Jun 25 2004


Key prepositions include: con – with, por/para – for/intended for, en – in, a – to, and de – of.

Conjunctions, include: y – and, o – or.

The only two contractions in Spanish are; al (a + el)– “to the” and del (de + el) – “of/from the”

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Jun 24 2004

The Articles

Indefinite article (a or some) – un, uno(a), unos(as).

Singular Plural
Masculine un una
Feminine unos unas

Definite article (the) – el, la, los y las.

Singular Plural
Masculine el la
Feminine los las

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Jun 23 2004

Gender, Singular versus Plural

Adjective endings in Spanish must be in agreement with the nouns they modify in both gender (masculine vs. feminine) and number (singular vs. plural), e.g. La casa es blanca. (The house is white.) Las casas son blancas. (The houses are white.) El carro es blanco. (The car is white.) Los carros son blancos. (The cars are white.)

Nouns that refer to males or those ending in ‘o’ or ‘e’ are usually masculine such as, toro (bull), padre (father), hijo (son) and carro (car).

Nouns that refer to females, or those which end in an ‘a’ are usually feminine, e.g., puerta (door), chica (girl) and  muchacha (girl).

Exceptions include: la mano, el día, el mapa, el agua and el programa.

To make a noun plural simply add an ‘s’ to the noun if it ends in a vowel or ‘es’ if it ends in a consonant. If it ends in a ‘z’, first change the ‘z’ to ‘c’ and add ‘es’ (e.g. vez – veces).

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Jun 22 2004

Key Words & Phrases

quiero(e) – I want (you want)

necesito(a) – I need (you need)

Está bien. (¿Está bien?) – Okay (Are you okay?)

sí (si) – yes (if)

no – no

tal vez – maybe

hay – there is, there are

¿Hay? – Is there? Are there?

es – is

y – and

o – or

de – of/from

con (conmigo, contigo) – with (with me, with you)

aquí/allí/allá – here/there/over there

hablo(a) – I speak (you speak)

voy/va – I go/you go

me gusta/le gusta – I like/you like

¿Cómo se dice _____ en español? – How do you say _____ in Spanish?

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Jun 21 2004

Interrogatives (Question Words)

¿Quién? – Who?

¿Qué? – What?

¿Dónde? – Where?

¿Cuándo? – When?

¿Por qué? (Porque) – Why? (Because)

¿Cómo? – How?

¿Cuánto (dinero)?– How much (money)?

¿Cuántos? – How many?

¿Cúal? – Which?

¿Cuáles? – Which ones?

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Jun 20 2004


Señor, señora and señorita – Mr., Mrs. and Miss.

Bienvenidos – Welcome

Hola, ¿Cómo está usted? – Hi, how are you?

Muy bien, gracias. – Very well, thank you.

¿Cúal es su nombre? or ¿Cómo se llama usted?– What is your name?

Mi nombre es… or Me llamo… – My name is…

Perdón or perdóneme – Pardon or pardon me

Por favor – Please

Lo siento. – I’m sorry. (lit. “I feel for you”)

Muchas gracias. – Many thanks or thank you very much.

De nada. – You are welcome. (lit. “for nothing”)

No hay problema. – (There is) no problem.

Mucho gusto (en conocerle). – Much pleasure (in making your acquaintance) or pleased to meet you.

bueno – good

malo – bad

Buenos días. – Good morning. (lit. Good day.)

Buenas tardes. – Good afternoon.

Buenas noches. – Good night.

No comprendo. Repita, por favor. – I don’t understand. Repeat, please.

No sé/No sabe. – I don’t know/You don’t know.

más despacio (lento) – more slowly

usted (Ud.) and ustedes (Uds.) – you and you all

– you (informal)

yo – I (myself)

Hasta mañana/luego/pronto/la vista. – Until tomorrow/later/soon/I see you again.

adiós – goodbye (lit. “To God”)

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Jun 19 2004

False Cognates

It should be noted that “False Cognates” do exist between English and Spanish. However, there are only a very small number, and the majority have meanings very close to their English or Spanish counterparts. For example, actual in Spanish means current, asistir means to attend, while atender means to assist, and pariente means relative. There are a tiny handful that are way off, though. The most famous include: constipado meaning congested, ropa meaning clothes, médico meaning doctor and embarazada meaning pregnant!

