1. Introducing yourself. There are several ways to tell someone your name in Spanish: 

Yo soy Tina. I’m Tina.
Soy Tina. I’m Tina.
Me llamo Tina. I’m Tina. (lit. “I call myself Tina.”)
Mi nombre es Tina.
My name is Tina. 

   Unlike in English, subject pronouns (in this case, yo) are optional in Spanish because they are implied by the conjugation (in this case, soy). They are mainly used for emphasis:

Maria es de Boston pero yo soy de Nueva York.*
Maria is from Boston but I’m from New York. 

2. Saying where you’re from. With place names, the preposition de means from. 

Soy de Italia. I’m from Italy.
Soy de Florida. I’m from Florida.
Soy de Brooklyn. I’m from Brooklyn. 

   Adjectives describing nationality, place of origin, ethnicity and religion are not capitalized in Spanish. 

Soy japonés. I’m Japanese. (male)
Soy neoyorquino. I’m a New Yorker. (male)
Soy asiático. I’m Asian. (male)
Soy católico. I’m Catholic. (male)

   Nouns and adjectives ending in -o for men and boys change their final letter to -a when describing women and girls. Words ending in a consonant add an -a. 

Soy japonesa. I’m Japanese. (female)
Soy neoyorquina. I’m a New Yorker. (female)
Soy asiática. I’m Asian. (female) 

   Words that end in -e stay the same regardless of gender. 

Soy canadiense. I’m Canadian. (male or female) 

   Similarly, words that end in -a or -i for the masculine do not change for the feminine. 

Soy belga. I’m Belgian. (male or female)
Soy croata. I’m Croatian. (male or female)
Soy iraní. I’m Iranian. (male or female) 

3. Some nations and nationalities. 

Alemania (Germany) alemán, alemanaa
Argentina argentino, argentina
Australia australiano, australiana
Brasil brasileño, brasileña
Canadá canadiense
Chile chileno, chilena
China chino, china
Corea
(Korea) coreano, coreana
Cuba cubano, cubana
Dinamarca
(Denmark) danés, danesa
Egipto
(Egypt) egipcio, egipcia
Escocia
(Scotland) escocés, escocesa
España español, española
los Estados Unidos
(USA) americano, americana*
Francia francés, francesa
Grecia
(Greece) griego, griega
Holanda
(Netherlands) holandés, holandesa
la India indiano, indiana
Inglaterra
(England) inglés, inglesa
Irlanda
(Ireland) irlandés, irlandesa
Israel israelí
Italia
(Italy) italiano, italiana
Japón
(Japan) japonés, japonesa
México mexicano, mexicana
Nigeria nigeriano, nigeriana
Palestina
(Palestine) palestino, palestina
Perú peruano, peruana
Portugal portugués, portuguesa
Puerto Rico       puertorriqueño, puertorriqueña
La República Dominicana dominicano, dominicana
Rusia
(Russia) ruso, rusa
Sudáfrica
(South Africa) sudafricano, sudafricana
Suecia
(Sweden) sueco, sueca
Turquía
(Turkey) turco, turca

      • The terms estadounidense (literally, United Statesian) and norteamericano/a (North American) are sometimes used instead of americano/a. They’re less common but considered to be more precise and culturally sensitive since technically, anyone born in the Americas is American.

4. Forming questions. The simplest way to ask a yes-or-no question is to take a regular sentence and change the intonation at the end. Because the word order doesn’t change as it would in English, an upside down question mark (¿) is placed at the beginning of a written question to cue the reader. 

Eres francesa. You are French.
¿Eres francesa? Are you French? 

Come carne. You eat meat. (polite)
¿Come carne? Do you eat meat?

   When the subject of the sentence is named, it usually comes directly after the verb (if it’s a pronoun) or at the end of the sentence (if it’s a name or other noun):

¿Es usted francesa? Are you French? (polite)
¿Come usted carne? Do you eat meat? (polite)
¿Es ella francesa? Is she French?

¿Es francesa Catherine? Is Catherine French?
¿Es francesa tu madre? Is your mother French?

   When using question words such as dónde (where) and cómo (how), the noun usually comes after the verb as well: 

¿Cómo se llama usted?
 What’s your name? (lit. How are called you?) 

¿De dónde es el profesor?*
 Where is the teacher from? (lit. From where is the teacher?) 

