Spanish Phrases: Basic grammar of adjectives
This page gives an extremely basic introdction to the grammar of
Spanish adjectives. In particular, it explains why some adjectives are listed
with forms ending in both -o and -a,
and the position of the adjective relative to the noun it qualifies.
Form of adjectives
Masculine and feminine forms
generally agree with the noun they qualify: so the forms in -o
go with masculine nouns and the forms in -a go with
feminine nouns. Adjectives ending in a consonant or -e
are the same for both genders.
As a general rule, adjectives ending in a vowel add an -s
when they describe a plural noun; adjectives ending in a consonant generally
Short masculine singular forms
A few adjectives, in particular bueno ("good") and
grande ("big, large") have special short forms used directly
before a masculine singular noun.
tiene buen apetito
he has a good appetite
con gran placer
with enormous pleasure
Position of adjectives
As in French, the position of adjectives in Spanish is a complex issue.
But in general:
- In the vast majority of cases, the normal position for the adjective
is after the noun.
- It is usually possible to put the adjective before the noun
for stylistic effect.
- With adjectives related to numbers or ordering (e.g. primero,
último, segundo), things are generally
reversed: the normal position is before the noun, but for stylistic
effect they can go after the noun.
- There are a few short adjectives, including those with 'special'
short forms (gran for grande), where the
position is more freely interchangeable. For example, there is little difference
between de alta calidad and de calidad alta
("high quality"), or between bajo precio and precio bajo
Page written by Neil Coffey. Copyright (c) Javamex UK 2014. All rights reserved.