Learn Spanish Grammar Online
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Spanish is one of the most common and useful languages in the world. As it is currently spoken by millions of people, you can develop a real edge if you understand the rules of grammar. However, this can be challenging and grammar itself is not the most interesting of topics.
The first thing to remember is that there is nothing wrong with asking for a bit of help. Teachers will only know that you have a problem if you speak up. Even if you feel that the question is simple, never be afraid to say that you are confused. This is much better than trying to discover a grammar answer on your own only to find out that you have gotten it wrong the entire time.
It is a well-known fact that making progress in this fun and exciting language will only take place after you have developed a working knowledge of Spanish grammar. One excellent way to to polish your grammar while putting a bit of fun into the entire process is through the use of flash cards. What are a few grammar issues that can be taught with the help of these cards?
Common Grammar Questions
Ser Versus Estar
Not only a flash cards a great deal of fun, but they are also effective ways to learn some of the most tricky grammar rules. For example, let us look at the differences between the words “ser” and “estar”.
As opposed to what you may have heard, ser and estar are defined by much more than “permanent” and “temporary” conditions. A great example here can be seen when we describe an apple. Let’s look at these two phrases:
- La manzana está verde.
- La manzana es verde.
They both translate to mean “The apple is green”. However, estar describes the condition of the apple (as being unripe) while es shows the essential definition (simply an apple that is coloured green). Remembering this example can help you to learn when each form of “to be” should be used.
Although you are probably aware of how to count from one to ten in Spanish, you might not be sure how to express other values such as 36, 78 or 195. This is tricky because the rules are very different than English. The grammar rules become even more complicated when we begin counting higher such as expressing the year or values into the thousands. We can clearly see a few examples here:
- 2015 is pronounced “dos mil quince”.
- 1998 is pronounced “mil novecientos noventa y ocho”.
- 3,000 is simply “tres mil”.
This is actually one of the more difficult points to address. Still, what if you need to tell someone your date of birth or you are at a bank and hope to withdraw a few hundred pounds from your account while overseas? Flash cards will again come in very handy. You will be able to write the number on one side and how it is pronounced in Spanish on the other. It is much quicker to learn the basic rules of grammar in this way.
Another issue that many English speakers have is that gender (male or female endings) are attached to nearly every Spanish adjective. These normally match the ending of the noun that is being described. Of course, this does not occur in English. Here is an example:
- The white house
- La casa blanca
Both of these phrases mean the same thing and yet in Spanish, the word for white needs to match the gender of “casa”. To put it another way, the phrase “la casa blanco” would always be incorrect. This grammar can be a bit more tricky because these rules do not apply with some words. For example, it is always “el problema” or “el dia” as opposed to using the term “la” before each. Using flash cards can help you learn these rules. You can have the answer to a phrase on one side and on the other, a choice of either masculine or feminine articles. For instance:
- El/la arbol (the tree).
- El/la semana (the week).
- El/la tiempo (the weather).
- El/la hora (the time).
So, we can now see that using flash cards is a great way to perfect your grammar skills. This is also more interesting than simply trying to read from a book and using a partner can help you both learn much quicker.
There are many people who might choose to ignore basic Spanish grammar and instead try to speak fluently within a short period of time. This is actually not a very good idea. In fact, some real misunderstandings can occur.
For example, if you ask for an “ultima bebida”, you are saying that this will be your last drink for the rest of your life. You should instead say “la penultima bebida” (the last drink of the evening). So, it is clear that even the smallest of grammar mistakes can make a big difference in the way that you learn the language. It is always better to start off with the right understanding, as you will be able to form the correct habits that help you to learn Spanish online much easier (and correctly)!
Learning grammar with flash cards and through the use of an experienced, native speaking tutor (such as those offered at Lingoda) are excellent ways to sharpen your skills, but don’t forget to use other resources to get a real understanding of the language: watch Spanish movies with subtitles, listen to a Spanish radio station or enjoy some Spanish music. This will help you appreciate the rules of grammar while also being able to hear how native speakers use their accents and how their speech naturally sounds.