Leçons Espagnol

Thèmes

Preterite vs. Imperfect Quiz

Do you know the difference between the Spanish preterite and imperfect tenses? In a nutshell, the preterite describes completed past actions, while the imperfect describes conditions or qualities, or actions that were not yet completed or in progress at a specific moment in the past. Can you insert the correct choices in different contexts, and do you know the grammatical reasons for doing so? Test your knowledge of these two different Spanish past tenses with the following quiz!

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Preterite vs. Imperfect: Fill in the Blank

In the following sentences, choose the correct preterite or imperfect verb(s) to fill in the blank(s). 

 

1. Yo _____ en Madrid en el año mil novecientos ochenta y cuatro.

a. nacía

b. nací

 

2.  Ella todavía ________ la cena cuando los invitados llegaron. 

a. preparaba

b. preparó

 

3. ____ las cuatro de la tarde y ya se oscurecía.

a. Eran

b. Fueron

 

4. David estaba en la ducha cuando su esposa _____ de la casa para ir a trabajar. 

a. salía

b. salió

 

5. El chico ___ muy alto. _____ el pelo negro y los ojos verdes. 

a. era, Tenía

b. fue, Tuvo

 

6. Los hermanos _________ a sus abuelos en New Hampshire todos los veranos. 

a. visitaban

b. visitaron

 

7.  La gimnasta rumana Nadia Comaneci _______ siete veces una calificacción perfecta durante su carrera. 

a. obtenía

b. obtuvo

 

8. Los gemelos empezaron la escuela cuando _____ tres años.

a. tenían

b. tuvieron

 

9. ________________ por la mañana, ________________ y nos _________ a trabajar

a. Nos levantamos, nos arreglamos, nos fuimos

b. Nos levantábamos, nos arreglábamos, nos íbamos

 

10. _________ muy emocionados porque nuestra tía nos venía a visitar.

a. Estuvimos

b. Estábamos 

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Bonus Round

All of our trickier bonus round questions will involve more than one verb in the preterite and/or imperfect tense(s), as well more choices. Are you up for the challenge?! 

 

11. Carla _______ su solo en el recital cuando de repente ____________.

a. bailó, se tropezó

b. bailaba, se tropezaba 

c. bailó, se tropezaba

d. bailaba, se tropezó

 

12. Diego ______ muy emocionado porque ___ el once de enero: el día de su cumpleaños. 

a. estuvo, fue

b. estaba, era 

c. estuvo, era

d. estaba, fue

 

13. Aunque ya _______ a algunas personas en mi escuela, no _______ a mi mejor amigo hasta mi segundo año.

a. conocí, conocí

b. conocía, conocía

c. conocíconocía

d. conocía, conocí

 

14. En el momento en que ________ a nevar, _________ en camino a la playa. 

a. empezó, estuvimos

b. empezaba, estábamos

c. empezóestábamos

d. empezaba, estuvimos

 

15. La chica, que ___ muy guapa y joven, _______ con su novio el día tres de septiembre en una boda que ______ más de cinco horas.

a. fue, se casó, duró

b. era, se casaba, duraba

c. era, se casó, duraba

d. era, se casó, duró

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Preterite vs. Imperfect Quiz: The Answers

The following are the answers to all of the questions in this Preterite vs. Imperfect Quiz, as well as the translations and grammatical reasons for each. 

 

Preterite vs. Imperfect: Fill in the Blank

1. Correct Answer: b. nací (preterite)

Yo nací en Madrid en el año mil novecientos ochenta y cuatro.

I was born in Madrid in nineteen eighty-four. 

REASON: The preterite is used for actions that took place at a determined moment in the past. Certain verbs, such as nacer (to be born), are most commonly seen in the preterite.

 

2.  Correct Answer: a. preparaba (imperfect)

Ella todavía preparaba la cena cuando los invitados llegaron. 

She was still making dinner when the guests arrived. 

REASON: Use the imperfect tense to describe past actions in progress that were interrupted by another action. Interrupting actions, on the other hand, should be in the preterite, as is llegaron in this example. 

 

3. Correct Answer: a. Eran (imperfect)

Eran las cuatro de la tarde y ya se oscurecía.

It was four in the afternoon, and it was already getting dark. 

REASON: Past dates and times in Spanish are described with the imperfect tense. Let's see an example:

 

aunque todavía era el mes de junio,

despite the fact that it was still the month of June,

Caption 39, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata Poeska

 Play Caption

 

4. Correct Answer: b. salió (preterite)

David estaba en la ducha cuando su esposa salió de la casa para ir a trabajar. 

David was in the shower when his wife left the house to go to work. 

REASON: The verb salir (to leave) is conjugated in the preterite in this sentence because it interrupts an action in progress. The action in progress, estaba (was), is in the imperfect. 

 

5. Correct Answer: a. era, Tenía (imperfect)

El chico era muy alto. Tenía el pelo negro y los ojos verdes. 

The boy was very tall. He had black hair and green eyes.

REASON: Both verbs in this sentence are in the imperfect tense, which is used to describe past conditions and characteristics. Let's hear this use of the imperfect in action:

 

En lugar de plumas amarillas, las suyas eran grises y respecto a sus patas ellas eran increíblemente grandes y feas.

Instead of yellow feathers, his were grey, and regarding his legs, they were incredibly big and ugly.

Captions 22-25, Cleer El patito feo

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6. Correct Answer: a. visitaban (imperfect)

Los hermanos visitaban a sus abuelos en New Hampshire todos los veranos. 

The brothers used to visit their grandparents in New Hampshire every summer.

REASON: The imperfect visitaban is used here because habitual past actions are described with the imperfect. 

 

7. Correct Answer: b. obtuvo (preterite)

La gimnasta rumana Nadia Comaneci obtuvo siete veces una calificacción perfecta durante su carrera. 

Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci earned a perfect score seven times during her career.

REASON: Actions that are completed a specific number of times in the past are conveyed with the preterite.

 

8. Correct Answer: a. tenían (imperfect)

Los gemelos empezaron la escuela cuando tenían tres años.

The twins started school when they were three years old. 

REASON: When talking about age in the past, choose the imperfect tense

 

9. Correct Answer: a. Nos levantamos, nos arreglamos, nos fuimos (preterite)

Nos levantamos por la mañana, nos arreglamos y nos fuimos a trabajar

We got up in the morning, we got ready, and we went to work. 

REASON: The preterite tense in Spanish should be used to relay a series of completed actions in the past, like in the following caption:

 

Un día el sol volvió a salir, se oyó un ruido atronador y apareció un bello arco de colores en el cielo.

One day the sun came out again, a thunderous noise was heard and a beautiful colorful arch appeared in the sky.

Captions 42-44, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El mito de Bochica

 Play Caption

 

10. Correct Answer: b. Estábamos (imperfect)

Estábamos muy emocionados porque nuestra tía nos venía a visitar.

We were very excited because our aunt was coming to visit us. 

REASON: When speaking about past emotional states, the imperfect is most often employed. An exception to this rule might be when one suddenly feels an emotion in a particular moment. 

 

Bonus Round

11. Correct answer: d. bailaba (imperfect), se tropezó (preterite)

Carla bailaba su solo en el recital cuando de repente se tropezó.

Carla was dancing her solo in the recital when she suddenly tripped.

REASON: The first verb (bailaba) is in the imperfect because it was the action that was interrupted by the second, interrupting action, in the preterite (tropezó). We hope you are getting the hang of this concept!

 

12. Correct Answer: b. estaba (imperfect), era (imperfect)

Diego estaba muy emocionado porque era el once de enero: el día de su cumpleaños. 

Diego was very excited because it was January eleventh: his birthday. 

REASON: Both verbs are in the imperfect, the first because it describes a past emotional state, and the second because it refers to a date.

 

13. Correct Answer: d. conocía (imperfect)conocí (preterite)

Aunque ya conocía a algunas personas en mi escuela, no conocí a mi mejor amigo hasta mi segundo año.

Although I already knew some people at my new school, I didn't meet my best friend until my sophomore year. 

REASON: This one is tricky! While both are conjugations of the verb conocer (to meet), the first one is imperfect since it talks about "knowing" people over an extended period of time in the past, whereas the second incidence, in preterite, refers to "meeting" someone at a particular past moment. To learn more such verbs, check out this lesson on verbs that change meaning in the preterite

 

14. Correct Answer: c. empezó (preterite), estábamos (imperfect)

En el momento en que empezó a nevar, estábamos en camino a la playa. 

At the moment it started to snow, we were on our way to the beach. 

REASON: While this is yet another example of a verb in preterite (empezó) that interrupts a past action in progress in the imperfect (estábamos), note that in contrast with the previous examples, the interrupting verb comes first in this example. 

 

15. Correct Answer: d. era (imperfect)se casó (preterite), duró (preterite)

La chica, que era muy guapa y joven, se casó con su novio el día tres de septiembre en una boda que duró más de cinco horas.

The girl, who was very pretty and young, married her boyfriend on September third in a wedding that lasted more than five hours.

REASON: In this example, era (was) is in the imperfect because it describes past traits/characteristics, while se casó (married) and duró are in the preterite because they describe actions with concrete starts/finishes in the past. The verb casarse (to get married) is yet another example of a verb that, when in the past, is most typically seen in the preterite tense, as in the following caption:

 

Cuando mis papás se casaron, estaba de moda Lucho Bermúdez,

When my parents got married, Lucho Bermudez was in fashion,

Caption 2, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

That's all for this lesson. How many answers did you get right?! To better understand these verbs tenses, we recommend the videos from our popular series Carlos Explica (Carlos Explains) on the Spanish preterite tense as well as the Spanish imperfect. In the meantime, we hope you've enjoyed this Preterite vs. Imperfect Quiz, and don't forget to leave us your questions and comments.

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The Preposition contra in Spanish

Are you familiar with the Spanish preposition contra? In most cases, the Spanish preposition contra can be translated as "against" and functions very similarly to many uses of its English counterpart. Occasionally, however, this Spanish preposition can be used to depict situations in which a different English preposition could be utilized. Let's explore some uses and nuances of this Spanish preposition. 

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1. Opposition of Two or More Things

The first meaning of the Spanish preposition contra refers to the opposition of two or more things, in which case it is typically translated as "against." Let's take a look at a couple of examples that describe entities facing off "against" one another:

 

una batalla ocurrida en mil setecientos dos que enfrentó a ingleses y holandeses contra españoles y franceses,

a battle that took place in seventeen oh two, which pitted the English and Dutch against the Spanish and French,

Captions 56-57, Adrián en Galicia Vigo

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¿Cómo ves el Mundial? ¿Cómo ves esto? -Yo lo veo que vamos a ser España contra Argentina.

How do you see the World Cup? How do you see this? -I see it as we're going to be Spain against Argentina.

Captions 55-56, Víctor en España El Mundial de Catar 2022 - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Similarly, the Spanish preposition contra can reference the literal or figurative fight "against" something specific, such as a disease or cause:

 

pero la lucha contra el narcotráfico continúa

but the fight against narco-trafficking continues,

Caption 41, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 1 - Part 11

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Busco un remedio contra el dolor de cabeza.

I'm looking for some headache medicine. 

 

Note that in this last example, while the word "contra" implies combatting pain, it is not explicitly translated into English. 

