Are you just starting to learn Spanish?
Building or reinforcing your foundation in the language?
Or perhaps you’re prepping yourself for a big trip to a Spanish-speaking country, and you just want to survive.
Wherever you’re at, constructing simple Spanish sentences is a must.
It’s key for every level of language learning, but it’s particularly important for beginners.
The ability to construct correct and polished sentences from day 1 creates strong linguistic building blocks for long-term success in Spanish!
Knowing some simple sentences may not mean that you’ll have perfect pronunciation or be able to start communicating complex thoughts just yet, as those elements tend to come later in your learning. But in order to keep progressing, it’s vital that your first sentences are correctly constructed!
Don’t get discouraged by repeating complex sentences over and over with more advanced vocabulary. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the simpler bits of the language first!
Once comfortable with simple sentences, you’ll then continue to add layers of complexity and sophistication to your speech…poco a poco (little by little), of course!
How to Begin Learning Spanish Sentences
In many ways, how you begin to learn a language, or do anything for that matter, strongly affects the rest of your progress.
When it comes to Spanish, if you begin by paying little to no attention to essential details like gender, articles and verb use, your sentences may be understood, but you’ll likely build some bad habits and continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over.
Guess what happens over time?
Your language building blocks become shaky and your Spanish, despite your intensive grammar study or specialized vocabulary lists, won’t be quite right because you missed out on the basics.
Don’t worry if you haven’t gotten started on this just yet. I’m going to give you some memory-boosting tips and take you through the five crucial components for making sentences in Spanish.
3 Tips to Remember Your Simple Spanish Sentences
1. Write down two new sentences daily.
Write one in the morning when you wake up, one at night before you go to bed. Want to create a daily visual reminder? Hang a poster or sheet of paper on the wall to make sure you review daily.
A friend of mine told me that, after making herself a wall poster of 10 Spanish sentences, she stared at the poster for five minutes daily. After a week, she remembered eight out of the 10 sentences by heart—not bad! The trick is just to keep doing this every week with a fresh batch of sentences, plus the ones from last week you haven’t quite memorized yet.
2. Say them to yourself in the mirror.
Repeat each sentence three times and look at yourself while speaking. Don’t be shy! This helps reinforce the sentence. The visual of yourself helps you ingrain it deep in your mind and feel extra confident. If something sounds funny, look at your mouth. Are you really forming the sounds carefully with your lips and mouth?
3. Journal all the time.
Keep a Spanish journal and write down two simple sentences daily. Write each one two or three times back-to-back to make sure it really sticks! If you’re really feeling motivated, you can extend this practice session and create a longer journal entry using the sentences in context.
5 Components of Successful Simple Sentences in Spanish
Make sure you know a minimum of 10 everyday verbs by heart, along with their correct definitions and usages! Everyday verbs are those commonly used to describe daily activities. Think of basics like comer (to eat), poder (to be able to), beber (to drink), tener (to have) and ir (to go).
Knowing proper usage is important if you’d like to avoid mumbling or spitting out awkward sentences, like “soy casa” (I am a house) instead of “estoy en casa” (I’m home).
Trust me, I’ve heard that li’l mistake and many more like it! It’s fine to make mistakes, especially when you’re first learning—but let’s minimize the damage, shall we?
Placing proper gender on nouns is key in Spanish, as it can change entire sentences. Imagine what could happen if you say pulpo (octopus) instead of pulpa (pulp).
While writing and developing your vocabulary lists, make sure to include the gender of the noun next to the word in parentheses. For example:
(una) casa – a house
Oddly, many teachers decide not to include noun gender until intermediate level. There’s a school of thinking that says you shouldn’t focus on grammar from the get-go, you should focus on immersion and absorbing words in their natural context.
You can do that too! However, if you want to start communicating right away, memorizing a few simple building blocks gives you a decent breadth of expressions to use in speech and writing right away.
As a general rule for gender, nouns that end in o are masculine and those that end in a are feminine, but there are exceptions! Mastering noun gender can be a bit tricky, but it really polishes your sentence skills.
English speakers often cite gender and verbs as the most difficult elements of mastering Spanish, so give special focus to components 1 and 2 to develop solid language habits and construct sentences without even thinking about it!
3. Indefinite and Definite Articles
Once you master your noun genders, placing articles will be a breeze!
To say “the,” the Spanish language uses definite articles el (masculine singular), los (masculine plural), la (feminine singular) and las (feminine plural).
To say “a” or “some,” it uses the indefinite articles un, unos, una and unas.
These articles are used much more frequently than they are in English, so you’ll need to know where and when to place them.
4. Simple Connectors
It’s essential that you know how to connect your words and ideas in sentences. Here are the top five connectors used in Spanish that will help you connect your thoughts:
- y – and
- pero – but
- tambien – also
- porque – because
- *pues – well
*Pues: This connector, although employed in both Spain and Latin America, will have dominance in Latin American informal speech.
5. Phrasal Verbs
Phrasal verbs are your best friends when making simple Spanish sentences. Why?
Well, thankfully, they have clear rules that, if followed accordingly, will produce flawless sentences to describe your future actions.
That’s why I’d like to cordially introduce you to your new phrasal friends—so named because they’re insanely easy to use—Tener que + Infinitivo (have to) and Ir a + Infinitivo (going to). By the way, an infinitivo (infinitive) is a verb that isn’t conjugated.
This will also be great conjugation practice for two essential verbs, Tener (to have) and Ir (to go), as they’re irregular in the first person form of the present tense.
Let’s conjugate them together and then construct some simple sentences, keeping in mind specifics like gender, articles and simple connectors!
We’ll start by talking about the things we have to do! You know, since there are so many of those.
Tener que + infinitivo
To have to (do something)
1. Conjugate tener (to have)
yo tengo – I have
tú tienes – you (informal) have
él/ella/usted tiene – he/she/you (formal) have
nosotros tenemos – they have
vosotros tenéis – you guys (informal) have
ellos/ellas/ustedes tienen – they/you guys (formal) have
2. Add que
3. Add your infinitivo
Let’s look at three sentence examples of tener que in action. The infinitive verbs are underlined!
Yo tengo que hacer mis tareas porque mañana tengo clase.
(I have to do my homework because tomorrow I have class)
Tú tienes que ver esa película, pero vamos juntos porque la quiero ver otra vez.
(You have to see that movie, but let’s go together because I want to see it again)
Ellos tienen que ir, ella también tiene que ir.
(They have to go, she has to go as well)
Simple isn’t it? Try constructing a few more on your own. Then review with this quiz.
What about having to go somewhere? Well that’s where phrasal friend number 2 comes in.
Ir a + infinitivo
To go (somewhere)
1. Conjugate ir (to go)
yo voy – I go
tú vas – you (informal) go
él/ella/usted va – he goes, she goes, you (formal) go
nosotros vamos – we go
vosotros vais – you guys go
ellos/ellas/ustedes van – they (masculine) go, they (feminine) go, you guys (formal) go
2. Add a
3. Add your infinitivo
Check out these simple sentences, looking again at the way gender, articles and connectors are placed! The infinitives are underlined again for ease of reading.
Ella va a ver la televisión.
(She is going to watch television)
Vosotros vais a comer porque tenéis hambre.
(You guys are going to eat because you are all hungry)
Usted va a poder hacerlo, pero con ayuda.
(You will be able to do that, but with some help)
Keep thinking of a few more on your own using different words and actions. When you feel ready, take this quiz to review!
Now you have two formulas to construct your own simple sentences in Spanish, yuju (yipee) for you!
While you’re at it, why not kick off your Spanish Sentence wall poster today? To help you, here are five handy and simple refresher sentences for your day to day existence.
5 Handy, Simple Sentences in Spanish
1. Soy de los Estados Unidos. – I am from the USA.
2. Vivo en ______. – I live in _______.
3. Me dedico a ______. – I am a _______.
4. Soy estudiante. – I am a student
4. (No) me gusta + infinitivo. – I do/don’t like + infinitive verb. (The infinitive verb is the thing you do or don’t like.)
5. Estoy bien, gracias. (I am well, thank you.)
There you have it, Spanish in its pure simplicity!
By paying special attention to the five components of Spanish sentences, the 3 tips to remember and those two oh so friendly phrasal verbs, you’ll be golden…and when you’re golden you can only keep learning and strengthening your linguistic building blocks!
¡Hasta la próxima, amigos! (Until next time friends)!
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