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.

Watch the video version of this lesson or continue reading.

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

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

Shades in Russian

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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