HomeQ&ADescriptive Adjectives

Descriptive Adjectives

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 to show they they come as a distinctive part of the sentence. 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 plural, the adjective will be feminine AND plural. You can easily find the gender of a noun by looking at the article that precedes it.

There are exceptions, however.

  • 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 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

Change the Gender: To change the masculine form to feminine, take off the -o and add an -a.

  • Es un perro negro.
  • La camisa bonita es de Francia.

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

  • Los hombres son altos.
  • Nosotras somos delgadas.

Adjectives that end in -e

Adjectives that end in -e 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
  • Tengo un abuelo interesante.
  • Mi abuela es interesante.

-e Plurals: To make an -e adjective plural, add an -s to the singular ending.

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

Adjectives that end in a consonant

Adjectives that end in a consonant do not change according to gender, but do change for number.

  • El coche es azul.
  • La gata feliz está en la sala.

Consonant Plurals

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

  • Los enigmas son fáciles.
  • Las mujeres jovenes les gusta este café.

Many nationalities end in a consonant, but follow different rules as they DO change according to gender.

Nationalities as Adjectives

masculine feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural
German alemán alemanes alemana alemanas
Danish danés daneses danesa danesas
Spanish español españoles española españolas
Finnish finlandés finlandeses finlandesa finlandesas
French francés franceses francesa francesas
Irish irlandés irlandeses irlandesa irlandesas
Japanese japonés japoneses japonesa japonesas
Lebanese libanés libaneses libanesa libanesas
Thai tailandés tailandeses tailandesa tailandesas

Special Changes for the Ladies

For the feminine form of nationalities, add an -a to the singular masculine form and drop the tilde (written accent).

  • Mi abuelo irlandés habla español.
  • Mi abuela irlandesa habla español.

Nationality Plurals

To make nationality adjectives plural, drop the tilde and add an -es for masculine forms and an -s for feminine forms.

  • Los quesos franceses están en el supermercado.
  • Mis amigas japonesas vienen a los Estados Unidos.

Lowercase en español

Notice that in Spanish, nationalities are NOT capitalized and that the tilde (written accent) is dropped in the feminine and plural forms.

Exercises

1) Match each noun to the appropriate adjective in the word bank. There is more than one correct answer for some! Remember to match in gender AND number!

Word Bank

grande alto bonito pertinaz gorda

viejo aburridos rojas romántica sucios

  1. niños
  2. chico
  3. casa
  4. coche
  5. faldas
  6. sonido
  7. película
  8. libros
  9. amiga
  10. lluvia

2) Complete the sentences with the appropriate form of nationality.

Example: Sonia es (alemán). -> Sonia es alemana.

  1. La familia Hernández es (mexicano).
  2. Los pescadores en el mar son (peruano).
  3. Tus amigas (libanés) me visitaron anoche.
  4. Mi tía (francés) habla 6 idiomas.
  5. Tienen el jamón (español) en esta tienda.

Answers

Part 1

  1. sucios
  2. alto
  3. grande
  4. viejo
  5. rojas
  6. bonito
  7. romántica
  8. aburridos
  9. gorda
  10. pertinaz

Part 2

  1. La familia Hernández es mexicana.
  2. Los pescadores en el mar son peruanos.
  3. Tus amigas libanesas me visitaron anoche.
  4. Mi tía francesa habla 6 idiomas.
  5. Tienen el jamón español en esta tienda.
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updated AGO 15, 2012
edited by martha-sd
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