Yo soy = I am
Tú eres = You are
Él es = He is
Ella es = She is
*Ello es = It is
Usted es = You are (formal, addressing one person)
Nosotros, nosotras somos = We are
Vosotros, vosotras sois = You are
Ellos, ellas son = They are
Ustedes son = You are (formal, addressing more than one person)
→ Pronombres sujeto (Subject pronouns):
>> Subject pronouns are not obligatory when using a verb form. The ending of the verb form tells us what person we are talking about.
>> The subject pronoun forms of the second person are different tú as singular and vosotros, vosotras as plural.
>> When we address someone formally we use usted (singular) and ustedes (plural) but the verb form is that of the third person singular (es) or plural (son), respectively.
>> The subject pronoun ello corresponds to a neuter form but we hardly use it in Spanish together with the verb form.
>> The subject pronouns tú and él are written with a graphic accent (acento) so that we distinguish them from tu casa (possessive adjective) and el libro (definite article).
→ Usos del verbo SER (uses of the verb to be).
The verb BE has two different meanings in Spanish: ser o estar, which consequently complicates its learning by any Anglo-Saxon student. It is an irregular verb and as the verb ser it is used:
-> To identify yourself or other people:
Soy Begoña. I’m Begoña.
Él es Juan. He’s Juan.
Ustedes son los nuevos inquilinos. You are the new tenants.
-> To say your occupation (no use of “a/an” in Spanish):
Soy profesora de inglés. I’m an English teacher.
Juan es mecánico. John is a mechanic.
-> To say what it is or to talk about something or someone for the first time; we use the indefinite article –un, una, (a/an) unos, unas (which corresponds to the indefinite form some in English):
Es un libro. It is a book.
Son unos estudiantes muy buenos. They are very good students.
Son unos zapatos para María. They are some shoes for María.
Es una carta para Juan. It is a letter for John.
-> To describe something or someone by using adjectives to give information about the subject:
Es blanco y muy grande. It’s white and very big.
Somos grandes amigos. We are great friends.
Son holandeses. They are Dutch.
Es de madera. It’s made of wood.
Es tarde. It’s late.
Estos estudiantes son muy altos. These students are very tall.
-> To give more specific information about a subject, which or who has already been mentioned:
Son unos zapatos; son los zapatos de María. They're some shoes; they're María’s shoes.
¿Qué es esto? Es el vestido para la boda. ¿Qué es esto? It’s the wedding dress.
Somos los padres de David. We are David’s parents.
¿Es usted el nuevo profesor? Are you the new teacher?
→ Hacer preguntas en español (making questions in Spanish).
In Spanish we must write an opening question mark (¿) at the beginning of the question so as to indicate that we are making a question. This is mainly because there are no markers to show that what comes next is a question as we do in English by using auxiliaries –do, does, did-, or inverting subject and verb when using auxiliaries be and have.
¿Eres español? Are you Spanish?
¿Vienes conmigo? Are you coming with me?
¿Qué hora es? What time is it?
¿Cómo estás? ¿Qué tal? How are you?
¿Cuánto cuesta? How much does it cost?
The intonation of questions is the same as in English. We make a rising intonation for questions in which we want to confirm information, i.e. the answer will be Sí or No; but we make a falling intonation for questions in which we are requesting information, i.e. starting with a wh-pronoun.
The wh-pronouns (los pronombres interrogativos) in Spanish are:
¿Quién? ¿Quiénes? Who? (singular and plural)
¿Por qué? Why? (*no interrogative Because… Porque…)
¿Cuánto, cuánta? How much?
¿Cuántos, cuántas? How many?
¿De quién? Whose?
Notice that as interrogative pronouns they have a graphic accent; this is done to distinguish them from functioning as relative pronouns.
→ Hacer respuestas negativas o negar el verbo (making negative answers).
In Spanish we make the negative form of verbs by simply placing the negation no before the verb:
Él no es español. He isn’t Spanish.
No vamos a trabajar en coche. We don’t go to work by car.
No tienen coche. They don’t have a car.