Adjectives in Spanish will make all the difference to your communication in Spanish. Whether we want things to be hot or cold, large or small, expensive or cheap, light or regular, these are all adjective choices we make on a daily basis. The list of adjectives in Spanish is long, but you’ll find that they’re the perfect tools to be as specific as possible when asking for something, and mastering these Spanish words can be easy if you follow these tips and tricks.
There are many things to keep in mind when using descriptive adjectives in Spanish, but we’ll focus on two for now: gender and number agreement. This means that Spanish adjectives have to match the noun they describe in both gender and number. These are new features for English speakers, since there is no such thing as masculine or feminine gender for nouns in English, and you don’t need to adapt the adjective like you do in Spanish.
With adjectives in Spanish, you have to change their ending to match the noun. Many common adjectives in Spanish end in -o, for example, ‘barato’ (cheap), ‘caro’ (expensive), ‘corto’ (short), ‘largo’ (long), ‘bonito’ (nice or beautiful), ‘feo’ (ugly). In these cases, the Spanish adjectives for masculine nouns keep the -o, and for feminine nouns, the ending changes to -a.
‘Un coche caro’ = an expensive car
‘Un vestido corto’ = a short dress
‘Un edificio bonito’ = a nice building
‘Una comida barata’ = a cheap meal
‘Una película larga’ = a long movie
‘Una voz bonita’ = a beautiful voice
The same applies to colors:
‘Una luna amarilla’ = a yellow moon
‘Luna’ = feminine noun
‘Un árbol amarillo’ = a yellow tree
‘Árbol’ = masculine noun
There are, however, other adjectives in Spanish that end in a consonant or in another vowel different than ‘o’, usually ‘e’. For example: ‘difícil’ (difficult), ‘fácil’ (easy), ‘dulce’ (sweet), ‘amable’ (kind), ‘agradable’ (nice), ‘interesante’ (interesting), ‘feliz’ (happy), ‘triste’ (sad), ‘veloz’ (quick), ‘joven’ (young), ‘principal’ (main), ‘común’ (common).
There are many of them. The best thing about these is that you don’t have to change their ending!
‘Una canción triste’ = a sad song
‘canción’ = feminine
‘Un problema difícil’ = a difficult problem
‘problema’ = feminine
‘Un niño feliz’ = a happy child
‘niño’ = masculine
Now, let’s see how to match adjectives in Spanish with plural nouns. For plural nouns, it is useful to group adjectives into three:
1. Masculine and feminine adjectives that end with the vowels ‘o’, ‘a’ and ‘e’: ‘largo’, ‘bonita’, ‘interesante’.
To match these adjectives with plural nouns, add the letter ‘s’:
‘Los caminos largos’ = the long roads
‘Unas flores bonitas’ = some beautiful flowers
‘Algunos problemas interesantes’ = some interesting problems
2. Adjectives that end in a consonant, such as ‘jóven’, ‘difícil’, ‘común’.
To match these, you have to add ‘es’:‘
Los profesores jóvenes’ = the young teachers
‘Las palabras difíciles’ = the difficult words
‘Los errores comunes’ = the common mistakes
3. Adjectives that end in a ‘z’, such as ‘feliz’ and ‘veloz’.
To match these adjectives, you have to replace the ‘z’ with a ‘c’ and add ‘es’:
‘Los días felices’ = the happy days
‘Los corredores veloces’ = the fast runners
Now that you’ve mastered adjectives in Spanish, take this opportunity to keep on learning! In my next video and article I’ll show you how to use this information when you go shopping. Don’t miss it!