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Archive for the 'Spanish Grammar' Category

Variety in Spanish: Understanding the Differences

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If you’re reading this, it’s because you already know how important and useful it is to learn the Spanish language. There are about 405-million native speakers, and there are even more people who speak Spanish as a second language for business, education, or love.

Why? 

Well, Spanish is the official language in twenty countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela. 

Because the language is spoken in so many countries, there are quite a few Spanish dialects and varieties out there!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Can Spanish People and Latin Americans Understand Each Other?
  2. How to Spot the Differences in Pronunciation
  3. Differences in Vocabulary
  4. Differences in Grammar
  5. Which Spanish Variety Should You Learn?
  6. Conclusion

1. Can Spanish People and Latin Americans Understand Each Other?

One Women Telling a Secret to Another One in Her Ear

Although the Spanish language is exactly the same among all the countries where it’s the official language, there are some differences between Spanish dialects. Take, for example, Mexican Spanish vs. Castillian Spanish.

1- How can you spot the differences?

Think of the many countries where English is spoken: England, Australia, Ireland, the United States, and New Zealand! You may know by now that the language is the same, but that there are some differences in accent, pronunciation, intonation, speed, and vocabulary.

While differences like these aren’t usually major, there are many varieties in Spanish. This means that if an Argentinian goes to Spain or a Spanish person goes to Latin America, it can be tricky to communicate at the beginning. But after a few days, they’ll be able to adapt and understand each other. 

When it comes to writing, Mexican Spanish and the Spanish in Spain are similar to each other. But the pronunciation, vocabulary, and the meanings of words are different. Mexican Spanish tends to use what we call Spanglish (English + Spanish) because the Mexican culture has a lot of influence from the USA. A great way to see some examples of this and train your ears for this type of language is to watch some Mexican movies

Yellow Pin on Spanish-speaking Region

Let’s learn more about the different varieties of Spanish and compare the most common ones to each other. In this article, we’ll cover: 

  • Mexican Spanish vs. Castilian Spanish
  • Peruvian Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish
  • Puerto Rican Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish
  • Argentinian Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish 
  • Chilean Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish 

Before you continue, you may want to learn more interesting facts about the Spanish language.

2- What are the main differences between all the varieties of Spanish?

Don’t get confused by the amount of information you may find on the internet. The main differences between the Spanish dialects and varieties are the pronunciation and the vocabulary. This means that the difference exists mainly in spoken language because Spanish grammar, especially in writing, is identical across Spanish-speaking countries. 

A- Can all Spanish-speakers understand each other? 

This is the most common question I get asked when I meet travelers, and the answer is: Yes! No matter where a Spanish-speaker is from, where they are, or who they’re talking to, they can understand each other by simply listening carefully, speaking slowly, and putting words into context when using unfamiliar vocabulary. 

In addition, Netflix, music, and the internet have brought together the differences between pronunciations, vocabulary, and slang. Check out our list of the best movies on Netflix to learn Spanish

B- What is the correct term to differentiate between the different types of Spanish? 

The Spanish language originated in Spain, and the Spanish spoken in Spain is called Castilian: castellano. It refers to the province of Castile located in Central Spain. In English, you can just refer to this variety of Spanish as European Spanish or Peninsular Spanish, instead of Castilian Spanish. 

For those who speak Spanish in Latin America, it’s called Latin American Spanish or español latino

C- What are the different types of Spanish?

Latin American Spanish may vary among the countries where it’s spoken. The main varieties in Spanish are: Caribbean, South American Pacific, Central American, Highland (which is more standard), and Argentinian-Uruguayan-Paraguayan Spanish. 

In Spain, there are two principal varieties of Spanish, which are Andalusian and Castilian.

Woman Holding Red and Green Apple

2. How to Spot the Differences in Pronunciation


The main difference between all the varieties of Spanish is the pronunciation. One of the most notable examples of this is in Mexican Spanish vs. Castilian Spanish: Seseo vs. Ceceo.  

  • Ceceo is when Spanish-speakers from Spain pronounce -c and -z as -th-. 

For example:

Caza (“Hunt”)

In this example, the word would be pronounced as ca-th-a. On the other hand, a Latin American speaker would pronounce this word with seseo: ca-s-a.

  • Seseo is when Latin American-speakers pronounce the -c and -z as -s. So casa and caza will sound exactly the same.  

Latin American Spanish people don’t use the ceceo. Take, for instance, gracias (“thank you”).

  • European Spanish: Grathias
  • Latin American Spanish: Grasias

Now, there’s another distinction you should know about: Yeismo

1- What is Yeismo?

Yeismo is the accent and the way that Argentinian, Uruguayan, and Paraguayan people speak Spanish. They pronounce the -ll and -y as -ch. 

For example:

Argentinian Spanish pronunciation. 

  • Lluvia (“Rain”) is pronounced as chuvia.
  • Ayer (“Yesterday”) is pronounced as acher.

Another notable difference between Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish is the pronunciation of -j.

In Spain, people put more emphasis on -j than Latin Americans do. This is partially because they tend to use a swearing word with this sound more often: Joder (“F***k”).

We’ve only covered a few of the differences between the varieties of Spanish. There are many more accents, pronunciations, and vocabulary differences, but the farther along you get in your Spanish studies, the better you’ll be able to distinguish between them. 

3. Differences in Vocabulary

Each variety of Spanish has slight variations in vocabulary and word meanings.

For example, the Mexican word for “car” is carro, the Spanish word is coche, and the Argentinian word is  auto. 

Now, here’s a difference of word meaning in Chilean Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish:

Chileans say chucha when a place is far away, while Mexicans may use chingada. And Colombians will use chucha to say that something smells very bad.

Another difference between Mexican Spanish vs. Spanish in Spain is the way they say “money.”

Spanish and Mexicans call money dinero, whereas some people in Latin America call it plata:

  • No tengo dinero.
  • No tengo plata.
  • “I have no money.”

“Mobile phone” for the Spanish is móvil, whereas the Colombians call it celular.

Coger in Latin America is a vulgar word for the act of intercourse, whereas for people in Spain, it’s an innocent and common word that means “to take” or “to catch.” 

In terms of Peruvian Spanish vs. Mexican Spanish, the difference is in the way they speak. Some people consider Peruvian Spanish very slow, and Peruvians often don’t pronounce words in their entirety. 

An example of Peruvian Spanish:

  • “You are crazy!”
  • ¡Estás loco!
  • ¡’tas loco!
  • “Are you okay?”
  • ¿Estás bien?
  • ¿’ta bien?

This way of speaking in Spanish is very common in many regions of Spain (like the Autonomous Community of Andalucía) as well as in many other regions of Latin America. This is especially true for the cities around the coast. 

While you’re learning Spanish, don’t worry too much about these differences. It may be very difficult to understand this type of language, but your ears will get used to it as you advance in your learning.

4. Differences in Grammar

The main difference in grammar is the plural form of “you” in Spanish: Ustedes vs. vs. Vos. 

Another difference is that Latin American-speakers use a lot of words that come from United States English. These words are usually adapted for Spanish, pronounced and written with Spanish phonetics. This isn’t very common in peninsular Spanish, although Spanish-speakers there will understand you if you use them. Spanish is evolving all the time, and English- and Spanish-speakers are living side-by-side all over North America.

