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Spanish Core Vocabulary With Video and Other Free Materials

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  • Spanish Core Vocabulary With Video and Other Free Materials

Intro

To speak a foreign language, obviously, we need to learn new words. But this process does not have to be tiring and monotonous, on the contrary!

  • If you learn the words that are extremely relevant to your daily communication, and you learn them in a systematic and enjoyable way, you will be able to communicate with ease in the new language.

I will give you some tips, which I will indicate with the symbol, so that you can optimize your vocabulary learning.

This video is available here, but it is originally the second lesson of the FREE Spanish self-study mini-course with explanations in English and certificate of completion.

FREE Spanish Course!

If you want to find out more about the mini-course and obtain more samples of the content (no registration needed), you have this post, where you will also explore more free resources and priceless tips to optimize your study.

More FREE Content

What will I learn in this Spanish vocabulary class for English-speaking beginners?

In this lesson you will learn:

  • The articles in Spanish.
  • The 20 most basic nouns of the language.
  • The numbers up to 100 in Spanish.
  • The most fundamental expressions of time and place in Spanish.

The video shows the information more succinctly, while here in the post you will find more detailed explanations.

The content and material of this free Spanish vocabulary lesson

  • But before I teach you that vocabulary, I offer you an explanation about the grammar of the articles. It is very simple, and it will allow you to understand much better how the structure of the Spanish language works.
  • I also include a section where you will learn the numbers 0 to 100, which are part of the basic vocabulary of Spanish. Learning them is a matter of a little logic and practice, you will see.

Of course, you can skip the explanations about the grammar of the articles and the vocabulary of numbers if you do not need it.

  • But it will not take you long to read it and you will surely learn useful information.

In this post, you will find, without the need to register, and for free:

  • The video to learn the vocabulary.
  • The PDF with the “cheat sheet”.
  • Tables with vocabulary divided by topics, with audios.
  • Interactive vocabulary flashcards to learn and play games.
  • Two quizzes, so you can be sure that you learned everything.

The same content is available with this video, with explanation in Spanish, with subtitles in Spanish and English for you to dive deeper in the Spanish language. Materials and explanations in Spanish are also available.

PDF "cheat sheet" with vocabulary.

spanish mini course cheat sheet lesson 2

You can download the PDF you see in the video, with theory, exercises and answers, when you enroll in the FREE mini-course.

FREE Spanish course!

Do I have to speak some Spanish to learn these words?

No. You do not need prior knowledge of the language to study with this material.

If you already speak a little Spanish, this class will be an aid to refresh your memory, to learn something new and to practice a little more.

In any case, you should know at least the pronunciation of Spanish. You can learn it quickly with this video (starting on minute 11:47), which has free material that you can download:

You have a free guide where you will learn the pronunciation of Spanish with more examples and audios.

If you want more input to learn the Spanish pronunciation, you can learn the most searched words by foreigners on Google. You can learn more about these words for free here.

Why do I have to learn this vocabulary?

Because they are words that you really need in Spanish. They are part of the core vocabulary of the language.

  • They are words that you use every single day in English. So, it makes sense that you know their equivalents in Spanish.

In this lesson you will learn words following two simultaneous criteria:

  • They are relevant words, words that are very frequently used.
  • They are words ordered according to a thematic criterion. Learning the words by topics and/or by grammatical categories will facilitate your learning. It is harder to memorize isolated words, words that are not related to one another.

How can I continue learning useful Spanish words for free?

To continue learning the most relevant words of the language, you have free Spanish vocabulary guides with video, audio, and PDF:

The most relevant nouns in Spanish. You can download the material for free.

The most relevant verbs in Spanish. You can download the material for free.

At the end of this post, you will find more free content to learn Spanish

The most basic vocabulary for beginners in Spanish

We will see in the next sections the content of this Spanish class for beginners.

The articles in Spanish

Before learning the vocabulary of nouns, such as “EL PROBLEMA” or “LA COSA”, we must know what are those little words “EL” and “LA” that we place before the nouns.

Spoiler: they are articles.

What are articles? They are words with a grammatical function that accompany nouns.

  • Articles cannot appear alone.
  • Articles always appear before a noun.
  • Articles always have the same grammar gender (masculine/feminine) and the same number (singular/plural) as the noun they accompany.
What types of articles exist in Spanish?

Here you have the table with all the articles of the Spanish language. Look at the categories:

  • Definite/indefinite articles.
  • Gender: masculine/feminine.
  • Number: singular/plural.
masculine, singularfeminine, singularmasculine, pluralfeminine, plural
definite articleELLALOSLAS
indefinite articleUNUNAUNOSUNAS

We have two types of articles in Spanish.

