The Spanish Language Blog

Do you want to expand your Spanish grammar? Today you are going to learn an important aspect of Spanish grammar: demonstratives. These little words help you point out and focus on specific objects, people or places.

If you are a student looking to improve your Spanish grammar, you are in the right place! In this article you will learn the demonstratives in Spanish with practical and easy examples.

If you prefer practicing your skills, you can click here to read this article in Spanish.

What are demonstratives?

Spanish demonstratives are used to indicate the location or identity of something in relation to the person speaking (me), the person being spoken to (you), or the person or thing being talked about. Demonstratives can be adjectives or pronouns and vary in gender (masculine/feminine) and number (singular/plural).

Adjective demonstratives in Spanish

Adjective demonstratives are used to accompany a noun and agree with it in gender and number. The demonstratives in Spanish are: “este”, “ese”, “aquel”, and their feminine and plural variants.

  • Este (masculine singular) and esta (feminine singular) (This).

They are used to refer to objects or people that are close in space or time in relation to the person speaking. For example: “Este libro es interesante” (“This book is interesting”) or “Esta película es emocionante” (“This movie is exciting”).

  • Estos (masculine plural) and estas (feminine plural) (These).

Indicates close objects in the plural. Examples: “Estos coches son rápidos” (“These cars are fast”) or “Estas flores son bonitas” (“These flowers are beautiful”).

  • Ese (masculine singular) and esa (feminine singular) (That).

They are used to refer to objects or people that are at a certain distance in space or time in relation to the person speaking. For example: “Ese edificio es alto” (“That building is tall”) or “Esa película fue muy divertida” (“That movie was a lot of fun”).

  • Esos (masculine plural) and esas (feminine plural) (Those).

Indicates objects or people at a certain distance in the plural. Example: “Esos perros están jugetones” (“Those dogs are playful”) or “Esas montañas están nevadas” (“Those mountains are snowy”).

  • Aquel (masculine singular) and aquella (feminine singular) (That).

They are used to refer to objects or persons that are far away in space or time in relation to the person speaking. For example: “Aquel castillo es viejo” (“That castle is old”) or “Aquella canción era popular en los años 80” (“That song was popular in the 80's”).

  • Aquellos (masculine plural) and aquellas (feminine plural) (Those).
They indicate objects or people that are far away in space or time. Example: “Aquellos pájaros son raros” (“Those birds are rare”) or “Aquellas ruinas son misteriosas” (“Those ruins are mysterious”).

Neutral demonstratives and adverbs of place

In addition to these demonstratives, in Spanish you can also find the neutral demonstratives: esto, eso and aquello. These demonstratives are used to refer to something in an abstract way, without specifying gender or number. For example:

  • “Eso que me contó me sorprendió” (“What he told me surprised me a lot”)
  • “Esto que me cuentas es interesante” (“What you are telling me is interesting”)

On the other hand, we find demonstratives in Spanish that are associated with adverbs of place and indicate three degrees of distance: aquí, ahí and allí. Here are some examples:

  • Aquí está mi coche” (“Here is my car”). It is used to indicate that it is close to the speaker.
  • Ahí me encontré con mi amigo” (“There I met my friend”). It is used to indicate that it is a little far from the speaker.
  • Allí se produjo el accidente” (“There the incident took place”). It is used to indicate that it is far away from the speaker.

Demonstrative pronouns in Spanish

Demonstratives pronouns stand in for a noun and agree in gender and number. When the noun to which they refer has already been mentioned, it can be deleted. The demonstrative pronouns in Spanish are: éste, ése, aquél and their feminine and plural variants.

For example, in a conversation you can hear: "Me gustan estos zapatos" ("I like these shoes") and "Yo prefiero éstos otros en marron" ("I prefer those others in brown"). The demonstrative agrees in gender and number referring to the noun “zapatos”.

Practical examples with demonstratives in Spanish

Here are some more examples with demonstratives in Spanish:

Imagine you are in a clothes shop, and you want to say that you like a particular garment. You can say: “Me gusta esta camiseta” (“I like this T-shirt”) or “Me gusta esta blusa” (“I like this blouse”). The demonstrative in Spanish distinguishes between masculine, the T-shirt, and feminine, the blouse.

On the other hand, suppose you are talking about something that is far away from you, like a mountain. You would say, “Esa montaña es imponente” (“That mountain is imposing”). On the other hand, if you are pointing to something that is really far away, such as a building on the other side of town, you might say, “Aquel edificio es muy alto” (“That building is very tall”).

For the plural, the dynamic is the same. Imagine you are in a market, and you want to comment with another person on the condition of the fruit. You can use phrases like: “Esas manzanas parecen deliciosas” (“Those apples look delicious”) or “Estos platanos están maduros” (“These bananas are ripe”).

In summary, Spanish demonstratives are very flexible and can be used in many different situations. The key to mastering them is to practice and observe how they are used in real contexts. Don't be afraid to make mistakes; practice is the key to improving your Spanish skills.

Also, if you want to learn Spanish in Spain, don't hesitate to take a look at our Spanish courses in 11 different destinations. The courses start every Monday of the year and are suitable for all ages and levels.

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