I am struggling with the meaning and usage when forming sentences, help please!

  • Posted Mar 20, 2011
  • | link

4 Answers



¡Hola!, CarmenAlicia:

I had a look at your profile page and saw that you have been working away at the lessons here at Span¡shD!ct. If "que" is still a problem for you then you are wise to ask for help.

I found for myself that Spanish mandatorily uses "que" in many places where English has allowed the word "that", for example, to fall into disuse.


"The gift I sent you was small." This could also be expressed in English as "The gift that I sent you was small.". You will notice the word "that" does not make or break the sentence. The sentence is understood with or without the word "that." For brevity, many (most?) English speakers would simply say "The gift I sent you was small."

On the other hand, in Spanish, the word "that" must be used and is not dropped. In Spanish the sentence must be "El regalo que le envié era pequeño." In Spanish, the palabra "que" meaning "that" must be used.

Unfortunately, "que" has a lot of meanings and I'm sure that is part of the problem for you. Here is a link to another instructional page as a starting point in understanding the uses of "que" ----> Que & etc.. After you read it over, do an internet search for, say, "use of que in spanish" and/or similar terms.

I hope the link is some help to you and I wish you the best of luck as you continue to try to track this down. What I found to be helpful to me personally was to put the word "that" back into my English sentences to better remind me when to use it in Spanish. Well that and and I'm sure everyone has their own way of reminding temselves.

Muchos saludos/Best regards,


  • Mar 20, 2011
  • | link
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv336.shtml < very specific rules in English about when you cannot omit "that". - rabbitwho Mar 20, 2011
  • I could be wrong on this but I think that all relative pronouns, defining and non-defining, are manditory in Spanish. - rabbitwho Mar 20, 2011


Here is some other marerial that I found since I wrote my first reply here in this thread. Maybe it will also be helpful.



The relative pronoun que can mean who, that, whom, or which. As a relative pronoun, que can be used to join two sentences into one single (compound) sentence. The clause introduced by the relative pronoun que is the relative clause. Here are some examples:

Que is the subject of the relative clause referring to a person:

La muchacha que habla con Juan es mi hermana.
The girl who is talking with John is my sister.

The relative pronoun que is subject of the verb habla and refers to la muchacha, which is the subject of es.

Que is the subject of the relative clause referring to a thing:

El libro que está en la mesa es mío.
The book which (that) is on the table is mine.

The relative pronoun que is subject of the verb está and refers to el libro, which is the subject of es.

Que is the direct object of a verb referring to a person:

El señor Molina es el profesor que admiro.
Mr. Molina is the professor whom I admire.

The relative pronoun que is object of the verb form admiro. It refers to el professor.

Que is the direct object of a verb referring to a thing:

La composición que usted lee es mía.
The composition (that, which) you are reading is mine.

Note: In the English translation of this example, we do not always use a relative pronoun in English. In Spanish, it must be stated.

Queis the object of a preposition referring only to a thing:

La cama en que duermo es grande.
The bed in which I sleep is large.

The relative pronoun que is object of the preposition en. It refers to la cama. Other prepositions used commonly with que are a, con, de. As object of a preposition, que refers to a thing only — not to a person. Use quien or quienes as object of a preposition referring to persons.

  • Mar 20, 2011
  • | link
  • I salute you Moe for your work. This is one of, if not THE most frequently used word in Spanish. - Deanski Mar 20, 2011
  • de :) - lorenzo9 Mar 20, 2011
  • Moe, muchas gracias. I posted this question with little hope of getting such helpful responses! - carmenalicia Mar 21, 2011
  • Oops! Accitdental add comment push there! I would just like to say how grateful I am; you have really done wonders in clearing that up for me, and improving my capabilities! Thank you kindly for your knowledge and time! :) - carmenalicia Mar 21, 2011


Might I suggest starting the Learn Spanish course available here. Just click on the Learn Spanish tab above.

  • Mar 20, 2011
  • | link
  • I agree. This is quite a broad subject. - Deanski Mar 20, 2011


Moe, that was really helpful to me too. (no pun intended.) raspberry

  • Mar 20, 2011
  • | link