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Spanish IRREGULAR verbs ultimate guide

Spanish IRREGULAR verbs ultimate guide

¡Hola, amigas y amigos de SpanishCompadres.com! laughing Welcome to a new post. On this occasion, we would like to help you out with Spanish irregular verbs. We have come up with an extraordinary article that includes awesome and straight to the point explanations and practice activities that you can easily do while you’re reading.

Spanish irregular verbs are those in which the stem (i.e. the root part of the verb) changes when they are conjugated. For example, in the infinitive form of the verb “cerrar” (to close), the stem is “cerr”, which is followed by the ending “ar”, the conjugated form for the first person singular in the present simple tense is “yo cierro” (I close).  Check out these examples:

Infinitive Conjugated form (stem change) Example English equivalent
empezar empiezas ¡Tú empiezas! You start!
entender ella entiende Ella entiende de finanzas. She understands finance.
mentir ellos mintieron Ellos mintieron en su declaración. They lied in their statement.

 

Table of contents

 

What are Spanish irregular verbs?

In Spanish, all  infinitive forms end in ar, er, or ir. These endings are called conjugations. The part of the verb that comes before the conjugation is called stem. Examples:

 

Infinitive form (stem+conjugation) English equivalent Conjugated form English equivalent
cant + ar = cantar to sing ella cantó she sang
com + er = comer to eat ellos comen they eat
ped + ir = pedir to ask for pides you ask for

  

In the first two examples (cantar, comer), the stem of the verbs remains the same when they are conjugated. Therefore, “cantar” and “comer” are regular verbs. In the third verb, “pedir”, the stem changes when the verb is conjugated. Therefore, the verb “pedir” is an irregular verb, i.e. a verb in which the stem changes when it is conjugated. Each conjugation has its own set of endings that are added to the stem.

 

Note: in the present tense of irregular verbs, the “nosotros” (we) and “vosotros” (you, plural, very formal)  forms are not affected by the stem change. Examples:

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) Conjugated form (same stem) English equivalent
cerr + ar = cerrar nosotros cerramos we close
quer + er = querer vosotros queréis you want or you love

 

How to conjugate spanish irregular verbs 

 

Spanish irregular verbs ar

For Spanish irregular verbs ending in -ar, the stem may change in two ways: 

  1. From e to ie (e.g. cerrar – yo cierro = to close – I close). Examples:

 

Note: endings are the same as those for regular verbs: o, as, a , amos, áis, an

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) cerr + ar = cerrar (to close) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo cierro I close
tú cierras you close
él / ella / usted cierra he /she closes – you close (singular)
nosotros cerramos we close
vosotros cerráis you close
ellos / ellas / ustedes cierran they / you close (plural)

 

IInfinitive (stem + ending) empez + ar = empezar (to start) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo empiezo I start
tú empiezas you start
él / ella / usted empieza he /she / starts – you start (singular)
nosotros empezamos we start
vosotros empezáis you start
ellos / ellas / ustedes empiezan they / you start (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) pens + ar = pensar (to think) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo pienso I think
tú piensas you think
él / ella / usted piensa he /she / thinks – you think (singular)
nosotros pensamos we think
vosotros pensáis you think
ellos / ellas / ustedes piensan they / you think (plural)

 

 2. From o to ue (eg. almorzar – yo almuerzo = to have lunch – I have lunch)  

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) almorz + ar = almorzar (to have lunch) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo almuerzo I have lunch
tú almuerzas you have lunch
él / ella / usted almuerza he /she / has lunch – you have lunch (singular)
nosotros almorzamos we have lunch
vosotros almorzáis you have lunch
ellos / ellas / ustedes almuerzan they / you have lunch (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) encontr + ar = encontrar (to find) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo encuentro I find
tú encuentras you find
él / ella / usted encuentra he /she / finds – you find (singular)
nosotros encontramos we find
vosotros encontráis you find
ellos / ellas / ustedes encuentran they / you find (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) record + ar = almorzar (to remember) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo recuerdo I remember
tú recuerdas you remember
él / ella / usted recuerda he /she / remembers – you remember (singular)
nosotros recordamos we remember
vosotros recordáis you remember
ellos / ellas / ustedes recuerdan they / you remember (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) jug + ar = jugar (to play) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo juego I play
tú juegas you play
él / ella / usted juega he /she / plays – you play (singular)
nosotros jugamos we play
vosotros jugáis you play
ellos / ellas / ustedes juegan they / you play (plural)

 

Spanish irregular verbs er

For Spanish irregular verbs ending in -er, the stem may change in two ways: 

  1. From e to ie (e.g. entender – yo entiendo = to understand – I understand). Examples:

 

Note: endings are the same as those for regular verbs: o, es, e , emos, éis, en

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) entend + er = entender (to understand) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo entiendo I understand
tú entiendes you understand
él / ella / usted entiende he /she understands – you understand (singular)
nosotros entendemos we understand
vosotros entendéis you understand
ellos / ellas / ustedes entienden they / you understand (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) perd + er = perder (to lose) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo pierdo I lose
tú pierdes you lose
él / ella / usted pierde he /she / loses – you lose (singular)
nosotros perdemos we lose
vosotros perdéis you lose
ellos / ellas / ustedes pierden they / you lose (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) quer + er = querer (to want, to love) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo quiero I want, I love
tú quieres you want, you love
él / ella / usted quiere he /she / wants or loves – you want or love (singular)
nosotros queremos we want, we love
vosotros queréis you want, you love
ellos / ellas / ustedes quieren they / you want or love (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) ten + er = tener (to have) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo tengo I have
tú tienes you have
él / ella / usted tiene he /she / has – you have (singular)
nosotros tenemos we have
vosotros tenéis you have
ellos / ellas / ustedes tienen they / you have (plural)

2. From o to ue (e.g. devolver – yo devuelvo = to return – I return [as in “to return a faulty product”]. Examples:

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) devolv + er = devolver (to return) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo devuelvo I return
tú devuelves you return
él / ella / usted devuelve he /she / returns – you return (singular)
nosotros devolvemos we return
vosotros devolvéis you return
ellos / ellas / ustedes devuelven they / you return (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) pod + er = poder (to be able, can, may) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo puedo I can
tú puedes you can
él / ella / usted puede he /she / can – you can (singular)
nosotros podemos we can
vosotros podéis you can
ellos / ellas / ustedes pueden they / you can (plural)

 

Note: the verbs hacer (to do, to make), poner (to put), and saber (to know) are irregular only in the YO form.

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) hac + er = hacer (to do, to make) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo hago I make
tú haces you make
él / ella / usted hace he /she / makes – you can (singular)
nosotros hacemos we make
vosotros hacéis you make
ellos / ellas / ustedes hacen they / you make (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) pon + er = poner (to put) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo pongo I put
tú pones you put
él / ella / usted pone he /she / puts – you put (singular)
nosotros ponemos we put
vosotros ponéis you put
ellos / ellas / ustedes ponen they / you put (plural)

  

Infinitive (stem + ending) sab + er = saber (to know) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo sé I know
tú sabes you know
él / ella / usted sabe he /she / knows – you know (singular)
nosotros sabemos we know
vosotros sabéis you know
ellos / ellas / ustedes saben they / you know (plural)

 

Spanish irregular verbs ir

For Spanish irregular verbs ending in -er, the stem may change in three ways: 

  1. From e to ie (e.g. mentir – yo miento = to lie – I lie). Examples:

 

Note: endings are the same as those for regular verbs: o, es, e , imos, ís, en

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) ment + ir = mentir (to lie) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo miento I lie
tú mientes you lie
él / ella / usted miente he /she / lies – you lie (singular)
nosotros mentimos we lie
vosotros mentís you lie
ellos / ellas / ustedes mienten they / you lie (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) prefer + ir = preferir (to prefer) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo prefiero I prefer
tú prefieres you prefer
él / ella / usted prefiere he /she / prefers – you prefer (singular)
nosotros preferimos we prefer
vosotros preferís you prefer
ellos / ellas / ustedes prefieren they / you prefer (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) ven + ir = venir (to come) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo vengo I come
tú vienes you come
él / ella / usted viene he /she / comes – you come (singular)
nosotros venimos we come
vosotros venís you come
ellos / ellas / ustedes vienen they / you come (plural)

 

Note: venir also has only an irregular YO form.

