LOS ADJETIVOS – Adjectives

Hello and welcome!

Today we’re going to learn about adjectives. 

Adjectives are words used to describe something, to explain its features or characteristics. In English, adjectives are usually written before a noun or after using the verb «to be». It doesn’t work the same way in Spanish, or at least, not 100%.

How to use adjectives?

In Spanish, there are different ways to use adjectives. Today we’re going to learn the easier and most common ones:

  1. After a noun. In Spanish, most adjectives are written after the noun they’re describing. 
    1. El coche rojo = The red car. Rojo means red, and as you can see, it’s written after the noun «coche» (which means «car»)
  2. After using the verbs «ser» or «estar«
    1. El coche es rojo = The car is red. This one is more similar to English. 

Gender and number:

We mentioned in the post about the definite articles that all Spanish nouns are either masculine or feminine. Well, adjectives must change to match the noun they’re describing. The same thing happens when the noun changes from singular to plural or vice-versa: the adjective changes with it.

If the noun is masculine and singular, the adjective must be the same.

Now, how to change the adjectives? There is kind of a rule that works for a lot of them: 

Let’s use «pequeño» (small) as an example.

  • El coche pequeño.
  • La mesa pequeña.
  • Los coches pequeños.
  • Las mesas pequeñas.

See how the ending changes? If you find an adjective with one of those terminations, there’s a very high chance it follows this rule. Sadly, you’ll find adjectives that don’t follow it. «Grande» (big), for example.

  • El coche grande.
  • La mesa grande.
  • Los coches grandes.
  • Las mesas grandes.

We will learn more vocabulary in the future, slowly and steadily, and for each adjective, I will give you a small chart so you’ll know how that specific one works. For now, it’s just great to remember the general rule I explained above. 

More ways to use adjectives:

Everything mentioned here will have an explanatory post in the future, so don’t worry if you don’t fully understand it yet. It’s worth mentioning now, but don’t stress over it. 

  • Sometimes, adjectives can be used before the noun. That happens mostly in literature and poetry, but often in daily life too, especially to emphasize something.
  • Some adjectives change meaning when used before or after the noun. Ex: «Viejo amigo» (meaning old friend, someone you’ve known for a long time) vs. «Amigo viejo» (meaning a friend who is elder)

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