Learn to Speak Spanish

The Best Ways to Learn Spanish: 6 Science-Backed Study Hacks [Infographic]

Learn to Speak Spanish

There’s no doubt that learning a second language can be a difficult task. Although learning Spanish as a native English speaker may be easier than picking up a language like Chinese, it takes time and practice to get from your first ¡hola! to full-blown fluency.

If you’re looking to accelerate your progress, it’s worthwhile to do some research into the best ways to learn Spanish. This means learning how to study smarter, not just harder. With the right study habits and a drive to succeed, you can reach your Spanish goals in the most efficient way possible.

To help, we’ve rounded up six study hacks that will prep your mind and body for learning Spanish more easily. Before we dive in, check out this helpful video on the fastest ways to learn Spanish, from TakeLesson’s expert Spanish tutor Danae Riley!

Now that Danae has got you on the right track, you can apply the following six study hacks to enhance your Spanish learning experience:

1) Write your notes by hand.

You’ve probably heard this popular tip before, but it’s one of the best ways to learn Spanish vocabulary that exists. Studies suggest that you are more likely to recall information if you write it down by hand because your brain has to focus on writing out each letter. So, ditch your keyboard or your iPad, and resort to an old-fashioned pen and paper. If you feel like you have to type your notes in order to keep up with your teacher, rewrite them by hand when you get home to help you study and retain the information.

2) Exercise.

This might sound like a strange tip, but a 2009 study showed that physical activity can improve brain function, learning, and memory. Try combining your studies with exercise by listening to a Spanish language podcast while at the gym. Instead of watching TV during a study break, take a jog around the block. Leading an active lifestyle will help you recall Spanish better.

3) Chew gum while you study.

A 2013 study showed that those who chewed gum while they learned had higher accuracy rates when recalling information than those who did not chew gum. There is also a potential link between level of focus and gum chewing. That’s because giving the jaws a workout can help keep the brain alert. So, the next time you’re struggling to concentrate, pop in some minty-fresh gum, and get back to studying!

4) Immerse yourself in the language.

A 2012 study shows that students who immerse themselves in a language instead of only learning in a classroom setting are more likely to absorb it. Furthermore, the study suggests that immersion can help the brain process the language like a native speaker. While not everyone can pack up and move to a Spanish-speaking country, there are ways to simulate immersion around your home. Try speaking and writing in Spanish whenever possible, along with listening to music and radio shows in the language.  This will help you bring a little Spanish immersion into your life.

5) Say it aloud.

This study shows that people who say information out loud are more likely to remember it than people who read everything silently. The study also suggests that our brain likes to remember oddball information, especially when it’s said aloud. Speaking out loud is not only necessary for sharpening your pronunciation, but it’s also one of the fastest ways to learn Spanish words and phrases.

6) Don’t stress; get some sleep.

Even though cramming for an exam or your trip to Spain might seem like a good idea, studies have shown that sleep is more beneficial than extra hours of studying. Getting a sufficient amount of sleep in the days leading up to your exam or trip will help you to recall information better. Your brain needs time to process the information that you take on throughout the day. Eventually, you may even start dreaming in Spanish!

Here’s a recap of all these Spanish study hacks in one handy infographic:

6 Science-Backed Study Hacks for Learning Spanish

 

So, what’s the best way to learn Spanish? It’s ultimately up to your own learning style and language goals. Working with a qualified Spanish tutor will help you build up your language skills in the most efficient way possible. They’ll present you with a customized study plan that considers your own unique approach to the language. Then, you can apply these hacks to maximize your study time!

Ready to start your Spanish learning journey? Online classes make it possible to connect with the perfect Spanish tutor from anywhere in the world. Search for a tutor today!

Bonus: Learn about the budget-friendly options for learning Spanish!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for affordable private lessons today!

How to Learn New Languages

The Best Way to Learn a Language: 30 Incredibly Effective Tips and Tricks

How to Learn New Languages

More often than not, the main question on a new language learner’s mind is, “What’s the best way to learn a language?”

Between language lessons, grammar books, conversation practice, and exercises, learning a new language can be a long and challenging process. On the other hand, few things are more rewarding than carrying out a conversation in a foreign tongue.

To help you in your language-learning journey, we sought out the advice of language experts around the globe to compile the ultimate list of language-learning hacks.

If you’re looking for the fastest way to learn a language, here are 30 incredibly effective tips and tricks to help you along the way!

 1. Choose a Word of the Day

Word of the Day

Each morning, pick a new word or two to integrate into your daily life. This is much less overwhelming than trying to memorize several different words all at once.

Incorporating new vocabulary into your day-to-day routine will help you commit these words to memory and learn to use them in real-life situations.

For more on this, check out 6 Ways to Simplify Your Foreign Language Learning by Lifehack expert Allison Lounes.

 2. Connect With Friends and Language Partners

Connect With Friends

Textbooks and grammar workbooks are only one small element of learning a language. You’re not actually fluent and/or functional until you can use your new language in conversation.

The best way to do this is to practice with native speakers.

Not sure where to find people who speak your language of choice? Search for language partners online, or explore language events and Meetup groups in your area.

For more on this tip, check out the Zen Habits post How to Learn A Language in 90 Days (guest post by Maneesh Sethi of Hack the System)

3. Always Carry a Notebook

buy a notebook

This tip is especially important if you plan to travel abroad, but it’s a great idea even if you’re staying local for your studies.

Keep a notebook handy and write down anything you don’t understand while you’re studying – watching TV in your foreign language, doing exercises on an app, or listening to foreign music.

Plus, as Go Overseas blogger Jenny Marshall points out, “something as simple as a Moleskin pocket notebook fits easily almost anywhere, and looks downright important when you pull it out to take notes.”

For more, see 5 Easy Hacks for Learning a New Language Abroad

4. Sink or Swim/All or Nothing

sink or swim

This doesn’t mean you need to put your life in danger, it simply means it’s time to raise the stakes!

Put yourself in a situation where you have to learn your new language, or face failure. It may sound extreme, but it’s one of the best ways to learn a new language.

Travel to Germany, and don’t allow yourself to speak English. Sign up for a language immersion program and jump in without looking back.

Whatever you can do to increase your sense of urgency will help you learn your language in a more useful, efficient way.

Want to make sure you hold yourself accountable? Let your friends in on your plans so they can help you stay on track!

 5. Learn Cognates in Your New Language

Learn Cogantes

There are cognates in every language, so no matter if you’re learning Korean, Japanese, Spanish, or German, you can use this language-learning hack to your benefit.

