Adjectives of nationality in Spanish, how they work (A1)

The adjectives of nationality tell us the origin of something or someone, they also tell us the language that a person speaks. They are formed from the name of the countries and, like the other adjectives, they have to agree with the gender  and number of the thing or person to which they refer.

La comida espa√Īola¬†(The Spanish food).

El idioma espa√Īol (the Spanish language).

Los reyes espa√Īoles (The Spanish kings).

Las reinas espa√Īola (The Spanish queens).

List of adjectives of nationality in Spanish

To begin with, you need to memorize the masculine form of nationality adjectives in Spanish, then you will have to learn how to transform them into their feminine or plural forms. Don’t worry, they are very basic and simple rules and we will see them below; here is a list of some of them.

Adjectives of nationality in Spanish

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Spanish adjectives of nationality agreement

1. Most adjectives of nationality (adjetivos de nacionalidad), like many other masculine singular adjectives in Spanish, end in an -o. To form the plural, an -s is attached. The feminine singular is formed by changing the -o to an -a. To make the feminine plural form, add an -s to the feminine singular form:

      Jorge es un ingeniero mexicano. (George is a Mexican engineer).

Marta es una doctora mexicana. (Martha is a Mexican doctor).

Jorge y Marta son mexicanos. (George and Martha are Mexican).

Marta y Luisa son mexicanas. (Martha and Luisa are Mexican).

Others adjectives of nationality similar: italiano, colombiano, mexicano, ruso, argentino, cubano, chino…

2. Adjectives of nationality that end in a consonant have four forms. The masculine singular is made into the plural by adding an -es. The masculine singular is changed into the feminine singular form by adding an -a, and an -s is added to the feminine singular form to make it plural:

Jorge es un ingeniero espa√Īol. (George is a Spanish engineer).

Marta es una doctora espa√Īola. (Martha is a Spanish doctor).

Jorge y Marta son espa√Īoles. (George and Martha are Spanish).

Marta y Luisa son espa√Īolas. (Martha and Luisa are Spanish).

Others adjectives of nationality similar: inglés, portugués, francés, alemán, japonés, libanés,  irlandés…

Take into account that the orthographic accent in the masculine adjective is dropped in the feminine form= ingl√©s/inglesa, alem√°n/alemana….

3. Adjectives of nationality ending in a, e, i or u  (any vowel except for o) don’t change to make their feminine. For those ending in an unaccented vowel just add -s, for those ending in a vowel with an accent add -es.

Melissa es costarricense. -> Ellos son costarricenses.

Soy estadounidense. -> Mis hijas son estadounidenses.

Mohamed es iraquí. -> Los chicos son iraquíes.

Sayali es¬†hind√ļ.¬†-> Ellas son¬†hind√ļes.

Other adjectives of nationality similar: belga, croata, marroqu√≠, canadiese, nicarag√ľense‚Ķ

Languages ‚Äč‚Äčof the world

Most nationalities can be used as languages too, although, as you know, Spanish is spoken in more than 20 countries. Anyway, languages are always expressed in the masculine.

Carolina es colombiana por eso habla espa√Īol, su amiga es chilena¬†y tambi√©n habla espa√Īol pero con un acento diferente.

Notice that unlike in English, nationalities and languages are not capitalized in Spanish. By the way, do you want to know in which countries Spanish is Spoken?

Here is a list of the 10 most spoken languages in the world:

Adjectives of nationality and languages in Spanish

Talking about origen

To say someone’s origin you can use…

  • SER + nationality: Carlos es colombiano.¬†¬†
  • SER + de+ city/country: Carlos es de Bogot√°.¬†
  • you can also, use both together: Carlos es colombiano, de Bogot√°.¬†

You can learn more about countries and nationalities in Spanish by watching a video from profedeELE, just click on the link.

How much you know about adjectives of nationality in Spanish

Now practice what you have learned during the lesson with the exercise below and remember¬†you can contact your tutor with any question you have. Don’t you have a Spanish personal tutor yet?

Please, leave us a message if you want we prepare more activities about this topic. Thanks for helping us to improve.

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