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Demonstrative adjectives in Spanish

Demonstrative adjectives are used to point out and distinguish objects.  In English there are the singular demonstratives, this and that, and the plural equivalents, these and those.

Spanish, on the other hand, has three sets of demonstrative adjectives, which vary by gender and number, giving us 12 in all.  The can be seen in the lists below.

 

Singular masculine:                                                        Plural masculine:

este    (this)                                                                         estos (these)

ese     (that)                                                                         esos   (those)

aquel   (that over there)                                                       aquellos (those over there)

Singular feminine:                                                          Plural feminine:

esta (this)                                                                            estas (these)

esa    (that)                                                                          esas  (those)

aquella  (that over there)                                                     aquellas (those over there)

 

Demonstrative adjectives in Spanish must agree in gender and number with the noun they modify.

 

  • Ella va a comprar ese carro.  
  •      She is going to buy that car.
  • Prefiero aquellos libros.  
  •      I prefer those (farther away) books.
  • Uso esa computadora.  
  •      I’m using that computer.
  • Me gustan estas novelas.  
  •      I like these novels.

 

While ese and aquel (and their related forms) can both be translated as that in English, they cannot be used the same in Spanish. Ese forms refer to things that are nearer to the speaker either in physical distance or time.  Aquel forms are used to point out that which is relatively farther away.

 

  • Me gusta esa guitarra.  
  •      I like that guitar
  • Me gusta aquella guitarra.  
  •      I like that guitar over there.

Demonstrative adjectives are repeated before each noun in a series.

 

  • Ella quiere comprar ese suéter y estos pantalones.  
  •      She wants to buy that sweater and these pants.

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