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How to Pass the DELE Spanish Proficiency Test

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At some point in your Spanish-learning journey, you’ll probably want to test your mettle and see how far you’ve come. Few things are as motivating as tangible progress, after all! And depending on your reasons for learning Spanish, becoming certified in your Spanish proficiency may be necessary to achieve your goals.

That’s where the DELE Spanish test comes in. 

In this article, we’ll explain everything about the DELE, one of the official Spanish language exams: what it is, how to sign up, and why you should care. You’ll also learn all the details about the six possible DELE Spanish exam levels and how to identify yours. 

Women Doubting

For those of you who don’t know much about DELE, this article will inform you about everything you need to know. For those of you who have decided to take the exam, this article is also designed to help you prepare for the big day. In particular, we’ll give you an in-depth look at each of the four sections of the exam and offer you some tips and techniques to succeed!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Study Strategies in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. What is the Spanish DELE Exam?
  2. Introduction to the DELE Exam
  3. DELE A1
  4. DELE A2
  5. DELE B1
  6. DELE B2
  7. DELE C1
  8. DELE C2
  9. Tips on Preparing for DELE
  10. Conclusion

1. What is the Spanish DELE Exam?

DELE stands for Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera, or in English, “Spanish as a Foreign Language Diploma.”

This is an official diploma that certifies various levels of proficiency in Spanish.

This certificate is issued by the Instituto Cervantes, the official representative of the Ministerio de Educación y Formación Profesional de España. El Instituto Cervantes is an official Spanish institution recognized worldwide, which makes the DELE the best choice for validating your Spanish proficiency. 

This exam is designed by following the Common European Framework of References for Languages. So, it’s made and designed by the standards of the European Union.

Flag of Europen Union

1- Why Should You Take the DELE Exam?

There are many possible reasons why you would want to pass a DELE:

  • If you’re considering entering into a Spanish university
  • If you’re planning to apply for a Spanish permit
  • If you want to find a job in Spain or any other Spanish-speaking country
  • If you want to request a Spanish citizenship

Whatever your reasons, it’s good to know that the DELE is:

  • Valid for a lifetime (it does not have an expiration date)
  • Internationally recognized 
  • In accordance with the CEFR Common European Framework, for levels A1 through C2 

Yes! The Spanish DELE certificates cover all the levels, from A1 to C2. It’s a highly recommended certificate if you want to access the professional and academic world of a Spanish-speaking country.

In Spain, DELE certificates are recognized by institutions and national organizations such as the Ministry of Justice of Spain, Ministry of Health of Spain, and some general State Administration and public bodies.

Generally, it’s recommended that a Spanish student aims to pass the DELE Spanish exam at the B2 level. This shows that the student can interact with natives, have a clear argument, and understand the gist of what they read and hear. Further, many universities and official institutions in Spanish-speaking countries ask that candidates attain the B2 certification. 

With the basics out of the way, let’s move on to our section on DELE preparation and what to expect.

A Man Taking a Spanish Exam

2- What Do the DELE Exams Look Like?

The DELE exam consists of four distinct sections

1. Reading (Compresión de lectura)

2. Writing (Expresión e interacción escrita)

3. Listening (Comprensión auditiva)

4. Speaking (Expresión e interacción oral)

Depending on which level you’re testing for, you may be allotted a different amount of time per section. 

Keep reading to learn more about each section! 

3- Additional DELE Information

Before we move forward, we’re going to cover a few key points that you should know before you start preparing! 

A- Subjects

The DELE exams tend to cover four key subjects:

  • Personal
  • Public
  • Education
  • Professional

Thus, many of the questions, texts, and listening materials will have something to do with one of those key areas. The idea is to test your Spanish proficiency in a variety of contexts, depending on your goals and which level you’re testing for.

B- Who Can Take DELE?

You may be glad to hear that there are no restrictions concerning who can take the exam! All of the age and nationality restrictions that were previously in place have been taken down. 

On a side note, if you’re younger than sixteen years old, you’ll need to have a parent or guardian help you register.

You can find some more information about who can take the test on this official web page.

C- Where Can You Sign Up & Take the Exam?

There are testing centers for the DELE exam all over the globe. To find your nearest testing center, you can check on the official web page and reach out to the location to register.

If you’re in Spain, you can register from the Instituto Cervantes web page directly. But if you’re testing elsewhere, you must register with your nearest location. 

2. Introduction to the DELE Exam

In order to prepare for the DELE, you need to know which level you’re at and what level you’re aiming for. 

Why?

Well, the level you decide to test for will determine a number of factors concerning how you should prepare. For example, different DELE levels may give test-takers different amounts of time per section or cover specific topics not included in other levels.

Be reasonable with your goals, though. It would be very difficult to push yourself from the A1 level (beginner) to the C1 level (advanced), unless you give yourself six months or more to study. Anything can be achieved if you study hard, though we do recommend you keep your goals doable for you and your lifestyle! 

Now we’ll provide all the information and details you need to pass the Spanish DELE exam.

LevelDescriptionYou should:
A1

DELE A1
A1 – for young learners (candidates eleven to seventeen years old)
BeginnerUnderstand and use familiar everyday Spanish expressions as well as simple statements about practical needs
Introduce yourself to someone in Spanish
Ask someone questions in Spanish
Answer similar types of questions
Have very basic conversations if the other person is talking slowly and deliberately articulating
A2

DELE A2
Lower-intermediateUnderstand and be able to use daily Spanish  expressions relevant to your surroundings, like personal information, shopping phrases, or interesting locations
Address questions about your immediate needs
You should be able to communicate about usual or known aspects of your past or your environment
B1

DELE B1

A2/B1 for young learners (candidates eleven to seventeen years old) The candidates who pass will receive one of the two certificates, depending on their results.
IntermediateUnderstand main topics like studies, work, or daily life when you’re listening to or reading texts
Be prepared to handle situations that take place in these familiar contexts
Write simple but coherent texts on familiar topics like experiences, plans, wishes, or opinions
B2

DELE B2
Upper-intermediateUnderstand abstract or technical situations, whether written or spoken, as well as accents and variations of the Spanish language 
Speak in Spanish fluently and naturally without hesitation 
Debate when you write about several topics and be capable of defending your opinion
C1

DELE C1
AdvancedUnderstand variations of the Spanish language, and recognize variations, intentions, and meanings
Express yourself fluently, spontaneously, and without any apparent effort
Always find the adequate expression for every situation and context
Write very difficult texts effortlessly and be able to build high-quality texts with a coherent structure
C2

DELE C2
ProficientHandle any situation and understand everything, written or spoken, regardless of how complex, abstract, or unfamiliar it is, or what variety of Spanish is used
Express yourself spontaneously, fluently, and with exceptional semantic and grammatical precision in every context 

The content of your DELE exam depends on your level, so it’s important that you become familiar with each of the four exam sections based on level. They all follow the structure given above, but the time allotments and exercises may change. 

Head Full of Questions

Tip: Remember to do the sections you’re good at first, and focus on the more difficult ones last so you can spend more time on those sections. That way, you don’t lose your score!

3. DELE A1

Reading test

For your reading test, you should be able to understand common Spanish words and names, as well as easy phrases such as those on street signs or in catalogues.

  • Duration: 45 min
  • Sections: 4
  • Exercises: 25

Listening test

You should be able to recognize basic Spanish words and expressions that are used in everyday interactions and in contexts that are familiar to you.

  • Duration: 20 min
  • Sections: 4
  • Exercises: 25

Speaking test

You should be able to use easy Spanish expressions and sentences to describe where you live and the people you know.

  • Duration: 15 min
  • Sections: 4

Writing test

For the writing portion, you should be able to write simple phrases and sentences, such as birthday wishes or a postcard.

  • Duration: 25 min
  • Sections: 2
  • This reading part of the DELE exams takes the 25 %

4. DELE A2

Reading test

If you’re planning to take the DELE A2, you should be capable of reading and understanding short and easy Spanish texts. 

  • Duration: 60 min
  • Sections: 5
  • Exercises: 30

Listening test

For the listening test, you should understand Spanish sentences and Spanish vocabulary about everyday topics. 

  • Duration: 35 min
  • Sections: 5
  • Exercises: 30

Speaking test

You should be able to communicate in a simple fashion about daily things and activities. You should be able to have short social conversations in Spanish.

  • Duration: 15 min
  • Sections: 4

Writing test

You should be able to write basic Spanish notes and messages that relate to your immediate needs.

  • Duration: 50 min
  • Exercises: 30
Language Skills

5. DELE B1

Reading test

You should be able to understand ideas and concepts used in everyday life, such as words and phrases in Spanish TV shows. 

  • Duration: 40 min
  • Sections: 5
  • Exercises: 30

Listening test

If you’re taking the DELE B2, you should understand texts written in everyday Spanish language. You should also be able to grasp the description of events, feelings, and wishes in personal letters.

  • Duration: 70 min
  • Sections: 5
  • Exercises: 30

Speaking test

You should be able to handle almost all situations when traveling to a Spanish-speaking country. In addition, you should be able to spontaneously take part in conversations about familiar and daily topics. 

  • Duration: 15 min
  • Sections: 4

Writing test

You should be able to write easy and well-connected Spanish texts about familiar topics and personal interests. You should also be able to write personal letters describing any of your experiences and impressions.

  • Duration: 60 min
  • Sections: 2

6. DELE B2

Reading test

For the DELE B2 reading test, you should be capable of understanding articles on current issues as well as contemporary literature in Spanish.

  • Duration: 70 min
  • Sections: 4
  • Exercises: 36

Listening test

You should be able to understand speeches or conferences, including complex chains of thought. In addition, you should be able to follow TV news and understand most movies in standard Spanish.

  • Duration: 40 min
  • Sections: 5
  • Exercises: 30

Writing test

For the writing test, you should be able to write clear Spanish texts about a variety of topics and elaborate on a specific point of view. 

  • Duration: 80 min
  • Sections: 2

Speaking test

For the speaking test in Spanish, you should be fluent and spontaneous when having a conversation with natives. 

Oh, yes! This level is quite a lot harder! 

You should also be able to elaborate and defend your point of view in debates. 

  • Duration: 80 min
  • Sections: 2

7. DELE C1

Reading test

For the DELE C1 reading test, you should be able to read long and complex Spanish texts with different literary styles, as well as technical instructions. 

  • Duration: 90 min
  • Sections: 5
  • Exercises: 40

Listening test

For the listening portion, you should be able to understand speech, including dialogue in TV shows and movies, without effort. So, try some Netflix in Spanish and see if this DELE exam is for you.

  • Duration: 50 min
  • Sections: 4
  • Exercises: 30

Writing test

For the writing test, you should be able to write clear Spanish, especially for things such as informative reports or essays for a Spanish university.

  • Duration: 80 min
  • Sections: 2

Speaking test

If you know how to write an essay in Spanish, the speaking test should be pretty easy for you.

You should be able to express yourself fluently and without looking for the right expression. We recommend that if you’re at this level, you visit a Spanish-speaking country to practice before taking your DELE exam!

  • Duration: 20 min
  • Sections: 3

8. DELE C2

This test is for masters, but if your Spanish is great and you need to take the DELE, this is the level for you.

Combined Skills: Reading + Listening Test

You should be able to read all forms of written Spanish with ease, even when the topics are abstract and complex (such as manuals or Spanish literature).

  • Duration: 105 min
  • Sections: 6
  • Exercises: 52

Combined Skills: Listening + Writing + Reading Test

You should be able to read all forms of written Spanish, including literature.

  • Duration: 150 min
  • Sections: 3

Combined Skills: Speaking + Reading Test

For this section of the test, you should be able to read all forms of written Spanish. In addition, you should be able to introduce yourself, have a conversation about any subject,and talk about things like newspaper headlines.

  • Duration: 20 min
  • Sections: 3

Good luck!

9. Tips on Preparing for DELE

Here, we’ll share some useful tips on how to prepare for and pass your Spanish exam.

1- Book the exams first.

We recommend that you book the exam first and give yourself enough time to prepare. That way, you don’t procrastinate; you know you have to study, so you’ll set yourself to it.

If you just study for the sake of it and leave the rest for when you feel prepared, believe me, you will never feel prepared. 

To prepare, do as many practice tests as you can. Time yourself, do the parts you’re good at first, and do them fast so you can spend more time on the parts you’re not as good at. You can find mock exams on the Instituto Cervantes web page.

2- Work on your weaker areas.

Let’s say that while you’re preparing for your exam, you discover that your reading skills aren’t that good, but your listening skills are great. Well, work more on your reading. By spending more time on your weaker areas to begin with, you’re allowing yourself to study and improve while you still have the focus and motivation to do so! You can always brush up on your stronger areas afterward. 

Writing in a Notebook

3- Practice managing your time.

Have you ever done poorly on a test that you studied hard for? You knew the information and had the skills, but you failed to complete the test on time… 

You can avoid this situation by learning how to manage your test-taking time now. A great way to do this is by timing yourself while taking mock tests, and figuring out how to improve your times. 

10. Conclusion

You were lucky enough to have found SpanishPod101.com, the best place online to learn Spanish vocabulary and grammar, get expert tips, and practice everything you’re learning.

If you’re a beginner, there are a few blog posts you may want to check out: How to Say Hello in Spanish, How to Say Thank You in Spanish, and How to Say I Love You in Spanish.These articles will provide you with basic phrases for some of life’s most common interactions and situations! 

Is your Spanish a bit more advanced? Then see our article about Spanish Travel Phrases to prepare for your trip to a Spanish-speaking country. It can also help you get a great score on your DELE Spanish exam.

Of course, if you’re a master of the Spanish language, then you should check out this post and share it now on social media in perfect Spanish. (And while you’re at it, share how much you’re going to kill it on your DELE exam!)

Before you go, let us know in the comments if you have any more questions about the DELE exam that we didn’t cover here. We’ll do our best to help you out! 

Happy Spanish learning!

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Learn the Top 10 Spanish Sentence Patterns

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Often, when you start learning a new language, you’re not really sure how to begin. Random words? Grammar? Basic sentences, maybe? While perhaps memorizing sentences isn’t what you’re looking for when you decide to begin studying, the truth is that these basic Spanish sentence patterns will actually prove very useful. When you’re completely lost at the beginning of your language-learning journey, knowing them will help you have a precise idea of how to have a basic yet meaningful conversation.

If you memorize these ten most basic and useful Spanish sentence structures, you’ll be able to generate hundreds of natural sentences and converse with ease and confidence. We promise that you’ll use most of these sentence patterns every time you have a conversation in Spanish!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Linking Nouns
  2. Using Adjectives to Describe Things
  3. Expressing “Want”
  4. Expressing “Need”
  5. Expressing “Like”
  6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something
  7. Asking for Permission
  8. Asking for Information About Something
  9. Asking About Time
  10. Asking About Location or Position
  11. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

1. Linking Nouns

We thought that showing you how to link nouns would be a good way to start. This is a really basic pattern that we use all the time. In Spanish, we always use the verb ser (“to be”) for this pattern:

Example: Juan es mi hermano.
Translation: “Juan is my brother.”

Example: Mi hermano es taxista.
Translation: “My brother is a taxi driver.”

Example: Ese reloj fue un regalo de mi mujer.
Translation: “That watch was a present from my wife.”

Man Pointing at Watch

2. Using Adjectives to Describe Things

In English, to create a basic sentence using adjectives, you only need one verb: the verb “to be.” Of course, there are other verbs you could use to make complex sentences, but because we’re only looking at easy patterns, we’ll ignore them for now. 

Just like we’ve mentioned in other articles and lessons at SpanishPod101.com, in Spanish, there are two different verbs that are equivalent to the verb “to be” in English. These are ser and estar. When using adjectives, it’s really important to know the difference between these two, so we’ll quickly remind you of their specific meanings. Let’s look at the following examples:

Example: Eres preciosa.
Translation: “You’re gorgeous.”

Example: Estás preciosa.
Translation: “You look gorgeous.”

The sentences look very similar in Spanish, but look at the English translations! Ser and estar are both irregular verbs, so you might be a little bit confused about which verb is which. But we’re sure you can already start to see the difference between them. 

In the first example, Eres preciosa, we use the verb ser, which refers to something permanent or something that’s true for a very long period of time. Whoever uses this sentence is telling a girl that she is gorgeous, but not just in that moment. It doesn’t mean she’s wearing, for example, a nice dress (even though she might be)! It means that she is always gorgeous. 

However, you might have noticed that we translated the second example, Estás preciosa, as “You look gorgeous.” Even though estar, which is the verb we used, also means “to be,” it takes away the sense of permanence that we saw in the previous example. So when someone uses this sentence in Spanish, they’re implying that the girl looks good in the clothes or makeup she’s wearing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that she doesn’t look good at other times; in this case, it might just mean that she’s exceptionally beautiful in that moment. 

Example: Está buenísimo.
Translation: “It’s amazing.”

Example: La película que vimos anoche era divertidísima.
Translation: “The movie we watched last night was hilarious.”

