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4.15: Adjectives

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    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.

    Table 4.13. Chapter 4 Adjectives Vocabulary.
    aburrido(a) boring
    feliz happy
    inteligente intelligent
    interesante interesting
    nervioso(a) nervous
    perezoso(a) lazy
    serio(a) serious
    atlético(a) athletic
    tímido(a) shy, timid
    trabajador(a) hard-working
    alto(a) tall, big
    grande big
    pequeño(a) little
    joven young
    viejo(a) old


    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.

    General Rules

    1. Generally, the feminine adjective is formed by dropping the -o and adding an a. The plural adjective is formed by adding s:
    Table 14.14. Adjective Formation General Rule 1.
    Gender Singular Plural
    masculine serio serios
    feminine seria serias

    Las profesoras serias. The serious (female) professors.

    1. If the masculine singular ends in -e: the feminine is the same, add an -s for plural:
    Table 14.15. Adjective Formation General Rule 2.
    Gender Singular Plural
    masculine interesante interesantes
    feminine interesante interesantes

    Las películas interesantes. The interesting movies.

    1. 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.

    Table 14.16. Adjective Formation General Rule 3.
    Gender Singular Plural
    masculine joven jóvenes
    feminine joven jóvenes

    Los hombres jóvenes. The young men.

    1. If the masculine singular adjective ends in –z; the feminine remains the same and for the plural drop the -z and add -ces:
    Table 14.17. Adjective Formation General Rule 4.
    Gender Singular Plural
    masculine feliz felices
    feminine feliz felices

    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:

    Table 14.18. Common Adjectives Placed Before a Noun in Spanish.
    Singular Plural
    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

    This page titled 4.15: Adjectives is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Rita Palacios via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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