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Writing - Simple Sentence Structure

This Spanish Easy Review writing quiz is designed to help you review the simple sentence structure. The structure of a Spanish sentence is slightly different from that found in English. For example, in English we would say red car. However, in Spanish this would be stated as car of red. The word red as used in this case is an adjective.

In Spanish, an adjective appears after the noun or thing that it describes. In addition, Spanish looks at adjectives as possessions. In other words, the car possesses the color red. To show possession, the Spanish word de is used. Therefore, the car that possesses the color red is written as: coche de rojo (car of red).

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Another sentence structure difference is found with the direct object, i.e., it. In English we would say I need it. In Spanish this would be said as, lo necesito. This actually translates as: It I need. The direct object lo (it) comes before the verb.

Like the direct object, the indirect object pronouns (me, you and us) are found before the verb. (You will review more about this in the Spanish Medium Review quizzes.) For example, in English we would say: They did it to me. In Spanish this would be said as: Ellos me lo hicieron. This directly translates as: They me it did. It can also be written and said as: Lo hicieron a mí. This directly translates as: It they did to me. Both of these would be correct. The difference is found in the use of me and mí. They both mean me but in the second sentence, you must include the Spanish word a to read to me.

Below there are ten sentence and then four different versions of the sentence written in Spanish. Locate which of the four versions is written in the correct Spanish sentence structure.

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  1. He likes green money.
    The first answer translates as: He it likes money green of. The order should show possession, i.e., the money of green. The word de (of) is not being used to show possession. In fact, it should not come at the end of a sentence. This sentence shows improper sentence structure. The second answer translates as: He likes green of money. This makes it appear that green is the noun and money is the adjective. That is an incorrect showing so the second answer is not correct. The third answer translates as: He likes green money. This appears to be correct but it is not how it is said in Spanish. It is an English form. Therefore, the third answer is also not correct. The last answer translates as: He likes the money of green. That is the proper Spanish sentence structure that needs to be used.
  2. Mary is John's sister.
    The second answer translates as: Is Mary John’s sister? Notice that it is asking a question so it is not the proper order needed here. The third answer translates as: Sister of John is Mary. It is not the proper Spanish structure for this sentence. The last answer translates as: Mary is John’s brother. This has the wrong word making this sentence structure incorrect. The first answer translates as: Mary is John’s sister. More correctly it translates as: Mary is the sister of John.
  3. Jeff has an Italian car.
    The first answer begins as: Jeff has the car. It should read that: Jeff has a car. Therefore, this is not the correct sentence form. The third answer translates as: Jeff has an Italian car. This is not how it is said or written in Spanish. The sentence structure is improper. The last answer translates as: An Italian car has Jeff. Again, this is not the proper sentence structure or form. The second answer translates as: Jeff has an Italian car. More correctly it translates as: Jeff has a car of Italian.
  4. The bananas are yellow.
    The first answer translates as: The yellow bananas are. It is an incorrect Spanish sentence structure. The second answer also reads as: The yellow bananas are. It, too, is in an incorrect Spanish sentence structure. The adjective needs to come after the noun. The last answer has used the Spanish to be verb derived from estar. The color of the banana is permanent so the correct Spanish to be verb that should be used is that of ser. The last answer is wrong for using the wrong verb. The third answer translates as: The bananas are yellow. As the sentence is telling you something about the bananas, the third answer shows the correct sentence structure. If the sentence had been: They are yellow bananas, it would have been translated as: Son bananos de amarillos. It is important to understand the difference between telling something about an object and describing the object. The bananas are yellow is telling you something about the object, i.e., bananas, and they are yellow bananas is describing the object.
  5. He sees the San Francisco trolley.
    The first answer begins to translate as: He sees a. It should be: He sees the. The wrong word has been used so it is not the proper sentence structure translating the given sentence. The second answer has placed the noun/object after the adjective. San Francisco is the adjective in this sentence. Therefore, the second answer is not the proper sentence structure. The last answer translates as: The San Francisco Trolley he sees. That is an improper Spanish sentence. The third answer correctly translates the given sentence in proper Spanish form.
  6. He sings to the little children.
    The first answer translates as: He sings of my (little) children. (Note that niños means little children in Spanish.) This is not the correct translation of the given sentence. The second answer translates as: He sings of (or about) the little children. Again, it is not the correct translation of the given sentence. The third answer translates as: He sings for the little children. This, too, is not the correct translation. The last answer translates as: He sings to the little children.
  7. She buys brown boots.
    The second answer translates as: She buys brown of boots. This is an incorrect sentence structure. The third answer translates as: She buys brown boots. This is not the correct Spanish sentence structure. The last answer translates as: You (singular familiar) buy brown boots. The verb is showing the incorrect form so it is not a correct translation. The first answer translates as: She buys brown boots. More correctly it translates as: She buys boots of brown.
  8. He is a kind man.
    This one is a little tricky. The first answer begins to translate as: The is. When there is no accent mark on the letter e, the word becomes the definite article of the. With an accent mark it means he. The first answer is not a correct translation. The last answer translates as: She is. Clearly this, too, is not a correct translation. The third answer looks to be correct. However, in this case it translates as: He is a man of kind. This would be saying where he is from, i.e., of kind. When emotions or feelings are used to describe a noun, the Spanish word de gets dropped. The second answer shows the correct sentence structure as it translates as: He is a kind man. The adjective kind still does come after the noun.
  9. Stanley saves silver nickels.
    The first answer translates as: Stanley saves silver nickels. However, silver is an adjective that remains the same spelling whether the noun it describes is singular or plural. Therefore, platas is incorrect. Silver always remains as plata. The first answer is not a correct translation. This also shows up in the third answer where silver has been made plural. The third answer is also incorrect. The second answer translates as: Stanley saves silver nickels. It is not the proper Spanish sentence structure. The last answer, on the other hand, translates as: Stanley saves silver nickels. More correctly it translates as: Stanley saves nickels of silver.
  10. Angie has blue eyes.
    The first answer translates as: Angie has blue of eyes. It is not the proper Spanish sentence structure. In question 9 above, the color silver was used. Silver remains the same spelling with both singular and plural nouns. In this sentence the color is blue. The Spanish word for blue is azul. It changes its spelling depending on whether the noun is singular or plural so the plural form of blue is azules. The second and last answers have translated the plural blue incorrectly. The third answer translates as: Angie has blue eyes. More correctly it translates as: Angie has eyes of blue.

Author: Christine G. Broome

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