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Demonstrative Adjectives in Spanish

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.

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What Is a Demonstrative Adjective?

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."

 

The Gender Factor and Greater Number of Demonstrative Adjectives in Spanish

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. 

 

How to Pronounce Demonstrative Adjectives in Spanish

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:

 

Near the speaker: este, esta, estos, estas

 

Me gusta mucho este parque.

I really like this park.

Caption 9, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

Esta mochila es de Lucas.

This backpack is Lucas'.

Caption 59, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 3: ¿De quién es esta mochila?

 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 comedor

 Play Caption

 

Estas cintas son las que estamos sacando recientemente; son nuevos diseños.

These ribbons are the ones that we are coming out with recently; they are new designs.

Caption 19, Comercio Camisas tradicionales

 Play Caption

 

 

Near the listener: ese, esa, esos, esas

 

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 1 - Part 3

 Play 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 Rosana

 Play Caption

 

Mire, Rubio, yo necesito que usted le ponga vigilancia inmediata a esas dos mujeres, hermano.

Look, Rubio, I need you to put those two women under immediate surveillance, brother.

Caption 52, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

 

Far from both the speaker and the listener: aquel, aquella, aquellos, aquellas

 

La terminación del piso sería, en el futuro, de roca... de roca rústrica [sic] a propósito traída de aquel cerro que está allá.

The last part of the floor would be, in the future, made out of rock... out of rustic rock brought specifically from that hill over there.

Captions 22-23, Edificio en Construcción Hablando con los trabajadores - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Esas cifras ya nos dicen que aquellas civilizaciones prehistóricas ya sabían mucho de cálculo. 

Those numbers tell us that those prehistoric civilizations already knew a lot about calculus.

Captions 27-29, Rosa Los dólmenes de Antequera

 Play Caption
 

sería, "Aquellos coches son de mi padre" o "Aquellas casas son de mi madre".

would be, "Those cars are my father's" or "Those houses are my mother's."

Captions 35-36, Lecciones con Carolina Adjetivos demostrativos

 Play 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!

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