Exclamative Adjectives

Adjetivos exclamativos

Spanish exclamative adjectives
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To express admiration, surprise, contempt, or another strong feeling (positive or negative) about a noun, you can use the Spanish exclamative adjectives qué and cuánto.

Por ejemplo…

¡Qué lástima!   What a shame!
¡Qué maravilla!   How wonderful!

Characteristics of exclamative adjectives

  • Used in place of an article, not with one
  • Placed directly in front of a noun or in front of an adjective preceding a noun
  • The Spanish noun is often translated by an adjective in English
  • Always accented

There are two Spanish exclamative adjectives: qué and cuánto.

Qué

The exclamative adverb qué can be followed directly by a noun, with or without a verb.

Por ejemplo…

¡Qué lío!   What a mess!
¡Qué asco!   How awful!
¡Qué prisa tiene!   What a big hurry he’s in!
¡Qué coche compraste!   What a car you bought!

When ¡qué! is followed by a noun, the noun never has an article, but it may be preceded by an adjective.

¡Qué buena persona!   What a good person!
¡Qué blanca nieve!   What (such) white snow!

However, when the noun is followed by an adjective, the adjective must be preceded by más or tan.

¡Qué día más espléndido!   What a beautiful day!
¡Qué clase más interesante!   What an interesting class!
¡Qué mujer tan hermosa!   What a lovely woman!
¡Qué niño tan fuerte!   What a strong child!

¡Qué de + noun means "what a lot of" + noun.

¡Qué de gente hay!   What a lot of people there are!
¡Qué de cosas tenemos que hacer!   What a lot (of things) we have to do!

Cuánto

When cuánto is an exclamative adjective, it looks just like it does when it’s an interrogative adjective: it has an accent and has to agree with the noun it modifies in gender and number.

Por ejemplo…

¡Cuánto dinero gastas!   You spend so much money!
(lit, "So much money you spend")
¡Mira cuánta nieve!   Look at all the snow!
¡Cuántos zapatos tiene!   You have so many shoes!

 Accents matter! Qué is an exclamative adjective or interrogative pronoun, cuánto is an exclamative or interrogative adjective, but que and cuanto are relative pronouns.

 Cuánto can also be used with verbs, in which case it’s an exclamative adverb.

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Spanish exclamative adjective