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2. A Contrary Position 

Like the English word "against," the Spanish preposition contra can indicate a sentiment of disagreement, disapproval, or opposition, for example, to a particular cause, notion, or person. Let's examine some examples of this meaning of contra:

 

¡Y contra eso estamos!

And we're against that!

Caption 58, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 1 - Part 13

 Play Caption

 

In this context, the word contra often appears within the construction en contra de, which means "against" or "in opposition to":

 

Los diferentes sistemas o soluciones constructivas, eh... No estoy a favor o en contra de ninguno.

The different systems or constructive solutions, um... I'm not in favor of or against any one.

Captions 7-8, Leif El Arquitecto Español y su Arte - Part 2

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3. Towards

This third use of the Spanish preposition contra denotes the direction of a movement "towards" something or someone. Although the word "against" can sometimes act as an English equivalent of this usage, in other cases, different English prepositions may be more common translations. For example, if you said "Reboté mi pelota contra la pared," a common translation would be "I bounced my ball off the wall." Let's see a few more examples:

 

El coche chocó contra la pared

The car crashed into the wall 

 

Bochica lanzó su báculo contra la montaña,

Bochica threw his staff at the mountain,

Caption 51, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El mito de Bochica

 Play Caption

 

se percuten contra el piso. Otras veces, esos instrumentos se percuten... madera contra madera.

are struck against the floor. Other times, those instruments are struck... reed to reed.

Captions 29-31, Sonido Babel Los quitiplás

 Play Caption

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4. In Front of

This meaning of the Spanish preposition contra typically describes things that are leaning "on" or "(up) against" something else, or facing it, as in the following examples:

 

El niño apoyó su patinete contra la pared.

The child leaned his scooter on/against the wall. 

 

Arrimaron los tablones contra el muro. 

They put the boards up against the wall. 

 

5. In Exchange for

In common expressions like "entrega contra reembolso" (delivery on/upon payment) or "pago contra entrega" (payment on/upon receipt), the Spanish preposition contra conveys that one thing happens in exchange for another and/or cannot happen until something else has occurred:

 

Recibirán el dinero contra entrega de la factura. 

You'll receive the money when you submit the invoice.

 

Interestingly, the securities industry uses a similar term, versus, in expressions like Delivery Versus Payment (DVP) to say that payment must take place in order for the delivery to happen. However, most of the time, the English words "on," "upon," or "when" convey this notion. 

 

That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has clarified for you the different uses of the Spanish preposition contra. Can you think of any additional examples and/or their English translations? We'd love for you to write us with you insights and questions.

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Spanish Vocabulary for the End of the Year

Let's get ready for the end of the year with the following five tips regarding some of this period's most commonly used Spanish words and phrases.

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1. How to Say "Happy New Year" in Spanish

While the most standard way to say "Happy New Year" in Spanish is simply Feliz Año Nuevo, you may also hear the following alternatives:

 

Feliz Año (short for Happy New Year)

Próspero Año Nuevo (Prosperous New Year)

Feliz 2023 (Happy 2023)

 

2. Año Nuevo vs. año nuevo

If you're writing to someone, there's a difference between writing Feliz Año Nuevo (with all three words capitalized) and Feliz año nuevo (with the second two words in lowercase). In fact, while the former is a good wish for the New Year's Eve and New Year's Day holidays, the latter is a more general good wish for the new year ahead.

 

3. Nochevieja: Better Than Noche Vieja

Nochevieja (literally "old night") is the last night of the year, or New Year's Eve. Just keep in mind that it is preferable to write the name of this special day as one single word (Nochevieja), rather than as two words (Noche Vieja).

 

4. A Traditional Año Viejo

In some parts of Latin America, people burn human-size dolls called años viejos (literally "old years") stuffed with old clothes, newspaper, and firecrackers as a symbolic act to cast off the old year and welcome the new one, as we can see and hear about in the following clip (check out the full video to learn more)!

 

Un saludo para todos los fabricantes de años viejos y los compradores

A greeting to all the makers of "años viejos" [dolls] and the buyers

Captions 74-75, Otavalo Artesano de monigotes de Año Viejo

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5. Fireworks in Spanish

It is difficult to imagine the end of the year in many Spanish-speaking countries without fireworks. But do you know how to say "fireworks" in Spanish? The following are the two acceptable terms:

 

Fuegos artificiales

Juegos pirotécnicos

 

Regarding the second term, be careful not to mix it with the first and say "fuegos pirotécnicos" instead of "juegos pirotécnicos." This mistake is quite common, even among native Spanish speakers! Let's hear how to pronounce the first term:

 

Sí,  fuegos artificiales con un fondo de violines, me encanta, ¿eh?

Yes, fireworks with a background of violin [music]; I love it, huh?

Caption 39, Yago 6 Mentiras - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

And that's all for this year! We wish you a stellar 2023, and don't hesitate to write us with your questions and comments. ¡Feliz Año!

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Cualidad vs. Calidad in Spanish: The Difference and Uses

One of our Yabla Spanish users recently asked us about the difference between the words cualidad and calidad in Spanish. Since both of these words can be translated as "quality," they are, indeed, a bit confusing for English speakers. That said, we would like to share with you the following explanation about how to use cualidad vs. calidad in Spanish. Let's take a look!

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Meaning and Uses of Cualidad in Spanish

Generally, speaking, the word cualidad means "quality" in the sense of an inherent feature of something. You can therefore treat cualidad in Spanish as a synonym of words like "feature," "trait," "characteristic," or "property." Let's look at a few examples:

 

Hay ocasiones en las que el adjetivo se coloca delante del sustantivo para enfatizar una cualidad

There are times when the adjective is placed before the noun to emphasize a quality

Captions 21-22, Ana Carolina El uso correcto de los adjetivos

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Una de las cualidades de nuestro café es que, eh, cada semana estamos tostando; es café fresco cada vez. 

One of the qualities of our coffee is that, um, every week we're roasting; it's fresh coffee every time.

Captions 8-10, Baja Beans Café 3- Los granos de café y la máquina tostadora

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Tiene grandes cualidades sanadoras.

It has great healing properties.

Caption 18, Melyna El aguacate

 Play Caption

 

Sometimes, the word cualidad can refer more specifically to someone's positive trait(s). In this context, the word cualidad can be used as a synonym of words such as "strength" or "attribute." Let's see that use in action:

 

Eso es normal, Guillermina. Cada persona tiene una cualidad. Si no corres muy rápido, con seguridad bailas muy bien.

That's normal, Guillermina. Every person has a strength. If you don't run very fast, you surely dance very well.

Captions 36-37, Guillermina y Candelario La Ciudad de los Cangrejos

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Casas saca músculos de aquí, y tiene una fila de niñas suspirando por él. ¡Suficiente! ¡A mí, las cualidades de Casas me tienen sin cuidado!

Casas has got muscles here, and he's got girls lined up yearning for him. Enough! I couldn't care less about Casas' attributes!

Captions 7-10, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 11 - Part 3

 Play Caption

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Meaning and Uses of Calidad in Spanish

Even though the word calidad in Spanish can also be translated as "quality," its meaning is a totally different. In fact, calidad can be used to convey the following two things:

 

1. The standard or relative level of excellence of something when compared to other, similar things

This use of the word calidad is a synonym for "standard," as you can see in the following examples:

 

Al principio, la guitarra la fabricaban con materiales de madera de muy baja calidad

At first, they made the guitar with very low-quality wood materials,

Captions 7-8, Música andina Los orígenes de la guitarra

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y así seguramente mejoraremos nuestra calidad de vida

and in that way surely we will improve our quality of life

Caption 59, Los médicos explican Consejos para dormir

 Play Caption
 

Así, nuestro cliente podrá comparar empresas, diferentes servicios, diferentes calidades y diferentes precios. 

In that way, our customer will be able to compare businesses, different services, different qualities and different prices.

Captions 54-55, Raquel y Marisa Español Para Negocios - Nuestra tienda online

 Play Caption
 

 

2. General excellence or superiority 

Whether used with an adjective such as alta (high) or on its own, this meaning of calidad denotes high quality.

 

Estos productos tienen una calidad y frescura inmejorable.

These products have unbeatable quality and freshness.

Caption 20, Fermín Mercado ecológico

 Play Caption

 

para ofrecer un programa de estudio de alta calidad

to offer a high-quality study program

Caption 20, Europa Abierta Bruselas impulsa estudios en el extranjero

 Play Caption

 

A mí me gusta trabajar con calidad.

I like to work with quality.

Caption 32, Otavalo Dea Flor

 Play Caption

 

Cualidad vs Calidad: Final Tip

Before we go, we would like to share with you a little tip. One of the best manners to choose between either cualidad or calidad in a sentence is by trying both options. For instance, if you tried to exchange these two words in the examples we used throughout this lesson, you will see that replacing one term with the other would be nonsensical.

 

With this final tip, we have arrived at the end of this lesson. Are you now clear about when to use cualidad vs. calidad? We hope so, but don't hesitate to send us your comments and questions about any remaining doubts!

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Qatar 2022 in Spanish

Are you a football/soccer fan? Are you enjoying the World Cup Qatar 2022? In this lesson, we'll share with you some of the most important Qatar 2022-related Spanish vocabulary!

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Is It Qatar in Spanish?

First things first: Do you know how to say the name of the host country of the 2022 World Cup in Spanish? If you think it's Qatar, think again! As in Spanish, the name of this country is spelled with the letter c, the correct spelling is Catar. Now, let's see how to say it:

 

estamos en pleno Mundial de Fútbol de Catar,

we're in the middle of the Qatar soccer World Cup,

Caption 3, Víctor en España El Mundial de Catar 2022 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

However, it's important to mention that when talking about this year's tournament in any language, including Spanish, you will need to spell it with the official name of the tournament, which is Qatar 2022.

 

Another interesting thing to mention about the name of this country is that it's also a Spanish verb! Do you know what the verb catar means in Spanish? If you don't, let's find out by listening to the following clip:

 

Lo primero que hacemos cuando catamos un vino es mirar el color.

The first thing we do when we taste a wine is to look at the color.

Captions 37-38, Montserrat Cata de vinos - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Now that we know that Qatar is Catar in Spanish, can you guess what adjectives you should use when talking about people or things from Catar? The answer is simple: catarí in singular and cataríes in plural (for both masculine and feminine nouns) .

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Key Terms of the Competition

If you're familiar with the World Cup, you know that this tournament is played in different fases (stages). Let's learn how to say their names in Spanish:

 

la fase de grupos (the Group Stage)

los octavos de final (the Round of 16)

los cuartos de final (the Quarter-finals)

la semifinal (the Semi-finals)

el tercer puesto (the Third Place Playoff)

la final (the Final) 

 

During the group stage, each team plays three games. Afterwards, however, all matches are played in the so-called knockout stage (la fase de eliminación directa), which means that the losing team is immediately out of the competition. Let's learn some additional terms:

 

el campeón (the winner)

la copa (the cup)

el equipo (the team)

el mejor jugador (the best player)

el Mundial (the World Cup)

el partido (the match/game)

el primer tiempo (the first half)

el segundo tiempo (the second half)

el VAR, videoarbitraje (the VAR, video assistant referee)

 

If you wish to familiarize yourself with a lot of additional terms from this sport, we'd like to invite you to check out our lesson about football/soccer vocabulary words in Spanish.

