Leçons Espagnol

Thèmes

The Spanish Vowels

Do you know how many vowels are in the Spanish alphabet? Are you able to pronounce the Spanish vowels? Do you know what strong and weak vowels are? Have you seen Spanish vowels with accents? Let's get some answers to these questions and more!

 

How Many Vowels are in the Spanish Alphabet?

The short answer is five! The following are the five Spanish vowels:

 

a

e

i

o

u

 

Do you want to hear how to pronounce the vowels in Spanish? Let's listen to our friend Sol from GoSpanish.Com:

 

En español, tenemos cinco vocales: "a", "e", "i", "o", "u".

In Spanish, we have five vowels: "a," "e," "i," "o," "u."

Captions 2-7, Español para principiantes Las vocales

 Play Caption

 

Now that we know how many vowels there are in the Spanish alphabet and how to pronounce them, it is important to mention that these five vowels can be divided into two main groups. Let's take a closer look.

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Strong vs. Weak Spanish Vowels

 

1. Strong vowels

In Spanish, strong vowels are called vocales abiertas (literally "open vowels") because when you say them, your tongue stays in the lower part of your mouth, and the oral cavity must expand. These vowels are:

 

a

e

o

 

2. Weak vowels

On the contrary, weak vowels are known in Spanish as vocales cerradas ("closed vowels") because when you pronounce them, your tongue stays closer to the roof of your mouth, and the oral cavity need not expand. These vowels are:

 

i

u

 

Differentiating between strong and weak vowels will help you to improve your understanding of how to divide words into syllables. In fact, when doing so, we invite you to keep in mind the following basic rules:

 

* Strong vowel + strong vowel together = Two syllables

Una boa, una anaconda, ¡ay no!

A boa, an anaconda, oh, no!

Caption 49, Cleer y Lida Juego de preguntas y respuestas - Part 3

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The word boa has two syllables: bo-a.

 

* Weak vowel + unsetressed weak vowel together = One syllable

Detrás de mí podemos observar la ciudad antigua

Behind me, we can observe the old city

Caption 11, Ciudad de Panamá Denisse introduce la ciudad

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Notice how the i and the u of the word ciudad belong to the same syllable: ciu-dad.

 

* Strong vowel + unstressed weak vowel = one syllable

toda esa deuda acumulada

all that accumulated debt

Caption 10, Luis Guitarra Todo es de todos - Part 1

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Notice how the e and the u of the word deuda are both in the same syllable: deu-da.

 

Keep in mind, however, that when a stressed weak vowel is next to another type of vowel, the two vowels must be separated into two different syllables:

 

Y en invierno suele hacer mucho frío.

An in winter it tends to be very cold.

Caption 15, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 1

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The word frío has a stressed weak vowel next to a strong vowel. This combination creates a "hiatus," or break between two consecutive vowels that are not in the same syllable. For this reason, the word frío has two syllables: frí-o. Words like frío that contain accented vowels are quite common in Spanish. 

 

Finally, we would like to wrap up this lesson about the vowels in Spanish with a very simple question: Do you know any Spanish word that contains all of the five vowels? Although there are many, check out the following clip to see one of them in action:

 

La palabra más larga es murciélago. ¿Por qué? Pues porque tiene las cinco vocales dentro de la palabra.

The longest word is bat. Why? Well because it has the five vowels within the word.

Captions 43-45, Karla e Isabel Palabras

 Play Caption

 

And that's all for this lesson. We hope you've enjoyed learning about the Spanish vowels, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

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The Spanish Future Tense

The Spanish future tense is one of the most straightforward tenses in Spanish, both in terms of knowing when to use it and how to conjugate it. Let's take a closer look at this tense.

 

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What Is the Future Tense in Spanish?

The future tense in Spanish corresponds to the English construction with "will" plus a verb and is used to talk about actions that are slated to happen in the future or that someone has the intention to carry out. Simple English examples of this concept include: "Tomorrow, I will go to the store," or "Next week, it will rain." With this in mind, let's examine several examples of the future tense in Spanish:

 

y hoy les hablaré de una de mis pasiones:

and today, I'll talk to you about one of my passions:

Caption 4, Ana Carolina La meditación

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Yo creo que esto lo venderemos súper bien. 

I think we'll sell this one really well.

Caption 44, Santuario para burros Tienda solidaria

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El botón [sic] la ayudará con su equipaje y lo subirá en un par de minutos a la habitación.

The porter will help you with your luggage and will take it up to the room in a couple of minutes.

Captions 61-62, Cleer y Lida Recepción de hotel

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Note that as English "will" constructions are often expressed with contractions (the personal pronoun plus apostrophe double l, such as "I'll," "we'll," etc.), many Spanish future tense verbs can be translated to English in this less formal fashion.

 

Conjugating the Future Tense in Spanish 

Conjugating most verbs in the future tense in Spanish is quite simple. You just take the verb's infinitive ("to" form) in its entirety and add the corresponding future tense ending. So, using the verbs in our previous examples, we'd start with their infinitive forms: hablar (to talk), vender (to sell), ayudar (to help), and subir (to take up). You will note that these infinitive verbs fall into all three infinitive verb categories: -ar, -er, and -ir

 

Step two of the process of conjugating Spanish future tense verbs is to memorize the quite simple endings that correspond to their personal pronouns, which are as follows:

 

Personal Pronoun: Ending:
Yo:
Tú: -ás
Él/ella/usted: -á
Nosotros/nosotras: -emos
Vosotros/vosotras: -éis
Ellos/ellas/ustedes: -án

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armed with this information, let's conjugate some future tense verbs using different verbs and personal pronouns than the examples above.

 

1. Suppose we want to say that more than one person "will see" something (with the personal pronoun ustedes, or plural "you"). We would take the infinitive verb ver (to see) and add the appropriate ending (-án) to get verán:

 

Mañana ustedes verán si nos... si nos medimos a ese, a ese reto.

Tomorrow you guys will see if we... if we measure up to that, to that challenge.

Captions 36-37, Festivaliando Mono Núñez - Part 13

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2. Now, let's imagine that you want to tell more than one person in a familiar environment what they'll "need." Oh— and you're in Spain, where the personal pronouns vosotros/as are the way to address more than one person as "you" informally. We'd take the verb for "to need" (necesitar) and the corresponding ending -éis to get necesitaréis:

 

Para empezar a hacer la tortilla española, necesitaréis los siguientes ingredientes:

To start to make the Spanish tortilla, you'll need the following ingredients:

Captions 8-9, Clara cocina Una tortilla española

 Play Caption

 

3. And finally, what if you would like to say with the tú (informal "you") form to someone what he or she "will discover"? You'd start with the verb descubrir (to discover) and add the -ás ending that goes with to get descubrirás:

 

Pronto lo descubrirás

Soon you'll discover it

Caption 68, X6 1 - La banda - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

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Irregular Verbs in the Spanish Future Tense

As with all Spanish verb tenses, there are some irregular verbs in the future tense in Spanish, many of which are extremely common. That said, it would behoove you to memorize the following stems, which are used in lieu of these verbs' infinitives to conjugate the "top twelve" irregular future tense verbs in Spanish: 

 

Irregular Verb:  Stem:
caber (to fit):  cabr-
decir (to tell): dir-
haber (to have/be): habr-
hacer (to make/do): har-
poder (to be able): podr-
poner (to put): pondr-
querer (to want): querr-
saber (to know): sabr-
salir (to leave): saldr-
tener (to have): tendr-
valer (to be worth): valdr-
venir (to come): vendr-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, let's conjugate a few of these irregular Spanish future tense verbs: 

 

1. How would we express "I'll say" in Spanish? Rather than the infinitive, we'd take the aforementioned stem for the Spanish verb decir, -dir, and add the ending that corresponds with yo (I), or -é, to get diré:

 

Primero, diré el verbo en infinitivo,

First, I'll say the verb in the infinitive,

Caption 38, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 1: Tú + vos

 Play Caption

 

2. How would we say "you'll have" in Spanish? Take the stem of the irregular verb tener (to have), tendr-, and add the ending for (you), -ás, to get: tendrás.

 

Sí, después de las clases en grupo, tendrás media hora de descanso

Yes, after the group classes, you'll have a half hour break

Caption 27, El Aula Azul Las actividades de la escuela - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

3. And finally, what if want to express that "we'll be able" to do something? We'll take podr-, the stem for the verb for "to be able" (poder), and add the ending for nosotros/as, -emos, to come up with podremos:

 

Con un poco de práctica, podremos aprender estas reglas muy fácilmente.

With a bit of practice, we will be able to learn these rules very easily.

Caption 55, Carlos explica Acentuación Cap. 3: La división en sílabas - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

An Alternative Use for the Future Tense

Although the translations for Spanish verbs conjugated in the Spanish future tense almost always involve the word "will," the future tense in Spanish can occasionally be used to express doubt or disbelief, and, in such cases, corresponds more closely with the English concepts of "would," "could," "might," or "may."  Such cases are typically quite clear from their contexts as inserting the word "will" would seem nonsensical. Let's take a look at a couple of examples: 

 

¿No tendrás unos pesitos para mí?

You wouldn't have a few pesos for me?

Caption 23, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 14

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Favio, ¿dónde estarás?

Favio, where could you be?

Caption 44, Yago 1 La llegada - Part 7

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Having said that, in the vast majority of the cases you will come across, the future tense in Spanish can be translated with "will." 

 

We hope you've enjoyed this lesson on the future tense in Spanish. If you are interested in verb tenses, we recommend you check out our lessons on all of the Spanish verb tenses, beginning with the indicative verb tenses in Spanish and moving on to the Spanish subjunctive tenses. And, for an even deeper look into the future tense in Spanish with a plethora of example sentences, we recommend you check out this extended lesson by Javi on the future tense in Spanish as well as this lesson on an alternative to the Spanish future tense

 

That's all for today! Don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments, and estaremos en contacto (we'll be in touch).

 

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Continuer la lecture

Spanish Cognates for English Words That End in -ation

In the course of your Spanish studies, you may have noticed certain patterns that make "predicting" words you may never have even heard before possible in many cases. The focus of today's lesson is one such group of words.

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The -ation/-ación Connection

Due to their shared roots in the Latin language, many English words that end with the suffix -ation are cognates (words in different languages that share similar meanings, spellings, and pronunciations) along with their Spanish equivalents that end in a very similar suffix: -ación. Let's look at several, very common examples that you may have heard:

 

Justo el día de hoy le ha dado un mensaje a la nación 

Just today he's given a message to the nation

Caption 23, Yabla en Lima El Centro - Part 2

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y tenía mucha imaginación.

and he had a lot of imagination.

Caption 9, El Aula Azul Adivina personajes históricos - Part 2

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Ehm... ¿Tiene alguna recomendación como de pollo o de pescado?

Um... Do you have any recommendation, like, for chicken or fish?

Captions 32-33, Cata y Cleer En el restaurante

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y, por suerte, casi siempre hay mucha participación.

and, luckily, there is almost always a lot of participation.

Caption 78, Viajando con Fermín Asociación ProDunas Marbella

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What can we notice about these words? First off, most of them share virtually identical spellings in English and Spanish but for the replacement of the English suffix -ation with the Spanish -ación. The only minor exception in these examples is the inclusion of a double consonant (m) in the English word "recommendation" that does not appear in la recomendación (this is due to an English spelling rule that we won't delve into in this lesson). 

 

Another noteworthy feature of this class of -ation/-ación cognates (and, in fact, all words that end in -ación in Spanish) is that these nouns' gender in Spanish is feminine. 

 

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Applying the Formula to More Complex Words

That said, what if we were at a party, and we wanted to talk about more complex concepts such as "industrialization," "globalization," or "commercialization," and we weren't familiar with the correct Spanish terms? We might try to substitute the Spanish suffix -ación for -ation, just to see what we came up with:  

 

tenemos la... lógicamente, la industrialización,

we have the... logically, industrialization,

Caption 51, Los médicos explican Entrevista con el Doctor Suarez

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Y no te quiero hablar de la globalización

And I don't want to talk about globalization

Caption 47, Yago 6 Mentiras - Part 6

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Es una ruta a nivel turístico bastante joven que está en pleno proceso de comercialización.

It's a rather young route at the touristic level that is in the middle of the process of commercialization.

Captions 30-31, Europa Abierta Taller de escenografía en Olivares

 Play Caption

 

It worked! You will note that, once again, the spellings and meanings of these terms in Spanish and English are virtually identical except for the slight difference in their suffixes and the addition of the double "m" in "commercialization," again due to English spelling norms. That said, we suggest applying this formula to English words ending in -ation to make an educated guess about their Spanish translations since chances are you'll be right!

 

Exceptions to the -ation/-ación Rule 

Of course, as with all things in life, no formula is perfect, and there are always exceptions. Let's take a look at couple of them:

 

En los meses de verano, su población llega a multiplicarse por cuatro.

In the summer months, its population gets multiplied by four.

Caption 14, Fuengirola Mercado

 Play Caption

 

Although our formula would take us to the not-quite-correct word populación, we'd venture to guess that a native Spanish speaker would understand perfectly well what you meant by "En los meses de verano, su populación [sic] llega a multiplicarse por cuatro" and just might gently edify you as to the correct term. Let's look at another example:

 

porque justo salir del aeropuerto ya te encuentras con la estación de autobús.

because just leaving from the airport you come across the bus station right away.

Caption 28, Blanca Cómo moverse en Barcelona

 Play Caption

 

In this case, the word estación is extremely similar to the English word "station" except for the suffix and the "e" at the beginning, which is due, this time, to a Spanish norm whereby almost all words with an  "s" and a consonant at the beginning are preceded by an "e." And again, we're pretty sure that were you to inquire about the whereabouts of la stación de tren, someone would still direct you to the train station! 

 

Although there are some words that end in -ation in English whose translations are even less similar than the aforementioned examples (e.g. translation/traducción, explanation/explicación, etc.), we still suggest that our formula is a great place to start because, even if you aren't perfectly correct in your attempt to morph an -ation word in English into an -ación word in Spanish, chances are you'll be understood and/or corrected, which is how we learn. And, in many, many cases, as we've shown you... you'll be correct!

 

That's all for today. Have you noticed any other patterns that have helped you to make educated guesses about words in Spanish? Let us know with your suggestions and comments

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Extranjerismos: Foreign Words Used in Spanish

Just like any other language, Spanish has adopted many words from different languages and cultures. These words are known in Spanish as extranjerismos, a term that comes from the word extranjero (foreign). That said, let's take a look at some of the most common words in Spanish that come from other languages.

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Arabismos- Words from the Arab World

Throughout the Middle Ages, the Spanish language adopted several Arabic words. Let's see some of them:

 

Alcalde (mayor)- from the original word alqáḍi

Soy Miguel Ángel Herrera, alcalde de Genalguacil,

I'm Miguel Angel Herrera, mayor of Genalguacil,

Captions 2-3, Viajando con Fermín Genalguacil - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Álgebra (algebra)- from the original word algĕbra

el álgebra, que estudia las estructuras abstractas,

algebra, which studies abstract structures,

Captions 48-49, Carlos explica Vocabulario de las matemáticas - Part 1

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Azúcar (sugar)- from the original word assúkkar

con media taza de azúcar

with half a cup of sugar,

Caption 25, Ana Carolina Ponche navideño

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Guitarra (guitar)- from the original word qīṯārah

aprendí a tocar la guitarra de una manera diferente

I learned to play the guitar in a different manner

Caption 55, Luis Guitarra Influencias musicales - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Naranja (orange)- from the original word naranǧa

saben a naranja.

taste like orange.

Caption 34, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

If you hear the way Ariana pronounces the word naranja, you can notice the strong sound of the letter "j," which is a sound that the Spanish language took from the Arabic language. 

 

Galicismos- Words of French Origin

Just like in the English language, Spanish has also adopted many words derived from French. Let's see some of the most popular ones:

 

Bulevar (boulevard)- from the original word boulevard

hasta lo que hoy es conocido como el Bulevar donostiarra,

to what is known today as the "Bulevar donostiarra" [Donostiarra Boulevard]

Caption 28, Días festivos La Tamborrada de San Sebastián

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Chofer or chófer (driver)- from the original word chauffeur

que Amalia se quedó con él y con el chofer, ¿sí?

because Amalia stayed with him and with the driver, right?

Caption 28, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 9

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Élite or Elite (elite)- from the original word élite

unas estructuras de poder muy basadas en la élite, en la exclusión.

some power structures [that were] very based on the elite, on exclusion.

Caption 12, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 1 - Part 1

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Indigenismos- Words from Indigenous Languages

Many words from various indigenous Latin American cultures were incorporated into the Spanish language after the arrival of the Spaniards to the Americas. The following are some of the most popular words:

 

Caucho (rubber)- from the original Quechua word kawchu

Ellos jugaban con una pelota de caucho

They played with a rubber ball

Caption 85, Guillermo el chamán La cosmología de los mayas

 Play Caption

 

Maraca (maraca)- from the original Guaraní word mbaracá

guitarra, cuatro, güiro, maraca, bongo,

guitar, cuatro, güiro, maraca, bongo [drum],

Caption 32, Sonido Babel La plena de Puerto Rico

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Papa (potato)- from the original Quechua word papa

En los Andes se usa mucha papa y muchas cremas.

In the Andes, many potatoes are used and many creams.

Captions 75-76, Recetas de cocina Papa a la Huancaína

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Tomate (tomato)- from the original Nahuatl word tomatl

¿Qué es realmente el tomate?

What really is the tomato?

Caption 30, Fermín Ensalada de tomate

 Play Caption

 

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Italianismos- Words from the Italian Language

Many Italian words made their way into the Spanish language during the Renaissance. Let's check out two of them:

 

Balcón (balcony)- from the original word balcone

Tomo unos mates en el balcón

I have some servings of mate on the balcony

Caption 7, GoSpanish La rutina diaria de Sol

 Play Caption

 

Novela (novel)- from the original word novella

basada en una novela de Paul van Loon

based on a novel by Paul van Loon

Caption 4, Europa Abierta Fucsia la pequeña bruja

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Anglicismos- Words from the English language

And last but not least, we have extranjerismos that come from the English language. Here a few:

 

Club (club)

que hagan un perímetro por dentro y por fuera del club, vaya.

that they should surround us inside and outside the club, come on.

