Spanish as a Third Language

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Knowledge related to grammar

To develop their competencies in Spanish, students must learn its grammar. Knowledge of grammatical elements enables students to discover how the language functions and become familiar with its forms and usages. Rather than acquiring a decontextualized knowledge of grammar, students are called upon to use it in context. This knowledge is, therefore, a tool for developing competency in interaction, comprehension or production of texts in Spanish.

Drawing upon their knowledge of grammar acquired in the language of instruction or in a second language, students can make connections with Spanish grammar. Thus, they can identify the type of texts written in Spanish and their structure. In addition, exposure to a variety of oral and written texts familiarizes students with sentence structure, phrases and words and enables them to gradually construct their learning in this regard. Students then apply this knowledge to tasks of interaction, comprehension or production.

The following table presents knowledge related to text types, text coherence, sentence types and forms, syntactic groups, word classifications and the value and concord of verb tenses.

Conocimientos relacionados con la gramática1

Student constructs knowledge with teacher guidance.

Student applies knowledge by the end of the school year.

 

Student reinvests knowledge.

Secondary

Cycle Two

  1. Género de textos (Text types)
3 4 5
  1. Recognizes text type of oral or written texts whose purpose is to
    1. instruct (e.g. advice, recipes)
   
    1. dialogue (e.g. conversation, on-line chatting)
   
    1. describe (e.g. article, Web page)
   
    1. tell a story (e.g. comic strip, story)
   
    1. persuade to act (e.g. poster, advertisement)
 
    1. argue (e.g. editorial, debate)
  1. Produces short texts of various types, both oral and written
  1. Coherencia del texto (Text coherence)
3 4 5
  1. Interacts or produces an oral or written text, staying on topic
   
  1. Interacts or produces a text in which the information flows from one sentence to the next
 
  1. Produces a text in which the information flows from one paragraph to the next (e.g. In a narrative text, each paragraph deals with a new element.)
  1. Connects ideas by using relation markers (e.g. primero, sin embargo, a continuación)
  1. Identifies in a text the substitution of a word or group of words with one of the following:
    1. a subject pronoun (e.g. José es bajo. Él tiene pelo rubio.)
   
    1. a determiner (e.g. María se compró una casa. Su casa es bonita.)
   
    1. a generic or specific term (e.g. Ana come una manzana. Le gusta mucho esta fruta roja.)
 
    1. an object pronoun (e.g. Javier tiene un diccionario. Lo lleva a clase todos los días.)
 
  1. Substitutes a word or group of words with one of the following:
    1. a subject pronoun
   
    1. a determiner
 
    1. a generic or specific term
    1. an object pronoun
  1. Tipos y formas de oraciones (Sentences)2
3 4 5
Oración de base (One clause sentence)
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of a one clause sentence
    1. contains two main parts: a subject and a predicate (e.g. Los estudiantes / ven una película.)
   
    1. is active, declarative and affirmative
   
  1. Recognizes the form that the subject takes in a sentence
    1. noun (e.g. María lee un libro.)
   
    1. pronoun (e.g. Ellos están nadando.)
   
    1. noun phrase (e.g. El perro negro ladra mucho. / Los amigos de mi primo corren.)
   
  1. Recognizes the form that the predicate takes in a sentence
    1. verb (e.g. El maestro canta.)
   
    1. verb phrase that contains the sentence’s main conjugated verb and one or more objects or complement (e.g. El maestro canta una canción con sus alumnos.)
 
  1. Formulates a one clause sentence that contains
    1. a subject consisting of a noun or pronoun and a predicate consisting of a verb
   
    1. a subject consisting of a noun phrase and a predicate consisting of a verb and one or more complements
Tipos de oraciones (Sentence types)
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of an interrogative sentence
    1. an inverted question mark at the beginning of the sentence and a question mark at the end of the sentence (e.g. ¿Vas a ir al cine?)
   
    1. an interrogative word at the beginning of the sentence (e.g. ¿Qué estudias?)
   
