A Beginner’s Guide to Learning Spanish

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Learning a new language opens doors to endless possibilities, and Spanish is a fantastic choice for beginner learners. On your journey to master Spanish, understanding the basics is crucial.

While grammar may seem intimidating at first, it serves as the foundation for effective communication and enables you to express your thoughts with clarity and precision.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the fundamental elements of Spanish grammar, and break them down to help you build a strong linguistic framework.

From pronouns and verb conjugation to noun gender and prepositions, we will cover the essential aspects that will set you on the path to Spanish fluency.

Whether you're starting from scratch or seeking to reinforce your existing knowledge, this article will provide you with the tools necessary to navigate the complexities of Spanish grammar with confidence.

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Beginner adjectives in Spanish

Adjectives are essential. They describe nouns and add details to your sentences.

They must agree in gender and number with the nouns they modify. Meaning that the endings of adjectives change depending on whether the noun they describe is masculine or feminine, singular or plural.

Agreement in gender and number

Most adjectives have a gendered termination, usually -o for masculine and -a for feminine. For example, “alto” (tall - masc.), “doblada” (bent - fem.), “feo” (ugly - masc.), “bella” (beautiful - fem.), and “bueno” (good - masc.).

Though there are exceptions that are invariable and end in -e, -i or -l. For instance, “grande” (big), “cursi” (corny), “fácil” (easy).

Likewise, to make an adjective plural, you add -s or -es to the appropriate gender form. So, “alto” becomes “altos,” “grande” becomes “grandes,” and “fácil” becomes “fáciles.”

When an adjective is used to describe multiple nouns of different genders, it takes the masculine plural form. For example, “Los libros y las revistas son buenos” (The books and the magazines are good).

Superlative adjectives

Superlative adjectives in Spanish are used to express the highest or extreme degree of a quality or characteristic.

The superlativo absoluto (absolute superlative) is used in Spanish to express the highest degree of quality without comparison: For adjectives ending in a vowel, the suffix "-ísimo/a/os/as" is added to the end of the adjective to form the superlative, replacing that last vowel. For example, "grande" becomes "grandísimo/a" (very big) and "alto" becomes "altísimo/a" (very tall). Another suffix used in Spanish to form the superlative is “-érrimo”.

If the adjective ends in a consonant, the suffix "-ísimo/a" is simply added after it. For example, "difícil" becomes "dificilísimo/a" (very difficult) and "feliz" becomes "felicísimo/a" (very happy).

On the other hand, the superlativo relativo (relative superlative) is used in Spanish to compare a thing or person with a group of similar things, to say that it is the most or least of its kind within the group. It is formed by adding "el/la/los/las más" before the adjective. For example, el más guapo (the most handsome - masc. singular), la más bella (the most beautiful - fem. singular), los más inteligentes, (the most intelligent - masc. plural), las más educadas (the most polite - fem. plural).

There are adjectives whose superlative is a completely different word, although they can also alternate with the more colloquial form ending in -ísimo. Look at the examples below.

  • bueno (good) becomes óptimo or buenísimo (the best)
  • malo (bad) becomes pésimo or malísimo (the worst)
  • pequeño (small) becomes mínimo or pequeñísimo (the smallest)
  • grande (big) becomes máximo or grandísimo) (the biggest)

Comparative adjectives

Comparative adjectives in Spanish are used to compare two nouns or to express a higher or lower degree of a quality. They are formed by using specific comparative words.

To form the comparative of most adjectives, the “más” (more) or “menos” (less) is added before the adjective, and "que" (than) is added afterwards. For example:

  • "Alto" (tall) becomes "más/menos alto que" (taller than)
  • "Inteligente" (intelligent) becomes "más/menos inteligente que" (more intelligent than)

Irregular comparative adjectives are “mejor" (better), “peor” (worse), “menor” (smaller/lower), “mayor” (bigger/higher), “superior” (superior) and “inferior” (inferior). For example:

  • "Bueno" (good) becomes "mejor que" (better than)
  • "Malo" (bad) becomes "peor que" (worse than).

