Spanish Grammar cheat sheet

Spanish Grammar cheat sheet. Explore our ultimate education quick reference for Spanish Grammar.

This Spanish Grammar Cheat Sheet is an essential tool for learners seeking to master the complexities of Spanish grammar, offering clear guidelines on verb tenses, pronouns, adjectives, and more. It provides detailed explanations and examples to enhance understanding and usage of the language. Perfect for quick reference, this guide simplifies Spanish grammar for everyday communication. Additionally, we offer a comprehensive Spanish Language Cheat Sheet that covers vocabulary, common phrases, and cultural tips to complement your grammar learning.

Basic Grammar Rules

Sentence Structure

Spanish typically follows a Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) sentence structure but is relatively flexible. Subject pronouns can often be omitted when the verb conjugation makes the subject clear.

Questions Formation

In Spanish, questions can be formed simply by changing the intonation of a statement and by placing question marks at the beginning and the end of the sentence. Additionally, inversion of the subject and verb can also be used to form questions. For example, "Tú hablas español" (You speak Spanish) can become "¿Hablas español?" (Do you speak Spanish?) or "¿Tú hablas español?"


To make a sentence negative in Spanish, the word "no" is placed before the verb. If other negative words such as "nunca" (never), "nadie" (nobody), or "nada" (nothing) are used, "no" is still required before the verb, unless the negative word is placed at the beginning of the sentence, making a second "no" optional. For example, "No veo a nadie" (I don't see anyone) or "Nada importa" (Nothing matters).

Nouns and Articles

Gender (Masculine and Feminine)

In Spanish, all nouns have a gender, either masculine or feminine. Generally, nouns ending in -o are masculine, and nouns ending in -a are feminine. However, there are exceptions, and some word endings require memorization, such as nouns ending in -ción (feminine), -ma (masculine), and -dad (feminine).

Singular and Plural Forms

To form the plural of nouns in Spanish, if a noun ends in a vowel, simply add -s. If it ends in a consonant, add -es. For nouns ending in -z, change the z to c before adding -es. For example, "luz" (light) becomes "luces" (lights).

Definite and Indefinite Articles

The definite articles in Spanish (the equivalent of "the" in English) are "el" (masculine singular), "la" (feminine singular), "los" (masculine plural), and "las" (feminine plural). Indefinite articles (equivalent to "a" or "an" in English) are "un" (masculine singular), "una" (feminine singular), "unos" (masculine plural), and "unas" (feminine plural). Articles must agree in gender and number with the nouns they modify.


Personal Pronouns (Subject, Object)

Spanish personal pronouns are divided into subject pronouns and object pronouns (direct and indirect). Subject pronouns are typically omitted unless used for emphasis or clarity. Object pronouns precede the verb or can be attached to the infinitive form of the verb.

  • Subject Pronouns: yo (I), tú (you informal), él/ella/usted (he/she/formal you), nosotros/nosotras (we), vosotros/vosotras (you all informal in Spain), ellos/ellas/ustedes (they/mixed group or formal you all)
  • Object Pronouns: me (me), te (you informal), lo/la (him/her/it/formal you), nos (us), os (you all informal in Spain), los/las (them/formal you all)

Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns in Spanish reflect ownership and agree in gender and number with the noun they replace. They are: mi/mis (my), tu/tus (your informal), su/sus (his/her/your formal/their), nuestro/nuestra/nuestros/nuestras (our), vuestro/vuestra/vuestros/vuestras (your all informal in Spain).

Reflexive Pronouns

Reflexive pronouns are used with reflexive verbs to indicate that the subject performs an action on itself. They are: me (myself), te (yourself informal), se (himself/herself/itself/yourself formal/themselves), nos (ourselves), os (yourselves informal in Spain).

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns point out specific items and agree in gender and number with the nouns they represent. They are: este/esta (this), estos/estas (these), ese/esa (that), esos/esas (those), aquel/aquella (that over there), aquellos/aquellas (those over there).

Relative Pronouns

Relative pronouns are used to connect clauses or phrases to nouns or pronouns. The most commonly used are que (that, who, which), quien/quienes (who, whom - used with people), cuyo/cuya/cuyos/cuyas (whose - showing possession).


