The Most Useful Adjectives To Know In 4 Major Languages

If you could only learn a handful of descriptive words in a new language, what would they be? Here are the most common adjectives in Spanish, French, German and Italian — and some tips on how to use them.
August 24, 2018
The Most Useful Adjectives To Know In 4 Major Languages

When you’re just cracking your very first round of beginner lessons in a new language, the sheer volume of unfamiliar words can be daunting enough to discourage you from the get-go. Want to know how to deal if you’re overwhelmed? Focus your vocab training on the most common adjectives, verbs, nouns, pronouns and prepositions — really, any short word that gets a lot of mileage. In many languages, the most common hundred words or so make up the majority (or at least a large portion) of the language as it’s usually spoken.

To help you get the ball rolling, we’ve compiled a guide to the most common adjectives to know in four of our most popular learning languages: Spanish, French, German and Italian.

Click the links below to skip ahead, or keep scrolling for some very educational content.

Spanish
French
German
Italian


 
 

The 9 Most Common Adjectives In Spanish

1. Bueno/a – Good

Examples:

El té de tomillo es bueno para la tos. – Thyme tea is good for coughs.
¡Qué bueno! – That’s great!

2. Bonito/a (Spain), Lindo/a (Latin America) – Beautiful

Examples:

Esa playa es muy bonita. – That beach is very pretty.
¡Que lindo es el monitor de esquí! – What a cute ski instructor!

3. Importante – Important

Examples:

Mi salud es importante para mi. – My health is important to me.
Uxmal es una ciudad maya muy importante. – A very important Mayan city

4. Mucho/a – Many, much, very

Examples:

Lo siento mucho. – I am very sorry.
Parece que en este barrio viven muchos artistas. – Many artists are supposed to live in this quarter.

5. Difícil – Difficult

Examples:

Aprender español no es muy difícil. – To learn Spanish is not very difficult.
Es muy díficil elegir. – It’s very difficult to choose.

6. Grande – Big

Examples:

La casa grande – The big house
Tenemos una tienda grande. – We have a big tent.

7. Pequeño/a – Small

Examples:

El pequeño pueblo pintoresco tiene solo veinte habitantes. – The small picturesque village has only twenty inhabitants.
El hermano pequeño – The little brother

8. Divertido/a – Funny

Examples:

¡Qué divertido! – How funny!
¡Es divertido pasar la aspiradora! – It’s fun to vacuum!

9. Fácil – Easy

Examples:

La melodía es bastante fácil de cantar. – The tune is quite easy to sing.
¿Fue fácil vivir juntos? – Was it easy to live together?

 
 

The 12 Most Common Adjectives In French

1. Petit – Small or of little importance

Examples:

Un petit problème – A small issue
Il est petit. – He is small.

2. Grand – Large, tall, important, worthy of respect

Examples:

Un grand problème – A big issue
Un grand homme – A great man
Il est grand. – He is tall.

3. Drôle – Something that surprises you or makes you laugh

Examples:

C’est drôle ! – That’s funny!
Il est drôle. – He’s funny.

4. Super – Super, great, extraordinary

Examples:

Un film super – A great film
Super ! – Great !

5. Dernier – Last

Examples:

Il est arrivé dernier à la course. – He finished last at the race.
Le petit dernier – The little one (when talking about the youngest child in a family)

6. Premier – First

Examples:

Le premier étage – The first floor
À la première occasion – At the first opportunity

7. Possible – Possible, doable, believable

Examples:

Non ? Pas possible ! – No? No way! (Expression of surprise and disbelief)
C’est possible… – It’s possible…

8. Jeune – Young

Examples:

Les jeunes mariés – Couple that just got married
Une jeune fille – A young girl
Un jeune homme – A young man
Le marié a l’air très jeune. – The groom looks very young.

9. Grave – Serious, considerable, critical

Examples:

Une grave erreur – A serious mistake
L’heure est grave ! – The situation is critical!
Ce n’est pas grave. Il va quand même faire beau. – That’s not too bad. The weather will be nice anyway.

10. Beau – Beautiful

Examples:

Les beaux jours – Warmer days after winter has passed
C’est un beau jardin. – It’s a beautiful garden.

11. Public/ique – Public

Examples:

Un jardin public – A public garden
Travailler dans le secteur public – To work in the public sector
Ils vont à l’école publique. – They go to a public school.

