Lecciones de Español

Temas

Lessons for topic Grammar

The conditional tense in Spanish: Conjugation and use

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

 

The conjugation of the conditional tense

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

 

Regular verbs ending in -ar

Let's take the verb hablar (to speak)

Yo hablaría (I would speak)

Tú hablarías (You would speak)

Él/Ella hablaría (He/She would speak)

Nosotros hablaríamos (We would speak)

Vosotros hablaríais (You would speak)

Ellos hablarían (They would speak)

 

Regular verbs ending in -er

Let's take the verb comer (to eat)

Yo comería (I would eat)

Tú comerías (You would eat)

Él/Ella comería (He/She would eat)

Nosotros comeríamos (We would eat)

Vosotros comeríais (You would eat)

Ellos comerían (They would eat)

 

Regular verbs ending in -ir

Let's take the verb abrir (to open)

Yo abriría (I would open)

Tú abrirías (You would open)

Él/Ella abriría (He/She would open)

Nosotros abriríamos (We would open)

Vosotros abriríais (You would open)

Ellos abrirían (They would open)

 

Irregular conditional verbs in Spanish

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

 

Yo diría (I would say)

Tú dirías (You would say)

Él/Ella diría (He/She would say)

Nosotros diríamos (We would say)

Vosotros diríais (You would say)

Ellos dirían (They would say)

 

Yo haría (I would make)

Tú harías (You would make)

Él/Ella haría (He/She would make)

Nosotros haríamos (We would make)

Vosotros haríais (You would make)

Ellos harían (They would make)

 

5 common uses of the conditional tense in Spanish

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

 

1. To ask for information in a polite way

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

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

Captions 66-67, Monsieur Periné Entrevista

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2. To express a wish or desire

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

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

Captions 33-34, Clara y Cristina Saludar

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3. To make a suggestion

Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.

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

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

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4. To express a hypothesis or to take a guess

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

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

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

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

Y que nos juramos que esto nunca iría a pasar

And we vowed to each other that this would never happen

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

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

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Si no vs. Sino

Si no or sino? That is the question of today's lesson. Do you know when to write one or the other? Both expressions seem very similar but they don’t necessarily mean the same thing. Although even native speakers make mistakes when writing these words, the truth is they are used in specific cases that are easily recognizable. Let's start this lesson with a little quiz: 

 

Which one would you use in the following sentence?:

Amalia no ha llegado al apartamento; ____ ya me hubiera llamado.

Amalia hasn't arrived at the apartment; otherwise she would have called me already.

 

What about in this one?:

no solamente cubre la ciudad de Bogotá, ____ varios municipios alrededor de... de Bogotá,

it doesn't just cover the city of Bogota, but rather several municipalities around... Bogota,

 

We will unveil the answers at the end of this lesson. Now, let's dive into the difference between si no and sino.

 

What is the English equivalent of si no?

Si no is made of two parts. The conditinal conjunction 'si' and the negation 'no'. We use si no to introduce a negative conditional sentence. In particular, we use si no when it works as "otherwise" to imply the idea of "on the contrary". Let's see a couple of examples:

 

porque todos son amantes de los animales, si no, no vendrían a vernos,

because they are all animal lovers, otherwise, they wouldn't come to see us,

Captions 45-46, Santuario para burros Voluntarios

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¿Grabó esto sin su permiso? Claro que sí. Si no, no la habría descubierto.

Did you record this without her permission? Of course. Otherwise, I wouldn't have discovered it.

Captions 52-54, Los casos de Yabla El perrito malcriado - Part 1

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What does the word sino mean in English?

In Spanish, the word sino is a conjunction that usually works as the English equivalent "but" or "but rather". Generally speaking, we use it to create a contrast between and affirmative statement that is placed right after a negative one. Let's see a couple of examples:

 

Que no es una chica, sino un chico. -Oh...

That's it's not a girl, but rather a boy. -Oh...

Caption 40, Extr@: Extra en español Ep 01 La llegada de Sam - Part 2

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Por esta razón, no decimos "uno libro", sino "un libro".

For this reason, we don't say "uno libro," but rather "un libro" ["a book"].

Caption 39, Carlos explica Los Números: Números Cardinales

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Sometimes, we also use sino when we want to state an exception:

Nadie lo sabe sino tu padre.

Nobody except your father knows it.

 

And finally, we use sino when we want to add more elements to a single statement, usually with the formula 'no solo... sino también' (not only... but also): 

unas de las bandas más importantes de Latinoamérica, este... no sólo por su trabajo musical, sino también por su trabajo social y activismo ambiental.

one the most important bands in Latin America, um... not only because of their musical work, but also because of their social work and environmental activism.

Captions 10-12, Doctor Krápula Entrevista

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Let's solve the questions

Considering all of the above, it is time to solve the questions we posed at the beginning of this lesson. Let's unveil the answers:

 

Amalia no ha llegado al apartamento; si no ya me hubiera llamado.

Amalia hasn't arrived at the apartment; otherwise she would have called me already.

Caption 19, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capitulo 4 - Part 11

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no solamente cubre la ciudad de Bogotá, sino varios municipios alrededor de... de Bogotá,

it doesn't just cover the city of Bogota, but rather several municipalities around... Bogota,

Captions 57-58, Bogotá Chorro de Quevedo

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That's it for today. We hope this lesson helped you to understand when to write sino and si no. And don't forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

 

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The word bajo as a preposition (And so much more)!

As a beginner Spanish student, the word bajo may well be among the first words one learns, typically as an adjective meaning “short.” However, like many words in Spanish, this word has a whole plethora of meanings and can additionally function as a preposition, adverb, noun, and even a verb!

 

Let’s start by examining the use of the word bajo as a preposition. Although its translation is almost always “under” or “below,” like its English equivalent, this could refer not only to physical location, but also to the state of being subject to some influence. Let’s take a look at the following examples from our Yabla Spanish library.

 

One possible meaning of the preposition bajo is "in a position below something else":

 

pero no entiendo qué hace mi amiga un día de semana bajo este árbol tan maravilloso.

but I don't understand what is my friend doing on a weekday under this wonderful tree.

