Using el de/la de/los de/las de to specify what/who you are talking about

In Spanish, when someone wants to clarify what/who he/she is referring to, you can use:

Have a look and listen to the following examples:

Mira esos cuadros. El de la derecha es espectacular.
Look at those paintings. The one on the right is spectacular.

Todas son preciosas, pero la de flores amarillas me encanta.
All of them are beautiful, but I love the one with yellow flowers.

Casi todos mis estudiantes son buenísimos, pero los de segundo curso son geniales.
Most of my students are very good, but the ones in year two are great.

Aunque las charlas de hoy han sido interesantes, las de ayer me parecieron muy útiles.
Although today's talks were interesting, I found the ones from yesterday very useful.

Notice how in the examples above:

  • They can refer to things or people.
  • The singular definite articles (el/la) are used to refer to one thing/person, and agree in gender.
  • The plural definite articles (los/las) are used to refer to more than one thing/people and agree in gender.
  • There is no need to add any preposition after "de". 
Todas son preciosas, pero la de flores amarillas me encanta.
Todas son preciosas, pero la de con flores amarillas me encanta.
All of them are beautiful, but I love the one with yellow flowers.

 

El de/la de/los de/las de can be followed by adjectives, articles + nouns, and adverbs.

Me gusta la de rojo. (adjective)
I like the one in red.

Voy a comprar el de la tienda pequeña. (article + noun)
I am going to buy the one in the small shop.

Los de mañana serán más frescos. (adverb)
Tomorrow's (ones) will be fresher.

 

Remember that if el de/la de/los de/las de are followed by masculine article "el", then de + el become "del". For example:

-¿Qué restaurante prefieres? -Yo prefiero el del hotel.
-Which restaurant do you prefer? -I prefer the one in the hotel.

 See also Using lo de que + conjugated verb / lo de + noun / infinitive / adverb to refer to something already mentioned.

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Todas son preciosas, pero la de flores amarillas me encanta.
All of them are beautiful, but I love the one with yellow flowers.


Mira esos cuadros. El de la derecha es espectacular.
Look at those paintings. The one on the right is spectacular.


Aunque las charlas de hoy han sido interesantes, las de ayer me parecieron muy útiles.
Although today's talks were interesting, I found the ones from yesterday very useful.


Casi todos mis estudiantes son buenísimos, pero los de segundo curso son geniales.
Most of my students are very good, but the ones in year two are great.


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