The Ultimate Resource Guide for Learning

The Ultimate Resource Guide for Learning

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Intermediate – Grammar & Vocabulary

Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish does a really good job in laying a solid grammatical foundation.  By the end of it you will confident enough to have non-trivial conversations with Spanish speakers.  However, you will also realise that you have only scratched the surface, and that there is still a huge amount left to learn. In order to progress past this point, you need a broader resource.

A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish

The Spanish grammar bible. Period. No serious student of Spanish should be without a copy of this authoritative grammar reference book. Covers virtually every topic you can think of, using fresh, interesting vocabulary to illustrate key points. Its structure layout allows students to master Spanish grammar systematically.


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A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish

The Spanish grammar bible. Period. No serious student of Spanish should be without a copy of this authoritative grammar reference book. Covers virtually every topic you can think of, using fresh, interesting vocabulary to illustrate key points. Its structure layout allows students to master Spanish grammar systematically.

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If Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish was the tip of the iceberg, this is the massive bulk floating under the water.

It is difficult to convey how useful this book is for any student of Spanish that wants to make real progress beyond the beginner’s level.  This 590-page reference work, drawing on the research of the Royal Spanish Academy’s official grammar book, is encyclopaedic in its breadth and depth.

A New Reference's topics include pronunciation, punctuation, noun formation, particles, diminutives, participles, gerunds, prepositions, word order, etc. Basically, all of the rules – important and obscure – that you need to develop a robust grasp on how the language really works.

The example sentences are all taken from real literary and non-literary Spanish sources, and are a breath of fresh air from the typically boring constructions that language books normally rely on.

A highly recommend resource.

A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish - Our Rating
96%

Gramática de uso del Español

Your grammar boot camp: fleshes out all important grammatical topics with explanations and 400+ accompanying exercises. All instructions and explanations are in Spanish, so make sure you are comfortable with this before you buy.



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Gramática de uso del Español

Your grammar boot camp: fleshes out all important grammatical topics with explanations and 400+ accompanying exercises. All instructions and explanations are in Spanish, so make sure you are comfortable with this before you buy.

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You know that this is a grammar book aimed at serious intermediate students as soon as you open it – everything is in Spanish, including the explanations!

Don’t let yourself be intimidated though: pushing yourself a bit out of your comfort zone is the key to improving your language skills, and this book is definitely worth the effort.

Gramática de uso del Español outlines a grammatical topic on one page, and then provides a number of explanations on the next. This is the best way to learn grammar and is a good remedy if you felt slightly bewildered by the scope of A Comprehensive Spanish Grammar.

Although it isn’t its primary objective, working through Gramática will also enrich your vocabulary with an array of pragmatic, important words that you probably haven’t picked up yet.

Gramática de uso del Español
92%

Using Spanish Vocabulary

Divided into 20 thematic topics, this book provides the reader with over 5,000 Spanish words and their translations. Each topic is broken down into three levels, starting with the most basic words and building up to some quite advanced (and obscure) vocabulary. Engaging self-study tasks at the end of each section and etymological insights make this an enjoyable and productive learning resource.

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Using Spanish Vocabulary

Divided into 20 thematic topics, this book provides the reader with over 5,000 Spanish words and their translations. Each topic is broken down into three levels, starting with the most basic words and building up to some quite advanced (and obscure) vocabulary. Engaging self-study tasks at the end of each section and etymological insights make this an enjoyable and productive learning resource.

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For those of you who have studied other languages, you may be familiar with Cambridge University Press’s excellent ‘Using X Vocabulary’ series. If not, you will have to take our word that this is an invaluable textbook, that will raise all aspects of Spanish proficiency.

Learning vocabulary can sometimes feel like a slightly random and chaotic experience – we get to grips with some areas quickly, only to discover (at just the wrong time!) that we have embarrassingly large gaps in our knowledge.

This is the solution. The book is divided into eighteen section (the natural world, industry, leisure & tourism, the physical body, etc.), and each section is divided into three subsections.  The first subsection contains basic vocabulary, whereas the last one will prepare you to authoritatively discuss the topic in question. 

This means that you can pick or choose sections depending on your strengths and interests, or, alternatively, work your way through it systematically.