Definite articles (“ARTÍCULOS DEFINIDOS”, also called “ARTÍCULOS DETERMINADOS”) are those that refer to beings, things, or abstract concepts in a specific way. For example:

"EL TRABAJO DE RICARDO ES INTERESANTE."

Ricardo has only one job, and when I talk about Ricardo’s career, I use the definite article because I am talking about a very specific job he has, which I find interesting.

Indefinite articles (“ARTÍCULOS INDEFINIDOS”, also called “ARTÍCULOS INDETERMINADOS”) are those that refer to beings, things, or abstract concepts in a generic way. For example.

“EL RUSO ES UNA LENGUA INTERESANTE.”

Although it is difficult to know an exact number, it is estimated that there are more than 7 thousand languages in the world. Russian is one of those languages, and I find it interesting.

  • “EL RUSO” is specific (there is only one Russian language, and that is why we use the definite article). But “UNA LENGUA” is more generic because there are more elements in that category.
  • That is, “EL RUSO” is emphasized for being a very specific element, while “UNA LENGUA” remains in the realm of the generic.

https://www.ethnologue.com/guides/how-many-languages

Articles also vary according to gender and number, just like nouns.

  • In Spanish there is no neuter gender. Nouns will only be masculine or feminine and can only appear in the singular or plural.
  • Therefore, we will have those same four variables of the nouns in the articles.

Here is the table of articles in Spanish with examples of nouns.

masculine, singularfeminine, singularmasculine, pluralfeminine, plural
definite articleEL TRABAJOLA LENGUALOS TRABAJOSLAS LENGUAS
indefinite articleUN TRABAJOUNA LENGUAUNOS TRABAJOSUNAS LENGUAS
What is the function of articles in the Spanish grammar?

To learn the nouns (we will see them in a few moments), it is necessary to previously know the articles in Spanish. Why?

  • Because the article accompanies the noun and gives us grammatical information about it: its gender (whether it is masculine or feminine) and its number (whether it is singular or plural).

As a matter of fact, you can know the gender and number of most nouns in Spanish simply by observing their ending.

  • In other languages that is not necessarily the case, but in Spanish the nouns are quite "transparent".

"Don’t judge a book by its cover", goes the saying… But in the Spanish grammar, you can say A LOT about the noun just by looking at its ending!

  • This is how you find out, for example, if it is masculine or feminine, singular or plural.
  • And the article, I insist, is the unequivocal sign of the gender and number of the noun it accompanies.

Spanish has very simple rules to find out the gender of the vast majority of nouns. If you follow those rules, you will be on the right track.

The rule you will see next is just a general principle, but it will allow you to identify the gender of most Spanish words!

The most general rule for the gender of nouns in Spanish is:

  • All Spanish nouns ending in -O and -OR are masculine, except for 🖐 "LA MANO" ("hand") and 🌻 "LA FLOR" ("flower").
  • Most Spanish nouns ending in -A are feminine.

Most nouns, not all of them (!), because you will see that “EL PROBLEMA” ends in -A, but it is a masculine noun.

Mnemonic trick: “EL PROBLEMA” is masculine, but “LA SOLUCIÓN” (“solution”) is feminine. Let that sink in!

The grammar defines the gender of words. The individual speakers cannot assign the gender we want to nouns.

We just cannot wake up one morning and say, in a whim, “today, it will be LA PROBLEMA because I say so… Tomorrow, who knows?”. Languages do not work this way.

  • You could say "LA PROBLEMA" and people would, despite this mistake, be able to understand you…
  • …But to speak properly we must follow the rules of the language we use.

And even if you do not know those rules, if the noun appears with your article, you will know if it is masculine or feminine.

  • That is, if you look at "EL PROBLEMA" (with the masculine article "EL"), you know that, although the ending -A is usually feminine, "PROBLEMA" is a special case.
  • It is a mistake to say *"LA PROBLEMA".
  • It is also a mistake to say *"EL PROBLEMO".

via GIPHY

Although *"NO PROBLEMO" is a phrase that has become popular in English (it even appears in English dictionaries!) in Spanish it is not correct. You will say "SIN PROBLEMA" or "NO HAY PROBLEMA".

  • This sentence indicates that the situation is favorable, that there are no factors preventing something from happening.
  • However, if you want to react when someone says “GRACIAS”, a Spanish speaker usually will not say “SIN PROBLEMA(S)”. The normal reaction is “DE NADA” (“you are welcome”).

In this video you can learn the most basic polite phrases in Spanish (starting on minute 14:30).