Many Words Typed on White Papers

Let’s see some differences between Mexican Spanish and European Spanish words:


EnglishAdapted from EnglishEuropean Spanish
“Apply”AplicarInscribirse or Postularse
  • “I applied to four Spanish universities.”
  • Apliqué en cuatro universidades españolas. (Latin American Spanish)
  • Me he inscrito en cuatro universidades españolas. (European Spanish)

EnglishAdapted from EnglishEuropean Spanish
“Check”Chequear or ChecarComprobar or Revisar
  • “Juan, can you check my homework, please?”
  • Juan, puedes chequear mis tareas, ¿por favor? (Latin American Spanish)
  • Juan, puedes revisar mis deberes, ¿por favor? (European Spanish)

EnglishAdapted from EnglishEuropean Spanish
“Balance”BalancearEquilibrar
  • “Meditation balances your mind.”
  • La meditación balancea tu mente. (Latin American Spanish)
  • La meditación equilibra tu mente. (European Spanish)

Like English, Spanish has evolved and adapted to every culture, country, and region, both in speech and writing.

Talking About the Past in Latin American Spanish vs. Iberian Spanish

Another difference in grammar is the use of the past tense. In Iberian Spanish, you’ll see that the past perfect is used most often: “to have” + the verb in the past participle. Latin American Spanish will use the simple past more often.

  • European/Castilian Spanish, past perfect: he comprado
  • Latin American Spanish, past simple: compré

Example:

  • “This morning, I went to do my grocery shopping.”
  • Esta mañana he ido hacer la compra. (European/Castilian Spanish)
  • Esta mañana fui a hacer la compra. (Latin American Spanish)

5. Which Spanish Variety Should You Learn?

I get asked this question a lot, and the answer always depends on what you’re learning Spanish for. If you’re learning Spanish because you want to travel the world, especially South America, you should learn the type of Spanish spoken in the places you want to visit most.

Woman Uncertain of Something

If you’re learning Spanish for business, education, or the media, you may learn neutral Spanish for Spain. But if you’re going to work in a certain country, you should familiarize yourself with their Spanish so you can better enjoy your time there.

Some people find Latin American Spanish easier than the Spanish from Spain, whereas others may prefer Spain’s variety because the language originated there. 

What I always suggest is to learn the Spanish variety of your choice in a place where that variety is spoken. This will help you get used to pronunciation and other nuances of that variety faster!

6. Conclusion

For more information about the Spanish language, visit our website SpanishPod101.com. We hope to make every aspect of your learning journey both fun and informative, and we believe that with enough hard work and determination, you can master any variety of Spanish! 

Before you go, let us know in the comments if you learned anything new today about Spanish dialects and varieties. Which one do you want to learn, and why? We look forward to hearing from you! 

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A Quick Overview of Spanish Grammar

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As you know, grammar is an important part of any language, and Spanish is no exception. Spanish grammar has many similarities with other Romance languages, including many features that are comparable to English. 

In this article, we’re going to briefly explain the basics of Spanish grammar. We’ll also provide links to other articles and lessons on our website, where you’ll be able to find more detailed information on crucial Spanish grammar topics. In addition, we’ll explain some of the differences and similarities between the grammar rules of Spanish and English.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. General Rules
  2. Verbs
  3. Nouns
  4. Adjectives
  5. Negation
  6. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

1. General Rules

To begin, we’ll look at some of the similarities between Spanish and English. 

a) Verbs

Spanish verbs have tenses and undergo conjugations. While English does have a few conjugations, Spanish, like any Romance language, definitely has more. We have an article on Spanish conjugations where you’ll find all the information you need on the topic. 

That said, the tenses are quite similar to those in English. There are only a few exceptions of tenses that exist in Spanish but aren’t specified in English. 

We’ll explain verbs a little further in the next section.

b) Word Order

As we explained in our article about Spanish word order, Spanish has the same basic word order model as English: S + V + O (Subject + Verb + Object). There are a few differences when it comes to adverb and adjective placement, but to create a basic sentence, you just need to follow the same order you would in English. Here’s an example of a simple sentence that translates word for word:

Example: Mi padre canta una canción.
Translation: “My father sings a song.”

Easy, right?

c) Vocabulary

While vocabulary isn’t actually a grammatical component, we thought we would briefly mention it as well, since it shares many similarities with English.

It’s interesting to know that a lot of the vocabulary in English and Spanish share the same root. While English is not a Romance language, and is in fact a Germanic language, it has been highly influenced by French and Latin in the past. 

In fact, English is often jokingly referred to as being nothing more than a mix of other languages. Considering it has been heavily influenced by other Germanic languages, Latin, French, and many others, this association should come as no surprise. English hasn’t been influenced too much by Spanish, but its influence from other Romance languages gives it many similarities with Spanish.

There are many words that look similar in both English and Spanish, but we’ll only give you a couple here:

Example: nación
Translation: “nation”

We’ve chosen to include this word because there are actually dozens of Spanish words that end in the suffix -ación, the equivalent of “-ation” in English. Información (“information”), decoloración (“discoloration”)…we could keep going. 

This suffix comes from Latin, and that’s why it ended up being used in Spanish and English, as well as other languages. In all of the examples we’ve provided, English and Spanish share both the origin of the stem (which is also Latin) and the origin of the suffix. That’s why they’re all so similar!

Example: animal
Translation: “animal”

This second example actually shares the same spelling, but they’re pronounced a bit differently. This is another example of a word that comes from Latin, explaining its similarity to the Spanish counterpart.

Turtle

2. Verbs

As we explained, Spanish verbs have many more conjugations than those in English. Basically, while you could pretty much count English conjugations on one hand, Spanish verbs have a different conjugation for each person in the singular and plural forms, in all tenses and moods. In all verb conjugations, every person shares the same stem but has a different ending. Let’s look at how the verb comer (“to eat”) would conjugate:

  • Yo como → “I eat”
  • Tú comes → “You eat”
  • Él / ella come → “He / she eats”
  • Nosotros comemos → “We eat”
  • Vosotros coméis → “You eat” (plural)
  • Ellos / ellas comen → “They (masculine / feminine) eat”

Each form has the stem com, but there is a different ending for every person. Once again, if you would like to learn more about conjugations, remember to check out our dedicated article.

Family Eating Ice Cream

Just like English, Spanish has regular and irregular verbs. However, English verb irregularities are pretty much only obvious in the past and participle forms. In Spanish, because verbs need to conjugate for every person, these irregularities become much more obvious. As explained in our article about verbs, irregularities can occur at different times. Sometimes, a verb might only be irregular in a specific person in the present simple, for example. Other times, a verb can be fully irregular in every tense and conjugation.

Speaking of irregular verbs, there are two verbs in Spanish we can’t ignore: ser and estar. If you’re already familiar with Spanish, you might know what we’re talking about. But in case you don’t, ser and estar both mean “to be,” and you must use the correct one depending on the context. 

Other Romance languages have equivalents to these verbs—être and avoir in French or essere and stare in Italian, for example—but English doesn’t. Instead, these two verbs, despite having different meanings, share a  translation in English (“to be”). To give you an idea of what differentiates them, ser usually indicates stability, while estar indicates something temporary. Here’s an example of each:

Example: Soy español.
Translation: “I’m Spanish.”

Example: Estoy triste.
Translation: “I’m sad.”

Sad Man

In the first example (featuring ser), we establish something permanent, which is the fact that I’m Spanish. In the second example (featuring estar), we refer to something temporary. Usually, if we say we’re sad, like in the example, we mean that we’re sad in the moment or that we’re sad for a while, but not forever! 

3. Nouns

The main difference between Spanish nouns and English nouns is that Spanish nouns have grammatical gender: masculine and feminine. Honestly, just be thankful we don’t have any more genders (many languages have three or more!). That said, this is a facet of Spanish grammar you really need to know!

We’ll show you an example of a noun for each gender:

  • el horno (“the oven”) is masculine
  • la nevera (“the fridge”) is feminine

You might be wondering what makes an oven masculine and a fridge feminine. Nothing, really. It’s all based on its etymology and the evolution of the language.

