Spanish Word Order
Language Resources

In Spanish, all you need is a subject and a verb. The subject is the person or object that performs the action of the verb, which is generally an action word conjugated in the correct form to match up with the subject.

Like in English, a very common word order in Spanish is Subject + Verb + (rest of sentence), such as in the examples below:

  • Structure: Subject + Verb + rest of sentence
  • English: Pedro + works + in the library.
  • Spanish: Pedro + trabaja + en la biblioteca.

However, Spanish is much more flexible in word order than English, in that the same sentence can be arranged numerous ways, even though their translation in English sounds awkward. Let's continue with the example of Pedro's beloved job in the library.

Pedrotrabajaen una biblioteca. subject + verb + rest of sentence
Trabaja Pedroen una bibliotecaa. verb + subject + rest of sentence
En una biblioteca trabajaPedro. rest of sentence + verb + subject
Trabaja en una biblioteca Pedro. verb + rest of sentence + subject

In English, saying "Works Pedro in a library" or "In a library works Pedro" sounds backwards and like something straight out of Yoda's mouth. In Spanish, however, it's grammatically perfectly correct! This flexibility is often viewed by English speakers as difficult - especially once we throw in adjectives, adverbs and other grammatical goodies - when what it really does is give you more creative freedom!

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