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Indefinite Adjectives

Alguno, ninguno, suficiente, demasiado… let’s learn and practice Spanish indefinite adjectives so that we can say things like “some”, “none”, “enough”, “too much”, and “each”.

Full Podcast Episode


We have quite a few new adjectives today.

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to learn a bunch of new adjectives that will help you specify which things or people you’re talking about, or how many things or people you’re talking about.

Specifically, we’re going to work on words that belong to a category that we call “indefinite adjectives”. These are words that you’ll put before a noun, typically to replace an article.

We already know the most frequently used indefinite adjective, which is otro. As we went over back in Episode 54, we typically use this word before a noun and we don’t use an article along with it. Here’s an example:

They saw another thing there.

Vieron otra cosa ahí.

Our first new word for today is the word ninguno, which means something like “none” or “no”. You’ll use this right before a noun that you want to emphasize doesn’t exist. Here’s an example:

No, I see no house here.

No, no veo ninguna casa aquí.

So normally we say that the English word “no” is translated into Spanish as no, but that’s only when it’s being used as an interjection or adverb. When “no” occurs right before a noun in English, to describe how many of something there is (specifically none), it gets translated as some form of ninguno.

When ninguno occurs right before a singular masculine noun, it’s shortened to ningún. For example:

No job is too big for her.

Ningún trabajo es demasiado grande para ella.

But you’ll use the full form, ninguno, when you’re using it without a noun after it. Technically in these cases it’s functioning as a pronoun. For example:

She saw many places, but I saw none.

Ella vio muchos lugares, pero yo no vi ninguno.

Notice that this sentence uses a double negative, yo no vi ninguno, literally “I didn’t see none”. This is very common with ninguno. In fact, you’ll very often see the English word “any” translated as ninguno, specifically when by “any” you are actually talking about “none”. Here’s another example:

I don’t have any job for you.

No tengo ningún trabajo para ti.

Let’s practice ninguno.

No man has come to this place.

Ningún hombre ha venido a este lugar.

I don’t want any boy to come here.

No quiero que ningún chico venga aquí.

Is that a book(m)? I thought we didn’t have any.

¿Ese es un book? I thought que no teníamos ninguno.

¿Ese es un libro? Pensé que no teníamos ninguno.

No girl comes to these kinds of parties.

Ninguna chica viene a este tipo de fiestas.

Is there a house there? I don’t see any.

¿Hay una casa ahí? No veo ninguna.

He came without any.

Vino sin ninguno.

Our next adjective, alguno, works a lot like ninguno. It basically means “some”, as opposed to “none”. Compare these two sentences:

No, we didn’t see any houses there.

No, no vimos ninguna casa ahí.

Yes, we saw some houses there.

Sí, vimos algunas casas allí.

So in this sentence, algunas means “some”. Of course, we’ve already learned that we can use unas or unos to mean “some” or “a few”. You can use algunos or algunas basically as a synonym for unos or unas, although it often means “several” rather than just “a few”. Here’s an example:

There were several people at the party.

Había algunas personas en la fiesta.

But when you use it in the singular, alguno has a meaning that’s kind of like when you say “some”, in an indefinite way. For example:

Some person that I didn’t see did it.

Alguna persona que no vi lo hizo.

And just like ninguno turns into ningún, we shorten alguno to algún when it’s used right before a singular masculine noun. For example:

Yes, she said that to some guy.

Sí, ella le dijo eso a algún chico.

And then you can also use algunos or algunas without a noun after it. Compare these two sentences:

She saw many places, but I saw none.

Ella vio muchos lugares, pero yo no vi ninguno.

She saw many places, and I saw several.

Ella vio muchos lugares, y yo vi algunos.

Let’s practice all these uses of alguno and its variations.

Some man was going to come here earlier.

Algún hombre iba a venir aquí antes.

I don’t see any book, do you have any(singular)?

No veo ningún book, ¿tienes alguno?

No veo ningún libro, ¿tienes alguno?

Several people want him to come here.

Algunas personas quieren que él venga aquí.

These are my games(m), but I only like some.

Estos son mis games, pero solo I like algunos.

Estos son mis juegos, pero solo me gustan algunos.

They saw some concert(m) that week.

Vieron algún concert esa semana.

Vieron algún concierto esa semana.

Have you seen these houses? I have only seen some.

¿Has visto estas casas? Solo he visto algunas.

I want to see you some time.

Quiero verte alguna vez.

Some days I want to go there.

Algunos días quiero ir ahí.