For most words, you’ll need to memorize their gender along with their meaning. However, there are words that have more obvious genders. For example, una mujer (“a woman”) is obviously a feminine word, and un hombre (“a man”) is most definitely masculine.

We do have a super-simple tip to help you determine if a word is masculine or feminine: Words that are masculine almost always end with an -o, while words that are feminine almost always end with an -a. This tip isn’t fool-proof, but it will help you out in the vast majority of situations.

Keep in mind that nouns must always agree with the article in gender and number. You might have noticed that in the examples we’ve given you, because they were all accompanied by articles.

There’s a lot more we could explain about nouns in Spanish, but it might be easier for you to read our article on nouns.

4. Adjectives

There are a few basic things that you need to know about adjectives in Spanish. First of all, adjectives must always agree with the noun they accompany in gender and number. We’ll give you some examples using the adjective negro (“black”):

SingularPlural
MasculineCoche negro (“Black car”)Coches negros (“Black cars”)
FeminineCasa negra (“Black house”)Casas negras (“Black houses”)

While looking at these examples, you might have noticed that the noun was placed before the adjective. In Spanish, most adjectives are placed after the noun like this, though there are a few exceptions.

If you feel like you need to learn more about Spanish adjectives, here’s an article that’s perfect for you!

Black Car

5. Negation

Today, we’ll provide a brief overview of Spanish negation. Essentially, what you need to know is that you form basic negative sentences in Spanish by placing the word no before the verb. Here are a couple of examples:

Example: No tengo coche.
Translation: “I don’t have a car.”

Example: Hoy Martín no quiere ir al colegio.
Translation: “Martín doesn’t want to go to school today.”

You may have noticed that while the adverb in the last example was in a different position than in English, the negative word remained in the same location in both versions: between the subject—unless it’s omitted in Spanish—and the verb.

Kid Skipping Class

6. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

This article only provided a brief Spanish grammar overview, but you probably noticed that for every topic, we linked to another article or lesson that went more in-depth. 

Do you feel like you need more Spanish grammar help? Create your free lifetime account on SpanishPod101.com and gain access to tons of lessons on every Spanish-related topic imaginable. Give it a try, and you’ll start learning Spanish like never before!

In the meantime, let us know in the comments which aspect of Spanish grammar is most difficult for you. We look forward to hearing from you, and will do our best to help.

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All About the Subjunctive Spanish Mood

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Do you know the names of all the verbal moods and tenses in English (or in your native language)? You might know a few, you might know all of them, or you might not even be familiar with any of them. Knowing the names isn’t so important, unless you’re a huge fan of grammar or you study something related to linguistics. But, even if you don’t know all these names, you know how to use them, don’t you? Otherwise you wouldn’t make much sense in your native language.

We’re going to teach you everything you need to know about the subjunctive Spanish mood and all its tenses, which is going to be incredibly helpful for your Spanish. 

This is what’s important: not what we call them—even though it’s still helpful when learning them—but knowing how to use them and understanding the differences between the different moods and tenses. In real life, no one is going to ask you the difference between infinitive and subjunctive, but you must learn them in order to be fluent! Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. What is a Grammatical Mood?
  2. Infinitive vs. Subjunctive
  3. Subjunctive Spanish Tenses
  4. Uses of Subjunctive
  5. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

1. What is a Grammatical Mood?

Just like we explained in our article on conjugations, verb conjugations are divided into different groups that we call moods, or modos in Spanish.

Even though there are a few more grammatical moods than the ones we’ll cover today, in Spanish, there are three main verbal moods: infinitivo (“infinitive”), subjuntivo (“subjunctive”), and imperativo (“imperative”). 

The third one, imperativo, is the easiest to explain because it’s not divided into several tenses like the other two moods. Instead, it only refers to very specific forms, which are the ones we use to give orders to someone. For example, if you want to make someone sing, you’ll say: ¡Canta! or ¡Cantad! (“Sing!”), depending on whether you’re telling one person (the first example) or more than one (the second example).

Man Studying

The other two moods, infinitive and subjunctive, are the ones we use every time we speak. Whether we want to use the present tense, past tense, or future tense, it will always be a part of one of these two moods. We’ll need to use one or the other depending on what we mean to say.

In today’s article, we’ll be focusing on the Spanish subjunctive mood, but before we do that, we need to explain some of the differences between subjunctive and infinitive, so that you can understand it more easily.

2. Infinitive vs. Subjunctive

Let’s start with the indicative mood. In Spanish, indicative essentially refers to facts, as well as beliefs. Here’s an example: 

  • El agua se congela a 0 ºC.
    “Water freezes at 0 ºC.”

This is definitely a fact, which means it can’t be argued against, so we use the indicative mood.

Man Climbing Ice

As opposed to indicative, subjunctive Spanish marks anything that isn’t a fact. Among others, this includes hypothetical statements or something you wish had or hadn’t happened. For example: 

  • No quiero que te hagas daño.
    “I don’t want you to get hurt.”

In the example above, it’s not something that has happened, so it’s not a fact. Instead, this mood has been used to refer to something you wish wouldn’t happen. We hope this doesn’t sound too confusing. If it does, don’t worry, we’ll fix it.

You might not know this, but the subjunctive mood actually exists in English as well. It’s not as widely used as it is in Spanish, and when it is used, it’s not as obvious. Let’s look at the following examples:

  • “If I were you, I would go to the doctor.”
  • “I wish you were here.”

In the first example, we don’t say “I was,” but “I were.” This is because it’s in the subjunctive mood! In the second example, it shouldn’t surprise us that we use the form “were,” because that’s the form we use for the second person “you.” But it might surprise us that it’s in the past, instead of the present, as in “I wish you are here.” That doesn’t make sense, right? Well, that’s because we need the subjunctive mood, just like in Spanish. So, of course, when translated into Spanish, these two sentences also use the subjunctive mood.

  • Si fuese tú, iría al médico.
    “If I were you, I would go to the doctor.”
  • Ojalá estuvieras aquí. 
    “I wish you were here.”

3. Subjunctive Spanish Tenses

The subjunctive mood, as we’ve already mentioned, is divided into several tenses. Do you remember our previous article on conjugations? In that article, we had examples of the subjunctive conjugations of a few different verbs. Here, because we don’t want to repeat ourselves, we’re only going to show you one verb, specifically the verb cantar (“to sing”). But you can always check that article again if you need to look at the subjunctive tables.

In Spanish, the “present” (presente) and “past tenses” (pretéritos) of the subjunctive are used quite often, but the two future tenses (futuro simple and futuro compuesto) are never used. They’re included in the following subjunctive Spanish tenses chart so you’re aware that they exist, but there’s no need to learn them. If you ever ask a native Spanish-speaker about them, they wouldn’t even know how to use them!

Note that these tenses don’t have a direct translation in English, but we’ll use them in the examples we’ll give you below.

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
hayas 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

Singer on Stage

4. Uses of Subjunctive

When do you use subjunctive Spanish? As we’ve said before, the subjunctive mood is generally used in sentences that are not facts. We think you’ll find it useful to take a look at the following list of specific uses:

a) Expressing Emotions

You can use the Spanish subjunctive to express feelings or emotions. Anytime you want to say that some action makes you sad, or happy, or angry, you’ll need to use the subjunctive mood.

  • Me entristece que te vayas a vivir tan lejos.
    “It saddens me that you’re going to live so far away.”
  • Me alegró que se hubieran decidido a adoptar un bebé. 
    “It made me happy that they decided to adopt a baby.”
Women with Baby

b) Wishes 

As we’ve said before, the subjunctive is often used to express wishes. But before we get into that, we’ll have to tell you about a more basic kind of wish. When all you want to say is something you want, we just use the infinitive form of the verb, as we explained in our previous article about Spanish sentence patterns

  • Quiero comer galletas. 
    “I want to eat cookies.”