2. From e to i (e.g. pedir – yo pido = to ask for – I ask for). Examples:

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) ped + ir = pedir (to ask for) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo pido I ask for
tú pides you ask for
él / ella / usted pide he /she / asks for – you ask for (singular)
nosotros pedimos we ask for
vosotros pedís you ask for
ellos / ellas / ustedes piden they / you ask for (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) repet + ir = repetir (to repeat) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo repito I repeat
tú repites you repeat
él / ella / usted repite he /she / repeats – you repeat for (singular)
nosotros repetimos we repeat
vosotros repetís you repeat
ellos / ellas / ustedes repiten they / you repeat (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) segu + ir = seguir (to follow) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo sigo I follow
tú sigues you follow
él / ella / usted sigue he /she / follows – you follow (singular)
nosotros seguimos we follow
vosotros seguís you follow
ellos / ellas / ustedes siguen they / you follow (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) serv + ir = servir (to serve) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo sirvo I serve
tú sirves you serve
él / ella / usted sirve he /she / serves – you serve (singular)
nosotros servimos we serve
vosotros servís you serve
ellos / ellas / ustedes sirven they / you serve (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) sonre + ír = sonreír (to smile) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo sonrío I smile
tú sonríes you smile
él / ella / usted sonríe he /she / smiles – you smile (singular)
nosotros sonreímos we smile
vosotros sonreís you smile
ellos / ellas / ustedes sonríen they / you smile (plural)

3. From o to ue (e.g. dormir – yo duermo = to sleep – I sleep). Examples:

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) dorm + ir = dormir (to sleep) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo duermo I sleep
tú duermes you sleep
él / ella / usted duerme he /she / sleeps for – you sleep (singular)
nosotros dormimos we sleep
vosotros dormís you sleep
ellos / ellas / ustedes duermen they / you sleep (plural)

 

Note: the stem of Spanish verbs oír (to hear) and salir (to leave, to exit, to go out) changes only in the YO form. Examples:

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) o + ír = oír (to hear) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo oigo I hear
tú oyes you hear
él / ella / usted oye he /she / hears for – you hear (singular)
nosotros oímos we hear
vosotros oís you hear
ellos / ellas / ustedes oyen they / you hear (plural)

 

Infinitive (stem + ending) sal + ir = oír (to leave) English equivalent
Conjugated forms yo salgo I leave
tú sales you leave
él / ella / usted sales he /she / leaves for – you leave (singular)
nosotros salimos we leave
vosotros salís you leave
ellos / ellas / ustedes salen they / you leave (plural)

 

Spanish irregular verbs exercises

Choose the correct conjugated form to complete the following sentences. The answer key is below question number 10.  

 

  1. Nosotros __________ (salir) a pasear a menudo (We often go for a walk)
  2. salemos
  3. salimos
  4. salirmos

 

  1. Yo __________ (saber) de lo que hablo (I know what I’m talking about)
  2. sabemos
  3. saberé

 

  1. Tú __________ (jugar) con tu consola todos los días (You play with your console every day)
  2. juegas
  3. jugareas
  4. jugas

 

  1. Juan y Diego __________ (oír) voces (Juan and diego hear voices)
  2. oímos
  3. oyen
  4. oye

 

  1. Tu abuela __________ (poner) el pavo en el horno (Your grandma puts the turkey in the oven)
  2. ponemos
  3. pones
  4. pone

 

  1. Tú nunca __________ (recordar) mi cumpleaños (You never remember my birthday)
  2. recuerdas
  3. recordaras
  4. recordas

 

  1. Nosotros __________ (servir) la comida aquí (We serve the food here)
  2. sirvo
  3. servimos
  4. sirvamos

 

  1. Los padres __________ (poder) disciplinar a sus hijos (Parents can discipline their children)
  2. puedes
  3. pueder
  4. pueden

 

  1. Algunas personas __________ (pensar) lo peor sobre ti (Some people think the worst about you)
  2. piensan
  3. piensas
  4. pensan

 

  1. Ellos __________ (tener) mucha suerte (They have a lot of luck)
  2. tienes
  3. tienen
  4. tenemos

 

Answer key

1b 2c 3a 4b 5c 6a 7b 8c 9a 10b

 

Conclusion

Spanish irregular verbs are those in which the stem (i.e. the root part of the verb) changes when they are conjugated. For example, in the infinitive form of the verb “sonreír” (to smile), the stem is “sonre”, which is followed by the ending “ír”, the conjugated form for “yo” (I) in the present simple tense is “yo sonrío” (I smile). Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing whether a verb is regular or irregular just by looking at its infinitive form. Therefore, we suggest practicing by reading the examples and exercises in this article aloud as many times as possible. Remember that in language learning, repetition is key in order to achieve the desired results.

 

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101 essential survival Spanish phrases

¡Hola, amigas y amigos de SpanishCompadres.com! In this new article, we’ll provide you with the best survival Spanish phrases, including their English equivalent and pronunciation. These phrases will help you get around in your next visit to a Spanish speaking country or in your interaction with Spanish speakers in your country.

The 101 Spanish phrases that you will learn in this article are used in the following contexts: greetings and introductions (e.g. ¡Hola!), communication (e.g. ¿Podrías repetir, por favor?, transportation (e.g. Un boleto de ida y vuelta, por favor), money (e.g. ¿Cuánto cuesta?) , eating and drinking (e.g. Un café, por favor), sightseeing (e.g. ¿Qué lugares se pueden visitar en esta ciudad?), asking for and giving directions (e.g. ¿Cómo puedo llegar a la estación del metro?), hotels and reservations (e.g. Buenas tardes. Me gustaría reservar una habitación) and emergencies (e.g. ¿Dónde está el hospital?).  

 

Table of contents

 

Greetings and introductions

Whether you are visiting a Spanish speaking or interacting with Spanish speaking friends, greetings and introductions will be the best way to engage in communication. The following phrases will show you how to say hello and goodbye, how to introduce yourself and others and how to talk a little bit about yourself.

  1. ¡Hola! (Hello!)
  2. ¿Cómo estás? / ¿Qué tal? (How are you? / What’s up?)
  3. Bien. ¿Y tú? (I’m fine. And you?)
  4. Por favor (Please)
  5. Gracias / Muchas gracias (Thank you / Thank you very much)
  6. De nada (You’re welcome)
  7. Chao / Nos vemos luego (Goodbye / Bye / See you soon)
  8. ¡Salud! (Cheers!)
  9. Disculpe (Excuse me)
  10. Lo siento (I’m sorry)
  11. ¿Cómo te llamas? (What’s your name?)
  12. Soy… / My nombre es… / Me llamo… (I’m… / My name is… / I am called…)
  13. Un gusto conocerte (Nice to meet you) 
  14. ¿De dónde eres? (Where are you from?)
  15. Soy de… (I’m from…)
  16. Quiero presentarte a mi amigo / esposa / marido (I’d like to introduce my friend/wife/husband)
  17. ¿Cuántos años tienes? (How old are you?)
  18. Tengo … años (I’m… years old)
  19. ¿En qué trabajas? (What do you do for a living?)
  20. Soy un/una (I’m a/an…)
  21. ¿Qué haces para divertirte? / ¿Cuáles son tus pasatiempos? (What do you do for fun? / What are your hobbies?)
  22. Me gusta / No me gusta (I like / I don’t like)
  23. Sí (Yes)
  24. No (No)

