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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Is it ‘las clases de español’ or ‘las clases de españoles’?

The easy answer

The answer to this question depends on what you want to say in English. If you mean to say, “the classes of Spaniards” as in the types of Spaniards, then “las clases de españoles” is the best translation.

However, if you want to say “Spanish classes,” as in the classes you’re taking at school, then “las clases de español” is the correct translation.

The short explanation

One of the problems here is that whenever we have a preposition, the gender and number agreement is not necessary anymore.  In this case, “de” is a preposition. Here are a few other examples:

El traje de baño = bathing suit
Los trajes de baño = bathing suits

La hora de oficina = office hour
Las horas de oficina = office hours

El libro de ejercicios = workbook
Los libros de ejercicios = workbooks

El día de la bandera = flag day
Los días de la bandera = flag days

La noche de brujas = Halloween
Las noches de brujas = Halloweens (every Halloween)

The long explanation

Yes, prepositions break the harmony, somehow. In this case, the preposition “de” is linking two nouns. Imagine that when you say, “la clase de español” you are saying, “the class of Spanish.” The “de” may also mean a type or kind of, made of, even intended for. Now, let us see the same examples:

El traje de baño = bathing suit
The suit of/intended for bathing

Las horas de oficina = office hours
The hours of office

El libro de ejercicios = workbook
The (type of) book for execises
Los días de la bandera = flag days
The days for the flag

La noche de brujas = Halloween
The night for/of the witches





I hope it helps.

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