Couple Watching a Comedy

3. Expressing “Want”

Another important Spanish sentence for beginners is that which lets you tell someone you want something (or want to do something). The verb we use in Spanish is querer, which means both “to want” and “to love.” 

The structure is quite simple, and it’s similar to English. Let’s look at a few examples:

Example: Quiero esto.
Translation: “I want this.”

In this first example, the object of the sentence—the thing that is wanted—is the pronoun “this,” so it’s a noun phrase. This sentence doesn’t specify what we’re talking about, but we assume that whoever uses this sentence is pointing at something. In any case, neither Spanish nor English require a preposition, or any other kind of particle, before the thing that is wanted.

The following examples, however, use a verb phrase instead:

Example: Quiero preguntarte algo.
Translation: “I want to ask you something.”

Example: Quiero ser una buena persona.
Translation: “I want to be a good person.”

As you might have noticed in these sentences, while English does need the preposition “to,” Spanish doesn’t require anything between the verb querer and the next verb. Something you must always remember, however, is that the second verb always needs to be in its infinitive form, which, as you might remember from our previous article on conjugations, is the one we find in a dictionary.

Sentence Patterns

4. Expressing “Need”

There are two basic ways of expressing “need” in Spanish, and they both have equivalents in English, so they are pretty easy to translate. The verb necesitar means “to need (to)” and the verb phrase tener que is equivalent to “to have to” in English. 

In Spanish, just like in English, we can use necesitar (“to need [to]”) whenever we need something, or need to do something. But in the case of tener que (“to have to”) it only works when we need to do something; in other words, there has to be a verb right after. This verb, just like we explained happens when expressing “want,” needs to be in its infinitive form.

First of all, we’ll look at a simple example:

Example: Necesito un bolígrafo.
Translation: “I need a pen.”

That’s simple, right? It’s the same structure as in English: “I need” + article + noun. Let’s keep going.

Example: Necesito comprar pan.
Translation: “I need to buy bread.”

Example: Tengo que practicar.
Translation: “I have to practice.”

Example: Me tengo que ir.
Translation: “I have to go.”

Example: Tengo que ir al baño.
Translation: “I have to go to the bathroom.”

There are only a few things you need to remember. We’ve already mentioned a couple of them: when we can use each of these verbs and that the next verb always needs to be in its infinitive form. 

Something else you need to remember is that when we use the verb necesitar, we can simply add the next verb afterwards. But when using the other verb, tener que, always use the conjunction que before the next verb. 

Sentence Components

5. Expressing “Like”

We’re sure you saw this coming. Expressing whether you like something or not is quite common in basic conversations, so it’s a pattern that you should definitely learn. It’s not hard to learn at all, but compared to other Spanish sentence patterns, it is a bit strange. You’ll need to remember that it always requires a personal pronoun in front of the verb. Our article about pronouns might help you refresh your memory.

This pronoun isn’t the subject of the sentence, but when translated into English, it does become the subject. That sounds weird, right? Well, this is because this structure can be considered an equivalent of a passive sentence. Gustar doesn’t exactly mean “to like.” It actually means something along the lines of “to be liked.”

If you’re familiar with Spanish conjugations, you might notice that the verb in the first example below, gustas, isn’t in the first person, but in the second person. This is because the person that is liked is “you,” so “you” is the real subject in this sentence. 

Example: Me gustas.
Translation: “I like you.”

In the second example, however, we changed the person who is liked to a third-person subject: Carla. Even though, in English, both the subject and the verb stay the same as in the first example (“I like”), the verb in Spanish changes to me gusta, because now the subject is Carla.

Example: Me gusta Carla.
Translation: “I like Carla.”

Example: Me gusta cocinar.
Translation: “I like cooking.”

In the third example we just saw, the verb is in the third person, and in this case, the subject is not a person, but an action. The literal translation would be “Cooking is liked by me.”

Example: Me gusta ver el atardecer en la playa.
Translation: “I like watching the sunset at the beach.”

Sunset at the Beach

Example: No me gustan los plátanos.
Translation: “I don’t like bananas.”

Finally, the last two examples were mostly for you to see a couple more sentences that use the same structure. The last one is just another example of how los plátanos is the actual subject in the sentence, because, just like the verb, it’s in the plural.

6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something

It might be useful to learn how to ask people to do things politely. To begin with, you might like to know the word for “please” in Spanish. We actually use two words for this: por favor. Just like in English, por favor can be either at the beginning or at the end of the sentence.

Example: Por favor, siéntate.
Translation: “Please, sit down.”

Example: Escúchame, por favor.
Translation: “Listen to me, please.”

Example: Por favor, ponte en la cola.
Translation: “Please, get in line.”

People Standing in Line

You must know that being polite isn’t all about using the word “please.” “Thank you” is another expression that might come in handy, so why not take a look at our article on how to say “thank you” in Spanish

7. Asking for Permission

The last few patterns we’re going to see today are all going to be different kinds of questions in Spanish. The first question pattern is how to ask for permission. In Spanish, the verb you need to know to ask for permission is poder (“can”), which we learned in our previous article about verbs. You might be glad to know that we don’t have different verbs for “can” and “may,” so you don’t need to worry about using the right verb.

All you need to know is that, whenever you need to start a question with “Can I…?” or “May I…?” you can start it with ¿Puedo…? followed by a verb in its infinitive form, and anything else you might need. And if you need to ask someone if they can do something for you, you can ask them: ¿Me puedes…? Once again, this will always be followed by a verb in its infinitive form.

Example: ¿Puedo pasar?
Translation: “May I come in?”

Example: ¿Me puedes dar tu número de móvil?
Translation: “Can you give me your phone number?”

Example: Por favor, ¿me puedes pasar la sal?
Translation: “Please, can you pass me the salt?”

Example: ¿Le puedes dar esto a tu hermana?
Translation: “Can you give this to your sister?”

We decided to include the last question, which is actually asking for a favor for someone else. Instead of using the pronoun me, like in the previous two sentences, we use the pronoun le, which in this case means “to her,” because it’s referring to this person’s sister.

8. Asking for Information About Something

We’re sure you agree with us about the importance of being able to ask for information about things. There are so many things we could ask about, but we chose to give you only three examples. 

The first example is something that we all have to ask sometimes. You’ll probably need it when you visit a Spanish-speaking country for the first time, encounter something new (such as food, or even objects), or don’t understand what someone said during a conversation in Spanish. This is a question with many uses that we’re sure you’ll appreciate.

Example: ¿Qué es eso?
Translation: “What is that?”

There’s no doubt that you’ll also find the following question very useful.

Example: ¿Cómo te llamas?
Translation: “What is your name?”

And finally, we’ve included a more complicated question so that you see how a longer sentence is built. Because we’re only learning basic patterns, don’t worry too much about it for now! All you need to know for now is the structure of the sentence, which is actually the exact same structure as the sentence in English.

Example: ¿Cuál es el plato que comimos la última vez?
Translation: “Which is the dish we ate the last time?”

9. Asking About Time

Don’t give up yet, we’re almost done here! The next question patterns we’ll learn are those related to time. Here, there’s one interrogative pronoun you should always remember, which is cuándo, and it means “when.”

Example: ¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños?
Translation: “When is your birthday?”

Example: ¿Cuándo es la reunión?
Translation: “When is the meeting?”

Example: ¿A qué hora llega tu vuelo?
Translation: “What time does your flight arrive?”

Flight Arrivals Board

Cuándo will always be helpful when you need to know when something is. However, sometimes you might need to be a little bit more specific, like in the last example we just saw. When you need to know what time something is, use the expression ¿A qué hora…? Notice that we always need the preposition a in this expression, but when we want to ask what year or what day something is, we don’t need any preposition. Instead, it will be something like this:

Example: ¿Qué día es el examen?
Translation: “What day is the exam?”

10. Asking About Location or Position

Finally, our last question pattern is for asking about location. There’s one word you must remember, which is dónde, the word for “where.”

Whenever you need to ask where something or someone is, you can just ask ¿Dónde está…? (“Where is…?”). Let’s see a couple of examples:

Example: ¿Dónde está el baño?
Translation: “Where is the bathroom?”

Example: ¿Dónde está el ascensor?
Translation: “Where is the elevator?”

That’s pretty easy to remember, isn’t it? Well, it does get a little bit harder when we want to ask something else, because we might need to add prepositions to this word, just like what happened in the previous section.

Example: ¿De dónde eres?
Translation: “Where are you from?”

11. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

With these basic Spanish sentence patterns, you’ll be able to have all sorts of basic conversations about different topics. Of course, this won’t magically make you fluent in Spanish, but it will help you get there. Luckily, at SpanishPod101.com, we have everything you’ll ever need to learn Spanish. For example, our lesson on how to greet people correctly

Learn a new word every day with our Free Word of the Day, or all the vocabulary you might need in our vocabulary lists.

In the meantime, let us know in the comments if you learned anything new today. Are there any sentence patterns we didn’t cover that you need to know? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Move to the Next Level with 100 Spanish Adverbs

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Can you spot adverbs in a novel? If your answer is no, don’t be embarrassed. We sometimes forget what adverbs do in a sentence—you may not even remember what “adverb” actually means.  

When learning a second language, it’s normal to forget this type of information. 

Spanish adverbs aren’t that different from those in English, but there are a few tricks about how to identify them and where to put them in a sentence. In this article, we’ll teach you all about Spanish adverbs, and we’ll also provide an excellent list of 100 Spanish adverbs and their meanings.

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  1. What are Spanish Adverbs?
  2. How Do You Form an Adverb in Spanish?
  3. The 100 Most Useful Spanish Adverbs
  4. Conclusion

1. What are Spanish Adverbs?

Top Verbs

Spanish adverbs are a very important part of your Spanish learning. They help you make a point clear, explain when something happened, and show how something was done, which are crucial elements when communicating in any language. 

Unlike Spanish nouns, Spanish adverbs have no gender, number, or person. But, occasionally, you can add a diminutive with a suffix.

  • Pronto >> Prontito >> “Very soon”
  • Poco >> Poquito >> “A little bit”
  • Cerca >> Cerquita >> “Very close”
  • Despacio >> Despacito  >> “Very slowly”

You can also add augmentative suffixes, such as:

  • Lejos >> Lejísimos  >> “Extremely far”
  • Despacio >> Despacísimo >> “Extremely slowly”

The main characteristic of Spanish adverbs is that they complement the point you’re trying to make. They represent the circumstances of time, place, and mode in which an action occurs. Let’s see how.

2. How Do You Form an Adverb in Spanish?

Spanish adverbs modify or go with:

  • Verbs: Corre rápidamente. (“Run quickly.”)
  • Adjectives: Más lento. (“Slower.”) You can spot these easily because they go before the adjective.
  • Other adverbs: Bastante lejos. (“Pretty far.”)

You can get a Spanish adverb from an adjective by adding the ending -mente. Here are a few examples of Spanish adverbs ending in -mente, and how they’re formed:

  • General (“General”) >> Generalmente (“Generally”)
  • Ocasional (“Occasional”) >> Ocasionalmente (“Occasionally”)
  • Frecuente (“Frequent”) >> Frecuentemente (“Frequently”)
  • Suave (“Soft”) >> Suavemente (“Softly”)
  • Rápido (“Quick”) >> Rápidamente (“Quickly”)

This is very common, and it’s very easy to understand Spanish adverbs. There’s a general rule attached to this kind of adverb, and you can see that the same rule applies to the English language, where you just add the suffix “-ly” to the adjectives. 

One more thing you need to keep in mind is that if you want to use two adverbs with the suffix -mente in the same sentence, the first one will be used as an adjective and the second one will have the -mente suffix. 

For example:

  • Hice el Camino de Santiago lenta y tranquilamente.
    “I did the Camino de Santiago slowly and calmly.”
  • Me dijo que me callara dulce y suavemente.
    “She told me to shut up sweetly and softly.”

3. The 100 Most Useful Spanish Adverbs

More Essential Verbs

In the following sections, you can find all of the most common Spanish adverbs for describing time, place, manner, degree, and more! 


1- Spanish Adverbs of Time

Woman Checking Her Watch

Spanish adverbs of time will help you provide information about when, how often, or for how long something happens. Here’s a short Spanish adverbs list, with examples of how each one is used.

  • Antes (“Before”)

Antes de comer aceitunas prefiero patatas fritas.
“Before eating olives, I’d prefer chips.”

  • Después (“After”)

Después de las cinco no suelo comer nada.
“After five p.m., I don’t usually eat.”

  • Hoy (“Today”)

Hoy es el día de la madre.
“Today is Mother’s Day.”

  • Mañana (“Tomorrow”)

Mañana tengo clase de ballet.
“I have ballet class tomorrow.”

  • Anoche (“Last night”)

Anoche soñé con mi padre.
“I dreamed about my father last night.”

  • Anteanoche (“The night before yesterday”)

Antenoche no pude dormir.
“I could not sleep the night before yesterday.”

  • Ayer (“Yesterday”)

Ayer fue el cumpleaños de mi hermano.
“It was my brother’s birthday yesterday.”

  • Anteayer (“The day before yesterday”)

Anteayer comí pasta.
“I had pasta the day before yesterday.”

  • Ya (“Already”)

Ya llegaron los pedidos pendientes.
“The pending orders have already arrived.”

  • Siempre (“Always”)

Siempre suelo quedarme dormida viendo la tele.
“I always fall asleep watching TV.”

  • Todavía (“Yet”)

Todavía no me han llegado los pedidos.
“My orders haven’t arrived yet.”

  • Ahora (“Now”)

Ahora voy al gimnasio.
“I am going to the gym now.”

  • Tarde (“Late”)

Maite siempre llega media hora tarde cuando quedamos.
“Maite always arrives half an hour late when we meet.”

  • Luego (“Later”)

¿Nos vemos luego?
“Will I see you later?”

  • Mientras (“While”)

Corrió hacia su coche mientras llovía.
“He ran toward his car while it was raining.”

  • Recién (“Freshly”)

¡No pases! El suelo está recién fregado.
“Do not pass over here! The floor is freshly scrubbed.”

Although in English, adverbs of frequency and adverbs of time are considered separate categories, in Spanish, they fall under the same category. 

The following Spanish adverbs of frequency will help you describe how frequently you do something. Whether you go to the gym very often (Voy a gimnasio a menudo) or everyday (Voy al gimnasio todos los días), you can tell people about it using these adverbs.

Once you’re through with this list, tell us how often you usually check up on our blog! 

A Man and Woman Working Out at the Gym
  • Semanalmente (“Weekly”)

Suelo ir a la piscina semanalmente.
“I usually go to the pool weekly.”

  • Siempre (“Always”)

Siempre voy al gimnasio los lunes.
“I always go to the gym on Mondays.”

  • Mucho (“A lot”)

Yo voy mucho al gimnasio.
“I go to the gym a lot.”

  • Actualmente (“Currently”)

Actualmente vivo del alquiler de mi casa.
“Currently, I live renting my house.”

  • Frecuentemente (“Frequently”)

Mi perro se pierde frecuentemente.
“My dog gets lost frequently.”

  • Recientemente (“Recently”)

He perdido a mi perro recientemente.
“I have lost my dog recently.”

  • Diariamente (“Daily”)

Suelo meditar diariamente.
“I meditate daily.”

  • Nunca (“Never”)

Nunca me llegan las cosas a tiempo.
“I never get my things on time.”

  • Raramente (“Rarely”)

Raramente me cuestiono sobre la vida.
“I rarely ask myself about life.”

  •  Usualmente (“Usually”)

Usualmente no bebo alcohol.
“I do not usually drink alcohol.”

  • Normalmente (“Normally”)

Normalmente mi padre tiene pan en casa.
“Normally, my dad has bread at home.”

  • Todo el tiempo (“All the time”)

Mi pareja suele quejarse todo el tiempo cuando ve la tele.
“My partner complains all the time while he watches TV.”

  • De vez en cuando (“From time to time”)

Suelo ir a jugar baloncesto de vez en cuando con mis amigas.
“I play basketball from time to time with my girlfriends.”

  • Anualmente (“Annually”)

Mi gato tiene sus vacunas anualmente.
“My cat has his vaccines annually.”

  • A veces (“Sometimes”)

A veces salgo a patinar por el paseo marítimo.
“Sometimes I go roller skating along the seaside.”

  • Poco (“A little”)

Salgo muy poco de fiesta.
“I go out very little.”

  • Apenas (“Hardly”)

Apenas puedo ir al teatro.
“I hardly ever go to the theater.”

  • Jamás (“Never”)

Jamás llego tarde a mis clases de ballet.
“I am never late to my ballet lessons.”

2- Spanish Adverbs of Place

A Lovely Scene with Water and Trees

Where is your phone? Is it here? Did you lose your glasses? Are they close or far away? These useful Spanish adverbs will help you answer questions about where things are. You should learn them because they’re very common and are used in everyday Spanish

  • Aquí (“Here”)

Aquí en España hay muchos extranjeros.
“Here in Spain, there are many foreigners.”

