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English to Spanish Grammar
Before learning Spanish grammar we first need to understand English grammar so we can compare and relate the rules back to something we understand.
The English to Spanish grammar information below will give the examples of Spanish grammar rules and the relating English equivalents.
Spanish Rules of Stress1
Words ending in a vowel or the consonants n or s have stress on the second from last syllable. These are called palabras graves: ca-ba-llo (horse), e-xa-men (exam), e-llos (they).2
Words ending in a consonant other than n or s have stress on the last syllable and are called palabras agudas: doc-tor (doctor), es-pa-ñol (Spanish), fe-li-ci-dad (happiness).3
When a word does not conform to either of the previously mentioned rule, a written accent indicates where the stress falls: ca-fé (coffee), ár-bol (tree), e-xá-me-nes (exams); words with stress on the third from last syllable are called palabras esdrújulas.4
A written accent is also used to distinguish between two words with the same spelling but different meaning, such as tú (you) and tu (your) and que (that/who) and qué (what).
A single vowel sound, with or without accompanying consonants, makes up a syllable.
Diphthongs and triphthongs blend to make a single vowel sound and cannot be divided.
A diphthong combines a strong vowel (a, e, o) and a weak vowel (i,u): ai-re (air), es-tu-dian-te (student); two weak vowels can also form a diphthong: ciu-dad (city), rui-do (noise).2
A triphthong consists of a strong vowel between two weak ones: con-ti-nuáís (you continue).3
Two strong vowels do not form a diphthong and are separated into two syllables: em-ple-o (job), re-a-li-dad (reality).4
A written accent on a weak vowel breaks a diphthong, separating it into two syllables: re-ú-ne (meet), dí-a (day).5
A single consonant forms a syllable with the vowel (or a single vowel sound in the case of a diphthong or triphthong) that follows it: mu-ñe-ca (doll), paí-sa-je (landscape).6
The digraphs ch, ll, and rr represent a single sound and cannot be separated: mu-cha-cho (boy), se-mi-lla (seed), pe-rro (dog).7
When two consonants come between two vowels, the first consonant goes with the preceding vowel and the second consonant goes with the following vowel: mar-tes (Tuesday), dia-man-te (diamond).
Exception: When b, c, d, f, g, p or t is followed by l or r, both consonants go with the following vowel: ro-ble (oak tree), a-pren-der (to learn).8
When three consonants come between two vowels, the first two consonants go with the preceding vowel and the third consonant goes with the following vowel: ins-ti-tu-to (institute), trans-fe-rir (to transfer).
Exception: When b, c, d, f, g, p or t is followed by l or r, only the first consonant goes with the preceding vowel; the last two consonants go with the following vowel: hom-bre (hombre = man), In-gla-te-rra (Inglaterra = England).
Demonstratives: This, that, these and those
We use demonstratives in English to Spanish to express how far a way a noun is in relation to the speaker in regards to distance or time. For example, "This is an old chair" or "That day we got lost in the woods".
In Spanish, demonstratives can be either masculine, feminine or neutral.
|The gender of the demonstrative||This||That||That (over there)|
|The gender of the demonstrative||These||Those||Those (over there)|
It's worth noting, there is no real masculine version in plural. Just use the neutral version.
This, that, these, those are used as we would in English. When the object is within reach use "este/esta" or "estos/estas" making sure to change the gender depending on the noun. When the object is out of reach use "ese/esa" or "esos/esas".
Although there is no direct equivalent for "aquel" reference it as "back when", "beyond" or "over there".
"Look at those boats over there." = "Mira aquellos barcos".
"That day, I walked in the woods." = "Aquel día, caminé por el bosque".
Demonstratives as pronouns
When we use a demonstrative in place of a noun the first "e" wears an accent. as an example:
"Would you like this one or that one?" = "¿Te gustaría éste o aquél?".
"I prefer these ones to those ones" = "Prefiero éstos que aquéllos".
Some people say Spanish is obsessed with plurals. We expect adjectives to be made plural but in Spanish a possessive is also plural.
Take note that the same possessive "su" is used for "his", "her", "it's" and "their". For example, in the sentence "his sister is called Sofia" = "su hermana se llama Sofía" we could be refering to "his", "her" or "their".
|English to Spanish||Singular||Plural|
|our||nuestro/ a||nuestros/ as|
|your (plural)||vuestro/ a||vuestros/ as|
We must remember "nuestro/ a" and "vuestro/ a" are dependent on the gender of the noun.
"our house smells clean" = "nuestra casa huele a limpio". Casa (house) is feminine so we use nuestra.
"your food is good" = "vuestra comida está buena". Comida (food) is feminine so we use vuestra.
"our village is quite" = "nuestro pueblo es bastante". Pueblo (village) is masculine so we use nuestro.
"your brother is clever" = "vuestro hermano es listo". Hermano (brother) is masculine so we use vuestro.
When asking a possessive question in English we use the interrogative pronoun "whose". The Spanish equivalent is "de quién".
"whose coat is this?" = "¿de quién es este abrigo?".
These are used to reorder a possessive sentence. The table below shows the English possessive pronouns and the equivalent singular and plural Spanish words.
"The cake is mine" = "El pastel es mío".
Note: the masculine / feminine versions of each possessive pronoun.
|English to Spanish||Singular||Plural|
|mine||mío (m) / mía (f)||míos (m) / mías (f)|
|your/s||tuyo (m) / tuya (f)||tuyos (m) / tuyas (f)|
|his||suyo (m) / suya (f)||suyos (m) / suyas (f)|
|hers||suyo (m) / suya (f)||suyos (m) / suyas (f)|
|ours||nuestro (m) / nuestra (f)||nuestros (m) / nuestras (f)|
|yours (vosotros, only used around Spain)||vuestro (m) / vuestra (f)||vuestros (m) / vuestras (f)|
|theirs/yours (usted, used in formal conversations)||suyo (m) / suya (f)||suyos (m) / suyas (f)|
Possessive pronouns are plural when speaking about more than one object.
Take note: the gender of a possessive pronoun changes to the gender of the object, not the gender of the owner of the object.
"The cakes are ours" = "Los pasteles son nuestros". Pasteles is masculine so we use the masculine plural for the Spanish equivalent of "ours" (nuestros).
"The apples are yours" = "Las manzanas son tuyas". Manzanas is feminine so we use the feminine plural for the Spanish equivalent of "yours" (tuyas).
The table below shows the subject pronouns found in the Spanish language.
The verb in its basic form, such as vivir (to live), hablar (to spaek) and comer (to eat).
The first portion of the verb is called the stem or the radical. An example would be habl-, com-, and viv-.