Not sure what a cognate is? Cognates are words that are related to words you already know in your native language.

Believe it or not, you may already know several useful words in your new language!

12 Rules for Learning Foreign Languages in Record Time-The Only Post You’ll Ever Need – The Tim Ferris Experiment.

 6. Use an App

Download an app

Want to learn a new language? There’s an app for that!

Smartphone and tablet apps are super convenient because you can take them anywhere and practice on the go.

There are apps available for just about any language, and they generally include grammar lessons, vocabulary, and pronunciation guides. Apps are also a great way to mix things up; they’re interactive and can break up the monotony of reading a textbook or listening to lectures.

Pro Tip: Try TakeLessons Live for access to free language classes led by live instructors!

– 5 cool apps that will help you learn a new language by Jessica Hullinger.

 7. Focus on What’s Relevant

focus on what's relevant

Learning a new language can be an overwhelming endeavor. It’s hard to determine where to start and which approach to take. To simplify this process, focus on the things that are most important or interesting on a personal level.

If you’re learning French for an upcoming trip, learn the essential phrases that will help you communicate and navigate while traveling.

“You’re more likely to learn vocabulary that’s related to your interests, than you are to learn the names of kitchen utensils (unless you happen to love kitchen utensils) and other stuff that you don’t care about.”

– 21 Tips and Hacks for Learning a Foreign Language by Marelisa, creator of Daring to Live Fully.

 8. Set up a Routine

Set up a Routine

Learning anything new is easier when you make it a recurring part of your life. Make practicing your new language a non-negotiable part of your day.

Remember, learning a language is not a one-size-fits-all experience. You’re more likely to stick to your routine if it’s realistic and feasible. Try to set aside some time every day for you to focus on your language studies.

– The Secret to Learning a Foreign Language as an Adult by David Bailey.

 9. Find and Attend Local Events

attend events

Some of the most rewarding language-learning experiences happen outside of the classroom.

“Local events are a unique opportunity to practice, learn, and at the same time, pursue your other interests,” says travel writer Isabel Eva Bohrer. “There is a myriad of opportunities, it’s just a matter of finding one that is useful, fun, and interesting for you.”

– 6 Ways to Learn a Foreign Language Fast

 10. Remember Your Purpose

why you started

No matter how far along you are in your language-learning journey, it’s important to be mindful of why you started this process. Understanding your purpose will help you stay motivated and keep you on track.

“…if you don’t have a good reason to learn a language, you are less likely to stay motivated over the long-run,” says Babbel author John-Erik Jordan. “No matter your reason, once you’ve decided on a language, it’s crucial to commit.”

10 Tips and Tricks to Pick Up Any Language

11. Track Your Progress

Track Your Progress

Keeping track of your progress will help you celebrate the small victories along the way. This is crucial to help you stay motivated.

Plus, learning a new language generally involves traveling, events, and new experiences. Whether you use a written journal or a digital photo app, keep track of these life-long memories.

“Document your adventures with photographs and add captions in your new language,” says Huffington Post writer Stephanie Oswald. “The more you learn, the more fun your story will become to write.”

– Want to Learn a Foreign Language?

12. Learn the Phrase “How do you say X?”

How do you say x

This is one of the most important phrases you can learn in your new language. If you need to ask for directions, introduce yourself, or ask for help, this phrase is critical.

Not only can this phrase help you build up your vocabulary, but you can also use it to break the ice when you’re not sure how to communicate with someone.

– 22 Tips for Learning a Foreign Language by Mark Manson

 13. Learn What You Need

learn what you need

You know the phrase “take what you like and leave the rest”? Well, it applies to learning a language, too.

Learning every component of grammar in your new language may help you pass a test in school, but this won’t necessarily make you fluent and functional.

Determine the most important things that you need to know, and learn these things first.

“So, put aside the grammar book and get yourself a travel phrasebook instead (they are small and only cost a couple of dollars),” says Benny Lewis from Fluent in 3 Months. “Learn the essentials in a few hours that would be pretty universally needed as the core of basic conversation, and then learn what you want to say.”

– Becoming a Man of the World: How to Learn Another Language

 14. Pace Yourself: One Step at a Time

one step at a time

When you’re studying a new language, you usually want to know the quickest way to learn. One of the fastest ways to learn a language, however, is to pace yourself and learn little bits at a time.

“Learn faster by exposing yourself to listening and reading in short bursts, several times a day,” says Get-It-Done Guy Stever Robbins. “Five minutes here and ten minutes there makes the language sink in much better than marathon language study sessions.”

– How to Learn a Language Quickly

 15. Intensity of Study Trumps Length of Study

intensity of study

Study smarter, not harder. How you study is much more important than how much you study.

“What I mean by this is that studying a language four hours a day for two weeks will be more beneficial for you than studying one hour a day for two months.”

22 Tips for Learning a Foreign Language by Mark Manson

 16. Make Mistakes and Learn from Them

Make Mistakes

When you first start using your new language, you’re going to stumble and make mistakes, and that’s OK!

It’s important that you don’t get discouraged; embrace these mistakes as natural steps in the learning process.

“For me, there came a point, though, when I just became totally unapologetic about it,” says Jason, blogger and founder of the Spanish Vault. “I’ve got to start somewhere, and the more mistakes I make, the faster I learn.”

Read more about learning a foreign language from this interview with Jason on Language Surfer.

 17. Start Spreading the News

news

Watching, reading, listening, and talking about the news in your new language is a fantastic way to learn vocabulary and usage.

Olly Richards, founder of I Will Teach You A Language, recommends this as a Japanese learning hack, but this strategy can be applied to any foreign language.

The news will help you become more comfortable with the language, and also give you up-to-date information about the country and culture.

This tip will come in handy when you plan to travel!

 18. Try the Food

Try the Food

Discovering new foods is one of the most fun aspects of learning any new language! You may discover some new favorite foods or recipes, and you will be able to practice your vocabulary and speaking skills.

It’s a delicious, win-win learning strategy!

– 5 Ridiculously Easy Ways to Learn a Foreign Language by Cher Hale

 19. Use Your Intuition

Use intuition

Learning a new language naturally requires logic and analysis, but many language learners make the mistake of neglecting their intuition.

In many cases, you intuitively know how to interpret social cues and behavior. When you begin using your language in real-life situations, your intuition will come in handy, especially if you hear unfamiliar words or phrases.

Embrace your intuition and natural instincts, they can help you.

“Basically, spend most of your time figuring out meaning from all the cues in a situation,” says Ron, a Language Surfer writer. “But every once in a while, take the time to study the language and understand the language rationally.”

