"This is the worst course in the school."
Translation:Este es el peor curso de la escuela.
I have a question about spoken Spanish. If I was saying this sentence, but I hadn't necessarily worked out exactly where I was going to end up, how would I know which gender to use?
I'll use an example to explain what I mean. So if I was gesturing at something (say a type of bird) and said in English "This...", then thought about what type of bird it was, then carried on, "pelican in front of me.", I can start out with that "this" without thinking about what the specific noun I'll be using later in the sentence is.
But in Spanish, if I'm doing the same thing, I have to know whether I should use "Esta..." or "Este..." when I started, before I know what the noun I'm going to refer to is.
I know sometimes we use "esto" in Spanish for sentences that have "this" but no specifically named noun e.g. "¿Qué es esto?". Can this also be used in casual/formal speech/writing? How ungrammatical would the sentence "Esto... thinking ...es el peor curso de la escuela" be considered to be?
Good question, but I think it's a matter of practice. When fluent you're not really going to start that sentence without knowing what the subject will be. It's only now, when I--at least--am critically evaluating every word choice as it comes out of my mind that it's hard to also think of what lies further along in a sentence.
That said, in English, one often hears something like, "This is my grandfather and grandmother" when it should be "These are..." The speaker just hasn't thought far enough ahead to realize he has a plural subject. Somehow, we muddle along, nonetheless.
I'm not a native speaker, but I believe both are fine. "De" makes a little more sense to me (although I, too, wrote "en" the first time I did the exercise) because a course isn't exactly a physical thing in a physical location. I'm sure there's no reason to stress over this. A Spanish speaker will understand either usage.
Esto is the "neuter" form (neither masculine nor feminine) and is used only when you don't know what the thing is and so you don't know if it is grammatically masculine or feminine.
The masculine word for "this" is este. In the prompt, you know "this" is a pronoun for curso, so the masculine form is required.