Grammar Guide
Adjectives
Using Adjectives as Nouns in Spanish

Using Adjectives as Nouns in Spanish

Quick Answer

In Spanish, almost any adjective can be used as a noun. Most of the time these noun will be translated into English as the ____ one, where the blank is an adjective in English.

Quiero la roja.
I want the red one.
Compré las nuevas.
I bought the new ones.
Vi una casa grande y una pequeña.
I saw a large house and a small one.

Adjectives are often used as nouns to refer to a noun that was recently mentioned.

¿Te gusta la falda verde o la falda negra? - Me gusta la negra.
Do you like the green skirt or the black skirt? - I like the black one.

Forming Nouns with Adjectives

To use an adjective as a noun, you simply add an article. The article must match the noun it refers to in gender and number.

Examples

AdjectiveSingular Masculine Noun FormSingular Feminine Noun FormPlural Masculine Noun FormPlural Feminine Noun Form
rojo (red)
el rojo
la roja
los rojos
las rojas
nuevo (new)
el nuevo
la nueva
los nuevos
las nuevas
barato (cheap)
el barato
la barata
los baratos
las baratas
Singular Masculine Noun Form
rojo (red)el rojo
nuevo (new)el nuevo
barato (cheap)el barato
Singular Feminine Noun Form
rojo (red)la roja
nuevo (new)la nueva
barato (cheap)la barata
Plural Masculine Noun Form
rojo (red)los rojos
nuevo (new)los nuevos
barato (cheap)los baratos
Plural Feminine Noun Form
rojo (red)las rojas
nuevo (new)las nuevas
barato (cheap)las baratas
Me gusta el vestido azul, pero el rojo es más barato.
I like the blue dress, but the red one is cheaper.

Since the noun vestido is masculine and singular, rojo is also masculine and singular.

Personal A

Remember that when a person is the direct object of a verb, you must use the personal a. When a precedes el, they combine to form the contraction al. This same contraction rule applies to de + el, which together form del.

¿Conoces al hombre viejo o al joven?
Do you know the old man or the young one?
¿Quieres hablar del libro nuevo o del viejo?
Do you want to talk about the new book or the old one?

Use with Demonstrative Adjectives

Demonstrative adjectives may also used with this type of noun.

¿Ves esos perros? Aquel pequeño se llama Albus.
See those dogs? The small one is called Albus.

General and Abstract Uses

You can use adjectives as nouns with the neuter article lo to refer to general or abstract senses. It's often translated into English as the ____ thing or what's where the blank is an adjective.

Lo bueno es que estamos juntos.
The good thing is that we're together.
Lo bonito de este edificio es el jardín que tiene en el techo.
What's beautiful about this building is the garden on the roof.
Lo mío es el cine.
Movies are my thing.

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