 

That's all for now. Who do you think will be the winner of the World Cup 2022? Don't forget to write us with your predictions and questions!

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When Le(s) becomes Se in Spanish

Although the Spanish pronoun se is most typically associated with reflexive verbs or passive or impersonal constructions, there is a case in which the indirect object pronoun le actually converts to a se! Let's find out what it is. 

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Direct/Indirect Object Prounouns: A Quick Overview

While a lot can be said about the topic of direct and indirect object pronouns, we'll provide you with a very brief overview.

 

Direct Object Pronouns

Direct object pronouns (me, te, lo, la, nos, os, los, las) replace a direct object to convey the idea of "me, "you," "it," "we," and "them." Their form depends upon whether what is being replaced is masculine or feminine and singular or plural. For example, if instead of saying "I have the apples" (Tengo las manzanas), you wanted to say simply "I have them," you'd use the feminine plural las to agree with las manzanas to say, "Yo las tengo."

 

Indirect Object Pronouns

Indirect object pronouns let us know "to whom" an action happens. If you wished to say, for example, "I gave the apple to him," you'd say Yo le di la manzana since le is the indirect object pronoun that corresponds to the subject pronoun él (he). The indirect object pronouns and their corresponding subject pronouns are: me (yo), te (), le (él, ella, usted), nos (nosotros/as), os (vosotros/as), and les (ellos/as, ustedes).

 

Combining Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns

So, what if you want to both replace a direct object and indicate "to whom" something happens? You'd then use both a direct and an indirect object pronoun, starting with the latter. Let's see a couple of examples from our Yabla Spanish library: 

 

Y tengo acá las revistas. Si quieres te las enseño después. Y...

And I have the magazines here. If you want I'll show them to you later. And...

Captions 77-78, Gonzalo el Pintor Vida - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Here, Gonzalo uses las to replace the feminine plural noun las revistas (the magazines) and te to indicate that he will show them "to you." Let's see one more example. 

 

Y yo voy a la huerta a buscar los tomatitos ya que nadie me los trae.

And I'm going to go to the garden to look for the tomatoes since no one's bringing them to me.

Caption 32, Muñeca Brava 41 La Fiesta - Part 5

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In this case, the speaker uses the masculine plural los to replace the masculine plural los tomatitos (the tomatoes), and the indirect object pronoun me (to me) to reflect that "no one's bringing them to me."

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When Le(s) Becomes Se

It seems pretty simple, right? The "problem" arises when the required indirect object pronoun is le or les. For example, if you wish to say, "I'm giving it to them," referring to el lapiz (the pencil), would you say: "Yo les lo doy"? The rules of the Spanish language state that whenever the indirect object pronoun in question is le or les, those words change to se to avoid the awkwardness of having two words that begin with "l" in a row. The correct manner of saying this would thus be Yo se lo doy. Let's look at a few more examples from our Yabla Spanish library. 

 

Voy a escribirle una carta y se la mando con el Señor Viento.

I'm going to write her a letter and I'll send it to her with Mister Wind.

Captions 56-58, Guillermina y Candelario El Mar enamorado

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Él... él se los dio a mi marido

He... he gave them to my husband,

Caption 76, Málaga Lourdes y la talabartería en Mijas Pueblo

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La quiero ver... con moñito y todo se lo regalo. -Bueno...

I want to see you... with a bow and everything, I'll give him to you. -Well...

Caption 14, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

Pronoun Placement With Infinitives

Remember that, as with all direct and indirect object pronouns, se lo, etc. are typically placed directly before the verb. However, in the case of infinitive verbs, they are attached to the end of the infinitive to form a new word (with the appropriate placement of a written tilde according to the Spanish accent rules). Let's see a couple of examples:

 

Señor, esa información no puedo dársela yo.

Sir, I can't give you that information.

Caption 60, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 1 - Part 8

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El problema es que no era capaz de decírselo.

The problem is that I wasn't capable of telling it to him.

Caption 44, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 13 - Part 5

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We hope that this lesson has shed a bit of light on those cases in which the indirect object pronouns le and les change to se. Don't forget to write us with your questions and suggestions.

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The Spanish Word of the Year 2022

Unfortunately, this year that is about to end wasn't the brightest. From the Ukraine war and the never-ending COVID-19 pandemic to global economic woes and the ongoing climate change crisis, this year's Word of the Year summarizes, in just six letters, all of these unfortunate events. With that being said, let's reveal Yabla's Spanish Word of the Year 2022.

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"Crisis": The Spanish Word of the Year 2022

The word crisis (with the same spelling as in English) is our Spanish Word of the Year 2022. Let's see how to pronounce this word in Spanish with a sentence we could easily apply to the present times:

 

Vivimos en tiempos de crisis.

We live in times of crisis.

Caption 3, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 2 - Part 1

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By the way, the word crisis in Spanish doesn't necessarily mean something negative, but rather a drastic change in a particular situation. However, for the context of this lesson, we are using the following definition from the Diccionario de la lengua española:

 

Situación mala o difícil (Bad or difficult situation)  

 

Do you know what the plural of the word crisis is in Spanish? Let's find out with the following clip:

 

por las crisis que genera,

for the crises it generates,

Caption 40, De consumidor a persona Short Film - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

Yes, the plural of the Spanish word crisis is... crisis! Why? Because words that have the accent on the second-to-last syllable and end in "s" don't change in the plural. In addition to crisis, words like virus and apocalipsis also follow this rule. For more information about this topic, check out our lesson about Rules for Forming the Plural of Nouns in Spanish.

 

Runners-up for 2022 Spanish Word of the Year

Considering the coverage that the war in Ukraine received this year, we were tempted to choose the word guerra (war) as our Spanish Word of the Year 2022. However, we opted for a word that takes into consideration all of the other problems affecting our world. Let's take a look at some of this year's runner-up terms.

 

guerra (war)

 

Yo soy "antiguerra", no me gusta la guerra.

I'm "antiguerra" [antiwar], I don't like war.

Captions 52-53, Ana Carolina Prefijos y sufijos - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

incertidumbre (uncertainty)

 

creo que debido a la incertidumbre que teníamos todas las personas,

due, I think, to all of our uncertainty

Caption 46, El coronavirus Confinamiento en España - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

inflación (inflation)

 

La inflación en América Latina será más alta que la media.

Inflation in Latin America will be higher than average

 

invasión (invasion)

 

Durante la invasión francesa en mil ochocientos ocho,

During the French invasion in eighteen o-eight,

Caption 60, Marisa en Madrid Parque de El Retiro

 Play Caption

 

Did you notice anything? That was a lot of words that start with the letter i, which even appears twice in the word crisis! That said, is definitely the Spanish letter of the year!

 

And that wraps up Yabla's Spanish Word of the Year for 2022. What do you think of our choice? Please feel free to share your comments and suggestions with us, and here's to hoping that 2023 will be a better year!

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Sinnúmero and Sin Número: Similar but Not Equal

Do you know the difference between sinnúmero (one word) and sin número (two separate words)? Do you know how to use them? While sinnúmero and sin número are somewhat similar, they're not quite the same. In this lesson, we'll give you a brief explanation of each, as well as some practical advice for using them. 

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Sinnúmero and Sin Número: The Grammatical Difference

From a grammatical standpoint, there's a big difference between sinnúmero and sin número. On one hand, sinnúmero is a masculine noun that, on its own, is used to refer to a "myriad," "plethora," or "abundance" of something. Most often, however, it is employed within the following formula to refer to something "countless" or "endless."

 

the indefinite article un + the noun sinnúmero + the preposition de

 

Let's see a couple of examples. 

 

Hay un sinnúmero de especies de aves

There are countless bird species

Caption 48, Bogotá El cerro de Monserrate

 Play Caption

 

Cuando nosotros utilizamos este objeto, podemos crear un sinnúmero de movimientos

When we use this object, we can create an endless array of movements

Captions 15-16, Melyna Los beneficios de hula

 Play Caption

 

As you may have noticed, while the formula un sinnúmero de is sometimes translated with an English noun phrase like "a countless number" or "an endless array," other times, this formula is instead conveyed with an English adjective like "countless," as in the first example. 

 

Let's now move on to sin número, which is an adjective phrase that is generally placed after a noun to mean "numerous" or "abundant. Let's look at an example:

 

Los soldados temían que las decisiones del capitán pudieran generar desgracias sin número.

The soldiers feared that the captain's decisions might generate numerous difficulties. 

 

Finally, we should also say that sin número can be intended more literally when talking about something that has no number, as in the following sentence:

 

Marco vivió por mucho tiempo en una casa sin número.

Marco lived for a long time in a house without a number.

 

Sinnúmero vs. Sin Número: The Safest Bet

Although there's a fine line between sinnúmero and sin número, when you want to convey ideas like "countless," "innumerable," or "numerous," the one-word option sinnúmero is your safest bet since the adjective phrase sin número is only rarely used in that context.

 

Before we go, let's look at one more example of the Spanish noun sinnúmero within the formula we've learned today:

 

y un sinnúmero de rituales donde se adoraba al sol.

and countless rituals where the sun was worshiped.

Caption 42, Viajando con Priscilla Turismo en Quito

 Play Caption

 

That's all for this lesson. We hope you've learned something new, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

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Top Verbs for Cooking in Spanish

Do you know how to read una receta (a recipe) in Spanish and/or talk about the various actions one must perform to prepare una comida (a meal)? In order to help you do so, we've taken fifty of the most popular cooking verbs in English, then given you the equivalent Spanish term(s) for each, along with lots of examples from our Yabla Spanish library. Let's get started! 

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Top 50 Cooking Verbs With Spanish Translations 

 

1. Add: agregar, añadir, poner, colocar, 

When talking about "adding" in an ingredient, there are various choices! While the first two mean "to add," the second two literally mean "to put" or "place" but are frequently seen in recipes to describe the same action:

 

Una vez sudado los ingredientes, le colocamos: salsa inglesa,

Once the ingredients are stewed, we add in: Worcestershire sauce,

Captions 50-51, Recetas de cocina Pabellón criollo

 Play Caption

 

2. Beat: batir

 

El siguiente paso es batir ocho o nueve huevos.

The next step is to beat eight or nine eggs.

Captions 37-38, Clara cocina Una tortilla española

 Play Caption

 

3. Break: romper

And speaking of eggs, you have "to break" or "crack" them, which is described with the Spanish verb romper (to break):

 

Rompe los huevos contra una superficie plana.

Break the eggs on a flat surface.

 

4. Boil: hervir

 

Ahora llena una cazuela de agua y luego ponla a hervir

Now, fill a pot with water, and then, bring it to a boil.

Captions 37-38, El Aula Azul Receta de garbanzos

 Play Caption
 

5. Blend: mezclar, incorporar, juntar, combinar, licuar, batir 

There are many ways to describe the action of "blending" in Spanish. While the first four options we have listed are more likely to refer to simply "mixing thoroughly," batir and licuar tend to describe more vigorous actions and perhaps even some instrument like a una/a batidor/a (whisk) or licuadora (blender).

