How to learn grammar in Spanish

Grammar is one of the most difficult things to learn in Spanish; I tell you this as a Spanish native speaker who had so many problems to pass Spanish back in school. Now, if Spanish grammar rules are even so complicated for native speakers, how in the world are you supposed to learn them?

A very powerful technique to learn grammar

This technique is very simple and still very powerful. This is what I did to master grammar rules in English. Here is what you need to do:

  • Listen to a storyor an audio in Spanish.
  • Make sure you understand 100% of what it says.
  • If possible, get a transcription of what the audio says, so you can make sure you understand a 100% of what the audio is about.
  • Listen to the same audio or story in different tenses. Do it in the present, past, future or the tense that you want to focus on.
  • Repeat many, many times the audio said in different tenses.

I promise you, do this and you will master grammar without even knowing that you are using the subjunctive, the preterit or any grammar rule that you struggle with.

I’m not saying that if you study grammar rules, you won’t learn Spanish; you can learn the rules, but your results won’t be as good as what you can get with this technique.

If you study grammar to learn to speak, you will end up with a slow and unnatural Spanish. Remember that language is not a mathematical formula, it is a creative and endless mean of communication.

Why does this work?

Just think about your native language, how many grammar rules can you actually explain?… Well, if you’re a normal person, who just studied grammar in school to pass the subject and graduate, you probably can’t explain many rules.

It is the same for Spanish native speakers, most of them know nothing about grammar! This happens because when we were kids, we learned Spanish grammar by just listening to the language.

We heard for a long time and without even realizing it to the past tense, the subjunctive, the past perfect, the present perfect…

We learned to use the rules, but we didn’t even know they existed until we went to school. However, we talk Spanish fluently and natively since we were kids.

If you think about it, kids just listen to the language, they don’t ask questions. They just live and use the language instead of studying it.

But I still want to learn grammar!

Fine, I get it! You are an adult, and you want to know the reason for everything. Actually, learning grammar is very important to express yourself correctly, but don’t misunderstand my message, I want you to learn Spanish naturally, not to study Spanish to learn to speak.

How do kids learn their native language? Just look at how your little son, daughter, niece your nephew learns to speak. This is the regular order of how things happen:

  1. They listen for a period of time without actually speaking.
  2. They learn to say their first words.
  3. Over time, they learn to speak fluently.
  4. They finally go to school and learn grammar.

Notice how listening and speaking go before learning grammar? If you want to study grammar rules, that’s awesome, go ahead and do it! But do it, when you already know how to speak Spanish.

Listen to the same audios in different tenses, this will help you learn Spanish grammar effectively, you will end up speaking easily and automatically.

Ask a native friend to record an audio in different tenses or check the stories we have on ourpremium lessons, whatever you do, do not study grammar to learn to speak Spanish!

Diego Cuadros is a blogger and a Spanish online teacher. He uses stories to help Spanish lovers understand fast-speaking native speakers, so they don't freeze and panic in conversations.

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