Combined with Anki, it is the single best way to accumulate a large enough word base to sit the B1-C1 exams.

Using Spanish Vocabulary
87%

Intermediate – Reading

At this point you may feel ready to take off the training wheels and start reading some Spanish literature in the original. If that is the case, skip ahead to the next item on our list where we show you the best place to start with Spanish classics.

If, however, you feel you still need some more support with your reading we strongly recommend you try the first book in this series:

Spanish Short Stories for Intermediate Level

Ten short stories for intermediate Spanish learners, each one focused on a particular theme. Comes with quizzes, glossaries, and audio material of a native speaker reading out the stories.

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Spanish Short Stories for Intermediate Level

Ten short stories for intermediate Spanish learners, each one focused on a particular theme. Comes with quizzes, glossaries, and audio material of a native speaker reading out the stories. .

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Spanish Short Stories for Intermediate Level contains ten stories that each revolve around an everyday theme, for example: cooking, money, travelling, etc.  This is obviously useful as the stories give you exposure to content that you will be using in real life.  This could make for rather dull reading, but the author has done a great job in making the stories fun and interesting.

If you find the process of going back and forth between a dictionary and the text, then you’re in luck: each story comes with a well-constructed glossary that gives translations for all of the vocabulary used.

 The stories get slightly harder as the book goes on, and there are a further two volumes to sink your teeth into if you’re really eager.

Spanish Short Stories for Intermediate Level - Our Rating
91%

Classic Spanish Stories and Plays

Eight classic Golden Age Spanish stories and plays. Each story has been abridged and modernised to make them suitable for intermediate learners. Extensive vocabulary support and cultural notes to gain a greater appreciation for Spanish culture. Highly recommended.

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Classic Spanish Stories and Plays

Eight classic Golden Age Spanish stories and plays. Each story has been abridged and modernised to make them suitable for intermediate learners. Extensive vocabulary support and cultural notes to gain a greater appreciation for Spanish culture. Highly recommended.

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How can Spanish learners dip their toes into the choppy waters of Golden Age literature without feeling defeated after the first few pages? The answer is this wonderful book of adapted classic Spanish stories and plays.

Instead of struggling through the original works of writers like Cervantes and de Vega, you are instead presented with classics, such as El Cid, La Celestina, and Don Quijote, that have all been abridged, simplified and modernised.

This, combined with the useful cultural notes and translations of difficult words that appear at the bottom of each page, makes reading this book a joy.  None of the texts are too long, and the extensive vocabulary index at the back of the book keeps things moving nicely.

The editors have done an excellent job in moulding a highly satisfying book for intermediate learners that provides just the right level of exposure to Spain’s rich literary heritage without giving cause for any feelings of demoralisation.

Classic Spanish Stories and Plays - Our Rating
85%

Intermediate – Writing

The exercises found in Gramática de uso del Español will keep you busy for a while, but when you have finished with those we recommend you buy Intermediate Spanish Grammar to carry on improving your writing skills.

Intermediate Spanish Grammar

Hundreds of written exercises and dozens of example sentences on a range of topics make this a worthwhile purchase. Best writing exercise book for lower-intermediate learners.

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Intermediate Spanish Grammar

Hundreds of written exercises and dozens of example sentences on a range of topics make this a worthwhile purchase. Best writing exercise book for lower-intermediate learners. w

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As with the rest of the Practice Makes Perfect series, you will find hundreds of well-formulated writing exercises covering a range of tricky subjects, such as idiomatic verbal phrases, use of the preterit and the imperfective, commands, and the subjunctive.

We like that Intermediate Spanish Grammar includes plenty of example sentences: at this level it is no longer good enough to communicate in broken Spanish; you need to start taking the style of your writing into consideration as well.

Intermediate Spanish Grammar - Our Rating
94%

Practising Spanish Grammar

Excellent workbook to accompany Butt’s grammar textbook. Crammed full of exercises to drill you on virtually everything you need to get your writing and speaking up to an advanced level.

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Practising Spanish Grammar

Excellent workbook to accompany Butt’s grammar textbook. Crammed full of exercises to drill you on virtually everything you need to get your writing and speaking up to an advanced level.

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Butt’s Grammar is such an intimidating brick of a book that it can be difficult to know where to begin with it.  Because you now have so much information at your disposal you need an effective way to get it in your brain and keep it there.

