Leçons Espagnol

Thèmes

Lessons for topic Verbs

Describing People in Spanish with the Verb Ser

In this lesson, we will learn how to describe people in Spanish using the verb ser (to be). In particular, we'll focus on five different uses of the verb ser that you can use to identify and describe people. Let's take a look.

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To identify someone

 

Eh... Luis, ella es mi mamá, mamá, él es Luis. Y ella es mi abuela Carmen.

Um... Luis, this is my mom, Mom, this is Luis. And this is my Grandma Carmen.

Captions 18-19, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 4

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It's worth mentioning that the example above shows a very common way to introduce people in Spanish.

 

To indicate the gender of a person

 

es un hombre que se dedica a lo que yo hago.

he's a man who devotes himself to what I do.

Caption 61, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 9

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To state someone's nationality

 

Paul es estadounidense, de los Estados Unidos.

Paul is American, from the United States.

Caption 16, Carlos explica Geografía y gentilicios

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To indicate somebody's job

 

Mi padre es arquitecto

My father is an architect

Caption 25, Leif El Arquitecto Español y su Arte - Part 1

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To talk about physical traits

In particular, when we refer to essential traits, such as height, weight, and physical appearance.

 

Es bajo, es gordo,

He's short, he's fat,

Caption 33, El Aula Azul Mis Primos

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Alguien que es delgado tiene poco peso

Someone who is skinny doesn't weigh much

Captions 32-33, Lecciones con Carolina Adjetivos - Descripción de personas - Físico

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Carolina tiene treinta y cinco años pero parece que tiene veinte. Es muy guapa.

Carolina is thirty-five years old but she looks like she is twenty. She's very pretty.

Captions 2-4, El Aula Azul Mis Primos

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To describe someone's personality

 

Ellos son muy majos. Mi prima Marta es muy simpática.

They are very nice. My cousin Marta is very nice.

Caption 8, El Aula Azul Mi familia

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Ricardo es muy... es muy tranquilo, ¿viste?

Ricardo is very... he's very calm, you know?

Caption 84, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 10

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Porque mi mamá es una persona muy difícil. -Eso a mí no me importa.

Because my mom is a very difficult person. -That doesn't matter to me.

Caption 20, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 4

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That's it for today. Can you describe someone you know using the verb ser? We invite you to try it out and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

Continuer la lecture

How to Use the Present Indicative in Spanish

Generally speaking, we use the present indicative in Spanish to talk about actions that are taking place at the moment (now). However, that's not the only use of it. Let's take a look at the following list so you can understand how to use the present indicative in Spanish.

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1. To talk about actions in the present

 

Actions that are taking place right at the moment (now):

¿Dónde están las chicas? ¿Las chicas? -Ajá. Lola y Ana. -Uh... Lola y Ana viven aquí.

Where are the girls? The girls? -Uh-huh. Lola and Ana. -Uh... Lola and Ana live here.

Captions 26-29, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam - Part 4

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In the above sentence, you can see how the verbs estar (to be) and vivir (to live) are conjugated in the present indicative for the third person plural (las chicas/Lola y Ana/ellas... están/viven).

 

You can also talk about actions that take place over time:

Trabajo en un colegio. Soy maestra de música y de ciencias.

I work at a school. I'm a music and science teacher.

Captions 6-7, Ariana Mi Casa

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In this example, you can see the verbs trabajar (to work) and ser (to be) conjugated in the present indicative for the first person singular (yo trabajo/soy).

 

IMPORTANT! Remember that in Spanish it is very common to drop the pronouns from the sentences. As you can see in the sentence above, Ariana doesn't say "yo trabajo" but rather only "trabajo".

 

2. To express absolute statements and facts as well as universal truths

 

En agosto, vamos a la playa. En septiembre, empieza el otoño.

In August, we go to the beach. In September, the fall begins.

Captions 21-22, El Aula Azul Estaciones y Meses

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In the example above, we can see the present indicative of the verb ir (to go) in the first person plural (nosotros vamos) and the present indicative of the verb empezar (to begin) in the third person singular (el otoño empieza).

 

La Laguna de San Pablo está a los pies del imponente Volcán Imbabura.

The San Pablo Lagoon is at the foot of the imposing Imbabura Volcano.

Caption 13, Otavalo Un día en la ciudad de los lagos

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In the example above, Natalia uses the present indicative of the verb estar for the third person singular (está) to state a fact.

 

3. To talk about routines and repetitive actions

You can talk about daily activities and habitual actions using the present indicative:

 

De lunes a viernes, me levanto a las siete de la mañana.

From Monday to Friday, I get up at seven in the morning.

Caption 2, GoSpanish La rutina diaria de Sol

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In the above clip, you can see how Sol uses the present indicative of the verb levantarse (yo me levanto) to express one of her habitual actions.

 

Dante y Mika vienen todos los días a trabajar conmigo aquí al Refugio del Burrito,

Dante and Mika come work with me every day here at the Little Donkey Shelter,

Caption 62, Rosa La perrita Mika

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Similarly, Rosa uses the present indicative of the verb venir (to come) to describe something habitual. In this case, the verb is conjugated in the third person plural (Dante y Mika/ellos... vienen).

 

4. To talk about actions that will take place in the near future

 

Did you know that the present indicative can be used for things happening in the near future? Let's see some examples.

Le prometo que termino de morfar y... y salgo a laburar. Va a ver.

I promise you that I'll finish eating and... and go out to work. You'll see.

Caption 63, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 7

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In this sentence, the speaker is using the present indicative of the verb salir (to go out) in order to express an action that will take place in the near future. Once he's done with his lunch, he will go out to work. The verb is conjugated in the first person singular (yo salgo).

 

Bueno, pues entonces, no hay que pensarlo más. Mañana hablamos con el jefe y desde la oficina

OK, well then, we don't have to think about it anymore. Tomorrow we'll talk to the boss and from the office

Captions 11-12, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 6

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In the previous example, you can fully appreciate how the present indicative of the verb hablar (to talk) is used to indicate an action that will take place tomorrow! This may be a bit weird for English speakers but it is a very common formula used by Spanish speakers. The verb is conjugated in the second person plural (nosotros hablamos).

 

 

Finally, it is worth mention that in journalism and the academic field, some people like to use the present indicative when referring to historical facts. Let's see the following example:

 

El Imperio romano cae en el año 476

The Roman Empire falls in the year 476

 

And that's it for today. We hope this lesson helped you to understand how to use the present indicative in Spanish. And don't forget to send us your comments and questions.

Continuer la lecture

Dónde Está or Dónde Es?

