spanish-grammar

The Complete Guide to Core Spanish Grammar Topics

Looking to learn Spanish grammar but don’t know where to start?

Don’t worry—if you take it bit by bit, you too will be able to navigate the intricacies of Spanish grammar!

In this post, we’ll go over all the essential elements of Spanish grammar, and provide resources where you can learn them in depth. It’s like our very own Spanish grammar Wiki.

Ready to get started?

Contents

Nouns

Nouns are essentially the name for any person, animal, place, thing, quality, idea or action.

As with English, Spanish nouns have several classifications. There are nine different types of nouns in total, and understanding them is complicated by the simple fact that you probably aren’t familiar with noun classifications in English, either (guilty). 

 


Spanish Nouns: The 9 Types of Spanish Nouns You Must Know | FluentU Spanish Blog

Spanish nouns are essential to building sentences. Learn the nine types of Spanish nouns you’ll come across in your studies. See examples of common, abstract and complex…

Gender

If you only speak English, it may take some time to get your head around the concept of gender in Spanish grammar. But just go with it! 

Put simply, every noun in Spanish is classified as either masculine or feminine. 

And, while there are some rules regarding gender, whether a word is masculine or feminine is not always obvious. That’s why it’s important to learn the gender of a noun at the same time you learn its translation. 

 


Masculine and Feminine Spanish: 3 Details That Are Often Overlooked | FluentU Spanish Blog

Read this guide to learn about masculine and feminine Spanish words! See when Spanish word gender matters, the best tips for learning them and resources to help you study.…

Plurals 

Plural nouns—as opposed to singular nouns—are relatively easy to form in Spanish. More often than not it’s as straightforward as adding “s” or “es” to the end of a word (just like in English!).

However, there are situations where the spelling of a word may change or the word is kept the same and only the article changes, and you’ve got to take into account the gender of the word. 

 


8 Simple Rules to Master the Plural in Spanish

Not sure how to make a word plural in Spanish? Here are eight simple rules to master the plural in Spanish!

Placement

The subject of a sentence (the word for whatever is performing an action, usually a noun) is typically placed first in a sentence, followed by a verb and then an object (if the verb actually has an object).

This structure often changes, though: the noun can be placed differently in order to emphasize different parts of the sentence, and you’ll often find that adjectives come before a lot of nouns. 

Prefixes and Suffixes 

Prefixes and suffixes are additions to the beginning and end of a word (respectively) which modify its meaning.

For example, adding the suffix -ito / -ita to the end of a word conveys smallness or endearment. If you take the word gato (cat) and add -ito it becomes gatito, which means “little kitten/cat.”

Knowing prefixes and suffixes will help you understand the meaning of a word even if it’s unfamiliar to you!

 


16 Spanish Prefixes That’ll Help You Understand Hundreds of New Spanish Words | FluentU Spanish Blog

Master 16 common Spanish prefixes to unlock word meanings. Learn prefixes like mal-, ben- and sobre- and you’ll start noticing them everywhere. Knowing these will let you…

 

 


30 Spanish Suffixes You Need to Navigate Native Conversations | FluentU Spanish Blog

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Pronouns

Pronouns are words which are used in the place of a noun (e.g. using “he,” “she” or “they” in place of using someone’s actual name). 

Spanish however has a few more pronouns than we’re used to in English. There are five ways of saying “you”, and to use them we must consider things like the formality of the situation and even what area of the world you’re in.

 


Pronoun Party: 8 Types of Spanish Pronouns You Should Know

To talk about anyone en español, you’re going to need pronouns! Here’s a groovin’ guide to Spanish pronouns, split into eight essential types.

Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns are short words which replace the names of people, things or places in order to make a sentence shorter and more concise—for example, instead of repeating a person’s name over and over in a conversation, we could substitute it with the word “they.” 

They are split into “subject pronouns” and “object pronouns,” depending on the role the word takes in a sentence.  

https://www.fluentu.com/blog/spanish/personal-pronouns-spanish/

Subject Pronouns

The subject pronouns replace the name of the subject in a sentence: whoever is performing the action. Spanish has 12 subject pronouns, which are:

  • Yo — I
  • — you (singular, informal)
  • Él — he
  • Ella — she
  • Usted — you (singular, formal)
  • Ustedes — you (plural, formal or informal depending on the country)
  • Ellos/ellas — they
  • Vosotros/vosotras — you (plural, informal used in Spain)
  • Nosotros/nosotras — we
 


The Spanish Subject Pronouns Explained: What They Are and How to Use Them | FluentU Spanish Blog

Spanish subject pronouns are a foundational concept you need to understand in order to learn the language. Check out this guide so you can learn the personal pronouns in…

Object Pronouns

Next we have object pronouns, which replace the “object” of the sentence: the person or thing that receives the action of a verb. We split these into “direct object” and “indirect object.”

 


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Direct object pronouns

Direct object pronouns receive the action of the verb directly. For example, in the phrase su papá la quiere (her dad loves her), the direct object is “her,” because she is receiving the action of the verb “love”.

Spanish direct object pronouns are:

  • Meme
  • Teyou
  • Lo, lahim, her, it, you (formal)
  • Los, lasthem, you all (formal in Spain)
  • Osyou all (informal in Spain)
  • Nosus

Indirect object pronouns

Indirect object pronouns are indirectly affected by the action of the verb.

For example, consider the phrase le escribo una carta. (I write him a letter). In this case, le (him or her) is the indirect object, as the verb is not directly affecting them.