Greetings and introductions

by Spanish Compadres | Spanish phrases

Communication

If you’re reading this article, you’re most likely a non native speaker of Spanish. For this reason, you may need to ask for clarification in some circumstances (e.g. when a native speaker speaks too fast or when an accent is difficult to understand). The following phrases will be very helpful in those situations:

  1. ¿Hablas…? (Do you speak…?)
  2. No entiendo (I don’t understand)
  3. Hablo un poco de… (I speak a little…)
  4. No hablo… (I don’t speak…)
  5. ¿Podrías hablar un poco más lento? (Could you please speak a little slower?)
  6. ¿Podrías escribir eso? (Could you write that down?)
  7. ¿Podrías repetir eso? (Could you repeat that?)
  8. ¿Cómo se dice? (How do you say…?)
  9. ¿Qué significa…? (What does… mean?)
  10. ¿Qué hora es? (What time is it?)
  11. Son las cinco en punto (It’s five o’clock)

Transportation

Knowing how to get to places and use local means of transportation is an essential skill when you are visiting a Spanish speaking country. Master these phrases and never get lost in your travels: 

  1. ¿Cuánto cuesta un boleto de primera clase / segunda clase / clase económica a…? (How much is a first class/second class/economy ticket to…?)
  2. Un boleto de ida / ida y vuelta a… por favor. (A one-way/return ticket to… please)
  3. Aquí está mi pasaporte (Here’s my passport)
  4. ¿A qué hora llega el bus / tren / avión / ferry de…? (What time does the bus/train/plane/ferry from… arrive?)
  5. ¿A qué hora parte el bus / tren / avión / ferry a…? (What time does the bus/train/plane/ferry to… depart?)
  6. ¿Qué plataforma / puerta de embarque / terminal? (Which platform/gate/terminal?)
  7. ¿Es directo el bus / tren / avión? (Is the bus/train/plane direct?)
  8. ¿Tengo que cambiar de bus / tren? (Do I have to change buses/trains?)
  9. ¿Necesito reservar mi asiento? (Do I need a seat reservation?)
  10. ¿Está ocupado este asiento? (Is this seat taken?)
  11. ¿A qué hora sale el próximo tren / bus /minibus /ferry a…? (When is the next train/bus/minibus/ferry to…?)
  12. ¿Podrías llamarme un taxi? (Could you call me a taxi?)
  13. Me gustaría ir a… (I’d like to go to…)
  14. ¿Podría avisarme cuando tengo que bajar? (Could you let me know when to get off?)
  15. ¿Dónde podría arrendar una bicicleta / un automóvil? (Where could I rent a bike/car?)
  16. Me gustaría arrendar una bicicleta / un automóvil (I’d like to rent a bike/car)

Transportation

by Spanish Compadres | Spanish phrases

Money

Knowing these phrases will help you whenever you need to shop for things. Being able to buy local products and souvenirs in Spanish speaking countries, will add fun to your travel experiences, since you can keep objects that will immortalize your experience. 

  1. ¿Cuánto cuesta? (How much is it?)
  2. Me gustaría… (I would like…)
  3. ¿Puedo pagar con tarjeta de crédito / tarjeta de débito? Can I pay by credit card/debit card?
  4. Aquí está (Here you go)
  5. ¿Podría ver este / ese? (Could I see this/that one?)
  6. ¿A qué hora abre / cierra? What time do you open/close?
  7. ¿Tiene esto en pequeño, grande, mediano? (Do you have this in small/large/medium?)
  8. ¿Tiene algo más barato? (Do you have anything cheaper?)
  9. Es demasiado caro (It’s too expensive)
  10. Te daré… por eso (I’ll give you… for it)
  11. ¿Dónde puedo cambiar dinero? (Where can I exchange money?)

Money

by Spanish Compadres | Spanish phrases

Eating and drinking

Eating and drinking are among the best ways to socialize with local inhabitants when you travel. These phrases will help you enjoy a good, traditional meal while you practice and improve your Spanish in a real life situation.

  1. ¿Podrías recomendar un buen restaurant? (Could you recommend a good restaurant?)
  2. ¿Qué recomendarías? (What would you recommend?)
  3. ¿Cuáles son algunas de las especialidades locales? (What are some local specialties?)
  4. ¿Cuál es el menú del día? (What is the special of the day?)
  5. ¿Podría ver el menú, por favor? (Could I see the menu, please?)
  6. Una cerveza / un café / un té, por favor (A beer/coffee/tea, please)
  7. ¿Me podría traer la cuenta, por favor / La cuenta, por favor (Could I get the bill, please. / The check, please)
  8. Soy alérgico a… (I’m allergic to…)
  9. ¡Eso estuvo delicioso! (That was delicious!)
  10. Esto no es lo que pedí (This isn’t what I ordered)
  11. ¿Puedo invitarte un trago? (Can I buy you a drink?)
  12. ¡Tomémonos otro! (Let’s have another!)

Eating and drinking

by Spanish Compadres | Spanish phrases

Sightseeing

These phrases will be very useful when it comes to going out for a walk or visiting other cities or towns.

  1. ¿Cuánto cuesta la entrada? (What is the entrance fee?)
  2. ¿Qué es ese edificio? (What is that building?)
  3. ¿Qué hay en el cine / el teatro / la ópera esta noche? (What’s on at the cinema/theatre/opera tonight?)
  4. Esa es una hermosa iglesia / catedral (That’s a beautiful church / cathedral)
  5. ¿Qué hay para ver por aquí? (What is there to see around here?)

Sightseeing

by Spanish Compadres | Spanish phrases

Asking for and giving directions

As a non local person in a Spanish speaking location, you may get lost. Be ready for those kinds of situations with these survival phrases for directions.

  1. ¿Cómo puedo llegar a…? (How do I get to…?)
  2. Está a la izquierda / a la derecha / directo hacia adelante / en la esquina (It’s on the left/on the right/straight ahead/at the corner)
  3. ¿Qué tan lejos es…? (How far is…?)
  4. ¿Dónde hay un banco / un correo / una casa de cambio? (Where is a bank / post office / exchange office?)
  5. ¿Dónde puedo encontrar información turística? (Where can I find tourist information?)
  6. ¿Tienes un mapa? (Do you have a map?)
  7. ¿Puedes mostrarme eso en el mapa? (Can you show me that on the map?)
  8. ¿Dónde está la embajada / el consulado estadounidense? (Where is the American embassy/consulate?)

Hotels and reservations

Use the following phrases when you’re booking your hotel room or taking care of accommodation.

  1. Tengo una reserva (I have a reservation)
  2. ¿Tiene alguna habitación simple / doble disponible? (Do you have any single/double rooms available?)
  3. ¿Podría ver la habitación? (Could I see the room?)
  4. Me gustaría quedarme por … noches (I’d like to stay for… nights)
  5. ¿Está incluido el desayuno? (Is breakfast included?)
  6. El televisor / aire acondicionado / la luz de mi habitación no funciona (The TV/air conditioner/lamp in my room doesn’t work)
  7. ¿Podría tener otra habitación? (Could I get a different room?)
  8. ¿Hay un restaurante aquí? (Is there a restaurant here?)

Emergencies

We hope you don’t need to use these phrase, but it’s always best to be prepared for emergencies and unpredicted situations.

¡Ayuda! (Help!)

  1. Necesito un doctor / dentista / policía (I need a doctor/dentist/police officer)
  2. ¿Hay una farmacia cerca? (Is there pharmacy nearby?)
  3. ¿Puedo usar tu teléfono? (Can I use your phone?)
  4. ¡Llama a la polícia / ambulancia! (Call the police/ambulance!)
  5. ¡Déjame solo! (Leave me alone!)

