THE ADJECTIVE: GENRE AND NUMBER
Remember that the adjective accompanies a noun and coincides in gender and number with it whether placed before or after it. Besides the morphemes of gender and number, the adjective has morphemes of degree: comparative and superlative. The adjective can have its complete form (ex: hombre bueno) and its short form (ex: buen hombre) and functions as a modifier of the noun.
Depending on the placement of adjectives, they can be explanatory or limiting. In this unit we’ll look at determiners: demonstratives, possessives, numerals and indefinite determiners, which shouldn’t be confused with pronouns. We’ll also take a look at some adjectives with the verbs ser and estar (to be), which often cause confusion depending on their use and meaning.
Adjectives belong to an “opened class”, that is that during the evolution of the language, new words have been created facing with new needs, or require other meanings, despite others are not used anymore. So, for example, in spanish we use lots of recent adjectives like peatonal, interactivo, cibernético.
The adjective as a grammar category accompaign the substantive and it agrees with genre and number. los ojos de María son azules.
THE ADJECTIVES: GENRE AND NUMBER
The adjectives do not have neither genre nor number but they want them on the basis of what they accompaign in the sentence. Within the genre field, the adjectives can be classified into:
Adjectives of one ending: they are invariable: they mantain the same form for both genres: azul, alegre, amable, simpático, extrovertido, común, inteligente…
Adjectives of two endings: they are variable with the genre and have one termination for each genres: -o/-a. Bonito/bonita, español/española, pequeño/pequeña, liso/lisa, blanco/blanca…
In spanish we can not use a demonstrative as adjective: *mi alegre, esta triste, su verde. When an adjective is preceded by an article, we talk about “substantivation” ¿Quién de las dos chicas es María? La guapa. In this case the adjective guapa is a substantive because we already known of what we are talking about: we omit the noun and we p0ut the article before the adjective: la (chica) guapa. Los buenos ganaron. The article has a substantivator function, that is that a word works as a substantive without being it.
Examples: : me gusta el dulce / no te hagas la tonta / lo que me dijiste.
On the basis of the number of the adjectives, they have the same form as the adjectives: we add an –s: blancos, verdes, if the adjectives end in an accentuated vowel or consonant, an –es is required: común: comunes, civil: civiles, azul: azules. When an adjective accompaign different coordinated substantives, we have to keep in mind the following rules:
- Qualifying adjectives: they express a quality of the noun: feo, bonito, grande, pequeño, valiente…
- Adjectives that express relationship or possession: lingüístico, social, ocular, musical
- Expression of name and which city people come from: madrileño, ruso, inglés, danés, belga, americano…