They’re almost the same as direct object pronounsjust with lo and la becoming le, and los and las becoming les:

  • Meme
  • Teyou
  • Lehim, her, it, you (formal)
  • Lesthem, you all (formal in Spain)
  • Osyou all (informal in Spain)
  • Nosus

Possessive Pronouns

Like the rest of the pronouns we’ve seen, possessive pronouns are also words which replace nounsbut also indicate ownership.

They’re often confused with possessive adjectives, which are different because possessive adjectives merely describe nouns and do not actually replace them.  

Here are the possessive pronouns in Spanish:

  • Mío, mía, míos, mías mine
  • Tuyo, tuya, tuyos, tuyas yours (informal singular)
  • Suyo, suya, suyos, suyas his, hers, theirs, yours (formal singular and plural)
  • Vuestro, vuestra, vuestros, vuestras yours (informal plural in Spain)
  • Nuestro, nuestra, nuestros, nuestras ours
 


That’s Mine! Your One-stop Guide to Spanish Possessive Pronouns

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Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns are used to point out specific people or things. They change depending on the distance of the speaker, and of course the gender of whatever is being referred to.

Sometimes, though, you’ll find yourself in situations where you don’t actually know the gender of the object you’re referring to: in these cases, you’ll want to use neuter demonstrative pronouns.

  • Este (m), esta (f), esto (n) — this
  • Estos (m), estas (f) — these
  • Ese (m), esa (f), eso (n) — that
  • Esos (m), esas (f) — those
  • Aquel (m), aquella (f), aquello (n) — that (over there)
  • Aquellos (m), aquellas (f) — those (over there)

https://www.fluentu.com/blog/spanish/spanish-demonstrative-pronouns/

Reflexive Pronouns

When the object of a verb refers to the same noun as the subject of that verb, we use reflexive pronouns. 

Here are the reflexive pronouns alongside their English translations:

  • Me myself
  • Te yourself
  • Se himself, herself, themselves 
  • Se yourself (formal), yourselves (formal in Spain)
  • Os yourselves (informal in Spain)
  • Nos ourselves

Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns are words or phrases which refer back to a noun that was used earlier in communication. In English, they’re often words like “who,” “whose,” “that” and “which.” 

For example, in the phrase “the food that I bought,” the relative pronoun is “that.”

The following words and phrases are used as relative pronouns in Spanish:

  • Que 
  • Quien, quienes 
  • El que, la que, los que, las que
  • El cual, la cual, los cuales, las cuales
  • Lo que, lo cual
  • Cuando, donde
 


7 Spanish Relative Pronouns You Should Add to Your Vocabulary | FluentU Spanish Blog

Spanish relative pronouns are vital to make your speech sound more natural and fluid. But how do these pronouns (like “que,” “quien” and “lo cual”) actually function? Read…

Indefinite Pronouns

Indefinite pronouns are words which don’t actually refer to anything in particular—that is, they aren’t specific to any person, amount, or thing. In English we would use words like “anything,” “everybody,” “none,” “several” and “some.”

Here are a few of common indefinite pronouns you’ll come across in Spanish:

  • Alguien— somebody, someone
  • Alguno/a/os/as one, some, any
  • Cualquiera any, any one, anyone
  • Nadanothing, not anything
  • Nadie no one, not anyone
  • Ninguno/anone, no one
  • Otro/aother one, another one
  • Poco/a little, few
 


Know Your Pronouns: 13 Indefinite Pronouns in Spanish for “Any” Learners

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Interrogative Pronouns

Finally, we have interrogative pronouns: these are pronouns which are used to ask questions (hence the name “interrogative”). 

Here are some of the most common interrogative pronouns in Spanish:

  • Dóndewhere
  • Qwhat
  • Por quéwhy
  • Cómohow
  • Cuándowhen
  • Quiénwho
 


Say What? 8 Spanish Interrogative Pronouns to Ask Your Way to Fluency

Knowledge is power! So ask all your pressing questions with eight Spanish interrogative pronouns and get the answers you’re looking for. Stay curious!

Articles

An article is a word which identifies a part of a speech as a noun, without actually describing it.

It sounds complicated but it all makes sense when you see what the English equivalent would be: in this case, articles in English are “the,” “a” and “an.” For example:

The baby started to cry, so I gave him a bottle”

Articles can also be classified as “definite” and “indefinite” articles, which are explained below. 

 


7 Tips and Tricks for Correct Usage of Definite and Indefinite Articles in Spanish | FluentU Spanish Blog

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Definite Articles

The definite article is used when the noun being referred to is already known to the speaker or reader. It refers to a specific, defined object.

In Spanish it has four forms, depending on the gender and number of the noun in question:

  • El, la, los, lasthe

Indefinite Articles

In contrast, definite articles are used when the noun being referred to is general, or is not known to the speaker or reader. 

Like definite articles, indefinite articles in Spanish also reflect the gender and number of the noun. These are:

  • Un, una — a, an
  • Unos, unas — some
 


Un, Una, Unos Unas! How to Use the Spanish Indefinite Articles Correctly in Any Context

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Verbs

Verbs are words used to describe an action, state, or occurrence.

Using verbs in Spanish is a bit more complex than in English—the following section has a run down of the most important things you should know. 

 


Spanish Verbs Flashcards for Commanding Conjugations and Mastering Meaning

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Infinitive Verbs

An infinitive is the form of a verb which states nothing but an action—that is, they tell us nothing about who is actually performing the action, and when it’s being (or was) performed.

The English equivalent would be when we use verbs with “to” in front, such as: “to go,” “to sleep” or “to think.”