Conclusion

Learning these Spanish survival phrases will help you deal with high frequency situations successfully. Among these common context for Spanish language use, we find greetings and introductions (e.g. ¡Hola! Mi nombre es…), communication (e.g. ¿Podrías hablar más lento, por favor?, transportation (e.g. ¿Me puedes llamar un taxi?), money (e.g. ¿Cuánto cuesta este producto?) , eating and drinking (e.g. Un té, por favor), sightseeing (e.g. ¿Qué es ese edificio?), asking for and giving directions (e.g. ¿Cómo puedo llegar al aeropuerto desde el hotel?), hotels and reservations (e.g. Buenos días. Me gustaría reservar una habitación simple) and emergencies (e.g. ¡Ayuda!). Role play these phrases with your classmates and friends, so you become fluent at them  

 

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By sharing this post in your social media, you’ll be helping out your friends and acquaintances improve their Spanish. Just click on any of the share buttons on the left side (computer) or at the bottom (mobile) of your screen. ¡Comparte!

    

Resources

Business Spanish vocabulary | 100 key words and phrases

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Start to learn Spanish | First steps to learning Spanish

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Countries where Spanish is an official language

Countries where Spanish is an official language

¡Hola, amigas y amigos de SpanishCompadres.com! In this article, we’ll share with you the most interesting facts about Spanish speaking countries around the world. Did you know that there are countries where Spanish is an official language not only in America and Europe, but also in another continent? If you want to learn more about this interesting topic, keep on reading this post!

Spanish is an official language in the following countries (listed in alphabetical order): Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Spanish is also the language of significant minorities in Andorra, Belize, Gibraltar, and the United States of America. We hope this article will help you choose your next travel destination 

 

Table of contents

 

Introduction

Spanish as an official language is spoken by more than 442 million people in three continents: America, Europe, and Africa. This number of speakers represents 5.74 percent of the world population (7.7 billion people). 

In the American continent, Spanish is officially spoken in eighteen countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela) and one dependent territory (Dominican Republic, which is a territory of the United States of America). In Europe, Spanish is the official language of Spain. In Africa, Spanish is one of the official languages in Equatorial Guinea.  

 

Countries where Spanish is an official language

 

Argentina ??

  • Spanish spelling: Argentina
  • Spanish pronunciation: /ar-hen-ti’-na/
  • Population: 44,694,198 people
  • Capital city: Buenos Aires 
  • Main exports: soybeans and derivatives, petroleum and gas, vehicles, corn, wheat
  • Main imports: machinery, motor vehicles, petroleum and natural gas, organic chemicals, plastics
  • Current leader (2019): President Mauricio Macri
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HXXL0SXd84 

 

Bolivia ??

  • Spanish spelling: Bolivia
  • Spanish pronunciation: /bo-li’-via/ 
  • Population: 11,306,341 people
  • Capital city: La Paz
  • Main exports: natural gas, silver, zinc, lead, tin, gold, quinoa, soybeans and soy products
  • Main imports: machinery, petroleum products, vehicles, iron and steel, plastics 
  • Current leader (2019): President Evo Morales
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDyw-hv97Os 

 

Chile ??

  • Spanish spelling: Chile
  • Spanish pronunciation: /chi’-le/
  • Population: 17,925,262 people 
  • Capital city: Santiago
  • Main exports: copper, fruit, fish products, paper and pulp, chemicals, wine
  • Main imports: petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, electrical and telecommunications equipment, industrial machinery, vehicles, natural gas
  • Current leader (2019): President Sebastián Piñera
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Xdsji20pdU 

 

Colombia ??

  • Spanish spelling: Colombia
  • Spanish pronunciation: /ko-lom’-bia/
  • Population: 48,168,996 people
  • Capital city: Bogotá
  • Main exports: petroleum, coal, emeralds, coffee, nickel, cut flowers, bananas, apparel
  • Main imports: industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, paper products, fuels, electricity
  • Current leader (2019): President Iván Duque
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCjG7jC9GzM 

 

Costa Rica ??

  • Spanish spelling: Costa Rica
  • Spanish pronunciation: /kos’-ta rri’-ka/ Roll your R in “Rica”
  • Population: 4,987,142 people
  • Capital city: San José
  • Main exports: bananas, pineapples, coffee, melons, ornamental plants, sugar; beef; seafood; electronic components, medical equipment
  • Main imports: raw materials, consumer goods, capital equipment, petroleum, construction materials
  • Current leader (2019): President Carlos Alvarado 
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqSaYhUuqUM 

 

Cuba ??

  • Spanish spelling: Cuba
  • Spanish pronunciation: /ku’-ba/ 
  • Population: 11,116,396 people
  • Capital city: La Habana
  • Main exports: petroleum, nickel, medical products, sugar, tobacco, fish, citrus, coffee
  • Main imports: petroleum, food, machinery and equipment, chemicals
  • Current leader (2019): President Miguel Díaz-Canel
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNj_Y8mJJMw 

 

Dominican Republic ??

  • Spanish spelling: República Dominicana
  • Spanish pronunciation: /rre-pu’-bli-ka do-mi-ni-ka’-na/ Roll your R in “República”
  • Population: 10,298,756 people
  • Capital city: Santo Domingo
  • Main exports: gold, silver, cocoa, sugar, coffee, tobacco, meats, consumer goods
  • Main imports: petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton and fabrics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals
  • Current leader (2019): President Danilo Medina
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paHFoDhiBpc 

 

Ecuador ??

  • Spanish spelling: Ecuador
  • Spanish pronunciation: /e-kua-dor’/
  • Population: 16,498,502 people
  • Capital city: Quito
  • Main exports: petroleum, bananas, cut flowers, shrimp, cacao, coffee, wood, fish
  • Main imports: industrial materials, fuels and lubricants, nondurable consumer goods
  • Current leader (2019): President Lenín Moreno
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlJhfPmBHMU 

 

El Salvador ??

  • Spanish spelling: El Salvador
  • Spanish pronunciation: /el sal-va-dor’/
  • Population: 6,187,271 people
  • Capital city: San Salvador
  • Main exports: offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, textiles and apparel, ethanol, chemicals, electricity, iron and steel manufactures
  • Main imports: raw materials, consumer goods, capital goods, fuels, foodstuffs, petroleum, electricity
  • Current leader (2019): President Nayib Bukele
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKlgyzavWE0  

 

Equatorial Guinea ??

  • Spanish spelling: Guinea Ecuatorial
  • Spanish pronunciation: /gi-ne’-a e-kua-to-rial’/ /g/ is the first sound in gobierno
  • Population: 797,457 people
  • Capital city: Malabo
  • Main exports: petroleum products, timber
  • Main imports: petroleum sector equipment, other equipment, construction materials, vehicles
  • Current leader (2019): President Teodoro Obiang 
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSzCnfeD6Ig  

 

Guatemala ??

  • Spanish spelling: Guatemala
  • Spanish pronunciation: /gua-te-ma’-la/
  • Population: 16,581,273 people
  • Capital city: Ciudad de Guatemala
  • Main exports: sugar, coffee, petroleum, apparel, bananas, fruits and vegetables, cardamom, manufacturing products, precious stones and metals, electricity
  • Main imports: fuels, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, grain, fertilizers, electricity, mineral products, chemical products, plastic materials and products
  • Current leader (2019): President Jimmy Morales 
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_hoilJzID0 

 

Honduras ??

  • Spanish spelling: Honduras
  • Spanish pronunciation: /on-du’-ras/
  • Population: 9,182,766 people
  • Capital city: Tegucigalpa
  • Main exports: coffee, apparel, coffee, shrimp, automobile wire harnesses, cigars, bananas, gold, palm oil, fruit, lobster, lumber
  • Main imports: communications equipment, machinery and transport, industrial raw materials, chemical products, fuels, foodstuffs
  • Current leader (2019): President Juan Orlando Hernández
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCWMELqlwWM 

 

Mexico ??