How to Learn a Language Fast: 5 Things to Speed Up the Process

 20. Watch Movies

movies

Put on a movie in your language of choice and take notes on any words or phrases you don’t understand. Pay attention the vocabulary you already know and listen to the pronunciation and intonation.

Don’t just listen watch the characters’ body language and see what you can infer from their actions. You can also watch YouTube videos with language lessons.

FluentU recommends this strategy in this article about learning French, but it’s a great learning tool for any language.

 21. Believe in Yourself

believe

Confidence is half the battle. You have to believe you can do something in order to succeed. So, while you may struggle along the way, pick yourself back up and keep moving forward!

“My belief is that everybody has the ability to learn a foreign language,” says Lingholic writer Sam Gendreau. “After all, you learned your mother tongue, didn’t you? You just have to learn to step outside of your comfort zone and believe in yourself.”

– Learning a foreign Language – 10 Most Common Mistakes

 22. Find Ways to Relax

relax

This doesn’t just mean giving yourself downtime between study sessions (although this is important); find ways to relax in your new language.

Watch TV shows, listen to music, learn about pop culture. Whatever you like to do to relax, find a way to do it using your new language. The point is to enjoy the learning process!

42 Insane Japanese Language Learning Hacks! by Olly Richards

 23. Enough!

tips and tricks template

This one word can be a big help when it comes to learning a new language.

Basically, develop the mindset that you have exactly what you need to learn your new language, and let go of all of the excuses and limitations that would normally hinder you from doing something.

You have enough time, you have enough resources, and you have enough brain power to accomplish what you set out to do.

“This word should be your mantra when learning a language,” says Language Mastery writer John Fortheringham. “When you find yourself procrastinating, making excuses, and putting off speaking practice out of fear, this string of six letters can help put you back on track.”

 24. Be Kind to Yourself

Be Kind

Again, you’re going to make mistakes and you’re going to struggle.

This is a natural part of the learning process. Don’t fight it; embrace it.

Rather than beating yourself up for making mistakes or not learning as quickly as you’d like to, congratulate yourself for your hard work, and acknowledge your accomplishments – even the little ones.

– The Best Ways to Learn a Language as an Adult

 25. Act it Out

Act it Out

Put your acting skills to the test and role play in your new language. Not only is this fun, it’s effective because you learn how to use the language in different situations.

Connect with native speakers or find some study partners in your area.

Not only is this one of the best ways to learn a foreign language, but you’ll be having fun and making friends at the same time.

End scene!

Pangea Learning

 26. Make Flashcards

flashcards

Flashcards are useful, portable study tools to help you learn vocabulary and essential phrases.

If you prefer digital flashcards, try these downloadable flashcards from anki.

If you’re feeling crafty, make your own flashcards and bring them with you to study on the go!

7 Secrets to Learning a Language Fast

 27. Storytelling

story

The Heisig Method, which is essentially storytelling, was developed to help aspiring Japanese speakers learn to read kanji characters. This effective learning tool can be applied to any foreign language.

With the Heisig Method, you create funny stories based on the meaning of each kanji character. So, for your own language studies, get your creative juices flowing and come up with some fun stories using vocabulary words.

This method also helps you break up vocabulary into smaller parts, so that you can master one thing at a time.

Zooming Japan blogger Jasmine T. used this strategy to learn nearly two thousand kanji characters in only two months.

 28. Enlist a Friend

enlist a friend

Any new endeavor is easier and more fun when you do it with a friend versus going it alone. If you’ve challenged yourself to learn a new language, grab your best friend and encourage him or her to do the same.

Of course, your friend may not have the same reason for learning a new language, so you may need to step out of your comfort zone and find some new friends or study partners with similar goals.

“It’s fun doing something with someone else, and often if one person loses motivation, the other person will help keep you both on track. I also am very motivated by wanting to help the other person, and while doing something for myself is also a great goal, doing it for someone else helps a lot.”

– The Best & Less-than-Best Motivations for Learning by zen habits writer Leo Babauta.

29. Learn Synonyms

synonyms

Learning synonyms in a new language can be the difference between understanding the language in a classroom setting, and being able to apply it to real-world situations. Understanding synonyms allows you to use the correct word in the right situation.

“Fluency is not just the ability to function in all contexts, it’s also the ability to function well,” says language teacher and polyglot Alex Rawlings. “If you haven’t grown up with a language, you will probably be largely unaware of certain nuances or connotations that words and phrases may have. You will remain unaware of these, unless you immerse yourself culturally.”

Rawlings suggests boosting your knowledge of synonyms by learning alternative words when you memorize new vocabulary terms. While this might be time consuming at first, it will help you understand the language on a deeper level, and help you apply your knowledge of the language when you interact with native speakers.

Synonyms: your shortcut to fluency

30. Immersion

imemrsion

This one may be a bit more difficult than the rest of the items on the list because it involves time, future planning, and money – but it’s without a doubt the best way to learn a new language.

Making language practice part of your day is mandatory when you’re in a country that uses that language. It’s no longer an obligation, but instead a necessity to be able to function and communicate.

“When you don’t have any choice but to speak the language you are learning, you will make faster progress.”

Slip of the Tongue

If you’re serious about becoming fluent in a new language, plan ahead or join a language immersion program.

If you don’t think this is feasible, or if you still want to get a great language-learning experience close to home, try these tips to simulate immersion.

There you have it – the 30 essential tips and tricks for language learning success! Remember that you don’t have to go it alone on your journey to fluency. By far, the best way to learn a language is with the help of a private tutor. Even if you don’t have any teachers in your neighborhood, online language lessons make it easy to connect with native speakers around the globe.

Do you have some more language-learning hacks to add to the list?

Let us know in the comments below!

Interested in Private Lessons?

Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for affordable private lessons today!

Spanish for Kids

Spanish for Kids: 19 Easy Words and Phrases

Spanish for Kids

Looking for ways to incorporate more basic Spanish words into your child’s everyday vocabulary? When it comes to Spanish for kids, the key is to keep it simple and fun.

Although the best way to learn Spanish is with a tutor, there are certain things you can do at home to reinforce what your child is learning during Spanish lessons. It’s important for your child to put in a bit of practice every day, so practicing alongside your child is a great way to reinforce positive study habits.

There are plenty of reasons for your child to learn Spanish. Not only will they be able to connect with Spanish speakers, but they’ll also be better equipped to pick up additional languages in the future. Many language enthusiasts find that once you have one foreign language down, learning another one is much easier!