So as we’ve learned, you can use unos or algunos to indicate that there’s “some” of something. But what if you want to say that there are only a few, or several, or a whole lot? Let’s learn the adjectives we’d use for these meanings.

To say that there are “few” of something, we can use the adjective pocos. For example:

There are very few reasons for doing that.

Hay muy pocas razones para hacer eso.

Now, of course, we’ve already learned the word poco as a noun to mean “a little bit”. When it’s used as a noun, poco can only be masculine, and it tends to be followed by the preposition de. But when you put poco right before a noun, it turns into an adjective, and then it tends to change based on the noun. Here are a couple more examples:

We did a lot in very little time.

Hicimos mucho en muy poco tiempo.

There are few people at the party.

Hay poca gente en la fiesta.

Our next indefinite adjective is cierto. Of course, we also already learned that cierto means “certain” when used with Ser, as in es cierto que ella no está. But when cierto is used right before a noun, as an indefinite adjective, it can actually mean “certain” or “a certain”, as in sentences like this one:

A certain man was at the party and he said he was your friend.

Cierto hombre estaba en la fiesta y dijo que era tu amigo.

See if you can predict the Spanish of this one:

A certain girl doesn’t want me to be there.

Cierta chica no quiere que yo esté ahí.

And then to talk about a large amount of something, you’re likely to use the adjective demasiados. For example:

There were a whole lot of guys and very few girls.

Había demasiados chicos y muy pocas chicas.

Of course, this word, demasiados, is related to our adverb demasiado, which you can use to describe how much something is or isn’t true. But when it’s right before a noun, it’s used as an indefinite adjective to describe the quantity of something. Here’s another example:

This is too much work for my team.

Esto es demasiado trabajo para mi equipo.

Let’s practice pocos, ciertos, and demasiados.

There are certain people that came to the party.

Hay ciertas personas que vinieron a la fiesta.

They want us to come, but there is very little time.

Quieren que vengamos, pero hay muy poco tiempo.

There are very few reasons for you to come here.

Hay muy pocas razones para que vengas aquí.

I don’t want too many people to see this.

No quiero que demasiadas personas vean esto.

Certain boys said they had too much work.

Ciertos chicos dijeron que tenían demasiado trabajo.

Another word that’s similar to one we learned previously is tantos, which means “so many” or “so much”. Here’s an example:

There were so many problems that I couldn’t leave.

Había tantos problemas que no podía irme.

Something that we say a lot in English is that there’s “quite a bit” of something. To say this in Spanish, you’ll use the word bastante, spelled b-a-s-t-a-n-t-e. Bastante. When we say “quite a bit”, we’re emphasizing that there’s a lot, but we’re not saying it in very strong terms. Here’s an example:

Yes, there’s still quite a bit of time.

Sí, todavía hay bastante tiempo.

We tend to say “quite a bit” for things that aren’t countable, such as time. But for things that are countable, we tend to say “quite a few”, which translates as bastantes. See if you can predict the Spanish for this next one:

We threw quite a few parties back then.

Hicimos bastantes fiestas en ese entonces.

To say that there is “enough” of something, you’ll use the indefinite adjective suficiente, which is related to the English word “sufficient”. For example:

There isn’t enough time!

¡No hay suficiente tiempo!

Yes, there are enough people for a party.

Sí, hay suficientes personas para una fiesta.

Let’s practice tantos, bastante, and suficiente.

There are so many people coming.

Vienen tantas personas.

I want her to see that I DID have quite a bit of work.

Quiero que vea que sí tuve bastante trabajo.

Come here! There are so many friends with us!

¡Ven aquí! ¡Hay tantos amigos con nosotros!

I want to see him because we don’t have enough things here.

Quiero verlo porque no tenemos suficientes cosas aquí.

We have so much time that it’s enough time to do it.

Tenemos tanto tiempo que es suficiente tiempo para hacerlo.

There are quite a few people here.

Hay bastantes personas aquí.

We have just three more adjectives to learn before our final quiz, and each one of them is a bit weird in one way or another. The first one is tal, which means “such”. The plural of this word is tales. For example:

I would never say such things.

Yo nunca diría tales cosas.

Now, when do we say “such”? This is a weird word. It’s a lot like the word así. Compare these two sentences:

Yes, he does things like that.

Sí, él hace cosas así.

Yes, he does such things.

Sí, él hace tales cosas.

And then in English, when we use it in the singular, we usually say “such a”. For example:

I have never seen such a thing.

Nunca he visto tal cosa.

