How to Form Sentences in Spanish: 3 Practice Exercises + Solutions

Did you ever wonder about the question of how to form sentences in Spanish?

let’s listen to a real conversation first, than explore this question!

Build your own Sentences in Spanish! Tricks to remember Spanish Sentence Structure

ALEX
Maura, hace unos días unos amigos me pidieron tips sobre cómo empezar oraciones en español.
(Maura, a few days ago some friends asked me for tips on how to start sentences in Spanish.)

MAURA
¿Y qué les dijiste?
(And what did you tell them?)

ALEX
¡Ese es el problema! No supe qué decirles.
(That’s the problem! I didn’t know what to tell them.)

Alex’s inquiry is a very interesting one.

I’m Maura, from Spring Spanish. And in this lesson I’ll help Alex and you discover how most Spanish sentences begin so you’ll always have a jumpstart. ¡Empecemos!

1. Start sentences with the pronoun

Let’s quickly check the pronouns I’m talking about:

Subject PronounEnglish
YoI
You
Él, Ella, EsoHe, She, It
Nosotros/NosotrasWe
UstedesPlural You
Ellos/EllasThey

MAURA
Empezar con los pronombres da paso a las oraciones más básicas del idioma. Y por básicas quiero decir esenciales, fundamentales.
(Starting with pronouns gives way to the most basic sentences of the language. And by basic I mean essential, fundamental.)

ALEX
¡Es verdad! Con esos pronombres puedes empezar muchas ideas.
(It’s true! With those pronouns you can start many ideas.)

MAURA
Sí, especialmente ideas simples y concretas que no tengan mucho contexto.
(Yes, especially simple and concrete ideas that do not have much context.)

ALEX
Como por ejemplo: Yo estudio español todos los días.
(Like for example: I study Spanish every day.)

MAURA
¡Exacto! Datos descriptivos y básicos.
(Exactly! Descriptive and basic data.)

This essential information that pronouns help with are things like descriptions, facts or data:

  • Ella es muy inteligente y agradable. (She is very intelligent and nice.)
  • Yo soy de Venezuela. (I am from Venezuela.)
  • Eso es bastante fácil. (That’s very easy.)

By the way, at the end of the lesson we’ll be checking very extra official, insider tips to start sentences with filler words. Grammar books won’t tell you this, but my daily use of Spanish will!

how to form sentences in spanish explained by female teacher

Right now, here are other instances in which starting with a pronoun would also happen naturally:

  • Él me dijo que prefería ir en carro. (He told me he preferred to go by car.)
  • Ustedes siempre se portan bien conmigo. (You guys are always good to me.)
  • Eso ha estado ahí desde ayer. (That’s been there since yesterday.)

In all of these examples using pronouns would be natural. I say this because it is also very natural for Spanish to omit pronouns. How to know when to use them or omit them is matter of familiarity.

Other words that seem to act like these pronouns and therefore are super common sentence starters as well, are words like:

Aquí (Here):

SpanishEnglish
Aquí hace mucho frío.Here it is very cold.
Aquí se come bien.Here you eat well.

Hay (There is/are):

SpanishEnglish
Hay una mesa disponible.There is a table available.
Hay mucha gente en la calle.There are many people on the street.

2. Start sentences with verbs conjugated for “I” and “We”

To catch these patterns your best bet is to expose yourself and listen to as much Spanish as possible. ¡Claro que con mucha atención! (Of course with a lot of attention!)

Because we know this, we do offer you the possibility to become a member of our Spring Spanish Inner Circle. Among other things like flashcards and lessons, you’ll get access to a Spanish-speaking community of teachers and students to practice with.

MAURA
Otro tip es empezar con verbos. Sobre todo conjugados con “yo” y “nosotras”. O “nosotros” en masculino y para grupos mezclados, claro.
(Another tip is to start with verbs. Especially conjugated with “I” and “we”. Or “we” in masculine and for mixed groups, of course.)

ALEX
Recuerdo que me dijiste eso cuando empecé a estudiar verbos.
(I remember you telling me that when I started studying verbs.)

MAURA
Claro, es que la idea es la misma. Uno tiene más jurisdicción y necesidad de hablar sobre uno o sobre nosotras.
(Of course, the idea is the same. One has more jurisdiction and need to talk about oneself or about us.)

ALEX
Bueno, porque “nosotras” igual incluye “yo”.
(Well, because “we” also includes “I”.)

MAURA
Exactamente. Por tanto, estas conjugaciones son las más importantes. Se usan más y empiezan más oraciones.
(Exactly. Therefore, these conjugations are the most important. They are used more and start more sentences.)

I swear by the idea that if you focus on the conjugation only for “Yo” (I) and “Nosotros/Nosotras” (we) and only for a few verbs, you can get a huge percentage of the language with the least amount of effort possible.

Here are examples with the verbs I would advise:

Tener / Tener que (Have to/Have to have to):

SpanishEnglish
Tenemos que irnos.We have to go.
¡Tenemos que vernos!We have to see each other!
Tengo mucho sueño.I am very sleepy.
Tengo que comprarme ropa para la entrevista.I have to buy clothes for the interview.

Querer (Want to):

SpanishEnglish
Queremos comer.We want to eat.
Queremos quedarnos más tiempo.We want to stay longer.
Quiero ir a la playa.I want to go to the beach.
¡Me quiero morir!I want to die!