If you have been studying Spanish, you probably know that the Spanish verbs, ser and estar, have a common translation in English: '"to be." With that in mind, let's start this lesson with a practical example. Your Spanish friend has just invited you to her wedding (boda) in Madrid, and you want to ask her (in Spanish, of course!) the following simple question: "Where is the wedding?" Which verb would you choose, ser or estar? Would you ask, Dónde está or Dónde es la boda? Let's find out.

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What Does Dónde Está Mean?

Are you wondering about the meaning of dónde está in English? Generally speaking, we use the verb estar when we want to talk about the position or location of someone or something. Considering that dónde means "where," we use dónde está when we want to know where someone or something is located. Let's look at a couple of examples so that you can better understand the use of the verb estar when talking about position or location:

 

¿Sabes dónde está la biblioteca?

Do you know where the library is?

Caption 20, Español para principiantes Hablando de ubicaciones

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El pulverizador, ss... ss... está en el baño.

The spray, ss... ss... is in the bathroom.

Caption 63, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 3 - Sam aprende a ligar - Part 2

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Se llama Frigiliana, y está en la provincia de Málaga.

It's called Frigiliana, and it's in the province of Malaga.

Caption 6, Viajando con Fermín Frigiliana, Málaga

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According to the above logic, we could solve the question we posed at the beginning of this lesson by saying, ¿Dónde está la boda?, right? Well, not so fast!

 

"Dónde Es" vs. "Dónde Está"

When using dónde (where) for asking about the location of something, there is one case in which you should use the verb ser rather than estar: when asking about the location of an event. For that reason, the correct manner of asking the aforementioned question would be, ¿Dónde es la boda? Let's look at additional examples where the verb ser would be necessary:

 

¿Dónde es el funeral?

Where's the funeral?

Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 6

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¿Dónde es la fiesta?

Where is the party?

Caption 11, Raquel Expresiones para un festival de música.

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There are, however, some cases in which you can use either verb, depending upon what you wish to express. For example, if you want to ask someone about the executive breakfast your company is organizing, you would say, ¿Dónde es el desayuno? In this case, you use the verb ser because you are talking about an event. However, if you are referring to the breakfast as the food you are going to eat, you would say, ¿Dónde está el desayuno? In this case, you use the verb estar because you are asking about the location of something that is not an event. Let's take a look:

 

EVENT 

-¿Dónde es el desayuno? -El desayuno es en el hotel.

-Where is the breakfast? -The breakfast is at the hotel.

 

FOOD

-¿Dónde está el desayuno? -El desayuno está en la nevera. 

-Where's breakfast? -Breakfast is in the fridge.

 

Finally, a good rule of thumb to decide when it would be necessary to use ¿Dónde es...? rather than ¿Dónde está? is to ask oneself whether the verb could be subsituted with tiene lugar (takes place), in which case the verb, ser, should be utilized. For example: Since ¿Dónde tiene lugar la fiesta? (Where is the party taking place) makes perfect sense, ¿Dónde es la fiesta? would be the correct manner of asking where the party is.

 

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

Continuer la lecture

Making a Phone Call in Spanish: 5 Essential Verbs

Do you ever feel like practicing your Spanish over the phone? In this lesson, we would like to share with you the most important verbs you need to know when making or talking about a phone call. Also, we will show you the words you can use if you are wondering how to answer the phone in Spanish.

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1. Llamar (to call)

This is probably the most important verb when you want to indicate that you are making a call. Let's see some useful sentences.

 

When you are about to call someone:

Un momento, voy a llamar por teléfono.

One moment, I'm going to call [them].

Caption 6, Ariana Cita médica

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When you want to say that you called someone:

Cuando llamé por teléfono, era para hablar con Lucio.

When I called on the phone, it was to talk to Lucio.

Caption 23, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 5

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When you want to indicate that someone called someone:

La primera vez que tu papá me llamó, no fue a la casa.

The first time your dad called me, it was not to the house.

Caption 42, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 5 - Part 5

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2. Responder (to answer)

Of course, when you call someone, you expect an answer. Let's see this verb in action.

 

Disculpa, estaba en una reunión y no pude responder tu llamada.

Sorry, I was in a meeting and I couldn't answer your call.

 

You can also use the verb contestar (to answer) in this situation:

Que pena, discúlpame. Tengo que contestar esta llamada.

I'm sorry, excuse me. I have to answer this call.

Captions 8-9, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 1

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The example above also provides us with another very useful noun: llamada (a call).

 

By the way, do you know how to answer the phone in Spanish? In English, we say 'hello' but what's about in Spanish? There are several options:

 

Bueno

Literally, bueno means 'fine' or 'well'. However, in this context, you can take bueno as a simple 'hello'. This way of answering the phone is very common in Mexico.

 

Hola

This is the Spanish equivalent of 'hello'.

 

¿Sí?

Literally, this means 'yes'. It is also a very normal way of answering the phone in Spanish. 

 

Diga or dígame

The translation of this is 'tell me'. A very common way of answering the phone in Spain.

 

Aló

This way of answering the phone is very popular in Colombia. It works as a simple 'hello'.

 

Buenos días, buenas tardes or buenas noches

Some people prefer to answer the phone according to the time of the day so you can say buenos días (good morning), buenas tardes (good afternoon) or buenas noches (good night).

 

3. Colgar (to hang up)

This is the verb you use when you need to get off the phone.

 

When you want to tell someone that you need to go:

Oye, tengo que colgar porque vamos a comer.

Listen, I have to hang up because we're going to eat.

Captions 56-57, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 4

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When you want to say that someone hung up on you or someone else:

Una mina llamó por teléfono a tu celular. Elena atendió, ella preguntó por vos y entonces Elena le dijo, "¿Quién habla?" Y la mina colgó.

A girl called your cell phone. Elena answered, she asked for you and then Elena said to her, "Who is it?" And the girl hung up.

Captions 43-45, Yago 11 Prisión - Part 5

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From the example above, you can also see that the verb atender (to respond) is another verb you can use instead of responder (to answer). Also, keep in mind that when talking about a smartphone you use the word celular throughout Latin America and the word móvil in Spain. If you prefer, you can also use the word teléfono (telephone).

 

4. Hablar (to talk)

Of course, you talk over the phone so if you want to express that action, you can say it like our friend Silvia from El Aula Azul:

Estoy hablando por teléfono. Yo hablo por teléfono.

I'm talking on the telephone. I talk on the telephone.

Captions 49-50, El Aula Azul Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

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5. Escuchar (to hear, to listen)

A phone call is about listening to someone else so this is a very important verb especially when you want to make sure the other person is able to listen to you.

 

Me puedes escuchar?

Can you hear me?

 

You can also use the verb oir (to hear) in this context:

¿Qué tal? -Muy bien. Y ahora que te oigo, de maravilla.

How are you? -Very well. And now that I hear you, wonderful.

