Lecciones de Español

Temas

Spanish Alphabet Quiz

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

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Spanish Alphabet Quiz: The Basics

 

1. How many letters does the Spanish alphabet have?

a. 26

b. 27

c. 28

d. 29

 

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

a. alphabeto

b. alfagamo

c. alfabeto

d. alfabedario

 

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

a. el abeceto

b. el abecedario

c. el abracadario

d. none of the above

 

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

a. x

b. w

c. y

d. j

 

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

 

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

a. 4

b. 5

c. 6

d. 7

 

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

a. 2

b. 3

c. 4

d. 5

 

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

 

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

a. uve doble

b. doble u

c. ve doble

d. They are all valid.

 

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

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Spanish Alphabet Quiz: Spelling and Pronunciation

 

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

a. snake

b. frog

c. zebra

d. octopus

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

a. m

b.  r

c. p

d. s

 

Find out the answer in this lesson.

 

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

a. p

b. r

c. n

d. c

 

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

 

Spanish Alphabet Quiz: The Answers

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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The Top Royalty-Related Spanish Words

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

 

Queen (la reina)

hasta que por fin la reina Isabel le concedió audiencia

until Queen Isabel finally granted him an audience,

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

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

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King (el rey)

Miren, hablando del rey de Roma.

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

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

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

 

Actualmente es la residencia oficial de los reyes de España,

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

Caption 24, Madrid Un recorrido por la capital de España

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Crown (la corona)

Corona imperial española.

Imperial Spanish Crown.

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

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Monarchy (la monarquía)

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

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

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

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Monarch (el/la monarca)

a quienes los monarcas otorgaban las patentes de corso,

to whom the monarchs granted letters of marque,

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

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

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Prince (el príncipe)

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

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

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

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

 

come como un príncipe,

eat the main meal of the day like a prince,

Caption 36, Raquel Presentaciones

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Princess (la princesa)

se casaba con una princesa de España.

he was marrying a princess from Spain.

Caption 26, Leyendas urbanas La Llorona

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Duke (el duque)

Su marido es el príncipe Felipe, duque de Edimburgo.

Her husband is Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

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

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

 

Royal family (la familia real)

Por consejo del cuerpo de seguridad de la familia real,

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

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

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Kingdom (el reino)

Érase una vez en un lejano reino,

Once upon a time in a faraway kingdom,

Caption 1, Cuentos de hadas Cenicienta - Part 1

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Throne (el trono)

y la subida al trono del nuevo cacique

and the ascension to the throne of the new cacique

Caption 18, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El Dorado

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Majesty (Majestad)

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

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

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

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Highness (Alteza)

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

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

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

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

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The "No Fault Se" Construction in Spanish

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

 

What Is a "No Fault Se" Construction?

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

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How to Form a "No Fault Se" Construction 

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

 

1. The pronoun se.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

y se le cayó el trozo de carne.

and he dropped the piece of meat.

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

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

 

El martes se me perdieron las llaves de casa,

On Tuesday, my house keys got lost,

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

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

 

A Note About Translation 

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

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Some Common "No Fault" Se Construction Verbs

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

 

1. Olvidarse (to forget)

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

2. Ocurrir (to happen)

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

 

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

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

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

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Se me ocurrió una gran idea.

I thought of a great idea.

Caption 28, Guillermina y Candelario El paseo sobre el mar

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3. Acabarse (to run out)

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

 

Porque se me acabó el dinero y...

Because I ran out of money, and...

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

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

 

4. Quemar (to burn)

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

 

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

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

Caption 25, Guillermina y Candelario Experimentos en la cocina

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

5. Quedar (to be left)

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

 

Se te quedó esto. -Espera.

You left this behind. -Wait.

Caption 55, Salvando el planeta Palabra Llegada - Part 6

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

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Hay que + Infinitive: A "Necessary" Construction

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

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A Simple Formula

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

 

Es necesario usar papel, carbón o madera para encenderlo.

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

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

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

 

Tienes que mejorar esto.

You have to improve this.

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

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Bueno, primero debemos hacer la lista de invitados 

Well, first, we must make the guest list

Caption 15, Cleer y Carolina Organizando la fiesta del abuelo

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

 

Hay que + infinitive 

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About Hay que + Infinitive 

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

 

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

 

hay que darle la oportunidad de defenderse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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When to Use Hay que + Infinitive 

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

 

General Rules, Truths, or Wisdom

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

 

En la vida hay que saber relajarse,

In life, you need to know how to relax,

Caption 44, Ana Teresa 5 principios del yoga

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El pasado hay que olvidarlo, hay que enterrarlo,

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

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

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Giving Advice 

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

 

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

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

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

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Hay que demostrar que tú no eres ningún criminal,

You have to show that you're no criminal,

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

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

 

pues, hay que ir a México.

well, you have to go to Mexico.

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

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Directions

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

 

Después hay que torcer la primera calle a la izquierda.

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

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

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Primero hay que ir todo derecho, ¿sí?

First you have to go straight ahead, right?

Caption 23, Curso de español Direcciones en la ciudad

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Instructions

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

 

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

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

Captions 11-12, Recetas de cocina Arepas colombianas

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

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

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

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

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Additional Tenses of Haber que + Infinitive

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

 

Definitivamente había que dejar el trabajo para dedicarme al restaurante.

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

Caption 13, La Sub30 Familias - Part 9

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

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

Caption 84, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 6

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

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

Caption 86, Negocios La solicitud de empleo - Part 2

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

 

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

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Aunque + Present Indicative vs. Subjunctive

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

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Aunque + Present Indicative

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

 

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

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

Caption 22, Lecciones con Carolina Errores comunes - Part 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Aunque + Present Subjunctive

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

 

Aunque + Present Subjunctive for Hypothetical Situations

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Aunque no crean, existe el amor a primera vista.

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

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

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

 

Aunque + Present Subjunctive for Background Information

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Ambiguity with the Aunque + Subjunctive Construction

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

 

Aunque haga calor, yo voy a usar mi chaqueta nueva

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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Understanding the Colloquial Spanish Word Venga in English

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

1. Motivation or Encouragement

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

 

Venga, cuéntamelo, Sam. No pasa nada.

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

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

 Play Caption

 

Venga, díselo.

Come on, tell him.

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

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

Captions 1-3, Cortometraje Flechazos

 Play Caption

 

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2. Giving Orders

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

 

¿Hay alguien? Conteste, venga.

Is anyone there? Answer, come on.

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

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3. As a Synonym for "Let's Do It"

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

 

¿Sí? ¡Venga va! Vamos a corregir.

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

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

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Venga, vámonos.

Come on, let's go.

Caption 60, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 3

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4. Expression of Agreement

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

 

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

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

Captions 95-96, Blanca y Mariona Vida en general

 Play Caption

 

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

 

Venga. -Venga. Hasta luego.

OK. -OK. Bye.

 

5. As a Synonym for "Hurry Up"

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

 

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

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

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

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6. Asking Favors or Begging

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

 

Venga, Sam. Tienes que vestirte de basurero.

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

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

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7. Expression of Disapproval or Disbelief

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

 

Pero venga, tío. Eso no tiene sentido.

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

 

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

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The Preposition hasta in Spanish

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

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1. A Final Limit in Space or Time

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

 

Time

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

 

Eh... Trabajo hasta las dos 

Um... I work until two,

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

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

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

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

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

Location

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Situation

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

 

y lo tuvo con ella hasta que llegó la primavera.

and she had him with her until spring came.

Caption 41, Cleer El patito feo

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

 

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

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

Caption 41, La cocina de María Tortilla de patatas

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

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2. A Numerical Limit

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

 

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

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

Caption 69, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 15

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Pesan hasta siete kilos, ocho kilos los machos adultos.

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

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

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3. Hasta Meaning "Not Before"

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

 

Terminará hasta mediodía.

He won't finish before noon. 