  • Spanish spelling: México
  • Spanish pronunciation: /me’-hi-ko/
  • Population: 125,959,205 people
  • Capital city: Ciudad de México
  • Main exports: manufactured goods, electronics, vehicles and auto parts, oil and oil products, silver, plastics, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton; Mexico is the world’s leading producer of silver
  • Main imports: metalworking machines, steel mill products, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, automobile parts for assembly and repair, aircraft, aircraft parts, plastics, natural gas and oil products
  • Current leader (2019): President Andrés Manuel López Obrador
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXcdqF2PjLw  

 

Nicaragua ??

  • Spanish spelling: Nicaragua
  • Spanish pronunciation: /ni-ka-ra’-gua/
  • Population: 6,085,213 people
  • Capital city: Managua
  • Main exports: coffee, beef, gold, sugar, peanuts, shrimp and lobster, tobacco, cigars, automobile wiring harnesses, textiles, apparel
  • Main imports: consumer goods, machinery and equipment, raw materials, petroleum products
  • Current leader (2019): President Daniel Ortega 
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8zxb6Lh7qs 

 

Panama ??

  • Spanish spelling: Panamá
  • Spanish pronunciation: /pa-na-ma’/
  • Population: 3,800,644 people
  • Capital city: Panamá
  • Main exports: fruit and nuts, fish, iron and steel waste, wood 
  • Main imports: fuels, machinery, vehicles, iron and steel rods, pharmaceuticals
  • Current leader (2019): President Juan Carlos Varela
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tcl9q45IbnM  

 

Paraguay ??

  • Spanish spelling: Paraguay
  • Spanish pronunciation: /pa-ra-gua’i/
  • Population: 7,025,763 people
  • Capital city: Asunción
  • Main exports: soybeans, livestock feed, cotton, meat, edible oils, wood, leather, gold
  • Main imports: road vehicles, consumer goods, tobacco, petroleum products, electrical machinery, tractors, chemicals, vehicle parts
  • Current leader (2019): President Mario Abdo Benítez
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kA17HCuhlOs 

 

Peru ??

  • Spanish spelling: Perú
  • Spanish pronunciation: /pe-ru’/ 
  • Population: 31,331,228 people
  • Capital city: Lima
  • Main exports: copper, gold, lead, zinc, tin, iron ore, molybdenum, silver; crude petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas; coffee, asparagus and other vegetables, fruit, apparel and textiles, fishmeal, fish, chemicals, fabricated metal products and machinery, alloys
  • Main imports: petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, plastics, machinery, vehicles, TV sets, power shovels, front-end loaders, telephones and telecommunication equipment, iron and steel, wheat, corn, soybean products, paper, cotton, vaccines and medicines
  • Current leader (2019): President Martín Vizcarra
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZYf8QM9agw 

 

Spain ??

  • Spanish spelling: España
  • Spanish pronunciation: /es-pa’-ña/ ñ sounds like the first sound in the Italian word gnocchi
  • Population: 49,331,076 people
  • Capital city: Madrid
  • Main exports: machinery, motor vehicles; foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, medicines, other consumer goods
  • Main imports: machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, semi-finished goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods, measuring and medical control instruments
  • Current leader (2019): President Pedro Sánchez
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwrcycrjNUo 

 

Uruguay ??

  • Spanish spelling: Uruguay
  • Spanish pronunciation: /u-ru-gua’i/
  • Population: 3,369,299 people
  • Capital city: Montevideo
  • Main exports: beef, soybeans, cellulose, rice, wheat, wood, dairy products, wool
  • Main imports: refined oil, crude oil, passenger and other transportation vehicles, vehicle parts, cellular phones
  • Current leader (2019): President Tabaré Vázquez
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZig1rNG5Do 

 

Venezuela ??

  • Spanish spelling: Venezuela
  • Spanish pronunciation: /ve-ne-sue’-la/
  • Population: 31,689,176 people
  • Capital city: Caracas
  • Main exports: petroleum and petroleum products, bauxite and aluminum, minerals, chemicals, agricultural products
  • Main imports: agricultural products, livestock, raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials, medical equipment, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, iron and steel products
  • Current leader (2019): President Nicolás Maduro
  • Current leader interview (accent): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVkwC0FZDn0 

 

Countries and territories where Spanish is spoken by significant minorities

 

Andorra ??

  • Spanish spelling: Andorra
  • Spanish pronunciation: /an-do’-rra/ Roll your R in the final syllable
  • Population: 85,708 people
  • Spanish speakers: 29,907 people (around 35% of the population)
  • Capital city: Andorra la Vella
  • Main exports: tobacco products, furniture
  • Main imports: consumer goods, food, fuel, electricity
  • Current leader (2019): President Xavier Espot

 

Belize ??

  • Spanish spelling: Belice
  • Spanish pronunciation: /be-li’-se/
  • Population: 385,854 people
  • Spanish speakers: 106,795 people (around 31% of the population)
  • Capital city: Belmopán
  • Main exports: sugar, bananas, citrus, clothing, fish products, molasses, wood, crude oil 
  • Main imports: machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods; fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; food, beverages, tobacco 
  • Current leader (2019): Prime Minister Dean Barrow 

 

Gibraltar ??

  • Spanish spelling: Gibraltar
  • Spanish pronunciation: /hi-bral-tar’/
  • Population: 29,461 people
  • Spanish speakers: 23,857 people (around 82% of the population)
  • Capital city: Gibraltar
  • Main exports: (principally reexports) petroleum 51%, manufactured goods (2010 est.)
  • Main imports: fuels, manufactured goods, foodstuffs
  • Current leader (2019): Prime Minister Fabian Picardo

 

The United States of America ??

  • Spanish spelling: Estados Unidos
  • Spanish pronunciation: /es-ta’-dos u-ni’-dos/
  • Population: 318,892,103 people
  • Spanish speakers: 52,000,000 people (around 16% of the population)
  • Capital city: Washington D.C.
  • Main exports: agricultural products (soybeans, fruit, corn) 9.2%, industrial supplies (organic chemicals) 26.8%, capital goods (transistors, aircraft, motor vehicle parts, computers, telecommunications equipment) 49.0%, consumer goods (automobiles, medicines) 15.0% (2008 est.)
  • Main imports: agricultural products 4.9%, industrial supplies 32.9% (crude oil 8.2%), capital goods 30.4% (computers, telecommunications equipment, motor vehicle parts, office machines, electric power machinery), consumer goods 31.8% (automobiles, clothing, medicines, furniture, toys) (2008 est.)
  • Current leader (2019): President Donald Trump

 

Conclusion

As we said in our article “Why is it important to learn Spanish? | Top 6 reasons”:

The fourth most widely spoken language in the world, only after English, Chinese and Hindi, Spanish is currently the majority language in the following 21 countries and territories: Mexico, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Cuba, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Paraguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Panama, Uruguay and Equatorial Guinea. Only in the mentioned nations, there are over 442,000,000 Spanish speakers. Let us consider now Spanish speaking residents in countries where Spanish is not the official language. Only in the United States, the largest population of Spanish speaking residents, there are about 52 million! Actually, the estimated number of Spanish speakers in the world is as high as 534.3 million. Is it important to speak Spanish if it helps you reach about 661 million potential friends, coworkers, collaborators or clients? Also, who knows? Maybe even your soulmate is one of them, too?

Knowing the most important facts about Spanish speaking countries and territories will help you take good traveling decisions if you feel like visiting one of the countries described in the article, whether as a tourist or on business.

 

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Resources

Business Spanish vocabulary | 100 key words and phrases

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¡Hola, amigas y amigos de SpanishCompadres.com! Welcome to a new Spanish learning post. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know in order to master Spanish nouns.

