Spanish grammar

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The Spanish grammar , gramática del español is characterized in that Spanish , idioma español o Castellano a relatively inflectional language is, with two grammatical families and more than 50 conjugated forms per verb, but a limited flexion of nouns , adjectives and determiners .

Title page of the first Spanish grammar, Gramática de la lengua castellana by Antonio de Nebrija (1492)

Syntactically, Spanish belongs to a type of language in which the object follows the verb ( VO language ). The word order is usually subject-verb-object , even if there are variations, e.g. B. a position of the subject at the end of a sentence, are common. Adjectives usually appear after the noun, there are prepositions instead of postpositions , and subordinate clauses are introduced by conjunctions. Spanish is also a pro-drop language ; H. Pronouns as the subject of the sentence can be omitted if they are not meant to be contrasting, since the verb form already contains the same features as a personal pronoun. Individual varieties of Spanish differ in how strongly this trait is pronounced.

The speech of Spanish can be like everywhere in lexical and grammatical words divided, roughly content words and function words . Both classes contain inflectable and immutable words:

In terms of articles, Spanish has definite and indefinite, the pronouns are divided into numerous subclasses. For the companions of the Spanish noun, there is an adjustment to gender and number . There are no case endings , only number inflection on the noun; Grammatical functions of the nouns in the sentence are more likely to be indicated by word order and prepositions. Many pronouns, on the other hand, show different forms for subject and object.

For word formation , formación de palabras , Spanish uses both of the usual main types: word derivation ( derivation , derivación ) and word composition ( composition , composición ). (For more details on word formation not covered in this article, see the main article Word formation and parts of speech in Spanish .)

The word stress in the Spanish language , acentuación del idioma español the word accent , usually takes place on the last or - if the word ends in a vowel, "n" or "s" - penultimate syllable . In all cases, deviating from the emphasis in Scripture by an accent stroke ( acute ) indicated that over the vowel of the stressed stands syllable.


The Spanish or Castilian language (proper name español [ espaˈɲol ] or castellano [ kasteˈʎano ]) belongs to the Romance branch of the Indo-European languages . Outside of Spain, it is the most common mother tongue on the Americas . It is the official language of numerous international organizations .

Spanish can be divided into the period of Old Spanish (approx. 1200 to approx. 1450), Middle Spanish (approx . 1450 to 1650) and New Spanish (since approx. 1650). Here the grammar of New Spanish is dealt with with an emphasis on the contemporary language.

In 1492 the Gramática de la lengua castellana ("Grammar of the Castilian Language") by Antonio de Nebrija was published . It was the first printed grammar of a Romance and non-classical language . The Real Academia Española (RAE) has been the main institution for the care of the Spanish language since 1713. Dictionaries , grammars and orthographic dictionaries appear regularly under the roof of their house . Your specifications are binding in school teaching and official use in Spain and the Spanish-speaking countries of America . In 1771 the Academy's first grammar was published.

Phonology and Spelling

Spanish is written with Latin letters . In modern Spanish, the acute accent is also used for vowels and the two characters ñ (with tilde ) and ü (with trema ; no umlaut ). (In older dictionaries, the ch and the digraph ll can still be found as separate letters.)

In the following, this article focuses on parts of speech, word forms and their use in sentences. For Spanish phonology and spelling, reference is instead made to the following special articles:

Sentence structure in Spanish

A Spanish sentence, oración , usually consists of at least two elements, subject, sujeto , and predicate , predicado , although a personal pronoun as subject can be omitted. The core of the predicate is a finite verb . Further parts of the sentence can be layered around this verb, in addition to subject and objects also the predicatives and adverbial determinations, complementos circunstanciales .

In principle, Spanish is an SVO language : The regular sentence structure is: subject - verb (applies to all verb forms) - direct object (accusative) - indirect object (dative). Adverbial terms can appear at the beginning of a sentence or after the verb or at the end of a sentence. The sentence adverbs that refer to the whole sentence and z. B. Expressing speaker attitudes can also appear at the beginning of the sentence, after the verb or at the end of the sentence, but must then be separated by a comma .

The position of the unstressed ( clitic ) pronouns, d. H. the personal pronouns ( me, te, nos, os, le, les, lo, la, los, las ) and the reflexive pronoun se , differs from the position of the full parts of the sentence: a clitic pronoun comes before the conjugated verb or - with the infinitive , Gerund and affirmative imperative - appended to the verb.

The negation always comes before the verb and, if necessary, before the clitic personal pronoun.

The SVO basic word order can often be varied in Spanish; especially through inversion : the subject can appear at the end of a sentence instead of before the finite verb. This happens in particular in question clauses and when placing adverbials, object noun phrases and subordinate clauses in front. If the object is placed in front, with a few exceptions, the repetition of the verb by a clitic personal pronoun must be observed.

In Spanish, parts of sentences are marked as subject or object not by word forms, but by word order and the object marker a . Therefore, the topic “case” is not classified in the section on the noun, but in the section “ preposition ” (this a is therefore classified here as a preposition); see also the main articles.


Grammatical features and forms of the noun

Example of the structure of a noun. From a lexical morpheme "gat-" for German "Katz" and grammatical morphemes arise new words or word forms; see. German "the hangover, the cat, the hangover, the cats" and "cats".

The Spanish noun, sustantivo , is declined ( inflected ) after numerus , número gramatical , but not after case , caso morfológico . Spanish nouns have grammatical gender ( gender ), género gramatical ; they are either male or female . The gender is marked in Spanish with appropriate endings : some endings as examples:

  • Nouns that end in: -a, -ad, -ción, -sión and -z are mostly feminine, género gramatical femenino .
  • Nouns that end in: -o, -l, -r, -n and -e are mostly masculine, género gramatical masculino .

Nouns ending in -o are often but not always masculine, and ending in -a are often but not always feminine. Some words in -ma of Greek origin are masculine, e.g. B: un problema a problem , el idioma the language . In contrast , “mano” is feminine: la mano derecha the right hand.

Due to the development of the sounds in spoken or vulgar Latin, the Latin neuter could mostly only be distinguished from the masculine in the nominative and accusative plural (cf. n. Nova , m. Novi the new ones ) and so it disappeared or became masculine. Nevertheless, there are still remnants of a neuter in Spanish. Abstract nouns of adjectives inflect like masculine, but instead of the masculine article el , they require the neutral article lo : lo bueno das Gute .

The plural of nouns that end in a vowel is formed by adding s : casa house , casas houses; coche car ; coches cars; libro book, libros books. For nouns ending in a consonant , add -es : mujer woman , mujeres women; árbol tree, árboles trees ; ciudad city, ciudades cities. Outgoing -y applies to the plural formation as a consonant: rey king , reyes kings .

  • For nouns ending in -z , the plural form ends in -ces: luz light, luces lights.
  • Nouns ending in -n often require accenting , acento agudo or (much more often) accent dropping: orden command, órdenes commands; canción song, canciones songs .

Diminutive and augmentative forms

There are a relatively large number of diminutive and augmentative suffixes in Spanish , diminutivo y aumentativo to express a belittling or enlargement.

  • The diminutive suffixes include, for example: - (c) ico / - (c) ica, - (c) illo / - (c) illa, - (c) ín / - (c) ina, - (c) ito / - (c) ita . - Example: pobrecito poor fellow .
  • The augmentative suffixes include: -azo / -aza, -ón / -ona, -ote / -ota . Example: jamonazo giant ham


Syntactically , adjectives and adjetivos can be used in different positions in a sentence:

These types of construction are explained in more detail below.

Adjectives are inflectable in Spanish , that is, they react to the gender ( gender : masculine / feminine) and the number ( number : singular / plural) of the nouns to which they refer. Unlike in German, predicative adjectives are also adapted to the gender and number of their reference word. - Examples:

  • una bici cara an expensive bike
  • un as bic is car as expensive bicycles;
  • l as bic is eran car as the bicycles were expensive;
  • "Nosotras estábamos muy nerviosas", dijeron las señoras "We were very nervous," said the ladies.

Forms of adjectives

Morphologically, an adjective is structured as follows:

  • Root word plus Gradierungsmorphem plus Genusmorphem plus Numerusmorphem

Inflection forms

The Spanish adjectives are either two-ended or one-ended:

  • The feminine form of the two-ended form ends with -a, the masculine often ends with -o. - Example: rojo / roja red.
  • Some nationality adjectives are two-ended without -o in the masculine form - Examples: español / española Spanish, alemán / alemana German, francés / francesa French.
  • Most single-ended adjectives end in -e or consonant. - Examples: verde green, azul blue, feliz happy, joven young.

The plural is formed according to the rules for nouns: rojos / rojas, españoles / españolas, alemanes / alemanas, franceses / francesas, verdes, azules, felices, jóvenes.

If an adjective is placed in front of the noun ( see below ), the ending is often shortened ( Apokope , apócope ): Instead of bueno and malo, for example: buen hombre good man, sometimes día bad day; instead of the ordinal numbers primero and tercero : primer tiempo first half, tercer gol third goal. Likewise for the indefinite pronouns alguno, inguno, cualquiera, for example cualquier hombre every man, cualquier mujer every woman. - Grande (large) is shortened more when preceded by the singular: un gran hombre a large man, una gran mujer a large woman,

For the match of the adjective with the noun, additional rules must be laid down for special cases:

  • Two or more nouns with the same gender: The adjective inflects in the same gender but in the plural. - example:
    • libros de lectura y con photos nuevos
  • Several nouns with different gender: The adjective inflects after masculine gender ;:
    • chicos y chicas simpáticos ,
  • Preceding adjectives with several following nouns are inflected according to gender and number according to the first noun. - example
    • bonitas vistas y paisajes .


Komparation , comparación is expressed by placing so-called increase particles , partícula de comparación , such as fuerte , más fuerte , el más fuerte . The same degree of property is expressed with tan… como: una bici tan cara como ésta a bike as expensive as this one. The higher degree is expressed with más… que: una bici más cara que ésta a more expensive bike than this one. To express the highest degree, the definite article is placed in front of the comparative : la bici más cara [de todas] the most expensive wheel [of all].

  • Some adjectives have special forms of comparison, some of which coexist with the increase particle más + adjective: bueno / mejor, malo / peor, pequeño / menor, grande / mayor. Examples: un mal menor, a lesser evil, un país mayor que España, a bigger country than Spain; la mejor bici, the best bike, las peores noticias , the worst news.
  • The elative expressed by the superlative is usually formed with the increasing particle muy + adjective : estas bicis son muy caras these bikes are very expensive. The suffix -ísimo means something similar: unas bicis carísimas sinfully expensive bicycles. Independent forms of the elative that still exist include: pésimo (from malo ) about the worst, paupérrimo (from pobre ) about poor, óptimo (from bueno ) about optimal.

Word formation types

Some adjectives are a participle from the word formation , participio . For details on Spanish participles see the article Infinite Verb Forms in the Spanish Language .

Positions of attributive adjectives

A distinction can be made between the following types of positions of attributive adjectives:

  • Adjectives that are only postponed, adjetivo postpositivo o postnominal
  • Adjectives that can be placed before or after the noun without showing a change in meaning;
  • Adjectives that can be put before or after and show different meanings.

There are no generally applicable rules for the position of the adjective (prefix, posición antepuesta or postponement , posición postpuesta ). Yet there are tendencies in the relationship between position and importance. Some pairs of opposites can be found in the literature for the positions of the attributive adjective:

attributive adjectives Preceding the noun Reenactment to the noun
Explanation and listing level explanatory ( explicit ) determining ( specifying )
Level of assessment of a thing, an event or a fact subjective lens
Level of emotional assessment of an event affective logical
Level or description , characteristics of an issue evaluating performing

Examples of a difference in meaning "subjective / objective":

  • Preceding, adjetivos explicativos : una extraña mujer "a strange woman"
  • Reenactment , adjetivos especificativos : una mujer extraña "a strange woman"

Examples of the distinction between "explanatory / determinative"

  • el perro blanco "the white dog" - reenactment: The reference to the word perro is restricted to dogs that are white.
  • la blanca nieve “the white snow” - prefix: The reference to the word nieve is not restricted, since snow is assumed to be white anyway .

Placing of the adjective may be generally motivated by then that it as a subjective and "ornamental epithet" ( epithet is used) (ie for specifying properties that should have no distinctive force in the given case).

In some other cases, the position of the adjective appears to be purely conventional. - Examples:

  • los altos precios "the high prices", una pequeña duda "a little doubt"

Other adjective-like companions such as quantifying pronouns and ordinal numbers are usually placed in front of the noun: mucha gente "many people", segundo tiempo "second half".

Predicative and adverbial adjectives

Predicatively used adjectives are those that come after copula or semicopulative verbs such as estar , ser or queder , resultar , creer , considerar , llevar or parecer , or adjectives that are free in the sentence and indicate an additional property of the subject or object. These adjectives, which serve as part of a sentence, always come after the verb. - Examples:

  • El coche es nuev o y bonit o . The car is new and beautiful. Predicative use.
  • Juana lo miró absort a . Juana looked at him in amazement. Free predicative with reference to the subject, complemento predicativo subjetivo

In Spanish grammar, some constructions that do not differ externally from free predicatives are referred to as adverbial adjectives because of their meaning . - Examples:

  • Juan a posa tranquil a . Juana posed calmly. Adverbial use, related to the subject.
  • Juan la parla aflojad a . Juan spoke to her in a relaxed manner. Adverbial use, related to the object.

In other words: Although Spanish (in contrast to German) marks a distinction between adjectives and adverbs, inflected adjectival forms are used more frequently than adverbial forms than in the grammar of some other languages; English translations of such examples would e.g. B. show more of an adverb with the ending -ly : John was posing quietly.

These inflected, so-called adverbial adjectives are to be distinguished from certain types of adverbs, which also look like adjectives, but whose apparently adjectival ending -o is immutable, e.g. B .: jugar limpio fair play (adjective: limpio clean, honest ). (For more see below in the Adverb section ).