 

4. Emphasis or Disbelief 

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

 

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

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

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

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Hasta se cree la mega estrella.

She even thinks she's the megastar.

Caption 54, X6 1 - La banda - Part 1

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Idiomatic Expressions with hasta

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

 

hasta luego: see you later

hasta pronto: see you soon

hasta la próxima: see you next time

hasta mañana: see you tomorrow

hasta la vista: until we meet again

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Let's see this last one in context:

 

Muy bien, estaba hasta la coronilla.

Just great, I was fed up.

Caption 16, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 4

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

 

hasta aquí el vídeo de hoy.

that's all for today's video.

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

 Play Caption

 

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

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3 Ways to Use the Preposition ante in Spanish

Although the preposition ante is not as "popular" as some others, such as the preposition a or the preposition en, it is still very useful. In fact, this lesson will explain 3 different ideas that the preposition ante can express. Let's get started!

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1. "Before" or "In Front of"

One of the most common uses of the preposition ante is to mean "before" or "in front of." This includes physical position or location. Let's see a couple of examples from our library:

 

Hoy la luna pálida aparece ante mis ojos

Today the pale moon appears before my eyes

Caption 1, Festivaliando Mono Núñez - Part 17

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y ya a la edad de cinco años tocaba piano ante el público y daba conciertos.

and at the age of five was already playing piano in front of an audience and putting on concerts.

Captions 26-27, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín Mauricio y el maestro Arrau

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In addition to describing literal location, the preposition ante can also figuratively mean "before," particularly when used with nouns, verbs, and adjectives that entail a particular stance on something, or call to or withdrawal from action. In these cases, it is often translated with the less formal "to." Let's take a look:

 

Lo que usted tiene que hacer es quejarse ante una asociación protectora de animales. 

What you have to do is complain to an animal protective association.

Captions 26-27, Kikirikí Animales - Part 5

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Sus llamativos trajes y su manera de bailar reflejan la resistencia ante la conquista española.

Their striking costumes and their manner of dancing reflect the resistance to the Spanish conquest.

Captions 17-18, Música andina Ritmos andinos con violín

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De ceder ante tu llanto No pienso abrir las heridas de haberte querido tanto

Of giving in to your crying I do not plan to open the wounds of having loved you so much

Captions 21-22, No te va a gustar Chau

 Play Caption

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2. "In the Face of"

The preposition ante can also be used as the equivalent of English expressions like "in the face of," "in the presence of," or "faced with." Let's take a look at two examples, including one from our popular series Confidencial: Asesino al Volante:

 

Sabias palabras del padre Sarmiento ante la inmisericorde caza de brujas que se ha desatado en contra del Señor Jorge Castellanos. 

Wise words from Father Sarmiento in the face of the merciless witch hunt that has been unleashed against Mister Jorge Castellanos.

Captions 60-62, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 4 - Part 1

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y, ante el temor de la mujer por un viaje tan largo a un lugar tan desconocido, la consoló con la promesa de regresar lo antes posible

and, faced with the wife's fear of such a long trip to such an unknown place, he consoled her with the promise of returning as soon as possible

Captions 11-13, Cleer El espejo de Matsuyama

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3. "As Compared to"

The preposition ante can also be used like the English "(as) compared to" or "next to," as in the following examples:

 

Ante la belleza de su hermana mayor, la chica se creía muy ordinaria. 

Compared to her older sister's beauty, the girl believed she was very ordinary. 

 

Ante la personalidad exigente de su jefe previo, su jefe nuevo parecía muy tranquilo. 

Next to her former boss' demanding personality, her new boss seemed very mellow. 

 

Idiomatic Uses of the Preposition ante

 You might also hear the Spanish preposition ante in idiomatic expressions, such as ante ello ("in light of that" or "considering that"), ante la duda ("in case of doubt" or "when in doubt"), ante todo ("above all" or "first of all"), and many more. Let's hear two of these in action:

 

Y ante todo sos una chica que tenés derecho a soñar con todo lo que quieras.

And above all you're a girl who has the right to dream about everything you want.

Caption 13, Muñeca Brava 44 El encuentro - Part 7

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Ante la duda... -Ninguna. -que no se coma.

In case of doubt... -None. -don't eat it.

Captions 85-86, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 11

 Play Caption

 

That's all for this lesson. As you can see, there are many ways to use the preposition ante, and we encourage you to try to write some additional sentences with each one of these uses. And, of course, don't forget to send us your questions and comments

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The Spanish "Near Future" Tense

The Spanish near future tense is an alternative to the traditional future tense in Spanish. If you haven't yet learned to conjugate the future tense in Spanish or find it difficult, we recommend using the near future tense in Spanish, which is expressed with a simple formula that we'll teach you today.

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Present Indicative Conjugation of Ir

Since the near future tense in Spanish is most commonly (but not always!) seen in the present indicative tense, it will behoove you to make sure you know the present indicative conjugation of the verb ir. Let's take a look:

 

Subject Pronoun Present Conjugation of Ir
yo voy
vas
él, ella, usted va
nosotros/as vamos
vosotros/as vais
ellos/as, ustedes van

 

Formula for the Spanish Near Future Tense

Now that we've recalled the present indicative conjugation of ir, let's take a look at the formula for the Spanish near future tense, which is ir + a + infinitive. As ir means "to go," and a can mean "to," you can think of the Spanish near future tense as "to be going to" do something. Let's see some examples:

 

¡Abuelo, no vas a creer lo que te voy a contar

Grandpa, you aren't going to believe what I'm going to tell you!

Caption 9, Guillermina y Candelario El Mejor Columpio

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y ellos nos van a dar un poco de información. 

and they are going to give us a bit of information.

Caption 4, El Aula Azul Los profesores de la escuela - Part 2

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Entonces, hoy vamos a hablar de la familia. 

So, today we are going to talk about family.

Caption 1, Curso de español Vamos a hablar de la familia

 Play Caption
 

Sidenote:

The first person plural form vamos a + infinitive can also be an alternative for the nosotros/as command form, which is the equivalent of "Let's" [do something] in English. We see this in the popular expression Vamos a ver (Let's see):

 

Así que, vamos a ver de qué se trata.

So, let's see what it is.

Caption 6, Ana Carolina Receta para una picada

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That said, although there may be some cases in which it is difficult to determine whether a Spanish sentence with vamos a + infinitive is intended to mean "we're going to" or "let's," in most cases, context should make this clear.  

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When to Use the Spanish Near Future Tense

Technically, the Spanish near future tense is intended for events that are imminent rather than in the distant future, and for that reason, it is quite often accompanied by words like ahora (now) or hoy (today), as in the following examples:

 

y hoy les voy a dar siete consejos prácticos para mejorar su pronunciación en español.

and today I'm going to give you seven practical tips to improve your pronunciation in Spanish.

Captions 4-5, Ana Carolina Mejorando la pronunciación

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Muy bien. Pues ahora, vais a practicar más.

Very good. Well, now you're going to practice more.

Caption 39, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

Having said that, the near future tense is extremely common to hear in spoken Spanish (probably more so than the traditional future tense) and will often be heard describing events with a vaguer or more distant timeline:

 

Y algún día voy a ser la voz líder de mi banda, los Equis seis.

And someday, I'm going to be the lead singer of my band, the X6 [Ex Six].

Caption 11, X6 1 - La banda - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

For this reason, as the traditional future and near future tenses are virtually equivalent in terms of meaning, you should feel free to use this near future tense "hack" in virtually any situation in which you wish to describe an action in the future. 

 

Expressing the Near Future in the Past

So, what if, rather than saying you "are going to" do something, you wish to say that, at a certain moment in the past, you "were going to" perform an action? You would do so by using the near future tense, but conjugating the infinitive ir in the Spanish imperfect tense. Let's take a look at it:

 

Subject Pronoun Imperfect Conjugation of Ir
yo iba
ibas
él, ella, usted iba
nosotros/as íbamos
vosotros/as ibais
ellos/as, ustedes iban

 

Now, let's see some examples:

 

Llegué al examen muy contenta porque sabía que iba a aprobar.

