I notice some adjectives do not agree with their nouns, eg. 'Un jugador estrella'. Am I right that this is because 'estrella' is a word in itself and cannot be changed? I also notice this with the Covid 19 so-called bubble groups or classroom pods. It is 'unos agrupamientos burbuja'. This is singular instead of being plural. Why?

Also, I noticed in a recent edition of El País, the following:

La voluntad de mantener abiertas las actividades educativa y economica.

Again, this is about the coronavirus and does not agree. Why? I am unable to copy and paste the full context.

2 Answers 2


Regarding your third example, "las actividades educativa y económica", the sentence refers to two kinds of activity: educational activity and economic activity. Each activity is singular on its own: you can say "mantener abierta la actividad económica", and that is why the adjectives appear in singular form in the sentence. Another example could be

  • Conecta los cables azul y negro, y deja los demás sin conectar. (Connect the blue and black wires, and leave the others unconnected).

where there is only one blue wire and one black wire, so the adjectives "azul" and "negro" are in singular form even though "cables" is in plural.

Of course, in the case of such a general concept as "economic activities", it is less clear, and both options are correct. You can say:

  • mantener abierta la actividad económica


  • mantener abiertas las actividades económicas

with almost the same meaning, and therefore you can say either

  • mantener abiertas las actividades educativa y económica


  • mantener abiertas las actividades educativas y económicas

with, again, almost the same meaning.

  • Thank you. Could I ask also,what is the DLE and where do I access it? I presume it is some kind of dictionary
    – Bluelion7
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 22:33
  • 1
    @Bluelion7 Diccionario de la Lengua Española. It is the official dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy, and used often as an official source. See here for other acronyms frequently used on this site.
    – wimi
    Commented Nov 3, 2020 at 7:54
  • 1
    @Bluelion7 you may find the list of abbreviations the dictionary uses dle.rae.es/contenido/abreviaturas-y-signos-empleados useful too. On a personal note as a learner I found the dictionary hard going to start with but it is worth persevering.
    – mdewey
    Commented Nov 3, 2020 at 11:34
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    @mdewey luckily, the meaning of the abbreviations in the DLE is displayed when you hover over them. Maybe not on mobile devices though...
    – wimi
    Commented Nov 3, 2020 at 12:52
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    Well, you live and learn as we say.
    – mdewey
    Commented Nov 3, 2020 at 13:55

In that sentence estrella is a noun being used in apposition and so is burbuja. If you look at their definitions in the DLE you will see a definition of that usage.

  1. f. U. en aposición para indicar que lo designado por el sustantivo al que se pospone se considera lo más destacado en su género. Proyecto, juez estrella.


  1. f. U. en aposición para indicar que la persona o personas designadas por el sustantivo al que se pospone están sometidas a terapia con aislamiento absoluto. Niños burbuja.


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