You can practice these expressions with the interactive flashcards. You can choose your favorite learning or gaming mode.

  • The video has free material and is the first lesson of the comprehensive online Spanish course with webinars and certificate.

A1 course with webinars

The article is the element that gives us the clear and unequivocal signal of the gender of a Spanish noun.

Therefore, when you learn vocabulary lists made by a professional teacher (such as those you will find in this post and in the courses that I offer), you will see the nouns always with the article that corresponds to them.

Learning the noun with your article is a good habit that will help you avoid mistakes.

What is the equivalence between articles in English and Spanish? What are the differences between them?

Disclaimer: I just tell you the grammatical facts so that you can communicate in Spanish. I do not intend to raise discussions about gender as a cultural construct because this blog is about languages, not gender studies.

  • I will say “gender in practical terms” to refer to the masculine/feminine binomial that we generally use in everyday life.
  • And then, you gave “grammatical gender”, which in Spanish is masculine/feminine, according to grammar rules. The “grammatical gender” is what matters to us now.

In Spanish, nouns always have a grammatical gender.

If the noun designates a person, the grammatical gender matches that person’s gender in practical terms.

  • For example, "EL HOMBRE" has masculine grammatical gender and "LA MUJER" has feminine grammatical gender.

In Spanish, as you know, nouns must be either feminine, or masculine. It does not matter if you are talking about…

  • Persons: “EL ESTUDIANTE” (“the male student”), “LA ESTUDIANTE” (“the female student”)
  • Objects: “EL LIBRO” (“the book”), “LA CASA” (“the house”)
  • Abstract concepts: “EL MIEDO” (“the fear”), “LA FELICIDAD” (“the happiness”)

… Because all Spanish nouns do have a gender, and this easily observed by looking at the articles “EL” and “LA” that you see in the examples.

The article gives you absolute certainty of the gender of the noun. In the absence of an article, the ending gives you a clue.

  • As you have seen, you can identify the gender of most nouns just by looking at the ending. Spanish is quite predictable regarding grammatical genders.

As the article accompanies the noun and has the same gender and number as that noun, the article in Spanish must also fit into the masculine/feminine + singular/plural scheme.

masculine, singularfeminine, singularmasculine, pluralfeminine, plural
definite articleELLALOSLAS
indefinite articleUNUNAUNOSUNAS

That being said, the differences between the articles in Spanish and English are mainly based on the fact that English does not distinguish grammatical gender in nouns in a systematic way as Spanish does

In English you also have articles, but they are very few: “the” is the definite article and “a” (and its variation “an”) is the indefinite article.

Since in English there is no systematic gender distinction in the nouns, there is also no gender distinction in the English articles, which accompany the nouns.

So let us see next the contrast between English and Spanish, shown with the symbols ❌ and ✔:

In English there are no specific articles for grammatical genders because in that language there is no systematic division of nouns into two grammatical genders.

  • In English you will say “the (male) teacher” or “the (female) teacher”, and the article is the same, “the”.

✔But in Spanish, the articles distinguish the grammatical gender (masculine/feminine), always.

definite articleEnglishSpanish
masculine, singularthe (male) teacherEL PROFESOR
feminine, singularthe (female) teacherLA PROFESORA

❌There are also no separate articles for the plural in English.

  • The English articles “the” and “a” accompany singular nouns (“the teacher”, “a teacher” – male or female).
  • “The” also accompanies plural nouns (“the teachers” – males or females).

But in Spanish, the articles distinguish the number (singular/plural), and also the gender (masculine/feminine), always.

definite articleEnglishSpanish
masculine, pluralthe (male) teachersLOS PROFESORES
feminine, pluralthe (female) teachersLAS PROFESORAS

❌Another important difference between articles in Spanish and English is that in English there is no indefinite article for the plural.

Think about it: what is the plural of “a teacher?” You will say “some teachers”, but there is no plural of “a” as such.

But in Spanish we do have definite and indefinite articles in singular and plural, too.

indefinite articleEnglishSpanish
masculine, plural(male) teachersUNOS PROFESORES
feminine, plural(female) teachersUNAS PROFESORAS

⚠Therefore, I show you the table above one more time, adding equivalence with English. With the symbol Ø I indicate that there is no equivalence in English.

masculine, singularfeminine, singularmasculine, pluralfeminine, plural
definite articleEL = theLA = theLOS = theLAS = the
indefinite articleUN =a/nUNA = a/nUNOS = ØUNAS = Ø

❗ But the fact that there is no 1:1 correspondence between English and Spanish articles does not have to bother you!

Each language has its own system, and the absence of equivalences between two languages will not prevent you from speaking them.

