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Spanish Adjectives

What are the rules for Spanish adjectives?

adjectives in spanish

Most adjectives change form, depending upon whether the word they modify is masculine or feminine. Notice the difference between “the fat boy” and “the fat girl”

el chico gordo the fat boy

la chica gorda the fat girl

Note: Adjectives also change form depending upon whether the word they modify is singular or plural. Notice the difference between “the fat boy” and “the fat boys”; “the fat girl” and “the fat girls”

el chico gordothe fat boy
los chicos gordosthe fat boys

la chica gorda the fat girl
las chicas gordasthe fat girls

Note: The correct form of the adjective depends upon the noun it modifies. Is the noun (masculine or feminine?) (singular or plural?)

Singular masculine:    círculo rojo - red circle

Singular femenine:   rosa roja red rose

Plural masculine:    círculos rojos - red circle

Plural femenine:  rosas  rojasred roses


Notice how the endings of the nouns and these adjectives are similar.

Note: Adjectives that end in -e also change form for singular or plural. To form the plural, simply add -s.


la chica inteligente (the smart girl) -- las chicas inteligentes (the smart girls)

Note: Adjectives that end in -e do not change form for masculine or feminine.

Feminine                                                              Masculine

la chica inteligente (the smart girl) -- el chico inteligente (the smart boy)

las chicas inteligentes(the smart girls) --  los chicos inteligentes  (the smart boys)

Note: Most adjectives that end in a consonant do change form for singular or plural, but do not change for masculine or feminine. To form the plural, add -es.

Singular:   la chica popular - el chico popular

Plural:      las chicas populares -  los chicos populares


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Spanish adjectives 2

Note: Many adjectives of nationality end in "-o". These adjectives follow the same rules as other adjectives ending in "-o". They have four forms.


Singular masculine: el chico cubano (the Cuban boy)
Singular feminine:  la chica cubana (the Cuban girl)

Plural masculine: los chicos cubanos (the Cuban boys)
Plural feminine: las chicas cubanas (the Cuban girls)

Note: Many other adjectives of nationality end in a consonant. These adjectives do not follow the same rules as other adjectives ending in a consonant, rather, they have a distinct feminine form ending in "-a".


Singular masculine: el chico español  (the Spanish boy)
Singular feminine: la chica española (the Spanish girl)

Plural masculine: los chicos españoles (the Spanish boys)
Plural feminine: las chicas españolas (the Spanish girls)

Note: There is another group of adjectives that do not follow the normal rules. Adjectives ending in "-or, -án, -ón, -ín" also have a feminine form.


Singular masculine: el chico hablador (the talkative boy)
Singular feminine: la chichabladora (the talkative girl)

Plural masculine: los chicos habladores (the talkative boys)
Plural feminine: las chicas habladoras (the talkative girls)


Singular masculine: el hombrtrabajador (the worker man)
Singular feminine: la mujer trabajadora (the worker woman)

Plural masculine: los hombretrabajadores (the worker men)
Plural feminine:
 las mujeres trabajadoras (the worker women)


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


inferior  (lower) - inferiora

superior  (higher) - superiora


Note: Adjectives that are descriptive usually follow the noun they describe.


El muchacho honesto (The honest boy)

La muchacha honesta (The honest girl)

Los árboles pequeños (The small trees)

Las plantas verdes (The green plants)


Note: Adjectives of quantity almost always come before the noun. Such adjectives tell how much or how many.


poca harina (little flour)

pocos alumnos (few students)

mucho calor (a lot of heat)

muchas horas (many hours)


Note: If the adjective is descriptive, but speaks of a quality that is inherent and usually taken for granted, the adjective comes first.


la blanca nieve
the white snow (snow is inherently white)

los altos picos
the tall peaks (peaks are inherently tall)


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