Captions 33-35, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 13

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And that's it for today. Are you ready to make a phone call in Spanish? We hope so. And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

Continuer la lecture

Gusta vs Gustan: How to Use Gustar in Singular and Plural

Are you familiar with the Spanish verb gustar (to like)? Have you ever been in a situation where you didn't know whether to use gusta or gustan when talking about something you like? If using gusta vs gustan is tricky for you, here are some simple rules to help you understand the difference between gusta and gustan.

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The easy conjugation of gustar

Let's start with some good news. When you want to say that you like someone or something, the only thing you need to know is how to conjugate the verb gustar in the third person either in its singular (gusta) or plural (gustan) form. Let's take a look at a couple of simple sentences with gustar:

 

A mí me gusta el acento de las colombianas.

I like the Colombian women's accent.

Caption 50, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 6

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Sí, a mí me gustan las plantas y las flores y los árboles.

Yes, I like the plants and the flowers and the trees.

Captions 12-13, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

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That's it. You don't need anything else. Now, let's see when to use gusta or gustan.

 

When to use gusta or gustan?

The following simple rules will help you to master the gustan vs gusta battle.

 

Using gusta

 

Use the third person singular gusta for the following cases:

 

1. When the verb gustar is followed by a singular noun.

Me gusta la camisa.

I like the shirt.

Caption 4, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2 - Sam va de compras - Part 6

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Keep in mind that most of the time you will need to place a definite article before the noun.

 

2. When the verb gustar is followed by a verb in the infinitive.

y me gusta llevar faldas normalmente, sobre todo en... en invierno.

and I like to wear skirts usually, especially in... in winter.

Captions 6-7, El Aula Azul Actividades Diarias

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3. When the verb gustar is followed by several infinitive verbs.

A Pedro le gusta leer, tocar guitarra y hacer ejercicio.

Pedro likes to read, play guitar and exercise.

 

Using gustan

 

Use the third person plural gustan for the following cases:

 

1. When the verb gustar is followed by a plural noun.

A Lola le gustan los hombres fuertes

Lola likes strong men

Caption 14, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam - Part 5

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2. When the verb gustar is followed by multiple, independent nouns.

Me gustan el diseño, la decoración y la arquitectura de esa casa.

I like the design, decoration, and architecture of that house.

 

Gusta vs gustan with questions and negative sentences

When asking questions or stating negative sentences, you need to stick to the same rules we mentioned before. Let's look at a couple of examples:

 

¿Te gusta la ciencia?

Do you like science?

Caption 42, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 2 - Part 5

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A mí no me gusta tu camiseta.

I don't like your shirt.

Caption 12, Español para principiantes Los colores

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¿No te gustan las velas?

You don't like candles?

Caption 38, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 11

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That's it for today. But before we leave you, we invite you to answer this very simple question so you can practice a little bit the difference between gusta and gustan: ¿Qué te gusta hacer en tu tiempo libre? And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

Continuer la lecture

Habemos: A Valid Conjugation of "Haber"?

Haber is definitely on the list of tricky Spanish verbs. In fact, even native Spanish speakers sometimes struggle with this verb, which can be used in different ways and forms to mean different things. Even though haber is most often used as the auxiliary verb, "to have," in the imperfect tenses (e.g. Yo he comido, or "I have eaten"), it is also used in cases in which we say "there is" or "there are" in English and in other cases, can mean "to be" or "to exist." 

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Let's look at an example:

 

Hay muchos problemas,

There are a lot of problems,

Caption 6, Adícora - Venezuela El tatuaje de Rosana

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Along these lines, some speakers use habemos to make a reference to a group of people. In this case, you can think of habemos as something along the lines of "we are," "we have," "there are those of us who," etc. Let's take a look at the following sentence:

 

Entonces, que todavía no lo hay pero entonceshabemos gente que queremos hacerlo y... y, eh...

So, it doesn't exist yet, but then, there are those of us who want to do it, and... and, um...

Captions 90-91, Playa Adícora Chober - Part 2

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But, is it correct to use habemos in this manner? Let's find out.

 

The Simple Present Conjugation of the Verb Haber

As we noted in the example above, habemos seems to correspond to the first person plural in the simple present tense. But is that accurate? Let's take a look at how we conjugate haber in the simple present:

 

Yo he (I have)

has (you have)

Él/Ella ha (he/she has)

Usted ha (you have)

Nosotros hemos (we have)

Vosotros habéis (you have)

Ellos/Ustedes han (they/you have)

As you can see, hemos appears, but not habemos. So, is habemos a sort of special, alternative manner of conjugating haber?

 

So, What About Habemos

Long story short: No, we can't use habemos in this context. It's incorrect! Let's look at an example:

 

WRONG: Habemos pocos ingenieros en la empresa.

RIGHT: Somos pocos ingenieros en la compañía (There are just a few of us engineers at the company).

 

So, why do some people use habemos in error? The most likely reason is because habemos is the archaic conjugation of haber in the first person plural, which as we mentioned above, is now hemos. However, it shouldn't be used to mean "we are," "we have," "there are," etc. Let's take a look at this mistake in action in the following clips:

 

aunque indiscutiblemente habemos [sic] más cubanos que nada.

although undeniably, we have more Cubans than anything.

Caption 47, La Calle 8 Un recorrido fascinante

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Y donde no solo habemos [sic] cinco familias, sino hay...

And where there are not only five families, but rather there are...

Caption 25, Instinto de conservación Parque Tayrona - Part 5

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And of course, we can also see in action the first example mentioned in this lesson:

Entonces, que todavía no lo hay pero entonceshabemos [sic] gente que queremos hacerlo y... y, eh...

So, it doesn't exist yet, but then, there are those of us who want to do it, and... and, um...

Captions 90-91, Playa Adícora Chober - Part 2

Play Caption

 

That's all for today. We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

Continuer la lecture

Ser and Estar: An Easy Trick for Using These Verbs

Do you know how to say the verb "to be" in Spanish? The answer to that question has two options: ser and estar. In fact, mastering the verbs ser and estar is one of the first challenges you need to tackle when learning Spanish. In order to help you out with this challenge, we're going to share a very simple trick with you. Hopefully, it will help you remember when to use ser and estar.  

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Two words for learning the difference between ser and estar

The trick is very simple. All you need to remember are these two words: DOCTOR and PLACE. Use the former for the verb ser and the latter for the verb estar.

 

DOCTOR for ser

 

The word DOCTOR stands for the following: 

 

Description

Occupation

Characteristic

Time

Origin

Relationship.

 

Let's see some examples using the third person singular of ser in the present tense:

 

Description

"El coronavirus es un virus contagioso".

"The coronavirus is a contagious virus."

Caption 27, El Coronavirus Introducción y vocabulario

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Occupation

Tu papá es jefe de cartera, mi amor.

