Our Review of SpanishDict
SpanishDict.com features an extensive array of grammar lessons, translation resources, conjugation practice, fluency building tools, and more. It’s free to use, and we recommend it for mastering grammatical concepts and expanding your Spanish vocabulary.
Ease of Use10
Engagement and Motivation7
SpanishDict.com is by far the most useful resource for Spanish learners today. It features an extensive array of grammar lessons, translation resources, conjugation practice, vocab building tools and much more. It’s free to use (though a Premium subscription is available) and you can access SpanishDict on desktop as well as on a mobile app.
Table of Contents
- What is SpanishDict.com?
- How much does SpanishDict cost?
- How does SpanishDict work?
- SpanishDict’s dictionary and translation resources
- SpanishDict’s powerful tools for mastering conjugation
- Classroom resources for teachers
- Cheat Sheets & Phrasebooks
- How to get the most out of SpanishDict
What is SpanishDict.com?
You can use SpanishDict’s dictionary feature to search for definitions, view context sentences, conjugations and even add words/phrases to custom flashcard decks. SpanishDict has a built-in spaced repetition system (SRS) to help learners memorize vocabulary and review it to build strong memories.
You can choose from dozens of pre-made vocabulary lists such as “Physical and Personal Descriptions” or “Internet Verbs” then memorize the vocabulary through speaking, writing or multiple choice exercises. The vocabulary flashcards often include images or GIFs which are often both amusing and memorable.
Most other language apps and programs offer multiple language options, meaning the developers have less time to devote to each individual language. The more languages offered, the lower the quality of the study material.
SpanishDict, however, has resources only for English and Spanish. That means that the developers have been able to explore every aspect of learning the language. As a result, all of the features and tools on SpanishDict feel thoroughly designed and function smoothly for the user. SpanishDict is the program to use for mastering grammatical concepts and expanding your vocabulary – we can’t recommend it enough.
How much does SpanishDict cost?
SpanishDict is free to use and is supported by advertising. Users wishing to remove the ads and gain access to a few extra features can subscribe to SpanishDict’s Premium subscriptions.
At the time this article was published, SpanishDict has three subscription options:
- 1 month: $12.99
- 6 months: $39.99 ($6.67/mo)
- 12 months: $59.99 ($4.99/mo)
Premium subscriptions unlock additional features such as grammar Cheat Sheets and vocab Phrasebooks which can be downloaded in PDF format. You also get a streak repair once per week in case you miss a day of studying (SpanishDict has a daily streak feature similar to Duolingo). For a full list of Premium benefits check the SpanishDict website.
How does SpanishDict work?
SpanishDict has dozens of tools and resources available for learners. We found it most helpful for mastering grammatical concepts, learning to conjugate verbs correctly and acquiring new vocabulary through spaced repetition. There are quite a few remarkable features that we’ll go over in this article, including:
- Learn Spanish grammar: Interactive video units, detailed written explanations plus plenty of practice sentences for more than 75 different Spanish grammar topics.
- Vocab building resources: Browse vocabulary lists or create your own, then review flashcards through speaking, writing or multiple choice quizzes.
- Dictionary and translation resources: To and from Spanish, along with context sentences, synonyms, pronunciation tips and more.
- Conjugation lessons and practice tool: Learn the rules that govern the different verb tenses then master conjugation using the Conjugation Drill activity.
- Classroom resources for teachers: Lessons, vocabulary and quizzes for teachers to assign to students, plus Google Classroom integration. Resources available for most major Spanish textbooks.
- Cheat Sheets & Phrasebooks: Phrasebooks and grammar cheat sheets, such as “Por vs. Para” or “Preterite vs. Imperfect” to help you practice and review.
In the sections below we’ve provided more detailed outlines of each of these tools as well as our experience using them.
Learn Spanish grammar
SpanishDict offers more than 75 grammar topics to take you from beginner level all the way to advanced. The topics are divided into categories for Introduction, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced, which makes it easy to find a topic to work on.