Caption 13, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 12

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Fútbol or futbol (football/soccer)

El fútbol es un deporte que fue inventado en Inglaterra

Soccer is a sport that was invented in England

Caption 8, Sergio El fútbol en España

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In this translation, we used the word "soccer" instead of "football." However, the Spanish word comes from the original British term "football."

 

Líder (leader)

La India Catalina era la líder de la tribu indígena que habitó en la ciudad, anteriormente llamada la Isla Calamarí.

India Catalina was the leader of the indigenous tribe who inhabited the city, previously called Calamari Island.

Captions 26-27, Viajando en Colombia Cartagena en coche - Part 3

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Turista (tourist)

una ciudad cosmopolita, luminosa y que pone al servicio del turista una amplia variedad de infraestructuras.

a cosmopolitan, luminous city that puts at the service of the tourist a wide variety of infrastructures.

Captions 10-11, Málaga Semana Santa

 Play Caption

 

That's all for this lesson. We hope you enjoyed this list of foreign-influenced words in Spanish. Can you think of any additional extranjerismos in Spanish? Don't forget to let us know with your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

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Continuer la lecture

Astronomy 101: The Names of the Planets in Spanish (and More)!

How do you say the names of the planets in Spanish? We'll start off today's lesson by telling you how and then follow up with some simple astronomical vocabulary. 

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The Names of the Planets in Spanish

The names of the planets in Spanish are as follows: 

 

1. Mercurio = Mercury

 

2. Venus = Venus

 

3. La Tierra = (the) Earth

 

4. Marte = Mars

 

5. Júpiter = Jupiter

 

6. Saturno = Saturn

 

7. Urano = Uranus

 

8. Neptuno = Neptune

 

Now that you know what the planets are called in Spanish, let's take a look at a few examples from our Yabla Spanish library where their names are mentioned:

 

El planeta Marte alguna vez tuvo ríos, lagos y mares.

The planet Mars once had rivers, lakes, and seas.

Caption 6, Yabla informa Noticias con Cleer

 Play Caption

 

The clip you just heard is from a news segment by Yabla's Cleer which delves into the mystery of what happened to the water on Mars. Let's see another clip that mentions the name of a planet, this time from a song:

 

Planeta Mercurio y el año de la serpiente Signo patente tatuado y en mi frente 

Planet Mercury and the year of the snake Obvious sign, tatooed and on my forehead

Captions 10-11, Ana Tijoux 1977

 Play Caption
 

We shouldn't neglect to mention that, as you may know, what was formerly considered to be the ninth planet, Pluto, was reclassified as a "dwarf planet" in 2006. The name for Pluto in Spanish is Plutón.

 

Gracias por la clase y por aclararme que yo no vivo ni en Plutón ni en la luna, 

Thanks for the class and for clarifying to me that I don't live either on Pluto or on the moon,

Caption 55, Conversaciones con Luis Astrología

 Play Caption
 

Additional Astronomical Vocabulary in Spanish

And, speaking of the moon, we thought you might be interested in learning how to say "the moon," "the sun," and some other basic vocabulary related to our solar system:

 

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1. la luna = the moon

 

2. el sol = the sun

 

3. la estrella = the star 

 

4. el planeta = the planet

 

5. la galaxia = the galaxy 

 

6. la Vía Láctea = the Milky Way

 

7. el cometa = the comet

 

8. el agujero negro/el hoyo negro = the black hole 

 

9. la nave espacial = the spaceship 

 

10. la constelación = the constellation

 

11. el sistema solar = the solar system

 

12. la teoría del Big Bang = the Big Bang theory

 

13. el eclipse = the eclipse

 

14. la astronomia = astronomy

 

15. el telescopio = the telescope

 

Now, let's take a look at a several of these terms in action:

 

eh... finalmente viene el universo, que es la Vía Láctea.

um... finally comes the universe, which is the Milky Way.

Caption 31, Guillermo el chamán Los rituales

 Play Caption
 
 

Las... Se le llama Las Siete Luminarias porque hay siete volcanes que forman la Osa Mayor, que es la constelación de la Osa Mayor.

The... It's called The Seven Luminaries because there are seven volcanoes which make up Ursa Major, which is the Ursa Major constellation.

Captions 13-14, Guillermo el chamán La tecnología maya

 Play Caption

 

Lo que no sabemos, es de qué planeta son estos niños. Son del planeta Tierra.

What we don't know is from what planet these kids are. They are from planet Earth.

Captions 5-6, Salvando el planeta Palabra Llegada - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

La nave rusa Soyuz ha despegado desde el centro espacial europeo de Kourou

The Russian spaceship Soyuz has taken off from the European space center in Kourou

Caption 3, Europa Abierta Galileo vs. GPS

 Play Caption

 

Note that la nave can be used as a shorter way to say "the spaceship" in lieu of la nave espacial. The clip in which this video is found deals with the history of the European space program, in case you are interested in checking it out!

 

That's alll for today. We hope you've enjoyed this lesson on basic astronomical terms in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

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Impersonal "Se" Vs. Passive "Se": What's the Difference?

What's the difference between the impersonal "se" construction and the passive "se" construction in Spanish? Although they look rather similar (and may be confused with reflexive verbs as well!), they function slightly differently, which we hope to illuminate for you today. 

 

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The Impersonal "Se" Construction in Spanish

“Impersonal se" constructions, which consist of the pronoun "se" plus a verb conjugated in the third person singular, are called such because they describe people in general rather than any specific person. In other words, no specific agent performs the action of the verb. For this reason, impersonal "se" constructions are used to describe, for example, the manner in which things are done customarily in a particular place or to convey general principles. In English, we tend to express such concepts by using the universal “you,” “they,” “one,” “people," or sometimes omitting the personal pronoun altogether. Let’s take a look at some examples from our Yabla Spanish library. 

 

1.

Bueno, se baila mucho, eh... se come bastante, y se espera hasta las doce para desear la feliz Navidad.

Well, people dance a lot, um... people eat quite a bit, and people wait until twelve to wish [people] Merry Christmas.

Captions 42-44, Cleer y Lida La Navidad en Colombia

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Note that all the verbs in this example are conjugated in the third person singular, and the speaker describes actions that are done customarily (by people in general rather than a specific person) during the Christmas season in Colombia. And, while the translator opted to employ "people" to express this idea, the same sentence could read, "you dance a lot... you eat quite a bit... and you wait..." or, more formally, "one dances... one eats... and one waits." Let's take a look at another example:

 

2.

Se duerme de noche y se vive de día

One sleeps at night and lives during the day

Caption 38, Calle 13 No hay nadie como tú

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The lyrics to this catchy tune by Calle 13 refer to the way things are in the world in general, where "one sleeps" (or "you" or "people sleep") at night and live during the day. Let's move on to the next example:

 

3.

Es mi furgoneta, una camper van, una furgoneta camperizada, que se dice en español.

It's my van, a camper van, a "furgoneta camperizada" [camper van], like you say in Spanish.

Captions 9-10, Amaya "Mi camper van"

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Alternative translations for se dice in this sentence include "like people say," "as is said," or "like they say" because its intention is to describe what something is customarily called in Spanish. Are you getting the hang of it? 

 

4.

Y juntas vamos a ver algunas de aquellas situaciones que os podéis encontrar en algunos de aquellos países en donde se habla español.

And together, we're going to look at some of those situations that you might encounter in some of those countries where Spanish is spoken.

Captions 4-6, Karla e Isabel Alquilar una habitación - Part 1

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Se habla español is impersonal because it explains that people in general speak Spanish in certain countries, rather than any specific person. An alternative choice here might have been" "in some of those countries where they speak Spanish." Let's look at one last one: 

 

5.

Ahora se llega a la cima bajando por la sierra

Now you reach the summit by going down the mountain

Caption 23, Calle 13 Ojos Color Sol ft. Silvio Rodríguez

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Note that directions are another common thing for which the impersonal "se" construction is utilized. This is similar to English, where we ask "How do you get there?" (¿Cómo se llega ahí?" in Spanish) when what we really want to find out is the objectively correct way to go. 

 

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The Passive "Se" Construction in Spanish 

In contrast to the impersonal "se" construction in Spanish, in the passive "se," although a specific agent usually does perform the action, said agent is often unknown or unmentioned. Furthermore, the verb in this construction must be a transitive verb, or verb that transmits some action to a direct object. So, this would describe something that "is" or "was" done, for example, to something else, which is most typically inanimate (non-living). Additionally, the verb can be singular or plural depending upon whether the noun/direct object in question is singular or plural, which is not the case with the impersonal "se" construction, where the verb is always singular. Let's look at some examples:

 

1.

de una habitación que se alquila en un piso compartido.

about a room that is being rented in a shared apartment.

Caption 17, Karla e Isabel Alquilar una habitación - Part 1

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Here, someone specific is renting out a room in a shared apartment; we just don't know who it is. The verb alquilar is a transitive verb because a direct object (una habitación, or "a room") receives its action. And, since the noun una habitación is singular, the verb has been conjugated in its third person singular form: alquila

 

2.

Aquí se venden barcos, ¿no?

Here boats are sold, right?

Caption 78, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 20

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This example is similar in that the agent who is selling boats is unknown, and the verb vender (to sell) is transitive because it exerts its action onto the noun (los) barcos. However, because the noun los barcos is plural, the verb has been conjugated in the third person plural: venden

 

3.

¿Mi confianza? Se perdió desde el día que me dejaste caer del columpio del parque a los dos años. 

My trust? It was lost the day that you let me fall off the swings in the park at two years old.

Captions 14-15, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 3

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The verb perder is transitive because a direct object (la confianza or "the trust") is, or in this case "was" lost (since it is conjugated in the preterite, or simple past tense). And, although the speaker is telling his father that he himself lost his confidence when his father let him fall from the swings, he opts to use the passive "se" construction se perdió, or "was lost," which doesn't specify that anyone actually did the losing. Let's look at another example.

 

4.

Otra de las hipótesis, de para qué se construyeron estos edificios, era para albergar ritos que se hacía en aquella época

Another one of the hypotheses about why these buildings were built was to house rites that were held during that era

Captions 44-46, Rosa Los Dólmenes de Antequera

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Here, we know who "built" (the transitive verb) "the buildings" (the direct object) in question: the ancient civilizations of Andalusia. But, since the sentence does not mention this agent, it employs the passive "se" construction to convey the idea that the buildings (los edificios) "were built" (se construyeron) in the past, utilizing the third person plural conjugation of construir (to build) in the preterite tense. Let's finish with one last example:

 

5.

La película más importante que se ha rodado en Guatemala y es cien por ciento guatemalteca es Ixcanul.

The most important movie that has been filmed in Guatemala and is one hundred percent Guatemalan is "Ixcanul."

Captions 17-18, World Travel Market en Londres Maria nos habla de Guatemala

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All of the same conditions have been met for the passive "se" construction: 1. the verb rodar (to film) is transitive: it exerts its action onto la película (the movie). 2. While we know that specific people filmed the movie, the sentence does not reference who they are. 3. The verb has been conjugated in the third person singular (this time in the present progressive tense) because the noun/direct object la película (the movie) is singular. 

 

We hope that this lesson has helped you to learn to distinguish the impersonal "se" construction from the passive "se" construction in Spanish, which can be a bit confusing. Se ha terminado la lección de hoy (Today's lesson has finished), and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

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Continuer la lecture

Expressing Emotions in Spanish

How do we talk about our emotions in Spanish? Although there are many different ways, this lesson will focus on three main categories of words that are typically used to express the whole range of emotions in Spanish while covering some of the major emotions in Spanish we might wish to talk about. 

 

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The Three Main Ways of Talking About Emotions in Spanish 

The three main word categories for talking about our emotions in Spanish are adjectives, reflexive verbs, and nouns. Let's take a closer look at some tendencies of each of these three parts of speech when describing emotions in Spanish.

 

1. Adjectives

Remember that adjectives modify, or describe, nouns, and to name a few simple ones in Spanish, we could take contento/a(s) (happy), triste(s) (sad), and enojado/a(s) (angry). As always, such emotional adjectives must agree with the noun they modify in terms of number and gender. You will note that the adjectives that describe emotions in Spanish are commonly used in conjunction with particular verbs, such as estar (to be), sentir (to feel), ponerse (to become/get), or quedarse (to become/get), to name a few. So, "Estoy contento," for example, would mean: "I'm happy."

 

 

2. Reflexive Verbs

Reflexive verbs in Spanish actually convey the action of feeling a certain emotion in and of themselves. As an example, since enojarse means "to get angry," one could say simply "Me enojé" (I got angry) in lieu of using an adjective/verb combination like "Me puse enojado," which conveys the same thing. 

 

 

3. Nouns

As a third option, nouns like tristeza (sadness) are additionally employed to talk about emotions in Spanish. Among others, one common manner of doing so is with the word "Qué..." in fixed expressions like, "¡Qué tristeza!" which literally means, "What sadness!" (but would be more commonly expressed in English with an expression like "How sad!"). Verbs like sentir (to feel) or tener (to have) are also commonly used with such emotional nouns in sentences such as "Siento mucha alegría" ("I feel really happy," or, more literally, "I feel a lot of happiness").

 

Conveying Common Emotions in Spanish

With these categories in mind, let's learn a plethora of ways to express the gamut of common emotions in Spanish. 

 

1. HAPPINESS

 

Adjectives: 

Adjectives that mean "happy" include feliz/felices, contento/a(s), and alegre(s). Let's take a look at some examples of these words in context along with some of the aforementioned verbs:

 

pues, que yo creo que él sí quiere formalizar algo conmigo y yo estoy muy feliz.

well, I think that he does want to formalize something with me, and I'm very happy.

Captions 40-41, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 9

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y, pues, me siento muy contento de que lo... lo pude lograr.

and well, I feel very happy that I... I was able to achieve it.

Caption 27, Rueda de la muerte Parte 1

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Y estoy alegre, alegre de que no sea cierto.

And I'm happy, happy it's not true.

Caption 31, Chus recita poemas Neruda y Pizarnik

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Remember that the verb estar is used to talk about emotions in Spanish rather than the verb ser because emotions tend to be temporary rather than permanent. That said, if someone (or something) permanently embodies a particular emotional attribute (e.g. a "happy person"), the verb ser can be used because this emotion becomes a trait, as in the following example: 

 

La Vela se caracteriza además por ser un pueblo alegre,

La Vela is also characterized as being a happy town,

Captions 16-17, Estado Falcón Locos de la Vela - Part 1

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Reflexive Verbs: 

Moving on to the verb category, a common reflexive verb that expresses the idea of "cheering up" or "getting" or "being happy" or "glad" is alegrarse. Let's see some examples of this verb:

 

Qué bien; me alegro de que estén aquí.

How great; I'm glad you're here.

Caption 42, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 2

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A tal punto que yo me alegré mucho, mucho, cuando supe que ibas a pasar veinticinco años en la cárcel.

To the point that I felt very happy, very, when I found out you were going to spend twenty-five years in prison.

Captions 56-57, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 1

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Nouns:

Lastly, we will deal with the corresponding nouns that mean "happiness" or "joy": (la) alegría and (la) felicidad.

 

Ay, bueno, Don Ramiro, de verdad, qué alegría escuchar eso.

Oh, well, Mister Ramiro, really, what a joy to hear that.

Caption 33, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 10

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While "what a joy" was translated a bit more literally here, it could also be a rough equivalent of "how great" (to hear that) or, of course, "I'm so happy" (to hear that). Let's look at one more example:

 

Hasta el sábado, amiga. ¡Qué felicidad!

See you Saturday, my friend. [I'm] so happy!

Caption 83, Cleer y Lida Conversación telefónica - Part 1

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Again, while "What happiness!" would be the literal translation of "¡Qué felicidad!" in English, you will note that this and many of our other examples of expressions with the word "Qué" plus an emotional noun have been translated slightly differently to reflect what an English speaker might say in a similar situation. 

 

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2. EXCITEMENT

 

Adjectives: 

"Excitement" might be looked upon as an extension of happiness, and adjectives like emocionado/a(s) (excited) or entusiasmado/a(s) (excited/enthusiastic) express this in Spanish:

 

Estoy tan emocionado de volver a verte.

I am so excited to see you again.

Caption 53, Yago 11 Prisión - Part 3

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Ehm... Mi amor, estás muy entusiasmado con todo esto. -Mmm.

Um... My love, you're very enthusiastic about all this. -Mmm.

Caption 7, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 4

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Reflexive Verbs:

As you might have guessed, the verbs for "to be/get excited" are emocionarse and entusiasmarse

 

Ya me emocioné.

I already got excited.

Caption 22, Alan x el mundo Mi playa favorita de México! - Part 1

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¿Por qué no entusiasmarnos más?

Why not get more excited?

Caption 14, Natalia de Ecuador Consejos: haciendo amigos como adultos

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Nouns:

Although the noun (la) emoción can indeed mean "emotion," it can also mean "excitement":

 

Entonces... -¡Qué emoción! Qué emoción, y después... ¡oh!, ¿sí?

So... -How exciting! How exciting, and afterward... oh, really?

Captions 31-32, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 2

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That said, while emocionado/a(s)emocionarse, and "¡Qué emoción!" can also be used to talk about "being moved" with emotion, context should usually let you know the speaker's intention. 

 

 

3. SADNESS

 

Adjectives:

Triste(s) is undoubtedly the most common adjective that means "sad" in Spanish:

 

nos dimos cuenta [de] que mi barco estaba partido. Candelario se puso triste

we realized my boat was split. Candelario got sad.

Captions 43-44, Guillermina y Candelario El Gran Rescate

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Reflexive Verbs:

The reflexive verb entristecerse, on the other hand, means "to get" (or "feel" or "be" or "become," etc.) "sad":

 

La alumna se entristeció mucho al saber que se había fallecido su maestro. 

The student became really sad when she found out that her teacher had passed away. 

 

Nouns:

The noun (la) tristeza literally means "sadness," but is utilized along with "Qué" to say, "How sad":

 

Qué tristeza, ¿no? Terrible.

