Irregular Adjectives in Spanish

Instructor: Maria Elena Knolle Cano

Maria Elena has taught Spanish and German to learners of all levels in Europe, Asia and Australia and has a Master's degree in Cultural Studies and Communication.

In this lesson, we are going to get to know some adjectives that don't change form for feminine nouns. We will also review what adjectives are all about and expand our vocabulary.

Definition Of Adjectives

Welcome to the colorful world of Spanish adjectives! You surely remember how adjectives can be defined, but let's nevertheless take a minute to review what this part of speech is for. An adjective is a word that describes a noun.

  • El coche es caro ('The car is expensive')

El coche ('the car') is the noun, caro ('expensive') is the adjective that describes it.

un coche caro, an expensive car
a red car

There are plenty of subcategories for adjectives, such as possessive adjectives, demonstrative adjectives, interrogative adjectives or indefinite adjectives. They give our speech and communication its spice and diversity as they make each interaction much more vivid and interesting!

How To Form Adjectives

What distinguishes the Spanish from the English adjectives is that regular adjectives in Spanish agree with the nouns they describe in gender as well as number. Regular adjectives follow a clear and established pattern in how they are being modified.

Adjectives adapted to a masculine noun usually end in -o, and adjectives describing a feminine noun end in -a.

There are some exceptions to this rule. Some descriptive adjectives stay the same, no matter whether they are masculine or feminine. With these adjectives, it's important to simply memorize them. Certain adjectives that are masculine and singular end in -a, -e, or a consonant regardless of the noun they modify.

Adjectives That End In Consonants

Let's take a look at the following adjectives that end in consonants and don't undergo any change for gender:

Masculine and
Feminine Adjective
Pronunciation Translation
cortés kohr-TAYS polite
azul ah-THOOL blue
débil DAY-beel weak
fácil FAH-theel easy
tropical troh-pee-KAHL tropical
joven HOH-vayn young
popular poh-poo-LAHR popular
genial hee-NYAYL pleasant
leal lay-AHL loyal
feroz fay-rohth ferocious
fiel fee-YAYL loyal
puntual poon-too-AHL punctual, on time

As previously stated, you can apply these adjectives to either a masculine or a feminine noun, such as in La vaca azul ('The blue cow') or El color azul ('The blue color').

To form the plural of these adjectives ending in consonants, simply add es:

Las vacas azules ('The blue cows') or Los coches azules ('The blue cars').

There are some more adjectives that don't change in their feminine form, such as the following adjectives that end in an -a, or an -e.

Adjectives That End In An -A Or -E:

Masculine and
Feminine Adjective
Pronunciation Translation
realista ray-ah-LEES-tah realistic
materialista mah-tay-ryah-LEES-tah materialistic
egoísta ay-goh-EES-tah selfish
interesante een-tay-ray-SAHN-tay interesting
responsable ray-spohn-SAH-blay responsible
grande GRAHN-day big
amable ah-MAH-blay friendly, nice
pobre POH-bray poor

Sentences such as La mujer amable ('The friendly woman') and El hombre amable ('The friendly man') show that these adjectives are used for masculine and feminine nouns alike.

To form the plural of these adjectives, simply add the letter -s:

Las mujeres amables ('The friendly women'), Los hombres amables ('The friendly men').

Are you ready to see how your newly learned adjectives can be applied in more real life examples? Let's go for it by listening in on two students who are chatting away while having lunch together!

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