How to Use Adjectives in Spanish

With relatively straight-forward spelling and grammatical rules, Spanish is one of the easier foreign languages to learn. But if you want to go beyond just making yourself understood and aim for clear communication, you must mind the places where Spanish grammar differs from the English. How you use Spanish adjectives is a prime example: The Spanish word ordering for subjects and adjectives is the reverse of English word order, and Spanish adjectives also specify the gender and quantity of the subject.


  1. Image titled Use Adjectives in Spanish Step 1
    Place the adjective after the noun it modifies.
    • This is the reverse of the word order you're probably used to in British and American English. For example, instead of saying "big horse" or "tall man," as you might in English, in Spanish you'd say "caballo grande" (horse big) or "hombre alto" (man tall).
    • In a few rare cases, when the adjective expresses an intrinsic quality of the subject, it may precede the subject. For example, you can say "blanca nieve" (white snow) instead of "nieve blanca" (snow white), although the latter represents the customary subject-adjective order in Spanish grammar.( Reserve this order for written Spanish, and with utmost restraint)
  2. Image titled Use Adjectives in Spanish Step 2
    Modify the adjective's gender, as needed, so it agrees with the gender of the subject it modifies.
    • In Spanish, every word is assigned either masculine or feminine gender. In some cases the correspondence is obvious--for example, "mujer" and "niña," the words for woman and girl, are assigned the feminine gender. "Hombre" and "niño"--man and boy, respectively--receive the masculine gender. But sometimes the correspondence is seemingly random and must be memorized: for example "mesa," or table, is considered feminine, but "libro," or book, is considered masculine.So a very helpful approach is to learn article plus noun for all that lot of sexless thing that whimsically are masculine or feminine assigned; what's the Spanish for table? la mesa and for book ? el libro.You learn the little set as a unit and and you'll get the knack of noun/adjective agreement without further ado.
    • If the adjective ends with "o," you can usually modify it to suit a feminine noun by switching the "o" to "a," and vice versa. For example, you'd use the adjective "pequeño," or small, to refer to a boy but "pequeña" to refer to a girl.
    • Adjectives that don't end with "o" or "a," such as "grande" or "veloz," can apply to a subject of either gender.
  3. Image titled Use Adjectives in Spanish Step 3
    Place an "s" at the end of the adjective if it refers to a plural subject. Remove the "s" if it refers to a singular subject. In other words, in Spanish the adjective must agree with the subject in both gender and number.
    • If the Spanish adjective ends with a consonant, add "es" at the end, instead of simply "s", to create a plural: azul>azules, feroz> feroces.
    • In Spanish, as in English, there are some "collective" nouns that refer to a collective entity or collective of objects, but are considered singular for grammatical purposes. For example, "la ropa" (the clothing) can apply to an unlimited quantity of clothing, and "la gente" (the people) can apply to an unlimited, unspecified quantity or collective of people.


  • Because the simple switch of an "o" or "a" can give you valuable information about the subject of conversation, being sure of which vowel you need to use, then pronouncing those vowels clearly, is one of the simplest ways to make yourself understood in Spanish.

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Categories: Spanish