All about Spanish Grammar

Last week, I ended one of my blog entries with a videoclip presented by Fundéu BBVA, an international advocate of the Spanish language. I trust you found the one-minute clip about the English billion and Spanish billón useful.

After watching a few other videoclips on the American Translators Association’s Spanish-language division Twitter feed, I discovered that the Fundéu BBVA offers much more than information about false friends. It also provides useful information on grammar, spelling, and syntax. If you’re a Spanish writer or translator, or if you’re learning Spanish, I highly recommend paying attention to these clips. Below are a few that caught my interest.

In Spanish, it is important to say and write insitir en que, not insistir que (insist that). The latter is referred to a queísmo, i.e. an incorrect use of the subordinate conjunction que.

Sendos (plural adjective for “each”) and ambos (both = only two objects or people), are not interchangeable.

Sino (instead, rather) is used comparatively; si no (“if not,” or other equivalents, depending on context) is used to talk about a condition. The clip below provides concrete examples of these terms. Once you understand the differences, it should be clear whether to write sino in one word or two.

Here’s one final clip. It explains the differences among the geographical names England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom (Inglaterra, Gran Bretaña y Reino Unido). Did you think all three meant the same? Think again! Depending on the countries you’re referring to, only one of the geographical names can be used. Here’s a sample of the information you’ll receive by listening to this clip: Great Britain refers to England, Scotland, and Wales.

I trust you’ll find these videoclips useful. Of course, you may find many others like these four on YouTube.

What sources do you use when you have questions about grammar, syntax, and spelling? Why do you find them particularly useful?

¡Hasta luego, compañeros!

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