Allow us to set the record straight once and for all: Grammatically, adjectivos or Spanish adjectives are more complicated than English adjectives. With different possible placements, pluralization, and gender agreements, some are afraid even to consider learning Spanish at all. However, it is not entirely impossible to master this language, as FSI notes that you will only need at least 23-24 weeks of consistent study to achieve basic fluency in this language. This post will walk you through the basics of how adjectives in Spanish work and the most commonly used adjectives perfect for complete beginners.
Gramática or grammar has always been a tricky little subject, whether you are fluent in a language or not. In the case of Spanish, things are a bit more complicated, especially when we talk about adjectives since there are times when you might hear people saying the adjective first before the noun! To make things extra interesting, such a placement of adjectives can also result in the meaning changing altogether. To know more about how it works, let’s do a deep dive below.
How Adjectives In Spanish Work
No matter what language you are learning, we all can agree that adjectives can significantly help communicate better meaning and expressions. It is used mainly to describe or clarify a noun (a person, thing, or object) by giving us an important detail about the characteristics. The characteristics can be about color, shape (forma in the Spanish language), age (edad), temperature (temperature), and size (tamaño).
For English adjectives, you can simply add the word right before the actual noun or use the verb “to be.” Below are some examples:
- The cold towel.
- The old car is still running smoothly.
- The ripe mango is very sweet.
- The plate is big enough for me.
- That building is gigantic compared to the other one.
Similar to the above, there are instances when the Spanish grammar allows the same structure, but instead of using “to be” it utilizes ser and estar. As a rule of thumb, do remember that ser is only used when describing something that is perceived as permanent quality. This can be used when describing time, personality, dates, professions, nationality, and relationships. Review the examples below to learn more about it:
- Hoy es Lunes (Today is Monday)
- Es la una (It’s one o’clock)
- Mark es contador (Mark is an accountant)
- Kevin es un chico sencillo (Kevin is a simple guy)
- Mario es de América (Mario is from America)
- Pihu es la hermana de Genine (Pihu is Genine’s sister)
On the flip side, estar is only used for the temporary state of something, meaning that the quality may change. This can be used for discussing someone’s position, feelings, current actions, and health condition. Take the examples below to learn more about how it works:
- Beng está muy feliz de enseñar (Beng is very happy to teach)
- Ella está conduciendo ahora mismo (She is driving right now)
- Estoy en el centro de la ciudad (I am in the downtown part of the city)
The second rule you need to master about the Spanish adjectives is that they must always agree with the gender (masculine or feminine) and a number of the noun. For cases like this, you just have to remember that the word-formation may change in order to accommodate this rule. Below are examples:
- For masculine singular adjectives that end in -o, the feminine singular counterpart is -a.
- For masculine plural that ends in -os, the feminine plural is -as.
Exceptions to the rules of the Spanish adjectives above:
- For Spanish adjectives that end in e or ista, there is no need to change the word-formation since it can be used for both masculine and feminine instances.
- For singular Spanish adjectives that end with a consonant, you simply have to inject the -es to turn it into a plural form.
- For singular Spanish adjectives that end with a z, you simply have to inject the c to make it a plural form.
- Comparative adjectives ending in -or.
Now that we know the descriptive role and how it functions in Spanish sentences, let’s now move forward with the most commonly used Spanish adjectives in day-to-day conversations. And speaking of conversations, please do check out our previous post on how to start striking a conversation with a Spanish person.
Common Spanish Adjectives
Spanish is spoken by over 400 million people globally, which is why there is no surprise why a number of people are willing to learn this language. Below are 30+ adjectives, English translations, and examples to guide you on how it is used.
|Spanish||English||Example sentence||Sentence translation|
|Inteligente||Intelligent||Ella es inteligente.||She is intelligent|
|Feliz||Hapy||Parece feliz.||He seems happy.|
|Triste||Sad||Los acontecimientos de hoy son tristes.||The events today are saddening.|
|Grande||Big||Una gran taza de café, por favor.||One big cup of coffee, please.|
|Pequeño||Small||Una galleta pequeña para mí.||A small cookie for me.|
|Ancho/ Amplio||Wide||El lugar es amplio.||The place is wide.|
|Estrecho||Small/narrow||Qué camino tan estrecho.||What a narrow road.|
|Bueno||Good||La comida aquí es buena.||The food here is good.|
|Malo||Bad||Eso sabe mal.||That tastes bad.|
|Alto||Tall||Son edificios altos.||Those are tall buildings.|
|Bajjo||Short||Ella es bajita.||She is short.|
|Pesado||Heavy||Esa bolsa es pesada.||That bag is heavy.|
|Ligero||Light||Esa camisa es ligera.||That shirt is light.|
|Lejano||Far||Ese lugar está lejos de aquí.||That place is far from here.|
|Cercano||Close||El hotel está cerca de aquí.||The hotel is close to here.|
|Ileno||Full||Estoy tan lleno.||I am so full.|
|Vacio||Empty||La casa esta vacia.||The house is empty.|
|Guapo||Handsome||El chico es guapo.||The guy is handsome.|
|Feo||Ugly||La pintura se ve fea.||The painting looks ugly.|
|Rápido||Fast||Conduce rápido.||He drives fast.|
|Lento||Slow||Necesitas ir lento.||You need to go slow.|
|Largo||Long||Esa falda es larga.||That skirt is long.|
|Corto||Short||¿Tiene papel bond corto?||Do you have some short bond paper?|
|Caro||Expensive||Esa bolsa es demasiado cara.||That bag is too expensive.|
|Barato||Cheap||La comida es barata.||The food is cheap.|
|Sencillo||Simple||Me gustan los diseños sencillos.||I like simple designs.|
|Complicado||Complicated||Eso parece demasiado complicado.||That looks too complicated.|
|Joven||Young||Esa chica es demasiado joven.||That girl is too young.|
|Viejo||Old||La mujer ya es demasiado mayor.||The woman is too old now.|
|Nuevo||New||Eso es nuevo.||That is brand new.|
|Rico||Rich||Viene de una familia rica.||He comes from a rich family.|
|Pobre||Poor||Es de un país pobre.||He is from a poor country.|
|Listo||Smart||Ella es listo y siempre curiosa.||She is smart and always curious.|
|Tonto||Stupid||Ese personaje es demasiado estúpido.||That character is too stupid.|
|Fuerte||Strong||Zeus es fuerte.||Zeus is strong.|
|Débil||Weak||La dama está demasiado débil para moverse.||The lady is too weak to move.|
|Abierto||Open||La tienda está abierta.||The shop is open.|
|Cerrado||Closed||La puerta está cerrada.||The door is closed.|
|Limpio||Clean||La casa parece limpia.||The house looks clean.|
|Sucio||Dirty||Ese es un lugar sucio para estar.||That is a dirty place to be at.|
¿Te divertiste con nuestros ejemplos de la vida real? (Did you have fun with our real-life examples above?)
As we reach this part of the post, we hope that you can finally say that learning Spanish is fun and easy! Furthermore, with our comprehensive discussion on how descriptive adjectives function in a sentence, we hope you will find the courage to express yourself using any of these words. And speaking of expressions, would you like to master the Spanish language? If you do, then you better download the Ling App by today!
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