Captions 4-5, Escribiendo un libro Algunos consejos sobre cómo comenzar - Part 1

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Another, similar meaning of “bajo,” which also involves location, suggests that something is beneath the surface or covered by something: 

 

Tengo aquí bajo mi almohada tu fotografía

I have your picture here under my pillow

Caption 20, La Oreja de Van Gogh Inmortal

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Moving on to uses of the preposition bajo not involving location, like “under” in English, bajo could also express the concept of being less than:

 

congelando lo que es la punta de la botella en una solución que está a diez o quince grados bajo cero.

freezing the tip of the bottle in a solution that is ten or fifteen degrees below zero.

Captions 33-34, Europa Abierta Champagne en Andalucía

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The Spanish preposition bajo could additionally mean "in accordance with" or "subject to the terms of," for example, some agreement:

 

Algunos clientes bajo contrato, le pre-maduramos la fruta

[For] some customers under contract, we pre-ripen the fruit

Caption 99, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 18

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And finally, although we have only touched on some of its many nuanced meanings, we’ll take a look at an example in which the preposition bajo entails being managed or governed by something:

 

Para su información, todo el personal de servicio está bajo mi mando, ¿sí?

For your information, all the service staff is under my authority, right?

Caption 49, Muñeca Brava 3 Nueva Casa - Part 8

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Now, let’s look at bajo as an adjective. Its most common translations are “short” or “low,” both in terms of height or level and in reference to intensity or morality. Here are some examples from the Yabla Spanish video library: 

 

Y es muy gracioso porque Pedro es todo lo contrario de Carolina. Es bajo, es gordo,

And it's very funny because Pedro is totally the opposite of Carolina. He's short, he's fat,

Captions 32-33, El Aula Azul Mis Primos

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Desde chiquito el bajo mundo conocía

Since he was a child, he knew the underworld

Caption 4, La Secta Consejo

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Se manifestaban porque el sueldo era muy bajo,

They were on strike because their salary was very low,

Caption 33, Con ánimo de lucro Cortometraje - Part 4

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As an adverb, bajo could also be translated as “low” in some cases (for example, when describing a helicopter flying “low”) or “softly” or “quietly” when referring to one’s speech:

 

¡Que le quede claro! -¡Shhhhh, habla bajo!

Let that be clear to you! -Shhhhh, speak quietly!

Caption 42, Yago 7 Encuentros - Part 2

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Much more straightforwardly, as a noun, the word bajo refers to the musical instrument, the bass: 

 

Entonces yo dije: "Yo... yo puedo tocar... Yo puedo tocar el bajo."

So, I said, "I... I can play... I can play the bass."

Caption 50, Carli Muñoz Niñez - Part 2

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And finally, it is worth noting that bajo is the first person singular, present tense conjugation of the verb “bajar” (to go or come down or get off or out).

 

Ya está, la comida... -Sí, sí, sí, ya, yo ya bajo.

It's ready, the food... -Yes, yes, yes, now, I'm coming down now.

Caption 72, Muñeca Brava 44 El encuentro - Part 6

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We hope that this lesson has shed light on some of the ways the word bajo can function as a preposition - in addition to a noun, verb, adjective or adverb! If you would like to see many additional examples in context, simply enter the word bajo in the search bar at the top of the Videos page to find matches in the transcripts of the Yabla Spanish library. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

 

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How to write and use the prefix super in Spanish

Let's start this lesson with a little quiz. Do you know how to write superhero in Spanish? Choose one of the following:

 

a. Super héroe

b. Superhéroe

c. Súper héroe

d. Súperheroe

 

If you don't know the answer, this lesson will help you to find out which one is the proper spelling.

 

The meaning of the prefix super in Spanish

 

When it works as a prefix, the word super has different meanings. Sometimes, it means 'above' like in the word superestructura (superstructure). It can also mean 'excellence' or 'superiority':

 

¿Con el superagente, Jaime Suárez?

With the super-agent, Jaime Suarez?

Caption 53, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 13

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In some words, the prefix super expresses the 'highest degree' of something: 

 

Eh... La iglesia es superhermosa.

Um... The church is super beautiful.

Caption 14, Bogotá Una visita a la ciudad

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And finally, the prefix super can also indicate the 'excess' of something:

 

Ehm... Tenemos la... la... la... la... la superpoblación,

Um... We have (the... the... the... the... the) overpopulation,

Caption 50, Los médicos explican Entrevista con el Doctor Suarez

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The meaning of the word súper (with an accent)

 

Have you ever seen the word súper with an accent? If you think that súper is the same as super (with no accent), you are wrong. The word súper needs the accent only in the following situations:

 

1. When it is used as a noun for the short form of the word supermercado (supermarket) or the type of gasoline:

 

Roberto fue al súper a comprar naranjas.

Roberto went to the supermarket to buy oranges. 

 

2. When it works as an adjective or adverb to express that someone or something is/was great:

 

Súper, y ¿qué le dijeron de Gastón Almanza?

Super, and what did they tell you about Gaston Almanza?

Caption 20, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 8

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The simplest thing to remember here is that the prefix super doesn't have a graphic accent.

 

How to write words that use the prefix super in Spanish

 

Believe it or not, there are many native Spanish speakers who don't know how to properly write words that are formed with the prefix super. The main rule, however, is quite simple: When writing, the prefix super should be connected to the word that follows. With that simple rule, we can answer the question we posed at the beggining of this lesson:

 

Y tengo de superhéroe lo que Juanes de vallenato

And I've got from a superhero what Juanes [has] from vallenato

Caption 30, Juanes La Plata

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However, every rule has its exception and this rule has the following one:

 

Super followed by a hyphen

 

When the word that follows super starts with a capital letter or when this prefix is followed by a number, you need to add a hyphen:

 

super-Obama or super-10

 

Super separated by the word that follows it

 

You need to leave a space after super when it goes before a series of words that have their own meaning:

 

Yo siempre me he sentido super a gusto cantando al lado de ese grandísimo músico...

