Descriptive adjectives (regular and irregular)

Overview

As the name may suggest, descriptive adjectives describe a quality of a noun. In Spanish, all parts of a noun phrase must match in gender and number. Agreement is the defining feature of the Spanish gender system. Adjectives must agree with the noun (or pronoun) they describe in gender and in number to show which noun they are describing. This means that if the noun is feminine, the adjective must be feminine, and if that same noun is also plural, the adjective will be feminine AND plural as well.

  • las faldas - feminine, plural
  • las faldas bonitas - all parts feminine and plural

Descriptive Adjectives

You will find all adjectives listed in their masculine singular form in dictionaries, so it is important to know how to change each singular masculine adjective to match the noun you already have. 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

These adjectives describe nouns in both gender and number, and have four endings, one each for masculine, feminine, singular, and plural. These types of adjectives make up majority of the adjectives in Spanish.

-o Adjective Endings

  Singular Plural
Masculine -o -os
Feminine -a -as


To change the masculine form of an adjective to match a feminine noun, replace the -o ending with -a.

  • Es un perro negro.
  • Es una camisa negra.

To make an -o adjective plural in the masculine or feminine form, add -s to the singular ending.

  • El hombre es alto.
  • Los hombres son altos.
  • Soy delgada.
  • Somos delgadas.

Adjectives that end in -e or -ista

Adjectives that end in -e or -ista do not change according to gender as they agree with both masculine and feminine in the basic form, but do change for number.

-e Adjective Endings

Singular Plural
-e -es


-ista Adjective Endings

Singular Plural
-ista -istas

 

  • 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.

  • Los árboles son verdes.
  • Allí están las niñas grandes.

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.
  • La gata feliz está en la sala.

To make an adjective that ends in a consonant plural, add - es to the singular ending.

  • El enigma es fácil.
  • Los enigmas son fáciles.
  • A la mujer joven le gusta este café.
  • A las mujeres jóvenes les gusta este café.

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

  • El gato es feliz.
  • Los gatos son felices.

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 orthographic accent if necessary.

  • Mi hermano es trabajador.
  • Mi hermana es trabajadora.
  • Mis hermanos son trabajadores.
  • Mis hermanas son trabajadoras.
  • Pablo es cabezón.
  • Paula es cabezona.

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

  • Está en el patio exterior
  • del edificio
  • Está en la parte posterior del edificio.

Summary

Masculine Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
-o -os -a -as
-e -es -e -es
-ista -istas -ista -istas
consonant consonant + es consonant consonant + es
-z -ces -z -ces
-or -ores -ora -oras
-ón -ones -ona -onas
-ín -ines -ina inas

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Category: adjectives | Keywords: