Category Archives: Spanish language lessons

Spanish adjectives before nouns

This article looks at Spanish adjectives which go before nouns. Learning when they go before nouns and when after can at first appear confusing, but fear not! This topic is fairly logical when you understand the key concepts.

Read on to discover when you should put Spanish adjectives before nouns and when after.

What are Spanish adjectives?

Adjectives are words which describe nouns (nouns are people, places, things, etc.). Examples of adjectives are ‘beautiful, ugly, tired, tall, short’ etc.

In Spanish adjectives normally go after the noun, for example:

  • La casa roja = The red house (i.e. ‘The house red’ in Spanish)

However Spanish adjectives can and often do go before nouns.

Which Spanish adjectives go before nouns?

First of all, the following adjectives normally go before the noun:

  • Alguno*/Alguna/Algunos/Algunas = Any
  • Ambos/Ambas = Both
  • Bastante/Bastantes = Enough
  • Bueno*/Buena/Buenos/Buenas = Good
  • Cada = Each/Every
  • Malo*/Mala/Malos/Malas = Bad
  • Mucho/Mucha = Much/A lot of (Singular)
  • Muchos/Muchas = Many/A lot of (Plural)
  • Ninguno*/Ninguna/Ningunos/Ningunas = Not any
  • Otro/Otra = Another/Other (Singular)
  • Otros/Otras = Other (Plural)
  • Poco/Poca = Not much
  • Pocos/Pocas = Not many
  • Suficiente/Suficientes = Enough
  • Todo/Toda/Todos/Todas = All
  • Varios/Varias = Several

* These drop the ‘o’ when placed before a masculine singular noun to make ‘buen’, ‘mal’, ‘algún’ and ‘ningún’ as appropriate.

Cardinal and Ordinal numbers also go before the noun

Un/Una, dos, tres, etc…. go before the noun

Primero, segundo, tercero, etc…. go before the noun. [Note that primero and tercero drop the ‘o’ before a masculine singular noun].

Adjectives that describe inherent characteristics also go before the noun

When an adjective is describing an inherent characteristic, the adjective may be placed before the noun.

What is an inherent characteristic?

It is hard to describe what an inherent characteristic, but examples could include:

  • las altas montañas = the tall mountains
  • la blanca nieve = the white snow

Putting an adjective before the noun essentially shows that it is an inherent characteristic of the noun being described, in that mountains are always tall and snow is always white.

Putting an adjective after the noun when it describes an inherent characteristic emphasises the adjective. For example:

  • las montañas altas = the tall mountains

Here the mountains are especially tall.

Adjectives which change meaning

There are a number of adjectives which change their meaning in Spanish  depending on whether they are placed before or after the noun.

Some of the more important ones are:

  • antiguo/a(s) = former (before the noun)/ancient (after the noun)
  • diferente(s)/distinto/a(s) = various (when plural)(before the noun)/different (after the noun)
  • gran(es) – This is used before the noun to mean ‘great’.
  • grande(s) – This is used after the noun to mean ‘big/large’
  • mismo/a(s) = same (before the noun)/’self’ (when used after the noun e.g. yo mismo/a = myself (male/female speaking))
  • único/a(s) = only (before the noun)/unique (after the noun)

There are other adjectives which go before the nouns, but the above ones are some of the most important ones.

We would discuss further adjectives that are similar to those above during Spanish tuition.

I hope that the above post has helped you to understand the main situations in which adjectives go before nouns in Spanish. Use that knowledge to impress Spanish speakers by showing them that you know when to use adjectives both before and after the noun.

Further Information

If you wish to discuss this topic further or Spanish generally feel free to get in contact. See my contact me page for my current details.

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La Tomatina (Tomato Festival)

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La Tomatina is known as the Tomato Festival, which takes place yearly in Spain. It is a famous festival and well known around the world. I wanted to tell you all about the festival.  Therefore I have just found some great articles, which tell you more about the festival as follows:

The Spanish version is quite challenging. Consequently do not panic if you do not fully understand everything at first.

How to make the most of reading complicated Spanish texts such as this one

One good technique to make the most out of reading complicated Spanish articles is:

  • Read the article once at a normal pace, but do not look up new words
  • Then read the article once again more slowly, but again do not look up new words
  • Afterwards read through the article looking only the words that you feel are completely hindering your understanding
  • Then read it through again
  • Finally look up other words you do not understand

The idea is initially to get a gist of what the text is about, then gradually get a better understanding of the detail. This will teach you to try to understand texts without necessarily knowing all the words used.

To help you with the Spanish text, here is some key vocabulary from the text to help you

  • la fama = fame
  • la batalla = battle/fight/struggle
  • encantador = delightful
  • encarnizado = bloodshot/fierce
  • campal = fierce
  • el lanzamiento = throw/launching
  • monstruoso = monstrous
  • el desfile = parade/procession
  • estrecho = narrow
  • el olor = smell
  • la madrugada = early morning
  • dedicarse = to engage in
  • retumbar = to thunder/to boom
  • el empedrado = paved
  • dispuesto a = available to/willing to
  • descargar = to unload/to discharge
  • tirar = to throw
  • la tonelada = ton
  • la semilla = seed
  • el cohete = rocket
  • la pulpa = pulp
  • arrojar = to throw
  • la manguera = hose
  • la locura = madness

Hopefully you now know more about La Tomatina. If you have questions about any vocabulary or expressions in the Spanish version of the text, feel free to ask me.

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Spanish Future Tense

The Spanish future tense is usually formed by taking the infinitive form of the verb (e.g. hablar (to talk/to speak), comer (to eat), vivir (to live), etc.) and adding the appropriate endings as follows:

Yo (= I)

(= You (speaking to 1 friend) -ás

Él/Ella/Usted (= He/She/You (speaking to one stranger))

Nosotros/Nosotras (= We) -emos

Vosotros/Vosotras (= You (speaking to 2(+) friends)) -éis

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes (= They/You (speaking to 2(+) strangers)) -án

Therefore hablar’, ‘comer’ and ‘vivir’ are therefore known as the verb stems for forming the future tense.

So by way of example….

Hablar = To talk

Hablaré = I will talk

Hablarás = You will talk (speaking to 1 friend)

Hablará = He/She will talk + You will talk (speaking to 1 stranger)

Hablaremos = We will talk

Hablaréis = You will talk (speaking to 2(+) friends)

Hablarán = They will talk + You will talk (speaking to 2(+) strangers)

Comer = To eat

Comeré = I will eat

Comerás = You will eat (speaking to 1 friend)

Comerá = He/She will eat + You will eat (speaking to 1 stranger)

Comeremos = We will eat

Comeréis = You will eat (speaking to 2(+) friends)

Comerán = They will eat + You will eat (speaking to 2(+) strangers)

Vivir = To live

Viviré = I will live

Vivirás = You will live (speaking to 1 friend)

Vivirá = He/She will live + You will live (speaking to 1 stranger)

Viviremos = We will live

Viviréis = You will live (speaking to 2(+) friends)

Vivirán = They will live + You will live (speaking to 2(+) strangers)

Irregular stems for the Spanish future tense

As discussed the future tense stem is usually the infinitive itself. Unfortunately there are a number of irregular stems for forming the future tense as follows:

Verb – Future Stem

(To say/To tell: Decir) – Dir

(To do/To make: Hacer) – Har

(To put: Poner) – Pondr

(To want: Querer) – Querr

(To be able: Poder) – Podr

(To know: Saber) – Sabr

(To go out: Salir) – Saldr

(To have: Tener) – Tendr

(To come: Venir) Vendr

 

For the above verbs instead of using the infinitive, you use the irregular stem with the normal future endings, for example:

  • Diré = I will say (Not Deciré)
  • Tendremos = We will have (NOT Teneremos)

I hope that the above post has helped you to understand how to form the future tense in Spanish. Feel free to get in contact with any questions or to book Spanish lessons with me.

More details on my foreign language tuition services can be seen by clicking here.