Using Spanish Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns

Spanish demonstrative adjectives and demonstrative pronouns, “los demostrativos”, are words like ESE, ESTE, ESE and others which correspond to THIS, THAT and so on in English. In this lesson, we will cover some similarities in the way we use demonstratives in both languages, as well as some major differences you should know about. Let’s begin…

A list of Spanish demonstrative adjectives and pronouns

Both demonstrative adjectives and demonstrative pronouns are actually represented by the same words in the language, which means that the word “ESTE” is both a type of pronoun and an adjective. So, what is the difference between them? The main difference is the function that they play when used in the language. Spanish demonstrative adjectives will be used directly before a noun, whereas Spanish demonstrative pronouns will play either the role of the subject or the object in a sentence.

The demonstrative to use will vary according to the gender (masculine/feminine) and number(singular/plural) of the noun we are referring to. The chart below shows a list of Spanish demonstrative adjectives and demonstrative pronoun that we can find in the language plus their corresponding meaning in English.

Spanish demonstratives chart

Demonstrative in SpanishMeaning
Ese, aquel (masculine/singular)That
Esos, aquellos (masculine/plural)Those
Esa (feminine/singular)That
Esas, aquellas (feminine/plural)Those
Este (masculine/singular)This
Estos (masculine/plural)These
Esta (feminine/singular)This
Estas (feminine/plural)These
Spanish demonstrative adjectives and demonstrative pronouns
Demonstratives – Los adjetivos y pronombres demostrativos

How to use Spanish demonstrative adjectives in sentences

First, Spanish demonstrative adjectives are always placed before the noun they modify. If the noun is masculine and singular , eg. “auto”, then we must use a demonstrative in masculine, singular form too like “ESTE”(this), “ESE”(that) and “AQUEL”(that). By applying this rule to the noun “auto”, we can easily say “Este auto” (this car), “Ese auto”(that car) and “Aquel auto” (that car).  The demonstrative “Aquel” is often used for more distant objects. For feminine, plural nouns such as “rosas”, we would say “estas rosas”, “esas rosas” and “aquellas rosas”. Listen to some more examples with these words below.

Sentences using Spanish demonstrative adjectives

Este auto es nuevo.
This car is new
Estos autos son nuevos.
These cars are new
Esa niña es alta.
That girl is tall
Esta casa es grande.
This house is big
Estas casas son grandes.
These houses are big
Esos niños son inteligentes.
These kids are intelligent.
Aquellos niños están jugando fútbol.
These kids are playing soccer

How to use Spanish demonstrative pronouns in sentences

Spanish demonstrative pronouns are the same words as demonstrative adjectives, with the difference that they can only work as the subject or the object of the sentence. To put it differently, in the sentences “Este es mi libro” (this is my book) and “Ese es tuyo”, both Spanish demonstrative pronouns “ESTE” and “ESE” work as the subject of the sentences. You can easily know that by looking at two interesting features; first, ESTE and ESE were not used directly before a noun and second they precede a verb, the verb SER (Es ese/ Son esos…).

When we say that Spanish demonstrative pronouns work as objects in sentences, we mean that they will be placed after a verb, not at the beginning of the sentence, for example: “Mi libro es ese (my book is that one). In the previous example, the word ESE is a pronoun used to refer to a book. In addition, we can even reverse this sentence with the demonstrative as the subject and it will make sense, e.g. “Ese es mi libro.” Listen to some examples of sentences with these pronouns as the subject of the sentences and try to revert them yourself to make the pronoun the object instead.

Sentences using Spanish demonstrative pronouns

Este es mi perro y ese es mi gato.
This is my dog and that is my cat.
Los pasteles están en la mesa. Estos tienen jalea y esos tienen carne.
The cakes are on the table. These have jelly and those have meat.
Estas fotos son de mi viaje a Japón y aquellas son del viaje a China.
These pictures are from my trip to Japan and those are from the trip to China
De esos jugadores, ese juega fútbol y aquel juega beisbol.
From those players, that plays soccer and that one plays baseball.

Grammar quiz: Demonstratives in Spanish

This quiz will test if you understand the basic rules to use demonstrative pronouns and demonstrative adjectives in Spanish. It is easy to follow and will help you review the core points in the lesson. Let’s begin…