List: 33 Basic Spanish Adjectives and How to Use Them

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I’m a guy happy.

Huh?!

One of the main differences between English and Spanish grammar is in Spanish, the adjective goes AFTER the noun. So instead of a happy guy, I’m “un hombre feliz”. It’s weird at first but you’ll get used to it pretty quickly.

Some adjectives can go both before and after, which we’ll cover a bit farther down the post.

Spanish Adjectives 101

An adjective is a word that describes, identifies, modifies, or quantifies something (a noun or a pronoun). In Spanish, they MUST match gender and quantity.

That’s right, adjectives will change genders to match the noun. For instance, bueno/buena.

They will also change if something is plural. For instance, bueno/buenos.

 

For example:

  • A beautiful house. = Una casa bonita.
    In this case we use “una” because the word “casa” is feminine and singular.
  • The kids are happy. = Los niños son felices
    In this case we use “los” because the word “niños” is masculine and plural. Notice that the adjective also has to be plural “feliz = felices”.

Tip: Not sure how “el/la/los/las/un/una/unos/unas” work? Read our guide for that here. Not sure how to make things plural? Read our guide for plurals here.

Spanish Adjectives List

Here are some very common, basic Spanish adjectives, along with an example use.

  • Negro (black):
    Los teléfonos negros.
    Plural/ masculine

Tip: for more colors, see our guide to colors here.

  • Bonita (beautiful):
    Las mujeres bonitas.
    Plural/feminine
  • Deliciosa (delicious):
    Unas manzanas deliciosas.
    Plural/ feminine
  • Feliz (happy):
    Una familia feliz.
    Singular/ feminine
  • Triste (sad):
    Un abuelo triste.
    Singular/ masculine
  • Pequeño (small):
    Un gato pequeño.
    Singular/ masculine
  • Bueno (good):
    Un hotel bueno.
    Singular/ masculine
  • Malo (bad):
    Un televisor malo.
    Singular/ masculine
  • Viejo (old):
    Un taxi viejo.
    Singular/ masculine
  • Nuevo (new):
    Una calle nueva.
    Singular/ feminine
  • Aburrido (boring):
    Un día aburrido.
    Singular/ masculine
  • Difícil (hard):
    Unos días difíciles.
    Plural/ masculine
  • Fácil (easy):
    Un trabajo fácil.
    Plural/ feminine
  • Divertido (fun)
    Las clases divertidas.
    Plural/ feminine

 

Alternate Use: When the Adjective Can Go First

Sometimes you can use the adjective before the noun (for each of these cases, you can also put it after, so can totally ignore this until later if you want).

Sometimes, the adjective will need to be changed a bit for this. For example:

  • Good: bueno – buen
    Un libro bueno. (a good book) = Un buen libro. (a good book)
  • Bad: malo – mal
    Un momento malo. (a bad moment) = Un mal momento. (a bad moment)
  • Big: grande – gran
    Una oportunidad grande. (a big opportunity) = Una gran oportunidad. (a big opportunity )

I’d just memorize those three. Most of the time, the adjective stays the same. For example:

  • Cold: Frio
    Una mañana fría. (a cold morning) = Una fría mañana. (a cold morning)
  • Expensive: Caro
    Un vestido caro. (an expensive dress) = Un caro vestido. (an expensive dress)
  • Simple: Simple
    Una pregunta simple. (a simple question) = Una simple pregunta. (a simple question)
  • Delicious: Delicioso
    Una pizza deliciosa. (a delicious pizza) = Una deliciosa pizza. (a delicious pizza)

TIP: This rule never applies when you use colors. They always go after the noun, for instance:
A red house: Una casa roja. – Una roja casa.

The best way to learn this, since it can’t be used for every adjective, is to remember the few we just shared (particularly the first three), and when you practice speaking with natives, you’ll pick up the times they use it before and you’ll start to do the same naturally.

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Exceptions to Spanish Adjectives

Some adjectives use the same form for both genders. Luckily these exceptions are pretty consistent. Here are some examples:

Adjectives ending in E

  • Inteligente. (intelligent)
  • Verde. (green)
  • Caliente. (hot)
  • Grande. (big)
  • Amable. (kind/friendly)

Adjectives ending in consonants

  • Genial. (great)
  • Azul. (blue)
  • Gris. (gray)
  • Cortés. (polite/courteous)
  • Marrón. (dark brown)

Adjectives ending is ISTA

  • Perfeccionista. (perfectionist)
  • Materialista. (materialistic)
  • Alarmista. (alarmist)
  • Extremista. (extremist)

Comparative adjectives ending in OR

  • Superior. (superior, or above when speaking about position)
  • Menor. (less)
  • Inferior. (inferior)
  • Peor. (worse)
  • Mejor. (better)

TIP: Want to practice these with our flashcards? Click here for free access to our Private Memrise decks and get our flashcards for every lesson, including this one. They’re the same flashcards our students use! Get that here.

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