Essential Principles To Spanish Grammar

Essential Principles To Spanish Grammar

When studying Spanish grammar, it’s always useful to be familiar with its main grammatical units. This constitutes the most important necessary step in order to understand and create meaningful speech.

Here are the main Spanish grammatical elements and a bit of useful info about them:

  • Nouns

A noun is a word which is usually used to refer to a person or a thing. All Spanish nouns have a gender, meaning that they are either masculine or feminine. For instance, “niño” (boy) is masculine and “niña” (girl) is feminine. The best way to recognize the gender is undoubtedly experience, although here are a few basic guidelines which may be useful at the beginning: usually nouns ending in “o” are masculine and nouns ending in “a” are feminine. Obviously there will always be exceptions.

For example, “mano” (hand) and “radio” (radio) are feminine. On the other hand, words of Greek origin ending in “ma”, like “dilema” (dilemma) or “problema” (problem) are masculine. While you are learning a foreign vocabulary, it is advisable that you learn a noun along with its corresponding article. That will allow you to remember their gender. For instance “la niña”, “la mano” or “el problema” and “el niño”.

  • Adjectives

Adjectives are used to qualify a particular noun, to state something about it. You must remember that in Spanish they are usually put after the noun. Since adjectives are always related to a noun, they have to agree with them in gender and number.

This means that if you want to say something about the noun “niño”, which is masculine and singular, the adjective that you use will also have to be masculine and singular. Therefore, you can say “niño alto” (tall boy), “niño pequeño” (small boy), etc. If, on the other hand, if you were talking about a girl, you’d have to say “niña alta” and “niña pequeña”.

  • Pronouns

Pronouns substitute nouns. For instance, you can say “la niña está aquí” (the girl is here) or “ella está aquí” (she is here). In this case “ella” is substituting for “la niña”. The subject pronouns in Spanish are “yo” (I), “tú/usted/vos” (singular you), él (he), ella (she), nosotros (we), vosotros/ustedes (plural you), ellos (they).

The singular and plural “you” are used differently depending on the dialect of Spanish that you’re using. It is very important to keep in mind that subject pronouns are frequently excluded in Spanish, mainly because the ending of the verb already indicates this. Thereby, Spanish natives would say “estoy aquí” (I’m here) rather than “yo estoy aquí”.

  • Verbs

Verbs indicate actions. Usually when you enumerate a verb, you use the infinitive, for instance “hablar” (to speak). In Spanish there are 3 different types of verbs, depending of how their infinitive ends. These different types are called conjugations.

Thereby, there are verbs ending in “ar”, like “hablar”, in “er” “comer” (to eat) and in “ir” “dormir” (to sleep). As mentioned earlier, verbs in Spanish have different endings based on who the subject of the action is. These endings will be different from one conjugation to the other. For instance, with the verb “hablar”, the singular “you” is “(tú) hablas”, on the other hand with “comer” it’s “(tú) comes”. This can obviously be complicated for beginners, but once you get used to it, you will have no problem communicating efficiently.