However, sometimes we need to express a wish related to a different subject than the main subject of the sentence. For that, we might use a full sentence, such as in the following examples:

  • Espero que te recuperes pronto. 
    “I hope you get better soon.”
  • Mi madre quería que estudiara Arquitectura
    “My mother wanted me to study Architecture.”

Or instead of using a full sentence, we might do something similar to the next example. This sentence uses the word ojalá, which can’t be translated literally into English, but can be understood as “hopefully.” This word can only be used with the subjunctive mood.

  • Ojalá hayas aprobado
    “Hopefully you have passed.”

Some other verbs we use to express wishes are gustar (“to like”), preferir (“to prefer”), desear (“to wish”), and apetecer (“to feel like”).

c) Requests or Commands

We always use the subjunctive mood when we need to request or command something (unless we use the imperative!). In this case, we’re giving you two very similar examples, but in different verb tenses.

  • Me ha pedido que vaya a ver a la abuela
    “She has asked me to go see grandma.”
  • Me pidió que fuera a ver a la abuela. 
    “She asked me to go see grandma.”
Grandma and Grandchildren

Other verbs you might use as well as pedir (“to ask”) are ordenar (“to command”) and prohibir (“to forbid”).

d) Doubts

As you might remember, we said that sometimes the subjunctive is used when something isn’t a fact. When someone expresses a fact, but you’re not sure it’s true, you can express doubt by using the subjunctive mood.

  • No creo que sea verdad. 
    “I don’t think it’s true.”
  • Dudó de que estuviéramos diciendo la verdad. 
    “She doubted we were telling the truth.”

In the case of doubts, we won’t always use verbs, and there are some expressions that will help you: tal vez / quizá (both mean “maybe”) and seguramente / probablemente (both mean “probably”). In the case of these words, we can use both the indicative and the subjunctive, but we’ll use the subjunctive when our doubt is greater.

  • Seguramente está en casa
    “She’s probably home.” (Indicative)
  • Seguramente esté en casa
    “She’s probably home.” (Subjunctive)

e) Opinions

When expressing your opinion, notice that we use the indicative in positive sentences, like in the following example: 

  • Creo que se lo está pasando bien. 
    “I think he’s having a good time.”

Subjunctive, however, is used in negative sentences: 

  • No creo que se lo esté pasando bien. 
    “I don’t think he’s having a good time.”

To express an opinion, other verbs we can use besides creer (“to believe”) are pensar, opinar, considerar… They’re all different synonyms for the verbs “to think” and “to believe.”

5. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

We know the subjunctive isn’t the easiest (or most fun) subject to learn, but it’s necessary if you really want to learn Spanish. But grammar isn’t the only thing you can learn with us. At SpanishPod101.com, you’ll learn everything you need to become fluent in Spanish.

Did we answer all your questions about this topic? If not, feel free to reach out in the comments and we’ll do our best to help you out! 

If you felt like this was a bit too hard for you right now, remember that we have material for all levels, from absolute beginner to advanced. With us, you can learn grammar, vocabulary, and conversation skills—and you’ll be speaking Spanish in no time!

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Is Spanish Hard to Learn, and Should You Start Learning?

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There are many reasons why you should learn Spanish, and truth be told, everyone who’s looking to learn has their own special reason. Some learners might want to move to a Spanish-speaking country, while others might have a Spanish-speaking significant other. Some learners might just like the language, while others think that it’s a useful language to learn. And it is! In fact, Spanish is one of the most useful languages to learn in the world. 

But is Spanish hard to learn, as well? 

Well, it has the second-largest number of native speakers (after Mandarin Chinese) and it’s the fourth most-spoken language overall. Anyone who’s able to speak at least two of the most-spoken languages in the world already has a huge advantage compared to millions and millions of people. Have we convinced you yet?

Any reason you have for wanting to learn Spanish, or any other language you might be interested in, are valid. Once you start, we’re all in this together. But before you do, we’re sure you still want us to answer a few more questions about why Spanish is hard for some learners (and what things about it aren’t so bad). 

Here we go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Spanish Table of Contents
  1. So, is it Hard to Learn Spanish?
  2. What are the Hardest and Easiest Parts of Learning Spanish?
  3. I Want to Learn Spanish. Where Should I Start?
  4. What Advice Would You Give to a New Spanish Learner?
  5. Why is SpanishPod101.com Great for Learning Spanish?

1. So, is it Hard to Learn Spanish?

This is a question you’ve probably asked before while deciding whether to start learning Spanish. Maybe you’ve asked someone you know who’s learned the language, or a native Spanish-speaker, or even the Internet. In fact, that’s probably how you got to this article! It’s not an easy question to answer, because there are some factors you need to consider here. Let’s take a look at the main factor.

If you already speak another Romance language, such as French or Italian, you’ll already be familiar with the structures of the language and a lot of the vocabulary, which will make things much easier for you. This doesn’t mean that someone whose native language is Portuguese, for instance, will be able to learn Spanish immediately. But it will definitely be easier than it would be for someone who has never been around languages that are so close to Spanish.

For example, the word casa (“house”) in Spanish is also casa in both Portuguese and Italian. This is a phenomenon you’ll find going on with many other words, too! However, even though French is also a Romance language, it actually uses a very different word (maison) for “house.” Other words, nevertheless, will be the same or very similar. So there’s a bit of everything, really! 

But if your native language isn’t a Romance language, there’s no need to worry, because Spanish is still not counted among the most difficult languages. Just take a quick look at this article titled “The 20 Most Difficult Languages in the World to Learn.” You’ll notice that Spanish is not on it. That’s good news, isn’t it?

In conclusion, to answer the question we originally asked: No, it’s not hard to learn Spanish. Just like everything else in life, it will have some difficulties. But overall, it’s not that hard and anyone can learn it, no matter their native language, age, or any other factor that you’ve been told might affect your ability to learn a second language. Yay!

Happy Girl Surrounded by Money

2. What are the Hardest and Easiest Parts of Learning Spanish?

The answer to this question depends on who you ask and what your mother tongue is, but we’re pretty sure we can give you the type of answer you’re looking for. Here, we’ll cover what makes Spanish hard to learn as well as things that aren’t so bad for most students! 

A- Verbs

Every language, like it or not, has some hard parts. In this case, we believe that the hardest part of learning Spanish is the verbs, unless your native tongue is another Romance language with a similar number of conjugations. Spanish verbs are more complicated than verbs in English, because English doesn’t have as many conjugations.

The topic of ser and estar, two of the main Spanish verbs, is a particularly tough one. But lucky for you, we have the perfect article for that, as well as articles for many other difficult topics! This isn’t something you’ll have to worry about at the beginning of your Spanish learning, but it’s good to keep in mind for future reference.

Kid Struggling with Homework

B- Pronunciation

There are many easy aspects of learning Spanish, we think. For example, pronunciation, though it might seem tricky at first, is easy once you understand all the sounds. If you follow the rules, you know there aren’t going to be any surprises. We pronounce everything the way it’s spelled, with a couple of rare exceptions, such as not pronouncing the letter u in the combinations que, qui, gue, and gui (like in the English word “guitar”).

Spanish has a total of five vowel sounds, which is heavenly compared to the ridiculous number of vowel sounds in English. In this sense, Spanish likes to keep it simple. 

