If you have not looked at how nouns and articles work then check out that page before you start with adjectives. Also, remember that adjectives describe a noun.

By now you should know that nouns have a gender, masculine and feminine, and that articles must match the gender of the nouns; el hombre, la casa, los hombres, las casas, etc.

There are a few key rules to remember when using adjectives:

Just like articles, the adjectives also change to match the nouns. If an adjective ends in an -o, the keep the -o for a masculine ending. Change the -o to -a for a feminine ending. Also, notice that the adjective is placed after the noun.

el hombre rico → the rich man
la mujer rica → the rich woman
el chico alto →  the tall boy
la chica alta →  the tall girl

Often times if the adjective ends in -or, -ol, or refers to a nationality then you would add an -a for a feminine ending.

hablador → habladora
español → española
encantador → encantadora
francés → francesa
alemán → alemana

If the adjective ends in a letter other that -o then that letter would remain unchanged.

el hombre fuerte → the strong man
la mujer fuerte → the strong woman
la casa grande → the big house
el edificio grande → the big building
el chico popular → to popular boy
la chica popular → to popular girl

Adjectives will also change if the noun is singular or plural. If the adjective ends with a vowel, then just add -s. If the nouns ends with a consonant, then add -es. 

los hombres altos → the tall men
las mujeres altas → the tall women
los hombres fuertes → the strong men
las mujeres fuertes → the strong women
los chicos populares → the popular boys (kids)
las chicas populares → the popular girls

Adjectives that end with a -z will change to -c in the plural rule.

feliz → felices
capaz →  capaces

Position of the adjectives

As you have already noticed, the adjectives usually go after the noun. However, you can put the adjectives in front of the nouns if you want to emphasize the inherent quality of an adjective.

mejor amigo → best friend
buenos recuerdos →  good memories
mala persona →  bad person

There are some adjectives that will change meaning depending on whether it is placed before  of after the verb.

Before the noun After the noun
antiguo old/former old/ancient
cierto a certain true
grande great big
mismo same oneself
nuevo different new
pobre unfortunate poor
propio own appropriate
simple simple silly
solo only lonely
único only unique

The following adjectives change to a shorter form when placed in front of a noun.

uno un one
bueno buen good
malo mal bad
primero primer first
tercero tercer third
alguno algún some
ninguno ningún no, not any
grande gran great

Santo changes to San and is placed before the noun. If the saint’s name starts with To or Do then it just remains Santo.

San Luis
San José
Santo Tomás
Santo Domingo

Practice 1
Practice 2

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