. 9
( 16)


Fui al encuentro suyo I went to meet him/her/them/you
en m´ alrededor
± around me
v When used with the neuter lo, m´o, tuyo etc., have the value of what is mine/yours,

Lo m´o es la cocina
± The kitchen is my domain
D´jame en paz, que yo ando a lo m´o
e ± Leave me in peace and I™ll do my own thing
Haz lo tuyo y estar´ s contento
a Do your own thing and you™ll be happy
vi When used in the plural, the possessive is frequently used to refer to the family as a

Me esperan los m´os para la cena de Navidad
± My family are expecting me for a Christmas
Eve meal
vii A very popular use of m´o, etc., replacing m´, etc., unacceptable for purists, is the
± ±
following construction where the preposition de disappears, and is not to be copied
in writing:

delante tuyo instead of delante de ti = in front of you
enfrente m´o instead of enfrente de m´ = opposite me
± ±
a trav´ s m´o instead of a trav´ s de m´ = through me
e ± e ±

viii This construction is not far from the perfectly acceptable
de parte m´a
± on my behalf
en favor nuestro in our favor
a costa suya to your/his/her/their cost
Mir´ en torno m´o
e ± I looked around me

2.2 Further treatment of relative pronouns
i As que governed by a preposition is not applied to persons, quien, who, is used in its

18 Possessive/relative/interrogative pronouns

el hombre con quien platiqu´ (M) / habl´ ayer
e e the man to whom I spoke yesterday
la chica a quien te referiste the girl to whom you referred
los pol´ticos de quienes no me f´o
± ± the politicians I don™t trust

ii A peculiarity of quien, either as subject or object, is that it may include its
antecedent. It therefore corresponds to he who or those who:

Quien no sabe esto es francamante ignorante Anyone who doesn™t know this is frankly
La culpa no fue suya sino de quien se lo aconsej´
o The blame was not hers but of the person
who advised her (to do it)
Hay quien cree que esto es f´ cil
a There are those who think this is easy
Quien no aventura no gana Nothing ventured nothing gained
Quien paga manda He who pays the piper calls the tune

iii The last two examples in this list illustrate how widespread this construction is. There
are innumerable sayings which start with Quien . . .

2.3 Use of lo que
Lo que is used as a relative pronoun when it refers to an idea or a statement which
is expressed by the previous clause. Its closest equivalent in English is that which
although this does not always ¬t the Spanish. The following examples will illustrate this

Dijo que no ir´a, lo que me enoj´ (M) / enfad´
± o o He said he wouldn™t come, which angered
Pas´ todo su tiempo estudiando, lo que la ayud´ a
o o She spent all her time studying, which
aprobar sus ex´ menes
a helped her to get through her
Lo que no acabo de entender es su negativa a mandar What I fail to understand is her refusal to
la tarjeta send the card

2.4 Use of Que in exclamations
i The use of que in exclamations with the meaning of What (a)! occurs before an
adverb, or an adjective. It corresponds to the English How!

¡Qu´ bien / bueno (M)!
e How splendid!
¡Qu´ lujo!
e What luxury!
¡Qu´ suerte!
e What luck!
¡Qu´ vista encantadora!
e What a lovely sight!
¡Qu´ bien habla!
e How well she speaks!
¡Qu´ feliz eres t´ !
e u How happy you are!


ii Greater emphasis or vivacity is imparted by the interpolation of mas (more) or tan
(so) between an adjective and a noun preceded by que: ´

¡Qu´ programa m´ s malo!
e a What a bad program!
¡Qu´ partido m´ s aburrido!
e a What a boring game!
¡Qu´ lugar tan bonito!
e What a lovely spot!

Exercises Level 2
i Cambia como en el ejemplo
el derecho ( ) (yo) > el derecho m´o
a Fueron en busca ( ) (yo)
b Hablaron con la familia ( ) (nosotros)
c Compraron los dibujos ( ) (vosotros)
d Vendieron los discos ( ) (t´ )
e ¿Has comprado los boletos (M) ( ) ? (ellos)
f Pint´ las bicicletas ( ) (ellas)
g Todav´a no he encontrado los zapatos ( ) (yo)
h Se le rompi´ la m´ quina ( ) (nosotros)
o a

ii Usa la forma correcta de quien/quien con la preposicion que convenga si es necesaria
´ ´

¿( ) escribiste la tarjeta? > ¿A qui´ n escribiste la tarjeta?
a ¿( ) jugaron f´ tbol (M)?
u g ¿( ) ¬rmaste el contrato?
b ¿( ) escribiste al banco? h Los muchachos ( ) diste el regalo
c la se˜ ora ( ) te habl´
n e i ¿( ) es este bol´grafo?
d Las mujeres ( ) trabajaba j ¿Te referiste ( ) esta tarde?
e Las personas ( ) visit´ e k ¿( ) fuiste al partido?
f ( ) le echan la culpa est´ n equivocados
a l No me f´o ( ) lo critique

iii Pon las siguientes frases en su orden correcto (una coma puede ser util en varias
frases, y en una frase, hace falta un acento escrito, entonces haz trabajo de

opera que encanta la ir lo es me a > Lo que me encanta es ir a la opera
´ ´
a dijo extra˜ o que tu hermano lo me

b que estudi´ lo aprobar a ayud´ el examen mucho me
e o
c chofer (M) que loco manejaba (M) cami´ n (M) como el lo miedo dio el me mucho
d permitido s´ que est´ lo
e a
e hice lo aconsej´ que me
f quiere que le pregunta lo

iv Actividad para toda la clase
Objetivo “ practicar el uso del pronombre posesivo
M´ todo “ aplicar el mismo m´ todo que el de arriba (nivel 1, ejercicio viii)
e e