The fact is, the real reason that the word tal is so common in Spanish is that it’s most often used in some idioms that we’ll learn later this week. For now, just be prepared to translate “such” as tal or tales.

Another odd word is cada, which means “each”. For example:

We went to each house.

Fuimos a cada casa.

The weird thing about this word is that unlike most adjectives, the A at the end doesn’t change to O when it occurs before masculine nouns. For example:

I want to see each case.

Quiero ver cada caso.

Note that cada is a lot like todos in what it means, but they’re used quite a bit differently from each other. Compare these two sentences:

He does it each day.

Lo hace cada día.

He does it every day.

Lo hace todos los días.

Our last word is the word for “any”, which is cualquier. This is a mouthful — think of the word cual, c-u-a-l, and then the beginning of the word quiero. So we have cualquier. Here’s an example:

We can go to any place.

Podemos ir a cualquier lugar.

Most literally, this word means something like “whichever” rather than simply “any”. In English, we use the word “any” all the time, in both positive and negative situations. But cualquier can’t be use in negative situations like this one:

I don’t have any of your things.

Situations like this are actually where you’d use ninguno. Here’s the Spanish.

No tengo ninguna de tus cosas.

So remember that cualquier is used to mean “any” or “whichever” in positive situations. Here’s another example:

He knows what to do with any problem here.

Él sabe qué hacer con cualquier problema aquí.

Let’s practice tal, cada, and cualquier.

I saw such a thing yesterday.

Vi tal cosa ayer.

I know that you see any thing as a good thing.

Sé que ves cualquier cosa como una buena cosa.

I’m not sure(f) that such people are coming.

No estoy segura de que vengan tales personas.

You can have any house, each one is good.

Puedes tener cualquier casa, cada una es buena.

We saw each one of those(f) two times.

Vimos cada una de esas dos veces.

I don’t like such food.

No I like tal comida.

No me gusta tal comida.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/98. Or if you’re ready, let’s practice all of this with today’s final quiz.

I want you to come certain days of the week.

Quiero que vengas ciertos días de la semana.

Let’s see if we have a little bit of time.

A ver si tenemos un poco de tiempo.

A whole lot of friends said they were going to come, but none did it.

Demasiados amigos dijeron que iban a venir, pero ninguno lo hizo.

No person has enough money to buy this.

Ninguna persona tiene suficiente money para buy esto.

Ninguna persona tiene suficiente dinero para comprar esto.

We see that there are quite a few people here.

Vemos que hay bastantes personas aquí.

Any phone(m) is better than having none.

Cualquier phone es mejor que no tener ninguno.

Cualquier teléfono es mejor que no tener ninguno.

She wants us to see this and that’s why I came.

Quiere que veamos esto y por eso vine.

He sees that each person is special.

Ve que cada persona es special.

Ve que cada persona es especial.

He saw the same thing I see.

Vio lo mismo que yo veo.

They are seeing any show.

Ven cualquier show.

Ven cualquier espectáculo.

We had quite a few friends, but no friend was so good.

Teníamos bastantes amigos, pero ningún amigo fue tan bueno.

I want you to see that there isn’t such a thing.

Espero que veas que no hay tal cosa.

I have seen certain things that I don’t want to see again.

He visto ciertas cosas que no quiero ver de vuelta.

I don’t want her to come with too many things.

No quiero que venga con demasiadas cosas.

We’ll have them when we come again some day.

Los tendremos cuando vengamos de nuevo algún día.

Some man said that we’re coming.

Algún hombre dijo que venimos.

I have several brothers, but few friends.

Tengo algunos hermanos, pero pocos amigos.

Did you see that I don’t have so many things?

¿Viste que no tengo tantas cosas?

Did you come with some friend(f)?

¿Viniste con alguna amiga?

I’m seeing that you have so many things that they are enough.

Estoy viendo que tienes tantas cosas que son suficientes.

He wants me to see each house.

Quiere que yo vea cada casa.

We came by bus(m), have you seen any?

Vinimos by bus, ¿has visto alguno?

Vinimos en autobús, ¿has visto alguno?

Some men and some women are like that.

Algunos hombres y algunas mujeres son así.

I come here for such a reason.

Vengo aquí por tal razón.

If you come you’re going to see that there are few, so do you have any?

Si vienes vas a ver que hay pocos, así que ¿tienes alguno?

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/98.

And if the Spanglish in this episode frustrated you, I have good news — tomorrow we’re going to learn a bunch of easy nouns that you can use to put these sentences entirely in Spanish, including the words for “car”, “food”, and “water”.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Ximena Lama-Rondón. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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