  • Allí (“There”)

Allí donde está Luis estudiando hay cursos para ti también.
“There, where Luis is studying, there are courses for you as well.”

  • Cerca (“Near”)

La biblioteca está cerca de mi casa.
“The library is near my place.”

  • Delante (“In front of”)

Hay un banco delante del gimnasio.
“There is a bank in front of my gym.”

  • Acá (“Here”)

Vamos a comer acá en mi casa.
“We are going to eat here at home.”

  • Allá (“There,” “Over there”)

El supermercado está allá.
“The supermarket is over there.”

  • Lejos (“Far”)

Vivo lejos de la estación de bus.
“I live far from the bus station.”

  • Detrás (“Behind”)

Hay una panadería detrás de mi casa.
“There is a bakery behind my place.”

  • Encima (“Above”)

Juan vive encima de la casa de su padre.
“Juan lives above his father’s house.”

  • Dentro (“Inside”)

Dentro del gimnasio hay aparcamiento disponible.
“There is parking available inside the gym.”

  • Arriba (“Upstairs”)

Esta casa es inusual porque la cocina está arriba.
“This house is unusual because the kitchen is upstairs.”

  • Adentro (“Inside”)

Adentro de la nevera están las cervezas.
“There are beers inside the fridge.”

  • Debajo (“Below”)

Debajo de los libros está mi agenda.
“My diary is below the books.”

  • Fuera (“Outside”)

Fuera del centro comercial hay una farmacia.
“Outside the shopping center, there is a pharmacy.”

  • Atrás (“At the back”)

Atrás de la farmacia hay un hotel.
“At the back of the hotel, there is a pharmacy.”

  • Abajo (“Down”)

Abajo tienes a Carmen esperándote.
“You have Carmen waiting for you down there.”

  • Al lado (“Next to”)

Encontrarás las instrucciones al lado de la caja.
“You’ll find the manual next to the box.”

3- Spanish Adverbs of Manner

Here, you’ll learn how to use adverbs in Spanish to answer questions about how something is being done. Check out this Spanish adverbs list:

  • Bien (“Well”)

Juan Luis canta bien.
“Juan Luis sings well.”

  • Mejor (“Better”)

Jose canta mejor que Luisa.
“Jose sings better than Luisa.”

  • Cuidadosamente (“Carefully”)

Susana siempre camina cuidadosamente.
“Susana always walks carefully.”

  • Rápido (“Quickly”)

En avión llegas más rápido.
“By plane, you arrive more quickly.”

  • Claramente (“Clearly”)

Santiago habla claramente.
“Santiago speaks clearly.”

  • Mal (“Bad”)

Esta comida puede oler mal.
“This food may smell bad.”

  • Peor (“Worse”)

Si no estudias para el examen será peor.
“If you don’t study for the exam, it will be worse.”

  • Despacio (“Slowly”)

Trata de conducir despacio.
“Try to drive slowly.”

  • Inteligentemente (“Intelligently”)

Habla con tu jefe inteligentemente.
“You have to speak to your boss intelligently.”

  • Voluntariamente (“Voluntarily”)

Jesús ha dejado la empresa voluntariamente.
“Jesús has left the company voluntarily.”

  • Fácilmente (“Easily”)

Mike ha pasado su examen práctico fácilmente.
“Mike has passed his practice exam easily.”

  • Dulcemente (“Sweetly”)

María cantó dulcemente.
“Maria sang sweetly.”

  • Seriamente (“Seriously”)

Debes tomarte tus estudios seriamente.
“You should take your studies seriously.”

  • Así (“This way”)

Es así como tienes que hacer los ejercicios.
“You should do the exercises this way.”

4- Spanish Adverbs of Degree

These Spanish adverbs of degree (also called Spanish adverbs of quantity), will help you answer questions about how much or to what degree something is done. They also add information to adjectives as well. 

Let’s show you how with this Spanish adverbs list.

  • Muy (“Very”)

La clase de ciclismo es muy temprano para mi.
“Cycling class is very early for me.”

  • Mucho (“Very much”)

Me gusta mucho el cine.
“I like the cinema very much.”

  • Demasiado (“Too much”)

Me gusta demasiado el chocolate.
“I like chocolate too much.”

Woman Biting into a Chocolate Bar
  • Un poco (“A little”)

Me gusta la comida picante un poco.
“I like spicy food a little.”

  • Mucho más (“A lot more”)

Me gusta mucho más la comida tailandesa.
“I like Thai food a lot more.”

  • Bastante (“Quite”)

Mi hermano canta bastante bien.
“My brother sings quite well.”

  • Nada (“At all”)

No me gusta nada la música clásica.
“I don’t like classical music at all.”

  • Menos (“Less”)

Las manzanas cuestan menos en el otro supermercado.
“Apples cost less in the other supermarket.”

  • Tanto (“So long,” “So much”)

No puedo esperar tanto por mi licencia de conducir.
“I can’t wait so much for my driver’s license.”

  • Algo; Un poco (“Some”)

Tatiana sabe un poco de Francés.
“Tatiana knows some French.”

5- Spanish Adverbs of Affirmation

Spanish adverbs of affirmation reinforce a statement. These Spanish adverbs also indicate that the action of the verb is fulfilled, or is intended to be fulfilled.

  • (“Yes”)

Sí, nos vemos a las siete.
“Yes, we’ll meet at seven.”

  • Seguramente (“Probably”)

Seguramente fue Juan el que más corrió.
“Juan was probably the one who ran the most.”

  • Obviamente (“Obviously”)

Obviamente tendrá repercusiones en su vida laboral.
“Obviously, there will be consequences in his working life.”

  • Exacto (“Correct,” “Right”)

Exacto, seremos 20 personas para la reserva.
“Correct, we will be 20 people for the reservation.”

  • Claro (“Right”)

Claro, tienes que estudiar una carrera antes de hacer un máster.
“Right, you have to study for a Bachelor’s Degree before you take a Master’s Degree.”

  • Cierto (“Certainly”)

Ciertamente, los resultados de este mes han sido muy exitosos.
“Certainly, this month’s results have been very successful.”

  • Efectivamente (“Indeed,” “Effectively”)

Efectivamente, fue un gran día.
“It was a great day indeed.”

6- Spanish Adverbs of Negation

We all know the adverbs of negation. It’s said that one of the first words that a baby learns is “no,” because people use it all the time. 

  • No (“No”)

No tengo ya la casa del campo.
“No, I don’t have the country house yet.”

  • En absoluto (“Not at all”)

He aparcado bien, así que no estoy en absoluto preocupada por el coche.
“I parked well, so I’m not at all worried about my car.”

  • Jamás (“Ever”)

Jamás soporté a tu hermano.
“I could never stand your brother.”

  • Nunca (“Never”)

Nunca olvidaré nuestro primer beso.
“I’ll never forget our first kiss.”

  • Tampoco (“Either,” “Neither”)

Nosotros tampoco sabemos la fecha del vuelo.
“We don’t know the flight’s date either.”

7- Spanish Adverbs of Doubt

These basic Spanish adverbs denote insecurity or uncertainty, so you can use them when you’re not sure about something. 

  • A lo mejor (“Perhaps,” “Maybe”)

A lo mejor comemos en casa de mis padres el domingo.
“Maybe we will have lunch at my parents’ house on Sunday.”

  • Quizá (“Perhaps,” “Maybe”)

Quizá se equivocaron al hacer la cuenta.
“Maybe they were wrong when they prepared the bill.”

  • Tal vez (“Perhaps,” “Maybe”)

Espero que tal vez muy pronto podamos cambiar el futuro.
“I hope that maybe soon, we can change the future.”

  • Posiblemente (“Possibly”)

Sobrepasan posiblemente el número de alumnos disponibles.
“They possibly exceed the available number of students.”

8- Spanish Exclamatory and Interrogative Adverbs 

As you likely guessed, Spanish interrogative adverbs are used to ask questions, and exclamatory adverbs are used in exclamatory sentences. These are very special and common, used at the beginning of a sentence. 

Keep in mind that you have to distinguish these from the relative adverbs. How can you do that? If a word has the accent mark, it’s interrogative or exclamatory; if not, it’s a relative adverb. 

  • Cuándo (“When”)

¿Cuándo nació tu hijo?
“When was your son born?”

  • Dónde (“Where?”)

¿Dónde está la cafetera?
“Where is the coffee maker?”

  • Cómo (“How”)

¡Cómo está de rica esta tarta!
“How good is this cake!”

  • Por qué (“Why”)

¿Por qué tienes sueño?
“Why are you sleepy?”

  • Cuánto (“How much,” “How many”)

¿Cuántos coches tienes?
“How many cars do you have?”

  • A dónde (“Where”)

¿A dónde fuiste con Paula?
“Where did you go with Paula?”

9- Spanish Relative Adverbs

Spanish relative adverbs are one of the most important types on our Spanish adverb list. These are almost the same as some of the words in the previous section, but they don’t have the accent marks. They add circumstantial information to the verb, and they can talk about time, manner, or place. 

For example:

  • Donde (“Where”)

Este es el chalet donde vivo.
“This is the house where I live.”

  • Cuando (“When”)

Haré los deberes cuando deje de llover.
“I’ll do my homework when it stops raining.”

  • Como (“As”)

Como tú mandes.
“As you wish.”

4. Conclusion

What do you think about our list? Was it useful? If you liked it, don’t miss our 100 Spanish nouns list! 

This article has provided you with 100 Spanish adverbs and plenty of information on how and when to use them. Do you remember what Spanish adverbs are now? Are you ready to impress your Spanish-speaking friends?

SpanishPod101.com has tons of vocabulary lists, videos, and free resources to help you improve your learning and keep your Spanish fresh. Create your free lifetime account today, and start learning Spanish like never before! We look forward to having you.

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Spanish Keyboard: How to Install and Type in Spanish

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You asked, so we provided—easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up your electronic devices to write in Spanish! We’ll also give you a few excellent tips on how to use this keyboard, as well as some online and app alternatives if you prefer not to set up a Spanish keyboard.

Log in to Download Your Free Spanish Alphabet Worksheet Table of Contents
  1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Spanish
  2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Spanish
  3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer
  4. How to Change the Language Settings to Spanish on Your Computer
  5. Activating the Spanish Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet
  6. Spanish Keyboard Typing Tips
  7. How to Practice Typing Spanish

1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Spanish

A keyboard

Learning a new language is made so much easier when you’re able to read and write/type it. This way, you will:

  • Get the most out of any dictionary and Spanish language apps on your devices
  • Expand your ability to find Spanish websites and use the various search engines
  • Be able to communicate much better online with your Spanish teachers and friends, and look super cool in the process! 

2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Spanish

A phone charging on a dock

It takes only a few steps to set up any of your devices to read and type in Spanish. It’s super-easy on your mobile phone and tablet, and a simple process on your computer.

On your computer, you’ll first activate the onscreen keyboard to work with. You’ll only be using your mouse or touchpad/pointer for this keyboard. Then, you’ll need to change the language setting to Spanish, so all text will appear in Spanish. You could also opt to use online keyboards instead. Read on for the links!

On your mobile devices, it’s even easier—you only have to change the keyboard. We also provide a few alternatives in the form of online keyboards and downloadable apps.

3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer

1- Mac

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Check the option “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in Menu Bar.”

3. You’ll see a new icon on the right side of the main bar; click on it and select “Show Keyboard Viewer.”

A screenshot of the keyboard viewer screen

2- Windows

1. Go to Start > Settings > Easy Access > Keyboard.

2. Turn on the option for “Onscreen Keyboard.”

3- Online Keyboards

If you don’t want to activate your computer’s onscreen keyboard, you also have the option to use online keyboards. Here are some good options:

4- Add-ons of Extensions for Browsers

Instead of an online keyboard, you could also choose to download a Google extension to your browser for a language input tool. The Google Input Tools extension allows users to use input tools in Chrome web pages, for example.

4. How to Change the Language Settings to Spanish on Your Computer

Man looking at his computer

Now that you’re all set to work with an onscreen keyboard on your computer, it’s time to download the Spanish language pack for your operating system of choice:

  • Windows 8 (and higher)
  • Windows 7
  • Mac (OS X and higher)

1- Windows 8 (and higher)

1. Go to Settings > Change PC Settings > Time & Language > Region & Language.

2. Click on “Add a Language” and select “Spanish.” This will add it to your list of languages. It will appear as Spanish with the note “language pack available.”

3. Click on “Spanish” > “Options” > “Download.” It’ll take a few minutes to download and install the language pack.

4. As a keyboard layout, you’ll only need the one marked as “Spanish.” 

2- Windows 7

1. Go to Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region.

2. On the “Region and Language” option, click on “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods.”

3. On the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, click on “Change Keyboards” > “Add” > “Spanish.”

4. Expand the option of “Spanish” and then expand the option “Keyboard.” Select the keyboard layout marked as “Spanish.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts. Click “OK” and then “Apply.”

3- Mac (OS X and higher)

If you can’t see the language listed, please make sure to select the right option from System Preferences > Language and Region

1. From the Apple Menu (top left corner of the screen) go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Click the Input Sources tab and a list of available keyboards and input methods will appear.

3. Click on the plus button, select “Spanish,” and add the “Spanish” keyboard.

Adding a system language

5. Activating the Spanish Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet

Texting and searching in Spanish will greatly help you master the language! Adding a Spanish keyboard on your mobile phone and/or tablet is super-easy.

You could also opt to download an app instead of adding a keyboard. Read on for our suggestions.

Below are the instructions for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets.

1- iOS

1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

2. Tap “Keyboards” and then “Add New Keyboard.”

3. Select “Spanish” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by tapping and holding on the icon to reveal the keyboard language menu.

2- Android

1. Go to Settings > General Management > Language and Input > On-screen Keyboard (or “Virtual Keyboard” on some devices) > Samsung Keyboard.

2. Tap “Language and Types” or “ + Select Input Languages” depending on the device and then “MANAGE INPUT LANGUAGES” if available.

3. Select Spanish from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by swiping the space bar.

3- Applications for Mobile Phones

If you don’t want to add a keyboard on your mobile phone or tablet, these are a few good apps to consider:

6. Spanish Keyboard Typing Tips

Typing in Spanish can be very challenging at first! Therefore, we added here a few useful tips to make it easier to use your Spanish keyboard.

A man typing on a computer

1- Computer

  • To add the accent marks over a vowel (á,é,í,ó,ú), first type the accent then the letter. For example: ´+ a = á. You can find the accent mark by clicking the symbol “:”.
  • To add the mark ¨ over the u (ü), first click “Shift” then type the ¨ then the letter “u.” For example: Shift Key + ¨+ u = ü. You can find the mark ¨ by clicking “Shift” plus the symbol “:”.
  • The ñ is found between the “L” and “:.” You can type the ñ by clicking “;”.
  • 3. To add ¡ click on the symbol ^.
  • To add the ! click the Shift Key then “1” while keeping the Shift Key held down. For example: Shift Key + 1 = !
  • To add ¿ first click the Shift Key then the ^, while keeping the Shift Key held down. For example: Shift Key + ^ = ¿
  • To add ? first click the Shift Key then the / Key while keeping the Shift Key held down. For example: Shift Key+ / Key = ?

2- Mobile Phones

  • With most mobiles, in order to gain access to accented letters, press the selected letter until accented options pop up (Examples: á, é, í, ü). Same goes for the ñ by clicking the letter n for more than one second. Further, you can click the ! key to obtain the option of ¡ and the ? key to obatin the option for ¿.

7. How to Practice Typing Spanish

As you probably know by now, learning Spanish is all about practice, practice, and more practice! Strengthen your Spanish typing skills by writing comments on any of our lesson pages, and our teacher will answer. If you’re a SpanishPod101 Premium PLUS member, you can directly text our teacher via the My Teacher app—use your Spanish keyboard to do this!

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Your Ultimate Guide to Spanish Conjugation

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Conjugation is a fundamental aspect of Spanish. Yes, we wish it was easier than it is, but it’s definitely one of the basic skills you need to gain when learning Spanish. Just so you know, you don’t need to learn all Spanish conjugations at once, so feel free to learn them at your own pace. We’re just going to guide you so that you have an easier time studying the Spanish conjugation basics.

When you start learning a new language, you’ll most likely start by studying the present tense first, right? The basics you need for introducing yourself. It’s all about going through them step-by-step instead of rushing it all at once and trying to memorize them all at the same time. 

To give you an example, we all know what happens when you memorize something only for an exam: you spit it all out in the exam and then forget about it. That’s the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve here! 

Even though we’re going to offer you some very useful tables that show absolutely all the conjugations of a verb, they’re not there for you to learn in one day, but rather to help you organize all of this information. Remember, this is not a competition!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. What are Spanish Conjugations?
  2. Verb Groups
  3. Conjugation Examples
  4. Irregular Verbs and their Conjugations
  5. Spanish Conjugations Quiz
  6. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Learn Spanish

1. What are Spanish Conjugations?

Top Verbs

As we explained in our previous article about verbs, conjugation refers to all of the changes a verb goes through depending on a few factors. These factors include the person who does the action of that verb, or when the action happens, among others. One good thing about conjugation in Spanish is that it only affects verbs, so you don’t need to worry about other words changing to accommodate these factors.