How sad, right? Terrible.

Caption 5, Tu Voz Estéreo Feliz Navidad - Part 19

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4. ANGER

 

Adjectives:

While there are a lot of adjectives that mean "angry" or "mad" in Spanish, the two most common standard (rather than slang) ones are probably enojado/a(s) and enfadado/a(s). Let's take a look:

 

¿Qué te pasa? ¿Estás enojado conmigo? No, no estoy enojado, estoy cansado. Estoy cansado, ¿OK? 

What's going on with you? Are you mad at me? No, I'm not mad, I'm tired. I'm tired, OK?

Captions 42-43, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 3

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Estamos muy enfadadas. Estoy muy enfadada.

We are very angry. I am very angry.

Captions 30-31, El Aula Azul Estados de ánimo

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Reflexive Verbs:

By extension, verbs that mean "to get mad" or "angry" include enojarse and enfadarse, although there are many more:

 

Se enojó muchísimo con el viejo

She got really angry with my old man

Caption 86, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 6

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No me enfadé con él, ni le insulté,

I didn't get mad at him, nor did I insult him,

Captions 78-79, Cortometraje Beta - Part 1

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Nouns:

There are a lot of nouns that refer to anger in Spanish, and we bet you guessed two of them: (el) enojo and (el) enfado. Others include (la) ira, (la) rabia, and (la) bronca. Although it is not as common to hear these words in expressions with "Qué..." as some of the other nouns we have talked about, we can give you some examples of how a couple of these words are used to express anger in captions from our Yabla Spanish library:

 

Lo que yo sentía en ese momento era algo mucho más profundo que un enfado.

What I felt at that moment was something way deeper than anger.

Caption 81, Cortometraje Beta - Part 1

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porque claro, alguna vez siento mucha rabia y no me gusta sentir tanta rabia

because of course, sometimes I feel a lot of rage and I don't like feeling so much rage

Captions 42-43, Escribiendo un libro Algunos consejos sobre cómo comenzar - Part 1

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For a lot of additional standard and slangy manners of talking about anger, feel free to refer to this lesson on expressing feelings of tiredness or anger in Spanish. 

 

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5. SURPRISE

 

Adjectives:

Let's start with the adjective that means "surprised": sorprendido/a(s).

 

Profesores, la verdad es que me he quedado sorprendida

Professors, the truth is that I have been surprised;

Caption 19, Alumnos extranjeros del Tec de Monterrey

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Reflexive Verbs:

The reflexive verb that means "to be" or "to get surprised" is sorprenderse:

 

Es que... me sorprendí, querida. -¿Por qué?

It's just that... I was surprised, dear. -Why?

Caption 65, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 11

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Nouns:

And finally, the noun (la) sorpresa can be used with "Qué" to say "How surprising" or "What a surprise": 

 

Qué sorpresa. -Qué... Vale, qué lindo verte.

What a surprise. -What... Vale, how nice to see you.

Caption 15, Español para principiantes Saludos y encuentros

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6. DISAPPOINTMENT

 

Adjectives:

The common Spanish adjectives decepcionado/a(s) and desilusionado/s(s) both mean "disappointed":

 

Mi novia está desilusionado conmigo por haberle mentido.

My girlfriend is disappointed in me for having lied to her. 

 

No. Estoy decepcionada. ¿De mí? ¿Y por qué estás decepcionada?

No. I'm disappointed. In me? And why are you disappointed?

Captions 61-63, Muñeca Brava 41 La Fiesta - Part 6

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Reflexive Verbs:

Naturally, the verbs decepcionarse and desilusionarse mean "to get" or "be disappointed." Let's take a look at them in context:

 

Me decepcioné mucho cuando suspendí el examen. 

I was really disappointed when I failed the test. 

 

Nada. Tengo qué sé yo, miedo a desilusionarme, va.

Nothing. I have, I don't know, a fear of being disappointed, well.

Caption 38, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 5

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Nouns:

So, of course, "Qué desilusión" or "Qué decepción" would be "How disappointing" or "What a disappointment":

 

Qué decepción.

What a disappointment.

Caption 82, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 3

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Digo, personalmente no, no, no fue una desilusión porque viste, que cuando sos chico las pérdidas son diferentes. 

I mean, personally it wasn't a disappointment because you know, when you are a kid, losses are different.

Captions 48-49, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 2

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Note that "No fue una desilusiónmight also have been translated as "I wasn't disappointed" in this context. 
 

 

7. WORRY/ANXIETY/STRESS

Let's conclude today's lesson by talking about some more of what might be considered sentimientos negativos (negative feelings) in Spanish: worry, anxiety, and stress.

 

Adjectives:

Adjectives like preocupado/a(s)(worried), estresado/a(s) ("stressed" or "stressed out"), ansioso/a(s) (anxious), or nervioso/a(s), which often means "restless," "anxious," etc. in addition to "nervous," can be used to describe those unpleasant sensations in Spanish. Let's look at some examples:

 

Entonces, cuando usted sufra una infección fuerte o esté preocupado o estresado

So, when you get a strong infection or are worried or stressed,

Captions 35-36, Los médicos explican Consulta con el médico: herpes

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Le noto un poco nervioso, ¿le pasa algo? -No, no, no...

I notice you're a bit on edge, is something wrong with you? -No, no, no...

Caption 9, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 6

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¿Hay algún pensamiento o algo que le mantenga a usted ansioso o desde cuándo... o algo que haya desencadenado todos estos problemas?

Is there some thought or something that keeps you anxious or from which... or something that has triggered all these problems?

Captions 32-33, Los médicos explican Diagnóstico: nervios y estrés

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Reflexive Verbs:

The reflexive verb preocuparse means "to worry," while estresarse means "to stress" or "get stressed out," etc.:

 

¿De verdad se preocupa por mi seguridad? Claro que sí me preocupo.

Do you really worry about my safety? Of course I worry.

Captions 36-37, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 3

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un día tengo que pagar uno, otro día otro, y eso, la... la gente se estresa.

one day I have to pay one, another day another one, and that... people get stressed out.

Caption 67, Cuentas claras Sobreviviendo enero - Part 2

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Nouns:

The corresponding nouns for the verbs and adjectives we have talked about are: (la) preocupación (worry), (el) estrés (stress), (los) nervios (nerves), and (la) ansiedad (anxiety), which can be used in sentences in infinite ways to describe these nerve-wracking sensations. For example, we might say "¡Qué nervios!" or "¡Qué estrés!" to say something like "I'm so nervous/anxious!" or "How stressful!"/"I'm so stressed out!" Let's look at some additional examples of these nouns with the verbs tener (to have) and sentir (to feel):

 

Últimamente tengo mucho estrés y estar un poco en la naturaleza es muy bueno.

Lately, I've been really stressed out, and it's great to be in nature a bit.

Captions 68-69, Cleer y Lida Picnic

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Siento ansiedad, la necesidad de contar quién soy

I feel anxiety, the need to tell who I am

Caption 2, Monsieur Periné Mi libertad

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You will note that while the literal translation of the first example would be "I have a lot of stress," "I've been really stressed out" may be the more likely equivalent for English speakers in this context. On the other hand, while the translator opted for the more literal "I feel anxiety" in the second example, "I feel anxious" would also be a viable option in English. For additional insight into how to discuss anxiety and stress in Spanish, we recommend the video Diagnóstico: nervios y estrés (Diagnosis: Nerves and Stress) from our series Los médicos explican (The Doctors Explain).

 

We have covered a multitude of emotions in Spanish, and videos like this one from our Curso de español  [Spanish Course] series about Expresiones de sentimientos [Expressions of Feelings] and this one on Estados de Ánimo [Moods] by El Aula Azul can help you to express many more. And while most of the feelings we have talked about are pretty clearly negative or positive, the video Ni bien ni mal [Neither Good nor Bad] can help us to talk about some of those so-so emotions in Spanish. Are there any other feelings or emotions you'd like to learn to speak about in Spanish? Don't forget to let us know in your suggestions and comments

 

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Continuer la lecture

Spanish Verbs That Change Meaning in the Preterite Tense

Just when you thought you'd memorized the meanings of a bunch of infinitive verbs (their "to" forms, like saber (to know), poder (to be able), etc.), you find out that there are some verbs that actually change meanings from one tense to another! Verbs that mean one thing in tenses like the Spanish present indicative tense and the imperfect tense in Spanish but change meaning in the Spanish preterite tense will be the focus of today's lesson. 

 

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What Is the Spanish Preterite Tense?

In a nutshell, there are two "main" past tenses in Spanish: the imperfect tense in Spanish, which is used to describe past actions that were ongoing, in progress, or interrupted, and the Spanish preterite tense, which describes completed past actions. As we mentioned, as the meaning of some Spanish verbs actually changes in the preterite tense in Spanish, let's take a look at some examples of several of these verbs and their translations in the present, the imperfect, and, finally, the preterite, via examples from Yabla Spanish's video library. 

 

Spanish Verbs That Change Meaning in the Preterite Tense 

 

1. Conocer (to know)

Let's take a look at some examples of the Spanish verb conocer in the present and imperfect tenses:

 

Present Tense:

porque conozco un sitio muy bueno y podemos ir.

because I know a very good place and we can go.

Caption 67, Cleer Entrevista a Giluancar

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Imperfect Tense:

Pablo Escobar conocía La Catedral como la palma de la mano,

Pablo Escobar knew La Cathedral like the back of his hand

Caption 42, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 2 - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

In both the Spanish present indicative and the imperfect tense, the Spanish verb conocer means "to know" in the sense of "being familiar with." However, in the preterite tense, the Spanish verb conocer has a different meaning. Let's take a look:

 

Preterite Tense:

Cuando yo conocí a mi esposa, hace nueve años, la primera cosa yo le dije a ella, te... tú vas a ser la mamá de mis hijas.

When I met my wife, nine years ago, the first thing I said to her, you... you are going to be the mom of my daughters.

Captions 52-54, La Sub30 Familias - Part 4

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As you can see in this example, as the preterite tense in Spanish limits an action to a specific moment in time, the meaning of the Spanish verb conocer changes to "to meet" in the Spanish preterite tense. 

 

2. Poder (to be able)

The Spanish verb poder means "to be able," in the sense of "can" in the present or "could" in the past. Let's see some examples:

 

Present Tense:

Detrás de mí podemos observar la ciudad antigua

Behind me, we can observe the old city

Caption 11, Ciudad de Panamá Denisse introduce la ciudad

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Imperfect Tense:

Yo pensé que podía saltar muy alto.

I thought I could jump really high.

Caption 14, Guillermina y Candelario Una Amiga muy Presumida - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

So, how does the meaning of the Spanish verb poder transform in the preterite?

 

Preterite Tense:

Es que no entiendo cómo pudo entrar aquí.

It's just that I don't understand how he managed to get in here.

Caption 20, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 8

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Although "It's just that I don't understand how he was able to get in here" could also be a viable translation, in some contexts, this English rendition would not make it clear whether someone actually did something or merely had the ability to do so. Hence, the important thing to remember when the Spanish verb poder is conjugated in the Spanish preterite tense is that it ceases to describe merely the potential for something to happen and states that it actually did. "To manage" (to do something) is thus a common translation for the Spanish verb poder in the preterite tense that makes this distinction clear. 

 

3. No poder (to not be able)

The meaning of no poder in both the present and imperfect tenses in Spanish is pretty straightforward: "to not be able to," in other words, "can't" in the present and "couldn't" in the (imperfect) past:

 

Present Tense:

¿Cómo que no pueden hacer nada? ¿Cómo que no pueden hacer nada más?

What do you mean you can't do anything? What do you mean you can't do anything else?

Caption 17, Yago 3 La foto - Part 2

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Imperfect Tense:

Y no podía estudiar.

And I couldn't study.

Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 5 - Part 3

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So, what about the preterite? If we know that the preterite form of the Spanish verb poder means "to manage to" do something, it follows that the preterite form of no poder can mean "to not manage to," or, better yet, "to fail to" to do something.

 

Preterite Tense:

Si usted no pudo controlar su matrimonio ¿cómo va a controlar y dirigir y manejar el interés público?

If you failed to control your marriage, how are you going to control and direct and manage public interest?

Captions 58-59, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 3

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While we might alternatively translate "si usted no pudo controlar su matrimonio" as "you couldn't control your marriage" or "you weren't able to control your marriage," the important thing to remember is that the verb poder in the preterite means that something in the past was attempted but did not come to fruition.

 

4. Saber (to know)

The Spanish verb saber typically means "to know" (in the sense of facts or information) in the present, imperfect, etc.:

 

Present Tense:

No es información nueva, y ellas lo saben.

It's not new information, and they know it.

Caption 7, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 3

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Imperfect Tense:

Sí. Si algo sabíamos era que la plata no crece en los árboles.

Yes. If we knew anything, it was that money didn't grow on trees.

Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 2

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However, because the preterite tense in Spanish narrows the timeline of such "knowing" down to a specific moment, the meaning of the Spanish verb saber transforms, in the preterite tense, from "to know" to "to find out":

 

Preterite Tense:

A tal punto que yo me alegré mucho, mucho, cuando supe que ibas a pasar veinticinco años en la cárcel.

To the point that I was very happy, very, when I found out you were going to spend twenty-five years in prison.

Captions 56-57, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

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5. Tener (to have)

The verb tener in Spanish means "to have" in most tenses, as in the following excerpts:

 

Present Tense:

Todas las estaciones tienen sus ventajas.

All of the seasons have their advantages.

Caption 42, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 2

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Imperfect Tense:

Tenía una casa pues, amueblada de cuatrocientos metros

I had a, well, furnished, four-hundred meter house,

Caption 79, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 8

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And, although the meaning of the Spanish verb tener doesn't always change in the preterite, it sometimes takes on the meaning of "to receive" or "to get," as in the case of: Tuve una carta (I got a letter). Let's look at an additional example:

 

Preterite Tense:

Y bueno, ahí tuve otras proposiciones, que no eran tampoco un sueño, pero eran mucho más interesantes que lo que tenía en Cuba,

And well, there, I got other proposals, which weren't a dream either, but they were much more interesting than what I had in Cuba,

Captions 49-51, Orishas Entrevista Canal Plus

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6. Querer (to want) 

The verb querer in Spanish most often means "to want." Let's see it in action:

 

Present Tense:

Amigos de Yabla, hoy los queremos invitar a aprender español

Friends of Yabla, today we want to invite you to learn Spanish

Captions 1-2, El Hatillo, Caracas, Venezuela El cuatro

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Imperfect Tense:

Yo de niña pensaba que quería ser bailarina. ¿Qué pensabas tú?

As a little girl I thought that I wanted to be a dancer. What did you think?

Caption 20, Conjugación El verbo 'pensar'

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In the preterite tense, however, the Spanish verb querer "puts a limit" on this past "wanting" and becomes a manner of saying that someone "tried" to do something:

 

Preterite Tense:

Yo quise ser su amiga, pero no me dejó.

I tried to be his friend, but he didn't let me.

Caption 38, Guillermina y Candelario Un marciano en la playa - Part 1

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7. No querer (to not want) 

In our first two tenses, the Spanish verb phrase no querer means exactly what it sounds like: "to not want." Let's examine some clips that demonstrate this construction in the present and imperfect:

 

Present Tense:

 

Es que yo no quiero vivir en el centro.

The thing is, I don't want to live in the downtown area.

Caption 71, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y persona ideal

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Imperfect Tense:

 

y en un principio le dije que no quería tener un gato en casa.

and at first, I told her I didn't want to have a cat in my home.

Caption 32, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata Poeska

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The preterite form of the Spanish verb querer, on the other hand, means that someone not only "didn't want" to do something at a specific point in the past, they actually didn't (or "wouldn't"):

 

mi otra hermana, Zoraida Zárraga, mi sobrino, Harold Blanco, que no quisieron presentarse por temor a cámara.

my other sister, Zoraida Zarraga, my nephew, Harold Blanco, who refused to appear due to camera shyness.

Captions 11-13, Coro, Venezuela Relaciones familiares

 Play Caption

 

So, we see that the meaning of the verb no querer in Spanish can sometimes become to "to refuse" in the preterite tense. 

 

We hope that this lesson has edified you regarding the alternative meanings of some Spanish verbs when they are conjugated in the preterite tense. Can you think of any we missed?  Don't forget to tell us with your suggestions and comments

 

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Possessive Adjectives in Spanish: Part 2

In a previous lesson, we talked about short form possessive adjectives in Spanish: words like mi (my), tu (your), and nuestro (our), etc. that are placed in front of a noun to indicate ownership. The focus of this lesson will be long form possessive adjectives in Spanish, which, while similar in meaning, are different in terms of their form and placement. 

 

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What's the Difference Between Short and Long Form Possessive Adjectives in Spanish? 

While short form Spanish possessive adjectives always go before the noun they modify, long form possessive adjectives in Spanish come after the noun they describe. Furthermore, while some of the short form Spanish possessive adjectives remain the same whether a noun is masculine or feminine, long form Spanish possessive adjectives always change form for singular/plural and masculine/feminine in all of their forms. And finally, while short form possessive adjectives in Spanish never go with an article, long form Spanish possessive adjectives are often accompanied by a noun's definite or indefinite article

 

The Long Form Spanish Possessive Adjectives

Let's take a look at the long form Spanish possessive adjectives, their possible meanings, and how they correspond to the personal pronouns in Spanish. You will note that the long form Spanish possessive adjectives for nosotros/as and vosotros/as are the exact same as their short form equivalents.

 

Yomío, mío, míos, mías (my, mine, of mine)

 

tuyo, tuya, tuyos, tuyas (your, yours, of yours)

 

Él/ella/ustedsuyo, suya, suyos, suyas (his, of his, her, hers, of hers, your, yours, of yours, its) 

 

Nosotros/nosotras: nuestro, nuestros, nuestra, nuestras (our, ours, of ours)

 

Vosotros/vosotrasvuestro, vuestros, vuestra, vuestras ((plural informal) your, yours, of yours)

 

Ellos/ellas/ustedessuyo, suya, suyos, suyas (their, theirs, of theirs, (plural) your, yours, of yours)

 

You may have noticed that, in comparison to short form Spanish possessive adjectives, there are more possible translations for long form possessive adjectives in Spanish, which will vary according to their context. 

