Grammar: Adjectives

Grammar: Adjectives

Adjective Agreement and Forms

  • Adjectives in Spanish agree in gender and number with the noun they modify. This means that if the noun is feminine, the adjective should be in its feminine form, and if the noun is plural, the adjective should be in its plural form as well.

  • Most adjectives in Spanish have four forms: singular masculine (e.g. alto), singular feminine (alta), plural masculine (altos), and plural feminine (altas).

  • Spanish has irregular adjectives that do not follow the standard rules of adjective agreement, such as mayor (older), menor (younger), mejor (better), and peor (worse). These adjectives do not change for gender.

Adjective Placement and Meaning

  • The placement of adjectives in Spanish is flexible and can be placed either before or after the noun. However, the meaning can change depending on the placement. For instance, ‘un hombre viejo’ means ‘an old man’ while ‘un viejo hombre’ implies ‘a once-young man who is now old.’

  • Spanish has a set of adjectives that always come before the noun, including principal (main), mismo (same), propio (own), and varios (several).

  • Some adjectives have a different meaning depending on if they are used before or after a noun. For an instance, ‘mi viejo amigo’ means my old (long-time) friend, whereas ‘mi amigo viejo’ refers to my friend who is old.

  • Adjectives used to describe an inherent, essential quality of the noun usually come before the noun. For instance, ‘la dulce miel’ - ‘the sweet honey.’ ‘Dulce’ here implies that the honey is naturally and characteristically sweet.

Comparative and Superlative Forms

  • The comparative form of adjectives in Spanish is usually formed by using más or menos before the adjective. For instance, ‘más alto’ means ‘taller’ while ‘menos alto’ means ‘less tall.’

  • The superlative form is typically created by preceding the adjective with ‘el/la/los/las más’ or ‘el/la/los/las menos’. For instance, ‘el más alto’ means ‘the tallest’ while ‘el menos alto’ means ‘the least tall.’

Practice Advice

Remember to always practise through written and oral exercises to familiarise yourself with adjective placement and agreement rules. This will enhance your sentence structure and understanding of Spanish language nuances.