18 Possessive/relative/interrogative pronouns

Dos miembros de la clase se dirigen la palabra el uno al otro, usando m´o y tuyo. Despu´ s,
± e
toda la clase repite el nombre posesivo que le corresponde a ella (nuestro). Despu´ s, la
clase se dirige a los dos primeros.
Miembro A dice: “Este libro es (m´o).” Miembro B dice: “Este libro es (tuyo).” La
clase dice: “Este libro es (nuestro).” La clase dice tambi´ n: “Este libro es (suyo).”
A: Esta casa es m´a
B: Esta casa es tuya
La clase: Esta casa es nuestra
La clase: Esta casa es suya (his/hers/theirs/yours)
A: Este cuaderno es m´o
B: Este cuaderno es tuyo
La clase: Este cuaderno es nuestro
La clase: Este cuaderno es suyo
A: Estas bolsas son m´as
B: Estas bolsas son tuyas
La clase: Estas bolsas son nuestras
La clase: Estas bolsas son suyas
Use the following nouns: computadora (M), ordenador, mesa, bicicleta, peri´ dico, o
guitarra, piano, ¬‚auta, plato, taza, vestido, chamarra (M), chaqueta, zapato, corbata.

Unit 19 (Unidad 19)
Inde¬nite pronouns (Los pronombres

(See also unit 26 on negation where there is an overlap.)

Level 1
1.1 Inde¬nite pronouns (Los pronombres inde¬nidos)
1.2 Inde¬nite negative pronouns (Pronombres inde¬nidos negativos)

1.1 Inde¬nite pronouns
i There are a number of words of miscellaneous nature which are called inde¬nite
pronouns. They are to some extent of a hybrid character since some of them may be
used in more than one way. The following words, which never designate any
particular person or thing, are regarded as inde¬nite pronouns, since there is nothing
precise about them:
alguien nadie
somebody, anybody nobody, not anybody
alguno ninguno
some, any none, not any
algo nada
something, anything nothing, not anything
Alguien, algo and their opposites nadie and nada are invariable in form, have no
plural and are only used absolutely, i.e. they stand alone and do not qualify nouns
whereas alguno and ninguno can.
ii Alguien applies only to persons. It may be preceded by any preposition, and, since it
denotes a person, it requires the personal a (see unit 22 on the personal a) when it is
a direct object:
Alguien viene / llama a la puerta Someone™s coming / knocking at the door
¿Vas de vacaciones con alguien? Are you going on vacation with someone?
¿Busca Ud. a alguien? Are you looking for someone?
¿Ves a alguien? Can you see someone/anybody?
iii Algo applies only to things. It may be used before an adjective just like something or
anything is in English:
¿Est´ s buscando algo?
a Are you looking for something?
Ven algo en la televisi´n
o They see something on the television
Algo sucede en aquel lugar Something is happening in that place
Sirve algo de vino pero muy poco He serves a drop of wine but not much
Toca algo el piano She plays the piano a little

19 Inde¬nite pronouns

iv An adjective following algo is often preceded by de:

Tiene algo de tonto He™s got something dumb about him
Tiene algo de morri˜ a
n She™s a bit homesick
v Algo is used as an adverb before adjectives or other adverbs in the sense of
somewhat, rather:

La casa es algo oscura The house is somewhat dark
Este modelo es algo peque˜ o
n This model is somewhat small
vi Algo as´ is also commonly used to mean something like that = approximately

Tardar´ n cinco horas o algo as´
a ± They™ll be ¬ve hours or thereabouts
vii Alguno is used either alone or as an adjective, and applies to persons and things.
When referring to persons, it acts similarly to alguien. However, alguien is more
vague than alguno when the latter is used as a pronoun. Alguno denotes someone
already referred to. It varies like an adjective in -o. Before a masculine noun it
becomes algun. When it comes after a verb in the negative, it follows the noun:

Yo quiero salir, pero alguno pre¬ere quedarse en casa I want to go out, but someone (of us) prefers
to stay at home
S´lo quedan algunas chicos
o Only a few boys remain
Compro algunas sillas I buy a few chairs
D´jame alguna camisa
e Leave me a shirt (i.e. a shirt or other)
Puede ayudarte alg´ n vecino
u Some neighbor can help you
No hay taxi alguno There isn™t a single taxi
No hay motivo alguno para que te enfades There is no reason for you to get angry
viii Alguno, when referring to things, has the meaning of some, any or a few.
It is omitted on occasions when in English some, for example, is used.
Voy a vender algunas de mis gallinas I™m going to sell some of my chickens
Quieren comprar algunos timbres (M) / sellos They want to buy a few stamps
Yo tambi´n quiero comprar algunos
e I want to buy some as well
“¿Tienes golosinas?” “S´, tengo”
± “Have you got any candies/sweets?” “Yes, I
have some / do”

1.2 Inde¬nite negative pronouns
i Nadie, ninguno and nada are, of course, negatives. When they come before the verb,
they do not require no, but when they come after, they do require a no before the
verb. (See also unit 26 on negation.) Ninguno becomes ningun before a masculine

Nadie sabe la verdad No one knows the truth
Nadie viene hoy No one comes today
No viene nadie hoy No one is coming today
No contesta nadie No one answers
Ninguno de nuestros amigos viene None of our friends are coming


No viene ninguno de nuestros amigos None of our friends are coming
Nada le satisface Nothing satis¬es him
No le satisface nada Nothing satis¬es him
No veo ning´ n problema
u I can see no problem

Note that these negative pronouns are singular. See the above examples with ninguno, and
their English translation.

ii When nadie or ninguno are objects of a verb, or when ninguno is an adjective
describing a person the personal a is used (see unit 22.2.6. on the personal a):

No veo a nadie I can™t see anyone
No hallamos (M) / encontramos a nadie We can ¬nd no one
No veo a ninguno de nuestros amigos I see none of our friends

iii Nadie and nada can stand by themselves, like no one and nothing in English:

“¿Qui´n llama?” “Nadie”
e “Who™s calling?” “No one”
“¿Qu´ cuentas?” “Nada”
e “What have you got to say?” “Nothing”

