Knowing your colors in Spanish can be quite useful, especially if you are shopping. But as you expand your vocabulary it is also important to know the grammar on how to use your new terms. It may come as a surprise to you that colors can have a gender. Now, don’t you run just yet. We are going to break this down, and by the end of this blog you will be able to describe things by their color. Let’s start with some basic colors.
Using Colors as Adjectives
Colors are adjectives, and adjectives help us to describe objects, animals, people, places, etc. They are descriptive in nature. In the beginning, when we start learning Spanish we learn that nouns and adjectives must agree in gender and number. Meaning that the adjective has to match the gender and the quantity of the noun. As you keep on reading you learn the patterns and rules on how to use these colorful words properly! Let’s check out the colors.
Now that we have some colorful vocabulary to use you are probably wondering, So how and when do we use the colors? Well, let’s use the color list I gave you at the beginning of the post. You will notice that there are four possible endings for color in their infinitive form: -o, -a, -e or a consonant. This means we can separate them into two groups of colors, one for colors ending in -o and one for the rest of the other endings.
Colors Ending in -o
The group of colors ending in -o includes all the colors that behave like normal adjectives.
There are 2 rules that we have to remember:
- These will have to follow the noun they modify (all descriptive colors do this).
- They have four forms: masculine singular, feminine singular, masculine plural, and feminine plural.
The form you use depends on the gender and number of the noun being modified.
Colors that end in -o have four different endings:
|male singular||female singular||male plural||female plural|
Let’s use the color rojo (red) as an example and make sentences:
El lápiz rojo (m. sg.). (The red pencil.)
La pluma roja (f. sg.). (The red pen.)
Los lápices rojos (m. pl.). (The red pencils)
Las plumas rojas (f. pl.). (The red pens.)
Once you memorize the color, the only thing you have to remember is to change its ending so that it agrees with the noun.
Colors Ending in -a, -e or a Consonant
For the color endings that do not end in – o things get easier! You see, these endings only have two forms, one for the singular and one for the plural. That is it. They are not gender-specific, so they do not have a special feminine or masculine form. So fewer things to remember!
Here is a list of stationery supplies that you will find in your office or classroom
La pluma rosa (The pink pen)
El lapiz rosa. (The pink pencil)
Los cuadernos rosas. (The pink notebooks.)
Las plumas rosas (The pink pens.)
In the examples above, the word rosa is modifying four different nouns, but only changes if the noun is plural. See how simple it is?
The same is true for all other colors in this group. Here are some more examples:
El cuaderno verde. (The green notebook.)
La engrapadora verde. (The green stapler.)
Los cuadernos azules. (The blue notebooks.)
Las engrapadorass azules. (The blue staplers.)
Here are Some Questions & Responses You Can Use as Practice!
¿Cuál es tu color favorito? (What’s your favorite color?)
Mi color favorito es + color. (My favorite color is …)
¿De qué color es tu…? (What color is your…?)
El color es… (The color is…)
Whew, that was a lot. Am I right? But you did it! You now have an idea of how to use colors. This was a lot of information, but you do not need to learn it all at once. Take your time and study one section before starting the next one. You will be so happy when you realize you not only know how to name the colors in Spanish, but also can have a conversation about colors and use them properly!