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Morphology

Shortened adjectives

In Spanish some adjectives are shortened (apocopation) with the deletion of certain final letters of the word when they are in before a noun.

Qualifying adjectives asbueno and malo or ordinal number as primero and tercero loose final vowel when they appear before a singular masculine substantive:

Example: mal tiempo; buen amigo; primer tiempo; tercer corredor…

Primero and terceroare shortened when they are part of composed ordinals:

Example: vigésimotercer cumpleaños; trigésimo primer concurso

They are also shortened when a word appears between them and the substantive:

Example: un mal segundo novio; un buen primer plato; su primer gran golpe…

Apocopation is optional when they are coordinated with other adjective:

Example: bueno y cariñoso amigo / buen y cariñoso amigo; malo y desafortunado momento / mal y desafortunado momento; tercero y último partido / tercer y último partido. 

Adjective grande is shortened as gran when it appears before a singular substantive (masculine or feminine). A word between the adjective and substantive doesn’t change it.

Example: Una gran mujer; un gran primer puesto.