In Spanish, conjugation affects mood, tense, the number of the subject, person, and sometimes the politeness level. We’ll look at all of these, one at a time.

1- Mood

If you look at a table with all the conjugations of any Spanish verb, such as the ones we’ve prepared for you below, you’ll find two main groups: indicativo (“indicative”) and subjuntivo (“subjunctive”). These two groups are two of the different moods in Spanish conjugation. The third mood is called imperativo (“imperative”) and it is, by far, not as broad as the other two. In fact, it only includes two different forms, which are singular and plural. 

In summary:

  • The indicative mood in Spanish refers to facts and beliefs. 
    Marta me ha contado un secreto. → “Marta has told me a secret.”
  • The subjunctive mood marks something that isn’t a fact, but something that’s hypothetical or something you wish had or hadn’t happened. 
    Ojalá Marta no me hubiera contado ese secreto. → “I wish Marta hadn’t told me that secret.”
  • The imperative mood indicates command. 
    ¡Cuéntame algo! → “Tell me something!”

When students in school are learning the Spanish subjunctive mood, it often helps them to put the word ojalá in front of the verb to tell if it’s subjunctive or indicative. This word doesn’t have an exact English translation, but we can translate it as “I wish” or “I hope.” 

If you can use it, it means the verb is in the subjunctive mood. To give you an example, the sentence Ojalá llueva means “I hope it rains,” so it’s in the subjunctive mood. But, if it was simply Llueve, which just means “It’s raining,” we know it’s in the indicative mood because it’s a fact.

Rain Falling on a puddle

2- Tense

Inside each of these moods, we’ll find several tenses. In both cases, the Spanish verb tenses are also divided into two more subgroups, but these are only here to help us divide conjugations in a simpler way and make things easier to understand. These are simple tenses and compound tenses. As you might have guessed, simple tenses are formed by a single word and compound tenses are formed by two words.

Tenses in Spanish conjugation might have some weird and long names that you absolutely do not need to remember. As long as you know which ones refer to the present, which ones refer to the past, and which ones refer to the future, you’ll be fine. Trust us.

A. Indicativo

Tiempos simples (“Simple tenses”)
  • Presente (“simple present”): canto → “I sing”
  • Pretérito imperfecto (“imperfect preterite”): cantaba →  “I sang”
  • Pretérito perfecto simple (“simple past”): canté →  “I sang”
  • Futuro simple (“simple future”): cantaré → “I will sing”
  • Condicional simple (“conditional”): cantaría → “I would sing”

As you can see, most of these tenses have a specific equivalent in English and do not need an explanation. However, you might have noticed that two of them translate to “I sang.” The pretérito imperfecto doesn’t exist in English, and instead it only uses the simple past tense. But in Spanish, this is quite important. 

Essentially, the pretérito imperfecto (cantaba) refers to a continuous action in the past, while the pretérito perfecto simple (canté) refers to a specific action in the past. This might sound a bit confusing, so we’re going to look at a couple of examples:

1.

Cuando era pequeño cantaba en un coro. (“When I was little, I sang in a choir.”)

In this example, both verbs are in the pretérito imperfecto and refer to continuous actions, or something that didn’t happen just once. Cuando era pequeño (“When I was little”) refers to a long period of time, because we were all little for years. Cantaba en un coro (“I sang in a choir”) means that I was in that choir for a while, even though I don’t specify for how long.

2.

Una vez, cuando era pequeño, canté una canción delante de mis amigos. (“Once, when I was little, I sang a song in front of my friends.”) 

In this case, the first verb is the same as in the previous example, but the second one, marked in bold, is in the pretérito perfecto simple, so it’s a specific action in the past. Una vez (…) canté una canción… (“Once (…) I sang a song…”) is talking about the one time this action happened. It doesn’t need to have happened only once: it could have happened more times. What’s important is that it wasn’t a continuous action.

Tiempos compuestos (“Compound tenses”)
  • Pretérito perfecto compuesto (“present perfect”): he cantado →  “I have sung”
  • Pretérito pluscuamperfecto (“past perfect”): había cantado → “I had sung”
  • Pretérito anterior (“past preterite”): hube cantado 
  • Futuro compuesto (“future perfect”): habré cantado → “I will have sung”
  • Condicional compuesto (“conditional”): hubiera or hubiese cantado → “I would have sung”

Once again, we find one tense that doesn’t have a direct translation in English: the pretérito anterior. This tense isn’t used very often in Spanish (only in literature), but we’re still going to explain it briefly. The pretérito anterior refers to an action that happens just before another one, which is also in a past tense. For example:

Tan pronto como hubo terminado el libro, lo devolvió a la biblioteca. (“As soon as he finished the book, he returned it to the library.” 

In this example, the man returned the book immediately after finishing it. However, as we explained, this tense isn’t used much anymore, so we would usually say Tan pronto como terminó el libro instead, in the simple past tense.

Returning Book to Library

B. Subjuntivo

Tiempos simples (“Simple tenses”)

The subjunctive tenses aren’t as easy to explain or translate as a single verb, so we’re going to give you examples of each tense.

  • Presente: cante Quiero que me cantes una canción. (“I want you to sing me a song.”)
  • Pretérito imperfecto: cantara or cantase → Ojalá cantase mejor. (“I wish I sang better.”)
  • Futuro simple: cantare
Tiempos compuestos (“Compound tenses”)
  • Pretérito perfecto compuesto: haya cantado → Espero que Carla haya cantado bien. (“I hope Carla has sung well.”)
  • Pretérito pluscuamperfecto: hubiera or hubiese cantado → Ojalá me hubiera cantado una canción. (“I wish she had sung me a song.”)
  • Futuro compuesto: hubiere cantado

Notice that all of these examples require an extra verb: “I want,” “I hope,” “I wish.” A verb in the subjunctive mood is never alone!

People Singing

Something you should also know is that, in the subjunctive mood, there are a couple of tenses that no one ever uses, which are the two future subjunctive tenses without examples in the previous list: futuro simple and futuro compuesto. We’ve included them on the tables anyway because they would have been incomplete if we hadn’t. But we promise that you don’t need to learn them!

C. Imperativo

As we explained before, the imperative mood refers exclusively to commands. There’s only one kind of imperative, but it can be in singular or plural, and it can be formal or informal. Here, the formal conjugation is different from the informal one.

  • Singular, informal: canta
  • Plural, informal: cantad
  • Singular, formal: cante
  • Plural, formal: canten 

D. Non-personal forms

And last but not least, there are a few non-personal forms that don’t belong in any of those moods. They also exist in English, as follows:

  • Infinitivo (“infinitive”): cantar → “to sing” 
  • Participio (“participle”): cantado → “sung”
  • Gerundio (“gerund”): cantando → “singing”

The participle is used exactly the same way in Spanish and English, as you might have noticed when we explained the different Spanish tenses.

We haven’t seen the gerund before, but it’s also used similarly to how it is in English. In Spanish, for some reason, this isn’t considered a tense and it’s not usually included in the conjugation tables. However, it’s very commonly used. In English, you have the present continuous and past continuous tenses, and they’re both used in Spanish: 

  • Estoy cantando. (“I am singing.”)
  • Estaba cantando. (“I was singing.”)

While you might sometimes have doubts about the verbs estar and ser, in this case, we always use the verb estar.

3- Number

Spanish verbs, just like Spanish nouns or adjectives, change depending on how many people are performing the action of that verb. While some languages distinguish actions as being done by two people or a larger number of people, Spanish only makes two distinctions: singular and plural. It’s either one person, or it’s more. For example: 

  • Yo como. (“I eat.”)
  • Nosotros comemos. (“We eat.”)

4- Person

Just like verbs change depending on the number of the subject, verbs also conjugate depending on the person who performs the verb. In English, for example, the simple present tense shows that the first and second persons are different than the third person: “I eat,” “you eat,” “he/she eats.”

In Spanish conjugations, endings are different in every single person. To give you an example, we’ll use the same verb we used in English: yo como, tú comes, él/ella come. If you’re not familiar with Spanish subject pronouns, you might find our article about pronouns quite useful!

You might have noticed that the first three letters of the word don’t change, but the ending does. These first letters are called the stem of the verb and they stay the same in every single conjugation of this verb. 

Even though endings in all tenses are different, they follow a pattern.

  • Yo (“I”): –
  • (“you”): –s
  • Él/Ella (“he/she”): –
  • Nosotros (“we”): -mos
  • Vosotros (plural “you”): -is
  • Ellos (“they”): –n

In case you’re wondering, we didn’t leave those two empty for no reason. We consider them not to have a specific ending, because they only use the ending of the tense in particular.

5- Politeness

You might already know that Spanish, unlike English, has a formal “you” pronoun that’s used when talking to someone who is important or above us, and sometimes even to older people. The truth is that it’s not used nowadays as often as it was in the past, but it’s still very important to know. You never know when you might need it. 

There are actually two pronouns, one for the singular (usted) and one for the plural (ustedes), with no distinction for gender. This formal pronoun doesn’t use the normal conjugation for (“you”), but actually uses the one for él or ella (“him” or “her”). For example, if you wanted to say “You’re very kind,” to a friend, you would say: Eres muy amable. But to speak more formally, you would say: Es muy amable.

Waiter Showing Customers a Table

2. Verb Groups

Once again, as you already saw in the article about verbs, Spanish conjugations are divided into three groups (or four, if we think of irregular verbs as another group). These groups are based on the ending of the verbs in their infinitive form. Verbs that end in –ar, such as saltar (“to jump”), form the first conjugation; verbs that end in –er, such as correr (“to run”), form the second conjugation; the third conjugation is formed by verbs that end in –ir, such as mentir (“to lie”).

Now, why is it important to know that there are different groups of verbs? Well, it’s quite useful when learning conjugations because Spanish conjugation rules are specific to a given group. In most cases, conjugations will be the same or similar, but you need to be careful sometimes. 

Spanish conjugations for present tense, for example, are easy to remember. If the verb is from the first conjugation (-ar), all forms will use the vowel a (except for the first person in the singular, but it’s an exception in all three conjugations!). If it’s from the second conjugation (-er), it will use the vowel e. However, the third conjugation (-ir) isn’t as regular as the others, since some forms use the vowel e and some use the vowel i. Let’s look at some examples:

  • Saltar (“To jump”) → yo salto, tú saltas, él salta, nosotros saltamos, vosotros saltáis, ellos saltan
  • Correr (“To run”) → yo corro, tú corres, él corre, nosotros corremos, vosotros corréis, ellos corren
  • Mentir (“To lie”) → yo miento, tú mientes, él miente, nosotros mentimos, vosotros mentís, ellos mienten

Note that the verb of the third conjugation that we’ve chosen is also slightly irregular, since the stem—which would always be ment- if it was a regular verb—changes to mient- in a few of the forms.

Other tenses show most important changes, such as pretérito imperfecto, one of the simple past tenses. In the first conjugation, the endings are –aba, -abas, aba, ábamos… But in the second and third conjugations, the endings are -ía, -ías, -ía, -íamos. They’re completely different.

In the following sections, we’ll take a closer look at each of the Spanish verb conjugation types. Let’s go! 

3. Conjugation Examples

More Essential Verbs

1- First conjugation: cantar (“to sing”)

Indicativo

Simple tenses

SubjectPresentePretérito imperfectoPretérito perfecto simpleFuturo simpleCondicional simple
Yo (“I”)cantocantabacantécantécantaría
(“you”)cantascantabascantastecantaráscantarías
Él/ella (“he”/
she”)
cantacantabacantócantarácantaría
Nosotros/as (“we”)cantamoscantábamoscantamoscantaremoscantaríamos
Vosotros/as (plural “you”)cantáiscantabaiscantasteiscantaréiscantaríais
Ellos/as (“they”)cantancantabancantaroncantaráncantarían

Compound tenses

SubjectPretérito perfecto compuestoPretérito pluscuamperfectoPretérito anteriorFuturo compuestoCondicional compuesto
Yohe cantadohabía cantadohube cantadohabré cantadohabría cantado
has cantadohabías cantadohubiste cantadohabrás cantadohabrías cantado
Él/ellaha cantadohabía cantadohubo cantadohabrá cantadohabría cantado
Nosotros/ashemos cantadohabíamos cantadohubimos cantadohabremos cantadohabríamos cantado
Vosotros/ashabéis cantadohabíais cantadohubisteis cantadohabréis cantadohabríais cantado
Ellos/ashan cantadohabían cantadohubieron cantadohabrán cantadohabrían cantado

Subjuntivo

Simple tenses

SubjectPresentePretérito imperfectoFuturo simple
Yocantecantara or cantasecantare
cantescantaras or cantasescantares
Él/ellacantecantara or cantasecantare
Nosotros/ascantemoscantáramos or cantásemoscantáremos
Vosotros/ascantéiscantarais or cantaseiscantareis
Ellos/ascantencantaran or cantasencantaren

Compound tenses

SubjectPretérito perfecto compuestoPretérito pluscuamperfectoFuturo compuesto
Yohaya cantadohubiera or hubiese cantadohubiere cantado
haya cantadohubieras or hubieses cantadohubieres cantado
Él/ellahaya cantadohubiera or hubiese cantadohubiere cantado
Nosotros/ashayamos cantadohubiéramos or hubiésemos cantadohubiéremos cantado
Vosotros/ashayáis cantadohubierais or hubieseis  cantadohubiereis cantado
Ellos/ashayan cantadohubieran or hubiesen cantadohubieren cantado

Imperative

cantacantad

Non-personal forms

InfinitiveParticipleGerund
cantarcantadocantando

2- Second conjugation: comer (“to eat”)

Indicativo

Simple tenses

SubjectPresentePretérito imperfectoPretérito perfecto simpleFuturo simpleCondicional simple
Yocomocomíacomícomerécomería
comescomíascomistecomeráscomerías
Él/ellacomecomíacomcomerácomería
Nosotros/ascomemoscomíamoscomimoscomeremoscomeríamos
Vosotros/ascoméiscomíaiscomisteiscomeréiscomeríais
Ellos/ascomencomíancomieroncomeráncomerían

Compound tenses

SubjectPretérito perfecto compuestoPretérito pluscuamperfectoPretérito anteriorFuturo compuestoCondicional compuesto
Yohe comidohabía comidohube comidohabré comidohabría comido
has comidohabías comidohubiste comidohabrás comidohabrías comido
Él/ellaha comidohabía comidohubo comidohabrá comidohabría comido
Nosotros/ashemos comidohabíamos comidohubimos comidohabremos comidohabríamos comido
Vosotros/ashabéis comidohabíais comidohubisteis comidohabréis comidohabríais comido
Ellos/ashan comidohabían comidohubieron comidohabrán comidohabrían comido

Subjuntivo

Simple tenses

SubjectPresentePretérito imperfectoFuturo simple
Yocomacomiera or comiesecomiere
comascantaras or cantasescomieres
Él/ellacomacomiera or comiesecomiere
Nosotros/ascomamoscomiéramos or comiésemoscomiéremos
Vosotros/ascomáiscomierais or comieseiscomiereis
Ellos/ascomancomieran or comiesencomieren

Compound tenses

SubjectPretérito perfecto compuestoPretérito pluscuamperfectoFuturo compuesto
Yohaya comidohubiera or hubiese comidohubiere comido
hayas comidohubieras or hubieses comidohubieres comido
Él/ellahaya comidohubiera or hubiese comidohubiere comido
Nosotros/ashayamos comidohubiéramos or hubiésemos comidohubiéremos comido
Vosotros/ashayáis comidohubierais or hubieseis  comidohubiereis comido
Ellos/ashayan comidohubieran or hubiesen comidohubieren comido

Imperative

comecomed

Non-personal forms

InfinitiveParticipleGerund
comercomidocomiendo

3- Third conjugation: vivir (“to live”)

Indicativo

Simple tenses

SubjectPresentePretérito imperfectoPretérito perfecto simpleFuturo simpleCondicional simple
Yovivovivíavivíviviréviviría
vivesvivíasvivistevivirásvivirías
Él/ellavivevivíavivióviviráviviría
Nosotros/asvivimosvivíamosvivimosviviremosviviríamos
Vosotros/asvivísvivíaisvivisteisviviréisviviríais
Ellos/asvivenvivíanvivieronviviránvivirían

Compound tenses

SubjectPretérito perfecto compuestoPretérito pluscuamperfectoPretérito anteriorFuturo compuestoCondicional compuesto
Yohe vividohabía vividohube vividohabré vividohabría vivido
has vividohabías vividohubiste vividohabrás vividohabrías vivido
Él/ellaha vividohabía vividohubo vividohabrá vividohabría vivido
Nosotros/ashemos vividohabíamos vividohubimos vividohabremos vividohabríamos vivido
habríamos vividohabéis vividohabíais vividohubisteis vividohabréis vividohabríais vivido
Ellos/ashan vividohabían vividohubieron vividohabrán vividohabrían vivido

Subjuntivo

Simple tenses

SubjectPresentePretérito imperfectoFuturo simple
Yovivavivieraviviere
vivasvivierasvivieres
Él/ellavivavivieraviviere
Nosotros/asvivamosvivieramosvivieremos
Vosotros/asvivaisvivieraisviviereis
Ellos/asvivanvivieranvivieren

Compound tenses

SubjectPretérito perfecto compuestoPretérito pluscuamperfectoFuturo compuesto
Yohaya vividohubiera or hubiese vividohubiere vivido
hayas vividohubieras or hubieses vividohubieres vivido
Él/ellahaya vividohubiera or hubiese vividohubiere vivido
Nosotros/ashayamos vividohubiéramos or hubiésemos vividohubieremos vivido
Vosotros/ashayais vividohubierais or hubieseis  vividohubiereis vivido
Ellos/ashayan vividohubieran or hubiesen vividohubieren vivido

Imperative

vivevivid

Non-personal forms

InfinitiveParticipleGerund
vivirvividoviviendo

For more examples, you can take a look at the many tables on the Real Academia Española website.