12. Nouveau – New

Examples:

Un nouveau livre – A new book
C’est nouveau ! – That’s new !

 
 

The 20 Most Common Adjectives In German

1. Ganz – Whole

Examples:

Ich habe eine ganze Tafel Schokolade gegessen. – I ate a whole bar of chocolate.
Ich habe die ganze Nacht getanzt. – I danced all night.

2. Neu – New

Examples:

Lass uns auf das neue Jahr anstoßen! – Let’s raise our glasses to the new year!
Unser neuer Nachbar macht merkwürdige Geräusche. – Our new neighbor makes strange noises.

3. Anders — Different, other

Examples:

Ich habe keine andere Wahl. – I don’t have another choice.
Die andere Schokolade schmeckt viel besser. – The other chocolate tastes way better.

4. Groß – Big, tall

Examples:

Sie wohnen in einem sehr großen Haus. – They live in a very big house.
Meine große Schwester lebt in New York. – My big sister lives in New York.

5. Erste, -r, -s – First

Examples:

Mein erster Job war als Barista in einem Cafe. – My first job was as a barista in a coffee shop.
Liebling, wie war dein erster Arbeitstag? – My love, how was your first day at work?

6. Viel – Much, A lot

Examples:

Es gibt viel Arbeit zu tun. – There is a lot of work to do.
Viele Köche verderben den Brei. – Many cooks spoil the broth (lit. mush).

7. Deutsch – German

Examples:

Der Sänger singt deutsche Lieder. – The singer sings German songs.
Das ist ein deutsches Auto. – This is a German car.

8. Gut – Good

Examples:

Ich liebe gutes Essen. – I love good food.
Das ist ein gutes Buch. – This is a good book.

9. Weit – Far, wide

Examples:

Das weite Meer – The open/endless (lit. wide) sea
Die weite Straße war komplett leer. –
The wide street was completely empty.

10. Klein – Small

Examples:

Er hat kleine Füße. – He has small feet.
Meine kleine Schwester –
My little sister

11. Lang – Long

Examples:

Er wohnt in dieser langen Straße. – He lives on this long street.
Das ist der längste Wal der Welt. – This is the longest whale on earth.

12. Alt – Old

Examples:

Ich bin eine alte Frau. – I am an old woman.
Ich mag diesen alten Tisch sehr. – I love this old table very much.

13. Hoch – High, up, much

Examples:

Der hohe Kirchturm ist wunderschön. – The high church tower is beautiful.
Ich kann die hohe Miete nicht mehr bezahlen. – I can’t pay the high rent anymore.

14. Letzte, -r, -s – Last

Examples:

Der letzte Tag – The last day
Hatten Sie letzte Woche Urlaub? – Were you on vacation last week?

15. Eigen – Own

Examples:

Das ist mein erstes eigenes Auto. – This is the first car I owned (lit. my first own car).
Kümmere dich um deine eigenen Angelegenheiten! – Take care of your own business (lit. matters)!
Sie hat ihren ganz eigenen Willen. – She has her very own will.

16. Schön – Nice, beautiful

Examples:

Diese schönen Blumen sind für dich! – These beautiful flowers are for you!
Einen schönen Tag noch!
– Have a nice day!

17. Spät – Late

Examples:

Entschuldige die verspätete Antwort. – Sorry for the late answer.
Er kommt am späten Nachmittag an. – He will arrive in the late afternoon.

18. Wichtig – Important

Examples:

Heute Abend hatte Jana eine wichtige Verabredung. – Jana had an important date this evening.
Er möchte eine wichtige Ansage machen. – He wants to make an important announcement.

19. Weitere, -r, -s – Further, additional

Examples:

Weitere Karriere – Next stage of a career (lit. “further career”)
Weitere Informationen findet ihr unter dem Link. – You’ll find further information under the link.

20. Genau – Exact, precise

Examples:

Die genaue Adresse findest du in der E-Mail. – You will find the exact address in the email.
Kannst du mir die genaue Uhrzeit sagen? – Can you tell me the exact time?


 
 

The 21 Most Common Adjectives In Italian

1. Altro/a – Other

Examples:

Mi può portare un altro asciugamano, per favore? – Could I have an extra towel, please?
Desidera qualcos’altro? – Can I get you anything else?

