Spanish demonstrative adjectives
Demonstrative adjectives (adjetivos demonstrativos) indicate where the noun they refer to is located:
- Close: Me gusta este par de vaqueros. (I like this pair of jeans.)
- Not as close: Esa colcha es roja. (That bedspread is red.)
- Far: Aquella puerta esta cerrada. (That door over there is red.)
Gender and number of demonstrative adjectives
Demonstrative adjectives must agree in gender and number with the noun they modify.
Please note that the singular masculine forms of demonstrative adjectives end in -e (este, ese) and -el (aquel), NOT o.
- Este libro es muy interesante. (This book is very interesting.)
- Mi madre me compró esa falda blanca. (My mother bought me that white skirt.)
- Aquella ventana está abierta. (That window overe there is open.)
Placement of demonstrative adjectives
Demonstrative adjectives always precede the noun they modify.
- Este gato es blanco. (This cat is white.)
- Esa mujer sigue hablando. (That woman keeps on talking.)
- ¡Cierra aquella puerta! (Close that door over there!)
When to use what form (este, ese, aquel)
There are three different forms of demonstrative adjectives in Spanish and they all indicate a different location of the noun they modify.
- este, esta, estos, estas
- ese, esa, esos, esas
- aquel, aquella, aquellos, aquellas
1. Este - this
The word "este" indicates a physical location, a matter or a time close to the speaker and the listener.
- Este chico es abogado. (This guy is a lawyer.)
- Esta bufanda es blanca y negra. (This scarf is black and white.)
- Estos hombres no tienen vergüenza. (These men have no shame.)
- ¿Sabes cuánto cuestan estas sabanas? (Do you know how much these bed sheets cost?)
2. Ese - that
The word "ese" indicates a physical location, matter, or a time not so close to the speaker and the listener.
- Ese hombre es mi padre. (That man is my father.)
- Esa chica es rubia. (That girl is blonde.)
- Quiero comprar esos zapatos. (I want to buy those shoes.)
- En esas ciudades, no habían bares. (In those cities, there were no bars.)
3. Aquel - that...over there
The word "aquel" indicates a physical location, matter or a time far from the speaker and the listener.
- En aquel momento, se dió cuenta de que pasaban por las mismas dificuldades. (At that moment, he realized that they were going through the same difficulties.)
- ¡Cierra aquella ventana! (Close that door over there!)
- En aquellos días, pensó irse de casa. (He thought of leaving home during those days.)
- Abrid aquellas ventanas, hace calor. (Open those windows over there, it's hot.)
There are three adverbs which help distinguish the respective locations indicated by these demonstrative adjectives:
- este > aquí (this)
- ese > allí (that)
- aquel > allá (that...over there)
- Usa esta toalla aquí. (Use this towel here.)
- Pon ese vaso allí. (Put that glass there.)
- Cierra aquella puerta allá. (Close that door over there.)
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