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Joven y Viejo

Let’s learn the Spanish adjectives for “young”, “old”, “important”, “together”, “bad”, and “awesome”. We’ll get lots of spoken practice using these adjectives in real-life Spanish sentences.

Full Podcast Episode


Es importante que lo hagamos juntos.

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 keep practicing Gustar, Importar, and Preocupar, and while we do we’ll also learn some important new adjectives, including the words for “old”, “young”, “important”, “together”, and “awesome”.

Let’s start with the word malo, which means “bad” or “mean”. This is obviously related to the adverb mal, which means “badly”. You can think of the difference between mal and malo as similar to the difference between bien and bueno; the adjective is used with Ser, and the adverb is only used with Estar.

So for example, here’s how you’d use the adverbs, to talk about how people are:

She’s well, but I’m unwell.

Ella está bien, pero yo estoy mal.

And then here’s how you’d use the adjectives to talk about people’s character.

She’s good, but I’m mean(f).

Ella es buena, pero yo soy mala.

And then of course malo changes based on the gender and number of the people or things it’s describing. For example:

Not those things, they’re very bad.

No esas cosas, son muy malas.

And there’s yet another similarity between malo and bueno. When malo occurs right before a singular masculine noun, it drops the O. In these cases, it sounds like mal, exactly like the adverb, although it’s not! So for example, compare these two sentences:

He’s a very good friend.

Es un amigo muy bueno.

He’s a good friend.

Es un buen amigo.

Now compare these two:

He’s a very bad friend.

Es un amigo muy malo.

He’s a bad friend.

Es un mal amigo.

Let’s practice several uses of malo, and I’ll also throw in one or two examples of the adverb mal so you can practice choosing the right word.

Your dog is mean.

Tu perro es malo.

I had a bad day.

Tuve un mal día.

They didn’t like those things because they were bad.

No les gustaban esas cosas porque eran malas.

You are doing it wrong.

Lo estás haciendo mal.

He liked that girl, even though she was bad.

Le gustaba esa chica, aunque era mala.

Our friends aren’t bad.

Nuestros amigos no son malos.

Next let’s learn the words for “old” and “young”. “Old” is viejo, spelled v-i-e-j-o. “Young” is joven, spelled j-o-v-e-n. So for example:

The very old lady is talking with the very young boy.

La señora muy vieja está hablando con el niño muy joven.

Now these adjectives are sometimes used with Ser and sometimes with Estar, and they change meanings slightly based on which verb they’re used with. When you use Estar with viejo or joven, you’re describing how old something or someone appears. But when you use Ser, you’re more likely using the term “old” or “young” to distinguish one person or thing from another, not emphasizing how they are, but who they are, or which one they are. So for example:

I can’t do this anymore, I’m getting old.

Ya no puedo hacer esto, estoy viejo.

Did you see that house? It’s really old.

¿Viste esa casa? Es muy vieja.

His friends are still young.

Sus amigos aún son jóvenes. 

That’s just a number, you’re still young!

Ese solo es un número, ¡aún estás joven!

Here’s one more thing you can do with these adjectives. Check out this sentence:

I’m talking with the young one(f).

Estoy hablando con la joven.

So this frequently happens in Spanish: We’re using the adjective joven, without a noun. I mean, we COULD say con la persona joven, literally “with the young person”, but in Spanish it’s very common to use an adjective without a noun when it’s clear what kind of noun we’re talking about. Here’s another example:

There were two houses, but that was the older one.

Había dos casas, pero esa era la más vieja.

So once again the noun is implied but not stated. So we’re using the article la since we’re talking about feminine nouns, specifically houses. We just don’t need to re-name the noun casa at the end. We just say la más vieja.

Now also note that applying the word viejo to a person is sometimes considered a bit rude or at least brusque, just like calling someone “old” in English; there are other words in Spanish that are a bit more polite. But the most common word for old is viejo, which is why we’re practicing it now. We’ll learn some synonyms later on.

Let’s practice viejo and joven.

This house is really old.

Esta casa es muy vieja.

You’re still young, it doesn't matter what that thing says.

Todavía estás joven, no importa lo que esa cosa diga.

They are young ones, so they don’t like this.

Son jóvenes, entonces no les gusta esto.

You’re getting old, you’re always eating at five o’clock.

Estás viejo, siempre comes a las cinco en punto.

The old one(m) didn’t want to talk to the young one(m).

El viejo no quiso hablar con el joven.

Our next word is loco, which means “crazy”. And just like the English word “crazy”, loco can be used in a not-very-nice way, but it can also be used colloquially to mean something more innocent. For example:

It was a very crazy party.

Fue una fiesta muy loca.

I'm crazy about that food.

Estoy loca por esa comida.

Next we have juntos, which means “together”. For example:

We meant to do it together.

Lo quisimos hacer juntos.

This word does change based on the number and gender of what it’s describing, but it’s almost always plural. For example:

Our houses are together on that street.

Nuestras casas están juntas en esa calle.

Let’s practice loco and juntos.

