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The basics of speaking Spanish in Cancun (Part 1)

Feb 6, 2012 | No Responses

If you’re planning a trip South then it’s time to learn some Spanish basics. It will make your life easier and trip much more enjoyable. When traveling to any foreign country it’s important to immerse yourself in the culture as much as possible. This means, learning the language.

A few tips for the Spanish learners:

Sentence Structure

In English the adverb comes before the noun, whereas in Spanish it comes after the noun.

The black cat

El gato negro


Spanish words are pronounced as they are written with only one exception, the letter H. This letter is always silent. In English it gets a bit confusing, because there are multiple sounds for each vowel. There are 12 vowel sounds in total but only 5 letters. You have to consider long and short sounds.


Verb endings change in Spanish depending on the person, and tense, therefore, you need to go through the whole conjugating process.

I have – Yo tengo

You have – Tu tienes

She has – El/Ella tiene

We have – Nos tenemos

Masculine and feminine

Ah yes, this confused me in French as well. El, un are masculine and la, una are feminine. This will change the pronunciation of the word as well… for the most part (with a few exceptions I will not bother to get into now) masculine words end in –o and feminine end in –a.

Auxiliary Words

Often you will hear a Spanish speaker say something along the lines of “There is only simple present in Spanish. I see you later when they should say I will see you later. Auxiliary words (will, shall, can, could, may, might, must, ought, should, would) are not used in Spanish. You will also come across verbs used as auxiliary: be, do and have

More and Less

English speakers can simply add –er to the end of words: taller, shorter, happier when speaking in comparisons. In Spanish you use the words mas (more), and menos (less).

I am taller than my brother

Soy mas alto que mi hermano.

I’ll get int o the comparison structures another time.

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Author: Janelle Brandon

As our dedicated travel writer, Janelle scours Cancun and the Riviera Maya for all the cool things to do around here. From working and living to getting around, and, of course, the best beaches (she loves her sun and sand). Janelle lets you know how it is. As our Chief Operations Officer she makes sure we are not skipping out on work to laze on the beach (although sometimes she joins us). She's a pleasure to have around and always making us laugh with her crazy stories.

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