 

Todo esto vamos a llevar a licuar, a dar vueltas

All of this, we're going to blend, to spin around,

Caption 29, Mónica Batido

 Play Caption

 

6. Bake: hornear

 

se hornea 

and you bake it

Caption 78, Viajando con Fermín Restaurante La Viña - Part 2

 Play Caption
 

 

7. Barbecue: asar, hacer a la parrilla, hacer a la barbacoa

 

y vamos a asar dos tiempos la parte de la grasa

and we're going to barbecue the part with the fat two times

Caption 49, Osos en la cocina Carne asada

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8. Cut: cortar

 

Vamos a cortar en pedazos pequeños también la lechuga,

Let's also cut the lettuce into small pieces,

Caption 16, Ana Carolina Receta para una picada

 Play Caption

 

9. Cover: cubrir

The verb cubrir might refer to covering something with una tapa (a cover/lid) or something else, like water:

 

Vamos a cubrirlo y vamos a subirle el fuego.

We're going to cover it, and we're going to increase the heat.

Caption 37, Cocinando con Miguelito Pollo sudado - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

10. Cook: cocinar, cocer

 

La papa es fácil de cocinar

Potatoes are easy to cook,

Caption 14, Cocinando con Miguelito Pollo sudado - Part 3

 Play Caption
 

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11. Cool: enfríar

 

Luego, pones el papel encerado por encima y dejas que enfríe.

Then, you put the wax paper on top and you let it cool.

Captions 26-27, Manos a la obra Postres de Minecraft

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12. Chop: picar, trocear

 

Picamos todo; todo se tiene que picar muy, muy pequeño. 

We chop everything; everything has to be chopped very, very small.

Caption 13, Cleer y Lida Ají

 Play Caption
 

13. Dice: cortar en dados, trocear

The Spanish word dados literally means "dice," as in the dice you play games with. Cortar en dados (literally "to cut in dice") is thus one of the ways to talk about the "dicing" action in Spanish:

 

Cortarlo en dados y freírlos hasta dorar.

Dice it, and fry them until browned.

Caption 50, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

14. Drain: escurrir, colar

Although the verbs escurrir and colar can both mean "to drain," as in simply getting rid of excess liquid, they can also mean "to strain," as in running something through a colador (colander, sieve, etc.) to separate the solid from the liquid:

 

Ahora cuela los garbanzos con un colador. Escúrrelos bien.

Now, strain the chickpeas with a strainer. Drain them well.

Captions 40-41, El Aula Azul Receta de garbanzos

 Play Caption

 

15. Fry: freír

 

En la sartén, un poco de aceite y fríes la mezcla.

In the frying pan, a little bit of oil, and you fry the mixture.

Caption 35, El Aula Azul Adivinanzas de comidas - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

16. Flip: voltear, dar la vuelta 

 

la volteamos y hacemos lo mismo y podemos ir volteándola hasta que esté totalmente cocinada.

we flip it, and we do the same thing, and we can keep flipping it until it's totally cooked.

Captions 34-35, Dany Arepas - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

17. Grind: moler, triturar

Note that these words can also be used as equivalents of the English "to crush."

 

y después de eso procederemos a molerla.

and after that we will proceed to grind it.

Caption 51, Una Historia de Café La Tostión

 Play Caption

 

18. Grate: rallar

 

¿Qué, sos un queso pa' que te ralle?

What, are you some cheese for me to grate?

Caption 70, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

19. Grill: cocinar/asar a la parrilla, cocinar a la brasa/asar a la brasa

You might have noticed that the terms for "to grill" and "to barbecue" in Spanish are similar, and people often confuse these actions ("barbecuing" tends to describe cooking something for longer over a lower heat, and perhaps on an actual "barbecue"). Most of the time, context should let you know which meaning is intended. 

 

Ahora vamos a asar las arepas.

Now we are going to grill the arepas.

Caption 31, Recetas de cocina Arepas colombianas

 Play Caption

 

20. Heat: calentar

 

Lo ponemos en la estufa... y lo vamos a calentar a un fuego medio o bajo.

We put it on the stove... and we're going to heat it over medium or low heat.

Caption 18, Cocinando con Miguelito Pollo sudado - Part 1

 Play Caption

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21. Knead: amasar

 

Entonces, tenemos que amasarla bien.

Then, we have to knead it well.

Caption 66, Recetas de cocina Carimañolas

 Play Caption

 

22. Light: encender 

 

es que, si cada persona en el cuarto enciende un fósforo al mismo tiempo,

is that, if every person in the room lights a match at the same time,

Captions 52-53, Eljuri Hablamos Con La Artista Sobre Su Nuevo Álbum

 Play Caption

 

Similarly, the verb encender can also mean "to turn on."

 

23. Measure: medir

 

¿Y medís la grasa que tiene,

And you measure the fat that it has,

Caption 17, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 14

 Play Caption

 

24. Mix: mezclar, batir, incorporar

 

eh, que sea grande y espacioso para poder mezclar.

um, which is large and spacious to be able to mix.

Caption 25, Dany Arepas - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

25. Microwave: cocinar en microondas

 

Ahora voy a cocinar en microondas las palomitas.

Now, I'm going to microwave the popcorn.

 

26. Mash: hacer puré de algo 

"Haz puré con un aplastador de papas" means "Mash with a potato masher." Now, let's look at a clip that describes the result of this action!

 

Ella va a hacer un puré de papa y yo voy a hacer la pechuga.

She is going to make some mashed potatoes, and I am going to make the chicken breast.

Caption 27, Misión Chef 2 - Pruebas - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

27. Melt: derretir 

 

Derrítalo en agua caliente. Eh... derretirlo... eh...

Melt it in hot water. Um... melt it... um...

Captions 29-30, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 5: Ha nacido una estrella - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

28. Mince: moler, picar 

 

Lo vamos a picar como en una crema.

We're going to mince it like in a cream.

Caption 77, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

29. Marinate: marinar, adobar

 

Lo dejamos marinar una hora en el refrigerador

We let it marinate for one hour in the refrigerator

Caption 9, Osos en la cocina Pollo asiático

 Play Caption

 

30. Peel: pelar

 

El primer paso es pelar las patatas,

The first step is to peel the potatoes,

Caption 23, Clara cocina Una tortilla española

 Play Caption

 

31. Pour: verter algo en, volcar algo en, poner algo en 

 

y vierte un poco de aceite.

and pour in a bit of oil.

Caption 55, El Aula Azul Receta de garbanzos

 Play Caption

 

32. Roast: asar, rostizar, tostar

Take note that in addition to "grill" and "barbecue," the Spanish verb asar can also mean "to roast," or "cook in an oven or open fire." When talking about "roasting" coffee beans, nuts, or seeds, however, the verb tostar (literally "to toast") is commonly employed to describe the "roasting" action:

 

El café se tuesta entre doscientos y doscientos cincuenta grados centígrados.

Coffee is roasted at between two hundred and two hundred fifty degrees centigrade.

Caption 7, Una Historia de Café La Tostión

 Play Caption

 

33. Refrigerate: refrigerar, enfríar

 

Refrigera la torta por dos horas antes de servir.

Refrigerate cake for two hours prior to serving. 

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34. Roll out: estirar

The verb estirar, which usually means "to stretch," can also refer to "rolling out" dough, for example, with a rolling pin:

 

el rulero, empezar a estirar la empanada.

the rolling pin, start to roll out the empanada.

Caption 37, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín Lalo y la receta de la empanada

 Play Caption

 

35. Rinse: enjuagar, desinfectar

Although enjuagar is the most common verb meaning "to rinse," sometimes the verb desinfectar can be used when referring to "rinsing" food items.

 

las frutas, lo... las lavamos, las desinfectamos,

the fruit, we... we wash it, we rinse it,

Caption 15, Otavalo Mali Tea

 Play Caption

 

36. Stir: remover, revolver

Have you ever heard of "false friends," or false cognates in Spanish? While remover sounds like "to remove" and revolver resembles "to revolve," both of these verbs mean "to stir" in Spanish (the latter making a bit more sense!). Meanwhile, the false friend estirar, which looks and sounds more like "to stir," means "to stretch" (or "roll out," as we learned earlier). 

 

Recordad: remover bien la mezcla.

Remember: Stir the mixture well.

Caption 65, El Aula Azul Receta de natillas

 Play Caption

 

37. Scramble: revolver 

In addition to "to stir," the Spanish verb revolver can also mean "to scramble."

 

Revuelve los huevos en una sartén de acero inoxidable. 

Scramble the eggs in a stainless steel frying pan. 

 

38. Sprinkle: espolvorear, rociar

 

Espolvorea con azúcar y canela. 

Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. 

 

39. Squeeze: exprimir, sacar(le) jugo 

 

Exprimimos medio limón por cada trozo de carne.

We squeeze half a lemon for each piece of meat.

Caption 36, Osos en la cocina Carne asada

 Play Caption

 

40. Spread: untar

 

con queso y mantequilla que puedes untar sobre el pan.

with cheese and butter that you can spread on the bread.

Captions 40-41, Natalia de Ecuador Alimentos para el desayuno

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41. Steam: cocer/cocinar al vapor 

 

Al vapor, el brócoli conserva su textura, su sabor y sus propiedades. 

Steamed, broccoli keeps its texture, its flavor, and its properties.

Captions 58-59, Soledad Ensaladilla de brócoli

 Play Caption

 

42. Simmer: hervir a fuego lento

This Spanish verb literally means "to boil at low heat," which is what "simmering" refers to:

 

Hierve el guiso a fuego lento por tres a cuatro horas.

Simmer the stew for three to four hours. 

 

43. Slice: cortar, cortar en lonchas, cortar/picar en rebanadas

 

Picamos en rebanadas.

We slice [them].

Caption 15, Recetas de cocina Ensalada de pepino

 Play Caption

 

44. Sauté: saltear, sofreír

 

le echo... lo salteo con aceite y le echo una guindilla. 

I put it in... I sauté it with oil and I add a chili pepper to it.

Caption 27, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 3

 Play Caption
 

45. Sift: tamizar, cerner 

 

De un litro, hay que cogerle y cernirle

From one liter, you have to take it and sift it,

Caption 102, Comunidad Tsáchila Ayahuasca y plantas curativas

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46. Toss: mezclar, revolver, remover

Notice that the Spanish words for "tossing" a salad are not the literal translations for the word "toss" as in "throw," but rather mean "to mix" (mezclar) and "to stir" (revolver, remover). 

 

Verter el aderezo en la ensalada y revolver poco antes de servir.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss just before serving. 

 

47. Toast: tostar

 

La uso para tostar el pan del desayuno por las mañanas.

I use it to toast the breakfast bread in the morning.

Caption 29, Aprendiendo con Zulbany Piensa rápido

 Play Caption

 

48. Weigh: pesar

 

Para cada jarra de café debo pesar siempre la misma cantidad

For each mug of coffee I must always weigh out the same amount,

Captions 53-54, Una Historia de Café La Tostión

 Play Caption

 

49. Whisk: batir, usar una batidora/un batidor de varillas

The previously discussed Spanish verb batir can also be used for the action of "whisking." To be more specific, you might also mention the name of the "whisk" instrument:

 

Usando una batidora de varillas, bate la mezcla hasta que esté uniforme

Using a wire whisk, blend mixture until it is uniform. 

 

A much simpler translation with the same meaning would be simply: "Whisk mixture until uniform." 

 

50. Wash: lavar

 

Mientras lavamos el tomate y vamos preparando la ensalada,

While we wash the tomato and we're making the salad,

Caption 28, Fermín Ensalada de tomate

 Play Caption

 

We hope that this lesson on the top Spanish verbs for cooking has brought to light a lot of new cooking vocabulary as well as making you aware of a multitude of Yabla videos you might not have seen with a ton of scrumptious recipes to try! And if you do, we would love for you to write us with your experiences and comments!