 

Examples of Long Form Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

Let's take a look at the many translations of long form possessive adjectives in Spanish via a plethora of examples from Yabla's Spanish video library.

 

1. Mío, mío, míos, mías

 

Este sombrero es mío. Estos sombreros son míos.

This hat is mine. These hats are mine.

Captions 10-11, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2

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Esta botella es mía. Estas botellas son mías.

This bottle is mine. These bottles are mine.

Captions 15-16, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

We chose these two examples to illustrate that, as we mentioned, long form Spanish possessive adjectives always agree with the nouns they modify in terms of both number and gender. As with short form Spanish possessive adjectives, the number/gender of the person or entity that "owns" is insignificant. Additionally, you will note that the translation for these Spanish possessive adjectives here is "mine." Let's look at an example where their translation is slightly different: 

 

Y han venido unos amigos míos desde Mallorca, aquí hasta Málaga,

And some friends of mine have come here to Malaga from Mallorca

Caption 15, Amaya Voluntarios

 Play Caption

 

Not only do we see an alternative translation for the long form Spanish possessive adjective míos (of mine), we see that long form Spanish possessive can be accompanied an article, in this case, the indefinite article unos

 

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2. Tuyo, tuya, tuyos, tuyas 

Now, let's look at some translations for the long form Spanish possessive adjective tuyo and its variants:

 

¿Es tuya esta mochila? 

Is this backpack yours?

Caption 6, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 3: ¿De quién es esta mochila?

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Así que, ¿no soy hijo tuyo?

So, I'm not your son?

Caption 68, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

The interesting thing about this second example is that the long form Spanish possessive adjective tuyo has been translated as "your" instead of "yours" or "of yours," which is identical to the translation for the equivalent short form Spanish possessive adjective (tu). Hence, the same English sentence could have been written with the short form possessive adjective in Spanish, as follows:

 

Así que, ¿no soy tu hijo? 

So, I'm not your son?

 

So, we see that there are cases in which we could choose to use either the long or short form Spanish possessive adjective to express the exact same idea in English, although the long form is, perhaps, the slightly less common/more literary manner of doing so. 

 

3. Suyo, suya, suyos, suyas

As we saw in Part 1 of this lesson about short form Spanish possessive adjectives in regards to su and sus, this particular set of long form possessive adjectives can be confusing because they correspond with a lot of personal pronouns (él, ella, usted, ellos, ellas, and ustedes) and thus have a multitude of different translations, which we listed above. Context should usually help you to determine the meaning of these long form possessive adjectives in Spanish. Let's take a look: 

 

Estos sombreros son suyos.

These hats are hers.

Caption 31, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

While this example seems pretty simple at first glance, since the masculine plural form of the Spanish possessive adjective was chosen to agree with the noun it modifies (sombreros) rather than its corresponding personal pronoun (ella), this very same sentence could also mean "These hats are his," "These hats are yours" (one person or multiple people), or "These hats are theirs" (all males, all females, or a mixed group). So, let's hope that the text or conversation has given you some previous clues as to who the hats belong to and/or who is being spoken about (it usually does!). Let's see another example:

 

Efectivamente, era el rostro suyo

Indeed, it was his face

Caption 35, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

What can we discern here? First, because the previous sentences in this flash fiction story by Carlos refer to the maestro de ceremonias, we know that "his" was the correct translation choice for suyo in this context. Second, remember that since the translation for the short form possessive adjective in Spanish su in English can also be "his," the very same idea could also have been conveyed with the sentence: "Efectivamente, era su rostro." Finally, we will reiterate that, although with short form possessive Spanish adjectives, the article is never used (it's simply su rostro), with the long form, they can be, as in the case of el rostro suyo. That said, this is a personal choice, and one might also omit the article and write simply "era rostro suyo" with no change in meaning. Let's look at one more variation of this long form Spanish possessive adjective.

 

Y también me gustó mucho la novela suya, eh, "Amor y pico"; me encantó.

And I also liked your soap opera a lot, um, "Love and Fortune;" I loved it.

Caption 41, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Here, since the speaker is consistently addressing a female actress with usted (formal "you") and talking to her about a soap opera she did, it is obvious that "your" is the intended meaning of the long form Spanish possessive adjective suya, which agrees in number and gender with the noun it modifies (la novela) and that, furthermore, the speaker chose to include that noun's definite article (la). We bet you're getting the hang of this by now! 

 

4. Nuestro, nuestros, nuestra, nuestras

Let's start off with some very simple examples:

 

Este sombrero es nuestro. Estos sombreros son nuestros. Esta botella es nuestra. Estas botellas son nuestras.

This hat is ours. These hats are ours. This bottle is ours. These bottles are ours.

Captions 35-38, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Now, let's move on to a bit tougher one:

 

Padre nuestro, vamos a bendecir el alimento que vamos a comer.

Father of ours [or "Our Father], let's bless the food that we are going to eat.

Caption 55, Lecciones con Carolina Adjetivos posesivos - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Through these clips, we can see not only the number/gender agreement we have been speaking about, but also some different translations for the long form Spanish possessive adjective forms of nuestro

 

5. Vuestro, vuestros, vuestra, vuestras

Let's conclude our lesson by looking at some clips of the long form Spanish possessive adjectives vuestro, etc.: 

 

Esta botella es vuestra. Estas botellas son vuestras.

This bottle is yours [plural]. These bottles are yours [plural].

Captions 41-42, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

¿Y el embutido es vuestro?

And, the sausage is yours?

Caption 57, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

In lieu of this translation, this last sentence might also have been translated as "And is the sausage yours?" or even "And is it your sausage?"

 

We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand long form Spanish possessive adjectives and how they are different from short form possessive adjectives in Spanish. As an additional source for learning about long form possessive adjectives in Spanish, we additionally recommend the lesson Clase Aula Azul- La posesión- Part 2, and no se olviden de dejarnos los comentarios y sugerencias tuyos (don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions).

 

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Colombian Slang: 100 Words and Phrases to Sound like a True Colombian

Are you ready to learn some Colombian slang? Are you familiar with words like "chimba" or expressions like "estar tragado"? Whether you are planning to go to Colombia or you are following some of our exclusive Colombian TV series (e.g. Los Años MaravillososConfidencial: El rey de la estafa, and Tu Voz Estéreo), have we got some good Colombian slang to teach you today!

 

colombian slang words and phrases

 

We have divided our list of Colombian slang words and phrases into the following four main categories:

 

1. Nouns

2. Adjectives

3. Verbs

4. Colombian sayings and expressions

 

As you will see, there is some overlap between categories. For instance, you will find the word "camello" (a job) under the "Nouns" category as well as the word "camellar" (to work hard) under the "Verbs" category.

 

That said, it is time to learn some very interesting stuff! If you are able to master the following list, you will be able to speak like a true Colombian. Let's have some fun!

 

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Colombian Slang Nouns

 

1. bacán (a cool dude)

This one comes from the adjective "bacano," which means cool.

Example:

Ese tipo es un bacán (That guy is a cool dude).

 

2. berraquera (determination, something or someone very good)

A list of Colombian slang without the word "berraquera" on it would be incomplete. Let's look at some examples so we can understand how to use this very popular word:

Esa canción es una berraquera (That song is really good (literally "a really good one")).

El equipo jugó con berraquera y ganó el partido (The team played with determination and won the game).

 

3. boleta (an embarrassing situation or person)

Example:

Ese tipo es una boleta (That guy is an embarrassment).

 

4. caco (a thief)

Example:

Los cacos robaron el banco (The thieves robbed the bank). 

 

5. camello (a job, work)

When you say "un camello" in Colombia, you are referring to "a job." More generally, "camello" refers to "work," as in "Tengo mucho camello" (I have a lot of work to do).

Example:

Le traigo un regalito y le tengo un camello.

I'm bringing you a little gift and I have a job for you.

Caption 33, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

6. cantaleta (constant scolding or nagging)

This is very useful Colombian slang when you want to indicate that someone is obsessed with something in the sense that he/she just keeps talking about the same thing over and over. "Cantaleta" is mostly associated with the action of scolding or nagging.

Example:

Que deje la vaina con esa actricita, hermano. ¡Otra vez es la cantaleta con usted! Parece novia fea.

For you to give up the thing with that little actress, brother. It's the nagging with you again! You seem like an ugly girlfriend.

Captions 11-13, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

7. catorce (a favor)

Although "catorce" literally means "fourteen," it has another meaning in Colombian slang.

Example:

Dorita, ¿nos hace el catorce y la foto?

Dorita, will you do the favor of taking a picture?

Caption 60, X6 1 - La banda - Part 11

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8. chécheres (stuff)

The Colombian slang word chécheres is quite handy when you want to refer to a group of (mostly useless) things.

Example:

Esta sala está llena de chécheres (This living room is full of useless stuff).

 

9. chimba (a very cool person or thing)

"Chimba" is one of the most popular Colombian Spanish slang words there is! However, it is a word that can be used in many different ways. As a noun, "una chimba" is someone or something very cool.

Example:

Esa canción es una chimba (That song is very cool (literally "a very cool one").

Alternatively, the word "chimba" can be used as a synonym for "luck."

Example:

¡Me salvé de pura chimba! (I was saved by pure luck!)

 

10. chino/china (friend, dude, kid)

Although it literally means a person from China, chino/a is a Colombian slang term for "friend," which is used almost exclusively in Bogota. Additionally, this word can be used when talking about little kids.

Examples:

Oiga chino, ¿quiere ir a la fiesta? (Hey, dude, ¿do you want to go to the party?)

El parque estaba lleno de chinos (The park was full of kids).

 

11. chucha (bad body odor, referring to the armpits)

Example:

Luis tiene chucha. Debería usar desodorante (Luis has B.O. He should use deodorant).

 

12. churrias (diarrhea)

This colorful Colombian Spanish slang is usually used with the verb "tener" in the expression "tener churrias."

Example:

No puedo ir a la reunión. ¡Tengo churrias! (I can't go to the meeting. I have diarrhea!)

 

13. churro (a handsome guy)

Example:

Brad Pitt es un churro (Brad Pitt is a handsome guy).

 

14. chuspa (a plastic bag)

This is one of the Colombian slang words you will need to know when going to the supermarket. 

Example:

¿Me puede dar dos chuspas, por favor? (Could you give me two plastic bags, please?)

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15. descache (a mistake, blunder, or faux pas)

Example:

El chiste de Ricardo fue un descache (Ricardo's joke was a faux pas).

The verb form of this noun is very often used in soccer/football when a player misses a good opportunity to score.

Example:

Ronaldo se descachó (Ronaldo missed his chance/didn't score the goal).

 

16. embarrada (a bad thing, a big mistake, someone terrible or slightly crazy)

Examples:

Ese chino es la embarrada (That kid is terrible).

Conocerte fue la peor embarrada de mi vida (Meeting you was the worst mistake of my life).

 

17. gallinazo (a man who likes to flirt)

 

18. gomelo/gomela (a snob)

Generally speaking, a "gomelo" or "gomela" is someone who is young and comes from a very rich family. On top of that, gomelos tend to act in a very loud and arrogant manner.

Example:

Esa universidad está llena de gomelos (That university is full of snobs).

 

19. guachafita (chaos, disorder)

Example:

"¡Qué guachafita!", dijo el profesor cuando vio a sus alumnos corriendo y gritando en el teatro.

"What chaos!" said the teacher when he saw his students running and screaming in the theatre.

 

20. guache (a very rude or poor-mannered person)

Example:

El esposo de Claudia grita todo el tiempo. ¡Es un guache! (Claudia's husband screams all the time. He is a very rude person!)

 

21. guaro (a drink, usually the famous Colombian aguardiente)

Example:

¡Vamos a tomarnos un guaro! (Let's go have a drink!)

 

22. guayabo (hangover)

And of course, if you have lots of "guaros," you will probably have a big "guayabo."

Example:

y muere nuevamente cansado y con guayabo, que es la palabra que utilizamos los colombianos para decir resaca.

and dies again, tired and with a "guayabo," which is the word we Colombians use to say hangover.

Captions 79-81, Cleer y Lida El Carnaval de Barranquilla - Part 2

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23. jincho/jincha (drunk)

Example:

Pedro ya estaba jincho cuando llegó a la fiesta (Pedro was already drunk when he got to the party).

 

24. llave (friend, dude)

Literally, "llave" means "key." However, this is also another Colombian slang word for a pal. 

Example:

¿Cómo está llave? (How are you, dude?)

 

25. lucas (Colombian pesos)

Example:

Solo tengo 20.000 lucas (I only have 20,000 Colombian pesos).

 

26. mamera (something very boring or annoying)

Example:

Ese profesor es muy aburrido. Su clase es una mamera (That teacher is very boring. His class is super boring (literally "a very boring one")).

 

27. man (guy)

This is an adaptation of the English word "man." However, rather than its literal translation ("hombre"), this word is used as you would use the word "guy" in English.

Example:

Ese man es muy intelligent (That guy is really smart).

 

28. mecato (snacks)

This is a Colombian slang word used to indicate a group or set of different snacks such as cookies or chips. 

 

29. miércoles (shoot, oops)

If you know the days of the week in Spanish, you know very well that "miércoles" means "Wednesday." However, just like "shoot" in English, the word "miércoles" in Colombian Spanish slang is also used as a nice alternative to avoid saying that bad word that starts with "mier...

 

30. mono/mona (a blonde person)

Example:

Bueno, y ¿quién era ese mono, todo así papacito?

Well, and who was that blonde guy, all hot like that?

Caption 28, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

31. motoso (a nap)

Example:

Tengo ganas de echarme un motoso (I feel like taking a nap).

 

32. parcero/parcera (friend)

These are probably the most famous Colombian slang terms for a friend. However, keep in mind that their short form ("parce") is probably used the most throughout Colombia. This word is typical paisa slang vocabulary (see "paisa" in the "Adjectives" category).

Example:

 

Parce, venga, yo le digo una cosa, hermano, vea

Friend, come, I'll tell you something, brother, look

Caption 1, Juanes La Plata

 Play Caption

 

33. parche (a group of friends)

Example:

Ayer fui con mi parche a la fiesta (Yesterday, I went with my group of friends to the party).

 

34. paro (a strike)

Example:

Los vándalos aprovechan los paros para destruir las ciudades (Vandals take advantage of strikes in order to destroy cities).

 

35. pecueca (stinky feet)

This word is usually used with the verb "tener" in the expression "tener pecueca." Let's see an example:

Pedro tiene pecueca (Pedro has stinky feet).

 

36. perra (drunkenness)

Example:

Juan tenía una perra cuando llegó a casa (Juan was really drunk when he got home). 

 

37. pieza (bedroom)

Example:

La pieza de Rosa es grande (Rosa's bedroom is big).

 

38. plata (money)

Example:

Estamos hablando de mucha plata.

We're talking about a lot of money.

Caption 38, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 9

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39. pola (beer)

This is a slang word mostly used in Bogota and the surrounding areas.

 

40. rumba (a party)

This slang word is used with various Colombian sayings such as "¡Qué rumba!" (What a party!) or "irse de rumba" (to go out).

Example:

¿Estaba en una rumba?

Was he at a party?

Caption 42, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 1 - Part 12

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41. sardino/sardina (a very young person, usually a teenager)

Example:

Lárguese de esta casa. ¿Usted qué está hablando, sardino?

Get out of this house. What are you talking about, kid?

Captions 7-8, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 3

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42. sapo/sapa (a snitch, a toady)

This Colombian slang word that usually means "toad" has two meanings. First, it is used to describe someone who is a snitch:

No le digas nada a Miguel. ¡Es un sapo! (Don't say anything to Miguel. He's a snitch!)

 

Second, "un sapo" or "una sapa" is a person who is perceived as someone who flatters someone with the hope of getting ahead. Let's take a look at the following clip:

son el fruto de la sinceridad, y siguen siendo los mismos a través de los tiempos. Muy bien. Qué sapa.

are the fruit of sincerity, and remain the same throughout the ages. Very good. What a toady.

Captions 78-81, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

43. tinto (a cup of black coffee)

Being the country of coffee, don't be surprised if someone in Colombia offers you "un tintico" (a little cup of black coffee) while you are waiting somewhere.

 

44. tombo (a policeman)

 

45. vaina (stuff, thing)

This is one of the most useful Colombian slang words you can ever learn. Generally speaking, you can use this word in the same way you use the words "stuff" or "thing" in English. Let's look at an example:

"Pásame esa vaina, por favor", o "No entendí nada de esa vaina".

"Pass me that thing, please," or, "I didn't understand any of that stuff."

Captions 29-31, Carlos explica Vocabulario: La palabra “vaina”

 Play Caption

 

However, this word is used in several different expressions that we will mention later on. In the meantime, feel free to check out Carlos' video about the word vaina

 

46. vieja (a girl, a woman, a chick)

The word "vieja" is usually used as an adjective to talk about someone or something that is old. However, in Colombia "vieja" is a very common word people use to talk about a woman or a girl. Let's see it in action:

A mí las viejas que más me gustan son las del INEM [Instituto Nacional de Educación Media Diversificada].

The chicks I like the most are the ones from INEM [National Institute of Diversified Middle School Education].

Captions 40-41, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

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Colombian Slang Adjectives

There are so many Colombian slang words to describe people and things. Let's learn some of the most useful ones. 

 

47. achantado (sad, ashamed)

Example:

Jaime está achantado porque la novia lo dejó (Jaime is sad because his girlfriend broke up with him).

 

48. amañado (happy in a particular place or with someone)

Example:

Estoy amañado en este barrio (I feel at home in this neighborhood).

 

49. bacano/bacana (cool)

If you are wondering how to say "cool" in Colombia, this is one of the words you can use.

 

50. berraco/berraca (talented, angry, tough, a go-getter)

This is an adjective that can be used in different ways. Let's take a look.

Examples:

Messi es un jugador muy berraco (Messi is a very talented player).

El jefe está berraco con su equipo de trabajo (The boss is angry at his team).

El campeón solo tiene 20 años. ¡Es un berraco! (The champion is only 20 years old. He is tough!)