I got to the exam very happy because I knew I was going to pass.

Captions 64-65, Los casos de Yabla El examen - Part 1

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Te dije que íbamos a hacer ejercicio.

I told you we were going to exercise.

Caption 67, Cleer y Lida Los números

 Play Caption

 

Sidenotes: 

1. Be aware that this same construction could be used to indicate something one "used to go do" in the past, for example, "En el verano, yo iba a nadar a la piscina" ("In summer, I'd go to swim at the pool"). Context will usually tell you which meaning is intended.

 

2. For the past version of the near future tense, remember to use the imperfect, or ongoing past tense, rather than the Spanish preterite tense, which would indicate that something already happened (E.g. Yo fui a nadar a la piscina = I went to swim at the pool). 

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Quiz on the Near Future Tense

Let's conclude today's lesson with a little quiz. Taking a few examples of the traditional future tense from our library, see if you can convert them to the present indicative form of the near future tense. Try to do them yourself prior to looking at the answers.

 

Future Tense:

No, abuelito. ¡Hoy haré el salto más alto del mundo! 

No, Grandpa. Today I'll do the world's highest jump!

Caption 12, Guillermina y Candelario Una Amiga muy Presumida - Part 1

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Near Future Tense: 

No, abuelito. ¡Hoy voy a hacer el salto más alto del mundo!

No, Grandpa. Today I'm going to do the world's highest jump!)

 

Future Tense: 

Sin embargo de esto hablaremos en la próxima lección. 

However, we will talk about this in the next lesson.

Caption 51, Carlos explica Diminutivos y Aumentativos Cap 1: Los sufijos

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Near Future Tense: 

Sin embargo de esto vamos a hablar en la próxima lección

However, we're going to talk about this in the next lesson.

 

Future Tense:

Verán que mañana el estadio estará lleno.

You guys will see that tomorrow the stadium will be full.

Caption 45, Carlos explica Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo: Ustedes y vosotros

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Near Future Tense: 

Van a ver que mañana el estadio va a estar lleno.

You guys are going to see that tomorrow the stadium is going to be full.

 

That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to feel more confident using the Spanish near future tense, which can come in quite handy when talking about your plans... and don't forget to write us with your suggestions and comments.

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The Spanish Verb Dejar: Its Many Meanings and Uses

In caption 8 of his electric press kit, Spanish artist Javier García uses the common Spanish verb dejar with the meaning "to leave": 

 

Tú me quieres dejar, y yo no quiero sufrir

You want to leave me, and I don't want to suffer

Caption 8, Javier García - EPK

 Play Caption
 

However, twelve captions later, we find the imperative form of the very same verb being sung to a different tune:

 

Deja de correr, tranquila 

Stop running, take it easy

Caption 20, Javier García - EPK

 Play Caption

 

How can the same verb mean such different things? Why, context, of course! Let's explore the many meanings and uses of the Spanish verb dejar.

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Dejar Meaning "To Leave"

One of the most common translations for the Spanish verb dejar is "to leave." However, just like the English verb "to leave," the Spanish verb dejar can describe many different types of "leaving." Let's take a look at several (ten, to be exact!) of the English meanings of the verb "to leave" and learn how to express these same ideas with dejar in Spanish.

 

"To Leave" as in "Abandon" or "Give Up"

The verb dejar in Spanish can mean "to abandon" or "give up" something. Let's take a look:

 

Si yo dejé mi departamento... -Ni se te ocurra.

If I left my apartment... -Don't even think about it.

Caption 14, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 6

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"To Leave" as in "To Have an Effect"

Another meaning of the Spanish verb dejar is "to leave" something or someone in a particular state, for example, in the sentence La pelicula me dejó sin palabras (The movie left me speechless). Let's see another example: 

 

Esta rumba, yo te digo, que te deja por el suelo 

This rumba, I'm telling you, leaves you on the floor

Captions 1-2, Javier García - La Rumba

 Play Caption
 

"To Leave" as in "To Put" or "Place"

The verb dejar can additionally mean "to leave" in the sense of putting or placing something somewhere:

 

He dejado la bolsa enfrente a un niño. 

I have left the bag in front of a little boy.

Caption 52, María Marí Su pasión por su arte - Part 1

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"To Leave" as in "To Forget"

However, since we may not have "put" or "placed" that something in that particular place on purpose, the Spanish verb dejar is often used to say we "forgot" something:

 

¿Dónde dejé mi billetera? -No se preocupe. 

Where did I leave my wallet? -Don't worry about it.

Caption 19, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 5

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"To Leave" as in "Allow to Remain"

In English, we can "leave something" in a particular state or location, whether permanently or temporarily, and the Spanish verb dejar expresses this same idea. You might say, Yo voy a dejar mi pelo así (I'm going to leave my hair like this) or the following, both of which could be replaced with "to allow to remain":

 

Deja los garbanzos en el agua hirviendo aproximadamente media hora.

Leave the chickpeas in the boiling water for approximately half an hour.

Captions 65-66, El Aula Azul Receta de garbanzos

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To Leave as in "Drop Off"

Dejar in Spanish can also mean to "leave" someone or something somewhere in the sense of "dropping off" that person or thing:

 

¿Pero si me acabas de dejar, no? 

But you just dropped me off, right?

Caption 38, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 7

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"To Leave" as in "To Leave To"

Yet another meaning of the verb dejar in Spanish is "to leave" as in "bequeathing" someone to someone.

 

tú tenías como algún tipo de auxilio, ¿un... un tipo de pensión que tus padres te dejaron

you had like some kind of help, a... a kind of pension that your parents left you?

Captions 40-41, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 4

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"To Leave" as in "Leave Alone" or "Let Be"

On its own or within idioms, the verb dejar in Spanish can mean "to leave alone." Let's  start with an example with just the verb dejar:

 

Déjelo, ¿o le gustaría que le hiciera lo mismo?

Leave him alone, or would you like me to do the same thing to you?

Caption 48, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 2

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A couple of idioms that also mean to "leave alone" are dejar en paz (literally "leave in peace") or the more literal dejar solo. Let's hear them in context:

 

¿Por qué no me dejás en paz?

Why don't you leave me alone?

Caption 58, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 12

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Dejame solo, tía. Por favor.

Leave me alone, Auntie. Please.

Caption 24, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 5

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"To Leave" as in "To Break up With"

The Spanish verb dejar can also mean "to leave" in the sense of "breaking up with," or "walking out on" someone. Let's take a look:

 

¿Qué pasa si la dejo a Andrea? 

What if I leave Andrea?

Caption 104, Muñeca Brava 47 Esperanzas - Part 10

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"To Leave" as in "To Let Go" or "Say Goodbye"

And finally (in this section!), you might notice that on the phone, Spanish speakers often say, "Bueno, te dejo" or something similar, which corresponds to the English, "I'll let you go." You might also notice this in many videos from our Yabla Spanish library:

 

de momento aquí os dejo

for now, I'll leave you here.

Caption 54, Amaya La historia de Lukas

 Play Caption

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Additional Meanings of Dejar

In addition to the plethora of nuanced ways in which the Spanish verb dejar can be used to talk about "leaving," it can also have several additional translations. Let's explore some!

 

Dejar Meaning "To Let," "Permit," or "Allow"

If you wish to give someone permission to do something, you might use the Spanish verb dejar, which can also mean "to let," "permit" or "allow."

 

Siempre me dejaban hacer lo que quise. 

They always allowed me to do whatever I wanted.

Caption 8, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 3

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Esperá, no me dejaste terminar.

Wait, you didn't let me finish.

Caption 37, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 7

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Dejar meaning "To Stop" or "Quit"

Dejar can additionally describe ceasing to do something temporarily or permanently, and the formula for using it in this context is dejar + de + infinitive. This gives us the equivalent of "stopping" or "quitting" an action depicted by the gerund, or "-ing," form in English. Let's take a look. 