I have always felt pretty at home singing along this great musician...

Caption 50, David Bisbal Haciendo Premonición Live - Part 5

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That's it for today. We invite you to write 10 words with the prefix super. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

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Regular IR verbs in Spanish

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

 

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

 

Conjugation of ir verbs in simple present, past and future

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

 

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

 

Abres el rombo,

You open the diamond,

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

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

 

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

 

Gabriel García Márquez escribió muchos libros.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote a lot of books.

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

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

 

pero cuando escribimos estas dos palabras,

but when we write these two words,

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

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

 

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

 

y que viviremos en un hogar agradable,

and that we will live in a nice home,

Caption 55, Negocios La solicitud de empleo - Part 2

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

 

5 sentences using regular ir verbs in Spanish

 

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

 

1. Aplaudir (to clap)

 

o por ejemplo, en el flamenco se aplaude así.

or for example, in flamenco one claps like this.

Caption 46, Marta de Madrid El cuerpo - El tronco

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2. Decidir (to decide)

 

De un momento a otro, decidió quedarse en Bogotá,

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

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

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3. Discutir (to discuss/argue)

 

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

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

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

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4. Subir (to climb/go up/increase)

 

Subimos la temperatura del depósito a ochenta grados.

We increase the temperature of the tank to eighty degrees.

Caption 25, Club de las ideas Biodiesel - Part 2

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5. Sufrir (to suffer)

 

sufres, gritas, nadie te da nada

you suffer, you scream, nobody gives you anything

Caption 21, Club de las ideas La motivación

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

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The preposition en in Spanish

Are you familiar with prepositions in Spanish? Today, we will talk about the preposition en, which is one of the most commonly used prepositions in the Spanish language. In fact, this preposition works like the English prepositions “in,” “on” and “at.” Let's take a look. 

 

How to use the preposition en in Spanish

 

We use the preposition en when we want to state that something ocurred in a particular year or when we want to make a reference to a particular season or month of the year. In other words, we use the preposition en when talking about time.

 

Esa institución dejó de existir en mil novecientos noventa y nueve

That institution ceased to exist in nineteen ninety-nine

Caption 60, Carlos comenta Los Años Maravillosos - Costumbres alimenticias y conflicto

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Y en invierno suele hacer mucho frío.

And in winter it tends to be very cold.

Caption 15, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 1

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En abril, llueve mucho.

In April, it rains a lot.

Caption 17, El Aula Azul Estaciones y Meses

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When it comes to time, we also use the preposition en when we want to express a particular amount of time:

 

En veinte minutos se va a servir la cena.

In twenty minutes dinner is going to be served.

Caption 3, Muñeca Brava 36 La pesquisa - Part 5

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The preposition en in Spanish is also used when we want to indicate the location of a person or object.

 

Estoy en la escuela, El Aula Azul.

I am at the school, The Blue Classroom.

Caption 4, El Aula Azul Ser y Estar

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El perro de Ana duerme en el horno.

Ana's dog sleeps in the oven.

Caption 5, Extr@: Extra en español Ep 01 La llegada de Sam - Part 5

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One of the most common uses of the preposition en is when we use it to talk about means of transportation.

 

Me fui a Bélgica con mi novio en avión.

I went to Belgium with my boyfriend on a plane.

Caption 2, Blanca y Mariona Proyectos para el verano

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The preposition en is also used to express the value of something.

 

y las cabañas sin baño están en ochenta mil pesos.

and the cabins without a bathroom go for eighty thousand pesos.

Caption 35, Cleer y Lida Reservando una habitación

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Finally, the preposition en is also used to indicate how something is carried out.

 

En silencio pensaré tan sólo en ti

In silence I will think only of you

Caption 34, La Oreja de Van Gogh Deseos De Cosas Imposibles

 Play Caption

 

In this example, notice how we can use the preposition en along with the verb pensar (to think) when we want to express "thinking of" someone or something.

 

Common expressions that use the preposition en in Spanish

Apart from the uses we have mentioned above, the preposition en can be found in various expressions that are quite common in Spanish. Let's look at some of them:

 

¿Es en serio?

Seriously?

Caption 50, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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Acuérdate que tenemos muchos amigos en común.

Remember that we have a lot of friends in common.

Caption 14, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 3

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En realidad, sólo con la práctica podemos entender mejor.

Actually, only with practice can we better understand.

Caption 64, Carlos explica Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo: Conjugación

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To summarize, the following are the most common uses of the preposition en in Spanish:

 

- When talking about time (years, month, seasons or amount of time)

- To indicate the location of a person or an object

- To indicate the means of transportation

- To express the value of something

- To indicate how something is carried out.

- In some very common expressions

 

That's it for today. Now that you know how to use the preposition en in Spanish, try to write some sentences with all the different uses we mentioned throughout this lesson. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.

 

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6 rules for forming the plural of nouns in Spanish

Today, we will talk about the plural in Spanish. In particular, we will talk about the plural when referred to nouns. Let's start this lesson with a little quiz. Do you know what is the plural form of the following nouns?:

 

1. Casa (house)

2. Perro (dog)

3. Universidad (university)

4. Lápiz (pencil)

5. Jabalí (wild boar)

6. Análisis (analysis)

 

If you are not sure about how to make a singular noun plural in Spanish, we invite you to take a look at the following simple rules. While going through these rules, we will be unveiling the plural form of the 6 nouns we included in our quiz. Let's take a look.

 

Rule 1: Add an 'S' to form the plural of nouns ending in unstressed vowels

 

- Casa (house) - Casas (houses)

- Estudiante (student) - Estudiantes (students)

- Perro (perro) - Perros (dogs)

 

Se escucha un perro.

You can hear a dog.

Caption 43, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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Tus perros también son muy bonitos.

Your dogs are very beautiful too.