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Spanish Alphabet Quiz

How well do you know the Spanish alphabet? If you want to test your knowledge, we would like to invite you to take this short Spanish alphabet quiz. Are you ready? Let's go!

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Spanish Alphabet Quiz: The Basics

 

1. How many letters does the Spanish alphabet have?

a. 26

b. 27

c. 28

d. 29

 

2. How do you spell the word "alphabet" in Spanish?

a. alphabeto

b. alfagamo

c. alfabeto

d. alfabedario

 

3. Which of the following is another valid term for "the alphabet" in Spanish?

a. el abeceto

b. el abecedario

c. el abracadario

d. none of the above

 

4. Which of the following consonants is known as the "Greek i"?

a. x

b. w

c. y

d. j

 

If you want the answers to the previous four questions, please check out our lesson about the Spanish alphabet. Don't worry— we will also give you all of the answers to this quiz at the end of this lesson!

 

5. How many vowels are there in the Spanish alphabet?

a. 4

b. 5

c. 6

d. 7

 

6. How many vocales abiertas (strong vowels) are there in the Spanish alphabet?

a. 2

b. 3

c. 4

d. 5

 

For the answers to these two questions, please refer to our lesson on the Spanish vowels.

 

7. Which of the following is NOT a valid term for the letter "w" in Spanish?

a. uve doble

b. doble u

c. ve doble

d. They are all valid.

 

To find out, please see our lesson entitled 15 Spanish Words That Start With W.

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Spanish Alphabet Quiz: Spelling and Pronunciation

 

8. The name of which of the following animals starts with the letter "c" in Spanish?

a. snake

b. frog

c. zebra

d. octopus

 

For a very helpful hint, listen to the description that animal that Ester provides:

 

Tiene cuatro patas y una crin, [adivinanzas] pero es diferente al caballo porque tiene rayas blancas y negras.

It has four legs and a mane, [riddles] but it's different from the horse because it has black and white stripes.

Captions 5-7, El Aula Azul Adivinanzas de animales - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

9. The double form of which of the following consonants becomes a different Spanish letter with a different sound?

a. m

b.  r

c. p

d. s

 

Find out the answer in this lesson.

 

10. Which of the following consonants is pronounced differently in Spain versus Latin America?

a. p

b. r

c. n

d. c

 

If you're not sure, feel free to consult our lesson about the main differences between Castilian and Latin American Spanish.

 

Spanish Alphabet Quiz: The Answers

And now, as promised, the following are the answers to all of the questions in this Spanish alphabet quiz:

 

1. How many letters does the Spanish alphabet have? b. 27

2. How do you spell the word "alphabet" in Spanish? c. alfabeto

3. Which of the following is another valid term for "the alphabet" in Spanish? b. el abecedario

4. Which of the following consonants is known as the "Greek i"? c. y

5. How many vowels are there in the Spanish alphabet? b. 5

6. How many vocales abiertas (strong vowels) are there in the Spanish alphabet? b. 3 (a, e and o)

7. Which of the following is NOT a valid term for the letter "w" in Spanish? d. They are all valid. 

8. The name of which of the following animals starts with the letter "c" in Spanish? c. Zebra in Spanish is cebra.

9. The double form of which of the following consonants becomes a different Spanish letter with a different sound? b. the consonant "r," as in the word perro (dog)

10. Which of the following consonants is pronounced differently in Spain versus Latin America? d. the consonant "c"

 

Regarding that last answer, let's see this difference in action with the following clip featuring Carlos from Colombia and Xavi from Spain:

 

Me encanta comer cereal con yogur de cerezas. Me encanta comer cereal con yogur de cerezas. -OK.

I love to eat cereal with cherry yogurt. I love to eat cereal with cherry yogurt. -OK.

Captions 14-15, Carlos y Xavi Diferencia de pronunciación entre España y Colombia - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

That's all for this lesson. How many answers did you get right?! We hope you've enjoyed this Spanish alphabet quiz, and don't forget to write us with your questions or comments.

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Continuer la lecture

The Top Royalty-Related Spanish Words

The news has been dominated by the death of Queen Elizabeth II. If you are wondering how to say words like "queen" or "kingdom" in Spanish, this lesson will teach you how to say and spell the most important royal terms.

 

Queen (la reina)

hasta que por fin la reina Isabel le concedió audiencia

until Queen Isabel finally granted him an audience,

Caption 18, Viajando con Fermín Patios de Córdoba - Part 3

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Notice that even when used as part of a proper name like la reina Isabel (Queen Isabel), la reina and its male counterpart el rey (the king) are lowercase in Spanish.

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King (el rey)

Miren, hablando del rey de Roma.

Look, speak of the devil [literally "the King of Rome"].

Caption 60, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

Keep in mind that the masculine plural form of el rey, los reyes, is used to describe "the King and Queen" (although it could also mean "the kings" in different contexts).

 

Actualmente es la residencia oficial de los reyes de España,

Currently, it's the official residence of the King and Queen of Spain,

Caption 24, Madrid Un recorrido por la capital de España

 Play Caption

 

Crown (la corona)

Corona imperial española.

Imperial Spanish Crown.

Caption 18, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

Monarchy (la monarquía)

era para el alto clero, la monarquía y la burguesía de Barcelona

was for Barcelona's high clergy, monarchy, and middle class

Caption 58, Víctor en España La Catedral del Mar en Barcelona

 Play Caption

 

Monarch (el/la monarca)

a quienes los monarcas otorgaban las patentes de corso,

to whom the monarchs granted letters of marque,

Caption 58, Viajando con Fermín Pasajes (Pasaia) - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

Remember that the article el is used to describe a male monarch, and la is used for a female, while los monarcas could be a group of males or a mixed group. 

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Prince (el príncipe)

Una noche conocí en un casino al príncipe este, Rainiero.

One night I met at a casino this prince, Rainiero.

Caption 9, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

The above clip is from our popular Colombian series Confidencial: El rey de la estafa. In the following clip, you can hear how that word is pronounced by a speaker from Spain. Notice the difference in pronunciation, especially when it comes to the letter "c":

 

come como un príncipe,

eat the main meal of the day like a prince,

Caption 36, Raquel Presentaciones

 Play Caption

 

Princess (la princesa)

se casaba con una princesa de España.

he was marrying a princess from Spain.

Caption 26, Leyendas urbanas La Llorona

 Play Caption

 

Duke (el duque)

Su marido es el príncipe Felipe, duque de Edimburgo.

Her husband is Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Captions 25-26, El Aula Azul Adivina personajes famosos - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Note that the feminine form of el duque, la duquesa, means "duchess."

 

Royal family (la familia real)

Por consejo del cuerpo de seguridad de la familia real,

Under the advisement of the security forces of the royal family,

Caption 29, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

Kingdom (el reino)

Érase una vez en un lejano reino,

Once upon a time in a faraway kingdom,

Caption 1, Cuentos de hadas Cenicienta - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Throne (el trono)

y la subida al trono del nuevo cacique

and the ascension to the throne of the new cacique

Caption 18, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El Dorado

 Play Caption

 

Majesty (Majestad)

A Su Majestad, la reina, le ha interesado mucho,

It has interested Her Majesty, the Queen, a lot,

Caption 23, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

Highness (Alteza)

Su Alteza Real el príncipe se casará con la mujer cuyo pie encaje en este zapato de cristal.

His Royal Highness the Prince will marry the woman whose foot fits into this glass slipper.

Captions 25-26, Cuentos de hadas Cenicienta - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

That's all for now. We hope you have learned some "royally" useful words in this lesson, and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments.

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The "No Fault Se" Construction in Spanish

Have you heard of the "no fault se" construction in Spanish? Do you know the "no fault se" formula and how to use it? Do you know which verbs are most commonly seen with the "no fault se"? Today's lesson will touch upon all of these topics!

 

What Is a "No Fault Se" Construction?

If you lose a lot of things, like many of us, you'll be happy to hear that, unlike English, the Spanish language doesn't think it's our fault! It tends to describe certain things happening "to us" rather than us carrying them out. For example, instead of saying Yo perdí el libro (I lost the book), it would be more common for a native Spanish speaker to say, Se me perdió el libro (literally "The book got lost to me"). And, instead of saying directly "I dropped the eggs," you might say Se me cayeron los huevos, which literally translates to something like "The eggs fell from me."

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How to Form a "No Fault Se" Construction 

Now that we have some idea about the "no fault se" construction, which might also be referred to as the "involuntary se," let's learn the necessary elements to create sentences that employ it: 

 

1. The pronoun se.

 

2. An indirect object pronoun (metelenosos, or le) that indicates "to whom" the action "is happening" (or, depending on perception, who "did" it!).

 

3. A verb in the third person that is conjugated in either singular or plural in accordance with the subject (as in passive constructions). 

 

4. Optional: a (to) plus a prepositional pronoun (mí (me), ti (you), él (him), ella (her), usted (formal "you"), nosotros/as (we), vosotros/as (plural "you"), or ustedes (formal plural "you")), or a direct object to emphasize "the victim" of the action (see verbs like gustar).

 

Let's take a look at a couple of examples:

 

y se le cayó el trozo de carne.

and he dropped the piece of meat.

Caption 13, Club de las ideas La zorra y el cuervo

 Play Caption

 

In terms of our formula, we have 1. the pronoun se  2. the indirect object pronoun le to indicate that it happened "to him" (since le corresponds to the subject pronoun él (him)), and 3. the verb caer (to fall) conjugated in third person singular because la carne (the meat) is singular. Optionally, a él could have been added to emphasize the action's "victim" (a él​ se le cayó...). Let's see another example:

 

El martes se me perdieron las llaves de casa,

On Tuesday, my house keys got lost,

Caption 14, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: El pronombre "se"

 Play Caption

 

Here, we see: 1. the pronoun se  2. the indirect object pronoun me to point towards the first person, yo (I), and 3. the verb perder (to lose) conjugated in third person plural to agree with the plural las llaves (the keys). A mí could be an optional addition before "se me perdieron..." 

 

A Note About Translation 

In terms of the translation of the examples above, while the "no fault se" construction with caer is most often translated as "to drop," our second example might also have been communicated with "I lost my house keys" since this is the more common way of talking about losing things in English— although "got lost" might arguably convey this idea of "no fault" more effectively. That said, because there is not always an equivalent of every "no fault" construction in English, their translations may vary, and we will thus attempt to give you various English options for the following examples. 

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Some Common "No Fault" Se Construction Verbs

Now, let's examine some additional verbs that commonly appear in the "no fault se" construction. 

 

1. Olvidarse (to forget)

Although a Spanish speaker could potentially say "Me olvidé" (I forgot), the idea of "forgetting" is more commonly expressed with the "no fault se" construction.

 

Por si se te olvidó, ¡soy tu madre! No, no se me olvidó. -Y si salí... 

In case you forgot, I'm your mother! No, I didn't forget. -And if I went out...

Captions 41-42, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 12

 Play Caption

 

Or, to emphasize this "involuntary" aspect, you might choose the alternative translations: "In case it slipped your mind/It didn't slip my mind." 

