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Basic Spanish for the Virtual Student- Section 1

Learn elementary Spanish grammar rules in this free online course.

  1. This page has been checked by a native speaker for mistakes.
  2. This does not mean the page is 'mistake-free.' (It means a lower probability of errors.)
  3. We advise that for everything you learn here, you also find it elsewhere!


  1. ability to pronounce the words
  2. ability to put the emphasis on the correct syllable
  3. knowledge of the subject pronouns I, you, he, she, it, we, you people, they
  4. ability to conjugate the present tense of the three types of regular verbs
  5. ability to write a pronoun verb sentence. ( I drink.)
  6. ability to use nouns to make an article/noun/verb sentence
  7. knowledge of which adjectives agree with noun gender, and which agree with singular/plural status of the noun
  8. knowledge of possessive adjectives: my car, your house, his ring, etc.
  9. knowledge of possessive pronouns: you are wearing my t-shirt, and I'm wearing yours


Basic Rules of Accentuation

  1. Words ending in a vowel, or n or s, the next to last syllable is stressed.
  2. For words ending in a consonant other than n or s stress falls on the last syllable.
  3. If the word has an accent mark, then that syllable is stressed, ignoring the rules above.

Syllable division involving two vowels

The vowels a, e, and o are "strong" vowels, and i and u are "weak". Where two vowels fall together, the following rules affect syllable division and accentuation:
  1. A weak + strong combination belongs to one syllable with the stress falling on the strong vowel. aceite, cierra, causa.
  2. A weak + weak combination belongs to one syllable with the stress falling on the second vowel. viuda, fuimos, diluir
  3. A strong + strong combination is divided into two syllables. bom-be-ar, po-le-a, em-ple- o
  4. If the word has an accent mark, then that syllable is stressed. flúido, día, encías


a -- like the a in father
e -- for a syllable ending in a vowel, like the e in they; for a syllable ending in a consonant, like the e in get
i -- like the i in machine
o -- for a syllable ending in a vowel, like the o in vote; for a syllable ending in a consonant, like the o in pot
I've been told that the o in vote actually corresponds to the ou sound
u -- like the u in rule; silent after q and in the groups gue and gui
y -- When used as a vowel, such as in the words y and voy, it is pronounced like the Spanish i.


ai, ay -- like the i in side
au -- like the ou in found
ei, ey -- like the ey in they
eu -- like the vowel sounds in may-you
the vowel sounds in may-you is actually closer to eiu, but I can't find anything better for eu
thanks to Agustin for the help!
oi, oy -- like the oy in boy


i, y -- like the y in yes. Examples: bien, hielo
u -- like with w in well. Examples: huevo, fuente, agua


b, v -- When found at the beginning of a word or following a consonant, these are pronounced like a b. Otherwise, they have a sound which falls somewhere inbetween the English b and v sounds.
c -- before a consonant or a, o, or u, like the c in cat; before e or i like an s
ch -- like the ch in church. Historically, the Spanish ch has been treated as a separate letter although this has recently been changed. Therefore, many dictionaries list words beginning with ch after the c's and before the d's.
d -- like the English d except between vowels and following l or n where pronounced like the th in this
f -- like the f in for
g -- before e or i, like the Spanish j; otherwise like the g in get
h -- silent
j -- like an h but stronger; silent when at the end of a word
k -- like a k
l -- like an l
ll -- like the y in you
m -- like an m
n -- like an n; except where it appears before a v, like an m
ñ -- like the n in onion
p -- like a p
q -- like a k; always followed by a silent u
r -- pronounced with a strong trill at the beginning of a word and following an l, n, or s; very little trill when at the end of a word; and medium trill in other positions
rr -- strongly trilled
s -- before consonants b, d, g, l, m, n, like a z; otherwise like an s
t -- like a t
v -- see b, v
w -- usually like a v
x -- when between vowels, like the x in box; before a consonant, like an s
y -- like the y in yes
z -- like an s









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Special thanks to JOHNNY (Johnny Nahui-Ortiz),
PEPE (José Humberto Pinzon Peraza)
and OZZIE (Osvaldo Suarez) for their assistance!

I used purely semantic html for this entire course. That means that you should be able to save this to a palm pilot or other PDA, and view it with any browser. The only problems might be the tables, and the images at the top, the only images used. If anyone tries this, I'd love to hear feedback about how well it works, or tips that I could give others.