The Spanish Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns (“Adjetivos y Pronombres Demostrativos”) are a collection of words which point at something or someone based on its distance to the speaker. They are the equivalent of the English words “this-these”, “that-those”.
While in English there are two different distances (this = short distance, that = longer distance), in Spanish there are three distances. On top of that, for each distance you need to learn 5 words:
- Masculine singular
- Masculine plural
- Feminine singular
- Feminine plural
Short distance (English “this-these”)
Medium distance (English “that-those”)
Long distance (English “that those”)
Neutral VS Masculine and Feminine Forms
We will now study the cases where we use the neutral forms, and then the cases where we use the other forms.
Uses of Neutral Forms
– Talking about something vague ur unspecific:
No me gusta esto = I don’t like this (“this thing”).
– Pointing at something where you, or your interlocutor, are not sure what it is or want to refer vaguely to it:
Esto es muy bonito. = This (“this thing”) is very beautiful.
Dame eso. = Give me that (“that thing”)
Cuéntame aquello. = Tell me about that (“that thing”).
– Telling what something is (specifically its nature)
Esto es una casa. = This (“this thing”) is a house.
Eso son tomates = This (“this thing”) are tomatoes.
Uses of Non-neutral Forms
We use the non-neutral forms (masculine, feminine, singular, plural) forms when we point to something or someone specific, where both interlocutors know what it is (its nature).
And of course, when referring to people, ALWAYS use non-neutral forms.
Esa es María. = That is María.
(María is a person, never use neutral forms for people)
Aquel perro es marrón = That dog is brown.
(Both interlocutors already know it is a dog, the information is about its color)
Esta es mi casa. = This is my house.
(Both interlocutors know it is a house, the information is about who owns the house)