How Good Is Your Spanish?

By: Elisabeth Henderson

How Good Is Your Spanish?
Image: Image Source / Photodisc / Getty Images

About This Quiz

As in any language, Spanish speakers come in a wide range of fluency. Even native speakers, people who learned Spanish as their first language, vary broadly in their knowledge of the language. Many speakers learned Spanish in the home but never learned official grammar and spelling. Others may have learned Spanish in school and acquired all the formal Spanish, yet, when it comes to surviving an informal conversation, they may as well be speaking Chinese. 

Where are you in your language journey? Do you travel with a dictionary or look up words on your phone every other sentence? Do you dream in Spanish? Some say that once you begin dreaming in a foreign language, you’ve reached a higher level of fluency — you are beginning to process information in the new language subconsciously.

Learning a new language gives us more than the ability to communicate in a new tongue. It opens a portal into the culture which gave birth to the language in the first place. Because language and culture are so intertwined, gaining fluency lets you step into a culture in ways that are locked to you if you don’t speak the language. 

Are you fluent, proficient or just dangerous with a dictionary? Translate these questions into answers, and we’ll tell you what other people hear when you speak Spanish! 

Q 01 Restaurant If you arrived at a Mexican restaurant and the waiter greeted you in Spanish, how would you typically respond?
I’d respond by making small talk in Spanish.
I would respond to their question in Spanish, but I’d probably switch to English after that.
I would say my order in English, very clearly so they would understand.
I would say “Hola” and then continue in English.

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Q 02 Talk in front of a crew If you found yourself in a situation where you were asked to make a statement in Spanish in front of a crowd, how would you feel?
I’d be comfortable with that.
I may be a bit nervous, so I would prepare ahead of time.
If I could write it out word for word with someone’s help, I may survive.
There’s no way I would be in that situation.

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Q 03 Airplane Passengers You’re on a flight to visit relatives for the holidays, and the people next to you are conversing in rapid Spanish. How might you react?
I would dive in and see what we had in common.
I would halfway listen to see if I knew any words.
I would probably be annoyed.
I would listen, and if I was interested in the subject I may join in.

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Q 04 Books What is the last book you read in Spanish?
A popular novel
A literary novel or book of poetry
A textbook
A book in Spanish? Are you kidding?

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Q 05 Inspiration to learn What has inspired you to learn what you know about Spanish?
Hearing it my whole life
A love of Spanish-speaking cultures
Seeing words in public
Living in a Spanish-speaking culture

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Q 06 Good Night How would you wish someone “good night” in Spanish?
Que tengas una buena noche.
Tienes una buena noche.
Buenas noches
Ojalá que tengas una buena noche.

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Q 07 Tiempo What does “tiempo” mean?
Weather
Time
Tempo?
Time or weather, depending on context

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Q 08 Tense If a phrase begins with “Ojalá que,” what tense will it be in?
I’m actually not sure, but I know what it means.
Subjunctive
Past?
It could be any form of the subjunctive.

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Q 09 Conversation Repeat If you are having a conversation in Spanish with someone you don’t know well and they say something that you don’t fully understand, what will you be likely to do?
Ask them to repeat it
Ask them to speak a little more slowly
Pretend I understand by smiling and nodding
Say, “I don’t speak Spanish, sorry.”

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Q 10 Restaurant in Spanish If you have a choice between a restaurant where the staff speaks Spanish and a restaurant where everyone speaks English, where will you go?
To the Spanish-speaking one
I’ll go to the Spanish-speaking one so I can practice.
English
It depends on which food I prefer.

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Q 11 Spain Spanish Which difference between the Spanish spoken in Mexico and that spoken in Spain comes to mind most readily?
The accents and the lisp
The use of "vosotro"
The Spanish in Spain is older.
It’s all the same to me.

