Welcome to our grammar lesson about Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns in Spanish, where we will practice this words after learning all about them.
Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns (“Adjetivos y Pronombres Demostrativos”) are a collection of words that can precede nouns, indicating their distance to the speaker.
They are equivalent to the English words “this / these / that / those”.
In this lesson, we will learn all about Spanish Demonstratives and how to use them, with example sentences.
At the end you’ll find a Quiz and an Exercise for practice.
Forms for each distance
While in English we distinguish between 2 distances (“this” = short distance, “that” = long distance), in Spanish there are 3 distances.
The following tables show the demonstratives for each distance:
No accent marks on demonstratives!
The rule is no accent marks, in any case!
(You might find older texts where you see accent marks on some demonstratives, because the rules were different in the past)
Neuter vs. non-neuter forms
For each distance there is one neuter form. Notice that in the tables above.
The Spanish student needs to learn when to use the neuter form, and when to use the non-neuter forms.
We will study that next.
Uses of the neuter forms
The most frequent uses of the neuter form are the following:
Referring to something vaguely
Maybe because the speaker doesn’t know exactly what it is, or he wants to talk vaguely:
No me gusta esto.
I don’t like this.
Esto es muy bonito.
This is very beautiful.
Give me that.
Tell me about that.
Asking what something is (its fundamental nature)
¿Qué es esto?
What is this?
¿Qué es eso?
What is that?
¿Qué es aquello?
What is that?
Revealing what something is (its fundamental nature)
In sentences whose purpose is saying what something is fundamentally. (“this is a dog”, “that is a house”…)
Esto es un perro.
This is a dog. (we are revealing its nature)
Eso es una casa.
That is a house. (we are revealing its nature)
Uses of non-neuter forms
Except for the few cases we have explained for the neuter forms, in any other situation we use the non-neuter forms.
Aquel perro es marrón.
That dog is brown. (The purpose of the sentence is not to reveal its “dog nature”, but to talk about its color)
Esta es mi casa.
This is my house. (The purpose of the sentence is not to reveal its “house nature”, but to talk about who owns it)
Esos libros son interesantes.
Those books are interesting.
Me gusta este bar.
I like this bar.
Aquellas son las montañas más grandes de esta región.
Those are the highest mountains of this region.
Dame esa guitarra.
Give me that guitar.
Also: when referring to people, ALWAYS use non-neuter forms:
Esa es María.
That is María.
Aquellas son mis primas.
Those are my female cousins.
Are Demonstratives adjectives or pronouns?
Regarding the grammatical classification of demonstratives:
- The neuter forms esto, eso, aquello are always pronouns.
- The non-neuter forms are considered adjectives if they are placed right before a noun. Otherwise, they are pronouns.
Esto es un móvil.
This is a cellphone. (neuter form → pronoun)
Este móvil es mío.
This cellphone is mine. (non-neuter right before a noun → adjective)
Este es mi móvil.
This is my cellphone. (non-neuter somewhere else in the sentence → pronoun).
Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns in Spanish:
Now we are going to practice with sentences.
Fill the gaps using demonstrative adjectives and pronouns.
Remember to think whether you need a neuter or a non-neuter form:
1) ___ es una bicicleta.
This is a bike. (short distance)
2) ___ es mi bicicleta.
This is my bike. (short distance)
3) ___ montañas son más altas que ___.
Those mountains (medium distance) are taller than those ones (long distance).
4) ¿Qué es ___ ?
What is that? (medium distance)
5) ___ es un camión.
That is a truck. (medium distance)
6) Me gustan ___ anillos.
I like these rings. (short distance)
7) ___ es nuestro primo.
That is our cousin. (long distance)
3) Esas – aquellas