Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Demonstrative Adjectives

this – este libro
that – ese libro, aquel libro alli
these – estos libros
those – esos libros, aquellos libros alli

Demonstrative adjectives (los adjetivos demostrativos) are used to point out or indicate a specific noun or nouns. In Spanish, demonstrative adjectives precede the nouns they modify. They also agree in number and gender with the nouns.

  • There are two ways to say that/those in Spanish. Forms of ese refer to nouns that are not close to the speaker in space or in time. Forms of aquel are used to refer to nouns that are even farther away.
  • Este niño es mi hijo. Ese joven es mi hijo también. Y aquel señor alli es mi esposo. – This boy is my son. That young man is also my son. And that man over there is my husband.

  • To express English this one (that one), just drop the noun.
  • este coche y ése
    aquella casa y ésta

  • Use the neuter demonstratives esto, eso, and aquello to refer to as yet unidentified objects or to a whole idea, concept, or situation.
  • ¿Que es esto? – What is this?
    Eso es todo. – That’s it. That’s all.
    Aquello es terrible! – That’s terrible!

Note: Some Spanish speakers prefer to use accents on these forms: este coche y ése, aquella casa y ésta. However, it is acceptable in modem Spanish, per the Real Academia de La Lengua in Madrid, to omit the accent on these forms when context makes the meaning dear and no ambiguity is possible.

mayor – older
major – better
menor – younger
peor – worse

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