How is Spanish Grammar Different from English?

To an average native English speaker, Spanish can be a hard-to-understand language. It’s not because Spanish is a difficult language or the rules are too many to learn. The only reason why an English speaker might have trouble with Spanish is because of the contrasting grammar rules of both languages. But how is Spanish grammar different from English?

You will find that Spanish has gendered nouns, five different ways to refer to the same article, and inconsistent capitalizing. However, these are just some of the differences that you will find between Spanish and English grammar. Let’s take a look at some more examples in the English vs Spanish debate.

English vs Spanish: What’s the Difference?

Before talking about the differences in both languages, let’s talk about what’s similar. English and Spanish both originate from the centuries-old Indo-European language. They have similar parts of speech too, like nouns, pronouns, prepositions. Many other languages have different parts of speech like postpositions. The difference in Spanish and English mostly arises in the placement of words and how fixed their positions are. Here are a few grammatical rules that set both languages apart.

1. Adjectives

The first, most noticeable difference between both languages is the placement of the adjectives. In Spanish, the adjective follows the noun that it is describing. However, in English, you will notice that the adjectives come before the nouns. To say “blue eyes” in Spanish, you will use “ojos azules” literally meaning “eyes blue”.

However, this isn’t an absolute rule and adjectives can precede nouns in Spanish too. However, that usually alters the meaning of the adjectives and therefore the entire sentence. For example, “hombre pobre” means “poor man”. However, if we change the position of the adjective, it will become “pobre hombre” which will mean poor as in a man who must be pitied.

2. Adverbs

Just like Spanish adjectives, adverbs also come after verbs. Changing their position significantly affects their meanings. Whereas in English, you will find that the position of the adverbs does not change no matter where you use them.

3. Gendered Nouns

When talking about English and Spanish differences, it is impossible to miss nouns and their genders. Unlike the English language, all nouns in Spanish have genders. The genders are masculine and feminine and very rarely neutral. In English, the concept of gendered nouns is almost nonexistent.

The verbs, adverbs, and articles used with the nouns should also comply with their genders. This means that a masculine noun can not be written with a feminine article or verb. In Spanish, el is used to refer to singular, masculine nouns whereas la is used to refer to feminine and gender-neutral nouns.

In English, genders are barely used and even then, we only see them when we use pronouns. For example, you might call a ship “she” when referring to it as a pronoun.

4. Articles

Both English and Spanish have two kinds of articles: definite and indefinite. In English, there is only one definite article “the”. Whereas, in Spanish, the definite article has five different forms (el, la, los, las, lo). Out of these five forms, four are commonly used in sentences whereas the last one “lo” has many different meanings and its meaning depends on the context of the sentence.

Similarly, for indefinite articles the English and Spanish differences are apparent. While the English language only uses two indefinite articles (a, an) you will find that the Spanish language has four different indefinite articles (un, una, unos, unas). These articles are differentiated by gender and singularity.

5. Negation

Up until now, the Spanish language seems to require more effort in learning and communicating. However, this is one of the areas where Spanish is simpler than English. When you need to negate a word in English, there are a couple of confusing prefixes that all seem to make sense. Is it “unsufficient” or “insufficient”? More prefixes include “de- “, and “non”. However, Spanish saves you from these complications. When you negate a word in Spanish, all you need to do is add a “no” before the verb. You can also use double negatives within a Spanish sentence without them negating each other.


We hope by now we have answered your queries regarding how is Spanish grammar different from English. Both languages are equipped with their own grammatical rules and learning them can be fun. The similarities amongst the languages also allow English and Spanish speakers to recognize many parts of the speech easily.