Adjective-Noun Agreement in Spanish

Adjective Agreement
Here are some common adjectives to describe people in Spanish:

aburrido/a = boring
inteligente = intelligent
activo/a = active
moreno/a = dark-haired
alto/a = tall
pelirrojo/a = red-headed
antipático/a = mean
perezoso/a = lazy
atlético/a = athletic
bajo/a = short
rubio/a = blonde
bonito/a = pretty
serio/a = serious
cómico/a = funny
simpático/a = nice, friendly
extrovertido/a = outgoing
tímido/a = shy
tonto/a = silly, foolish
guapo/a = attractive
trabajador(a) = hard working
hablador(a) = talkative
intellectual = intellectual
feliz = happy

You may have noticed the o/a or the (a) at the end of some of these adjectives. Those notes mean that the word changes to match the noun it is modifying. In Spanish, all adjectives must agree with the nouns that they modify in terms of gender and number.

Gender means masculine or feminine. If you are describing people, this (usually) matches up to the gender of the person you are describing, so it is easy to know if you should use the masculine or feminine forms. For other nouns, you need to memorize the gender of the word just like you need to learn the meaning and the spelling. This is something that is difficult in Spanish, but you'll start to recognize patterns, like the fact that most nouns that end in -o are masculine, and -a are feminine.

Number means singular (one item or person) or plural (more than one). English grammar makes the same distinction for nouns. In Spanish, you have to change adjectives to make them plural, as well.

In general, you can make adjectives agree with the nouns they modify by making these changes depending on the ending of the adjective.

adjective endingmasculine singularmasculine pluralfeminine singularfeminine plural
-o-o (no change)-os-a-as
-e-e (no change)-es-e (no change)-es
-or-or (no change)-ores-ora-oras
-z-z (no change)-ces-z (no change)-ces
-l (or any other consonant)-l (no change)-les-l (no change)-les

Raúlesguapo. [Raúl is handsome.]
Elena espelirroja.[Elena is red-headed.]
Raúl y Elena sonsimpáticos. [Raúl and Elena are nice.]
Las muchachas son tímidas. [The girls are shy.]
Los profesoressonintelectuales.[The profesors are intellectual.]
Ana esinteligente. [Ana is intelligent.]
Nosotrossomostrabajadores. [We are hard-working.]

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