 

You will note that, in the last example, although berraco is used as a noun in Spanish, its English translation is an adjective. 

 

51. cachaco/cachaca (someone from Bogota, the capital of Colombia)

 

52. chato/chata (dear)

This adjective is similar to querido/a and is mostly used in Bogota. It also functions as a noun as a term of endearment, as in the following example:

Mi chata, estás hermosa (My dear, you look gorgeous).

 

53. chévere (cool)

Although this word is not unique to Colombia, it is widely used throughout the country.

Example:

Vive en Medellín. Sí. -Ah, tan chévere...

She lives in Medellin. Yes. -Oh, so cool...

Caption 4, Club 10 Capítulo 2 - Part 3

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54. chimbo/chimba (cheap or bad)

As we mentioned before, the word "chimba" has various meanings. As an adjective, Colombians use this word when they want to talk about something that is cheap or bad.

Example:

¡Qué libro tan chimbo! (What a bad book!)

 

55. chiviado (fake)

Example:

Ese bolso Gucci no es original, es chiviado (That Gucci purse isn't original, it is fake).

 

56. inmamable (annoying, unbearable)

Example:

Mi jefe me llama cada cinco minutos. ¡Es un tipo inmamable! (My boss calls me every five minutes. He is an unbearable guy!)

 

57. jarto/jarta (boring, annoying)

Example:

Antonio solo habla de él mismo. ¡Qué tipo tan jarto! (Antonio only talks about himself. What an annoying guy!)

 

58. mamado/mamada (tired, exhausted, fed up)

This adjective is usually used with the verb "estar" when you want to express tiredness or frustration. Let's see a couple of examples:

Hoy trabajé mucho. ¡Estoy mamada! (Today, I worked a lot. I'm exhausted!)

Estoy mamado de mi jefe. ¡No lo soporto! (I'm fed up with my boss. I can't stand him!)

 

59. paisa (someone from the city of Medellin and the surrounding regions)

 

60. prendido/prendida (tipsy)

This Colombia slang word is usually used with the verb "estar" as in "estoy prendido" (I'm tipsy).

"Estar prendido" doesn't mean "estar borracho" or "estar jincho" (to be drunk).

 

61. rolo/rola (someone from Bogota)

 

62. tenaz (tough, difficult)

Example:

Aprender chino es tenaz (Learning Chinese is tough).

 

Colombian Slang Verbs

 

63. achantarse (to be ashamed, to feel embarrassed)

Example:

No me digas que se achantó porque se me declaró.

Don't tell me he was embarrassed because he told me that he loved me.

Caption 13, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 5 - Part 5

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64. camellar (to work hard)

Now that you know the word "camello," it's time to mention its verb form, "camellar." Let's listen to Carlos' explanation about this useful Colombian slang verb. 

 

En Colombia, cuando decimos un camello, estamos diciendo un trabajo. De hecho, también usamos el verbo camellar para decir trabajar duramente.

In Colombia, when we say "un camello" [a camel], we are saying a job. In fact, we also use the verb "camellar" [literally "to camel"] to say to work hard.

Captions 12-13, Carlos comenta Confidencial - Vocabulario y expresiones

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65. cuadrar (to schedule or plan something)

Example:

Tengo que cuadrar una reunión con Sandra la próxima semana (I have to schedule a meeting with Sandra next week).

You can also use the reflexive form of this verb (cuadrarse) when you want to say that someone started to date someone else:

Luis y Andrea se cuadraron hace dos años (Luis and Andrea started dating two years ago).

 

66. embarrar (to mess up, to screw up)

Let's take a look at the following video clip to see how to use this verb:

 

Mire, por favor, Andrea, yo sé que la embarré. Ya, lo acepto. Yo lo que estoy tratando es enmendar el error que cometí

Look, please, Andrea, I know I screwed it up. OK, I admit it. What I'm trying to do is rectify the mistake I made

Captions 23-25, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

67. emberracarse (to get angry, to get pissed off)

Example:

Los huéspedes se emberracaron cuando vieron la habitación del hotel (The guests got pissed off when they saw the hotel room).

 

68. gallinacear (to flirt)

This verb is typically used to describe a man who is flirting with a woman.

Example:

A Marco le gusta gallinacear con Beatriz (Marco likes to flirt with Beatriz).

 

69. guisear (to cook, to do housekeeping tasks)

When people spend time cooking and housekeeping, it is common for them to describe themselves "guiseando." This odd Colombian slang verb probably comes from the "guiso" (stew) people often prepare in the kitchen.

Example:

He estado guiseando toda la mañana (I've been cooking and cleaning the house all morning).

 

70. hacer vaca (to collect money)

Although this might literally sound like "to make cow," it actually means "to collect money." 

Example:

Ayer hicimos vaca para la fiesta (Yesterday, we collected money for the party).

 

71. mamar gallo (to waste your time, to fool around, to joke around)

This is one of the most typical Colombian slang phrases you'll learn today! While you might notice that its literal meaning is "to suck rooster," the following two examples will show us two of its common uses:

Example 1:

-¿Estás estudiando? -No. Estoy solo mamando gallo.

-Are you studying? -No. I'm just fooling around.

 

Example 2:

A Miguel le gusta reírse y mamar gallo todo el tiempo (Miguel likes to laugh and joke around all the time).

 

72. rajarse (to fail)

Example:

Me rajé en el examen de matemáticas (I failed the math test).

 

73. rumbear (to party, to go out)

Rumbear is a common verb to talk about partying. However, don't be surprised if your Colombian friend says "rumbiar" instead of "rumbear." 

Example:

Salir a rumbear sin pensar en la cuenta

To go out on the town without thinking about the bill

Caption 65, Bacilos Mi Primer Millón

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The reflexive form "rumbearse" is also a slang word that means "to make out with" someone:

Carlos y Natalia se rumbearon en el cine (Carlos and Natalia made out at the movies).

 

74. sacar la piedra (to make someone angry, mad)

La actitud arrogante de Luisa, me sacó la piedra (Luisa's arrogant attitude made me angry).

 

75. sapear (to snitch)

This is the verb form of the noun sapo we talked about earlier. 

 

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Colombian Slang Sayings and Expressions

If you want to impress your Colombian friends, we invite you to use the following, very Colombian expressions and phrases.

 

76. azotar baldosa (to dance, to hit the dance floor)

Literally, "azotar baldosa" means "to hit the floor tile." Generally speaking, however, you can use this expression when you want to say that someone is dancing. As an alternative, you can also use the verb "rayar" (to scratch) instead of "azotar."

Example:

-¿Dónde está Patricia? -Está azotando baldosa.

-Where is Patricia? -She's dancing.

 

77. ¿Bien o qué? (All good?)

Native Spanish speakers from outside of Colombia find this expression quite amusing. It is very common, however, and you can use it as an alternative way to say "hi" or "what's up?"

 

78. dar papaya (to provide an opportunity where people might take advantage of you)

Example:

Mejor dicho, no hay que dar papaya. ¿Papaya? ¡No exponernos, tía, exponernos.

In other words, we should lie low. Lie low? Not put ourselves at risk, girl, put ourselves at risk.

Captions 32-34, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 8

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79. ¡Déjate de vainas! (Don't worry about it!/Cut the crap!)

Example:

"¡Déjate de vainas!" "No te hagas problemas" o "No me vengas con cuentos".

"¡Déjate de vainas!" ["Don't worry about it" or "Cut the crap"]. "Don't worry about it" or "Cut the crap."

Captions 38-40, Carlos explica Vocabulario: La palabra “vaina”

 Play Caption

 

80. estar tragado/tragada (to be head over heels/to be totally in love)

Example:

yo he estado tragado de otras niñas antes, pero no como de Cata.

I've been head over heels for other girls before, but not like with Cata.

Captions 38-39, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 11 - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

81. ¡Guácala! (Gross!)

Example:

- ¿Sabes que en algunos países comen insectos? -¿En serio? ¡Guácala!

- Do you know that in some countries people eat insects? -Really? Gross

 

82. Hacer el oso (to do something embarrassing or make a fool of yourself)

While the meaning of these words is "to play the bear," colloquially, this expression means something very different.

Example:

Por no haber estudiado, Fernando hizo el oso delante de la clase (Because he hadn't studied, Fernando made a fool of himself in front of the class).

 

83. ¡Listo! (OK, great!)

Although not exclusively Colombian, ¡Listo! is probably the most common Colombian slang way to say "OK." This term is also used as an equivalent of "great." Let's see a couple of examples from the following video featuring Cleer and Lida:

Example 1:

Listo. Entonces, armamos el plan y nos vamos a bailar.

OK. So, we made the plan, and we're going dancing.

Caption 50, Cleer y Lida Conversación telefónica - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Example 2:

Listo. Entonces, hasta el sábado.

Great. So, see you Saturday.

Caption 82, Cleer y Lida Conversación telefónica - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

84. ¡Ni de vainas! ("Don't even think about it" or "No way")

Example:

"Ni de vainas," que significa, "Ni lo sueñes" o "No lo haré".

"Ni de vainas" ["Don't even think about it" or "No way"], which means, "Don't even think about it" or "I won't do it."

Captions 44-45, Carlos explica Vocabulario: La palabra “vaina”

 Play Caption

 

85. paila (too bad, bummer, to be in trouble)

Example:

Si Jorge no pasa el examen final, ¡paila! (If Jorge doesn't pass the final exam, he's in trouble!)

Keep in mind that people sometimes use the plural form, "pailas."

 

86. parar bolas (to pay attention)

Example:

Hermanito, pare bolas.

Little brother, pay attention.

Caption 2, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 9

 Play Caption

 

87. pilas (watch out)

Example:

Pilas. Las viejas van en camino.

Watch out [literally: "Batteries"]. The old ladies are on their way.

Caption 53, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

88. poner los cachos (to cheat on someone)

Although the Colombian slang term poner los cachos literally means "to put horns on" someone, this is a slang term for cheating. 

Example:

Luis descubrió que Virginia le está poniendo los cachos (Luis found out that Virginia is cheating on him).

 

89. ¡Qué boleta! (How embarrassing!)

Example:

Fredy llegó borracho al funeral. ¡Qué boleta! (Fredy arrived drunk to the funeral. How embarrassing!)

 

90. ¡Qué chimba! (How cool!)

As you can see, there are various Colombian slang words for the English equivalent "cool." In fact, this word is often used in the expression "¡Qué chimba!" (How cool!). Let's take a look:

 

Bacano. Chévere. ¡Qué chimba!

Cool. Nice. How cool!

Captions 67-69, Skampida Gustavo y David

 Play Caption

 

91. ¡Qué berraquera! (Fantastic!/Unbelievable!)

Depending on the context, this expression can be used in a positive or negative way. Let's see an example of the former:

¿Te vas para Nueva York? ¡Qué berraquera! (¿Are you going to New York? Fantastic!)

However, this expression can also be used when you want to point out something negative:

Este es el quinto paro de la semana. ¡Qué berraquera! (This is the fifth strike of the week. Unbelievable!)

 

92. ¡Qué ceba! (gross!)

This slang word is used as an alternative to "¡Guácala!"

 

93. ¡Qué embarrada! (What a pity!)

Similar to the meaning of the verb "embarrar," Colombians use the expression "¡Qué embarrada!" when they want to express disappointment or regret about something.

Example:

Mario perdió su trabajo. ¡Qué embarrada! (Mario lost his job. What a pity!)

 

94. ¡Qué jartera! (What a pain in the butt!/How boring!/How annoying!)

Example:

¡Qué jartera esta fiesta! (How boring this party [is]!)

 

95. ¡Qué mamera! (What a pain in the butt!/How boring!/How annoying!)

This is another way of saying "¡Qué jartera!" and is a very common Colombian slang expression. 

Example:

Este domingo tengo que trabajar. ¡Qué mamera! (I have to work this Sunday. What a pain in the butt!)

 

96. ¡Qué oso! (How embarrassing!)

Example:

El alcalde llegó borracho a la reunión. ¡Qué oso! (The mayor arrived drunk to the meeting. How embarrassing!)

 

97. ¡Qué vaina! (What a pity!)

Example:

"¡Qué vaina!" "Qué vaina" es una expresión que usamos cuando hay un problema o cuando algo malo ocurrió.

"¡Qué vaina!" [What a pity!] "Que vaina" is an expression we use when there's a problem or when something bad happened.

Captions 34-36, Carlos explica Vocabulario: La palabra “vaina”

 Play Caption

 

98. Quiubo (What's up/ Hi)

"Quiubo" comes from the expression "¿Qué hubo?" (What's up?) An alternative spelling for "quibuo" is "kiubo."

Example:

¿Quiuboquiubo, linda? ¿Cómo vas?

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

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

 Play Caption

 

¡Quiubo, parce! (What's up, dude?/ Hi, dude!) would be a very typical Colombian slang expression using two of the words we have introduced you to today. 

 

99. ser una nota (to be awesome)

Literally, "una nota" is "a note." However, when you say that someone or something "es una nota," you are saying that someone or something is awesome or nice:

¡Claudia es una nota! (Claudia is awesome!)

 

100. ¡Ya dijo! (Yeah, right!)

Example:

-En dos años voy a ser millonario. -¡Ya dijo!

-In two years, I will be a millionaire. -Yeah, right!

 

And that's it! Did you enjoy this lesson about Colombian slang? We hope so. Before we go, we have a challenge for you. Are you able to understand the following short conversation?:

 

-¡Quiubo parce!, ¿bien o qué?

-Más o menos. Ayer mi novia se fue a una rumba y me puso los cachos.

-¡Uy! ¡Qué embarrada! ¿Y con quién?

-Con el mono ese que camella con ella en la oficina.

-¡Ah! Ese man es un gallinazo.

-Así es llave. ¡Gallinazo e inmamable! 

 

Did you get that? If not, we invite you to double-check those slang words and phrases we covered throughout the article. And please, send us your comments and questions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

 

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Continuer la lecture

Possessive Adjectives in Spanish: Part 1

What are possessive adjectives in Spanish? Most simply put, possessive adjectives in Spanish are the Spanish equivalents of words like "my," "your," "his, "mine," etc. that indicate ownership or possession. There are two types of Spanish possessive adjectives: long form and short form. In the first part of this lesson, we will deal with how to use short form possessive adjectives in Spanish. 

 

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Short Form Spanish Possessive Adjectives 

Let's take a look at the short form Spanish possessive adjectives and how they correspond to the personal pronouns in Spanish: 

 

Yo: mi, mis (my)

: tu, tus (your)

Él/ella/usted: su, sus (his, her, its, your) 

Nosotros/nosotras: nuestro, nuestros, nuestra, nuestras (our)

Vosotros/vosotrasvuestro, vuestros, vuestra, vuestras (plural informal "your")

Ellos/ellas/ustedes: su, sus (their/plural "your")

 

What did you notice at first glance? Allow us to point out a couple of our observations: 

 

1. The Spanish possessive adjectives that correspond to nosotros/nosotras (masculine and feminine "we") and vosotros/vosotras (masculine and feminine plural, informal "you") look a bit more complicated because there are more forms, four rather than two. This is because the forms of these Spanish possessive adjectives are affected by the genders of the nouns they modify, whereas the others are not. 

 

2. The words su and sus in Spanish correspond to a lot of personal pronouns (él, ella, usted, ellos, ellas, and ustedes) and can thus mean a lot of different things ("his," "her," "its," singular and plural "your," and "their"). We'll help you to learn to distinguish their meanings in context.

 

3. Regardless of whether a personal pronoun is singular (e.g. yo, tú, etc.) or plural (e.g. ellosustedes, etc.), they all have singular and plural possessive adjective forms. This is because, whether a Spanish possessive adjective is singular or plural or masculine or feminine has nothing to do with the number or gender of the personal pronoun it is associated with and everything to do with the number and gender of the noun it modifies. 

 

Keeping these points in mind, let's take a closer look at each of the possessive adjectives in Spanish, as well as some examples from our Yabla Spanish video library.

 

1. Mi and mis

Generally speaking, Spanish adjectives agree with the noun they modify in terms of number and gender. That said, the "good news" about the Spanish possessive adjectives for "my," mi and mis, is that they remain the same regardless of a noun's gender. For both masculine and feminine nouns, then, the singular form mi should be used for singular nouns, while the plural form mis should accompany plural nouns. Let's look:

 

A mi lado, tengo a mi amigo, Xavi,

Beside me, I have my friend, Xavi,

Caption 3, Carlos y Xavi Diferencia de pronunciación entre España y Colombia - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

nos encontramos con mi amiga, la rana.

we ran into my friend, the frog.

Caption 18, Guillermina y Candelario Una Amiga muy Presumida - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Hoy os voy a hablar de mis amigos felinos, que también son mis vecinos.

Today, I'm going to talk to you about my feline friends who are also my neighbors.

Captions 3-4, Fermín y los gatos Mis gatas vecinas

 Play Caption

 

Los viernes, juego al fútbol con mis amigas.

On Fridays, I play soccer with my friends.

Caption 21, Ariana Mi Semana

 Play Caption

 

As you can see, the singular Spanish possessive adjective mi is used for both the masculine and feminine forms of the noun amigo/a, while the plural Spanish possessive adjective mis is used for the plural masculine and feminine nouns, amigos and amigas. Pretty simple, right? 

 

2. Tu and tus

The short form Spanish possessive adjectives tu and tus, which mean "your" when addressing someone informally, are similarly simplistic: tu is utilized for singular nouns, while tus is used for plural nouns, regardless of gender. Let's see some examples with tu and tus:

 

¿Qué es lo que más te gusta de tu casa?

What is it that you like the most about your house?

Caption 48, Cleer y Lida Juego de preguntas y respuestas - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Déjame saber en tus comentarios

Let me know in your comments

Caption 59, Ana Carolina Conjugaciones verbales

 Play Caption

 

Although the noun casa is feminine, the same Spanish possessive adjective, tu, would also be used for masculine singular nouns (tu coche = your car, etc.). In turn, while the word tus appears with the masculine plural noun comentarios in this example, the very same possessive adjective would be used for feminine plural nouns, e.g. tus manzanas (your apples). 