Regular Verbs (Conjugation for AR, ER, IR verbs)

Spanish verbs are categorized into three conjugation groups based on their infinitive endings: -ar, -er, and -ir. Each group follows a regular pattern of conjugation across different tenses:

  • -AR Verbs: Hablar (to speak)
    • Present: hablo, hablas, habla, hablamos, habláis, hablan
    • Past: hablé, hablaste, habló, hablamos, hablasteis, hablaron
    • Future: hablaré, hablarás, hablará, hablaremos, hablaréis, hablarán
  • -ER Verbs: Comer (to eat)
    • Present: como, comes, come, comemos, coméis, comen
    • Past: comí, comiste, comió, comimos, comisteis, comieron
    • Future: comeré, comerás, comerá, comeremos, comeréis, comerán
  • -IR Verbs: Vivir (to live)
    • Present: vivo, vives, vive, vivimos, vivís, viven
    • Past: viví, viviste, vivió, vivimos, vivisteis, vivieron
    • Future: viviré, vivirás, vivirá, viviremos, viviréis, vivirán

Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs deviate from standard conjugation patterns and must be memorized. Common irregular verbs include ser (to be), ir (to go), and tener (to have). These verbs often show irregularities in most tenses.

Modal verbs in Spanish, such as poder (can), querer (want), and deber (must), are used to express ability, desire, or obligation. They are typically followed by the infinitive of another verb without a preposition.

Gerunds and Participles

  • Gerund (Present Participle): Used to form progressive tenses like "estoy hablando" (I am speaking). It is formed by adding -ando for -ar verbs and -iendo for -er/-ir verbs.
  • Past Participle: Used to form perfect tenses and as adjectives, e.g., "he hablado" (I have spoken) and "puerta cerrada" (closed door). It is formed by adding -ado for -ar verbs and -ido for -er/-ir verbs.

Imperative (Commands)

Commands in Spanish vary by formality and include affirmative and negative commands. For example, for the verb hablar:

  • Affirmative (informal): habla (speak)
  • Negative (informal): no hables (do not speak)

Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive is used to express wishes, doubts, and possibilities. It is formed differently depending on the verb and tense. For example, the present subjunctive forms of hablar are hable, hables, hable, hablemos, habléis, hablen.


Present Simple

The present simple tense in Spanish is used to describe habitual actions, general truths, and current actions. It is formed by conjugating the verb according to its ending:

  • -AR Verbs: For example, hablar (to speak) becomes yo hablo, tú hablas, él/ella/usted habla, nosotros/nosotras hablamos, vosotros/vosotras habláis, ellos/ellas/ustedes hablan.
  • -ER Verbs: For example, comer (to eat) becomes yo como, tú comes, él/ella/usted come, nosotros/nosotras comemos, vosotros/vosotras coméis, ellos/ellas/ustedes comen.
  • -IR Verbs: For example, vivir (to live) becomes yo vivo, tú vives, él/ella/usted vive, nosotros/nosotras vivimos, vosotros/vosotras vivís, ellos/ellas/ustedes viven.

Past Simple (Preterite, Imperfect)

The past simple in Spanish has two main forms, each conveying different aspects of past actions:

  • Preterite: Indicates completed actions. For hablar, the conjugation would be yo hablé, tú hablaste, él/ella/usted habló, nosotros/nosotras hablamos, vosotros/vosotras hablasteis, ellos/ellas/ustedes hablaron.
  • Imperfect: Describes ongoing or repeated past actions. For hablar, the conjugation would be yo hablaba, tú hablabas, él/ella/usted hablaba, nosotros/nosotras hablábamos, vosotros/vosotras hablabais, ellos/ellas/ustedes hablaban.

Future Simple

The future simple tense is used to describe actions that will occur in the future. It is formed by adding the appropriate endings to the entire infinitive of the verb:

  • For all verbs: hablar, comer, vivir become yo hablaré, tú hablarás, él/ella/usted hablará, nosotros/nosotras hablaremos, vosotros/vosotras hablaréis, ellos/ellas/ustedes hablarán.

Perfect Tenses

Perfect tenses in Spanish use the auxiliary verb "haber" and the past participle of the main verb to describe actions that have been completed at the time of speaking:

  • Present Perfect: he hablado, has hablado, ha hablado, hemos hablado, habéis hablado, han hablado.
  • Past Perfect: había hablado, habías hablado, había hablado, habíamos hablado, habíais hablado, habían hablado.

Progressive Tenses

Progressive tenses describe ongoing actions and are formed using the verb "estar" plus the gerund of the main verb:

  • Present Progressive: estoy hablando, estás hablando, está hablando, estamos hablando, estáis hablando, están hablando.

