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HomeLanguage Learning18 Important Spanish Grammar Guidelines Each Learner Must Know (Plus Examples)

18 Important Spanish Grammar Guidelines Each Learner Must Know (Plus Examples)

spanish grammar rules

Does Spanish grammar make you sweat?

Do you need to assemble and perceive native-sounding sentences?

If that’s the case, I’m right here to assist!

On this information, you’ll discover 18 important Spanish grammar guidelines, masking all the pieces from Spanish gender and pluralization to condemn construction and verbs!


1. Female and Masculine Nouns

Nouns in Spanish are both female or masculine. We use the article el
for masculine nouns
and la
 for female nouns

That is straightforward relating to folks and dwelling creatures. You’d name a male professor el profesor
and a feminine one, la profesora
for instance. You name a male cat el gato
and a feminine one, la gata

However what about automobiles, books, tables and chairs? How do we all know in the event that they’re masculine or female?

Reply: Have a look at the final letter of the phrase. 

Typically (however positively not all!) female and masculine phrases have particular endings. Let’s check out them:

Female phrase endings:

Masculine phrase endings:

As you in all probability guessed, although, there are (fairly a number of) exceptions to those guidelines, however they’re nonetheless correct sufficient to make the precise guess round 70% of the time. You’ll be able to discover this idea additional with these guides on Spanish gender guidelines and indefinite and particular articles.

2. Noun Pluralization

Like English, making nouns plural in Spanish is easy—you merely want to alter two issues: change el to los
or la to las
, then change the noun to its plural type in accordance with these guidelines:

After familiarizing your self with these examples, bookmark our information on Spanish pluralization to spice up your confidence on this straightforward topic much more.

3. Adjective Gender and Pluralization

Adjectives describe nouns, and in Spanish, they need to match their nouns in each quantity and gender.

If the noun is female and singular, then the adjective ought to be female and singular. If the noun is masculine and plural, then the adjective ought to be masculine and plural. Catch the drift?

Take the adjective rojo (crimson) for example. Discover how the adjective modifications because it follows the gender and variety of its goal noun:

El libro rojo
— The crimson ebook (masculine, singular)

Las manzanas rojas
— The crimson apples (female, plural)

Gender and pluralization settlement is step one, however to grasp adjectives utterly (corresponding to understanding the place they arrive in a sentence), take a look at this full information on Spanish adjectives.

4. Utilizing Tú vs. Usted

Not like English, Spanish conjugates verbs in accordance with degree of ritual. There are two second-person pronouns:
and usted
. They each imply “you,” however  is casual and usted is formal.

You’d use in informal conditions, like speaking to pals, household, folks youthful than you, folks with the identical social standing as you (corresponding to coworkers) and the like.

Usted is utilized in formal conditions corresponding to enterprise conferences, job interviews, assembly somebody for the primary time and folks of authority.

As a result of there are two totally different pronouns, verbs are conjugated in a different way relying on which is used.

Usted follows the identical conjugation guidelines as ella and él, whereas  has its personal.

For instance:

For those who’re nonetheless not 100% assured in your capability to find out which pronoun to make use of, you’ll discover this information on tú and usted useful.

In the long run, understanding which pronoun to make use of is extraordinarily context-dependent. Which suggests the extra you immerse your self in Spanish, the better it’ll get. It may be nerve-wracking in real-life eventualities, however that is why I all the time suggest consuming a hefty quantity of native Spanish media from dwelling.

You are able to do this simply with a language studying program like FluentU.

5. Ser vs. Estar

Not like in English, in Spanish there are two methods of claiming “to be”: ser
and estar

Not solely are these each irregular verbs, however utilizing one as an alternative of the opposite can drastically change the that means of a sentence. So how have you learnt which to make use of when?

Ser is used to establish or describe folks and issues. As such, you’ll use it when speaking about jobs, nationality, belonging and extra.

For instance:

Nosotros somos muy guapos.
— We are very good-looking.

Soy camarero.
I am a waiter.

Mi primo es de Venezuela.
— My cousin is from Venezuela.