Adverbs, adverbios are content words whose main function is that of an adverbial determination , so they can modify a verb or a sentence; but also an adjective or another adverb. Adverbs derived from adjectives with a (masculine) ending in -o are not adapted to the object . - Examples:

Tienen los pelos claros. Sie haben helle Haare. „rückdeutsch“ Haben die Haare hell. Adjektiv
Hablan claro. Sie sprechen klar. Adverb


Llegaron rápido. Adverb auf -o Sie kamen schnell an. Pretérito indefinido de indicativo
Llegaron rápidamente. Adverb auf -mente Sie kamen in schnellster Weise an.

to form

In Spanish, a distinction is made between “original” adverbs, adverbios originarios , i.e. un- derived , simple words such as bien , aquí , allí , and derived adverbs, adverbios derivados , such as rápidamente , decentemente or intensamente . Derived adverbs are in almost all cases formed by the suffix   -mente , which is added to the feminine form of the adjective. For adjectives that do not have a feminine form, -mente is added to the existing (masculine) form, excepcional becomes excepcionalmente . The adverb itself is then unchangeable, i.e. H. inflectionless form.

From a linguistic point of view, the adverbs that end in  -mente are compound words, as they were formed in Latin as syntagms in the form of a feminine adjective and the ablative "mente" of the feminine noun "mens" ( Latin spirit ), for example “sana mente” (with a healthy mind).

There are also some adverbs, adverbios adjetivales , which are the same as the masculine form of the adjectives. In contrast to the actual adjectives, however, these remain unchangeable, so they do not match a noun and always have the ending masculino singular , which means they end in the vowels -o and -e . Examples are duro hard , e.g. B. trabajar duro work hard ; distinto different , e.g. B. Hablan distinto You speak differently . In some cases both variants of the adverbial form can be found: jugar limpio or jugar limpiamente play fair .

Adverbs can be in Spanish increase . There is no such thing as a simple superlative, a relative clause stands for this . The following levels of progression are possible for adverbs:

  • positive with tan ... como or igual de ... que as well as ... like
  • comparative with más que more than or menos que less than
  • absolute superlative with the suffix -ísimo or, if the ending -mente is present, with the suffix -ísimamente .

Examples and classes of meaning

According to their meaning, the following groups of adverbs can be named:

  • Adverbs of the place , adverbios de lugar : aquí, allá, acá, arriba, abajo, etc.
  • Adverbs of time , adverbios de tiempo : antes, después, luego, pronto, tarde, ...
  • Adverbs of the manner and related , adverbios de modo : bien, mal, regular, despacio, deprisa, así, ...
  • Grad adverbs , adverbios de cantidad o grado : muy, poco, mucho, bastante, más, ...
  • Sentence adverbs:
    • Affirmation adverbs , adverbios de afirmación : sí, también, ciertamente, ...
    • Adverbs of negation , adverbios de negación : jamás, nunca, tampoco.
    • Adverbs of doubt , adverbios de duda o dubitativos : quizá (s), acaso, probablemente, posiblemente, seguramente ...

The interrogative adverbs , adverbios interrogativos / exclamativos y relativos : cuándo, cómo, cuánto y dónde (related forms are identical, but are written without an accent) form a transverse syntactic class .

Position in the sentence

The position of the adverbs in the sentence is strongly dependent on the focus in the sentence. The further an adverb is placed at the end of a sentence, the more stressed it is . In general, the adverb is not placed between the auxiliary and the main verb . If an adverb relates to another adverb or an adjective, it is placed before the reference word.



Prepositions , preposiciónes, are words that take exactly one grammatical addition and relate it to the rest of the sentence; they express relatively schematic meanings, for example spatial or temporal relationships. Prepositions are very often ambiguous or flexible in their meanings and can have both content-related and purely grammatical functions. (They are therefore arranged alphabetically in the list below, not according to type of meaning). Prepositions always form a closed class, which can be difficult to distinguish, because sometimes compound expressions are also included as a whole if they have solidified into a fixed combination ( preposiciones compuestas ). For Spanish, a stock of at least 18 prepositions is given; to be included u. U. also compound expressions such as fuera de (outside), which in turn can be seen as a compound of an adverb (“outside”) with the preposition de . In Spanish, all prepositions come before their completion (there are no postpositions ). Between the prepositions and adverbs there is the similarity as unchangeable parts of speech and the difference that the prepositions describe the relationship to a subsequent noun, while the adverbs stand alone and describe the predicate in more detail.

In comparison with German, two peculiarities of Spanish prepositions are worth mentioning:

Combination of verbs and prepositions

In German, movement events are usually expressed by combining a preposition as a directional indication with a verb that describes the type of movement (classic example: "The message in a bottle drieb in die Höhle"). In Spanish, on the other hand, it is more typical to use the verb to denote the direction (thus Spanish is considered a “ verb-framed language ”); only where the speaker deems it necessary does he add information about the mode of movement, for example: La botella entró a la cueva (flotando). In connection with this difference in verb vocabulary, in Spanish it is in many cases (but not all) grammatically impossible to combine a verb of the manner of a movement with an indication of direction, as in German. Example: La botella flotó hacia la cueva. “The bottle drifted towards the cave”, but not: * La botella flotó a la cueva. (Intended: "... drove to / into the cave").

Prepositions in the function of case marks

In the German language, the prepositions determine the case of their additions , so that in German you have to remember which case governs each preposition. In Spanish, on the other hand, a case assignment through prepositions is not visible. There are only special forms in connection with a preposition for the stressed personal pronouns .

In Spanish it is the other way round, however, that instead of a case ending on the noun, a preposition can be used to indicate the grammatical function of a noun. This is the case with direct objects of the verb that are seen as human or animate: they are marked with a marker derived from the originally Latin preposition ad . Constructions with the prepositions a or para are equivalent to a dative case, so that animate direct objects and dative objects can be indistinguishable. Furthermore, a construction with the preposition de takes on the function of a genitive case. (For examples and details see the main article)

List of Spanish prepositions

Preposition preposición example Relationship or prepositional field of meaning in German Remarks
a Visitó a la tía Antonia por su cumpleaños. - He visited Aunt Antonia for her birthday. local meaning “to, to, to”; temporal meaning "around"
ante Dijo ante todos que era cierto. - He said in front of everyone that he was safe. local meaning “before”; temporal meaning "before"
bajo Escondió la carta bajo los libros. - She hid the letter under the books. local meaning "under"
cabe El banco está cabe la farmacia. - The bank is next to the pharmacy. local meaning "next to" Accepted as a preposition by the Diccionario de la lengua española de la Real Academia Española , although shown as out of date. Is close to the meaning of junto a or cerca de .
con El café con leche ya estaba frío cuando llegaste. - The milk coffee (“coffee with milk”) was already cold when you arrived. modal meaning "with" The most important preposition to represent a means and a tool.
contra Las olas chocan versus las rocas del espigón. - The waves hit the rocks of the pier. local meaning "opposite, against"
de Compró un kilo de limones. - You bought a kilo of lemons. local meaning “from, from”; temporal meaning "in, at" According to the Real Academia Española , the preposition is also used to define a date: "23 de enero del 2012".
delante de Cruce delante de una antigua iglesia. - Crossing in front of an old church . local meaning "before"
desde Desde octubre no había vuelto a ver a su padre. - He had not come back to see his father since October. local meaning "from, from ... from, from"; temporal meaning "from ... to, since"
durante Durante su visita al museo, Juan se maravilló de la belleza de las pinturas exhibidas. - During his visit to the museum, Juan marveled at the beauty of the paintings on display. temporal meaning "during"
en Entró en la cárcel por tráfico de drogas. - He was sent to prison for drug possession. local meaning "in, on, on, at"; temporal meaning “within”, period; modal meaning "in"
encima de El libro está encima de la silla. - The book is on the chair. local meaning "on, above, over"
entre Dijo que el secreto debería quedar entre nosotros. - She said the secret should be between us. local meaning "between, within / among [a group of people]"
füra de Mi tío está fuera de la casa. - My uncle is out of the house. local meaning "outside"
hacia Embarcó en el vuelo hacia Cochabamba. - He boarded the flight to Cochabamba. local meaning "to, on, after, against"; temporal meaning "around, against"
hasta La fiesta duró hasta las ocho. - The party lasted until eight. local meaning "to"; temporal meaning "to"
mediante Resolvió el caso mediante pistas suchenradas. - She solved the case using traces found. modal meaning "by means of, through" In most cases interchangeable with the preposition con .
para Tengo un libro para Juan. - I have a book for Juan. temporal meaning "to, to", final meaning "to, for, to" The most important preposition used to represent intention, purpose, and purpose.
por Tengo un libro firmado por el autor. - I have a book that is signed by the author. causal meaning "because of, through, for, from, from"; temporal meaning "in, around, an" The most important preposition for the representation of prices, exchange objects, mix-up, replacement. Generally related to cause and reason (retrospectively).
según Cocinó la carne según las indicaciones de su abuela. - She cooked the meat according to her grandmother's instructions. modal meaning "according to, according to, loud"
sin Llegamos a una calle sin salida. - We got onto a street with no exit. modal meaning "without" Derived from the Latin “sine” (German “without”).
so Volvió a su país so pena de ser arrestado. - He returned to his country under threat of arrest. causal meaning "under"
sobre Juan puso la manzana sobre el escritorio. - Juan put the apple on the desk. local meaning "on, over"
tras Lo enterró en el arbol que se encuentra tras el edificio. - She hid it in the tree behind the building. local meaning "behind, after"; temporal meaning "after"
versus El próximo partido es el que enfrenta al equipo de aquí versus el de allí. - The next game is the one the team from here faces against the team from there. modal meaning "opposite"
via Voló de Texas hasta Australia, vía Londres. - He flew from Texas to Australia via London. local meaning "via, [on the way] over"


The articles , artículos are among those parts of speech that have a purely grammatical function in a sentence. They form part of the larger group of determinants, determinants, i.e. words that form a noun phrase with a noun and identify or quantify the individual to whom one refers (the referent ). This also includes the demonstrative pronouns , the numeralia for cardinal numbers, the ordinal numbers, as well as certain indefinite pronouns and possessive pronouns .

Just like nouns, articles are not declined in Spanish . The other Romance languages also have a definite and an indefinite article, although Latin , from which all these languages are derived , had no articles. In Vulgar Latin , however, the use of the demonstrative pronoun illegally has gradually established itself as a definitive article and has been expanded further in most of the Romance languages.

The indefinite article developed from the Latin numerals (number word) for "1" ( Latin ūnus / ūna / ūnum (m./f./n.) A / an / an ) increasingly used in vulgar Latin and is therefore often in with this identical in shape.

Period language ART.def NOM copula ART.indef NOM
to 2nd century AD Classical Latin O Sol est O sidus.
2nd - 8th century AD Vulgar Latin ( Ille ) Sol est (una) stella.
Modern times
( 16th - 21st centuries )
Sardinian Su Brine est U.N' isteddu.
Italian Il Brine è una stella.
Portuguese O Sol é uma estrela.
Spanish El Sol it una estrella.
Catalan El Sol it U.N estel.
French Le Soleil est une étoile.
Graubünden Romance Il Sulegl è ina staila.
Friulian Il Soreli al è une stele.

Definite article

Forms of the definite article, artícolo determinado  :

  • masculine singular: el . - Example: el coche the car
  • feminine singular: la . - Example: la casa the house
  • masculine plural: go . - Example: los coches the cars
  • feminine plural: las . - Example: las casas the houses

Another article form lo (a remnant of the otherwise vanished neuter) can be used in front of an adjective, an ordinal number or a possessive pronoun, then nouns arise: lo bueno the good, lo primero the first, lo suyo his / her. The article lo has no plural.


  • del and al : The prepositions de and a merge with el : el coche del jefe the boss's car ; en metro al aeropuerto by metro to the airport.
  • el as a feminine article: In front of a feminine noun that begins with a stressed a (or ha ), el is used instead of la : el agua denotes water, el haya denotes beech.

The use of the definite article in Spanish differs in some respects from the use in German. It is also used in the following cases where the German shows no article:

  • When referring to a whole category or species instead of individual individuals ( generic use ): Me gusta el gazpacho I like gazpacho; Ella odia las policíacas She hates crime novels, Los gatos no vuelan Cats can't fly.
  • After todos, todas stands on , read : todos los pueblos all villages; todas las ciudades all cities.
  • Usually when specifying the time or age: Es la una It is one o'clock
  • Before señor, señora and titles there is el or la (in the sentence, but not in the direct salutation): El señor López no vino Mr. López did not come; La doctora García es peruana Dr. García is Peruvian.

The definite article is not set in a series of fixed expressions where it would be required in German; among other things, it can often be omitted in fixed combinations with prepositions: con (la) intención de ... with the intention of ...

As in German, but unlike, for example, Italian, there is no definite article in front of the possessive pronoun.

Indefinite article

Forms of the indefinite article, artículo indeterminado :

  • masculine singular: un . - Example: un coche a car
  • feminine singular: una . - Example: una casa a house
Before a feminine noun that begins with a stressed a (or ha ), however, the form is un instead of una : un alma a soul, un haba a broad bean.
  • masculine plural: unos . - Example: unos coches cars, a couple of cars
  • feminine plural: unas . - Example: unas casas houses, a few houses

(The full form uno is used pronominally: Este paisaje es uno de los más bellos de España This landscape is one of the most beautiful in Spain. )

The meaning of the indefinite plural form unos, unas , which does not exist in German , can be outlined as follows:

  • Translated a few, some : hace unas semanas a few weeks ago .
  • Translated roughly, before numbers: una niña de unos diez años a girl of about ten years.
  • Appears in terms that are not specified by the speaker, but are specifically meant: Estuve en casa de unos amigos I've been to friends.
  • It has the meaning of a singular in nouns that are only formally plural (namely pluralia tantum ) because they denote two-part objects or pairs: unas gafas a pair of glasses ; unos zapatos a pair of shoes ; unos padres severos strict parents ; unos alrededores preciosos beautiful surroundings.

