5 Spanish Grammar Rules That You Can Never Forget as a Beginner
Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, and it’s no wonder why. With its rich history and culture, learning Spanish is an excellent way to expand your horizons and connect with people from different backgrounds. However, the language can be tricky to master, especially when it comes to its many grammar rules.
In this manner, especially as a beginner in Spanish, it’s important to get a strong foundation in grammar, and it’s important to master some basic grammar rules that will help you communicate effectively and avoid common mistakes. Therefore, here we present you five essential Spanish grammar rules that you can never forget as a beginner.
Nouns and articles agreement:
In Spanish, every noun has a gender (masculine or feminine) and a number (singular or plural). The gender of a noun determines the form of the articles (el for masculine, la for feminine), which are necessary to use before the noun in most cases. Don’t forget to adjust the article’s form for singular or plural nouns.
Additionally, let’s remember that you need to use the correct article (el, la, los, las) before the noun, depending on its gender and number. For example, “el libro” (the book) is masculine and singular, while “las mesas” (the tables) is feminine and plural.
Like nouns, adjectives must agree in gender and number with the noun they modify. For example, “el perro negro” means “the male black dog,” while “la gata negra” means “the female black cat.” The plural form of each would be “los perros negros” and “las gatas negras”.
The typical order of words is article + adjective + noun, however, as to every rule, there are exceptions, thus there are some adjectives that come before the noun and change the meaning, e.g. un simple escritor -simple writer- and un escritor simple -humble writer-.
As beginners, we tend to forget that in Spanish, every person has a different conjugation. The verb in a sentence must agree with the subject in person (first, second, third) and number (singular or plural). That means you need to use different verb endings for each combination of person and number. For example, “yo hablo español” (I speak Spanish); “tú hablas español” (you speak Spanish) uses the verb form for second person singular; and while “nosotros hablamos español” (we speak Spanish) uses the verb form for first person plural.
Don’t forget that, unlike in English, the subject can be implied, and the verb form changes accordingly.
In every language, prepositions are small words that indicate the relationship between two elements in a sentence. In Spanish, we have many prepositions that can change the meaning depending on the words they refer to, so always remember to use the correct preposition for the context, and remember that some prepositions require different forms in different situations, though you don’t have to worry about number or gender agreement with prepositions. Some common prepositions in Spanish are “a” (to), “de” (of), and “en” (in).
Moreover, prepositions can be tricky as they often don’t directly translate to their English counterparts. For example, “en” can mean “in”, “at” or “on” depending on the context. Also, the famous “por” and “para” that are both translated into “for” or “to”, however, in general terms, por indicates reason “Trabajo por dinero” (I work for the money) and para indicates purpose “Trabajo para pagar las cuentas” (I work to pay the bills).
As beginners, it’s important to practice using prepositions in context to become more familiar with them and learn the correct preposition to use with each verb or phrase to avoid misunderstandings.
Difference between verbs Ser vs. Estar:
Ser and Estar both mean “to be” in English, but they are used in different contexts. Ser is used for permanent states, characteristics, and origins, while Estar is used for temporary states, feelings, and locations. For example, “Soy de México” (I am from Mexico) uses Ser for origin, while “Estoy enfermo” (I am sick) uses Estar for a temporary state.
Other examples: “Soy alta” (I am tall) uses the verb ser because it’s a characteristic a describes my appearance, while “Estoy cansado” (I am tired) uses the verb estar, because I can be tired now but later, after some rest I may not be tired anymore.
By mastering these essential five grammar rules, beginners can build a strong foundation for learning Spanish. Practice and repetition are key, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes and practice daily with your WorldsAcross tutors, we’re here to help you master Spanish faster and more effectively.