Using unos, unas + number = about/approximately

If unos/unas is used before a number, it usually means "about""some" or "approximately". Like adjectives, the article must agree with the noun in number and gender.
 
For example: 

La película dura unos ochenta minutos.
The film lasts about eighty minutes.

El taxi tardó unos veinte minutos.
The taxi took about twenty minutes.

Tengo unos cincuenta euros en la cartera.
I have about fifty euros in the wallet.

In the examples above, the number is invariable and it never changes its form.

Now, look at these examples:

Elías tenía unas cuatrocientas libras en el banco.
Elías had about four hundred pounds in the bank.

El viaje ha sido unos doscientos kilómetros.
The trip was approximately two hundred kilometers.

Note that in the examples above, the whole hundreds from 200 onwards (200, 300, 400, 500, 600, etc.) agree with the noun they precede. Be careful because with other hundreds like 203, 345, etc., the tens and units do not change, just the hundreds.

For example:

Había unas quinientas treinta y cuatro especies en peligro de extinción.
There were about five hundred and thirty-four species in danger of extinction.

Extra note:

If we are talking about "certain quantities" of something, be careful to agree the article unos/unas with the noun immediately after. For example:

Usaron unos doscientos litros de agua para llenar la piscina.
They used about 200 litres of water to fill up the pool.

The agreement is with litros, and not agua.

 

See also:

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Tengo unos cincuenta euros en la cartera.
I have about fifty euros in the wallet.


El viaje ha sido unos doscientos kilómetros.
The trip was approximately two hundred kilometers.


Elías tenía unas cuatrocientas libras en el banco.
Elías had about four hundred pounds in the bank.


Usaron unos doscientos litros de agua para llenar la piscina.
They used about 200 litres of water to fill up the pool.


La película dura unos ochenta minutos.
The film lasts about eighty minutes.


Había unas quinientas treinta y cuatro especies en peligro de extinción.
There were about five hundred and thirty-four species in danger of extinction.


El taxi tardó unos veinte minutos.
The taxi took about twenty minutes.


Q&A Forum 2 questions, 2 answers

LisaB1Kwiziq community member

Using unos for a smaller number than 200


This test question confused me.  I thought that a number under 200 used "unos" but the test answer says it should be unas tres horas.

The journey lasts about three hours. : El viaje dura ___ horas.

Asked 1 month ago
InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Lisa,

The article (unos/unas) needs to agree with the noun; in this case "horas". It doesn't depend on how high or low the number is.

El viaje dura unas tres horas.

Había unas ciento cincuenta personas en el concierto.

Ganamos unos doscientos euros en el bingo.

Saludos

Inma

 

Using unos for a smaller number than 200


This test question confused me.  I thought that a number under 200 used "unos" but the test answer says it should be unas tres horas.

The journey lasts about three hours. : El viaje dura ___ horas.

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AlanB1Kwiziq community member

Would it be right to say "unas cuatro libras" - "about 4 pounds"

Asked 9 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Alan

Yes, that'd be correct.

:))

Would it be right to say "unas cuatro libras" - "about 4 pounds"

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