Your Grammar Questions

This new page is for any questions you have regarding the language that comes up in the course. Any doubts, leave them here!

35 Comments on “Your Grammar Questions

  1. I am confused about the pronunciation of the letter “v”. Your lessons pronounce it as a “b”. In other material I have, including dictionaries, it remains as “v”. Why the difference? Is one Spanish Spanish and the other Latin American Spanish?

    I am up to Level 2 lessons and enjoying them immensely.

    1. I too have trouble hearing the ‘b’ vs ‘v’ distinction, although I have noticed that in other sources as well. I’m also confused by the pronunciation of ‘c’ as in ‘hacer.’ In these lessons, it sounds to me like ‘hather,’ whereas in other material I have, it is a distinct, soft ‘c.’

    2. + Don & Beverly
      Apologies for the delayed response.

      The pronunciation of the letter V varies regionally, although is rarely pronounced like a full English V. Generally, at the start of a word, it will sound more like a B and in the middle a slightly softer B. If you just begin by making all Vs Bs you won’t go wrong.

      The pronunciation of the letter C, after an e or i:
      In most of Spain it’s a th and in Latin America it’s a s. If it’s not followed by e or i, it’s pronounced universally as a K.

  2. Hello I want to say I love your classes but I feel a little out on a limb at times i not good at grammer verbs etc. Will the lack of this knowledge hold me back a lot? Do you need to be good at English first thankyou Mary

    1. + Mary
      Knowledge of grammar can be useful, but is in no way essential to being a good Spanish speaker. In fact most people learn about grammar as they complete the courses, not before.

  3. hi just finished your course 1 to 6 I have to say its fantastic just wondering does it go on from here if so could you let me know whats next cheers david

  4. Hi folks I am dyslexics and find this course great but I’m still beginner is there anyone out there happy to practice Spanish though having a chat and practice what we have learned

  5. HI,
    In lesson 3.3 listening exercise #10, It says:
    No podemos ir endando, es demasiado lejos. Why not “esta demasiado lejos”?
    should’nt be esta when it is about location?

  6. Hi,

    I understand that lo goes behind the infinitives like hacerlo, but in lesson 1.6, comprar gets conjugated to compras and the lo went in front so it was locompras. Please explain?

  7. Hi,
    I have a quastion: In lesson 1, we must say “It is bad”. Now, the answer is “Es Malo”. However, it the correct answer not “Esta Malo”?. Es malo means He/she is bad? Esta malo. Esta Bueno. Estava Bueno? I live in Spain, so this is what my spanish friends are telling me to say about e.g. food.
    Best wishes, Andreas

    1. That is correct, if you are talking about a particular food that you’ve tasted, not say, cheese in general. In fact same could apply to finding a particular girl/boy attractive. You will come to this later in the course, but basically a food linked to a time and place would be está bueno/malo and a food in general would be es bueno/malo.

      Hope that helps

  8. Why do you say “estoy preocupado” and not “tengo preocupado” ? As for instance to be say I am afraid you use “tengo” I have fear. How do we know which one to use?

    Thanks in advance

  9. I am trying to use preterit and imperfect correctly. Here are three similar sentences:
    Nuestros amigos estan viviendo en Madrid =Our friends are living in Madrid (They are live there right NOW -Present Progressive)

    Nuestros amigos vivieron en Madid (or Nuestros amigos estuvieron viviendo en Madrid) =Our friends lived in Madrid.
    -Preterit Past Progressive -completed action implies they no longer live there

    Nuestros amigos estaban viviendo en Madrid (or Nuestros amigos vivian en madrid)
    = Our friends were living in Madrid.
    -Imperfect Past progressive -indeterminant completion of the action implies they may or may not still lbe living in Madrid.

    Is my interpretation of the above Present Preterit Imperfect three situations correct?

    Thank you,

    1. @Will
      Yes, that’s right. Think of the preterite as events and imperfect as the background or descriptions. So when you say ‘vivieron en Madrid durante 3 meses’ you are viewing that as an event as opposed to part of a description. The first page from Harry Potter is a great way of seeing the imperfect as past description (hardly any preterite because no events).