Prepositions and Conjunctions

Common Prepositions

Prepositions in Spanish are words that link nouns, pronouns, and phrases to other words in a sentence, indicating relationships of time, space, and direction among others. Some common prepositions include:

  • a (to, at)
  • de (of, from)
  • en (in, on)
  • con (with)
  • sin (without)
  • por (for, by)
  • para (for, to)
  • sobre (on, about)

Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases provide additional information about how, where, when, and why something happens, and typically involve the use of a preposition followed by a noun or pronoun.

  • Example: "en la casa" (in the house), "con nosotros" (with us)

Prepositions with Verbs

Many Spanish verbs require specific prepositions to be used in sentences, creating unique verb-preposition combinations that often differ from their English equivalents.

  • Example: "soñar con" (to dream about), "casarse con" (to marry), "empezar a" (to start)

Coordinating Conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions join words, phrases, or clauses of equal importance. The most common Spanish coordinating conjunctions are:

  • y (and)
  • o (or)
  • pero (but)
  • ni (nor)
  • sino (but rather)

Subordinating Conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions connect clauses by making one clause dependent on another. They introduce dependent clauses and include conjunctions such as:

  • que (that)
  • porque (because)
  • aunque (although)
  • cuando (when)
  • si (if)


Common Interjections

Interjections in Spanish are words or phrases that express sudden emotions or sentiments and are often used spontaneously in conversation. They do not grammatically link with other parts of a sentence and are usually followed by an exclamation mark. Some common interjections include:

  • ¡Hola! (Hello!)
  • ¡Ay! (Ouch!)
  • ¡Eh! (Hey!)
  • ¡Uf! (Phew!)
  • ¡Vaya! (Wow!)
  • ¡Olé! (Bravo!)


Interjections are used to express a wide range of emotions, from surprise and excitement to pain and disappointment. They are versatile and can often be found at the beginning or end of sentences.

Cultural Variations

Different Spanish-speaking regions may have unique interjections that are specific to their local dialects. These expressions can provide insight into cultural attitudes and communication styles.

Sentence Connectors

Linking Words and Phrases for Smooth Transitions

Sentence connectors are essential for creating smooth transitions between ideas in writing and speech. They help maintain the flow and coherence of discourse by linking sentences, clauses, or paragraphs. Common connectors include:

Causal Connectors

  • Porque (because) - indicates a reason.
  • Debido a (due to) - introduces a cause.
  • Por lo tanto (therefore) - shows the result of a cause.
  • Así que (so) - indicates a consequence.

Contrastive Connectors

  • Sin embargo (however) - introduces a contrasting idea.
  • Aunque (although) - starts a concession.
  • Por otro lado (on the other hand) - contrasts two different points of view.
  • A pesar de (despite) - shows contrast without negating the previous statement.

Additive Connectors

  • Además (furthermore) - adds information that agrees with the previous point.
  • También (also) - adds similar information or ideas.
  • Igualmente (likewise) - introduces a comparable situation or idea.

Temporal Connectors

  • Antes de (before) - indicates what happens first.
  • Después de (after) - indicates what happens later.
  • Mientras (while) - shows simultaneity.

Usage Tips

  • Select connectors that precisely match the relationship you wish to express between clauses.
  • Place connectors appropriately within the sentence to enhance clarity and readability.

Question Words


Question words in Spanish are used to form questions that require more than a yes or no answer. These words are crucial for gathering information and are typically placed at the beginning of a question. Common Spanish interrogatives include:

  • ¿Quién?/¿Quiénes? (Who?/Who [plural]?)
  • ¿Qué? (What?)
  • ¿Cuándo? (When?)
  • ¿Dónde? (Where?)
  • ¿Por qué? (Why?)
  • ¿Cómo? (How?)
  • ¿Cuál?/¿Cuáles? (Which?/Which [plural]?)
  • ¿Cuánto?/¿Cuánta?/¿Cuántos?/¿Cuántas? (How much?/How many?)

Forming Questions

To form a question using these interrogatives, place the question word at the beginning of the sentence, followed by the verb and subject, if it's not implicit. For example:

  • ¿Qué estudias? (What do you study?)
  • ¿Dónde viven ellos? (Where do they live?)
  • ¿Cuándo vamos a salir? (When are we going out?)

Special Usage

Some interrogatives, like "¿cuál?" and "¿qué?" can be tricky as they can sometimes be used interchangeably, but often "¿cuál?" is used in place of "which" when selecting among options, while "¿qué?" is used to define something or ask for a definition.

  • ¿Qué libro lees? (What book are you reading?) – asking about the nature or content of the book.
  • ¿Cuál libro prefieres? (Which book do you prefer?) – choosing among multiple books.

Tips for Clarity

  • Use intonation to distinguish between a regular sentence and a question when the structure doesn't change.
  • Always use the inverted question marks (¿?) at the beginning and the regular question marks (?) at the end of your question.

