To better understand how to structure a sentence in Spanish, let’s look at some practical examples of just how sentence structure in the two languages works. First, we’ll examine the use of word order.
English: The student is intelligent.
This word order of: article, subject noun, verb and adjective (complement) is pretty straightforward in English.
Now though, let’s look at how you can write this in Spanish.
Spanish: El estudiante es inteligente.
Here, we duplicate the original sentence structure of English. So far, so good. But now we come to the payoff. The following are also correctly structured sentences in Spanish – but some would not work in English.
Spanish: Es inteligente el estudiante.
The word order here is verb, adjective, article, subject noun.
Es el estudiante inteligente.
The word order here now is verb, article, subject noun, adjective.
Inteligente es el estudiante.
The word order found here is adjective, verb, article, subject noun.
Placing the verb first in a sentence usually indicates the formation of a question or interrogative, although this may not necessarily be true in Spanish as it may also indicate a conclusion.
Word order in a sentence can be used to shift emphasis from one grammatical element to another, especially as the sentence complexity increases by the use of additional words and lexical phrases. In Spanish then, several different word orders are usually possible, but may or may not convey a slight shift in meaning.