2. Tanto/a – So much, much

Examples:

Ogni tanto ho così tanta sete che vedo un miraggio. – Sometimes I am so thirsty that I see a mirage.
Ma cosa faresti con così tanti soldi? – What would you do with so much money?
Ti auguro tanta felicità per l’anno che verrà! – I wish you every happiness in the new year!

3. Poco – Little, not much

Examples:

Normalmente mangio pochi carboidrati. – I normally eat very few carbohydrates.
Mi piacciono solo poche cose. – I only like a few things.

4. Molto – Much, very, a lot

Examples:

Mangiare molta frutta e verdura fa bene. – Eating a lot of fruit and vegetables is good for you.
Luana la mattina ha sempre molta fretta. – In the morning, Luana is always in a (lit. has a lot of) hurry.

5. Stesso/a – Same

Examples:

Lo stesso tragitto – The same way/route
Dobbiamo fare lo stesso tragitto. – We have to go (lit. make) the same way.
Dal lavoro a casa prendo ogni sera lo stesso treno. – I catch the same train home from work every evening.

6. Primo/a – First

Examples:

Il treno per Milano delle 7 e 55 è in partenza dal primo binario. – The train to Milan at 7:55 is departing from platform 1.
Il primo tempo
– The first half

7. Ogni – Every

Examples:

Abbiamo lavorato ogni giorno. – We worked each day.
A ogni morte di papa – Once in a blue moon (lit. “at every death of a pope”)

8. Grande – Big

Examples:

La tavola non è abbastanza grande per otto persone. – The table is not big enough for eight people.
Lui ha un naso grande. – He has a big nose.

9. Bello/a – Beautiful

Examples:

Non è molto bello ma è davvero simpatico! – He is not very handsome, but he is really nice!
Per la gita abbiamo ottenuto un bello sconto. – We got a great discount for the trip.

10. Nuovo/a – New

Examples:

Anno nuovo, vita nuova! – New year, new life!
Un cappotto nuovo – A new coat

11. Certo/a – Certain, sure

Examples:

Noto un certo disfattismo. – I notice a certain defeatism.
Le città vecchie hanno un certo fascino. – Old cities have a certain charm.

12. Vero/a – True

Examples:

È un vero fan della tecno. – He is a real techno fan.
A maggio il giardino è un vero prodigio! – In May, the garden is a real wonder!

13. Buono/a – Good

Examples:

Questo vino è tanto buono quanto caro. – This wine is as good as (it is) expensive.
L’esercizio è buono per il corpo e lo spirito.
– Exercise is good for body and soul.

14. Italiano/a – Italian

Examples:

Marco è italiano. – Marco is Italian.
Mi piace qualche regista italiano. – I like some Italian directors.

15. Ultimo/a – Last

Examples:

Questo è l’ultimo mercoledì del mese. – That’s the last Wednesday of the month.
Si, ho capito, prenderò l’ultimo autobus. – Yes, I’ve understood. I’ll take the last bus.

16. Vecchio/a – Old

Examples:

Spero di diventare molto vecchio. – I hope that I will get very old.
L’ho guardato tante volte! Ma è un film vecchio, vero? – I’ve seen it so many times! But it’s an old movie, isn’t it?

17. Piccolo/a – Small

Examples:

È probabile che offrano un piccolo contributo. – It’s probable that they (will) offer a small contribution.
Il piccolo paese pittoresco ha solo venti abitanti. – The small picturesque village has only twenty inhabitants.

18. Giovane – Young

Examples:

Lo sposo sembra molto giovane. – The groom looks very young.
La nostra coinquilina più giovane ha 33 anni. – Our youngest roommate is 33 years old.

19. Alto/a – High, tall, up

Examples:

Carlo è alto. – Carlo is tall.
Quest’affitto non è alto. – This rent isn’t high.

20. Diverso/a – Different

Examples:

È possibile suddividere queste varianti in diverse famiglie. – It’s possible to divide these variants into different families.
È normale che tu e io abbiamo idee diverse. – It’s normal that you and I have different ideas.

21. Lungo/a – Long

Examples:

Un lungo viaggio – A long trip
Infinite Jest di David Foster Wallace ha oltre 1000 pagine: è un libro lungo.Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace is over 1,000 pages long – it’s a long book.

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Author Headshot
Steph Koyfman
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.
Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. She’s also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but she’s a little rusty on those fronts.

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