Look at that crazy dog(pet)!

¡Mira a ese perro loco!

(Formal) Don’t worry! She isn’t crazy.

¡No se preocupe! No está loca.

My family and I always go to parties together.

Mi familia y yo siempre vamos a fiestas juntos.

We weren’t together that day.

No estábamos juntos ese día.

My friends(f) and I are always together, but we aren’t crazy.

Mis amigas y yo siempre estamos juntas, pero no estamos locas.

We have just two more adjectives to learn. The word for “important” is importante. For example:

That thing was very important!

¡Esa cosa era muy importante!

And then a common word for “awesome”, “brilliant”, or “great” is genial, spelled g-e-n-i-a-l. This word is used in a wide variety of positive ways in Spanish. Here are a couple of examples:

How awesome that they’re together(f)!

¡Qué genial que estén juntas!

He’s a very brilliant guy.

Es un chico muy genial.

Let’s also learn a new sentence template that frequently uses these words. When expressing some kind of description about an entire statement, you’ll often use a subjunctive phrase after the description. For example, let’s start with a very simple sentence that’s not describing an entire statement, it’s only describing a thing:

That thing is important.

Esa cosa es importante.

But in English, as well as in Spanish, we can replace “that thing” with an entire phrase, such as “that you be here on time”. In such cases, we’ll make that phrase subjunctive. So we have:

It’s important that you be here on time.

Es importante que estés aquí a tiempo.

Something really interesting about this is that in some cases, we also make this phrase subjunctive in English! That’s particularly true of the word “important”; we don’t say “it’s important that you are here on time”, we say “it’s important that you be here on time.”

Here’s another example:

It’s awesome that she is your friend.

Es genial que ella sea tu amiga.

Let’s practice genial and importante.

It’s awesome that you are here!

¡Es genial que estés aquí!

Really, these things aren’t as important.

De veras, estas cosas no son tan importantes.

I think she is great!

¡Creo que ella es genial!

He is an important and awesome person.

Es una persona importante y genial.

She has to care about this.

Le tiene que importar esto.

My friends are great! It’s important that they know that.

¡Mis amigos son geniales! Es importante que sepan eso.

Before we go on to today’s final quiz, let’s learn one more idiom. Check out this sentence:

The most important(thing) is that you don’t be mean.

Lo más importante es que no seas malo.

So what we’ve done here is we’ve used the phrase lo más before the descriptor importante. In the English, we’d say “the most important thing”, but in the Spanish, we don’t use a noun at all, and therefore we end up using the neuter article lo. Try it yourself in this next example:

The most brilliant thing is that she didn’t even see him.

Lo más genial es que ella ni siquiera lo vio.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/128. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

He is young and mean.

Él es joven y malo.

I don’t think she cares about that word.

No creo que le importe esa palabra.

She doesn’t have to like you, but she likes you, and that’s important.

No le tienes que gustar, pero le gustas y eso es importante.

Don’t worry, she didn’t like it.

No te preocupes, no le gustó.

You have to realize that he might get worried about that.

Tienes que darte cuenta de que él puede preocuparse por eso.

He didn’t care about that old memory.

No le importaba ese recuerdo viejo.

I hope you like it, I know you’re getting old.

Espero que te guste, sé que estás viejo.

She doesn’t like me because I’m not young.

No le gusto porque no soy joven.

I’m still young and that’s why we’re together.

Aún estoy joven y por eso estamos juntos.

I thought you had liked the account, I must be crazy.

Pensé que te había gustado la cuenta, debo estar loco.

You’re getting old, you used to like me.

Estás viejo, yo te gustaba.

It might be that the town is old, but it doesn’t matter.

Puede ser que el pueblo sea viejo, pero no importa.

She would like me if I were important.

Yo le gustaría si fuera importante.

You’re brilliant and that’s why she worries about you.

Eres genial y por eso le preocupas.

The most important(thing) is that we be together.

Lo más importante es que estemos juntos.

She would care about the game, but she doesn’t like the guys.

Le importaría el juego, pero no le gustan los chicos.

In the first place, it wasn’t my fault, so you don’t have to get worried.

En primer lugar, no fue mi culpa, así que no tienes que preocuparte.

She would care about me, but she thinks I don’t worry.

Yo le importaría, pero cree que no me preocupo.

(Plural) Don’t worry! This is the most brilliant!

¡No se preocupen! ¡Esto es lo más genial!

It doesn't make sense, that plan is crazy.

No tiene sentido, ese plan es loco.

We’re still young and that’s the most important thing!

¡Aún estamos jóvenes y eso es lo más importante!

Really, it is bad, I think you won’t like it.

De veras, es malo, creo que no te gustará.

She had worried about them, but they don’t matter.

Se había preocupado por ellos, pero no importan.

You have to pretend that he is great and that you’d like to be with him.

Tienes que hacer de cuenta que es genial y que te gustaría estar con él.

It doesn’t worry me anymore.

Ya no me preocupa.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/128.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn the nouns for some titles, including “boss”, “president”, and “teacher”.

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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