The demonstrative adjectives express a quality of the noun they refer to. Specifically, they express a characteristic that has to do with the location in respect to the speaker or listener.
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Demonstrative adjectives can be feminine, masculine or neutral.
Today we are going to analyze the first two forms. Let’s go there!
ESTE / ESTA/ ESTOS / ESTAS
Este is used to indicate something or someone that is close and in reach of the speaker.
The English translation would be: This-This-These-These.
ESTE: masculine singular (this) > ESTOS: masculine plural (these)
ESTA: feminine singular (this > ESTAS: feminine plural (these)
Este café es el mejor de toda la ciudad = This coffe is the best in the city.
To better understand, we may say “ese/esa” to something or someone that is placed “AQUÍ” (here).
ESE / ESA / ESOS /ESAS
These adjectives express that the noun we refer is not in reach of the speaker, by still quite close to him/her.
The English translation would be: That-That-Those-Those.
ESE: masculine singular (that) > ESOS: masculine plural (those)
ESA: feminine singular (that) > ESAS: feminine plural (those)
Quiero esas flores blancas = I want thoses white flowers.
In this case, we may say “ese/esa” to refer to something or someone that is placed “AHÍ” (there).
AQUEL / AQUELLA / AQUELLOS / AQUELLAS
We use “aquel” when the object or person is located in a different space, far from the one where the speaker is.
The English translation would be: That over there – that over there – those over there – those over there.
Aquel rascacielos ha sido construido hace dos año = That skyscraper over there was built two years ago.
In this case, when we say “aquel” we point out something or someone that is “ALLÍ” (over there).
When the speaker is referring to an object or person that is within reaching distance of the listener, he or she will use “ESE/A”. That is because, although the object is not far from the speaker, it is placed in the same space of the listener, but not of the speaker.
Esa falda te sienta muy bien = That skirt fits you very well.
The listener is wearing the skirt while the speaker is close to her.
Este rotulador ya no funciona ¿Me dejarías ese? = This marker is not working. Could you please give that to me?
In this case, the marker that does not work is the one the speaker is using. The other one is close to the listener.
Furthermore, the demonstrative adjectives are also used to “place” something in time.
For instance, we use:
– Este/esta/estos/estas to refer to PRESENT or to PRESENT PERFECT or NEXT FUTURE.
Examples: Este otoño está siendo muy caluroso = this summer is being very hot.
Meaning that it is autumn at the time the speaker is speaking.
Este verano me iré a Jamaica = This summer I am going to Jamaica.
The speaker refers to next summer.
– Ese/esa/esos/esas to refer to FUTURE or PAST.
Example: En esa semana de diciembre me iré de vacaciones = Those week of december I will go on holiday.
In this case, it is not still December. The speaker refers to a month that is quite far in time.
Ese día recibí una noticias maravillosa = Those day I received a very good news.
The speaker is speaking about something that happened in the past and that we already spoke about before.
– Aquel/aquella/aquellos/aquellas to refer to a DISTANT PAST.
Example: Aquella muñeca que tenías de niña era muy bonita = That doll you had when you was a child, was very cute.
In this case, we refer to a a distant past, i..e. when the listener was a child.
We hope this post has been useful to improve your knowledge of the Spanish language.
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