C- Vocabulary

Even though English isn’t a Romance language, there are thousands of words that sound very similar and that you’ll be able to identify immediately. Here are some examples:

  • Example: elefante
  • Translation: “elephant”
  • Example: invitación
  • Translation: “invitation”
  • Example: memoria 
  • Translation: “memory”

As you can see, despite the slight differences in spelling, you can immediately understand the meaning of these words in Spanish. There are also words that are spelled identically in both languages (idea, hotel, festival…). In most cases, the pronunciation won’t be exactly the same, but it sure does make the learning process a little smoother! 

D- False Friends

Be careful about false friends, though! False friends are words that also sound very similar, but have different meanings. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

  • Example: constipado
  • Translation: “to have a cold”

But you might have thought of a different word:

  • Example: estreñido
  • Translation: “constipated”

And now let’s look at a different pair from the opposite perspective. You might want to be careful whenever you say you’re embarrassed by something:

  • Example: embarazada
  • Translation: “pregnant”

The word you actually want to use is: 

  • Example: avergonzado/a
  • Translation: “embarrassed”

Keep in mind that most false friends won’t be as surprising as these! We selected the most shocking ones, but they’re exceptions. 

3. I Want to Learn Spanish. Where Should I Start?

We know that the first stages of learning a language can be overwhelming. There are many different ways to go about starting your language-learning journey, and it’s important to find the best one for you. We recommend starting with the basics. Before trying to learn too much at once, learn how to say “hello” and a few more basic words and phrases.

Beginning of a Race

Usually, one of the first lessons when you learn a new language is how to introduce yourself and how to ask another person to introduce themselves. You normally don’t start learning complicated grammar rules straight away. Instead, the idea is to build your skills up slowly.

4. What Advice Would You Give to a New Spanish Learner?

If you’ve just decided to start learning Spanish, welcome! You’re in for a treat. 

It won’t always be an easy ride, and some days you might find yourself getting stuck in a particular aspect of the language, but don’t give up! If there’s something you’re struggling with, ask us questions, do more research, or maybe move on to a different aspect for a while. Sometimes, a break is all you need to see things more clearly.

And remember: You won’t get anywhere without practicing! We’re sorry, we also wish we could learn it just like that, but any language requires practice to become fluent! There are many ways you can practice Spanish online, but if you can, we would recommend that you visit Spain and make some local friends.

Group of People Talking

5. Why is SpanishPod101.com Great for Learning Spanish?

At SpanishPod101.com, you’ll find everything you need to learn Spanish, from beginner lessons to more advanced ones. We have tons of free content for you to use, and we have so much more to offer if you upgrade your account to one of our Premium plans

If you upgrade your plan, you’ll have access to hundreds of useful lessons, videos, quizzes, and all of the vocabulary and grammar tools you need to become fluent in Spanish. In our most complete plan, Premium PLUS, you’ll even have access to a teacher who will be there just for you, so your program will be completely personalized. This means that if you ever have doubts or questions, you’ll be able to get help whenever you need it. 

Speaking of questions, feel free to drop us a comment with any questions or concerns you have about learning Spanish. We’ll be glad to help you out!

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The 9 Most Common Mistakes in Spanish for Learners

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We know that learning Spanish can be a bit frustrating, especially for native English-speakers. Trying to understand the language’s structure is intimidating to many—but calm down! No matter how many mistakes in Spanish you make along the way, the most important thing is to enjoy the process and learn step-by-step.

Knowing what to look out for will help you improve your Spanish language skills a lot more quickly. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the nine most common mistakes when learning Spanish. We’ll review a list of common mistakes of English speakers in Spanish, from pronunciation and vocabulary, to gender agreement and false friends. At the end, we’ll also cover some funny errors in Spanish that you should avoid at all costs! This guide will help you recognize many of the most common Spanish mistakes, and give you a better idea of how to correct them. 

In addition to this guide, we have a number of activities on SpanishPod101.com that you can use to practice everything you learn in this lesson.

Let’s get started!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Pronunciation Mistakes
  2. False Friends and Similar-Sounding Words
  3. Gender and Number
  4. Using Unnecessary Pronouns: You & I
  5. Prepositions
  6. Grammatical Mistakes
  7. Word Order Mistakes
  8. Politeness Level
  9. The Most Common Embarrassing Mistakes
  10. To Sum Up…

Man Studying

1. Pronunciation Mistakes

Spanish pronunciation mistakes are some of the most common errors plaguing foreign learners. There are words and letters that require more forceful vocalization than English speakers are used to, and other words that contain silent letters that Spanish-learners don’t know what to do with.

In this section, we’ll show you some typical Spanish pronunciation mistakes and how to avoid them! 

    → We recommend that you review the Spanish alphabet before jumping into this section.

1 – Use of R, Ñ, J, and H

In Spanish, the sounds for letters like R, Ñ, J, and H have very special characteristics.

For example, a big mistake that many Spanish students make is to not trill the R. When native speakers hear this incorrect pronunciation, it may confuse them. 

Note that we trill the R at the beginning of a word, or the RR when it’s between two vowels. Otherwise, the sound needs to be weak.

Examples:

RROne R at the beginning of a word(Strong sound)One R(Weak sound)
Carro (“Trolley”)Río (“River”)Barato (“Cheap”)
Borrar (“Delete”)Rodilla (“Knee”)Parada (“Stop”)
Perro (“Dog”)Roca (“Rock”)Pera (“Pear”)
Tierra (“Earth”)Remo (“Rowing”)Caricia (“Caress”)

And now a quick note on the other letters:

  • H

    The H in Spanish is usually silent. We’ll talk more about this soon!
  • Ñ

    This letter has a very particular sound that many English-speakers struggle with. It sounds similar to the underlined sound in the words “canyon” and “onion.”
  • J

    The sound of the J is the same as that of the letter G, when the latter is followed by the letters e or i. In Latin American countries, the sound is the same and is very similar to the sound of H in English. But in countries like Spain, there’s a marked difference; for them, the sound of the G tends to occur in the back of the throat.

Teacher Pronunciation

Words with similar sounds:

Words with GWords with J
Geografía (“Geography”)Cerrajería (“Locksmith”)
Religión (“Religion”)Jarra (“Jug”)
Origen (“Origin”)Jirafa (“Giraffe”)
Genio (“Genius”)Caja (“Box”)

2 – How to Pronounce H

You should know that the H in Spanish never makes the English H sound. Here are the basics: 

  • If you see an H accompanied by a C (CH), it will have a sound similar to the CH in “church,” “chocolate,” or “change.”
  • If you see an H without a C, then it’s silent. 

Examples:      

CHH
Cuchillo (“Knife”)Helado (“Ice cream”)
Chino (“Chinese”)Hamburguesa (“Burger”)
Coche (“Car”)Hielo (“Ice”)
Mucho (“A lot”)Cohete (“Rocket”)
Chocolate (“Chocolate”)Cacahuete (“Peanut”)

3 – Pronouncing S and Z in Spain vs. Latin America

The S, C, and  Z

In Spanish from Spain, the C and Z sometimes have the same sound. The rule is simple: when C is accompanied by the letters e or i, and Z with a, o, or u, the pronunciation is done with the tongue in front of the teeth. That is, it emits a slightly more marked sound than that of the S.

Let’s see some examples:

  • Cena (“Dinner”)
  • Zorro (“Fox”)
  • Cielo (“Sky”)

On the other hand, in Latin American Spanish, S, C, and Z have identical pronunciations.

The best way to prevent making a mistake in Spanish here is to familiarize yourself with words that are spelled similarly but have different meanings. In addition, we recommend that you listen to the pronunciation of Spanish from Spain, so that you’ll avoid falling into translation and context errors. 

Similar wordsEnglish translation
Casa / Caza“House” /  “Hunting”
Basar / Bazar“Base on” / “Bazaar”
Abrasar / Abrazar“Burn” / “Hug”

2. False Friends and Similar-Sounding Words

Confused Woman

Several of the common mistakes Spanish-learners make have to do with writing, spelling, and pronunciation. False friends, intonation, and homonymous words frequently trip up new learners, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with these mistakes and their solutions! 