¿Cuántos hermanos tiene Amy?
 How many siblings does Amy have? (lit. How many siblings has Amy?)

      • In English, we frequently end questions with a preposition (e.g. What is the book about?, Where did you come from?) but note that in Spanish, prepositions generally come at the beginning of a question.

5. Negatives. To make a sentence negative, we simply place no (which in this case means not) before the verb. 

Yo no soy griego. Soy turco.
I’m not Greek. I’m Turkish. 

Ella es de Perú. No es de Ecuador.
She’s from Peru. She’s not from Ecuador. 

6. Singular personal pronouns. 

yo I
you (informal)
ella
she
él he
usted you (polite) 

7. Formal and polite forms of address. There are two ways to say you in the singular in Spanish: the informal (second person) and the more polite usted, which takes the same third person conjugation as ella (she) and él (he). 

   Usted is an indirect form of address dating to the Middle Ages, derived from the old Spanish way of saying Your Grace. That’s why when you use it, it sounds like you’re talking about a third person (e.g. Would Your Grace like something to drink?) rather than directly to someone. 

   As a general guideline, it’s best to use usted with strangers, elders, and in other situations where you want to show respect. is for more casual interactions with friends, family and peers. 

   But the truth is that norms vary across the Spanish speaking world, sometimes even within the same country. In some communities, is used with everyone while in others, even family members address one another as usted. For that reason, it’s best to master both and start with usted in new situations or if you’re not sure. 

8. Meeting people.

¿Cómo te llamas?* What’s your name? (informal)
¿Cómo se llama?* What’s your name? (polite), or What’s his/her name?
Me llamo Eduardo.* I’m Eduardo.
Mucho gusto. Nice to meet you.
Encantado/a. Nice to meet you. (lit. Charmed.).
Igualmente. Likewise.
Este es Mario. This is Mario. (introducing a male)
Esta es Claudia. This is Claudia. (introducing a female)

      • Me llamo, te llamas and se llama are forms of a reflexive verb, meaning the subject and object of the action are the same (in this case, to call oneself). For now, just learn them as set expressions.

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EXERCISES

A1. Answer the following questions using complete sentences. 

1. ¿Cómo te llamas? 

____________________________________________________________________

2. ¿Eres canadiense? ¿De dónde eres? 

____________________________________________________________________

3. ¿De dónde es Michelle Obama? ¿Es inglesa? 

____________________________________________________________________

4. ¿De dónde es tu madre (your mother)? 

____________________________________________________________________

5. ¿Es Penelope Cruz de Alemania? ¿De dónde es? 

____________________________________________________________________

A2. Change the following sentences from the informal to the polite.

1. ¿Cómo te llamas? ¿De dónde eres? 

______¿Cómo se llama? ¿De dónde es?____________________________________

2. ¿Eres de Japón? 

___________________________________________________________________

3 ¿Eres portuguesa o brasileña? 

___________________________________________________________________

4. Yo me llamo Marco. ¿Y tú? 

___________________________________________________________________

5. Tú eres Paloma, ¿verdad? 

___________________________________________________________________

A3. Match each question in column I with the appropriate response in Column II. 

I II

¿Cómo se llama usted? Sí, soy de Nueva York.

Tú eres Lalo, ¿verdad? No, yo no soy alemana.

¿Eres estadounidense? Sí, yo soy de Londres.

¡Hola! Yo soy Tom. No, yo soy Juan.

¿Es usted de Berlín? Me llamo Pedro García.

¿Es usted inglesa? Mucho gusto. Yo soy Claudia.

A4. Translate. 

1. My name is Martin. What’s your name? (informal) 

___________________________________________________________________

2. I’m Cecile. I’m French. 

___________________________________________________________________
 

3. I’m from Japan and he’s Chinese. 

___________________________________________________________________
 

4. I’m not Canadian. I’m American (female), from Miami. 

___________________________________________________________________
 

5. I’m from India. Where are you from? (polite) 

___________________________________________________________________
 

6. She’s not Cuban. She’s Mexican. 

___________________________________________________________________

9. The verb ser to be. 

soy I am
eres you are (informal)
es
she/he is, you are (formal)
somos we are
son they are, you are (plural) 

   We use ser when introducing ourselves (name, job, nationality) and when speaking about general characteristics (physical and personal attributes, marital status, etc) that rarely change.

names Soy Juan. I’m Juan.
origins Ella es de Colombia. She’s from Colombia.
Es colombiana. She’s Colombian.
professions Él es profesor. He’s a teacher.
relationships Carmen es mi jefa. Carmen is the boss.
José es su hermano. José is his brother.
attributes Eres alto. You’re tall.
Tito es honesto. Tito is honest.
El libro es azul. The book is blue.