Exercises Level 1
i Change the feminine noun to a masculine noun. Choose any masculine noun you like
No tengo ninguna taza > No tengo ning´ n plato
a No conocemos a ninguna actriz
b No necesito ninguna pluma
c No tengo ninguna hija
d No llaman a ninguna estudiante
e No hallo (M) / encuentro ninguna bolsa
f No tengo ninguna amiga
g No veo ninguna foto
h No te presto ninguna blusa

ii Change the sentence into the negative
S´ algo de franc´ s > No s´ nada de franc´ s
e e e e
a Estudiamos un poco de ruso d S´ algo de qu´mica
e ±
b Hablo algo de alem´ n
a e Tienen algo de prisa
c Tenemos algo de sed f Necesito algo de pan

iii Change into the negative
Necesitamos algunos bollos > No necesitamos ning´ n bollo
a Veo a alguien e Quiero algunos libros
b Van a comprar algunos f ¿Necesitas a alguien?
c ¿Quieres algo? g Estudio varias asignaturas
d Viene alguien h Sabemos algo de chino

19 Inde¬nite pronouns

iv Change into the af¬rmative

No vienen ningunos alumnos hoy > Vienen algunos alumnos hoy
a No esperamos a nadie e La muchacha no pide nada
b Juan no necesita nada f No viene nadie
c No pregunta por tu direcci´ n nadie
o g No quieren nada
d No tienen ning´ n libro de texto
u h No tiene libro alguno
v Paired activity
Objective “ To use the positive and negative forms of inde¬nite pronouns
Method “ A asks questions of B in a positive form while B answers in a negative form
A: P R E G U N TA ¿Tienes algo?
B: R E S P U E S TA (No), no tengo nada
A: P R E G U N TA ¿Llama alguien?
B: R E S P U E S TA No llama nadie / Nadie llama
Use a variety of verbs like ver, contestar, saber, venir, hablar, usar, dejar, esperar,
comprar, vender, alquilar, rentar (M), conocer, encontrar, necesitar, querer
Level 2
2.1 Further treatment of pronouns (Mas detalles sobre los pronombres)
2.2 Use of the subjunctive when person unspeci¬ed (Uso del subjuntivo con una
persona indeterminada)
2.3 Use of cualquier (Uso de cualquier)
2.4 Further remarks on nadie and nada (Mas detalles sobre nadie y nada)

2.1 Further treatment of pronouns
There are some pronouns that have a general, non-speci¬c reference to other people, or
things and have a variety of forms:
el que los que
m. he who those who
la que las que
f. she who those who

“¿Qu´ pan quieres?” “El que tiene miel”
e “Which bread do you want?” “The one
with honey in it”
“¿Qu´ tren tomas?” “El que sale a las tres”
e “Which train will you catch?” “The one
that leaves at three”
El que llega primero recibir´ el premio
a The one who arrives ¬rst will get the prize
“¡Qu´ bonita falda!” “¿Cu´ l?” “La que est´ cerca
e a a “What a lovely skirt!” “Which one?” “The
de la ventana” one (which is) near the window”
“¿Cu´ les son tus hijas? ¿Las que est´ n paradas?”
a a “Who are your daughters? Those
(M) “No, las que est´ n sentadas”
a standing?” “No, those sitting down”
“¿Cu´ les sombreros compran?” “Los que est´ n en el
a a “Which hats are they buying?” “Those that
mercado” are in the market”


“¡Qu´ maravillosas casas!” “¿Cu´ les?” “Las que
e a “What marvelous houses!” “Which ones?”
est´ n detr´ s del bosque”
a a “The ones behind the wood”

2.2 Use of the subjunctive when person unspeci¬ed
i If there is a degree of uncertainty in the person or object referred to, it is quite likely
that the subjunctive will be used:

Los que aprueben el examen tendr´ n caramelos
a Those who pass the exam will get some
Las que terminen el trabajo antes de las cinco Those who ¬nish the work before ¬ve can
podr´ n regresar temprano
a go home early

ii Quien is a substitute for el que / la que, and quienes for los que / las que, but only
with respect to persons

Quien respeta a los mayores es muy cort´s
e He who respects older people is very

iii When speaking of people or things where possessions are referred to, el de / la de /
los de / las de are used:

La de la blusa roja est´ como un tren
a The girl with the red blouse is gorgeous
Los de la camiseta blanca tienen el mejor equipo Those with the white jerseys/shirts have the
best team
El carro de Jorge es m´ s peque˜ o que el de Adriana
a n Jorge™s car is smaller than Adriana™s

2.3 Use of cualquier
i Cualquiera and its plural cualesquiera (little used now) have the idea of any when
used as a pronoun or adjective. As a pronoun, it is often followed by de. Cualquier is
used before a noun but cualquiera is used if it is not followed directly by a noun

cualquier d´a; cualesquier estudios
± any day at all; any studies at all
un d´a/defecto/hombre cualquiera
± any day/defect/man
cualquiera de los barcos whichever/any one of the boats
Cualquiera puede hacerlo Anyone can do it
¿Se puede elegir cualquiera? Can you choose any one?

ii Cualquier/cualesquier are often followed by the subjunctive, given the uncertainty

Si ves cualquier incidente/hombre que te resulte If you notice any incident/man which/
sospechoso . . . who looks suspicious . . .
Cualesquiera que hayan sido sus motivos . . . Whatever her reasons may have been . . .

19 Inde¬nite pronouns

iii It can often suggest something of little value or quality, and corresponds to the
English any old

No me compr´ una camisa cualquiera
e I didn™t buy any old shirt
No eres un m´ sico cualquiera
u You™re not any old musician

2.4 Further remarks on nadie and nada
i After the prepositions sin = without and antes de = before, the negative forms nadie
and nada are used:

sin ver a nadie with our seeing anyone
antes de hacer nada before doing anything
sin decir nada without saying anything

ii Nada is also employed as an adverb with the meaning of not at all, by no means

Lo que dice no me convence nada What she says doesn™t convince me at all
No es nada evidente It™s not at all obvious

iii The inde¬nite pronoun uno/a corresponding to the English one is used in formal
Spanish. It is little used, if at all, in colloquial speech, and is replaced by the second
person pronoun tu. This use of tu is very common, as in the last example
´ ´

¡Qu´ bueno cuando le dicen a uno que es guapo!
e How splendid when they tell you you™re
No me interesa en absoluto cuando le dicen a una It doesn™t interest me at all when they say to
que se puede convertir en una modelo you you could become a model
T´ entras, te dan un regalo, te hacen todos los
u You go in, they give you a present, do you all
favores del mundo . . . the favors imaginable . . .