Possessive adjectives

Possessive adjectives in Spanish are used to indicate ownership or possession of an object or a relationship with a person. They agree in gender and number with the noun they modify, and they are very similar to possessive pronouns. The person of the possessive (first, second or third) designates the possessor, while the gender (feminine or masculine) and number (singular or plural) of the possessive agree with the thing possessed.

In Spanish, possessive adjectives can be átonos or tónicos.

The most common possessive adjectives in Spanish are átonos, that precede the noun designating the thing possessed, with which they agree in gender and number.

Table of unstressed possessive adjectives in Spanish

Person Masculine Singular/Plural Feminine Singular/Plural Masculine Singular/Plural Feminine Singular/Plural
1st Person mi/mis mi/mis nuestro/nuestros nuestra/nuestras
2nd Person tu/tus tu/tus vuestro/vuestros vuestra/vuestras
3rd Person su/sus su/sus su/sus su/sus

Note: In the plural forms, the distinction between informal “vuestro” and formal “su” is only applicable for Spain. In Latin America, “vuestro” is rarely used, and “su” is used for both formal and informal communication.

Demonstrative adjectives

Demonstrative adjectives in Spanish are placed before the noun they modify and they are used to point out or indicate specific objects or people in relation to the speaker. Also, they agree in gender and number with the noun and there are three sets of demonstrative adjectives in Spanish depending on the distance to the speaker:

Examples of demonstrative adjectives in Spanish

Distance to the speaker Singular Masculine Singular Feminine Plural Masculine Plural Feminine
Near Este Esta Estos Estas
Not so near Ese Esa Esos Esas
Far Aquel Aquella Aquellos Aquellas

How articles in Spanish work

Nouns in Spanish are accompanied by definite and indefinite articles. And understanding how articles interact with nouns is incredibly important.

Articles not only indicate the gender and number of nouns but also provide crucial information about the context and specificity of the noun being referenced.

Definite articles refer to specific nouns, while indefinite articles refer to nonspecific or unidentified nouns.

Artículos definidos or determinados (definite articles)

Gender Singular Plural
Masculine El Los
Feminine La Las

For example, “el hombre” (the man), “las mujeres” (the women).

Artículos indefinidos or indeterminados (indefinite articles)

Gender/Number Singular Plural
Masculine un unos
Feminine una unas

For example, “una cama” (a bed), “unos libros” (some books), “unas agujas” (some needles).

There are exceptions with some feminine nouns that start with a stressed a, which are paired with masculine articles in the singular forms to make its pronunciation easier. For example, “el agua” (the water), “un alma” (a soul), but in the plural they transform to “las aguas” (the waters) and “unas almas” (some souls).

Spanish adverbs explained

Adverbs in Spanish are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs to provide more information about the manner, time, place, frequency, quantity or degree among others of an action or state.

  • Manner: These adverbs describe how an action is performed. They often end in -mente, which is added to the feminine form of an adjective. For example, rápidamente (quickly), cuidadosamente (carefully), fácilmente (easily).

Note: When forming these adverbs, notice how the accent mark stays in the same place. This is true for all adverbs ending with -mente.

  • Time: These define when an action takes place. For example, ayer (yesterday), ahora (now), tomorrow (mañana).
  • Place: They describe where an action takes place. For example, aquí (here), allí (there).
  • Frequency: These types of adverbs describe how often an action occurs. For example: nunca (never), siempre (always), a menudo (often).
  • Quantity: They refer to the intensity or amount of an action or quality. Examples: muy (very), bastante (quite), demasiado (too).
  • Affirmation: These express affirmation and agreement. For example: seguramente (surely), ciertamente (certainly).
  • Negation: These adverbs express negation. For example: nunca and jamás (both different levels of never), and no (not).
  • Doubt: These are used to express hesitation. Examples include: tal vez (maybe), quizás (perhaps), probablemente (probably).

How the masculine and feminine work in Spanish

The grammar gender in Spanish applies to every noun, regardless of its natural gender. Unlike English, where gender is primarily determined by biological factors, Spanish nouns are arbitrarily assigned a gender.

