Spanish word order, basic grammar (A2)

Word order in Spanish is more flexible than in English and there are a number of key differences between the two languages, let’s see them.

Spanish word order example

1. When a noun and an adjective are used together, the adjective often goes afterward in Spanish: una decisión importante. (an important decision.)

2. As in English the verb usually follows the subject in a statement. However, in Spanish, it can also come before the subject to emphasize it: Murió su madre el año pasado. (Her mother died last year.) ¡Viene Paco a la fiesta! (Paco is coming to the party!)

3. To ask a question, English brings in words like “do/does”: Does your wife work here? Spanish doesn’t use these extra words, so the same question looks like this: ¿Trabaja tu mujer aquí? The order of the subject and verb are reversed. In questions using words like cuándo (when), por qué (why)…, the question word goes at the beginning of the question: ¿Cuándo empieza el partido? (When does the match start?)

4. When the object of a verb is a personal pronoun (me, te, se, le, lo, la… it generally goes in the front of the verb: Me llama cada día. (She phones me every day.)

5. In Spanish, the preposition always goes before the word it modifies. Unlike in English, a Spanish sentence can never end with a preposition¿Con quién vas al teatro? (Who are you going to the theatre with?/With whom are you going to the theatre?)

6. In negative sentences no (not) goes before the verb, if there are any object pronouns in front of the verb it goes before them: Mi amigo no vino al cine. (My friend didn’t come to the cinema.) No me lo dio. (He did not give it to me.)

Word order exercises

Now you can practice what you have learned with the quizzes below. Click on the links to study other topics and remember you can contact your tutor with any question that you have about Spanish word order. Don’t you have a Spanish tutor yet?

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