The Spanish indefinite article is less common than in German, but it is difficult to put this into rules. The following examples show differences between Spanish and German:

  • Según se ha visto en capítula anterior ... As seen in an earlier chapter ...
  • Yo soy hermano de Isabel I am a brother of Isabel

In general, it can be said that the indefinite article does not appear in the following cases:

  • Before determinants like otro (an) other , tal (an) such , medio (an) halber : en otro país in another country ; con otra bici with another bike.
  • Often not with objects of certain verbs, such as tener haben and search buscar : Ya tiene novia He already has a girlfriend ; Estoy buscando piso I am looking for an apartment.
  • Often not before a quantity is given: Ho comprado kilo y medio de patatas I bought one and a half kilos of potatoes - Había caído gran cantidad de nieve. A great deal of snow had fallen .


Pronouns , pronombres , represent a noun and are used, among other things, to refer to objects and people who have been mentioned before or who are present in the speech situation . There are also indefinite pronouns that introduce new individuals into the text. Just as in the Germans substantive pronoun of adjectival distinction pronoun; d. H. Pronouns as independent words or as a companion to a noun. - example:

  • ¿Dónde está tu código? He olvidado el mío - “Where is your access code? I forgot mine. "
  • But: ¿Dónde está tu código? He leído este clave - “Where is your access code? I have read this access code. "

Stressed and unstressed (clitic) pronouns

Characteristic of the system of pronouns in Spanish (as in other Romance languages) is the distinction between two series of forms: stressed, pronombres tónicos and unstressed (i.e. clitic ) pronouns, pronombres atónicos o clíticos . The stressed personal pronouns behave syntactically similar to definite noun phrases or proper names . They can stand separately from the verb, i.e. as the subject or object of the sentence as well as after prepositions and as individually uttered words. The unstressed pronouns are connected to a verb, either directly before the finite verb form or at the end of a verb. (For details on word order, see the main article under Pronouns in the Spanish language # Object pronoun syntax ).

  • Unstressed (clitic) personal pronouns compared with normal objects of the verb:
(Carlos come manzanas . - "Carlos eats apples .")
Carlos read come. - “Carlos eats them. "( Las = pronoun for the direct object)
(Carlos llevó manzanas a su madre . "Carlos brought his mother apples.")
Le llevó manzanas. - "He brought her apples." ( Le = pronoun for the indirect object)

As can be seen in the last example, the finite verb form alone is sufficient for marking the subject (“ He brought apples”) instead of a pronoun, since it already shows the respective personal characteristics. For the subject there are otherwise only stressed personal pronouns, which are then used for emphasis. With stressed personal pronouns in place of the object, there is the peculiarity in Spanish that a clitic pronoun must appear at the verb ("clitic doubling", duplicación clítica).

  • Examples with emphasized personal pronouns:
A mi no me han invitado. - " They didn't invite me ." ( A mi is the emphasized full form, me the additional clitic for me )

The same distinction between clitic and stressed pronouns applies to personal pronouns , possessive pronouns , and somewhat more restrictedly to reflexive pronouns .

  • Clitic possessive pronoun, compared with stressed possessive in the noun and with free-standing use:
Este it mi coche. - "This is my car" (unstressed mi )
el coche mío - "MY car" (pronounced possessive)
El coche es mío - "The car is mine / The car is mine." (Free-standing)
  • Clitic reflexives versus an emphatic reflexive
The 42% de la población se ducha durante más de 10 minutes. - "42% of the population showering is more than 10 minutes." ( Se duchar : verb unstressed reflexive, which can also be left in English).
Lo dijo a mismo. - "He said it to be himself." (Emphatic form)

Overview of the forms of personal pronouns

In contrast to nouns, the Spanish personal pronouns differentiate between different forms for subject, direct and indirect object:

Person, gender, number Stressed forms, pronombres tónicos Unstressed forms, pronombres átonicos
as a subject after prepositions (except con ) as a direct object ( accusative ) as an indirect object ( dative )
1st person Sg. I / me / me yo me
2nd person Sg. You / you / you tú / vos ti te
3rd person Sg.Mask. he / him / him él lo, le reading)
3rd person Sg. Fem. she / her ella la
3rd person Sg. Form of courtesy you / you usted lo, la, le
1st person Pl. Mask. we us nosotros nos
1st person Pl. Fem. we us nosotras
2nd person Pl. Mask. you / you vosotros os
2nd person Pl. Fem. you / you vosotras
3rd person Pl. Mask. they / them ellos go, les les (se)
3rd person Pl. Fem. they / them ellas read
3rd person Pl. Form of courtesy you / you ustedes los, las, les

Overview of the forms of possessive pronouns

The Spanish possessive pronouns do not differentiate between the gender of the owner ("his / her") like the German ones, but are based on the gender of the noun they accompany. So z. B. el coche es mío ("The car (Spanish: mask.) Is mine"), but: la noche es mía ("The night is mine").

Owner ↓ Stressed forms, pronombres tónicos Unstressed forms, pronombres átonicos
Reference noun mask. (Pl.) Reference noun fem. (Pl.) Reference noun mask. (Pl.) Reference noun fem. (Pl.)
1st person Sg. My- mío (s) mía (s) mi (s)
2nd person Sg. Your- tuyo (s) tuya (s) do (s)
3rd person Sg. His- / her- / her- suyo (s) suya (s) su (s)
1st person Pl. Our- nuestro (s) nuestra (s) nuestro (s) nuestra (s)
2nd person Pl. I your- vuestro (s) vuestra (s) vuestro (s) vuestra (s)
3rd person Pl. Her- / your- suyo (s) suya (s) su (s)

Reflexive pronouns and their uses

The Spanish reflexive pronouns , pronombres reflexivos , are (1st, 2nd and 3rd person sing. And plur.): Me, te, se; nos, os, se . So only the third person has a form that deviates from the personal pronoun. Regularly, a reflexive pronoun in place of the object means that the subject and object of the sentence denote the same individual.

In addition, there are verbs in Spanish with which a reflexive pronoun is simply firmly connected as part of the verb, as in German verbs such as recover, delay ("inherent reflexive"). These reflexive verbs are listed in the Spanish infinitive with the additional ending -se, i.e. with the following form of the unstressed reflexive. With finite verb forms, the reflexive element appears regularly like all clitics before the verb.

  • Examples: ducharse "to shower", lavarse "to wash oneself".
Me ducho por las mañanas - "I shower (myself) in the morning."
El paciente no se quiere lavar - "The patient does not want to wash."

The Spanish se can also have uses similar to the German one or a passive construction; see the main article under Pronouns in the Spanish language # reflexive pronouns .

Indefinite pronouns and parts of speech with a similar function

A distinction is made between indefinite companions, determinantes indefinidos and indefinite pronouns, pronombre interrogativo . The former are used in a similar way to articles, but cannot stand alone, but only in connection with a noun. The indefinite pronouns, pronombres indefinidos can be used independently. Both show characteristics of gender and number that must match the reference word.

  • Muchos le decían que le olía fatal. - "Many (mask.) Told him that he smelled terrible." (The subject muchos denotes a male group)
  • Muchas le Decian que le Olia fatal. - "Many (fem.) Told him that he smelled terrible." (The subject is a female group).

There are also unchangeable indefinite companions or pronouns; they do not agree in gender and number with the associated noun. They include:

  • nada ("nothing"); nadie ("nobody"); algo ("something"); alguien ("someone"), cada (" everyone ")

The variable indefinite pronouns, however, include:

  • algún / algúna  ; cualquier / cualquiera ("any"), mucho / mucha ("many"), demasiado / demasiada ("too many"), ningún / ningúna ("none"), poco / poca ("little ( e) ”), todo / toda (“ all, (the) whole (e) ”).

Some translation pairs do not agree in terms of their flexibility. An example with an inflected indefinite in Spanish but an unflexed translation in German:

  • Sólo tomó una poca de leche. - "He only drank a little milk."

The indefinite pronouns form a rather inconsistent residual class in the classification of pronouns. They usually express different types of quantity reference. Groups of meaning can be opened up:

  • Estimate, cálculo : demasiado; mucho; bastante; más; poco; menos
  • Assignment, clasificación : ambos; cada; sendos; cada uno
  • Selection, selección : cierto; valley; alguno; alguien; algo; quienesquiera; otro; semejante; ningun; nadie; nada; cualquiera
  • Totality, conjunto : todo + sustantivo; todo + further determinants + sustantivo

Relative pronouns and relative clauses

Relative pronouns fulfill two functions: On the one hand, they replace nouns, adverbs and pronouns in the relative clause. On the other hand, they mark the subordinate clause as a relative clause and thus connect it with the reference word (a noun).

Some relative pronouns in Spanish are: que, el que (la que, lo que, los que, las que), el cual (la cual, lo cual, los cuales, las cuales), cuyo (cuya, cuyos, cuyas), cuanto (cuanta, cuantos, cuantas), donde, como . Relative pronouns never have an accent in the spelling , while morphologically similar question pronouns or interrogative pronouns , pronombres interrogativos , such as quién , cuál , cuánto etc., are provided with an acute accent, acento agudo .

The Spanish relative pronoun que can refer to people or things and is immutable; but it can be recognized as a pronoun because it is z. B. can be combined with a preposition. Example:

  • La casa en que vivo es mía. - "The house where I live, is mine."

The forms el que, la que, los que, las que have a function of more detailed definition and can be reproduced with the (that) ... the etc. Example:

  • Su hermana es la que está sentada a su lado. - "His sister is the one who sits next to him."
  • Nunca somos lo que parecemos. - “We are never what we seem to be.” (The form lo is the article of the neuter, with this relative clause an abstract state of affairs is taken up).

(For more details, see the main articles: Pronouns in the Spanish language # Relative pronouns and relative clauses in the Spanish language ).


The Spanish verb is the most complex section in Spanish grammar. The categorical meaning of the verb lies in its “sentence-forming process” or its “processuality” with which it promises activities, processes, states and their changes in the sentence . It depicts this “processuality” in its temporal embedding.

The verb is the syntactic center of a sentence; the verb achieves this through its valence relationships . Furthermore, it is related to the subject in Spanish through the congruence . From a grammatical point of view, a distinction is made between finite versus infinite verb forms , or in other words between the inflected personal forms and nominal forms such as in the infinitive and the participles.

The verbs can also be assigned or classified as a semantic category, such as the directional verb , verbo locativo , process verb , verbo incoativo o dinámico , activity verb , verbo de acción or state verb , verbo estático . In contrast, the above-described classification from a syntactic point of view, for example the verb in relation to the predicate , subject , to the objects or according to its valence .

Inflections are realized in the Spanish verb through affixes , they are used to conjugate verbs . The individual inflection or the inflection affix can convey several meanings. Through this “overlap” of the number , person , mode and tense , a “condensation” and economization of the inflection morpheme is created. The subject and the objects are made of syntactic perspective, the complements of the verb, while from semantic viewing the speakers of the verb arguments hot.

Structure of the Spanish verb

Verbs , verbos be conjugated by person , persona , number , número , aspect , aspecto , of action , modo de acción , Tempus , tiempo , mode , modo . There are three people in the singular and three people in the plural, primera, segunda y tercera persona del singular o plural . Verbs provide information whether they happened in the past, pasado , the present, presente or the future, futuro . The aspect is a grammatical category, it informs about the "state within an action"; an aspecto perfecto o perfectivo and an aspecto imperfecto o imperfectivo face each other. According to their polarity, this category and the type of action designate a beginning, a repetition, a course, a duration and an end of the action or the event. The aspect is bipartite or also called binary in Spanish. There are three modes of indicativo , subjuntivo and imperativo in Spanish .

There are three conjugation forms with the endings -ar , -er and -ir . In total there are about nine hundred irregular verbs and a large number of periphrastic conjugations . In such periphrastic forms the main verb is in turn set to a specific infinite verb form "haber" for the formation of the compound tenses, tiempos compuestos .

Verbs generally express a verbal reality insofar as they present the things of reality as events that are subject to the influence of time and space , whereby through the choice of the part of speech the transition from the "eventfulness" of the verbs to the "thinginess" of Nouns are decided. - Example: lignificar lignify as a process leading to lignificación woodiness leads. They belong to the auto-semantics, i.e. to the lexemes (basic unit of vocabulary), which, in contrast to a synsemantic, have a context-independent and independent lexical meaning. The auxiliary verbs are excluded from this.

Actions are called verbs. It can be derived from semantic point of view Vorgangs- of of activity , Bewegungsverb and state verbs differentiate, with this division always takes up the shape of language use. Regarding movement verbs , according to Leonard Talmy and Dan Slobin, Spanish is a verb-framed-language or verb-based language, as is the case for the other Romance languages , in contrast to satellite-framed-languages or satellite-based languages, like Latin , German or English .

Within the activity verbs , the action verbs can be conceptually understood as a subgroup and expression of human activity . In the example - follow in the sentences with the verb seguir - different categories of verb types are available for the same verb. - Examples:

El hombre sigue sin hablar. Der Mann folgte ohne zu sprechen. Zustandsverb
Los botes de remos siguen el río. Die Ruderboote folgten dem Fluss. Vorgangsverb
Sigo pensando en mi camino. Ich folge meinem Weg, indem ich nachdenke. Handlungsverb

In syntactic terms it forms the head , núcleo sintáctico the verb phrase .