Generally speaking, if a noun ends in -o, it’s masculine; and if it ends in -a, it’s feminine. For example, “la casa” (the house), “la mesa” (the table), and “el libro” (the book).

There are some notable exceptions, like “el guardia” (the guard - masc.) and “la mano” (the hand).

Prepositions in Spanish

Prepositions are essential words that indicate relationships between different elements in a sentence, such as location, direction, time, and more.

Understanding prepositions and their usage is crucial for conveying precise information in Spanish.

In Spanish, prepositions are used in combination with articles, pronouns, and nouns to form prepositional phrases. Here are some common prepositions in Spanish:

  • A (To, at): Voy a la playa (I'm going to the beach).
  • De (Of, from): El libro de María (María 's book).
  • En (In, on): La cámara está en el estante. (The camera is on the shelf).
  • Con (With): Salgo con mis amigos (I'm going out with my friends).
  • Por (For, by, through): Gracias por tu ayuda (Thanks for your help).
  • Para (For, to): Compré un regalo para ti (I bought a gift for you).

It's important to note that the prepositions “a” and “de” are combined with definite articles to form contractions. For example, “a + el” becomes “al,” and “de + el” becomes “del.” So, instead of saying “Voy a el cine” (I'm going to the movies), you would say “Voy al cine.”

Combine a preposition with an object (which can be a noun, pronoun, or phrase), and you get a prepositional phrase. These phrases provide additional information about location, time, manner, and other relationships between elements in a sentence.

And they are connected by de or a. For example, “en frente de la casa” (in front of the house), or “con respecto al proyecto” (regarding the project).

Prepositional phrases can be placed either before or after the verb, depending on the emphasis and the structure of the sentence.


Pronouns help replace nouns so we can avoid repetition. They also help make our speech more concise and fluid.

In Spanish, there are different types of pronouns that serve various functions. Let's explore the most common ones and their placement in sentences. Spanish personal pronouns: Subject

Spanish personal subject pronouns are words used to replace the names of people or things in a sentence, indicating the subject performing the action.

Table of Spanish personal subject pronouns

Spanish Subject Pronoun English Translation
yo I
you (informal)
él he
ella she
usted you (formal)
nosotros/nosotras we
vosotros/vosotras you all (informal)
ellos/ellas they
ustedes you all (formal)

Spanish personal pronouns: Direct object

Spanish personal direct object pronouns are used to replace the direct object (the person or thing directly affected by the action) in a sentence, helping to avoid repetition and making the language more concise.

Table of Spanish personal direct object pronouns

Spanish Direct Object Pronoun English Translation
me me
te you (informal)
lo him/it (masculine)
la her/it (feminine)
nos us
os you all (informal)
los them (masculine)
las them (feminine)

Spanish personal pronouns: Indirect object

Spanish personal indirect object pronouns are used to replace the indirect object (the person or thing to/for whom the action is done) in a sentence, simplifying the language and avoiding repetition.

Table of Spanish personal indirect object pronouns

Spanish Indirect Object Pronoun English Translation
me me
te you (informal)
le, se him/her/it (formal or third person)
nos us
os you all (informal)
les, se them/formal you (plural or third person)

Indirect object pronouns also typically come before the verb. For example, instead of saying “Doy el regalo a María” (I give the gift to María), you can say “Le doy el regalo” (I give her the gift).

When using both a direct object pronoun and an indirect object pronoun in the same sentence, the indirect object pronoun comes before the direct object pronoun. For example, “Él me lo dio” (He gave it to me).

Spanish personal pronouns: Prepositional

After a preposition, some Spanish personal pronouns change.

Table of Spanish personal pronouns (prepositional)

Spanish Personal Prepositional Pronoun English Translation
ti you (informal)
él/ella/usted him/her/you (formal)
nosotros/nosotras us
vosotros/vosotras you all (informal)
ellos/ellas/ustedes them/you all (formal)

Prepositional personal pronouns are preceded by a preposition.