10. The verb trabajar to work. 

trabajo I work
trabajas
you work (informal)
trabaja he/she works, or you work (polite)
trabajamos we work
trabajan
they work, or you work (plural) 

   To ask someone what their job is, we can ask: 

¿En qué trabajas? What do you do? (lit. In what do you work?)
¿En qué trabaja? What do you do? (polite)
¿En qué trabajan? What do you do? (plural)

11. The preposition de. In addition to describing origin (e.g. Soy de Cuba), the preposition de is used to describe what something is made of or what type of thing it is. 

wood table mesa de madera (not “madera mesa”)
chocolate cake pastel de chocolate
French student estudiante de francés
Japanese teacher profesor de japonés

   In English, the descriptor would precede the noun (we would say chocolate cake) but note that in Spanish we can’t do this and have to say the equivalent of cake of chocolate. 

12. Plural personal pronouns. 

nosotras we (all female)
nosotros we (male or mixed)
ellas we (all female)
ellos they (male or mixed)
ustedes you (plural)*

  • In Latin America, you (plural) is expressed with ustedes, which has the same conjugation as ellos and ellas (they). Spain uses the forms vosotras and vosotros, which have an entirely different conjugation. In this book, we present only the ustedes form but rest assured that this would be understood in Spain as well. 

13. Making words plural. To make a word plural in Spanish, we simply add -s to words ending in a vowel or -es to words ending in a consonant: 

casa —> casas house —> houses
libro —> libros book —> books
puente —> puentes bridge —> bridges

mujer —> mujeres woman —> women
papel —> papeles paper —> papers
ciudad —> ciudades city —> cities 

   Words ending in -z change the -z to -c before adding -es: 

luz —> luces light —> lights
lápiz —> lápices nose —> noses
nariz —> narices nose —> noses 

14. Talking about what you do. When talking about someone’s profession or trade, the indefinite article (a in English) is not translated:

I’m a waitress. Yo soy mesera. (not “Yo soy una mesera.)
Pablo is a fireman. Pablo es bombero. (not “Pablo es un bombero.)

   As we saw in sections 3 and 4, words that end with a consonant or the letter -o for males usually end in -a for females: 

médico, médica doctor (male, female)
cartero, cartera postal worker
mecánico, mecánica mechanic
camionero, camionera truck driver
ingeniero, ingeniera engineer
jardinero, jardinera gardener
arquitecto, arquitecta architect
cientifico, cientifica scientist

escritor, escritora writer
agricultor, agricultora farmer
consultor, consultora consultant

   As with nationalities, if a word ends with the letters -a or -e when describing a male, that word remains the same when referring to a female:

estudiante student (male or female)
dependiente store clerk (male or female)

artista artist (male or female)
policía police officer (male or female)
electricista electrician (male or female) dentista dentist (male or female)

   A few professions use different words for males and females:

actor actor (male)
actriz actress

hombre de la limpieza cleaner (male)
mujer de la limpieza cleaner (female)

   Finally, a few professions that end in -o for males do not change their endings for females:

piloto pilot (male or female)
soldado soldier (male or female)
músico musician (male or female) 

COMBINE

. Occupations. In section 9, we learned that we use the verb ser when we state someone’s profession or job and that we do not use the indefinite article (a in English):

Marcelo es bibliotecario. Marcelo is a librarian.

   We do, however, use the definite article (the) for job titles:

Susan es la presidenta y John es el director de recursos humanos.
Susan is the president and John is the director of human resources.

   And we use the verb estar when we say someone is unemployed (desempleado/a) or retired (jubilado/a). We’ll learn more about the verb estar in section 31.

EXERCISES

B1. Change the following sentences from the singular to the plural.

1. Yo soy cocinero y ella es panadera. 

______Nosotros somos cocineros y ellas son panaderas.._____________________

2. Él es dentista.

___________________________________________________________________

3 ¿Eres médico o enfermero? 

