Hey, who wants to have fun explaining a lot of technical stuff about adjectives in the Romanian language? Just me? Ah well, that’s okay.
In English, the adjective comes before the noun.
Ex: A green car.
In most Latin based languages, including Romanian, the adjective comes after the noun.
Ex: O mașina verde.
That being said, the adjective can come before the noun in Romanian to indicate a strong emphasis.
Ex: Verde mașina! (wow, what a green car!)
Adjectives also have to match both the gender and number (singular/plural) of the noun.
Ex: O mașina frumoasa (A beautiful car) – female singular
Ex: Doua mașini frumoase (Two beautiful cars) – female plural
Ex: O mașina noua (A new car) – female singular
Ex: Doua mașini noi (Two new cars) – female plural
While many adjectives have four forms, masculine and female, singular and plural, some of them only have two forms – singular and plural and no differentiation for gender.
Ex: verde/verzi (the color green)
Other adjectives have a female and male version in the singular but only one form for both genders in the plural.
Ex: nou/noua/noi (new)
Note: Sometimes in Romanian the plural female version is still noua.
Yet other adjectives have just one form regardless of gender or number.
Ex: maro (the color brown)
If two adjectives are used consecutively, they are separated by și, the word for “and”.
Ex: O mașina verde și frumoasa.
If three or more adjectives are used consecutively, they are all separated with și, unlike English which uses commas in a complicated way (different for USEnglish and UKEnglish). Obviously in common speech this is sometimes truncated.
Ex: O mașina noua și verde și maro și frumoasa.
Where Romanian differs from other Latin-based languages is when it comes sentence order concerning possessive pronouns, which I covered (in part) here.
Note: as with adjectives, pronouns have to match gender and number of the noun.
Ex: mașina mea verde (my green car)
Ex: mașinile mele verzi (my green cars)
Ex: mașina mea verde și maro și frumoasa (my beautiful brown and green car)
Ex: mașinile mele verzi și maro și frumoase (my beautiful brown and green cars)
As you can see, the pronoun (mea/mele) comes before the adjective(s), not after it.
However if there is an adjective describing the pronoun then the sentence order gets even more mixed up. The entire clause of “adjective + pronoun” comes before the main noun in the sentence, not after it.
Ex: noua mea mașina verde și maro și frumoasa (my beautiful new brown and green car)
Ex: noile mele mașini verzi și maro și frumoase (my beautiful new brown and green cars)
Note: The adjective must always follow standard declensions when appropriate (subject/object cases).
The adjective noua is describing the pronoun mea because the car is new to me, therefore this part comes before the main noun.
The adjectives verde, maro and frumoasa are only describing the car itself and thus come after the noun.
See? Couldn’t be simpler. To construct a sentence with adjectives in Romanian, all you have to do is:
- Know the gender, case and number of the main noun
- Know the 1-4 forms for each adjective plus the appropriate case
- Use the correct adjective(s) after the main noun, separating each one with și
- Know the gender/number for any pronouns to match the main noun
- Place an isolated pronoun after the main noun but before the adjective(s) describing the main noun
- Place the adjective before the pronoun it describes and place the pronoun before the main noun, followed by the adjectives describing the main noun (but not the pronoun)
Really sometimes I wonder what all the fuss is about :P