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Basic Spanish for foreigners

Autor: Ricardo Roque Mateos
9,17/10 (12 opiniones) |3254 alumnos|Fecha publicaciýn: 17/03/2006
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Capýtulo 5:

 Getting what we need


As we remember the verbs in Spanish have 3 conjugations  AR   ER   IR let's see begining to understand the verbs and pronouns with 1 verb from each conjugation.

  -AR :        NADAR  (TO SWIM)

   yo nado                       I swim

   t ú nad as                       You swim

   él/ella nad a               He/she swims

   nosotros nad amos      We swim

   vosotros nad ais          You swim

   ellos nadan                They swim

-ER :       COMER  (TO EAT)                  

 yo como                        I eat                 

t ú com es                      You eat             

él/ella com e                He/she eats            

nosotros com emos      We eat

vosotros com eis           You eat

ellos comen                 They eat

  -IR :       VIVIR  (TO LIVE)

yo vivo                         I live

t ú viv es                         You live

él/ella viv e                  He/she lives

nosotros viv imos          We live

vosotros viv ís               You live

ellos viv en                    They live

All the verbs will follow the same conjugation if they are not irregular. Some change in the root due to their latin or greek roots. So, let's make some examples.

BEBER (to drink)   -ER     Yo bebo, tu bebes, él bebe, nosotros bebemos...

DORMIR (to sleep) -IR   Yo duermo, tu duermes, el duerme, nosotros dormimos...

ESTAR (to be "inestable things") -AR  Yo estoy, tu est ás, el est á, nosotros estamos...

Estar is irregular, that's why the first person finishes in Y, even so the irregularities in Spanish are less than in other languages (1 letter as you can see)

Dormir changes in the root due to it's Latin roots.


We have seen the present, now let's go with the gerund. In English the gerund is the verb in infinitive finishing in -ING

Cook = Cooking, Play = Playing, Sleep = Sleeping etc.

In Spanish the ending ING we get it adding  ANDO to the verbs finishing in AR and IENDO to the verbs finishing in ER and IR.

Comer = Comiendo (eating)  Beber = bebiendo (drinking) Nadar = nadando (swimming).

The auxiliary in Spanish will always be ESTAR when in english we use TO BE

So, let's see how we form the continous present or Presente continuo

Yo estoy comiendo = I am eating       Nosotros estamos bebiendo = We are drinking

Ella est á viviendo = she is living             Vosotros estais nadando = You are swimming

DON'T FORGET : In Spanish each pronoun has it's ending, so for most of the cases there is no need to write the pronoun because it's obvious who we are talking about.

It's more natural to say "estoy comiendo" than "yo estoy comiendo" Estoy can only be for Yo.

ACABAR = TO FINISH (yo acabo, tu acabas, el acaba, nosotros acabamos, vosotros acabais, ellos acaban)

This verb is used to form the immediate past or pasado inmediato. It will allow us to make phrases in past using the verbs in infinitive, with the condition that the action was done recently.

Acabo de comer = I've just eaten (literally I finished eating)

Ababas de dormir = You've just slept

Acabamos de beber = We've just drank

We conjugate the first verb, the second is always the same (goes in infinitive)

IR =  TO GO  This verb is a lil irregular in it's root but not in the endings (yo voy, tú vas, é l vá , nosotros vamos, vosotros vais, ellos vá n)

We can use this verb to make the immediate future or futuro inmediato.

voy a comer = I am going to eat                    vas a beber = you are going to eat

vamos a tener = we are going to have          vais a poder = you are going to be able

So in this simple way we are already able to make sentences in present (yo nado) continuous present ( estoy nadando) immediate past (acabo de nadar) and immediate future (voy a nadar)  and we don't need to get into endings yet.



 ¿Qué? = What?           ¿Cómo? = How?        ¿Cuándo? = when?      ¿Cuál? = Which?

¿Dónde? = Where?     ¿Quién? = Who?        ¿Por qué? = Why?       ¿Con qué? = with what?

All the question marks have accent to diferentiate them from their identical forms when answering the question.

¿Por qué? separate and with accent for question, Porque together and without accent for the answer (because)

IMPORTANT : Many students have assumed that you must answer with the question you are asked...

It's wrong. A question starting with ¿Dónde? not necessarily must be answered also with donde, exactly as in English ( -where did you left the milk? - In the kitchen)


We have numbers, adjectives, nouns, verbs in different forms, prepositions etc. now we will put everything together to build complex sentences and to understand them.

1-Hola, buenas tardes. Mi nombre es Javier Ramos, quiero hablar con el Sr. Palacios

-Lo siento, pero en estes momentos el Se ñ or Palacios está ocupado.

-Lo comprendo, ¿Cuándo puedo hablar con él sobre mi contrato de trabajo? 

-Puede venir mañana a las tres si quiere.

2 Acabo de comer en un restaurante muy caro.

3 -¿Por qué no quieres ir a la fiesta? -Porque tengo mucho trabajo que hacer.

4 Acabo de estar en la tienda y no tienen queso.

5 No me gusta esta pe lí cula, es muy aburrida.

6 Tu casa es muy bonita, me gusta el color de las paredes, es muy elegante.

7 En mi casa comemos pollo los domingos por la tarde

8 ¿ Quieres ir al cine esta tarde o prefieres ir a la playa?