  • When you speak Spanish, you will use the Spanish articles. You do not need to think in English and then mentally translate into Spanish.
  • In other words: when you speak Spanish, you must use the elements that make up the Spanish linguistic system, without thinking about what would be said in English.

I make the comparison between the languages here for didactic reasons, but once you understand the principle, you do not need to make any more comparisons between the languages.

▶The same process applies to learning new words.

  • I add the translation of the words in the teaching materials. I do it so that your first contact with that new information is clear, that there are no misunderstandings.
  • However, once you assimilate the Spanish word and its meaning, you do not need to go back to English.

Precisely the absence of mental translation is a sign that you speak the language naturally. It is a sign that you think in Spanish when you speak in Spanish, just like a native speaker does.

The translation of words is only like the training wheels of a bicycle: they give you the first impulse.

However, once you understand the handling of your instrument you will be able to discard the extra wheels. When you assimilate the word in Spanish, you no longer think about the equivalence with English.

Any language, like a bicycle, is an instrument, a vehicle that you will take, and go wherever you want to go.

  • You will see that, if you have an adequate orientation at the beginning, you will soon be self-sufficient.
  • That is my goal as a teacher: to provide you with resources that allow you to know the most fundamental elements of the language and that you acquire security.
  • When you have the knowledge and confidence, you will use the language freely, spontaneously, and make far fewer mistakes than you think you do.

As a student, you should…

  • Understand the theory (as you are doing right now).
  • Practice it a little (for example, with the quizzes that I include here).
  • Have a lot of contact with the language.

If you spend some minutes every single day reading and listening to Spanish, you will soon be able to use it with ease.

  • It is essential to learn with didactic content aimed at foreigners (for example, this blog and the comprehensive A1 level course that I offer you).
  • But it is also important that you expose yourself to the language idly, through music, movies, etc.

I explain the process of learning a language and teach you valuable tricks to stimulate your study in this guide.

The numbers up to 100 in Spanish

After all that grammar, let us learn the vocabulary of Spanish, topic by topic.

You can quickly learn the numbers in the video (starting on minute 04:45).

Although I promised you 46 basic words in Spanish, in this class for beginners you will learn 100 more words, because I include here the numbers in Spanish up to 100.

0️⃣You need to learn the numbers in Spanish from 0 to 15 because they are irregular.

0. CERO
1. UNO
2. DOS
3. TRES
4. CUATRO
5. CINCO
6. SEIS
7. SIETE
8. OCHO
9. NUEVE
10. DIEZ
11. ONCE
12. DOCE
13. TRECE
14. CATORCE
15. QUINCE

Between the numbers 16 and 19, there is a logic: we read “DIEZ” “Y” “SEIS” (and write “DIECISÉIS”, 16).

16. DIECISÉIS
17. DIECISIETE
18. DIECIOCHO
19. DIECINUEVE
  • That is, we have a sum, ten plus the unit (10 + 9), and read the numbers from left to right.

That same logic is maintained from 20 to 99.

  • We will read first the ten and then the unit.

In Spanish, numbers between 21 and 29 are written in a single word. After 30, we have to separate, forming three words, as you will see below.

20. VEINTE
21. VEINTIUNO
22. VEINTIDÓS
23. VEINTITRÉS
24. VEINTICUATRO
25. VEINTICINCO
26. VEINTISÉIS
27. VEINTISIETE
28. VEINTIOCHO
29. VEINTINUEVE
30. TREINTA

🔟Here some examples.

20. VEINTE22. VEINTIDÓS
30. TREINTA33. TREINTA Y TRES
40. CUARENTA44. CUARENTA Y CUATRO
50. CINCUENTA55. CINCUENTA Y CINCO
60. SESENTA66. SESENTA Y SEIS
70. SETENTA77. SETENTA Y SIETE
80. OCHENTA88. OCHENTA Y OCHO
90. NOVENTA99. NOVENTA Y NUEVE

💯And the number 100 in Spanish is called “CIEN”.

This is the whole theory. To practice it (for free!), you have here a “cheat sheet”, a table in the drop-down and interactive flashcards.

🤩 Numbers in Spanish: 0-100!
0 cero
1 uno
2 dos
3 tres
4 cuatro
5 cinco
6 seis
7 siete
8 ocho
9 nueve
10 diez
11 once
12 doce
13 trece
14 catorce
15 quince
16 dieciséis
17 diecisiete
18 dieciocho
19 diecinueve
20 veinte
30 treinta
40 cuarenta
50 cincuenta
60 sesenta
70 setenta
80 ochenta
90 noventa
100 cien

In this short video you can go over the numbers. You have a free quiz to practice (it is video #5 in this series).