 

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3. Nuestro, nuestros, nuestra, and nuestras

In contrast to mi/s and tu/s, the Spanish possessive adjectives for "our" do change in accordance with both a noun's number and gender. Let's take a look at the masculine/feminine and singular/plural forms of the nouns hijo (boy), hija (girl), etc. with their corresponding forms of the Spanish possessive adjective nuestro:

 

Nuestro hijo (our son)

Nuestros hijos (our sons)

Nuestra hija (our daughter)

Nuestras hijas (our daughters)

 

As you can see, this Spanish possessive adjective takes the ending -o for masculine singular nouns, -os for masculine plural nouns, -a for feminine singular nouns, and -as for feminine plural nouns. Let's view a couple of examples from Yabla's video library:

 

Para nuestro primer experimento utilizaremos algo que jamás creíamos que podría faltar en nuestros hogares:

For our first experiment, we'll use something we never thought could be lacking in our homes:

Captions 11-13, Ana Carolina Gérmenes

 Play Caption

 

¿Qué había sucedido con nuestra amistad, mmm? ¿Desde cuándo la mujer empezó a gobernar nuestras vidas?

What had happened to our friendship, hmm? Since when did women start to govern our lives?

Captions 17-18, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

We can see in these examples all four versions of the Spanish possessive adjective for "we," all of which agree with the nouns they modify in terms of both number and gender. 

 

4. Vuestro, vuestros, vuestra, and vuestras

If you take the Spanish possessive adjectives for "we" (nosotros, etc.) and replace the "n" with a "v," you have the possessive adjectives in Spanish that mean "your" when addressing more than one person in a less formal situation. This form corresponds to the Spanish personal pronouns vosotros/as, which are primarily used in Spain. Let's take a look:

 

Vuestro hijo (your son)

Vuestros hijos (your sons)

Vuestra hija (your daughter)

Vuestras hijas (your daughters)

 

Let's examine a couple of video excerpts:

 

y además podéis aprovechar para dar vuestra opinión

and you can also take the opportunity to give your opinion

Caption 36, La cocina de María Tortilla de patatas

 Play Caption
 
 

Pero antes vamos a ver a vuestros amigos,

But beforehand we're going to see your friends,

Caption 63, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Microchip para Nacahué - Part 2

 Play Caption
 
You will note that, like the Spanish possessive adjectives for nosotros, vosotros' Spanish possessive adjectives are affected by gender as well as number. 
 

5. Su and sus

The "good news," once again, about su in Spanish and sus in Spanish is that there are only two forms, singular and plural, that modify both masculine and feminine nouns. The "bad news," though, at least in terms of their initial challenge for native English speakers, is that these possessive adjectives in Spanish can mean many different things depending on their contexts. Having said that, let's take a look at su in Spanish and sus in Spanish, which can mean either "his," "her," "its," "your" (in the case of either one or more than one person), or "their."

 

His:

Es su coche (It's his car). 

Son sus coches. (They are his cars). 

Es su motocicleta (It's his motorcycle).

Son sus motocicletas. (They are his motorcycles).

 

Her:

Es su coche (It's her car). 

Son sus coches (They are her cars). 

Es su motocicleta (It's her motorcycle). 

Son sus motocicletas (They are her motorcycles).

 

Your (formal, one person):

Es su coche (It's your car). 

Es su motocicleta​ (It's your motorcycle).

Son sus coches (They are your cars).

Son sus motocicleta​s (They are your motorcycles). 

 

Your (more than one person):

Es su coche (It's your (guys') car). 

Es su motocicleta (It's your (guys') motorcycle).

Son sus coches (They are your (guys') cars).

Son sus motocicletas (They are your (guys') motorcycles). 

 

Their:

Es su coche (It's their car). 

Es su motocicleta (It's their motorcycle).

Son sus coches (They are their cars).

Son sus motocicletas (They are their motorcycles). 

 

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Wait, what?! You might notice that the four sentences under each English possessive adjective category are all the same! And yet, their translations are totally different. So, how would we decipher the intended meaning of su in Spanish or sus in Spanish when these two possessives in Spanish can mean so many things? As always, context is key! Let's take a look at some examples to illuminate this:

 

El artista más importante es Gaudí. Hoy voy a visitar una de sus obras más conocidas, la Sagrada Familia.

The most important artist is Gaudi. Today I'm going to visit one of his most well-known works, the Sagrada Familia [Sacred Family].

Captions 45-47, Ariana España

 Play Caption

 

Since the previous sentence mentions the artist Gaudi, it is pretty obvious that sus in this context means "his," referring to "his works." And, just to reiterate, the plural form sus must be used here since obras is a plural noun, in spite of the fact that Gaudi is just one person since one person can own more than one thing, while more than one person can own just one thing (think nuestra casa). Let's take a look at a couple of additional examples of su/s in Spanish:

 

por ejemplo, para que usted practique con su novia, Cata.

for example for you to practice with your girlfriend, Cata.

Caption 17, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 2 - Part 6

 Play Caption
 

Here, the word usted tips us off that the speaker means "your girlfriend," as su in Spanish can mean "your" in the formal style of address. And, even in the absence of that explicit word, were someone to generally address you with the usted form, you would take for granted that they meant "you" when utilizing su in Spanish or sus in Spanish. Let's see one more:

 

Desde sus inicios, el Centro Hispano de Todos los Santos se ha dedicado a sembrar esperanza.

Since its beginnings, the Centro Hispano de Todos los Santos [All Saints Hispanic Center] has been dedicated to sowing hope.

Captions 1-2, Transformación Estética

 Play Caption
 

In this example, sus in Spanish has been translated as "its" since the inicios "belong to" an inanimate object: the All Saints Hispanic Center. 

 

Although context can usually provide us with good clues about the meaning of su in Spanish or sus in Spanish, there are ambiguous cases that may require clarification. In a story or conversation involving both males and females, for example, a reference to su casa might cause confusion as to whose house it actually is. In such cases, it might be preferable to, in lieu of a Spanish possessive adjective, employ the preposition de ("of" or "belonging to") plus a personal pronoun (ella, usted, etc.) for the sake of clarity, as in the following example:

 

no es un problema de la gente de la ciudad, es un problema personal de usted conmigo.

it's not a problem of the people of the city, it's your personal problem with me.

Caption 15, Yago 7 Encuentros - Part 1

 Play Caption
 

Since, had the speaker said su problema personal, that could theoretically refer to either la gente de la ciudad (and thus be translated as "their personal problem with me") or the person to whom he is speaking, it was a safer bet to go with de usted.

 

We hope that this lesson has helped you to better understand how to use possessive adjectives in Spanish in their short form. For more information on short form possessive adjectives in Spanish, be sure to check out Adjetivos posesivos- Part 2 from the series Lecciones con Carolina, which deals with agreement, as well as this useful lesson from El Aula Azul entitled La posesión- Part 1. And, as always, no se olviden de dejarnos sus sugerencias y comentarios (don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments).

 

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Spanish Verb Tenses Explained: Part 2

Welcome to the second part of this lesson where we touch on all the different Spanish verb tenses! So... how many tenses in Spanish did we say there were? Sixteen! In the first part, we covered the ten "official" tenses of the indicative mood, which deals more with concrete facts, in addition to some "bonus" (non-official) tenses. Now, we'll move on to the other two Spanish moods: the subjunctive, where we will cover tenses eleven through sixteen of the Spanish verb paradigm, and the imperative. If you didn't already, we definitely recommend checking out Part 1 of this lesson. 

 

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The Subjunctive Tenses

While the indicative mood deals with facts, the subjunctive mood in Spanish, in a nutshell, deals with more abstract notions like wishes, desires, emotions, opinions, and more, which require a whole different set of tenses in Spanish. Although it would be impossible to delve too deeply into the multipronged usage of the subjunctive Spanish mood, we will try to illustrate several cases in which you might come across it. Let's get started!

 

11. Present Subjunctive (Presente del subjuntivo)

The present subjunctive is the subjunctive equivalent of the simple present tense. Let's take a look at an example from the Yabla Spanish library: 

 

Si queremos que una persona no nos hable de usted, tenemos que pedir a la persona que nos tutee. 

If we want a person to not talk to us in an formal way, we have to ask the person to use "tú" with us.

Captions 24-25, Karla e Isabel Tú y Usted

 Play Caption
 

Note that the reason the subjunctive form is employed here (we can tell it is subjunctive due to its conjugation, hable, which differs from its indicative form, habla) is because the sentence conveys that we want (queremos) for someone not to talk to us in a particular way, which doesn't mean that that person will actually respect our desire. Let's take a look at one more example: 

 

Mejor hablemos de ella. 

It's better we talk about her.

Caption 17, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Here, the word mejor (better) tips us off that the subjunctive form (hablemos instead of hablamos) is in order due to the expression of someone's opinion about what should happen, which doesn't necessarily mean that it will. 

 

12. Imperfect Subjunctive (Imperfecto de subjuntivo)

The imperfect subjunctive is the past equivalent of the present subjunctive. We see in the following example that the verb hablar has been conjugated in the imperfect subjunctive (habláramos) instead of in the indicative (hablábamos) due to the expression of desire, once again with the verb querer:

 

No, no te dije que quería hablar con vos, quería que habláramos los dos. 

No, I didn't tell you that I wanted to talk to you; I wanted for us to talk, the two [of us].

Caption 46, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 6

 Play Caption
 

Another very common use of the imperfect subjunctive is to talk about hypothetical situations. In this case, the imperfect subjunctive is often incorporated into a "si (if) clause" in conjunction with the conditional tense to communicate that "if" something were the case, then something else "would" happen, as in the following clip:

 
 

Eh... Si... ¿hablaríamos?... -Hablara. Hablara ruso, me... vi'... ¿vivía?... Viviría. -Viviría en Rusia. 

Um... "Si... ¿hablaríamos" [If... we would speak]? -"Hablara" [I spoke]. "Hablara ruso [I spoke Russian], me... vi'... ¿vivía" [I... I'd li'... I used to live]? "Viviría" [I'd live]. -"Viviría en Rusia" [I'd live in Russia].

Captions 22-25, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 7

 Play Caption
 

The hypothetical situation the teacher is going for here is: Si hablara rusoviviría en Rusia (If I spoke Russian, I'd live in Russia). To learn more about this type of construction, we highly recommend the entire series of which this video is a part. 

 

13. Future Subjunctive (Futuro (simple) de subjuntivo)

We definitely couldn't come up with any examples of the future subjunctive tense in our Yabla Spanish library because this tense is all but obsolete and is almost never even taught in modern Spanish. For that reason, you may not recognize it due to its different and little-seen conjugations, although you may occasionally come across it in legal documents or literature. We came up with this example:

 

El que hablare fuerte se echará de lo biblioteca. 

Whoever talks loudly will be thrown out of the library. 

 

The future subjunctive could conceivably be used here because the sentence refers to "whoever," rather than known individuals, as well as alluding to a possible future event. However, in modern Spanish, this very same idea would be conveyed with the present subjunctive:

 

El que hable fuerte se echará de lo biblioteca. 

Whoever talks loudly will be thrown out of the library. 

 

14. Present Perfect Subjunctive (Pretérito perfecto de subjuntivo)

The present perfect subjunctive is the equivalent of the present perfect indicative in situations that require the subjunctive, and the verb haber is thus conjugated in its subjunctive form. That said, we'll take this opportunity to mention another case that requires subjunctive: when expressing that something will happen "when" something else happens that hasn't yet, as in the following example:

 

Cuando se hayan hablado, se van a entender mejor.

When they've talked to each other, they are going to understand each other better. 

 

And, here's an additional example of the present perfect subjunctive from our Spanish video library with different verbs:

 

Espero que os haya gustado este vídeo sobre esta maravillosa planta y hayáis aprendido algo nuevo. 

I hope you've liked this video about this wonderful plant and have learned something new.

Captions 80-81, Fermín La plumeria - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

 

15. Pluperfect Subjunctive (Pluscuamperfecto de subjuntivo)

The pluperfect subjunctive is the subjunctive equivalent of the pluperfect tense and is also used to talk about hypothetical situations. It is formed with the pluperfect form of haber plus the participle, and, like the imperfect subjunctive, it is often used in conjunction with the conditional or conditional perfect to describe what "would have" happened if something else "had been" done. Let's see an example:

 

Si yo hubiera hablado con mi jefe antes, habría evitado cualquier malentendido. 

If I had spoken with my boss previously, I would have avoided any misunderstanding.

 

Let's look an additional example of the pluperfect subjunctive tense, which does not include the conditional:

 

Es como si nunca hubiéramos hablado

It's as if we had never talked.

Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

The Spanish phrase como si (as if) quite often precedes verbs in the pluperfect subjunctive tense. 

 

16. Future Perfect Subjunctive (Futuro compuesto de subjuntivo)

Like the future subjunctive, the future perfect subjunctive is rarely encountered and might only be employed in literary or legal contexts to talk about what will happen in the future if a hypothetical situation "has not" yet occurred. It involves the future subjunctive form of the verb haber plus the participle, as follows:

 

Si el demandante todavía no hubiere hablado ante el tribunal para la fecha especificada, se desestimará su caso. 

If the plaintiff still hasn't spoken before the court by the specified date, his case will be dismissed. 

 

However, the present perfect subjunctive would take the place of the future perfect subjunctive in order to say this today:

 

Si el demandante todavía no haya hablado ante el tribunal para la fecha especificada, se desestimará su caso. 

If the plaintiff still hasn't spoken before the court by the specified date, his case will be dismissed. 

 

Since different verb conjugations are rarely required in English to talk about emotions, desires, or hypotheticals, the subjunctive mood can initially feel quite confusing for English speakers, and we hope that this lesson has this shed some light on some of the possible subjunctive scenarios in Spanish. For more information about the subjunctive in Spanish, the following link with take you to several additional lessons on different aspects of this topic. 

 

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The Imperative "Tenses"

Let's conclude our rundown of all Spanish tenses by talking about the "bonus" tenses in the imperative mood (modo imperativo), which are not included in the official classification of the different tenses in Spanish. Also called commands, these Spanish verb tenses are those that tell someone to do something, and they fall into several categories:

 

1. Commands with  (informal "you") :

 

Habla con la gente de laboratorio.

Talk to the people from the lab.

Caption 36, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 1 - Part 11

 Play Caption

 

2. Negative commands with :

 

A ver. Sebas, mi amor, no le hables así a tu papá.

Let's see. Sebas, my love, don't talk to your dad like that.

Caption 30, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

3. Commands with vos (informal "you" in certain regions):

 

por favor hablá con Andrea; necesito encontrar a mi nieto. 

please talk to Andrea; I need to find my grandson.

Caption 59, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 9

 Play Caption
 

4. (Negative or positive) commands with usted (formal "you"):

 

Hable más despacio.

"Hable más despacio" [Speak more slowly].

Caption 40, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 2: Irregulares, Usted + plurales

 Play Caption

 

5. (Negative or positive) commands with ustedes (plural "you"):

 

Pues no me hablen de costumbre porque luego en vez de ganar, pierdo.

Well don't talk to me about habits because then instead of earning, I lose.

Caption 7, La Banda Chilanguense El habla de México - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

6. Commands with vosotros/as (informal plural "you"):

 

Con vosotros o vosotras: Hablad más despacio.

With "vosotros" or "vosotras" ["you" plural informal masculine/feminine]: "Hablad más despacio" [Talk more slowly].

Caption 25, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 1: Tú + vos

 Play Caption

 

7. Negative commands with vosotros/as:

 

No nos habléis de esa forma.

Don't speak to us in that way. 

 

8. (Negative or positive) commands with nosotros/as (we): 

 

Hablemos de otra palabra.

Let's talk about another word.

Caption 19, Carlos comenta Confidencial - Jerga típica colombiana

 Play Caption

 

While we won't get into the norms for conjugating all of these types of commands with -ar, -er, and -ir verbs, we recommend Yabla's four-part video series entitled El modo imperativo (The Imperative Mode), beginning here, which explores this topic. 

 

And that wraps up our lesson on all of the verb tenses in Spanish. We hope you've enjoyed it (and learned a lot)! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

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The Diaeresis (Dieresis) in Spanish

In this lesson, we will talk about the diaeresis or dieresis in Spanish. But, do you know what a diaeresis is to begin with? Let's take a look at the following clip:

 

u con dieresis

 

El pueblo de Izamal fue un importante centro urbano maya en la antigüedad.

The town of Izamal was an important Mayan urban center in ancient times.

Caption 26, Mérida y sus alrededores Izamal Pueblo Mágico

 Play Caption

 

Did you find the dieresis in that clip? If not, please keep reading this lesson, as we are going to tell you how to use the dieresis in Spanish.

 

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What Is a Diaeresis?

In English, a diaeresis is a mark placed over a vowel to indicate that the vowel is emphasized or pronounced separately from the other vowels (as in "naïve" or "Brontë"). In Spanish, a diaeresis is represented by the same symbol (two little dots above a letter). That said, we will now highlight the word that has the diaeresis in the previous clip:

 

El pueblo de Izamal fue un importante centro urbano maya en la antigüedad.

The town of Izamal was an important Mayan urban center in ancient times.

Caption 26, Mérida y sus alrededores Izamal Pueblo Mágico

 Play Caption

 

However, as using a dieresis in Spanish is slightly different than in English, let's learn the golden rule for employing this unique symbol. 

 

The Golden Rule for Using a Dieresis in Spanish

The rule is quite simple: a diaeresis must be placed over the vowel "u" to indicate that said vowel must be pronounced in words that have the combinations -gue and -gui (since in most Spanish words with these letter combinations, the "u" is silent). For example, in words like guerra (war) and guerilla (guerrilla), the gue- is pronounced more like the English word "gay," while in words like guía (guide) and guisante (pea), gui- sounds like "ghee." The addition of the diaeresis, on the other hand, would transform the sound of the letters gue- to "gway" and -gui to "gwee." Let's take a look at a couple of examples:

 

u con dieresis

 

todos bastante negativos, humillación, vergüenza, dolor,

all quite negative, humiliation, shame, pain,

Caption 55, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

 

u con dieresis

 

Los pingüinos se parecen a las gallinas

Penguins are like chickens

Caption 24, Guillermina y Candelario Nuestro Amigo Pinguino

 Play Caption

 

Additionally, please keep in mind that the diaeresis must be used in words that are written in capital letters. Also, if you are wondering how to spell diaeresis in Spanish, it is written as follows: diéresis (an esdrújula word with the graphic accent on the third-to-last syllable).

