This post is about the use of describing words/ adjectives in general, and more specifically about the use of the feminine/ singular form of a describing word/ adjective.
Imagine you talking to a relative or a work colleague. You are talking about your friends. The other person wants you to tell him/ her a little bit about your best female friend and says to you: "what is your best female friend like?".
In Spanish, the other person could choose to be less formal and ask you:
¿Cómo es tu mejor amiga?
Alternatively, he/ she could choose to be a little bit more formal and say:
¿Cómo es su mejor amiga?
- Marital status.
- Profession/ occupation.
- His appearance.
- Other characteristics
Here are some sample replies:
- Se llama María (her name is María);
- Está soltera (she is single);
- Tiene treinta años (she is 30 years old);
- Es maestra (she is a teacher);
- No tiene hijos (she doesn't have any children);
- Es alta (she is tall);
- Es delgada (she is thin);
- Es muy guapa (she is very good looking);
- Es mexicana (she is Mexican)
- Es baja (she is short);
- Es un poco gorda (she is a little fat);
- Lleva gafas (she wears glasses);
- Es inteligente (she is intelligent)
- Es trabajador (she is hard working)
- Es simpática (she is pleasant/ likeable);
See further practical examples of describing places/ people/ etc.
Now you should practise answering the question:
¿Cómo es tu mejor amiga?
*NB See Grammar below
- GenderNumberAdjectiveamigomasculinesingularsolteroamigosmasculine/ mixedpluralsolterosamigafemininesingularsolteraamigasfemininepluralsolteras
See notes below on Noun-Adjective agreement
As you can see above, in Spanish you can use describing words/ adjectives when describing people. Below follow some notes on how to choose the correct form of the adjective to describe a given person.
When you use Spanish describing words/ adjectives, you need to bear in mind that for each describing word in English, there are often two related but different describing words/ adjectives in Spanish. The reason being that Spanish describing words/ adjectives have to 'agree' with the gender (masculine or feminine) of the person they describe. Most Spanish describing words have similar but separate words for each of the two genders (for example, alto/ alta). A few, however have one single form (for example, inteligente).
Thus when you come to use a describing word to describe a person, you need to check whether the corresponding Spanish describing word/ adjective has:
- One single form to describe both a male and female persons (for example , inteligente)
- Two separate forms (for example, alto/ alta).- If the describing word/ adjective has two separate forms, then you need to choose the form which matches the gender (masculine/ feminine) of the person to describe.
When you use Spanish describing words/ adjectives, you also need to bear in mind that Spanish describing words/ adjectives have singular and plural* forms the same as nouns. A Spanish describing word/ adjective must also to 'agree' with the number (singular/ plural) of the person it describes. For example, amiga soltera (unmarried female friend) or amigas solteras (unmarried female friends).
*NB View posts with details about the plural of Spanish words here.
All the practical examples in this post refer to one female friend, amiga. Consequently, they require the feminine/ singular form of a describing word/ adjective, for example, soltera.