Your dad is a portfolio manager, my love.

Caption 52, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 3

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Characteristic

Él es un chico... Es muy simpático,

He's a guy... He's very nice,

Caption 52, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 1

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Time

Diremos, "¿Qué hora es?"

We'll say, "What time is it?"

Caption 49, Español para principiantes La hora

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Origin

Mi... mi madre es libanesa, mi padre de España

My... my mother is Lebanese, my father [is] from Spain

Caption 67, Eljuri Hablamos Con La Artista Sobre Su Nuevo Álbum

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Relationship

Esa es mi tía Silvia.

That is my Aunt Silvia.

Caption 24, Español para principiantes Demostrativos

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PLACE for estar

 

The word PLACE stands for the following:

 

Position

Location

Action

Condition

Emotion

 

Let's see some examples using the first person singular of estar in the present tense:

 

Position

Ahora, estoy en el centro.

Now, I'm in the center.

Caption 25, Raquel Las direcciones

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Location

Ahora estoy en el Monumento Natural Dunas de Artola, en la Playa de Cabopino,

Now I'm at the Dunas of Artola [Artola Dunes] Natural Monument, on Cabopino Beach,

Captions 31-32, Viajando con Fermín Dunas de Marbella

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Action

Silvia, ¿qué estás haciendo? Estoy bebiendo un vaso de agua.

Silvia, what are you doing? I'm drinking a glass of water.

Captions 25-26, El Aula Azul Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

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Condition

Ay... ¿Y puedes llamar a mi trabajo y decir que estoy enferma?

Oh... And can you call my work and say I'm sick?

Caption 4, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2 - Sam va de compras - Part 7

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Emotion

Estoy triste. Estoy triste.

I am sad. I am sad.

Captions 9-10, El Aula Azul Estados de ánimo

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Finally, we want to leave you with a little rhyme that will help you to choose the appropriate verb between ser and estar. This little rhyme, which is quite handy for the verb estar, goes like this:

 

For how you feel and where you are,

always use the verb ESTAR. 

 

In other words, keep in mind that when talking about emotions and location you should always use the verb estar.

 

That's it for today. We hope this little trick helps you to understand the difference between ser and estar, a little bit better. And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions

Continuer la lecture

Vivir en vs Vivir a

Many Yabla users have been wondering about the difference between 'vivir en' and 'vivir a' when you are talking about a particular place. In this lesson, we will explain how to properly use the verb vivir (to live) with either of these two prepositions. Let's start this lesson with a little quiz. Put the missing preposition(s) in the following sentence:

 

Porque si te cansas de vivir ___ Cádiz, te puedes ir a vivir ___ Málaga.

Because if you get tired of living in Cadiz, you can go to live in Malaga.

 

Would you use the preposition a or the preposition en? Or both? Let's find out the answer.

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

 

When to use vivir + en

We use 'vivir en' when we want to indicate a place. Let's see some examples:

 

hice mis amigos, tengo mi novia y me encanta vivir en Miami,

I made friends, I have my girlfriend, and I love to live in Miami,

Captions 35-36, Fiesta en Miami Antonio

 Play Caption

 

Siempre he tenido mi idea de vivir en Alemania.

I have always wanted to live in Germany.

Caption 82, Gonzalo el Pintor Vida - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

 

When to use vivir + a

We use 'vivir a' when we want to indicate that someone is moving towards a place: a destination. Because of that, 'vivir a' is preceded by verbs that indicate movement such as ir (to go) or venir (to come). In fact, the preposition 'a' before the destination is required by the verb that indicates movement and not by the verb vivir (to live). Let's take a look:

 

me voy a ir a vivir a Barcelona,

I'm going to go live in Barcelona,

Caption 23, Arume Málaga, España - Part 1

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¿Viene a vivir a Buenos Aires?

She's coming to live in Buenos Aires?

Caption 38, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 1

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Combining 'vivir en' and 'vivir a'

Now that we understand the difference, it is time to solve our quiz:

 

Porque si te cansas de vivir en Cádiz, te puedes ir a vivir a Málaga.

Because if you get tired of living in Cadiz, you can go to live in Malaga.

Captions 10-11, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 21

 Play Caption

 

 

That's it for now. We hope you like this lesson and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

 

Continuer la lecture

The conditional tense in Spanish: Conjugation and use

Generally speaking, we use the conditional tense in Spanish to talk about hypothetical things. However, we also use the conditional tense for polite requests or when we want to express wishes and desires. Let's take a look at some simple rules that will help you to master the conditional tense in Spanish.

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The conjugation of the conditional tense

Before talking about the uses of the conditinal tense, it is important to review how to conjugate it. Let's start with the regular verbs. For these verbs, you just need to take the infinitive form and add the conditional ending. 

 

Regular verbs ending in -ar

Let's take the verb hablar (to speak)

Yo hablaría (I would speak)

Tú hablarías (You would speak)

Él/Ella hablaría (He/She would speak)

Nosotros hablaríamos (We would speak)

Vosotros hablaríais (You would speak)

Ellos hablarían (They would speak)

 

Regular verbs ending in -er

Let's take the verb comer (to eat)

Yo comería (I would eat)

Tú comerías (You would eat)

Él/Ella comería (He/She would eat)

Nosotros comeríamos (We would eat)

Vosotros comeríais (You would eat)

Ellos comerían (They would eat)

 

Regular verbs ending in -ir

Let's take the verb abrir (to open)

Yo abriría (I would open)

Tú abrirías (You would open)

Él/Ella abriría (He/She would open)

Nosotros abriríamos (We would open)

Vosotros abriríais (You would open)

Ellos abrirían (They would open)

 

Irregular conditional verbs in Spanish

There are several irregular verbs that are used all the time in the conditional tense. For these verbs, you need to keep in mind that they maintain the same stem that they have in the future tense. Let's see the conjugation for the verbs decir (to say) and hacer (to make).

 

Yo diría (I would say)

Tú dirías (You would say)

Él/Ella diría (He/She would say)

Nosotros diríamos (We would say)

Vosotros diríais (You would say)

Ellos dirían (They would say)

 

Yo haría (I would make)

Tú harías (You would make)

Él/Ella haría (He/She would make)

Nosotros haríamos (We would make)

Vosotros haríais (You would make)

Ellos harían (They would make)

 

5 common uses of the conditional tense in Spanish

In Spanish, it is quite common to use the conditional tense when you want to do any of the following:

 

1. To ask for information in a polite way

¿Podrías por favor decirnos a los... a nuestros amigos de Yabla en qué lugar están ustedes?

Could you please tell us to the... to our friends from Yabla where you guys are?

Captions 66-67, Monsieur Periné Entrevista

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2. To express a wish or desire

¿Te gustaría volver a tu ciudad? Pues la verdad es que me encantaría volver a Málaga.

