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English Phrase to Spanish Translation

english phrase to spanish translationThis is a guide to help you convert any English phrase to Spanish translation easily. A sentence is a group of words containing a subject and a verb. The subject is the person or object that performs the action of the verb. You’ll notice than in Spanish many times there is no subject because it is contained in the verb. Example: Te amo (I love you).

Sentence Structure

Both languages use the same sentence structure: Subject + Verb + Rest of Sentence

Examples:
Quiero una pizza – I want a pizza
El trabaja duro – He works hard
Nosotros limpiamos el piso – We cleaned the floor

However, in Spanish you have more flexibility arranging the order of words than in English. In other words, a sentence can be arranged in many ways. For example, the following sentence:

Juan trabaja en un restaurante – Juan works in a restaurant

Can also be arranged differently: En un restaurante trabaja Juan – In a restaurant works Juan.

When you convert this English phrase to Spanish translation it sounds backwards, but in Spanish is grammatically correct.

Use of Adjectives

In English, you put adjectives BEFORE nouns (the blue book).
In Spanish, you put adjectives AFTER the nouns (el libro azul).

Examples:
El libro grande es mío – The big book is mine
El muchacho alto – The tall boy
La comida deliciosa – The delicious meal

Active vs Passive Voice

When converting an English phrase to Spanish translation, you should be aware for the active voice which is a lot more common in Spanish than in English. However, in English we use the passive voice more frequently. To help you understand these concepts better, here are some definitions:

Active: Is the verb form in which the subject performs the action expressed by the verb. The active voice emphasizes the subject.

Examples:
El arquitecto construy
ó la casa – The architect built the house
El gato se comio al ratón – The cat ate the mouse
María leyó el poema – Mary read the poem

Passive: Is the verb form in which the subject receives the verb’s action. The passive voice emphasizes the action.

Examples:
La casa fue construida por el arquitecto – The house was built by the architect
El rat
ón fue comido por el gato – The mouse was eaten by the cat
El poema fue leído por María – The poem was read by Mary

Building Negative Sentences

Another important aspect when you convert an English phrase to Spanish translation is the use of negatives. Here are some guidelines to form negative sentences:

a) Place “No” before the verb
Example: Maria no conoce a Antonio – Maria doesn’t know Antonio

b) When answering a question, you need to use “No” twice
Example: ¿Eres su hermano? – Are you his brother?
Negative: No, no soy su hermano – No, I´m not his brother

Other negatives may precede or follow the verb, but if they follow, they must follow a negative verb (a double negative). The word order is: No + verb + negative.

When converting Engilsh to Spanish sentences, there are other words you can use to express negation such as:
Nadie – Nobody
Nada – Nothing
Nunca – Never
Ninguno – None
Tampoco – Neither

As you study Spanish, you´ll notice that there are many ways of ordering words when converting an English phrase to Spanish translation. Remember that although in English many of them may sound awkward, in Spanish they’re correct.

Sergio Ferreira – Translation Services

 

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