Caption 58, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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Rule 2: Add an 'S' to form the plural of nouns ending in stressed 'a,' 'e' and 'o'

 

- Papá (dad) - Papás (dads)

- Dominó (domino) - Dominós (dominoes)

- Café (coffee) - Cafés (coffees)

 

y les voy a mostrar el proceso de control de calidad de café de Colombia.

and I'm going to show you the quality-control process for coffee from Colombia.

Caption 5, Una Historia de Café La Bodega

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Cada uno de estos cafés tiene distintas cualidades tanto físicas como sensoriales

Each one of these coffees has different qualities both physically and sensorially.

Caption 14, Una Historia de Café La Bodega

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Rule 3: Add 'ES' or 'S' to form the plural of nouns ending in stressed 'i' and 'u'

 

- Bisturí (scalpel) - Bisturíes or bisturís (scalpels)

- Jabalí (wild boar) - Jabalíes or jabalís (wild boars)

- Tabú (taboo) - Tabúes or tabús (taboos)

 

Generally speaking, however, it is preferred to use the plural formed with 'ES'.

Also, this rule is very common when you are dealing with adjectives of nationality:

 

- Iraní (Iranian) - Iraníes or iranís (Iranians)

 

Rule 4: Add 'ES' to form the plural of nouns ending in consonant

 

- Árbol (tree) - Árboles (trees)

- Profesor (teacher) - Profesores (teachers)

- Universidad (university) - Universidades (universities)

- Rey (king) - Reyes (kings)

 

La rata esta es el rey de la estafa por allá en Europa.

This rat is the king con artist over there in Europe.

Caption 45, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 1

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Actualmente es la residencia oficial de los reyes de España,

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

Caption 23, Madrid Un recorrido por la capital de España

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Notice that the singular noun árbol has a graphic accent in the second-to-last syllable (palabra grave). However, when you form the plural, the graphic accent moves to the third-to-last-syllable becoming a proparoxytone word (palabra esdrújula). Similarly, singular nouns like profesor and universidad that are stressed in the last syllable (palabras agudas) become paroxytone words (palabras graves) in the plural form. 

 

Rule 5: When a noun ends in 'Z,' the plural form switches the 'Z' for a 'C'

 

- Lápiz (pencil) - Lápices (pencils) 

- Raíz (root) - Raíces (roots)

- Voz (voice) - Voces (voices)

 

Tengo muy buena voz,

I have a very good voice,

Caption 91, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 2

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vuelven esas voces a mi cabeza.

those voices come back to my head.

Caption 37, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos - Subjuntivo y condicional

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Rule 6: Nouns ending in 'S' or 'X' that are the same in singular and plural in Spanish.

Paroxytone or proparoxytone nouns ending in 's' or 'x' keep the same form in plural. Let's see some examples:

 

- Cactus (cactus) - Cactus (cactuses/cacti)

- Tórax (thorax) - Tórax (thoraxes/thoraces)

Análisis (analysis) - Análisis (analyses/tests)

 

y en un análisis de nuestras debilidades, oportunidades, fortalezas y amenazas.

and an analysis of our weaknesses, opportunities, strengths and threats.

Caption 37, Raquel y Marisa Español Para Negocios - Crear una empresa

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para hacerle los análisis de sangre, de heces,

to do the blood tests, stool (tests),

Caption 54, Santuario para burros Santuario - Part 1

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That's it for now. We hope these rules help you to use the plural in Spanish. If you feel like practicing a little bit more, take 20 nouns and try to form their plural forms. And of course, don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pero, sino and sino que

Do you know how to say “but” in Spanish? If you are wondering why we need a lesson to answer such a simple question, there’s a reason for that. In fact, we have three options to express the conjunction “but” in Spanish: pero, sino and sino que. Let’s look at each one:

 

Pero in Spanish

 

As a conjunction, the Spanish word pero works like the English conjunction “but.” Let’s look at some examples:

 

Pues, fue muy estresante y agotador pero a la vez divertido porque…

Well, it was really stressful and exhausting but at the same time fun because…

Caption 62, Cleer - Entrevista a Lila

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llegó al país de los Muiscas una bella pero mala mujer llamada Huitaca,

a beautiful but evil woman named Huitaca arrived in the country of the Muiscas,

Caption 28, Aprendiendo con Carlos - América precolombina - El mito de Bochica

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We use pero in Spanish to create contrast between two statements. This contrast helps us to expand the information provided by the first statement. While most of the time the first statement is a positive one, there are some cases in which that statement can be negative:

 

No podemos ver, pero podemos escuchar.

We can’t see, but we can listen. 

 

In this case, you could also replace pero with sin embargo (however):

 

No podemos ver. Sin embargo, podemos escuchar.

We can’t see. However, we can listen.

 

What does sino mean?

 

We use the conjunction sino to create a contrast between two statements where the first one is ALWAYS a negative one. Let’s take a look:

 

 

lo importante no es ganar, sino competir.

the important thing isn't winning, but competing.

Caption 41, Club 10 - Capítulo 1 - Part 5

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Que no es una chica, sino un chico. -Oh...

That's it's not a girl, but rather a boy. -Oh…

Caption 40, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep 01 La llegada de Sam - Part 2

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You can think of sino as something that we could replace with por el contrario (on the contrary). Also, keep in mind that when you have a verb after sino, you need to use its infinitive form.

 

Sino que

 

We use sino que exactly the same way as the conjunction sino. The difference is that we use sino que when both statements contain a conjugated verb. Let’s take a look:  

 

En general, la... la gente no es sólo respetuosa, sino que es súper amable con nosotros.

In general, the... the people are not only respectful but are super kind to us.

Captions 41-42, El Instituto Cervantes - Jefa de biblioteca

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O sea que no solamente era una cosa, sino que eran varias.

I mean that it was not only one thing, but rather there were many.

Caption 27, María Marí - Su pasión por su arte - Part 2

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Simple rules for using “but” in Spanish

 

Considering the fact that you have three options, you might not always know which option to choose in order to say “but” in Spanish. Luckily, there are some simple rules that will help you to figure out whether you need to use pero, sino or sino que. Let’s have a look:

 

- If the first statement is positive you need to use pero.

