Category Archives: How To Learn Spanish

How to learn Spanish.

How To Make Spanish Nouns Plural

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The plural form of nouns in Spanish is relatively easy to learn. There are really only three rules to follow.

1. Nouns ending in a vowel; add s:

mano — hand
manos — hands
señora — lady
señoras — ladies

2. Nouns ending in a consonant; add es:

lección — lesson
lecciones — lessons
profesor — professor
profesores — professors

3. Nouns ending in z; change z to c and add es:

luz — light
luces — lights
nariz — nose
narices — noses

Notice that under rule 2 above, the example also showed a change in written (and spoken) accentuation:

lección becomes lecciones

That is because adding es actually adds another syllable to the word and so a different accent rule applies. You may want to review the lesson on accents in Spanish.

In a nutshell, when words ending in n, s, or a vowel have a spoken stress, the accent mark is used. The word lecciones keeps its spoken stress on the -on syllable, but in the plural form of the word, with -es added, -on is no longer the final syllable and the word conforms to the unmarked configuration.

Okay, that was la parte más fácil. Now you have to know how to add “the” definite article. You see, in Spanish the article, noun and adjective must agree in number and gender. Think of it as a homogeneous noun phrase.

For example, if “the lady” is la señora, then “the ladies” is:

las señoras

That is, la becomes las, for the feminine gender. The masculine el becomes los in the plural form:

el hombre fuerte — the strong man


los hombres fuertes — the strong men

Do you see that the article, the noun, and the adjective all become plural?

To anticipate your next question, and offer some help with it, visit: When are Spanish Nouns Feminine or Masculine?

Espero que encuentre las lecciones en este sitio informativos y divertidos.

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Clock Times in Spanish

¿Qué hora es?

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Telling time in Spanish is not difficult if you can remember a few simple rules. First, let’s look at a clock with time translations in Spanish:

Clock Times in Spanish

So, what time does it say…in Spanish?

Son las cuatro menos diez. — It's ten to four.

Literally, “It is four minus ten.” Here’s why Spanish speakers convey time the way they do, including all the rules you need to remember:

1. First say the hour, then the minutes.

2. The hour number is always plural, except when denoting “one”.

12 = Son las doce...
1 = Es la una...
2 = Son las dos...
3 = Son las tres...
4 = Son las cuatro...
5 = Son las cinco...
6 = Son las seis...
7 = Son las siete...
8 = Son las ocho...
9 = Son las nueve...
10 = Son las diez...
11 = Son las once...

3. If it’s before the hour, except “quarter till”, you say menos followed by the number of minutes.

4. If it’s after the hour, except “quarter past”, you say y followed by the number of minutes.

Son las nueve y veinte. — It's nine-twenty. Or, It's twenty past nine.

5. Always say “the” (definite article) before the hour.

La una, las dos, las tres, etc.

6. If it’s exactly the hour, say en punto.

Son las doce en punto — It's twelve o'clock.

7. If it’s “half past” the hour say y media.

Son las cinco y media — It's five-thirty. Or, It's half past five.

8. If it’s “quarter past”, say …y cuarto. If it’s “quarter to”, say …menos cuarto.

Son las tres y cuarto. — It's three-fifteen. Or, It's quarter after three.
Es la una menos cuarto. — It's quarter till one.

Remember, you might say in English, “It’s twelve forty-five”, but Spanish speakers do not.

Hope you’ve had “una hora agradable.”

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Related lesson: How to Say “What Time Is It?” in Spanish.

How Do You Say Happy Birthday in Spanish?

The easy way to say happy birthday in Spanish is:

Feliz cumpleaños. — Happy birthday.

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But, not so fast; what if it’s a “sweet sixteen” or, the very important coming-of-age party for a Latin American girl—her 15th birthday? Well, if it’s the latter, it’s called a quinceañera and it means fifteenth birthday celebration. If you want to wish her well, you would say:

Te deseo una quinceañera feliz. — Have a happy fifteenth birthday party (celebration).

What if you want to include their age in the greeting? For example, you want to say: “Happy 19th birthday.” Well, that’s a trick question and I’ll show you why.

If you enter “Happy nineteenth birthday” into one of those language translators, you’ll get back something like this: Feliz cumpleaños decimonoveno.

Here’s the problem with that: decimonoveno is the literal—ordinal—translation. In the real world, Spanish ordinal numbers (first, second, third…nineteenth, etc…) are rarely used after ten. In the case of the nineteenth birthday, you would instead say:

Feliz cumpleaños del número diecinueve. — Happy birthday [of the] number nineteen.

…or simply,

Feliz cumpleaños del diecinueve. — Happy birthday [of the] nineteen.

Now, if the celebrant will be (or became) ten or younger, here are the Spanish ordinal numbers you could use:

primero(a) — first
segundo(a) — second
tercero(a) — third
cuarto(a) — forth
quinto(a) — fifth
sexto(a) — sixth
séptimo(a) — seventh
octavo(a) — eighth
noveno(a) — ninth
décimo(a) — tenth

For example:

¿Fue el quinto cumpleaños de María? — Was it Maria's fifth birthday?

Two more rules for Spanish ordinals:

1. Ordinals must agree in number and gender of the nouns they modify. For example:

Es la quinta vez que te llamo hoy. — This is the fifteenth time I'm calling you today.

2. The “o” is dropped from primero and tercero before masculine singular nouns, for example:

el primer día del mes — the first day of the month

Back to birthdays:

Hoy celebramos el primer cumpleaños del bebé. — Today we celebrate the baby's first birthday.

¡Cuando te toca el tuyo, feliz cumpleaños!

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