We write all the time. From emails to texts, holiday cards to legal forms; writing is an essential skill for daily communication. And that’s why – if you’re looking to travel to a Spanish speaking country or improve your Spanish language skills – learning to write in Spanish is a must.
When studying Spanish, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with a lot of grammar rules, pronunciation rules, speaking and writing rules, etc. However, when the subject is Writing in Spanish, the situation changes.
Writing in Spanish is easier compared to other languages. It is not so different from writing in English, and the differences are easy to understand and handle.
Let’s take a look at some ways you can quickly improve your Spanish writing skills, so you can easily communicate with Spanish speakers – whether through email, text, letters, or other written communication.
What Are the Best Ways to Improve Your Spanish Writing Skills?
These are the main aspects to take into consideration when we are writing in Spanish:
1.- The Spanish Alphabet
The Spanish alphabet uses the same roman letters as the English alphabet, which makes Spanish much easier to learn than alphabets that don’t share Latin roots with the English language.
Thankfully, both English and Spanish alphabets have the same letters in the same order. However, in Spanish, there’s something to look out for.
In Spanish, we have one additional letter: Ñ or ñ. This letter is located after N and before O ( N, Ñ, O). The Ñ looks like a normal N, but with a mark over it called “tilde” ~, this letter’s sound seems a combination of “Y+N” as in CANYON. These are some Spanish words that use Ñ: muñeca, baño,niña, piñata, etc.
If that sounds a little confusing, take a few moments to watch this helpful video. Here, you’ll get to actually read through the Spanish alphabet out loud, which can help with your Spanish writing skills.
2.- Punctuation Marks
The punctuation in Spanish is basically the same as in English. We use the period (.) at the end of one sentence and indicate a little long pause, the comma (,) is used to put a small pause inside a sentence.
However, when we talk about interrogative and exclamatory marks, we have small differences. In English, we use just one interrogative or exclamatory symbol at the END of a sentence or phrase. In Spanish, we use two interrogative or exclamatory marks, one at the beginning of the sentence, which is the same mark but inverted, and the second in the end. These are a few examples:
¿Cómo te llamas? = What is your name?
! Hola ! = Hello!
Interestingly, in Spanish, capitalization is used far less than in the English language. These are a few cases where the capitalization is different, and memorizing these will help you improve your Spanish writing skills.
- The name of weekdays, months, and seasons are not capitalized in Spanish.
- Personal titles written completely are not capitalized, but the abbreviations of them are capitalized. For example, doctor, señor, Dr., Sr.
- Name of cities and countries are capitalized, but the name of the language is not capitalized. Example: Yo vivo en Estados Unidos, y hablo inglés.
4.- Spanish Accent Marks
Accents don’t exist in English, but they’re necessary for Spanish. In fact, the placement of a Spanish accent mark can actually change the pronunciation – and even the entire meaning – of one word.
In Spanish, just the vowels can have an accent mark over them. This mark is called the ACUTE accent. It looks like a short diagonal line above the vowel ( á, é, í, ó, ú ). The accent mark indicates that the syllable where the vowel has the accent has to be stressed. Examples: camión, canción, papá, mamá.
Another two kinds of accents are the tilde= ~, used in Ñ, and the dieresis= .. , it seems two points above the vowel u = ü. The dieresis accent indicates that you have to pronounce the U, when is usually silent after the letter G. Examples: juguete, guerrero (in these two words u es silent) – cigüeña, paragüas (in these two words, the vowel u has the dieresis accent, so the U has to be pronounced.
Let’s take a closer look at Spanish accent marks and how they can help you learn to write in Spanish in this video:
Learning to use these Spanish accent marks will get you closer to being able to write in Spanish.
5.- Spelling in Spanish
The spelling in Spanish is easier than in English. The letters have just one sound in the Spanish alphabet, which means each letter reflects what they sound like. There are only a few silent letters, double letters, or different spellings for the same sounds. All the vowels each have their specific sounds that don’t change, no matter what other letters surround them.
6.- The Grammar
In Spanish, grammar things that usually confuse us in English are simpler. Word order, punctuation, and capitalization are much easier.
However, in Spanish, we have to learn about some additional subjects that English doesn’t have, such as gender, verb tenses, irregularities, mood, etc.
There are many textbooks, websites, videos, etc., to learn the foundations of Spanish grammar.
7. Know Your Numbers
When we are writing in Spanish, we have to be aware of some differences between the numbers’ uses.
The dates are written in different formats in English and Spanish. In English, the form is month/day/year. In Spanish, the structure is day/month/year, the order of the month and the day is reversed. For example, January 4th, 2021, can be written as 01-04-2021 in English. In Spanish, it’s written 04-01-2015.
Other changes are about the roles of the comma and decimal; their uses are reversed. For example, in English, ten thousand would be=10,000, while in Spanish, it would be=10.000.
Let’s take a closer look at counting in Spanish in this helpful tutorial:
Now, you can start to write some words, then phrases and sentences, forward some paragraphs, and finally dictations. Remember, to learn Spanish as any other subject is about to study and repeat, repeat, repeat.