4. Irregular Verbs and their Conjugations

Negative Verbs

When doing Spanish conjugations, irregular verbs can be frustrating. In this section, we’ll show you how to conjugate one of the most common irregular verbs.

Irregular verb: ser (“to be”)

Indicativo

Simple tenses

SubjectPresentePretérito imperfectoPretérito perfecto simpleFuturo simpleCondicional simple
Yosoyerafuiserésería
ereserasfuiesteserásserías
Él/ellaeserafueserásería
Nosotros/assomoseramosfuimosseremosseríamos
Vosotros/assoiseraisfuisteissereisseríais
Ellos/assoneranfueronseranserían

Compound tenses

SubjectPretérito perfecto compuestoPretérito pluscuamperfectoPretérito anteriorFuturo compuestoCondicional compuesto
Yohe sidohabía sidohube sidohabré sidohabría sido
has sidohabías sidohubiste sidohabrás sidohabrías sido
Él/ellaha sidohabía sidohubo sidohabrá sidohabría sido
Nosotros/ashemos sidohabíamos sidohubimos sidohabremos sidohabríamos sido
Vosotros/ashabéis sidohabíais sidohubisteis sidohabréis sidohabríais sido
Ellos/ashan sidohabían sidohubieron sidohabrén sidohabrían sido

Subjuntivo

Simple tenses

SubjectPresentePretérito imperfectoFuturo simple
Yoseafuera or fuesefuere
seasfueras or fuesesfueres
Él/ellaseafuera or fuesefuere
Nosotros/asseamosfuéramos or fuésemosfueremos
Vosotros/asseaisfuérais or fuéseisfuereis
Ellos/asseanfueran or fuesenfueren

Compound tenses

SubjectPretérito perfecto compuestoPretérito pluscuamperfectoFuturo compuesto
Yohaya sidohubiera or hubiese sidohubiere sido
hayas sidohubieras or hubieses sidohubieres sido
Él/ellahaya sidohubiera or hubiese sidohubiere sido
Nosotros/ashayamos sidohubiéramos or hubiésemos sidohubieremos sido
Vosotros/ashayais sidohubierais or hubieseis  sidohubiereis sido
Ellos/ashayan sidohubieran or hubiesen sidohubieren sido

Imperative

sed

Non-personal forms

InfinitiveParticipleParticiple
sersidosiendo

5. Spanish Conjugations Quiz

1- Mañana ________ (nosotros – ir) a la piscina. → “Tomorrow, we ____ ________ to the swimming pool.”

Options: hemos ido, iremos, habremos ido

2- Ya ____ ________ (yo – terminar) los deberes. → “I ____ already ________ my homework.”

Options: terminaré, has terminado, he terminado

3- Mi vecina ________ (ella – ser) muy alta. → “My neighbor ________ very tall.”

Options: soy, es, son

4- Ayer Carlos ________ (él – cantar) una canción en el karaoke. → “Yesterday, Carlos ________ a song at the karaoke.”

Options: cantó, cantaré, cantaría

6. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Learn Spanish

We hope you found this Spanish conjugation lesson useful and practical. We’ve said this before, but we want to emphasize again that you really don’t need to learn what all these tenses are called, and you don’t need to learn all of them at once. If you think learning them step-by-step is a good idea, how do you feel about receiving one new word every day? Subscribe to our Free Word of the Day!
Before you started learning Spanish, did you know that verbs had conjugations? In case you didn’t know, would you have changed your mind about starting to learn this language? Or would you have given some excuses to put off starting? We hope that’s not the case, but let us know in the comments!

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Top 100 Spanish Verbs You Should Know

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Why learn Spanish verbs? Why are they important?

Language would pretty much not exist without verbs. We would still be able to talk, of course, and understand one another. But think of how you would need to describe something that you would normally express with a verb. For example, if you wanted to tell someone they need to run. Using verbs, this is something that we can express by just saying “Run!”

Take a moment to think of how you would say that with no verbs at all. It won’t take you very long: surely you’ll easily find another way of saying the exact same thing, but it might sound silly and you would probably use a few more words. This is one of the many reasons we need verbs.

Sadly, as you might already know, Spanish verbs aren’t as easy as English verbs. However, they’re similar to verbs in other romance languages (such as Italian or French), so if you already speak one of them, it won’t be that difficult. If you don’t, well, that’s why we’re here—to help you learn them. Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. What You Need to Know
  2. Different Groups of Verbs
  3. Action Verbs
  4. Self-care Verbs
  5. Linking Verbs
  6. Helping Verbs
  7. Verb Placement in a Sentence
  8. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Learn More Spanish

1. What You Need to Know

The first thing that you need to know about Spanish verbs is that they have conjugations. In case you only speak English or another language that doesn’t have (many) conjugations, we’ll try to explain it simply.

English verbs don’t usually change much, but the few changes they have will help us explain Spanish verb conjugation. Any regular verb in English has the same form in the present tense, except for the third-person: 

  • “I buy” 
  • “You buy” 
  • “He/She buys” 

Can we say that’s a conjugation? Yes, it is! If we look at the verb “to be,” however, there are more changes:

  • “I am” 
  • “You are
  • “He/She is
  • “We are

In Spanish, this happens to every verb. The good news is that most of the time, it’s only the ending that changes and not the entire word. The only exception is for the Spanish irregular verbs.

Something else you need to know is that Spanish, unlike other languages, tends to avoid using the subject. The reason for this is completely related to conjugations: Because the verb changes according to the subject, you already know the subject of this action without actually using the corresponding pronoun. We only use the pronoun when it might not be so obvious who the subject is, or when we want to emphasize it.

Here’s an example:

  • Voy a comer un helado. 

“I’m going to eat ice cream.”

Voy is already expressing that I am the person who is going to eat it.

However, a few different things could happen to this same example. Let’s say the person you’re talking to didn’t hear you properly and asks you: 

  • ¿Quién va a comer un helado? 

“Who is going to eat ice cream?”

In this case, you would need to emphasize that it’s you, so you would say: YO voy a comer un helado.

If that same example was in the third-person (Va a comer un helado), the person we’re talking to might not know who we’re talking about and we might need to use a pronoun or even their actual name. But this is exactly the same thing that happens in English!

2. Different Groups of Verbs

Top Verbs

Verbs in Spanish can be divided into three different groups. This division is what helps us know which conjugation the verb follows, and it’s based on the ending of the verb in its infinitive form, which is the one you’ll always find in a dictionary. On top of that, we could say there’s still a fourth (and last) group which consists, of course, of irregular verbs. 

The three main groups are:

  • Spanish verbs with AR
  • Spanish verbs with ER
  • Spanish verbs with IR

We’re only going to take a brief look at the different verb groups here because we’ll soon be publishing an article about conjugations.

Verbs that end in -ar 

The first group of verbs, which we call “first conjugation,” is formed by all Spanish verbs with the infinitive ending –ar. Some examples are cantar (“to sing”), jugar (“to play”), and amar (“to love”).

Verbs that end in -er

The second conjugation is formed by verbs that end in –er in their infinitive form. Some examples are comer (“to eat”) and leer (“to read”).

Verbs that end in -ir 

The third and last conjugation is, as you might have guessed by the subtitle, verbs that end in –ir in their infinitive form. Two examples of this conjugation are salir (“to exit”) and dormir (“to sleep”).

Irregular verbs 

As mentioned before, sadly, there are also some irregular verbs. The classic examples are ser and estar (“to be”), but there are a few more—such as ir (“to go”)—that we’ll mark with a (!) on the following list of verbs. 

Irregular verbs can have different kinds of irregularities. For example, some verbs might be completely irregular and have conjugations that don’t look like their infinitive form at all, while others have only certain irregularities, sometimes in a specific tense, such as the present. 

Alright, now that we’ve covered the basics, here’s our list of Spanish verbs you need to know as a beginner! 

3. Action Verbs

More Essential Verbs

Physical Verbs 

1- andar

Meaning: “to walk”

Example: Todos los días voy andando al trabajo.

Translation: “I walk to work everyday.”

2- arreglar 

Meaning: “to fix”

Example: He tenido que llamar a un fontanero para que me arreglara el váter.

Translation: “I had to call a plumber to fix my toilet.”

3- besar

Meaning: “to kiss”

Example: ¿Vas a besarme o qué?

Translation: “Are you going to kiss me or what?”

4- caer

Meaning: “to fall”

Example: Ayer me caí y me rompí el brazo.

Translation: “Yesterday, I fell and broke my arm.”

5- cantar

Meaning: “to sing”

Example: A mi hermana le gusta mucho cantar.

Translation: “My sister really likes singing.”

Girl singing

6- cocinar

Meaning: “to cook”

Example: No sé qué cocinar esta noche.

Translation: “I don’t know what to cook tonight.”

7- comer

Meaning: “to eat”

Example: Hoy he comido cereales para desayunar.

Translation: “Today, I ate cereal for breakfast.”

8- comprar

Meaning: “to buy”

Example: Me he comprado un ordenador nuevo.

Translation: “I have bought a new computer.”

9- conducir

Meaning: “to drive”

Example: ¿Sabes conducir?

Translation: “Do you know how to drive?”

10- conseguir

Meaning: “to obtain” or “to achieve”

Example: He conseguido el visado.

Translation: “I have obtained the visa.”

11- correr

Meaning: “to run”

Example: Voy a tener que correr si quiero coger el autobús.

Translation: “I’m going to have to run if I want to take the bus.”

12- dar (!)

Meaning: “to give”

Example: Si te portas bien, te daré un trozo de chocolate.

Translation: “If you behave well, I’ll give you a piece of chocolate.”

13- decir (!)

Meaning: “to say”

Example: José me ha dicho que me quiere.

Translation: “José has told me that he loves me.”

14- descansar

Meaning: “to rest”

Example: ¿Has descansado bien?

Translation: “Have you rested well?”

15- empezar (!)

Meaning: “to start”

Example: Mañana empiezo a trabajar en una tienda.

Translation: “Tomorrow, I start working at a store.”

16- encontrar (!)

Meaning: “to find”

Example: Aún no he encontrado las llaves.

Translation: “I haven’t found my keys yet.”

17- enseñar

Meaning: “to teach” or “to show”

Example: Mi madre me enseñó a nadar cuando era pequeño.

Translation: “My mother taught me how to swim when I was little.”

18- entrar

Meaning: “to enter”

Example: Claro que puedes entrar en mi habitación.

Translation: “Of course you can enter my room.”

19- enviar

Meaning: “to send”

Example: He enviado una postal a mi abuela. 

Translation: “I have sent a postcard to my grandma.”

20- escribir

Meaning: “to write”

Example: Juan escribió su primer libro cuando tenía veinte años.

Translation: “Juan wrote his first book when he was twenty years old.”

21- ganar

Meaning: “to win”

Example: Ya hemos ganado tres partidos.

Translation: “We have already won three matches.”

22- gritar

Meaning: “to scream” or “to yell”

Example: ¡No me grites!

Translation: “Don’t yell at me!”

23- hacer (!)

Meaning: “to do” or “to make”

Example: ¿Has hecho los deberes?

Translation: “Have you done your homework?”

24- intentar

Meaning: “to try”

Example: He intentado decirle la verdad, pero no he podido.

Translation: “I tried to tell him the truth, but I couldn’t.”

25- ir (!)

Meaning: “to go”

Example: Este verano me voy de vacaciones a Londres.

Translation: “This summer, I’m going on holiday to London.”

26- jugar (!)

Meaning: “to play”

Example: Martín y yo jugamos a tenis los martes.

Translation: “Martín and I play tennis on Tuesdays.”

27- leer

Meaning: “to read”

Example: ¿Qué libro estás leyendo?

Translation: “What book are you reading?”

28- limpiar

Meaning: “to clean”

Example: Tengo que limpiar la cocina.

Translation: “I have to clean the kitchen.”

29- llamar

Meaning: “to call”

Example: Llámame cuando estés en casa.

Translation: “Call me when you’re home.”

30- llegar

Meaning: “to arrive”

Example: ¡Hemos llegado!

Translation: “We have arrived!”

31- llevar

Meaning: “to bring”

Example: ¿Vas a llevar algo a la cena?

Translation: “Are you bringing anything to dinner?”

32- mirar

Meaning: “to look” 

Example: ¡Mira a la derecha!

Translation: “Look right!”

33- mover

Meaning: “to move”

Example: Muévete, estás en medio.

Translation: “Move, you’re in the way.”

34- morir (!)

Meaning: “to die”

Example: Su abuela murió hace años.

Translation: “His grandmother died years ago.”

35- nadar

Meaning: “to swim”

Example: Me dijiste que te gustaba nadar, ¿no?

Translation: “You told me you liked to swim, didn’t you?”

36- pagar

Meaning: “to pay”

Example: Me gustaría pagar la cuenta.

Translation: “I would like to pay the bill.”

37- parar

Meaning: “to stop”

Example: Cuando llegues al final de la calle, para el coche.

Translation: “When you get to the end of the street, stop the car.”

38- perder

Meaning: “to lose”

Example: He perdido un poco de peso.

Translation: “I have lost a bit of weight.”

39- poner (!)

Meaning: “to put (on)”

Example: Ayer me puse un vestido nuevo.

Translation: “Yesterday, I put on a new dress.”

40- preguntar

Meaning: “to ask”

Example: ¿Te puedo preguntar algo?

Translation: “Can I ask you something?”

42- reír (!)

Meaning: “to laugh”

Example: Siempre te ríes cuando cuento un chiste.

Translation: “You always laugh when I tell a joke.”

42- regalar

Meaning: “to give (as a gift)”

Example: Creo que mis padres me quieren regalar un coche para mi cumpleaños.

Translation: “I think my parents want to give me a car for my birthday.”

43- robar

Meaning: “to rob” or “to steal”

Example: Me han robado el móvil.

Translation: “My phone has been stolen.”

44- salir (!)

Meaning: “to exit” or “to go out”

Example: Saldré en media hora.

Translation: “I’ll go out in half an hour.”

45- saltar

Meaning: “to jump”

Example: Tenemos que saltar a la vez.

Translation: “We have to jump at the same time.”

46- seguir

Meaning: “to follow”

Example: Vamos, ¡sígueme!

Translation: “Come on, follow me!”

47- trabajar

Meaning: “to work”

Example: Trabajo de camarera en un bar conocido.

Translation: “I work as a waitress in a well-known bar.”

48- vender

Meaning: “to sell”

Example: ¿Quieres que te venda mi televisión vieja?

Translation: “Do you want me to sell you my old TV?”

49- vivir

Meaning: “to live”

Example: Siempre he vivido en Valencia.

Translation: “I have always lived in Valencia.”

50- volar

Meaning: “to fly”

Example: Ese pájaro está volando muy cerca del fuego.

Translation: “That bird is flying very close to the fire.”

Mental Verbs

Negative Verbs

51- amar

Meaning: “to love”

Example: Siempre te amaré.

Translation: “I will always love you.”

52- aprender

Meaning: “to learn”

Example: Estoy aprendiendo español.

Translation: “I am learning Spanish.”

Girl having fun learning

53- confiar

Meaning: “to trust”

Example: Solo confío en mi mejor amiga.

Translation: “I only trust my best friend.”

54- creer

Meaning: “to believe”

Example: ¿Crees en Dios?

Translation: “Do you believe in God?”

55- decidir

Meaning: “to decide”

Example: Hemos decidido casarnos.

Translation: “We have decided to get married.”

56- desear

Meaning: “to wish”

Example: Te deseo un feliz cumpleaños.

Translation: “I wish you a happy birthday.”

57- divertirse

Meaning: “to have fun”

Example: Me he divertido mucho hoy.

Translation: “I’ve had a lot of fun today.”

58- encantar

Meaning: “to love” (not romantic)

Example: ¡Me encanta el chocolate!

Translation: “I love chocolate!”

59- entender (!)

Meaning: “to understand”

Example: No te entiendo cuando hablas con la boca llena.