Exercises Level 2
i Completa las siguientes frases con el que, la que, los que, las que

“¿Cu´ l es tu corbata?” “( ) est´ en el sill´ n” > “La que est´ en el sill´ n”
a a o a o
a “¿Qu´ pulsera pre¬eres?” “( ) vimos ayer”
b “¿Qu´ disco eliges?” “( ) o´mos esta ma˜ ana”
e ± n
c “¿Son estos tus calcetines?” “No. Son ( ) est´ n en el caj´ n”
´ a o
d “¿Vives en qu´ colonia? (M)” “En ( ) est´ cerca de la plaza”
e a
e “¿Qu´ regalo le diste a tu hermano?” “( ) compr´ contigo”
e e
f “¿Cu´ les son tus hermanas?” “( ) est´ n paradas”
a a
g “Cu´ les son las tradiciones m´ s interesantes?” “( ) tienen los aztecas”
a a
h “¿Es esta tu guitarra?” “No. Es ( ) tiene las cuerdas rotas”
i Soy yo ( ) ha de decidir
j Es mi prima ( ) acaba de llegar


ii Rellena los blancos / Llena los espacios (M) con cualquier, cualquiera, cualesquiera,

Puedes elegir ( ) libro > Puedes elegir cualquier libro
a ( ) camisa me conviene
b Me apetece ( ) de estos platos
c Se parece a ( ) calle de Madrid
d Puedes regresar en ( ) momento y a ( ) hora
e “¿Cu´ les libros pre¬eres?” “Me contento con ( )”
f No es una cantante ( )
g ( ) otro se hubiera negado a ir
h ( ) te ayudar´a
i Este arquitecto no es un ( ) dentro de su profesi´ n
j Acepto ( ) de los dos regalos
k ( ) se acostumbra a todo
l Ser´a feliz en ( ) lugar

Unit 20 (Unidad 20)
Demonstrative adjectives and
pronouns (Los adjetivos y
pronombres demostrativos)

Level 1
1.1 Demonstrative adjectives (Adjetivos demostrativos)
1.2 Demonstrative pronouns (Pronombres demostrativos)
1.3 Este and aquel = the latter and the former
´ ´
1.4 Neuter pronouns (Pronombres neutros)

1.1 Demonstrative adjectives
i There are three demonstrative adjectives in Spanish. They correspond to the English
this, these, that and those. They agree with the noun to which they relate, in the
same manner as adjectives:

m. f. neuter
este esta esto this
ese esa eso
sing. that (near you)
aquel aquella aquello that (further away)
estos estas “ these
esos esas
plur. “ those (near you)
aquellos aquellas “ those (further away)

ii Este denotes what is close by, or associated with, the speaker. Ese relates to the thing
that is close to the person addressed and not far from the speaker or addressee.
Aquel is far or remote from both. They precede the nouns to which they belong.
However, they can follow the noun (see level 2.1).

este timbre (M) / sello que tengo aqu´
± this stamp I have here
Esta rec´ mara (M) / habitaci´n est´ sucia
a o a This (bed)room is dirty
Estos sobres no tienen timbres (M) / sellos These envelopes don™t have stamps
Estas papas (M) / patatas est´ n buenas
a These potatoes are nice
Ese coche all´ es de mi pap´ (M) / padre
± a That car there is my father™s
Esa casa enfrente se vende That house opposite is for sale
Esos arboles est´ n en ¬‚or
´ a Those trees are in blossom


Esas chicas viven muy cerca Those girls live close by
aquel parque al otro lado del pueblo that park on the other side of the town
aquella pel´cula que vamos a ver
± that movie we are going to see
aquellos barcos que salen hoy those boats that leave today
aquellas monta˜ as que escaladamos
n those mountains we climb
iii With reference to time, este refers logically to the present, ese to a period relatively
near, while aquel applies to a remote period:
en este momento at this moment
durante ese a˜ o
n during that year
aquella ´poca en que Cort´s . . .
e e that period when Cortes . . .

1.2 Demonstrative pronouns
i Este, esta, ese, esa, aquel, aquella, etc., are often used in comparisons as in:
´ ´ ´ ´ ´
Este muchacho es m´ s abusado (M) / listo que ´se
a e This boy is cleverer than that one
Estas novelas son m´ s interesantes que aqu´llas
a e These novels are more interesting than those
ii As pronouns, the above forms may or may not have a written accent. There is no
strict rule on this feature. It is argued that accents on pronouns avoid ambiguity.
However, ambiguity is extremely rare. At the same time, the Spanish Academy
considers omission of the written accent permissible, but the Spanish newspaper El
Pa´s, for instance, does not allow this omission. Furthermore, careful writers do seem
to censure its absence. So, it seems wiser to use it.

Este (este coche) es m´ s caro que aqu´l
a e This one (this car) is more expensive than
that one
Ese es un autor de primera categor´a
± That is a ¬rst-class author
Aqu´lla es una ´poca fabulosa
e e That is a fabulous period
Pre¬ero aqu´llas en el escaparate
e I prefer those in the store window

1.3 Este and aquel = the latter and the former
´ ´
A further difference between este and its variants, and aqu´ l and its variants is that
este, etc., has the value of the latter, while aqu´ l has the value of the former:
Hay una lucha entre los aztecas y los There is a struggle between the Aztecs
espa˜ oles. Estos tienen ca˜ ones en tanto aqu´llos . . .
n n e and the Spaniards. The latter have cannons
while the former . . .

