Foundations of Spanish/Basics Part 1

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Vocabulary List[edit]

  • (el) agua: water [note: "agua" is a feminine noun, but the first syllable is a stressed "a", so "the cold water" is "el agua fría"]
  • bebe: (he/she/it) drinks
  • bebes: (you) drink
  • bebo: (I) drink
  • come: (he/she/it) eats
  • comes: (you) eat
  • como: (I) eat
  • el: the (for masculine nouns)
  • él: he
  • ella: she
  • eres: (you) are
  • es: (he/she/it) is
  • hombre: man
  • la: the (for feminine nouns)
  • (la) leche: milk
  • (la) manzana: apple
  • (la) mujer: woman
  • (la) niña: girl
  • (el) niño: boy or child
  • (el) pan: bread
  • soy: (I) am
  • tú: you
  • un: one (for masculine nouns)
  • una: one (for feminine nouns)
  • usted: you (respectful form)
  • yo: I

Vocabulary-Grammar Connections[edit]

Masculine and Feminine Nouns[edit]

In Spanish, all nouns are either masculine or feminine. When a noun refers to a person, such as hombre or mujer, or to an animal, males are grammatically masculine and females are grammatically feminine, as you would expect. However, all nouns must be either masculine or feminine, even if they refer to genderless objects, such as pared ("wall"). One good way to deal with this is by memorizing the noun together with its form of the, such as la manzana. You will also notice that many noun endings are associated with one gender or the other, such as the way most nouns ending in -o are masculne, such as 'carro, and most ended in -a, such as manzana, are feminine.

Verbs[edit]

You are probably familiar with subject-verb agreement in English:

  • I am
  • You are
  • He is, or she is, or it is

The words am, are, and is mean practically the same thing but about different people (called the first, second, and third person, respectively).

The same thing happens in Spanish:

  • Yo como
  • Tú comes
  • Él come, or ella come, or usted come

In Spanish, most verbs are assigned to their person based on how the verb ends. This is called conjugating the verb. However, some verbs are irregular, which means the forms are more different from each other, like in the English example above:

  • Yo soy
  • Tú eres
  • Él es, or ella es, or usted es

Usted[edit]

Spanish has two words for "you" -- , which is used in close relationships like friends and siblings, and usted, which is more formal and respectful. Verbs that go with usted are conjugated in the third person. This is like the "if your honor agrees..." type of usage in English that you may hear lawyers use in court; in that phrase, the lawyer is talking to the judge, but the third person verb (he/she agrees) is used.

Suggested Writing Practice[edit]

  1. Write as many sentences as you can think of using only the vocabulary words. Make sure the sentences make sense, so do not write things like ella es una manzana (she is an apple).
  2. Write some more sentences using a mix of the vocabulary words and clearly marked English placeholders, such as ella bebe manzana juice. Make a list of the placeholders you use, and research how to say them correctly in Spanish.