1 – False Friends

The word “Anglicism” may sound familiar to you. This basically refers to the influence that English has had on other languages, including Spanish.

Although this can be a great help to English-speakers, you must be careful! If not, you’ll fall into the trap of false friends.

These are words that look or sound similar to words in English, but have different meanings. Believe it or not, some of the most common mistakes in Spanish are the result of taking false friends at face value.

For example, did you know that the word recordar in Spanish means “remember,” not “record?” Here are some more false friends to look out for:

  • Enviar 
    • “Envy” X
    • “Send” O
  • Éxito 
    • “Exit” X
    • “Success” O 
  • Parada 
    • “Parade” X
    • “Bus stop” O
  • Vaso
    • “Vase” X
    • “Glass” O
  • Suceso 
    • “Success” X
    • “Event” O

2 – Accent and Tones

Accents in Spanish are graphic signs that are written over a letter to indicate the intensity with which that letter should be stressed. During your Spanish studies, you’ll find that several words—even if they’re spelled the same otherwise—take on different meanings depending on whether the accent mark is present or not. 

That said, it’s best to learn how to recognize them in order to avoid embarrassing situations like calling your father “potato” instead of “dad.”

Let’s look at some of the most common Spanish words, with accents and without, with their respective meanings:

SpanishEnglish
Él / El“He” / “The”
Papá / Papa“Father” / “Potato”
¿Por qué? / Porque“Why?” / “Because”
Práctico / Practico“Practical” / “I practice”
Bebé / Bebe“Baby” / “(S)he drinks”
De / Dé“Of” / “Give”
Sí / Si“Yes” / “If”
Esté / Este“Is” / “This”
Está / Esta“I am” (present subjunctive) / “This”
Bañó / Baño“(S)he bathed” / “Bathroom”

3 – Spanish Homonymous Words

More typical Spanish mistakes have to do with homonymous words. The name may sound very technical, but these are simply words that have identical or similar pronunciations, but different meanings. In this case, there are no accent marks to distinguish between them. 

In this category, there are homographs and homophones.

Example:

  • María buscó diferentes citas de autor para su tesis doctoral.
    “María looked for different authors’ quotes for her doctoral thesis.”
  • Tengo una cita romántica esta noche.
    “I have a romantic date tonight.”

Both Spanish sentences use the word cita, but the context is completely different. This can also happen with the following words:

  • Alce
    “Moose”
    OR
    Conjugation of the verb “to pick up”
  • Capital
    The capital of a city
    OR
    Money one has collected over the years

4 – Homophones 

These are words that sound the same, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. You can usually determine which spelling is appropriate based on the context. 

Examples:

  • asta (“stick”) vs. hasta (“still”)
  • grabe (“record”) vs. grave (“serious”)

As we explained previously, Latin Americans and some Spaniards pronounce the letters Z, C, and S exactly the same way. For this reason, the following words are also homophones in those particular regions. In standard Iberian Spanish, however, these words are not homophones.

  • abrasar (“burn”) vs. abrazar (“hug”)
  • Asia (“Asia”) vs. hacia (“towards”)

Question Mark

3. Gender and Number

Other typical Spanish language mistakes that foreign students make involve gender and number. In fact, native Spanish-speakers can easily identify non-native speakers, because these kinds of mistakes are very obvious and Spanish-learners make them all the time.

In Spanish, gender refers to whether a noun is masculine or feminine. For example, una mesa (“a table”) is feminine, while un vaso (“a glass”) is masculine.

Number refers to whether a noun is singular or plural; keep in mind that you must use the appropriate articles based on the number! For example, las mesas (“the tables”) is plural, while la mesa (“the table”) is singular.

How can you know what gender and number a noun is?

In terms of gender, feminine nouns generally end in -a or -e: puerta (“door”) / llave (“key”). On the other hand, masculine nouns generally end with -o: vaso (“glass”) / suelo (“floor”) / baño (“bathroom”). 

A noun’s article will give information on both its gender and number, in most cases. We’ll talk more about this in the following sections. 

1 – Plural vs. Singular (Is vs. Are)

Many students get confused about singular vs. plural nouns and their articles. In particular, the use of es and son (“is” and “are”) trips up new learners. 

To help you avoid Spanish mistakes like this, you should know the difference between a phrase in the plural and another in the singular. 

If a noun has an -S at the end and is also accompanied by son (“are”), it’s plural. On the other hand, if the noun does not carry an -S and is accompanied by es (“is”), it’s singular.

  • Las iglesias son grandes. (“The churches are big.”) O
    Las iglesias es grandes. (“The churches is big.”) X
  • Los edificios son altos. (“The buildings are tall.”) – Plural
  • El edificio es alto. (“The building is tall.”) – Singular

2 – Gender: Masculine vs. Feminine 

Remember: Nouns and their articles are always going to be masculine or feminine. Here’s a chart to help you differentiate between the articles and what they mean:

Singular M.Plural M.Singular F.Plural F.
El / “The”Los / “The”La / “The”Las / “The”
Un / “A”Unos / “Some”Una / “A”Unas / “Some”

Examples: 

  • La chica es muy inteligente. (“The girl is very intelligent.”) O
  • Una chica es muy inteligente. (“A girl is very intelligent.”) X
  •  Mi hermana compró un gran libro. (“My sister bought a great book.”) O
  • Mi hermana compró el gran libro. (“My sister bought the great book.”) X

Now let’s see the difference between singular masculine and feminine articles: 

  • El árbol está floreciendo. NOT La árbol está floreciendo.
    “The tree is flowered.”
  • La puerta está abierta. NOT El puerta está abierto.
    “The door is open.”

Word Exchange

4. Using Unnecessary Pronouns: You & I 

As a general rule, pronouns in English are indispensable. But this is not the case in Spanish. This is largely an advantage for foreign students, as it makes sentences much easier to write and speak.

For example:

  • (Tú) Comes mucho.
    “You eat a lot.”

However, many English-speakers, out of habit, construct their Spanish sentences using pronouns where they’re not needed. 

Of course, this mistake isn’t too serious. The worst that will happen is that native speakers may joke that you speak like a robot or, in more colloquial words, “speak as an Indian.”

Just try to remember that pronouns are generally irrelevant when speaking, since the verbs should already be conjugated to portray who you’re talking about.

  • Yo voy sacar el perro a pasear. (“I’m going to take the dog for a walk.”)
    = Voy a sacar el perro a pasear. (“[I’m] going to take the dog for a walk.”)
  • Tú necesitas descansar más. (“You need to rest more.”)
    = Necesitas descansar más. (“You need to rest more.”)

5. Prepositions 

“I go to your house by dinner with you.” 

Sounds weird, right? 

Maybe you’ve noticed similar mistakes when listening to native Spanish-speakers converse in English. But did you know that the reverse is also true? Many English-speakers use incorrect prepositions when speaking Spanish! 

In this section, we’ll pay special attention to two of the most commonly used prepositions in Spanish: por and para.

When to Use Them

Por is used to explain causation or motivation, while para is used to refer to the purpose of an action.

Many English-speakers struggle to differentiate between these two prepositions, and as a result, create very confusing sentences. 

For example, it’s not correct to say: Voy a tu casa por cenar contigo. Instead, you should say: Voy a tu casa para cenar contigo. (“I go to your house for dinner with you.”) In this case, you’re explaining that you’re going to the house for a specific reason, which is to have dinner.

Examples with por:

  • Vine a Madrid por mi trabajo.
    “I came to Madrid for my work.”
  • Voy de viaje por unos días.
    “I’m going on a trip for a few days.”