Translation: “I don’t understand you when you speak with your mouth full.”

60- gustar

Meaning: “to like”

Example: Siempre me ha gustado el arte.

Translation: “I have always liked art.”

61- juzgar

Meaning: “to judge”

Example: No juzgues a la gente sin conocerla.

Translation: “Don’t judge people without knowing them.”

62- necesitar

Meaning: “to need”

Example: Necesitas dormir más.

Translation: “You need to sleep more.”

63- odiar

Meaning: “to hate”

Example: Odio cuando te portas así.

Translation: “I hate when you behave like this.”

64- olvidar

Meaning: “to forget”

Example: ¿No se te olvida algo?

Translation: “Aren’t you forgetting something?”

65- pensar

Meaning: “to think”

Example: Queremos que sepas que pensamos mucho en ti.

Translation: “We want you to know that we think a lot about you.”

66- preocuparse

Meaning: “to worry”

Example: No te preocupes.

Translation: “Don’t worry.”

67- prohibir

Meaning: “to forbid”

Example: El gobierno ha prohibido fumar en la playa.

Translation: “The government has forbidden smoking at the beach.”

68- querer

Meaning: “to want” or “to love”

Example: No quiero ir al colegio.

Translation: “I don’t want to go to school.”

69- recordar

Meaning: “to remember” or “to remind”

Example: Te recuerdo que hoy te toca invitarme.

Translation: “Let me remind you that today, it’s your turn to invite me.”

70- saber (!)

Meaning: “to know”

Example: ¿Sabías que mi madre es italiana?

Translation: “Did you know that my mother is Italian?”

71- soñar

Meaning: “to dream”

Example: Anoche soñé con mi abuelo.

Translation: “Last night, I dreamed of my grandad.”

72- sorprender

Meaning: “to surprise”

Example: Mi novio nunca me sorprende.

Translation: “My boyfriend never surprises me.”

73- tener (!)

Meaning: “to have”

Example: Cuando era pequeño tenía dos perros.

Translation: “When I was little, I had two dogs.”

4. Self-care Verbs

You might notice that in this section, all verbs end in –se after their regular verbal ending. These verbs are called reflexive and require a reflexive pronoun. Even though English doesn’t require pronouns for this kind of verb, it’s important to use them in Spanish. We recently published an article about pronouns that will most likely help you understand these verbs. Just in case, we’ve also added a literal translation to each of these translations.

Man Shaving

74- afeitarse

Meaning: “to shave”

Example: Mi padre se afeita todas las mañanas.

Translation: “My dad shaves every morning.” (Literally: “He shaves himself”)

75- arreglarse

Meaning: “to get ready”

Example: Espera cinco minutos, aún no me he arreglado.

Translation: “Wait five minutes, I didn’t get ready yet.” (Literally: “I didn’t get myself ready yet”)

76- bañarse 

Meaning: “to bathe”

Example: Me gusta bañarme antes de ir a dormir.

Translation: “I like to bathe before going to sleep.” (Literally: “I bathe myself”)

77- despertar(se)

Meaning: “to wake up”

Example: Siempre me despierto a las siete.

Translation: “I always wake up at seven.” (Literally: “I wake myself up”)

78- dormirse (vs. dormir [“to sleep”])

Meaning: “to fall asleep”

Example: Anoche me dormí a las once de la noche.

Translation: “Last night I fell asleep at eleven p.m.” (“Literally: “I put myself to sleep”)

79- ducharse

Meaning: “to shower”

Example: Todos los días me ducho antes de ir al trabajo.

Translation: “Every day, I shower before going to work.” (Literally: “I shower myself”)

80- levantarse 

Meaning: “to get up”

Example: No soy capaz de levantarme antes de las ocho.

Translation: “I’m not capable of getting up before eight.” (Literally: “I get myself up”)

81- maquillarse

Meaning: “to put on makeup”

Example: Marta nunca sale de casa sin maquillarse.

Translation: “Marta never leaves the house without putting on makeup.” (Literally: “She puts makeup on herself”)

82- peinarse

Meaning: “to brush one’s hair”

Example: ¿Te has peinado?

Translation: “Have you brushed your hair?” (In this case, we wouldn’t say it literally translates to “yourself,” because we already used “your.”)

83- vestirse

Meaning: “to get dressed”

Example: Deja que me vista primero.

Translation: “Let me get dressed first.”

Clothes

5. Linking Verbs

84- ser (!) vs. 85- estar (!)

You’ve probably heard of these two verbs before. We know, they’re not fun. However, they’re extremely important in Spanish. They only have one translation in English, which is the verb “to be.”

An easy way of making a distinction between these two verbs is that ser is generally used for things that are permanent, while estar is used for things that are temporary. For example, I can say Soy española (“I am Spanish”) using the verb ser, because I will always be Spanish. But if I want to say “I’m sad,” I’ll use the verb estar, because I’m not always going to be sad: Estoy triste.

For some more information, check out our lesson on whether to use ser or estar.  

86- convertirse 

Meaning: “to turn into”

Example: Bruce Banner se convierte en Hulk.

Translation: “Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk.”

87- girar

Meaning: “to turn”

Example: Gira a la derecha después del edificio azul.

Translation: “Turn right after the blue building.”

88- oír (!)

Meaning: “to hear”

Example: Habla más alto, no te oigo.

Translation: “Speak louder, I can’t hear you.”

89- oler (!)

Meaning: “to smell”

Example: ¡Este perfume huele genial!

Translation: “This perfume smells great!”

90- parecer

Meaning: “to seem”

Example: A mí me parece que esto no va a funcionar.

Translation: “To me, it seems like this isn’t going to work.”

91- permanecer

Meaning: “to remain”

Example: Tienes que permanecer quieto.

Translation: “You need to remain still.”

92- saber (!)

Meaning: “to taste” (something tastes like…)

Example: Esta sopa no sabe a pollo.

Translation: “This soup doesn’t taste like chicken.”

93- saborear

Meaning: “to taste” (I taste…)

Example: Siempre saboreo bien el chocolate antes de comerlo.

Translation: “I always taste the chocolate well before eating it.”

94- sentir (!)

Meaning: “to feel”

Example: Siempre haces que me sienta especial.

Translation: “You always make me feel special.”

95- ver (!)

Meaning: “to see”

Example: No te veo.

Translation: “I don’t see you.”

6. Helping Verbs

96- deber

Meaning: “must” (or “should” if it’s in the conditional form debería)

Example: Debo verla.

Translation: “I must see her.”

97- haber

This verb is different than all the other verbs in Spanish, and it can have two different uses.

One of these two uses is that it’s the translation of “there is” and “there are.” For example: 

  • Hay dos cabras. 

“There are two goats.”

  • Hay solo una cama en mi habitación. 

“There is only one bed in my bedroom.”

The other use is purely as a Spanish auxiliary verb that we could translate to the verb “to have” in English, and we’ve actually seen it before throughout this article, in some tenses. For example, when in English we say “I have eaten,” we use “have” to express this tense. In Spanish, we use the verb haber

This same sentence, for example, would be translated into He comido, where he is the first-person in the singular of the verb haber in the present tense. “He has eaten,” as another example, would be translated to Ha comido.

98- poder (!)

Meaning: “can”

Example: No puedo ir al cine hoy.

Translation: “I can’t go to the cinema today.”

99- soler

Meaning: “use to”

Example: De pequeño solía ir en bici al colegio.

Translation: “When I was little, I used to go to school by bike.”

100- tener que

Meaning: “have to”

Example: Tengo que ir al trabajo.

Translation: “I have to go to work.”

7. Verb Placement in a Sentence

In Spanish, the basic sentence pattern is S+V+O, so: subject (which is optional, as you might remember), followed by a verb, and then possibly an object. For example: 

  • Mi vecino tiene un gato

“My neighbor has a cat.”

In the case of questions, we have different options. If the question is preceded by an interrogative pronoun, the subject might be found after the verb. For example: 

  • ¿Qué desea comer la señora? 

“What would the lady like to eat?”

However, unlike in English, if the question doesn’t need an interrogative pronoun, the pattern will be the same as in a regular affirmative sentence, such as: 

  • ¿Tu hermano ha terminado el libro?

“Has your brother finished the book?”

Man Reading a Book on the Train

8. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Learn More Spanish

We hoped this Spanish verbs lesson helped you get a bit more familiar with verbs in Spanish. Remember to keep following this blog so that you can read our more in-depth Spanish verb conjugation article once it’s published! As we mentioned before, we realize it can sound a bit scary when your mother tongue has simpler verbs, but once you learn them, you’ll see it’s not as hard as it looked at first!

You should also keep in mind that we’ve also published an article dedicated to the top 100 nouns in Spanish and a similar one about adjectives, as well as the previously mentioned article about pronouns. 

For some more vocabulary, you might like to subscribe to our Free Spanish Word of the Day and get an email with new words everyday. 

Before you go, let us know in the comments if there are any Spanish verbs you still want to know. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Ultimate Guide to Spanish Pronouns

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Pronouns are essential in any language. All languages have pronouns, in some way or another, though some might not have as many as others. We use pronouns all the time, so not understanding them would mean missing a big part of the conversation. 

They simplify the language and make it possible for us not to repeat ourselves all the time. Sentences would be so much longer if we didn’t use pronouns or some other way of indicating what you’re talking about without constant repetition. 
There are many different kinds of Spanish pronouns, including indirect and direct object pronouns in Spanish, and we’re going to take a look at all of them. If you don’t feel like reading the entire article, you can always look at our list of the Most Useful Spanish Pronouns, even though you’re obviously not going to get as much information.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Personal Pronouns
  2. Demonstrative Pronouns
  3. Interrogative Pronouns
  4. Indefinite Pronouns
  5. Spanish Relative Pronouns
  6. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Learn More Spanish

1. Personal Pronouns

Introducing Yourself

a) Spanish Subject Pronouns

Let’s begin with something simple: Spanish personal subject pronouns. All languages have subjects, which according to the Cambridge English Dictionary, consist of “the person or thing that performs the action of the verb or is joined to a description by a verb.” In English, these are “I,” you,” etc. In Spanish, we have a few more different subject pronouns than in English. This is because the words for “we” and plural “you” have both a masculine and a feminine form. 

We also have another pronoun for when we want to speak more formally, or when we’re talking to an important person. Nowadays, it’s not very common in Spain, though! That’s why we’re only including it in this first section. In any other section, the pronouns used for the formal “you” are the same as the pronouns for the third person.

One more thing that you need to keep in mind is that in Spanish, the subject is often omitted unless the person we’re talking to doesn’t know who we’re talking about or we want to emphasize it. This is because the verb changes depending on the person, so it already tells who the person is. We’re going to include the subject on all of the following examples, but keep in mind that you won’t usually need to use them. 

  • Yo (“I”)

Yo tengo un hermano.

I have a brother.”

  • (“you”)

tienes un hermano.

You have a brother.”

  • Usted (formal “you”)

Usted tiene un hermano.

You have a brother.”

  • Él / ella (“he” / “she”)

Ella tiene un hermano.

She has a brother.”

  • Nosotros / nosotras (“we”)

Nosotros tenemos un hermano.

We have a brother.”

  • Vosotros / vosotras (“you”)

Vosotros tenéis un hermano.

You have a brother.”

  • Ustedes (formal “you”)

Ustedes tienen un hermano.

You have a brother.”

  • Ellos / ellas (“they”)

Ellos tienen un hermano.

They have a brother.”

Brothers Having Ice Cream

b) Spanish Direct Object Pronouns

An object is something or someone that’s affected by the action of the verb. So, for example, in the sentence Juan tira la pelota (“Juan throws the ball”), la pelota (“the ball”) is the object. This object can be substituted for a pronoun, if what you’re talking about is already known. If you wanted to substitute the object in that sentence for a pronoun, the sentence would become Juan la tira (“Juan throws it“). 

Look at the Spanish pronoun’s placement in the sentence. Even though the object is found after the verb, the pronoun always goes in front of it, as opposed to English.

  • Me (“me”)

Juan me quiere.

“Juan loves me.”

  • Te (“you”)

Te quiero.

“I love you.”

  • Lo / la (“him” / “her”)

La quiero.

“I love her.”

  • Nos (“us”)

Nuestros padres nos quieren.

“Our parents love us.”

  • Os (“you”)

Os queremos.

“We love you.”

  • Los / las (“them”)

Las quiero.

“I love them.”

Mother Kissing Her Baby

c) Spanish Indirect Object Pronouns

These pronouns are very similar to the direct object pronouns. You’ll soon notice that only the third person changes. In English, they’re always the same, unless we rephrase them a little. However, in Spanish, we use them differently. They both go in front of the verb, but they have different meanings. 

To see an example, we can use the same sentence we saw when we explained direct object pronouns, but we’ll add an indirect object to it: Juan tira la pelota a Carlos (“Juan throws the ball to Carlos”). Here, a Carlos (“to Carlos”) is the indirect object. 

Now, to substitute this indirect object for a pronoun, we can transform this sentence in a couple of different ways. If we only wanted to substitute the indirect object, the sentence would become: Juan le tira la pelota (“Juan throws him the ball”). But if we wanted to change both objects, it would be: Juan se la tira (“Juan throws it to him“). You might have noticed that we used a different pronoun, even though they both mean the same thing. 

No need to worry. The third person is the only one that has two different forms, and se is only used when it’s next to direct object pronouns. In all other cases, there’s only one pronoun for both circumstances.

  • Me (“[to/for] me”)

¿Me vas a mandar algo por mi cumpleaños?

“Are you going to send me anything for my birthday?”

  • Te (“[to/for] you”)

Te tengo que devolver el libro.

“I have to give you your book back.”

  • Se/le (“[to/for] him/her”)

Traigo un regalo para mi madre. → Le traigo un regalo. → Se lo traigo.

“I bring a present for my mom.” → “I bring her a present.” → “I bring it to her.”

  • Nos (“[to/for] us”)

Nos han regalado estas toallas.

“They gave us these towels.”

  • Os (“[to/for] you”)

Os voy a decir la verdad.

“I’m going to tell you the truth.”

  • Se/les (“[to/for] them”)

He hecho una tortilla para mis amigos. → Les he hecho una tortilla. → Se la he hecho.

“I made an omelette for my friends.” → “I made them an omelette.” → “I made it for them.”

Tortilla de Patatas

d) Spanish Prepositional Pronouns

The following pronouns are also personal, but they’re a bit different than the others. We call them “prepositional” because they always follow a preposition. (P.S.: Be sure to check out the video above about the most common Spanish prepositions!) 

Once again, the translation into English is the same as the object pronouns, but they’re not the same in Spanish.

  • (“me”)

No te rías de .

“Don’t laugh at me.”

  • Ti (“you”)

Sin ti todo es diferente.

“Everything is different without you.”

  • Él / ella (“him” / “her”)

Soy feliz con él.

“I’m happy with him.”

  • Nosotros / nosotras (“us”)

Para nosotros no es lo mismo.

“It’s not the same to us.”

  • Vosotros / vosotras (“you”)

Esto lo he hecho por vosotras.

“I have done this for you.”

  • Ellos / ellas (“them”)

El gato es de ellos.

“The cat is from them.”

Whenever you find the preposition con (“with”) in front of the pronouns (“me”) and ti (“you”), we actually need to put the two words together and change them a little bit, to conmigo (“with me”) and contigo (“with you”), specifically. For example: Estoy bien contigo (“I’m fine with you”).

e) Spanish Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns do go after the verb, just like in English. However, there’s an important difference between them and their English counterparts: English uses one pronoun per person, independently of the gender or number of the word. In Spanish, each pronoun has four different forms. We’re going to be nice and include all of them, but just so you know, they always have the same ending. Masculine singular words end in –o, feminine singular words end in –a, and whenever it’s plural, you add an -s to the previous ending.

  • Mío / mía / míos / mías (“mine”)

Este móvil es mío.

“This phone is mine.”

  • Tuyo / tuya / tuyos / tuyas (“yours”)

Esta pelota es tuya.

“This ball is yours.”

  • Suyo / suya / suyos / suyas (“his” / “hers”)

Los pañuelos son suyos.

“The tissues are his/hers.”

  • Nuestro / nuestra / nuestros / nuestras (“ours”)

El coche es nuestro.

“The car is ours.”

  • Vuestro / vuestra / vuestros / vuestras (“yours”)

Las muñecas son vuestras.

“The dolls are yours.”

  • Suyo / suya / suyos / suyas (“theirs”)

La casa es suya.

“The house is theirs.”

f) Spanish Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns in Spanish always need to be the same person as the subject of the verb, just like in English. Even though all of these pronouns have an equivalent in English, we use them a lot more in Spanish, and very often when we translate one of these sentences, they aren’t actually used in English. Well, we could add them, but it would be very unnecessary.

This is because Spanish has some verbs which are known as reflexive, that always need one of these pronouns in order to make sense. To learn more about them, check out our lesson “What are Reflexive Verbs?

  • Me (“myself”)

Aún me tengo que maquillar.