 

Pues que este señor dejó de trabajar

Well, this gentleman stopped working.

Caption 17, Málaga Lourdes y la espartería en Mijas Pueblo

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Y tú, deja de sonreír, ¡que también es culpa tuya!

And you, quit smiling because it's your fault too!

Caption 37, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 6: El día de la Primitiva - Part 4

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Dejar Meaning "To Lend"

Perhaps a lesser-known meaning of the verb dejar in Spanish is "to lend":

 

Lola, ¿puedes dejarme algo de ropa? 

Lola, can you lend me some clothes?

Caption 9, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 7: La gemela - Part 3

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Dejar Meaning "To Drop"

And finally, the verb dejar in Spanish can also mean "to drop" as in a topic, as in the expression "Déjalo" (Drop it). This is sort of an intersection of dejar meaning "to stop" (talking about something) and "to leave" since "Dejémoslo ahí," for example, can sometimes be translated as "Let's leave it there," as in the following caption:

 

Dejémoslo ahí.

Let's leave it there.

Caption 62, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 5

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The Reflexive Verb Dejarse

Let's conclude our lesson on the many uses of the Spanish verb dejar by mentioning its reflexive form, dejarse. The reflexive verb dejarse is used in two main ways. 

 

Dejarse Meaning "To Let Oneself Go" 

This not-very-flattering use of the Spanish verb dejar is used to describe someone who neglects their health or appearance.

 

Juan realmente se dejó después de casarse y ha subido más de cincuenta libras. 

Juan really let himself go after getting married and has gained more than fifty pounds. 

 

Dejarse Meaning "To Allow Oneself" (To Do Something)

The reflexive verb dejarse + infinitive is used to describe something one "allows him or herself" to experience, which could be negative or positive and is usually translated with "to be" or "to get" plus an English verb in the past participle (typically ending in -ed or -en). Let's see a couple of examples:

 

no se dejó influenciar por intereses personales, ni por presiones mediáticas en las que se ha visto envuelta últimamente.

she didn't allow herself to be influenced by personal interests or the media pressure she's been embroiled in lately.

Captions 7-8, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 3 - Part 4

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Mm... Déjate llevar al paraíso.

Mm... Let yourself get carried away to paradise.

Caption 40, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 5: Ha nacido una estrella - Part 2

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With all of that said, te dejamos por hoy (we'll leave you/say goodbye for today). We hope that this lesson te haya dejado (has left you) with a better understanding of the many meanings of the Spanish verb dejar, and for further explanation and examples, be sure to check out the videos Significados del verbo dejar (Meanings of the Verb Dejar)- Part 1 and Significados del verbo dejar- Part 2. And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

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How to Say and Write Big Numbers in Spanish

Are you good with big numbers? How many zeros do you need to write one billion? What about one trillion? In this lesson, we will talk about big numbers in Spanish. Do you know how to say one billion in Spanish? Un billón, right? Well... not so fast! Let's learn how to say and write big numbers in Spanish.

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Big Numbers in English

Before we talk about big numbers in Spanish, let's review some of the most common big numbers in English. Let's take a look:

 

One million (1,000,000)- Six zeros

One billion (1,000,000,000)- Nine zeros

One trillion (1,000,000,000,000)- Twelve zeros

One quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000)- Fifteen zeros

One quintillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000)- Eighteen zeros

 

Big Numbers in Spanish

Now that we have reviewed big numbers in English, it is time to talk about big numbers in Spanish. One important thing to keep in mind: According to the Real Academia Española (RAE), like in English, numbers with more than four digits must be written out in groups of three starting from the right. However, if you want to write 2,450 in Spanish, the appropriate manner to do so would be 2 450 since spaces are used in lieu of commas in big numbers in Spanish. Keep in mind, however, that there are some exceptions to this rule, such as years, page numbers, zip codes, laws/decrees, etc. With that said, let's see the Spanish equivalents of the numbers we previously covered:

 

Un millón (1 000 000)- Six zeros

Un millardo (1 000 000 000)- Nine zeros

Un billón (1 000 000 000 000)- Twelve zeros

Mil billones (1 000 000 000 000 000)- Fifteen zeros

Un trillón (1 000 000 000 000 000 000)- Eighteen zeros

 

Note that for some of these numbers, there is one more than one acceptable Spanish term you might opt for:

 

Un millardo = mil millones

Un billón = un millón de millones

Un trillón = un milllón de billones = un millón de millón de millones

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List of Big Numbers in English and Spanish

Did you notice anything unusual when comparing the Spanish and English lists? You may have realized that "one billion" in English is not un billón en Spanish, but rather un millardo, while the English "one trillion" is actually un billón in Spanish rather than un trillón. This is because the Spanish words billión and trillón come from the French words billion and trillion, which correspond to the numbers we indicated above (with 12 and 18 zeros, respectively). 

 

To further clarify this somewhat confusing point, let's take a look at the following list featuring big numbers in English and their Spanish equivalents:

 

One million in English is un millón in Spanish.

One billion in English is un millardo or mil millones in Spanish.

One trillion in English is un billón or un millón de millones in Spanish.

One quadrillion in English is mil billones in Spanish.

One quintillion in English is un trillón or un millón de billones or un millón de millón de millones in Spanish. 

 

Now that you've learned how to say and write big numbers in Spanish, we will leave you with a couple of examples from our Yabla Spanish library:
 
 

No necesito un millón de euros. 

I don't need a million euros.

Caption 38, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 5: Ha nacido una estrella - Part 6

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un millón de preguntas, ¡un billón

a million questions, a trillion!

Caption 19, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 3

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If you've been paying attention, you've realized that the second translation, which you may have previously thought was a mistake, is actually the correct way to say one billion in Spanish! On that note, we hope that this lesson has helped you to say and write big numbers in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

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Saber vs. Conocer: Do You "Know" the Difference?

Do you "know" the difference between the Spanish verbs saber and conocer? Although they both mean "to know" in Spanish, there are subtle differences between them. Let's explore them!

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The Spanish Verb Saber

The Spanish verb saber describes "knowing" something concrete, such as a fact, information, or skill. Let's take a look at each of these subcategories with examples from our Yabla Spanish library. 

 

Facts

The verb saber in Spanish is used to talk about "knowing" (or not knowing!) specific facts:

 

¿Ya sabes que el pez globo es venenoso?

Do you know that the puffer fish is poisonous?

Caption 33, Guillermina y Candelario El paseo sobre el mar

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No sabía que estaba embarazada.

I didn't know she was pregnant.

Caption 75, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 2 - Part 11

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Note that the Spanish verb saber falls into the category of Spanish verbs that change meaning in the preterite tense, as its meaning changes in the preterite from "to know" to "to find out."

 

Así supe que su nombre era Lucía,

That's how I found out that her name was Lucía,

Caption 30, Luis Guitarra Historia de Lucía - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Information

The Spanish verb saber can also describe having knowledge of particular information:

 

¿Y sabes a qué hora abren?

And do you know what time they open?

Caption 25, Español para principiantes Hablando de ubicaciones

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¿Eh? Estoy seguro que ella sabe dónde está el Gringo.

Right? I am sure that she knows where the Gringo is.

Caption 44, Yago 3 La foto - Part 6

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Skills

When talking about skills, the formula saber + infinitive is used to say that someone "knows how" to do something. Let's take a look. 

 

Pues yo quería mostrarle que también sé hacer muchas cosas.

Well, I wanted to show her that I know how to do a lot of things too.

Caption 37, Guillermina y Candelario Una Amiga muy Presumida - Part 1

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En la vida hay que saber relajarse,

In life, you need to know how to relax,

Caption 44, Ana Teresa 5 principios del yoga

 Play Caption

 

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The Spanish Verb Conocer

The Spanish verb conocer, on the other hand, refers to being familiar with or acquainted with something, which could be a person, place, or thing. Let's see some examples from each category.