___________________________________________________________________

4. Yo no soy mesero. Soy músico. 

___________________________________________________________________

5. El programador trabaja con el diseñador gráfico.

___________________________________________________________________

B2. Find at least two captions each on pages 16-17 of the libro principal that answer the questions below.

¿En qué trabajas?

______Yo soy chofer.______________        _______________________________

¿En qué trabaja ella?

______Ella es artista._____________        _______________________________

¿En qué trabaja él?

_______________________________        _______________________________

¿En qué trabaja usted?

_______________________________        _______________________________

¿En qué trabajan ellos?

_______________________________        _______________________________

¿En qué trabajan ustedes?

_______________________________        _______________________________

B3. Translate. 

1. Ana Maria is an artist from Peru.

___________________________________________________________________

2. They’re not Spanish students. They’re Italian teachers.

___________________________________________________________________

3. She’s a house painter.

___________________________________________________________________

4. Emilio is a writer. He works from home.

___________________________________________________________________

5. I’m a photographer. What do you do? (polite)

___________________________________________________________________

B4. Journal. Pretend you’ve decided to host someone from another country in your home. Write a few sentences introducing yourself, telling them your name, where you’re from (country and city), and what you do for a living. Then ask their name, where they’re from, and what they do for a living. 

15. Articles. The indefinite article (a in English) has two forms in Spanish, one for each gender: 

un (masculine) un chico a boy
una (feminine) una chica a girl 

The definite article (the in English) has four possible forms, depending on gender and whether the noun is singular or plural: 

el (masculine singular) el libro the book
la (feminine singular) la mesa the table 

los (masculine plural) los libros the books
las (feminine plural) las mesas the tables 

16. Gender. All nouns in Spanish are either masculine or feminine. As we’ve seen, most nouns ending in -o are masculine and most nouns ending in –a are feminine. But aside from nouns referring to people, it’s not usually apparent why a particular noun is one gender or the other. It just is. 

el libro the book masculine
la mesa the table feminine 

Nouns ending in -e or a consonant could be masculine or feminine. Again, there is usually no discernible reason and you’ll have to just learn their genders one by one. 

la fuente the fountain feminine
el puente the bridge masculine
la nariz the nose feminine
el lápiz the pencil masculine
la pluma the pen feminine

The profession nouns we learned in section 13 that do not change according to gender do take different definite articles for males and females:

el artista male artist
la artista female artist

el policía policeman
la policía policewoman

el estudiante male student
la estudiante female student

17. Partitives. To say “some” in Spanish, we make the indefinite article plural:

unos (masculine) unos chicos some boys
unas (feminine) unas chicas some girls 

18. Much and many. The adverbs mucho and mucha correspond to much or a lot of in English and refer to nouns that are not easily counted:

mucho (masculine) mucho leche a lot of milk
mucha (feminine) mucha suerte much luck

   The plural forms muchos and muchas mean many and refer to nouns that can be enumerated:

muchos (masculine) muchos libros many books
muchas (feminine) mucha flores many flowers

   Mucho can also modify a verb:

Carmen no habla mucho. Carmen doesn’t talk much.
La pizza me gusta mucho. I like pizza a lot.

19. The verb vivir to live. 

vivo I live
vives
you live (informal)
vive
he/she lives, or you live (polite)
vivimos
we live
viven they live, or you live (plural) 

20. Adjective agreement and placement. Like articles, Spanish adjectives must agree in gender and number with the nouns they modify: 

el libro rojo the red book
una pluma roja a red pen
unos libros rojos some red books
las plumas rojas the red pens

   Note that the masculine plural is used not only for multiple masculine forms but for multiple forms of mixed gender:

Juanita y Susana son cubanas. Juanita and Susana are Cuban.
Pedro y Maria son mexicanos. Pedro and Maria are Mexican. 

In most cases, descriptive adjectives come after the nouns they modify and not before: 

a pretty blouse una blusa bonita (not “una bonita blusa”)
a difficult project un proyecto difícil
expensive shoes zapatos caros

* The most common exceptions to this rule are forms of the adjectives bueno, malo and grande, which refer to people and things that are inherently good, bad or great when they precede the noun.

21. There is, there are. The word hay (pronounced like eye in English) is very easy to use because it has only one form, regardless of gender or number: 

Hay un gato en el árbol. There’s a cat in the tree.
¿Hay leche? Is there any milk?
No hay taxis. There are no taxis.
¿Cuántas chicas hay en la clase? How many girls are in the class?

