spanish adjectives

What are adjectives in Spanish used for?

Similarly to English Grammar, adjectives in Spanish belong to a class of words that modifies a noun, denoting its properties or qualities.

An adjective provides additional information about the subject — such as shape, color, age, temperature, and size. Demonstrative adjectives in Spanish also describe bits of material that note the person, animal, object, or place that we are talking about.


Those who master the language and possess an agile pen, combined with a distinctive style such as poets, are able to convey an extraordinary meaning to any class of words.

Look at the beautiful extract below from the poet José Gorostiza. His poem is about the seashore and he chooses the word sonora (sonorous) to describe agua (water).

The sound of water creates a striking image of the waves pounding against the sand in the reader’s mind.

El agua sonora
de espuma sencilla,
el agua no puede
formarse la orilla.

Y porque descanse
en muelle lugar,
no es agua ni arena
la orilla del mar.

Where are Spanish Adjectives placed?

adjectives in spanish

Within the English sentence structure, the adjective is usually located before the noun but in Spanish it can be placed before or after; it can also be separated by a verb, an adverb or a preposition.

The location freedom that Spanish adjectives enjoy allows the speaker or writer to emphasize a particular intention even in ordinary speech or writing.

Do Adjectives in Spanish Have Gender?

There is a rule of concordance of gender (feminine and masculine) and number (singular and plural).

Look at how the adjective agrees with the gender and quantity of the noun, in this case a person or group of people, which is highlighted in red.

Niña bonita Beautiful girl
Niño bonito Beautiful boy
Niñas bnonitas Beautiful girls
Niños bonitos Beautiful boys

In this more complex sentence the concordance still stands:

Exceptions to the concordance rule:

Alegre Cheerful
Gentil Gentle
Inteligente Inteligent
Valiente Brave
Feliz Happy
Triste Sad

What are Spanish Adjective Degrees?

spanish adjectives

The degree of the adjective expresses the intensity of the quality to which the adjective refers: positive, comparative, superlative.


It expresses the basic quality.


It expresses a level of superiority, equality or inferiority when comparing two or more nouns.

The basic formula:

más (more)+ adjective + que

tan (as) + adjective + como

menos (less) + adjective + que


It expresses the highest degree either as a total (absolute) or as in relation to a context (relative).

ABSOLUTE: The absolute superlative has three possible forms, all grammatically correct.

RELATIVE: The relative superlative adjective establishes maximum superiority in the context of a specific group.

The following is a simple classification of Spanish adjectives.

However, for a more rigorous catalog, visit the official grammar manual titled Nueva Gramática de la Lengua Española, published by the Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española (The Association of the Spanish Language Academies) and the Real Academia Española (Royal Spanish Academy).

1 Calificativos Calificative This group indicates common qualities  Hojas secas  Dead leaves
1.1 Especificativos Limiting Indicates a quality that differentiates the noun from a group Dientes afilados/dientes podridos Sharp teeth/rotting teeth
1.2 Explicativos Explanatory Expresses a quality that the noun already has for literary purposes Blanca nieve White snow
2 Gentilicios Demonym or gentilic Denotes country of origin, ethnic group or national affiliation Mexicano/nicagaraguense/indígena/panameño Mexican/Nicaraguan/ indigenous/Panamanian
3 Determinativos o pronominales Pronominal This group refers to time, place, and order, as well as ownership  Segundo/mío  Second/mine
3.1 Demostrativos Demonstrative Indicates both spatial and chronological proximity Esta, esa y aquella This, that, and that one
3.2 Posesivos Possessive Indicates ownership Tuyo/suyo/nuestro Yours/his/ours
3.3 Algunos numerales Some numerals Include some ordinal and multiplicative numbers Primero/quinta/doble/triple First/fifth/double/triple
4 Sustantivados Substantive The adjective is used as a noun Lo hermoso/el sabio The beautiful/the wise man
5 Verbales Verbal adjective Originates from a verb Cansada/meditabundo/fácil/amoroso Tired/meditative/easy/lovable
6 Sintagma nominal Nominal syntagm It is created from a syntagm or group of words Reunión familiar (reunión de familia) Family reunion

List of Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

spanish adjectives

As you can see from the list, possessive adjectives in Spanish indicate the owner of the noun they modify. They always appear before or after the noun, contrary to possessive pronouns, which in fact replace it.

Mi/mío/mía/míos/mías My/mine
Tu/tus/tuyo/tuya/tuyos/tuyas Your/yours
Su/sus/suyo/suya/suyos/suyas Your/yours (formal Spanish in Latinamerica) + his/her/hers + their/theirs
Vuestro/vuestra/vuestros/vuestras Your/yours (plural in Spain)
Nuestro/nuestra/nuestros/nuestras Our/ours

List of Demonstrative Adjectives in Spanish

These are the most common demonstrative adjectives in Spanish:

Este/esto/esta This
Estos/estas These
Ese/eso/esa That
Esos/esas Those
Aquel/aquella That (way over there)
Aquellos/aquellas Those (way over there)

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