Spanish nouns are called “sustantivos” /sus-tan-ti’-vos/. Spanish nouns can be classified into two general categories: proper (propios) and common (comunes). Proper nouns in Spanish include names of people (Juan, María, Diego), names of countries [Chile, Argentina, Brasil], cities and towns [Santiago, Buenos Aires, Brasilia] , institutions [Universidad de Chile, Gobierno de la Nación, Ministerio de Educación], titles [Sr., Sra., Srta. (Mr., Mrs., Miss)]. Common nouns in Spanish include abstract concepts [la verdad (truth), la sinceridad (honesty), una idea (an idea)], concrete objects, people or animals [una casa (a house), un anciano (an old man), el perro (the dog)].

In this article, we’ll be looking at each type of noun, singular and plural forms, masculine and feminine forms, definite and indefinite article. We have included some quick multiple choice practice exercises at the end of the article for you test your knowledge of Spanish nouns. 

 

Tabla de contenidos (Table of contents)

 

What are Spanish nouns?

According to the Spanish Royal Academy (RAE), “sustantivo” simply means “name”. Nouns are gender-specific words that designate people, animals or things. Nouns are usually the main part of the subject of a sentence. Nouns can be proper or common. Proper names don’t have a meaning of their own and are used to name people, animals or things as individual entities (Marta, Granada, Orinoco). In contrast, common nouns do have a meaning of their own and designate any of the people, animals or things of the same class [bombero (fireman), pez (fish), idea (idea)]. Common nouns are classified into the following types:

  • Concrete and abstract nouns
  • Collective nouns
  • Countable and uncountable nouns
  • Action nouns

Let’s look at the definition and examples of each type of Spanish noun.

 

Types of Spanish nouns

 

Proper nouns

Proper nouns are used to name people, animals or things as individual entities. They do not have a meaning on their own. Examples:

  • Hola. Me llamo Roberto. (Hi. My name is Roberto.)
  • Vivo en Costa Rica. (I live in Costa Rica.)
  • ¿Verás la pelea del “Chino” Maidana? (Will you watch the “Chino” Maidana fight?
  • La Edad Media fue un periodo importante. (The Middle Ages were an important period.)
  • Mi mascota se llama Rex. (My pet’s name is Rex.)

 

Proper nouns are always written with an initial capital letter. Unlike English, days of the week and months of the year are written with small letters [lunes (Monday), abril (April)]. These words are capitalized only when they are part of historical dates, festivities or proper nouns [Primero de Mayo (1st of May), Primavera de Praga (Prague Spring), Viernes Santo (Good Friday), Hospital Doce de Octubre (Doce de Octubre Hospital)].

 

Common nouns

Common nouns have a meaning of their own and are used to name any of the people, animals or things of the same class  [estudiante (student), caballo (horse), pensamiento (thought)]. Common nouns are classified into the following types: concrete and abstract nouns, collective nouns, countable and uncountable nouns, action nouns. Let’s find out about them.

 

Concrete and abstract nouns

Concrete nouns designate beings or objects that have a real, physical or material existence [médico (doctor), ballena (whale), vaso (glass, as in glass of water)]. Abstract nouns don’t designate a material reality [actitud (attitude), belleza (beauty), movimiento (movement)]. Let’s look at some examples:

Concrete nouns:

  • El edificio (the building)
  • La sala de clases (the classroom)
  • Los animales (the animals)
  • El computador (the computer)
  • Las personas (the people)

Abstract nouns:

  • La verdad (the truth)
  • El entusiasmo (enthusiasm)
  • La felicidad (happiness)
  • El compañerismo (fellowship)
  • La tristeza (sadness)

 

Collective nouns

Collective nouns are singular words that designate a homogeneous group of people, animals or things [multitud (crowd), rebaño (flock), cubetería (silverware)]. More examples:

  • El abecedario (the alphabet)
  • El alumnado (the student body)
  • El equipo (the team)
  • La constelación (the constellation)
  • La gente (the people)

 

Countable and uncountable nouns

Countable nouns designate entities that can be counted, such as “bebé (baby), “pájaro” (bird), “día” (day). Uncountable nouns refer to substances, matters and other notions that can not be counted, like “aire” (air), “nieve” (snow), “sinceridad” (sincerity).  

Examples of countable nouns:

  • una manzana (an apple)
  • dos personas (two people)
  • tres computadores (three computers)
  • diez teléfonos (ten phones)
  • veinte vehículos (twenty vehicles)

Examples of uncountable nouns:

  • El aceite (the oil)
  • El agua (water)
  • El aire (air)
  • El alcohol (alcohol)
  • La lluvia (rain)

  

Action nouns

Action nouns designate actions. They normally refer to nouns that are derived from verbs, such as “destrucción” (destruction, from “destruir”), “calentamiento” (warming, from “calentar”), “apertura” (opening, from “abrir”). More examples of action nouns: 

  • Aceptación (acceptance, from “aceptar”)
  • Baile (dance, from “bailar”)
  • Cambio (change, from “cambiar”)
  • Demolición (demolition, from “demoler”)
  • Encuentro (encounter, from “encontrar”)

 

Gender of Spanish nouns and definite articles

In Spanish, definite articles (el, la, los, las) are equivalent to the English article “the”. In Spanish, the definite article agrees with the noun in gender and number. Examples:

  • El niño (the boy, masculine, singular)
  • Los niños (the boys, masculine, plural)
  • La niña (the girl, feminine, singular)
  • Las niñas (the girls, feminine, plural)

 

Masculine singular nouns

Most masculine singular nouns take the definite article “el” and end with an “o”. Examples:

  • el abogado (the lawyer)
  • el caballo (the horse)
  • el enojo (anger)
  • el gato (the cat)
  • el maestro (the teacher)

However, some masculine singular nouns do not end with the letter “o”. Therefore, it is necessary to learn each noun with its matching article. Examples:

  • el agua (the water, plural: las aguas)
  • el tomate (the tomato)
  • el aceite (the oil) 
  • el problema (the problem)
  • el programa (the program)

 

Feminine singular nouns

Most feminine singular nouns take the definite article “la” and end with an “a”. Examples:

  • la casa (the lawyer)
  • la silla (the chair)
  • la blusa (the blouse)
  • la gata (the cat)
  • la maestra (the teacher)

However, some feminine singular nouns do not end with the letter “a”. Examples:

  • nouns ending in -ción: la canción (the song), la comunicación (communication), la nación (the nation)
  • nouns ending in -sión: la televisión (TV), la pasión (passion), la sesión (the session)
  • nouns ending in -dad: la seriedad (seriousness), la caridad (charity), la hermandad (the brotherhood) 
  • nouns ending in -tad: la amistad (friendship), la lealtad (loyalty), la potestad (the power)
  • nouns ending in -tud: la virtud (virtue), la actitud (attitude), la plenitud (fullness)  

 

Many feminine singular nouns do not follow these patterns. Therefore, it is important that you study each noun with its matching article. Examples:

  • la mano (the hand)
  • la clase (the class)
  • la flor (the flower)
  • la luz (the light)
  • la piel (the skin)

 

Special cases

Nouns ending in -ista and -nte can be either masculine or feminine, depending on the article that precedes them. Examples:

  • el dentista, la dentista (the dentist)
  • el guionista, la guionista (the playwright)
  • el violinista, la violinista (the violinist)
  • el cantante, la cantante (the singer)
  • el estudiante, la estudiante (the student)

 

Masculine plural nouns

Masculine plural nouns take the article “los”. When the singular form ends in a vowel, the plural form ads a final “s”. Examples:

  • el niño – los niños (the boy, the boys)
  • el auto – los autos (the car, the cars)
  • el avión – los aviones (the plane, the planes)

When the singular form ends with a consonant, the plural forms ads “es” at the end. Examples:

  • el tren – los trenes (the train, the trains)
  • el hotel – los hoteles (the hotel, the hotels)
  • el doctor – los doctores (the doctor, the doctors)

 

Feminine plural nouns

Feminine plural nouns take the article “las”. When the singular form ends in a vowel, the plural form ads a final “s”. Examples:

  • la niña – las niñas (the girl, the girls)
  • la persona – las personas (the person, the persons/people)
  • la calle – las calles (the street, the streets)