 

2. Ocurrir (to happen)

While the verb ocurrir means "to happen," when used in the "no fault se" construction, common translations include both "to occur to" and "to think of":

 

No sé, se me ocurre que igual nos podríamos encontrar en otros sitios.

I don't know, it occurs to me that we could also meet in other places.

Captions 21-22, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 9

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Se me ocurrió una gran idea.

I thought of a great idea.

Caption 28, Guillermina y Candelario El paseo sobre el mar

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3. Acabarse (to run out)

Whereas in English, one might confess that he or she "ran out of money," the money literally runs out on the person in Spanish!

 

Porque se me acabó el dinero y...

Because I ran out of money, and...

Caption 59, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 7: La gemela - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Of course, one might also translate this construction as "my money run out."

 

4. Quemar (to burn)

Similarly, "I burned the cake" is most often expressed with the "no fault se" construction, as translated quite literally in the following example:

 

¡Dejé el pastel mucho tiempo en el horno y se me quemó

I left the cake in the oven for too long and it burned on me!

Caption 25, Guillermina y Candelario Experimentos en la cocina

 Play Caption
 
Less literal translations include "I burned it" and simply "it burned."
 

5. Quedar (to be left)

To talk about the idea of "leaving something behind" in the sense of "forgetting it" somewhere, native Spanish speakers frequently employ the "involuntary se" construction with the verb quedar:

 

Se te quedó esto. -Espera.

You left this behind. -Wait.

Caption 55, Salvando el planeta Palabra Llegada - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

These are just some of the verbs that are commonly utilized in the "no fault se" in Spanish. To see many more, check out El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: El pronombre se as well as Clase Aula Azul- Se involuntario, which explores this topic in depth... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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Beyond ¿Cómo Estás?: 10 Ways to Say "How Are You?" in Spanish

If you are wondering how to say "How are you?" in Spanish, the standard, casual way of doing so is: ¿Cómo estás? However, there are many more ways to say "How are you?" in Spanish, and this lesson will cover many of the most common. 

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"How are you?" in Spanish: The Standard Way

As we just mentioned, ¿Cómo estás? is the best-known, informal way of saying "How are you?" in Spanish. But, how do you say "How are you?" in formal Spanish? In that case, you will need to address the other person using the formal form of "you," usted:

 

¿Cómo está usted? 

How are you?

Caption 25, Cleer y Lida Saludar en español

 Play Caption
 

That said, as there are many ways to say "you" in Spanish, let's take a look at how to say "How are you?" in Spanish with the forms of estar (to be) that correspond to each of the additional subject pronouns that mean "you": vos (singular, informal "you" in certain regions), vosotros/as (informal plural "you" in Spain), and ustedes (the prevalent plural "you" in most countries). 

 

Vos:

 

Bien. ¿Cómo estás vos?

Fine. How are you?

Caption 30, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

Note that while the verb conjugations for vos and typically differ, in the case of estar, they are exactly the same.

 

Vosotros/as:

 

¿Cómo estáis?

How are you?

Caption 3, Isabel Lavesa Dibujo en acuarela

 Play Caption

 

Ustedes:

 

Hola, amigos de Yabla. ¿Cómo están?

Hello, friends of Yabla. How are you?

Captions 1-2, María Fernanda Mascarilla de aguacate

 Play Caption

 

You may have noticed that the subject pronoun (vos) is only explicitly stated in the first of the three examples since doing so is optional in Spanish, where specific verb conjugations usually let us know who is being addressed or spoken about. 

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10 Alternative Ways to Say "How are you?" in Spanish

Just like in English you can use alternatives such as "How's it going?" "What's up?" "What's going on?" etc., there are a plethora of more slangy ways to say "How are you?" in Spanish. Let's look at several.

 

1. ¿Qué tal?

The English translations for ¿Qué tal? range from "How are you?" to "How's it going?" and "What's up?" Let's hear it in action:

 

Por ejemplo, si yo digo: ¿Qué tal?

For example, if I say: How's it going?

Caption 2, Curso de español ¿Qué tal? Ni bien ni mal...

 Play Caption

 

As a side note, although bien (well) and mal (poorly) are typical answers to this question, the video ¿Qué tal? Ni bien ni mal will give you several ways to say you're somewhere in between. 

 

2. ¿Qué hay?

While ¿Qué hay? could be used to literally ask "What is there?" or "What's available?" it can also be used to ask someone "What's up?" or "What's going on?"

 

¿Qué hay, amigo?

What's up, friend

 

You might also hear the following variation:

 

 ¿Qué hay de nuevo, compadre

What's new, buddy?

 

And, if you want to sound like a true Colombian, you can try this alternative version of ¿Qué hay? with the verb haber in the preterite tense instead of the present tense (literally meaning "What was there?"). Notice the slangy spelling/pronunciation variation in the second example.

 

"Ey, ¿qué hubo pues, paisa? ¿Todo bien o qué, hombre?"

"Hey, what's up, buddy? [Is] everything good or what, man?"

Caption 16, Español en las calles Varias expresiones

 Play Caption

 

¿Quiubo, quiubo, linda? ¿Cómo vas?

What's up, what's up, beautiful? How are you?

Caption 3, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 8

 Play Caption

 

3. ¿Cómo vas?

As you might have noticed, the last example above contained yet another way to say "How are you?" in Spanish: ¿Cómo vas? 

 

4. ¿Cómo te va? 

Another option for saying "How are you?" in Spanish, "¿Cómo te va?" might also be translated as "How's it going for you?" Of course, you should use the appropriate indirect object pronoun (te, le, les, or os) to correspond to the form of "you" you're intending, or just omit it entirely and just say ¿Cómo va? (How's it going?).  Let's hear a couple of examples:

 

¿Y cómo te va?

And how are you?

Caption 38, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

¿Cómo les va?

How is it going for you?

Caption 4, Misión Chef 1 La selección - Part 3

 Play Caption

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5. ¿Cómo va todo?

Now, let's hear a straightforward Spanish translation of the English phrase "How's everything going?"

 

¿Cómo va todo? 

How's everything going?

Caption 18, Festivaliando Mono Núñez - Part 13

 Play Caption

 

6. ¿Cómo van las cosas?

"¿Cómo van las cosas?" is a similar expression that literally means "How are things going?"

 

7. ¿Cómo andas?

The verb andar, which literally means "to walk," appears in the common expression "¿Cómo andas?" which can be heard in many countries but is particularly common in Argentina (with vos, of course!).

 

En Argentina, saludamos así: "Hola, che. ¿Cómo andás? ¿Todo bien?"

In Argentina, we greet [people] like this: "Hello, hey. How's it going? [Is] everything good?"

Caption 10, Español en las calles Varias expresiones

 Play Caption

 

8. ¿Todo bien?

As you can see in the last example, "todo bien?" is an additional manner of asking someone how they are and is the equivalent of such English expressions as "All good?" "Is everything OK?" or even "How's it going?"

 

9. ¿Qué pasa?

One of the best-known ways to say "What's going on?" in Spanish is, of course, "¿Qué pasa?" This phrase can be employed to ask "what's going on" with someone in a general sense, or to inquire about a particular situation.

 

¿Qué pasa?

What's going on?

Caption 1, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 3 - Sam aprende a ligar - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

10. ¿Qué (me) cuentas? 

Our final "How are you?" in Spanish equivalent for today is "¿Qué (me) cuentas?" which literally means, "What do you tell (me)?" but serves as another manner of asking someone "What's new?" You may hear it either with or without the me

 

And these are just a handful of the many, less formal ways to say "How are you?" in Spanish, which vary widely between regions and individuals. Are you familiar with any others? How do you say "How are you?" in Spanish? Let us know with your suggestions and comments!

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Hay que + Infinitive: A "Necessary" Construction

Do you know how to say that something "is necessary" in Spanish? Do you like telling people what "has to" be done? We'll teach you a simple formula!

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A Simple Formula

To say something "is necessary" in Spanish, you might use the literal phrase es necesario (it's necessary) plus a verb's infinitive, or "to" form:

 

Es necesario usar papel, carbón o madera para encenderlo.

It's necessary to use paper, charcoal, or wood to light it.

Caption 22, El Aula Azul Adivina qué es - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

And, to tell someone what they "have to" do, you could use verbs like tener que (to have to) or deber (must) plus the infinitive:

 

Tienes que mejorar esto.

You have to improve this.

Caption 28, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Hay y estar

 Play Caption

 

Bueno, primero debemos hacer la lista de invitados 

Well, first, we must make the guest list

Caption 15, Cleer y Carolina Organizando la fiesta del abuelo

 Play Caption

 

However, if you are looking for a non-literal, conjugation-free alternative (to conjugate just the present indicative tense of tener que, for example, you have to memorize tengo que, tienes que, tiene que, tenemos quetenéis que, and tienen que), we invite you to use the following, very simple formula, which can express the same thing as the previous three options in various contexts:

 

Hay que + infinitive 

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About Hay que + Infinitive 

Don't get us wrong— you are going to have to learn those verb conjugations sooner or later! But, perhaps while you do, or as a viable alternative that native speakers often employ, you could opt for hay que + infinitive.

 

Hay comes from the Spanish verb haber, which is an auxiliary, or helping, verb that means "to have" or "to be" and appears in its conjugated forms as part of different verb tenses (e.g. the present perfect, pluperfect, etc.). Hay is haber's impersonal form, which never changes (it is always just hay in the present tense) and can mean "there is" or "there are." However, when hay is combined with que + infinitive, it becomes a fixed expression that means "it's necessary" (to do something). Let's see a couple of examples:

 

hay que darle la oportunidad de defenderse.

it's necessary to give him the opportunity to defend himself.

Caption 22, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 2

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¡Hay que reclamar el premio antes de las diez de la noche!

You have to claim the prize before ten p.m.!

Caption 61, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 6: El día de la Primitiva - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

Note that the second example has been translated with "you have to," a more colloquial equivalent of "it's necessary" that includes the "universal you," implying "people" or "everyone." "One has to" or "one must" would also be valid translations. 

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When to Use Hay que + Infinitive 

The construction hay que + infinitive can be used in basically any context in which you want to say that "it's necessary" to do a particular thing. That said, we have included below a few scenarios in which you are likely to come across it. When reading the translations, keep in mind that while this impersonal construction has no specific subject, in cases in which the context or sentence makes clear who the speaker feels "has to" or "must" act in a particular way, the construction is often translated as if the subject were explicitly stated. 

 

General Rules, Truths, or Wisdom

Since the construction hay que + infinitive explains what "people have to do," it only makes sense that it is often heard when talking about perceived wisdom about life:

 

En la vida hay que saber relajarse,

In life, you need to know how to relax,

Caption 44, Ana Teresa 5 principios del yoga

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El pasado hay que olvidarlo, hay que enterrarlo,

The past, you have to forget it, you have to bury it,

Captions 38-39, Yago 2 El puma - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Giving Advice 

As we mentioned earlier, you might use the expression hay que + infinitive to tell someone what to do without explicitly saying "you must," as in these two examples from the popular series Confidencial: Asesino al Volante:

 

Yo sé que les dijimos que no vinieran por acá pero hay que darles la buena noticia.

I know we told them not to come here, but we have to give them the good news.

Captions 65-66, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 2 - Part 11

 Play Caption

 

Hay que demostrar que tú no eres ningún criminal,

You have to show that you're no criminal,

Caption 61, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 3 - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

In other cases, one might give a suggestion as to what they generally feel that "people" should do:

 

pues, hay que ir a México.

well, you have to go to Mexico.