The most basic masculine nouns in Spanish

You can learn masculine and feminine nouns in a summarized way in the video (starting on minute 02:20).

Here are the interactive flashcards to practice. You can choose your preferred learning or gaming mode.
EL HOMBREman
EL CHICOboy
EL PAÍScountry
EL TRANSPORTEtransport
EL BAÑObathroom
EL DINEROmoney
EL PRECIOprice
EL TIEMPOtime
EL TRABAJOwork, job
EL NÚMEROnumber
EL PROBLEMAproblem

We start the most fundamental vocabulary of Spanish with a list of widely used nouns that have the masculine gender.

”EL HOMBRE” in Spanish designates the male adult, while 👦 “EL CHICO” is a very practical word in Spanish. “EL CHICO” (and the feminine, “LA CHICA”) does not indicate a specific age, it only serves to indicate youth.

  • The noun “CHICO” derives from the adjective “CHICO/A”, which is a synonym for “PEQUEÑO/A” (“small”) and, by extension, “JOVEN” (“young”).

That is, originally the noun “CHICO” referred to a child because he was an adult, but in small size, so to speak.

  • Therefore, to say “UN CHICO CHICO” means to say “a very young boy” or “a very short boy”. It seems like redundancy, but it can be said. And if the boy is very short, you will say “UN CHICO CHIQUITO”, or even “UN CHICO CHIQUITITO” if he is, indeed, short.
  • The brand of bananas “CHIQUITA” would mean that: “little girl”
  • https://www.chiquita.com/the-chiquita-story/
  • Surely “CHIQUITITA” is a Spanish word that also sounds to you because of the song of the mythical group ABBA. “CHIQUITITA” here simply means “very young girl”.
  • Although ABBA is a Swedish group, they recorded many songs in Spanish. Their accent, despite being foreign, is quite clear, so you can use their songs to improve your Spanish skills.
  • Learning a foreign language through music is an enjoyable and effective way to improve your skills.

In any case, the meaning of “CHICO” has been expanded and we can use “CHICO” to identify a male of any age.

It is normal to use “CHICO” with boys and men up to 30 years old, but it is also used, if the situation is informal, to identify men up to 50 years old.

  • Referring to a man over 50 as “CHICO” it is usually affectionate, not literal. This can be a friendly-cute way of using the word – think of a Zumba teacher for seniors who motivates the students by calling the ladies “CHICAS”.
  • But “CHICO” can also be used sarcastically, it depends of the context. for example, a middle-aged man who is living his midlife crisis to its fullest (with sports car, fashionable outfits, etc.) can be mockingly called “CHICO” (“boy”).

The feminine of “EL HOMBRE” is “LA MUJER”: you see that the formation of the feminine is not regular.

  • However, many feminine in Spanish are created changing the masculine noun ending -O to -A, such as “CHICO” ▶ “CHICA”.
  • Simple, right?

Another typical and regular masculine ending is -OR, as “EL PROFESOR”. To form your feminine, just add an -A: “LA PROFESORA”.

See how we form the plural of nouns in Spanish:

If the noun ends in vowel, we add an -S.

👦👦LOS CHICOS
👧👧LAS CHICAS
👩‍🏫👩‍🏫LAS PROFESORAS

If the noun ends in consonant, we add -ES.

LOS PROFESORES

”EL PAÍS” is a noun that grabs the attention of many foreigners, who assume that Spanish nouns ending in -S are always plural.

  • That is partially correct. We do form the plural of nouns that end in vowel by adding an -S, as you just saw.

However, there are some nouns that end in -S in the singular.

  • Therefore, “EL PAÍS” is the singular, while the plural will be “LOS PAÍSES”.
  • We form that plural of “PAÍS” by adding -ES to the noun in the singular because the last syllable is stressed.

However, if the stressed syllable is not the last, a noun whose singular ends in -S (as “EL CACTUS”) will have the same singular and plural form. The word is the same, but we distinguish:

🌵EL CACTUS
🌵🌵🌵LOS CACTUS

Do you see how articles are important? If the person only says “CACTUS”, without article and without a context, we do not know if they mean a single object or several objects.

  • Anyway, there are few words in Spanish that in the singular end with -S.

I mentioned the “stressed syllable” when explaining the word “CACTUS”. If you want to learn how to accentate words in Spanish, you can learn and practice for free in this guide.

The other words in the list are quite simple from the grammatical point of view. Their meaning can be easily translated. I will mention just a few aspects.