When the singular form ends with a consonant, the plural forms ads “es” at the end. Examples:

  • la ciudad – las ciudades (the city, the cities)
  • la pared – las paredes (the wall, the walls)
  • la virtud – las virtudes (virtue, virtues)

 

Gender of Spanish nouns and indefinite articles

Indefinite articles in Spanish (un, una, unos, unas) are equivalent to English “a/an” (singular) and “some” (plural). Examples:

  • un niño, unos niños (a boy, some boys)
  • una niña, unas niñas (a girl, some girls)
  • un estudiante, unos estudiantes (a student, some students)
  • una estudiante, unas estudiantes (a student, some students)
  • un baño, unos baños (a toilet, some toilets)

 

50 most frequent Spanish nouns

According to the Current Spanish Reference Corpus, published by the Spanish Royal Academy, these are the top 50 most frequent nouns:

  1. años (years)
  2. vez (time, as in “three times”)
  3. parte (part)
  4. tiempo (time, as in time as a concept)
  5. vida (life)
  6. gobierno (government)
  7. día (day)
  8. país (country)
  9. mundo (world)
  10. año (year)
  11. forma (form)
  12. caso (case)
  13. presidente (president)
  14. casa (house)
  15. momento (moment)
  16. millones (millions)
  17. hombre (man)
  18. trabajo (work, job)
  19. días (days)
  20. política (politics)
  21. poder (power)
  22. veces (times, as in “three times”)
  23. partido (party or match, depending on the context)
  24. personas (persons, people)
  25. grupo (group)
  26. mujer (woman)
  27. José (José, male name)
  28. cosas (things)
  29. ciudad (city)
  30. manera (manner, way)
  31. sistema (system)
  32. historia (history)
  33. Juan (Juan, male name)
  34. tipo (type)
  35. punto (point)
  36. noche (night)
  37. agua (water)
  38. situación (situation)
  39. ejemplo (example)
  40. acuerdo (agreement)
  41. estados (states)
  42. países (countries)
  43. horas (hours)
  44. ley (law) 
  45. guerra (war)
  46. desarrollo (development)
  47. proceso (process)
  48. realidad (reality)
  49. sentido (sense)
  50. lado (side)

 

Let’s practice!

Instructions: choose the correct alternative. The answer key is right below the questions.

  1. __ niñ_ está jugando a la pelota. (The boy is playing with the ball.)
  2. El – o 
  3. La – a
  4. Los – os
  5. __ verdad es que me gustas. (The truth is I like you.)
  6. El  
  7. La 
  8. Las 
  9. __ turistas fueron asaltados. (Some tourists were robbed.)
  10. Un 
  11. Unas
  12. Unos
  13. Los mejores _____ nunca te abandonan. (The best friends never abandon you.)
  14. amigos 
  15. amigas
  16. amigo
  17. Hoy es _______. (Today is Monday.)
  18. Lunes
  19. lunes

 

Answer key

1a 2b 3c 4a 5b

 

Conclusion

The Spanish word “sustantivo” (noun) means “name”. Nouns are words that used to name people, animals or things. There are two big groups of nouns: proper and common. Proper names refer to specific people, animals or things. They do not have meaning on their own and star with a capital letter. Examples: Juan, Argentina, Estados Unidos, González, Pérez. Common nouns refer to any person, animal or thing in a category. Examples: estudiante, perro, ciudad, idea, personas. Common nouns can be concrete, abstract, collective, countable, uncountable, and action. 

Definite and indefinite articles are important, since they are indicative of a noun’s gender and number. Therefore, each noun must be studied with its matching article.

 

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By sharing this content on you social media, you’ll be helping other learners of Spanish understand nouns, one of the most important aspects of language. Just go ahead and click on any of the social share buttons on the left (computer) or at the bottom (mobile) of your screen. ¡Comparte! 

 

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The Spanish reflexive verbs complete guide

The Spanish reflexive verbs complete guide

¡Hola, amigas y amigos de SpanishCompadres.com! In this post, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about Spanish reflexive verbs. Reflexive verbs can be one of the most complex aspects of Spanish learning, but don’t worry. After reading this post, you’ll feel confident enough to start using them in real life interaction with Spanish speakers.

According to the Real Academia Española (RAE), Spanish reflexive verbs do not exist as a verb category on their own. Reflexive sentences and reflexive pronouns do exist though. Reflexive sentences are defined as those that express an action that has an effect on the same entity designated by the subject. Examples: Ayer me lavé el pelo (Yesterday, I washed my hair) / El culpable se ahorcó (The offender hanged himself). Reflexive pronouns are personal pronouns that, functioning as complements of the verb, are preceded by the subject of the sentence. Examples: Se lavó las manos antes de comer (He/She washed his/her hands before eating) / Me he bañado en el río (I have bathed in the river) / Piensas demasiado en ti mismo (You think too much about yourself).

Let’s find out more about Spanish reflexive sentences and pronouns.

 

Table of contents

 

Spanish so called reflexive verbs: a word of caution

According to Real Academia Española’s (Spanish Royal Academy’s) “Nueva gramática de la lengua española”, published in 2009, reflexive verbs do not exist as a category on their own. Instead verbs are classified, according to their syntactic function, into three categories:

  1. Transitive verbs: they require an object in order to convey meaning. Example: Tú recibiste la carta (You received the letter). In this example, the transitive verb is “recibiste” and the object is “la carta”. 
  2. Intransitive verbs: they are not compatible with a direct object. Example: Juan llora (Juan cries). In this sentence, the intransitive verb is “llora”. This verb isn’t compatible with a direct object. Therefore, it’s intransitive.
  3. Copulative verbs: they don’t have a meaning of their own and act only as a link between the subject and the predicate. These verbs are “ser” (to be), “estar” (to be), and “parecer” (to seem). Example: Elizabeth es bonita (Elizabeth is pretty). In this example, the copulative verb is “es”, a conjugation of “ser”.

So called Spanish “reflexive” verbs are simply transitive verbs whose object has the same referent as the subject. Example: Enrique se duchó (Enrique took a shower). In this example, the transitive verb is “duchó” and the object is the same as the subject, i.e. “Enrique”. The reflexive pronoun “se” indicates that the sentence is reflexive. “Se” is equivalent to “himself”, “herself”, “itself” or “themselves”. In this case, a literal translation would be: Enrique showered himself.  

 

Spanish reflexive sentences

Spanish reflexive sentences are sentences in which the action falls on the same subject that performs the action. Examples:

  • Nos tomamos fotos en el viaje. (We took pictures of ourselves on the trip.)
  • Se sintió ofendida por los comentarios. (She felt offended by the comments.)
  • Te ha ido bien. (You’ve done well.) 

In the examples, the personal pronouns “nos”, “se”, and “te” act as reflexive pronouns. They complement the verb by indicating that the action falls on the same subject that performs it. Spanish reflexive pronouns indicate that a sentence is reflexive.

