Colors (and other adjectives) on menus

If you’ve never studied a language that has gender and number as modification of adjectives you may find menus (and especially just extracting words from menus to create a glossary) confusing. Usually the adjective (color, in this post) precedes a noun and that noun may be singular or plural (cebolla, cebollas; mejillón, mejillónes – easy as similar to English, in general) and most nouns have gender cebolla (feminine) and cordero (masculine) [ending in o (masc) or a (fem) is usually a good clue]. So a word for color itself has to change based on number or gender.

Also note, unlike English, that typically in Spanish the noun comes before the modifying adjective,

For instance, negro (black) is negro, negra, negros, negras depending on gender and number of the noun it modifies, as in frijoles negros or aceituna negra.

So here are most of the colors you’d find on menus:

masc sing. fem sing. masc plural fem plural
red rojo roja rojos rojas
purple violeta violeta violeta violeta
blue azul azul azules azules
green verde verde verdes verdes
yellow amarillo amarilla amarillos amarillas
orange anaranjado anaranjada anaranjados anaranjadas
black negro negra negros negras
white blanco blanca blancos blancas
grey gris gris grises grises
brown marron marrón marrones marrones
pink rosado rosada rosados rosadas

violeta does not depend on either gender or number;  azul, verde, gris don’t depend on gender.

A couple of other colors I’ve fished out of menus are shown below but I haven’t found their gender/number variations, so take your best guess.

dorado gold
plateado silver
purpura purple
rosa pink
pardo brown


btw: I find it amusing that one Spanish word I should know is Amarillo (yellow) since I was born in a town of that name in Texas. Of course we pronounced it wrong actually saying the ll (versus y sound in Spanish). I wonder what a Spaniard might think if I said I was born in that town and used our corrupted pronunciation.

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