The Spanish verb knows the following seven grammatical categories in its inflection system:

The simple finite verb form consists of a stem (lexical morpheme), a subject vowel and morphemes which express characteristics of tense, mode, number, person and aspect. - example:

Stamm „compr-“ Themavokal „-a-“ Tempus, Aspekt, Modus „-ste-“ Numerus, Person „-is“

Spanish is a pro-drop language or null-subject language, which means that the subject (personal pronoun) is not always realized, even though it is structurally present. In the Spanish sentence, the personal deictic subject can be expressed and clearly defined solely by the conjugated verb, i.e. its personal form. This means that pronouns do not have to be explicitly realized in certain syntactic positions for the constitution of a grammatically complete sentence, so they can be "dropped" (English "pro drop"). This is possible because in Spanish there is a pronounced inflection morphology in the verb, which is therefore obligatorily inflected for person and number and thus allows conclusions to be drawn about the subject. Compared to the modern English verb - the English language has given up almost all inflection forms in the last few centuries - Spanish shows, although an analytical language structure is increasingly used, even more of the inflected or synthetic language structure , as it is especially in the Latin language can be found than modern English .

In comparison to German it can be seen that there is no necessary correlation between the morphological type of a language and its behavior in relation to the realization of pronouns: Although the verb inflects for the same categories as Spanish, German is not a problem. Drop language. That is why one speaks more often here of semi-pro-drop languages. These facts result in learning and understanding difficulties in an interlingual context. If, however, the subject pronoun is used in Spanish, this can on the one hand have stylistic reasons, on the other hand it can serve purposes of clarification , comparison or general emphasis.

Through the development to Vulgar Latin and finally to the Romance languages, the typology of Latin changed more and more in the direction of an analytical language structure . The Latin was just as ancient Greek, Sanskrit and other ancient Indo-European languages a typical inflectional language with synthetic linguistic structure or syntax . Through the development to Vulgar Latin and finally to the Romance languages, the typology of Latin changed more and more in the direction of an analytical language structure . In the morphology of verbs , Spanish has retained most of the grammatical structures from Latin of all the Romance languages. There are synthetic verb forms, although more analytical predicate forms have been added. The analytical verb forms are compound verb forms, such as the Latin passive perfect laudatus sum ("I have been praised"). In contrast to this are the synthetic verb forms. Synthetic verb forms are represented by a single word that expresses tense, gender, number, mode and person, such as the Latin amabam ("I loved"), amavi ("I loved").

The following applies - and this is different from the German language - that the predicate, even if it consists of several parts (in the sense of an analytical verb form), such as an auxiliary verb and a main verb, these parts must never be separated:

Subject - predicate - indirect object (dative) - direct object (accusative) - adverbial determination or prepositional object.

Relative verbs are activity words that require additional additions in addition to the subject. These additions are mainly direct objects (which are formed with the preposition a ), adverbial determinations and prepositional objects, but also indirect objects (which are also formed with a ) and genitive objects (which are formed with the preposition de ).

There are three conjugation systems: the a-conjugation (e.g. hablar speak ), the e-conjugation (e.g. comer essen ) and the i-conjugation (e.g. vivir live ). A large number of commonly used verbs have irregular forms .

There is some inaccuracy in determining the number of irregular verbs in the Spanish language. When counting irregular verbs, derivations must also be taken into account. They shouldn't normally be counted as another irregular verb. In the following table-like overview, the number of irregular verbs in Spanish is listed using the following typification. Since the term irregular can be understood differently, there are three columns for three types of "irregular":

  • Verbs of type 1 have no directly comparable verbs or can not be regular nominal forms derived
  • Verbs of the type 2 are not diffracted by the most common Flexionsarten (for example, changes in the irregular verbs. -Ar , -er and - ir the stem vowel)
  • Verbs of type 3 also contain derivations (e.g. prefix formation) of verbs of types 1 and 2, they are usually ignored in regular counts.
Spanish language Number (see above) list Type 1 verbs Type 2 verbs
Type 1 Type 2 Type 3
Spanish verbs 4th 59 1530 [it] ser, ir, haber, estar According to Langenscheidt's dictionary 59, plus additional verbs to be conjugated according to the same pattern

"Structural verbs" - verb class of copula, auxiliary and modal verbs

Full verbs, verbos plenos are able to create a predicate without the help of another verb. In contrast to the full verbs, the group of copula , auxiliary and modal verbs according to Heinrich Weber (2005) forms a unit, however without showing a specific group designation for the verbs that as a group are not able to form the predicate on their own are. Based on Weber (2005), they should be referred to as “structural verbs”, “verbos estructurados”. In achieving this goal, they form “complex predicates” or compound predicates in a way that is specific, inherent and characteristic of them.

Transitivity of Spanish Verbs

Transitivity, verbo transitivo, is a property that is used to classify verbs. In general, the property indicates how many players (arguments) a verb requires. The property of transitivity is a special form of valence that is traditionally only used for verbs .

  • Transitive verbs , verbos transitivos : The supplement is a direct object (accusative in the case terminology), the accusative object becomes the subject in the passive (see “10.5 The passive”). It should be noted that there are some verbs that require the indirect object in German (the dative in the case terminology), but require the accusative in Spanish. - example:
    • Compro un coche. I buy a car.
  • Intransitive verbs , verbos intransitivos , can be used without any additions. These verbs have limited passive ability. - example:
    • Desde hoy no fumo más. As of today I no longer smoke.
  • Reflexive verbs , verbos reflexivos , are accompanied by reflexive pronouns (see reflexive pronouns ). Reflexive verbs are action words, the action of which falls back or is directed towards the subject. Subject and reflexive pronouns denote the same person. A distinction must be made between real reflexive verbs and verbs used reflexively. - Example for the latter:
    • Esta discoteca se vende bien. This discotheque is selling well.

Infinite verb forms in Spanish

With the infinite verbs in Spanish ( Latin verbum infinitum ) , formas no personales del verbo , neither the grammatical person nor the number can be identified. In Spanish, these include the infinitive , infinitivo , the participle , participio , - actually only the participle that is needed with haber to form the compound tenses, and ser and estar for the formation of the passive - and the gerund , gerundio . They are also known in Spanish as los verboides. The infinitive stands formally and functionally between verb and noun.

comprar kaufen Wortstamm „comp-“ Themavokal „-a-“ Endung „-r“
comprando während ich am Kaufen bin (oder Ähnliches) Stamm „comp-“ Themavokal „-a-“ Endung „-ndo“
comprado gekauft Stamm „comp-“ Themavokal „-a-“ Endung „-do“

Functionally, these three infinite verb forms can be used to shorten or replace subordinate , but also ancillary sentences.

The infinite verb forms do not constitute a sentence and do not form a tense form in the actual sense. Because while the finite verb form relates the expressions to the time of the utterance , e.g. For example, if the tense (temporal) is deictically anchored, the infinite verb forms can only form a so-called periphrastic tense form in conjunction with a finite verb .

Verbs hablar temer partir
Infinitivo -ar -he -ir
hablar temer partir
Gerundio -ando -iendo -iendo
hablando temiendo partiendo
Participio -ado / -ados; -ada / -adas -ido / -idos; -ida / -idas -ido / -idos; -ida / -idas
hablado, hablada temido / temida partido / partida

Times, modes and aspects with their meanings

The tense is defined in grammar as a grammatical category; it is to be distinguished from time in the physical sense. The ordering of reality in time systems, sistemas temporales , is carried out differently by the various languages. This suggests that the correct use of a foreign language time system, here's the Spanish high demands on the understanding of the relevant grammar systems by voice producer provides.

The names of the individual tenses or time stages have been changed variously by the Real Academia Española , so there are differences between the 1931 edition, Gramática de la lengua española (Gramática for short, 1931), and the 1973 edition, Esbozo de una nueva gramática de la lengua española, Real Academia Española. Comisión de Gramática (abbreviated Esbozo, 1973 ( Spanish : draft, sketch )).

Graphic representation of the Spanish verbs tenses in the Modo indicativo on a timeline . In Hans Reichenbach's terminology , the position R in relation to H can characterize the times pasado ( R - H ), presente ( HR ) and futuro ( H – R ). The position of E with respect to R describes this as pluscuamperfecto ( E - R ), presente ( RE ) and futuro as ( R -E ).

Hans Reichenbach (1947) described the tenses as time stages by means of two relations between three reference or points in time. He defined the tenses as grammatical localizations of facts, events, facts in time, as a deictic (temporal) category that realizes the system of temporal relationships of events in the verb morphologically, flexiv. To characterize the different tense forms, the relation between the speaking time S , Spanish punto de habla H and the reference point R , Spanish punto de referencia R , as well as the relation between the event time E , Spanish punto del evento E and the reference point R was set .

  • Speaking time or origio, utterance time, utterance time, speech act S point of speech or H punto de habla , it refers to the moment of verbalization by the speaker; in some cases it is also defined as a possible time span, mostly it is a moment in time. It relates to the moment of speaking; rendered by a "speaker".
  • Event time or situation time, event time E point of event , punto del evento , it is the time interval in which the verbalized state applies or the expressed action takes place, it can be both a point in time and a period of time. The event time is the time relation in which the verbal event, the event expressed in a sentence, took place, takes place, will take place or could take place or could have taken place etc. (Compare the modes indicativo vs. subjuntivo ). An event is understood to mean an occurrence, fact or fact ( modo de indicativo ) or a possible event or fact that is focused through the perspective of their potential ( counterfactual ) occurrence ( modo de subjuntivo ) and is or will be bound to a time interval ,
  • Reference time or observation time, reference time, reference point R point of reference , punto de referencia , it is a time interval different from the speaking time. Reproduced by a "viewer". It points to an event, for example through a time adverb, or it refers to an occurrence in order to deictically localize it in time. The reference time and thus the time setting can be determined using temporal adverbs or from the narrative context. The reference time reports or discriminates between prematurity, anterioridad and post temporality, posterioridad . It describes a perspective, the punto de mira .
  • Under the talk time distance is the distance between the opening time S or H and the event time E .

The tense describes, based on the speaking time S, at which moment of the event time E the verb is performed, i.e. H. the “time” of a sentence is not related to the time of another sentence, but is freely set by the speaker or writer; either before, after or now. There are three time levels : presence, presente , past pasado and futurity futuro .

The “time” can also be viewed by the speaker or writer as dependent on or related to another entity , i. H. the “time” of one sentence, usually of a subordinate clause (protasis), is related to the “time” of another sentence, usually of the superordinate main clause (apodosis). A distinction is made here between the following temporal relationships : temporality, posterioridad , simultaneity, simultaneidad and prematurity, anterioridad .

The grammatical category of tense ( time stages ) is of fundamental importance in considering verb inflection . The tense of the German language cannot be equated with the Spanish tenses. Spanish knows far more tenses than German, the six German forms are compared to a total of seventeen Spanish tenses.

The tense, tiempo gramatical, is used as a grammatical device in the Spanish language to form the time reference . A distinction is made between syntactically, simple (only full verbs, finite verbs) and syntactically complex or periphrastic tense forms (with an auxiliary verb construction, finite verb in connection with a periphrase or infinite verb), (see also structural verbs ). The auxiliar, verbo auxiliar and verb take a morphologically defined form.

With the tenses, the speaker is given the opportunity to use morphological means to realize temporal relations to the content of what has been promised at the moment of speaking . The tense is the most differentiated category of the Spanish verb. The setting of the tense is not a linguistic time measurement and therefore does not indicate when an event or an action takes place, because physically and temporally different events can be characterized by the same tense. - example:

Operaré mañana Ich werde morgen operieren; oder
Operaré dentro de un año Ich werde innerhalb eines Jahres operieren.

The aspect describes the "internal tense of the verb" or the verbal periphrase - in a certain sense, the compound tenses represent a special form of the periphrases - by distinguishing between an incomplete or perfect or a closed or imperfective verb form as a further inflection category. - Examples:

Juana ha realizado una sustitución. Juana hat verwirklicht einen Wechsel. Das bedeutet:
 Juana ya ha finalizado su sustitución. Juana hat schon beendet ihren Wechsel. Pretérito perfecto de indicativo

All compound verb forms (tenses), tiempos compuestos including the Pretérito indefinido de indicativos, are perfect .

Juana siempre cantaba en las celebraciones. Juana immer sang an den Festivitäten. Pretérito imperfecto de indicativo

While all simple verb forms (tenses), tiempos simples, without the indefinido, can be considered imperfect.

Through the tense, a speaker assigns an event or an action from the perspective of a passing time (time relation) to a reference point, punto de referencia R ( time relation ). For this purpose, the relationships are applied to a spatial metaphor , also a timeline , for the representation of times, spaces and sequences in the form of a line and transferred to the resulting terminology.

The “operating” in the sentence example Operaré mañana or Operaré dentro de un año is formed after the speech situation. The dimensions of the perceptual space to be promised for the events consist of two items: the time relation and the reference point. By referring to a point of reference, the tense gains a temporal deictic value - a property that the aspect does not have.

For the characterization of the different tense forms, the relation between the speaking time S , punto de habla H and the reference point R , punto de referencia R as well as that between the event time E , punto del evento E and the reference point R was set .

Time axis past, E, RS (E = R <S) , where E stands for the time allocation when the event takes place, where R stands for the time to which one refers, e.g. B. yesterday, ayer
Timeline Presence, E, R, S (E = R = S)
Timeline future, SE, R (S <E = R)

In the approach he originally formulated , however, only temporal relationships between these three reference points could be described. Further developments of his theory were then also able to explain complicated descriptions of past tenses, such as that of the imperfect tense .

A speaker promises or reports in an (interactive) situation about an event at the moment of speaking or the speaking time S about the referential “now” or the reference time (reference point R ).

The mode, in turn, enables the speaker to present his or her subjective attitude to the matter to be said or, according to Jacob Wackernagel, to describe the relationship between activity and reality (see also Possible World ).

The unmarked mode is the

  • Indicative, modo indicativo . He posits the action or event as real .

The other modes are:

The modes reflect the subjective attitude, conditionality, i.e. connections between objects and the representations in human consciousness as well as the request.