Would you like to return to your city? Well the truth is that I would love to go back to Málaga.

Captions 33-34, Clara y Cristina Saludar

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3. To make a suggestion

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

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4. To express a hypothesis or to take a guess

Cuatro horas es demasiado. Creo que no llegaría a tiempo a la reunión.

Four hours is too much. I think that I would not arrive in time for the meeting.

Captions 30-31, Raquel La Compra de un Billete de Tren

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5. To express the future in relation to what someone said in the past

Y que nos juramos que esto nunca iría a pasar

And we vowed to each other that this would never happen

Caption 21, Franco De Vita, Dueto Con Debi Nova Si Quieres Decir Adiós

 Play Caption

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

That's it for this lesson. We encourage you to write some sentences for the 5 different uses we mentioned for the conditional tense. And don't forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

Continuer la lecture

Regular IR verbs in Spanish

How many regular '-ir' verbs do you know in Spanish? Now that we have already talked about verbs ending in ‘-ar and verbs ending in '-er', it's time to take a look at the last main group of regular verbs. Again, keep in mind that we form regular verbs when we put together a verb stem and an infinitive ending. For example, the verb describir (to describe) is made with the verb stem 'describ' plus the infinitive ending '-ir'. With that being said, let's take a look at the following regular verbs ending in '-ir':

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  • Abrir (to open) = Abr + ir
  • Escribir (to write) = Escrib + ir
  • Vivir  (to live) = Viv + ir

 

Conjugation of ir verbs in simple present, past and future

We know we have a regular verb when the verb stem doesn't change once it is conjugated. Do you want to see how that works in the simple present? Let’s use the verb abrir (to open) for this: 

 

  • Yo abro (I open)
  • Tú abres (you open)
  • Él/Ella abre (he/she opens)
  • Nosotros/as abrimos (we open)
  • Vosotros/as abrís (you open)
  • Ellos/as abren (they open)

 

Abres el rombo,

You open the diamond,

Caption 46, Manos a la obra Separadores de libros: Charmander

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Now, let’s see how to conjugate a regular '-ir' verb in the simple past. Let's take the verb escribir (to write): 

 

  • Yo escribí (I wrote)
  • Tú escribiste (you wrote)
  • Él/Ella escrib (he/she wrote)
  • Nosotros/as escribimos (we wrote)
  • Vosotros/as escribisteis (you wrote)
  • Ellos/as escribieron (they wrote)

 

Gabriel García Márquez escribió muchos libros.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote a lot of books.

Caption 50, Carlos explica El pretérito Cap. 1: Perfecto simple o Indefinido

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It is worth noting that for the first person plural (nosotros), the conjugation of the verb is exactly the same in both the simple present and the simple past:

 

pero cuando escribimos estas dos palabras,

but when we write these two words,

Caption 45, Lecciones con Carolina Haber vs. A Ver /Si vs. Sí

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Now, let’s take one of the most common verbs in Spanish in order to see the conjugation of a regular ‘ir’ verb in the simple future:

 

  • Yo viviré (I will live)
  • Tú vivirás (you will live)
  • Él/Ella vivirá (he/she will live)
  • Nosotros/as viviremos (we will live)
  • Vosotros/as viviréis (you will live)
  • Ellos/as vivirán (they will live) 

 

y que viviremos en un hogar agradable,

and that we will live in a nice home,

Caption 55, Negocios La solicitud de empleo - Part 2

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Unlike the simple present and past, the conjugation in the simple future leaves the verb as it is (vivir) only adding a different ending.

 

5 sentences using regular ir verbs in Spanish

 

Let’s learn some more regular -ir verbs with the following sentences:

 

1. Aplaudir (to clap)

 

o por ejemplo, en el flamenco se aplaude así.

or for example, in flamenco one claps like this.

Caption 46, Marta de Madrid El cuerpo - El tronco

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2. Decidir (to decide)

 

De un momento a otro, decidió quedarse en Bogotá,

From one minute to another, she decided to stay in Bogota,

Caption 22, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capitulo 4 - Part 6

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3. Discutir (to discuss/argue)

 

Chica, sabes que yo no discuto con novatas después del mediodía.

Girl, you know that I don't argue with rookies after noon.

Caption 57, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 2

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4. Subir (to climb/go up/increase)

 

Subimos la temperatura del depósito a ochenta grados.

We increase the temperature of the tank to eighty degrees.

Caption 25, Club de las ideas Biodiesel - Part 2

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5. Sufrir (to suffer)

 

sufres, gritas, nadie te da nada

you suffer, you scream, nobody gives you anything

Caption 21, Club de las ideas La motivación

 Play Caption

 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

That’s it for this lesson. Now that we have covered all the three groups of regular verbs, go ahead and try to write some sentences with verbs ending in -ar, -er and -ir. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

Continuer la lecture

Regular ER verbs in Spanish

Let’s talk about verbs. As we mentioned before, in Spanish language, all regular verbs belong to one of the following groups: verbs ending in ‘-ar, verbs ending in ‘-er’ and verbs ending in ‘-ir’. Today, we will take a look at those verbs ending in ‘-er’.

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Before that, however, let’s keep in mind that regular verbs are formed using the following formula: verb stem + infinitive ending. Let’s look at some of the most common regular ‘ER’ verbs in Spanish:

 

  • Aprender (to learn) = Aprend + er
  • Comer (to eat) = Com + er
  • Vender  (to sell) = Vend + er

 

Conjugation of er verbs in Spanish

A verb is considered regular when the verb stem doesn’t change from the infinitive form to the conjugated form of the verb. Let’s take the regular verb aprender (to learn) and see its conjugation in the simple present. Notice how the stem stays the same but the endings vary:

 

  • Yo aprendo (I learn)
  • Tú aprendes (you learn)
  • Él/Ella aprende (he/she learns)
  • Nosotros/as aprendemos (we learn)
  • Vosotros/as aprendéis (you learn)
  • Ellos/as aprenden (they learn)

 

Aquí aprenden a diseñar y confeccionar decorados,

Here they learn to design and make decorations,

Caption 26, Europa Abierta - Taller de escenografía en Olivares

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Now, let’s take the regular verb comer (to eat) and see how the conjugation works in the simple past:

 

  • Yo comí (I ate)
  • Tú comiste (you ate)
  • Él/Ella com (he/she ate)
  • Nosotros/as comimos (we ate)
  • Vosotros/as comisteis (you ate)
  • Ellos/as comieron (they ate)

 

Fuimos a pasear, comimos un helado,

We went for a walk, we ate an ice cream,

Caption 29, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos - El pasado

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Let’s use a different verb to see the conjugation of a regular ‘er’ verb in the simple future. Let’s take the verb vender (to sell):

 

  • Yo venderé (I will sell)
  • Tú venderás (you will sell)
  • Él/Ella venderá (he/she will sell)
  • Nosotros/as venderemos (we will sell)
  • Vosotros/as venderéis (you will sell)
  • Ellos/as venderán (they will sell)

 

Mañana venderé mi casa.