Observe that “EL BAÑO” is both the bathroom in the house and a public restroom. “EL BAÑO” is also the act of bathing.

What would you think if Enrique Iglesias invited you to go to the bathroom with him? That is what this song is about: “Let’s go to the bathroom, nobody is watching us” (“VÁMONOS PARA EL BAÑO, QUE NADIE NOS ESTÁ VIENDO”), sings the most famous son of Julio Iglesias.

Notice only that “TIEMPO ” and “DINERO”, although they can be pluralized, are uncountable nouns. Therefore, they are used mostly in singular.

You will learn vocabulary and basic phrases about money in this Spanish video for English-speaking travelers (starting on minute 22:34), with free material to download.

Notice also that “TRABAJO” is a fairly general term. We usually use “TRABAJO”:

  • To refer to the employment (“NO TENGO TRABAJO”, “I do not have a job”, for example)
  • To mean “job” (“ES UN TRABAJO BIEN HECHO”, “it is a job well done”).

You have here a short video where I teach you more about the work. You have free practice material (it is the video #23 in the series).

”EL TRANSPORTE” refers generally to a vehicle, but especially to a city’s public transportation system.

You have here a short video where I teach you useful phrases for urban transport. You have free practice material (it is the video #15 in the series).

The most basic feminine nouns in Spanish

In the previous section I commented that “MUJER” is the feminine of “HOMBRE” and that “CHICA” is the feminine of “CHICO”. So, as this is already explained, let us move on to other nouns on this list that deserve to be highlighted.

LA MUJERwoman
LA CHICAgirl
LA FAMILIAfamily
LA CIUDADcity
LA CALLEstreet
LA PLAYAbeach
LA CASAhouse
LA COSAthing
[LA] AGUAwater
LA LENGUAlanguage
LA PALABRAword

“LA FAMILIA” is a word that closely resembles the equivalent term in languages like English, but you may not know its origin.

  • Curiosity: “LA FAMILIA” comes from “famulus” in Latin, which is “servant” or “slave”. That is because in ancient times slaves were so numerous and socially important that they were considered part of the family unit.
  • In its original Latin sense “family” referred rather to domestic slaves, not so much to parents and children.

You have here a short video where I teach you phrases about the family. You have material to practice for free (it is the #22 video of the series).

”LA CASA” in Spanish is, in general, the place where you live. It does not matter the type of housing. That is, “CASA” is used as a synonym for “home”.

  • “CASA” can also be a house, as opposed to an apartment.

You have here a short video where I teach you more about housing. You have free practice material (it is the video #8 in the series).

“LA COSA” is one of those very generic words in Spanish, because it can refer to material objects or abstract concepts.

”[LA] AGUA” is a slightly peculiar noun, as you will assume when you see “[LA]” in square brackets. Although “AGUA” is a feminine noun, it is not used in Spanish with the singular feminine article because it does not sound good

  • It is the grammar who says it, pointing out the cacophony in the encounter of the A of “LA” with the initial “A” of “AGUA”.
  • Therefore, you will say “EL AGUA” with the masculine article, although “AGUA” is a feminine noun.

This phenomenon affects other nouns in Spanish that are also feminine and begin with a stressed A, that is, an A that is emphasized.

In Spanish, as in other languages, there are polysemic words, that is, words that have several possible meanings.

  • “LENGUA” is an example, because – just like “tongue” in English – it means both the muscle we have in our mouth and a language, for example, “LA LENGUA MATERNA” is the native language of a person.

Also “EL TIEMPO”, which you learned above, is a word with more than one meaning in Spanish. It means, as you learned, “time” in English, but depending on the context, it also means “weather” in English.

  • So, out of context, the phrase “¡QUÉ TIEMPO TAN BUENO!” can mean “what a beautiful day!” or “such wonderful times!”. It is the context that tells us whether we are talking about the weather (first sentence) or an era, an apoch (second sentence).

Do you want to learn more about the adjective “BUENO” and the adverb “BIEN” and their opposites in Spanish? In the comment to video #11 of this video series you will learn useful tips to communicate better!

Expressions of time in Spanish: basic vocabulary for beginners

You can quickly learn the expressions of time and place in the video (starting on minute 09:20).

Here you find the interactive flashcards to practice. You can choose your preferred learning or gaming mode.

EL TIEMPOtime
¿CUÁNDO?When?
AYERyesterday
HOYtoday
MAÑANAtomorrow
TEMPRANO, PRONTOearly
TARDElate
ANTESbefore
AHORAnow
DESPUÉSafter
LA MAÑANAmorning
LA TARDEafternoon
LA NOCHEevening, night
EL DÍAday
LA SEMANAweek
EL MESmonth
EL AÑOyear

Here you will see nouns and adverbs in Spanish that have something in common: they are words to indicate the time in Spanish.

