Welcome to our second free lesson of Spanish! Now that you already know how to greet your Spanish friends it’s time to tell them about your native country. In this lesson, we will see the verb “to be” (ser) which is essential for basic communication. Besides, it will allow us to ask a truly existential question: To be or not to be? ¿Ser o no ser?
In this lesson, we will practice the following vocabulary. Read the words, listen to the audio and remember them:
ruso / rusa
Russian man / Russian woman
español / española
Spanish man / Spanish woman
americano / americana
American man / American woman
inglés / inglesa
Englishman / Englishwoman
profesor / profesora
perdona / perdone
¿De dónde eres?
Where are you from?
Listen carefully to the following Spanish dialogues. They will help you understand this lesson’s vocabulary in the right context:
Buenos días. Soy Elena. Soy profesora.
Good morning. I’m Elena. I’m a teacher.
Encantado. Me llamo Miguel. ¿De donde eres, Elena?
Nice to meet you. My name is Manuel. Where are you from, Elena?
Soy rusa. Soy de Moscú. ¿Y tú?
I’m Russian. I’m from Moscow. And you?
Yo soy español. Soy de Madrid.
I’m Spanish. I’m from Madrid.
Perdona, Mónica, ¿eres inglesa?
Excuse me, Monica, are you English?
No, no soy inglesa, soy americana. Soy de Los Angeles.
No, I’m not English, I’m American. I’m from Los Angeles.
Are you a student?
Sí, soy estudiante.
Yes, I’m a student.
Yo también soy estudiante.
I’m a student too.
Perdone, ¿es usted de España?
Escuse me, are you from Spain?
No, soy de México. Me llamo Juan.
No, I’m from México. My name is Juan.
Encantada. Yo soy Antonia. Soy de Italia.
Nice to meet you. I’m Antonia. I’m from Italy.
Are you a student?
Sí, soy estudiante. ¿Y Usted?
Yes, I’m a student. And you?
I’m a teacher.
We will now study the grammar used in this lesson:
The verb “ser” (to be)
We have to warn you that in Spanish, there are two verbs with the meaning of “to be”. Both of them are used constantly, and there is no way around them. Today we are going to see the first verb “to be” – ser.
In English, the verb “to be” has its own forms for each pronoun: I am, he is, they are. The same happens in Spanish, but there are twice as many forms. Let’s have a look at them:
|yo soy||I am|
|tú eres||you are (informal singular)|
|él / ella es||he / she is|
|nosotros somos||we are|
|vosotros sois||you are (informal plural)|
|ellos son||they are|
|usted es / ustedes son||you are (formal, singular and plural)|
So, if we want to say “I am John” in Spanish, we have to use the verb “to be” in the correct form: Yo soy John. Spanish speakers, however, usually omit the pronoun because the verb form is already enough to convey the meaning: Soy John. Have a look at more examples:
- Es Pedro. = He is Pedro.
- Somos Laura y Pedro. = We are Laura and Pedro.
- Son Antonio y María. = They are Antonio and Maria.
- ¿Sois estudiantes? = Are you students?
About Spanish culture
A kiss or a handshake?
In Spain, as well as in most countries of Latin America it is typical to greet each other with two kisses: a kiss on each cheek. However, people usually do it with friends and relatives. In formal situations (such as work meetings) a handshake is preferred. When greeting people with kisses remember that this act is utterly symbolic and the cheeks should merely touch each other. So don’t try to leave a juicy kiss on a Spaniard’s face, it’s not what it is about.
How to make plural
Making plural in Spanish is very easy: add the letter “s” at the end of the word: estudiante (student) – estudiantes (students).
If a word finishes in a consonant, you have to add the ending “es“: profesor (teacher) – profesores (teachers). The Spanish language “doesn’t like” clusters of consonants and always tend to add a vowel between the consonants.
How to make negative
In English, there are two words to make negative: “no” and “not”. In Spanish, there is only one: “no”. So, to say “No, I’m not English” we say “No, no soy inglesa”. Pay attention: we put “no” before the verb:
- Él no es Pedro. = He is not Pedro.
- Nosotros no somos estudiantes. = We are not students.
Check if you know this lesson: