Adjective Position

Posición del adjetivo

Spanish adjectives may be found before or after the nouns they modify, depending on various factors. Generally speaking, descriptive adjectives follow nouns, while limiting adjectives (which includes all other kinds, such as demonstrative, indefinite, etc.) precede nouns.

I. Descriptive adjectives distinguish between different nouns of the same type and usually follow the nouns they modify: el libro verde vs el libro rojo.

Exceptions and notes

A. When two descriptive adjectives modify the same noun, they may
  1) be joined by y.
    la chica alta y bonita   the tall, beautiful girl
    el libro emocionante e interesante   the thrilling and interesting book
  2) surround the noun, with the shorter or less important adjective preceding the noun.
    el joven inmigrante marroquí   the young Moroccan immigrant
    un típico restaurante turístico   a typical tourist restaurant
B. When a descriptive adjective indicates an inherent quality of a noun, it may precede.
    la blanca nieve   the white snow
    los altos picos   the tall peaks
C. When a descriptive adjective expresses subjectivity, it precedes.
    el mejor restaurante   the best restaurant
    Es una mala idea.   It’s a bad idea.

II. Limiting adjectives specify which nouns are under discussion and usually precede the nouns they modify: este libro vs
ese libro.


A. The long forms of possessive adjectives always follow the nouns they modify.
  un amigo mío   a friend of mine
  el libro tuyo   your book
B. Ordinal numbers may follow the noun in order to emphasize it.
  la casa segunda   the second house
  las fiestas primeras   the first parties

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