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Descriptive Adjectives

Descriptive Adjectives

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Author: Sophia Tutorial
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Determine the correct form of a descriptive adjective based on the related noun.

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Tutorial
what's covered
In this lesson, you will learn about the purpose of descriptive adjectives in the Spanish language, and how they function grammatically. Specifically, this lesson will cover:
  1. Los Adjetivos Descriptivos (Descriptive Adjectives)
    1. Descriptive Adjectives Ending in "o"
    2. Descriptive Adjectives Ending in "e"
    3. Descriptive Adjectives Ending in a Consonant
  2. Ejemplos de Adjetivos Descriptivos (Examples of Descriptive Adjectives)
    1. Permanant Characteristics
    2. Temporary Characteristics

1. Los Adjetivos Descriptivos (Descriptive Adjectives)

In Spanish, descriptive adjectives almost always come after nouns.

EXAMPLE

"Carro nuevo" means "new car."

This will seem strange initially, but will feel natural after you become more proficient in the language.

1a. Descriptive Adjectives Ending in "o"

If the adjective ends in the letter "o" (masculine singular form), you can change the "o" to an "a" (feminine singular form). You can add the letter "s" to either to make the plural form.

Spanish Noun and Adjective Number Gender English Translation
amigo simpático singular masculine nice male friend
amiga simpática singular feminine nice female friend
amigos simpáticos plural masculine nice male friends
amigas simpáticas plural feminine nice female friends

1b. Descriptive Adjectives Ending in "e"

If the descriptive adjective ends in the letter "e," you will not change the ending to agree with the gender. You can think of the "e" as standing for "either," as it is gender neutral. You will still need to add an "s" to make the plural forms.

Spanish Noun and Adjective Number Gender English Translation
amigo inteligente singular masculine intelligent male friend
amiga inteligente singular feminine intelligent female friend
amigos inteligentes plural masculine intelligent male friends
amigas inteligentes plural feminine intelligent female friends

1c. Descriptive Adjectives Ending in a Consonant

Finally, a few adjectives end in a consonant, not a vowel. Therefore, the form that ends in the consonant is the masculine singular form. This is also the feminine form for some.

EXAMPLE

"Joven" is an adjective meaning "young," and it is the same in both the masculine and feminine forms.

For others, just add an "a" to the end to make it feminine. If an adjective needs an "a" added to it for the feminine form, you will see it listed in this course like "trabajador(a)." If an adjective ends in a consonant, you have to add an "es" to make it plural.

Spanish Noun and Adjective Number Gender English Translation
amigo español singular masculine Spanish male friend
amiga española singular feminine Spanish female friend
amigos españoles plural masculine Spanish male friends
amigas españolas plural feminine Spanish female friends


2. Ejemplos de Adjetivos Descriptivos (Examples of Descriptive Adjectives)

Next, you’ll find some descriptive adjectives for you to learn. Note that these are all listed as masculine, singular. You must change the endings adhering to the rules noted earlier in order to make these adjectives agree with the nouns that you want to describe.

In a later lesson, you’ll learn more about when to use these adjectives. For now, note that some adjectives describe permanent characteristics, while others describe temporary characteristics.

2a. Permanent Characteristics

Adjective English Translation Adjective English Translation
grande big pequeño small
bueno good malo bad
alto tall bajo short
delgado thin gordo fat
joven young anciano old (person)
nuevo new viejo old (object)
dulce sweet agrio sour
caro expensive barato inexpensive

2b. Temporary Characteristics

Adjective English Translation Adjective English Translation
sano healthy enfermo sick
mejor better peor worse
fuerte strong débil weak
relajado relaxed preocupado worried

summary
In this lesson, you learned about descriptive adjectives in the Spanish language. These adjectives typically come after nouns, and they can end in "o," "e," or a consonant. You also looked at some examples of descriptive adjectives that you can use to either describe permanent characteristics or temporary characteristics.

¡Buena suerte!