Spanish Grammar: Can You Complete These Sentences?

EDUCATION

By: Laura DeFazio

6 Min Quiz

To tell someone that you're cold in Spanish, you'd say, " ______ frío."

The correct answer is "Tengo frio." In English, this translates literally to, "I have cold." If you want to say you're hot, you'd say, "Tengo calor." To say, "I am sick," however, would be "Estoy enferma," which translates the same in both languages.

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To tell a Spanish-speaker that you're American, you'd say, "______ Americana/o."

Although both "soy" and "estoy" mean "I am" in Spanish, they cover two different meanings of our English verb "to be." "Soy" refers to more permanent states of being, such as one's physical attributes and fundamental character traits. "Estoy" refers to more temporary states of being, such as emotions, physical conditions and activities one is currently in the process of doing.

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Assuming you're a woman, you'd tell someone that you're tired in Spanish by saying, "Estoy ______."

Most adjectives that end in "a" are feminine, and most that end in "o" are masculine. If you're a man, you'd say, "Estoy cansado" instead. There are, of course, exceptions to both of these rules as well as adjectives that end in neither letter.

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In Spanish, the plural of "airplane" (el avión) is: ______.

"Airplane" is a masculine word in Spanish. The singular masculine definite article (el) becomes plural (los). Since avión ends in a consonant, -es is added instead of just -s. Last, the accent is dropped. The stress in Spanish words falls naturally on the second-to-last syllable, so it's no longer needed.

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Fill in the blank: Marlena es actriz. (Marlena is an actress.) Marlena y Sofia son ______. (Marlena and Sofia are actresses.)

When a word ends in "z," it's made plural by changing the "z" to a "c" and adding "es." As you can see, the Spanish verb "to be" (ser) also changes from third-person singular (es) to third-person plural (son).

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Complete the sentence: John asiste a ____ universidad. (John attends the university.)

"Universidad," like most Spanish words that end in -dad, is feminine, meaning that the definite article used is "la." If it were masculine, the correct choice would be "el," although that would be compounded with the "a" to form one word: "al."

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The verb "to write" in Spanish is "escribir." To tell a friend to write her essay, you'd say: "______ tu ensayo!"

All Spanish verbs end in -ar, -er or -ir. To form an informal command (like one you might use to jokingly chide a friend to finish their essay), drop the last two letters and add "a" for -ar verbs and "e" for -er and -ir verbs. So, "escribir > escrib > escribe." Formal commands have different structures.

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Can you complete the Spanish sentence that means, "There are many books in my house"? Give it a try: ______ muchos libros en mi casa.

The word "hay" means "there is" or "there are." It comes from the verb "haber," which is sometimes translated as "to have," but is generally used as an auxiliary or "helping" verb. "Hay" can also be used to form questions like, "Is there ..." or "Are there ..."

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See if you can complete the sentence meaning, "He needs to see a doctor" in Spanish: Necesita ver a ____ médico.

Un/una are the masculine and feminine ways to say "a," respectively. Because médico is masculine, we use "un" here. El/la mean "the" and would be used in reference to a specific doctor.

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To say in Spanish that you like the apples, you'd say, "____ gustan las manzanas."

The verb "gustar" (to please) is used to express likes and dislikes. To say that something pleases you (i.e., that you like something), you need to use the indirect object pronoun "me" along with gustar. The sentence "Me gustan las manzanas" translates directly to "The apples please me."

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How would you complete this sentence to ask someone if they know your friend Mary? "¿ ______ a mi amiga Mary?"

"Conoces" is the second-person singular form of "to know." In question form, it means "Do you know ...?", as is, are you familiar with someone/something. "Sabes ...?" also means "Do you know ...?", but it refers to factual information (i.e., "Do you know where the bakery is?")

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Spanish uses many more verb conjugations than English does. See if you can conjugate the verb "nadar" (to swim) to complete the sentence "We swim in the sea": _______ en el mar.

"Nadamos" is the correct answer. "Nado" (I swim), "nadas" (you swim) and "nada" (he/she/it swims) are also correct conjugations but for different speakers. "Nadáis" means "you all swim" and "nadan" means "they swim."

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Can you complete the sentence, "The gift is for you" in Spanish? Give it a try: El regalo es ______ ti.

"Para" and "por" both mean "for," but they each have different usages. "Para" is used to indicate a recipient, as in this case. In terms of the other responses, "pero" means "but" and "perro" means "dog."

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Take a look at the sentence, "Ella ______ bien." Which word completes it to say, "She speaks well"?

"Habla" is the verb "hablar" (to speak) conjugated for he, she, it or the formal usage of "you". Hablo translates to "I speak," hablaste translates to "you spoke" and hablas translates to "you speak."

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To say you don't like carrots, you'd say, "___ me gustan las zanahorias."

"Me gustan las zanahorias" translates directly to "Carrots please me," which is the standard way to express liking something in Spanish. To make the sentence negative ("Carrots don't please me"), simply add the word "no" to the beginning.

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You want to tell a friend that you spent summers at the beach when you were a kid. You say: "______ los veranos en la playa cuando era niña."

Although "pasé" also means "I spent" or "I passed," the correct answer is "pasaba." These represent two different forms of the past tense. The first pertains to discrete events that happened at specific times. The second pertains to ongoing actions or events in the past.

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Complete this sentence to ask where the library is: ¿Dónde ______ la biblioteca?

"Está" is the third-person singular of the verb estar, one of the Spanish verbs for "to be." Although "es" is also a third-person singular of a verb "to be" (in this case, the verb "ser"), "estar" is the correct choice when talking about something's location.

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You want to ask, "Why are you here?" You say: "¿ ______ estás aqui?"

"Porque" is the Spanish word for "why." ("Estas" can mean either "You are" or "Are you ...?" and "aqui" means "here.") The other responses are also question words. "Como" means "how," "quien" means "who" and "cuando" means "when."

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If you were of the opinion that cats are better than dogs, you'd express that in Spanish by saying: "Los gatos son ______ ______ los perros."

The word "mejor" means "better" in Spanish. Because "los gatos," the subject of the sentence, is plural, an -es is added to mejor to make it plural as well. "Que" is a conjunction used in comparisons that in this case means "than."

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Timmy has fewer books than Betsy. To say that in Spanish, you'd say: "Timmy tiene _______ libros _____ Betsy."

"Menos" is a comparison of inequality meaning "less" or "fewer." It's combined with "que" (than) to form sentences. "Mas" is its opposite, meaning "more." "Mejor" and "peor" mean "better" and "worse." They're typically combined with "que" as well, not "de."

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Juan is taller than Rhys. To say that in Spanish, you'd say: "Juan es ______ ______ que Rhys."

According to Spanish grammar, the way we say this sentence verbatim is, "Juan is more tall than Rhys." The word for "more" is "mas." ("Mejor," on the other hand, is "better.") The adjective "tall" is "alto." If Juan were a girl, we'd say "alta' instead.

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Now for a tricky one. To say, "Martina is worse at basketball than Alexa," you'd say: "Martina ______ ______ ______ el baloncesto que Alexa."

In this sentence, we use "es" (is) rather than "esta" (is) because the former indicates an overall quality rather than a temporary state of being. (If we were to say that Martina is playing worse *today*, that would be a different story.) "Peor" means "worse," whereas "menos" means "less." In Spanish, we say "in basketball" (en baloncesto) rather than "at basketball" (a baloncesto).

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To say "Jack is blonde, but Jill is brunette," you'd say: "Jack es ______, pero Jill es ______."

Most of the time (although not all of the time), adjectives that end in -o are masculine whereas adjectives that end in -a are feminine. If Jack was the brunette, for instance, he'd be "moreno."

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Complete the sentence to say that Carlos has more than $20: "Carlos tiene más _____ $20."

Although the word "que" is used to mean "than" in comparisons of inequality (for example, "Carlos has more money than Pedro"), "de" is used when saying that something is more or less than a specific numerical value.

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To express that Bill has as many cars as Elena, you'd say: "Bill tiene ______ coches como Elena."

"Tantos/as ... como" is how we say "as many ... as" in Spanish. Since the word for "cars" is masculine, we use "tantos." In the case of a feminine word (for example, "plumas" for "pens") we'd say "tantas."

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"______ a España" is how you'd say, "I will travel to Spain."

Save for some irregular exceptions, the simple future tense in Spanish is formed by taking the verb (in this case, viajar or, "to travel") and adding a suffix. The suffix for the first-person singular is -é.

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"______ ______ ______ unos zapatos" is how you'd say, "I am going to buy some shoes."