In Spanish, the category of aspect is used to define the pair of opposites pretérito imperfecto for the unfinished event and the pretérito perfecto (compuesto) or pretérito indefinido for a completed action . In Spanish, however, the terms tense and aspect are not as clearly separated from each other as in the Slavic languages . This is because the aspect distinction is expressed morphologically only in the past tenses, so the aspect coincides with the tense designations. Nonetheless, when considering the aspect, the focus is not on the "time levels", ie the tenses, but rather the temporal structure of actions, the "reference to the direction of time". For the aspect, it is decisive what extent an action has, whether it is completed or is still ongoing and how the speaker is integrated into this situation. If one follows Reichenbach's considerations, then a perfect aspect would exist if the reference time R includes the event time E or follows it . If the reference time R is included in the event time E , one speaks of an imperfective aspect.

If all these markings that change the verb take place, then this verb is to be regarded as limited, as a finite verb , but all other verb forms as unlimited, infinite verbs .

Presente or presente simple

In Presente de indicativo are current actions, it promised light events and actions of the present or describe states of the immediate moment. The Spanish present tense is one of the imperfective aspects , aspecto imperfectivo, since the action in the stated fact is to a certain extent coexistent and therefore one cannot exactly infer the closure of the action. Future actions can also be expressed, presente por futuro if an adverbial definition makes this clear.

Mañana es el cumpleaños de Juana. Morgen ist der Geburtstag von Juana.

Further forms of use of the Spanish present are the historical present , presente histórico here the present tense is used in narratives and in reporting on the past.

El 15 de abril de 1912 se hunde el Titanic. Am 15. April 1912 versinkt die Titanic.
El 31 de Octubre de 1517, Fray Martin Lutero clava sus noventa y cinco tesis contra la venta de indulgencias en la puerta de la iglesia de Todos los Santos de Wittenberg.

In Hans Reichenbach's terminology the following structure would be given: H, R, E (S = R = E), speaking time, reference point, event time. - example:

Los obreros de construcción necesitan descansar esta semana. Die Bauarbeiter benötigen zu pausieren diese Woche.

In the above example, the event time E , the reference time or the reference point R and the speaking time H or S coincide in that the speaker promises what he perceives and can name in his inner perspective .

"Respiratory value" of the presente simple

If scientific facts , lenguaje de la ciencia, are described, natural phenomena are verbalized or fundamental facts are reproduced, the presente loses its "temporal value" and is then referred to as gnomic present , presente gnómico . - example:

La luna gira alrededor de la tierra aproximadamente una vez al mes. Der Mond umrundet umzu die Erde ungefähr einmal im Monat.

If you describe typical, repetitive events that always take place, this is called the present tense, a habitual present , presente habitual . - example:

En invierno nieva mucho. Im Winter es schneit viel.

A historical present tense , presente histórico, allows these past events to come closer to the reader in narratives of the past . - example:

El pintor fallece el 8 de abril de 1973 en Francia, a causa de un edema pulmonar. Der Maler er stirbt am 8. April 1973 in Frankreich, durch ein Lungenödem.

Pretérito perfecto or Pretérito perfecto compuesto

In contrast to the indefinido and imperfecto, the Pretérito perfecto de indicativo is a periphrastic tense, i.e. a tense that has developed from a verbal periphrase . Verbal periphrases consist of an auxiliary and a main verb, sometimes they are connected by a prepositional element.

The Pretérito perfecto compuesto contains actions that began in the past, but whose period extends into the present or that have an impact on it. Nevertheless, the pretérito perfecto, similar to the pretérito indefinido, expresses the aspect of the “completion or completion” of an action. With the pretérito perfecto there is a closeness to the present, with the pretérito indefinido there is a distance. The pretérito perfecto (compuesto) is a tense of presence. This means that, as in German with the perfect in German , it is not possible to speak of "earlier", but rather of "before". With the adverb "previously" a prematurity, anterioridad so the happened actions referenced, still a relationship with the present, or better to talk time point or time of utterance S have.

The reference time R as the time frame of reference is provided by the present and is thus equal to the utterance time S (E> R = S); one finds a closed event related to the present. If you look at the Pretérito perfecto compuesto from the point of view of the terminology of the philosopher Hans Reichenbach , then the distance between the speaking time S and the actual event time E in this tense is close to speaking time, in contrast to the indefinido, which is considered to be far from speaking time . In other words, the previous process is implemented up to the speaking time and can also continue to be implemented afterwards. Reichenbach assumes that at least these three temporal parameters are required for the correct treatment of tenses. Aspectively, however, there are actions or events that are to be understood as completed actions in the period of their occurrence. - example:

Perdón, no te he entendido. ¿Puedes hablar más despacio? Verzeihung, ich habe dich nicht verstanden. Könntest du langsamer sprechen?

This “reaching into the present” is interpreted by the speaker in the sense of a certain effect on the present and thereby already announces his subjectivity, since it depends on the speaker's opinion whether the action continues into the present should or not. If the speaker chooses the Pretérito perfecto as a reference for the description of an action or an event in the past, he not only describes the event as a period of time, but also allows mutual influence on this event as such. In the terminology of Hans Reichenbach the following structure would be given: E - H. R (E <S = R), event time - speaking time. Reference point.

For general guidance, a point in time about twenty-four hours ago can be given, whereby this can often be explicated using specific temporal markers or words.

As such, this tense, in function and formation, is almost identical to the English present perfect . It is compound time, but not narrative time , so it is not possible to tell a story or any narrative text in this tense. In Spanish, the compound past is formed with the auxiliary , verbo auxiliar "haber" without congruence. Missing congruence also applies in transitive constructions with a preceding object clitic .

The following words or word combinations indicate the use of this time (for example in descriptions that include the adverb so far or what has happened so far ): hoy , jamas , esta semana , nunca , ya , una vez , muchas veces , todavía no , en nuestro siglo , el año en curso , esta temporada , hogaňo , en mi vida , durante el siglo presente . These are often time determinations that can include the past in the present. In addition, the pretérito perfecto is used in all temporal determinations with esta , este , esto or in adverbs that show a direct temporal proximity to what is said, such as hace poco , desde hace poco , últimamente , en los últimos tiempos .

In many Latin American countries , the perfecto is rarely used, especially in spoken language, but is replaced by the indefinido . - example:

Compré una casa Ich habe ein Haus gekauft.

Pretérito imperfecto

In the Pretérito imperfecto de indicativo - as in the French Imparfait and the English Past Progressive - there are long-lasting or repetitive actions in the past that were not completed in the past or the end of which remained indefinite in the past, e.g. había una vez .. .. once upon a time . The process, the action ran parallel to the reference point of the spoken word in the past. It is a parallelism in the extended sense of a simultaneity meaning with which the verbalized process can be before or after the reference point.

It's a simple time, so it's one of the formas simple .

Representation according to H. Reichenbach (1947) or W. Klein (1994) of the imperfective aspect: R ⊆ E , d. H. the reference time R is contained in the event time E , the temporal relationships (pretérito imperfecto) are then mapped to E <R - S ( period ).

In the case of Imperfecto , no reference time R can be specified and, on the other hand, the beginning and end of the event time E or the event period remain indefinite; it is used when neither the beginning nor the end of an action or a state is specified . Often used in conjunction with imprecise times, such as the adverb entones . The imperfecto is therefore always used when one wants to see past events, actions, processes, states or facts as incomplete, as a background description or when recurring events in the past are told. One emphasizes here the repetition (iterative type of action) and regularity (durative type of action). The narrator wants to describe an action or event that lies in the past from the present, the point of observation or focus. He does this at a time when the action was taking place, i.e. it was not yet complete. It is therefore not known to the viewer of the action whether the events that began in the past are still ongoing. So the event was “not perfect”, thus “imperfect”. In Hans Reichenbach's terminology, the following structure would be given for the temporal time stage: E <R - H , event time <reference point - speaking time. For the aspect: imperfect: R ⊆ E, d. H. the reference time R is included in the event time E.

Therefore, this tense is used for simultaneous events in the past or when the ongoing events in the past are interrupted by a new action. The Pretérito imperfecto can also be used to describe situations, people, landscapes, weather or the like in the past . The imperfecto is used to describe repetitive actions, the enumeration of events or states in the past that lasted longer or existed simultaneously. If a scene, a framework plot , is described, the imperfecto is used and thus enables the speaker to provide more detailed explanations and explanations.

The following words lead to this tense (aspect): antes , a menudo , entonces , en aquel tiempo , con frecuencia , de vez en cuando , mientras , cada día , cada semana , cada vez que , siempre , porque , de joven , normalmente , generalmente , en esa época , poco a poco , todas las mañanas , casi nunca , frecuentemente . They form the background, so to speak, while the foreground is described in indefinido . The following words indicate such simultaneous use of both tenses: una vez , de repente , enseguida . - Examples:

Cuando era joven, monté a caballo una vez Als ich jung war, bin ich einmal geritten.
 Era un rey permanentemente. Ich war dauerhaft König.

indicates a durative type of action during the sentence

Era un rey repetidamente. Ich war immer wieder König.

specifies the iterative type of action of the past tense. Past actions or facts are considered in their course and verbalized, their completion or their result are of no interest.

Salía, cuando tú entrabas. Ich ging, als Du kamst (ins Zimmer eintratst).

Overall, the pretérito imperfecto describes an event or an action that happened in the past procedurally, detached from time and course. It describes permanent, constant actions, facts or a constant process in a past time, whereby the decisive factor is not the duration of this process, but its non-localizability on the time axis.

Ese lago estaba situado al derecho del camino. Der See lag rechts vom Weg.

The following words lead to this time: antes , a menudo , entonces , en aquel tiempo , con frecuencia , de vez en cuando , mientras , cada día , cada semana , cada vez que , siempre , porque , de joven , normalmente , generalmente , en esa época , poco a poco , todas las mañanas .

Pretérito indefinido or Pretérito perfecto simple

The Pretérito indefinido de indicativo - like the Passé simple in French or comparable to the English Simple Past - is used when the action has been completed in the past. It describes a (long) past, (far) distant event or refers to a time in the past; in other words, to events that took place at or from a certain point in time in the past. Aspectively, a completed action is expressed that took place in a completed period of time. In Hans Reichenbach's terminology, the following structure would be given for the temporal time stage: E <R - H , event time <reference point - speaking time. For the aspect: perfect: E ⊆ R, d. H. the event time E is included in the reference time R.

Representation according to H. Reichenbach (1947) or W. Klein (1994) of the aspect perfective: E ⊆ R , d. H. the event time E is contained in the reference time R , the temporal relationships (Pretérito indefinido or Pretérito perfecto simple) are then mapped to E <R - S ( point in time ).

If the speaker chooses the Pretérito indefinido as a reference for describing an action or event in the past, he defines the occurrence or event as from a point in time and implies that there are hardly any possibilities of influencing it. It is the time used for narrations, reports and portrayals. It is a simple time and mostly refers to definite times in the past.

The following words refer to these current events: ayer , anteayer , el año pasado , anoche , la semana pasada , el martes pasado , de repente , de ... a , desde ... hasta , después , el martes de la semana pasada , en ... , de pronto , hace tres días , hace catorce días .

Ask about the indefinido : ¿Qué pasó? or what happened? What happened next?
Ask about the imperfecto : ¿Cómo era? or how was it? What was it?

Some verbs have a different German translation , depending on whether they are in the imperfecto or indefinido . Thus conocer know in Imperfecto to le conocia I knew him (over a longer period) , while le Conoci unique to the last action I have come to know him is.

Different meanings of the conjugated verbs in Pretérito imperfecto or Pretérito indefinido, examples.
Verbs infinitive German translation Pretérito imperfecto (course of action) German transmission Pretérito indefinido (entry of the action) German transmission
tener to have tenía I had (as always) do it I got (instantly, at the moment)
drool knowledge sabía I already knew great I found out (suddenly)
conocer know conocía I already knew conocí I got to know (instantly)
ir go iba I was out and about as always, I went as usual fui I drove, went (instantly)

The indefinido also takes its point of view from the present. But the events observed often took place, or it lasted longer, so that one does not describe a point in time, but a period of time. Since the point in time of the event cannot be precisely defined, it is called “indefinido” indefinitely . The speaker uses the indefinido to describe the (singular) event or happening, but without attempting to describe the framework of a situation more precisely or to verbally express an executive context for what is (singularly) described. - example:

  • Llegué a las seis de la mañana, tomé una ducha y me fui a la cama. I arrived right now at six in the morning, took a shower, and went to bed.
  • El mes pasado fuimos al teatro. We were in the theater last month.
Aspect in Spanish

The aspect , aspecto , describes the attitude, actitud temporal , or better the direction of view of the speaker to the temporal structure of actions or events.

While the tense is used to capture an action, an event or a state of a situation that is characterized by the verb and which is relative to the speaking time S ( punto de habla ( H ), speaking time), the aspect serves as an umbrella term for two different areas, which are usually also described with the terms of the grammatical or lexical aspect. Some examples shown on the 3rd person of the verb salir . The indefinido and imperfecto do not differ by the coded time relations, but by the existing or missing characteristic of perfection:

  • ERS (H) (E <R <S) Pretérito pluscuamperfecto, example: había salido
  • E, RS (H) (E = R <S) Pretérito perfecto simple or Pretérito indefinido, example: salió
  • E, RS (H) (E = R <S) Pretérito imperfecto, example salía
  • ER, S (H) (E <R = S) Pretérito perfecto compuesto, example: ha salido
  • S (H), R, E (E = S = R) Presente, example: sale
  • S (H) -E, R (S <E = R) Futuro simple, example: saldrá
  • S (H) -ER (S <E <R) Futuro perfecto, example: habrá salido

So while with the tense a time step or situation of the event takes place on the time axis, the aspect does not refer to the point in time of the process, event or action relative to the moment of the statement (past, present, future), but to the way how to view this process. According to Becker (2010), a possible distinction between the two aspects is given by the description , this symbol stands for the relation of abstinence.

  • Pretérito indefinido: perfect: E ⊆ R , d. H. the event time E is in the reference time R included.
  • Pretérito imperfecto: imperfect: R ⊆ E , d. H. the reference time R is the event time E contained.