22. También y tampoco. xxx

xxx xxx

EXERCISES

C1. Translate. 

1. a strong girl  ______________________________________

2. four small dogs ______________________________________

3. some black birds ______________________________________

4. many problems  ______________________________________

5. two shy boys ______________________________________

6. an expensive apartment  ______________________________________

7. five lazy cats  ______________________________________

8. a good-looking man  ______________________________________

9. lots of rabbits ______________________________________

10. three tall trees  ______________________________________

 

C2. Refer to pages 22-23 and answer the following questions in complete sentences.

1. ¿Es simpático el vecino? 

______No, el vecino es antipático.________________________________________

2. ¿Es barata o cara la camiseta?

______La camiseta es barata.___________________________________________

3 ¿Son elegantes los Gómez? 

___________________________________________________________________

4. ¿Es delgado o gordo el perro? 

___________________________________________________________________

5. ¿Es rápida la tortuga?

___________________________________________________________________

6 ¿Es Gabriel un hombre rico? 

___________________________________________________________________

7. ¿Es gracioso Félix? 

___________________________________________________________________

8. ¿Es viejo el patito?

___________________________________________________________________

9. ¿Es Raúl un chico generoso? 

___________________________________________________________________

10. ¿Es corto el cuello de la jirafa?

___________________________________________________________________

C3. Translate.

1. In the French class, there are five girls and three boys.

___________________________________________________________________

2. ¿Are there many blonde girls in the Spanish class?

___________________________________________________________________

3. I live in a large apartment with two men and two women.

___________________________________________________________________

4. The Italian teacher lives in a small house with four cats.

___________________________________________________________________

5. Is there a doctor in the house?

___________________________________________________________________

C4. Journal. Write a few sentences describing yourself using the adjectives on pages 20-23. Include at least five affirmative statements (e.g. I am tall) and five negative statements (e.g. I am not rich).

23. Family members and relations. 

mother madre*
father padre*
brother/sister hermano/hermana
son/daughter hijo/hija
husband marido
wife esposa
uncle/aunt tío/tía
nephew/niece sobrino/sobrina
cousin primo/prima
grandfather/grandmother abuelo/abuela
grandson/granddaughter nieto/nieta

father-in-law/mother-in-law suegro/suegra
brother-in-law/sister-in-law cuñado/cuñada
son-in-law yerno
daughter-in-law nuera

friend amigo/amiga
roommate compañero/a de cuarto
flatmate/housemate compañero/a de casa
classmate compañero/a de clase
boss jefe/jefa
colleague colega

   * As in English, people often address or refer to their parents more informally, as mamá and papá. Be sure to place the accent on the final syllable though or it could sound like you’re referring to the Pope (el Papa), a potato (papa), or a breast (mama).

   We use the masculine plural for the following, even when it includes females as well as males: 

parents padres
kids hijos
siblings hermanos
aunt(s) and uncle(s) tíos
grandparents abuelos
in-laws suegros

24. Possessive adjectives. 

singularplural 

my mi mis
your tu* tus
his/her su sus
our nuestro/a nuestros/as
their su sus 

* The possessive adjective tu (your) is spelled without an accent mark to distinguish it from the pronoun (you). 

Like other Spanish adjectives, possessive adjectives must agree in number (and, in the case of our, gender) with the nouns they modify: 

my book mi libro
our aunt nuestra tia
my books
mis libros
our aunts
nuestras tias 

   Note that the ending of the possessive adjective agrees with the object being possessed and not the person who possesses it: 

my cats mis gatos (not “mi gatos”)
our house nuestra casa (not “nuestras casa”)
your shoes tus zapatos (not “tu zapatos”)
his problems sus problemas (not “su problemas”)
their mother su madre (not “sus madre”) 

   To attribute possession to a named person or thing, we have to use the pronoun de: 

Tito’s hat el sombrero de Tito
Maria’s dogs los perros de Maria
the city’s mayor el alcalde de la ciudad
my grandparents’ house la casa de mis abuelos
the girls’ coats los abrigos de las chicas 

   Note there is no Spanish equivalent to apostrophe+s. To talk about Maria’s dogs, we have to say the equivalent of the dogs of Maria.

