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Un coche nuevo or un nuevo coche? Spanish adjectives are more complicated than English adjectives. When you use Spanish adjectives, you not only do you have to match the gender of the adjective with the noun but you also have to match the number and you have to get the order right.
Details such as colour, size, shape, temperature or age. This means that the translation of the above sentences requires a little bit of care. In English, there is no such thing as a masculine or feminine noun. In Spanish, you do. Here are a few examples:. English: A short story. English: A rich dessert.
English: The low voice. English: A sad dog. English: A difficult problem. English: The common man. English: A capable person. Here are a some examples:. English: The young minds. English: Their regular routines. English: The effective results. In reality, this last rule is only important for written Spanish. I have broken down the rules in the way that I believe make sense, are easy to understand, are wide-reaching in their application and can be remembered. You will see later, in the adjective group that changes meaning with position, often the change in meaning is from something literal to something literary.
Things are good or bad—plain and simple. Un libro bueno. English: A bad idea. English: A bad boy. Un mal chico. This is the second smallest group. Mejor — Best Peor — Worst. Some examples:. English: My best friend. Incorrecto: Mi amigo mejor. English: The worst class. Incorrecto: La clase peor. The next type of adjective in this group is called adjetivos numerales. These are adjectives that tell the number or order of their nouns.
For example:. Incorrecto: Hay opciones tres. English: Their first child. Incorrecto: Su hijo primero. These tell you something about quantity. Things like a lot, a little, quite and too much. English: Too much work. Incorrecto: Trabajo demasiado. English: Quite some time. Incorrecto: Tiempo bastante. You can learn more about these here. A few examples:. English: My life.
Incorrecto: Vida mi. English: Our world. Incorrecto: Mundo nuestro. The last type of adjective in this group is called adjetivos explicativos. For example, ice is inherently cold and sugar is inherently sweet. These examples in Spanish are:. English: The cold ice. English: The sweet sugar. In other words, they specify the noun. The literal option is the description that comes after the noun and the literary before the noun. In this last group of adjectives is a type called adjetivos relacionales.
They tell us something about type eg. Australian or form e. These adjectives get their name from the fact that they have a strong relationship with the noun. In fact, often, these types of adjectives are derived directly from a noun:. English: The student life. Incorrecto: La estudiantil vida. English: A valencian girl. Incorrecto: Una valenciana chica. Incorrecto: Un amplio vocabulario.
English: Young people. You have already seen some of the exceptions above. English: Her third book. English: Are there any problems? English: Any case. English: Any word. English: A violet painting. English: Each eye. English: A Spanish boy. A Spanish girl. English: An Irish boy. An Irish girl. Una chica irlandesa. English: Thirty-one chairs. English: Twenty-one years. English: One hundred dollars. English: Two hundred people. English: Three hundred steps.
If you want to add emphasis by making a comparison or stating a superlative, the adjective has to come after the noun. English: A smaller glass. English: A very interesting movie. English: A really good dinner. English: A sweet, cold, strong drink. When you combine multiple nouns with one adjective, the adjective comes later in the sentence and takes the male form unless every noun is female.
English: The plates and cups are expensive. English: He has three sisters and two brothers and they are very nice. So, now why not take it one step further and put what you have learnt into action? Thanks for your feedback and correction.
I have just updated to include: happy memories — los recuerdos felices. This is super helpful.
English and Spanish Dictionary, Thesaurus and Spanish to English Translator
Un coche nuevo or un nuevo coche? Spanish adjectives are more complicated than English adjectives. When you use Spanish adjectives, you not only do you have to match the gender of the adjective with the noun but you also have to match the number and you have to get the order right. Details such as colour, size, shape, temperature or age.
¿Explicativo o especificativo?
Today we are going to dedicate our post to remembering how we use adjectives in Spanish. The function of the adjective is to highlight a quality of the noun it complements, agreeing both in gender and number with it. Finally, a very easy exercise: can you find what type of adjectives appear in the above excerpt from the tale Thumbelina? Hi all!
The Definitive Guide to Spanish Adjectives