Useful Grammar Tips

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Navigating a new language can often lead to common errors. Here are some typical mistakes learners of Spanish should avoid:

  • Mixing up ser and estar: Both translate to "to be" in English, but "ser" is used for permanent characteristics, origin, and material, while "estar" is for temporary states, locations, and ongoing actions.
  • Gender agreement: Ensure adjectives agree in gender and number with the nouns they modify.
  • Misusing por and para: "Por" is generally used to express duration, cause, or exchange, while "para" is used to indicate destination, purpose, or recipient.

Tips for Remembering Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs can be challenging to memorize due to their non-standard conjugation patterns. Here are some strategies to help:

  • Group similar irregulars: Many irregular verbs share conjugation patterns. Grouping them can help in remembering their forms.
  • Practice with sentences: Use irregular verbs in full sentences to help cement their forms in context.
  • Frequent review: Regularly revisiting these verbs can reinforce memory and aid in quicker recall.

Practicing Conjugation

Conjugation is a fundamental aspect of mastering Spanish verbs. To improve, consider the following:

  • Conjugation drills: Regularly practicing verb forms through written exercises or apps designed for language learning.
  • Speaking practice: Using verbs in conversation helps solidify understanding and improve fluency.
  • Listening to native speakers: Engaging with media in Spanish, such as music, movies, and podcasts, can expose you to the natural use of various verb forms.

Cultural Tips

Dos and Don’ts

Understanding cultural norms is as important as mastering the language itself. Here are some key dos and don’ts when interacting with Spanish-speaking cultures:

  • Do use formal titles: In many Spanish-speaking countries, it's common to use formal titles such as 'Señor' (Mr.), 'Señora' (Mrs.), and 'Señorita' (Miss) until otherwise invited to use first names.
  • Don’t be late for social events: While some cultures are more flexible about timing, it's generally good etiquette to arrive on time or slightly late to social gatherings.
  • Do engage in small talk: Before getting down to business, it’s polite to engage in brief small talk, discussing topics like family, weather, or general well-being.

Common Gestures

Gestures can vary significantly across cultures, and what is considered polite or casual in one culture might be rude in another:

  • Hand gestures: Be mindful of how you use your hands; gestures like the ‘OK’ sign can have different meanings in different places.
  • Personal space: In many Spanish-speaking cultures, personal space is smaller than in some Western countries, and touching during conversation can be more common.

Dining Etiquette

Mealtime is an important aspect of Spanish culture, with specific customs that should be respected:

  • Tipping: In many Spanish-speaking countries, tipping is customary but not as large as in the United States. Around 10% is generally acceptable in restaurants.
  • Eating times: Meals often occur later than in many other countries, with lunch around 2 PM and dinner around 9 PM or later.

Cultural Tips

Dos and Don'ts

Understanding cultural norms is crucial when interacting with Spanish-speaking communities. Here are some essential dos and don’ts:

  • Do be punctual for business meetings: While social events may have a more relaxed approach to punctuality, business meetings typically expect on-time attendance.
  • Don't refuse food or drink: In many Spanish cultures, it's considered rude to refuse food or drink offered by your host. At least a small portion should be accepted as a gesture of goodwill.
  • Do use polite forms of address: Especially in formal settings, use "usted" instead of "tú" with strangers and in professional contexts to show respect.

Common Gestures

Gestures can communicate as much as words, and misinterpretations can lead to misunderstandings:

  • Be careful with hand gestures: Some hand signals can be offensive in Spanish-speaking countries. For instance, the thumbs-up sign is generally positive, but other gestures might not translate as well.
  • Embrace greetings: Physical contact, like a light handshake or a kiss on the cheek, is common when greeting someone, depending on the country.

Dining Etiquette

Understanding mealtime etiquette is important in Spanish-speaking cultures:

  • Wait before starting to eat: It's polite to wait until the host says "Buen provecho" before starting to eat.
  • Understand meal times: Meals typically occur later than in many other countries. Lunch might be served from 2 PM to 4 PM, and dinner often starts around 9 PM or later.
  • Sharing dishes: In many places, dishes are shared at the table, especially tapas in Spain, so be prepared to share your food.

Cultural Observations

Being aware of cultural nuances can enrich your interactions:

  • Directness vs. politeness: In some Spanish-speaking countries, direct communication is common and not meant to offend. In others, more circumspect communication is the norm.
  • Respect for elders: Elders are highly respected, and it is common to give up your seat for an older person or to allow them to go first in line.