Tomorrow, I will sell my house.

 

5 sentences using er verbs in Spanish

Let’s finish this lesson by learning more verbs with these 5 sentences using er verbs in Spanish:

 

1. Beber (to drink)

Yo bebo agua.

I drink water.

Caption 27, El Aula Azul - Actividades diarias - En casa con Silvia

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2. Comprender (to comprehend / understand)

Ahora comprendo mejor la operación de mi padre

Now I understand my father's operation better

Caption 65, Club de las ideas - Lego Fest en Sevilla

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3. Correr (to run)

Corrió hacia la puerta y cuando el príncipe trató de seguirla,

She ran to the door and when the prince tried to follow her,

Caption 16, Cuentos de hadas - La Cenicienta - Part 2

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4. Prometer (to promise)

Ayer os prometí que estudiaríamos hoy "aconsejar,"

Yesterday I promised you that today we would learn "to advise,"

Caption 1, Escuela Don Quijote - En el aul - Part 1

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5. Temer (to fear / be afraid of)

Pero ellos no le temen a nada.

But they are not afraid of anything.

Caption 23, Salvando el planeta Palabra - Llegada - Part 8

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BANNER PLACEHOLDER

That’s it for this lesson. Now, a final challenge: Take one of the sentences we just mentioned and try to change it using a different person and a different verb tense. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.

 

Continuer la lecture

Había or habían muchos libros?

Let’s start this lesson with a short quiz. Imagine that you want to say the following sentence in Spanish:

“There were many books in that apartment.” You have two options:

a. Había muchos libros en ese apartamento

OR

b. Habían muchos libros en ese apartamento

Which one is the correct form? Había in singular or habían in plural?

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Using the verb haber in Spanish

To answer our question, we need to say that había and habían belong to the imperfect tense of the Spanish verb haber. Let’s take a look at that conjugation:

 

  • Yo había
  • Tú habías
  • Él/Ella había
  • Nosotros/as habíamos
  • Vosotros/as habíais
  • Ellos/as habían

 

Now, very often, we use the verb haber as the auxiliary verb “to have”:

 

...todas las cosas que había estado buscando, ¿no?

...all the things that I had been looking for, right?

Caption 5, Belanova - Entrevista - Part 2

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However, in the sentence we are discussing here, we are not using haber as the auxiliary verb “to have,” but rather as an element that allows us to make a reference to the existence of many books in a particular place (the apartment). In other words, we are using haber as the equivalent of there is / there are in English.

When we use haber with that intention, we ALWAYS have to use its singular form even if what comes after it is a plural noun! Because of that, the correct answer to our opening question is the following:

a. Había muchos libros en ese apartamento

 

How to use había when talking about existence

Now that we understand that we need to use the singular había and not the plural form habían, let’s look at a couple of examples of how to properly use había when talking about the presence or existence of things or people in a particular place:

 

Aquí había unas comidas para llevar.

There were some takeout places here.

Caption 8, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 10

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porque había diferentes explicaciones de…

because there were different explanations of…

Caption 31, El Aula Azul - Dos historias

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porque había muchos obstáculos para ese encuentro.

because there were many obstacles for that meeting.

Caption 34, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 4

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había muchos seres extraños

and there were many strange beings.

Caption 43, Salvando el planeta Palabra - Llegada - Part 3

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no había máquinas de estas,

there were no machines like these,

Caption 37, Tortillería La Nueva Única - Entrevista con don Alfonso - Part 2

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By the way, it is worth saying that many Spanish speakers make the mistake of using habían instead of había in the context we just discussed. In fact, many people think that what comes after the verb haber is the subject of the sentence, which is not the case.

That’s it for now. We hope this lesson will help you to avoid making this very common mistake in Spanish. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Explore more lessons:

Using "haber de" to Express Necessity or Possibility

Haber+De+Infinitive: Something you should learn

Va a haber: Related forms of "Hay"

Continuer la lecture

Regular AR verbs in Spanish

In the Spanish language, all infinitive verbs belong to one of the following groups: verbs ending in ‘-ar’, verbs ending in ‘-er and verbs ending in ‘-ir.

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Likewise, each infinitive verb is formed using the following formula: verb stem + infinitive ending. Let’s look at some of the most common regular ‘AR’ verbs in Spanish:

 

  • Hablar (to speak) = Habl + ar
  • Comprar (to buy) = Compr + ar
  • Estudiar  (to study) = Estudi + ar

 

What makes a verb regular?

A verb is considered regular when the verb stem doesn’t change from the infinitive form to the conjugated form of the verb. Let’s take the regular verb hablar (to speak) and see its conjugation in the simple present. Notice how the stem stays the same but the endings vary:

 

  • Yo hablo (I speak)
  • Tú hablas (You speak)
  • Él/Ella habla (He/She speaks)
  • Nosotros/as hablamos (We speak)
  • Vosotros/as habláis (You speak)
  • Ellos/as hablan (They speak)

 

... o cuando mis alumnos hablan español.

... or when my students speak Spanish.

Caption 84, Lecciones con Carolina - Adjetivos posesivos - Part 2

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Now, let’s take the regular verb comprar (to buy) and see how the conjugation works in the simple past:

 

  • Yo compré (I bought)
  • Tú compraste (You bought)
  • Él/Ella compró (He/She bought)
  • Nosotros/as compramos (We bought)
  • Vosotros/as comprasteis (You bought)
  • Ellos/as compraron (They bought)

 

¿Recuerdas el regalo que compré? -Mm-hm.

Do you remember the gift that I bought? -Mm-hm.

Caption 17, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos - El pasado

 Play Caption

 

Let’s use a different verb to see the conjugation of a regular ‘AR’ verb in the simple future. Let’s take the verb estudiar (to study):

 

  • Yo estudiaré (I will study)
  • Tú estudiarás (You will study)
  • Él/Ella estudiará (He/She will study)
  • Nosotros/as estudiaremos (We will study)
  • Vosotros/as estudiaréis (You will study)
  • Ellos/as estudiarán (They will study)

 

La Comisaría de Pesca dice que estudiará la forma de pagar esa indemnización.

The Fisheries Commissioner says that she will evaluate the way to pay that compensation.

Caption 50, Europa Abierta - Aguas en discordia

 Play Caption

 

Do you want to know more regular ‘AR’ verbs in Spanish?