1.4 Neuter pronouns
The neuter pronoun forms, esto, eso and aquello are also used but only absolutely:
that is to say, they are never found associated with nouns. They do not refer to anything
speci¬c, persons or things. They apply to statements and abstract ideas:

20 Demonstrative adjectives and pronouns

¿Lees esto? Do you read this?
Eso es That™s it
Eso me parece incre´ble
± That seems incredible to me
Aquello del vecino que pierde . . . That business of the neighbor who loses . . .
¿Puedes solucionar aquello de tu padre? ¿Can you sort out your father™s trouble/

Eso may be substituted for aquello in the last two examples.

Ejercicios Level 1
i Change the de¬nite article to the correct demonstrative adjective e.g. este, esta,
estos, estas (there may be more than one solution)

Mi primo quiere comprar las corbatas de ante > Mi primo quiere comprar estas
corbatas de ante
a Compro los peri´ dicos en el quiosco
b Manuel va a comprar las naranjas
c El hombre olvida los boletos (M) / billetes
d Los lentes (M) que hallo son de Jorge
e Las gafas que encuentro son de Juan
f Los j´ venes juegan f´ tbol (M) / al f´ tbol
o u u
g Hay que recoger a Mar´a en la estaci´ n
± o
h Los aviones nuevos son muy c´ modos
i El viaje de Barcelona a Valencia es muy c´ modo
j Las fotos de Oaxaca son muy interesantes

ii Change the demonstrative adjectives este, etc., to ese, esa, esos, esas

Ha recibido esta carta de su hermana > Ha recibido esa carta de su hermana
a Saqu´ estas fotos en M´ laga
e a
b Estas naranjas son bastante caras
c ¿Pasa este tren por C´ rdoba?
d Esta lecci´ n es muy f´ cil
o a
e Me pregunto qu´ hay en este paquete
f Voy a venderle los relojes a este cliente

iii Complete the following with aquel, aquella, etc., as in the example
´ ´
No quieren estas manzanas, sino ( ) > . . . sino aqu´ llas
a No quieren este chocolate, sino ( )
b No quiero estos sillones, sino ( )
c No pre¬ero este carro (M) / coche, sino ( )
d No me gusta esta alfombra, sino ( )
e No comprar´ este disco, sino ( )
f No pre¬ero estas macetas, sino ( )


iv Complete the following with este, esta, etc
´ ´

Aquella computadora (M) es m´ s r´ pida que ( ) > . . . que esta
aa ´
a Ese ordenador es m´ s caro que ( )
b Aquella lavadora es m´ s e¬ciente que ( )
c Aquel cami´ n (M) es m´ s lento que ( )
o a
d Esos mapas son m´ s detallados que ( )
e Aquellas ¬‚ores no son tan bonitas como ( )
f Esos sillones son m´ s c´ modos que ( )
v Paired activity
Objective “ To use the demonstrative adjective with a noun, and then to refer to the
noun with a demonstrative pronoun
Method “ A asks B if (s)he can use/see, etc., “este objeto” = “this object.” B says “No” but
that A can use, etc., “´se/aqu´l” = “that object,” or B can see “that object” = ´se/aqu´l
e e e e

P R E G U N TA : ¿Puedo usar este libro?
R E S P U E S TA : No, pero puedes usar ese/aqu´ l
´ e
P R E G U N TA : ¿Entiendes a este autor?
R E S P U E S TA : No, pero entiendo a ese/aqu´ l
´ e
P R E G U N TA : ¿Necesitas estos papeles?
R E S P U E S TA : No, pero necesito esos/aqu´ llos
´ e

Use the following combinations of verbs + nouns, or invent your own (by
unit 20 you are doubtless able to do this):
abrir ventana, cerrar puerta, ver al chico, comprar ¬‚ores, leer peri´ dico, hacer cama,
lavar pantal´ n, limpiar el carro, entender chiste, dibujar ¬‚orero, leer libro, querer
Level 2
2.1 Demonstrative adjectives after the noun (Adjetivos demostrativos que siguen
al nombre)
2.2 Uses of the pronoun el (Usos del pronombre el )

2.1 Demonstrative adjectives after the noun
The adjectival este, ese and aquel and their variants may come after the noun. In these
cases, they frequently, but not always, suggest a pejorative or ironic touch.

La carretera esa es muy peligrosa That road is very dangerous
El chico aquel nunca estudia That boy never studies
La lavadora esta funciona fatal, es un cacharro This washing machine is hopeless, it™s a
piece of junk
la taimada esa that sly so and so

20 Demonstrative adjectives and pronouns

2.2 Uses of the pronoun el
i El, in its several forms, when used as a pronoun, does not accompany a noun, but
serves to avoid the repetition of one; it is equivalent to the English that, those, the
one, the ones, referring to something already mentioned or understood:

Compr´ mi computadora (M) y la que tiene mi hija
e I bought my computer and the one my
daughter has / my daughter™s
Me gusta mi ordenador y el que compraste I like my computer and the one you bought
Romp´ la pluma (M) m´a y la de mi cuate (M) /
± ± I broke my pen and that of my friend / my
amigo friend™s
Son muy bonitas las plantas en el jard´n y las de al
± The plants in the yard/garden and those at
lado the side are very attractive

ii When a relative pronoun follows, el, los, la, las are used instead of the personal
pronouns el, los, la and las:

El que habl´ ayer es colombiano
o The one who spoke yesterday is Colombian
La que nos encontramos es muy rica The one we met is very rich
Los que murieron eran canadienses Those who died were Canadians
Las que te ayudaron son muy majas Those who helped you are very nice

iii But when the relative following is governed by a preposition, aquel is more usual as
an antecedent than el, when referring to persons:

Aqu´lla a quien he dado el regalo . . .
e The person / She to whom I gave the
present . . .
Aqu´llos con quienes discutiste . . .
e Those with whom you had an argument . . .

