A sentence from Easy spanish step by step.

Ellos son maestros excelentes.

should this be,

Ellos son unos maestros excelentes.

as the noun "maestros" has been modified?

Secondly are the definite articles "el" and "la" used for modified profession?


Él es el maestro excelente.

or is this only done with indefinite articles?


For your first question, let me review your reasoning. You're observing that if we start out with

El es maestro.

and we modify maestro with an adjective, e.g. excelente, then we need to add an indefinite article:

El es un maestro excelente.

You'd like to know if we need to do the same thing with the plural version. In other words, if we add an adjective to

Ellos son maestros.

must we then say the following?

Ellos son unos maestros excelentes.

Or can we say the following?

Ellos son maestros excelentes.

The answer is, "Ellos son maestros excelentes" is fine.

For your second question, I think you're asking whether it's okay to say the following?

El es el maestro excelente

The answer is, Yes, you can say this, but it's a bit unusual. It means, as Mike said, "He is the excellent teacher." Here's a possible context. For example, you've been telling your brother about an incredible teacher you have, and then you run into him in the grocery store. You might tell your brother, "He's the excellent teacher (I was telling you about)."

Note that "Es un maestro" is also possible, although it has a special meaning: "He's an expert / a genius" or "He's phenomenal!" (Thanks to @Gustavson for suggesting this addition to my answer.)

  • if it is ok to say "Ellos son maestros excelentes". why isn't it ok to say, "El es un maestro"? – Simple Nov 26 '17 at 7:04
  • or is it ok but uncommon? – Simple Nov 26 '17 at 7:06
  • I never hear "El es un maestro". The way I think of it is: El = maestro. – aparente001 Nov 26 '17 at 14:16
  • "Es un maestro" is perfect Spanish to mean "He's an expert / a genius" – Gustavson Nov 26 '17 at 14:23
  • @Gustavson - You're right, I hadn't thought of that. – aparente001 Nov 26 '17 at 14:23

For the first example, the plural undefined article "unos/unas" can be omitted when the pronoun is present in the sentence when is used to assign properties to the subject. yet the meaning can be interpreted in different ways as using the article actually gives emphasis in the assignment.

on the second example, you are misusing the article "el"

their use is the same as the "the" in English and using it that way actually transforms the meaning of the sentence

the proper way for your example is to use the undefined Article "a/an", in both English and Spanish they have the same meaning and usage.

saying: "él es el maestro excelente" literally translates to : "he is the excellent teacher"

implying that there's only 1 excellent teacher, to avoid this you use the undefined article for the singular male "un"

"él es un maestro excelente "

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