    1. inversion (or not) of the subject and verb (e.g. ¿Es Antonio de Barcelona? ¿Antonio es de Barcelona?)
   
  1. Produces an interrogative sentence that includes
    1. opening and closing question marks
   
    1. an interrogative word at the beginning of the sentence
 
    1. subject-verb inversion
 
  1. Recognizes the main characteristic of an exclamatory sentence: an inverted exclamation point at the beginning of the sentence and an exclamation point at the end of the sentence (e.g. ¡Estoy aquí!)
   
  1. Produces an exclamatory sentence
   
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of an imperative sentence
    1. the verb is in the imperative mood (e.g. Venga por aquí.)
 
    1. the second grammatical person (tú, vos, vosotros), the second person addressed (usted, ustedes) and the first grammatical person plural (nosotros) are used to conjugate the verb but do not appear in the sentence (e.g. ¡Salgamos de aquí!)
 
  1. Formulates an imperative sentence
 
Formas de oraciones (Other sentences)
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of the negative sentence
    1. use of the adverb no before the verb (e.g. Mateo no practica el futbol.)
   
    1. use of the adverb no and a second adverb (e.g. No voy nunca al teatro.)
 
    1. use of a negative adverb other than no (e.g. Jamás lo haré.)
 
    1. use of an indefinite determiner3 (e.g. Ningún alumno entendió la explicación.)
 
    1. use of the conjunction ni (e.g. Ni ni yo sabemos la respuesta.)
 
  1. Produces a negative sentence in which
    1. the adverb no is placed in front of the verb
   
    1. another adverb is used with the adverb no
 
    1. a negative adverb is used without the adverb no
    1. an indefinite determiner is used without the adverb no
    1. the conjunction ni is used
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of the passive-voice sentence
    1. the direct object of the verb is placed in the subject position in the sentence and the subject is placed in the position of the object of the passive verb4 (e.g. La celebración ha sido organizada por mi tía.)
 
  1. Produces a passive-voice sentence
 
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of the impersonal sentence
    1. use of verbs such as haber and hacer (e.g. Hay muchos alumnos. Hace calor.)
 
    1. implicit subject is in the third person singular (e.g. Nieva mucho.)
 
  1. Produces an impersonal sentence
Conjuncion de oraciones (Complex and compound sentences)
  1. Recognizes the use of the comma, semicolon or colon to juxtapose independent clauses within the same sentence (e.g. Por la mañana, Pedro se despierta, se levanta, se ducha y desayuna.)
   
  1. Recognizes the use of coordinating conjunctions to connect independent clauses (e.g. Me gusta hacer deporte pero hoy voy a descansar.)
 
  1. Juxtaposes or coordinates clauses by using the proper punctuation or conjunction
 
  1. Recognizes subordinate clauses by the subordinate conjunctions (e.g. Llego tarde porque había tráfico.)
 
  1. Joins clauses by using subordination, employing the proper conjunction
 
  1. Grupos sintáxicos (Syntactic groups)
3 4 5
Grupo nominal (Noun phrase)
  1. Recognizes the core (nucleo) of a noun phrase: a noun or pronoun (e.g. Ricardo estudia el español. / Un pez nada en el río. / Él es guapo. / Esto es interesante.)
 
  1. Recognizes an expansion5 in a noun phrase (e.g. aire frío / un viaje a Mallorca / el Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía / una casa muy lejos de aquí)
  1. Uses expansion to clarify the meaning of the core of the noun phrase
 
  1. Recognizes the functions of a noun phrase
    1. subject of the sentence (e.g. Los turistas canadienses visitan el Museo Mural Diego Rivera.)
   
    1. noun complement (e.g. El ataque del enemigo)
 
    1. direct object of the verb (e.g. Construye un edificio. / Lo construye.)
 
    1. verb complement6 (e.g. Tomo el autobús todos los días con mis amigos.)
 