Exercises Level 2
i Cambia ese, esa, etc., a el, la, etc. + noun + ese, esa, etc., como en el ejemplo
Esa carretera es muy ancha > La carretera esa es muy ancha
a Esos libros son muy pesados
b Esta cocina est´ muy sucia
c Ese ordenador no funciona bien
d Estas sillas est´ n casi todas rotas
e ¿Qu´ vas a hacer con estas plantas?
f ¿Por qu´ tiraste esos botes?
g Esa computadora (M) soluciona todos los problemas
h No com´ ese plato por que no ten´a sabor
± ±

ii Completa con el, la, los, las como en el ejemplo
Mis amigos y ( ) de Juan fueron al teatro > Mis amigos y los de Juan fueron al teatro
a El auto (M) de Ana y ( ) de Guillermo est´ n en el garage (M) / garaje
b Los cuadernos m´os y ( ) de mi prima est´ n estropeados
± a
c Mi radio (M) y ( ) de mi primo son nuevos


d Mi radio y ( ) de mi sobrina son caras
e Le di a mi amigo mi toalla y ( ) de Jes´ s
f Pre¬ero mi departamento (M) a ( ) de Armando
g ¿Qu´ vas a hacer con mi bicicleta y ( ) de Carlos?
h No me convencen las ideas de Pedro y ( ) de Roberto

Unit 21 (Unidad 21)
Adjectives (Los adjetivos)

Level 1
1.1 Agreement of adjectives (Concordancia de adjetivos)
1.2 Apocopation (shortened form) (Apocope)
1.3 Position of adjectives (Posicion / Ubicacion (M) de adjetivos)
´ ´

1.1 Agreement of adjectives
Adjectives in Spanish, like the de¬nite and inde¬nite articles, vary in form to indicate
gender and number, taking those of the nouns to which they relate. This is called agreeing
with the noun. There are a few rare exceptions.
Adjectives form their plurals in both genders in the same way as nouns. The distinction
of gender depends upon the following two principles:
i The greater number of adjectives end in o in the masculine, and a in the feminine
singular, and they both take s in the plural:

fresco, fresca, frescos, frescas fresh, cool
blanco, blanca, blancos, blancas white
negro, negra, negros, negras black

ii Those which do not end in o in the masculine singular have the same ending for both
genders, and the plurals are the same for both genders:

cort´s, corteses
e dulce, dulces
courteous, polite sweet
suave, suaves util, utiles
soft, gentle, smooth useful
belga, belgas azteca, aztecas
Belgian aztec

iii Adjectives which end in a consonant, and signify nationality, add a in the feminine:

ingl´s, inglesa
e franc´s, francesa
English French
alem´ n, alemana
a escoc´s, escocesa
German Scottish
holand´s, holandesa
e andaluz, andaluza
Dutch Andalusian

Notice that, quite logically, the feminine form does not take a written accent.
It also disappears in the plural of both masculine and feminine forms:
ingleses, alemanes, daneses, holandeses, franceses, escoceses, andaluces


iv Those ending in an or on add a to the feminine:
´ ´

holgaz´ n, holgazana
a lazy
pregunt´n, preguntona
o inquisitive
respond´n, respondona
o nervy, cheeky
Notice that, quite logically, the written accent disappears in the feminine form, and
that in the plural forms it also disappears: holgazanes/holgazanas, preguntones/preguntonas,
v Those ending in or and which do not have a comparative value (see unit 28 and [vi]
below) add a to the feminine:

emprendedor, emprendedora enterprising
hablador, habladora talkative
vi The plural forms are:

emprendedores/emprendedoras, habladores/habladoras
Such words having a comparative value are the same in both genders:
exterior/exteriores peor/peores
exterior worse
inferior/inferiores posterior/posteriores
inferior/lower later, following
mayor/mayores superior/superiores
bigger superior, uppity
mejor/mejores ulterior/ulteriores
better further, ulterior
menor/menores smaller
vii Adjectives of nationality are used to represent the language or native of the
country in question. In the latter case, they are considered as nouns. However, as
both adjectives and nouns, the initial letter is in lower case:

Hablo ingl´s/portugu´s/espa˜ ol
e e n I speak English/Portuguese/Spanish
Este se˜ or es italiano/mexicano
n This gentleman is Italian/Mexican
La venezolana habla franc´se The Venezuelan lady speaks French

1.2 Apocopation (shortened form)
i Six adjectives assume a shortened form when standing immediately before certain
nouns. This shortened form is called apocopation:

bueno grande
good big, great
malo santo
bad, naughty holy, saint
tercero primero
third ¬rst
Bueno, malo, primero and tercero lose the ¬nal o when immediately preceding any
masculine singular noun:
Tienes un buen carro (M) You have a good car
Hace buen tiempo It™s good weather
Este es un mal vino This is a bad wine
Hace mal tiempo It™s bad weather
estar de buen/mal humor to be in a good/bad mood

21 Adjectives

el primer hombre the ¬rst man
el tercer coche the third car
San Pedro Saint Peter
San Pablo Saint Paul

Exceptions: Santo Tom´ s “ Saint Thomas, Santo Domingo “ Saint Dominic
ii But, of course, in the feminine form we have:

una buena comida a good meal
una mala carretera a bad road
la primera p´ gina
a the ¬rst page
la tercera palabra the third word

iii Grande drops the ¬nal de when it precedes a noun, masculine or feminine:

un gran amigo/general a great friend/general
una gran casa/ciudad a big house/city
una gran victoria a great victory

However, grande becomes grandes before a plural noun:
los grandes almacenes the department store
los grandes bancos the big banks
las grandes actrices del cine the great movie actresses

1.3 Position of adjectives
(See also “Word order,” unit 29)
As far as the position of Spanish adjectives is concerned, they often follow the noun, but
this is far from clear. For all general purposes, it may be safely stated that the adjective does
follow the noun, at least in speech. You are referred also to level 2 for clari¬cation
on this matter. For our purposes here, the adjective follows the noun when it denotes a
physical quality (color, size, shape, strength) or nationality, or when nationality is referred
Examples where the adjective clearly follows the noun:
caf´ negro/americano
e black/weak coffee
un hombre de raza blanca a man of white race
Es una mujer alta She™s a tall woman
un hombre/vino fuerte a strong man/wine

There are many adjectives of an intermediate character which may be used either way,
the Spanish speaker being guided in their location by her/his own ideas on meaning, style,
stress and so on. (For the different values or meanings of certain adjectives
when placed before or after the noun see level 2.)

