In Spanish all nouns are masculine or feminine. Usually, nouns that end with an "o" are masculine, and nouns that end with an "a" are feminine. For example, "manzana" (apple) is feminine and "diario" (newspaper) is masculine.
The articles "el" and "un" are used with masculine nouns, and the articles "la" and "una" are used with feminine nouns. "The apple" is "la manzana" and "a newspaper" is "un diario."
Vowels in Spanish can have an accent mark, such as the "u" in "menú" (menu). One use of the accent mark is to indicate which syllable should be stressed in the pronunciation. For example, in "teléfono" (telephone), the second "e" has the most stress.
Accent marks are also used to distinguish homophones. For example, "él" and "el" are homophones because they have the same pronunciation. However, "él" is a masculine pronoun (meaning "he" or "him") and "el" is a masculine article (meaning "the").
"Tú," "usted" and "vos" are different ways of referring to the second person singular (you). "Usted" is the formal way of saying "you," and "vos" is used in informal speech in certain countries instead of "tú."
The three pronouns are synonyms, but they change the way verbs are conjugated. For instance, for the verb "comer" (to eat), it is "tú comes," "usted come," and "vos comés."
The decision of which form of "you" to use is regional and cultural, but you can typically use "usted" when referring to strangers.
Verb conjugation in Spanish is more complicated than in English. In Spanish, the verb endings change in order to describe who is doing the action and when. For example, for "comer," "I eat" is "yo como" and "you eat" is "tú comes."
Because the conjugations indicate who is doing the action, it is usually possible to omit the pronoun. For instance instead of saying "yo como arroz" (I eat rice), you can say "como arroz."
In English, "afternoon" comes before "evening," which in turn comes before "night." In Spanish there are only two words that cover these times of the day: "tarde" which means "afternoon," but overlaps with "evening," and "noche," which means "night" but also overlaps with "evening." Therefore, at 6:30pm it is ok to say either "buenas tardes" or "buenas noches."
Even though "buenos días" literally means "good days," it is used in the mornings to mean "good morning."
Conjugation of 'Hablar'
Present indicative (presente del indicativo):
In Spanish, the most common negative word is "no". As an adverb negating a sentence, it always comes immediately before the verb.
I speak - [Yo] hablo.
I do not speak - [Yo] no hablo.
He is - [Él] es / está.
He is not - [Él] no es / está.
In written Spanish, questions should always start with an upside down question mark (¿). For example, to ask “What are you eating?” you would write “¿Qué comes?”
When asking a question, it is possible to place the personal pronoun in different places without affecting the meaning. For example “¿Qué comes tú?” and “¿Tú qué comes?” mean the same thing (and also the same thing as “¿Qué comes?”).
The position of the personal pronoun is sometimes used for emphasis. For example “Tú qué comes” places the emphasis on “you” and would mean something like “You, what are you eating?”
Even native speakers sometimes confuse “por qué” and “porque,” because they sound exactly the same. However, “por qué” means “why” and “porque” means “because.” That is, “por qué” is typically used when asking a question and “porque” is used when answering it.
Adjectives. As a general rule, in Spanish adjectives come after the noun they describe, e.g.
An English dog / Un perro inglés
A Spanish horse / Un caballo español