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A sentence is a group of words that form a complete unit of meaning. Sentences can be as short as a single word or as long as the Amazon; the minimum criterion is that they contain a subject and verb.
If you’re thinking, "But that means they need at least two words!" remember that subject pronouns are optional in Spanish: a conjugated verb contains a subject.
Characteristics of sentences
- May be any length
- Must contain a subject and verb
- May include one or more other parts of speech
- Can usually be divided into two parts: subject and predicate
Parts of sentences
Subject | Sujeto
- May be a name, noun, or pronoun
- May be singular or plural
- May be modified by an adjective or other determiner
- May be stated or implicit
Predicate | Predicado
- Must include a verb
- Usually begins with the verb
- Contains everything that is not part of the subject
|María está lista.||María is ready.|
|El restaurante peruano abre a mediodía.||The Peruvian restaurant opens at noon.|
|Él y yo tenemos tres gatos.||He and I have three cats.|
When the subject pronoun is omitted and there’s no visible subject in Spanish, it’s un sujeto implícito.
|(ella) Está lista.||She is ready.|
|(nosotros) Tenemos tres gatos.||We have three cats.|
Types of sentences
There are four different kinds of sentences.
1) Statements | Oraciones enunciativas / declarativas
Statements, aka assertive sentences or declarative sentences, are the most common type of sentence. They make a statement, whether fact or opinion; can be affirmative or negative; and almost always end in a period.
|Es abogada.||She’s a lawyer.|
|No nos gusta el chocolate.||We don’t like chocolate.|
|Creo que no.||I don’t think so.|
|Tienes que parar de correr.||You have to stop running.|
2) Exclamatives | Oraciones exclamativas
Exclamative sentences are the excited siblings of statements: they express a strong feeling like joy, surprise, or anger, and usually start (in Spanish) and end (in both languages) in an exclamation point.
|¡Nos mudamos a España!||We’re moving to Spain!|
|¡Todavía no están listos!||They’re not ready yet!|
|¡Espero que no!||I hope not!|
3) Interrogatives | Oraciones interrogativas
Interrogative sentences, aka questions, ask for information, a service, or something tangible. They always start (in Spanish) and end (in both languages) in a question mark.
|¿Puedes ayudarme?||Can you help me?|
|¿Están en el coche?||Are they in the car?|
Unlike statements and exclamatives, which usually begin with the subject, interrogatives often begin with a question word.
|¿Cuándo os vais a mudar allí?||When are you going to move there?|
|¿Por qué no te gusta mi idea?||Why don’t you like my idea?|
When the question word is an interrogative pronoun, it is the subject.
|¿Quién quiere ir al cine?||Who wants to go to the movies?|
|¿Qué haces?||What are you doing?|
4) Commands | Oraciones imperativas
Commands are statements in the imperative, which means the subject is always implicit. They may end in a period or exclamation point, depending on how urgent the command is.
|Cuéntame un cuento.||Tell me a story.|
|Vamos a la playa.||Let’s go to the beach.|
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