Color Words in Spanish – How to Use Color Words in Spanish Correctly

Color words in Spanish, as in any other language, are important in increasing your descriptive language. These small but powerful words are used every day for characterizing and defining your thoughts. Knowing the color words in Spanish and how to use them properly builds on your power to communicate correctly in the Spanish language. 

Spanish is used in many different parts of the world and not all dialects use the same words. These twelve basic colors words are some that are commonly used here in Mexico:

Spanish Colors-English Colors
 
amarillo–yellow
anaranjado–orange
azul-blue
beige–beige
blanco-white
gris-gray
marron-brown
morado-purple
negro-black
rojo-red
verde–green
 
To help you use these basic color words in Spanish properly, here are a few things to remember. I have tried to keep the rules simple and provided examples so you can visual the actual usage.
 
1. In English a color comes before the noun that it is describing.   Eg. I have a green shoe. 
In Spanish, in most cases, the name of the color comes after the noun it describes.   Eg. I have a green shoe.  Tengo un zapato verde.
 
b) If the color describes an inherent (built in) quality, then it comes in front.   Eg. the white snow–la blanca nieve
 
2. Spanish nouns are classified as either feminine or masculine.  Spanish color adjectives often change to agree in gender with the noun they describe. If the noun is masculine and the Spanish color word ends in an o, like rojo, the color word does not change. If the noun is feminine, then the color word that ended in o, now ends in aroja.
Eg.   There is one red book.    Hay un libro rojo.      word book (libro) is masculine, so red is rojo.
Eg.  There is a red ball.     Hay una pelota roja.      word for ball (pelota) is feminine, so rojo changes to roja.
 
In the other basic Spanish colors above, here are the changes.
 
Remember: masculine ends in o, then feminine ends in a
 
·amarillo–un libro amarillo                          amarilla–una pelota amarilla
·anaranjado–un libro anaranjado              anaranjada–una pelota anaranjada
·blanco–un libro blanco                               blanca–una pelota blanca
·morado–un libro morado                           morada–una pelota morada
·negro–un libro negro                                  negra–una pelota negra
 
3.  Usually color words in Spanish also change when the nouns become plural.  In the above examples, when a color ends in an o or a, and the noun becomes plural, add an s in both the masculine and feminine situations.  Eg. There are two red books.  Hay dos libros rojos.     Eg. There are two red balls.  Hay dos pelotas rojas.
 
·amarillos–dos libros amarillos                    amarillas–dos pelotas amarillas
·anaranjado–dos libros anaranjados          anaranjadas–dos pelotas anaranjadas
·blanco–dos libros blancos                           blanco–dos pelotas blancas
·morado–dos libros morados                       moradas–dos pelotas moradas
·negro–dos libros negros                              negra–dos pelotas negras
 
4. These colors in Spanish do not change with the gender. They are the same if the noun is masculine or feminine:   beige, rosa, verde, gris, marrón, azul.    Eg.  a beige book–un libro beige       a beige ball–una pelota beige
 
b) The colors, beige and rosa, do not change when the noun is plural:     Eg. two pink balls–dos pelotas rosa         two beige books–dos libros beige
 
c) For the color verde, add an s for plural: verdes       Eg.  two green balls–dos pelotas verdes               
two green books–dos libros verdes
 
d) For the Spanish colors, azul, marrón, and gris, add es with plural nouns: Azules, marrónes, grises    Eg. two blue books–dos libros azules , two brown balls–dos pelotas marrones ,  two gray balls–dos pelotas grises  

Clearly, it is important to know how to use these small but powerful words correctly. Spanish color words bring life to otherwise mundane sentences. They make your descriptions come alive and enrich your vocabulary. Color words in Spanish expand your writing and speaking parameters.
 
I hope this helps with implementing the basic color words to your Spanish repertoire. Try the best you can. You may make mistakes, but that is a great way to learn. Just use these few simple rules to help you get on the right track.

Barefoot Shoes at the Beijing Silk Market

I was in Beijing recently with an afternoon free so my friend and travel buddy K and I decided to go window shopping at the Silk Market. This was on the Grave sweeping or Qing Ming holiday so the market was even busier and more hectic than normal.

Basically I was dragging K along for company and to share the pleasure of walking through the market. Can’t explain exactly why but I really enjoy the atmosphere of that place. Call me strange but it is like a drug! We both said we would buy nothing. Famous last words.

How we got there – Normally when visiting the Silk Market, I arrive on foot or by bus and enter through the main entrance on the street. This time K and I caught the subway at Beijing Train station and entered the Silk Market through exit A at the Yanganli subway station. There is an under ground corridor that connects exit A directly to the Silk Market basement so you do not even need to see the light of day when entering the market. Cool!

Even this underground corridor is lined with stalls displaying eye catching bargains so temptation begins before you even enter the market proper.

Speaking Spanish – Never ceases to amaze me how the staff there can fleece tourist in so many languages. I saw Spanish man and his family start to walk away from a shoe stall when the seller would not meet his price. Determined not to loose the sale, the seller let loose a rapid fire string of Spanish and persuaded the departing customer to return. She ended selling shoes to both the man and his wife at what would have been enormous mark ups.

Barefoot shoes – While browsing on the first floor, K saw some barefoot shoes that she had to have. The price offered by the seller was 600RMB. We browsed our way up to the 6th floor then worked our way back to the 1st floor where K had a plan. I’m a white male which makes me a liability when it comes to haggling so K told me to make myself scarce while she did some serious shopping.

K visited a number of shops selling barefoot shoes and ended up getting her barefoot shoes for 150RMB. That’s right. She battled the price from 600RMB all the way down to 150RMB. Found out later that night from an American couple we met that the same shoes in the US cost $80. K paid around $18 for hers. Very nice work.

So a word of advice to the ladies. Do not shop with men in the Silk Market. No matter if they are a just a friend like me, a husbands or family. Get rid of them and you’ll save a lot of money.

Beijing Duck – No trip to Beijing is complete with out the tasty scrumptious Beijing Duck. The trick is to find a restaurant that will serve decent quality duck at a decent price. Being Beijing, most restaurants are priced for tourist and not great value. Out of curiosity, I asked a waitress at the Silk Market’s Peking Duck restaurant how much their duck was. 88RMB for two people. The restaurant is very nice so that is an excellent price. So if you visit the Silk Market, treat yourself to some of Beijing’s finest duck when you finish bargain hunting.

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