To ask about when something happens in Spanish you have the question “¿CUÁNDO?”.

You can learn the interrogatives in Spanish in this video (starting on minute 01:59), where you will learn the most relevant questions and answers of Spanish. You have free material to download and to practice.

Notice that we have a clear sequence:

  • “AYER” ▶ “HOY” ▶ “MAÑANA”
  • “ANTES” ▶ “AHORA” ▶ “DESPUÉS”

You will learn vocabulary more easily if you relate words to each other (in pairs or groups) and represent them visually, as you have just seen.

That is a simple, yet powerful, trick to optimize your learning.

Another very effective way to learn vocabulary is by synonyms, that is, words of similar meaning, for example:

  • “TEMPRANO” ✔ “PRONTO”

Or by antonyms, that is, words of opposite meaning.

You can also learn by following a sequence:

  • “LA MAÑAÑA”🔜 “LA TARDE”🔜 “LA NOCHE”
  • 🔜 “LA SEMANA” 🔜 “EL MES” 🔜 “EL AÑO”

Do you see? There are many words but, if you study them systematically and visually, and if you repeat those words until you assimilate them, you will easily boost your vocabulary skills in Spanish.

To continue learning, you have this short video with examples of phrases about time. The video is #6 in the basic Spanish video series. You can learn more expressions of time and practice for free.

Expressions of place in Spanish: basic vocabulary for beginners

EL LUGARplace
¿DÓNDE?Where?
AQUÍ, ACÁhere
ALLÍ, ALLÁhere
CERCAclose
LEJOSfar

The question to inquire about the location (fixed place) in Spanish is “¿DÓNDE?”.

In a very general way, the answer to that question will have the preposition “EN” in Spanish – for example “EN CASA” (= at my place).

  • In Spanish it is also correct to say “EN LA CASA”, but that use is more typical of Latin America.

You can study this vocabulary by synonyms

  • “AQUÍ” ✔ “ACÁ”
  • “ALLÍ” ✔ “ALLÁ”

You can study this vocabulary by antonyms

  • “AQUÍ” ❌ “ALLÍ”

Why are there two words in Spanish to say the same thing – “AQUÍ / “ACÁ” (“here”) and “ALLÍ” / “ALLÁ” (“there”)??

  • It is a regional trend. In Spain “AQUÍ” to indicate proximity, and “ALLÍ” are preferred to mark the distance, and “ACÁ” and “ALLÁ” are often used in Latin America.

And what adverbs indicate closeness and distance in Spanish?

  • “CERCA” ❌”LEJOS”

For example: I want to say where I live (“YO VIVO” = “I live”)…

  • 🏠⏩🌃 “YO VIVO CERCA DEL CENTRO.”
  • 🏠⏩⏩⏩⏩⏩🌊 “YO VIVO LEJOS DEL MAR.”

You can emphasize proximity or remoteness using these expressions:

  • “AQUÍ CERCA” (or also “AQUÍ CERQUITA”)
  • “ALLÁ LEJOS”

Where do we place the expressions of time and place in the Spanish phrase?

I must make a brief, yet important, grammar explanation. You may be wondering: where should I place the expressions of time and/or place in the Spanish sentence?

I just love that you ask yourself that question because I love to answer it: wherever you want! “¡YUPI!” (“¡YUPI” is the celebratory “yay!” in Spanish)

(this dog is celebrating having discovered how flexible Spanish is)

The only rule you must follow is:

  • If there is a negative in the sentence, such as “NO” or “NUNCA”

…You cannot place expressions of time/place between the negative and the verb!

  • That is, a negative must always be placed before the verb. We cannot insert anything between them. The negative and the conjugated verb are inseparable in Spanish.

But, with that caveat, you can place the expression of time and/or place wherever you want in the Spanish sentence. I explain it to you and then you will see the examples.

  • You will place the time/place information at the beginning of the sentence if you want to highlight it.
  • You will place that information at the end of the sentence if you do not want to emphasize it especially.

You will place the time/place information in the middle the sentence If you want it to be really emphasized.

  • This is correct, but it is not what we usually do in Spanish. That is precisely why that information of time and / or space in the middle of the sentence grabs everyone’s attention.

There is no rule that defines the order of appearance of the expressions of time and/or space in Spanish.

  • You can place them wherever you want, together, in the sequence you desire, or to place them separately.
  • Everything will depend on the emphasis you want to give them.