When used with the preposition "con", the pronouns of the 1st and 2nd person singular (mí, ti) become "conmigo" and "contigo". After the prepositions “entre” and “según” we do not use the prepositional pronouns “mí, ti” but the pronouns “yo” and “tú”.

Possessive pronouns in Spanish

Possessive pronouns indicate possession of something or someone; and they are very similar to possessive adjectives.

Spanish possessive pronouns

Subject Singular Singular Plural Plural Examples
Masculine Feminine Masculine Feminine
Person or thing que que que que "El libro que compré es interesante" (The book that I bought is interesting).
el que la que los que las que "El equipo, el que ganó el campeonato, está celebrando en la plaza" (The team, the one that won the championship, is celebrating in the square).
el cual la cual los cuales las cuales "La casa en la cual vivo es antigua" (The house in which I live is old).
Person quien quien quienes quienes "Fui a casa de Pablo, quien me recibió con café" (I went to Pablo 's, who greeted me with coffee).
Possession cuyo cuya cuyos cuyas "Es un libro cuyo autor admiro" (It’s a book whose author I admire).
Quantity cuanto cuanta cuantos cuantas "Cuantos se encontraban enfermos fueron a sanarse” (All the people who were sick went to be healed.).
  1. Que: This is the most used relative pronoun in Spanish. It can refer to people or things and is used for both subject and object relative clauses.

  2. Quien(es): This one refers to people and is generally used after prepositions. The singular form is "quien" and the plural form is "quienes."

  3. El / la / los / las cual(es): These relative pronouns are less common and are generally used in more formal or written language. It’s essentially a formal version of “que.”

  4. Cuyo / cuya / cuyos / cuyas: These relative pronouns indicate possession and are used to introduce a relative clause that expresses ownership or relationship. They agree in gender and number with the noun they modify.

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Forming negative sentences in Spanish

In Spanish, the negative form is used to negate or deny a statement. It is formed by adding the word "no" before the verb or verb phrase. For example, “no hablo español” (I don't speak Spanish) or “no he visto esa película” (I haven't seen that movie).

In addition to "no," there are other negatives such as "nunca" (never), "nadie" (nobody), "ningún/ninguna" (none), etc. And these can be used to further strengthen the negative meaning of a sentence. For example: No conozco a nadie. (I don't know anyone.)

It's important to note that the placement of "no" may vary depending on ‌sentence structure, verb tense, and other factors. Pay attention to the specific word order and placement of "no" to form correct negative sentences in Spanish.

Understand the verbs in Spanish

Verbs are the powerhouse of language. It’s what completes the three most basic parts. Using them allows us to express actions, states of being, and more.

In Spanish, verbs undergo changes called conjugations to match the subject, tense, and mood of the sentence. Understanding this is crucial for effective communication in Spanish.

To start with, there are three basic tenses you need to learn: presente (present simple), pretérito perfecto simple (past simple) and futuro (future simple). These are enough to get you started.

Spanish conjugation: Presente (present simple)

The Spanish present simple tense is used to express actions happening in the current moment or habitual actions.

Regular verbs follow predictable patterns when conjugated, making them a good starting point for learning verb conjugation.

But, irregular verbs on the other hand, do not follow ‌regular conjugation patterns and must be learned individually.

Regular verbs

For regular verbs, the endings in the present tense are as follows:

Table of regular verbs in Spanish

Subject Pronoun -ar conjugations -er conjugations -ir conjugations
Yo -o -o -o
-as -es -es
Él / Ella / Usted -a -e -e
Nosotros / Nosotras -amos -emos -imos
Vosotros / Vosotras Note: Although usted/ustedes refers to the second person (singular/plural) its conjugation coincides with that of the third person. The second person plural always has an accent mark in the present simple unless it is a word with only one syllable. -áis -éis -ís
Ellos / Ellas/ Ustedes -an -en -en

For example: “Hablo” (I speak), “Comes” (You - you singular informal eat), “Vivimos” (We live).

Irregular Verbs

Some commonly used irregular verbs in Spanish include "ser" (to be), "ir" (to go), and "tener" (to have).