While in English our infinitive verbs begin with the word “to” in Spanish we identify them by their endings: -ar, -er and -ir

 


Spanish Infinitive Verbs: 5 Uses for Unconjugated Verb Forms | FluentU Spanish Blog

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Verb groups

Spanish verbs are split into three groups based on whether they end in -ar, -er, or -ir.

Each group is conjugated differently, so it’s important to know where the verb belongs so that you can conjugate them accordingly.

Verb Conjugation

Verb conjugation is what we call it when a verb is changed to reflect a person, tense, number and mood.

In Spanish, we start with the infinitive verb and modify its ending according to who we’re talking about and how.

Let’s say that I want to say “I speak.” Here are the basic steps:

  1. Identify the verb you want to conjugate. In this case it would be hablar (“to speak”)
  2. Decide who is performing the action (aka the subject). In this case, I am the subject
  3. Find the appropriate ending. Use a verb conjugation table to find the ending that corresponds with “I” in the present tense. This will be -o

  4. Conjugate the verb. Remove -ar from hablar and add -o. This gives us hablo (“I speak.”).
 


Spanish Conjugation: Your Ultimate Guide to Conjugating Any Spanish Verb | FluentU Spanish Blog

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Your Ultimate Guide to Conjugating the Vosotros Form | FluentU Spanish Blog

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Regular and Irregular Verbs

While most verbs in Spanish are regular and so follow the usual conjugation pattern, a large portion of them—42%, to be exact—are actually irregular verbs.

This means that they (unhelpfully) don’t always follow standard conjugation patterns, so you’ll have to learn their conjugations individually!

https://www.fluentu.com/blog/spanish/regular-spanish-verbs/

 


Irregular Spanish Verbs: Conjugation Made Simple for Beginners

Man, irregular Spanish verbs are a serious pain in the butt. Learn how to conjugate some common irregular Spanish verbs here.

Essential Verbs

To learn Spanish you need to work smarter, not harder.

So instead of learning everything you possibly can when you first start out, stick to what will get you the most results—you need to learn the essential, most common verbs before you get into the more complex ones. 

https://www.fluentu.com/blog/spanish/essential-spanish-verbs/

 


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Ser and Estar

Whether to use ser or estar (which both mean “to be”) is probably one of the most Googled questions by us Spanish learners. 

In general, I like to remember that ser is for more permanent states, whereas estar is used for more transient states. 

Of course, it would be no fun if the rules were that simple, so check out our post for a full run down!

 


Ser vs. Estar: Your Ultimate Guide to Knowing the Difference | FluentU Spanish Blog

Ser vs. estar: which one should you use? Both verbs mean “to be” but how do you know which one is used in which situation? This guide will show you the differences between…

 


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Verbs Like Gustar

While verbs like gustar (to like) appear complicated at first, the good news is that if you take a bit of time to understand them they really do make sense. 

With these verbs the object of the sentence becomes the subject, and the subject becomes the indirect object.

For example, to say “I like you” in Spanish is me gustas—directly translated this would be something like “to me, you are pleasing.”

With the verb gustar “you” becomes subject (where it would normally be the object), and is therefore conjugated from gustar into gustas. “I” then becomes the indirect object (instead of the subject), which necessitates the indirect object pronoun me.

 


Me Gusta! 14 Spanish Verbs That Copycat Gustar’s Style of Conjugation | FluentU Spanish Blog

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Stem-Changing Verbs

Stem-changing verbs are verbs which do not only change their endings while being conjugated, their “stem”, or the beginning of the verb, also changes. 

There are three main types of stem changing verbs:

  1. E to ie stem-changing verbs
  2. E to i stem-changing verbs
  3. O to ue stem-changing verbs
 


22 Stem-changing Verbs in Spanish: The Comprehensive Conjugation Guide | FluentU Spanish Blog

Spanish stem-changing verbs don’t follow normal conjugation rules and are a vital step in your learning journey. Read this blog post to learn how to identify, conjugate…

 


Tener and Venir Made Easy: How to Master These 2 Important Irregulars

Tener and venir are two really important Spanish irregular verbs. Master their conjugation, use and even some common expressions in this post!

Pronominal Verbs

This is a type of verb which requires a reflexive pronoun (the me, te, se etc. pronouns that I mentioned earlier in the post). They’re easy to identify as they end in -se instead of the regular -ar, -er or -ir infinitive ending. 

There are several types of pronominal verbs, but purely pronominal verbs cannot exist without a reflexive pronoun. 

 


Master 6 Types of Perplexing Pronominal Verbs in Spanish

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Reflexive Verbs

Reflexive verbs are a type of pronominal verb. They too end in -se, and refer to an action that a subject performs on itself—in contrast to a regular verb, where the subject performs the action on someone or something else. 

For example:

  • Lavar — to wash.
  • Lavarse — to wash yourself
 


The Ultimate How-to Guide for Using Spanish Reflexive Verbs

Do this for yourself: learn Spanish reflexive verbs. The rules for Spanish reflexive verb usage are all laid out here. Easy to learn and easy to use. Try them!

Phrasal Verbs

Next on the list of grammar terms you never knew existed we have phrasal verbs! These are verbs which actually change their meaning when you add an adverb or preposition to them. 

They’re on the advanced side, but learning them will help you to express yourself better—and also make your Spanish sound pretty flash. 

 


15 Spanish Phrasal Verbs That You’ll Hear Absolutely Everywhere

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One and Done: The Singularly Awesome Guide to Using Acabar | FluentU Spanish Blog

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Modal Verbs

These verbs indicate meanings such as likelihood, ability, suggestion, or advice. 

