Spanish Adjectives: Gender and Number Agreement

by Vanessa Johnson on Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Today’s Spanish grammar topic is gender and number agreement. Let’s jump right in!

Read this grammar guide in Spanish.

Gender and Adjective Agreement in Spanish

  • General rule

  • The adjective must have the same gender and number as the noun it describes.

Examples:

  • La escuela [femenino singular] es bonita [femenino singular]
  • Los manuales [masculino plural] son prácticos [masculino plural]
  • Los estudiantes [masculino plural] son simpáticos [masculino plural]
  • El café [masculino singular] es barato [masculino singular]

  • Invariable adjectives

  • Some adjectives do not change gender. These invariable adjectives usually end in l, e, i, s, a, or z.

Examples:

  • Mi compañero es muy amable
  • Nuestro profesor es budista
  • Mozart fue un músico precoz
  • El animal salvaje más peligroso de África es el búfalo

  • Variable adjectives

      

  • These adjectives become female by adding -a. They can be divided into two groups:

  1. Masculine adjectives that end in -o, -ete, or -ote

Examples:

  • Ending in -o: bonito/-a; feo/-a; cansado/-a
  • Ending in -ete: regordete/-a; guapete/-a;
  • Ending in -ote: grandote/-a; malote/-a

  1. Masculine adjectives that end in a consonant

Examples:

  • trabajador/-a; andaluz/-a; chillón/-a

Number and Adjective Agreement in Spanish

  • There are two main types, depending on if the adjective is gender invariable (doesn’t change) or variable (does change).

  • For invariable adjectives, form the plural by adding -es.
  • Examples: precoz/(c)-es; azul/-es

  • For variable adjectives, there are two ways to form the plural:
  • By adding  -s
    • For adjectives that end in a vowel, when the last syllable is unstressed
    • Examples: bueno/-s; bonito/-s; barato/-s
  • By adding -es
  • For adjectives that end in a vowel when the last syllable is stressed, or adjectives that end in a consonant
  • Examples: ceutí/-es; ideal/-es

Need some practice? Travel to Spain and Latin America to learn Spanish and see the world.

Thanks to Lucas from our school in Seville for teaching us how adjectives work in Spanish.


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