  1. Recognizes the noun as the word with which the following must agree
    1. the determiner (e.g. una muchacha, un cuaderno)
   
    1. the adjectives placed before or after the noun (e.g. un gran barco, un partido aburrido)
 
  1. Makes the following agree in gender and in number with the noun
    1. the determiner
   
    1. the adjective placed before or after the noun
 
Grupo adjectival (Adjectival phrase)
  1. Recognizes the core (nucleo) of an adjectival phrase: an adjective (e.g. Es una calle muy ruidosa.)
   
  1. Recognizes an expansion in an adjectival phrase (e.g. menos limpio, tan guapo como , amable con ella, contenta de verte)
 
  1. Uses expansion to clarify the meaning of an adjective
 
  1. Recognizes the function of an adjectival phrase
    1. noun complement (e.g. Tienen tres hijos muy hermosos.)
 
    1. attribute of the subject7 (e.g. Estos libros son rojos.)
 
Grupo verbal (Verb phrase)
  1. Recognizes the core (nucleo) of a verb phrase: a conjugated verb (e.g. La señora baila la bachata.)
   
  1. Recognizes an expansion in a verb phrase (e.g. Esteban está enfermero. / Están tristes. / Carlos entrega su examen. / Jacinta habla con sus padres. / Alejandro quiere comer pollo. / [Nosotros] nos levantamos temprano. / Vivo aquí.)
  1. Uses expansion to clarify the meaning of a verb
 
  1. Recognizes the function of a verb phrase: sentence predicate (e.g. El profesor explica la lección a los alumnos.)
 
  1. Recognizes that the verb must agree
    1. in number and person with the subject (e.g. [Ustedes] escriben.)
   
  1. Makes the verb agree in number and person with the subject
    1. a noun phrase, whether placed before or after the verb (e.g. España ganó la copa mundial de fútbol. / A ella, le fascinan los animales exóticos.)
 
    1. two or more noun phrases linked by a coordinate or pronouns of different persons (e.g. Mi hermano y mi primo estudian en la misma escuela. / Tú y yo pensamos igual.)
 
Grupo adverbial (Adverbial phrase)8
  1. Recognizes the core (nucleo) of an adverbial phrase: an adverb (e.g. Viven lejos de la ciudad.)
 
  1. Recognizes an expansion in an adverbial phrase (e.g. afortunadamente para él, lo más despacio posible)
 
  1. Uses expansion to clarify the meaning of an adverb
  1. Recognizes the function of an adverbial phrase
    1. verb complement (e.g. Estaremos de vacaciones mañana.)
 
    1. modification of a verb, adjective and adverb (e.g. camina rápidamente, realmente fácil, poco después)
 
Grupo preposicional (Prepositional phrase)
  1. Recognizes that a prepositional phrase is composed of a preposition followed by a compulsory expansion (e.g. en el armario, según él, para siempre)
 
  1. Use expansion to clarify the meaning of a preposition
 
  1. Recognizes the function of a prepositional phrase
    1. noun complement (e.g. la bandera de Chile)
 
    1. direct object of the verb (e.g. Veo a Marta.)
 
    1. indirect object of the verb (e.g. Elisa da un regalo a Rosa.)
 
  1. Clases de palabras (Word classifications)
3 4 5
Sustantivo (Noun)
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of a noun
    1. a common noun is preceded by a determiner (e.g. una silla, un hombre)
   
    1. a proper noun starts with a capital letter (e.g. La ciudad de Barcelona es magnífica.)
   
  1. Recognizes the gender of nouns by their ending
    1. masculine nouns usually end in -o, -an, -or, -ma (e.g. el banco, el pan, el color, el problema)
   
    1. feminine nouns usually end in -a, -ción, -tad, -dad, -umbre (e.g. la señora, la estación, la libertad, la calidad, la cumbre)
   
  1. Knows the exceptions to the rules regarding the gender of nouns (e.g. la mano, el poeta, el arroz)
 
  1. Knows the rules for forming the plural of nouns
    1. adding an -s to nouns ending in a vowel (e.g. los amigos, las manzanas)
   
    1. adding an -es to nouns ending in a consonant (e.g. los papeles, las canciones)
   
  1. Knows the exceptions to the rules for forming the plural of nouns (e.g. el pez / los peces, el irani / los iranies)
 
  1. Recognizes invariable nouns (e.g. el or los lunes / la or las crisis)
 
  1. Applies the rules for forming the plural of nouns during his/her interactions or in his/her oral or written productions
 
Adjetivo (Adjective)
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of an adjective
    1. usually placed after a noun in a noun phrase9 (e.g. Los zapatos negros son bonitos.) or after a link verb (e.g. Es muy simpática.)
 