Caption 32, World Travel Market en Londres Raúl nos habla de México

 Play Caption

 

Directions

Since giving directions entails explaining what "has to be done," you will often hear the construction hay que + infinitive in this context:

 

Después hay que torcer la primera calle a la izquierda.

Then you have to turn to the left on the first street.

Caption 34, Curso de español Disculpe, ¿hay un cine por aquí?

 Play Caption

 

Primero hay que ir todo derecho, ¿sí?

First you have to go straight ahead, right?

Caption 23, Curso de español Direcciones en la ciudad

 Play Caption

 

Instructions

Similarly, hay que + infinitive will often be heard in contexts where specific instructions are given, such as cooking a particular recipe or for some other process:

 

Hay que añadir el agua poco a poco y vamos amasando hasta obtener una mezcla homogénea.

It's necessary to add the water little by little and we start kneading until obtaining a homogeneous mixture.

Captions 11-12, Recetas de cocina Arepas colombianas

 Play Caption

 

Cuando se bañan, hay que estar seguros de que no se mojen,

When they are bathed, you have to make sure they don't get wet,

Caption 39, La veterinaria "Huesos" visita a la doctora - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

These are, of course, just a few of the many situations in which you might use or encounter the construction hay que + infinitive. 

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Additional Tenses of Haber que + Infinitive

While haber que + infinitive is probably most commonly seen the present indicative tense, it can also be found in other tenses. Let's see some examples in the imperfect tense , the preterite tense, and the future tense:

 

Definitivamente había que dejar el trabajo para dedicarme al restaurante.

I definitely had to leave my job to dedicate myself to the restaurant.

Caption 13, La Sub30 Familias - Part 9

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hubo que salir corriendo porque la Señora Di Carlo se moría.

we had to leave running because Mrs. Di Carlo was dying.

Caption 84, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 6

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En fin, supongo que habrá que esperar hasta el lunes.

Anyway, I guess that it will have to wait until Monday.

Caption 86, Negocios La solicitud de empleo - Part 2

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And remember that, just like for the present, you only have to remember one form of haber for each tense: había que for the imperfect, hubo que for the preterite, and habrá que in the future. Yabla's lesson entitled Había o habían muchos libros? elaborates further. 

 

As you've probably surmised from our plethora of examples, the construction haber que + infinitive is extremely common and useful, and now that you're familiar with it: hay que practicarlo mucho (you have to practice it a lot)! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

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The Preposition entre in Spanish

Are you familiar with the Spanish preposition entre? While the preposition entre in Spanish is most often a direct equivalent for the many uses of the English words "among" and "between," it can occasionally be utilized in slightly different ways and with different translations than its English counterparts. Today's lesson will explore many of its nuances.

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1. State Between Two Things 

According to the Dictionary of the Spanish language, the Spanish preposition entre "denotes the situation or state in between two or more things." Let's break up this definition into a few subcategories:

 

Relationships:

The Spanish preposition entre might describe the nature of a relationship "between" entities, whether talking about bloodlines or quality. Let's see an example of each:

 

La relación entre José y yo. ¿José es mi...? -Hermano.

The relationship between Jose and me. Jose is my...? -Brother.

Captions 19-20, Curso de español Vamos a hablar de la familia

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La relación entre mi papá y mi abuela era tan amistosa como la que tenía Rusia con Estados Unidos.

The relationship between my dad and my grandma was as friendly as the one Russia had with the United States.

Captions 8-9, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 13 - Part 2

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State:

Now, let's look at an example where entre describes the "state" between two things:

 

encontréis ese equilibrio entre cuerpo y mente.

you find that balance between body and mind.

Caption 60, Ana Teresa 5 principios del yoga

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Comparison:

And finally, like the English word "between," the Spanish preposition entre can be employed to compare things:

 

¿Y sabéis cuál es la diferencia entre la lava y el magma? 

And do you know what the difference between lava and magma is?

Caption 24, Aprendiendo con Silvia Los volcanes

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2. "Within" or "In"

The preposition entre in Spanish also comes up in some situations in which an English speaker might use the word "in" or "within." Examining two different captions from the same video, note that while the first has been translated with the more literal "among," it could be substituted with the English word "in," while "in" is probably the only suitable choice in the second example.

 

Allí, se escondió entre los juncos. 

There, he hid among the reeds.

Caption 29, Cleer El patito feo

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Pero, afortunadamente, una viejita que lo había visto entre la nieve, lo recogió.

But, fortunately, an old woman who had seen him in the snow picked him up.

Caption 39, Cleer El patito feo

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3. An Intermediate State

Another use of the Spanish preposition entre is to refer to an intermediate state between two or more things:

 

Granada produce al año entre quince y veinte millones de kilos de aguacate 

Granada produces per year between fifteen and twenty million kilos of avocados

Captions 1-2, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 16

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Entonces los edificios tienen ese toque especial... de mezcla entre la arquitectura antigua y la moderna.

So the buildings have that special touch... from the mix between old and modern architecture.

Captions 20-21, Yabla en Buenos Aires Puerto Madero

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This Spanish preposition can furthermore depict an intermediate physical location:

 

se sentaba siempre entre las dos únicas chicas de la clase, 

always sat between the only two girls in the class,

Caption 33, Aprendiendo con Silvia Nacionalidades y adjetivos - Part 1

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4. "As One of"

The word entre in Spanish can likewise entail the idea of inclusion, as in the following two examples, where it could be replaced by the English phrase "as one of":

 

No gané el concurso, pero quedé entre los finalistas

I didn't win the contest, but I placed among the finalists,

Captions 46-47, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 3

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Entre ellos, tenemos estos burros de peluche que a la gente le gusta mucho.

Among them, we have these stuffed donkeys that people like a lot.

Captions 14-15, Santuario para burros Tienda solidaria

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5. Entailing Cooperation

As we see in the following examples, the Spanish preposition entre might also evoke the idea of collaborative effort:

 

Si podemos imaginarlo, entre todos podemos lograrlo.

If we can imagine it, among all of us, we can achieve it.

Caption 9, Con ánimo de lucro Cortometraje - Part 1

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El plato se llama "La Deli" y entre los tres le vamos a dar forma y la decoración.

The dish is called "The Deli," and between the three of us, we're going to give it shape and decorate it.

Caption 24, Misión Chef 2 - Pruebas - Part 7

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6. "According to the Custom of"

If you wish to speak about what is done customarily "among" particular groups, the Spanish preposition entre could additionally come in handy:

 

"Hermano" es una palabra que se usa mucho entre amigos 

"Brother" is a word that is used a lot among friends

Caption 35, Carlos comenta Confidencial - Jerga típica colombiana

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una serie argentina que es muy popular entre nuestros usuarios.

an Argentine series that is very popular among our users.

Captions 3-4, Carlos y Cyndy Comentario sobre Muñeca Brava

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7. Reciprocity

And finally, the preposition entre in Spanish can suggest reciprocity, in which case it might be translated with the English "each other."

 

y cómo se apoyaban entre ellos.

and how they supported each other.

Caption 19, Aprendiendo con Silvia Nacionalidades y adjetivos - Part 2

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se juntaban las españolas de ese pueblo para hablar entre ellas.

the Spanish women from that town would get together to talk to each other.

Captions 49-50, Soledad Amistades

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We hope that this lesson has helped you to better understand the many uses of the Spanish preposition entre, especially those that are slightly different than the manners in which its English equivalents "among" and "between" are employed. Feel free to write us with your questions and suggestions.

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Aunque + Present Indicative vs. Subjunctive

The Spanish conjunction aunque, whose English translations include "although," "even though," "even if," etc., often appears within the constructions aunque + present indicative and aunque + present subjunctive. Although sentences that include said constructions are often structurally similar, the use of either the indicative or the subjunctive with aunque affects their meaning. Additionally (and as usual in Spanish!), the subjunctive construction is slightly more challenging since the meaning of the same sentence could vary depending upon context. Let's take a closer look.

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Aunque + Present Indicative

Aunque + present indicative is used to state facts and is a pretty straight-forward equivalent of similarly truth-stating English sentences with "although" and "even though." Let's see some examples:

 

aunque terminan en "a", son realmente palabras masculinas.

although they end in "a," they are really masculine words.

Caption 22, Lecciones con Carolina Errores comunes - Part 6

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Aunque es checa la canción, el tema, eh... en Berlín, en Alemania creen [sic] mucha gente que es alemán.

Although the song, the tune, is Czech, um... in Berlin, in Germany, a lot of people think it's German.

Captions 48-49, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín Manuel y El barrilito

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Bueno, hay que ser optimista, aunque tengo la impresión de que no me van a dar el trabajo. 

Well, one has to be optimistic, although I have the impression that they are not going to give me the job.

Captions 4-5, Negocios Empezar en un nuevo trabajo - Part 1

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These first two instances of aunque + present indicative are quite clear-cut because we know that what the speaker is saying is factual: The words Carolina mentions indeed end in "a," and the song Manuel describes is undoubtedly Czech. In the third example, although the speaker could possibly have different impressions regarding her employment chances, her use of the indicative definitively lets us know the impression she has about it. 

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Aunque + Present Subjunctive

In contrast to aunque + present indicative, aunque + present subjunctive conveys different meanings and is used in two different scenarios: 1. In hypothetical situations and 2. When the information being communicated is considered "background information" that the audience already knows. 

 

Aunque + Present Subjunctive for Hypothetical Situations

In order to understand how the use of the subjunctive with aunque changes the meaning of a sentence, let's take the third example of aunque + present indicative and replace it with aunque + present subjunctive:

 

Bueno, hay que ser optimista, aunque tenga la impresión de que no me van a dar el trabajo. 

Well, one has to be optimistic, even if I might have the impression that they are not going to give me the job.

 

The subjunctive version conveys something different than its indicative counterpart because, rather than explicitly stating her impression after a specific job interview, the speaker says more generally that "even though she might have" a particular impression following an interview, she should remain optimistic. Let's take a look at some additional examples of this use of aunque + present subjunctive from the Yabla Spanish library:  

 

Aunque sea sólo para un fin de semana, para mí, tiene las características esenciales para disfrutar de un viaje,

Even if it's only for a weekend, for me, it has the essential characteristics for enjoying a trip,

Captions 47-49, Lydia de Barcelona Lydia y el festival de cine "Women Mujeres"

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Here, Lydia is saying to an audience of potential tourists to Barcelona that, hypothetically speaking, a visit would be worth it even if they might only have one free weekend. On the other hand, the indicative "Aunque es sólo para un fin de semana" would be used for someone you knew was only visiting Barcelona for one weekend. This is sometimes confusing for English speakers since the phrase "Even if it's only for a weekend" could refer to either situation and is thus a valid translation for both the indicative and subjunctive versions of the sentence. Let's look at one more example:

 

Aunque no crean, existe el amor a primera vista.

Believe it or not, love at first sight does exist.

Caption 56, El reencuentro Las amigas hablan del trabajo y el amor.

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While Aunque no crean is the Spanish equivalent of the English idiom "Believe it or not," a more literal translation is "Even though you might not believe it" since we don't know whether or not the audience does. 