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Jun 18 2004

Near Cognates

The following are examples of Near Cognates words which require only a very small change in spelling and change in accent:

actriz (actress), artista (artist), americano (american), demócrata (democrat), escuela (school), especial (special), estudiante (student), música (music), político (political) republicano (republican), and televisión (television).

The following is a list of English word groups with common suffixes, which can be easily changed to Spanish:

Words ending in -tion can be changed to Spanish by simply removing the ‘t’ and replacing it with a ‘c’, (with an added accent mark over the ‘o’). Examples include:

atención (attention), condición (condition), comunicación (communication), dirección (direction), imitacíon (imitation), nación (nation), posición (position), situación (situation), recreación (recreation), relación (relation), and revolución (revolution).

Words ending in -iable or -able are spelled similarly, but are pronounced differently. For example:

admirable, culpable, probable, posible and sociable.

Words ending in -ty can be changed to dad sometimes with a slight spelling change in the stem. For example:

realidad (reality), dificultad (difficulty), facilidad (facility), facultad (faculty), libertad (liberty), and sociedad (society).

Words ending in -ly can be changed to mente. For example:

directamente (directly), naturalmente (naturally), rápidamente (rapidly), and usualmente (usually).

Words ending in -ry can be changed to rio sometimes with a slight spelling change in the stem. For example:

diccionario (dictionary), funcionario (functionary), necesario (necessary), documentario (documentary), and vocabulario (vocabulary).

Words ending in -ent can be changed by adding a ‘e’ at the end, sometimes with a slight spelling change in the stem. For example:

accidente (accident), diferente (different), evidente (evident), excelente (excellent), frecuente (frequent), incidente (incident), inocente (innocent), inteligente (intelligent), permanente (permanent), presidente (president) and urgente (urgent).

Words ending in -ment can be changed by adding an ‘o’, sometimes with a slight spelling change in the stem. For example:

argumento (argument), documento (document), elemento (element), instrumento (instrument), monumento (monument) and suplemento (supplement).

Words ending in -ence or -ency can be changed to encia. For example:

diferencia (difference), emergencia (emergency), existencia (existence), experiencia (experience), paciencia (patience) and tendencia (tendency).

Words ending in -id can be changed to ido. For example:

líquido (liquid), plácido (placid), rápido (rapid), and tímido (timid).

Words ending in -el or -al generally keep the same spelling with a different pronunciation. For example:

artificial, general, gradual, material, sensual, sexual and universal.

Words ending in -ular stay the same with a different pronunciation. For example:

muscular, popular, regular, secular and singular.

For words ending in -ic simply add an ‘o’. For example:

automático (automatic), básico (basic), doméstico (domestic), eléctrico (electric), elástico (elastic), público (public), pragmático (pragmatic), realístico (realistic).

Sometimes there is a slight stem change. For example:

científico (scientific), sistemático (systematic), único (unique).

Words ending in -ous can be changed to oso such as:

delicioso (delicious), fabuloso (fabulous), famoso (famous), furioso (furious), generoso (generous), and misterioso (mysterious).

Words ending in -tor change to dor, such as:

elevador (elevator), moderador (moderator), refrigerador (refrigerator).

Words ending in -ism change to ismo, such as:

bautismo (baptism), comunismo (communism), turismo (tourism).

Words ending in -ry change to rio, such as:

monasterio (monastery), santuario (sanctuary).

Words ending in –ry change to ria or ría, such as:

categoría (category), enfermería (infirmary), memoria (memory).

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Jun 17 2004

Exact Cognates

The following are examples of Exact Cognates (words with identical spellings in both English and Spanish). They simply require a change in accent. They include:

actor, bar, cereal, color, director, doctor, final, general, horror, idea, material, motor, natural, origin, original, personal, picnic, and terror.

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Jun 16 2004

English/Spanish Cognates

Over half of all English words are directly derived from French and Latin. Most of the polysyllabic words in English are of French/Latin origin, while the vast majority of monosyllabic words are of Anglo-Saxon (Germanic) origin. Spanish is a Latin language with a vocabulary closely related to French. Thus, there are tens of thousands of words that are the same or virtually the same in both English and Spanish. These words can be changed to Spanish with a simple alteration of accent or a minor change in pronunciation and spelling and vice versa.

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