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Thread: Adjectives and gender

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    Adjectives and gender

    If you are using an adjective to describe a pronoun in Russian, and that pronoun describes a group containing both men and women, what form of the adjective should you use (masculine, feminine or neuter)?

    For example, how would you say "They are tired" in Russian where "they" = both males and females.

    Also, if you are using an adjective to describe "you" (singular), but you don't know the gender of the person you are describing, what adjective ending should you use?
    Learning Russian through self-study since 12th March, 2010. Current progress: On New Penguin Russian Course lesson 7.
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    Re: Adjectives and gender

    Они устали, no matter what sex they belong to.
    Дорогой/дорогая, and if that’s not sufficient enough to specify the gender of the species you are addressing you might add дорогое.

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    Re: Adjectives and gender

    Quote Originally Posted by alexB
    Они устали, no matter what sex they belong to.
    I knew that. I swear, every time I learn a new bit of Russian grammar, another bit falls right out the other side of my head.

    Quote Originally Posted by alexB
    Дорогой/дорогая, and if that’s not sufficient enough to specify the gender of the species you are addressing you might add дорогое.
    I don't quite understand. Say, if I wanted to say "You're funny" to someone, but I don't know what gender they are (e.g. because I'm talking to them on the internet, or because they have an androgynous appearance), what would I say? Would I just guess a gender? Or use the neuter form of the adjective?
    Learning Russian through self-study since 12th March, 2010. Current progress: On New Penguin Russian Course lesson 7.
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    Re: Adjectives and gender

    Quote Originally Posted by Pretty Butterfly
    If you are using an adjective to describe a pronoun in Russian, and that pronoun describes a group containing both men and women, what form of the adjective should you use (masculine, feminine or neuter)?

    For example, how would you say "They are tired" in Russian where "they" = both males and females.

    Also, if you are using an adjective to describe "you" (singular), but you don't know the gender of the person you are describing, what adjective ending should you use?

    They is plural. Plural nouns do not have gender.

    The second question is a little strange. You describe someone to someone else in 3rd person (he/she/it). If you are speaking to someone you address them as "you" -- usually you know what they are. In case of confusion (web-board or something, I guess) I assume you go with masculine to match человек which means person and is a masculine noun.
    If I was kiddin' you, I'd be wearin' a fez and no pants. (Lennie Briscoe)

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    Re: Adjectives and gender

    Quote Originally Posted by Pretty Butterfly
    Say, if I wanted to say "You're funny" to someone, but I don't know what gender they are (e.g. because I'm talking to them on the internet, or because they have an androgynous appearance), what would I say? Would I just guess a gender?
    I never do it, but yes, you may hazard a guess, as a last resort. On message boards, if your guess was wrong, people usually don't take offense and just correct you.

    Or use the neuter form of the adjective?
    No! Absolutely not! NEVER!

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    Re: Adjectives and gender

    There’s no unisex way of addressing the situation you’ve pictured. You must find a method of figuring out who is the one you want to be friends with or … remember this:
    Chief Wiggum: "Ah, just get one of those inflatable women. But make sure it's a woman though, cuz' one time I... heh..."
    Seriously though, say there’s a letter from someone who doesn’t know you but is willing to lure you into buying some crap he/she or they are interested in getting rid of. The letter starts with Дорогой/дорогая господин/госпожа …and so on, just like I said earlier. It’s the same thing in English I think, isn’t it?

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    Re: Adjectives and gender

    Quote Originally Posted by E-learner
    I never do it,
    Actually, that's because I prefer to address people by "Вы", which is grammatically plural; problem solved.

    P.S. I'm sorry, I forgot what exactly we were talking about. This works only with verbs, but not with adjectives.

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    Re: Adjectives and gender

    Quote Originally Posted by Pretty Butterfly
    Also, if you are using an adjective to describe "you" (singular), but you don't know the gender of the person you are describing, what adjective ending should you use?
    Just shift focus to what was done by the person, instead of the person that did it. "That was so funny!" "That was absolutely stunning!" That way you can solve the grammar readily, give a compliment or what have you, without knowing anything else about the person.

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    Re: Adjectives and gender

    Quote Originally Posted by Pretty Butterfly
    "They are tired"
    I've heard that this phrase ('они устали') is a popular tatoo on legs among Russian criminals, along this 'они спят' (They are sleeping) on eyelids.
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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