Unit 4.2

Adjective Gradability

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Introduction

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

There are three degrees of the adjective [grados del adjectivo]: positive, superlative (absolute or relative), and comparative (of superiority, equality, inferiority, and the most frequent Latin cult comparatives).

Form

The positive and  absolute superlative degrees are formed differently.

Positive degree

  • The positive degree has no modifiers: alto, hermoso, triste, etc.

Absolute superlative degree

  • The absolute superlative degree is used with the adverb muy: muy alto, muy hermoso, muy triste, etc.

Example

  • Tiene unos hermosos ojos pequeños;
  • Lleva un largo bigote;
  • Sus modernas gafas brillan en la oscuridad;
  • Sus pequeños ojos son muy hermosos;
  • El bigote que lleva es muy largo;
  • Esas gafas que brillan en la oscuridad son muy modernas.

Use

The adjective is used to add information to a noun, describing the attributes of a noun, and modify the noun, indicating its characteristics or qualities.

The positive and absolute superlative degrees are used for different purposes:

  • the positive degree is used to express the quality of the noun neutrally;
  • the absolute superlative degree is used to express a very high degree of quality of the noun without comparing it.

Summary

Adjectives indicate characteristics of nouns. In Spanish, there are three degrees of the adjective: positive, superlative (absolute or relative) and comparative (of superiority, equality, inferiority and the most frequent Latin cult comparatives).

  • The positive degree is used to express a quality of the noun in a neutral form;
  • The absolute superative degree is used to express a very high degree of a noun quality without comparison.

The positive degree has no modifiers; The absolute superative degree is used with the adverb muy.

For example:

—«Mi pelo largo». = expresses a quality “largo” of the “pelo” in a neutral form;

—«Mi pelo es muy largo». = expresses a very high quality “largo” of the “pelo”.

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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