learn spanish in 3 months

Is Spanish Hard to Learn? Here’s What You Need to Know

If your first language is English, the simplest answer to the question “Is Spanish hard to learn?” is “not really.”

In this post, I’ll break down the factors that make Spanish easy to learn, some challenges you may encounter while learning it and how to speak Spanish fluently if it’s not your first language.


Why Spanish Is Actually Easy to Learn

Spanish is actually one of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers. According to the U.S. government’s School of Language Studies (SLS), Spanish is a Category I language, meaning it only takes up to 30 weeks or 750 class hours to learn. (Note that class hours are separate from individual study hours, though.)

Here are the reasons why studying Spanish is relatively easy if your native language is English.

1. There are many English-Spanish cognates

English-Spanish cognates are words between English and Spanish that look similar and have the same definitions, such as adoptar (to adopt) and participar (to participate). They make Spanish easier to learn because they allow you to build vocabulary more easily than if these cognates weren’t present.

On the other hand, it’s important to note that false cognates exist, as well. These are words that seem similar but have different meanings—like sopa, which actually means “soup” rather than “soap.”

2. The sentence structure is familiar

Spanish and English have very similar sentence structures. Except for a few differences (like the adjective order), Spanish and English both use the “Subject, Verb, Object” (SVO) sentence structure. That means you don’t have to spend as much time grappling with Spanish grammar rules and such, because they’re more or less familiar to you already.

Even better, Spanish syntax is similar to English. In fact, it’s sometimes less strict than the latter. For example, you could say ¿Habla español Juan? or ¿Habla Juan español? to mean “Does Juan speak Spanish?,” and you’d be grammatically correct in both instances!

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3. Capitalization and punctuation are familiar, too

For the most part, Spanish capitalization and punctuation rules are similar to that of English. For example, you’d also capitalize proper nouns and the first word of a sentence in Spanish, and you’d end sentences with periods.

Of course, there are also some differences, which you can find here.

4. The pronunciation is relatively easy

Most of the letters in Spanish are identical to those of the English alphabet. Also, unlike English vowels, Spanish vowels are usually pronounced the same no matter what. For example, the letter e is always pronounced with an “eh” sound, like in “met.”

That said, there are Spanish sounds that may seem challenging for non-native speakers, but they’re not difficult to pronounce and often already exist in English. The notorious rolled rr sound does require a bit of practice though!

5. The grammatical rules are consistent

For example, conjugating a verb or building a sentence are both fairly uniform throughout the language (with a few exceptions, of course).

Further, nouns ending in -o are often masculine, while nouns that end in -a are often feminine. Even the exceptions to this have patterns: nouns that end with -ema are nearly always masculine—e.g., el poema (the poem) and el tema (the theme).

Some Challenges of Learning Spanish

Now, let’s get into the reasons why the answer to “is Spanish hard to learn” might be “yes” for native English speakers.

1. There are many irregular verbs

The bad news is that many of the most common verbs in Spanish are irregular. You’ll have to master these irregular verbs in order to hold fluent conversations in Spanish.

The good news is that, as we’ve mentioned earlier, there are also consistent patterns in how these verbs are conjugated depending on their corresponding subject pronoun. So don’t feel intimidated if they look different from regular verbs at first. While irregular verbs have their own conjugation rules, those rules are almost as consistent as those for their regular cousins.  

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2. The language is gendered

Unlike English, Spanish nouns have assigned genders.

These genders are often attached with no rhyme or reason. In many cases, you’re simply expected to remember if a word is masculine or feminine. And you can’t ignore gender, because the gender of a noun affects the words around it, like adjectives and articles.

Although they often seem random, there are some rules surrounding genders, too. As you learn, you’ll start to get a sense of why things are certain genders throughout the language. For example, a group of mixed gender people will always be referred to in a masculine way, while many animal nouns can be either male or female depending on the animal’s actual gender.

How to Make the Spanish Learning Process Easier

  • Find a reason that inspires you to study. For me, learning a new language is always satisfying, especially when the odds seem to be stacked against me. Sure, it might not be easy, but if a bit of a challenge stopped people from trying things, the Olympics would be very boring to watch. But what motivates you to learn Spanish? Use that as a source of strength when things get difficult. Whatever your reason is for studying, the journey will be well worth it.
  • Decide what level of fluency you want to achieve. If you just want to learn some basics for an upcoming trip, then your learning journey will be much easier than if you want to become completely fluent in the language.
  • Find your learning style. Everyone has a different learning style. For example, if you’re a visual learner, watching Spanish YouTube channels might be the way to go. If you learn best by listening, then Spanish podcasts might be ideal for you.
  • Make time to learn. Learning a new language takes time. You won’t get far in your studies unless you pencil in a dedicated block of time into your daily schedule, even if it’s just 15 minutes per day. Once you get into the habit of studying Spanish every day, you’ll get to the point where you won’t even have to think about scheduling in your Spanish studies—it’ll just come naturally to you!
  • Use Spanish as much as you can. Try to use Spanish in your everyday life. For example, you can narrate what you’re doing in Spanish, label your household items in Spanish, play Spanish music, read the news in Spanish or do anything else that can help you actively use Spanish on a daily basis. The best way to learn is through practice, after all!
  • Use the resources you have available. Thanks to the internet, the resources available to you for studying Spanish are nearly limitless. You can hire a teacher, use free online courses or buy a great textbook to get started. You could also use a program for learning Spanish like FluentU, which immerses learners in authentic Spanish videos with interactive captions. 

Speaking of which, here are more tips to get fluent in Spanish:


And finally, just keep learning!

The best way to make learning Spanish easier is to believe that you can do it. Just keep working toward your fluency goals and go for the gold!

And One More Thing…

If you've made it this far that means you probably enjoy learning Spanish with engaging material and will then love FluentU.

Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.

FluentU has a wide variety of videos, as you can see here:


FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.


Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.


Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.


The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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