Fortunately, there is also a grammar workbook that can be used independently or in conjunction with the textbook.

Both books share the same layout and subsection breakdown, so you can synchronise your grammar with written practice.  It features over one hundred sets of writing tasks that involve all sorts of exercises: translation practice, sentence formation, etc.

We should note here that Practising Spanish Grammar is not suitable for lower intermediate learners.  It is an advanced exercise book that tests you on some of the hardest aspects of Spanish grammar, and as such only fairly advanced students will find it useful.

Practising Spanish Grammar - Our Rating
87%

Intermediate – Speaking

If you’re  not in a position to spend some time in a Spanish-speaking country, the next best thing would be to find a language exchange partner in your home country.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a Spanish community in your city, then there will be plenty of opportunities to get to know people and practice your Spanish with them.  In theory at least…

Although America, Canada, and the UK are some of the most diverse countries in the world, which should make learning foreign languages a breeze, there’s a major problem for us: most foreign residents speak excellent English.  They have to!  After all, we are extremely demanding when it comes to English proficiency and it is virtually impossible to get a decent job in these countries without fluent English. 

This means that many of the Spanish speakers you will come across in your city will speak much better English than you speak Spanish.  It’s very difficult to get someone to suffer your broken Spanish when they know they could accelerate the conversation by switching to English.  Frustrating, but true!

One way you can get around this is by making a semi-formal agreement with your interlocutor that you will speak English for half of the time, and Spanish for the other half – that way you both get something out of it. 

You can find people searching for this kind of arrangement on websites like My Language Exchange.

The success of the language exchange will vastly depend on how well your personality and linguistic requirements mesh with your partner’s. It’s really a case of trial and error. But if you find the right person you can rack up hours and hours of conversation practice without having to pay anything.

If, though, you live in small town and you can’t find any suitable prospective language partners, we recommend that you skip ahead and take a look at our speaking suggestions for advanced learners.


Intermediate – Listening

Respectable online language courses like SpanishPod101, should still challenge you as you move up to intermediate level Spanish.  But now you should begin to spread your wings and start listening to real Spanish conversations (i.e. not the watered-down Spanish that teachers use).

One of the best ways to do this is to start watching Telenovelas.

Telenovelas are a sort of Spanish soap opera.  Spanning approximately 100 one-hour episodes, they tell exciting and juicy stories that tend to focus on one of a few core subjects: love, marriage, death, politics, rivalry, revenge.

They are also enormously popular all over the world, and serve as an almost endless supply of listening material for Spanish learners.

La Reina del Sur

Teresa Mendoza flees Mexico after her boyfriend is murdered and reaches southern Spain where she starts a new life. However, things take a turn for the worse there and she finds herself involved in the drug trade. But no longer a victim, Teresa rises through the ranks to establish herself as an intercontinental drug lord.

Rubí

Rubí is a beautiful, ambitious woman from a poor family whose only interest is finding a rich husband. She uses her connections and her seductive skills to entice a wealthy doctor. However, when it turns out that Alejandro is not what he seems, Rubí has to adjust her plans...


Intermediate – Bonus

Learn Spanish Curse Words and Vulgar Expressions

Teaches you the swear words that Spanish speakers really use. Takes pains to lay out the grammar and context behind each word so you can use it correctly. Lots of examples given.

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Learn Spanish Curse Words and Vulgar Expressions

Teaches you the swear words that Spanish speakers really use. Takes pains to lay out the grammar and context behind each word so you can use it correctly. Lots of examples given..

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Swearing Speech BubbleIf you want to learn how to swear in Spanish, then you need this book.  As the author rightly points out, the vast majority of swear words and colloquial words that you find in dictionaries are not actually used today and will sound bizarre if you – in your foreign accent, no less – go about using them.

Instead, the best thing is to learn those evergreen swear words that people actually use in real life and don’t make you sound stupid. 

The book tells you which words to use and exactly how Spanish speakers use them (with the correct grammar). 

Even if you have no interest in using the words, it’s still a useful book to read through as you can be sure that you need to understand when people are swearing and what they are saying!

Learn Spanish Curse Words and Vulgar Expressions - Our Rating
79%