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Demonstratives in Spanish

On this page we'll study two families of demonstratives in Spanish:

  • demonstrative adjectives and 
  • demonstrative pronouns

We'll meet as well the corresponding

  • demonstrative adverbs of location


Spanish demonstrative adjectives and pronouns tell us about the relative position of whatever it is that the noun describes.

They distinguish between three levels of proximity: very close, relatively close and farther away.

The "proximity" described can be either proximity in space or in time, or can refer to when the thing was mentioned in the discourse.



Examples:

Demonstrative Adjectives

[...precede nouns]

Demonstrative Pronouns

[...replace nouns]


Estos niños son mis hijos.

These children are mine.

Estos lápices son nuestros.

These pencils are ours.

Esta salsa pica mucho.

This sauce is very hot.

Aquel cuadro es antiguo.

That picture is old.

Esta vez es la última.

This time is the last.


Aquéllos son de mi amiga.

Those are my friend's.

Esos son tuyos.

Those are yours.

Ésa pica menos.

That one is less hot.

Éste es contemporáneo.

This one is contemporary.

Ésta es la última vez.

This is the last time.


Demonstratives in Spanish

Adjectives

 Pronouns

  • Their place in the sentence is just before the noun.
  • They replace nouns known to the listener in order to refer to them without mentioning them explicitly. 
  • They match the noun they describe in number and gender.
  • They match the noun they replace in number and gender.


Compare the following two tables:

Demonstrative Adjectives

singular plural
masculine feminine masculine feminine
very close este esta estos estas
relatively closeese esa esos esas
farther away aquel aquella aquellos aquellas


Demonstrative Pronouns

singular plural
masculine feminine neutral masculine feminine
very close éste ésta esto éstos éstas
relatively closeése ésa eso ésos ésas
farther away aquél aquélla aquello aquéllos aquéllas


  • The accents on the pronouns help us to differentiate them from the adjectives.
  • The neutral pronouns esto, eso and aquello have no accent, because the corresponding adjectives do not exist and therefore there is no need to differentiate.
  • The neutral demonstrative pronouns do not differentiate between singular and plural.




Demonstrative Adverbs

Closely related to the demonstrative adjectives and pronouns are the corresponding demonstrative adverbs:

very close aquí / acá
relatively closeahí
farther away allí / allá

Examples:


Éste libro que tengo aquí en mis manos es uno de mis favoritos.

Ese autobús que ves ahí en la esquina es el nuestro.

Aquél niño que va caminando allá del otro lado del río es mi hijo.


Key:

Demonstrative adjectives

Demonstrative adverbs




Exercise

In each of the following sentences, fill in the missing demonstrative adjective or pronoun:


1.____ abrigo que está colgado ahí es el tuyo.

2. En______________ tiempos, cuando todavía no había luz eléctrica....

3. _______ gatitos que vez aquí nacieron hoy.

4. ________ barco que vez en el horizonte es de la flota inglesa.

5. _______ es la primera vez que viajo a España.

6. Pásame por favor ______ libro que vez ahí.

7. ___________ nube tiene forma de cordero.

8. ______ que vez aquí es uno de los violines más caros del mundo.

9. En______ museo donde estamos ahora hay muchos cuadros de Picasso.

10. ____________estrella está a 97 años luz de distancia.



Check your Answers

1. Ese, 2. aquellos, 3. Estos, 4. Aquel, 5. Ésta, 6. ese, 7. Aquella, 8. Éste, 9. este, 10. Aquella 




Top


Learn about other families of Spanish pronouns:

Personal
Possessive
Demonstrative
Relative
Indefinite



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