Use the following list of Spanish words for children to incorporate even more vocabulary into your daily activities. Sprinkle a little Spanish in throughout your day, and your child will discover just how fun the language can be!

19 Spanish Words for Beginners

Hola/Adiós (Hello/Goodbye)

Practically every conversation starts with a greeting and ends with a goodbye.Hola” and “adios” are typically the first words that aspiring Spanish speakers learn. Use these to greet your child and say your goodbyes, and you’ll be taking a great first step on your Spanish journey!

Por favor/Gracias (Please/Thank you)

Polite manners and gratitude are as important in Spanish as they are in any culture. Teaching your child to say “please” and “thank you” in Spanish will help them be kind to others, even while their language skills are still developing.

For extra practice, try using these words during mealtimes. You can use por favor after a request, but you can also use it at the beginning of a sentence. For example, “Por favor, escúchame” (please listen to me).

There are also many different ways to use gracias. You can use it as a stand-alone “thank you,” or with more detail:  “Gracias por la ayuda” (thanks for the help).

RELATED: 5 Spanish Websites for Kids

Me gusta/No me gusta (I like/I don’t like)

We all know how much children like to share their opinions, so it’s no wonder these are two of the most important Spanish phrases for kids out there! Your child will be eager to pick up these phrases and practice them on you.

Me gusta(n) ___ literally means “___ is pleasing to me,” but in English it’s translated as, “I like.”

Because of the literal meaning, we must add the -n if the item you like is plural. Similarly, if you don’t like something, you can say, “No me gusta(n).” To help your son or daughter practice, ask him or her, “¿Te gusta(n) ___?” (do you like __?).

He or she can then reply, “Sí, me gusta(n) ___,” or “No, no me gusta(n).”

Lo siento (I’m sorry)

No list of Spanish words for beginners is complete without the phrase “I’m sorry.” This expression comes in handy when one is still learning the basics of a language. It’s also very useful for when kids are playing together, or if a child needs to show sympathy and apologize.

Necesito/Quiero (I need/want)

Every kid loves to express their needs and desires, and in Spanish it’s even more fun. Kids can use these words to communicate basic ideas like “quiero jugo” (I want juice) or “no necesito ayuda” (I don’t need help).

Gato/Perro (Cat/Dog)

When it comes to learning Spanish for kids, nothing beats a visit to the animal kingdom! To reinforce the meaning of these simple Spanish words for beginners, you can ask questions like “¿Dónde está el gato?” (where is the cat?) if you have a furry family pet.

Pequeño/Grande (Little/Big)

Size is omnipresent in a child’s life, from a small bug they see in the garden to a big dog they see at the park. Use these Spanish adjectives to make your descriptions more specific: “¡Qué grande el perro!” (What a big dog!)

Bien/Mal (Well/Badly)

These adverbs come in handy to describe the way something happens. With kids, you can use both words to describe feelings: “Estoy bien” (I’m fine.)

Alto/Adelante (Stop/Go)

These two simple Spanish words are great for a game of “red light, green light” in Spanish, or for getting kids’ attention on the street.

In Spanish culture, being polite is also very important, and the words alto and adelante can allow you to be courteous to others (ie. when stopping to allow someone else to go ahead).

SEE ALSO: How to Say the Colors in Spanish

Practice Time!

Do your children learn better visually? For some extra practice, have them watch this quick tutorial and repeat the basic words after our Spanish teacher Rosita R.

Infographic: Spanish Words for Children

Here is a fun image to remind you of the words we studied and practiced above. Save it on your phone to help you memorize all of these basic Spanish words in no time!

Spanish Vocabulary for KIds

Most of all, have fun introducing your child to Spanish! Use this guide on Spanish for kids to have lively, descriptive conversations whenever you want.

While daily learning habits are important, a Spanish teacher is critical to maximizing your child’s potential with the language. If you want to take your kid’s Spanish skills to the next level, consider signing up for Spanish lessons or online Spanish classes for free!

Joan BannaJoan B. lives in Carmichael, CA and has been teaching high school Spanish for more than 18 years. Joan aims to help students improve on tests and increase their conversational ability when traveling to Spanish-speaking countries. Learn more about Joan here!

Interested in Private Lessons? Search thousands of teachers for local and live, online lessons. Sign up for private lessons today!

Learn How to Conjugate Verbs in the Spanish Preterite

How to Conjugate Verbs in the Spanish Preterite (Past Tense)

Past Tense (Preterite) Conjugation: How to Conjugate Spanish Verbs

Spanish past tense conjugations are necessary for describing situations and events that have already happened. Preterite endings are one of the basic building blocks of Spanish that are fundamental to any conversation. Once you learn these conjugations, you’ll be able to talk about so much more with friends and family!

[This is Part 3 of a guide to conjugating Spanish verbs. In previous posts, we’ve reviewed the basics of conjugating Spanish verbs, as well as how to conjugate stem-changers.]

Why Learn the Preterite Endings?

If you’ve learned the basics of verb conjugation in the present tense, you’ve probably realized how limited you are without knowing the past tense versions of the verbs. Trying to describe only what’s happening in the immediate present, without being able to explain what happened even five seconds ago, is nearly impossible! This reveals how important it is to learn Spanish past tense conjugations.

In this post, we’re going to take your verb conjugation skills to a higher level. This involves learning Spanish preterite endings, so that you aren’t restricted to only describing actions that are happening in the here-and-now.

How to Conjugate Verbs in the Spanish Preterite

Before we dive in, it’s important to note that there are two types of Spanish past tense conjugations: the preterite and the imperfect. Here, we’ll start with Spanish preterite conjugations and review the imperfect in a future post.

The Spanish preterite tense is a way to express the past, and it breaks down verbs into five different endings. Keep reading to learn how to change a verb into its past tense form by using preterite endings.

Preterite -AR Endings in Spanish Verbs

Here is an example using the Spanish verb mirar (to watch). First, shave off the -ar ending. Then…

  • If you are referring to Yo or ‘I,’ add the letter é to end the conjugated verb, forming miré.
  • If you are referring to  or ‘you,’ use the ending –aste, to form miraste.
  • If you are referring to él or ella or ‘he’ or ‘she,’ use the ending –ó to form miró.
  • If you are referring to nosotros or ‘we,’ use the ending –amos to form miramos. (This is the same as present tense conjugation!)
  • If you are referring to ellos or ‘they,’ use the ending –aron, to form miraron.