Thus, the imperfective or unfinished aspect is expressed by:

  • a durative act, the duration of which is denoted regardless of a beginning or an end;
  • an iterative action that is repeated regardless of a beginning or an end of the respective action section;
  • an inchoative act that indicates a duration with a view to the beginning;
  • a habitual act that takes place usually, that is, habitually;
  • a conative act denoting an attempt at an act.
  • the imperfective verb forms make statements about states or the course of actions. - example:
Pedro fumaba habanos fuertes Pedro rauchte starke Zigarren. Wann und Wie lange? Unbestimmt. Bekannt: seit einem Zeitpunkt. Anzunehmen: für gewöhnlich.

In the perfective aspect, an action is viewed as a whole, completed, or completed. It shows the following:

  • the action is selective , with regard to a one-off event;
  • the action is ingressive with regard to the beginning of the action;
  • the action is resultant , in terms of the end of the action;
  • the perfective verb forms make statements about the occurrence of events and actions. - example:
Pedro fumó habanos fuertes Pedro rauchte (im damaligen Moment) starke Zigarren.

When? Known: at some point in the past. How long? To assume: for a moment in the past.

If one compares the Spanish, French and Italian languages of the Romance languages , one category of the aspect can only be shown in the past tenses. In other words, the aspect is often limited to reference to the past. They are shown by the pairs of opposites of Pretérito imperfecto vs. Pretérito indefinido or Pretérito perfecto simple in Spanish, from Imparfait vs. Passé simple in French and from Imperfetto vs. Passato remoto in Italian. It is now crucial that the past tense does not actually express different time levels, but that different perspectives on a past action or event (event time E , punto de evento ( E )) are established.

The grammatical aspect refers to the use of certain verb forms through which the different temporal perspectives can be represented in the speech situation. For the German native speaker, it is important, but also difficult, to differentiate between imperfect and perfective aspects, in other words the representation of an action as a complete whole or as an action in progress. The aspect is imperfect if the action indicated by the verb is not completed within the reference time, and perfective if the event is completed within the reference time.

The Spanish differentiates here on the level of prematurity, anterioridad , for example through the pairs of opposites Pretérito perfecto and Pretérito imperfecto . The lexical aspect concerns the internal temporal structure of a verbal action or a verbalized event. Here the question arises to the speaker whether a situation extends over time. - Examples:

Mario se durmió Mario schlief ein; oder aber
 Mario durmió Mario schlief

or whether the act has an endpoint. - example:

Mario construye una casa Mario baut ein Haus; oder eben
 Mario construye casas Mario baut Häuser.

Furthermore, the question for the speaker has to be answered as to whether anything is happening at all. - example:

Mario conoce el camino Mario kennt den Weg; oder
 Mario empuja el carrito Mario schiebt den Wagen.

With the perífrasis verbales , the aspect of the action can be characterized with verbal descriptions in Spanish. The aspect is presented on a lexical level. These constructions, consisting of verbs of movement, are related to the infinite verb forms , the infinitive, participle or gerund, which thereby lose their original meaning and take on the function of a modal verb .

Basically in Spanish it is decisive whether the action or the event, whether the time span or the period of time still has a relationship to the present of the narrator or whether they are completed. The German knows this principle two temporal adverbs : in front of the closed state, Spanish hace , and since the state of not-Geltens, Spanish desde hace, desde , hace ... que . For an action beginning in the past, the Pretérito indefinido or the Pretérito imperfecto is used in Spanish , the corresponding adverb is called hace .

If the event started in the past, but has an effect up to the present, a present time, the Pretérito perfecto , is used in Spanish . The attached the period determining word is desde by a time out . It is similar with the consideration in the period back, either with desde hace or hace ... que .

With time Preferred tenses With period Preferred tenses
since (action is not completed , still applies, i.e. imperfectively ) desde or a partir de period of time after a point in time . Anterospective (since + time). Pretérito perfecto compuesto desde hace Time span from then to now (anteroscopic). - hace ... que time span from now to a point in time ( retrospectively , since + period). Pretérito perfecto compuesto , Presente
Example sentences Desde entonces no lo he vuelto a ver I haven't seen him since then. - A partir de enero ha vivido en Barcelona Since January she has lived in Barcelona . Vivimos en Chile desde hace dos años We have been living in Chile for two years (anteroscopic). - Hace un año que estudio filosofia I have been studying philosophy (retrospectively) for a year .
before ; before (action is complete , so perfective ) antes de Period of time with reference to another event. Two events are in interaction (before + time). Pretérito indefinido or imperfecto hace time span from now on. Retrospectively (before now + period) or anterospectively (after then + period) Pretérito indefinido , Pretérito imperfecto
Example sentences Siempre voy a comer antes de las siete I always eat before seven o'clock. Compré la casa hace una semana I bought the house a week ago . - Estudié filosofia hace un año I have been studying philosophy (anterospective, perfective) for a year . - Hace un año que estudié filosofia A year ago I studied philosophy (retrospective, perfective).

In the Pretérito indefinido there are unique , perfective punctual actions in the past (see aorist and type of action ). It has no equivalent in German and is given in a translation with the past tense . Only by determining the time within the sentence can one see which form was chosen; so there are clear rules regarding the different uses of these times. The speaker's attitude, the point in time at which the exact temporal structures are viewed is called the aspect or type of action of actions or events and thus determines the imperfect or perfect aspect .

If one compares the Pretérito indefinido with the Pretérito imperfecto , it turns out that both times express the aspects either as completed actions or events in the past or not. In other words, they are forms that are capable of expressing past perfection or past imperfection.

For events and processes that happened once - the point in time for the speaker is closed and ideally determinable, but not clearly limited in time - or for events that have taken place more than once but are also to be regarded as closed, the pretérito becomes used imperfecto . In the Imperfecto , states are told (e.g. panoramic descriptions , weather phenomena, landscapes , properties of objects, but also people ) and descriptions of the situation and background descriptions are provided. If a new action in the past is accompanied by the action already in progress or another event running in parallel, this tense is also selected. But when an action or event that was in progress is affected by another incipient action, the incipient action is in indefinido . The ongoing event is still in the imperfecto . - example:

María hacía un jersey de punto cuando llegué a casa Maria strickte einen Pullover, als ich nach Hause kam.

In Spanish, the aspect finds its isolated expression in the pair of opposites Pretérito indefinido versus Pretérito imperfecto , morphologically the tense morphem coincides with the aspect morphem. The indefinido denotes an event or an action that has ended in the past (perfect aspect). The imperfecto, on the other hand, lacks this determination (imperfective aspect), here the end of the event or action can remain open. Relative to the end of the event of completing a sweater (hacía) , the arrival home (llegué) and its implications are not finished. - example:

Cuando llegué, mi esposa ya se había ido Als ich ankam, war meine Ehefrau schon weg.

The verb llegar is in the tense of the Indefinido llegué , the progression of the action then in the Imperfecto había ido . With regard to the aspect, the verb llegué in indefinido describes a finished event (perfect aspect), with había ido the imperfecto, however, the determination (imperfective aspect) remains open.

The “time markers” for using the Pretérito indefinido or the Perfecto simple are the following words: ayer , anteayer , el lunes , el martes , hace un año , el otro día , ese / aquel día , el domingo , hace un rato , la semana pasada , el mes pasado , el año pasado . So for all temporal determinations with pasado or pasada the indefinido is used. - example:

Ayer María se compró un coche Gestern kaufte sich Maria einen Wagen.

The indefinido and the imperfecto can be combined in one text from a stylistic point of view. This is the background to the action, the framework in the imperfecto . The words introducing the tense form, such as mientras , porque , siempre , are then placed in front of a verb conjugated in the past tense, while words like enseguida , luego , un día , de repente introduce the change in the course of events in the narrative, and then at this point with a Verb to continue in indefinido .

If no time indications are used in a verbal sentence or if such a time cannot be deduced from the context , the pretérito perfecto is used, especially if the action or event to the speaker is perceived as being relatively close to the present . However, if the action or event that is being talked about was long or longer ago, or if it is part of a more distant past for the speaker, the indefinido is used . If, however, two or more events are told that happened at the same time in a past, the imperfecto is used to describe the event that is still going on, the framework action , while the indefinido is used for each new action that occurs. In other words, a narrator begins in indefinido. so the content of the narrative is usually not further elaborated, unlike the introductory imperfecto. more detailed explanations of the subject of what he said often follow here.

So: The pretérito indefinido is used for completed situations or actions in the past, whereby the frequency does not play a role, or for actions that have taken place in the past . It represents a typical time for storytelling , the tiempo narrativo . - Example:

Nuestro amigo salía de su casa, cuando le asaltaron unos ladrones. Unser Freund verließ sein Haus, als ihn Räuber überfielen. Dabei steht das Verb „salir“ im Imperfecto und das Verb „asaltar“ im Indefinido.

Pretérito anterior

In the  Pretérito anterior de indicativo , an action is designated that came to an end immediately before the onset of another action or another event. With more than two consecutive actions, the reported event is no longer in the pretérito anterior , but all actions are placed in the pretérito indefinido . It is a compound time, a forma compuesta .

This past tense is mostly only used in literary language. Often it is replaced in everyday language by the Pretérito pluscuamperfecto . But here the immediacy of the successive events is missing .

The following words often introduce the Pretérito anterior : apenas , así que , cuando , en cuanto , luego que , no bien , tan pronto como and una vez que . - example:

Después de que la médica de urgencia hubo llegado al lugar del hecho, llegó la ambulancia Nachdem die Notärztin (unmittelbar zuvor) am Tatort eingetroffen war, kam der Rettungswagen.

Archaic is a form separated by que without an introductory conjunction, beginning with the participle:

Llegado que hubieron los invitados … Sobald die Gäste eingetroffen waren …

Pretérito pluscuamperfecto

In the Pretérito pluscuamperfecto de indicativo there are actions that are premature compared to the otherwise used past. It's a compound time. The Pluscuamperfecto is formed from the Pretérito imperfecto de indicativo of the verb "haber" and the Participio pasado o perfecto ; The participle always ends in "-o" regardless of the number and gender of the subject (see congruence ).

With this time a completed action that happened at a certain point in time in the past is given expression from an aspect perspective. In Hans Reichenbach's terminology the following structure would be given: E - R - H (E <R <S), event time - reference point - speaking time.

Me había escrito (E) unas cartas indiscretas. Mir sie hatte geschrieben einige Briefe indiskrete.
Me había escrito (E) unas cartas indiscretas cuando el conde abrió (R) la puerta. Mir sie hatte geschrieben einige Briefe indiskrete, als der Graf öffnete die Tür.

The writing of the "indiscreet letters" ( E ) came before the "now" ( R ) of the narrated text, which in turn comes before the moment in which the "sentence is uttered" ( S ). The sentence becomes clearer in its temporal-aspectual classification when the scene and its protagonists are clarified and named. Again, the writing of the "indiscreet letters" ( E ) was before the moment in which the "sentence is uttered" ( S ). In addition, the reference time ( R ) is "located" as in the past and is now more clearly between E and S .

The reference times ( R ) are in the past here:

Me avisó (R) cuando había llegado (E). Mir er/sie sagte Bescheid, wenn er/sie angekommen war.
Me avisó (R) cuando llegaba. (E). Mir sie/er sagte Bescheid, wenn sie/er ankam.

Where in the first example sentence the action, the event ( E ) "he / she had arrived" happened at a certain point in time in the past, the reference point ( R ) "she / he said it" then follows and so before the speaking time ( S ) lies.

It is the tense that is furthest away from the present and is on the far left of the timeline. It expresses that something else happened before. This time records actions or events before another or before others in the past. - example:

Había terminado mi operación quirúrgica cuando mi asistente entró. Ich hatte (rückblickend) meinen chirurgischen Eingriff beendet, als mein Assistent hereinkam.

While the Pretérito pluscuamperfecto expresses the mediated prematurity , the Pretérito anterior, in contrast , shows the immediate prematurity. The Pretérito pluscuamperfecto describes a completed event from a point of view that lies in the past (indirect prematurity) and generally promises an event in the past that occurs afterwards. Example of the connection with the Pretérito indefinido or Pretérito perfecto simple . - example:

Cuando llegó María al final, ya habíamos salido.

Example of the connection with the Pretérito imperfecto .

Ella había escrito el diario cuando era joven.

Pretérito próximo

Similar to the formation of the futuro próximo , with “ir + a + infinitivo”, in Spanish a pretérito próximo , with “acabo de + infinitivo”, ie a near past, can be formed by a verbal phrase. The pretérito próximo means a past immediately preceding the present. - example:

Acabo de comer. Ich bin gerade fertig mit Essen.
Juana acaba de conversar con mi empleada de hogar. Juana ist gerade fertig mit dem Unterhalten mit meiner Haushaltshilfe.

Another possibility of expression, which grasps the meaningfulness of the immediately preceding event, would be the use of the imperfectos . - Examples:

Acabo de leer tu carta. Ich habe gerade deinen Brief gelesen. Pretérito próximo
Acababa de leer tu carta. Ich las gerade deinen Brief. Pretérito imperfecto de indicativo

If, on the other hand, the indefinido were used instead of these two variants, a different meaning would arise.

Acabé de leer tu carta. Ich las deinen Brief bis zum Schluss.

Futuro próximo

In the Futuro próximo de indicativo or Futuro compuesto or also the periphrastic future tense, futuro perifrastico , the verb ir , which takes on the function of an auxiliary verb in the constructed construction, and the preposition a as well as the infinitive of the verb to be used are used immediately, in the near future or actions taking place in the future are described as planned.