We haven’t reviewed Spanish grammar topics in years so we decided to work through the “Preterite vs. Imperfect” grammar topic as a refresher (if you’re not familiar, Preterite and Imperfect are two types of verb forms used in the past tense and it’s generally a difficult topic for English speakers to master).
Grammar topics on SpanishDict generally have two sections. The first is a collection of interactive units and the second is a written section explaining the concepts in more detail.
Interactive grammar units: your personal Spanish tutor
The interactive units in SpanishDict grammar topics are made up of several units that you can work through to complete the lesson. The units contain explanation videos with comprehension questions and other study activities. They’re generally pretty short and to-the-point; it appears the majority of them take less than 15 minutes to complete.
The first unit of the “Preterite vs. Imperfect” lesson, titled “Uses” is made up of three sections. The first two sections explained the Preterite and Imperfect, respectively, and included a few example questions to make sure we understood.
The third section featured something we’d never seen before: an interactive video lesson employing the grammar topics we’d learned in the previous two sections. A woman described a trip she had taken in the past and we were asked to type the correct form of the verbs used to tell her story.
When we got a question wrong we were given an explanation of why we answered incorrectly, then at the end of the lesson we had the opportunity to re-try all the questions we answered wrong. This is another unique advantage of SpanishDict’s approach to focusing entirely on one language: you get detailed, easily understandable feedback when you answer a question wrong! If they were also creating content for several other languages they wouldn’t be able to offer such in-depth explanations.
Written grammar explanations
The second section contains written explanations, example sentences and extra resources such as pronunciation guides. We found the written sections quite organized, making them easy to navigate and understand. They often include bulleted lists and charts to separate material so it doesn’t feel like you’re stuck reading paragraphs of text. Plus, the explanations are concise and there are numerous useful examples.
Additionally, the Spanish words all have audio available so you can get a better idea of the pronunciation. When you click on the audio symbol next to a Spanish word you can view a video clip of a native speaker saying the word and even choose between a Latin American and Spanish accent.
When you approach a new grammar topic on SpanishDict, we recommend first going through the interactive units to get a basic grasp of the concepts. They don’t include too much extra detail so it’s easy to follow them without feeling overwhelmed. Once you have an elementary understanding of the new concepts you can use the written sections to reinforce what you learned in the units and get some more practice with a variety of sentence types and verbs.
Learning the grammar rules of a foreign language requires dedicated study over a period of time; it’s not enough to review the lesson once and expect to know the rules. SpanishDict provides all the material you need for each topic, but as a learner you should make an effort to review the concepts several times over a few weeks in order to make sure you truly understand.
We also recommend using Anki to help you memorize grammar rules or bits of information you think you might have trouble remembering. We have a comprehensive guide on how to use Anki for spaced repetition memorization, which you can read by clicking below.
One of the most useful tools on SpanishDict is the Vocabulary feature, which enables users to study vocab “Lists” and memorize new words using spaced repetition. When you search for a word in the dictionary you have the option to add it to a List so you can memorize it later.
Additionally, SpanishDict has dozens upon dozens of pre-made lists covering a variety of topics. There are vocabulary lists for all sorts of topics, including fun and innovative ones like “Pumpkin Spice” and “Internet Verbs.”
Users have the option to study using speech recognition, writing, or multiple choice. The speech activity is especially innovative: SpanishDict will show you the English translation and ask you to say the Spanish word. It uses voice recognition technology to gauge whether you pronounced it correctly or not. When you get an answer right, SpanishDict will hide the card for a while (usually 30 days). If you answer incorrectly, however, you’ll see that card a few more times in your deck as well as on the following day.
SpanishDict’s dictionary and translation resources
SpanishDict offers a fantastic dictionary and translator tool that you can use to level up your Spanish vocabulary and comprehension. You can search for an individual word or for parts of phrases, see example sentences, listen to native-speaker pronunciation and even add words directly to vocabulary lists to memorize later.
