Adjective pitfalls in Spanish By Ricardo Giraldo/ Camara de estudios.com
The Adjetives are grammatical block with many uses in context in any language; based in theiir gramatical rules are given these tips to use them in context:
Tip 1: Adjectives are used to distinguish nouns quality or characteristics like color, material …ejemplo el vestido verde, mi viejo amigo Augusto. However, adjetivos also could be used to replace a noun in a context, example:
Scenario: You are in a shoes store and after trying different pairs of shoes the seller asks you: Which pair do you prefer? In English you coud answer “Give me the black ones” using an adjetive to replace the the noun (shoes). Translating the question and the answer to Spanish: ¿Cuál de estos zapatos usted prefiere? respuesta “los negros.” or “prefiero los negros.”
If The question makes reference to the material of the shoes and not the color, Wich pair of shoes do you prefer? you answer using and adjetive as a noun::“los de cuero, por favor” (the leather ones, please) …
Tip 2: Adjectives have gender, so be careful with the ending of these words masculine or feminine. If the word finished with the syllables: án, ín, ón, or dor are masculine, however, you can show feminine agreement simply adding the “a” Examples:
(Masculine) Él es un hablador/ he is a talkative man / Él es un campeón/ he is a champion
(Femenine) Ella es una habladora/she is a talkative woman/ Ella es una campeona/ she is a champion.
Note: In Spanish neuter gender does not exist for nouns,however, the article (lo) is used to form an abstract noun (the good or the bad part of the story… - lo bueno o lo malo del cuento …).
If “lo” is used before an adjective to express degree change meaning to “how” in English, example:
Finally the people realized how he was judged unfarly - Finalmente la gente se dio cuenta de lo mal que fue juzgado.
Tip 3: The meaning of the adjectives depends on where it is located in the sentence, if it is located before a noun should keeps a figurative meaning and if the adjetive is located after the noun the adjetive keeps his a literal meaning.
Example: In the common expression “I have an old friend in Perú” What happen with the meaning if I write the adjetive 'OLD" before friend in Spanish? What happen is that the adjective “old/ viejo” make the reference to a person, and whom I have been a friend for a very long time. However, in English this estaiment could make reference to having an erderly friend in Peru as well. Now if I need to express this meaning in Spanish I have to write the adjetive to write the adjetive after the noun (Friend) the meaning will than change to I have a friend that is an old man in Peru - Tengo un amigo que es un hombre viejo en el Perú” I am talking about an elderly person that is my friend in Perú.
Note: When you used adjetives to point out the word they modify from others of the same category use the following Spanish adjectives as a meaning (that, this - ese, second- segundo, twenty- veinte, few-pocos …) to indicate possession or ownership (our- nuestro, my – mi, of yours – tuyo, of mine- mío, mia, her, his- su …). example That pant is mine - Ese pantalón es mio/ There are few students in my the Art class - Hay pocos estudiantes en mi clase de arte. .
Finally, these words could be used to indicate the non-existence of a noun (none, neither - ninguno, non-dairy- no todos los dias … ) and phrase a question about a noun ( How much?- ¿Cuánto?, Which?- ¿Cuál? , The first or the second?- ¿El primero o el segundo?). Ejemplo: How many cars do you have? ¿Cuantos carros tú tienes? the answer that indicate no- existence using a adjetive es ninguno - none