 

People

The Spanish verb conocer is employed to talk about "knowing" people, in the sense of being acquainted with them.

 

Por ejemplo: Conozco a María.

For example: I know María.

Caption 11, Lecciones con Carolina Saber y conocer

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Y cuando pasó el tiempo conocí a Edgar, ¿no? Nos conocimos en la escuela.

And as time went by I met Edgar, right? We met at school.

Caption 14, Belanova Entrevista - Part 2

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Notice that, in both examples above, the Spanish pronoun a appears after the verb conocer and before the person. This so-called personal a is necessary when a person is the object of a Spanish sentence. Additionally, we see that the meaning of the verb conocer also changes meaning in the preterite from "to know" to "to meet."

 

Places

Although it is sometimes translated as "to know," when used in reference to places, the Spanish verb conocer usually denotes having actually been somewhere rather than just awareness of its existence. That said, let's take a look at some alternative translations:

 

¿Conoces las Islas Canarias?

Have you been to the Canary Islands?

Caption 89, Clase Aula Azul El verbo gustar - Part 5

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Conocí las islas Barú de... de Colombia

I visited the Barú Islands in... in Colombia

Caption 89, Cleer y Lida Juego de preguntas y respuestas - Part 2

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Things

The verb conocer in Spanish can also refer to familiarity with objects and might thus be translated with either "to know" or "to be familiar with":

 

Realmente son frases que vuestros compañeros no conocen, entonces es una información nueva para ellos.

They really are sentences that your classmates don't know, so it's new information for them.

Captions 45-46, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 4

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¡Ah! Pues yo no conocía esta tablet.

Oh! Well, I wasn't familiar with this tablet.

Caption 74, El Aula Azul Ester y Paula

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Having seen these parameters and examples, we hope you now "know" the difference between saber and conocer in Spanish! To further explore this topic, check out Lecciones con Carolina: Saber y conocer. And, don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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How Do You Say "Good Luck" in Spanish?

According to Holden Caulfield in J.D Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye: "I'd never yell, 'Good luck!' at anybody. It sounds terrible, when you think about it." Well... whether or not you agree with this somewhat cynical viewpoint, most of us can concur that everyone could use a little extra luck, and every culture employs different expressions to wish others well. In fact, Spanish-speakers are very likely to use many of these daily! So... how do you say "good luck" in Spanish? Today's lesson will teach you a plethora of ways.

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Buena suerte

The most literal translation for "good luck" in Spanish is buena suerte. Let's hear it in action:

 

¡Buena suerte!

Good luck!

Caption 91, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2: Sam va de compras - Part 6

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There are many variations of (buena) suerte, including mucha suerte (lots of luck), which are often used with the subjunctive form of the verb tener (to have) in expressions like Que tengas mucha suerte (I hope you have a lot of luck) or the verb desear (to wish) as in Te deseo mucha/buena suerte (I wish you a lot of/good luck). 

 

Suerte

Another way to say "good luck" in Spanish is to say simply "Suerte," which literally means just "Luck." 

 

Suerte, Fernando. 

Good luck, Fernando.

Caption 23, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 3 - Part 8

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In Latin America, you might notice that both people you know well and people you just met, such as store clerks and taxi drivers, will often say this to you when you depart. 
 

La mejor de las suertes

Another common expression to wish someone "the best of luck" in Spanish is La mejor de las suertes, which could be said alone or with the verb desear :

 

te deseamos la mejor de las suertes, ¿oís? 

we wish you the best of luck, you hear?

Caption 47, La Sucursal del Cielo Capítulo 1 - Part 5

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Éxito(s)

Saying ¡É​xito! (Success!) to someone in the singular or plural is another way of wishing someone "good luck" in Spanish, which could also be used with the verb desear:

 

Les deseamos muchos éxitos, ehm... 

We wish you a lot of success, um...

Caption 68, Doctor Krápula Entrevista

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Así que les deseo lo mejor, éxito en todo

So I wish you the best, [I wish you] success with everything

Caption 66, Outward Bound Danny

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Note that this second example contains yet another way of wishing someone well in Spanish: desear(le a alguien) lo mejor, or "wishing (someone) the best." Another alternative to this manner of wishing someone good luck and best wishes in Spanish is to say simply Mis mejores deseos (My best wishes). 

 

Que te vaya bien

Que te vaya bien is yet another expression that friends and strangers alike often utter to wish you good luck and best wishes in Spanish. It's literal meaning is "(I hope) everything goes well for you," but it might sometimes be translated with the similarly well-wishing English phrase "Take care":

 

¡Qué te vaya bien! -¡Qué te vaya bien! ¡Qué tengas suerte! -¡Chao! -¡Chao! ¡Suerte! ¡Chao! 

Take care! -Take care! Good luck! -Bye! -Bye! Good luck! Bye!

Captions 67-69, Salvando el planeta Palabra Llegada - Part 5

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Cruzar los dedos 

Just like English-speakers, Spanish speakers sometimes use the phrase cruzar los dedos (to cross one's fingers) to describe a superstitious action thought to promote good luck.

 

Bueno pues, crucemos los dedos para que todo salga bien

Well then, let's cross our fingers for everything to go well

Caption 17, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 12

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(Mucha) mierda

Yep, you read that right! Although it literally means "crap" or "shit," telling someone ¡Mierda! or ¡Mucha mierda! (A lot of crap) is one to say "good luck" in Spanish slang and can be thought of as an equivalent expression to the English "Break a leg!" Interestingly, in the theater world, Spanish speakers often use the French version, merde.

 

Now that you know how to say "Good luck" in Spanish, we'd like to leave you with the following:

 

OK, buena suerte al aprender español.

Okay, good luck learning Spanish.

Caption 29, Cabarete Escuela de trapecio

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And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments!

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Talking About Fun and Enjoyment in Spanish

How do you talk about having fun and enjoying yourself in Spanish? Today's lesson will cover several ways!

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"Fun" Spanish Verbs

There are several Spanish verbs that mean "to have fun," "have a good time," "enjoy oneself," etc. Let's take look. 

 

​Pasarlo bien 

The Spanish verb pasarlo bien can be translated as "to have fun" or "to have a good time." By extension, pasarlo muy bien is "to have a lot of fun" or "a great" or "really good time." Let's see these in action:

 

Mucho calor, pero lo pasamos muy bien

Very hot, but we had a really good time.

Caption 24, Blanca y Mariona Proyectos para el verano

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Sometimes we hear the reflexive version:

 

Nos lo pasamos muy bien. -Ah. 

We have a great time. -Oh.

Caption 31, Karla e Isabel Alquilar una habitación - Part 2

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Other times, we might hear the alternative version pasarla bien:

 

la pasamos bien y pudimos avanzar. 

we had a good time and we were able to move forward.

Caption 56, Eduardo y Luciana de Argentina Historia del Rio

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While all of our examples thus far have been in the preterite tense, now, let's see how we can use this verb to tell one or more people to "Have fun!" using either the command form or the present subjunctive form with que, as in the following captions:

 

pásenlo bien, hagan del mundo un mundo más bonito y

have a good time, make the world a nicer world, and

Caption 41, Víctor en Caracas Santa Claus

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Por supuesto que no. ¡Qué lo paséis bien! 

Of course not. Have fun!

Caption 38, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 7: La gemela - Part 6

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By the way, there are many, more slangy verbs to say you had a lot of fun in Spanish that involve the verb pasar and might be thought of as similar to the English expression "to have a blast." These include, but probably aren't limited to: pasarlo re bienpasarlo super (bien)pasarlo bomba, and pasarlo de diez

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Divertirse 

The Spanish verb divertirse also means "to have fun" or "have a good time." Let's see a couple of examples, one in the infinitive and another in the preterite:

 

Recuerda que lo importante es divertirse

Remember that the important thing is to have fun.

