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Explanation for endings for 'третий'

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Hi, 

I understand that the endings for  the word третий (третья, третье, третьи) must be memorized and that it is a soft stem adjective. 

But can anyone offer any explanation for why the endings are -ья, -ье, -ьи instead of -яя, -ее, -ие? 

Thanks!

 

 

 

asked Oct 23, 2013 by passionforrussian (170 points)

1 Answer

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Best answer
Dear PassionForRussian,

Soft-stem adjectives end in -ЯЯ, -EE, -ИЕ if there is an Н before the ending:

последНий-последНяя-последНее-последНие

вечерНий-вечерНяя-вечерНее-вечерНие

Infact, the majority of the soft-stem adjectives have an Н before the ending.

But if we have other consonants rather than Н coming before the ending we use ЬЕ, ЬЯ, ЬИ, usually in possessive adjectives:

лиСий-лиСья-лиСье-лиСьи

волЧий-волЧья-волЧье-волЧьи, etc.

Третий is also the case, althought it is an ordinal number.

 

Best,

Yulia Amlinskaya,
Russian language teacher.
answered Oct 24, 2013 by RussianTeacher (19,690 points)
selected Oct 24, 2013 by it-ogo

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