The periphrastic future tense thus depicts a near-present future. It is often used in everyday spoken language almost without any difference to the actual futuro . The term possible with the futuro about a presumption is omitted with the futuro próximo . - example:

¿Dónde está Juana? Estará en el cuarto de baño. Wo ist Juana? Sie wird sein im Badezimmer. Futuro próximo de indicativo

This construction is similar to the English future tense, the going-to-future . presente de ir + infinitivo . - Examples:

Mañana, voy a trabajar Morgen arbeite ich. Mit dieser Formulierung wird eine sehr hohe Wahrscheinlichkeit für das Eintreten des Ereignisses ausgedrückt.

In comparison, the Futuro simple . - Examples:

Mañana trabajaré Morgen werde ich arbeiten.
 Hoy voy a ir al teatro Heute werde ich ins Theater gehen./Heute gehe ich ins Theater.

This statement heralds a lower incidence of the occurrence of the event.

Futuro simple

The futuro simple de indicativo expresses the future. It's an easy time. It stands for an inevitable event, a future event that does not depend on personal decision. In colloquial language it is often replaced by the Futuro compuesto , which is formed by a form of ir + the preposition a + infinitive. In Hans Reichenbach's terminology, the following structure would be given: H - R. E , talk time - reference point. Event time. - Examples:

El Señor os dará su espíritu santo. Der Herr euch wird geben seinen Heiligen Geist.
 Voy a viajar a Cuba Ich bin im Begriff nach Kuba reisen. Futuro compuesto o próximo
 Viajaré a Madrid en octubre. Ich werde nach Madrid im Oktober reisen. Futuro simple
Ask about the future tense. - example:
 ¿Qué va a pasar? Oder: Was wird passieren?

Futuro perfecto

The Futuro perfecto de indicativo contains actions that will be in the past in the future. It's a compound time. The Futuro Perfecto describes actions or facts in the future that will have taken place before another action in the future.

Los tres habrán vuelto de Murcia para la próxima semana. Die drei werden vor nächster Woche aus Murcia zurückgekommen sein.
 Los malos espíritus habrán tenido un accidente. Die bösen Geister werden einen Unfall gehabt haben.

In Hans Reichenbach's terminology the following structure would be given: H - E - R , speaking time - event time - reference point or H. E - R , speaking time. Event time - reference point or E - H - R , event time - speaking time - reference point.


The Condicional corresponds to the German conditional ( conditional ). In this way, unreal facts are expressed or conditional sentences are formed. The Condicional I or Condicional simple de indicativo refers to the present, the Condicional II or Condicional perfecto (compuesto) de indicativo to the past. The conditional simple is a simple and the condicional perfecto is a compound time.

In Hans Reichenbach's terminology, the following structure would be given: R - E - H , reference point - event time - speaking time or R - H - E , reference point - speaking time - event time.


The mode of the subjuntivo (Modo subjuntivo) has no equivalent in German. The subjuntivo is rarely found in main clauses , in most cases it is used in subordinate clauses . In everyday language , the subjuntivo can often be avoided from the series of verbs predestined for the subjunctive by adding an infinitive instead of a subordinate clause plus que . The prerequisite for this is that the main and subordinate clauses have the same subject. - Examples:

Prefiero que coma en casa. wörtlich Ich bevorzuge, dass ich esse im Haus. Ich bevorzuge, dass ich im Haus esse.
 Prefiero comer en casa. Ich bevorzuge es, zu Hause zu essen. Es besteht für bevorzugen und essen dasselbe Subjekt.
 Prefiero que tú comas en casa. Ich bevorzuge es, dass du essest zu Hause. Hier sind die Subjekte in Haupt- und Nebensatz verschieden, deshalb ist der Subjuntivo zwingend.

In the Pretérito indefinido and the Pretérito anterior there are no forms for the subjuntivo .


The mode relates to the speaker's point of view ( proposition (linguistics) ). By promising a remembered fact, the speaker also decides to what extent he will pass on further information (modalities) about his suspicions to his interlocutor at the same time, so the question of the indicative or subjunctive expression of the facts arises or the act.

The tense and also the aspect relate to the action itself. The tense makes the temporal relation of the speaker to the verbal event recognizable, the aspect in turn describes the way in which the action takes place (does the action begin or does it end, there are repetitive actions, etc.).

Forms: Simple times and modes in the active

First conjugation (on -ar: amar to love )

Latin: amare , amo , amavi , amatum -.

Impersonal forms (Mask. Sing., Fem. Sing., Mask. Pl., Fem. Pl.)
Infinitivo amar
Gerundio amando
Participio amado (amado, amada, amados, amadas)
Indicativo yo tú / vos / usted él nosotros vosotros / ustedes ellos
Presente amo amas / amás / ama ama amamos amáis / aman aman
Pretérito imperfecto amaba amabas / amaba amaba amábamos amabais / amaban amaban
Pretérito perfecto simple (Pretérito indefinido) amé amaste / amó amó amamos amasteis / amaron amaron
Futuro simple (Futuro imperfecto) amaré amarás / amará amará amaremos amaréis / amarán amarán
Condicional (Condicional simple or Pospretérito) yo tú / vos / usted él nosotros vosotros / ustedes ellos
  amaría amarías / amaría amaría amaríamos amaríais / amarían amarían
Subjunctive yo tú / vos / usted él nosotros vosotros / ustedes ellos
Presente ame ames / ame ame amemos améis / amen Amen
Pretérito imperfecto 1 amara amaras / amara amara amáramos amarais / amaran amaran
Pretérito imperfecto 2 amase amases / amase amase amásemos amaseis / amasen amasen
Futuro simple (Futuro) amare amares / amare amare amáremos amareis / amaren amaren
Imperativo   tú / vos usted nosotros vosotros ustedes
affirmed   ama / amá ame amemos amad Amen
denied   no ames no ame no amemos no améis no amen

Second conjugation (on -er, fear temer )

Latin: timere , timeo , timui , -.

Impersonal forms (Mask. Sing., Fem. Sing., Mask. Pl., Fem. Pl.)
Infinitivo temer
Gerundio temiendo
Participio temido (temido, temida, temidos, temidas)
Indicativo yo tú / vos él nosotros vosotros / ustedes ellos
Presente temo temes / temés temes tememos teméis / temen temen
Pretérito imperfecto temía temías temía temíamos temíais / temían temían
Pretérito perfecto simple (Pretérito indefinido) temí temiste temió temimos temisteis / temieron temieron
Futuro temeré temerás temerá temeremos temeréis / temerán temerán
Condicional yo tú / vos él nosotros vosotros / ustedes ellos
  temería temerías temería temeríamos temeríais / temerían temerían
Subjunctive yo tú / vos él nosotros vosotros / ustedes ellos
Presente tema temas tema temamos temáis / teman teman
Pretérito imperfecto 1 temiera temieras temiera temiéramos temierais / temieran temieran
Pretérito imperfecto 2 temiese temieses temiese temiésemos temieseis / temiesen temiesen
Futuro temer temieres temer temiéremos temiereis temper
Imperativo   tú / vos usted nosotros vosotros ustedes
affirmed   teme / temé tema temamos temed teman
denied   no temas no tema no temamos no temáis no teman

Third conjugation (to go away on -ir, partir )

From Latin: partire , partio , partivi , partitum - (distribute, distribute).

impersonal forms (Mask. Sing., Fem. Sing., Mask. Pl., Fem. Pl.)
Infinitivo partir
Gerundio partiendo
Participio partido (partido, partida, partidos, partidas)
Indicativo yo tú / vos él nosotros vosotros ellos
Presente parto partes / partís party partimos partís part
Pretérito imperfecto partía partías partía partíamos partíais partían
Pretérito perfecto simple (Pretérito indefinido) partí partiste partió partimos partisteis partieron
Futuro imperfecto partiré partirás partirá partiremos partiréis partirán
Condicional yo tú / vos él nosotros vosotros ellos
  partiría partirías partiría partiríamos partiríais partirían
Subjunctive yo tú / vos él nosotros vosotros ellos
Presente parta partas parta partamos partáis partan
Pretérito imperfecto 1 partiera partieras partiera partiéramos partierais partieran
Pretérito imperfecto 2 partiese partieses partiese partiésemos party ice parties
Futuro partying partieres partying partiéremos party ice cream part
Imperativo   tú / vos usted nosotros vosotros ustedes
affirmed   parte / partí parta partamos partid partan
denied   no partas no parta no partamos no partáis no partan

ser (to be)

Latin: esse , sum , es , fui , futurus , and some forms of sedere .

Impersonal forms
Infinitivo ser
Gerundio siendo
Participio sido
Indicativo yo tú / vos / usted él nosotros vosotros / ustedes ellos
Presente soy eres / sos / es it somos sois / son son
Pretérito imperfecto era eras / era era éramos erais / eran eran
Pretérito perfecto simple fui fuiste / fue fue fuimos fuisteis / fueron foron
Futuro seré serás / será será seremos seréis / serán serán
Condicional yo tú / vos / usted él nosotros vosotros / ustedes ellos
  sería serías / sería sería seríamos seríais / serían serían
Subjunctive yo tú / vos / usted él nosotros vosotros / ustedes ellos
Presente sea seas / sea sea seamos seáis / sean sean
Pretérito imperfecto 1 for a füras / fuera for a fuéramos fürais / fueran foran
Pretérito imperfecto 2 fuese fueses / fuese fuese fuésemos fueseis / fuesen fuesen
Futuro for fores / fore for fuéremos fuereis for
Imperativo   tú / vos usted nosotros vosotros ustedes
affirmed   sea seamos sed sean
denied   no seas no sea no seamos no seáis no sean

haber (have as an auxiliary verb)

Latin: habere , habeno , habui , habitum -. The auxiliary verb “haber” is an example of the process of grammaticalization of a word in which the lexical meaning of a linguistic unit disappears in favor of a purely grammatical function. The original lexeme (from Latin habēre, to have, to hold), i.e. a morpheme with lexical meaning, becomes a grammeme , a morpheme with grammatical meaning. In the special case an auxiliary inflection verb.

Auxiliary verbs , verbos auxiliares , are used to form the compound tenses, but also the passive. There are three known in Spanish: haber , ser and estar . Synsemantics include words or parts of speech that have no lexical meaning but have a purely grammatical function in a sentence.

Impersonal forms (Mask. Sing., Fem. Sing., Mask. Pl., Fem. Pl.)
Infinitivo haber
Gerundio habiendo
Participio habido (habido, habida, habidos, habidas)
Indicativo yo tú / vos él nosotros vosotros ellos
Presente hey has Ha hemos habéis han
Pretérito imperfecto había habías había habíamos habíais habían
Pretérito perfecto simple hube hubiste hubo hubimos hubisteis hubieron
Futuro habré habrás habrá habremos habréis habrán
Condicional yo él nosotros vosotros ellos
  habría habrías habría habríamos habríais habrían
Subjunctive yo tú / vos él nosotros vosotros ellos
Presente haya hayas haya hayamos hayáis hayan
Pretérito imperfecto 1 hubiera hubieras hubiera hubiéramos hubierais hubieran
Pretérito imperfecto 2 hubiese hubieses hubiese hubiésemos hubieseis hubiesen
Futuro hubiere hubieres hubiere hubiéremos hubiereis lift
Imperativo   tú / vos usted nosotros vosotros ustedes
affirmed   hey haya hayamos habed hayan
denied   no hayas no haya no hayamos no hayáis no hayan

ir (go; become as an auxiliary verb)

Ir is used in one of the most common paraphrases in Spanish: ir + a + infinitive (compound future tense) and comes from the Latin ire , eo , ii (or ivi) , itum , but has also adopted some forms of vadere and esse .

Impersonal forms
Infinitivo ir
Gerundio yendo
Participio I do
Indicativo yo tú / vos él nosotros vosotros ellos
Presente voy vas va vamos vais van
Pretérito imperfecto iba ibas iba íbamos ibais iban
Pretérito perfecto simple fui fuiste fue fuimos fuisteis foron
Futuro Irishman irás irá iremos iréis Iran
Condicional yo tú / vos él nosotros vosotros ellos
  iría irías iría iríamos iríais irían
Subjunctive yo tú / vos él nosotros vosotros ellos
Presente vaya vayas vaya vayamos vayáis vayan
Pretérito imperfecto 1 for a foras for a fuéramos fürais foran
Pretérito imperfecto 2 fuese fueses fuese fuésemos fueseis fuesen
Futuro for for it for fuéremos fuereis for
Imperativo   tú / vos usted nosotros vosotros ustedes
Yes   ve † / andá vaya vamos id †† vayan
No   no vayas no vaya no vamos / no vayamos no vayáis no vayan
  • † Colloquial and dialectal form ves .
  • †† The 2nd pers. Pl. From irse is idos .


In Presente diphthongised the -e- or the -o from the word Stock some verbs in all singular forms, and in the third person plural (ie in the positions in which the vowels are stressed) to -ie- or -ue- . - Examples:

  • comenzar (begin): com ie nzo, com ie nzas, com ie nza, comenzamos, comenzáis, com ie nzan
  • dormir (to sleep): d ue rmo, d ue rmes, d ue rme, dormimos, dormís, d ue rmen

Similar to dormir , jugar (to play) is conjugated, which is the only verb in certain forms that transforms u into ue (e.g. j ue go). Verbs whose e becomes i represent a similar group irregularity, for example pedir (demand): p i do, p i des, p i de, pedimos, pedís, p i den.

An example of conjugation in the Spanish language: "Correr" (means "to run", regular e-conjugation). The columns represent the times: past, pretérito perfecto de indicativo , present, presente simple de indicativo and future, futuro simple de indicativo . The lines provide information about person and number : 1st person singular , 2nd singular, 3rd singular, 1st plural, 2nd person plural and 3rd person plural.

