Unit 4.1

Types of Adjectives

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Introduction

The adjective [adjetivo] modifies the noun, indicating its characteristics or qualities.

There are two kinds of adjectives: qualifying adjectives and relational adjectives.

Form

Adjectives agree in gender and number with the nouns they accompany.

Two kinds of adjectives attribute different types of characteristics to the noun: qualifying and relational.

Qualifying adjectives

Qualifying adjectives are adjectives that indicate qualities or properties of the noun. These are their characteristics:

  • they fulfill the functions of noun complement (el libro interesante) and attribute (el libro es interesante).
  • they are placed behind or in front of the noun. We put them in front of the noun when we want to emphasize the quality they point out;
  • they can be graduatedun libro muy interesante;
  • Qualifying adjectives cannot combine with possessive pronouns: *mi interesante. 

Relational adjectives

Relational adjectives specify the field or category to which the noun belongs and are characterized by the formula «belonging or relating to » (e.g., crisis económica). These are their characteristics:

  • they provide the answer to the question «¿De qué tipo?»;
  • they are always placed after the noun;
  • they are not gradable*crisis muy económica;
  • one of the subgroups of relational adjectives is the gentilic adjectives, which indicate a person’s relationship to a geographical place (especially his or her nationality): españolinglésitalianojaponés, madrileño, barcelonés

Example

Qualifying adjectives:

  • Es una chica sociable;
  • El perro es muy simpático;
  • El alegre danzarín brincaba sin parar.

Relational adjectives:

  • No hay papel higiénico en la tienda;
  • Creo que ha acabado la crisis sanitaria;
  • El clima español es caluroso.

Use

The adjective is used to: add information to a noun, describe the attributes of a noun and modify the noun, indicating its characteristics or qualities In the same way:

  • qualifying adjectives are used to attribute a quality or property to the noun;
  • relational adjectives are used to relate the noun to a domain or category.

Summary

The adjective modifies the noun, indicating its characteristics or qualities. In Spanish, there are two kinds of adjectives: qualifying adjectives and relational adjectives.

For example:

—«Mi DNI es español». = The adjective that expresses a quality of the DNI;

—«He encontrado un DNI español».=The adjective represents a relationship between the DNI and other DNI-s.

Check the contents of the {Form} section. Then move on to the {Example} section, which shows you the usage in context.

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