- If the first statement is negative, you need to use either sino or sino que.

- If the first statement is negative and you have a conjugated verb in both statements you need to use sino que.

- If you can replace “but” with “however” (sin embargo), you need to use pero.

- If you can replace “but” with “on the contrary,” (por el contrario) you need to use sino.

 

That's all for now. Now that you know how to say “but” in Spanish, try to write 5 sentences with pero, 5 sentences with sino and 5 sentences with sino que. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

 

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The preposition de in Spanish

Let’s talk about prepositions in Spanish! Today, we will discuss the very often used and common preposition de. This preposition has lots of uses in Spanish and because of that, we can use it like the following English prepositions: fromofin, and even than. Let’s have a look.

 

How to use the preposition de in Spanish​

 

There are several ways we can use the preposition de in Spanish. For example, we use the preposition de when we want to indicate the nationality or origin of someone or something:

¿De dónde eres? -Soy de Alemania

Where are you from? -I am from Germany.

Captions 36-37, Curso de español - ¿De dónde eres?

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We also use the preposition de when we want to indicate the material that something is made of.

El lápiz está hecho de madera,

The pencil is made of wood,

Caption 40, Aprendiendo con Karen - Útiles escolares - Part 1

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Similarly, we use the preposition de when we want to describe the features or characteristics of someone or something, in other words, when we want to describe a noun with another noun.

Se toma mucho el jugo de naranja que tiene mucha vitamina C.

Orange juice is consumed a lot as it has a lot of vitamin C.

Caption 74, Otavalo, Ecuador - Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

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Eh, sobre todo aquí tenemos libros de historia de, eh…

Um, most of all, here we have history books about, um…

Caption 60, El Instituto Cervantes - Jefa de biblioteca

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un profesor de español,

Spanish teacher,

Caption 22, El Aula Azul - Cursos y actividades de la escuela - Part 2

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One of the most common uses of the preposition de is when we use it to talk about possession. Let’s look at an example.

Es una empresa de tradición familiar, de mis abuelos,

It's a company with a family tradition from my grandparents,

Caption 50, Europa Abierta - Carne ecológica y segura

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In the example above, you can see that the first de is used to describe the company, while the second de is used to indicate possession (the company belongs to the grandparents). We can also use the preposition de in terms of “possession” when we want to indicate the relation that connects people

El novio de Claudia es un tipo muy pinta.

Claudia's boyfriend is a very "pinta" [handsome] guy.

Caption 27, Carlos comenta - Confidencial - Jerga típica colombiana

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The preposition de also helps us to indicate a cause when it is placed after an adjective and before a verb.

Estoy ya cansado de estar endeudado

I am tired of being in debt (I’m tired because I’m always in debt)

Caption 3, Bacilos - Mi Primer Millón

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We can also use the preposition de when we want to express something using a comparison or a point of reference with the expressions más de (more than) or menos de (less than):

Sí, un poquito menos de quinientos mil habitantes.

Yes, a little less than five hundred thousand inhabitants.

Caption 47, Buenos Aires - Heladería Cumelen

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Besides the uses we mentioned above, we also use the preposition de when talking about expressions of time. Let’s see how:

Supongamos que son las cinco de la tarde

Let's suppose that it's five in the evening

Caption 66, Carlos explica - El pretérito Cap. 2: Perfecto compuesto I

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And finally, we use the preposition de along with the preposition a to indicate a particular range or period. Like in the following example:

El horario es de lunes a viernes

The schedule is from Monday to Friday

Caption 69, Negocios - La solicitud de empleo - Part 2

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To summarize, the following are the most common uses of the preposition de in Spanish:

- To indicate nationality or origin

- To indicate the material that something is made of

- To describe the features or characteristics of someone or something (to describe a noun with another noun)

- To indicate possession

- To indicate a cause (after an adjective and before a verb)

- To express a comparison or point of reference (with más de or menos de)

- To talk about expressions of time

- To indicate a particular range (with the preposition a)

 

The contraction del in Spanish

 

When the preposition de goes before the definite article el, you need to combine the two words using the contraction del (de + el). Just as it happens with the contraction al (a + el), when you have the preposition de next to the article el, the contraction del is mandatory!

Estos son los números del uno al cien.

These are the numbers from one to a hundred.

Caption 44, El Aula Azul - Los Números del 1-100

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In this example, we can see both contractions (del and al) in action. Also, in this sentence, the speaker is using the preposition de and the preposition a together because she is indicating a range. Remember that it would be wrong to say that sentence in the following way: Estos son los números de el uno a el cien.

 

That's all for now. If you feel like it, try writing sentences with all the different uses we have mentioned for the preposition de. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.

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Regular ER verbs in Spanish

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

 

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

 

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

 

Conjugation of er verbs in Spanish

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

 

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

 

Aquí aprenden a diseñar y confeccionar decorados,

Here they learn to design and make decorations,

Caption 26, Europa Abierta - Taller de escenografía en Olivares

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

 

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

 

Fuimos a pasear, comimos un helado,

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

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

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

 

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

 

Mañana venderé mi casa.

Tomorrow, I will sell my house.

 

5 sentences using er verbs in Spanish

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

 

1. Beber (to drink)

Yo bebo agua.

I drink water.

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

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2. Comprender (to comprehend / understand)

Ahora comprendo mejor la operación de mi padre

Now I understand my father's operation better

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

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3. Correr (to run)

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

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

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

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4. Prometer (to promise)

Ayer os prometí que estudiaríamos hoy "aconsejar,"

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

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

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5. Temer (to fear / be afraid of)

Pero ellos no le temen a nada.

But they are not afraid of anything.

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

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

 

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Spanish adverbs with mente

Let’s talk about adverbs. Adverbs are very important in Spanish grammar and many of them are closely connected to adjectives. In fact, there are a good number of adverbs that can be easily formed if we are familiar with adjectives. In this lesson, we will see how to use adjectives in order to form Spanish adverbs with the suffix mente.

