Spanish Adjectives

Like English, Spanish adjectives are describing words.
It adds a description to a noun
(a person, thing or thing).

amplio = wide
sano = healthy
azul = blue

Spanish adjectives change according to the gender and quantity of the nouns they are describing.

Masculine nouns...

- Take an adjective with a masculine ending, usually -o.

- Add an -s in the plural.

el coche negro
the black car

los coches negros
the black cars

Feminine nouns ...

- Take an adjective with a feminine ending, usually -a.

- Add an -s in the plural.

la casa negra the black house

las casas negras the black houses

Spanish adjectives with other endings don't change in the feminine, so can be used for both genders.

verde green
azul blue

Plurals

The plurals of Spanish adjectives are formed as follows:

For Spanish adjectives ending in an unstressed vowel:

add -s in the plural
la casa verde the green house

las casas verdesthe green houses

For Spanish adjectives ending in a consonant or stressed vowel:

add -es in the plural
la casa azul
the blue house

las casas azules
the blue houses

Exception:


Spanish adjectives which describe nationality DO change in the feminine, regardless of ending:

el hombre ingles the English man

la mujer inglesa the English woman

los hombres ingleses
the English men

las mujeres inglesas
the English women

When a Spanish adjective describes two nouns, one feminine and one masculine, the masculine plural form is used.

La casa y el coche son rojos.The house and the car are red.

Where do you put them?

Spanish adjectives normally follow the noun they are describing:


La manzana verde the green apple
un libro dificíl a difficult book

However, Spanish adjectives can sometimes be used before a noun, when they describe something intrinsic or given.

la blanca nieve the white snow
el primer hijo the first son/child

Be aware of the following anomalies when Spanish adjectives are placed before the noun:

Some male singular adjectives drop the final –o:

bueno goodun buen hombre a good man
malo bad un mal hombre a bad man
unooneun añoone year
primerofirstel primer hijothe first child/son
tercerothirdel tercer cochethe third car

While some Spanish adjectives drop the –o and add an accent:

alguno some, any - algún dinero some money
ninguno no, none - ningún dinero no money

ciento 100 drops the –o before masculine or feminine plural nouns:

cien años 100 years

grande changes to gran before either a feminine or masculine noun.

el gran opera the great opera
la gran mujer the great woman

And careful!

Some Spanish adjectives change their meaning depending on where they are placed - before or after the noun:

ser and estar - to be, in Spanish

You can also use an adjective with the verbs, ser and estar

El libro es grande. The book is big (permanently).
La chica está delgada. The girl is slim (temporarily).

ser + adjective / estar + adjective

Some Spanish adjectives can also change in meaning, depending on whether ser (to indicate a permanent state) or estar (to express a temporary condition) is used. For example:

Spanish adjectivebefore nounafter noun
antiguoold – formerold - ancient
algún/algunosomeany at all
bajolow, vilelow, short
carodear, beloveddear, expensive
ciertocertainsure, definite
dichosodisagreeable, annoyinglucky, fortunate
grande, grangreatlarge (size)
mediohalfaverage
mismo/mismasame, veryhim/herself
nuevonew, anothernew, brand new
pobreunfortunatepoor (no money)
proprioownproper, suitable
purasheerpure
rarorare (few)strange, odd
únicoonlyunique
viejoold (long-time)old (age)
Adjectivewith serwith estar
listoes listo - he’s cleverestá listo – he’s ready
alegrees alegre – she's happy (by nature)está alegre – she's happy (mood)
ciertoes cierto – it's trueestá cierto – he's certain, assured
Note: es/está = he/she/it is


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