Caption 79, Isabel Lavesa Dibujo en acuarela

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¡Nosotros nos divertimos un montón!

We had a ton of fun!

Caption 6, Guillermina y Candelario La Peluqueria del Mar - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Now, let's see the informal singular command form of this verb:

 

Eso es: Diviértete

That is: Have fun.

Caption 39, De consumidor a persona Short Film - Part 1

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Disfrutar

The Spanish verb disfrutar means "to enjoy." Let's take a look at it in action in its present indicative and subjunctive forms:

 

Disfruto tanto dibujando en acuarela o bocetando,

I enjoy watercolor painting or sketching so much

Caption 8, Isabel Lavesa Dibujo en acuarela

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Pues, que disfruten su estancia,

Well, [I hope] that you enjoy your stay,

Caption 68, Yabla en Yucatán Vicente

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Note that the Spanish verb disfrutar will often be accompanied by the preposition de to indicate what's being enjoyed:

 

nos vamos a disfrutar de la fiesta.

we are going to enjoy the party.

Caption 19, Marta Vocabulario de Cumpleaños

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Gozar 

The Spanish verb gozar also means "to enjoy" or "have a good time." Let's take a look at an example in the present indicative:

 

Lloran, se ríen, gozan;

They cry, they laugh, they enjoy;

Caption 34, Mariachi El amor de la música mexicana

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Like disfrutar, the verb gozar in Spanish is often accompanied by the preposition de to indicate what's being enjoyed, as in the sentence "Gozamos mucho del tiempo que pasamos en la costa" (We really enjoyed the time we spent on the coast). 

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"Fun" Spanish Nouns

Now, let's look at a couple of nouns that mean "fun" in Spanish. Note their similarity to some aforementioned Spanish verbs.

 

la diversión (the fun)

 

Pero a veces, la diversión no les dura ni diez minutos. 

But sometimes, the fun doesn't last even ten minutes for them.

Caption 34, Ana Carolina Bebés y medio ambiente

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el goce (the enjoyment, the pleasure)

 

El placer es una sensación de goce o satisfacción

Pleasure is a feeling of enjoyment or satisfaction

Caption 10, Aprendiendo con Silvia Pequeños grandes placeres - Part 1

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"Fun" Spanish Adjectives

Let's conclude with some Spanish adjectives that mean "fun" or "entertaining." Remember that adjectives must agree in terms of number and gender with the nouns they modify.

 

Divertido/a(s) (fun/enjoyable/amusing)

 

¡Guau! Eso sí que era divertido

Wow! That really was fun,

Caption 36, Aprendiendo con Silvia Recuerdos de infancia - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Entretenido/a(s) (fun/entertaining/enjoyable)

 

pero en los libros vas a encontrar palabras nuevas en historias muy divertidas y entretenidas.

but in books, you're going to find new words in very amusing and entertaining stories.

Captions 5-6, El Aula Azul Mis libros preferidos - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

On that note, esperamos que hayan disfrutado de esta lección (we hope you've enjoyed this lesson), and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions

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The Many Uses of the Spanish Verb Echar

The Spanish verb echar can be used in many different ways and appears in a host of different Spanish idiomatic expressions. Let's explore the many meanings and uses of the Spanish verb echar.

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Standard Meanings of the Verb Echar

While the first definition of echar in dictionaries is typically "to throw," it can refer to any literal or figurative movement from one point to another and can thus be translated in many fashions depending upon the context. Let's take a look at several of its most common meanings with examples from our Yabla Spanish library.

 

To Throw:

Although the Spanish verb echar can literally mean "to throw," "toss," or "hurl" something, it is probably more common to hear verbs like tirar, lanzar, or arrojar used with this meaning. That said, let's take a look at an example where echar means to physically throw something:

 

y le echas harina y se lo pones en el pelo y... ¡Chwak!

and you throw flour on her and you put it in her hair and... Bam!

Caption 17, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 1

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To Throw Out/Away:

The Spanish verb echar can also be used in the way we use the verbs "to throw" something "out" or "away," whether literally or figuratively. Let's look at an example of each: 

 

Por lo general, tenemos cuatro contenedores: el azul, donde echamos el papel, cartón, revistas, 

Generally, we have four trash bins: the blue one, where we throw away paper, cardboard, magazines,

Captions 3-4, Rosa Reciclar

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Todo estaba tranquilo y lo echaste a la basura

Everything was calm and you threw it in the garbage

Caption 3, Sondulo Que te vaya mal

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To Add/Put in:

The verb echar in Spanish often appears in recipes and other contexts when talking about "adding" or "putting in" some ingredient, etc. Let's take a look:

 

Le voy a echar un poco de nata...

I'm going to add a bit of cream to it...

Caption 47, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 9

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Bueno, también le podemos echar diferentes clases de condimentos.

Well, we can also put in different kinds of seasoning.

Caption 24, Cocinando con Miguelito Pollo sudado - Part 2

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To Pour:

Along these same lines, echar can also be used to mean to pour something into something else: 

 

Solo falta echarla en el molde 

We just need to pour it into the mold

Caption 38, Cleer y Lía El día de la madre

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To Kick Out/Throw Out/Expel/Fire: 

The verb echar in Spanish may also refer to getting rid of someone in the sense of throwing or kicking them out, temporarily or permanently:

 

No sé qué hace este señor todavía acá, lo eché esta misma tarde.

I don't know what this gentleman is still doing here. I threw him out this very afternoon.

Caption 33, Muñeca Brava 3 Nueva Casa - Part 4

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Se mueren por saber por qué echó a la chirusa.

They're dying to know why she fired the vulgar girl.

Caption 42, Carlos y Cyndy Comentario sobre Muñeca Brava

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To Expel/Emit/Give Off: 

And speaking of "expelling" and "fire," the verb echar in Spanish can also mean to "expel," "emit," "give off," or "spew" fire or smoke, for example: 

 

Pero eso no lo iba a entender un dragón al que solo le interesaba rugir y echar fuego por la boca.

But a dragon who was only interested in roaring and spewing fire from his mouth wasn't going to get it.

Caption 49, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 7

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To Start:

And, to conclude with our more standard uses of the Spanish verb echar, the formula echar + infinitive means "to start" [doing something]:

 

y ven la batidora, echan a correr.

and they see the blender, they start to run.

Caption 31, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 8

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This meaning might also be seen with the reflexive version of the verb, echarse.

 

Pero ya las lágrimas se echaban a correr

But the tears were starting to fall

Caption 8, Jeremías Uno y uno igual a tres

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More Meanings of the Reflexive Verb Echarse

Let's take a look at some additional uses of the reflexive verb echarse. 

 

 

To Lie Down/Get Down/Throw Oneself

The reflexive verb echarse can be used to talk about "lying down" as in Me voy a echar en la cama (I'm going to lie down in bed) or generally "throwing oneself" or "getting down":

 

Los hombres que cuando se les dicen de echarse al suelo es que no quieren ninguno.

When men are told to get down on the ground, the thing is that no one wants to.

Captions 52-53, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 8

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To Move

The reflexive verb echarse can additionally have the connotation of moving from one place to another, as in the first example, and is therefore heard often in songs, as in the second, with various translations to tell people how they should move.

 

donde el pueblo se echa a la calle junto a miles de visitantes

where the town goes out onto the street along with thousands of visitors

Caption 57, Viajando con Fermín Frigiliana, Málaga

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Échate pa' un lado

Move aside

Caption 8, Javier García EPK - Part 2

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Idiomatic Expressions with the Spanish Verb Echar

Now, let's look at several Spanish idioms that involve the Spanish verbs echar or echarse with examples in context:

 

Echar la culpa (to blame)

 

¡Y me echó la culpa de todo!

And she blamed everything on me!

Caption 13, Guillermina y Candelario La Peluqueria del Mar - Part 1

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Echarse a reír/llorar (to burst out laughing/crying)

 

El marido se echó a reír al ver la cara de sorpresa de su esposa.