 

Some examples of Spanish adverbs with mente

Let’s take a look at these very used adverbs in Spanish.

 

...pero principalmente cubanos que llegaron a este país hace cuarenta años.

...but mainly Cubans who arrived to this country forty years ago.

Caption 6, La Calle 8 - Un recorrido fascinante

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Además, este año hay una zona dedicada especialmente a la gastronomía.

Additionally, this year there is an area dedicated especially to gastronomy.

Caption 28, Fuengirola - Feria Internacional de los Pueblos

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nos criamos completamente ciegos, sordos, mudos con respecto al dinero

we grew up completely blind, deaf, dumb with respect to money

Caption 70, Cuentas claras - Sobreviviendo enero - Part 4

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As you can see, the suffix mente corresponds to the English suffix ‘ly’. But how do you form Spanish adverbs with mente? Let’s take a look.

 

How to form Spanish adverbs with mente

In order to build Spanish adverbs with mente, you just have to follow this very simple formula:

 

Feminine form of the adjective + mente

 

For example, if we want to form an adverb with the adjective último (last), we just need to take the feminine form of that adjective (última) and add the suffix mente, like this:

 

última  + mente = últimamente (lastly).

 

Let’s look at some more examples:

 

Claro (clear): clara + mente = claramente (clearly)

Lento (slow): lenta + mente = lentamente (slowly)

Honesto (honest): honesta + mente = honestamente (honestly)

 

However, if an adjective doesn’t end in ‘o’, it means that it has one form that is used for both masculine and feminine. In that case, you just need to add the suffix mente to the adjective in order to get the adverb. Let’s see some examples:

 

Alegre (happy):  alegre + mente = alegremente (happily)

Triste (sad): triste + mente = tristemente (sadly)

Frecuente (frequent): frecuente + mente = frecuentemente (frequently)

Normal (normal): normal + mente = normalmente (normally)

 

It is also important to mention that if you have a sentence with two adverbs in a series, only the last one will have the suffix mente at the end. The first one will keep the feminime form of the adjective:

 

Él camina rápida y alegremente

He walks quickly and happily

 

Ellos hablaron clara y concisamente

They spoke clearly and concisely

 

Finally, something important to keep in mind: If the original adjective has a graphic accent on it (tilde), the adverb will also have that accent. Some examples:

 

Creo que mi mamá comprendió su equivocación rápidamente.

I think that my mom understood her mistake quickly.

Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 2 - Part 7

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

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

Caption 54, Carlos explica - Acentuación Cap. 3: La división en sílabas - Part 1

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That's it for this lesson. Now, here is your homework: Take 10 adjectives and try to form the corresponding adverbs using the suffix mente. Can you write some sentences too? Have fun and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

 

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Entorno vs. en torno

As with any other language, Spanish can be tricky sometimes. Do you know how to use the word entorno? What about the expression en torno? Which one would you use in the following sentence:

 

Fuengirola es un importante punto turístico. Su economía gira ________ a este sector.

Fuengirola is an important touristic spot. Its economy revolves around this sector.

Captions 12-13, Fuengirola - Mercado

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What about this sentence:

 

encontró en su _________ un atractivo natural para los amantes del ecoturismo

found in its environment a natural beauty for the lovers of ecotourism

Caption 94, Tecnópolis - El Coronil

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Let’s find out what the answer is.

 

What is the English meaning of entorno?

To begin with, entorno is a noun and the meaning of this word is environment or surroundings. However, it is important to say that entorno encompasses the same broad meaning of the English word “environment,” meaning “the circumstances, objects, or conditions by which one is surrounded.” Let’s take a look at some examples:

 

... las calles, la gente... lo que es el entorno urbano.

... the streets, the people... what the urban environment is.

Captions 39-40, Leif - El Arquitecto Español y su Arte - Part 1

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para modificar el entorno, desarrolló herramientas, ¿no?

in order to modify the environment, he developed tools, right?

Caption 50, Lo que no sabías - Arte electrónico - Part 2

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Regarding the last example, the word entorno is very common in information and computer science, especially when talking about the features that define the execution and placement of a particular application.

 

The meaning of the expression en torno

As far as the expression en torno goes, we can use it to mean about, around or approximately. Let’s take a look:

 

que hay en torno a cincuenta millones, eh, hispanohablantes en Estados Unidos.

that there there are about fifty million, um, Spanish speakers in the United States.

Captions 42-43, El Instituto Cervantes - Director del Instituto

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Puede andar en torno a los dos mil seiscientos...

It could be around two thousand six hundred...

Caption 50, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 13

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Finally, keep in mind that en torno is either followed by the preposition a or the preposition de:

 

  • Ella llegó en torno a la medianoche.
  • She arrived around midnight.

 

  • Las esculturas en torno de la iglesia.
  • The sculptures around the church.

 

That's it for this lesson. Now that you know the difference between entorno and en torno, you can answer the questions we posed at the beginning, right? And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

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The Articles in Spanish Grammar

Let’s talk about articles. Today, we will review this basic but very important ingredient of the Spanish language. We'll begin this lesson by discussing what an article is, and then look at the two main groups of articles we have in Spanish.

 

What is an article in Spanish?

An article is a word that we use in Spanish to specify the gender and number of a noun. Articles also tell us how specific a noun is and that’s why they can be definite or indefinite. Finally, we always put articles before a noun.

 

If that sounds too complicated, let’s see how the Cambridge Dictionary defines the word article: “Any of the English words "a," "an," and "the," or words in other languages that are used in a similar way as these.” With that being said, let’s take a look at definite and indefinite articles in Spanish.

 

Definite articles in Spanish

Definite articles in English are easy. In fact, we only have one definite article: the. To the contrary, in Spanish we have four different definite articles: el, la, los, las. Let’s see that in action:

 

  • El niño (the boy) - We use ‘el’ to indicate that the noun is singular and masculine.
  • La niña (the girl) - We use ‘la’ to indicate that the noun is singular and feminine.
  • Los niños (the boys) - We use ‘los’ to indicate that the noun is plural and masculine.
  • Las niñas (the girls) - We use ‘las’ to indicate that the noun is plural and feminine.

