Adjectives in Spanish

Part of speaking a second language means being able to describe people, things, situations, feelings and emotions. Therefore, it is imperative to have a good understanding of adjectives. This article will explain the most important things you need to know about the use of adjectives in Spanish.

Spanish adjectives Spanish adjectives
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What Is an Adjective?

An adjective, or un adjectivo, is a word that describes the characteristics of a noun. For example, in the sentence, “My older brother goes to high school” or, Mi hermano mayor va a la prepa, the word “older,” or mayor, is the adjective because it describes your brother.

Adjective Agreement

The endings of adjectives must agree with the nouns they modify in both gender (feminine or masculine) and number (singular or plural). There are two types of adjectives:

Adjectives that end in -o

For adjectives ending in -o, you can simply change the -o to an -a when the noun is feminine, as well as add -s to pluralize. For example:


El perro cansado.

The tired dog.

La mamá contenta.

The happy mother.

Los zapatos rojos.

The red shoes.

Las muchachas francesas.

The French women.

Adjectives that end in everything else

Other adjectives may end in -e or in consonants. In this case, these adjectives remain the same for both masculine and feminine nouns. When pluralizing these adjectives, just add -es. For example:


Un día especial.

A special day.

Una fiesta especial.

A special party.

Los hombres inteligentes.

The intelligent men.

Las mujeres inteligentes.

The intelligent women.

* Exception: For the very few adjectives that end in -z, such as feliz, or happy, you just drop the -z and add -ces to pluralize. For example: Las vacas felices. → The happy cows.

Placement of Adjectives

In Spanish, most adjectives come after the noun they modify. For example:


La pelota roja.

The red ball.

La casa antigua.

The old house.

Los carros rápidos.

The fast cars.

Of course there are a few exceptions to the rule. There are some instances where you place adjectives before nouns.

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Adjectives with the Verbs Ser and Estar

The two most common verbs you will use to conjoin nouns and adjectives are ser (to be - a permanent state) and estar (to be - a temporary state). Here are a few examples:


El pasillo es estrecho.

The hallway is narrow.

Los abrigos son gruesos.

The coats are thick.

Estoy cansado.

I’m tired.

Ellas están emocionadas.

They are excited.

Common Adjectives

Spanish is an incredibly descriptive language and so it would be impossible to cover all of the adjectives in the Spanish language in just one post. However, here are some of the most common adjectives you will need to know.

Colors

Colors are some of the most commonly used adjectives. Learn the basic colors in Spanish.

Physical Qualities & Appearance

alto/a

tall

bajo/a

short

joven

young

viejo/a

old

mayor

elderly

gordo/a

fat

delgado/a

thin

fuerte

strong

débil

weak

bonito/a

pretty

guapo/a

handsome, good looking

hermoso/a

beautiful

feo/a

ugly

Personality

simpático/a

nice

antipático/a

unfriendly

inteligente

smart

tonto/a

stupid

honesto/a

honest

organizado/a

organized

ambicioso/a

ambitious

perezoso/a

lazy

generoso/a

generous

serio/a

serious

extrovertido/a

extroverted

introvertido/a

introverted

Feelings/Temporary States

cansado/a

tired

triste

sad

contento/a

happy

enojado/a

angry

enfermo/a

sick

avergonzado/a

embarrassed

frustrado/a

frustrated

ansioso/a

anxious

preocupado/a

worried

Situations/Events/Places/Things

divertido/a

fun

aburrido/a

boring

fácil

easy

difícil

difficult

complicado/a

complicated

nuevo/a

new

viejo/a

old

caro/a

expensive

barato/a

cheap

limpio/a

clean

sucio/a

dirty

Now that you have a basic overview of adjectives in Spanish, you are all prepared to describe everything around you!