 

Aunque + Present Subjunctive for Background Information

Now, let's examine a use of aunque + present subjunctive that might initially seem confusing:

 

Os recuerdo que las islas Canarias, aunque estén en el océano Atlántico y muy cerca de la costa africana,

I remind you that the Canary Islands, although they're in the Atlantic Ocean and very close to the African coast,

Captions 4-6, Aprendiendo con Silvia Deportes tradicionales canarios - Part 1

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Since what Silvia is saying is a fact (the Canary Islands are most definitely located in the Atlantic Ocean, close to Africa), why does she use the subjunctive? This is because aunque + present subjunctive is also used when the speaker assumes that their audience already knows the information being stated

 

To sum it up: Use the indicative when you want to inform someone about something that you assume is new information for them, and use the subjunctive to say things you believe the receiver already knows. Let's see another example of this use: 

 

Aunque San Sebastián tenga tres playas, yo siempre hago surf en la Zurriola.

Even though San Sebastian has three beaches, I always surf at Zurriola.

Captions 16-17, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 2

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As seen here, even if it's a fact that San Sebastián has three beaches, you'd employ the subjunctive tenga for a person you think knows this information and the indicative tiene for a person you believe to be learning it, despite identical English translations. For a detailed explanation of this use of aunque + present subjunctive with a plethora of examples, check out the video series Clase Aula Azul: Información con subjuntivo e indicativo (Aula Azul Class: Information with Subjunctive and Indicative).

Ambiguity with the Aunque + Subjunctive Construction

Sometimes, the meaning of an aunque + subjunctive sentence is ambiguous and, without context, might be impossible to ascertain. Let's take a look at an example that could be understood in more than one way: 

 

Aunque haga calor, yo voy a usar mi chaqueta nueva

 

On its face, this sentence could have two possible meanings:

1. Even though it might be hot (hypothetically on some particular day in the future), I'm going to wear my new jacket.

2. Even though it (really) is hot (and I know you know it's hot), I'm going to wear my new jacket.

 

In the second scenario, we assume that the person with whom we are speaking already knows the information; perhaps they are sitting there sweating with us, or maybe they called you to complain about the heat: The main point is that we believe that this is shared information. To determine, however, which of the two aforementioned meanings is intended, context is required, and there may be cases where it could seem to go either way. 

 

In conclusion, aunque sea el concepto un poco difícil (although the concept might be a bit difficult), we hope that this lesson has made clear to you when to use the constructions aunque + present indicative and aunque + present subjunctive... and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments!

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Understanding the Colloquial Spanish Word Venga in English

Have you ever heard the word venga in Spanish? If you have been studying Spanish for a while or have ever been to Spain, you have probably heard someone say this word. But, do you really know the meaning of the Spanish word venga? In this lesson, we will teach you seven different ways to employ this very useful colloquial term.

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But first, let's establish three important things. First, the word venga is the conjugation of the verb venir in the formal imperative (for the second person singular pronoun usted, which means "you"). Let's take a look at this very simple example of the traditional use of this word:

 

¡Estoy hablando con usted, señor! ¡Venga aquí, por favor!

I'm talking to you, sir! Come here, please!

 

Second, in addition to its formal use, as venga is a word that is used colloquially in multiple ways throughout Spain, if you are planning a visit to that country, we recommend familiarizing yourself with as many of these uses as possible. 

 

And third, much of the time, the Spanish word venga is roughly translated with the English expression "Come on." That said, let's take a look at the following uses of the colloquial term venga.

 

1. Motivation or Encouragement

One of the most common uses of the Spanish word venga is to motivate or encourage someone to do something. We can see this use in the following clips from our popular series Extr@: Extra en español:

 

Venga, cuéntamelo, Sam. No pasa nada.

Come on, tell me, Sam. It's no big deal.

Caption 50, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 7: La gemela - Part 4

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Venga, díselo.

Come on, tell him.

Caption 5, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam - Part 6

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In this context, you might also use venga to dare someone to do something:

 

No vas a atreverte. ¿Cómo que no? Venga.

You won't dare. What do you mean I won't? Go ahead.

Captions 1-3, Cortometraje Flechazos

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2. Giving Orders

Sometimes, in the context of giving orders, the word venga can be used in a more decisive manner:

 

¿Hay alguien? Conteste, venga.

Is anyone there? Answer, come on.

Captions 28-29, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2: Sam va de compras - Part 4

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3. As a Synonym for "Let's Do It"

In this context, the word venga is usually used as a call to action to do something specific:

 

¿Sí? ¡Venga va! Vamos a corregir.

Yes? Come on! Let's correct [this].

Caption 91, Escuela BCNLIP Clase con Javi: el futuro - Part 6

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Venga, vámonos.

Come on, let's go.

Caption 60, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 3

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4. Expression of Agreement

Similar to the previous use, the word venga can be used to express agreement between two people. In this case, venga would be equivalent to saying "OK" in English. Let's see an example:

 

La semana que viene sin falta, a cenar a mi casa. Vale, te llamo. -Venga,

Next week no matter what, dinner at my house. OK, I'll call you. -OK,

Captions 95-96, Blanca y Mariona Vida en general

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You may notice that this use of venga very often comes up at the end of spoken conversations, especially on the telephone when one person indicates the end of the conversation with this word and the other person repeats it:

 

Venga. -Venga. Hasta luego.

OK. -OK. Bye.

 

5. As a Synonym for "Hurry Up"

People tend to repeat the word venga when they want to encourage someone to do something quickly. Let's see this use in action:

 

Venga, venga que es noche y... y las castañas sin coger.

Come on, come on, as it's getting late and... and the chestnuts haven't been picked.

Caption 63, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 4

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6. Asking Favors or Begging

Just like we use "come on" in English, we can use the word venga to ask someone to do something for us. Let's look: 

 

Venga, Sam. Tienes que vestirte de basurero.

Come on, Sam. You have to dress as a garbage man.

Caption 37, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 6: El día de la Primitiva - Part 5

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7. Expression of Disapproval or Disbelief

Just like the English expression "Come on," the Spanish word venga can additionally be used as an interjection to express astonishment, disbelief, or disapproval about something, as in the following example:

 

Pero venga, tío. Eso no tiene sentido.

But come on, man. That doesn't make sense. 

 

That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand the many meanings of the Spanish word venga, and if you ever go to Spain, we encourage you to use it. And, ¡​venga! Don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments.

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The Preposition hasta in Spanish

Although the most common English translation for the Spanish preposition hasta is "until," like most Spanish prepositions, its meaning can vary in different contexts. Today's lesson will explore the four main definitions of the Spanish word hasta provided by Royal Spanish Academy as well as its various English translations.

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1. A Final Limit in Space or Time

According to the first definition, the Spanish preposition hasta can denote "a final limit in a trajectory of space or time." Possible translations for this use of hasta include "until," "up until," "up to," and "to." Let's take a look at this use via several subcategories.

 

Time

The preposition hasta in Spanish can mean "up to" a certain point in time. Let's see some examples:

 

Eh... Trabajo hasta las dos 

Um... I work until two,

Caption 47, Cleer y Lida Juego de preguntas y respuestas - Part 2

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Hasta el momento, ella ha probado zanahoria, brócoli y papa.

Up until now, she has tried carrots, broccoli, and potatoes.

Captions 37-38, Ana Carolina Ejercicio de adverbios de tiempo

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Like the word "until" in English, when used in situations in the past, this takes on the meaning of "before" and sometimes has a slightly negative connotation:
 
 
No llegaron hasta el final de la fiesta.
They didn't arrive until the end of the party.  
 

Location

When used to talk about location, hasta means "up to that point" and might be translated with "up to" or simply "to":

 

Hay dos formas de llegar hasta Pasai Donibane: por mar o por tierra.

There are two ways to get to Pasai Donibane: by sea or by land.

Captions 29-30, Viajando con Fermín Pasajes (Pasaia) - Part 2

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Aquí lo que tenemos que hacer es meter un hisopo, pues hasta su buche.

Here what we have to do is to place a Q-tip, well up to his throat.

Captions 53-54, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Microchip para Nacahué - Part 1

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Situation

The Spanish word hasta is often used along with que to form an adverbial phrase that means "until" (such moment as something else happens). Note that when the verb that follows hasta que refers to a habitual action or past event, it will be conjugated in an indicative tense. Let's see an example:

 

y lo tuvo con ella hasta que llegó la primavera.

and she had him with her until spring came.

Caption 41, Cleer El patito feo

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On the other hand, when the subordinate clause following hasta que refers to a potential future event or is a command, the verb that follows will be in the subjunctive

 

y tenemos que dejar que poche hasta que se quede bien blandita. 

and we have to let it saute until it gets very soft.

Caption 41, La cocina de María Tortilla de patatas

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For several more examples, check out Yabla's lesson on hasta que and hasta que no, which function similarly. 

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2. A Numerical Limit

According to definition two, the Spanish preposition hasta can also describe a maximum quantity. Let's view a couple of examples:

 

En el mes me puedo gastar hasta doscientos euros...

During the month I can spend up to two hundred euros...

Caption 69, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 15

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Pesan hasta siete kilos, ocho kilos los machos adultos.

They weigh up to seven kilograms, eight kilos for adult males.

Caption 95, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Coatís

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3. Hasta Meaning "Not Before"

This third and less common use of the Spanish preposition hasta to mean "not before" is primarily heard in Mexico and Central America. Let's take a look:

 

Terminará hasta mediodía.

He won't finish before noon. 

 

4. Emphasis or Disbelief 

In the fourth definition, the Spanish word hasta instead functions as an adverb to add emphasis or a feeling of surprise or disbelief, much like the English word "even":

 

¿Hamburguesas de aguacate? -Sí... Hasta miel de aguacate.

Avocado burgers? -Yes... Even avocado honey.

Captions 44-45, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 1

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Hasta se cree la mega estrella.

She even thinks she's the megastar.

Caption 54, X6 1 - La banda - Part 1

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Idiomatic Expressions with hasta

Now that we know four different ways to use the Spanish word hasta, let's take a look at some of the many idiomatic expressions in which it appears, including at least five different ways to say goodbye in Spanish:

 

hasta luego: see you later

hasta pronto: see you soon

hasta la próxima: see you next time

hasta mañana: see you tomorrow

hasta la vista: until we meet again

 

A host of additional expressions with estar hasta mean "to be fed up":

 

estar hasta las narices (literally "to be up to one's noses")

estar hasta la gorra (literally "to be up to one's hat")

estar hasta arriba ("to have had it up to here")

estar hasta la coronilla (literally "to be up to one's crown")

 

Let's see this last one in context:

 

Muy bien, estaba hasta la coronilla.

Just great, I was fed up.

Caption 16, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 4

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Meanwhile, estar hasta el cuello (literally "to be up to one's neck") is equivalent to the English "to be up to one's eyeballs," or overwhelmed, while estar hasta en la sopa ("to be even in the soup") describes something or someone that seems omnipresent. And finally, let's look at a Spanish expression with hasta that can mean "that's all" or "that's it":

 

hasta aquí el vídeo de hoy.

that's all for today's video.

Caption 68, Aprendiendo con Silvia Recuerdos de infancia - Part 1

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On that note, we hope that this lesson has helped you to understand the different uses of the Spanish word hasta and some idioms that include it. Can you think of any more? We invite you to let us know with your suggestions and comments¡Hasta pronto!

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