Irregular verbs

Most irregular verbs, verbo irregular , differ from the regular, verbo regular in the 1st person singular of the presente as well as in all indefinido, futuro- (and conditionally derived) and presente-de-subjuntivo forms, while it only there are two (with ser three) verbs that form the imperfecto irregularly.

infinitive Presente Imperfecto Indefinido Futuro simple Pres. de subjunctive
andar ando, andas, ... regularly anduve, -iste, -o, -imos, -isteis, -ieron andaré, -ás, ... ande, andes, ...
caer caigo, caes, cae, ... regularly caí, caíste, cayó, caímos, caísteis, cayeron caeré, -ás, ... caiga, -as, ...
decir digo, dices, dice, decimos, decís, dicen regularly dije, -iste, -o, -imos, -isteis, -eron diré, -ás, ... diga, -as, ...
represent doy, das, da, damos, dais, dan regularly di, diste, dio, dimos, disteis, dieron daré, -ás, ... dé, des, dé, demos, deis, den
estar estoy, estás, está, estamos, estáis, están regularly estuve, -iste, ... estaré, -ás, ... esté, estés, esté, estemos, estéis, estén
hacer hago, haces, ... regularly hice, -iste, hizo, hicimos, -isteis, -ieron haré, -ás, ... haga, -as, ...
poder puedo, puedes, puede, podemos, podéis, pueden regularly pude, -iste, ... podré, -ás, ... pueda, -as, ...
poner pongo, pones, pone, ... regularly puse, -iste, ... pondré, -ás, ... ponga, -as, ...
querer quiero, quieres, quiere, queremos, queréis, quieren regularly quise, -iste, ... querré, -ás, ... quiera, -as, ...
drool sé, sabes, sabe, ... regularly super, -ist, ... sabré, -ás, ... sepa, -as, ...
salir salgo, sales, sale, ... regularly salí, -iste, ... saldré, -ás, ... salga, -as, ...
tener tengo, tienes, tiene, tenemos, tenéis, tienen regularly tuve, -iste,…, -ieron tendré, -ás, ... tenga, -as ...
traer traigo, traes, trae, ... regularly traje, -iste, -o, -imos. -isteis, -eron traeré, -ás, ... traiga, -as, ...
venir vengo, vienes, viene, venimos, venís, vienen regularly vine, -iste, ... vendré, -ás, ... venga, -as, ...
ver veo, ves, ve, vemos, veis, ven veía, veías, ... vi, -iste, ... veré, -ás, ... vea, veas, ...

Forms: Compound times and modes in the active

In every mode there is a compound time at every simple time. It is formed from the simple tense of the auxiliary verb haber and the past participle , Participio de pretérito o pasivo , of the conjugated verb and expresses a prematurity compared to the simple tense .

Easy time Compound time Compound time formation Example for the simple time (3rd pers.) Example for the compound time (3rd pers.)
presente perfecto presente from haber + participio habla ha hablado
imperfecto pluscuamperfecto imperfecto from haber + participio hablaba había hablado
indefinido pretérito anterior indefinido from haber + participio habló hubo hablado
futuro simple futuro perfecto futuro simple from haber + participio hablará habrá hablado
conditional simple condicional perfecto condicional simple from haber + participio hablaría habría hablado
presente de subjuntivo perfecto de subjuntivo presente de subjuntivo from haber + participio hable haya hablado
imperfecto de subjuntivo pluscuamperfecto de subjuntivo imperfecto de subjuntivo from haber + participio hablara / hablase hubiera / hubiese hablado

The passive

In Spanish, as in German, there are also two passive forms: the process passive, pasiva con ser o pasiva de proceso and the state passive , pasiva con estar , the former denotes a course of events and the latter an event result. In both forms, and this differs from German, the participle, participio pasado in gender and number, converges with the subject. - Examples:

La ventana fue cerrada.
 La ventanas están cerradas.

Modal particle

The term “modal particle”, partícula modal , is more broadly defined in Spanish than in German. In the Spanish language it is used in some cases as a collective term for non-inflectable words.

In addition, there are very few actual modal particles in Spanish . This lack of lexical means does not mean, however, that the functional possibilities for toning down or weakening a statement are missing. Rather, one resorts to a changed word order, the (optional) use of the subjuntivo in the subordinate clause, a changed intonation, the position of the adjectives and pronouns, etc. However, this can lead to complex and far-reaching translation problems between the German and Spanish languages.

In the German language, modal particles are more narrowly defined, but they are used very often, especially in spoken German, for example when "weakening" the statement of an imperative. For example, the modal particles are still and times used the statement Come here! in Come here! to convert. Overall, the modal particles in Spanish are less important than in the German language.

Some Spanish modal particles are: acaso , claro , entonces , pues , pero , pero si , vaya , ya , como que , por cierto .

As in German, the modal particles are polyfunctional .

See also


Current grammars

  • Hans-Georg Beckmann: New Spanish grammar. dnf-Verlag, Göttingen 1994, ISBN 3-9803483-3-4 .
  • Jacques de Bruyne: Spanish grammar. 2nd Edition. Max Niemeyer Verlag, Tübingen 2002, ISBN 3-484-50294-0 .
  • Nikolaus Schpak-Dolt: Introduction to the Morphology of Spanish. (= Romance workbooks. Volume 44). Walter de Gruyter, 1999, ISBN 3-11-092206-1 .
  • Emilio Alarcos Llorach: Gramática de la lengua española. Espasa Calpe, Madrid 1994, ISBN 84-239-7840-0 .
  • Wolfgang Halm : Modern Spanish short grammar. Max Hueber, Munich 1987, ISBN 3-19-004020-6 .
  • Theodor Heinermann , Francisca Palau-Ribes Casamitjana: Spanish textbook on a scientific basis. 19th edition. Max Hueber, Munich 1952,
  • José Vera-Morales : Spanish grammar. 5th edition. Oldenbourg, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-486-58645-9 .
  • Claudia Moriena, Karen Genschow: Great Spanish learning grammar: rules, application examples, tests; [Level A1 - C1]. Hueber Verlag, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-19-104145-8 .
  • Esbozo de una nueva gramática de la lengua española, Real Academia Española. Comisión de Gramática. Volume 13, Real Academia española, 1973 (Abbreviated Esbozo, 1973)
  • Gramática de la lengua española. Real Academia Española. Espasa-Calpe, Madrid 1931 (abbreviated Gramática 1931)

Older grammars

Didactic, teaching


Web links


  1. Numerals: nombres numerales can be inflected to a limited extent .
  2. in the narrower sense modal particle , partícula modal
  3. Last syllable or final syllable also ultima (lat. [Syllaba] ultima, "the last syllable")
  4. penultimate syllable or Vorendsilbe or Pänultima (lat. [Syllaba] paenultima)
  5. For a better understanding of the Spanish syntax, the sentence has been translated back into German more or less word for word .
  6. Wikibooks Spanish / prepositions
  7. Compare also History of Spanish Pronouns: Origin from Latin
  8. pronombres personales de sujeto tónicos
  9. pronombre ablativo or pronombre preposicional e instrumental
  10. pronombres átonos de objeto directo
  11. pronombres átonos de objeto indirecto
  12. “Processuality”, compare becoming in philosophy.
  13. If the verbs are classified according to syntactic criteria , the following differentiation criteria result: ratio in the predicate, as auxiliary verbs, modal verbs, modifying verbs, functional verbs, copula verbs; Relationship to the subject; Relationship to the object, as transitive , intransitive , relative and absolute verbs ; Section of verbs; Reflexive verbs ; Reciprocal verbs .
  14. A linguistic, semantic and syntactic analysis determines the vocabulary of a text and examines the parts of speech occurring in a text , such as verb, noun, adjective, pronouns, prepositions, articles, conjunctions, etc., as well as the word forms , such as tense, gender, mode, number , Case etc., then their connection according to the rules of Spanish grammar.
  15. If the verbs are classified according to semantic criteria , the following differentiation criteria result: - Semantic subclasses of the verbs, such as activity verbs, process verbs, state verbs; Aspect , such as perfect or imperfective aspect; Types of action or classes of types of action , such as durative , iterative or frequentative , intensive, diminutive verbs; resultative or perfective , ingressive or inchoative verbs, egressive verbs, mutative verbs, causative or factitive verbs; Function verbs
  16. ingressive / inchoative
  17. iterative
  18. continuous
  19. durative / imperfective
  20. resultative
  21. ↑ In the Spanish language the compound tenses , tiempos compuestos of the past, are only formed with “haber” and not with “haben” or “sein” as in German.
  22. with the term " Tempus-Aspect-Mode (TAM) " ( T empus- A spect - M odus ) summarized
  23. It is assumed that, in the context of language acquisition, the null subject property is also correlated with other syntactic properties, such as the possibility of inversion of lexical subjects, the presence of numerous inflectional paradigms and the absence of expletives .
  24. These additions are also called arguments ; the intransitive verbs have one argument, the transitive verbs two arguments.
  25. The term “verbalization” translates e.g. B. as »Lingualización«
  26. in the terminology of Koschmieder time level reference (absolute time)
  27. in the terminology of Koschmieder time direction reference (relative time)
  28. also Presente simple
  29. In a comparison with some other Romance languages, the Spanish presente corresponds to the French présent and the it. Presente indicativo . In English it corresponds approximately to the simple present .
  30. Pretérito perfecto (Gramática, 1931), also Pretérito perfecto compuesto (Esbozo, 1973) or perfect present, also presente anterior .
  31. In a comparison with some other Romance languages, the Spanish Pretérito perfecto or Pretérito perfecto compuesto corresponds to the French Passé composé , the it. Passato prossimo and rum. Perfectul compus. In English , it roughly corresponds to the present perfect simple .
  32. while the simple past is primarily used to express perfect meaning. I spoke. I spoke. in contrast to I was speaking. I am (still) speaking.
  33. In a comparison with some other Romance languages, the Spanish pretérito imperfecto corresponds to the French imparfait , the Italian indicativo imperfetto and the Romanian imperfectul . In English , it roughly corresponds to the past progressive .
  34. Pretérito indefinido (Gramática, 1931) also known as Pretérito perfecto simple (Esbozo, 1973) or Pretérito absoluto , it is also called the historical perfect, as well as Pasado simple .
  35. In a comparison with some other Romance languages, the Spanish pretérito indefinido corresponds to the French passé simple , the Italian passato remoto and the Romanian perfect simplu or preterit .
  36. In a comparison with some other Romance languages, the Spanish Pretérito indefinido or Pretérito perfecto simple corresponds to the French Passé simple , the Italian Passato remoto and the Romanian Perfectul simplu . In English , it roughly corresponds to the Simple Past or Past Tense .
  37. The past tense Pretérito perfecto (he comprado) is marginally in use in some countries such as Argentina . Instead, the Pretérito indefinido (compré) is usually used , unless one explicitly wants to emphasize the “still-ongoing” of an action.
  38. ^ The tenses are defined in the system by Hans Reichenbach , Elements of Symbolic Logic , New York (1947) as relations between the following time intervals. The conceptual difference between the speaking time , S ( Spanish punto de habla ( H ) ) [the time at which the utterance is also made (S)], the event time , E ( Spanish punto de evento ( E ) ) [the time, also the Event takes place (E)] and the reference time , R ( Spanish punto de referencia ( R ) ) [the point in time from which the event is viewed (R), i.e. the time to which one refers, e.g. B. hoy, ayer].
  39. a comparison with the English in the terminology of H. Reichenbach (1947) "Anterior Past" and in the traditional characterization Past Perfect Simple E – R – S , z. B. I had passed the inspection by the end of the last year.
  40. The event point E , ie the location of the event on the time axis, is insignificant;
  41. desde Approximate meaning: Describes a numerically not precisely determinable period of time.
  42. desde hace Approximate meaning: Describes numerically precisely determinable periods of time
  43. In a comparison with some other Romance languages, the Spanish Pretérito indefinido or Pretérito perfecto simple corresponds to the French Passé simple and the Italian Passato remoto . In English , it roughly corresponds to the simple past .
  44. ↑ Formed with the Pretérito indefinido (Gramática, 1931) also as Pretérito perfecto simple (Esbozo, 1973) of the auxiliary verb haber and the past participle .
  45. In a comparison with some other Romance languages, the Spanish Pretérito anterior corresponds to the French Passé antérieur and the Italian Trapassato remoto .
  46. The forms of haber are: hube; hubiste; hubo; hubimos; hubisteis; hubieron.
  47. also pasado anterior
  48. ↑ Formed with the pretérito imperfecto of the auxiliary verb haber and the past participle. The forms of haber are: había; habías; había; habíamos; habíais; habían
  49. In a comparison with other Romance languages, the Spanish Pretérito pluscuamperfecto corresponds to the French Plus-que-parfait and the Italian Trapassato prossimo . In English it corresponds to the past perfect simple .
  50. also referred to as futuro inmediato y seguro or also as analytical future tense .
  51. also referred to as Futuro imperfecto (Gramática, 1931)
  52. also Futuro anterior
  53. Is formed with the futuro simple of the auxiliary verb haber and the past participle. The forms of haber are: habré; habrás; habrá; habremos; habréis; habrán.
  54. also Pasado posterior .
  55. also referred to as Potencial simple o imperfecto (Gramática, 1931)
  56. > also called Potencial compuesto o perfecto (Gramática, 1931)

Individual evidence

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  111. after Reichenbach " Simple Past " E, R – S , z. B. I passed the inspection. Event time E equal to reference time R and located before speaking time S , but E is included in R E ⊆ R.
  112. ^ After Reichenbach " Past progressive " E, R – S , z. B. He was going to the inspection. Event time E equal to reference time R and located before speaking time S , but R is included in E R ⊆ E.
  113. after Reichenbach "Anterior Present" Present perfect simple E – S, R , z. B. I have passed the inspection.
  114. ^ After Reichenbach "Simple Present" Present tense , S, R, E , z. B. I see the inspector.
  115. after Reichenbach "Posterior Present" Simple future , S, R – E , z. B. I shall see the inspector.
  116. after Reichenbach "Anterior Future" Future perfect , S – E – R , z. B. I will have passed the inspection by the end of next year. or S, E-R , e.g. B. José will have inspected the car by tonight. or S-R, E Simple Future, e.g. B. I will see José tomorrow.
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