    1. generally varies in gender and in number (e.g. Las cometas naranjas y amarillas revolotean en el cielo.)
   
    1. may be invariable in gender (e.g. el coche verde, la planta verde)
 
  1. Knows the rules for forming the feminine of adjectives
    1. replacement of the -o of the masculine form with an -a to create the feminine form (e.g. feo / fea)
   
    1. addition of -a to the masculine form of the adjective when it ends in -or, -on, -és (e.g. trabajadora, burlona, inglesa)
   
  1. Knows the rules for forming the plural of adjectives
    1. addition of -s to adjectives ending in a vowel (e.g. inteligente / inteligentes)
   
    1. addition of -es to adjectives ending in a consonant (e.g. fácil / fáciles)
   
  1. Applies the rules for forming the feminine and the plural of adjectives during his/her interactions or in his/her oral or written productions
 
Determinante (Determiner)
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of a definite article10 (e.g. el, la, los, las) and an indefinite article (un, una, unos, unas)
    1. precedes a noun (e.g. la casa, un gato)
   
    1. is never preceded by any other determiners11 except todo (e.g. todas las mañanas)
 
    1. takes the gender and number of the noun to which it is linked (e.g. el caballo, unas zanahorias); there are a few exceptions12 (e.g. un alma, el hambre)
   
    1. the indefinite article un or una is not used in front of nouns referring to a profession, a nationality or a religion (e.g. Es maestra. / Eres peruano. / Soy católica.)
 
    1. the article el is contracted when it is preceded by the prepositions a or de (e.g. [a el] mercadoal mercado, [de el]del jardín)
 
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of a demonstrative determiner
    1. precedes the noun (e.g. Este señor es abogado.)
 
    1. depends on the position of the subject in space and in time in relation to the speaker and the audience (e.g. Esta casa es bonita. Esa casa es bonita. Aquella casa es bonita.)
 
    1. takes the gender and number of the noun to which it is linked (e.g. Estos peces son blancos.)
 
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of a possessive determiner
    1. may take the pronominal form in apocopate form (e.g. mi reloj, tu armario, su novio)
 
    1. may take the postnominal form (e.g. el libro mío, el coche tuyo, la rosa suya)
 
    1. takes the gender and number of the noun to which it is connected (e.g. nuestra cultura, los vecinos tuyos)
 
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of a cardinal number13 (e.g. uno, dos, tres) and an ordinal number (e.g. primero, segundo, tercero)
    1. precedes the noun (e.g. catorce chicos, la cuarta calle)
   
    1. a cardinal number is invariable in gender and in number14 (e.g. cuatro linternas)
 
    1. an ordinal number agrees in gender and number with the noun to which it is connected15 (e.g. las primeras civilizaciones)
 
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of an interrogative and exclamatory determiner (e.g. qué,cuál)
    1. precedes the name (e.g. ¿Qué libro has leído?)
 
    1. the determiner qué is invariable
 
    1. the determiner cuál is invariable in gender but agrees in number with the noun to which it is connected (e.g. ¿Cuáles son tus deportes favoritos?)
 
Pronombre (Pronoun)
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of a pronoun
    1. if it is the subject of the verb, the personal pronoun is used only to avoid ambiguity (e.g. Yo hablo. / Hablo.)
 
    1. may be placed before or after a verb (e.g. Me gusta el chocolate / Es el mío. / Termina de vestirse.)
    1. replaces a syntactic group or a phrase (e.g. En cuanto a mi hermana, la veré mañana.)
  1. Recognizes various types of pronouns
    1. personal pronoun
      1. subject or object (e.g. Yo vivo en Sevilla. / Yo no soy .)
 