The husband burst out laughing when he saw his wife's surprised face.

Caption 32, Cleer El espejo de Matsuyama

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Después de haberse marchado todos, estaba sola en casa y se echó a llorar.

After everyone had left, she was alone in the house and burst out crying.

Captions 29-30, Cuentos de hadas Cenicienta - Part 1

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Echar la/una siesta (to take a nap/siesta)

 

Después de comer, solemos echar la siesta

After eating, we usually take a nap

Caption 20, El Aula Azul Actividades Diarias

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Echar la llave (to lock)

 

Ahora cerramos la puerta, echamos la llave

Now we close the door, we lock it,

Caption 12, Escuela BCNLIP Clase con Javi: el futuro - Part 1

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Echar de menos (to miss)

 

De España echo mucho de menos el clima,

From Spain, I really miss the weather,

Caption 39, Álvaro Arquitecto Español en Londres

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Echar la/una mano (to lend a hand)

 

para que nos eche una mano y les vamos a dar

so that he can lend us a hand and we are going to give them

Caption 50, Club de las ideas Bioparc

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Echar(le) un vistazo (to take a look)

 

De acuerdo, deje que eche un vistazo.

OK, let me take a look.

Caption 63, Negocios Empezar en un nuevo trabajo - Part 2

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Echarle ganas (to work hard)

 

Así es y pues aquí mira, trabajando, echándole ganas y...

It's so, and well, [we] are here, [you] see, working, giving it my all and...

Caption 17, Edificio en Construcción Hablando con los trabajadores - Part 2

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Echar a perder (to mess up/spoil/ruin or bankrupt)

 

No puedo, negrita, ya eché a perder como diez laburo'.

I can't, honey. I already messed up like ten jobs.

Caption 3, Muñeca Brava 3 Nueva Casa - Part 5

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Echar (más) leña al fuego (to add (more) fuel to the fire)

 

¡Callate, Rufino! No eches más leña al fuego, ¿querés?

Shut up, Rufino! Don't put more wood into the fire [don't add fuel to the fire], will you?

Caption 23, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 2

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Echar las campanas al vuelo (to vehemently celebrate prematurely)

 

Todavía no ha jugado el partido de fútbol y ya está "echando las campanas al vuelo", 

He hasn't played the soccer match yet, and he's already "throwing the bells in the air,"

Captions 45-46, Aprendiendo con Silvia Campanas - Part 2

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Although the literal meaning is totally different, this Spanish expression is comparable to the English idiom about "counting one's chickens before they are hatched." For more such examples, check out this lesson on Spanish idioms and their (very different) English equivalents.

 

As there are so many standard and idiomatic ways to use the Spanish verb echar that it would be impossible to name them all, we've provided just a smattering! Don't hesitate to write to us with any more you come across, or with any ideas for future lessons. ¡Hasta la próxima!

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How Do You Say "No" in Spanish?

How do you say "no" in Spanish? Today's lesson will teach you a multitude of ways!

 

Saying "No" in Spanish

If you are wondering how to say "no" in Spanish, like in English, there are many different ways. For starters, we could just say "no" like we do in English (with a slightly different pronunciation, of course)!

 

Elena, por favor, ¿te sentís bien? No.

Elena, please, do you feel alright? No.

Captions 1-2, Yago 13 La verdad - Part 5

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How Do You Say "No, Thank You" in Spanish?

For a more polite choice, use the Spanish equivalent of "No, thank you":

 

¿Quieres? No, gracias. Tengo unas galletas aquí.

Do you want [some]? No, thank you. I have some cookies here.

Captions 12-13, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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How Do You Say "No Way" in Spanish?

To answer with a more emphatic "no," try one of the many expressions that mean "No way" in Spanish. The first one can be translated quite literally:

 

No, de ninguna manera. 

No, no way.

Caption 45, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 6

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Now, let's look at some additional options. Qué va is another way to say "no way" in Spanish:
 

¿No muerde, no, Suso? -No, qué va

He doesn't bite, right, Suso? -Right, no way.

Caption 22, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Coatís

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Yet another equivalent of "no way" in Spanish is ni hablar, which literally means that the person answering "doesn't even" want "to talk" about something:
 

Eh... Entonces de hablar, ni hablar

Um... Then about talking, no way.

Caption 85, Muñeca Brava 47 Esperanzas - Part 10

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And finally, ni de broma literally means "Not even as a joke," as in the following examples:
 

¿Quieres salir conmigo? -¡Ni de broma!

Do you want to go out with me? -No way!

 

¡No te escapas ni de broma! -¡El arma secreta del grupo! -¡Hombre! 

There's no way you'll get out of this! -The secret weapon of the band! -Man!

Caption 56, Orishas Entrevista Canal Plus

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How Do You Say "Of Course Not" in Spanish?

To remember how to say "Of course not" in Spanish, let's first recall two ways to say "Of course," claro and por supuesto, then look at their negative versions:

 

¡Por supuesto que no! ¡No! ¿Mm? 

Of course not! No! Hmm?

Caption 44, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 4: Sam busca un trabajo - Part 3

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No, no, no, claro que no. Además... 

No, no, no, of course not. Besides...

Caption 37, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 11

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How Do You Say "Don't Even Think About It" in Spanish?

While the first, most literal way to say "Don't even think about it" in Spanish is Ni lo pienses, there are several others, such as Ni se te ocurra, which literally means "Don't even let it occur to you":

 

Si yo dejé mi departamento... -Ni se te ocurra

If I left my apartment... -Don't even think about it.

Caption 14, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 6

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Let's see one more:

 

¡Ni lo sueñes!

Don't even think about it [literally "Don't even dream about it"]!

Caption 19, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 7: La gemela - Part 5

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An alternative variation would be: ¡Ni en tus sueños! In English, of course, we would merely say "In your dreams" (as opposed to the literal translation "Not in your dreams").   

 

How Do You Say "I Don't Feel Like It" in Spanish?

In Spanish, a common way to say you're just not in the mood (to do something) is no tener ganas de + infinitive, as follows

 

Dale. -Sí. -Sí. -Te toca. Gracias, Merycita, pero no tengo ganas de jugar.

Go ahead. -Yes. -Yes. -It's your turn. Thank you, Merycita, but I don't feel like playing.

Captions 57-58, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 3

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To say simply "I don't feel like it," you might choose No tengo ganas or the alternative expression No me da la gana.

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More Dramatic Ways to Say "No" in Spanish

Let's look at a few more common Spanish expressions that make abundantly clear that one's answer is negative: 

 

No, no, no, para nada, no, ¿cómo se te ocurre?

No, no, no, not at all, no, how can you think that?

Caption 12, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 8

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De eso nada. ¡Es mía, sólo mía!

None of that. It's mine, just mine!

Caption 21, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 1

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No, en absoluto.

No, absolutely not.

Caption 76, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 8

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And, let's conclude with the most dramatic option of all:

 

¡¿Estás loco o qué?! 

Are you crazy or what?!

Caption 34, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 4: Sam busca un trabajo - Part 1

 Play Caption
 

We hope you've enjoyed this lesson on how to say "no" in Spanish. Can you think of any additional Spanish ways to say "no"? Don't forget to let us know!

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15 Spanish Words That Start With W

There are many words in English that start with the letter W. But, what about Spanish? How many Spanish words that start with W do you know? If you can't think of any, we would like to invite you to read this lesson, where we will unveil some of the most commonly used words that start with W in Spanish.

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A Couple of Things about the Letter W in Spanish

To begin with, the letter W is one of the letters of the Spanish alphabet. However, since this letter wasn't part of the Latin language, its adoption into the Spanish language came from terms and words that are original to other languages (extranjerismos).

