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Grammar

by Eduardo


Posted on May 20, 2013 at 12:00 AM.


Basic key points of Spanish Grammar.


Conjugation

"To conjugate" a verb is to inflect it for mood and tense. In Spanish, conjugated verbs also reflect the person and number of the subject. We do this with a unique suffix. 

Learning to conjugate verbs properly in Spanish is often one of the biggest challenges for English-speaking learners of Spanish. Luckily, the vast majority of Spanish verbs follow predictable patterns: 

-Regular Verbs. There are three classes of regular verbs; they are usually referred to by their infinitive endings: -ar verbs, -er verbs, and -ir verbs. 

-True irregular verbs. Some very high frequency verbs like ser (to be) and ir (to go) have highly unpredictable forms. These forms must be learned by rote memory, which is made easier by the fact that they are so high frequency. 

 -Other So-called “irregular verbs.” There are some Spanish verbs whose forms in the simple tenses are not predictable; that is, they are not follow regular rules of conjugation. These are often sloppily labeled “irregular” and are presented haphazardly to the dismay of the students. However, some of the so-called “irregular” verbs do follow a pattern; these verbs that pattern together will be presented together and given a nifty SpanishPod name, to indicate that they are not true irregulars. 

 

Gender Agreement

In Spanish, all nouns are classified as having feminine and masculine grammatical gender. The adjectives that modify these nouns must reflect their gender, as do the pronouns that replace them. 

The most common way nouns and adjectives show their gender is through their endings (see examples below). 

The terms "masculine" and "feminine" refer primarily to grammatical classifications; they may or may not refer to the biological gender of the item in question. In fact, the masculine plural is used to refer to groups that include people or objects of both genders. For example, when you talk about "mis amigos," your listener will immediately assume that your friends are a group of both men and women.

 

Number

In Spanish all nouns are classified as having plural and singular grammatical number. The adjectives that modify these nouns must reflect their number, as do the pronouns that replace them.

Spanish verbs, when conjugated also reflect the number of the subject of the sentence.

 

Verb Tenses

-Non-finite Forms of the Verb. Verb forms which are not conjugated (i.e., paired with a grammatical subject) are referred to as non-finite.

-Indicative Mood. These are the verb tenses that describe or indicate reality, whether that reality be past actions, present actions, or future actions; or actions which may happen under certain conditions. The tenses of the indicative mood can be categorized as simple tenses and compound tenses. 

-Subjunctive Mood. Spanish speakers use the subjunctive mood to talk about actions hypothetically; that is, without saying that they ever happened, are happening, or would happen, or will happen under any circumstances. 

-Imperative Mood. The imperative mood is used by Spanish speakers to command others. Imperative sentences are often introduced by an optional que. Imperatives come in two flavors: directive commands, in which a speaker names an action s/he wishes to be preformed, and prohibitive commands, where the speaker seeks to prohibit a certain action.

 

 


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