Whenever you come across a word you’re not familiar with, we’d recommend searching for it on SpanishDict so that you can see the translation options and also understand how to use it in a sentence. If it’s a word you think you’ll use frequently you should add it to your vocabulary list and review every now and then until you’re able to use it in your everyday life.
We recently ran into the Spanish word “el envase” and typed it into the dictionary. At the top of the search results page, SpanishDict provided us with the possible translations of this word: “el envase” means “the container” but we see that there’s also the verb “envasar” which means “to package” something. All of these words have speech enabled so we can listen to the pronunciation if we’re not sure – and we can even choose between a Spain and LatAm accent!
If we want to save this word for later and memorize it we can easily click on the “Add to list” button. We were consistently impressed by the lightning-fast interface. Everything seems to just click; you can easily search for different translations, build your own custom vocabulary list and study it frequently on your phone or computer.
Scrolling down a bit, we can see a handful of more detailed definitions as well as some example sentences. In addition to “container”, it appears that “el envase” can also mean a handful of other things:
Spanish is a rich and vibrant language with a profound literary and artistic heritage. Words can often have several meanings depending both on contextual and geographic factors. SpanishDict’s dictionary feature is a handy resource for understanding the different ways various words can function in a sentence and broadening your understanding of the myriad cultures represented.
Within the dictionary you’ll find a handful of tabs to further strengthen your understanding:
Clicking on the “Examples” tab for “el envase” shows us a number of ways the word can be used. We always recommend reviewing context examples of new words you encounter as they help you build stronger neural connections (and therefore better memories).
Reviewing the Example sentences is also useful since you might discover new words or phrases you haven’t learned yet. We saw the phrase “el envase completo (the entire pack)” and will want to make note of it since that’s a common phrase used in everyday life.
SpanishDict offers native-speaker pronunciation for a number of words and phrases. When you click on the “Pronunciation” tab you can watch a short video clip of native speakers (from both Spain and Latin America) saying the phrase slowly and clearly. You can also read the phonetic pronunciation in case you’re having trouble figuring out exactly how to say it.
The “Thesaurus” gives us some useful synonyms in case we’d like to expand our vocabulary even further. We looked at the Thesaurus results for the word “interesante” and found some neat options. “Interesante” is our go-to description word in Spanish and it feels weird when we say it too often. We found a few useful synonyms “ameno (enjoyable)” and “entretenido (entertaining)” which we’ll try to incorporate into our everyday vocabulary. A more broad and detailed vocabulary base will make us sound more natural and fluent when expressing ourselves in Spanish.
Some of the more commonly used words also have “Phrases” available. On this tab you’ll see some everyday phrases that use the word you searched for. We viewed the Phrases tab for “entretenido” and found a number of useful expressions:
Translating idiomatic expressions and parts of sentences
Every language has certain idiomatic expressions that don’t directly translate into other languages but must be learned as a whole in order to be understood. “Me gusta” in Spanish literally means, “It pleases me” but we wouldn’t really say that in English. We would say, “I like.”
Similarly, the expression “to give up” wouldn’t use the words “give” and “up” in Spanish, we would use “dejar” or “renunciar.” There are loads of idiomatic expressions which don’t translate directly into Spanish, so we need a good way to learn them if we want to sound more natural in our speech.
Unlike standard dictionaries, SpanishDict allows you to search for phrases with multiple words. It’s an amazingly convenient way to look up translations for idiomatic expressions. We typed in “I heard that you” into SpanishDict and were given a few different ways to say it. Whenever you have trouble constructing a sentence in Spanish, try typing in bits of the phrases into SpanishDict.
