Spanish Visual Dictionary For Dummies
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Dropping demonstrative adjectives into your Spanish vocabulary will help you express exactly what or whom you’re seeking. But first, you need to understand what demonstrative adjectives stand for and how they translate in Spanish. Then you’ll be ready to absorb the basics of their usage.

Demonstrative adjectives indicate or point out the person, place, or thing to which a speaker is referring. For instance, “this shirt” or “that pair of pants.” They precede and agree in number and gender with the nouns they modify. In Spanish, you select the demonstrative adjective according to the distance of the noun from the speaker. The following table presents demonstrative adjectives and addresses this distance issue.

Spanish Demonstrative Adjectives

Number Masculine Feminine Meaning Distance
Singular/Plural este/estos esta/estas this/these Near to or directly concerned with speaker
Singular/Plural ese/esos esa/esas that/those Not particularly near to or directly concerned with speaker
Singular/Plural aquel/aquellos aquella/aquellas that/those Far from and not directly concerned with speaker

The following list shows these demonstrative adjectives in action:

  • Estos pantalones son cortos y esta camisa es larga. (These pants are short and this shirt is large.)

  • Tengo que hablar con esa muchacha y esos muchachos ahí. (I have to speak to that girl and those boys there.)

  • Aquellos países son grandes y aquellas ciudades son pequeñas. (Those countries are large and those cities are small.)

Here’s what you need to know about demonstrative adjectives in Spanish:

  • You use them before each noun:

    este abogado y ese cliente (this lawyer and that client)

  • You can use adverbs to reinforce location:

    esta casa aquí (this house here)

    esas casas ahí (those houses there)

    aquella casa allá (that house over there)

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