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Lesson Transcript

Welcome to Introduction to Spanish.
My name is Alisha and I'm joined by...
Hi everyone! I'm Lia.
In this lesson, you'll learn the basics of Spanish grammar.
Word Order &How to Form Basic Sentences
"Word Order" refers to the order in which words are structured to form a sentence in a given language.
Consider the English sentence "I read books."
If we breakdown the English sentence "I read books," we can see that the subject "I" is presented first, followed by the verb "read," and then finally the object "books" is positioned last.
The basic Word Order for English, then, is subject, verb, object, or SVO for short.
Now let's compare that same sentence, "I read books," in Spanish.
Yo leo libros.
If we break down the Spanish sentence, we get the subject Yo meaning "I," then comes the verb leo meaning "read," and finally we have the object libros meaning "books."
The word order for basic Spanish, then, is subject, verb, object, or SVO for short.
As you can see, the word order for sentences in Spanish is the same as that of English. This means that you can essentially swap out English words for Spanish words in an English sentence, to convert it to Spanish.
So imagine you wanted to say "I ate an apple," but in Spanish. Just swap out the words!
"I" in Spanish is Yo
"ate" in Spanish is comí
"an" is una
and "apple" is manzana
Altogether, it's "Yo comí una manzana."
So "I ate an apple" in Spanish is...
Yo comí una manzana.
You can form nearly all basic sentences in Spanish, just by following the SVO word order.
Omission of the Subject in Spanish
We just saw how easy it was to form basic sentences in Spanish and how similar it was to forming basic English sentences.
Luckily, it's actually even easier to form sentences in Spanish than it is in English!
That's because Spanish is much more flexible when it comes to word order compared to English.
Let's go back to the two examples we used earlier.
More often than not, if we wanted to say "I read books." and "I ate an apple." in Spanish, we would not usually say...
Yo leo libros.
Yo comí una manzana.
but instead, we would just say...
Leo libros.
Comí una manzana.
Notice how the subject, I, is omitted from the sentence. This is how most Spanish sentences are constructed and spoken in real life.
When it's clear who or what the subject is, most Spanish speakers would omit the subject altogether.
"Yo leo libros." and "Yo comí una manzana." would only be used if the subject is unclear OR if you wanted place a stronger emphasis on subject, as if to say I am the one who reads books or I was the one who ate the apple.
So, most of the time, we can actually express any simple action in Spanish with just two words! The verb and the object in Spanish!
How to Form Negative Sentences in Spanish
So far, we've only looked at affirmative sentences in Spanish.
But what if you wanted to make the sentence negative?
Well that's very easy as well.
All you have to do, is just add "no" before the verb and that's it!
So "I don't read books." would be...
No leo libros.
Same thing for "I didn't eat an apple.", just add "no" before the verb.
No comí una manzana.
And that's all there is to it!
How to Form Questions in Spanish
Once again, it's much simpler to form questions in Spanish than it is in English.
There's actually a variety of different methods of forming a question in Spanish. Let's go through some of them.
We'll seem a little strange if we ask our own selves a question in Spanish, so... let's introduce a new subject.
Let's go with Juan, a very typical Spanish name.
So instead of "I read books.", we now have "Juan reads books."
Juan lee libros.
The simplest way we can turn that statement into a question, is by just raising our intonation at the end of the sentence.
¿Juan lee libros? meaning, "Does Juan read books?"
In conversation, we just need to raise the intonation at the end to express that it's a question. In writing, however, we have to include the question mark at the end, just like in English. But unlike English, questions in Spanish are marked with an inverted question mark at the beginning of the question as well.
¿Juan lee libros?
Another simple way we can turn a statement into a question, is by adding a question tag at the end of a sentence. One question tag in English for example, is "right?". "Something something statement, right?" It works in exactly the same way in Spanish.
Juan lee libros, ¿no? meaning, "Juan reads books, doesn't he?"
The final way to make a sentence in Spanish, is to actually switch the verb and the subject. So statements in Spanish would normally be SVO, but to formulate a question, it'll be VSO. The verb and subject are switched.
¿Lee Juan libros? meaning, "Does Juan read books?"
All of these questions mean the same thing, but they are not completely identical. There are tiny nuances that go along with the method you use to formulate a question.
The first and last examples appear to have exactly the same meaning, but ¿Juan lee libros? places a greater emphasis on Juan because the subject appears first in the sentence. As opposed to ¿Lee Juan libros?, where the emphasis is on the verb.
As you can see, there are many ways to form basic questions in Spanish.
In this lesson, you learned about the word order of Spanish, how to form affirmative and negative sentences, about the omission of the subject, and how to form questions.
We've covered only the very basics of Spanish grammar. If you're interested in learning more, check out our "Spanish in 3 minutes" video series. In that course, we teach you useful phrases while covering the fundamentals of Spanish grammar, and each lesson is only 3 minutes long!
In the next lesson, we'll introduce you to the basics of Spanish Writing.
See you in the next lesson. Bye!


Please to leave a comment.
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SpanishPod101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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We've covered only the very *basics* of Spanish grammar. If you have any questions, leave a comment!

SpanishPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 08:30 PM
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Hola Rohit,

Thank you for your comment.

It depends, “Comí una manzana” if you already eat it and “como una manzana” if you are eating the apple right now.

Sigamos practicando!



Team SpanishPod101.com

Saturday at 06:34 PM
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Why have they use the 'comí una manzana' instead of 'como una manzana'?

Monday at 04:13 AM
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Hola Hanad,

Thank you for your comment.

It depends on the person used for the verb LEER.

First-person is "Yo leo" - I read.

Third-person is "El/Ella lee" - He /She reads.

We will consider your feedback on the quiz.

Sigamos practiando!



Team SpanishPod101.com

Friday at 05:14 AM
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Hola mi teachers , ❤️️

I watched the lesson and it's good.

but I've a some questions ,

- Why does leo became lee ?

- What is the meaning of Leo and Lee ?

- Why there is no quiz for this lesson as well there is no add to words bank :( .

Muchas Gracias

Monday at 09:49 PM
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Hi Elizabeth,

We're glad to hear that you liked the lesson.

We hope you'll enjoy the rest as well!



Team SpanishPod101.com

Monday at 01:21 PM
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This was very good and informative. Thanks so much.

Monday at 10:40 PM
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Hola Preston,

Please check out our "Spanish in 3-Minute Videos" series here:


In case of any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.



Team SpanishPod101.com

Monday at 01:10 AM
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How do I get to the “Spanish in 3 minutes” lessons? Thx

Sunday at 03:51 AM
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Hola Monica,

Thank you for your comment!

Yes is because of the subject.

Yo leo.

El lee.

Sigamos practicando!



Team SpanishPod101.com

Saturday at 11:24 AM
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Hola soy Monica from Bali

I am one of your subscribe

I want to ask why "leo" change to "Lee"?

Is it because the subject change??

Gracias 😀