Spanish Adjectives

Beginner Spanish - Level A1

Overview

Spanish adjectives are more complicated than English adjectives. When you use Spanish adjectives, you not only do you have to match the gender of the adjective with the noun but you also have to match the number and you have to get the order right.  

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Spanish A1

 

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Spanish Adjectives

As we work with the verb ser (Unit) we find ourselves using more and more adjectives to describe people, places and things. In order to do this properly, let’s make sure that we are following the three simple rules for adjectives in Spanish.

In Spanish we need to follow three simple rules when working with adjectives:

  1. Make sure adjective ending agrees in GENDER with the noun it describes.
  2. Make sure adjective ending agrees in NUMBER with the noun it describes.
  3. Adjectives generally (with a few exceptions) come after the noun.

 

This idea may sound foreign to you now as we do not adjust our adjectives in English, but soon you will be a pro! Let’s break things down…

Gender Agreement: When we say that adjectives agree in gender with the noun they describe, we mean that it either carries a masculine (o) or feminine ending (a). Some nouns use a gender neutral ending (e) that can also be used. For example: el carro blanco, la manzana roja

Number Agreement: When we say that adjectives agree in number with the noun they describe, we mean that it carries an -s if the noun it describes is plural. In cases when an adjective ends in a consonant (ex: trabajador), you will add -es. Also, words ending in -z will not only end in -es when plural but the -z will claso change to -c so that you will have -ces. For example: los carros blancos, las manzanas rojas

Word Order: Adjectives will generally come after the noun they describe rather than before the noun as we are used to in English. There are a number of adjectives that will come before the noun, but this also changes their meaning. For example: el chico alto, la chica cómica, los niños bajos, las chicas rubias.

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A noun is essentially a label for places, things, events, ideas, concepts and so on.

Common nouns are the generic term for something. Common nouns in Spanish are never spelled with a capital letter unless they begin a sentence. Proper nouns are specific names (for example people, cities, or states) and begin with capital letters.

Another way of classifying nouns is according to whether or not they can be counted. Count nouns identify individual entities that can be counted, like siblings.  mass noun refers to an entity as an uncountable unit. Mass nouns can be modified with adjectives that refer to quantity, such as mucho or poco since they can not be modified with numbers.

All nouns in Spanish and English are marked for number: singular (one) or plural (more than one). Spanish, like English, usually indicates plurality by adding an -s to the end of the singular noun. Count nouns have both singular and plural forms.

Gender – In English, grammatical gender is based on biology and is relevant for pronouns (he, she, it). Gender in Spanish affects all nouns, pronouns, adjectives and determiners. All nouns have a gender, which determines the gender of any adjectives or determiners that modify it.  Spanish genders fall into either masculine or feminine nouns.  However, The terms masculine and feminine really mean nothing more than noun class A and noun class B.

Quick Tip! words ending in -aje, -mento, -miento, -ismo are masculine and those ending in -ción, -sión, -ad, -ancia, -encia, -eza, -ía, -ia, -ura are feminine.

SpanishA1.1GenderandNumber

Number (Singular and Plural)

In Spanish, a noun is always either singular or plural.

In Spanish the plural is formed by adding an -s to the singular form of the noun for words ending in a vowel: a, e, i, o, and u, or by adding –es to the singular form of the noun for words ending in a consonant or a stressed vowel.

Nouns ending in -s do not change in the plural.

Nouns ending in -z, the plural is formed by adding –es as for other words ending in a consonant, but additionally the –z changes to –c resulting in a –ces ending.

Let’s practice!

Write the correct form of the adjective given based on the subject of the sentence. Remember they must agree in gender and number! Be sure to click READ MORE to see the answer key! 

  1. Los chicos ___________ juegan al baloncesto. (alto)
  2. Su computadora ___________ es mi favorita. (blanco)
  3. Mis abuelos son muy ___________. (amable)
  4. Me gustan mucho las camisas ___________. (barato)
  5. Tu esposo no es muy ___________. (aburrido)
  6. El trabajo de mi mejor amigo es muy ___________. (interesante)
  7. When using adjectives in Spanish, we have to make sure they agree in ______ and _______.
  8. T/F: When using adjectives in Spanish, the adjective should come after the noun. 

Answer key: 1. Altos, 2. Blanca, 3. Amables, 4. Baratas, 5. Aburrido, 6. Interesante, 7. Gender and number, 8. T

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