The question words «какой?/какая?/какое?» are used in relation to adjectives. They can be translated to English as «which» or «what kind/sort» and are often used to qualify the quality (or adjective) of a noun:
- I saw a cat on the street. – Я увидел кошку на улице.
- What kind of cat? – Какую кошку?
- A crazy cat! – Сумасшедшую кошку!
Like other Russian parts of speech, these question words change their endings depending on the gender, number and case of the main word. In the example above, it is related to the feminine accusative case.
Let’s look at an example with the nominative case, which is always the easiest:
Это дом– this is a house.
If we want to ask a question about a quality of this house, we’ll do it like this:
- Какой это дом? – What sort of house is this?
- Это большой дом. – This is a big house.
The question word какой is used in masculine singular form, because the object we’re describing (дом) is of masculine gender and is singular. With a feminine word, for example, квартира (flat), we’ll go with a feminine singular ending:
- Какая это квартира?
- Это красивая квартира.
As you can see from these two examples, the endings of the question words какой/какаяfully match the endings of the adjectives, which makes it much easier, when it comes to dealing with other cases. The trick is to memorize the endings for each. Let’s look at them more closely.
|Accusative||Какой(for inanimate objects)
As you can see, most of the feminine adjectives have the same type of ending – ОЙ, with the exception of Accusative Case. Memorizing masculine adjectives is a bit more of a challenge, but the good news is that the ending for neuter adjectives are exactly the same – so, once you’ve learnt these five, you’ve basically mastered them all.
1 – Translate the dialogues above into English.
2 – Ask a question which is connected to the words in bold below:
- На улице девушка увидела мёртвую кошку – ________________________?
- Он хотел поговорить с тобой о серьёзном деле – _____________________?
- У Тани нет дорогой машины- __________________?
- Я позвонила моему хорошему другу – _________________?
- Дима всегда хотел быть известным человеком -______________________?
3 – Translate the following dialogue into Russian:
- Hi Vadim! How are you?
- Horrible, actually. I was walking home and I saw a cat on the street…
- So? What type of cat?
- A dead cat…
- A dead cat… that is not surprising. Anyway, I’m going to the cinema. Do you want to go with me?
- What film do you want to see?
- A comedy without dead cats.
- Do you want to go to a cafe with me?
- Okay. What’s your favourite food?
- My favourite food… Italian.
- Italian? Okay. What dishes do you recommend?
- I love them all!
- Hmm… okay. Which sauce do you like to eat with the pasta?