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Video Lesson
Summary of Lesson
What are demonstrative adjectives and pronouns? How are they different and how do we differentiate between the two?
Using demonstrative adjectives and pronouns. Knowing which ones to use depending on what is being talked about and where nouns are physically located.
Looking at how demonstrative adjectives and pronouns are formed depending on the gender of the noun they go before or replace and whether the noun is singular or plural. A look at 'neuter' demonstrative pronouns.
   
  What you can learn from this lesson
   
Being able to differentiate between demonstrative adjectives and pronouns. Being able to recognise when a particular word is being used as a demonstrative pronoun and not as a demonstrative adjective. Understanding how accent marks help to clarify meaning.
Knowing which demonstrative adjectives and pronouns to use in conversation depending on whether the nouns they are used with or replace are close by or far away from the person who is talking or being talked about.
Being able to identify the different types of demonstrative adjectives and pronouns that exist in Spanish and correctly spell them depending on the gender of the noun they go before.
Knowing when and how to use 'neuter' demonstrative pronouns. Understanding why they don't need accents.
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BERLITZ SPANISH
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PART 1

 

The first part of this lesson looks at what demonstrative adjectives and pronouns are, what the differences between the two types are and how we can differentiate between them.

 

Demonstrative adjectives

 

Words such as this, that or those in English which are used with a noun to identify it or to point out what something is.

 

este reloj   this watch
esa mesa that table
esos osos those bears

 

What are the Spanish demonstrative adjectives?

 

masculine

feminine

singular/plural

meaning

este

esta

singular

this

ese

esa

singular

that (close by)

aquel

aquella

singular

that (further away)

estos

estas

plural

these

esos

esas

plural

those (close by)

aquellos

aquellas

plural

those (further away)

 

Demonstrative pronouns

 

Words such as this, that or those that are used INSTEAD of nouns when it is either not necessary or desirable to name the noun specifically.

 

¿Qué torta quieres? Ésta será perfecta.  Which cake do you want? This one will be perfect.
Esta estrella es más brillante que ésa. This star is brighter than that one.
Estas flores y ésas también. These flowers and those as well.

What are the Spanish demonstrative pronouns?

 

masculine

feminine

singular/plural

meaning

éste

ésta

singular

this

ése

ésa

singular

that (close by)

aquél

aquélla

singular

that (further away)

éstos

éstas

plural

these

ésos

ésas

plural

those (close by)

aquéllos

aquéllas

plural

those (further away)

 

Differentiating between demonstrative adjectives and pronouns

 

1)      Demonstrative adjectives don’t take accent marks (tildes), whereas demonstrative pronouns do

2)      Demonstrative adjectives must be used with a noun and demonstrative pronouns are used in place of a noun.

 

Esta casa. This house (demonstrative adjective)
¿Qué casa? Ésta. Which house? This one. (demonstrative pronoun)

 

The verb estar (to be)

 

The third person singular formation of the verb ‘estar’ (to be), is also está but takes an accent mark on the á and not the é. The same is true of the second person singuar form of the verb 'estar' (to be) - estás not estas or éstas.

 

está (verb)  he/she/you (polite) is
esta (demonstrative adjective) this + noun
ésta (demonstrative pronoun)  this (instead of a noun)

 

PART 2

 

The second part of this lesson looks at when demonstrative adjectives and pronouns are used in relation to the physical position of the nouns that they are used with or are replacing.

 

este / esta / estos / estas (adjectives) éste / ésta / éstos / éstas (pronouns) – this / these

 

These demonstrative adjectives and pronouns are used to talk about things or people that are near by.

 

Esta calle aquí. This street here.
Estos árboles aquí. These trees here.
Me gusta muchas verduras pero ésta es mi favorita. I like a lot of vegetables but this is my favourite.

 

ese / esa / esos / esas (adjectives) ése / ésa / ésos / ésas (pronouns) – that / those

 

1) These demonstrative adjectives and pronouns are used to talk about things or people that are not near by but which are not really far away either.

 

¿(Tú) ves esa hormiga allá?   You see that ant there?
(Tú) puedes estacionarte por esas tiendas.   You can  park by those shops.
Elige un color. Quiero ese. Choose a colour. I want that one.

 

2) We also use them to talk about things and people that are closer to someone we are talking to than to ourselves.

 

Esa blusa te sienta muy bien.  That blouse suits you.
Pásame ese bolígrafo por favor.  Pass me that pen please.
(Tú) Puedes tener una de mis tarjetas. Muy bien, dame ésa.  You can have one of my cards. Ok give me that one.

 

aquel / aquella / aquellos / aquellas (adjectives) aquél / aquélla / aquéllos / aquéllas (pronouns) – that / those

These types of demonstrative adjectives are used to talk about things or people that are further away.

 

Aquellas cajas por allá.  Those boxes over there.
Esas cajas por allá. Those boxes over there.

 

Although both of these sentences are correct the first one tells us that the boxes are further away than the boxes being described in the second sentence. Sometimes the decision about which type of adjective or pronoun to use is based on personal interpretations of distance.

 

Ese día fue el peor de mi vida. That day was the worst of my life.
Aquél día fue el peor de mi vida.  That day was the worst of my life.

 

If something is clearly very far away then use aquel / aquella / aquellos / aquellas (adjectives) aquél / aquélla / aquéllos / aquéllas (pronouns)

 

Aquellas montañas en la distancia. Those mountains in the distance.
Mira las estrellas. Aquél es un planeta no una estrella. Look at the stars. That one is a planet not a star.

 

If you are describing things or people that are positioned relative to each other then use aquel / aquél /aquella / aquélla etc to describe the thing or person that is further away.

 

Me gusta ese coche. ¿Ése? No, no ése, aquél más allá.
I like that car. That one? No, not that one, that one over there.

 

PART 3

 

The third part of this lesson looks in more detail at how demonstrative adjectives and pronouns are used in conversation. It also looks specifically at neuter demonstrative adjectives and pronoun (those that are neither masculine nor feminine).

 

Demonstrative adjectives go before the nouns they are used with. Usually Spanish adjectives go after the noun they describe. For more information on adjectives in general take a look at the separate lesson on adjectives.

 

La puerta blanca. This white door.
Esta puerta blanca. This white door.

 

Masculine or feminine?

 

The gender of both demonstrative adjectives and pronouns must agree with the gender of either the noun they are used with or the noun that they are replacing.

 

Esta vaca gorda es la más grande. This fat cow is the biggest.
¿Qué vaca es la más grande? Ésta gorda.  Which cow is the biggest. This fat one.

 

Singular or plural?

 

Singular demonstrative adjectives and pronouns must be used with or replace singular nouns and plural demonstrative adjectives and pronouns must be used with or replace plural nouns.

 

Estos libros son muy interesantes. These books are very interesting.
(Yo) tengo unas golosinas pero no me gustan éstas. I have some sweets but I don’t like these ones.

 

Neuter demonstrative pronouns

 

Neuter demonstrative pronouns are neither feminine nor masculine and are used to talk about things that cannot be defined. They are also used to talk about general ideas.

 

esto this
eso that (close by)
aquello that (further away)

 

¿Qué es esto? ¡No sé! What’s this? I don’t know!
¿Qué piensas de eso? What do you think about that?
¿Aquello, viste allá? Did you see, that there?

 

Neuter demonstrative pronouns do not take accent marks (tildes).

 

That concludes this lesson on demonstrative adjectives and pronouns. If you have not done so already watch the actual video for this lesson and then try one of the associated quizzes to test your understanding.

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Adjectives and Pronouns (demonstrative)
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