This week in Spanish class we went over numerous ways of naming what a thing is or isn’t and of asking what a thing is or isn’t.
Some examples of what we did are below.
It is the buffalo. The buffalo is the animal.
Es el búfalo. El búfalo es el animal.
Is the buffalo an insect?
¿Es el búfalo un insecto?
No, the buffalo is not an insect. The buffalo is an animal.
No, el búfalo no es un insecto. El búfalo es un animal.
What is a buffalo?
¿Qué es un búfalo?
Isn’t a buffalo a plant?
¿No es el búfalo una planta?
No, the buffalo is not a plant. The buffalo is an animal.
No, el búfalo no es una planta. El búfalo es un animal.
It is a buffalo, but not a cow.
Es un búfalo, pero no es una vaca.
It is not a cow, but a buffalo.
No es una vaca, sino es un búfalo.
The buffalo is an animal, and not a cow. You can rest your mind on the topic.
Of course, we worked with quite a bit more vocabulary than the buffalo (of which there are none in Peru). The focus is not so much on vocabulary right now, but on sentence construction.
As you probably know, all nouns in Spanish have an associated gender, masculine or feminine. The buffalo is a masculine noun, the cow is a feminine noun. Depending on the gender of the noun, the gender of the articles must change: el for masculine, la for feminine.
We don’t have that in English, so that’s been something to wrap my mind around. One cannot say el vaca.
Then if the noun is plural, the article changes again. In English you’d say “The one cow, the two cows.” The is just the. But in Spanish you must say “La una vaca, las dos vacas.” Not only must you consider if the noun wears pink or blue, you must also consider whether the noun wears pinkses and blueses.
The concept is easy to comprehend. It is harder to put into practice. I’m afraid my cows will be wearing blue occasionally for awhile. And if you see a buffalo running around in pink, he’s probably mine.
P.S. If I made mistakes in my Spanish constructions, it’s because I’m still learning. But if I made mistakes in my English constructions, it’s because I’m still learning. Heh, heh.