9 En ese pa ís la comida es muy buena y muy barata

10 He estado en tu ciudad y creo que es muy agradable.

11 Hay un libro muy bueno sobre esta pe lí cula.

12 Tengo que ir a la tienda porque no tenemos bebidas para la fiesta.

13 Miguel ha estado en Hawaii de vacaciones con su mujer.

14 En el mundo hay cientos de paises que hablan idiomas diferentes.

15 Voy a ir al campo esta semana con mi familia.

16 En este hotel las habitaciones tienen baño y cocina.

17 En la entrada del cine hay una puerta como la de star wars, me ha gustado mucho.

18 Mi amigo tiene un piso en este edificio, pero yo vivo en el centro

19 Cuando tengo tiempo, prefiero comer sano

  20 Es imposible hacer este trabajo sin tres personas.

                                                       LESSON TWELVE

           S O L U C I O N E S

1 -Hi, good evening. My name is Javier Ramos, I want to speak with Mr. Palacios.

-I'm sorry, in these moments Mr. Palacios is busy.

-I understand it, when can I speak with him about my job contract?

-You can come tomorrow at 3.00 if you want.

2 I just ate in a very expensive restaurant

3 Why don't you want to go to the party? -Because I have a lot of work to do.

4 I just was in the shop and they have no cheese.

5 I don't like this movie, it's very boring

6 Your house is very beautiful, I like the colour of the walls, it's very elegant

7 In my house we eat chicken on sundays at evening

8 Do you want to go to the cinema this afternoon or you prefer to go to the beach?

9 In that country the food is very good and very cheap.

10 I have been in your city and I think it's very nice

11 There is a very good book about this movie

12 I have to go to the shop because we don't have drinks for the party

13 Miguel has been in Hawaii on hollidays with his wife (woman)

14 In the world there are hundreds of countries that speak different languages

15 I will go to the forest with my family this week

16 In this hotel the rooms have bathroom and kitchen

17 In the entrance of the cinema there is a door like the one in star wars, I liked it a lot.

18 My friend has a flat in this building but I live in the center.

19 When I have time I prefer to eat healthy

20 It's impossible to do this work without three people.


-We use the article exactly as in English, if we want milk in general we don't say "I want the milk for my coffe" If the article goes in English it will go in Spanish.

-Everything coincides in gender and number except verbs and adverbs. If we say the houses are red we must put everything in plural and feminine "Las casas son rojas"

-The name always goes first, then the adjective except for some exceptions we will see in the future, like in (casa roja, libro verde)

Remember this grammar rules when you translate the following phrases:

I like to eat chicken with my friends =

I go to the cinema because I like this movie =

Do you have a big table in the room? (do you have is only 1 word) =

When can I go to speak with the manager? =

Your house is very big, we can do a party today =


Me gusta comer pollo con mis amigos (never THE chicken, cause it's in general)

Voy al cine porque me gusta la película

Tienes una mesa grande en tu habitacion

¿Cuando puedo ir a hablar con el manager?

Mi casa es muy grande, podemos hacer una fiesta hoy.

                                                          LESSON THIRTEEN


 PLACE (lugar):

Aquí = Here                  Allí = there                         Allá = there (sinonim, but less used) 

But never "Aca"...this southamerican term is strongly rejected by the Spanish Royal academy.

 Lejos = far                     Cerca = close                   Fuera = Outside

Dentro = inside             Encima = over                  Sobre = Over (sinonim, the most used)

Detrás = Behind           Delante = in front             Debajo = under

Sobre is also used like "about" in a subject   To speak about cinema = Hablar sobre cine

TIME (tiempo):

Ahora = now                  Ayer = yesterday               Hoy = today    

Mañana = tomorrow    Luego = later                      Después = later/after

Siempre = always          Entonces = then                 Tarde = late (evening also)

Temprano = early          A tiempo = on time           Nunca = never

Jamás = never ever ever...                                       Antes = before .

Mientras = During          Durante = During/while

QUANTITY (cantidad)

Bastante = enough            Mucho = a lot/ much         Muy = very  The expression "very much" in Spanish can't be formed with muy mucho, only with mucho.

Demasiado = too much    Más = more                    Menos = less

Algo = something               Nada = nothing             Alguien = somebody

Nadie = nobody                 Alguno = some              Ninguno = none

Poco = lil                               Pocos = few                   Tan = so

Tanto = so much                  Todo = everything         Apenas = barely           Solo = only

NEG. AFIRM. DOUBT (doubt = duda)

También = too/ also           Quizas = maybe             Tal vez = maybe

Aun = yet                             Todavía = still / yet         

To make the names little we use -ITO -ITA       Cat = Gato   Kitty = Gatito. We must be careful when using this resource, it's better to use small cat than kitty if we don't wanna sound too funny with some words. "La casa es pequeña" better than es una casita pequeñita. 

To make the names big we use -isimo, only with one S.

Grande = big     Grandísimo = very big, like with the diminutive, it's better to say muy grande than grandísimo.

Capýtulo siguiente - Completing grammar
Capýtulo anterior - Situations

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