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Understanding Longer Sentences

So I'd personally say my Spanish understanding abilities (from listening) are quite decent. But the biggest challenge that I find when listening to Spanish is trying to take in longer sentences.

I'm fine with short sentences as I have less words to work out. Whereas when I'm confronted with longer sentences I start working out words and whilst I'm doing that other words are getting thrown at me and eventually I get lost.

I was wondering wondering if there are any ways to overcome this. (Yes, I watch films in Spanish but it isn't much help to me as I just face that problem)

May 7, 2017



There's no shortcut for something like this. The only way is to practice reading in Spanish, especially more complex sentences. Reading novels in Spanish would probably help a lot.


OK. Thanks a lot!


just keep practising, take a trip to Spain or Mexico. ( it costs a lot of $$, so probably not. ) Read Spanish books, watch Spanish videos, try Youtube.com


Thanks for the advice. I visited Spain a few weeks ago and it really helped my Spanish improve loads. It's definitely a great way to practice but it's a shame I can't do it too much :(


oh that is SO awesome!! lucky!!


Hopefully the more you hear it, the quicker you will be working out the words.


Perhaps move to the Spanish forum/topic, then more Spanish learners will see it.


But this isn't about Spanish. I'm merely just using my Spanish as an example. This can help anybody with any language.


Fair point - at first glance the post and comments all seemed to be discussing Spanish.

Although, I often notice that the Spanish section of instruction manuals is by far the longest ! :-)

Anyway, the only contribution I have to make is that some of the media players (for example: VLC) are able to play video and audio files at variable speed. Playing media 10-15% slower might give you some more thinking time. I sometimes do this with German.


OK, thanks a lot. Sorry if my reply came across as rude.


Understanding larger sentences comes with more practice and experience.


Other ways you could improve your Spanish:

  • The reverse tree, the course English for Spanish speakers, is very useful. There you have to translate much more from English to Spanish. Here is the link to the Duolingo Help Center for
    "How do I switch my Duolingo course language?" https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/articles/217005666-How-do-I-switch-my-Duolingo-course-language-

  • Try to read and write in Duolingo's Spanish discussion forums. There you will find the daily used words, sentences and idiom.

  • Use the web version of Duolingo (http://www.duolingo.com) instead of the App. The web version works also fine on a tablet or phone, when WIFI is available (or 4G/LTE in an internet bundle)


Like the rest of us you undoubtedly had the same problem with your mother tongue at some stage. The solution is identical: A) break it down into manageable chunks and B) things develop in their own time.

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