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really need help with spanish sentence structures

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I have a reading eval tomorrow, and unless I learn how to read the sentences, I'm completely screwed. I'm fine with the basics, but how do you read, for instance, "estas trenzas me las hizo una amiga en Francia, mi pais de origen" or "Ya ves que aunque no tengas much o dinero puedes estar a la moda igual"?

Help would be appreciated.

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Essentially you just need to be able to understand Spanish grammar.

To break down: "estas trenzas me las hizo una amiga en Francia, mi pais de origen"

Estas trenzas - These braids

Me - indicates that a verb is being done TO the speaker, possibly BY the speaker (in which case, that's called a reflexive verb) or by somebody/thing else

Las - they (presumably they = the braids, given that they are so far the subject of the sentence)

Hizo - 3rd person singular past (preterito) form of hacer, so "he/she/it did". As this is the only verb, you have to assume it goes with the "me" and therefore you can translate this as "he/she/it did TO me"

Una amiga en Francia - a (female) friend in France

Mi pais de origen - my country of origin

Put it together and we have "these braids they were done to me by a female friend in France, my native country". Obviously we don't quite say that in English so it would be more like "a female friend in France, where I come from originally, did these braids for me".

Anyway, you just have to know your grammar. If you know the principle of a reflexive verb, you can understand that other verbs might happen TO people. It's the same in English - "she hugged me" is a verb happening TO the person speaking, and we use exactly the same format by adding "me" in to indicate who the action is happening to. If you know that "las" is used as a substitute word, much like we would say "pass me the melons, they look really nice" instead of "pass me the melons, the melons look really nice", then that is easy too. And if you know your basic past tense, then you know that hizo is 3rd person.

I hope that helps explain to you how to break it down. Basically it's the whole reason you learn Spanish grammar. If you know what individual words mean and also things like tense, verb forms and so on, then you can deduce very easily what a sentence means. Even if it's a bit different sounding in Spanish in terms of the word order, you can make sense of it all.

Same with the second one:

Ya ves que aunque no tengas much o dinero puedes estar a la moda igual

Ya - 'as/now' ('ya' is a very confusing word but if you translate it roughly as as/now and then see how it fits with the rest of the sentence, I find that safest)

ves - you see

que - that

aunque - although

no tengas mucho dinero - you didn't have much money (subjunctive tense)

puedes - you are able to

estar - to be

a la moda igual - in the style/way

igual - the same

So something like "now you see that although you don't have much money, you can be of the same style". Roughly! For a lot of comprehension exercises, you only need to have exactly that - a rough understanding of what's being said.

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