¡Hola! We have already covered a list of family members in the previous lesson and discussed a little about how to describe them using SER plus adjectives. There, we introduced most of the vocabulary needed to talk about LA FAMILIA. In this lesson, we will go a little deeper on this topic so that you are able to describe your family in Spanish using the verb SER and some common adjectives through some nice family descriptions – descripciones de tu familia. Comencemos…
Introductory video: The family in Spanish – La familia
Let’s start by watching a short video to review the vocabulary for family members in Spanish. Pay attention to the vocabulary presented in the video as well as some of the grammar rules that will be applied in the descriptions later. Remember that you can activate the subtitles if you need them.
The gender and plural of nouns in Spanish
For the purpose of describing your family in Spanish, you need to know that words for family members that end in the letter -A such as “Mamá, Nieta, Hija” and “Abuela” are considered feminine nouns, whereas the ones ending in -O like “Abuelo, Nieto, Hijo” and “Tío” are masculine nouns . Basically, a simple change in the word’s ending and we will have two different words. Interestingly, the word “Papá” is an exception as it is used for father and it is considered a masculine noun although it finished in -A.
Family members are common nouns so they will change from singular to plural and vice versa. Generally, their plural form is created by adding -S or -ES to the nouns. You simply have to add -S when the noun ends in a vowel such as NIETA → NIETAS and -ES when it ends in a consonant.
Family relations in Spanish
Lastly, we use possessive adjectives like MI, TU, SUS, NUESTROS and others with family members. These words indicate possession, just like we would use MY, YOURS and so on in English, but in this case they show a relationship with another person. To put it differently, to say “my family in Spanish”, we would use “Mi familia” with the possessive adjective MI.
Describing your family in Spanish using SER and adjectives
Describing your family in Spanish is really easy as most of the time we will need three things: a subject, the verb SER and a family member. The subject goes first and then the verb SER, which will change to ES if the word is in singular form like MAMÁ and HERMANO as in “Mi mamá es…” and to SON if the word represents several people like PADRES and ABUELOS as in “Mis padres son..”. Similarly, the adjective will also take a singular form when describing only one person as in: “Mi mamá es amable” and a plural form when describing several people: “Mis abuelos son amables”.
Examples of Family Descriptions in Spanish
Mi familia es pequeña. Mi mamá se llama Ana. Ella es enfermera. Mi mamá es muy amable e inteligente. Tengo dos hermanos. Mi hermano se llama Alan. Él es muy alegre. Es alto. Yo soy bajo. Mi hermana es bonita. Mi papá es muy trabajador. Mis abuelos son divertidos y nos quieren mucho. Somos una familia feliz.
Description translation: My family in Spanish
My family is small. My mother’s name is Ana. She is a nurse. My mother is very kind and intelligent. I have two brothers. My brother’s name is Alan. He is very cheerful. He is tall. I’m short. My sister is pretty and my dad is hard-working. My grandparents are fun and they love us very much. We are a happy family.
Mi familia es grande. Vivo con mis padres. Mi mamá es empresaria y mi papá trabaja en un banco. Tengo dos hermanas, Alicia y Mercedes. También tengo dos hermanos, Javier y Hernán. Todos nos llevamos muy bien. Alicia es la mayor de todos. Ella es inteligente y le gusta leer libros. Mercedes es la menor y le gusta ver televisión. Javier es necio y a veces es travieso. Javier es un buen niño.
A Hernán le gustan los deportes y él es muy chistoso. Yo soy alto y creativo. Nosotros visitamos a nuestros tíos y a nuestros primos a veces. En vacaciones vemos a los abuelos. Ellos son estrictos y muy amables.
My family is big. I live with my parents. My mother is a businesswoman and my father works in a bank. I have two sisters, Alicia and Mercedes. I also have two brothers, Javier and Hernán. We all get along very well. Alicia is the eldest. She is intelligent and likes to read books. Mercedes is the youngest and likes to watch TV. Javier is stubborn and sometimes naughty. Javier is a good boy. Hernán likes sports and he is very funny. I am tall and creative. We visit our uncles and our cousins at times. On vacations we see the grandparents. They are strict but very friendly.
Listening Activity: Talking about my family in Spanish – Hablando de mi familia
Listen to the following conversation about child and his mother describing their family in Spanish. Try to listen to the expressions and questions we used in the descriptions before. While listening, please take notes of the most important details so you can solve the interactive quiz about it.
Key expressions in the Conversation:
1. “¿Puedes ayudarme con…?” means “Can you help me with..”
2. “¿De qué se trata la tarea?” means “What is the homework about?”
Listening Quiz: Talking about my family in Spanish