Take a look at the following list featuring some of the most used 'AR' verbs in Spanish:

 

  • Cantar (to sing) 
  • Bailar (to dance) 
  • Bajar (to go down) 
  • Caminar (to walk) 
  • Contestar (to answer) 
  • Descansar (to rest) 
  • Entrar (to enter) 
  • Escuchar (to listen to) 
  • Llegar (to arrive)
  • Limpiar (to clean)

 

Now, a final challenge: take one of the verbs we just mentioned and try conjugating it in simple present, past and future. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.

 

Explore more lessons:

The complicated world of reflexive verbs

Combining verbs in Spanish - Part 1 - Infinitives

Combining verbs in Spanish - Part 2- Gerundios y participios

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

 

Continuer la lecture

Idiomatic Expressions with The Verb Tener

In this lesson, we will review some very useful idioms and expressions with the verb tener (to have).
 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Very often, we use idiomatic expressions with tener in the present so let’s review the conjugation of this verb in the present tense:
 
Yo tengo | I have
Tú tienes | You have
Él/Ella tiene | He/She has
Nosotros tenemos | We have
Vosotros tenéis | You have
Ellos tienen | They have
 
There are many idiomatic expressions with the verb tener that Spanish speakers use to express physical sensations. These include expressions like tener frío/calor (to be cold/hot), tener hambre (to be hungry) and tener sueño (to be sleepy):

Bueno, pero tengo frío.

Well, but I'm cold.

Caption 31, Natalia de Ecuador - Palabras de uso básico

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Y más que tenemos hambre ya a esta hora.

And plus, we're already hungry at this hour.

Caption 106, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 5

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Tenemos sueño.

We are sleepy.

Caption 38, El Aula Azul - Estados de ánimo

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Apart from physical sensations, we can also use the verb tener to express other more psychological states such as tener miedo (to be afraid), tener ganas (to want/to desire), tener prisa (to be in a hurry) and tener vergüenza (to be ashamed):

¡Tengo miedo, tengo miedo, tengo miedo!

I'm afraid, I'm afraid, I'm afraid!

Caption 42, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reunión - Part 2

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Siento que te cansaste y tienes ganas

I feel that you got tired and you want

Caption 4, Circo - Velocidades luz

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la gente parece que siempre tiene prisa...

people seem to always be in a hurry...

Caption 38, Maestra en Madrid - Nuria y amigo

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En este momento duda porque tiene vergüenza de ir a la escuela,

At this moment she hesitates because she's ashamed to go to school,

Caption 49, Con ánimo de lucro - Cortometraje - Part 4

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And finally, don’t forget that you also need to use an idiomatic expression with the verb tener when you talk about age:
 

Tengo veintiún años y soy estudiante de negocios internacionales.

I'm twenty-one years old and I'm a student of international business.

Caption 2, Amigos D.F. - Consejos para la calle

 Play Caption

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

That's all for now. We challenge you to try finding more idiomatic expressions with the verb tener in our catalog of videos! And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

Continuer la lecture

A Common Past: Ser and Ir

We all know that irregular verbs are tricky. Very often, however, we can take advantage of those special rules that make the learning process a bit easier. Today, we will explore the past tense of the irregular verbs ser (to be) and ir (to go).

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

 
First of all, the good news: the verbs ser and ir share the same simple past conjugation! By simple past, we are referring to what is known in Spanish as pretérito perfecto simple or just pretérito (preterit). Let’s review the simple past conjugation of the verb ser:

 

Yo fui | I was
Tú fuiste | You were
Él/Ella fue | He/She was
Nosotros fuimos | We were
Vosotros fuisteis | You were
Ellos fueron | They were

 

Pensar que un día fui la respuesta

To think that one day I was the answer

Caption 15, Belanova - Tal vez

 Play Caption

 

Aprendí que los primeros en hacer cómic fueron los aztecas.

I learned that the first ones to make comics were the Aztecs.

Captions 47-48, Antonio Vargas - Artista - Comic

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And now, let’s take a look at the simple past conjugation of the verb ir:

Yo fui | I went
Tú fuiste | You went
Él/Ella fue | He/She went
Nosotros fuimos | We went
Vosotros fuisteis | You went
Ellos fueron | They went

 

Y sí, definitivamente fuimos a tomar un café, fuimos a cenar.

And yes, we definitely went for a coffee, went to dinner.

Caption 18, Enanitos Verdes - Luz de día

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¿Y te fuiste a vivir con tu novio con cuánto? -Con diecisiete.

And you went to live with your boyfriend when you were how old? -I was seventeen.

Caption 92, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 14

 Play Caption


We also use the simple past conjugation of the verb ir for the reflexive form irse (to leave):

Yo me fui de la casa cuando tenía nueve años.

I left home when I was nine years old.

Caption 41, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 5

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Desde aquel día que te fuiste, supe que eras para mí

From that day on which you left, I knew you were for me

Caption 1, Andy Andy - Maldito Amor

 Play Caption

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

That's all for now. But before we leave, a short exercise for you: Write 10 sentences in simple past with the verb ser and 10 sentences with the verb ir. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

Continuer la lecture

The Spanish Verb Decir

The verb decir (to say, to tell) is very common in Spanish. Let’s learn how to use it.
 
One of the most commonly used forms of this verb is digo (I say):
 

Pero si yo digo: Yo voy en el autobús y usted va en el coche,

But if I say: I am going in the bus and you [formal] are going on the car,

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The verb decir is frequently followed by the word que (that):
 

Yo digo que la fruta es para comerla no para hacerse una fotografía con ella.

I say that fruit is to eat it not to take a picture with it.

Caption 48, Los Reporteros - Sembrar, comer, tirar - Part 2

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Also remember that in Spanish you don't always need to use personal pronouns before verbs, since these are conjugated differently for each person:
 

Pues entonces rejuvenece coger castañas. -Digo que sí.

Well then, it rejuvenates to pick chestnuts. -I say so.

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Another common instance of the verb decir is dice (he/she/it says). The reason why dice is very useful is because it helps us talk about what we read or hear. For example:
 
Hay un letrero en la puerta que dice que ya está cerrado | There's a sign on the door sayingit's closed already.
El mensaje dice que viene una gran tormenta | The message says a big storm is coming.
Mayra dice que te tienes que ir | Mayra says you have to go.
 
We mentioned before that it’s very common to omit personal pronouns before verbs in Spanish. But you will find that the verb decir is frequently preceded by reflexive, direct, or indirect object pronouns (me, te, se, nos, os, le, les, la, las, lo) depending on what is being said and to whom. For example:
 

¿Quién nos dice que la vida nos dará el tiempo necesario?

Who says [to us] life will give us the necessary time?

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Supongamos que un amigo me dice lo siguiente:

Let's imagine that a friend tells me the following:

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It's also important to remember how pronouns are combined when using this verb. You must place reflexive or indirect object pronouns first, and then direct object pronouns right next to the verb. In the following example te replaces an indirect object (you) and lo (it) replaces a direct object:
 

Te lo digo de corazón.