      1. direct or indirect object without a preposition (e.g. Me lo compro. / A él, le gusta comer patatas fritas. / Me levanto tarde.)
      1. object with preposition (e.g. La camisa es para mí. / Yo hice el trabajo contigo.)
 
    1. relative pronoun (e.g. El chico que vino es mi primo. / Ese es un concepto con el cual puedo estar de acuerdo.)
 
    1. demonstrative pronoun (e.g. Este es lujoso. / Esa es difícil. / Aquel es original. / Esto es muy simple.)
 
    1. possessive pronoun (e.g. El mío está aquí. / Los suyos son cómodos.)
 
    1. interrogative and exclamatory pronoun (e.g. ¿Quién quiere responder? ¿Cómo te llamas?)
 
    1. indefinite pronoun (e.g. Nadie escucha. / Alguien viene.)
  1. Recognizes the form of certain pronouns that vary in person (e.g. yo, tú), gender (e.g. él, ella), number (e.g. le, ustedes), gender and number (e.g. el mío, esas) or that never vary (e.g. contigo, nadie)
Adverbio (Adverb)
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of an adverb
    1. is invariable (e.g. Están extremadamente contentos. / Corre rápidamente.)
    1. may be simple or compound (e.g. bastante, poco a poco)
    1. adverbs ending in -mente are formed from the feminine of the adjective (e.g. lenta / lentamente)
  1. Recognizes the various classifications of adverbs (e.g.  of place − aquí, of time − hoy, of mood − mejor, of quantity − mucho, of affirmation – también, of negation − tampoco)
Preposición (Preposition)
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of a preposition
    1. is always followed by an expansion (e.g. Estamos al lado de ellos.)
    1. is invariable (e.g. Los libros están sobre las mesas.)
 
  1. Knows the normal use of the prepositions por and para (e.g. Andan por la calle. / Este regalo es para ti.)
 
  1. Recognizes the main characteristic of a prepositional phrase: it is composed of two or more words that form an indivisible unit (e.g. a causa de, de acuerdo con)
 
Conjunctión (Conjunction)
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of a coordinating conjunction (e.g. pero, y) or a subordinating conjunction (e.g. que, porque, si)
    1. the coordinating conjunction allows groups of independent phrases or clauses to be joined together (e.g. Vi a Pedro y a Juan. / Nos quedaremos en casa o iremos al cine.)
    1. the subordinating conjunction allows a subordinate clause to be inserted into another clause (e.g. Iré si me invitas. / No me preocupa que lleguen tan tarde.)
 
    1. conjunctions are invariable (e.g. Nos gustaría ir pero no podemos.)
Verbo (Verb)
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of a verb
    1. may be preceded by no (e.g. No puedo tocar la guitarra.)
 
    1. is conjugated and varies in mood (e.g. indicative, subjunctive), in tense (e.g. present, past), in person (e.g. third person) and in number
 
    1. is composed of a stem, which expresses the meaning, and an ending, which in simple tenses designates the mood, tense, person and number (e.g. nosotros leemos, ellos leían)
 
    1. is composed of a stem, which expresses the meaning, and an ending, which in simple tenses designates the mood, tense, person and number (e.g. nosotros leemos, ellos leían)
 
    1. is composed of the auxiliary verb “to have” (haber) followed by a past participle for compound tenses (e.g. he jugado, había caído)
 
  1. Knows the three groups of regular verbs
    1. the 1st group includes verbs with infinitives ending in -ar (e.g. hablar)
   
    1. the 2nd group includes verbs with infinitives ending in -er (e.g. comer)
   
    1. the 3rd group includes verbs with infinitives ending in -ir (e.g. vivir)
   
  1. Knows the verb endings and how to conjugate regular verbs
    1. in the present indicative
   
    1. in the past perfect
   
    1. in the simple past
 
    1. in the imperfect indicative
 
    1. in the simple future
 
    1. in the present conditional
 
    1. in the present imperative
 
    1. in the present subjunctive
   
  1. Conjugates certain irregular verbs
    1. in the present indicative (e.g. conocer − conozco / acostarse − me acuesto)
    1. in the imperfect indicative, in the past perfect and in the simple past (e.g. ser −era / escribir −he escrito / tener − tuve)
 
