How to use Spanish Adjectives: Spanish Lesson 41

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This is the forty-first lesson in our beginner level Spanish course and we will look at How to use Spanish Adjectives.

In lesson 38 we started investigating fundamental Spanish grammar terminology. In the following two lessons we focused on Spanish Pronouns and now we turn to Adjetivos en español.

Key things to remember regarding How to use Spanish Adjectives are that they are positioned after the noun they describe and they can change depending on the gender of the noun (thing) they describe.

Adjectives are words which describe nouns (things).

Adjectives can, for example, provide information about a noun’s size (e.g. big, small, etc), shape (e.g. round, square), age (e.g. young, old), colour (e.g. red, green), quality (e.g. good, bad), etc.

Before we go into any more detail about How to use Spanish Adjectives, let’s familiarise ourselves with some common Spanish adjectives:

Abierto/a: Open
Aburrido/a: Boring
Afortunado/a: Lucky
Agradable: Pleasant
Alto/a: High/Tall
Amable: Friendly
Amargo/a: Bitter
Bajo/a: Low/Short
Barato/a: Cheap
Bueno/a: Good
Caliente: Hot
Caro/a: Expensive
Cerca: Near
Cerrado/a: Closed/Shut
Delgado/a: Thin
Débil: Weak
Desafortunado/a: Unlucky
Desagradable: Unpleasant
Difícil: Difficult
Divertido/a: Fun
Dulce: Sweet
Educado/a: Polite
Emocionado/a: Excited
Enfermo: Sick
Enfadado/a: Angry
Estúpido/a: Stupid
Excelente: Excellent
Fácil: Easy
Falso/a: False
Feliz: Happy
Feo/a: Ugly
Fuerte: Strong
Generoso/a: Generous
Gordo/a: Fat
Grande: Big
Importante: Important
Inteligente: Intelligent
Interesante: Interesting
Inútil: Useless
Joven: Young
Lento/a: Slow
Ligero/a: Light
Limpio/a: Clean
Lleno/a: Full
Loco/a: Crazy
Mal educado/a: Impolite
Malo/a: Bad
Mojado/a: Wet
Nuevo/a: New
Oscuro/a: Dark
Peligroso/a: Dangerous
Pequeño/a: Small
Pesado/a: Heavy
Pobre: Poor
Rápido/a: Fast
Relajado/a: Relaxed
Rico/a: Rich
Seco/a: Dry
Seguro/a: Safe
Sucio/a: Dirty
Tímido/a: Shy
Tranquilo/a: Quiet/Relaxed
Triste: Sad
Útil: Useful
Vacío/a: Empty
Viejo/a: Old

How to use Spanish Adjectives in a sentence

The first important point to be aware of when considering How to use Spanish Adjectives is that they are positioned after the noun (thing) they describe, whereas English adjectives are positioned before their noun.

How to use Spanish Adjectives

For example:

Long hair: Pelo largo
Green apple: Manzana verde
Interesting book: Libro interesante
Relaxed girl: Chica relajada
Expensive table: Mesa cara

Changing the ending

The second important point to be aware of when considering How to use Spanish Adjectives is that we very often (though not always) need to change their ending according to the gender of their noun.

This can be tricky, especially during a conversation when you have lots of other things to think about, also because English speakers are unaccustomed to nouns having gender.

Spanish Adjectives are certainly more complex than English Adjectives.

The gender and number of Spanish Nouns

Every noun (thing) in Spanish is either masculine or feminine.

It is important to be aware of the gender of each noun you are using as other elements of your sentence will need to be altered according to this.

Some adjectives change according to the gender of the word they describe and all change depending upon whether the word they describe is singular or plural.

With adjectives that end in –O you change their ending to –A if you are describing a female thing. When describing singular things with adjectives that don’t finish in –O you don’t change the ending of the adjective.

You add –OS if you are describing more than one masculine thing and –AS if you are describing more than one female thing.

When describing more than one thing you add –ES to the adjective if it ends in a consonant and –S if it ends in a vowel.

Some examples:

Pelo moreno: Dark hair
Boca pequeña: Small mouth
Ojos azules: Blue eyes
Orejas pequeñas: Small ears
Boca grande: Big mouth
Nariz grande: Big nose

Observe how some of the adjectives change their endings depending on the noun (thing) they describe. For example, Boca (mouth) is a feminine noun, so Small for Mouth is Pequeña rather than Pequeño. Pelo (hair) is a masculine noun, so Dark for Hair is Moreno rather than Morena.

Spanish Adjectives pop up all the time, so it is vital to properly learn and practice How to use Spanish Adjectives.

We recommend writing lots of your own practice sentences using some of the adjectives on the previous list with various nouns.

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