However, estar is used while you need to specific location, emotions and states/situations (one thing short-term). Like in these sentences:

Estoy en la escuela.
— I am at college.

Ellos están cansados.
— They are drained.

Generally, adjectives can be utilized with each ser and estar. The distinction is that when used with estar it’s extra short-term, and with ser, extra secure.

Right here’s a number of a few of the most vital ones:

6. Spanish Contractions

Spanish contractions mix phrases to make speaking simpler, smoother and sooner. Consider the English phrases “it’s,” “wasn’t” and “they’re.”

Thus, utilizing them in your individual sentences will make you sound extra like a local, and studying them will provide help to perceive pure Spanish conversations and media!

There are two important contractions in Spanish: al
and del

el al

De + el del

For instance:

Juan subió al tren.
— Juan received on the practice.

Es el carro del vecino.
— It’s the neighbor’s automobile.

These sentences are a lot simpler to say than if the contractions weren’t used (a el tren and de el vecino).

When you’ve received a grip on these, study and observe extra by studying this information on Spanish contractions.

7. Spanish Conjunctions

Conjunctions hyperlink different phrases, phrases and clauses collectively.

In Spanish, the 2 most vital conjunctions to know as a newbie are y
(and) and o

Generally, you’ll see these phrases change barely.

  • If y is adopted by a phrase that begins with or seems like i, then y modifications to e
    For instance:

Padre y hijo Padre e hijo
(father and son)

Merciless y inhumano Merciless e inhumano
(merciless and inhumane)

Attempt announcing them with out the conjunction modifications, and also you’ll perceive why native audio system correctly modified the y to e!

  • If o is adopted by a phrase that begins with or seems like o, it turns into u

Sujeto o objeto Sujeto u objeto
(topic or object)

Ayer o hoy Ayer u hoy
(yesterday or as we speak)

There are additionally a handful of different conjunctions, corresponding to porque
(as a result of) and como
(as/as a result of), that are helpful to know. So when you’re snug with y and o, study the remainder with this publish on Spanish conjunctions.

8. Por vs. Para

Basically, prepositions are straightforward to know in Spanish as a result of they virtually work in the identical manner in English. Nonetheless, two Spanish prepositions are simply confused since they each imply “for” in English: por
and para

Listed here are some pointers to keep away from complicated these phrases:

Use por for the next functions:

Use para for the next functions:

There’s far more to por and para than what I’ve lined right here—corresponding to a listing of phrases that tackle their very own meanings when por or para proceeds them. You’ll be able to learn extra about utilizing por vs. para right here.

9. Spanish Sentence Construction

Spanish makes use of the topic—verb—object (SVO) sample, similar to English.

For instance, the phrase “She reads a ebook” in Spanish is Ella lee un libro. The topic (ella) comes first, the verb (leer) comes second and the item (libro) is final.

As you attain upper-beginner and intermediate ranges, although, you’ll begin to see the occasional verb-subject sample. For instance, these sentences all imply “Juanita works at dwelling”:

Juanita trabaja en casa.

Trabaja Juanita en casa.

En casa trabaja Juanita.

Trabaja en casa Juanita.

One other vital phrase order rule to know is that adjectives come after the item. For instance:

El vestido rojo.
— The crimson gown.

El país grande.
— The huge nation.

La chica guapa.
— The handsome woman.

If you’re able to dive deeper, right here’s a bookmark-worthy information on Spanish sentence construction that’ll take you to the following degree.

10. Spanish Verb Conjugation

There are three sorts of verbs in Spanish, every grouped in accordance with their endings:

The verb examples you simply noticed are of their infinitive type—they finish in r and their endings haven’t modified.

However when utilizing verbs in a sentence, you’ll most definitely have to conjugate it—this implies you’ll have to take off the ending (-ar, -er or -ir) and substitute it with one other.

Which ending you select will depend on the pronoun that comes earlier than the verb (yo, tú, él/ella/usted, nosotros, vosotros or ellos/ellas/ustedes) and the tense.