25. Demonstrative adjectives. 

singularplural 

this este/esta estos/estas
that ese/esa eso/esas
that (farther away) aquel/aquella aquellos/aquellas 

   Like other Spanish adjectives, demonstrative adjectives must agree in number and gender with the nouns they modify:

this man este hombre
this house esta casa

that man ese hombre
that house esa casa

these men estos hombres
these houses estas casas

those men esos hombres
those houses esas casas

that man (farther away) aquel hombre
that house (farther away) aquella casa

those men (farther away) aquellos hombres
those houses (farther away) aquellas casas

26. Quién and quiénes. Note that in Spanish, quién (who) refers to one person and we use the plural form quiénes when asking about more than one person.

¿Quién es esa niña? Who’s that girl?
¿Quiénes son esas niñas?
Who are those girls?

      To say whose, we precede quién or quiénes with the preposition de:

¿De quién es este lápiz? Whose pencil is this?

27. Demonstrative pronouns. These are easy to recognize and use because they take the same form as demonstrative adjectives: 

singularplural

this one este/esta estos/estas
that one ese/esa eso/esas
that one (farther away) aquel/aquella aquellos/aquellas 

      For example:

 

Esta casa es roja y esa casa es verde.
This house is red and that one is green. 

becomes

Esta es roja y esa es verde.
This one is red and that one is green. 

   As with possessive pronouns, note that demonstrative pronouns agree in number and gender with the nouns they refer to even if those nouns are not stated. 

   Finally, in some texts, you may see demonstrative pronouns with accent marks. For example: 

Ésta es roja, ésa es verde, y aquélla es blanca.
This one is red, that one is green, and that one is white..

   Until recently, this was considered more correct but this is no longer the case so even though you may come across these accented versions, there is no need to use the accents in your own writing. 

28. Possessive pronouns. 

singularplural 

mine mío/mía míos/mías
yours tuyo/tuya tuyos/tuyas
his/hers suyo/suya suyos/suyas
ours nuestro/nuestra nuestros/nuestras
theirs suyo/suya suyos/suyas 

Possessive pronouns can be used for emphasis (This isn’t your pencil; it’s hers) or to make sentences less redundant (This book is my book —>  This book is mine). But the pronoun still has to agree in number and gender with the noun it replaces, even when that noun is no longer stated: 

¿De quién es esta pluma? … Es mía.
Whose pen is this? … It’s mine.

¿De quien son estos libros? … Son míos.
Whose books are these? … They’re mine.

Esta comida no es tuya. Es nuestra.
This food isn’t yours. It’s ours. 

EXERCISES

D1. Translate. 

1. their uncle  ______________________________________

2. Sarah’s dress ______________________________________

 

3. our apartment ______________________________________

4. your problems (tú) ______________________________________

5. my brother’s turtle  ______________________________________

6. his sister’s dog ______________________________________

7. your name (usted) ______________________________________

8. the writer’s husband ______________________________________

9. my classes ______________________________________

10. her father’s cousin ______________________________________

11. your daughter (ustedes) ______________________________________

12. their wives  ______________________________________

D2. Match the sentence beginnings in column I with the appropriate sentence endings in Column II. 

I II

Mi hermana … … son los hijos de mis tíos.

La nieta de mis abuelos …… es mi hermano.

Mis primos … … son los tíos de mis primos.

Mis padres … … es la hija de mi madre.

Mis abuelos … … es mi prima.

El sobrino de mi tío … … son los padres de mi tía.

D3. Translate.

1. Whose pencil is that?.

___________________________________________________________________

2. These notebooks are mine and those are yours.

___________________________________________________________________ 

3. This is my mother and that man is her friend.

___________________________________________________________________

4. Who are those boys?

___________________________________________________________________

5. These are yours, those are hers, and those (farther away) are mine.

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D4. Journal. Write a paragraph listing the names and places of residence of your living siblings, parents, and grandparents. (For example, Mi hermana se llama Lia y vive en London. Mis padres se llaman ….)

29. Comparatives and superlatives.

To compare things that are unequal, we use más … que (more … than) and menos … que (less … than):

Pedro es más alto que Berta.

Pedro is taller than Berta.

Berta es menos alta que Pedro.

Berta is not as tall as Pedro. (lit. Berta is less tall than Pedro.)

Berta y Carla son menos altas que Pedro.

Berta and Carla are not as tall as Pedro.

These words can also be used with nouns and verbs:

Enzo tiene más corbatas que su hermano pero menos que su padre.

