Demonstrative Adjectives in Spanish

A demonstrative adjective demonstrates a quality or characteristic of the noun it modifies. Common demonstrative adjectives in English include "this", "these", "that" and "those". Demonstrative adjectives are often used to indicate which noun, or to place emphasis on a specific noun.
There are three sets of demonstrative adjectives in Spanish: este (this, these), ese (that, those), and aquel, (that/those over there). Which adjective is used depends on the location of the noun with respect to the speaker or listener. Each set of demonstrative adjectives has a masculine, feminine, singular, and plural form. In all, there are 12 different demonstrative adjective forms.

"Este" (this, these)

Este (and its other forms esta, estos and estas) is used to identify nouns that are close to the speaker and person being spoken to. When "este" is used, the noun is usually within reaching distance.

this
(singular, masculine)
este
this
(singular, feminine)
esta
these
(plural, masculine)
estos
these
(plural, feminine)
estas

Read and listen to the following examples, then repeat each out loud.

This is my best friend.
Este es mi mejor amigo.
This house is absolutely beautiful.
Esta casa es absolutamente precioso.
These beans are delicious.
Estos frijoles son deliciosos.
These tortillas are delicious.
Estas tortillas son ricas.

"Ese" (that, those)

Ese (and its other forms esa, esos and esas) is used to identify nouns that are farther from to the speaker and person being spoken to. When "ese" is used, the noun is usually not within reach.

that
(singular, masculine)
ese
that
(singular, feminine)
esa
those
(plural, masculine)
esos
those
(plural, feminine)
esas

Read and listen to the following examples, then repeat each out loud.

That car is mine.
Ese coche es mío.
Bring me that pen.
Traéme esa lápicera.
Those are my shoes.
Esos son mis zapatos.
Those magazines belong to my mom.
Esas revistas son de mi mamá.

"Aquel" (that, those over there)

Aquel (and its other forms aquella, aquellos and aquellas) is used to identify nouns that are far away from the speaker and person being spoken to. When "aquel" is used, the noun can only be seen.

that over there
(singular, masculine)
aquel
that over there
(singular, feminine)
aquella
those over there
(plural, masculine)
aquellos
those over there
(plural, feminine)
aquellas

Read and listen to the following examples, then repeat each out loud.

That building over there is very tall.
Aquel edificio es muy alto.
That girl over there is very smart.
Aquella chica es muy inteligente.
Those boats over there are not for rent.
Aquellos barcos no se rentan.
Those mountains over there are covered in snow.
Aquellas montañas están cubiertas de nieve.