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How to speak Spanish

A Comprehensive Guide to Spanish Adjectives

Spanish adjectives are used to describe or modify Spanish nouns. They are one of the nine parts of speech and help provide excess information about a person, place, or object in a sentence. Like many other parts of Spanish language, Spanish adjectives are gendered and numbered, so they change to reflect the noun. With the various types of Spanish adjectives and differing placement, they’re a bit more complicated than English adjectives. To help provide you with some clarification, and a great list of Spanish adjectives to add to your vocabulary, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to adjectives in Spanish.

Basic List of Spanish Adjectives

There are thousands of different Spanish adjectives available at your disposal, all of which will help you become a stronger Spanish conversationalist. While learning adjectives will take time, it’s always a good idea to start with the basics. To solidify some of the most commonly used descriptors, consider the following list of Spanish adjectives.

The Most Commonly Used Spanish Adjectives

Many people get overwhelmed with all of the adjectives available at their disposal, but don’t worry. You can communicate just fine with an understanding of a few of the most basic ones. Here is a brief introduction to the most well-known and frequently used adjectives in Spanish:

  • deliciosa — delicious
  • negro — black
  • roja — red
  • naranja — orange
  • triste —sad
  • bueno —good
  • viejo — old
  • nuevo — new
  • aburrido — boring
  • divertido — fun
  • mejor — better
  • peor — worse
  • abierto — open
  • cerrado — closed
  • repugnante — disgusting
  • pobre — poor
  • preocupado — worried
  • despierto — awake
  • tranquilo — tranquil
  • duro — hard
  • enfermo — sick
  • sano — healthy
  • pesado —heavy
  • ligero — light
  • ruidoso — noisy

Spanish Adjectives That Describe Personality

One of the best parts about adding Spanish adjectives to your vocabulary is being able to describe people. Here are some of the most Spanish adjectives used to describe personality:

  • ambicioso — ambitious
  • adventurero — adventurous
  • confiable — reliable
  • estresado — stressed
  • fiel —loyal
  • generoso — generous
  • honesto — honest
  • impaciente — impatient
  • sensible — sensible
  • terco — stubborn
  • valiente — brave

Spanish Adjectives That End in “o”

Spanish adjectives that end in “o” in their masculine form can be changed to four different endings based on gender and number. Some of the most common Spanish adjectives ending in “o” include the following:

  • nuevo — new
  • pequeño — small
  • seco — dry
  • loco — crazy
  • limpio — clean
  • luminoso — bright
  • feo — ugly
  • caro — expensive
  • enfermo — sick
  • gordo — fat

Spanish Adjectives That End in “e” or “ista”

If a Spanish adjective ends with either an “e” or “ista,” it means that they’re neutral and won’t change based on gender. They do, however, still change in number. Some examples of Spanish adjectives that end in “e” include:

  • grande — big
  • verde — green
  • inteligente — intelligent
  • amable — kind
  • agradable — pleasant
  • terrible — terrible
  • tarde — late
  • excelente — excellent
  • dulce — sweet
  • caliente — hot
  • importante — important
  • interesante — interesting

Some examples of Spanish adjectives that end in “ista” include:

  • idealista — idealist
  • perfeccionista — perfectionist
  • materialista — materialistic
  • extremista — extremist
  • alarmista — alarmist
  • ontologista — ontologist
  • timplista — timpanist
  • novelista —novelist

Spanish Adjectives That End in a Consonant

Spanish adjectives that end in a consonant also do not need to change based on gender, but they will always match the number of the noun being described. Some examples of Spanish adjectives that end in a consonant include the following:

  • azul — blue
  • felix — happy
  • fácil — easy
  • difícil — hard
  • genial — great
  • gris — gray
  • cortés — polite
  • marrón — dark brown
  • débil — weak
  • superficial — shallow
  • joven — young

Spanish adjectives

How to Use Spanish Adjectives

Spanish adjectives are used to modify, quantify, describe, or identify a Spanish noun. To help expand your vocabulary and the list of Spanish adjectives at your disposal, download Tandem and speak with a native Spanish speaker today. Keep in mind that Spanish adjectives always have to match both gender and number of the Spanish nouns they’re applied to. Adjectives can also be used to describe direct object pronouns in Spanish and indirect object pronouns in Spanish.

In most instances, Spanish adjectives are placed after the noun. However, there are certain situations where the adjective goes first. A majority of the time, regardless of where you place the Spanish adjectives, the spelling remains the same (except gender and number!). The three most common Spanish adjectives with root changes are buen, mal, and grande.

  • Una película buena — A good movie

  • Una buen película — A good movie

  • Una película mala — A bad movie

  • Una mal película — A bad movie

  • Una idea grande — A big idea

  • Una gran idea — A big idea

Spanish Adjectives

Different Types of Spanish Adjectives

The two primary groups of Spanish adjectives are descriptive and limiting. Descriptive adjectives in Spanish can be both positive and negative and are used to describe something or communicate their quality. Placement around Spanish nouns varies based on sentence structure and number of adjectives being used. Limiting adjectives in Spanish are used to help specify a noun and will always precede it. There are seven different types of limiting Spanish adjectives.

1. Numbers

The Spanish alphabet isn’t the only thing that makes up adjectives! All numbers are technically Spanish adjectives and usually precede the noun. One of the only exceptions to this is if the number is part of someone’s name, like in St. George the Third.

2. Demonstrative Adjectives in Spanish

Demonstrative adjectives in Spanish are used to help point out or indicate a noun in a sentence. They include the following:

  • este, esta, estos, estas — this
  • ese, esa, esos, esas — that
  • aquel, aquella, aquellos, aquellas — that (far away)

3. Exclamative Spanish Adjectives

Exclamative Spanish adjectives are used when you want to express strong feelings. There are only two, and they always have Spanish accents attached.

  • qué — How (such as, “How pretty!”)
  • cuánto — How much (when used to express surprise)

4. Indefinite Spanish Adjectives

Indefinite Spanish adjectives are used as a vague way to describe the quantity of certain nouns. This list of Spanish adjectives includes:

  • algún — some
  • mucho — many
  • poco — few
  • todo — all
  • otro — other
  • cada — each

5. Interrogative Adjectives in Spanish

There are only three Spanish interrogative adjectives, all of which are used to ask questions. They include the following:

  • ¿Qué? — What?
  • ¿Cuál? — Which?
  • ¿Cuántos? — How many?

6. Spanish Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives in Spanish are used to describe ownership. Short versions of possessive adjectives precede the noun, while long-forms are placed after the noun. These include:

  • mi, mío — my
  • tu, tuyo — your
  • su, suyo —his, her, your
  • nuestro — ours

7. Relative Adjectives in Spanish

Relative adjectives make up the final category in the list of Spanish adjectives. There are only two, which include:

  • cuyo — whose
  • cuanto — as much as, how much

Most of the Spanish adjectives that you’ll learn to use are descriptive, but understanding the other forms are essential to fluency and communication. To help you practice all of the different types of Spanish adjectives, download Tandem. Our unique language learning experience focuses on building relationships while increasing your fluency in whichever language you’re interested in. To help you practice using Spanish adjectives, all you need to do is fill out your profile and match with a native Spanish speaker. Our community is filled with millions of like-minded individuals from around the world who share a passion for language. At Tandem, our goal is to help our users foster a deeper understanding of language while improving fluency and building long-lasting friendships. To join our community and work on your Spanish fluency, sign up for Tandem today.

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