 

Spanish reflexive pronouns

A reflexive pronoun is a personal pronoun which is generally preceded by the explicit or implicit subject of the sentence or clause in which it occurs. Spanish reflexive pronouns can be both unstressed or stressed:

  • Examples of unstressed Spanish reflexive pronouns:
    • María se peinaba (María combed her hair or, literally, María combed herself)
    • Tú te afeitas todos los días (You shave everyday or, literally, You shave yourself everyday)  
    • Nosotros nos vamos de viaje todos los verano (We go on a trip every summer)
  • Examples of stressed Spanish reflexive pronouns:
    • La atraje hacia con suavidad (I gently pulled her towards me)
    • Tu hermana solo piensa en sí misma (Your sister only thinks of herself)

 

List of Spanish reflexive pronouns

#1 me

  • Reflexive pronoun: me
  • Subject pronoun: yo (I)
  • English equivalent: myself
  • Example: Yo me ducho a las seis (I take a shower at six)

#2 te

  • Reflexive pronoun: te
  • Subject pronoun: Tú (you, singular)
  • English equivalent: yourself
  • Example: Te comiste una empanada (You eat an empanada)

#3 se

  • Reflexive pronoun: se
  • Subject pronoun: usted, él, ella, ello, ellos, ellas, ustedes [you (singular, formal), he, she, it, they, you (plural, both formal and informal)]
  • English equivalent: yourself, himself, herself, itself, themselves, yourselves
  • Examples: 
    • Usted se acuesta temprano (You go to bed early)
    • Él se afeita en el baño (He shaves in the bathroom)
    • Ella se baña en la noche (She bathes at night)
    • Ellas se duermen en el trabajo a veces (They fall asleep at work sometimes)
    • Ustedes se deben cuidar (You must take care of yourselves)

#4 nos

  • Reflexive pronoun: nos
  • Subject pronoun: nosotros (we)
  • English equivalent: ourselves
  • Example: Nos tomamos un refresco en el restaurant (We had a soft drink in the restaurant)

 

#5 os (formal, used only in Spain)

  • Reflexive pronoun: os
  • Subject pronoun: vosotros (you, plural, very formal used in Spain only) 
  • English equivalent: yourselves
  • Example: Os enfadas con facilidad (You get angry easily)

 

List of frequent so called Spanish reflexive verbs (verbos pronominales)

#1 acostarse

  • English equivalent: to go to bed
  • Example: Los niños se acuestan temprano (Children go to bed early)

#2 acordarse 

  • English equivalent: to remember
  • Example: Me acordé de tu cumpleaños (I remembered your birthday)

#3 afeitarse

  • English equivalent: to shave
  • Example: Me afeito día por medio (I shave every other day)

#4 bañarse

  • English equivalent: to bath
  • Example: Me baño en el río (I bathe in the river)

#5 dormirse, quedarse dormido

  • English equivalent: to fall asleep, to go to sleep
  • Example: Ellos se quedan dormidos en el trabajo (They fall asleep at work)

#6 ducharse

  • English equivalent: to take a shower
  • Example: ¿Te duchas todos los días? (Do you take a shower everyday?)

#7 enfadarse, enojarse

  • English equivalent: to get angry, to get upset
  • Example: Ella se enojó conmigo (She got angry with me)

#8 gustarse

  • English equivalent: to like
  • Example: ¿Te gustan los helados? (Do you like ice cream?)

#9 lavarse

  • English equivalent: to wash oneself
  • Example: ¿A qué hora van a lavarse? (What time are you going to wash?)

#10 hacerse

  • English equivalent: to make
  • Example: Me haces reír (You make me laugh)

#11 levantarse

  • English equivalent: to get up
  • Example: Ellos se levantan muy temprano (They get up really early)

#12 llamarse

  • English equivalent: to be called
  • Example: Yo me llamo Ruperto (My name is Ruperto or I am called Ruperto)

#13 secarse

  • English equivalent: to dry oneself
  • Example: Debes secarte el pelo (You must dry your hair)

#14 sentarse

  • English equivalent: to sit down
  • Example: ¿Quieres sentarte? (Would you like to sit down?)

#15 sentirse

  • English equivalent: to feel
  • Example: No te sientas mal por eso (Don’t feel bad about that)

#16 vestirse

  • English equivalent: to get dressed
  • Example: ¡Vístete! (Get dressed!)

 

Position of Spanish reflexive pronouns

 

  • Affirmative sentences: before the verb. Example: Ella se sienta en el sillón. (She sits on the armchair).
  • Negative sentences: before the verb. Example: Ella no se sienta en el sillón. (She doesn’t sit on the armchair).
  • Commands: after the verb. Example: Siéntese en el sillón. Sit on the armchair.

 

    • Requests: before or after the verb. Examples: ¿Me puedo sentar en el sillón? or ¿Puedo sentarme en el sillón? (May I sit on the armchair?) 

 

  • Questions: before the verb. Example: ¿Se quiere sentar en el sillón? (Would you like to sit on the armchair?)
  • After verb + preposition: after the verb. Example: ¿Vas a sentarte en el sillón? (Are you going to bathe?)

 

  • Before verb + preposition: before the verb. Example: ¿Te vas a sentar en el sillón? (Are you going to sit on the armchair?)

 

Frequent mistakes with Spanish reflexive pronouns

A frequent mistake (even made by non-totally-proficient native speakers) is using two reflexive pronouns instead of one. Example:

  • ¿Me puedo sentarme aquí? (INCORRECT)
  • ¿Puedo sentarme aquí? or ¿Me puedo sentar aquí? (CORRECT)

You can use two “te” reflexive pronouns with the past tense of verbs. Examples:

  • Te sentaste en mi sillón (You sat on my armchair) 
  • Te ganaste un premio (You earned a prize)
  • ¿Te quedaste hasta el final? (Did you stay until the end?)

 

Let’s practice Spanish reflexive sentences and pronouns

Instructions: read the following sentences and choose the correct alternative (answer key below questions).

#1 ¿Puedo sentar__ aquí? (Can I sit here?)

  1. se
  2. me
  3. te

#2 __ ducho todos los días. (I take a shower everyday)

  1. te
  2. se
  3. me

#3 ¡Láva__ las manos antes de comer! (Wash your hands before eating!)

  1. te
  2. me
  3. nos

#4 ¿A qué hora __ levantas? (What time do you get up?)

  1. se
  2. te
  3. nos

#5 ¡Apúra__! (Hurry up!)

  1. me
  2. se
  3. te

#6 ¿A qué hora __ levantas? (What time do you get up?)

  1. te
  2. me
  3. nos

#7 __ llamo Juan. (My name’s Juan)

  1. Se
  2. Me
  3. Te

#8 Nosotros __ tomamos fotos en vacaciones. (We take pictures of ourselves on vacation)

  1. se
  2. te
  3. nos

#9 Mi esposa __ compra ropa en el mall. (My wife buys clothes for herself in the mall)

  1. se
  2. te
  3. nos

#10 ¿Ustedes __ van a casar?) (Are you getting married?)

  1. se
  2. te
  3. nos

#11 __ ganaste un premio (You earned a prize)

  1. Nos
  2. Me
  3. Te

#12 Ellos __ divierten mucho (They have a lot of fun)

  1. se
  2. te
  3. nos

#13 Quéda__, por favor (Stay, pease)

  1. se
  2. te
  3. nos

#14 ¡Vámo__! (Let’s go)

  1. se
  2. te
  3. nos

#15 Debes afeitar__ para verte mejor. (You must shave to look better)

  1. te
  2. se
  3. nos

Answer key

1b 2c 3a 4b 5c 6a 7b 8c 9a 10b 11c 12a 13b 14c 15a 

 

Conclusion

Learning how to use reflexive sentences and reflexive pronouns will greatly improve your Spanish, since this is considered an advanced topic in Spanish language learning. Reflexive sentences express an action that has an effect on the same person, animal or thing that performs it. Reflexive pronouns are personal pronouns that are preceded by the subject of the sentence. Examples: Se lavó la cara en la mañana (He/She washed his/her face in the morning) / Me he bañado en playa (I have bathed at the beach) / Debes hacerlo por ti mismo (You must do it on your own). Some verbs, like “acostarse”, “ducharse”, “vestirse” often occur with reflexive verbs. We have selected the most frequent ones for this post, but there are many others. Spanish reflexive pronouns may occur before or after a verb, but keep in mind that you must use them just once and not repeat them in the sentence (Example: “Me voy a levantar” and notMe voy a levantarme”).

 

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By sharing this content in your social media, you are helping all your friends improve their Spanish. If you feel this content could be useful for your social media contacts, just go ahead and click on the social media buttons on the left side (computer) or at the bottom (mobile) of your screen. ¡Comparte!

 

Resources

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