Do you know how to say "those" or "that" in Spanish? Let's explore Spanish demonstrative adjectives. However, before doing that, let's start this lesson with an important definition.
Adjectives describe and modify nouns. We use demonstrative adjectives to determine which person or object, for example, we are referring to, taking its distance with respect to the speaker and/or listener into account. Let's first review our options in English:
- Near the speaker: "this" and "these."
- Near the listener OR far from both the speaker and the listener: "that" and "those."
While there are only four demonstrative adjectives in English, you will notice that there are many more in Spanish (twelve to be exact!). Why is that? One reason is that, because nouns in Spanish have a gender, demonstrative adjectives in Spanish are not only singular and plural but masculine and feminine as well.
In addition, Spanish has two different sets of demonstrative adjectives to differentiate between nouns that are close to the listener vs. nouns that are far from both the speaker and listener (roughly corresponding to the English concept of "over there" rather than just "there").
Let's take a closer look at the demonstrative adjectives in Spanish, using M to indicate "masculine" and F to indicate "feminine":
- Near the speaker: "this" (M: este, F: esta) and "these" (M: estos, F: estas).
- Near the listener: "that" (M: ese, F: esa) and "those" (M: esos, F: esas).
- Far from both the speaker and the listener: "that" (over there) (M: aquel, F: aquella) and "those" (over there) (M: aquellos, F: aquellas).
It is worth noting that, in addition to indicating further physical distance, aquel/aquella/aquellos/aquellas can also refer to metaphorical distance such as dates or events in the future or past.
Now that we know the demonstrative adjectives in Spanish, it's time to look at some examples. Let's watch and listen to the following clips:
Me gusta mucho este parque.
I really like this park.Play Caption
Esta mochila es de Lucas.
This backpack is Lucas'.Play Caption
En la noche, utilizaremos estos vasos bajos para servir licor.
At night, we'll use these short glasses to serve liquor.
Caption 20, Ana Carolina - El comedorPlay Caption
Estas cintas son las que estamos sacando recientemente;
These ribbons are the ones that we are coming out with recently;
son nuevos diseños.
they are new designs.
Caption 19, Comercio - Camisas tradicionalesPlay Caption
Oiga y ese carro, esa belleza ¿de dónde la sacó, hermano, ah?
Hey and that car, that beauty, where did you get it, brother, huh?
Caption 43, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 1Play Caption
¿Y esos otros tatuajes que tienes aquí, de qué son?
And those other tattoos you have here, what are they of?
Caption 67, Adícora, Venezuela - El tatuaje de RosanaPlay Caption
Mire, Rubio, yo necesito que usted
Look, Rubio, I need you
le ponga vigilancia inmediata a esas dos mujeres, hermano.
to put those two women under immediate surveillance, brother.
Caption 52, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 4Play Caption
La terminación del piso sería, en el futuro, de roca...
The last part of the floor would be, in the future, made out of rock...
de roca rústrica [sic] a propósito traída de aquel cerro que está allá.
out of rustic rock brought specifically from that hill over there.
Captions 22-23, Edificio en Construcción - Hablando con los trabajadoresPlay Caption
Esas cifras ya nos dicen
Those numbers tell us
que aquellas civilizaciones prehistóricas
that those prehistoric civilizations
ya sabían mucho de cálculo.
already knew a lot about calculus.
Captions 27-29, Rosa - Los dólmenes de AntequeraPlay Caption
Sería, "Aquellos coches son de mi padre"
Would be, "Those cars are my father's"
o "Aquellas casas son de mi madre".
or "Those houses are my mother's."
Captions 35-36, Lecciones con Carolina - Adjetivos demostrativosPlay Caption
Keep in mind, however, that in less formal Spanish, we tend to use ese, esa, esos, and esas much more than aquel, aquella, aquellos, aquellas.
That's all for today. Although there are many more demonstrative adjectives in Spanish than in English, learning to use them is relatively simple. We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!