Learn Spanish Adjectives
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Adjectives in Spanish, like in English, are used to modify - or describe - nouns. in English, adjectives go in front of the noun, like in the phrase "a pretty woman", in which "woman" is the noun and "pretty" is the adjective that describes her. Adjectives can also be turned into superlatives to emphasize descriptive qualities even more.

Spanish adjectives 1) almost always go AFTER the nouns that they are describing and 2) agree in terms of both the number (singular or plural) and gender (masculine and feminine) of the noun. For example:

English
adjective + noun
Spanish
noun + adjective
singular, masculine
one handsome man
un hombre guapo
singular, feminine
one handsome woman
una mujer guapa
plural, masculine
two handsome men
dos hombres guapos
plural, feminine
two handsome women
dos mujeres guapas

While you will usually see the adjective after the noun, you may come across adjectives that come BEFORE the noun, similar to the construction in English. This is the case especially with adjectives like numbers (tres caballos - three horses) and adjectives of quantity (muchos caballos - many horses). For example:

English
adjective + noun
Spanish
adjective + noun
When the adjective is a number. Three horses. Tres caballos
When the adjective refers to quantity. Many horses. Muchos caballos

Sometimes, adjectives can be used as a noun, when the person talking and the person listening are both aware of what is being talked about. In English, we might say "I like the green one", when referring to a green shirt that we see. For example:

Adjective describes the noun Adjective replaces the noun
EnglishThe green shirt. The green one.
SpanishLa camisa verde. La verde.

1. Regular adjectives

  • Adjectives ending in: -o, -a, -os, -as

Examples:

viejo = old rojo = red alto = tall
masculine, singular (-o) viejorojoalto
feminine, singular (-a) viejarojaalta
masculine, plural (-os) viejosrojosaltos
feminine, plural (-as) viejasrojasaltas

2. Adjectives with two forms

  • Adjectives ending in: -e, -ista, or a consonant in the singular form. They are the same in the masculine and feminine forms; the only thing that changes is the number (singular, plural).
    To make the adjective plural,
    • add an -s if the it ends in an unstressed vowel
    • add -es if it ends in either in a consonant or in -í or -ú.

Examples:

inteligente = intelligent fácil = easy marroquí = Moroccan
masculine
singular
inteligentefácilmarroquí
feminine
singular
inteligentefácilmarroquí
masculine
plural
inteligentesfácilesmarroquíes
feminine
plural
inteligentesfácilesmarroquíes

3. Adjectives with special feminine forms

  • Adjectives describing nationality whose masculine singular form ends in a consonant, as well as adjectives ending in -dor have feminine forms ending in -a and -as.
español = Spanish francés = French trabajador = hard-
working

masculine
singular

españolfrancéstrabajador
feminine
singular
(-a)
españolafrancesatrabajadora
masculine
plural
(-es)
españolesfrancesestrabajadores
feminine
plural
(-as)
españolasfrancesastrabajadoras

4. Adjectives with shortened or contracted forms

  • Some adjectives function much like the indefinite article "un" (which means a or an in English), and therefore have a special form exclusively when preceding a masculine singular noun. If the adjective is anywhere other than right before the masculine singular noun, the regular adjective forms are used.

For example:

primero = first bueno = good alguno = a, some
masculine
singular
primer
(before adjective)
primero
(elsewhere)
buen
(before adjective)
bueno
(elsewhere)
algún
(before adjective)
alguno
(elsewhere)
feminine
singular
primerabuenaalguna
masculine
plural
primerosbuenosalgunos
feminine
plural
primerasbuenasalgunas