¿Qué es esto? (What is this?)
Frases (Phrases): Es un animal.
Today we will work on the phrase, “es un animal.” This means, “it is an animal” or “it’s an animal.” Once we internalize this phrase, it is easy to substitute all sorts of words in place of animal.
Es una case (It’s a house.);
Es un elefante (It’s an elephant);
Es un carro (It’s a car), etc.
Let’s begin by learning a few naming words that we can insert into our phrase.
A quick note on nouns (naming words).
Nouns are either masculine or feminine. An example of some masculine nous are:
animal (animal) elefante (elephant) camello (camel) crocodilo (crocodile) chimpancé (chimpanzee) perro (dog) gato (cat)
An example of some feminine nouns are:
casa (house) cosa (thing) rata (mouse) pluma (pen) caja (box) cámara (camera)
If you look at the ends of the the words in this list you will probably notice that the feminine words shown here all end with an ‘a’. (While that is not always the case feminine nouns, it is often the case.) When we say or write ‘the’ in front of the noun (or naming word) we use ‘le’ for the masculine words and ‘la’ for the feminine words.
el animal = the animal
el elefante = the elephant
el camello = the camel
el crocodilo = the crocodile
el chimpancé = the chimpanzee
el perro = the dog
el gato = the cat
la rata = the mouse
la casa = the house
la cosa = the thing
la pluma = the pen
la caja = the box
la cámara = the camera
So now we know ‘el’ means ‘the’ for masculine words and ‘la’ means ‘the’ for feminine words.
‘A’ and ‘an’ are un for masculine nouns.
‘A’ and ‘an’ are una for feminine nouns.
If we want so write or say ‘a’ or ‘an’ as in ‘an elephant’ or ‘a dog’, there is a masculine and feminine form for ‘a’ and ‘an’ as well.
‘A’ and ‘an’ are ‘un’ for masculine nouns. For example:
un animal = an animal
un elefante = an elephant
un camello = a camel
un crocodilo = a crocodile
un chimpancé = a chimpanzee
un perro = a dog
un gato = a cat
‘A’ and ‘an’ are ‘una’ for feminine nouns:
una rata = a mouse
una casa = a house
una cosa = a thing
una pluma = a pen
una caja = a box
una cámara = a camera
For example, if you were to ask what something was, and you pointed to an animal, I might respond, “Es un animal.” Literally this says “Is an animal.” Usually ‘it’ is implied. So we can think of “Es un animal” as meaning “It is an animal.”
Now with the few words we know. We can say:
El elefante es un animal.
El chimpancé es un animal.
El camello es un animal.
El crocolilo es un animal.
El perro es un animal.
El gato es un animal.
La rata es un animal.
Internalizing the Rhythm
Now you might be saying to yourself, “How often will I ever go around saying that something is an animal?”
However, once we internalize this structure, all we have to do is add new words and we have a very powerful phrase structure. This is great when you are a beginner learning Spanish. The phrase we are internalizing is “es un animal.” We want to feel the rhythm of this phrase.
So repeat the phrase a number of times and feel the rhythm of the phrase. After you have done that, use the phrase “es un animal” with as many other animals as you can think of. You don’t need to say the animals’ names in Spanish. You can say them in English. This will allow you to have more practice and help you feel “es un animal” for many animals. For example: The zebra es un animal. The cow es un animal. The duck es un animal. The giraffe es un animal. Think of as many as animals as you can, and then say out loud that each one es un animal until you feel very comfortable with the phrase “es un animal.”
This is a great way to practice your Spanish phrases as you drive or walk around the town or country. Whenever you see an animal, say to yourself ______ es un animal. Of course you could say this phrase to other people, but they might wonder about you.
Es Un Animal