Over the last few weeks you have seen a few video lessons about adjectives as part of our series Lecciones con Carolina. So you probably know by now that one of the most challenging aspects of Spanish adjectives is that they must agree in gender and number with the noun they modify. Having this in mind, we have prepared for you a brief review on how adjectives are built in Spanish.
In Spanish, adjectives that end in -o have four forms. We have singular masculine adjectives ending in -o, and singular feminine ending in -a:
Es un gasto económico muy alto para la fundación.
Is a very high economic expense for the foundation.
Caption 28, Animales en familia - Adopta a PinoPlay Caption
¡Qué casa más bonita tienen tus abuelos! ¿eh?
What a beautiful house your grandparents have! huh?
Caption 47, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricosPlay Caption
The corresponding plural adjectives end in -os, for the masculine:
En el bulevar de los sueños rotos
On the boulevard of broken dreams
Caption 1, Joaquin Sabina - Por el Boulevar de los Sueños RotosPlay Caption
and in -as, for the feminine:
Es una tonta ésa,
She's a dumb, that one,
como todas las tontas que se meten con Ivo.
like all the dumb ones who get involved with Ivo.
Captions 38-39, Muñeca Brava - 45 El secretoPlay Caption
We also have Spanish adjectives that end in -e. They only have two forms, -e for singular and -es for plural. Here is an example of an adjective ending in -e in the singular form that is used to modify the feminine noun fuerza (strength):
...anatómicamente y tienen fuerza física suficiente.
...anatomically when they already have enough physical strength.
Caption 42, Centro de Recuperación de la Fauna Salvaje - Veterinario Jesús LópezPlay Caption
And here is an example of an adjective ending in -e in the plural form that is used to modify the masculine nouns vinos (nouns) and paisajes (landscapes), but also the feminine noun cervezas (beers):
En España tenemos de todos. Grandes vinos...
In Spain, we have them all. Great wines...
grandes cervezas y grandes paisajes.
great beers, and great landscapes.
Captions 41-42, Casa Pancho - vinos y pinchosPlay Caption
On the other hand, some Spanish adjectives end in a consonant, like popular (popular),voraz (voracious), and fácil (easy). These are similar to the ones ending in -e: they only have two forms. The singular form is invariable for feminine and masculine nouns:
La tarea fácil / The easy homework.
El curso fácil / The easy course.
El actor popular / The popular actor.
La actriz popular / The popular actress.
El lobo voraz / The voracious (male) wolf.
La loba voraz / The voracious (female) wolf.
And the plural form uses -es for both feminine and masculine nouns. Notice how you may learn to substitute z for c in some cases:
Las tareas fáciles / The easy homeworks.
Los curso fáciles / The easy courses.
Los actores populares / The popular actors.
Las actrices populares / The popular actresses.
Los lobos voraces / The voracious (male) wolves.
Las lobas voraces / The voracious (female) wolves.
Finally, there is a group of adjectives in Spanish that end in a consonant but don't follow the previous rule exactly. These are adjectives ending in -án, -ón, and -or. For these, the feminine adds -a for the singular, and -as for the plural. The masculine uses -es for the plural form. The good news is there are not many adjectives in this group. Some examples are:
El hombre haragán / The lazy man.
La mujer haragana / The lazy woman.
El maestro fanfarrón / The boastful (male) teacher.
La maestra fanfarrona / The boastful (female) teacher.
El policía abusador / The abusive policeman.
La policía abusadora / The abusive policewoman.
Can you figure out the corresponding plural forms? They are as follows:
Los hombres haraganes / The lazy men.
Las mujeres haraganas / The lazy women.
Los maestros fanfarrones / The braggart (male) teachers.
La maestra fanfarrona / The braggart (female) teachers.
Los policías abusadores / The abusive policemen.
Las policías abusadoras / The abusive policewomen.