Enzo has more neckties than his brother but fewer than his father.

Yo trabajo menos que Juan.

I work less than Juan.

To change a comparative (e.g. more) to a superlative (e.g. the most), we add the definite article:

José es el menos atlético de los tres hermanos.*

José is the least athletic of the three brothers.

Cristina y Susana son las chicas más tímidas de la clase.*

Cristina and Susana are the shyest girls in the class.

  • Note that we use the preposition de to refer to the group of people or things being compared (e.g. el más caro de los libros, la más baja de la clase), regardless of how the preposition would be translated into English (sometimes of and sometimes in).

To say more than or less than a specific number, we use más and menos with the preposition de:

Enzo tiene más de cinco corbatas y menos de diez camisas.

Enzo has more than five neckties and fewer than ten shirts

To talk about things that are equal, we use tan … como (as … as) with adjectives and the variable form tanto … como (as much/as many … as) with nouns and verbs:

Alexandra es tan graciosa como su padre.

Alexandra is as funny as her father.

Enzo tiene tantas camisas como su hermano.

Enzo has as many shirts as his brother.

Violeta trabaja tanto como Miguel.

Violeta works as much as Miguel.

30. Better and best, and worse and worst. The adjectives bueno (good) and malo (bad) have their own special forms:

comparativesuperlative

bueno/a   good mejor(es)   better el/la/los/las mejor(es)   best

malo/a     bad peor(es)     worse el/la/los/las peor(es)   worst

Examples:

Este restaurante es mejor que ese.

This restaurant is better than that one.

Las peras en el supermercado son las peores.

The pears in the supermarket are the worst.

EXERCISES

E1. Translate.

1. The dress is more expensive than the t-shirt.

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2. My school is good but his is the best.

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3. Dogs are less lazy than cats.

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4. Octavio is the worst designer in the office.

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5. Martina is as smart as her sister.

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6. French bakers are better than English bakers.

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7. The photographer is less famous than the musician.

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8. Her house is the prettiest in Paris.

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9. There are fewer than 10 students in the class.

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10. This wine is the cheapest.

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11. The Spanish class has as many students as the French class.

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12. My sisters are the meanest girls in the world.

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E2. Answer the following questions using complete sentences.

1. ¿Quién es el mejor cocinero de tu familia y quién es el peor?

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2. ¿Cuál es más grande: el sol o la luna?

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3. ¿Quién es más elegante: tu madre o tu padre?

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4. ¿Cuál es más alta: una tortuga o una jirafa?

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5. ¿Quién es la actriz más guapa del mundo?

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31. The verb estar to be. 

yo estoy I am
tú estás you are (informal)
ella/él/usted está
she/he is, you are (formal)
nosotras/nosotros estamos we are
ellas/ellos/ustedes están they are, you are (plural) 

   We use estar to talk about location, emotions or states of being, and physical conditions.

location El lápiz está en la mesa. The pencil is on the table.
Lucrecia no está aquí. Lucrecia isn’t here.
Big Ben está en Londres. Big Ben is in London.

emotion/state Estoy feliz. I’m happy.
Natalia está enferma. Natalia is sick.
La jefa está furiosa. The boss is furious.

condition El teléfono está roto. The phone is broken.
El té está caliente. The tea is hot.
Las flores están muertas. The flowers are dead.

   A simple way to think about the difference between the two verbs is that ser describes a characteristic while estar describes a condition.

32. The verb sentirse to feel. 

yo me siento I feel
tú te sientes you feel (informal)
ella/él/usted se siente
she/he feels, you feel (formal)
nosotras/nosotros nos sentimos we feel
ellas/ellos/ustedes se sienten they feel, you feel (plural)

      Sentirse can often be used interchangeably with estar, but is used more specifically to talk about how someone is feeling:

No me siento bien. I don’t feel well..
¿Te sientes relajado? Do you feel relaxed?
Laura se siente sola. Laura feels alone.

      Sentirse is a reflexive verb, which means it must be used with the reflexive pronouns (me, te, se, nos, se) you see above. We’ll learn more about reflexive verbs later but for now, just learn these set expressions:   

   ¿Cómo te sientes? How are you feeling? (familiar)
¿Cómo se siente hoy? How are you feeling today? (polite)
Me siento bien/mal/cansado … I feel good/bad/tired …

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