Adjectives are words that modify or describe nouns and pronouns. Big, wonderful, green, and so on, are all adjectives. So are my, yours, his, etc, even though we don’t usually think of them that way—they describe who the noun belongs to. Generally speaking, anything that gives you more information about a noun is an adjective. Spanish adjectives work a little differently than they do in English: for example, they change depending on the gender and number of the noun, and they also usually come after the noun, instead of before.
Let’s start by taking a look at descriptive adjectives. These are the words that usually come to mind when we think of adjectives: words like good, hot, small etc.
There are three kinds of descriptive adjective endings:
1. Adjectives that change their ending from o to a depending on the noun’s gender. This includes most descriptive adjectives.
bueno/a good –> una chica buena/un chico bueno
pequeño/a small –> un arbol pequeño/una flor pequeña
nuevo/a new –> el libro nuevo/la música nueva
simpático/a kind –> el hombre simpático/la mujer simpática
2. Adjectives that only have one ending that stays the same, regardless of the noun’s gender. These usually end in an e or a consonant.
verde/green –> el arbol/la manta verde
útil/useful –> el libro/la guía útil
grande/big –> el perro/la jirafa grande
caliente/hot –> el agua/la cafe caliente
débil/weak –> el hombre/la mujer débil
3. There are also some adjectives that end in consonants and gain an a at the end to become feminine. There aren’t very many of these.
creador(a)/creative –> el chico creador/la chica creadora
soñador(a)/dreamy, visionary –> el hombre soñador/la mujer soñadora
For some more examples of descriptive adjectives, check out our vocabulary list for personal characteristics.
Demonstrative adjectives are used to point out things or people. In English, we have two demonstrative adjectives: this and that. Think of them as pointing at something to demonstrate it to somebody.
In Spanish, there are three demonstrative adjectives: este (this), ese (that), and aquel (that over there). What, you may be wondering, is the difference between ‘that’ and ‘that over there’? The difference is just that the latter word, aquel, is used to refer to things that are more than just a short distance away.
In Spanish, demonstrative adjectives come before the noun and—like all adjectives—have to agree with the noun in gender and number.
Este – This
Este televisor this TV (by me)
Estos televisores these TVs
Esta bolsa this bag
Estas bolsas these bags
Ese – That
Ese televisor that TV (by you)
Esos televisores those TVs
Esa bolsa that bag
Esas bolsas those bags
Aquel – That Over There
Aquel televisor that TV (away from both of us)
Aquellos televisores those TVs
Aquella bolsa that bag
Aquellas bolsas those bags
Possessive adjectives are words that indicate who something belongs to: my, your, her, etc are possessive adjectives. Possessive adjectives can get confusing sometimes, because, even though they need to agree with the noun (like all other adjectives), you may find yourself wanting to make them agree with the subject. For example, if you’re saying “our houses” and the “our” refers to a male group, then you might write, “nuestro casas,” and make nuestro singular and masculine. But remember, these are all still adjectives, so you need to match them to their nouns! The correct possessive adjective, then, would be “nuestras casas,” because casas is feminine and plural.
Here are all of the possessive adjectives:
|mi / mis||my|
|tu / tus||your|
|su / sus||his/her|
|nuestro / nuestros||our|
|nuestra / nuestras||our|
|su / sus||your/their|
Mis libros My books
Sus plumas Their pens
Nuestra casa Our house
Nuestros libros Our books