Free Spanish course. Lesson 4.




Free online Spanish course - lesson 4

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Lesson 4: ¿Dónde vives? Where do you live?


In this lesson you will learn:

  • how to speak about where you live
  • how to give information about your town/city
  • how to differentiate between ser / estar (to be)

Do you notice your vocabulary grow from lesson to lesson? Make sure that you learn ALL the words of the lesson before starting with the next one. A very useful habit would be creating a short story about yourself based on the vocabulary of each lesson and memorising it.

Spanish vocabulary

Vocabulary

In this lesson, we will practice the following vocabulary. Read the words, listen to the audio and remember them:

ciudad

city

pueblo

town

casa

house, home

apartamento

apartment

oficina

office

centro

centre

país

country

vacaciones

holiday, vacation

grande

big

pequeño

small

bonito

beautiful

ahora

now

aquí

here

vivir

to live

estar

to be

Spanish dialogues

Dialogues

Listen carefully to the following Spanish dialogues. They will help you understand this lesson’s vocabulary in the right context:

Spanish text

Text

Read the following text in Spanish. You can check the English translation if you need help. Also, listen to the audio and try to understand everything:

Spanish grammar

Spanish grammar

We will now study the grammar used in this lesson:

The verb “vivir” (to live)

Starting with this lesson, we will study verbs that form the basis of our daily speech. You will learn about different tenses and types of conjugation of Spanish verbs. Try to memorise the forms of each verb as you go. If you skip the “boring” part of learning the verbs you might soon get overwhelmed by too many verb forms (not that we want to scare you).

In Spanish, there are three types of conjugation:

  • 1st conjugation: verbs ending in “-ar
  • 2nd conjugation: verbs ending in “-er
  • 3rd conjugation: verbs ending in “-ir

You will see that all the conjugation types follow very similar patterns. Let’s have a look at the verb “vivir” which belongs to the 3rd conjugation:

vivir (to live)
yo vivo
tú vives
él/ella/usted vive
nosotros vivimos
vosotros vivís
ellos/ustedes viven

Don’t forget that pronouns are usually omitted in a Spanish sentence. Use the preposition “en” (in/at) to add the place you live in. Look at the phrases below and try to come up with your own examples:

  • Vivo en Nueva York. = I live in New York.
  • Mis abuelos viven en un pueblo. = My grandparents live in a village.
  • Vivimos en un apartamento. = We live in an apartment.
  • ¿Vives en una casa grande? = Do you live in a big house?

The verb “estar” (to be, to be situated)

The verb “estar” belongs to the 1st conjugation. The form “yo”, however, is an exception. Let’s memorise all the forms:

estar (to be)
yo estoy
tú estás
él/ella/usted está
nosotros estamos
vosotros estáis
ellos/ustedes están

You already know that in Spanish, there are two verbs with the meaning “to be”: ser and estar. The main difference between them is the following:

  • the verb “ser” is usually used to express a constant quality of the object:
    Soy español. = I’m Spanish (it’s my constant quality, I can’t be Spanish today and English tomorrow).
  • the verb “estar” is used:
    • to express location:
      Estoy en Madrid. = I’m in Madrid.
    • to express a variable quality:
      Estoy bien. = I’m fine.
      Estoy de vacaciones. = I’m on holiday.

Now let’s summarize the situations where we have already used the verb “ser”. Notice that all the situations can be united under the meaning of “constant quality”:

  • name: Soy Pedro. = I’m Pedro.
  • nationality: Soy español. = I’m Spanish.
  • profession: Soy profesor. = I’m a teacher.
  • who is who: Soy tu amigo. = I’m your friend.

Common mistake
Ser or Estar?


Choosing the wrong verb “to be” is one of the most common mistakes of all Spanish learners. Don’t expect any magic rule that will clarify everything, it doesn’t exist. Start learning all the usages one by one. Phrases like “to be on vacation” should be memorised together with the verb: estar de vacaciones.

Articles: el, la, los etc.

In Spanish, there are articles, just like in English. In English, there are only two articles: “a” and “the”. In Spanish, there are more due to the fact that the articles can be of different gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural).

Definite articles (correspond to the English “the”)Indefinite articles (correspond to the English “a”)
masculine singularel amigoun amigo
feminine singularla amigauna amiga
masculine plurallos amigosunos amigos
feminine plurallas amigasunas amigas

Spanish articles are used in the same way as English ones. Compare the examples:

  • – Vivo en un pueblo. – I live a village.
  • – ¿Cómo se llama el pueblo? – What is the village called? (the village you just mentioned).

Attention!
Adjectives and word order


In English, adjectives usually come before nouns: a big city / a small city. In Spanish, adjectives come after the nouns: una ciudad grande. If we have several adjectives they all go after the noun as well: una ciudad grande y bonita. Don’t forget that adjectives also agree with the nouns in gender and number: una ciudad bonita – un bueblo bonito / unas ciudades bonitas – unos pueblos bonitos.

Spanish test

Test

Check if you know this lesson:

1. Fill in the articles: Barcelona es ___ ciudad grande. Soy de ___ pueblo pequeño.
la, una
una, un
el, unos

2. Mis amigos ____ en Berlín y yo ____ en Londres.
viven, vivo
vivís, vivo
vives, vivimos

3. To express a variable quality of the object we use the verb _____ .
ser
vivir
estar

4. How do you say “We are on holiday” in Spanish?
Estamos de vacaciones.
Estar de vacaciones.
Somos de vacaciones.

5. Spanish verbs _____ .
have 2 types of conjugation
have 3 types of conjugation
can’t be conjugated


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