In English, these verbs include words like “can,” “would,” “should” or “might.” Here are a few common ones in Spanish:

  • Podercan, to be able to
  • Saberto know how to
  • Quererto want
  • Debermust, should
 


5 Playful Tips for Sharpening Your Spanish Modal Verb Skills

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Conocer vs. Saber in Spanish: Know Which One to Use

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Active and Passive Voice

The active voice is what we use to communicate the vast majority of the time. It’s a form of a verb in which the subject is performing the action, while the passive voice is where the subject undergoes the action of the verb.

By contrasting these examples, you should get a better idea of what they are:

  • Active: You broke the glass

  • Passive: The glass was broken by you

In Spanish, the passive voice is formed with the formula subject + ser + past participle.

 


The No-sweat Guide to Learning the Spanish Passive Voice

Are you ready to learn the Spanish passive voice? This no-sweat guide will smoothly show you everything you need to know about the Spanish passive voice!

Tenses

You’re probably aware what a tense is, but just for those of us who appreciate more formal explanations: tense indicates the time of an action in relation to the time of utterance.

There are 14 tenses to explore in Spanish, each with different conjugations depending on the subjectso buckle up!

 


18 Spanish Verb Tenses Every Learner Must Know [with Examples] | FluentU Spanish

Spanish tenses are something you have to know to become fluent in Spanish. Many are used every day (like the simple present, preterite and imperfect tenses), while others…

Present Tense

The present tense in Spanish is the most basic tense, and what you’ll start off learning. It’s used to express actions which:

  • Are happening now
  • Are habitually performed
  • Generally exist
 


Mastering the Spanish Present Tense: A Beginner’s Guide

Want to learn how to conjugate verbs in the Spanish present tense? Start here with our beginner’s guide to mastering the Spanish present tense!

Present participle

The present participle comes after another verb and expresses a continuous action. Think of them as the “-ing” words in English. 

To form the present participle in Spanish, remove the -ar, -er and -ir from the infinitive verb and simply add -ando (for an -ar verb) and -iendo (for -er and -ir verbs). 

 


The Spanish Gerund: What It Is, How to Form It and When to Use It | FluentU Spanish Blog

The Spanish gerund is a great construction for talking about things that are currently happening. In this post, you’ll learn all about what a gerund is, how to form it and…

Past Tense

At first glance, the past tense seems just as straightforward as the present tenseexcept that it’s actually not. 

There are several types of past tenses in Spanish, and we’ll explain the main ones below. 

 


It’s High Time You Mastered the Past Tense in Spanish with This Comprehensive Guide

Learning the Spanish past tense doesn’t have to be scary! This guide includes tons of example words and phrases to make the past tense easy to understand and breaks down…

Preterite 

This verb tense expresses an action which took place at a specific point in the past. Specifically actions or events which:

  • Are completed
  • Occurred on specific times/dates or during a specific time period
  • Have specific beginnings or endings
  • Took place in a sequence

Past imperfect

In contrast, the past imperfect expresses an action in the past which was ongoing or didn’t have a defined beginning/end. Here are some of its uses in Spanish:

  • Repeated or habitual actions in the past 
  • Something that was in progress in the past
  • Descriptions of people/things in the past
  • People’s ages in the past
  • Times and dates in the past 
 


The Imperfect Tense in Spanish: How and When to Use It | FluentU Spanish Blog

The imperfect tense in Spanish is the most commonly used past Spanish tense, so it’s an important concept to learn! This post will take you through how to form the Spanish…

Past participle

The past participle is a form of a verb used as a noun, an adjective, or to make “perfect tenses.”

For example, consider the sentence: I have eaten. “Eaten” is the past participle of “to eat.”

To form the past participle in Spanish, we just remove the infinitive ending (-ar, -er and -ir) and add -ado (for -ar verbs) or -ido (for -er and -ir verbs).

 


The Lazy Spanish Learner’s Favorite Grammar Trick: Past Participles

Learning Spanish past participles will instantly give your Spanish a big boost—sentence construction is easier, plus you sound more natural. Learn ’em today!

Future Tense

To talk about the future in Spanish, we have a few options—which thankfully have some pretty close equivalents in English. Note that the first two options are most commonly used.

  • Simple future. Hablaré con ella. (I’ll talk to her).
    This tense is formed by conjugating a verb with a specific ending.

  • Ir + a + infinitiveVoy a hablar con ella. (I’m going to talk to her).
    This is formed by using the present simple conjugation of the verb ir (in this case voy) plus a (meaning “to”) plus hablar (the infinitive form of the verb “to talk)

  • Future perfect. Habré hablado con ella. (I will have talked to her).
    To form this, we conjugate haber in the simple future tense (habré) and add the past participle of the main verb (hablado)
 


The Complete Guide to Spanish Future Tense: When and How to Use It | FluentU Spanish Blog

The Spanish future tense is important to know so that you can talk about the future! This post will take you through the different forms of the Spanish future, how to use…

Conditional Tense

The conditional tense is incredibly useful for conversation and for forming advanced phrases, and once I discovered it it opened up a whole new world of expressing myself. 

In layman’s terms, the conditional indicates degrees of possibility in the present, future and past—like when we’re talking about something that might happen in the future, something that didn’t happen in the past or something that will probably never happen.

https://www.fluentu.com/blog/spanish/spanish-conditional/

Perfect Tense

This tense is used to talk about actions or events that have occurred in the recent past, started in the past and continues to the present day, or when something has happened a certain number of times. For example: 

“They have been waiting for you”

In Spanish it’s formed by using the verb haber (to have) and the past participle.

