Easy Learning Spanish

Making adjectives agree - Easy Learning Grammar Spanish

1   Forming feminine adjectives

  • The form of the adjective shown in dictionaries is generally the masculine singular form. This means that you need to know how to change its form to make it agree with the person or thing it is describing.
  • Adjectives ending in -o in the masculine change to -a for the feminine.
mi hermano pequeñomy little brother
mi hermana pequeñamy little sister
  • Adjectives ending in any vowel other than -o (that is: a, e, i or u) or ending in a vowel with an accent on it do NOT change for the feminine.
el vestido verdethe green dress
la blusa verdethe green blouse
un pantalón caquisome khaki trousers
una camisa caquia khaki shirt
un médico iraquían Iraqi doctor
una familia iraquían Iraqi family
  • Adjectives ending in a consonant (any letter other than a vowel) do NOT change for the feminine except in the following cases:
  • Adjectives of nationality or place ending in a consonant add -a for the feminine. If there is an accent on the final vowel in the masculine, they lose this in the feminine.
un periódico inglésan English newspaper
una revista inglesaan English magazine
el equipo francésthe French team
la cocina francesaFrench cooking
el vino españolSpanish wine
la lengua españolathe Spanish language
  • Note that these adjectives do not start with a capital letter in Spanish.
  • Adjectives ending in -or in the masculine usually change to -ora for the feminine.
un niño encantadora charming little boy
una niña encantadoraa charming little girl
  • Note that a few adjectives ending in -or used in comparisons – such as mejor (meaning better, best), peor (meaning worse, worst), mayor (meaning older, bigger), superior (meaning upper, top), inferior (meaning lower, inferior) as well as exterior (meaning outside, foreign) and posterior (meaning rear) do not change in the feminine.
  • Adjectives ending in -án, -ón and -ín in the masculine change to -ana, -ona and -ina (without an accent) in the feminine.
un gesto burlóna mocking gesture
una sonrisa burlonaa mocking smile
un hombre parlanchína chatty man
una mujer parlanchinaa chatty woman
  • Adjectives ending in a consonant but which do not fall into the above categories do NOT change in the feminine.
un chico jovena young boy
una chica jovena young girl
un final feliza happy ending
una infancia feliza happy childhood

2   Forming plural adjectives

  • Adjectives ending in an unaccented vowel (a, e, i, o or u) in the singular add -s in the plural.
el último trenthe last train
los últimos trenesthe last trains
una casa viejaan old house
unas casas viejassome old houses
una chica muy habladoraa very chatty girl
unas chicas muy habladorassome very chatty girls
una pintora francesaa French (woman) painter
unas pintoras francesassome French (women) painters
una mesa verdea green table
unas mesas verdessome green tables
  • Adjectives ending in a consonant in the masculine or feminine singular add -es in the plural. If there is an accent on the FINAL syllable in the singular, they lose it in the plural.
un chico muy habladora very chatty boy
unos chicos muy habladoressome very chatty boys
un pintor francésa French painter
unos pintores francesessome French painters
un examen fácilan easy exam
unos exámenes fácilessome easy exams
la tendencia actualthe current trend
las tendencias actualesthe current trends
  • -z at the end of a singular adjective changes to -ces in the plural.
un día feliza happy day
unos días feliceshappy days
TipWhen an adjective describes a mixture of both masculine and feminine nouns, use the masculine plural form of the adjective.
El pan y la fruta son baratos.Bread and fruit are cheap.
Grammar Extra!Adjectives ending in an accented vowel in the singular usually add -es in the plural.
un médico iranían Iranian doctor
unos médicos iraníessome Iranian doctors

3   Invariable adjectives

  • A small number of adjectives do not change in the feminine or plural. They are called invariable because their form NEVER changes, no matter what they are describing. These adjectives are often made up of more than one word – for example azul marino (meaning navy blue) – or come from the names of things – for example naranja (meaning orange).
las chaquetas azul marinonavy-blue jackets
los vestidos naranjaorange dresses

4   Short forms for adjectives

  • The following adjectives drop the final -o before a masculine singular noun.
buenobuenun buen libroa good book
malomalmal tiempobad weather
algunoalgúnalgún librosome book
ningunoningúnningún hombreno man
unounun díaone day
primeroprimerel primer hijothe first child
tercerotercerel tercer hijothe third child
  • Note that the adjectives alguno and ninguno add accents when they are shortened to become algún and ningún.
  • grande (meaning big, great) is shortened to gran before a singular noun.
un gran actora great actor
una gran sorpresaa big surprise
  • ciento (meaning a hundred) changes to cien before all plural nouns as well as before mil (meaning thousand) and millones (meaning millions).
cien añosa hundred years
cien millonesa hundred million
  • Note that you use the form ciento before other numbers.
ciento tresone hundred and three
  • For more information on Numbers, see Numbers.
Grammar Extra!
  • cualquiera drops the final a before singular nouns.
cualquier díaany day
a cualquier horaany time
Key points
  • Most Spanish adjectives change their form according to whether the person or thing they are describing is masculine or feminine, singular or plural.
  • In Spanish, adjectives usually go after the noun they describe.
  • Don’t forget to make adjectives agree with the person or thing they describe – they change for the feminine and plural forms:
un chico español
una chica española
unos chicos españoles
unas chicas españolas
  • Some adjectives never change their form.
  • Some adjectives drop the final -o before a masculine singular noun.
  • grande and ciento also change before certain nouns.

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