SEE ALSO: 46 Spanish Adjectives to Describe All Your Friends

Conjugating -ER Verbs in the Spanish Preterite

Now let’s use comer (to eat), as an example. First, shave off the -er ending. Next…

  • If you are referring to Yo or ‘I,’ use the ending –í, (instead of é) to form comí.
  • If you are referring to  or ‘you,’ use the ending –iste, to form comiste.
  • If you are referring to él or ella or ‘he’ or ‘she,’ use the ending –, to form comió.
  • If you are referring to nosotros or ‘we,’ use the ending –imos, to form comimos.
  • If you are referring to ellos or ‘they,’ use the ending –ieron, to form comieron.

Conjugating -IR Verbs in the Spanish Preterite

Conjugating -ir verbs shares the same rules as conjugating -er verbs. See the following chart as an example.

Vivir (to live):
Yo viví
Tú viviste
Él/Ella/Usted vivió
Nosotros vivimos
Ellas/Ellos/Ustedes vivieron

SEE ALSO: 75 Most Helpful Spanish Cognates

Ready for some Spanish past tense conjugation practice? Fill out the following chart:

Spanish Conjugation Chart - Preterite

12 Irregular Spanish Preterite Endings

There are 12 core verbs in Spanish that have irregular past tense conjugations in the preterite tense. Yes, that means that you’ll need to commit each irregular verb conjugation to memory. Fortunately, their main endings are similar to what we’ve already learned in this post: –é, –iste, –imos, –isteis, –ieron/*eron. Below are the 12 verbs, also known as “the dirty dozen.”

Spanish Dirty Dozen - Irregular Past Tense Conjugations

Let’s conjugate estar as an example:

Estar (to be):
Yo estuve
Tú estuviste
Él/Ella/Usted estuvo
Nosotros estuvimos
Ellas/Ellos/Ustedes estuvieron

Now that you know how to conjugate Spanish past tense verbs, you’re one step closer to becoming fluent in Spanish. With both present and past tense verb conjugations under your belt, the future tense will be no problem! You can return to this guide whenever you need a refresher on Spanish past tense conjugations and preterite endings.

While resources such as this one are important for getting down the nuts and bolts of Spanish, working with a Spanish tutor is a sure-fire way to maximize your potential with the language. Outside of total immersion in a Spanish-speaking country, personalized lessons are the best way to get the conversational practice you need to become fluent.

Online Spanish classes are also a great way to work on your skills and make new friends. The convenience of an online classroom allows you to build communication skills, no matter where you are! Before you know it, you’ll be using verbs with preterite endings in everyday Spanish conversations.

Remember, the formula for learning a language is simple: The more you speak, study, and listen to Spanish, the better your conversational skills will become. Buena suerte!

 

Jason N width=Post Author: Jason N.
Jason N. tutors in English and Spanish in Fairfax, CA. He majored in Spanish at UC Davis, lived in Mexico for 3 years where he completed a Master’s degree in Counseling, and studied Spanish Literature and Psychology at the University of Costa Rica. Learn more about Jason here! 

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Online Spanish Games for Kids

10 Fun and Educational Spanish Games for Kids

Online Spanish Games for Kids

Making sure that your child practices Spanish in between lessons is important. Below, Spanish teacher Breeana L. shares 10 fun and educational Spanish games for kids…

There are many ways to engage your child or your students in the Spanish learning process -whether the topic is vocabulary, verbs, or pronunciation. Here are 10 fun and educational Spanish games for kids that can be used in the classroom or at home.

Try These Spanish Games for Kids

 

1. Charades: Verbs

Playing charades is a great way to engage students of all ages in the use of Spanish verbs. Write down different verbs on cards (you can use index cards). For younger students, you can include both the picture and the word. One student will pick one of the cards to act out for the group. The rest of the participants will try to guess which verb is being acted out. Some Spanish verbs that lend themselves well to this activity include the following: bailar (to dance), correr (to run), and comer (to eat).

2. BINGO: Vocabulary

You can create your own BINGO boards either with your own materials or by using free online websites. Place vocabulary words in the different squares on the board. You can have several different BINGO boards, for different games, each with separate themes. For instance, one BINGO board can be for farm animals. Another can be for items in the classroom. You can purchase chips, or use coins or other manipulatives. Remember to create the list of words so that you can call them out to the players.

3. Diego Dice (Diego/Simon Says): Body Parts Vocabulary and Directions

Spanish Simon Says, or Diego Dice, is a fun way to review body parts as well as directions. Students will stand up and listen to the instructor call out commands such as, “Diego dice, toca la cabeza,” (Diego says, Touch your head) and “Mueve a la izquierda” (Move to the left).

4. Jeopardy: Various Spanish Topics

Through Jeopardy, you can review multiple topics simultaneously, such as Geography (Spanish countries), verb conjugations, adjectives, family members, etc. You can make this game on the computer by using a free preset game board offered by online sites. You could also create this game the old fashioned way by using a huge poster board.

5. I Spy: Colors, Shapes

I Spy is a captivating game with which lots of students are familiar. Each student can have a turn “spying” with their little ojos (eyes) an object in the room by describing its color and/or shape. As a result, they are practicing their use of nouns (the guesser), and adjectives (the spy).

6. Concentration/ Matching Flash Cards: Vocabulary

Create a deck of Spanish vocabulary cards and a deck of English vocabulary cards that correspond to those Spanish words. Place the cards faced down and have students try to find the correct match. Students can play this game in small groups or with a partner.

7. Catch the Pelota (Catch the ball): Various Spanish Topics

Purchase a lightly colored lightweight ball (preferably an inexpensive beach ball). The ball needs to be lightly colored so that you can write on it with a sharpie or indelible marker. Divide the ball into equal sections so that you can write questions and/or commands about various Spanish topics. While the class is arranged in a circle (or at their desks), the instructor or a student will toss the ball to another student. When the student catches the pelota (ball), wherever his/her right thumb is touching is the command or question the catcher must perform or answer. Some example questions include, “How do you say apples in español (Spanish)?” and “What is the capital of Columbia?” Some example commands include, “Touch your cabeza (head)” and “Count to ten in español (Spanish).”

8. Dramatic Spanish Conversations: Pronunciation, Grammar, Vocabulary

Create topic strips around which students can create a conversation. For example the topic strips can say, “Two people ordering lunch from a restaurant,” “A doctor talking to a patient,” or “a tourist asking for directions.” The instructor will pick two students who will pick a strip from a bucket or hat and use their vocabulary and grammar skills to act out and engage in discourse. You can make the scenarios more dramatic by having costumes and props available to the students. Students can practice before they perform for the class.

