Indefinite adjectives in Spanish: algún, alguno, ningún, ninguno

by Patricia Mendez on Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Today we are going to cover some characteristics of some indefinite adjectives and pronouns in Spanish. Are you familiar with any of them! 😉 Click here to read this post in Spanish. Let’s go for it!

Algún, alguno

They both express an undefined quantity somehow relatable to the speaker or an indeterminate fact.

1. Algún, as well as alguna/algunos/algunas, is a determiner (in this case masculine and singular). It refers to someone or to something and it precedes a noun that must be masculine and singular as well. It occupies the first position in the sentence.

¿Algún huevo para hacer la tortilla?

(Do you have) any egg to make a Spanish omelet?

 Algún año viajaré a Chile.

One day I will travel to Chile.

2. Alguno (not algún) is a masculine, singular pronoun that refers to someone and specifies the gender and number of the word that follows.

En Andalucía no todo el mundo pronuncia la “z” como una “s”. Yo sé de alguno que lo hace con el sonido “z” también.

In Andalusia, not everyone pronounces the letter “z” as an “s”. I know some people who do use the sound “z” as well.

3. Besides, alguno can also have the same role as algún + [pronoun]. It can be used this way when the speaker does not want to repeat the name.

- ¿Tienes algún libro de gramática?

- Aquí no, pero creo que tengo alguno (= algún libro de gramática) en casa.

- Do you have any grammar books?

- Not here, but I believe I have some (=grammar books) at home.

Ningún, ninguno

They are both indefinite adjectives. However, these two words have different meanings and they can’t be used in the same way. Let’s find out why:

1. Ningún and ninguna mean not one, and therefore they must be used in plural. You’ll find them always placed before a masculine, singular noun.

There is not even one chocolate left in the box.

No hay ningún cliente en la tienda.

2. Ninguno has the same meaning as ningún + [nombre], but we use it when we don’t want to repeat the name we are referring to.

- ¿Tienes algún libro de gramática?

- No, aquí no tengo ninguno (= ningún libro de gramática).

3. When talking about people, we use nadie instead of ninguno. But we’ll get deeper into that in our next blog post.

We thank Lucas, Head of Studies at our Spanish school in Seville, for his contribution to our blog. Keep on learning with don Quijote!


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