 

Are there a lot of Spanish words that require a diaeresis? Although there are not that many, let's take a look at some of the most common palabras con diéresis (words with a diaeresis) in Spanish.

 

Palabras con Diéresis in Spanish

 

1. ambigüedad (ambiguity)

 

palabras con dieresis

 

Me muevo mucho entre la ambigüedad.

I move a lot within ambiguity.

Caption 12, María Marí Su pasión por su arte - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

2. bilingüe (bilingual)

 

palabras con dieresis 

 

Justo encima del diccionario bilingüe

Right above the bilingual dictionary,

Caption 5, Tutoriales de Yabla Características adicionales Yabla

 Play Caption

 

3. cigüeña (stork)

 

palabras con dieresis

 

Más bien. ¿Quién se piensa que me trajo, la cigüeña de París?

Of course. Who do you think brought me, the stork from Paris?

Caption 16, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 8

 Play Caption

 

4. lingüística (language / linguistics)

 

palabras con dieresis

 

o sea, programas de inmersión lingüística en Barcelona.

I mean, language immersion programs, in Barcelona.

Caption 10, Escuela BCNLIP Presentación de la directora - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

5. sinvergüenza (shameless)

 

u con dieresis

 

Mírelo tan sinvergüenza.

Look at how shameless he is.

Caption 27, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

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And that's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand how to use the dieresis in Spanish. By the way, do you know more palabras con diéresis? Let us know, and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments. ¡Hasta la próxima! 

 

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Spanish Verb Tenses Explained: Part 1

Today, we will embark on a brief journey that encompasses all the Spanish verb tenses. However, rather than focusing on how to conjugate the verb tenses in Spanish, which you may or may not have already learned, we'll take a closer look at when to use each one, using the extremely common verb hablar ("to talk" or "to speak") to illustrate them whenever possible, as well as plenty of examples from the Yabla Spanish video library. 

 

How Many Tenses Are There in Spanish?

How many different tenses in Spanish are there in total? According to the Real Academia Española, there are sixteen Spanish verb tenses. There are also some "bonus tenses," which aren't officially included in their classification, which we will also cover in this lesson. Let's get started.

 

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Indicative Tenses

To make matters just a bit more complicated, Spanish verb tenses fall into three categories called "moods," which are the indicative, the subjunctive, and the imperative. Generally speaking, the indicative verb tenses in Spanish are the first Spanish verb tenses learned, and, in contrast to the Spanish verb tenses in the other moods (subjunctive and imperative), they tend to deal with facts and objective reality. Let's take a look:

 

1. Present (Presente)

Let's start with the present tense in Spanish, also known as the "simple present." This tense is primarily used in two ways, the first being to talk about a present action that is habitual, repeated, or ongoing. Let's take a look:

 

Aunque soy extranjero, yo hablo español muy bien.

Although I'm a foreigner, I speak Spanish very well.

Caption 56, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

Since it is an ongoing fact that the speaker speaks Spanish very well, it is appropriate to use the present tense. We can also use this tense to talk about an action that is actually in progress at the moment:

 

¿Hablo con la Señora Pepa Flores, la manager de Amalia Durango?

Am I speaking with Mrs. Pepa Flores, Amalia Durango's manager?

Captions 37-38, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

***BONUS TENSE: Present Progressive (Presente Continuo)*** 

Notice that the second example of the present tense was translated to the English present progressive tense. This is the tense with a form of the word "to be" and the gerund, or -ing form of a verb ("I'm eating," "He's swimming," etc.). The present progressive tense in Spanish, which is similarly formed with a present conjugation of the verb estar (to be) and a verb's gerundio (gerund, which usually ends in -ando or -iendo in Spanish), is always translated in this fashion and really emphasizes that an action is in progress at this very moment. Let's take a look:

 

OK. Xavi, ahora que estamos hablando de... de comida, de alimentos, quisiera hacerte una pregunta.

OK. Xavi, now that we're talking about... about food, about foods, I'd like to ask you a question.

Captions 23-24, Carlos y Xavi Part 3 Diferencias de vocabulario entre España y Colombia

 Play Caption

 

For more information about and examples of the present progressive tense in Spanish, check out this lesson as well as this video that contrasts the use of the simple present with the present progressive. Now that we've seen a couple of the present verb tenses in Spanish, let's check out some of the Spanish past tenses. 

 

2. Imperfect (Pretérito imperfecto)

The imperfect is one of the Spanish past tenses and talks about an action that was ongoing or habitual in the past or that was in progress and/or interrupted in the moment described. Translations for the imperfect in Spanish for the verb hablar could thus include "used to talk," "would talk," or "was talking." Let's take a look at couple of examples:

 

Bueno, cuando yo era pequeña hablaba con la ficha de Einstein.

Well, when I was little, I used to talk to the Einstein card.

Caption 36, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

Ya que estás, contanos a los dos... ¿De qué hablaban?

Now that you're here, tell us both... What were you talking about?

Caption 2, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

To learn more about the imperfect tense in Spanish, check out this lesson entitled: The Imperfect Tense in Spanish: The Past That Just Won't Quit

 

***BONUS TENSE: Past Progressive (Pasado continuo)*** 

The past equivalent of the present progressive tense is the past progressive tense, which emphasizes that an action in the past was in progress. As with the present and present progressive tenses, while the imperfect tense in Spanish can sometimes be translated with the past progressive in English ("I was eating," "You were running," etc.), the past progressive tense in Spanish is always translated in this fashion, with "was" or "were" plus a verb's gerund. It is formed in the same way as the present progressive except that the verb estar is conjugated in the imperfect tense:

 

Le hemos despistado. -Porque estaba hablando

We've confused her. -Because she was talking.

Caption 59, Jugando a la Brisca En la calle

 Play Caption
 

3. Preterite (Pretérito indefinido)

The preterite is another one of the Spanish past tenses. In contrast to the imperfect tense, the preterite tense in Spanish describes past actions that have been completed. It could be compared with verbs ending in -ed in English (e.g. "He fished," "We traveled," etc.). Let's see an example:

 

Pero claro, en Televisión Española me hablaron de Gastón Almanza

But of course, at Spanish Television they talked to me about Gaston Almanza

Caption 13, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

The preterite is also used for past actions that interrupted other actions in progress, which would often be conjugated in the imperfect, as in the following example:

 

Yo hablaba por teléfono cuando mi novio me habló con una voz muy alta. 

I was talking on the phone when my boyfriend talked to me in a very loud voice. 

 

To find out more about the preterite tense, we recommend this lesson from our Yabla lesson archives. 

 

4. Future (Futuro simple)

The future tense in Spanish is pretty straightforward; it talks about something we "will" do in the future. Let's take a look: 

 

Hoy hablaremos de las preposiciones de lugar.

Today, we will talk about prepositions of place.

Caption 9, Ana Carolina Preposiciones de lugar

 Play Caption

 

Interestingly, sometimes the Spanish future tense is used in situations where English speakers would employ "would" to imply disbelief: 

 

¿Y tú me hablarás de esta manera?

And you'd talk to me like that? 

 

5. Simple Conditional (Condicional simple)

So, what about the Spanish conditional tenses? The simple conditional tense is the typical Spanish equivalent of saying one "would" do something in English, often in a hypothetical situation:

 

Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.

Well, if I were you, I would speak with him.

Caption 24, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

 Play Caption

 

This tense is often, but not always, seen in conjunction with the imperfect subjunctive tense (fuera, or "I were" in the example above), which we will cover in part two of this lesson, to specify that if some hypothetical situation "were" in place, something else "would" happen.  

 

6. Present Perfect (Pretérito perfecto)

Although this tense is called the present perfect in English, its Spanish name is préterito perfecto ("preterite perfect" or "past perfect"), and it is the Spanish past tense used to say that one "has done" something within a specific time period, which could be anything from that day to one's life. It is formed with the verb haber, which is translated as "has" or "have" in English, along with the participle form of the verb (which will typically have the suffix -ado or -ido in Spanish and -ed or -en in English). Let's take a look:

 

El día de hoy, hemos hablado de artículos que utilizamos al día a día

Today, we've talked about items we use every day

Caption 41, Ana Carolina Artículos de aseo personal

 Play Caption

 

Interestingly, in Spain, the present perfect is often used to describe things that happened in the recent past in situations in which English speakers would use the simple past and Latin Americans would more likely use the preterite. This usage can be seen quite clearly throughout this video from El Aula Azul. Let's take a look at an excerpt:

 

Pero cuando ha salido de clase, cuando hemos terminado la clase, ha ido a coger el coche, y resulta que la ventanilla estaba rota.

But when she's left class, when we've finished the class, she's gone to get her car, and it turns out that the window was broken.

Captions 12-14, El Aula Azul Conversación: Un día de mala suerte

 Play Caption

 

Although the translators at Yabla chose to translate this tense literally in this video to facilitate the learning of the present perfect tense, this sounds quite awkward in English, where a native speaker would probably say: "But when she left class, when we finished the class, she went to get her car, and it turns out that the window was broken."

 

In this video, Carlos provides an even more thorough explanation about when to use this tense as part of a useful four-part series on the different past tenses in Spanish. 

 

7. Pluperfect (Pretérito pluscuamperfecto)

The pluperfect is the past equivalent of the present perfect tense. It is formed with the imperfect conjugation of the verb haber and the participle form of the infinitive. It is often used to describe things we "had" already done when something else occurred.

 

que no era tan escandalosa como... como la gente había hab'... había hablado al principio.

That it wasn't as scandalous as... as the people had sa'... had said in the beginning.

Captions 41-42, Los Juegos Olímpicos Pablo Herrera

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8. Past Anterior (Pretérito anterior)

Also known as the preterite perfect, the past anterior tense is extremely similar to the pluperfect tense but employs the preterite conjugation of the verb haber plus the participle. It is used more commonly in literature and less in everyday speech. While we couldn't find an example of this tense with the verb hablar, we did find one with the verb coger (to grab): 

 

Apenas lo hubo cogido, el niño se despertó.

He'd barely grabbed it, the little boy woke up.

Captions 46-47, Chus recita poemas Antonio Machado

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Just in case you were wondering, an example sentence with the verb hablar might be: Yo ya hube hablado con mi maestra antes del examen (I had already spoken to my teacher before the test), and there would be no difference in translation between this sentence and the same sentence with the verb conjugated in its pluperfect form (Yo ya había hablado con mi maestra antes del examen).

 

9. Future Perfect (Futuro compuesto)

If one said, Yo ya habré hablado con el chico por teléfono antes de conocerlo cara a cara (I will have already spoken to the guy on the phone before meeting him face to face), he or she would be employing the future perfect tense, which includes the future tense conjugation of the verb haber plus the participle. This conveys the English construction "will have." Let's take a look at an example of this tense from the Yabla Spanish library:

 

Ay, ¿por qué se me habrá ocurrido comer bandeja paisa antes de que me encerraran, ah?

Oh, why would it have occurred to me to eat "bandeja paisa" [a Colombian dish] before they locked me up, huh?

Captions 27-28, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

In this example, we see that, similarly to the future tense, the future perfect tense can also be used to express disbelief, and it is translated with the English word "would" (rather than "will") in such cases. 

 

10. Conditional Perfect (Condicional compuesto)

The conditional perfect tense in Spanish is the equivalent of saying "would have" in English. It utilizes the conditional form of the verb haber plus the participle to talk about what one "would have" done or what "would have" happened in a hypothetical situation:

 

Seguro que a él sí le habrían aceptado las invitaciones.

Surely they would have accepted his invitations.

Caption 24, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 5

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An example with the verb hablar would be: Si lo pudiera hacer otra vez, habría hablado con el chico que me gustaba (If I could do it again, I'd have spoken to the guy I liked). Yabla's lesson, "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda," expands upon the conditional perfect tense and more.

 

***ADDITIONAL BONUS TENSES: The Progressives*** 

Once you know all Spanish tenses in the indicative mood, you could also conjugate the verb estar in its many tenses to come up with additional progressive tenses, as follows:

 

Preterite Progressive (Pretérito continuo): Yo estuve hablando (I was talking)

Conditional Progressive (Condicional continuo): Yo estaría hablando (I would be talking)

Future Progressive (Futuro continuo): Yo estaré hablando (I will be talking)

 

We could even apply this to the compound tenses we learned:

 

Present Perfect Progressive (Pretérito perfecto continuo): Yo he estado hablando (I have been talking)

Pluperfect Progressive (Pretérito pluscuamperfecto continuo): Yo había estado hablando (I had been talking)

Conditional Perfect Progressive (Condicional compuesto continuo)Yo habría estado hablando (I would have been talking)

Future Perfect Progressive (Futuro compuesto continuo): Yo habré estado hablando (I will have been talking)

 

That was a lot of Spanish verb tenses!!! And that was just the first ten verb tenses in Spanish! Part two of this lesson will deal with the verb tenses in Spanish in the other two "moods," subjunctive and imperative. In the meantime, we hope you enjoyed part one of this lesson on Spanish verb tenses... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

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Continuer la lecture

Saying Years in Spanish

Do you know how to say years in Spanish? In English, we know that 1985 is written nineteen eighty-five. What about in Spanish? Let's take a look at some of the rules you need to know for writing years in Spanish correctly. In addition, make sure you listen carefully to the clips in this lesson so you know how to pronounce years in Spanish as well. 

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Cardinal Numbers from 1 to 1,000: The Secret for Saying Years in Spanish

If you want to know how to say years in Spanish, you will need to know how to say the cardinal numbers in Spanish from 1 to 1,000. There's just no way around this.

 

Do you want to refresh the numbers from 1 to 100? If you do, please check out the following lesson:

 

how to say years in spanish

 

Now, let's recall the hundreds. For the numbers from 1 to 199, you will need to use the word "ciento." Let's check out some examples:

 

135

 

Madrid AB ciento treinta y cinco con destino Nueva York, John F. Kennedy.

Madrid AB one hundred thirty-five to New York, John F. Kennedy."

Captions 32-33, Raquel Avisos de Megafonía

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180

 

Cuenta con una vista privilegiada de toda la ciudad de alrededor de ciento ochenta grados.

It has an extraordinary one-hundred-eighty-degree view of the whole city.

Caption 65, Quito El Panecillo

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Multiples of 100

For the numbers from 200 to 999, you will need to use the multiples of 100. Let's review them:

 

doscientos (two hundred)
trescientos (three hundred)
cuatrocientos (four hundred)
quinientos (five hundred)
seiscientos (six hundred)
setecientos (seven hundred)
ochocientos (eight hundred)
novecientos (nine hundred)

 

And, of course, let's not forget about mil (one thousand)!

 

Now that we have reviewed these numbers, let's see how to write and pronounce some historical years in Spanish.

 

1492

 

Cristóbal Colón descubrió América en mil cuatrocientos noventa y dos.

Christopher Columbus discovered America in fourteen ninety-two.

Caption 34, Carlos explica El pretérito Cap. 1: Perfecto simple o Indefinido

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1697

 

Mil seiscientos noventa y siete, invasión francesa a Cartagena,

Sixteen ninety-seven, French invasion of Cartagena,

Caption 12, Cartagena de Indias Fuerte de San Felipe de Barajas

 Play Caption

 

 

1728

 

El ingenio más antiguo de Europa, que data del año mil setecientos veintiocho,

The oldest factory in Europe, which dates back to the year seventeen hundred twenty-eight,

Captions 36-37, Viajando con Fermín Frigiliana, Málaga

 Play Caption

 

How to Say Years in Spanish after 1900

The twentieth century was one of the most defining centuries in the history of humankind. For this reason, we often refer to years that belong to that century. If you want to write and pronounce those years in Spanish, you will need to use the following formula:

 

mil + novecientos + the number

 

Let's take a look at some of them.

 

1900

 

y fue construida en el año mil novecientos.

and was built in nineteen hundred.

Caption 77, Viajando con Fermín Mijas Pueblo

 Play Caption

 

1922

 

Fue realizado en mil novecientos veintidós

It was made in nineteen twenty-two

Caption 37, Marisa en Madrid Parque de El Retiro

 Play Caption

 

1985

 

En mil novecientos ochenta y cinco, sucedieron muchas cosas buenas.

In nineteen eighty-five, many good things happened.

Caption 2, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

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The Years in Spanish after 2000 

If you want to know how to write years in Spanish after the year 2000, you need to use the following simple formula:

 

dos + mil + the number

 

Let's look at some nore examples to see just how easy it is to say these years in Spanish.

 

2002

 

y murió hace algunos años en el dos mil dos.

and died some years ago in two thousand two.

Caption 9, San Sebastián Peine del viento

 Play Caption

 

2013

 

En dos mil trece, recibió más de cuatro millones de visitantes,

In two thousand thirteen, it received more than four million visitors,

Captions 6-7, Marisa en Madrid Parque de El Retiro

 Play Caption

 

2020

 

Y este dos mil veinte, que es un año bisiesto,

And this two thousand twenty, which is a leap year,

Caption 7, El coronavirus Introducción y vocabulario

 Play Caption

 

As you can see, it is not too difficult to say years in Spanish, right? We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

 

Continuer la lecture

Todos los Significados (All the Meanings) of the Word Todo in Spanish

In today's lesson, we're going to look at todos los usos y signficados (all of the uses and meanings) of the word todo in Spanish. Well, maybe not all of them... but a lot!

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What Part of Speech is the Word Todo in Spanish?

Primero que todo (first of all), we'd like to say that the Spanish word todo and its feminine and plural equivalents have many meanings including "all," "whole," "every," "each," "everyone," and more, depending upon the context in which they are utilized. Actually, while todo and its alternate forms most commonly function as an adjective or a pronoun, they can also function as an adverb or even a noun. Let's examine how this word works in each of these cases, its various translations into English, and several idiomatic expressions that employ it. 

