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Welcome to the Upper Intermediate levels!
This is where your Spanish really starts to take shape.
In the Upper Intermediate levels you really expand the range of what you can talk about. In Upper Intermediate 1 you learn more complex ways of talking about the present and the past and in Upper Intermediate 2 you see the futuro simple, then in Upper Intermediate 3 the present subjunctive is introduced for the first time.
The Upper Intermediate levels are also where you really consolidate the past tenses you learnt in the Lower Intermediate levels.
Together, the Upper Intermediate levels form the B1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Click here for more information about the CEFR.
And click here for an overview and detailed explanation of all our levels.
Depending on where you jump in to the Upper Intermedaite levels you’ll need to consider what has been seen before and do a little bit of extra study these topics beforehand.
It’s good to remember that although a lot of new grammar is introduced in these levels, there’s no expection that you be an expert at it all immediately.
Throughout the Advanced levels (the levels that follow the Upper Intermediate levels) there are many opportunities to consolidate the main ideas introduced here.
For example, the present subjunctive, first seen in Upper Intermediate 3, is something that takes a long time to bed in. You don't feel real confidence with it until after having studied other aspects of the subjunctive mood in the Advanced levels.
The subjunctive is infamous – probably due to the fact that it’s unfamiliar to many of us. In reality, it’s not extraordinarily difficult once you get a sense of it and have the opportunity to put it into practice.
The Upper Intermedaite levels open your eyes to new possibilities grammar-wise. Enjoy the adventure.
By now, you should be feeling fairly confident with the present tense.
If not, take a detour and spend some extra time on it, the basics are always good to get right.
Some uses of the present tense we've seen so far are:
1) to describe actions happening now (present continuous: ESTAR + present participle (-ing)
2) to express intentions / plans for the future (IR a + infinitive)
3) to express obligation (TENER que + infinitive)
4) to create impersonal expressions (se puede + infinitive / hay que + infinitive)
The Spanish Verb System – an El Patio resource
Some time soon, you'll be able 'flip' between past tenses for any one verb. If he estado isn't right you can quickly try estuve or estaba.
This kind of dexterity takes a lot of hard work, especially if you're learning in a country where the language is isn't spoken and don't often get to observe native speakers making these subtle choices in their own speech.
So be kind to yourself (it can be tough-going), and also put in the time to do the hard work.
Musicians practise scales and rock climbers do finger-strengthening exercises. If you're learning a language, nothing will help you more than learning your verbs!
The pretérito perfecto is a compound tense (made up of two parts – the auxiliary verb HABER and the past participle). Learning this tense inside out will help you immensely when you come to learn another compound tense – the pretérito pluscuamperfecto – in Upper Intermediate 2.
Be completely familiar with the pretérito perfecto – the forms of HABER and the regular and irregular past participles.
We first nutted out the pretérito indefinido and explored its irregular forms in detail in the Lower Intermediate levels.
Of all the past tenses, the pretérito indefinido has the most irregularities. Thankfully there are patterns even in the irregular forms.
Learn the verb patterns and endings for the regular verbs and memorise the irregular forms.
Compared to the pretérito indefinido, the pretérito imperfecto is a dream, with only three irregular verbs IR, SER and VER.
The tricky thing to master is not so much the form itself but the kind of time this tense expresses and how it differs from the pretérito perfecto and pretérito indefinido.
Check out the El Patio resource that shows these three past tenses side by side.
Learning to distinguish the direct object pronouns (me / te / lo / la / nos / os / los / las) from the indirect object pronouns (me / te / le /nos / os / les) and the reflexive pronouns (me / te / se / nos / os / se) is a long-term project.
It's good to keep in mind that native speakers of Spanish get these little words confused too – but don't let that stop you!
We hope you enjoy your course.
If we can help with anything please get in touch.
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