Table of irregular verbs in Spanish

Subject Pronoun Ser (to be) Ir (to go) Tener (to have)
Yo Soy Voy Tengo
Eres Vas Tienes
Él / Ella / Usted Es Va Tiene
Nosotros Nosotras Somos Vamos Tenemos
Vosotros / Vosotras Sois Vais Tenéis
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes Son Van Tienen

The differences between “saber” and “conocer”

When learning Spanish, it is crucial to distinguish between saber and conocer as they both translate to “to know” in English but they have different meanings and uses.

A simple way to differentiate between them is by keeping the following in mind:

  1. Use "saber" to express knowledge of facts, information, or how to do something.

o Facts: "Sé que el sol es una estrella." (I know that the sun is a star.) o Skills or abilities: "Sabes tocar la guitarra." (You can play the guitar.) o How to do something: "Sabemos cocinar paella." (We can cook paella.)

  1. Use "conocer" when expressing familiarity or personal acquaintance.

o People: "Conoce a María." (He has met María before.) o Places: "¿Conocéis Barcelona?" (Have you all been to Barcelona?) o Things: "Conozco este libro." (I am familiar with this book.)

Presente of Spanish verbs saber and conocer

Subject Pronoun Saber Conocer
Yo Conozco
Sabes Conoces
Él / Ella / Usted Sabe Conoce
Nosotros / Nosotras Sabemos Conocemos
Vosotros / Vosotras Sabéis Conocéis
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes Saben Conocen

Pretérito perfecto simple of Spanish verbs saber and conocer

Subject Pronoun Saber Conocer
Yo Supe Conocí
Supiste Conociste
Él / Ella / Usted Supo Conoció
Nosotros / Nosotras Supimos Conocimos
Vosotros / Vosotras Supisteis Conocisteis
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes Supieron Conocieron

Futuro of Spanish verbs saber and conocer

Subject Pronoun Saber Conocer
Yo Sabré Conoceré
Sabrás Conocerás
Él / Ella / Usted Sabrá Conocerá
Nosotros / Nosotras Sabremos Conoceremos
Vosotros / Vosotras Sabréis Conoceréis
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes Sabrán Conocerán

The verb tener in Spanish

The verb “tener” (to have) is an irregular verb in Spanish, which means that it does not follow ‌regular conjugation patterns. It is commonly used to indicate possession or ownership of something, but it also serves other purposes, such as expressing age, feelings, and certain physical sensations.

Simple present of tener

Subject Pronoun Verb Example
Yo Tengo (I have) Tengo un libro interesante. (I have an interesting book.)
Tienes (You have) ¿Tienes hambre? (Are you hungry?)
Él / Ella / Usted Tiene (He/She/You [formal] have) Mi hermana tiene veinte años. (My sister is twenty years old.)
Nosotros Nosotras Tenemos (We have) Tenemos las cartas. (We have the cards.)
Vosotros / Vosotras Tenéis (You all have) Tenéis el postre (You all have the dessert)
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes Tienen (They all / You all [formal] have) Tienen la ropa sucia (They have dirty clothes)

Pretérito perfecto simple and pretérito imperfecto of Spanish verb tener

Subject Pronoun Pretérito perfecto simple Pretérito imperfecto
Yo Tuve Tenía
Tuviste Tenías
Él / Ella / Usted Tuvo Tenía
Nosotros / Nosotras Tuvimos Teníamos
Vosotros / Vosotras Tuvisteis Teníais
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes Tuvieron Tenían

The past tense in Spanish

To express actions that have already occurred, you can use one of the following past tenses. This would depend on the state of the action at the time of speaking.

Pretérito imperfecto

The pretérito imperfecto is used to describe ongoing or habitual actions in the past, as well as to set the scene or provide background information.

It often indicates no specific beginning or end to the action

Pretérito imperfecto

Subject Pronoun -ar conjugations -er & -ir conjugations
Yo -aba -ía
-abas -ías
Él / Ella / Usted -aba -ía
Nosotros / Nosotras -ábamos -íamos
Vosotros / Vosotras -abais -íais
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes -aban -ían

For example: "Jugaba a la casita" (I used to play house) or "Hablábamos sobre coches" (We talked about cars).