Present perfect 

Present perfect is formed by conjugating haber (to have) in the present tense, and pairing it with the past participle. 

He querido verte. (I have wanted to see you)

 


The Present Perfect Tense in Spanish, or How I Lost My Wallet

Mastering the present perfect tense in Spanish is perfectly easy with this step-by-step guide.

Future perfect

Future perfect is formed by conjugating haber (to have) in the—you guessed it—future tense, and pairing it with the past participle. 

¿Habrás terminado mañana? (Will you have finished tomorrow?)

 


The Spanish Future Perfect: Your Complete Guide | FluentU Spanish Blog

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Pluperfect Tense

The pluperfect tense has several uses, the main one being to indicate that an action took place before another action in the past. 

We form it by conjugating haber (to have) in the past imperfect tense, and again, pairing it with the past participle. 

Habías dicho que sí. (You had said yes)

 


Achieve Perfection with the Spanish Pluperfect

Perfect your Spanish pluperfect with this guide. You might be surprised at how familiar it looks!

 


Pluscuamperfecto: The Spanish Tense That’s Way Easier Than It Sounds | FluentU Spanish Blog

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Progressive Tense

Progressive is a type of tense that expresses an incomplete action at a specific time. 

In order to form the progressive tense in Spanish, we use the formula estar (to be) + present participle (finally, we’re moving away from the past participle!). 

Estoy saliendo. (I’m leaving)

 


Time Travel with the Spanish Progressive Tense

Describe what’s happening, was happening, or will be happening thanks to the Spanish progressive tense. Check out this post for a comprehensive user’s guide!

Present progressive 

The present progressive tense is pretty self explanatory: it’s a progressive tense, used in the present.

Following the same formula as above, we conjugate estar in the present tense and add the present participle. 

Estamos intentando. (We’re trying)

 


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Past progressive

Again, past progressive is a progressive tense which is used in the past. 

Following the same formula estar + present participle, we conjugate estar in the past imperfect tense and add the present participle. 

Estábamos intentando. (We were trying)

 


It’s All Relative: The Spanish Past Progressive Tense and How to Use It

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Mood

Mood in Spanish grammar isn’t what it first appears—it doesn’t have to do with your state of mind. 

In the context of grammar, it’s a category of verb form which expresses whether something is:

  1. A fact (indicative mood)
  2. A condition (subjunctive mood) 
  3. A command (imperative mood)

Verb conjugations change depending on which mood you’re speaking in, so it’s important to understand when and how to use each one.

Indicative Mood

The indicative mood is the mood we use most often to communicate. Simply put, it’s used to express anything that we consider to be fact.

 


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Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive mood can be trickier to understand and use. This is due in part to the fact that the subjunctive in English is pretty vague, so we aren’t very familiar with it. 

Where the indicative mood is objective, the subjunctive is subjective—it’s used to express something that is wished, imagined or possible.

 


Complete Guide to the Spanish Subjunctive: Conjugation and Beyond | FluentU Spanish Blog

The Spanish subjunctive is simpler than it seems. This post defines the subjunctive mood and explains the between moods and tenses. You’ll also learn how to conjugate…

 


Spanish Subjunctive Practice: Learning to Make the Right Move Every Time | FluentU Spanish Blog

Spanish subjunctive practice might be just what you need to get this tricky mood under control. Practice the Spanish subjunctive with the exercises provided in this post.…

 


The Spanish Imperfect Subjunctive: Your Guide to When and How to Use It | FluentU Spanish Blog

The Spanish imperfect subjunctive can be a tricky tense. Lucky for you, this post is committed to showing you when and how to use it correctly! This guide won’t only show…

Imperative Mood

The imperative mood is used to form commands or requests. 

While ordering someone around may sound impolite, you’d be surprised how often this mood comes up in our day to day lives: e.g. “come here” or “take the next right turn.” 

 


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Vosotros Commands: The Comprehensive Guide to Making Suggestions to Y’all

Vosotros commands are used in Spain to ask “you all” to do something. Learn all about how to form and when to use this useful command form!

Negative commands

In contrast to affirmative commands (where you tell someone/something to do something), negative commands are where you tell someone/something not to do something. 

In addition to the no (no) that you’ll add to the start of the verb, the verb itself is also conjugated differently—so it pays to learn the conjugations for both affirmative and negative commands. 

 


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Learn how to form negative commands in Spanish thanks to this thorough guide. See how and when to use negative Spanish commands, learn the conjugations with examples and…

Adjectives

You may remember from your elementary school days that adjectives are “describing words.” While this is true, more formally they’re defined as “a word which names an attribute of a noun.” 

Like many things in Spanish, adjectives usually have to reflect the number and gender of the noun (or pronoun) it’s describing. Let’s have a deeper look at them.

 


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Want to make your black-and-white world a colorful one? Grab some crayons, dip your paintbrushes, and let’s dive into the vibrant world of Spanish adjectives!