      El señor y la señora Dursley, que vivían en el número 4 de Privet Drive, estaban orgullosos de decir que eran muy normales, afortunadamente. Eran las últimas personas que se esperaría encontrar relacionadas con algo extraño o misterioso, porque no estaban para tales tonterías.
      El señor Dursley era el director de una empresa llamada Grunnings, que fabricaba taladros. Era un hombre corpulento y rollizo, casi sin cuello, aunque con un bigote inmenso. La señora Dursley era delgada, rubia y tenía un cuello casi el doble de largo de lo habitual, lo que le resultaba muy útil, ya que pasaba la mayor parte del tiempo estirándolo por encima de la valla de los jardines para espiar a sus vecinos. Los Dursley tenían un hijo pequeño llamado Dudley, y para ellos no había un niño mejor que él.
      Los Dursley tenían todo lo que querían, pero también tenían un secreto, y su mayor temor era que lo descubriesen: no habrían soportado que se supiera lo de los Potter.
      La señora Potter era hermana de la señora Dursley, pero no se veían desde hacía años; tanto era así que la señora Dursley fingía que no tenía hermana, porque su hermana y su marido, un completo inútil, eran lo más opuesto a los Dursley que se pudiera imaginar. Los Dursley se estremecían al pensar qué dirían los vecinos si los Potter apareciesen por la acera. Sabían que los Potter también tenían un hijo pequeño, pero nunca lo habían visto. El niño era otra buena razón para mantener alejados a los Potter: no querían que Dudley se juntara con un niño como aquél.
      Nuestra historia comienza cuando el señor y la señora Dursley se despertaron un martes, con un cielo cubierto de nubes grises que amenazaban tormenta. Pero nada había en aquel nublado cielo que sugiriera los acontecimientos extraños y misteriosos que poco después tendrían lugar en toda la región. El señor Dursley canturreaba mientras se ponía su corbata más sosa para ir al trabajo, y la señora Dursley parloteaba alegremente mientras instalaba al ruidoso Dudley en la silla alta.

  10. Thanks for your answer.

    I have another question. I initially thought that the adjective only comes after the noun but as I read more and more, I found that a lot of the adjectives actually come before the noun, like it’s perfectly ok to say queiro aprender nuevas cosas, the adjective is perfectly ok to be put before the noun. But in what situations do you put the adjective before the noun and in what situations you can only put the adjective after the noun?

    1. Hi XU
      Work on the general rule that they go after and then learn the exceptions:
      1. Convey an emotional meaning: e.g. un viejo amigo (an old friend, not one who is old). Or, nuevas cosas – emotion being the excitement of learning new things.
      2. To reinforce the adjective, e.g. el terrible ogro ( the very terrible ogre).

  11. On the lesson 9’s vocabulary sheet. there’s a structure that I don’t understand,
    ¿Por dónde se va a la piscina?
    why does this sentence mean “how does one get to the swimming pool”? Can I also say “¿Cómo a la piscina?
    What I don’t understand is that, when you how does one get to the swimming pool, it has nothing to do with the location but in the Spanish sentence, there’s a donde in there. so I don’t get it.


    1. @Xu
      The translation for how do you get to the swimming pool can only be approximate because they ask this questions in a different way. We nearest direct translation would be , ‘Cómo llegas a la piscine?’ Which means how do you arrive to the swimming pool. But they have an expression ‘Por dónde’ which means something like, ‘ by which way’.

  12. When I learned the term “I want something to eat’, the course indicates the proper phrase is “Quiero algo comer”. When I access translation websites, that phrase is listed as “Quiero algo de comer”. Why do they all include the “de” before the verb but the course does not?

    1. @Carlo

      The phrase we actually use is ‘I want to eat something’, which is ‘quiero comer algo’. That we way we avoid having to split up the two verbs. If we wanted to say ‘I want something to eat’ then we would indeed need to say, ‘ quiero algo de comer’.

      Thanks for raising the point!

  13. I’ve heard Spanish speaking people say things like “mira” for watch/look, “dame” for give me, or “ven” for come. From what I’ve heard, Spanish people seem to say these commands even when speaking informally. I would expect them to say “miras” when telling you to watch, or say “me da” for give me. What is the difference here? Does the verb structure change when it is a command (telling someone to do something)? How?

    By the way, I love the lessons. I feel like I’m progressing very quickly.

    Thank you!

    1. Great question! Actually covered at the end of Level 4. The imperative or command structure is slightly different. If you said ‘miras’ you would be saying ‘you look’ instead of the command ‘look’. To give the command you basically use the he/she version of the present verb. So, ‘mira’, ‘da’ (give),’trae’. And, ‘ven’ is just the irregular from venir, so ven aquí = come here.

      Hope that helps.

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