9. Parent/Teacher made board game: Directions, Vocabulary

Create a board game for any Spanish topic of choice (or multiple topics). This board game can be as elaborate or as basic as you choose. Students can go around the board only moving if they answer questions correctly. There can be road bocks that require students to move backwards or skip a turn. These directions can be in Spanish for further practice. They can also have bonuses such as moving forward. You can create question cards as well as command cards for the students to pick from. You should also have game pieces that students will use to move around the board. You can utilize a spinner or dice (from games you already have) that the students can use to move their pieces forward or backwards.

10. Spanish Hoops: Various Spanish Topics

Create a list of questions to ask students. If your class sits in rows, you can use a giant die to choose the student that you will call on. The first number you roll will be the row number. The second number you roll will be the seat number. You can also use Popsicle sticks with the students’ names if they do not sit in rows. Ask the student any Spanish related question. If they answer correctly, they can have the opportunity to shoot the ball. This game can be played with teams. Separate your class into groups or two teams. Ask a question to the whole class. Give each group a white board to hold up their answer. Whichever team answers correctly will be allowed to shoot the basketball for an extra point. Small basketballs and nets that you can stick on your classroom’s whiteboard can be purchased.

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Learning Spanish Question Words

The 7 Spanish Question Words & How to Use Them

Learning Spanish Question Words

Ready to learn the question words in Spanish? One of the best ways to advance your Spanish skills is to converse with fluent or native speakers. But how do you break the ice? 

Start by mastering the new vocabulary in this guide, and then practice some of the most commonly asked questions. People love being asked questions! It shows you’re interested in their opinions and experiences. After reading this article, you’ll feel more comfortable meeting new people and making friends in Spanish. 

The 7 Spanish Question Words

Let’s go over some of the most important question words in Spanish. Memorize this vocabulary so you can be ready to strike up a conversation when the opportunity arises!

1. ¿Cómo?

Cómo literally translates to “how,” but it can also mean “what” when used in isolation. You should also know that como – without the accent over the O – means “like” or “I eat.”

This is a lot of different meanings, so be sure to pay attention to the context of the conversation for clues to the word’s definition. Here are some common questions you might ask using cómo:

  • ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?)
  • ¿Cómo te sientes? (How are you feeling?)
  • ¿Cómo te fue? (How did it go?)
  • ¿Cómo lo hiciste? (How did you do that?)

If you look closely at the sentence structure of these questions, you’ll see that in Spanish, you don’t need to add a word for “do.” For example, “How do you make that?” would literally be translated into Spanish as: ¿Cómo lo haces? (How you make that?).

It sounds funny when translated literally, doesn’t it? This is one example of a basic language translation fact: we translate ideas, not words.

2. ¿Quién?

Quién means “who” in English. When using it in writing, remember to apply the accent mark over the E. A few common questions using the word quién are:

  • ¿Quién es? (Who is it?) Note: Use when answering a phone or door.
  • ¿Quién sabe? (Who knows?)
  • ¿Quién es? (Who is that?)
  • ¿Quiénes son? (Who are they?)
  • ¿Con quién vas? (Who are you going with?)

As you can see in the last example, sentences in Spanish often begin with the word con, meaning “with.” This is a key difference from English, where sentences and questions rarely start with the word “with.” You wouldn’t say, “With whom are you going?”

Another thing you’ll notice is that when quién is used plurally, referring to more than one person, it becomes quiénes.

3. ¿Qué?

Qué means “what.” Like with quién, remember to apply an accent mark over the E. This is important because without the accent over the E, que means “that.” Here are some questions you’ll use regularly with the word qué:

  • ¿Qué es? (What is it?) 
  • ¿Qué significa? (What does that mean?)
  • ¿Qué hiciste? (What did you do?)
  • ¿Qué? (What?)

Be aware that when used in isolation, “¿Cómo?” means the same thing as “¿Qué?”  You’ll hear Spanish speakers using both of these phrases.

4. ¿Dónde?

Dónde means “where.” Just like the other Spanish question words, remember to apply the necessary accent mark. Common questions with dónde include:

  • ¿A dónde vas? (Where are you going?) Note: “A” means “to.”
  • ¿Dónde está? (Where is it?)
  • ¿Dónde vives? (Where do you live?)
  • ¿De dónde eres? (Where are you from?)

In the last example sentence, De means “of,” so the question literally  translates to: “Of where are you?”

5. ¿Cuándo?

Cuándo means “when.” Remember to apply the accent mark over the A. Here are some questions you’ll hear frequently using this question word:

  • ¿Cuándo es? (When is it?) Note: Use for social events or appointments.
  • ¿Cuándo vienes? (When are you coming?)
  • ¿Cuándo nos vemos? (When will we see each other?)
  • ¿Cuándo es la junta? (When is the meeting?)

Sentence structure for questions isn’t too different from English. The basic structure for all of these starts with the question word and is followed by the conjugated verb in the appropriate tense.

6. ¿Cuál?

Cuál means “which,” and as you can see, it also requires an accent mark over the vowel. Practice these sentences using the word cuál:

  • ¿Cuál es tu nombre? (What is your name?)
  • ¿Cuál es tu favorito? (What’s your favorite?)
  • ¿Cuál escoges? (Which do you choose?)
  • ¿Cuáles son tuyos? (Which are yours?)

Remember how quién became quiénes? You’ll also notice that when cuál is used in the plural form, it becomes cuáles.

In the first two examples, take note that Spanish uses the word for “which,” rather than “what” as we’re used to in English.

7. ¿Por qué?

Por qué means “why,” but be careful! It can also mean “because” when there’s no space between the words and no accent mark present. Here are a few questions you can ask using por qué:

  • ¿Por qué hiciste esto? (Why did you do that?)
  • ¿Por qué llegaste tarde? (Why are you late?)
  • ¿Por qué no te sientes bien? (Why don’t you feel good?)
  • ¿Por qué no está Juan? (Why isn’t John here?)

It’s vital to learn these seven words, because you can’t ask questions in Spanish without them! Study these essential Spanish question words to really take your conversation skills to the next level.

Need more help forming questions in Spanish? Check out the video below from one of our online Spanish classes.


You can also take private lessons with a Spanish teacher, online or locally. You’ll get hands-on instruction and instant feedback on your grammar and pronunciation. Buena suerte!

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how to study for a Spanish test

24 Smart Study Tips to Get an “A” in Spanish Class

how to study for a Spanish testWant to get a better grade in Spanish class? If you’re struggling with homework, tests, or classroom participation, it’s time to figure out a strategy for success!

