Capítulo 1: ¿Quién es?
Gramática para la comunicación I
I. Talking about Yourself and Others (Part I): Subject Pronouns, llamarse, and ser
A. Subject Pronouns
After having used Spanish to communicate with your classmates, try to answer a
few questions about what you have learned. In the sentence Me llamo Juan,
what is the subject I, you, he, or she? If you said I, you were correct. There is no
ambiguity here and I is the only option (me llamo—both me and -o indicate the
subject of the verb). What is the subject of the question ¿De dónde eres? If you
said you, you were correct.
The singular subject pronouns in Spanish are as follows:
B. Asking and Giving One's Name: Llamarse
The singular forms of the verb llamarse (to call oneself) are as follows:
Now look at this sentence and try to identify the subject: ¿Cómo se llama? There
are three options: Ud., él, or ella. In this case, a pronoun is mainly used to provide
clarity: ¿Cómo se llama él?
NOTE: Subject pronouns in Spanish are optional and are generally used only for
clarification, emphasis, and contrast. In most cases, the conjugated verb forms
indicate who the subject is.
C. Stating Origin: Ser + de, ser + nationality
The singular forms of the verb ser (to be) are the following:
As shown in the examples, origin can be expressed in the following ways:
Remember: The pronouns yo and tú are only used for emphasis at the discretion
of the speaker, but Ud., él, and ella can be used for emphasis or for clarity.
II. Indicating One's Age: Tener
One of the uses of the verb tener is to indicate one's age. The following are the
singular forms of the verb tener in the present indicative:
Remember: As with all verbs in Spanish, the pronouns can be used for emphasis
or clarity. The overuse of yo and tú when speaking or writing Spanish sounds
redundant, so when in doubt, omit them.
*NOTE: The number veintiuno loses its final -o when followed by a masculine
noun. When the -o is dropped, an accent is needed over the -u: veintiún.
Gramática para la comunicación II
I. Talking About Yourself and Others (Part II)
A. Subject Pronouns in the Singular and Plural
NOTE: Vosotros/as is used only in Spain.
In Hispanic America Uds. is the plural formal and informal form of address.
B. Singular and Plural Forms of the Verbs
llamarse, tener, and ser
In this chapter you have seen three uses of the verb ser:
1. Ser + de + city/country or ser + nationality to indicate origin
2. Ser + name to identify a person (= llamarse)
3. Ser + occupation to identify what someone does for a living
C. Singular and Plural Forms of Occupations
and Adjectives of Nationality
In this chapter you have learned how to express a person's occupation and state
someone's nationality. Which of the following occupations or adjectives of
nationality would you use to refer to a woman: doctor, camarera, árabe, salvadoreña,
guatemalteco? If you answered ,
you were correct. If you were referring to two men, camarera, árabe, and salvadoreña which of the following occupations
or adjectives of nationality would you use: doctores, camareras, árabes,
salvadoreñas, guatemaltecos? If you said doctores, árabes, and guatemaltecos,
you were correct. You used logic, intuition, and your knowledge of language in
general to arrive at these choices.
1. To form the plural of occupations and adjectives ending in -o, -a, or -e, simply add an -s.
2. To form the plural of occupations and adjectives ending in a consonant,
- The plural of actriz is actrices.
- Note that there is an accent on alemán, but not on alemanes. For further explanation, see Stress in Appendix B.
- When referring to a group that includes males and females, use the masculine plural form of the adjective or occupation: Jorge, Pedro y Marta son panameños y son actores.
II. Asking Information and Negating
A. Question Formation
1. Information questions begin with question words such as cómo, cuál, cuántos,
de dónde, qué, and quién/es. Note the word order in the question and in
2. Questions that elicit a yes/no response are formed as follows:
You can also add the tag question ¿no? or ¿verdad? meaning right? to the end of
1. In simple negation, no directly precedes the verb.
Ellos no son de México.
No se llama Marisel.
2. When answering a question in the negative, always start the answer with no followed by a comma, and then negate again or offer new information.