Language Guide
Adjectives
Descriptive Adjectives in Spanish

Descriptive Adjectives in Spanish

Quick Answer

As the name may suggest, descriptive adjectives describe some quality of a noun.

Adjective Agreement

In Spanish, adjectives must agree with the noun (or pronoun) they describe in gender and in number. This means that if the noun an adjective describes is feminine, the adjective must be feminine, and if that same noun is also plural, the adjective will be feminine AND plural as well.

For example, the noun las faldas  (the skirts) is plural and feminine, so any adjectives used to describe it most also be plural and feminine. For example:

SpanishEnglish
las faldas bonitas
 
the pretty skirts
las faldas caras
 
the expensive skirts
las faldas rayadas
 
the striped skirts

Descriptive Adjectives

Spanish adjectives are usually listed in their masculine singular form in dictionaries, so it is important to know how to match these masculine singular adjectives to whatever noun you happen to be describing. Most adjectives end in -o, -e, or a consonant in their singular masculine forms. Below you will find the rules for matching these adjectives to their respective nouns in gender and number.

Adjectives that End in -o

Adjectives that end in -o in the masculine singular form have four possible endings, one each for masculine, feminine, singular, and plural. These types of adjectives make up the majority of adjectives in Spanish.

-o Adjective Endings

SingularPlural
Masculine-o-os
Feminine-a-as
  • To change the masculine singular form of an adjective to match a feminine noun, replace the -o ending with an -a.
Es un perro negro.
It's a black dog.
 
Es una camisa negra.
It's a black shirt.
 
  • To make an -o adjective plural in the masculine or feminine form, add an -s to the singular ending.
El hombre es alto.
The man is tall.
 
Los hombres son altos.
The men are tall.
 
Soy delgada.
I'm thin.
 
Somos delgadas.
We're thin.
 

Adjectives that End in -e or -ista

Adjectives that end in -e or -ista do not change according to gender. They agree with both masculine and feminine nouns in the singular form, though they do change for number.

ExampleGender of Noun and Adjective
Tengo un abuelo interesante.
 
Masculine
Mi abuela es interesante.
 
Feminine
Mi profesor es muy idealista.
 
Masculine
Mi profesora es muy idealista.
 
Feminine
  • To make an -e adjective plural, add an -s to the singular ending.

-e Adjective Endings

SingularPlural
Masculine-e-es
Feminine-e-es

-ista Adjective Endings

SingularPlural
Masculine-ista-istas
Feminine-ista-istas
Los árboles son verdes.
The trees are green.
 
Allí están las niñas grandes.
There are the big girls.
 

Adjectives that End in a Consonant

Most adjectives that end in a consonant do not change according to gender, but do change for number, just like adjectives that end in -e.

El coche es azul.
The car is blue.
 
La moto es azul.
The motorcycle is blue.
 
El gato feliz está en la sala.
The happy cat is in the living room.
 
La gata feliz está en la sala.
The happy cat is in the living room.
 
  • To make an adjective that ends in a consonant plural, add -es to the singular ending.
El enigma es fácil.
The riddle is easy.
 
Los enigmas son fáciles.
Riddles are easy.
 
A la mujer joven le gusta este café.
The young woman likes this cafe.
 
A las mujeres jóvenes les gusta este café.
Young women like this cafe.
 

Exception: For adjectives that end in -z in the singular, change the -z to a -c before adding the plural ending.

El gato es feliz.
The cat is happy.
 
Los gatos son felices.
The cats are happy.
 

Exception: Adjectives that end in -or, -ón, or -ín do have feminine forms. Simply add -a or -as to the masculine singular form and delete the written accent if necessary.

Mi hermano es trabajador.
My brother is hardworking.
 
Mi hermana es trabajadora.
My sister is hardworking.
 
Mis hermanos son trabajadores.
My brothers are hardworking.
 
Mis hermanas son trabajadoras.
My sisters are hardworking.
 
Pablo es cabezón.
Pablo is stubborn.
 
Paula es cabezona.
Paula is stubborn.
 

Exception: Adjectives ending in -erior do not have a feminine form.

Está en el patio exterior del edificio.
He's in the back patio of the building.
 
Está en la parte posterior del edificio.
He's in the back part of the building.
 

Now, check out this fancy summary table of Spanish adjective endings!

Summary

MasculineFeminine
SingularPluralSingularPlural
-o-os-a-as
-e-es-e-es
-ista-istas-ista-istas
-z-ces-z-ces
-or-ores-ora-oras
-ón-ones-ona-onas
-ín-ines-ina-inas

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