In addition to our top tips for getting an “A” in Spanish class, this article will also help you learn how to study for a Spanish test without cramming.

Ready for the insider secrets on how to pass Spanish with flying colors? Here are suggestions from some of the best Spanish tutors online.

Study Tips for Spanish Class

Spanish class isn’t the time to zone out! Make the most of class time with these helpful tips.

Caleb Howard - How to Study for a Spanish Test

Silently answer every question that the teacher asks the class, then listen for the correct answer from your teacher.

If you’re constantly staying engaged by mentally answering every question your teacher asks, you’ll be reinforcing grammar, vocabulary, and general fluency.

Then, when you really need the answer (for example, when your teacher calls on you), the answer will already be on the tip of your tongue!

Treat every class exercise like a Spanish quiz, and keep track of the answers you didn’t know.

A big part of studying successfully is using your time wisely. Be sure to keep track of what you don’t know, so that if you only have a short time to study, you can immediately zero in on these areas.

Use any extra time in class to study your vocabulary.

Keeping up with memorizing Spanish vocabulary is a key method to progressing in the language. As your vocabulary list keeps growing, study it consistently, and it will be much less overwhelming. You’ll become a more natural Spanish speaker, too!

Ask your teacher questions when you don’t understand something.

The old adage about there being no stupid questions really is true. In fact, teachers love it when students ask questions, because it makes it clear to us what’s still confusing to our students, so we’re in a better position to help them.

Anytime you ask a question, you’re also doing a favor to the countless other students who are wondering the same thing, but are too afraid to speak up!

Teach a concept to a classmate.

When a classmate doesn’t understand something and you’re able to explain it, do so. This helps cement the concept in your brain.

Teaching someone else will help you figure out any fine points you may be still working out. If you can explain something and answer any questions that arise from your explanation, you have also maximized your understanding of the concept.

Justin from Spanish Plans - How to Pass a Spanish Test

Mimic your teacher’s Spanish accent and other natives speakers’.

A large part of sounding like a native speaker of a language is speaking confidently and convincingly, so envision yourself in a Spanish-speaking country, and play the part!

Use your time wisely in the classroom – this helps minimize your study time at home.

As a student, it can be easy to fall into the hole of using class time to socialize or zone out. The smartest students, however, are those who realize that if you spend your class time in maximum focus and concentration, you’ll have much less work to do at home!

How to Study for a Spanish Test

The learning doesn’t end when Spanish class gets out! Make sure you really understand how to study, especially if you have a test coming up (so you can avoid cramming). Here are the essentials.

Carrie Toth - How to Pass Spanish Class

Always translate your homework to be sure you know what things mean.

This is a form of studying, and it will save you time in the long run. You can translate the meaning verbally or write it down on a separate sheet of paper.

Study a section of vocabulary every day, focusing on the words that were introduced in class that day.

If you’re having trouble memorizing some words, make flashcards for them. This ensures you won’t fall behind in vocabulary memorization and have to cram before your Spanish test.

Dustin Williamson - How to Ace a Spanish Test

Be very focused in class; you can learn most of the material just by paying close attention and staying on task.

This means you will be in reviewing mode before a test instead of cramming mode.

Write down grammar concepts and examples on index cards, and review them every couple days.

Trying to comprehend too many Spanish grammar concepts in a short amount of time can leave you confused. This method will ensure you have plenty of time to digest each concept.

How to Pass a Spanish Test

It’s go-time! Now that you know how to study for a Spanish test, you’ll be well-prepared come test day. Here’s what to keep in mind as you take the test.

Elizabeth Dentlinger - How to Study for a Spanish Test

Check to make sure your nouns and adjectives agree in number and gender.

Don’t forget to use the correct plural, masculine, or feminine form of the word!

Your verb endings should match the subject of each verb.

Be sure to double check your conjugations!

Look at the previous sentence and the sentence that follows when filling in blanks.

These sentences usually contain clues that as to which vocabulary word you should use.

Reread your answers all the way through once you’ve finished the exam.

If you have the time, this will save you from making simple mistakes!

With each of these tips, you should be able to easily improve your grade in Spanish class. Try to implement one suggestion per week, and you’ll see a noticeable difference in your overall skill level!

Need some extra help with your Spanish classes? Working with a private tutor can be an excellent way to learn how to speak Spanish both in and out of the classroom. Search for a Spanish tutor today!

Joan BannaPost Author: Joan B.
Joan B. lives in Carmichael, CA and has been teaching high school Spanish for more than 18 years. Joan helps students improve on tests and increase their conversational ability. Learn more about Joan here!

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Special thanks to the following bloggers, who contributed to this list:

Mother's Day Poems in Spanish

5 Beautiful Mother’s Day Poems in Spanish

Mother's Day Poems in Spanish

Mothers love a genuine and creative gift. Writing a poem, or even simply reciting a poem, is a great addition to any Mother’s Day present or greeting card. If you’re learning Spanish or have a Spanish-speaking mother, here are five Mother’s Day poems in Spanish that will melt her heart!

5 Beautiful Mother’s Day Poems in Spanish

“A mi madre”

Mamá

Eres una mujer muy fuerte

Traes bendiciones y buena suerte

Me ayudaste a crecer como una mariposa

Y esta es la razón por la que te estoy dando más de una rosa

Feliz dia de las madres a la mejor mamá

Te amo

Translation:

Mother

You are a strong woman

You bring blessings and good luck

You helped me grow like a butterfly

And that is the reason why I am giving you more than a rose

Happy Mother’s day to the best mom

I love you

This is a beautiful poem for a strong mother who truly helped shape you into the person you are today. If you choose to read this poem to your mom, I’d suggest also giving her some roses as the poem suggests, and maybe even some chocolates too!

“Ella”

Me dio vida

Amoroso honesto

La mejor mamá

Translation:

Gave me life

Loving, honest

The best mom

This simple yet elegant poem is a haiku when written or recited in Spanish. It’s perfect for the artsy and creative mother who prefers something short and sweet.

“El Mejor”

Eres la mamá más graciosa

Me haces reir todo el dia

Eres la mamá más fabulosa

Desfruto tu compania

Feliz día de la madre

Translation:

You are the funniest mom

You make me laugh all day

You are the most fabulous mom

I enjoy your company

Happy Mother’s Day

If your mom is silly or a jokester, then she’ll love this poem. Think outside of the box with how you share this poem with her. Maybe you can get it written on a cake!