SpanishDict’s powerful tools for mastering conjugation
Verb conjugation is a vital part of the language learning process. Learning to conjugate verbs properly in Spanish can be a bit challenging for English speakers since there are so many tenses that must be learned. We sometimes have to pause in conversation and think to ourselves, “Okay… she (ella) was telling me (me decía) about ____.” These momentary pauses impede our ability to converse effectively and sometimes cause us a bit of frustration when we feel like we’re butchering a sentence.
To speak fluently and effortlessly you’ll need to be able to conjugate verbs without thinking.
Many learners struggle with verb conjugation because they learn the rules but never practice enough to truly master their usage. After learning the concepts behind a given verb tense you need to practice until you can conjugate verbs almost instantly and without thinking. The thought process of “I felt → past tense, imperfect → to feel → sentirse → me sentía” should be a split-second computation that you don’t have to think about. Fortunately, SpanishDict has two neat features to help you become an expert at conjugating Spanish verbs quickly and correctly.
Conjugation lessons to learn the tenses
Spanish verbs can appear in about 20 different tenses, about 10 of which are necessary if you want to get by in everyday conversations. If you’re still new to learning Spanish, you’ll first want to become relatively familiar with the rules that govern each verb conjugation. SpanishDict has a powerfully built lesson structure for those wishing to learn (or review) the various tenses of Spanish conjugation.
If you navigate to the “Conjugation” tab at the top of the SpanishDict website you can view units focusing on eight commonly used verb tenses. These units follow the same structure as SpanishDict’s other grammar lessons, outlined above in the “Learn Spanish grammar” section of this article. These eight units include interactive video lessons as well as more detailed written explanations to answer any questions you might have.
If you haven’t been learning Spanish for very long or if you’re brushing up after a long break you might be wondering what all the above verb tenses mean. It’s actually pretty simple, so don’t feel overwhelmed. You might not know the words “present progressive” or “subjunctive” but you probably use these tenses in English every day.
We’ve listed them out below, along with mini explanations and sentence examples so you can get a rough idea of what each tense is used for:
- Present: Basic present tense verb conjugation. I study biology at the university → Estudio biología en la universidad.
- Present Progressive: The tense we use in English for -ing. I am cleaning the kitchen → Estoy limpiando la cocina.
- Preterite: Past tense single-event actions. It started to snow → Empezó a nevar.
- Imperfect: Past tense for habitual actions or things that were happening over a period of time. I was walking to class when the phone rang → Iba a clase cuando sonó el teléfono.
- Simple and Informal Future: Used to describe what will happen in the future. He will find a good job → Encontrará un trabajo bueno.
- Subjunctive: Used for situations involving uncertainty, or where the outcome is unknown. I hope you have a good day → Espero que tengas un buen día.
- Commands: Used to tell someone what to do or what not to do. Don’t drive so fast. → No manejes tan rápido.
- Imperfect Subjunctive: The subjunctive tense for past or conditional situations. If I had more money, I’d travel all over the world. → Si tuviera más dinero, viajaría por todo el mundo.
These are just a few basic examples intended to give you an approximate idea of what you’ll learn in each unit. If you’re still at a beginner level we’d recommend you work through them in order and take time to practice using the “Conjugation Drill” feature.
Conjugation Drill to train your verb conjugation reflexes
After you learn verb conjugation rules you can use Conjugation Drill to practice until they come naturally to you.
Conjugation Drill is a super handy tool you can use to create customized conjugation quizzes. You can select the tenses (preterite, imperfect, etc.), categories (-AR, -ER, etc.) and pronouns (yo, tú, etc.) you want to practice. For example, if you’d like to get some more practice with past tense irregular verbs you can select those options and target the exact areas you’d like to improve.
SpanishDict also allows you a considerable amount of flexibility in choosing which verbs to practice. Under the “Verbs” dropdown window you can select “Most common verbs” to practice the verbs you’ll regularly use in everyday situations. You can also choose to practice conjugating the verbs found in your vocabulary lists.
