also change their endings depending on the case, just like all russian nouns and adjectives do (almost all).

белый – белого – белому – белого (белый) – белым – белом
белая – белой – белой – белую – белой – белой
белое – белого – белому – белое – белым – белом

синий – синего – синему – синего (синий) – синим – синем
синяя – синей – синей – синюю – синей – синей
синее – синего – синему – синее – синим – синем

Finally, adjectives in Russian have singular and plural forms.

белый, белая, белое – белые

Colors in Russian: examples in sentences

Shades of basic colors

There are two basic shades of colors we normally use: тёмный (dark) and светлый (light). But we change their form a little and add a hyphen + the original color:

светло-красный – light red
светло-зеленый – light green
тёмно-зеленый – dark green
темно-красный – dark red

The first word before hyphen don’t change its form when we use different genders, numbers or cases. Only the second one does.

У меня светло-коричневая (feminine) куртка. – I have a light-brown coat.
Небо сегодня светло-серое (neuter). – The sky is light grey today.
Не надевай ту тёмно-красную (feminine, accusative case) футболку сегодня. – Don’t put that dark red T-shirt on today.

In everyday speaking you may hear words like “красненький”, “жёлтенький”, “зелененький”, etc. But what does they all mean? This is a kind of diminutive form. Such words make the colors sound cute. Usually women use these words to describe the color of something. It’s kinda silly but it sounds natural, mostly for women, as I said before. I rarely heard a man talking this way.
I got nothing left to say about colors. Maybe you want to ask some question? Then post a comment below, I’ll be glad to help you.

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