As you realise when you learn Spanish, grammar is an essential component of every language, and Spanish is no different. Numerous parallels exist between Spanish grammar and those of other Romance languages, including many characteristics that are akin to English.
In this post, we’ll cover the best way to learn Spanish and the fundamentals of Spanish grammar. In addition, we’ll discuss some of the contrasts and parallels between Spanish and English grammatical rules.
1. General Guidelines
To begin, we’ll examine some of the parallels between Spanish and English.
a) Active verbs
Tenses and conjugations are used with Spanish verbs. While English has a few conjugations, Spanish, like any Romance language, has a plethora.
Having said that, the tenses are quite close to those in English. Nevertheless, there are tenses that exist in Spanish but are not stated in English.
In the next part, we’ll go over verbs in further detail.
b) Word sequence
Spanish follows the same fundamental word order paradigm as English: S + V + O (Subject + Verb + Object). There are some changes in adverb and adjective placement, but to construct a basic phrase, just follow the same sequence as in English.
Here’s an example of a short statement that is the word for word translated:
Example: Mi padre canta una canción.
Translation: “My father sings a song.”
Isn’t it simple?
c) Words and phrases
While vocabulary isn’t a grammatical component, we thought we’d cover it briefly since it has many parallels to English.
It’s fascinating to note that many words in both English and Spanish have the same origin. While English is not a Romance language, but rather a Germanic language, it has historically been heavily impacted by French and Latin.
Numerous terms appear similar in both English and Spanish, but we’ll just include a few:
We picked this term because there are hundreds of Spanish nouns that finish in the suffix -ación, which is equal to “-ation” in English. We could go on and on about información (“information”) and decoloración (“discolouration”).
This suffix is derived from Latin, which is why it is used in Spanish, English, and other languages. That explains why they are all so identical.
This second example has the same spelling as the first, but it’s pronounced differently. This is another example of a Latin term, which explains its resemblance to its Spanish version.
As previously stated, Spanish verbs have many more conjugations than English verbs. While English verb conjugations can be counted on one hand, Spanish verbs have a separate conjugation for each person in the single and plural forms, in all tenses and moods. Every individual in all verb conjugations has the same stem but a distinct finish. Consider how the word comer (“to eat”) might be conjugated:
Yo como → “I eat”
Tú comes → “You eat”
Él/ella come → “He/she eats”
Nosotros/as comemos → “We eat”
Vosotros/as coméis → “You eat” (plural)
Ellos/as comen → “They (masculine / feminine) eat”
Spanish, like English, contains regular and irregular verbs. English verb irregularities, on the other hand, are most visible in the past and participle forms.
Because verbs must be conjugated for each person in Spanish, these inconsistencies become much more noticeable.
Speaking about irregular verbs, there are two in Spanish that we must not overlook: ser and estar. If you’re fluent in Spanish, you may understand what we’re saying. In case you don’t know, ser and estar both mean “to be,” and you must use the appropriate one depending on the situation.
Example: Soy español.
Translation: “I’m Spanish.”
Example: Estoy triste.
Translation: “I’m sad.”
In the first example (with ser), we establish a permanent reality, which is that I am Spanish. In the second case (with estar), we are referring to something transient. Usually, when we say we’re sad, like in the example, we imply that we’re unhappy at the moment or for a short period, but not forever.
The fundamental distinction between Spanish nouns and English nouns is that Spanish nouns have grammatical gender, which is divided into masculine and feminine (we will dedicate another entry to the gender of nouns as there is a lot to say about this). We call this heteronimia.
We’ll give you an example of each gender’s noun:
el horno (“the oven”) is masculine
la nevera (“the fridge”) is feminine
You may be asking what distinguishes an oven from a refrigerator. Nothing. Everything is based on etymology and the development of the language.
Most words need you to remember their gender as well as their meaning. There are certain nouns, though, that have apparent genders. Una mujer (“a lady”), for example, is a feminine term, but un hombre (“a man”) is unmistakably masculine.
We do have a quick trick to assist you to decide whether a word is masculine or feminine: Masculine words nearly always finish in a -o, whereas feminine terms almost always end in a -a. This advice isn’t perfect, but it will assist you in the great majority of cases.
There are a few fundamental things you should know about adjectives in Spanish. To begin with, adjectives must always coincide in gender and number with the noun they follow. We’ll use the adjective negro (“black”) as an example:
Masculine Singular – Coche negro (“Black car”)
Masculine Plural – Coches negros (“Black cars”)
Feminine Singular – Casa negra (“Black house”)
Feminine Plural – Casas negras (“Black houses”)
You may have noticed that the noun was put before the adjective in these cases. Most adjectives in Spanish are put after the noun in this manner, with a few exceptions.
Today, we’ll go over the basics of Spanish negation. What you need to know is that basic negative sentences in Spanish are formed by inserting the word no before the verb. Here are only a few 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.”
While the adverb in the previous example was in a different position than in English, the negative word stayed in the same place in both versions: between the subject (unless removed in Spanish) and the verb.
So this is all about Spanish grammar for beginners.
Tell us in the comments which component of the Spanish language is the most challenging for you. We look forward to hearing from you and will do all we can to assist you.
Meanwhile, you can practise your Spanish grammar on iScribo, the best way to learn Spanish.