Pretérito perfecto compuesto

The past perfect is used to express past actions or events that have a connection or relevance to the present. It focuses on completed actions within a specific time frame. The pretérito perfecto compuesto is formed by combining the present tense of the auxiliary verb "haber" with the past participle of the main verb.

Present tense of Spanish auxiliary verb haber

Subject Pronoun Present Tense of "Haber"
yo he
él/ella/usted ha
nosotros/nosotras hemos
vosotros/vosotras habéis
ellos/ellas/ustedes han

Table with general rules for forming the past participle for regular verbs

Verb Type Past Participle Ending Example (Infinitive) Past Participle
-ar verbs -ado hablar hablado
-er verbs -ido comer comido
-ir verbs -ido vivir vivido

For irregular verbs, the past participle may not follow the regular pattern, and it is important to learn them individually.

Examples of irregular past participles

Infinitive Past Participle
Abrir (to open) abierto (opened)
Decir (to say) dicho (said)
Escribir (to write) escrito (written)
Volver (to return) vuelto (returned)

Example sentences:

  • Yo he estudiado mucho. (I have studied a lot.)
  • Tú has viajado a Europa. (You have traveled to Europe.)
  • Él ha llegado tarde. (He has arrived late.)
  • Nosotros hemos aprendido nuevas habilidades. (We have learned new skills.)
  • Vosotros habéis trabajado duro. (You all have worked hard.)
  • Ellos han leído ese libro. (They have read that book.)

Pretérito perfecto simple

The pretérito perfecto simple is used to describe completed actions or events in the past with a specific beginning and end. It emphasizes the completion of the action.

Table of pretérito perfecto simple

Subject Pronoun -ar conjugations -er & -ir conjugations
-aste -iste
Él / Ella / Usted -ió
Nosotros / Nosotras -amos -imos
Vosotros / Vosotras Note: The second plural (vosotros/as) may not always have an accent mark. That will depend on a few other rules, like the syllable count, diphthong or hiatus , etc. -asteis -isteis
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes -aron -ieron

For example: "Yo comí atún" (I ate tuna) or "Llegaste a la casa" (You arrived home).


The pluscuamperfecto is used to express actions that occurred before another past action or event. It indicates a past action completed before another past reference point.

To form it, you need two components: the auxiliary verb “haber” in the imperfect tense and the past participle of the main verb. For the past participle, change the infinitive termination -ar to -ado or -er/-ir to -ido.

Pluscuamperfecto examples

Subject Pronoun Auxiliary verb Past participle examples
Yo había comido (I had eaten.)
habías bailado (You - singular informal had danced.)
Él / Ella / Usted había vivido (He / She / You - formal had lived.)
Nosotros / Nosotras habíamos distinguido (We had distinguished.)
Vosotros / Vosotras habíais trabajado (You all had worked.)
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes habían llamado (They / You all - formal had called.)

E.g: "Yo me había comido un sándwich" (I had eaten a sandwich) or "Habías llegado al trabajo" (You had arrived to work).


Future verbs in Spanish are used to express actions or events that will happen in the future. And the conjugation is relatively straightforward.

The Spanish future simple tense

This is the most basic and most commonly used form of future tense in Spanish. It is used to express actions or events that will happen in the future.

Table of Spanish future simple tense

Subject Pronoun Termination Examples
Yo Hablar (Speak) → Hablaré
-ás Comer (Eat) → Comerás
Él / Ella / Usted Vivir (Live) → Vivirá
Nosotros / Nosotras -emos Bailar (Dance) → Bailaremos
Vosotros / Vosotras -eis & éis Cantar (Sing) → Cantaréis
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes -án Saltar (Jump) → Saltarán

The Spanish future perfect tense

The future perfect tense is used to express actions or events that will have been completed by a certain point in the future.

To form it you’ll need to use the verb “haber” as an auxiliary in the simple future tense, and the past participle of the main verb.