Have you heard the latest one before? We might say this very dramatic chunk to express surprise for the smallest of things.

Necesitas (Need):

SpanishEnglish
Necesitamos un apartamento más grande.We need a bigger apartment.
Necesito más tiempo de ocio.Need more leisure time.
Nosotras necesitamos muy poco para ser felices.We need very little to be happy.
Yo necesito hacer más ejercicio.I need to exercise more.

Estar (Be):

SpanishEnglish
Nosotras estamos en la esquina de tu calle.We are on the corner of your street.
Estoy súper contenta.I’m super happy.
Estamos demasiado cansados.We are too tired.
Yo estoy segura de que todo va a salir bien.I am sure that everything will be fine.

3. Start sentences with question words

MAURA
Por supuesto hacer preguntas es gran parte de la comunicación. Y las preguntas tienen sus propias maneras de comenzar oraciones.
(Of course asking questions is a big part of communication. And questions have their own ways of starting sentences.)

ALEX
Cualquier partícula de pregunta puede empezar una oración, ¿no?
(Any question particle can start a sentence, right?)

MAURA
¡Claro! “Dónde”, “cuánto”, “por qué” y similares son perfectos principios de oraciones.
(Of course! “Where,” “how much,” “why,” and the like are perfect sentence starters.)

ALEX
Incluso podría ser un “no” si estoy haciendo una pregunta negativa. Como: ¿No quisieras cocinar en lugar de pedir comida?
(It could even be a “no” if I’m asking a negative question. Like: Wouldn’t you want to cook instead of ordering food?)

MAURA
¡Sí! Empezar con “no” es todo un “pro tip”.
(Yes! Starting with “no” is a pro tip.)

Here are examples of sentences that hold on their own and start with question words:

  • ¿A qué hora es que nos tenemos que ir? (What time do we have to leave?)
  • ¿Qué íbamos a comer? (What were we going to eat?)
  • ¿Dónde es la reunión al fin? (Where is the meeting at last?)
  • ¿Cuánto te costaron esos zapatos? (How much did those shoes cost you?)

And, this is so common, I have even more examples for you. I have literally said all of these things today alone:

  • ¿Cuándo nos vemos? (When will I see you?)
  • ¿Por qué estás haciendo tanto ruido? (Why are you making so much noise?)
  • ¿Cómo es que se hacían las lentejas? (How did you make the lentils?)
  • ¿No que llegabas el viernes? ¿Qué haces aquí? (Weren’t you coming on Friday? What are you doing here?)

4. Start sentences with filler words

MAURA
Lo otro que se me ocurre es empezar oraciones con muletillas.
(The other thing that comes to mind is to start sentences with filler words.)

ALEX
¿Muletillas? ¿Qué es eso?
(Filler words? What is that?)

MAURA
Palabritas de relleno. Que no significan mucho, la verdad, pero sí ayudan bastante a dar paso a oraciones. ¿No me has escuchado decir “entonces”, “bueno” y cosas así todo el tiempo?
(Filler words. Which don’t mean much, really, but they do help a lot to make way for sentences. Haven’t you heard me say “so”, “well” and things like that all the time?.)

ALEX
¡Claro! Y yo también las uso, pero no me había dado cuenta de que sirven un montón para comenzar ideas.
(Of course! And I use them too, but I didn’t realize that they work very well to start ideas.)

Here’s what I don’t think everybody will tell you but that I’ve checked in my own life. You can almost always start sentences with these filler words:

SpanishEnglish
Entonces ¿al final vamos a salir o no?So are we finally going out or not?
¿Y si mejor pintamos las paredes mañana?And if we paint the walls tomorrow?
Aja, yo casi termino. ¿Y tú?Uh-huh, I’m almost done. And you?: do you use “aja” in your Spanish? This is as good a it gets when it comes to sounding native.
Mira, la verdad es mejor buscar los pasajes ya.Look, it’s better look for the tickets now.
Escucha, Valerio dice que viene como en media hora.Listen, Valerio says he’s coming in about half an hour.
Es que no se puede pelear por todo.It’s just that you can’t fight about everything.

5. How to form sentences in Spanish: Practice!

For this little exercise I want you to start these sentences. Take into account that for the first two you have many possibilities:

1. Start with a filler word:

__________ pero tampoco es la gran cosa. ( ________ but it’s no big deal either.)

In this example, it could be anything like:

Bueno, pero tampoco es la gran cosa. (Well, but it’s no big deal either.)

Ajá, pero tampoco es la gran cosa. (Uh-huh, but it’s no big deal either.)

2. Start with a verb:

___________ que no te íbamos a ver de nuevo. (________ that we weren’t going to see you again.)

Answers could be:

Jurábamos que no te íbamos a ver de nuevo. (We swore that we weren’t going to see you again.)

Creíamos que no te íbamos a ver de nuevo. (We thought that we weren’t going to see you again.)

3. Start with a pronoun:

  1. __________ no soy la indicada para ese trabajo. (_______ not the right person for that job.)

Here your only option is:

Yo no soy la indicada para ese trabajo. (I’m not the right person for that job.)

Since choosing pronouns are a good way to start sentences but it’s a little tricky to know when to use them, I would strongly advise you follow me to my other lesson on when to use pronouns in Spanish.

¡Gracias por estar aquí y nos vemos allá! (Thank you for being here and we’ll see each other there!)

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