Spanish Language Blog

Spanish Lesson Beginner 9 Family, the verb “ser” and possessive determiners Posted by on Dec 8, 2010 in Spanish Grammar, Spanish Vocabulary, Videos

¡Hola! ¿Cómo estáis?

Today, we will see how to speak about the family in Spanish using el verbo “ser”, which is the verb “to be” in English, and possessive determiners. There is some very useful and fundamental information in this lesson. I hope you find it interesting.

First, let´s see some vocabulary related to the family in Spanish:

Marido: husband
Mujer/Esposa: wife
Padre: father
Madre: mother
Padres: parents
Hijo: son
Hija: daughter
Hijos: children
Hermano: brother
Hermana: sister
Hermanos: brothers and sisters
Abuelo: grandfather
Abuela: grandmother
Abuelos: grandparents
Nieto: grandson
Nieta: grandaughter
Nietos: grandchildren
Tío: uncle
Tía: aunt
Tíos: uncle & aunt
Sobrino: nephew
Sobrina: niece
Sobrinos: nephews and nieces
Primo: cousin (male)
Prima: consin (female)
Primos: cousins

el / la: the
los / las: the

If you would like to talk about and describe your family in Spanish you will need to use the verb “to be” – el verbo “ser”. This is the equivalent to “I am”, “you are”, “he/she/it is”, “we are”, “you are” and “they are” in English and is one of the most important and fundamental verbs to master:

(Yo) soy: I am
(Tú) eres: You are (one person / informal)
(Usted) es: You are (one person / formal)
(Él) es: He is
(Ella) es: She is
(Nosotros) somos: We are
(Vosotros) sois: You (group) are(informal)
(Ustedes) son: You (group) are (formal)
(Ellos/ellas) son: They are

Soy Laura: I am Laura
¿Eres Antonio?: Are you Antonio?
¿Sois Antonio y Ana?: Are you Antonio and Ana?
No soy: I am not

You should note that in Spanish we do not use possessive apostrophes. With this I mean that if you want to say “I am Ana´s sister” you will have to say “I am the sister of Ana” which is “Soy la hermana de Ana”.  Let´s see some other examples of this type sentence:

¿Eres el hijo de Pablo?: Are you Pablo’s son?
Pedro es el tío de Miguel: Pedro is Miguel’s uncle
Somos los nietos de Tina: We are Tina’s grandchildren.
¿Sois los hermanos de Juan? Are you Juan’s brother and sister?
Clara y Roberto son marido y mujer: Clara and Roberto are husband and wife.

It is also important to be familiar with the possessive determiners. In English the possessive determiners are my, your, his, her, our and their. Let’s see how they are in Spanish:

Mi/ mis: my
Sonia es mi prima: Sonia is my cousin
Antonio y Patricia son mis sobrinos: Antonio and Patricia are my nephew and niece

Tu/tus: your (informal/one person)
¿María es tu prima?/ ¿Es María tu prima?: Is María your cousin?
¿Son Pedro y Rosa tus hermanos?: Are Pedro and Rosa your bother and sister?

Su/ sus: your (formal/one person and group), his, her, their
Sara es su madre: Sara is his mother
Ellos no son sus padres: They are not his parents

Nuestro/a/os/as: our
José es nuestro padre: José is our father
Vuestro/a/os/as: your (informal/group)
¿Son vuestras hermanas?: Are they your sisters?

Well, this is all for today. I hope this information helps you to feel more confident when making your own sentences in Spanish. Try to give it a go and write a paragraph about your family using these types of sentences and read them out loud to also practice the pronunciation. This will help you to remember the vocabulary and it will give you confidence for when you need to use them in a real situation.

I wish you a lovely week and look forward to our next lesson.


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About the Author: Laura & Adam

Laura & Adam have been blogging and creating online Spanish courses for Transparent Language since 2010. Laura is from Bilbao in northern Spain and Adam is from Devon in the south of England. They lived together in Spain for over 10 years, where their 2 daughters were born, and now they live in Scotland. Both Laura & Adam qualified as foreign language teachers in 2004 and since have been teaching Spanish in Spain, the UK, and online.