Table of Spanish future perfect tense

Subject Pronoun Haber Past participle
Yo Habré Comido (Eaten)
Habrás Cocinado (Cooked)
Él / Ella / Usted Habrá Bailado (Danced)
Nosotros / Nosotras Habremos Cantado (Sang)
Vosotros / Vosotras -Habréis Contado (Counted)
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes Habrán Empacado (Packed)

The future continuous tense in Spanish

The future continuous tense is used to express actions that will be ongoing or in progress at a specific point in the future.

To form this tense, you need to use the future tense of the verb “estar”, followed by the gerundio (present participle) (-ando for -ar verbs, -iendo for -er and -ir verbs):

Table of Spanish future continuous tense

Subject Pronoun Estar Present participle
Yo Estaré Comiendo (Eating)
Estarás Cocinando (Cooking)
Él / Ella / Usted Estará Bailando (Dancing)
Nosotros / Nosotras Estaremos Haciendo (Doing)
Vosotros / Vosotras Estaréis Diciendo (Saying)
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes Estarán Hablando(speaking)

Spanish reflexive verbs explained

These are a specific type of verb where the subject of the sentence performs an action on themselves. These verbs are formed by adding the reflexive pronoun to the regular verb.

Some common reflexive verbs in Spanish include "levantarse" (to get up), "vestirse" (to get dressed), "peinarse" (to comb one's hair), and "acostarse" (to go to bed).

In order to conjugate them, you remove the reflexive pronoun -se ending and you’re left with an infinitive verb. From there, you can conjugate the verb as normal, and add the corresponding reflexive pronoun before the conjugated verb.

For example:

  • "Levantarse" (to get up), becomes “me levanto.” (I get up.)
  • "Vestirse" (to get dressed), becomes “te vistes.” (You get dressed.)
  • "Peinarse" (to comb one's hair), becomes “se peinó.” (She combed her hair.)
  • "Acostarse" (to go to bed), becomes “nos acostaremos.” (We will go to bed).

As you can see, reflexive verbs can be conjugated in the present, past or future tense!.

The differences between “ser” and “estar

"Ser" and "estar" are both verbs in Spanish that translate to "to be" in English. However, they have distinct uses and convey different meanings.

"Ser" is used to express inherent or permanent qualities, identity, nationality, professions, time, dates, and relationships. While "estar" is used to express temporary states, locations, conditions, emotions, and ongoing actions.

Ser and estar: Presente

Subject Pronoun Ser Estar
Yo Soy Estoy
Eres Estás
Él / Ella / Usted Es Está
Nosotros / Nosotras Somos Estamos
Vosotros / Vosotras Sois Estáis
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes Son Están

Ser and estar: Pretérito perfecto simple

Subject Pronoun Ser Estar
Yo Fui Estuve
Fuiste Estuviste
Él / Ella / Usted Fue Estuvo
Nosotros / Nosotras Fuimos Estuvimos
Vosotros / Vosotras Fuisteis Estuvisteis
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes Fueron Estuvieron

Ser and estar: Futuro

Subject Pronoun Ser Estar
Yo Seré Estaré
Serás Estarás
Él / Ella / Usted Será Estará
Nosotros / Nosotras Seremos Estaremos
Vosotros / Vosotras Seréis Estaréis
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes Serán Estarán

It's important to note that there are additional verb tenses, such as the conditional, and subjunctive, which allow for more nuanced expressions.

When encountering irregular verbs, make a conscious effort to memorize their conjugations, as they often have unique patterns that deviate from the regular verb forms.

With this, you can gain an understanding of the fundamental concepts needed to be able to have a conversation in Spanish. You have laid a strong foundation for your journey to becoming a proficient Spanish speaker.

Remember, learning a language takes time and practice. Embrace opportunities to engage with native speakers. To do so, join the Busuu’s community, immerse yourself in Spanish culture, and continue building your vocabulary and grammar skills.

As you progress, explore more advanced topics like different verb tenses, the subjunctive mood, and complex sentence structures.

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