Unit 2: Basics

Unit 2: Basic Vocabulary

Vocabulario básico (Basic Vocabulary)

Remember that these are very common words that you will likely encounter often and in most contexts. Do your best to memorize these if you don’t already know them. Basic Vocabulary lists will focus more on verbs as you work through the course and will generally get shorter as we go.

Adverbios (Adverbs) / Preposiciones (Prepositions):

cerca (de) near (to)
lejos (de) far (from)

Without the de these words are adverbs of place. (La ciudad está lejos. = The city is far away.) With the de, they are prepositions and are followed by an object (Mis parientes están cerca de mí. = My relatives are near me.)

Días de la semana (Days of the Week):

el lunes Monday
el martes Tuesday
el miércoles Wednesday
el jueves Thursday
el viernes Friday
el sábado Saturday
el domingo Sunday

La Familia (Family):

la abuela grandmother
el abuelo grandfather
la esposa wife
el esposo husband, spouse*
los esposos husband and wife
el hermano brother
la hermana sister
los hermanos brothers and sisters, siblings, brothers
la madre mother
el marido husband
el padre father, priest
los padres parents (priests [occasionally, “fathers”])
el pariente relative (false friend)
el/la primo/a cousin
la tía aunt
el tío uncle
los tíos aunt and uncle (occasionally, “uncles”)

*When the first three letters of a Spanish word are e + s + consonant, it may help to recognize it by imagining the word without the initial e. As Spanish does not permit words to begin in s + consonant, an e very frequently appears at the beginning. Among many other such words that that undergo the same phenomenon are : escuela, estado, español, escándalo, espinaca, etc.

Interrogativos (Question Words):

All interrogatives in Spanish, when directly asking a question or indirectly implying one (No sé cuándo es. = I don’t know when it is.), take a written accent mark.

¿cómo? how (used alone, “what?”)
¿cuál/es? which?, what?
¿cuándo? when?
¿cuánto?* how many?, how much?
¿de quién?, ¿de quiénes? whose?
¿dónde?, ¿adónde?, ¿de dónde? where?, where to? (to where?), where from?
¿por qué? why?
¿qué? what?, which?
¿quién?, ¿quiénes? who?

*Cuánto also has feminine, and masculine and feminine plural endings. See section 3.2.

Números (Numbers):

cero zero
uno one
dos two
tres three
cuatro four
cinco five
seis six
siete seven
ocho eight
nueve nine
diez ten
once eleven
doce twelve
trece thirteen
catorce fourteen
quince fifteen
dieciséis (diez y seis)* sixteen
diecisiete (diez y siete)* seventeen
dieciocho (diez y ocho)* eighteen
diecinueve (diez y nueve)* nineteen
veinte twenty

*The three-word forms of these numbers are becoming outdated. In the rare case when numbers are spelled out, which form you will see will likely depend on the date of the text.

Otros adjetivos (Other Adjectives):

mucho many, much, a lot
pobre poor, unfortunate
poco few, a little
rico rich, delicious

Otras palabras (Other Words):

casi almost (cognate: quasi)
hoy today
mañana tomorrow
para for*
por for*
si if
también also, too

*The difference between these two prepositions will be studied in section 5.5.

Sustantivos (Nouns):

el campo country, countryside, rural area, field
la chica girl
el chico boy
los chicos boys and girls (or “boys”)*
la ciudad city
el/la estadounidense U.S. native, American
el fútbol soccer
el fútbol americano football
el hombre man
la muchacha girl
la muchacho boy
los muchachos boys and girls (or “boys”)*
la mujer woman, wife
el país country, nation
el pasatiempo pastime

*The masculine gender is the default in Spanish if the group is mixed, that is, of boys and girls. Chicos could also refer to a group made up of boys only. If it is important to know which of the two translations is the correct one, the situation should clarify the meaning.

verbos (Verbs) / Preposiciones (Prepositions) / Conjunciones (Conjunctions):

a to, at
ahora now
allí there
aquí here
con with
de of, from, about
e and (before words beginning in -i, -hi)
en in, on
entre between, among
es (he, she, it) is/(you) are*
está (he, she, it) is/(you) are*
hay there is, there are
muy very
o or
pero but
y and

*The difference between these forms will be studied in Section 3.4.


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