 


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40+ Colorful Spanish Physical Adjectives to Describe Anyone

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Beyond Nice: 30 Precise Spanish Personality Adjectives to Really Describe People

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32 Advanced Spanish Adjectives to Sprinkle over Your Sentences

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Adjective Endings

  • Adjectives that end in –o make up the majority of adjectives in Spanish. They have four possible endings, each which reflects gender and number 
    • -o — masculine singular
    • -os masculine plural
    • -a feminine singular
    • -as feminine plural
  • Adjectives that end in -e or -ista do not change for gender, only for number:
    • -e — masculine/feminine singular
    • -es — masculine/feminine plural
    • -ista — masculine/feminine singular
    • istas — masculine/feminine plural
  • Adjectives that end in a consonant also do not change for gender, only for number. To change these adjectives from singular to plural we usually just add -es to the end, however there are several exceptions to this rule

Adjective Placement

You may already be aware that adjectives are placed differently in Spanish than in English: the majority of the time, the adjective is placed after the noun it modifies. 

But there are a couple of exceptions, so be aware of these cases where the adjective actually goes in front:

  • Proper nouns
  • Nouns/relations that we only have one of
  • Inherent qualities that are always associated with that noun
  • When you already know the noun that the adjective is referencing
 


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Adjective Clauses

You know we’re getting deep when we start talking about clauses. 

A clause is a group of words with a subject and a verb. In the case of an adjective clause, it’s essentially a group of words—including a subject and a verb—which functions much the same as a regular adjective. 

 


The Case of the Spanish Adjective Clause: Solve the Mystery with This Guide

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Possessive Adjectives

Possessive adjectives are adjectives which indicate a relationship of possession—whether it be strict ownership or other types of ownership to a lesser degree. 

They’re words like “my,” “mine,” “ours” and “theirs.”

 


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Comparative and Superlative Adjectives

These two sorts of adjectives help describe relationships between two (or more) objects.

Comparative adjectives compare the quality of two things (“she is taller than him”), while a superlative expresses the highest degree of the quality (“she is the tallest“).

 


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Demonstrative Adjectives

Demonstrative adjectives identify the relative position of someone or something in time or space. 

Demonstrative adjectives in Spanish express three types of distance:

  • Este — this
  • Ese — that
  • Aquel — that (over there)

And because they’re adjectives—don’t forget that they’ll change to reflect number and gender!

 


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Adjectives as Nouns

By now we know what an adjective is, and what a noun is. But what about using an adjective as a noun?

There are a couple of ways that adjectives can be altered to function as a noun:

1. Adding an article

2. Modifying an adjective with a demonstrative adjective

3. Using the article lo

4. Using the personal a

 


Transform Adjectives into Nouns in Spanish with 5 Magical Techniques

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Relative Adjectives

These are adjectives which show relation in a sentence—hence the nomenclature. They introduce new information about something or someone that has been previously mentioned in the form of a relative clause. 

For example, in English we use the word “whose.” In Spanish, we would use cuyo, cuya, cuyos and cuyas (depending on the gender and number of whatever you’re referring to).

 


You’re Under Arrest! How to Use Cuyo in Spanish and Call on the Possession Police

The Spanish cuyo is one possessive little word! Learn all about the relative adjective cuyo and its forms and uses in this guide.

Adverbs

Adverbs are a word or phrase which modifies other words in a sentence (usually an adjective, verb or another adverb) to further describe details such as place, time, manner or degree. 

Because they don’t modify nouns, adverbs don’t change according to gender or number like other classes of words do—that’s one less thing to worry about, at least!

 


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Types of Adverbs

Adverbs can be placed into several categories depending on the sort of information they provide. Let’s have a look at the main ones and some examples:

  • Adverbs of place give information about a place or location that something is happening, answering the question “where?”. For example aquí (here) and cerca (close)
  • Adverbs of frequency describe how often an action is performed. For example a veces (sometimes) and siempre (always)
  • Adverbs of manner express the way in which an action is performed by answering “how?” or “in what way?”. For example juntos (together) and bien (well)
  • Adverbs of degree modify adjectives, and answer the question “how much/many?”. For example mucho (much), peor (worse)
  • Adverbs of time as the name suggests, these adverbs describe the time and duration of something. They answer questions like “when?” and “how long?”. For example ya (already) and pronto (soon)
 


16 Spanish Adverbs of Frequency You’ll Always Remember

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Adverb Placement

Adverbs in Spanish are usually placed either right before or right after the word they are modifying, and the type of word determines this placement. As a general rule, we can assume that they are usually:

  • Placed after verbs
  • Placed before adjectives
  • Flexible if modifying the meaning of a sentence

Adverb Endings

Many adverbs in Spanish end in -mente, which is like the equivalent of words ending in “-ly” in English (like “slowly,” “quickly,” or “regularly”).

We can form an adverb by using almost any singular feminine adjective and adding -mente. 

Rápida (quick, fem. sing.) + –mente = rápidamente (quickly)

Prepositions

Prepositions play a huge role in the meaning of sentences, but are often overlooked by those studying Spanish. 

Prepositions are words—or a group of words—used before nouns, pronouns or noun phrases to link them to other words in a sentence.

They communicate things like direction, time, location, spatial relationship, or introduce an object. 

 


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Volver A: 5 Steps to Mastering This Simple but Useful Phrase

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Prepositions of Place

These prepositions describe the position of something (or someone) in relation to something else. There are a few to learn, but here are some of the most common ones to get you started:

  • A —  to, by, at
  • Cerca de — near to
  • Debajo de — under
  • Encima de — on top of
  • En frente de — in front of
  • Sobre — on
 


19 Spanish Prepositions of Place to Take Your Language Skills Above and Beyond

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The Personal A

Even after many years of learning Spanish, the “personal a” still trips me up a bit—probably because there is no equivalent in English.

It’s a preposition that is placed between the verb and the direct object of a sentence when the direct object is a person or a pet. It doesn’t translate to anything, but we need to use it nonetheless!

