Adjectives - Intermediate  

DESCRIPTIVE ADJECTIVES

Descriptive adjectives modify nouns by adding information about the "state/condition" of the noun, or about its "qualities".

Descriptive adjectives describing states [limpio = 'clean', roto = 'broken', lleno/vacío = 'full/empty', aburrido/interesado = 'bored / interested', enfermo/sano = 'sick/healthy', borracho = 'drunk', cansado = 'tired', casado = 'married', muerto = 'dead' generally follow the noun and are used with the verb estar.

Adjectives describing "qualities" [rojo = 'red', grande = 'big', gordo/flaco = 'fat/skinny', pobre/rico = 'poor/rich', joven/viejo = 'young/old', inteligente/estúpido = 'intelligent / stupid', aburrido/interesante = 'boring/interesting'. They generally follow the noun, but may precede it if they are used very "subjectively" and/or the noun has other modifying phrases that follow it: Es un libro muy interesante = 'It is a very interesting book', Es un interesante libro de historia = 'It is an interesting book about history'.

ADJECTIVES THAT BOTH LIMIT AND DESCRIBE

Some adjectives belong to both preceding classes and can change meaning according to position:

antiguo presidente = "former president" vs. civilización antigua = "ancient civilization" / ciertas personas = "certain people" vs. una cosa cierta = "a sure thing" / diferentes soluciones = "various solutions vs. soluciones diferentes ="different solutions" / una gran ciudad = "a great city" vs. una ciudad grande = "a big city" / medio loco = "half-crazy" vs. un salario medio = "an average salary" / un nuevo carro = "new=different car" vs un carro nuevo = "brand new car" / el pobre indio ="unfortunate indian" vs. el indio pobre = "economically poor indian" / la propia casa = "(one's) own house" vs. la casa propia = "the house itself" / pura agua = "pure water=nothing but water" vs. agua pura = "pure=uncontaminated water" / un simple hombre = "just a man" vs. un hombre simple = "a simple man" / la única persona = "the only person" vs. una persona única = "a unique person"

CLASSIFYING ADJECTIVES

These adjectives modify a noun by indicating its membership in a class or type.

They always follow the noun: estudiante norteamericano = '(North) American student', novela histórica = 'historical novel', música clásica = 'classical music', coche deportivo = 'sports car', título universitario = 'university degree'.

Note that English often uses a noun as an adjective to classify another noun; this is never possible in Spanish ['table wine' = vino de mesa, 'school year' = año escolar]. Spanish must use de-phrase or a specific adjective [escolar].




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Popular Phrase: writing spanish sentences | Telling Time in Spanish | Conjugated Verb: citar - to cite, to quote, to mention [ click for full conjugation ]