For now, I’ll deal with the current tense. Listed here are the corresponding endings for every pronoun:

-ar verbs -er verbs -ir verbs
Yo -o -o -o
-as -es -es
Él/ella/usted -a -e -e
Nosotros -amos -emos -imos
Vosotros -áis -éis -ís
Ellos/ellas/ustedes -an -en -en

You’ll be able to see that the endings for -er and –ir verbs are totally different to endings for verbs that finish in -ar. However the excellent news is, they’re virtually an identical to one another other than the nosotros and vosotros varieties.

To see these conjugations in motion, let’s have a look at the verb hablar (to speak) and see the way it modifications primarily based on the pronoun:

Now let’s see what some -er and -ir verbs seem like when conjugated, utilizing aprender (to study) and vivir (to dwell) as examples:

After all, there’s far more to Spanish verbs than this temporary rundown. Many tenses are newbie and intermediate-friendly, whereas others you received’t study till you attain superior Spanish grammar.

However now that the current tense and the topic pronouns, take a look at this in-depth publish on the way to conjugate Spanish verbs while you’re prepared to overcome the following.

11. Asking Questions in Spanish

To show a press release right into a query in Spanish is fairly easy: You’ll be able to both finish the sentence with a questioning tone or place the pronoun after the verb.

For instance:

¿ puedes ayudarme?
— Are you able to assist me?
¿Puedes ayudarme?
— Are you able to assist me?

¿Ella baila bien?
— Does she dance effectively?
¿Baila ella bien?
— Does she dance effectively?

We additionally use Spanish query phrases (also called the interrogative pronouns) to seek out out particular info. These are:

For the complete rundown, take a look at this information to Spanish query phrases.

12. Direct and Oblique Object Pronouns

Utilizing direct and oblique pronouns alone is kind of simple.

The direct object pronoun replaces the direct object, and solutions the questions “who” and “what.”

Whereas the oblique object pronoun replaces the oblique object and solutions the questions “to whom” and “for whom.”

Earlier than some examples, let’s meet the item pronouns.

Private Pronoun Direct Object Pronoun
Yo Me
Él/usted (m) Lo
Ella/usted (f) La
Nosotros Nos
Vosotros Os
Ellos/ustedes (m) Los
Ellas/ustedes (f) Las

Private Pronoun Oblique Object Pronoun
Yo Me
Él/ella/usted Le
Nosotros Nos
Vosotros Os
Ellos/ellas/ustedes Les

Now let’s have a look at the next sentence:

Antonio envía cartas.
— Antonio sends letters.

If we ask “What does Antonio ship?” the reply is cartas. Thus, cartas (or, “letters”) is the direct object.

In accordance with the desk above, the direct object pronoun for the third particular person female plural is las. So if you wish to say “Antonio sends them” as an alternative of “Antonio sends letters,” you’d substitute cartas with las, like this:

Antonio las envía.
— Antonio sends them.

Now think about the next sentence:

Antonio envía cartas a María.
— Antonio sends letters to María.

To whom does Antonio ship letters? To María (a María).

María is your oblique object, which in accordance with the desk shall be substituted by le (third particular person female singular):

Antonio le envía cartas.
— Antonio sends letters to her.

There are a number of particular guidelines for utilizing direct and oblique object pronouns, however when you’ve practiced, they’ll roll off your tongue naturally.

After familiarizing your self with these examples, take a look at these guides on direct and oblique object pronouns in Spanish to take it up a notch!

13. Conjugating Gustar (To Like)

The verb gustar
 (to love) could be difficult for some Spanish learners as a result of it requires using an oblique object pronoun and isn’t conjugated like most verbs.

As a substitute of conjugating gustar in accordance with the pronoun, you’ll connect the proper oblique object pronoun on the entrance.

The fundamental formulation is:

Me/te/le/nos/os/lesgusta/gustan + object

If the item is singular, use gusta
. If it’s plural, use gustan

For instance:

Me gustan los perros.
— I like canine.

A él le gustan las películas españolas.
— He likes Spanish motion pictures.

Me gusta esta camisa.
— I like this shirt.

Te gusta aprender español.
— You want studying Spanish.

Try this publish on the verb gustar when you’ve received down the fundamentals.

14. Verbs of Change

Los verbos de cambio—or verbs of change—is a bunch of verbs that imply one thing like “to turn into.”

