Personality Traits in Spanish

Everyone has both positive and negative qualities when it comes to their personalities. Therefore, it’s important to have a good understanding of the variety of adjectives used in Spanish to describe a person’s characteristics. Keep this guide handy and you’ll have no problem describing yourself and others!

positive and negative personality traits positive and negative personality traits
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Using the Verb Ser to Talk About Personality Traits

Since personality traits are seen as constant and unchanging, the verb ser, rather than estar, is always used with personality adjectives. For example, if we were to use the adjective simpático/a, meaning “nice,” you would conjugate the verb ser in the present tense.

Yo soy simpático/a.

I am nice.

Tú eres simpático/a.

You are nice.

Él/Ella es simpático/a.

He/She is nice.

Nosotros/as somos simpáticos/as.

We are nice.

Vosotros/as sois simpáticos/as.

You guys are nice.

Ellos/Ellas son simpáticos/as.

They are nice.

When talking about someone’s personality in the past tense (i.e. how someone “used to be”) the verb ser is used in the imperfect tense. For example, if you were to use the adjective antipático/a, meaning “unfriendly,” you would conjugate the verb ser in the imperfect tense.

Yo era antipático/a.

I used to be unfriendly.

Tú eras antipático/a.

You used to be unfriendly.

Él/Ella era antipático/a.

He/She used to be unfriendly.

Nosotros/as éramos antipáticos/as.

We used to be unfriendly.

Vosotros/as erais antipáticos/as.

You guys used to be unfriendly.

Ellos/Ellas eran antipáticos/as.

They used to be unfriendly.

Making Adjectives Agree in Number and Gender

Remember that personality trait adjectives must always agree in number and gender with the noun they modify. Many adjectives end in “o” which means they must be changed to “a” when they modify a feminine noun. Here is an example using the adjective cómico, meaning “funny.”

Él es cómico.

He is funny.

Ellos son cómicos.

They (male) are funny.

Ella es cómica.

She is funny.

Ellas son cómicas.

They (female) are funny.

Keep in mind that there are also several personality trait adjectives that are gender neutral. Many of these adjectives end in “e.” Don’t forget that these adjectives still need to agree in number. Here is an example with the adjective inteligente, meanng “intelligent.”

El hombre es inteligente.

The man is intelligent.

Los hombres son inteligentes.

The men are intelligent.

La mujer es inteligente.

The woman is intelligent.

Las mujeres son inteligentes.

The women are intelligent.

Also, keep in mind that some adjectives, such as pesimista (pessimistic) and egoísta (egotistical), end in “a” for both female and male nouns.

Positive Personality Trait Adjectives

Here is a list of the most common adjectives used to talk about the positive characteristics of a person.

agradable

pleasant/nice

amable/amigable

friendly

ambicioso/a

ambitious

aventurero/a

adventurous

buena gente

a good person

cómico/a

funny

divertido/a

fun

estudioso/a

studious

extrovertido/a

extroverted

fiel

loyal

generoso/a

generous

honesto/a

honest

optimista

optimistic

organizado/a

organized

paciente

patient

práctico

practical

prudente

cautious

simpático/a

nice

sincero/a

sincere

sociable

social/out-going

trabajador/a

hard worker

valiente

brave

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Negative Personality Traits

Here is a list of the most common adjectives used to talk about the negative characteristics of a person.

aburrido/a

boring

agresivo/a

aggressive

antipático/a

unfriendly

despistado/a

scatter-brained/absent-minded

egoísta

egotistical

impaciente

impatient

imprudente

careless

maleducado/a

rude

mimado/a

spoiled

perezoso/a

lazy

pesimista

pessimistic

tacaño/a

cheap

With this guide in your back pocket you will be prepared to describe your favorite, and least favorite, personality traits, as well as those of the people around you.