Learning to write in Spanish is one of the most important skills you can acquire while learning the Spanish language.
If you enjoy writing but have some problems with it, don’t stress, you will get over it. Always remember that writing is a process, even in your native language.
Writing is a universal communication system, just like speaking. However, they are different in what they can do. Compared to speaking, writing is able to overcome temporal barriers, as its message is usually permanent.
Therefore, writing in Spanish is one of the most important skills to acquire when learning the language.
How to type Spanish Accents and Letters
First of all, we know that Spanish words have a lot of accents and symbols a little different from English, so if you want to write in Spanish, the first thing we must do is to know how to type them on our computer, in case we have the English keyboard.
Because, even though you can set the language of the PC in Spanish, you can’t change the physical configuration of your keyboard. That’s why here we’ll teach you how to write Spanish letters and accents with the English keyboard.
First, we must change the language of our keyboard on Windows or Mac, to “English” or “United States-International”. When installed, in the Windows taskbar (bottom bar), to the far right, there should be an indication of the language that your keyboard is currently using.
It will probably say “ENG US” or “ENG INTL”. Click on it to change the current keyboard any time you need to. The “ENG INTL” keyboard is what you will want to use to easily type Spanish characters. You can also switch keyboards by simultaneously pressing the Windows key and the space bar.
If you press the apostrophe key (‘) or the quotation marks (“), nothing will happen. To type them, you must press the key and then the space bar. Once the space bar is pressed, the apostrophe or quotation mark will appear.
To type a special character, you have to press two keys. To type the “á”, simply press the apostrophe key and then the key for the letter “a”. The other characters are equally easy:
- á = ‘ + a
- é = ‘ + e
- í = ‘ + i
- ó = ‘ + o
- ú = ‘ + u
- ñ = ~ + n
- ü = ” + u
To type the uppercase version of these letters, you must do the same but hold down the SHIFT key while you type the letter.
To type the special punctuation marks, hold down the Alt key while you press the corresponding punctuation mark.
- ¡ = Alt (hold down) + !
- ¿ = Alt (hold down) + ?
To create accents on the Mac, press and hold down the Option key and, without releasing it, type the letter “e”, then press and release those keys and type the letter over which you want the accent to appear:
- á = Opt + e, then a
- é = Opt + e, then e
- í = Opt + e, then i
- ó = Opt + e, then o
- ú = Opt + e, then u
For the letter “ñ”, you need to hold down the Option key while you type the n, and release and type n again.
- ñ = Opt + n, then n
To place the diaeresis over the “u”, hold down the Option key while pressing the “u” key; then release and type u again.
- ü = Opt + u, then u
The inverted punctuation marks are created as follows:
- ¡ = Opt + 1
- ¿ Opt + shift + ?
15 Ways to Improve Your Writing in Spanish
Now that we have the keyboard set up, we can start typing in Spanish on the computer. Although you can read on to find out why it is better to write by hand! But in the end, it’s all a matter of taste.
Read these tips to improve your Spanish writing skills!
Before starting to write
1. Set your keyboard to Spanish
If you are going to type digitally, the first essential step is to change the configuration of your keyboard to the Spanish language. Spanish has a series of letters, punctuation marks, and symbols that do not exist in English. Especially the letter “Ñ”, which is indispensable in this language.
2. Start writing in a notebook
If you want to write by hand, keeping a notebook in Spanish helps in many ways. It is a way to write in Spanish and give yourself time to think in Spanish each day. It is easier to write about your daily activities just for yourself than to write a formal letter.
3. Select your verbs before you start writing in Spanish
Verb management is one of the most difficult grammatical concepts to master in Spanish. The conjugation of irregular verbs can be especially complicated.
So a good way to avoid problems with them is when you are defining what you are going to write about, write on another sheet of paper the verbs you plan to use, and have their conjugation sheet at hand.
4. Don’t try to be impressive
Start with short and simple pieces. Don’t try to impress your friends, colleagues, or fellow students with complicated texts. It is better to start with a simple and clear text than with a long text that is difficult to follow. Try to start writing about what you know how to write, not what you want to write about.
5. Think in Spanish
If you think and work in English with the idea of translating your text later, you will only create more problems for yourself and your text will lack coherence. As soon as you start preparing your text, always think in Spanish.
This is the only way to improve your Spanish writing skills. I know it can be difficult to think in Spanish, especially at the beginner level, but if you force yourself to do it now, you will save yourself problems in the later stages of your Spanish writing progress.
6. Write about what you like
It is easier to write about things that are interesting to you since you will put more enthusiasm into it. On the other hand, if you start with boring things, you are likely to avoid practicing your writing altogether. This will definitely improve your writing skills.
While you are writing
7. Use synonyms
Using synonyms is a sign that you are already an advanced student of Spanish grammar. It shows that you have a large vocabulary and that you can express your ideas in many different ways in Spanish.
Avoiding repeating the same word by using synonyms is what you should do when writing in your native language. Doing so demonstrates your progress in the Spanish language.
