I am in class telling a story about a man who gets rich by selling socks on the internet, and then I start making questions in Spanish to my students about the story. I say to Johnny: “¿Quén se hizo rico?”, and he answers: “Sí”. I try with a different question and say: “ok Johnny, ¿Cómo se hizo rico el hombre?”, then he replies: “Sí”. I realize that I should change the question and I say: “Johnny, ¿Qué vende el hombre en internet?”. Johnny thinks for a second about the answer of the question and he finally answers a little insecure of himself saying: “uhh, ¿el hombre?”.
This is not a fictional story. It happens to me in my classes all the time, and I am pretty sure that if you got to this blog post is because you have been through a situation like this before, or perhaps you were in Johnny’s shoes.
This misunderstanding of the meaning of the questions is mostly because people learn words by just reading them on a textbook, and they hear their pronunciation very few times, this is really a very superficial way of learning new words.
It’s really important that if you want to learn new words from an authentic source (real Spanish), you must hear them many timesin order for you to give your brain enough repetitions of how the new words sound, and this way whenever you hear them in the future, you will identify them automatically.
10 Basic words to make questions in Spanish
Before we go on, I want to clarify that as we always highlight on spanishtomind.com, your main source of Spanish learning should come from listening, and we do not want you to learn individual words, but full sentences; so, if you really want to use your memory to learn the following words, I strongly recommend that you memorize the full sentences, which will have their corresponding audio.
This way you will be able to hear the correct pronunciation, and in the end, you will hear a short conversation in Spanish that will help you remember the new words; download the conversation and listen to it many times, so you can internalize the new words.
“Clue: the beginning of every question is the key to knowing what kind of information is the other person requiring from you.”
Basic questions in Spanish always start with one clue word, and this word is, in many cases, at the beginning of the questions. This is the part where you will know, what kind of information is the question or the person who is making the question, requiring from you. Learn what each of these words means, and then move forward to memorize the full sentence, this will help your brain fully understand the new words.
Here are ten different words to make questions in Spanish (remember, memorize the sentences, not the individual words):
- ¿Cómo? it means “How?”, and this question is requiring you to describe something, or the way that something is done, for example:
- “¿Cómo conseguiste esecélular?”
- “Pues… vendí mi viejo célular, ahorré y luego compré el nuevo”
- ¿Dónde? It means “where?”, and this question is requiring you to talk about places, for example:
- “¿Dónde conseguiste esecélular?”
- “Lo conseguí porinternet”
- ¿A dónde? It means “where to?”, and it is requiring you to indicate the destiny of something or someone, for example:
- “¿A dónde quieres irdespués de clase?”
- “vamos a comer helado en la universidad”
- ¿De dónde? It means “from where?”, and it is requiring that you indicate the origin of something or someone, for example:
- “¿De dónde te enviaron ese mensajede texto?”
- “Creo quees del banco”
- ¿Quién? It means “who?”, and it is requiring you to talk about someone, a specific person, for example:
- “¿Quién secomió las galletas?”
- “Juliana selas comió”
- ¿A quién? It means “To whom?”, and it is requiring you to talk about a person to whom you are referring to.
- “¿A quién vas a visitaren la noche?”
- “a mi abuela”
- ¿Por qué? It means “why?”, and it is requiring you to give a reason about something, for example:
- *- “¿Y* porqué tan baratoel celular?”
- *- “Por qué no es Nuevo”*
- ¿Para qué? It means “What for?”, and it is used to ask for the purpose of something, for example:
- *-“¿Para qué vas a* comprar ese martillo?”
- *- “Para* arreglarel baño”
- ¿Cuándo? It means “When?”, and it is requiring you to talk about time, for example:
- “¿Cuándo vas a venira visitarme?”
- “El próximo viernes”
- ¿Qué? It means “what?”, and this is just asking you for information or things, for example:
- “¿Qué quierescomer?”
- “Yo quiero unapizza con jugo”
These little words are just the basis to make questions in Spanish, and also to answer the questions, the key is to listen and pay attention to what the first word of the question is, and then you will know what kind of information is the other person requiring from you.
I really hope that you find this post useful, especially if you’ve been struggling to understand spoken questions in Spanish. I want you to remember the importance of listening to Spanish, and that is why we made a little conversation audio, so you can practice the new words that you have learned on this post.
Download the audio, copy it to your audio player and listen to it many times, until you can remember what the conversation is about, and the words that we learned today; I added the text of the conversation on a different PDF file; I suggest that you read the text and if you don’t understand something, use your dictionary to understand the meaning of the words, and then after that, listen to the audio many, many times.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time for you to improve your Spanish, download the files and learn Spanish! Also, leave us a comment and let us know what you think about this small lesson, tell us what you liked and what you didn’t like, or if you did this exercise already, tell us how it has helped you, or if you need any help, remember that we’re always here to help you, just let us know!