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:
Mal educado/a: Impolite
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.
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.
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.