Examples with para:

  • Utilizo mi coche para ir a trabajar.
    “I use my car to go to work.”
  • Este regalo es para ti.
    “This gift is for you.”
  • El doctor recetó antibióticos para la infección.
    “The doctor prescribed antibiotics for the infection.”

6. Grammatical Mistakes

Many English-speakers struggle with Spanish grammar. 

To help you avoid making too many grammatical errors, we’re going to leave you some of the most common examples. By internalizing them, you’ll greatly boost your Spanish fluency!

Thinking Girl

Confusing Spanish Verbs: SER vs. ESTAR

If you’ve studied even a little Spanish, you probably know already that there are some aspects of Spanish grammar that are complicated for English-speakers because they don’t exist in English. 

One of them is the difference between ser and estar. In many cases, it can be easy to know which one to use. But there are certain situations where distinguishing between them is more difficult. 

With time and practice, you’ll see yourself making more and more progress, and better understanding these concepts.

Using ser:

Ser is used to describe permanent or long-lasting characteristics/states of being. 

For example:

  • El hombre es alto. (“The man is tall.”)

Using estar:

Estar is used to talk about location or temporary characteristics/states of being. 

For example:

  • Paris está en Francia. (“Paris is in France.”)

More examples:

Incorrect XCorrect OEnglish Sentence
Ella es dormida.                   Ella está dormida.“She is asleep.”        
Mi vecino está amable.  Mi vecino es amable.“My neighbor is kind.”     
La mujer está delgada.   La mujer es delgada. “The woman is thin.”        

“To like” vs. Gustar 

New learners often make mistakes in Spanish when using the verb gustar

Often, when translating the verb gustar into English, we give it the meaning “to like.” However, note that there are marked differences between the English “to like” and the Spanish gustar.

Take this sentence for example: 

  • Me gusta mucho la paella.
    “I like paella very much.”

Here, me gusta really means something along the lines of “it gives me pleasure.” In the example sentence, the paella gives the speaker pleasure, making the speaker the object of the sentence.

The mistake that some learners make is to use the Spanish pronoun yo (“I”) and treat themselves as the subject or doer. So they normally say:

Yo me gusto la paella mucho, which is incorrect. 

If you want to say that you like the paella, you have to omit the pronoun yo and only say: Me gusta la paella.

7. Word Order Mistakes 

English-speakers often make word order mistakes when learning Spanish. This usually happens for two reasons:

1) They directly translate English phrases into Spanish, word for word.

2) They believe that the first noun they hear is always the subject of the sentence.

Let’s see some examples.

  • Adjectives 

By now, you should know that in Spanish, the adjectives usually go after the subject: 

English Sentence       Incorrect Translation         Correct Translation
“That’s a red car.”Ese es un rojo coche.Ese es un coche rojo.
“The white door”La blanca puertaLa puerta blanca
“A large stadium”Un grande estadioUn estadio grande

  • The Effect of Word Order on the Sentence’s Meaning

In Spanish, the meaning of a sentence can be the same even if the word order is changed.

Example: 

  • Sarah le cantó una canción a Marco.
  • A  Marco le cantó una canción Sarah.  

In both sentences, Sarah sang the song. It doesn’t matter that Marco’s name came first in the second sentence.

8. Politeness Level

First things first, let’s talk about what this means in Spain vs. Latin America: In Spain, courtesy is less common than in Latin American countries.

Here’s an example of things you would hear in Spain:

  • ¿Me pone una caña, cuando pueda? (“Can I have a beer when you can?”)
  • ¿Tiene usted la hora? (“Do you have the time?”)

In Latin America, they use more formalities when speaking:

  • Hola, ¿me das una cerveza, por favor? (“Hello, can you give me a beer, please?”)
  • ¿Buenas tardes, me podría indicar esta dirección? (“Good afternoon, could you give me this address?”)

Tú vs. Usted

is used more with family and friends, while usted is used with people who are older than you and strangers. 

  • Speaking to Strangers / Older People

¿Me podría ayudar con esta dirección, please? (“Could you help me with this address, please?”)

  • Speaking to Family / Friends

¿Me dices la dirección? / ¿Dime la dirección? (“Can you tell me this address, please?”)


People Talking

9. The Most Common Embarrassing Mistakes

To end on a lighter note, here are some mistakes often made by Spanish-learners when they mis-speak a phrase. Pay close attention to avoid the potential embarrassment yourself! 

What you think you’re saying:What you’re saying in Spanish (Incorrect form)What you’re really saying:What you should say(Correct form)
“I’m hot.”Estoy caliente.“I have heat.”Tengo calor.
“I’m embarrassed.”Estoy embarazado (a).“I’m pregnant.”Tengo vergüenza.
“I’m excited.”Estoy excitado.“I’m horny.”Estoy emocionado (a).
“I’m 25 years old.”Tengo 25 anos.“I have 25 anuses.”Tengo 25 años.

10. To Sum Up…

In this article, you learned the nine most common Spanish mistakes. There are many others, but this list is a good place to start; by avoiding these issues, you’ll soon be able to speak with confidence. Believe me, you’ll feel great!

On SpanishPod101.com, you can also find lots of video and audio lessons related to this topic. We have everything you need to further your studies and to keep learning Spanish in a fresh and clear manner.

Before you go, let us know in the comments which common Spanish mistakes you’ve made before. Has our article helped clear up any confusion? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Top 10 Questions in Spanish and How to Answer Them

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Can you ask questions in Spanish yet? 

We’re sure you’re aware that to master any language, you can’t rely solely on affirmative sentences. You need to know how to ask questions, though some questions are more important than others. This is especially true for non-native speakers who are just starting out. Knowing the right questions can help you survive self-introductions, and others can get you out of sticky situations.  

The first thing you need to learn, if you haven’t yet, are Spanish question words. Knowing these words, as well as the most common questions in Spanish, you can start asking your own questions! You can find a list of Spanish question words in our article about pronouns.

Now, onto our list of Spanish questions and answers for beginners!

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  1. ¿Cómo te llamas? – “What’s your name?”
  2. ¿De dónde eres? – “Where are you from?”
  3. ¿Hablas español? – “Do you speak Spanish?”
  4. ¿Cuánto tiempo llevas estudiando español? – “How long have you been studying Spanish?”
  5. ¿Alguna vez has estado en España? – “Have you ever been in Spain?”
  6. ¿Cómo es…? – “How is…?”
  7. ¿Te gusta la comida española? – “Do you like Spanish food?”
  8. ¿Qué estás haciendo? – “What are you doing?”
  9. ¿Qué te pasa? – “What’s wrong?”
  10. ¿Cuánto cuesta? – “How much is it?”
  11. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

1. ¿Cómo te llamas? – “What’s your name?”

Our first question is one that you’ve probably heard before. The literal translation of this question would be something like “How are you called?” But while that might sound weird, you probably realize that this is just the classic question we ask to learn someone’s name. This question is very important, and usually one of the first ones you learn when you start studying Spanish.

First Encounter

Other Ways of Asking this Question

There’s another way to ask the same question, though it’s not as popular as the one above:

¿Cuál es tu nombre? 

This one doesn’t have a strange literal translation. Instead, it just means “Which is your name?” which makes it easier to explain, doesn’t it? Because it’s a near-literal translation of the English question, you might be tempted to use this one instead of ¿Cómo te llamas? But remember that the first one we showed you is more common, so you’ll sound more natural if you use that one.

How to Answer this Question

There are a few different ways of answering this question, and even though some are longer than others, they’re all equally valid. In this case, there’s no one answer that’s most common, except for maybe the last one, which is also the easiest. It’s your lucky day!