Exercises Level 1
i Replace the ¬rst noun by those in brackets and make the agreement with the


el carro rojo (casa/´ rboles) > la casa roja / los arboles rojos
a ´
a el sarape amarillo (poncho/faldas/bolsas/bolso/cuadernos/chaqueta)
b la blusa chica (cami´ n/guitarras/sarape/ni˜ os/alfombra)
o n
c las cortinas largas (pluma/calles/sarapes/regla/pintura/pasillos)
d la maceta grande (coches/perlas/vestidos/sala/c´ modas/´ rboles)
o a
e el jard´n rectangular (libro/alfombra/mesitas/radio/cuadernos)
f una toalla suave (pendiente/pelo/colores/car´ cter/garbanzos/temperaturas)
g un chico mexicano (chica/comida/bebidas/muchachos)
h la mejor temperatura (notas/carro/vacaciones/computadora)

ii Change the position of the adjective as in the example

Hacemos el ejercicio primero > Hacemos el primer ejercicio
a Pedro es un carpintero bueno f Juan es un actor bueno
b Estudio el libro tercero g Es una casa grande
c El doctor es un hombre grande h Quiero seguir el curso tercero
d Voy a asistir al curso primero i Es el martes primero del mes
e Pedro no es un alba˜ il malo
n j Arturo es un escritor malo

iii Put the words in their correct order

caf´ pre¬ero negro un > Pre¬ero un caf´ negro
e e
a atletas raza tiene negra la buenos
b blanco novia un la lleva vestido
c Mayor necesariamente mayor no calle Calle la es la
d vinos gustan me no fuertes los
e men´ un apetece italiano te men´ o un espa˜ ol?
u u n
f de verdes caen hojas las arboles los
g a puedo departamentos (M) / pisos no superiores subir los
h tacones le llevar gusta altos
i argentino el buen mejor mundo del es equipo un
j pa´s tiene sistema buen ¬nanciero este un

iv Paired activity (a)
Objective “ To make the adjective agree with the noun it quali¬es.
Method “ A says a noun and B quali¬es it with an adjective. The roles can be reversed.
The noun may be masculine or feminine or plural.

A: casa
B: blanca
B: ¬‚ores
A: azules
A: cortinas
B: verdes
Here are some nouns and adjectives that you may use:

21 Adjectives

Nouns: sarape (M), bolsa, regalo, cami´ n, canci´ n, ni˜ o, calle, avenida, carro, coche,
o o n
maceta, arbol, pelo, piel, carretera, monta˜ a, mar, playa, zapato, calcet´n, hombre
´ n ±
Adjectives: rojo, amarillo, blanco, negro, grande, peque˜ o, alto, bajo, americano, me-
xicano, espa˜ ol, ingl´ s, r´ pido, cansado, fuerte, c´ modo, dif´cil, f´ cil, largo, ancho
n ea o ± a
Class activity (b)
The class is divided into two groups (A and B). One member of the class asks the whole
class in quick succession which adjective could qualify a noun (s)he provides. The group
which calls out a correct adjective wins a point. The ¬rst group to ten wins the contest.
The member giving out the nouns may also use plural nouns, and those giving the answers
must offer an adjective correctly formed in the plural. Another class member keeps the
score (el tanteo) in Spanish and records each mark on the board. This member calls out
in Spanish: (El) equipo A/B (tiene) cero puntos / un punto / dos puntos / tres puntos, etc. Why
Spanish speakers say cero puntos, or cero grados* for that matter, is anyone™s guess. Please
tell the author if you can work it out. In the heat of battle, do not fail to observe accurate
*It™s just as illogical in English: zero points/degrees
Level 2
2.1 Invariable adjectives (Adjetivos invariables)
2.2 Adjectives used as adverbs (Adjetivos usados como adverbios)
2.3 Invariability of two adjectives together (Invariabilidad de dos adjetivos juntos)
2.4 Variability of the meaning of adjectives according to their position
´ ´ ´
(Variabilidad del sentido del adjetivo segun su posicion / ubicacion [M])
´ ´ ´
2.5 Location of two or more adjectives (Posicion / Ubicacion [M] de dos o mas
˜ ´
2.6 Nouns functioning like adjectives (Nombres que desempenan la funcion de
2.7 Lo + adjective (Lo + adjetivo)
2.8 El + adjective (El + adjetivo)

2.1 Invariable adjectives
A small number of adjectives are invariable. In other words, they do not change according
to gender or number. The reason is largely because they are not really adjectives but
nouns, or some other part of speech. The following is a short list of such adjectives:

escarlata scarlet
hembra female (used of animals)
hirviendo boiling
macho male (used of animals)
malva mauve
modelo model (suggesting perfection)
naranja orange
rosa pink
u taboo
violeta violet


un color escarlata a scarlet color
los elefantes / las ballenas hembra the female elephants/whales
la ballena macho the male whale
una soluci´n modelo
o a model solution (i.e. for this book)
tonos rosa pink tones

There is some uncertainty here. For example, soluciones modelos is perfectly accept-
able. (See compound nouns in unit 2, level 2, on nouns.)

2.2 Adjectives used as adverbs
i A good number of adjectives may be used as adverbs. Here is a short list:

Huele (oler) muy rico It smells very nice
Trabaja duro She works hard
hablar alto/bajo/claro/fuerte to speak loudly/softly/clearly/loudly
ver claro to see clearly
cenar fuerte to have a big evening meal
pegar fuerte to hit hard
jugar limpio to play clean
El viento sopla fuerte The wind is blowing hard

ii You will most certainly and frequently come across rapido and lento used as adverbs,
notably in speech. This is a practice not to be copied in your early stages.