    1. in the simple future or present conditional (e.g. tener – tendré / poner – pondría)
 
    1. in the present subjunctive (e.g. ser – sea)
   
  1. Distinguishes between the use of the verb ser (to be) and estar (to be)
    1. the verb ser is used to describe the inherent characteristics of the subject (e.g. Soy canadiense. / Las montañas son altas.)
    1. the verb estar is used to indicate the location or condition, notably to describe a passing state or one connected to a circumstance (e.g. San Juan está en el centro de Costa Rica. / Los estudiantes están de buen humor hoy.)
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of a verbal periphrasis: it is composed of at least two verbs, the auxiliary16 and the main verb that takes the form of
    1. an infinitive (e.g. Vamos a pasear. / Tengo que ir. / Hay que caminar más rápido.)
 
    1. a gerund (e.g. Estoy cantando. / Está comiendo.)
 
  1. Valor y concordancia de tiempos verbales (Value of verb tenses and sequence of tenses)
3 4 5
  1. Distinguishes the value of the different verb tenses (e.g. the simple future locates an event in the future, the indicative imperfect (pretérito imperfecto del indicativo) describes an action of indeterminate length in the past, the simple past (pretérito indefinido) indicates an action that occurred at a precise moment in the past)
  1. Uses verb periphrasis to
    1. refer to the imminence of the action (e.g. Voy a ver a mi abuela.)
 
    1. describe an action at the moment it happens (e.g. Estoy haciendo mis deberes.)
 
    1. indicate necessity or obligation (e.g. Tenemos que marcharnos. / Hay que hacer deporte.)
 
  1. Uses the proper verb tense in simple or compound sentences (e.g. Me levanté a las siete esta mañana. / Hablaba con Rosa cuando José llegó.)
 
1.  The section titles are in Spanish since there are some differences between the respective concepts of Spanish and English grammar.
2.  The reference grammar for the following sections is the Nueva gramática de la lengua española, published by the Real Academia Española y Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española, Espasa Libros press, Madrid, 2009.
3.  Spanish grammar uses the term cuantificador to refer to the indefinite determiner ningún.
4.  The object of the verb is called the complemento argumento in Spanish grammar.
5.  “Expansion” refers to the information that completes the core of a syntactic group, in a noun phrase.
6.  The verb complement is called the complemento adjunto in Spanish grammar.
7.  Spanish grammar uses the terms atributo nominal to refer to the attribute of the subject.
8.  Adverbial phrase has a different meaning in English, referring to “related words that play the role of an adverb”. Therefore, adverbial phrase should be understood, here as an adverb and words that complete it.
9.  It should be noted that the adjectives bueno, malo and grande which are placed before the noun appear in apocopate form (e.g. Juan es un buen chico. / Él es un mal hombre. / Barcelona es una gran ciudad.).
10.  Spanish grammar uses the terms artículo indeterminado and artículo determinado to refer to what is known in English grammar as the indefinite article and definite article.
11.  Spanish grammar uses the term cuantificador débil to refer to what is known in English grammar as the determiner “all”.
12.  The indefinite article un or the definite article el is therefore used when a common feminine singular noun begins with a voiced - a or by ha-.
13.  Spanish grammar uses the terms cuantificador numeral and cuantificador cardinal to refer to what is known in English grammar as a cardinal number and an ordinal number.
14.  It should be noted that the cardinal number ciento appears in apocopate form before a masculine or feminine plural noun (e.g. Cien estudiantes vinieron a la actividad.).
15.  It should be noted that the ordinal numbers primero and tercero take the apocopate form when they precede a masculine singular noun (e.g. el primer trabajo, el tercer capítulo).
16.  In Spanish grammar, the verb is auxiliary when it is used to conjugate compound tenses (e.g. haber) or verbal periphrasis (e.g. tener que).

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