“I still need to put on my makeup.”

  • Te (“yourself”)

¿A qué hora te has levantado?

“What time did you wake up?”

  • Se (“himself” / “herself”)

Se llama Paula.

“Her name is Paula.”

  • Nos (“ourselves”)

Nos vamos a peinar antes de salir.

“We’re going to brush our hair before going out.”

  • Os (“yourselves”)

¿Os podéis sentar?

“Could you sit down?”

  • Se (“themselves”)

Los niños se van a duchar ahora.

“The kids are going to shower now.”

2. Demonstrative Pronouns

Woman Looking in the Distance

In Spanish, demonstrative pronouns are quite similar to those in English, but there are a couple of differences. One of them is that while English only has a form for the singular and one for the plural, Spanish also takes feminine words into account. This shouldn’t surprise you at this stage, because they work just like possessive pronouns, which we saw previously. There’s also a sort of neutral gender in demonstrative pronouns, which are esto, eso, and aquello. Even though they end in –o and therefore look like the masculine gender, they’re neutral because they’re not linked to a specific noun; they’re kind of saying “this/that thing.”

Just like in English, we use este (“this”) when something is close, and ese (“that”) when it’s far. But Spanish adds a third demonstrative pronoun, which is aquel. The secret to understanding these three pronouns is to link them to different people. No, we don’t mean specific people. Este (“this”) is linked to yo (“I”), which is the speaker, while ese (“that”) is linked to (“you”), which is the person we’re talking to. However, aquel (once again, “that”) is linked to someone else who isn’t part of the conversation. 

This is exactly what happens to the other three pronouns we have in this Spanish pronouns list, which are completely related to the previous ones (as you’ll see in the following examples). These are aquí, ahí, and allí. Aquí means “here,” while ahí refers to something that isn’t very close, and allí refers to something that’s a lot farther away.

In the past, these pronouns used to have an accent, so they were spelled éste, ése, and aquél instead. However, a few years ago, the Real Academia Española (RAE) decided to delete them for good, so now you don’t need to worry about them anymore.

  • Este / esto / esta / estos / estas (“this” / “these”)

Este de aquí es mi primo.

This one here is my cousin.”

  • Ese / eso / esa / esos / esas (“that” / “those”)

Estos coches no me gustan, prefiero esos.

“I don’t like these cars, I prefer those.”

  • Aquel / aquello / aquella / aquellos / aquellas (“that” / “those”)

Aquel suele ir al bar del puerto.

That one often goes to the bar at the port.” 

  • Aquí (“here”) 

Es la primera vez que vengo aquí.

“This is the first time I’ve come here.”

  • Ahí (“there”)

En ese banco de ahí nunca se sienta nadie.

“No one ever sits on that bench over there.”

  • Allí (“there”)

Antes solía subir aquella montaña y sentarme ahí arriba.

“I used to climb up that mountain and sit up there.”

3. Interrogative Pronouns

Basic Questions

Interrogative pronouns in Spanish aren’t hard to learn, because they work exactly the same way as in English. It’s the first word in a sentence, and just like most of them in English start with wh-, in Spanish most of them start with the sound [k], which in this case can be represented by q– or c-. For more examples, take a look at our Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations.

  • Qué (“what”)

¿Qué vas a hacer este verano?
What are you going to do this summer?”

  • Cuál (“which”)

¿Cuál de ellos es Carlos?

Which one of them is Carlos?”

  • Por qué (“why”)

¿Por qué te tienes que ir tan pronto?

Why do you have to leave so soon?”

  • Quién (“who”)

¿Quién eres?

Who are you?”

  • Dónde (“where”)

¿Dónde viven tus abuelos?

Where do your grandparents live?”

  • Cuánto (“how much”)

¿Cuánto cuesta esta falda?

How much does this skirt cost?”

  • Cuántos/cuántas (“how many”)

¿Cuántas hermanas tienes?

How many sisters do you have?”

¿Cuántos años tienes?

How old are you?”

  • Cuándo (“when”)

¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños?

When is your birthday?”

4. Indefinite Pronouns

Improve Listening

When it comes to indefinite pronouns in Spanish, some are similar to those in English and some are not. Here’s a list that will surely be useful.

  • Alguno (“some”)

Seguro que alguno de ellos irá.

“I’m sure some of them will go.”

  • Alguien (“someone” or “anyone”)

¿Hay alguien que pueda recogerme en el aeropuerto?

“Is there anyone who can pick me up at the airport?”

  • Algo (“something”)

Hay algo que te tengo que preguntar.

“There is something I need to ask you.”

  • Otro/s (“another”)

Se te ha ensuciado la bufanda, ¿no tienes otra?

“You got your scarf dirty, don’t you have another one?”

  • Cualquiera (“anyone”)

Puedes preguntárselo a cualquiera.

“You can ask anyone.”

  • Mucho/s (“many”)

Muchos de mis amigos van a la universidad.

Many of my friends go to university.”

  • Todo (“all” or “everything”)

Todo lo que dice Marta es mentira.

Everything that Marta says is a lie.”

  • Todos (“everyone”)

Todos te van a decir lo mismo.

Everyone is going to tell you the same thing.”

  • Nada (“nothing” or “anything”)

No quiero nada para mi cumpleaños.

“I don’t want anything for my birthday.”

  • Nadie (“nobody”)

No conozco a nadie que viva en Madrid.

“I don’t know anyone who lives in Madrid.”

  • Ninguno (“none”)

Ninguno de mis amigos va a ir a la fiesta.

None of my friends is going to the party.”

Lonely Person

5. Spanish Relative Pronouns

One good thing about relative pronouns in Spanish is that we don’t have any confusion between “who” and “whom.” We do have a specific word for “whose,” which is cuyo, but it’s not as widely used, even though we have included it in the list below. The pronoun quien (“who”) is actually not used very much either, as we often just use the pronoun que (“that”).

Notice that most of these are similar to interrogative pronouns. However, there’s an important difference: interrogative questions have accents, such as dónde (“where”), while relative pronouns don’t.

  • Que (“that”)

Este es el chico que te dije.

“This is the guy (that) I told you about.” 

  • El cual / la cual / los cuales / las cuales (“which”)

Esta es la casa en la cual creció mi abuela.

“This is the house in which my grandmother grew up.”

  • Quien / quienes (“who”)

Esta es la chica a quien vi en el parque.

“This is the girl (who) I saw in the park.”

  • Cuyo / cuya / cuyos / cuyas (“whose”)

Juan, cuyo hermano murió el año pasado, va a venir a vernos.

“Juan, whose brother died last year, is going to come visit us.”

  • Donde (“where”)

Aquí es donde nos conocimos.

“This is where we first met.”

6. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Learn More Spanish

You might have noticed that even though there are some exceptions, pronouns in Spanish work quite similarly as those in English, which definitely makes them easier to learn. Even though there are several types of Spanish pronouns, they should all make sense to someone who speaks English, even if it’s not as a first language. 

Now that you’ve taken the time to study Spanish pronouns, which usually substitute nouns, it would be a good idea to learn the 50 most common nouns in Spanish, wouldn’t it? At SpanishPod101.com, you’ll learn everything you need—and sometimes even things you wouldn’t expect to learn, such as all these untranslatable words in Spanish that you’ll probably find interesting. 

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about Spanish pronouns now. More confident, or is there something you’re still struggling with? We look forward to hearing what you have to say!

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eodieseo salgo isseumnikka

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eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

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The Basics of Spanish Word Order

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We might not always like to admit this when we’re starting to learn a language, but the truth is that one can’t speak properly without knowing how to put sentences together. If you use the wrong word order, there’s a chance that what you’re saying might have a different meaning than what you intended, or it might have no meaning at all. 

To avoid this, here’s the perfect article for you to learn Spanish sentence structure. You’ll soon learn that Spanish word order is actually not so hard, and that, in some ways, it’s similar to word order in English. You’ll also learn that, in fact, it’s more flexible! That means you can change the order of words a little bit more than you can in English.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Overview of Word Order in Spanish
  2. Basic Word Order with Subject, Verb, and Object
  3. Word Order in Negative Sentences
  4. Word Order with Prepositional Phrases
  5. Word Order with Modifiers
  6. Changing a Sentence into a Yes-or-No Question
  7. Translation Exercises
  8. How to Master Spanish with SpanishPod101.com

1. Overview of Word Order in Spanish

Improve Listening

Basic Spanish language word order refers to the usual order in which words are found in a sentence. Even though the sentences that we use day-to-day may have other elements in them, to learn this basic order, there are three basic elements that we use as a reference. These three elements are the subject, verb, and object.

Despite Spanish being more flexible than English in this sense, our basic word order is the same: 

subject + verb + object (SVO)

Yo + me comí + la tarta

I + ate + the cake

Sometimes, we might want to emphasize one element or another in a sentence. This leads us to moving these around the sentence, but they will keep the same (or very similar) meaning. In English, because the ability to move words in a sentence is quite limited, emphasizing an element is accomplished by intonation. 

Let’s look at two sentences. The first one has basic word order, and the other one has a different order. In the second sentence, the emphasized word is marked in bold:

Example: Yo me comí la tarta

Translation: “I ate the cake.”

Example: Me la comí yo, la tarta.

Translation: “I ate the cake.”

Man Eating Cake

There’s a way of modifying the English sentence to emphasize this element even more: “It is I that ate the cake.” However, this wouldn’t be an accurate translation of our example in Spanish, because in English, we’re not just moving an element around: we’re changing the whole structure. 

Did you notice that we actually added an extra word in our second Spanish sentence? If you did, we just want to say: Nice job! The word that we added was a pronoun, and don’t worry, we’ll explain it a little bit later.

We could still modify our sample sentence a bit more:

Example: La tarta me la comí yo.

Translation: “The cake, I ate.”

In this case, we can translate this new structure pretty much literally, but in English, we feel like this sounds quite unnatural. In Spanish, this is completely normal.

2. Basic Word Order with Subject, Verb, and Object

Now, let’s go more into detail about the most basic Spanish word order rules.

1 – Subject

Subject is the person or thing performing the action of the verb. It’s usually a noun phrase, such as a noun or a pronoun: Juan come espaguetis. (“Juan eats spaghetti.”) / Él come espaguetis. (“He eats spaghetti.”). 

Sometimes, the subject might be a verb: Cantar es divertido. (“Singing is fun.”). However, as we’ve explained in previous articles, in Spanish, a subject isn’t always necessary and we often drop pronouns when we already know who the subject is: Como espaguetis. (“I eat spaghetti.”). 

As we saw in our previous article about verb conjugation in Spanish, the verb como is conjugated, and considering the verb is conjugated in the first person singular, we know it means “I eat,” so there’s no possible confusion.

2 – Verb

The second element in Spanish word order is verbs. You know what verbs are, don’t you? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a verb is “a word or phrase that describes an action, condition, or experience.” 

To give you a few examples: cantar (“to sing”), comer (“to eat”), and hablar (“to talk”) are all verbs. Without them, language wouldn’t make much sense.

3 – Object

The third and last element in basic word order is something we call an object. It isn’t an indispensable element in a sentence, as some verbs don’t require objects, but it’s undoubtedly common and helps us define sentence structure. 

Cambridge defines an object as “a noun or noun phrase that is affected by the action of a verb or that follows a preposition.” In the sentence Juan come espaguetis. (“Juan eats spaghetti.”), spaghetti is the thing that is being eaten by Juan.

Spaghetti Dish

3. Word Order in Negative Sentences 

In some languages, negative sentences can completely change an affirmative sentence. Lucky for you, in this sense, Spanish happens to be quite simple. So, what is the Spanish word order for these negative sentences?

To form a regular negative sentence, all we need to do is add the word no, which in this context is equivalent to “not,” to an affirmative sentence. No is always found before the verb. To illustrate this, let’s use the same example we did before: Juan no come espaguetis. (“Juan does not eat spaghetti.”).

As you know, there are other ways of making a negative sentence. One example would be to add nunca (“never”): Juan nunca come espaguetis. (“Juan never eats spaghetti.”). As you can see, it follows exactly the same structure as the previous example. Simple, right? 

Well, there are many other negative words: nada (“nothing”), nadie (“nobody”), ninguno (“none”)… When we use these words, the structure is a bit different, because they can be used in different ways. They can act as subjects or as objects. 

For example: Nadie ha comido espaguetis. (“Nobody has eaten spaghetti.”). Here we find the word nadie before the verb, just as we saw in the previous negative sentences. However, that makes sense, because it acts as a subject. 

Since we’re mentioning this, we should explain that sometimes these words might be found after the verb, even if they’re a subject. Here are a few examples:

  • No hay nadie. → “There isn’t anyone.”
  • No hay nada. → “There isn’t anything.”
  • No queda ninguno. → “There is none left.”
Empty Street

The negative word in bold in each of these examples is the subject of the sentence, even though it might not be as obvious as in the other examples we’ve seen. We could say that the word in bold is “the thing that isn’t.” 

As you might have noticed, the adverb no does appear at the beginning of the sentence, something that happens similarly in the English translation. As you’ll find out in our lesson “How to Be Negative?” in Spanish, it’s quite common to have more than one negative word in one sentence.

4. Word Order with Prepositional Phrases

Another element that needs to be taken into account when talking about word order is prepositional phrases. A prepositional phrase is a type of phrase that always begins with a preposition, such as en (“in,” “on,” “at”) or con (“with”). If you would like to find out more about prepositions, we have an article just for you! Check out our article about Spanish prepositions.

Prepositional phrases are usually found at the end of a sentence, but some of them can be placed at the beginning if you want to emphasize said phrase. Let’s look at some examples of Spanish word order that show this: 

Estudio español en casa. → “I study Spanish at home.”

But what if someone asked us: 

¿Dónde estudias español? → “Where do you study Spanish?”

In this case, a possible answer we could give them would be:

En casa, estudio español. → “At home, I learn Spanish.”

There are many other prepositional phrases we could add to the same sentence, even together, such as: 

Estudio español en casa con SpanishPod101.com. → “I study Spanish at home with SpanishPod101.com.”

Man Studying at Home

5. Word Order with Modifiers

We’ve already seen a type of modifier, which were the ones that turned affirmative sentences into negative sentences. However, there are many more elements in sentences that we call modifiers. These include words such as articles, adjectives, and pronouns.

Determiners are easy, because they always go in front of a noun, just like in English. These are, among others, articles, numerals, and possessives. Let’s look at examples for these types of modifiers:

Articles: El hombre come espaguetis. → “The man eats spaghetti.”

Numerals: Dos hombres comen espaguetis. → “Two men eat spaghetti.”

Possessives: Mi padre come espaguetis. → “My father eats spaghetti.”

However, in Spanish word order, adjectives normally go after the noun, but there are exceptions. For example, in literature, especially poetry, it’s common to write the adjective before the noun. Check out our article on adjectives for more information!

El coche blanco es de mi padre. → “The white car is my dad’s.”

La hermosa princesa abrió los ojos. → “The beautiful princess opened her eyes.”

Pronouns can go either before or after the verb, depending on the kind of pronoun they are, or sometimes depending on what you feel like saying. As we learned in our previous article about pronouns, there are different kinds of pronouns in Spanish. Even though we also talked about the order they follow in that article, we’ll look at them again, one by one:

1 – Personal Pronouns

If you read the article we just mentioned, you might remember that there are many kinds of personal pronouns. 

a) Subject Pronouns

Subject pronouns, which are the ones we use for the subject of a sentence, are always found before the verb. This is because, as we saw, in Spanish, the subject is always the first element in a sentence. 

Ellos quieren una casa nueva. → “They want a new house.”

b) Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns and Reflexive Pronouns

You probably remember that basic word order in Spanish is subject + verb + object, don’t you? Well, when a direct or indirect object is substituted by a pronoun, the pronoun is actually found before the verb. We’ll illustrate this with a few examples:

Direct object: 

Quieren una casa nueva. → La quieren.

“They want a new house.” → “They want it.”

Both direct and indirect objects: 

Traigo un regalo para mi madre. → Le traigo un regalo. → Se lo traigo.

“I bring a present for my mom.” → “I bring her a present.” → “I bring it to her.”

Reflexive pronouns work in a very similar way and they’re always found before the verb:

Mis padres se van de vacaciones. → “My parents are going on vacation.”  

c) Prepositional Pronouns

Prepositional pronouns follow the same rules that prepositional phrases do, so they can be in different locations inside a sentence depending on what you would like to emphasize.

Sin ti todo es diferente. → “Without you, everything is different.”

Todo es diferente sin ti. → “Everything is different without you.”

d) Possessive Pronouns

A possessive pronoun can be a subject or an object, so its order will depend on the function it does in the sentence:

El nuestro es ese. → “Ours is that one.”

La casa es nuestra. → “The house is ours.” 

2 – Demonstrative Pronouns

Just like what happened with possessive pronouns, demonstrative pronouns can be in different places in the same sentence, depending on their function.

Este es mi hermano. → “This is my brother.”

Nunca he estado ahí. → “I have never been there.”