This is called the informal future tense in Spanish. It's formed using the verb "ir" (to go), which in this case is conjugated as "voy" ("I go" or "I am going"), the preposition "a" (to) and an infinitive verb.

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Complete the sentence to say that they say the movie yesterday: "Ellos ______ la película ayer."

The verb "mirar" is generally translated as "to look at" and "ver" as "to see." Around the Spanish-speaking world, there are different regional usages of each pertaining to movies/television. In any case, "vieron" is the only option above that's conjugated for "they" in the past tense.

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If someone asks you how you are doing today, a sensical and grammatically correct response would be: "Estoy ______, gracias."

"Bien" means "well," as in you are doing well. "Bueno" means "good," which isn't technically grammatically correct. Neither is "bienvenido," (welcome) given the sentiment of the question. "Botas" are boots.

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This is a respectful way to ask someone you don't know very well how they are doing: "Como ______ usted?

"Usted" is a second-person singular pronoun used to address someone with formality, such as a teacher, a dignitary, an elder, etc. With usted, verbs are conjugated the same way as they are for he, she and it.

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See if you can complete this sentence asking how many people are in someone's family: "¿ ______ personas hay en tu familia?"

Since "personas" is a feminine plural noun, we use "cuantas." If it were a masculine plural noun, like "perros" (dogs), we'd say "cuantos" instead. "Como" (how), "quienes" (who) and "tantas" (as many) are all Spanish words but not correct here.

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Can you complete the sentence to say that she likes playing guitar? "A ella ___ gusta tocar la guitarra."

The verb "gustar" is used in Spanish in the same context we'd use the verb "to like" in English. However, it literally translates to something being pleasing to someone. Therefore, we need an indirect object pronoun, which for "she" (ella) is "le." This sentence, then, technically reads: "To her it pleases her to play the guitar." (Which is perfectly normal to say in Spanish.)

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Can you complete this sentence to mean, "When I was a child, I liked ice cream"? It might be tricky, but give it a try: "Cuando ____ niño, me gustaba el helado."

As indicated by "me gustaba," this is the past imperfect tense. It refers to events or circumstances that occured continuously or habitually in the past rather than discrete actions. "Era" is how we'd say "I was" in this case, because it refers to a state of being (childhood) that occurred over a long span of time.

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How would you conjugate the verb "poder" to say that you doubt you can use the subjunctive? (And see if you can prove that statement wrong in the process ...) "Dudo que ______ usar el subjuntivo."

"I doubt I can use the subjunctive" is completed using "pueda" for "can." Generally, the present subjunctive is conjugated by taking the first-person singular of the verb (in this case, "puedo"), dropping the -o and adding the appropriate suffix. For an -er/-ir verb in the first-person, that suffix is -a.

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Complete the following sentence to say, "I would like to order food now": "Me ______ pedir comida ahora."

The conditional tense is saying that you *would* do something, rather than that you *do* do it. It can indeed be used to express conditions (i.e. "I *would* visit my aunt if she lived closer"), or it can be used like in this case as a more polite way to say "I *will* order food now."

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About This Quiz

Spanish is a complex, lyrical language with a rich variety of — often infuriating — grammatical rules. (Not to mention exceptions to these rules ...)

Like French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian and the other Romance languages, Spanish evolved out of Latin. During the Roman Empire's rule over the Iberian Peninsula (the landform upon which present-day Spain and Portugal sit), Latin was, of course, the official language. Still, it quickly began to develop regional dialects as it took on influences from the local languages of the Celts, Iberians and others. 

When the Iberian Peninsula fell under Visigoth rule in the wake of the Rome's fall and became closed off to the rest of the world, the proto-Spanish language was essentially left in an incubator to develop much of the characteristics we see today.

The next major influence in its development, something that really sets Spanish apart from its fellow Romance languages, was the Arabic language. The North African Moors conquered Spain in 711 A.D. and continued ruling large tracts of modern-day Spain for nearly 800 years. Thousands of contemporary Spanish words derive from Arabic, as do various grammatical conventions.

Today, Spanish is spoken all over the globe, particularly in Central and South America. According to the 2019 'Ethnologue' (ethnologue.com), it boasts the second-most native speakers after Mandarin, and the fourth-most speakers overall, after English, Mandarin and Hindi. It's definitely the top language in the U.S. after English. Want to dust off your high school Spanish and see how much you remember? What are you waiting for? Scroll down and start taking this quiz! 

¡Buena suerte!

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