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Exclamations

Spanish for Beginners

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As in English, an exclamation or exclamatory sentence in Spanish can range from a single word to almost any sentence that is given extra emphasis, either by using a loud or urgent voice, or in writing by adding exclamation points.

However, in Spanish it is very common for exclamations to take particular forms, the most common of which is starting with the exclamatory adjective or adverb qué (qué also can function as other parts of speech). When used that way, qué can be followed by a noun, adjective, an adjective followed by a noun or an adverb followed by a verb. When it is followed by a noun, an article is not used before the noun. Some examples:

  • ¡Qué lástima! What a shame!
  • ¡Qué problema! What a problem!
  • ¡Qué vista! What a view!
  • ¡Qué bonita! How cute!
  • ¡Qué difícil! How difficult!
  • ¡Qué aburrido! How tedious!
  • ¡Qué fuerte hombre! What a strong man!
  • ¡Qué feo perro! What an ugly dog!
  • ¡Qué lejos está la escuela! The school is so far away!
  • ¡Qué maravillosamente toca la guitarra! How beautifully she plays the guitar!
  • ¡Qué rápido pasa el tiempo! How time flies!

If you follow the noun after qué with an adjective, más or tan is added between the two words:

  • ¡Qué vida más triste! What a sad life!
  • ¡Qué aire más puro! What clean air!
  • ¡Qué idea tan importante! What an important idea!
  • ¡Qué persona tan feliz! What a happy person!

It also is common to begin an exclamation with cuánto or one of its variations for number or gender, especially when the speaker is calling attention to the quantity or intensity of something:

  • ¡Cuántas arañas! What a lot of spiders!
  • ¡Cuánto pelo tienes! What a head of hair you have!
  • ¡Cuánta mantequilla! What a lot of butter!
  • ¡Cuánto hambre hay en esta ciudad! What a lot of hunger there is in this city!
  • ¡Cuánto he estudiado! I studied a lot!
  • ¡Cuánto te quiero mucho! I love you a lot!

Questions or comments? See our blog post about exclamations.

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  6. Exclamations in Spanish — Exclamatory Sentences — Spanish Grammar

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