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Adjectives.


An adjective ("adjetivo", in Spanish) is a word that describes, limits of qualifies a noun.

There are two main differences between English and Spanish adjectives: Placement and Agreement between noun and adjective in genre and noun.

Placement
In English, the adjective is placed before the noun or after the verb. For example:

The blue book
The book is blue

The adjective in these examples is: blue.

But the difference is that in Spanish, adjectives are usually placed after the noun they qualify:

El libro azul

Sometimes, the Spanish adjective is placed in front of the noun, but it only happens when using an adjective to express subjectivity (Esta es una buena película - This is a good film) or when the adjective indicates a intrinsic quality of the noun (el azul mar - the blue sea).


Agreement between noun and adjective in genre and noun
Spanish adjectives must agree in number and genre with the noun/s they qualify. When we read the following English examples:

The woman is tall
The man is tall

The women are tall
The men are tall


we notice that the adjective (tall) does not change, in English we use the same form for a singular, plural, feminine or masculine noun.

Now, read the same examples, this time in Spanish:

La mujer es alta
El hombre es alto

Las mujeres son altas
Los hombres son altos


So, from this point, we can affirm that Spanish adjectives have four forms: masculine-singular, feminine-singular; masculine-plural; feminine-plural. This rule applies to Spanish adjectives ending in -o. Here we have more examples:

Un niño guapo
Una niña guapa

Unos niños guapos
Unas niñas guapas


There are other Spanish adjectives that end in -e: inteligente, grande, importante. These adjectives do not follow the -o ending adjectives rule: in this case, adjectives ending in -e do not change their form in accordance with the genre of the noun they qualify, they just agree in number (singular / plural). This means that all adjectives ending in -e keep the same form for the masculine and feminine genre. Let's see some examples:

Un señor importante
Una señora importante

Unos señores importantes
Unas señoras importantes


Finally there is another type of adjectives: Spanish adjectives ending in consonant.
They do not change for masculine or feminine genre. And to form the plural, we have to add -es. More examples:

El examen final
La prueba final
("prueba" = feminine noun)

Los exámenes finales
Las pruebas finales


For any question or doubt, feel free to e-mail me or just post a message at the forum.

¡Que tenga un buen día!
Angeles F.



VOCABULARY IN THIS LESSON (alphabetical order):

alto / alta: tall

azul (m/f): blue

bueno / buena: good

esta (f): this

exámen (m): exam

grande (m/f): big

guapo / guapa: handsome / pretty

hombre (m): man

libro (m): book

mar (m): sea

mujer (f): woman

niño (m): boy

película (f): film

prueba (f): test

señor / señora: man / lady


Recommended material

I write monthly articles for "Think Spanish" ("Piensa en español") since 2002. All "Think Spanish" articles are written in Spanish, and they include a Spanish/English glossary. You'll also have the option to buy this magazine including a CD. Nice way to learn about Spanish language and customs!







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Content copyright © 2014 by Angeles Fernández. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Angeles Fernández. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Angeles Fernández for details.

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