Therefore, let us see the flexibility of Spanish in the example sentence “(NO) ESTUDIO INGLÉS”. “NO” is in parentheses so you can see what the sentence would look like if you added a negative.

  • The time information we add to the sentences is “HOY”.
  • The expression of place is “EN CASA” (= in my home).

Notice that I have omitted the subject pronoun “YO” in these sentences because it is what we normally do in Spanish.

  • We naturally omit some subject pronouns in Spanish, especially the pronouns “YO” and “TÚ” because the sentence is perfectly understood if we do not leave them explicit.
(No) Estudio inglés.
En casa (no) estudio inglés.
(No) Estudio inglés en casa.
Hoy (no) estudio inglés.
(No) estudio inglés hoy.
Hoy en casa (no) estudio inglés.
En casa hoy (no) estudio inglés.
Hoy (no) estudio inglés en casa.
En casa (no) estudio inglés hoy.
(No) Estudio hoy inglés.
(No) Estudio en casa inglés.

All these sentences on the list are correct. The difference between them is the greater or lesser importance that is being given to the expressions of time and space.

Now you will see sentences that are incorrect because, as you know, in Spanish we must place the negative (in this case, “NO”) right before the verb.

❌Those sentences are not grammatically correct:

No hoy estudio inglés.
No en casa estudio inglés.
No hoy en casa estudio inglés.
No en casa hoy estudio inglés.

Do you see how simple it is to form sentences in Spanish?

In lessons 3, 4 and 5 of the online mini-course you will learn your first verbs and your first sentences in Spanish. Sign up, it is free!

Quizzes to check what you learned here: articles, numbers, basic nouns and time/place expressions in Spanish!

Here you will find two quizzes: the first consists of cards with an image. You must think about which word corresponds to the image and click on the card to know the answer.

The second quiz is a true or false test.

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Conclusion

In these minutes learning the Spanish language you learned some basic concepts and essential words of the language. I am sure it was worth it!

You learned the articles in Spanish. Now you know that articles are words of grammatical value that accompany nouns and have the same gender and number as them.

Therefore, the article tells us if that noun is masculine or feminine, and if it appears in the singular or in the plural form.

Now you know that we have 8 articles, because there are two categories (definite and indefinite articles), and in each category there is an article for the singular masculine, another for the singular feminine, another one for the plural masculine and finally one for the plural feminine.

  • The definite articles in Spanish are “EL”, “LA”, “LOS”, “LAS”
  • The indefinite articles in Spanish are “UN”, “UNA”, “UNOS”, “UNAS”

You now know that you need to learn the numbers up to 15 in Spanish, but from then on, you will say first the ten and then the unit (43 = “CUARENTA Y TRES”, 76 = “SETENTA Y SEIS”) – and so on, up to 99.

You learned the most basic nouns and time/place expressions of the Spanish language, which I will not translate here, so you can remember the meaning of these new words.

✔The masculine nouns you learned in this Spanish class are:

EL HOMBRE
EL CHICO
EL PAÍS
EL TRANSPORTE
EL BAÑO
EL DINERO
EL PRECIO
EL TIEMPO
EL TRABAJO
EL NÚMERO
EL PROBLEMA

✔The feminine nouns you learned in this Spanish class are:

LA MUJER
LA CHICA
LA FAMILIA
LA CIUDAD
LA CALLE
LA PLAYA
LA CASA
LA COSA
[LA] AGUA
LA LENGUA
LA PALABRA

✔The feminine nouns you learned in this Spanish class are:

LA MUJER
LA CHICA
LA FAMILIA
LA CIUDAD
LA CALLE
LA PLAYA
LA CASA
LA COSA
[LA] AGUA
LA LENGUA
LA PALABRA

✔The expressions of time you learned in this Spanish class are:

AYER
HOY
MAÑANA
TEMPRANO, PRONTO
TARDE
ANTES
AHORA
DESPUÉS
LA MAÑANA
LA TARDE
LA NOCHE
EL DÍA
LA SEMANA
EL MES
EL AÑO

✔The expressions of place you learned in this Spanish class are:

AQUÍ, ACÁ
ALLÍ, ALLÁ
CERCA
LEJOS

How can I continue learning Spanish with free materials for beginners?

The video of this class corresponds to the second lesson of the Spanish mini-course with explanations in English.

💻The 5 lessons of the course include: video, PDF with theory, exercises and answers, interactive vocabulary sheets, MP3 audio files and quizzes. You will obtain the certificate of completion of the course, all FOR FREE.

FREE Spanish course!

You can have your first contact with the language here, where you will access the content of the first class without having to enroll in the mini-course.

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