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Spanish Grammar Rules

Spanish grammar isn’t more difficult than any other language. But it does have a few rules that may seem strange if your first language is English. The good news is these rules can be learnt quickly using Spanish grammar hacking.

My worry is that sometimes students are sitting right in between, not really using the hacking process to improve quickly or using the mastery approach to achieve very high levels.

The ideas in this post are inspired by Tim Ferriss’ latest book, “The Four Hour Chef”. Tim introduces a unique approach to language learning that inspires and aligns with a lot of what I’m teaching here on this site.

The hacking approach says that although there are hundreds of grammar rules and tricks you need to know to speak with perfect fluency, they are not all created equally.

Some rules are far more common. The 80/20 approach in essence says that 20% of the rules will be used 80% of the time.

Even this morning as I was writing this post, I had a question from a student about the imperative (command) tense. The grammar rule was that you need to use an accent on top of a letter in the imperative conjugation. Yet you won’t find an accent in any other conjugation for this verb:

The example was the command form of domir (to sleep):


This is just one example of the complexity you need to deal with to have perfect Spanish grammar.

My advice was not to worry about this unique situation because it doesn’t come up that often. Particularly, if you are only interested in being conversational, you will never have to know this rule so don’t let it stress you out.

If you are intending to write a PHD thesis in Spanish or become a Spanish author then yeah you are going to have to learn everything eventually (and have a really good spell checker!).

But for students that want to take the hacking approach here’s what you need to know to get the biggest bang for your buck with Spanish grammar.

The 13 Spanish grammar hacking sentences you need to know are:



The apple is red

It is John’s apple

I give John the apple

We give him the apple

La manzana es roja

Es la manzana de John

Le doy la manzana a John

Le damos la manzana

He gives it to John

She gives it to him

Él se la da a John

Ella se la da

I must give it to him

I want to give it to her

I’m going to know tomorrow

I can’t eat the apple

I have eaten the apple

Debo dársela a él

Quiero dársela (a ella)

Voy a conocer mañana

No puedo comer la manzana

Me he comido la manzana

Is the apple red?

The apples are red

¿Es la manzana roja?

Las manzanas son rojas

Commit these sentences to memory and make sure you understand them.

Once you have them locked in, you can apply these sentences to almost any situation by substituting other nouns and verbs.

These 13 sentences don’t cover absolutely everything that you need to know. But that is that point! They focus on the most important components of grammar first to save you valuable time and brain power. They will help you progress down a path to a conversational level of Spanish quickly. And that’s ultimately what you should be aiming for first.

Language hacking principles are extremely useful but they are not only strictly limited to grammar.

If you would like to learn more about the 7 principles of conversation hacking, check out the .

Once you get to a conversational level, not only will you feel satisfied with what you have achieved but you will have built a solid foundation for going on to higher levels of mastery in Spanish.

But for now, knowing the rules of Spanish grammar hacking will be one important step towards conversing with ease and moving away from being labelled a ‘gringo’ in South America or a ‘guiri’ in Spain.

How else can you improve your Spanish grammar?

Learning Spanish?

If so, sign up for access to The Definitive Guide to Conversation Hacking in Spanish. You will also receive weekly Spanish and language learning tips.

See also:

  • Barcode Label Software | TEKLYNX

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