Llamo a mi novio — I call my boyfriend

 


The Personal A in Spanish: What It Is and When to Use It

The Spanish word “a” can mean many different things, but the personal “a” confuses learners the most. In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Por and Para

Like ser and estar, whether you should use por or para is another great conundrum of the Spanish learner.

They both loosely translate to “for”—however they’re pretty versatile in their meanings—so it can be pretty challenging figuring out when to use one over the other.

Here are some basic points to remember:

  • Por is used to mean “by” someone, while para is “for” someone

  • Por is used for reason, while para is for purpose
  • Por is for traveling around or through somewhere, para is for the destination

 


How to Use “Por” and “Para” Like a Native for Smooth Sailing Through Spanish

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Verbs and Prepositions

There are a whole lot of Spanish verbs which either must be used with a preposition, or change their meanings when paired with a preposition.

Unfortunately there isn’t a specific rule to help you learn them—you’ll have to pick them up as you use them!

Here are a couple of common examples:

  • Soñar con — to dream about
  • Cuidar ato take care of
  • Preocuparse por — to be worried about
 


25 Common Spanish Verbs with Prepositions

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Conjunctions

Conjunctions are words used to connect other words and sentences, and they’ll help you bridge from beginner to intermediate and advanced by allowing you to make more complex sentences. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common Spanish conjunctions:

  • Y — and
  • O or
  • Pero — but, yet
  • Aunque — though, even though, but
  • Para que — so that, so, in order to/for
  • Porque — because
  • Así que — so
  • Si — if

They seem basic, but don’t underestimate them—you’d be surprised what knowing them will do for your Spanish!

 


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Contractions

A contraction is a shortened version of a word or phrase, created by the omission of letters and sounds. 

In English you’ll see contractions with an apostrophe: “I’m” (from I am), “couldn’t” (from could not), “you’ll” (from you will). 

I’m happy to tell you that in Spanish, there are only two contractions to remember:

1. A + el = al

2. De + el = del

 


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Don’t worry: This guide to Spanish contractions won’t let you down! Find out when to form contractions… and when not to. Learn all about “al” and “del” and how to use…

Sentences

So you’ve learned a bunch of Spanish words, now you need to string them together to make a coherent sentence—luckily, it’s not super complicated! 

Let’s have a look at some of the main components of sentences in Spanish.

 


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Have a cupboard full of ingredients but don’t know how to cook? Turn your ingredients (Spanish words) into delicious meals (beautiful Spanish sentences) here!

 


5 Simple Rules You Must Learn to Build Basic Spanish Sentences

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Sentence Structure

The sentence structure in Spanish usually follows the same formula we use for English:

Subject + verb + object

It would be great if we could just say it’s the same as in English and leave it there, but there a couple of other important points regarding sentence structure:

  • It’s not always necessary to add a subject (like we must do in English)
  • Pronouns are placed directly before the verb, not after it
  • The verb can sometimes be placed in front of the subject
 


Spanish Sentence Structure: A Beginner’s Guide

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Negation

Negation is where we insert a word or phrase to express the opposite meaning of a word or sentence.

In Spanish, it’s usually as straightforward as adding no before the verb in a sentence.

No quiero irme. (I don’t want to go).

It gets a little trickier when it comes to the “double negative,” which is considered incorrect (or non-standard) in English but is used often in correct Spanish.

We do this by using “negative words”—such as nada (nothing) or nunca (never)—either on their own or in conjunction with no. 

1. Negative word used alone before the verb
Nunca veo películas. (I never watch movies).

2. No before the verb and negative word after the verb
No veo películas nunca. (I never watch movies).

 


How to Fully Master Spanish Negation, Way Beyond the Double Negative | FluentU Spanish Blog

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Transition Words

Transition words are easy to confuse with conjunctions. The difference is that transition words indicate the relationship between sentences or paragraphs, and removing them won’t actually affect grammatical correctness. 

There are a ton of different types for various situations—such as for explanations, results, emphasis and summaries—and knowing them will really help your Spanish flow. 

Trust me, take some time to learn them and you’ll thank me later!

 


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Comparisons

We use a specific type of language to compare and contrast things, whether you realize it or not. Here are some formulas for making simple comparisons in Spanish:

  • To compare two things: más/menos + adjective + que
  • To compare nouns: más/menos + noun + que
  • To compare numbers: más/menos + de + number
  • To describe a difference in how something is done: más/menos + adverb + que 

Check out the post below to find out how to use superlatives and make comparisons of equality!

 


How to Make Comparisons in Spanish Like a Native

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Reported Speech 

You might actually live your whole life as a Spanish learner and never come across this term, but since we’re here we may as well get the run-down. 

Reported speech is a type of speech that tells you what someone said, but doesn’t actually use the person’s words. 

Mi hermana dice que está cansada. (My sister says she is tired).

To use this type of speech you’ll need to learn “reporting” or “communication” verbs, such as decir (to say, to tell), querer saber (to want to know) and pedir (to ask)

 


How to Master Spanish Reported Speech and Become a Grammar Ninja

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Questions

Learning to ask questions in Spanish is super important—in fact, you could argue that it’s one of the most important things to learn! 

Fortunately it’s relatively simple, especially because in Spanish we don’t need to use auxiliary verbs (like “do” or “does”). Often a question mark and a rising intonation will do just fine, but we can also utilize “question words” to better elicit information.

Question Words

While they aren’t always essential, we do often need “question words” to form questions. 