Habla r´ pido (instead of rapidamente)
a He speaks quick(ly)
El tope (M) obliga a la gente a manejar lento The speed retarder forces people to drive
(instead of lentamente) slow(ly)

2.3 Invariability of two adjectives together
When two adjectives are together they become invariable. This is especially true of colors:
una falda azul p´ lido
a a pale blue skirt
ojos azul oscuro dark blue eyes
una chaqueta marr´n oscuro
o a dark brown jacket

2.4 Variability of the meaning of adjectives according to
their position
There are some adjectives which have a different meaning, according to whether they
precede or follow the noun. Generally speaking, the following adjective is invested with
a greater weight or strength than when it precedes the noun. (A fuller treatment of this
question appears in unit 29.1.4, on word order.) The following list offers some of the most
commonly found adjectives varying in meaning:

21 Adjectives

antiguo costumbres antiguas old customs
un antiguo profesor a former teacher
cierto indicios ciertos sure signs (i.e. de¬nite)
ciertas ideas certain ideas (i.e. some)
diferente cuatro hermanos diferentes four different brothers
diferentes ideas different/several ideas
distinto ideas distintas distinct ideas
distintas ideas various ideas
grande una casa grande a big house
un gran escritor a great writer
medio el hombre medio the average man
la clase media the middle class
el dedo medio the middle ¬nger
medio litro half a liter
nuevo una canci´n nueva
o a new song (just composed)
Compramos una nueva casa We buy a new (another) house
pobre un barrio pobre a poor district
¡Pobre hombre! Poor (unfortunate) man!
´ Es hija unica
´ She™s the only daughter/child
el unico problema
´ the only problem

2.5 Location of two or more adjectives
When two adjectives relate to one noun, each is located independently, according to its
own value; one may come before, one after, both before or both after. Generally speaking,
two adjectives qualifying a noun would come after, but this is by no means a hard and
fast rule (see unit 29 on word order).

Un artista pobre y desgraciado A poor, unfortunate artist
Tiene una capa negra y larga She has a long, black cape
una naci´n libre e independiente
o a free and independent nation
Tiene una casa peque˜ a y bonita
n He has a small, attractive house

2.6 Nouns functioning like adjectives
It should be remembered that, contrary to English, Spanish nouns do not function like
adjectives. That is the tradition. However, there is an ever-increasing number of nouns
attached to nouns which produce compound nouns. The second noun in these cases does
function like an adjective. (See unit 2 on compound nouns.)
To deal with the extremely common practice of two adjoining nouns in English, the
usual way in Spanish, as with all Romance languages, is to place the equivalent of of
between the two nouns, de in Spanish:

una bufanda de lana a woollen scarf
una casa de madera a wooden house
una estatua de bronce a bronze statue
una escalera de m´ rmol
a a marble staircase


2.7 Lo + adjective
A very common feature of Spanish is the use of lo with an adjective, for which there is
no equivalent in English. This construction has to be translated by a variety of phrases,
such as what is, the characteristic feature, the most important point, etc. Here is a collection of
adjectives used with lo:

Lo barato es caro What is cheap turns out to be expensive
Lo americano es de moda American styles are in fashion
Lo absurdo no tiene por qu´ ser feo
e The absurd does not have to be ugly
Lo m´o para m´ solo, y lo de los dem´ s, para repartir
± ± a What™s mine is mine, and what remains for
the rest you can share out
Lo importante es que venga hoy The important point is he come today
Lo curioso es que los mexicanos no usan esta palabra The funny thing is that Mexicans don™t use
this word

The last two examples may be extended to:

Lo bueno/malo/mejor/correcto/normal/ The good/bad/best/correct/normal/
necesario/imposible, etc., es . . . necessary/impossible, etc., thing is . . .

2.8 El + adjective
Adjectives may also be used with the de¬nite article in the following way, and here again
the English needs to add something, usually one:

Me gusta el color rojo pero no el verde I like the red color but not the green one
Quiero el grande I want the big one
Necesitamos el mediano We need the medium-sized one
Pre¬ero el chico (M) / peque˜ o
n I prefer the little one

Exercises Level 2
i Completa las siguientes frases con la forma correcta de la palabra invariable que
convenga. En algunos casos puede haber mas de una solucion
´ ´

La bebida ten´a un color ( ) poco agradable > . . . un color escarlata poco agradable
a El agua ( ) es muy peligrosa para los ni˜ os
b Son rinocerontes ( )
c Es dif´cil saber si es una rata ( )
d Los p´ jaros ( ) cuidan a sus peque˜ os en nidos
a n
e Las soluciones ( ) de este libro son utiles (We hope so)
f Su madre compr´ unas cobijas (M) / mantas ( )
g Es una palabra ( ) que es muy grosera
h El sastre ten´a telas ( ) muy parecidas al rojo

21 Adjectives

ii Completa las frases con la misma palabra, usandola dos veces, segun el ejemplo
´ ´
Mi ( ) profesor viv´a en una casa ( ) > Mi antiguo profesor viv´a en una casa antigua
± ±
a Me daba ( ) verg¨ enza aprovechar los indicios ( )
b Hay ( ) soluciones pero tienes aqu´ dos posibilidades completamente ( )
c Es un ( ) hombre que tiene una ¬nca ( )
d El hombre ( ) suele tomar ( ) litro
e La ( ) chica no pertenec´a a una familia ( )
f Mi ( ) consejo es que hables con su hija ( )
iii Contesta segun el ejemplo, recurriendo a pero y la expresion lo + adjetivo que
´ ´
puedes elegir

¿Es un buen dentista? > S´, pero lo malo es que es impuntual
a ¿Es muy grande la universidad?
b ¿Les gusta la Ciudad de M´ xico?
c ¿Es muy trabajadora Adriana?
d ¿Son muy ricos tus primos?
e ¿Has le´do mucho de este autor?
f ¿Crees que son muy abusados (M) / listos?
¿Te dio tu domingo (M = pocket money) tu padre?


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