WordBrewery’s Spanish Fundamentals Course: Lesson 1

Welcome to Lesson One of WordBrewery’s Spanish Fundamentals series. We have scoured thousands of recent Spanish-language news articles and selected 300 sentences from them to teach you the essentials of Spanish grammar and vocabulary. We’ve also had the sentences recorded by native Spanish speakers.

A beginning Spanish course that lets you read and listen to authentic Spanish on day one.

If you study and memorize the sentences in this series, you will be well on your way to mastering the 500 most common words—which make up over 65% of the Spanish words you’re likely to encounter in any given day—while also familiarizing yourself with the most important rules of Spanish grammar. With some practice, you will begin to experience what fluency feels like, because you’ll be reading and understanding real sentences from the news—no definitions to memorize, no boring textbook, and no made-up sentences or canned phrases. Welcome to the first-ever Spanish course that lets you read and listen to real Spanish on day one.

1. No mucho, la verdad

Since the word “no” is a cognate with the same meaning and pronunciation as the English “no,” the words below are all you need to read your first real Spanish sentence from a real Spanish-language news article:

mucho much
la verdad the truth

Reading a sentence in a foreign language is like solving a puzzle. You have to use your brain and some creativity—that’s what makes language study fun. For example, even though you now know all the words in this sentence, those are just clues to the meaning and the best translation. Does the sentence mean “Not much, the truth”? That is indeed the literal translation. But because it doesn’t make sense in English—and it is unidiomatic or unnatural in Engish—”Not much, the truth” isn’t the best translation. What is?

Go back and read your first sentence again. Keep reading it, playing the audio, and imitating the native speakers’ pronunciación and entonación until es tuyo, it’s yours, and you’ve mastered it.

No mucho, la verdad.

¿That wasn’t so bad, was it? ¡Es increíble!

So you’ve now read, translated, and understood a single, real four-word Spanish sentence. In the process, you’ve learned four of the most common Spanish words. And, without even noticing, you’ve learned:

  • a few new cognates;

  • the awesome Spanish way of writing signos de excalamación (¡ and ¡) and signos de interrogación (¿ and ?); and

  • your first Spanish sentence structure that you can use in your own conversations:

____’, la verdad.
*The truth is, ‘

Most importantly, you’ve proven to yourself that you can read real Spanish at a normal pace. Try it again and see: No mucho, la verdad.

So does that mean you can learn Spanish instantly, with no real investment of time and effort? Well, no matter what other language learning methods promise . . .

2. La verdad es que no.

que that

There are only two new words in this sentences, and one is a cognate: es, is. The other, que, means “that.” Reread and listen to this sentence until you can read it at a normal speed and have no doubts about its meaning.

Try to solve the last sentence of the lesson on your own. Then, reread all three sentences and practice them until you can read them fluently and effortlessly:

3. Eso también es verdad.

eso this
también also

Learn more about the grammar that appears in this post’s sentences

This post is part of WordBrewery’s Spanish Fundamentals series, which is described here. All the example sentences on this blog are real, recent sentences from the news selected from WordBrewery’s database, and each sentence is paired with audio recorded by native speakers. Click here to receive new WordBrewery Blog posts by email or RSS, and click here to join our email community. Your support helps us grow and build more useful features and content for language learners around the world.