We just began studying the “Internet Verbs” vocab list and are learning words such as to click, to browse and to download. We regularly find ourselves describing what we were doing online in the past tense (“I opened my browser and was scrolling through an article, when…”) so we’ll select preterite and imperfect tenses, then start our quiz.
We’d recommend spending 5 to 10 minutes every day practicing verb conjugation using the Conjugation Drill activity. After you work through a new verb tense in the Conjugation units, you should Drill for a few weeks until you feel very comfortable using the given tense. After mastering all eight units you’ll be able to conjugate verbs quite easily and you’ll feel significantly more confident in everyday situations.
Classroom resources for teachers
SpanishDict Classrooms is a (free) tool for teachers to assign activities to their students. It features customizable vocabulary lists and quizzes, assignable grammar lessons and is compatible with Google Classroom.
If you’re a teacher searching for study tools to engage and motivate your students a bit more, SpanishDict Classrooms is definitely worth looking into. In fact, the platform features vocabulary lists and grammar exercises for most of the popular textbooks used in today’s Spanish classrooms.
The “Avancemos 1 – Unidad 6 – Lección 1” topic, for example, features activities for all 48 vocab words introduced in the textbook lesson. As a teacher, you can assign students practice activities or vocab quizzes. Additionally, students can use the Conjugation Drill feature to practice conjugating the new verbs introduced in this lesson.
SpanishDict’s “Avancemos 1 – Unidad 6 – Lección 1” topic features in-depth coverage of the grammatical topics included in the textbook, plus extra practice sentences and audio. The videos, comprehension questions and Extra Practice activities are great for today’s generation of students ever more plugged into devices; your students’ SpanishDict accounts will sync across all their devices, meaning they can work through their learning material at school, on the bus or at home without any friction.
Cheat Sheets & Phrasebooks
With a Premium subscription you’ll unlock some helpful PDFs designed to help with some of the more difficult topics of the language such as “Ser vs. Estar” or “Preterite vs. Imperfect.” Often, these topics need to be studied and reviewed over a longer period of time.
Cheat Sheets are a great way to quickly review grammar topics because all the information is in one place. We’d recommend attaching them to the wall in front of your desk or to the mirror in your bathroom to get quick reminders throughout the day.
Phrasebooks are similar to Cheat Sheets but focus more on vocabulary. There are a handful of topics available and we found the “Regionalisms from Spain” and “Regionalisms from Mexico” to be most helpful.
How to get the most out of SpanishDict
SpanishDict is easily the most advanced study tool available for Spanish learners today. It offers a number of useful, well designed study tools (dictionary, context examples, vocab lists, spaced repetition vocabulary memorization, etc) all on one platform, along with an interface that feels clean and easy to use.
SpanishDict offers comprehensive grammar lessons available as interactive video units accompanied by detailed explanations and plenty of example sentences. There is plenty of audio content available throughout the platform, including a large number of video clips featuring native speakers.
You can use SpanishDict to translate individual words or multiple-word idiomatic expressions and the extra tools (examples, synonyms, phrases, pronunciation) are better than any other language dictionary we’ve seen.
SpanishDict also has a unique approach to vocabulary memorization. There are dozens and dozens of pre-prepared vocabulary lists you can study using the platform’s built-in spaced repetition tool. You can also create your own vocabulary lists and add vocabulary from the dictionary with the click of a button.
We always suggest that language learners dedicate some portion of their daily study time towards vocab building exercises (check out our guide on building study habits). SpanishDict is the perfect resource to help you learn new words and review them over time in order to commit them to long term memory. Best of all, SpanishDict is free to use. With just a few minutes of practice every day, you’ll be well on your way to a broader vocab base and expert understanding of Spanish grammar.
– written by Drew Grubba for Smarter Language. Drew has ACTFL-certified proficiency in Swedish, German, Portuguese, French and Spanish. He’s also studied Mandarin Chinese, Norwegian and Dutch, and is currently learning Russian.
Disclaimer: SpanishDict is a property of IXL Learning Inc.