Every ought to be utilized in a particular context, although. An important are:

  • Ponerse
    Used for involuntary, uncontrollable reactions

Me pongo nervioso.
— I get nervous.

  • Volverse
    Used for sudden and profound modifications, typically destructive

Él se vuelve loco.
— He goes loopy/goes loopy.

  • Hacerse
     Used for modifications which were completed thanks to 1’s personal effort and for ideological decisions

Se ha hecho rico.
— He has turn into wealthy.

Se ha hecho judío.
— He has turn into a Jew.

  • Quedarse
    Used primarily for bodily illnesses and life-changing occasions

Mi amigo se ha quedado sordo.
— My buddy went utterly deaf.

María se ha quedado embarazada.
— María has gotten pregnant.

15. The Imperfect vs. Preterite Tense

As it’s possible you’ll already know, there are two easy previous tenses in Spanish: the imperfect and the preterite.

The excellent news is that the imperfect is kind of straightforward to study. The dangerous information is that the preterite can provide you a headache generally, particularly if you happen to’re coping with irregular verbs.

Usually, use the preterite when speaking about accomplished actions that began and completed up to now.

You’ll usually have a particular starting and finish of the motion, though they don’t essentially want to seem within the sentence. For instance:

El niño se comió una manzana.
— The boy ate an apple.

Ayer yo visité a mi abuela.
— I visited my grandma yesterday.

However, use the imperfect when the motion was not accomplished, was repeated or was ordinary.

A cool trick is to assume any time you’d say “I/you/he/and many others. used to…” in English, you’d use the imperfect tense in Spanish.

Let’s have a look at two examples:

El niño se comía una manzana.
— The boy was consuming an apple.

De pequeño, visitaba a mi abuela cada domingo.
— I used to go to grandma each Sunday after I was a toddler.

You could find out extra about these two tenses with this full information on the preterite and imperfect.

16. Irregular Spanish Verbs

Spanish irregular verbs are verbs which don’t comply with the usual conjugation patterns.

Examples embrace phrases like tengo (I’ve), conozco (I do know somebody), hago (I do) and extra.

Typically solely the primary particular person singular is irregular, making them pretty straightforward to memorize. However a number of—I’m you, ser and estar—take totally different varieties for all of the pronouns (yo, tú, él/ella/usted, nosotros, vosotros, ellos/ellas/ustedes).

Listed here are a number of examples of widespread irregular verbs in Spanish:

After you’ve discovered these, take a look at this in-depth information on irregular verbs to grasp them totally.

17. Reflexive Verbs

A verb is reflexive when the topic is doing one thing to itself—corresponding to showering, washing, stress-free, going to mattress, placing on garments, and many others.

You already know a verb is reflexive when an oblique pronoun is both connected to it or in entrance of it.

As a refresher, the oblique pronouns are:

  • Me (as an alternative of yo)
  • Te (as an alternative of )
  • Se (as an alternative of él/ella/usted and ellos/ellas/ustedes)
  • Nos (as an alternative of nosotros)
  • Os (as an alternative of vosotros)

Check out these widespread Spanish reflexive verbs and the way they’re utilized in sentences:

18. Stem-changing Verbs

Spanish stem-changing verbs additionally don’t comply with the everyday conjugation guidelines. They’re not the identical as irregular verbs, although—as an alternative, one or two letters within the stem change when conjugated.

Most verb modifications apply to the yo, tú, él/ella/usted and ellos/ellas/ustedes varieties, and there are three important varieties:

  • eie
  • ei
  • oue

For instance, the verb empezar
 (to begin) is an e → ie stem-changing verb, repetir
(to repeat) is e → i and poder
(to have the ability to) is o → ue.

Check out how these stem-changing verbs are conjugated within the current tense:


And now you’re able to go!

There could also be occasions while you really feel misplaced when learning Spanish grammar phrases (which is pure!), however with these 18 easy guidelines, you’ll be effectively in your strategy to native-sounding Spanish.

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For those who’ve made it this far which means you in all probability get pleasure from studying Spanish with participating materials and
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