 

In terms of the name and pronunciation of this consonant, as there are many ways of referring to the letter W in Spanish, you can use any the following four options:

 

1. uve doble

2. ve doble

3. doble ve

4. doble u

 

Let's hear the pronunciation of the recommended option uve doble:

 

te, u, uve, uve doble,

t, u, v, w,

Caption 23, Fundamentos del Español 1 - El Alfabeto

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And let's see how to pronounce the alternative option doble ve:

 

ve, doble ve, equis, ye, zeta.

v, w, x, y, z.

Caption 11, Graciela Alfabeto y formación de sílabas

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Now that we know the various names for this letter and the type of words that contain it, let's take a look at some of the most common words that start with the letter W in Spanish.

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Technology-Related Spanish Words That Start with W

There are several technology-related words in Spanish that start with W. Please keep in mind that most of them are terms that have been borrowed from the English language with the same spelling. Let's look at a few:

 

1. walkie-talkie (walkie-talkie)

 

2. walkman (walkman)

 

3. watt (watt)

Even though the Spanish term vatio is the recommended one for its English equivalent, the word watt is also accepted. 

 

4. web (web)

The word "web" is used in Spanish in the same way as in English. However, this term can also be employed when talking about a single website or web page:

 

Más información en esta web.

More information on this website.

Caption 9, Tecnópolis Viaje por la red

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5. webinario (webinar)

Keep in mind that you can also use the term seminario web when talking about a webinar in Spanish.

 

6. wifi (Wi-Fi)

 

Tenemos también wifi y hay ordenadores disponibles.

We also have Wi-Fi and there are computers available.

Caption 20, El Aula Azul Las actividades de la escuela - Part 1

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Spanish Words That Start with W That Come from English 

As we saw in the previous section, there are many Spanish W words that come from the English language. Let's see some more:

 

7. windsurf (wind surf)

 

8. whisky (whisky)

 

9. washingtoniano/na (Washingtonian)

 

10. waterpolo (water polo)

You might also see the term waterpolista to describe a water polo player. 

 

Additional Words That Start with W in Spanish

English is not the only language that has given Spanish some of its W words. There are numerous words in Spanish that start with W that come from other languages. Let's take a look.

 

11. wagneriano/na (Wagnerian)- from German

 

12. wahabismo (Wahhabism)- from Arabic

 

13. wantán (wonton)- from Chinese

 

14. wasabi (wasabi)- from Japanese

 

de salsa de soja o wasabi

with soy sauce or wasabi,

Caption 32, El Aula Azul Adivinanzas de comidas - Part 2

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15. westfaliano/na (Westphalian)- from German

 

 

As you can see, there are some easy Spanish words that start with W as well as some more challenging ones. Can you think of any additional words that start with W in Spanish? Be sure to let us know, and don't forget to leave us your questions and comments

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El Zodiaco 101

What is el Zodiaco (the zodiac)? In la astronomía (astronomy) and la astrología (astrology), this word (or its alternative spelling, Zodíaco) refers to a band in el cielo (the sky) that los cuerpos celestes (celestial bodies) like el Sol (the Sun), la Luna (the Moon), and los planetas (the planets) appear to move through when viewed from la Tierra (the Earth). This band includes twelve constelaciones (constellations) named for los signos del Zodiaco (the zodiac signs), which said celestial bodies are said to be "in" when moving into the portion of this band that includes them. One's zodiac sign is thus determined by the constellation the sun was in on his or her fecha de nacimiento (birthdate in Spanish).

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Signos y fechas (Signs and Dates)

Armed with this understanding, let's take a look at the Spanish names for the twelve signs of the zodiac, as well as the date ranges for each (you might want to review this lesson on the months in Spanish):

 

Aries21 de marzo al 19 de abril

                (Aries: March 21st to April 19th)

 

Tauro: 20 de abril al 20 de mayo

                (Taurus: April 20th to May 20th)

 

Géminis:  21 de mayo al 20 de junio

                (Gemini: May 21st to June 20th)

 

Cáncer:  21 de junio al 22 de julio

                (Cancer: June 21st to July 22nd)

 

Leo: 23 de julio al 22 de agosto 

                (Leo: July 23rd to August 22nd)

 

Virgo: 23 de agosto al 22 de septiembre

                (Virgo: August 23rd to September 22nd)

 

Libra: 23 de septiembre al 22 de octubre 

                (Libra: September 23rd to October 22nd)

 

Escorpio/Escorpión23 de octubre al 21 de noviembre 

                (Scorpio: October 23rd to November 21st)

 

Sagitario: 22 de noviembre al 21 de diciembre 

                (Sagittarius: November 21st to December 19th)

 

Capricornio: 22 de diciembre al 19 de enero 

                (Capricorn: December 22nd to January 19th)

 

Acuario: 20 de enero al 18 de febrero 

                (Aquarius: January 20th to February 18th)

 

Piscis19 de febrero al 20 de marzo 

                (Pisces: February 19th to March 20th)

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Types of Signs

The twelve zodiac signs are furthermore grouped into four elementos (elements): aire (air), agua (water), fuego (fire), and tierra (earth). Let's take a look at which signs fall into each of these categories:

 

Los signos de fuego (The Fire Signs): Aries, Leo, Sagitario

 

Los signos de aire (The Air Signs): Géminis, Libra, Acuario

 

Los signos de agua (The Water Signs):  Cáncer, Escorpio, Piscis

 

Los signos de tierra (The Earth Signs): Tauro, Virgo, Capricornio

 

What's Your Sign?

So, how do you ask someone what his or her sign is in Spanish? The most common way is "¿Qué signo eres/es?" or "What sign are you?" with tú (informal "you") or usted (formal "you"). The answer might be Yo soy Tauro (I'm a Taurus), etc. However, you might notice that in some countries like Argentina, they tend to use the preposition de (of/from) to ask and answer this question, as in the following examples:

 

¿Y de qué signo sos? Yo, de Sagitario

And what is your sign? Me, Sagittarius.

Captions 82-83, Muñeca Brava 3 Nueva Casa - Part 8

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Sí, la madre superiora es de Aries ¡y la verdad que tiene un humor! Es re agreta. 

Yes, the Mother Superior is Aries and the truth is that she has a temper! She is so grumpy.

Captions 80-81, Muñeca Brava 36 La pesquisa - Part 10

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Horoscopes and Astrological Charts

As we can see from the second quote above, specific astrological signs and elements tend to be associated with certain rasgos de personalidad (character traits). Of course, as not all members of a particular sign can be exactly alike, a tool for predecir (predicting) a person's personality in a more detailed fashion is una carta astral (astrological chart):

 

Nos valemos de la carta astral, que es la fotografía que se toma del cielo en el momento en que alguien nace, para ver la ubicación que tenían los planetas en ese momento 

We use the astrological chart, which is the photograph that is taken of the sky at the moment in which someone is born, to see the location that the planets had at that moment

Captions 5-7, Conversaciones con Luis Astrología

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And, in addition to predicting a person's character, one's future is thought, by proponents of astrology, to be predecible (predictable) based on his or her chart. Said predictions are called los horóscopos (horoscopes), and more generalized versions for the twelve signs can often be seen in newspapers and magazines:  

 
 

Cáncer: Hoy habrá problemas en casa. 

Cancer: Today there will be problems at home.

Caption 1, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 6: El día de la Primitiva - Part 5

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However, just like you can't generalize about personalities, you certainly can't predict con exactitud (accurately) what's in store for each sign: 

 

Los horóscopos son una aproximación a una predicción signo por signo pero no son tan precisos puesto que no hay una carta específica de una persona, sino es en general para los signos

Horoscopes are an approximation of a prediction sign-by-sign, but they are not so accurate since there isn't a chart specific to a person, but rather it is in general for the signs.

Captions 30-32, Conversaciones con Luis Astrología

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All that said, whether you view astrology as a reliable science or a fun hobby, we hope you've learned some useful vocabulary to be able to converse about it in Spanish. And don't forget leave us your suggestions and comments

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