 

Todo as an Adjective

Let's recall that an adjective modifies, or describes, a noun. When the word todo functions as an adjective, it must agree in number and gender with the noun it modifies. We must thus choose between its masculine singular (todo), masculine plural (todos), feminine singular (toda) or feminine plural (todas) forms, placing it either directly in front of either a noun, a noun's direct article, or a possessive adjective. Let's look at some examples:

 

No, en España, el español se parece mucho en todo el país.

No, in Spain, Spanish is a lot alike in the whole country.

Captions 5-6, Carlos y Xavi Part 4 Tradiciones y comida de Barcelona

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Although the literal translation of todo el país would be "all the country," common ways to say todo el in English include "the whole" or "the entire." Thus, an alternative translation for this sentence might be: "No, in Spain, Spanish is a lot alike in the entire country." Let's look at an additional example:

 

La asistente le dará una tarjeta con toda la información

The assistant will give you a card with all the information

Caption 42, Cita médica La cita médica de Cleer - Part 2

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Note that in this example, the feminine singular form toda has the more straightforward translation "all." Let's move on to some plural examples:

 

Invitamos a todos sus amigos al karaoke

We invite all her friends to karaoke

Caption 44, Blanca y Mariona Planificación de cena

 Play Caption

 

Note that while, in the sentence above, the plural form is translated to "all," in other cases, it can be translated as "every":

 

Salimos todas las noches.

We go out every night.

Caption 20, Clara y Cristina Hablan de actividades

 Play Caption

 

In other cases, either translation could suffice:

 

Feliz tarde, amigos de Yabla de todos los países del mundo.

Happy afternoon, Yabla friends from every country in the world.

Caption 2, Adícora, Venezuela El tatuaje de Rosana

 Play Caption

 

An alternative translation could, of course, be: "Happy afternoon, Yabla friends from all the countries in the world."

 

Todo as a Pronoun

The definition of a pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. Hence, when the word todo is used a pronoun in Spanish, it must match the number/gender of the noun to which it refers. Let's look at a simple example: 

 

¿Cuá​nta torta comiste? -Me la comí toda.

How much cake did you eat? -I ate it all

But:

 

¿Cuá​ntos caramelos comiste? -Todos.

How much candies did you eat? -All of them. 

 

Let's take a look at an example from the Yabla video library where todas replaces a plural feminine noun (las estaciones/the seasons):

 

Creo que es la mejor estación de todas

I think that it's the best season of all.

Caption 22, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 1

 Play Caption
 

Todo on its own is also the equivalent of the English word "everything":

 

Sí, Lucio me cuenta todo.

Yes, Lucio tells me everything.

Caption 30, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

The plural todos, on the other hand, means "everybody" or "everyone":

 

porque es información nueva para todos.

because it's new information for everyone.

Caption 60, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

In fact, the title of a recent Yabla video, Todo es de todos (Everything Belongs to Everyone) employs both of those terms. However, note the difference in translation for todos in the following example:

 

¿De ahí saldrá el aguacate que todos conocemos? -Claro. 

The avocado that we all know will come from there? -Sure.

Caption 57, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 17

 Play Caption

 

Although "The avocado that everyone knows will come from there?" could be a viable translation, the fact that the verb conocer (to know) has been translated in the first person plural (nosotros/"we") form makes "we all" a legitimate (and perhaps more explanatory) translation. 

 

Todo as an Adverb

When todo functions as an adverb, it is typically used to make emphatic statements. Possible translations include "really," "completely," "all," or "totally." For example, one might say: El chico se veía todo lindo (The guy looked really good) or Mi habitación está toda desordenada (My room is totally messy). Let's look at an example from the Yabla video library:

 

¡Yo te vi, yo te vi toda llena de barro!

I saw you! I saw you all covered in mud!

Caption 41, Yago 3 La foto - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

Todo as a Noun

As a noun, el todo means "the whole" and can be seen in the translation for Aristotle's famous sentence:

 

El todo es más que la suma de las partes.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. 

 

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Top Ten Common Spanish Expressions with Forms of the WordTodo

And speaking of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, let's examine some common Spanish idioms that include forms of the word todo with meanings beyond their literal words.

 

1Todo el mundo

While todo el mundo literally means "all the world" or "the whole/entire world," this phrase is an extremely common way of expressing the idea of "everybody" or "everyone" in Spanish:

 

Todo el mundo puede tocar el tambor donde, cuando y como quiera- mayores, niños, mujeres,

Everybody can play the drum wherever, whenever, and however they want- older people, children, women,

Captions 47-49, Viernes Santo en Tobarra ¡La Cuna del Tambor! - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

2. Todo el día

Literally "all the day," the notion of "all day" is encompassed by the Spanish expression todo el día:

 

¿Todo el día? El tiempo que quieras.

All day? As long as you want.

Captions 103-104, Alan x el mundo Mi playa favorita de México! - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

3. Todos los días

The plural form todos los días ("all the days"), on the other hand, means "every day":

 

Además, la vemos todos los días.

Besides, we see it every day.

Caption 11, Guillermina y Candelario Una aventura extrema - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

4. Sobre todo

Like it sounds, the Spanish phrase sobre todo can indeed mean "above all" or "above everything." Additional, frequent translations include "mostly," "mainly," and "especially":

 

Primero, sobre todo si es tu primera tarjeta de crédito, eh... es recomendable que el... que el límite no sea mayor a tus ingresos. 

First, especially if it is your first credit card, um... it is recommendable for the... for the limit not to be greater than your income.

Captions 51-52, Cuentas claras Sobreviviendo enero - Part 3

 Play Caption
 

5. En todo caso 

Even though the literal meaning of en todo caso is "in all case," it is the Spanish equivalent of the English expression "in any case":
 

En todo caso, espero que a partir de hoy, se sientan más cómodos usando las redes sociales en español.

In any case, I hope that starting from today, you feel more comfortable using social networks in Spanish.

Captions 53-54, Carlos explica Internet y lenguaje digital: Redes sociales

 Play Caption

 

6. Por todos lados 

Por todos lados might seem to mean "around all sides," but it really means "everywhere": 

 

Mili, ¿Dónde estabas? Te estuve buscando por todos lados.

Mili, where were you? I was looking for you everywhere.

Caption 16, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

7. De todas formas

De todas formas in Spanish means not "of all shapes," but is rather a manner of saying "anyway":

 

Bueno, de todas formas, mire, el tipo se está haciendo pasar por Pierre Bernard.

Well, anyway, look, the guy is posing as Pierre Bernard.

Caption 7, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 8

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The similar Spanish expressions de todas maneras and de todos modos also mean "anyway," "anyhow," or "in any case." 

 

8. De todo

The phrase de todo ("of everything") is another way to say "everything" in Spanish:

 

Aquí tiene de todo, perro, oveja...

Here, they have everything: [a] dog, sheep...

Caption 1, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

9. Del todo

Del todo ("of the whole"), on the other hand, means "completely" or "entirely"':

 

Quizás l'... la relación más equilibrada que yo he buscado no ha pasado del todo y ahora me siento un poquito sola

Maybe th'... the more balanced relationship that I've looked for hasn't completely happened, and now I feel a little bit lonely

Captions 19-20, El reencuentro Las amigas hablan del trabajo y el amor.

 Play Caption

 

For additional examples of this expression and more, we recommend the lesson En absoluto, de ninguna manera, del todo.

 

10. Todo recto

And finally, if you want to tell someone to go "straight ahead," todo recto (literally "all straight") is the way to go in Spanish:

 

Tiene que ir todo recto. -Sí.

You have to go straight ahead. -Yes.

Caption 17, Curso de español ¿Hay una escuela por aquí?

 Play Caption

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These are just a smattering of the many Spanish expressions that incorporate forms of todo that can be heard in everyday Spanish. ¡Sería imposible nombrarlos todos (It would be imposible to name them all)! That said:

 

Eso es todo por hoy, amigos. 

That's all for today, friends.

Caption 56, Ana Carolina Símbolos de Navidad

 Play Caption
 

For additional information on expressions that include the Spanish word todo, we recommend the additional lesson When Nada (Nothing) is Todo (Everything). In the meantime, gracias por todo (thanks for everything), and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

 

Continuer la lecture

Using Articles When Referring to a Part of a Group

In this lesson, we would like to remind you of a very simple rule, which is nonetheless often forgotten even by native Spanish speakers. Let's start this lesson with a simple quiz. Which of the following sentences is incorrect?

 

Sentence A

Pero tenéis que entender que la mayoría de animales

But you have to understand that most animals

Captions 48-49, Amaya Mis burras Lola y Canija

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Sentence B

"Cultivaremos la mayoría de los alimentos en los océanos".

"We'll grow most of [our] food in the oceans."

Caption 3, Escuela BCNLIP Clase con Javi: el futuro - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

If you're not sure which sentence is incorrect, we invite you to read this lesson.

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A simple rule to keep in mind

In expressions in which a part of a group is mentioned, it is appropriate to keep the article (ella, los, or las) after the preposition de.  Let's look at a couple of examples with different expressions:

 

la mitad + de + article

 

Correct:

 

La mitad de los artistas deberían estar presos

Half of the artists should be in jail

Caption 34, Calle 13 Calma Pueblo

 Play Caption

 

Incorrect:

 

está limitado a la mitad de personas que pueden entrar habitualmente.

is limited to half the people who can usually enter.

Caption 32, Sergio Socorrismo y COVID-19

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In this sentence, the article is missing after the preposition de. Considering that, the following would be the appropriate way of saying this sentence:

 

está limitado a la mitad de las personas que pueden entrar habitualmente.

 

 

la mayoría + de + article

 

Correct:

 

es uno de los principales problemas ambientales de la mayoría de los países del mundo,

is one of the main environmental problems of most countries in the world,

Captions 8-9, 3R Campaña de reciclaje - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Incorrect:

 

En la mayoría de casos, el burro es incautado por la policía de los animales

In most cases, the donkey is confiscated by the animal police

Caption 51, Santuario para burros Santuario - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

As you can see, in this sentence, the article is also missing after the preposition de. That said, the appropriate form would be the following:

 

En la mayoría de los casos, el burro es incautado por la policía de los animales

 

Can you now answer the question we posed at the beginning of this lesson?

 

While this mistake is not a dramatic one, we invite you to keep this rule in mind so you can construct these kinds of sentences properly. That's all for now. We hope you have enjoyed this brief reminder, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

 

 

Continuer la lecture

What Is the Present Progressive in Spanish?

How do we talk about an action in progress in Spanish? We use the Spanish present progressive tense, which we'll explore in this lesson.

 

The Spanish Present Progressive Tense

What is present progressive in Spanish? Simply put, the present progressive tense in Spanish describes actions that are unfolding as we speak, at this moment. Also called the present progressive, its English equivalent includes some form of the verb "to be" in present tense along with the gerund, or -ing form, of a verb. Some examples include: "I'm reading," "You are watching TV," or "We are eating dinner." The Spanish present progressive, which we'll learn to conjugate, takes a very similar form. 

 

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Simple Present vs. Present Progressive in Spanish

So, when exactly do we use the present progressive tense in Spanish? And, what's the difference between the simple present and the Spanish present progressive? This can be a bit confusing since there is some overlap in terms of their English translations at times. Let's take a look:

 

¿Qué hacés vos acá? -¿Cómo qué hagoCorro

What are you doing here? -What do you mean, what am I doingI'm running.

Captions 65-66, Cuatro Amigas Piloto - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Although, much like the present progressive, the simple present tense in Spanish can sometimes be translated into English using the -ing form to say that one "is doing" something in the present, the Spanish simple present tense is also used to describe actions one does on a habitual basis:

 

¿Y los sábados y domingos, qué haces

And on Saturdays and Sundays, what do you do?

Caption 19, Español para principiantes Los días de la semana

 Play Caption

 

That said, if you really want to emphasize and/or remove any doubt that an action is in progress or happening at this moment, it's necessary to use the Spanish present progressive:

 

Silvia, ¿qué estás haciendo? -Estoy cocinando

Silvia, what are you doing? -I'm cooking.

Captions 31-32, El Aula Azul Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

 Play Caption

 

In fact, this last caption is from a video by El Aula Azul that simply and clearly demonstrates the difference between the simple present tense and the present progressive tense in Spanish. 

 

How to Form the Spanish Present Progressive 

Now that you know when to use the present progressive in Spanish, let's learn how to conjugate present progressive verbs in Spanish. To start, let's review (or learn!) the simple present conjugation of the verb estar (to be), which will convey the idea of "am" or "are":

 

Yo estoy (I am)

 estás (You are)

Él/ella/usted está (He, she is/you are)

Nosotros/nosotras estamos (We are)

Vosotros/vosotras estáis (You are [plural])

Ellos/ellas/ustedes están (They/you [plural] are)

 

Next, we'll need to break up infinitive Spanish verbs into two categories, verbs that end in -ar and verbs that end in either -er or -ir, in order to form their gerunds (gerundios).

 

 

Conjugating -ar verbs in the Spanish Present Progressive 

 

To form the gerund for regular -ar verbs, we'll take the verb's stem (the part before the -ar) and add the suffix -ando. For example, for hablar (to talk), we take the stem habl- and add -ando to get hablando. Let's take a look at a few examples of regular -ar verbs in the present progressive tense in Spanish:

 

Entonces, en este momento, ¿veis?, está hablando con su madre por teléfono.

So, right now, you see? He's talking to his mom on the phone.

Captions 60-61, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 1

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Eh... estoy buscando a Milagros.

Um... I am looking for Milagros.

Caption 6, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 1

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Estamos caminando aquí en Bleeker Street

We are walking here on Bleeker Street

Caption 72, Eljuri "Fuerte" EPK

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Conjugating -er  and -ir verbs in the Spanish Present Progressive 

 

Conjugating regular -er and -ir verbs in the present progressive Spanish tense is just as easy! Simply take the stem (remove the -er or -ir) and add the suffix -iendo.  Thus, for correr (to run), we have corr- plus -iendo to get corriendo, and for vivir (to live), we take viv- plus -iendo for viviendo. Let's look at a few more examples: 

 

¿Por qué estás comiendo basura?

Why are you eating garbage?

Caption 9, Kikirikí Agua - Part 4

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Está subiendo, está subiendo la rama.

He's climbing, he's climbing the branch.

Caption 98, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Coatís

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¿Dónde estáis vendiendo aceite?

Where are you selling oil?

Caption 1, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 14

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Irregular Verbs in the Present Progressive in Spanish

Although the Spanish present progressive tense is arguably one of the easier verbs to learn to conjugate in Spanish, there are some irregular verbs, of course, which fall into a few categories. Let's examine those categories of verbs with irregular conjugations in the Spanish present progressive. 

 

1. -Er and -ir verbs with a vowel before the ending

 

Verbs with the endings -aer, -eer, -oir, and -uir change from -iendo to -yendo in the Spanish present progressive. Here are some examples:

 

traer: trayendo (to bring/bringing) 

caer: cayendo (to fall/falling)

leer: leyendo (to read/reading)

creer: creyendo (to believe/believing)

construir: construyendo (to build/building)

huir: huyendo (to escape/escaping)

oír: oyendo (to hear/hearing)

 

Interestingly, the present progressive form of the verb ir (to go) is also yendo:

 

Sí, me venía a despedir porque ya me estoy yendo.

Yes, I came to say goodbye because I'm leaving now.

Caption 90, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 5

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2. Stem-changing verbs in the present tense (-e to -ie or -i)

 

Some verbs that change stems in the Spanish simple present tense also have an irregular form in the Spanish present progressive. Verbs whose stems change from -e to -ie (e.g. sentir becomes yo siento, tú sientes, etc.) or -e to -i (vestir changes to yo visto, tú vistes, etc.) tend to change stems from an -e to an -i in the Spanish present progressive as well, while maintaining the suffix -iendo. Let's take a look at some common examples:

 

sentir: sintiendo (to feel/feeling)

preferir: prefiriendo (to prefer/preferring) 

mentir: mintiendo (to lie/lying)

vestir: vistiendo (to dress/dressing)

seguir: siguiendo (to follow/following)

conseguir: consiguiendo (to get/getting)

 

3. Stem-changing verbs in the present tense (-o to -ue)

 

On the other hand, verbs that change from an -o to a -ue in the simple present often change from an -o to a -u in the Spanish present progressive while maintaining their regular ending (-iendo). Examples include poder ("to be able," which morphs into yo puedotú​ puedes, etc.), dormir (to sleep," which becomes yo duermotú​ duermes, etc.), and morir ("to die," which transforms to yo muero, tú​ mueres, etc.). Let's look:

 

poder: pudiendo (to be able/being able)

dormir: durmiendo (to sleep/sleeping)

morir: muriendo (to die/dying) 

 

4. -Ir verbs that change from -e to -i in the simple present and end in -eír

 

Verbs in this fourth category also change from -to -i in the simple present (e.g. reír, or "to laugh," becomes yo río, tú ríes, etc.) but also have an -before the -ir ending. In this case, the -is dropped, while the ending -iendo is maintained, as follows: 

 

reír: riendo (to laugh/laughing)

sonreír: sonriendo (to smile/smiling)

freír: friendo (to fry/frying) 

 

The aforementioned irregular verbs in the present progressive in Spanish by no means constitute an exhaustive list, and although the rules that dictate which verbs are irregular might seem daunting, with increased exposure to Spanish, conjugating such irregular verbs in the present progressive in Spanish should become intuitive in no time! 

 

Irregular Spanish Present Progressive Verbs in Action 

 

Let's conclude today's lesson by looking at an example from each of the aforementioned categories of irregular present progressive verbs in Spanish:

 

Ellos están construyendo la puerta de entrada al santuario de burros.

They're building the entry gate to the donkey sanctuary.

Caption 25, Amaya Voluntarios

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Esa mujer nos está mintiendo y quiero saber por qué.

That woman is lying to us and I want to know why.

Caption 42, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 6

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¡Aldo, tu hermano se está muriendo y a vos lo único que te interesa es la herencia!

Aldo, your brother is dying, and the only thing that interests you is the inheritance!

Caption 63, Yago 3 La foto - Part 5

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Se está riendo de todos nosotros.

He's laughing at all of us.

Caption 28, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 2

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That's all for today. For more information on the present progressive Spanish tense, check out our latest video from El Aula Azul on that very topic! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

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