We actually covered many of these words earlier under “Interrogative Pronouns,” but these words are so important that it won’t hurt to give this list another read! 

  • ¿Quién? — who?
  • ¿Qué? ¿Cuál?what?
  • ¿Cuándo? — when?
  • ¿Dónde? — where?
  • ¿Para qué? — what for?
  • ¿Por qué? — why?
  • ¿Cómo? — how?
  • ¿Cuánto(a/os/as)? — how many/how much?
 


Spanish Question Words: The Ultimate Guide to Spanish Interrogative Pronouns | FluentU Spanish Blog

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Por Qué v Porque

If you used to think it was enough to know the difference between por qué and porque, you’re not alone (and, unfortunately, you’re also incorrect).  

Spanish is already bursting with pors and ques, but we’re going to add some variations to the list in the form of por qué, por que, porqué and porque. 

Don’t get too worried, though—here are their basic meanings in a nutshell:

  • Por qué — why
  • Por que — for which, so that (least commonly used)
  • Porqué — reason (noun)
  • Porque — because
 


The 4 Spanish “Porques” and When to Use Them

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Question Marks

No doubt you’ve seen the curious upside down question mark that’s unique to the Spanish language. 

There’s no secret to it—this inverted question mark is used along with a regular question mark to indicate a question, just like in English. If a sentence is long, just use the question marks immediately before the question:

No he probado jamón serrano, ¿cómo es(I haven’t tried jamón, what’s it like?)

It’s used mostly in formal settings these days, so you definitely don’t worry about it if you’re chatting with your Spanish-speaking friends on WhatsApp!

 


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Exclamations and Interjections

Exclamations and interjections are both used to express strong feelings and emotions.

An exclamation is usually a phrase or clause used with exclamation marks, whereas interjections are usually single words and are used with commas and question marks in addition to exclamation marks.

Interjections can also be sounds, and are grammatically unrelated to the sentence. 

These not only let you express emotion in just a word or two, they show that you understand what’s going on and they’ll make you sound really fluent!

Check out the posts below to learn some really useful ones. 

 


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Numbers

It might feel like you’re going back to elementary school by learning numbers from scratch again, but it’s well worth your while! You’ll need to learn numbers in Spanish for everything from telling the time to making transactions. 

Let’s have a look at numbers one to ten:

  • Uno — one
  • Dos — two
  • Tres — three
  • Cuatro — four
  • Cinco — five
  • Seis — six
  • Siete — seven
  • Ocho — eight
  • Nueve — nine
  • Diez — ten

And then some ordinal numbers:

  • Primer(o/a) — first
  • Segundo(a) — second
  • Tercer(o/a) — third
  • Cuarto(a) — fourth
  • Quinto(a) — fifth
  • Sexto(a) — sixth
  • Séptimo(a) — seventh
  • Octavo(a) — eighth
  • Noveno(a) — ninth
  • Décimo(a) — tenth
 


Learn 4 Ways to Use Spanish Numbers in Everyday Situations

Going to be living or traveling in the Spanish-speaking world? Count on us! Dates, times and ordinal numbers should be on your must-study list.

 


Time Flies: Hacer Time Expressions to “Make” Time Clear as Day

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Writing Mechanics

Writing mechanics are just rules of a written language—things like punctuation, capitalization, spelling and abbreviations. 

You may have already picked up on a couple (such as the quirky “upside down” question mark), but we’re going to go over a few differences between Spanish and English that are important to know. 

Punctuation

For the most part punctuation is pretty straightforward in Spanish. If you’re unsure about something can usually assume that it’s the same as in English, but here are the main things to look out for:

  • Question marks. As mentioned earlier, in more formal writing you need to add an inverted question mark at the beginning of the question as well as the end.
  • Exclamation marks. Similarly, inverted exclamation points are also used at the beginning and end of the exclaimed word or phrase in Spanish. 
  • Writing numbers. There are a few differences between English and Spanish when it comes to writing numbers. In Spanish, when writing numbers with four or less numerals, the numerals are written together. For example where in English we would write “4,500,” in Spanish you would see “4500.”

    If there are more than four numerals in a number, a space is supposed to be used to separate the groups of numerals—instead of the comma which we would use in English. For example, in English we would write “1,500,00,” in Spanish the same number would be written as “1 500 000.” In saying this, you may well see numbers of this size written as “1.500.000” in many places.

    The last point to remember is that in many Spanish-speaking countries it’s common to see a comma used as a decimal separator, instead of a period like in English. For example the number “20.50” in English is often written in Spanish as “20,50.” 

  • Writing scripts/dialogue. You’ll probably come across this difference while reading more so than while writing, and that’s the use of the em-dash (—) in dialogue instead of speech marks. Here’s an idea of what you might see:

    —¡Hola! —dijo la señora. (“Hello!” said the lady).
    —Hola, ¿cómo está? —contestó el niño. (“Hello, how are you?” answered the boy).

 


Spanish Punctuation in a Nutshell: How to Use 10+ Essential Marks

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Capitalization

Spanish doesn’t capitalize words as often as we do in English, so unfortunately we can’t apply the same rules!

The following types of words are not capitalized in Spanish unless it’s the first word in a sentence:

  • Months and days of the week
  • Book and movie titles (only the first word is capitalized)
  • Places (excluding countries and cities)
  • Religions
  • Languages
  • Nationalities
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Hold the Capitals: Spanish Capitalization Rules Demystified!

To capitalize or not to capitalize, that is the question! By the time you finish reading this brief blog post, you will know all of the Spanish capitalization rules and…

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