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TIP #110 - This tip was sent on the week: 8th - 14th Oct, 2006

110 Apocopated Forms Of Adjectives

This tip applies to the following programs:

• ESI Professional

There’s a small group of adjectives in Spanish among the most popular ones, that lose some of their ending sounds when placed before the corresponding noun. In other words, they present an abbreviated or trimmed form when placed before the noun. Traditional grammar designates them as apocopated forms. Basically, we are talking about the ones found below:

  • Grande
  • Bueno
  • Malo
  • Alguno
  • Ninguno
  • Cualquiera
  • Primero
  • Tercero
  • (and the compound adjectives thereof: decimoprimero, vigesimotercero, etc.).

Examples of abbreviated forms, used with the noun ‘día’: gran día, buen día, mal día, algún día, ningún día, cualquier día, primer día, tercer día.


Everything said up to this point applies to adjectives and nouns in the male gender. When in the female gender, the only ones of these apocopated forms considered valid are gran and cualquier: “gran oportunidad”, “Gran Feria”, “cualquier manera”.


Since a while ago, some speakers have begun to use in a general manner some of these forms for both genders –even radio and television presenters- especially in the cases of ‘primer’ and ‘tercer’, as in: la primer llamada, la primer vez, la tercer participante, la tercer casilla, etc. But in formal writing, these continue to be substandard forms.


The educated form for use will still be the complete female gender form: ‘primera llamada’; ‘primera vez’; ‘tercera participante’, ‘tercera casilla’.



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