SEE ALSO- Mother’s Day Music: 5 Guitar Songs to Play for Mom

“De Mamá a Abuela”

Tú me muestras amor, Me muestras fuerzas

Me enseñaste todo lo que sé

Y ahora tengo mi propio bebé

Mis hijos dicen feliz día de madres para mí

Siempre te diré feliz día de madres a ti, la mujer que empezó todo

Translation:

You show me love, You show me strength

You taught me everything I know

And now I have my own baby

My children say Happy Mother’s Day to me

I will always say Happy Mother’s Day to you, the woman who started everything

If this doesn’t make her tear up, we don’t know what else will! This is a great poem for a mother to write to her own mom. Any grandmother would love it because it acknowledges her as the woman who started it all!

“Como tú”

Cuando crezca quiero ser como tú, una gran mujer

Eres honesto y verdadero

Eres inteligente y creativo

Eres cariñoso y amable

No más que decir excepto tener un fabuloso día de madres

Translation:

When I grow up, I want to be just like you, a great woman

You are honest and true

You are intelligent and creative

You are loving and kind

There is nothing more to say except have a fabulous Mother’s Day!

This poem is ideal for a young girl who admires her mother and all of her virtues. Recite this poem to your mom and she will surely appreciate that she’s your most cherished role model.
Any of these poems would make your mother smile on her special day. If you want to use one of these poems, feel free to change some of the adjectives to make it more personal for your mom. You can also frame and decorate the poems to add that personal touch!  

Breeana D.Post Author: Breeana D.
Breeana D. teaches Spanish lessons in Abington, PA. Specializing in Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education, she is currently enrolled in Temple University’s Elementary Education program. Learn more about Breeana here!

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Spanish adjectives personality

46 Spanish Adjectives to Describe All Your Friends [Printable List]

Spanish adjectives list

Spanish adjectives are crucial to learn and memorize if you want to be fluent in Spanish. Spanish adjectives will help you describe places, things, and especially – people!

If you’re learning Spanish, you might already know a few basic nouns and verbs to carry on a conversation. Now is the perfect time to start learning some extra, descriptive words! There will be many times in conversation when you’re looking for just the right word to describe a quality or trait, and our Spanish adjectives list is sure to come in handy for each of them.

In this post, we’ll share how to use 46 of the most common Spanish adjectives. (You’ll also be able to download a free worksheet to practice all the new vocabulary you’ve learned at the end!)

How to Use Spanish Adjectives

There are a few ways to form sentences with Spanish adjectives. Here are some examples to get you started.

  • Juan es muy mentiroso. Siempre dice cosas que no son verdad.
  • Mis padres tienen un carácter fuerte, pero son muy amables.
  • Tengo mucho sentido del humor y por eso soy gracioso.

In most cases though, you’ll use the verb ser in combination with an adjective. For example:

  • Ella es simpática.
  • Ellos son graciosos.
  • Nosotros somos organizados.

Learning how to conjugate the verb ser will be a huge help when it comes to using adjectives properly. Now, are you ready to learn some new words? Here are 46 Spanish adjectives that will help you describe yourself, your friends, and your family. (Some of these words can also be used to describe places and things).

The Ultimate Spanish Adjectives List

46 Spanish Adjectives List to Describe Personality

Additional Practice with Spanish Adjectives

Want even more practice? You can download a free worksheet here to review the vocabulary above and practice forming sentences. You can also check out these additional resources to help you learn more about Spanish vocabulary and grammar:

We hope you enjoyed this guest post by Sara from Spanish2Learn. Can you think of any more unique Spanish adjectives to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

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Photo by Antoine K

difference between Spanish and Portuguese

10 Important Differences Between Spanish & Portuguese

difference between Spanish and Portuguese

The 2016 Summer Olympics were held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. For language-learners everywhere, it was and still is a great time to explore Portuguese, their official language!

And if you’re already learning Spanish, you’re at an advantage. There are a lot of similarities between the two languages — in fact, there’s even a name for speaking a mixture of the languages to help speakers of different backgrounds communicate (Portuñal or Portunhol, in Spanish and Portuguese, respectively).

But what about the difference between Spanish and Portuguese? You’re not off the hook if you speak Spanish; you’ll need to put in some work to learn new pronunciations, spellings, and vocabulary in Portuguese. Same goes if you’re a Portuguese speaker trying to learn Spanish!

To help you get started, our friends at LiveLingua put together a post showcasing some key things to remember. Here’s part of the article:


1. Difference between hasta and hacia. In Portuguese there is no hacia preposition. There is the preposition até, but we need to explain the difference very well so students can learn how to use it properly. In short words, hacia indicates the direction in which we move and hasta the point at which we arrived.

2. The preposition “a” after many verbs. The most common example [in Spanish] is “ir a.” I guess it must be weird for some Portuguese native speakers to use an expression even found in Portuguese, but adding an “a” in the middle. Let’s have a look at this sentence: Vou sair agora ( Portuguese), Voy a salir ahora (Spanish)

3. The position of reflexive pronouns. The rule is very simple. In Spanish, when the tense is either gerund or infinitive, the pronoun merges to the end of the verb. Otherwise when the verb is conjugated, the pronoun is placed before the verb and not joined. Example: dormirse, bañarse; se durmió, te bañaste, etc.

4. False friends or very similar words. Every language has to face this issue. We only learn this when we come across those words. There is a funny word which needs to be clarified: almóndiga. This is a Spanish slang word which means “meatball,” but in Portuguese is pronounced albóndiga. In Portuguese a vagabundo is a person who leads a bad life, while in Spanish it is someone who lives on the street (morador de rua in Portuguese).

5. Muy or mucho? In Portuguese this is easy: muito is the only word compared to those two. Muy is used before adverbs and adjectives, while mucho is placed either before a noun or after a verbs. When we want to make a comparison, we always have to use mucho. Example: Es mucho (no muy!!!) mejor que tú.


The article goes on to list five more differences between Portuguese and Spanish — continue reading it here!

Now, ready to get started learning Portuguese? Keep these tips in mind:

  • Determine your learning style and goals. Instead of blindly jumping into learning, have a plan in place. Are you learning for fun? Do you want to be fluent? How do you learn best? Knowing the answers to these will help you stay on track. Here are some guiding questions to start with.
  • Find a conversation partner. The most important part of learning a new language is understanding the context and having real conversations with others, and practice makes perfect! Instead of simply memorizing vocabulary words, make the effort to talk and listen!
  • Work with a tutor. Taking 1-on-1 lessons with a language tutor is a great way to get that conversation practice. TakeLessons offers both Portuguese tutors and Spanish tutors to help you improve.

Readers, do you have experience learning both Portuguese and Spanish? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts!

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