3 – Interrogative Pronouns

Interrogative pronouns are pronouns that help us ask questions, and they’re always the first word in a question:

¿Qué quieres? → “What do you want?”

4 – Indefinite Pronouns

Once again, indefinite pronouns don’t have a specific position in a sentence, because that depends on their function.

Todos quieren dinero. → Everyone wants money.”

Puedes preguntárselo a cualquiera. → “You can ask anyone.”

5 – Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns are never found in simple sentences. Rather, we find them in complex sentences. These pronouns always start the second part of the sentence, so they’ll always be in the middle. This might sound odd if you’re not sure what a relative pronoun is, but you’ll understand once you look at an example:

Esta es mi prima que vive en la ciudad. → “This is my cousin who lives in the city.”

6. Changing a Sentence into a Yes-or-No Question

Improve Pronunciation

In many languages, to transform a normal sentence into a yes-or-no question you must change it a fair bit, or change the order. In Spanish, this is way simpler. So, what is the Spanish word order in questions? Look at these examples:

Estudias español todos los días. → “You study Spanish every day.” 

¿Estudias español todos los días? → “Do you study Spanish every day?” 

As you probably noticed, it’s exactly the same structure. This doesn’t only happen with specific structures: it happens every time you turn a sentence, either affirmative or negative, into a yes-or-no question. 

We’re sure you enjoyed learning this, but you probably know that there are other kinds of questions. If you feel a bit lost when it comes to this topic, you might enjoy our lesson on 15 Questions You Should Know

7. Translation Exercises

We thought it would be useful to you to see how we transform a simple sentence into more complex sentences, and translate them to English. Below, you can see exactly what changes we make.

1. Bebiste agua. → “You drank water.”

2. Bebiste agua hace cinco minutos. → “You drank water five minutes ago.”

In this second sentence, the only thing we added was the time the action happened, hace cinco minutos, which means “five minutes ago.”

3. Bebiste dos botellas de agua hace cinco minutos. → “You drank two bottles of water five minutes ago.” 

In this third sentence, we made a bigger change. This time, what we’re drinking isn’t just water, but something slightly more specific: two bottles of water. The new object is dos botellas de agua instead of just agua.

4. ¿Bebiste dos botellas de agua hace cinco minutos? → “Did you drink two bottles of water five minutes ago?”

To end these examples, we thought it would be a good idea to show you once again how to turn an affirmative sentence into a question, to convince you that we don’t have to make any changes to it, just in case you didn’t believe us before!

Woman Drinking Water

8. How to Master Spanish with SpanishPod101.com

As we mentioned previously, Spanish word order is more flexible than English word order, so in some cases, if you don’t use our basic order, it might just seem as if you’re trying to emphasize some word or phrase in particular. The way we see it, it means you would have to try pretty hard to get it wrong! When learning a foreign language, this is exactly the kind of motivation you need.

For more information on Spanish word order, SpanishPod101.com has another short lesson on this as well! If you want to get a better understanding of Spanish grammar in general, also check out our relevant page.

No matter what your level is, give us a try and learn Spanish! From beginner to advanced, here you’ll find everything you need.

Before you go, let us know in the comments if there’s anything that’s still not clear about Spanish word order. We’ll do our best to help you out!

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Ultimate Guide to Telling Time in Spanish

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How do you say “time” in Spanish? And how do you say “What time is it?” in Spanish? 

Did you know that to tell the time you should never use the literal translation, tiempo

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. We’ll answer this and other questions more in-depth in this blog post! Learn everything about how to say the time in Spanish with SpanishPod101.com!

Learning about telling time in Spanish, along with how to introduce yourself in Spanish, is significantly important if you want to improve your conversation skills. 

Even in your native language, knowing the right way of telling the time can help you avoid misunderstandings. Well, time is so crucial in Spanish culture that learning how to tell time is as important as time itself. 

Let’s get started with our guide on time in Spanish for beginners! 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. How to Ask for the Time
  2. The Hours in Spanish
  3. The Minutes in Spanish
  4. Hours Divided into Minutes in Spanish
  5. General Time Reference of the Day
  6. Time Adverbs
  7. Time Proverbs and Sayings in Spanish
  8. Conclusion

1. How to Ask for the Time

Telling the time in Spanish is simple if you know the cardinal numbers and the verb “to be” (ser). Once you practice and master those two things, asking and telling the time in Spanish will be so much easier. 

Kid With a Clock on the Hand
  • ¿Qué hora es?

“What time is it?”

In some Latin American countries, you may hear ¿Qué hora son? instead of ¿Qué hora es?. Both are correct for asking the time in Spanish. The singular form is used mostly in Spain and the plural form is used mostly in Latin American Spanish-speaking countries.

  • ¿Qué hora son?

“What time is it?”

To learn how to say the time in Spanish, you also need to know that “time” in Spanish is tiempo. Tiempo also means “weather,” but you never use tiempo to ask for the time. 

  • Hoy hace buen tiempo.

“Good weather today.”

To learn how to ask the time in Spanish, you just have to change the word “time” to the word for “hour.” So “What time is it?” would be translated as ¿Qué hora es? This is the easiest way to learn how to say time in Spanish. But there are some other ways of asking what the time is in Spanish, such as ¿Tienes hora? which means “Do you have the time?”

Another way to learn how to ask the time is by asking what time something is (e.g. a meeting, a concert, or work): ¿A qué hora es el concierto? To ask “At what time is,” in Spanish (e.g. “What time is the concert?”), notice that you have to add an a before qué, which means “at.”

Once you have these few things in mind, it will be so much easier for you to ask for the time in Spanish. 

Asking correctly is as important as telling the time in Spanish. So let’s look at some formulas and tricks on how to say the time in Spanish in case you get asked. 

Clocks

Verb to be (Es / Son) + la(s) + number from one to twelve + number of minutes

  • Es la una de la mañana.

“It is 1 a.m.”

OR

  • Es la una en punto.

“It’s one o’clock.”

Es + la + una + y + number of minutes

  • Es la una y treinta minutos.

“It’s 1:30 a.m.”

  • Es la una y diez minutos.

“It’s 1:10 a.m.”

If you want to say any hour between two and twelve, you have to use the third person of the plural son, as follows:

  • Son las tres de la mañana.

“It’s three a.m.”

If someone tells you the time, make sure you say “thank you,” and do it the right way.

2. The Hours in Spanish 

Time

If you can count from one to twelve, you’re already on the right path—cardinal numbers are essential for telling the time in Spanish. If you don’t know all of them yet, here you just need to know the numbers from one to twelve. 

Uno “One”

Dos “Two”

Tres “Three”

Cuatro “Four”

Cinco “Five”

Seis “Six”

Siete “Seven”

Ocho “Eight”

Nueve “Nine”

Diez “Ten”

Once “Eleven”

Doce “Twelve”

Once you have these memorized, you can try using them in one of the formulas we’ve covered. Another thing to keep in mind when learning how to say “What time is it?” is that “o’clock,” which is en punto, doesn’t always need to be added.

Example:

  • Son las ocho.

“It’s eight o’clock.”

Clock at 8 o'clock
  • Son las ocho en punto.

“It’s eight o’clock.”

Easy peasy, right? 

So, how do you know if it’s morning or evening? 

When telling the time in Spanish, know that you don’t need to use a.m. or p.m. Although it’s correct to say, most Spanish speakers don’t use them. We prefer to say ocho de la mañana (“eight in the morning”) or diez de la noche (“ten in the evening”). However, when it comes to writing the time in Spanish, we use the twenty-four-hour clock (also known as military time).

However, this is very subjective because some of the Latin American countries aren’t used to using the twenty-four-hour clock and use a.m. and p.m. more often than in Spain.

The general rule in Spain is: Write in military time and speak the time as numbers from one to twelve. For example, if you’re going to a theater show, you’ll see the time on their page or billboard as follows:

22:30 

But you’ll say to a friend by phone:

  • Las diez y media de la noche.

“Ten thirty at night.”

For some Latin American countries, the night starts when it’s dark, around six p.m. This is because they’re near the equator, and thus the time the sun sets doesn’t change much during the summer. 

For the Spanish, on the other hand, the night starts after eight p.m. “Six p.m.” is still seis de la tarde.

It’s important to remember then that the Spanish language is gendered. So, when learning about time in Spanish, you need to know that you should always use the feminine article –las because it refers to la hora. The only exception is when you’re talking about one o’clock, in which case you use la.

  • Es la una en punto.

“It is one o’clock.”

  • Son las tres de la tarde.

“It is three p.m.”

3. The Minutes in Spanish

Improve Listening

When learning how to tell time in Spanish, there are multiple levels that you can aim for once you start using the minutes in Spanish. You can start with the easy formula of saying the number of minutes after the hour. To reach the highest level, use phrases such as “quarter to,” in Spanish, “quarter past,” “half,” or “minutes to (hour).”

An easy way to say the minutes in Spanish is to just say the number of minutes. But to make things simpler, let’s learn the minutes by fives:

2:05 Las dos y cinco

3:10 Las tres y diez

4:15 Las cuatro y quince

5:20 Las cinco y veinte

6:25 Las seis y veinticinco

7:30 Las siete y treinta

7:35 Las siete y treinta y cinco

8:40 Las ocho y cuarenta

9:45 Las nueve y cuarenta y cinco

10:50 Las diez y cincuenta

11:55 Las once y cincuenta y cinco

After the number of minutes, you can add the word minutos. It’s the translation for “minutes,” and you’ll always use this word in the plural unless you say “one minute” (y un minuto).

  • Son las tres y cinco minutos.

“It is three and five minutes.”

  • Son las doce y un minuto.

“It is one minute past twelve.”

4. Hours Divided into Minutes in Spanish

So one way of improving your level of Spanish is to expand on your knowledge of hours in Spanish. What do I mean? You can identify your level of Spanish by whether you’re able to understand and tell the time in Spanish by half, quarter, and three quarters of an hour.

How do we do this? 

The same way we divide time in English. Dividing the clock into blocks of fifteen minutes. Every fifteen minutes, we’re talking about cuartos or “quarters.”

Four Clocks Showing different Times

To talk about half an hour in Spanish, you need to use y media.

Unlike in English, in Spanish you say the hour first, then the minutes:

  • 01:30 p.m. 

La una y media.

“Half past one.”

To say that it’s a quarter past an hour in Spanish, you need to use y cuarto.

  • 01:15 p.m. 

Es la una y cuarto.

“It is a quarter past one.”

To say that it’s a quarter until an hour in Spanish, you need to use menos cuarto. This means that you tell the hour first, and then you have to take away the quarter from the time that’s approaching. It sounds like “one minus quarter” for 12:45 p.m. 

Like in English, the Latin American Spanish-speakers use the phrase “quarter till” in a similar manner. It’s okay to use this, especially if you’re learning. Then, once you get a better understanding and you need to improve your Spanish skills, you can start telling time like Spaniards do. 

Note that even for some Latinos it’s hard to tell the time the European Spanish way, so go easy on yourself! 

Latin American Spanish:

  • 01:45 p.m

Faltan un cuarto para las dos.

“It is a quarter to two.”

The most difficult to learn and remember is the quarter until an hour. This is because you may still be thinking it in the English way. 

In English:

Minutes left to the time approaching + “to” + hour (from one to twelve)

Example:

01:45 p.m. — “A quarter to two.”

In Spanish:


Hour (from one to twelve) + menos + minutes left to the approaching time

Example:

01:45 p.m. — Las dos menos cuarto.

5. General Time Reference of the Day

As we said earlier, in Spanish we’re more used to saying “in the morning” or “in the evening” to refer to a.m. or p.m. While we do understand it if we see it, we don’t usually use these terms. 

Instead, we use other words that refer to certain times of the day, and these will be very good for you to learn. Let’s take a look! 

  • Primera hora de la mañana — “Early morning”

Example: 

Tengo cita en el médico a primera hora de la mañana.

“I have a doctor’s appointment in the early morning.”

Woman Cheering the Sun in the Morning
  • Amanecer “Sunrise”

Example:

El amanecer más bonito que he visto nunca ha sido en Cádiz.

“The most beautiful sunrise that I’ve never seen was in Cadiz.”

  • Mediodía “Noon” or “Midday”

Example:

La clase acaba en el mediodía. 

“The class ends at noon/midday.”

  • Primera hora de la tarde “Early afternoon”

Example:

¿Quedamos para el café a primera hora de la tarde?
“Shall we meet for coffee at early afternoon?”

  • Noche “Evening” or “Night”

Example:

¿Cuántas noches has tenido que trabajar esta semana?

“How many nights did you have to work this week?”

  • Puesta de sol “Sunset”

Example:

Me han contado que en Bali hay unas puestas de sol mágicas.

“I have been told that in Bali there are magical sunsets.”

  • Medianoche “Midnight”

Example:

Con 15 años mis padres me dejaban salir los fines de semana hasta medianoche.

“When I was 15 years old, my parents would let me go out on the weekends until midnight.”

6. Time Adverbs

In Spanish, we use adverbs of time, place, mode, or quantity all the time. With them, you add information to verbs, adjectives, and even to the whole sentence. 

You’ll quickly become very familiar with them since they’re essential when you’re learning how to tell time in Spanish. 

  • Antes “Before”

Example:

Kike, lávate las manos antes de comer.

“Kike, wash your hands before eating.”

  • Después “After”

Example:

Después de comer apetece una siesta.

“After eating, you want a nap.”

  • Luego “Later”

Example:
Llámame luego.

“Call me later.”

  • Pronto “Soon”

Example:

Te veo pronto.

“See you soon.”

  • Tarde “Late”

Example:

Se me está haciendo tarde para ir al supermercado.

“It’s getting late to go to the supermarket.”

  • Temprano “Early”

Example:

Hay que levantarse temprano para ir al colegio mañana.

“We have to wake up early to go to school tomorrow.”

  • Todavía (This adverb has different meanings in English, depending on the time verb you’re using.):

– “Still”

– “Yet”

– “Even so”

Example:
Todavía estoy aquí esperándote.

“I am still here waiting for you.”

Example:
Todavía no he estado en París.

“I have not been to Paris yet.”

  • Ayer “Yesterday”

Example:
Ayer Luis me dejó esperando una hora en el café.

“Luis left me waiting for one hour in the coffee shop yesterday.”

  • Hoy “Today”

Example:
Tengo tres entrevistas de trabajo hoy.

“Today, I have three job interviews.”

  • Mañana — “Tomorrow”

Example:
Sara, por favor, revisa mi agenda de mañana.

“Sara, check tomorrow’s agenda, please.”

  • Antes de ayer o anteayer “The day before yesterday”

Example:
Antes de ayer empecé con el entrenamiento.

“I started with my training the day before yesterday.”

  • Pasado mañana “The day after tomorrow”

Example:
Pasado mañana empieza el mes de julio.

“July starts the day after tomorrow.”

  • Siempre “Anytime”, “always,” or “forever”

The word “anytime” refers to “always” in terms of describing every time that something happens. But we translate the same word siempre, or with cada vez.

Example:

Siempre que Antonio va al parque se encuentra al gato perdido.

“Anytime Antonio goes to the park he runs into the lost cat.”

  • “Always” is the most common way to translate siempre. It refers to “all the time” and “forever.”

Example:

Siempre te querré.

“I will always love you.”

  • Nunca, Jamás — “Never”

Example:

Nunca más vuelvo a fiarme de un desconocido.

“I will never again trust a stranger.”

  • Prontamente, Pronto “As soon as possible”

Example:

Ven a recogerme pronto.

“Come and pick me up as soon as possible.”

  • En un rato – “In a little while”

Example:

Estaré preparada en un rato.

“I’ll be ready in a little while.”

7. Time Proverbs and Sayings in Spanish

If you want to sound like a Spanish native, idioms and expressions are the best way to show off. However, it’s important that you know when and how to use them, or it can have the opposite effect! 

Some great phrases for latecomers include Voy en camino (“I’m on my way”) and Llego tarde (“I’m late” or “I’m running late”). These are great to send by text so you don’t keep people waiting.

Man with a Multiple Hands

The expressions “time is money” and “time flies” refer to moments in which time goes fast and you have to take advantage of it. Their translations are el tiempo es dinero and el tiempo vuela respectively.

Other common expressions in Spanish are:

  • El tiempo cura las heridas. “Time heals all wounds.”
  • Más vale tarde que nunca. “Better late than never.”
  • A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda. “The early birds get God’s help.”

8. Conclusion

Basic questions

So, reader, do you feel more confident about telling time in Spanish now? In the comments below, tell us what time it is where you are, in Spanish! 

Next time you’re late to an appointment or want to ask someone on a date, you can come back to this page for help setting up times or letting someone know you’re almost there. You can use all of our fun lessons, idiomatic expressions, and more resources at our SpanishPod101 website.

SpanishPod101 has many vocabulary lists for you for free, and of course, our Spanish Resource Corner for any other questions you may have. Why don’t you practice your Spanish by asking other Spanish speakers what they’re up to?

Happy Spanish learning! 🙂

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