Catalan Grammar. Adjectives


Adjectives are describing words. The big house. The chatty parrot.

They can be used attributively (as above) or predicatively (when they follow the noun):

The house is big.

The parrot is chatty.

Catalan adjectives (generally) follow the noun, and agree in gender and number with the noun described. Most adjectives have different forms for masculine, feminine, singular and plural, but some only the same form for masuline and feminine. These coincide to a large degree with Castillian Spanish.

A small dog Un gos petit
A small houseUna casa petita
A (male) catalan friendUn amic català
A (female) catalan friendUna amiga catalana

Adjectives agree with nouns

The Catalan noun gos 'dog' is masculine and so the adjective petit 'small' in the phrase un gos petit 'a small dog' uses the feminine version of the adjective small.

The word casa 'house' is feminine, and so the feminine version petitais used to describe the noun.

It is convenient to divide adjectives into three types - those with four forms, those with three forms and those with two. Of these, the most numerous are adjectives with four forms.

Adjectives with four forms

Most Catalan adjectives have masculine and feminine (singular and plural) forms. This is shown in the table with the Catalan adjectives verd 'green' and llarg 'long'.

(masculine singular) (feminine singular) (masculine plural) (feminine plural)
green verd verda verds verdes
long llarg llarga llargs llargues

Example sentences Start

And some examples, showing the adjective agreeing with the noun. (Cotxe 'car', barret 'hat' and lloro 'parrot' are masculine nouns.Taula 'table' and casa 'house' are feminine nouns).

Do you see the green car?Veus el cotxe verd?
I see three green parrotsVeig tres lloros verds
There are three green houses in the streetAl carrer hi ha tres cases verdes
There are green flowers in the streetAl carrer hi ha flors verdes
The hat is greenEl barret és verd
The table is longLa taula és llarga
The tables are longLa taules són llargues

Although most Catalan adjectives follow the noun, some of the most common adjectives precede it (as is the case in other romance languages). It is only through time and listening to the language that you will get a feel for which these are.

a long illnessuna llarga malaltia
the long tripsels llargs viatges

Adjectives with two/three forms Start

Some Catalan adjectives have three forms. A singular form for both masculine and feminine, and separate forms in the plural.

(masculine singular) (feminine singular) (masculine plural) (feminine plural)
happy feliç feliç feliços felices
fast veloç veloç veloços veloces

And some examples:

The man is happyL'home és feliç
The men are happyEls homes són feliços
The women are happyLes dones són felices
He is happyEll és feliç

Some Catalan adjectives have two forms. These adjectives have the same form for the masculine and feminine. Often (but not always) these end with an e.

(masculine singular) (feminine singular) (masculine plural) (feminine plural)
kind/nice amable amable amables amables
happy alegre alegre alegres alegres
indifferent indiferent indiferent indiferents indiferents

And some examples :

The kind manL'home amable
The kind womanLa dona amable
The kind menEls homes amables
The kind womenLes dones amables

Irregular adjectives

A number of commonly used adjectives are irregular. For example, 'red' is roig in the masculine but roja in the feminine.

As has been indicated above, these will only become familiar over time with contact (reading, writing, listening and speaking) with the language.

Further example sentences Start

The most important point to remember is to look for patterns in the language.

The car is quickEl cotxe és ràpid
The girl is prettyLa noia és bonica
The girs are prettyLes noies són boniques
The cars are fastEls cotxes són ràpids
The dog is noisyEl gos és sorollós
The house is tallLa casa és alta
The table is bigLa taula és gran
The cup is smallLa tassa és petita
The dog is badEl gos és dolent
I am tallSóc alt
He is shortEll és baixet
The television is expensiveEl televisor és car
The car is redEl cotxe és vermell
The tomato is redEl tomàquet és vermell
The cars are fastEls cotxes són ràpids
I see the fast carVeig el cotxe ràpid
The woman runs fastLa dona corre ràpid
The dog runs fastEl gos corre ràpid