I tell [it to] you from the heart.

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The past tense dijo (he/she/it said) is another useful form of this verb. For example, you can use it to talk about what someone told you in the past. The expression me lo dijo (he/she/it told it to me) is worth learning:
 

¡Es verdad, pana, mi hermano me lo dijo!

It's true, pal, my brother told it to me!

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No le digas (don’t tell him/her) and no me digas (don’t tell me) are  also useful:
 

¡No le digas, Candelario!

Don't tell him, Candelario!

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Another fixed expression is se dice (it's said, one says), which is equivalent to dice la gente(people say):
 

Bueno y se dice que la mujer tiene un sexto sentido

Well, and one says that a woman has a sixth sense

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The same phrase, se dice, can also be used to talk about the correct pronunciation of a word, or its meaning in a different language. For example:
 
Buenos días se dice "bonjour" en Francés | "Bonjour" is good morning in French.
No se dice "soy contento", se dice "estoy contento" | You don't say "soy contento," you say "estoy contento" (I'm happy).
 
You can find many more examples of the verb decir in our catalog. You just need to type the form of the verb that you want to practice in the search tool to start learning real Spanish from real speakers in real situations!

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The Verb Llevar

The Spanish verb llevar has many different meanings. It's also used in many idiomatic phrases. Let's study some examples since this is a very popular and useful verb.
 
The basic meanings of llevar is "to carry " or "to take": 
 
Tengo que llevar a mi hijo al doctor - I have to take my kid to the doctor.
Ella lleva una carga muy pesada - She carries a very heavy burden.
 
Sometimes the verb llevar translates as "to bring": 
 
No [te] olvides [de] llevar un regalo a la fiesta de Lucía / Don't forget to bring a gift to Lucia's party.
 
This can be a little confusing for English speakers, since traer and llevar actually mean opposite things in Spanish. The verb traer involves carrying something to the speaker's location, while llevar means to carry something from the speaker's location to a different place. So, to use the same example, if you are already at Lucía's party or, let's say, she is your roomie, you must say: No [te] olvides [de] traer un regalo a la fiesta de Lucía (Don't forget to bring a gift to Lucia's party).
 

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But the verb llevar has many other interesting uses. For example, it's used to express the idea of having been doing something for a period of time. In this case, it's very common to combine llevar with the preposition ya (already):

 

Yo ya llevo veintitrés años aquí ya.

I have already been here for twenty-three years now.

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Llevar can also be used to express duration. This is easy to learn since English also uses "to take" for the same purpose:
 

tenemos que teñirlo, esto pues, nos lleva un ratito,

we have to dye it, this well, it takes us a little while,

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As you can see, this use of llevar frequently involves using reflexive pronouns. But you don't always need them. Compare, for example: 
 
Hacer la tarea lleva mucho tiempo / Doing homework takes a lot of time.
Hacer la tarea me lleva mucho tiempo / Doing homework takes me a lot of time.
 
Llevar also means"to wear":
 

¿Por qué lleváis guantes?

Why do you wear gloves?

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By the way, the verb traer (to bring) is sometimes used the same way:
 

por eso... traen pantalones

that's why... they wear pants

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And the verb llevar also means "to lead." For example: ¿Llevas una vida saludable? (Do youlead a healthy life?). 
 
Finally, there's an expression used in Mexico that derives from this last meaning: ahí la llevas. It literally means something like "there, you are leading it" but it means that the person speaking is telling you that you are doing your work well. It's very common to use this expression as an ironic remark that means exactly the opposite, so be careful: 
 
No te rindas, hijo. Ahí la llevas. / Don't give up, son. You are doing well.
¿Otra vez borracho? Bueno, tú síguele. Ahí la llevas. / Drunk again? Well, keep going. You are on the right track... not.

 

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Phrases with esté

In our previous lesson we discussed the memorization of short phrases as a strategy to gain confidence when conversing in Spanish. The idea is to memorize specific chunks of speech and use them as building blocks to create more complex ideas. In this lesson we will focus on exploring phrases that use the verb esté.
 

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The verb esté is a conjugated form of the verb estar (to be) in the present subjunctive. Let's see how speakers use it in everyday speech and learn how to build new sentences with it.
 
You can find many examples of the phrase para que esté in our catalog of videos. This phrase is used to express purpose and it's usually followed by an adjective or a verb in participio (-ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings and its feminine and plural variants):

uno trata de abarcar lo más posible para que esté protegida lo más posible, ¿no?

one tries to cover as much as possible so that she would be as protected as she can be, right?

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In this case the speaker is talking about another person, a woman. The pronoun ella (she) is not needed in Spanish but you can actually add pronouns, names, or noun phrases between que and esté. You can also use actual adjectives instead of participios. For example:
 
para que Luisa esté protegida | So that Luisa would be protected.
para que el niño esté sano | So that the kid is healthy.
para que el trabajo esté terminado | So that the job is finished.
 
Here's an example from our catalog:
 

para que la patata esté blanda, se tiene que cocer mucho la crema

in order for the potato to be soft, the cream has to be cooked a lot

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Since the subjunctive esté is used for both the first and third person singular, you can use the same expression to talk about yourself. You can add the pronoun yo (I) between que and esté, or not. Check out the following example that also uses negation:
 
Compra un seguro de vida para que [yo] no esté preocupada \ Buy a life insurance policy so I won’t be worried.
 
Another common phrase that uses esté is aunque esté. This phrase is used to introduce the idea of a concession. The word aunque [aún + que] means although, even if, though.
 

aunque esté un poquito más deteriorado, ¿no?

even though it might be a little bit more spoiled, right?

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Here are some additional examples:
 
Todos los años visito al doctor aunque [yo] no esté enfermo / I visit the doctor every year even if I'm not sick.
Aunque esta camiseta esté vieja, me sigue gustando mucho / Even though this t-shirt might be old, I still like it.
El dentista te recibirá hoy aunque esté muy ocupado / The dentist will see you today even if he's very busy.
Aunque esté cansado, aún tengo que hacer ejercicio / Even though I may be tired, I still need to exercise.
 
Finally, the phrase que esté muy bien (informal: que estés muy bien) is sometimes used to say goodbye:
 

Al contrario Joaquín, me da mucho gusto, le mando un abrazo. Que esté muy bien.

To the contrary, Joaquin, it's a pleasure, I send you a hug. Hope you're well.

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You can also use it as an introductory greeting by adding the verb espero (I hope), especially in written communications: Hola, espero que estés bien (Hi, I hope you are well).
 
There are of course many other uses of the verb esté. Try to find more examples in our catalog of videos. Please send your feedback and suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

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