8. Use linking words
Textual connectors are transitional words or phrases that give continuity and coherence to texts and are very important in Spanish grammar. They also give fluidity to the writing because they connect sentences and paragraphs in the text.
They don’t change the meaning of a sentence and are there only to help you “connect” your ideas. Just by adding linking words, you will greatly improve your writing and avoid using short, choppy sentences.
What are the main linking words in Spanish?
|Type of Linking Word||Spanish||English|
|Contrast (adversative or corrective conjunctive phrases)||Al contrario||On the contrary|
|O más bien||Or rather|
|Antes bien||Rather before|
|A la inversa||Conversely|
|A menos que||Unless|
|Así como||As well as|
|Aún cuando||Even though|
|Con todo eso||With all that|
|De otro modo||Otherwise|
|En contraste con||In contrast to|
|Hasta ahora||So far|
|Comparison (Used to compare similar ideas).||Así como||Likewise|
|De igual forma||Likewise|
|De manera similar||Similarly|
|Parecido a||Similar to|
|Consequence (Announces in what follows a deduction or consequence of what precedes)||Así que||So that|
|De manera que||So that|
|En conclusión||In conclusion|
|Por esto||For this reason|
|Por esta razón||For this reason|
|Por lo tanto||Therefore|
|Por tal razón||For this reason|
|Summary of ideas||Como conclusión||As a conclusion|
|En resumen||In summary|
9. Look for idiomatic expressions
For example, Spanish formal letters typically begin with “A quien corresponda” and end with “Atentamente”. Find these kinds of expressions that are idiomatic for the type of writing you are creating and give your writing a more professional look and feel.
When you finish writing
10. Check punctuation twice
One of the most common mistakes Spanish learners make is forgetting to use the initial exclamation and question marks. This is normal since they do not exist in English, but it is not an excuse.
It is important to use them for good spelling so make it a point to double-check punctuation every time you write in Spanish and, with time, this will no longer be a problem.
Punctuation in Spanish is extremely important as a single accent or period can change the entire meaning of the sentence. Learn how to master Accent Marks in Spanish today!
11. Ask for feedback
When possible, ask a Spanish native speaker or anyone you know who is proficient in Spanish to give you feedback on your writing.
It could be your teacher or your language partner, but it’s a good idea to get a second feedback, who can correct things you didn’t notice and even give suggestions for improvement.
12. Write again, but proofread.
If you see that your text had a certain number of errors, rewrite it, but without errors, taking into account all the corrections. This will make your brain pick up the correct way to say it.
Other tips to improve your Spanish writing
13. Find a writing friend
Finding a native Spanish-speaking friend with whom you can have spoken and written dialogues, it’s a great way to bring your Spanish language improvement to the next level.
Learn by reading their texts and force yourself to answer even if you don’t have a lot to add. Here you immerse yourself in the language and in the process, make a buddy!
14. Don’t stop writing
The more you write, the easier the words will come to you. You could even set a monthly challenge. You can start by writing 4 short essays a week, or if you have more time, one a day. Set yourself a minimum word count, here’s a list of writing ideas!
Cosas que me gustan
Things I like
Cosas que no me gustan
Things I don’t like
Qué quería ser cuando era niño
What I wanted to be when I was a child
Qué quiero ser en el futuro
What I want to be in the future
Descripción de mi trabajo ideal
Description of my ideal job
Descripción de mi familia
Description of my family
Descripción de mi cantante favorito
Description of my favorite singer
Mi rutina diaria
My daily routine
Crítica de una película o un libro
Movie or book review
15. Read a lot
Reading is a way to learn without even realizing you’re actually learning, and there is no best way to improve your writing than by reading. So just read as long as you can in Spanish.
Make a habit of reading any material in Spanish you are able to, ideally read about a variety of subjects and use a range of different types of texts.
16. Writing by hand
Research has shown that writing by hand has greater benefits than typing on a keyboard, as it uses our fine motor function and engages several brain regions, triggering muscle memory and helping us to better remember words and phrases.
Handwriting, the simple act of taking a pen or a pencil to write ideas on a piece of paper, forces you to concentrate on what’s really important. When we handwrite, a single neural circuit is activated automatically, according to Stanislas Dehaene, a psychologist at the Collège de France in Paris.
This is because a gesture recognition nucleus is embedded in the handwritten word, a kind of mental simulation recognition in the brain.
So, in your daily Spanish language practice, be sure to write down your thoughts and ideas on paper.
Start improving your Spanish language skills today!
Writing is the only way to improve your Spanish writing. You need to make the improvement of your writing skills one of your primary objectives during your learning process.
Create a routine for yourself and follow it. Take these 16 tips into consideration and you will be making great improvements in your writing very soon.
And if you want to have a teacher to give you feedback on your texts, remember that at SpanishVIP we have professional native teachers ready to accompany you in this learning process. So sign up today for a free 1:1 class or sign up for a 7-day trial of group classes and see why SpanishVIP’s methodology will help you get by in record time!
Want to learn Spanish, fast?
Download our e-book, Easy Spanish Shortcuts, and learn your first 1,000 Spanish words in under a day!