An adjective is a word that describes a noun or pronoun. The major differences between adjectives in Spanish and English are agreement and placement. In English, an adjective usually comes before the noun it modifies and it does not change. In Spanish, an adjective is usually placed after the noun it modifies and must agree in gender and number with the noun.
In Spanish, adjectives agree in both number (singular or plural) and gender (masculine or feminine) with the noun or pronoun they modify. For regular adjectives, the masculine form is the base form to which endings are added.
- Generally, the feminine adjective is formed by dropping the -o and adding an a. The plural adjective is formed by adding s:
Las profesoras serias. The serious (female) professors.
- If the masculine singular ends in -e: the feminine is the same, add an -s for plural:
Las películas interesantes. The interesting movies.
- If the masculine singular adjective ends in a consonant: the feminine is the same, add –es for plural:
Note the spelling of the plural form of joven, which requires a written accent.
Los hombres jóvenes. The young men.
- If the masculine singular adjective ends in –z; the feminine remains the same and for the plural drop the -z and add -ces:
Las vacas felices. The happy cows.
In Spanish, most adjectives come after the noun, unlike in English where the adjective precedes the noun:
Un chico inteligente.An intelligent boy.
However, some adjectives are placed before the noun:
Un buen perro. A good dog.
The following are adjectives commonly placed before the noun:
|Un buen profesor.
|A good professor.
|Un gran carro.
|A great car.
|Un mal estudiante.
|A bad student.
It is important to note that with a change in placement, there is also a change in meaning with the adjective grande. Before a noun, it means ‘great’ or ‘grand’. After a noun, grande relates to size.
This section includes content derived from Introduction to French (2nd ed.), originally released under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, Liberté, originally released under CC BY-NC-SA, and Francais Interactif, originally released under CC BY 3.0