 

Keep in mind, however, that if you are referring to a group where you have both male and female elements, we need to use the masculine article ‘los’. In fact, in those cases we need to use the plural form of the masculine noun:

 

  • A group of 4 male friends: los amigos (the friends)
  • A group of 4 female friends: las amigas (the friends)
  • A group of 2 male friends and 2 female friends: los amigos (the friends)

 

Hoy tengo clase con los alumnos principiantes de español.

Today I have class with the beginner Spanish students.

Caption 5, Español para principiantes - La hora

 Play Caption

 

In the example above, we use the article los with the word alumnos (students) but the speaker is very likely referring to a group of both male and female students.

We also have the neuter definite article lo but if you want a further explanation about this very particular article, please check the lesson about this topic HERE.

 

Indefinite articles in Spanish

In English, we have the indefinite articles “a” and “an.” In Spanish, we have four indefinite articles that we use to specify the gender and number of the noun they precede. These articles are un, una, unos and unas:

 

  • Un perro (a dog) - We use ‘un’ to indicate that the noun is singular and masculine.
  • Una serpiente (a snake) - We use ‘una’ to indicate that the noun is singular and feminine.
  • Unos perros (some dogs) - We use ‘unos’ to indicate that the noun is plural and masculine.
  • Unas serpientes (some snakes) - We use ‘unas’ to indicate that the noun is plural and feminine.

 

Let’s look at a couple of examples:

Compré un regalo para unos amigos.

I bought a gift for some friends.

Caption 9, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 4: Regalos para un nuevo bebé

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In this sentence, we use the article unos with the noun amigos (friends). However, just as it happens with the definite article los, we use the indefinite article unos when referring to groups that may include both male and female elements. In this case, some friends could easily include both male and female friends.

 

¿Unas entradas para ver un musical?

Some tickets to see a musical?

Caption 35, Blanca y Mariona - Planificación de cena

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In this example, both nouns are indefinite so the girls use the corresponding indefinite articles. If the girls had known some specific information about the tickets and the musical, they would have used definite articles:

 

  • ¿Las entradas para ver el musical?
  • ¿The tickets to see the musical?

 

That's it for now. If you are aware of the gender and number variables that nouns have in Spanish, you will be on your way to using articles like a pro. We hope you find this lesson useful and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

 

Explore more lessons:

Lo: the Neuter Article

Irse de boca

A Common Past: ser and ir

Continua leyendo

The preposition a in Spanish

Today, we will discuss a very common and useful preposition. Just like most prepositions, the preposition a in Spanish can be used in various different ways. While we usually think of the preposition a as the English equivalent of to, this preposition can also work as in, on, from, by and at. Let’s take a look.

 

Uses of the preposition a in Spanish

To begin with, we use the preposition a to indicate motion to a particular place:

Por ejemplo, yo quiero viajar a Noruega la próxima semana…

For example, I want to travel to Norway next week…

Caption 10, Escuela Don Quijote - En el aula - Part 1

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Llegué a Londres hace tres meses.

I arrived in London three months ago.

Caption 7, Lydia de Barcelona - Lydia y el festival de cine "Women Mujeres"

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We also use the preposition a when we want to connect a main verb with a verb in the infinitive. For example, when we are referring to the moment a particular action started:

En poco tiempo, la gente comenzó a hacer el mal.

After a short period of time, people began to do evil.

Caption 32, Aprendiendo con Carlos - América precolombina - El mito de Bochica

 Play Caption

 

In this context, however, one of the most common uses of the preposition a is when we want to express a future action using the following formula: ir (to go) + a (to) + infinitive verb:

Entonces el día de hoy, a petición de Chuy, vamos a hacer una carne asada.

So today, at Chuy's request, we're going to make grilled meat.

Caption 9, [Bears in the Kitchen] Osos en la cocina - Carne asada

 Play Caption

 

We also use the preposition a in Spanish when we want to indicate the end of a particular period of time:

El horario es de lunes a viernes

The schedule is from Monday to Friday

Caption 69, Negocios - La solicitud de empleo - Part 2

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Another very common use of this preposition is when we want to indicate a particular point in a scale (time, distance, speed, temperature, etc.):

Estamos situados a cuarenta kilómetros de Barcelona

We are located forty kilometers from Barcelona

Caption 3, Feria de Vinos Españoles en Londres - Bodegas Castell D'Age

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Me levanto todas las mañanas a las siete

I get up every morning at seven o'clock

Caption 28, Club de las ideas - Pasión por el golf - Part 1

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Finally, we use the preposition a before a direct object when that object is a person. Similarly, we also use this preposition when we want to introduce an indirect object:

A mi hermana le gusta el color rojo.

My sister likes the color red.

Caption 7, Español para principiantes - Los colores

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Entonces, nosotros les compramos a las personas para que...

So, we buy from people so that...

Caption 7, Fruteria "Los Mangos" - Vendiendo Frutas - Part 2

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The contraction al  in Spanish

When the preposition a goes before the definite article el, you need to combine the two words using the contraction al (a + el):

No quiero viajar al mundo espacial

I don't want to travel to the space world

Caption 20, La Gusana Ciega - Invasión Estelar

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pero sí os recomiendo que vengáis aquí al parque

but I do recommend that you come here to the park

Caption 80, Animales en familia - Un día en Bioparc: Lémures

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Please keep in mind that when you have the preposition a next to the article el, the contraction al is mandatory! For this reason, and considering the examples we just mentioned, it would have been wrong to say the following:

No quiero viajar a el mundo

… que vengáis aquí a el parque

In both cases, you need to use the contraction al.

 

That's all for now. Try writing sentences with all the different uses we have mentioned for the preposition a. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.

 

Explore more lessons:

The preposition sobre

A que sí / A que no

Ser vs Estar - Yo estoy

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Había or habían muchos libros?

