Easy Learning Spanish

Word order with adjectives - Easy Learning Grammar Spanish

  • When adjectives are used right beside the noun they are describing, they go BEFORE it in English. Spanish adjectives usually go AFTER the noun.
una corbata azula blue tie
una palabra españolaa Spanish word
la página siguientethe following page
la hora exactathe precise time
  • When you have two or more adjectives after the noun, you use y (meaning and) between the last two.
un hombre alto y delgadoa tall, slim man
  • A number of types of Spanish adjectives go BEFORE the noun:
  • demonstrative adjectives
este sombrerothis hat
  • possessive adjectives (mi, tu, su and so on)
mi padremy father
  • numbers
tres díasthree days
  • interrogative adjectives
¿qué hombre?which man?
  • adjectives used in exclamations
¡Qué lástima!What a pity!
  • indefinite adjectives
cada díaevery day
  • shortened adjectives
mal tiempobad weather
  • Some adjectives can go both BEFORE and AFTER the noun, but their meaning changes depending on where they go.
AdjectiveBefore NounExamplesAfter NounExamples
antiguoformerun antiguo colega a former colleagueold, ancientla historia antigua ancient history
diferentevariousdiferentes idiomas various languagesdifferentpersonas diferentes different people
grandegreatun gran pintor a great painterbiguna casa grande a big house
mediohalfmedio melón half a melonaveragela nota media the average mark
mismosamela misma respuesta the same answerself, very, preciselyyo mismo myself eso mismo precisely that
nuevonewmi nuevo coche my new car (= new to me)brand newunos zapatos nuevos some (brand) new shoes
pobrepoor (=wretched)esa pobre mujer that poor womanpoor (= not rich)un país pobre a poor country
viejoold (= long-standing)un viejo amigo an old friendold (= aged)esas toallas viejas those old towels
Grammar Extra!In Spanish, you can use el/la/uno/una with an adjective where in English you’d use the tall one, a red one and so on.
La camiseta verde está bien pero prefiero la roja.The green T-shirt is OK but I prefer the red one.
¿Quieres una taza grande o una pequeña?Would you like a big cup or a small one?
A él le gustan los edificios modernos pero yo prefiero los antiguos.He likes modern buildings but I prefer old ones.
  • The adjective must agree with the noun it refers to.
Key points
  • Most Spanish adjectives go after the noun.
  • Certain types of adjectives in Spanish go before the noun.
  • Some adjectives can go before or after the noun – the meaning changes according to the position in the sentence.

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