Example: Me llamo Francisco. 
Translation: “My name is Francisco.”

Example: Soy Ana.
Translation: “I’m Ana.”

Example: Juan.
Translation: “Juan.”

Something else you might find useful is how to follow your answer after someone has asked you your name. You can add ¿Y tú? (“And you?”) at the end if you would also like to know their name. 

If you’re curious about Spanish names, here’s an article from late 2018 that lists some common names in Spain

2. ¿De dónde eres? – “Where are you from?”

Here’s another one of the most basic Spanish questions that we commonly use when meeting someone for the first time.

Other Ways of Asking this Question

There’s another common way of asking this question, which we use in English as well.

Example: ¿De dónde vienes?
Translation: “Where do you come from?”

How to Answer this Question
Once again, there are different, equally valid answers we can give to a question like this. You can refer to your nationality or to your home country.

Example: Soy húngaro. 
Translation: “I am Hungarian.”

Example: Soy de Hungría.
Translation: “I am from Hungary.”

Example: Vengo de Hungría.
Translation: “I come from Hungary.”

3. ¿Hablas español? – “Do you speak Spanish?”

This is a question that you might be asked, or that you might ask, someday. Of course, you can change it to ask about any other language. For example, if you’re in Spain and you’re talking to someone in Spanish, but you’re not feeling too comfortable yet, you could ask them: ¿Hablas inglés? (“Do you speak English?”) and hope they say yes!

How to Answer this Question

There are a few different answers you could give someone who asks you this question.

There are the simple answers, which you probably already know:

Example: Sí.
Translation: “Yes.”

Example: No.
Translation: “No.”

There’s another simple alternative to “yes” or “no” in case you didn’t understand the question in the first place (which we could say is really another way of telling them you’re not too fluent yet):

Example: ¿Qué?
Translation: “What?”

And a few more elaborate answers:

Example: Un poco. / Un poquito.
Translation: “A bit.” / “A little bit.”

Example: Hablo [un poco] de español.
Translation: “I speak [a bit of] Spanish.”

4. ¿Cuánto tiempo llevas estudiando español? – “How long have you been studying Spanish?”

When you meet someone from Spain and tell them you study Spanish, they might ask how long you’ve been doing that for. 

How to Answer this Question

The answer you give (or that you’re given) will obviously vary, but you have two simple options. One is to just say the short answer:

Example: Un año.
Translation: “One year.”

While this will work just fine, we do have a slightly longer (no panicking, it’s just one extra word!) reply:

Example: Llevo tres meses.
Translation: “[I have been] for three months.”

Girl Studying

Notice that both the question and the “long” answer use the verb llevar. This verb usually means “to bring,” but it’s also used to talk about the amount of time you’ve been doing something for. Another example using this verb would be: Llevo dos años viviendo en Barcelona. (“I’ve been living in Barcelona for two years.”)

5. ¿Alguna vez has estado en España? – “Have you ever been in Spain?”

Following are some useful questions and answers for Spanish-learners who are traveling to a Spanish-speaking country or chatting with someone who’s familiar with Spain.

Other Ways of Asking this Question

Example: ¿Has ido alguna vez a España?
Translation: “Have you ever gone to Spain?”

Example: ¿Has estado en España?
Translation: “Have you been in Spain?”

Example: ¿Alguna vez has visitado España?
Translation: “Have you ever visited Spain?”

Or, a slight variation:

Example: ¿Es la primera vez que vienes a España?
Translation: “Is this the first time you’ve come to Spain?”

How to Answer this Question

This is another yes-or-no question, so we have a couple of obvious answers. However, there are a few more options, including longer answers, that you might like to use if you’re feeling confident enough.

Example: No, nunca he estado.
Translation: “No, I’ve never been there.”

Example: He estado en España dos veces.
Translation: “I’ve been in Spain twice.”

Introducing Yourself

6. ¿Cómo es…? – “How is…?”

This is a more open-ended question that you can alter based on your inquiry; it’s used to ask someone to describe something. In English, the translation will sometimes be something more like: “What’s ___ like?” Here are some examples:

Example: ¿Cómo es Granada en invierno?
Translation: “How is Granada in the winter?”

Example: ¿Cómo es el interior de una pelota?
Translation: “What is the inside of a ball like?”

How to Answer this Question

Because there are so many different questions one could ask, there are even more answers one could give. An example would be to use an adjective, but other times, the question might require a longer explanation.

Example: ¡Es maravilloso!
Translation: “It’s wonderful!”

7. ¿Te gusta la comida española? – “Do you like Spanish food?”

Spaniards are very, very proud of their cuisine. That means that if you’re visiting Spain (or have visited in the past), and you meet someone Spanish, it’s quite likely that they’ll ask you this. In case you’re wondering, they’re expecting you to tell them you love it.

Other Ways of Asking this Question

Here’s another common way to ask this question:

Example: ¿Qué te parece la comida española?
Translation: “What do you think about Spanish food?”

Spanish Omelette

How to Answer this Question

Example: ¡Me encanta! 
Translation: “I love it!”

Example: Me gusta mucho.
Translation: “I like it very much.”

We hope you never use it to answer this question, but we thought we should probably teach you how to say you don’t like it.

Example: No me gusta [nada].
Translation: “I don’t like it [at all].”

8. ¿Qué estás haciendo? – “What are you doing?”

This question is pretty clear, we think! It can be asked in different contexts and with different intentions, but in any case, we understand it.

Other Ways of Asking this Question

We have another similar way of asking this question:

Example: ¿Qué haces?
Translation: “What do you do?”

This is the literal translation, but it may also refer to what one is doing at the moment of asking the question.

How to Answer this Question

Obviously, there are many ways of answering this question, because there are many things you could be doing.

Example: Estoy limpiando mi habitación.
Translation: “I’m cleaning up my room.”

We don’t want to say anything, but in case you ever need it, we thought we’d give you the following example:

Example: No es lo que parece.
Translation: “It’s not what it looks like.”

9. ¿Qué te pasa? – “What’s wrong?”

Sometimes you might feel like someone is down or struggling. You need to know the right question to ask in order to help them out.

Other Ways of Asking this Question

While this version of the question doesn’t have exactly the same meaning, you could still ask it in a similar situation:

Example: ¿Estás bien?
Translation: “Are you okay?”

How to Answer this Question

You never know what reply you’re going to get, but there are a few answers you’re likely to hear. It’s also possible that the person you ask won’t want to give you a direct answer:

Example: Nada
Translation: “Nothing.”

Or maybe they’ll reply with an adjective, by telling you an emotion they’re feeling.

Example: Estoy enfadado/a. 
Translation: “I’m angry.”

Example: Estoy triste.
Translation: “I’m sad.”

Sad Girl with Friend

Perhaps they’ll really explain the reason something’s wrong:

Example: Mi hermana está muy enferma.
Translation: “My sister is very sick.”

10. ¿Cuánto cuesta? – “How much is it?”

If you want to go shopping in a Spanish-speaking country, but you can’t find the price tag, it will be useful to know these simple Spanish questions and answers.

Other Ways of Asking this Question

Example: ¿Cuánto es? 
Translation: “How much is it?”

How to Answer this Question

Example: Cuesta 400 €.
Translation: “It costs 400 €.”

Example: Son 3 €. 
Translation: “It’s 3 €.”

Paying on Card

11. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

We hope you found these common Spanish questions and answers useful, and that they inspire you to ask more questions and learn more in order to become fluent in Spanish. 

Are there any questions we missed? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help you out! 

Remember there’s a lot more that you can learn at SpanishPod101.com. Check out our great variety of lessons, our free vocabulary lists, and much more.

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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.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Spanish Table of Contents
  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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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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