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

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

a. Había muchos libros en ese apartamento

OR

b. Habían muchos libros en ese apartamento

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

 

Using the verb haber in Spanish

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 5, Belanova - Entrevista - Part 2

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

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

a. Había muchos libros en ese apartamento

 

How to use había when talking about existence

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

 

Aquí había unas comidas para llevar.

There were some takeout places here.

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

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porque había diferentes explicaciones de…

because there were different explanations of…

Caption 31, El Aula Azul - Dos historias

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porque había muchos obstáculos para ese encuentro.

because there were many obstacles for that meeting.

Caption 34, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 4

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había muchos seres extraños

and there were many strange beings.

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

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no había máquinas de estas,

there were no machines like these,

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

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

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

 

Explore more lessons:

Using "haber de" to Express Necessity or Possibility

Haber+De+Infinitive: Something you should learn

Va a haber: Related forms of "Hay"

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Regular AR verbs in Spanish

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

 

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

 

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

 

What makes a verb regular?

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

 

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

 

... o cuando mis alumnos hablan español.

... or when my students speak Spanish.

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 50, Europa Abierta - Aguas en discordia

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Explore more lessons:

The complicated world of reflexive verbs

Combining verbs in Spanish - Part 1 - Infinitives

Combining verbs in Spanish - Part 2- Gerundios y participios

 

 

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, usted and vos

Let's talk about pronouns. In English, when we talk with someone we use the second person singular pronoun ‘you’. In Spanish, we have three different options for that same pronoun: usted and vos. Which one we use depends on things like the relation that we have with the person we are talking to or the place where we are. Generally speaking, we use usted when we want to talk in a more respectful way with someone:

¿Usted qué... qué me recomienda, doctor?

What do you... what do you recommend to me, Doctor?

Caption 14, Los médicos explican - El tratamiento de las fracturas - Part 1

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However, if you are following the Colombian series Los Años Maravillosos, you have probably noticed that people usually use usted even when talking with family members or close friends. Why? That’s just how people speak in Bogota, Colombia:

¿Y a usted qué le pasa, mi hijito?

And what's going on with you, my little boy?

Caption 35, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1 - Part 4

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Regardless of its use, there is something quite unique about using usted:  we conjugate usted as we would conjugate él (he) or ella (she):

Él trabaja entre las nueve de la mañana

He works between nine in the morning

Caption 48, La casa - De Chus

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¿Dónde trabaja usted?

Where do you work?

Caption 9, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 16

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As you can see in the captions above, the conjugation of the verb trabajar (to work) with él (he) and usted (you) is exactly the same (trabaja), something that doesn’t occur with  and vos:

Tú trabajas | You work
Vos trabajás | You work
Él/Ella/Usted Trabaja | He/She/You work


To wrap things up, we use usted as a second person singular pronoun. However, we conjugate it as a third person singular pronoun!
 
And don’t forget that this also occurs with the plural form ustedes (you all), which we conjugate as the third person plural pronoun ellos/ellas (they). Notice how ustedes and ellos share the same conjugation of the verb saber (to know) in the following captions:

Toda la vida he estado en el PAN, como ustedes saben, y he estado muy contento.

All my life I have been in PAN, as you know, and I have been very happy.

Caption 37, Felipe Calderón - Publicidad - Part 2

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Ellos saben de los sitios que son hábitat de reproducción,

They know about the places that are reproduction habitats,

Caption 31, Instinto de conservación - Parque Tayrona - Part 2

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That's it for now. If you want to learn more things about the use of usted and vos make sure to check out our series about Tuteo, Ustedeo y Voseo. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

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The preposition sobre in Spanish

Let's talk about prepositions! Today, we will discuss a very useful preposition that also has lots of meanings. Our guest today is the preposition sobre!

 

How to use the preposition sobre in Spanish

 

We usually use sobre as the equivalent of the English preposition about (with regard to):

 

Os voy a contar a... cosas sobre uno de los lugares más típicos de Barcelona

I'm going to tell you about... things about one of the most typical places in Barcelona

Caption 24, Blanca - Sobre la ciudad de Barcelona

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Te cité porque quiero escribir un libro sobre meditación,

I called you here because I want to write a book about meditation,

Caption 6, Escribiendo un libro - Algunos consejos sobre cómo comenzar - Part 1

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The preposition sobre can also be used as the equivalent of the English adverb about (approximately) when we want to indicate an approximate time, quantity or number:

 

Perfecto. Y, ¿sobre qué hora te vendría bien?

Perfect. And, about what time would be good for you?

Caption 14, Raquel y Marisa - Español Para Negocios - Nuestro perfil profesional en la red

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Very often, the preposition sobre indicates the position of a particular person or object. In this case, sobre acts as the English prepositions over and on:

 

No quieras caminar sobre el dolor... descalza

Don't wish to walk over the pain... barefoot

Caption 6, Camila - Aléjate de mi

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Vamos a ponerlas sobre un papel aluminio.

We are going to put them on a piece of aluminum foil.

Caption 15, [Bears in the Kitchen] Osos en la cocina - Pollo Violado

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While we usually use sobre as a preposition, this isn’t always the case. For instance, the preposition sobre is often used next to the word todo to form the adverbial phrase sobre todo, which means especially or particularly. You can see how the following sentence uses both sobre (about) and sobre todo (especially):
 

hay varios artículos sobre esto y sobre todo en dependencia a la edad del niño

there are several articles about this and especially depending on the age of the child,

Caption 85, Cuentas claras - Sobreviviendo enero - Part 4

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Don't get confused with envelope in Spanish

 

And finally, don’t forget that the word sobre can also be a noun, which means envelope in Spanish:

 

y que están en este sobre que se mandan a Claridad,

and which are in this envelope that are sent to Claridad

Caption 56, Seva Vive - 2. La copla

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de recoger todos esos sobres que repartió la Mojiganga...

of collecting all those envelopes that the Mojiganga gave out...

Caption 35, Estado Falcón - Locos de la Vela - Part 3

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That's all for now. Try to write some sentences with all the different uses that we mentioned for the word sobre. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

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