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Q 12 Confident at skills In what medium do you feel most confident in your Spanish skills?
Speaking
At the back of a classroom
I never feel confident.
Reading

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Q 13 Experience with Spanish Which of these experiences is closest to how you learned the most Spanish?
Having conversations with family members
Studying diligently
Living in a Spanish-speaking community
Going to a restaurant

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Q 14 Past Imperfect How would you explain the imperfect tense?
I’m not sure what that is, but I would probably recognize it if you gave me an example.
It’s used to show something that continued over time in the past.
I feel like I should know this.
I’m not sure what that means in English either.

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Q 15 Error in conversation Can you remember the last time you made an error in a Spanish conversation? What happened?
I make mistakes in tenses often.
I left out all the articles for words on a test.
I never try hard enough to make a mistake.
In conversation with someone from a different region, I used a word that has a different meaning for them.

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Q 16 President How would you complete this sentence: “Si fuera presidente de los Estados Unidos____”?
Trabajaría por la paz mundial.
Um ... voy a Washington, D.C.
I don’t speak Spanish.
Terminaría todos las guerras.

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Q 17 Future What form do you usually use to show that you are planning to do something in the future?
The infinitive + é
Voy a + the infinitive
I really only remember the present tense.
El futuro

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Q 18 Spanish speaker date If you met someone online and were really into them, then met them in person and realized that they were a native Spanish speaker, how would that affect the relationship?
That would make them more attractive.
I may be intimidated, but it wouldn’t scare me away.
I would be less sure of moving forward, just because of cultural differences.
I would most likely want to go out again.

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Q 19 Event What kind of events might you attend that are labeled “bilingual”?
A musical event
A literary reading
A school event
Not any I can think of

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Q 20 Se habla espanol What does the sign in front of an establishment “Se Habla Español” mean to you?
Maybe I can practice my Spanish.
Speak Spanish something?
They probably don’t speak English.
This place is culturally diverse.

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Q 21 Ser y Estar How do you explain the difference between “ser” and “estar”?
“Ser” is for a permanent state, and “estar” is more temporary.
I always get that mixed up.
Not a clue
“Ser” means “to be,” as in “to exist,” while “estar” can indicate location and changing states of mind.

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Q 22 Grande What difference does it make whether you place the word “grande” before or after the word it modifies?
If it’s before it means “great,” and after it means “large.”
I get confused about which is which.
There’s a difference?
No difference, it just means “big.”

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Q 23 Cold Child If someone told you that a child “es frío,” what would you assume?
The child has a cold personality.
The child should probably be warmed up.
I would assume they didn’t speak English.
I would assume that the child probably had a good reason.

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Q 24 Comfortable Conversation What level of conversation do you feel most comfortable with in Spanish?
Anything from gossip to philosophy
Surface-level conversation with people who don’t talk too fast
Scripted conversation
None

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Q 25 Dream In what way has Spanish ever entered your dream life?
I may have dreamt about people saying something in Spanish that I couldn’t understand.
I’ve had nightmares about Spanish tests.
I always dream in Spanish.
I’ve had a few dreams entirely in Spanish.

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Q 26 Uncomfortable with tenses Are there any tenses in Spanish that you just don’t use or aren’t comfortable with?
I probably use all of the tenses, but I don’t know all of the names.
Pretty much anything outside of the present.
All of them
The pluperfect subjunctive

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Q 27 Contento Would you use “ser” or “estar” with the adjective “contento”?
Estar
Either, depending on the context
Ser?
Estar, because contentment is always fleeting

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Q 28 Friends How many of your friends speak Spanish?
Nearly all of them
I have a few.
None
Most of them

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Q 29 Travel If you could pick a country to visit for a week-long journey, where would you go?
Peru
Spain
A Mexican beach
Colombia

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Q 30 Teach children Spanish If you have (or plan to have) children, how do you teach them Spanish?
We speak it at home as our primary language.
I try to speak it regularly with them and enroll them in classes.
I’ll encourage them to take it in high school.
I wouldn’t discourage them from studying it if they wanted to.

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