Lecciones de Español

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Lessons for topic Vocabulary

Spanish Cognates for English Words That End in -ation

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

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The -ation/-ación Connection

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

 

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

Just today he's given a message to the nation

Caption 23, Yabla en Lima El Centro - Part 2

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y tenía mucha imaginación.

and he had a lot of imagination.

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

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

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

Captions 32-33, Cata y Cleer En el restaurante

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y, por suerte, casi siempre hay mucha participación.

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

Caption 78, Viajando con Fermín Asociación ProDunas Marbella

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

 

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

 

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Applying the Formula to More Complex Words

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

 

tenemos la... lógicamente, la industrialización,

we have the... logically, industrialization,

Caption 51, Los médicos explican Entrevista con el Doctor Suarez

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Y no te quiero hablar de la globalización

And I don't want to talk about globalization

Caption 47, Yago 6 Mentiras - Part 6

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

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

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

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

 

Exceptions to the -ation/-ación Rule 

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

 

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

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

Caption 14, Fuengirola Mercado

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

 

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

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

Caption 28, Blanca Cómo moverse en Barcelona

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

 

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

 

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

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Extranjerismos: Foreign Words Used in Spanish

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

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Arabismos- Words from the Arab World

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

 

Alcalde (mayor)- from the original word alqáḍi

Soy Miguel Ángel Herrera, alcalde de Genalguacil,

I'm Miguel Angel Herrera, mayor of Genalguacil,

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

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Álgebra (algebra)- from the original word algĕbra

el álgebra, que estudia las estructuras abstractas,

algebra, which studies abstract structures,

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

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Azúcar (sugar)- from the original word assúkkar

con media taza de azúcar

with half a cup of sugar,

Caption 25, Ana Carolina Ponche navideño

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Guitarra (guitar)- from the original word qīṯārah

aprendí a tocar la guitarra de una manera diferente

I learned to play the guitar in a different manner

Caption 55, Luis Guitarra Influencias musicales - Part 1

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Naranja (orange)- from the original word naranǧa

saben a naranja.

taste like orange.

Caption 34, Ariana Cita médica

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

 

Galicismos- Words of French Origin

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

 

Bulevar (boulevard)- from the original word boulevard

hasta lo que hoy es conocido como el Bulevar donostiarra,

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

Caption 28, Días festivos La Tamborrada de San Sebastián

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Indigenismos- Words from Indigenous Languages

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

 

Caucho (rubber)- from the original Quechua word kawchu

Ellos jugaban con una pelota de caucho

They played with a rubber ball

Caption 85, Guillermo el chamán La cosmología de los mayas

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Maraca (maraca)- from the original Guaraní word mbaracá

guitarra, cuatro, güiro, maraca, bongo,

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

Caption 32, Sonido Babel La plena de Puerto Rico

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Papa (potato)- from the original Quechua word papa

En los Andes se usa mucha papa y muchas cremas.

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

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

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Tomate (tomato)- from the original Nahuatl word tomatl

¿Qué es realmente el tomate?

What really is the tomato?

Caption 30, Fermín Ensalada de tomate

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Italianismos- Words from the Italian Language

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

 

Balcón (balcony)- from the original word balcone

Tomo unos mates en el balcón

I have some servings of mate on the balcony

Caption 7, GoSpanish La rutina diaria de Sol

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Novela (novel)- from the original word novella

basada en una novela de Paul van Loon

based on a novel by Paul van Loon

Caption 4, Europa Abierta Fucsia la pequeña bruja

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Anglicismos- Words from the English language

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

 

Club (club)

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

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

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

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Fútbol or futbol (football/soccer)

El fútbol es un deporte que fue inventado en Inglaterra

Soccer is a sport that was invented in England

Caption 8, Sergio El fútbol en España

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

 

Líder (leader)

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

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

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

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Turista (tourist)

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

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

Captions 10-11, Málaga Semana Santa

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

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

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

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The Names of the Planets in Spanish

The names of the planets in Spanish are as follows: 

 

1. Mercurio = Mercury

 

2. Venus = Venus

 

3. La Tierra = (the) Earth

 

4. Marte = Mars

 

5. Júpiter = Jupiter

 

6. Saturno = Saturn

 

7. Urano = Uranus

 

8. Neptuno = Neptune

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 6, Yabla informa Noticias con Cleer

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

 

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

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

Captions 10-11, Ana Tijoux 1977

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

 

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

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

Caption 55, Conversaciones con Luis Astrología

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Additional Astronomical Vocabulary in Spanish

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

 

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1. la luna = the moon

 

2. el sol = the sun

 

3. la estrella = the star 

 

4. el planeta = the planet

 

5. la galaxia = the galaxy 

 

6. la Vía Láctea = the Milky Way

 

7. el cometa = the comet

 

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

 

9. la nave espacial = the spaceship 

 

10. la constelación = the constellation

 

11. el sistema solar = the solar system

 

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

 

13. el eclipse = the eclipse

 

14. la astronomia = astronomy

 

15. el telescopio = the telescope

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 31, Guillermo el chamán Los rituales

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

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

Captions 13-14, Guillermo el chamán La tecnología maya

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

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

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

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

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

Caption 3, Europa Abierta Galileo vs. GPS

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

 

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

 

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Expressing Emotions in Spanish

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

 

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The Three Main Ways of Talking About Emotions in Spanish 

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

 

1. Adjectives

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

 

 

2. Reflexive Verbs

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

 

 

3. Nouns

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

 

Conveying Common Emotions in Spanish

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

 

1. HAPPINESS

 

Adjectives: 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Caption 27, Rueda de la muerte Parte 1

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Y estoy alegre, alegre de que no sea cierto.

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

Caption 31, Chus recita poemas Neruda y Pizarnik

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

 

La Vela se caracteriza además por ser un pueblo alegre,

La Vela is also characterized as being a happy town,

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

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Reflexive Verbs: 

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

 

Qué bien; me alegro de que estén aquí.

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

Caption 42, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 2

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

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

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

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Nouns:

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

 

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

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

Caption 33, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 10

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

 

Hasta el sábado, amiga. ¡Qué felicidad!

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

Caption 83, Cleer y Lida Conversación telefónica - Part 1

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

 

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2. EXCITEMENT

 

Adjectives: 

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

 

Estoy tan emocionado de volver a verte.

I am so excited to see you again.

Caption 53, Yago 11 Prisión - Part 3

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

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

Caption 7, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 4

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Reflexive Verbs:

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

 

Ya me emocioné.

I already got excited.

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

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¿Por qué no entusiasmarnos más?

Why not get more excited?

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

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Nouns:

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

3. SADNESS

 

Adjectives:

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

 

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

we realized my boat was split. Candelario got sad.

Captions 43-44, Guillermina y Candelario El Gran Rescate

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Reflexive Verbs:

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

 

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

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

 

Nouns:

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

 

Qué tristeza, ¿no? Terrible.

How sad, right? Terrible.

Caption 5, Tu Voz Estéreo Feliz Navidad - Part 19

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4. ANGER

 

Adjectives:

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

 

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

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

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

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Estamos muy enfadadas. Estoy muy enfadada.

We are very angry. I am very angry.

Captions 30-31, El Aula Azul Estados de ánimo

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Reflexive Verbs:

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

 

Se enojó muchísimo con el viejo

She got really angry with my old man

Caption 86, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 6

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No me enfadé con él, ni le insulté,

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

Captions 78-79, Cortometraje Beta - Part 1

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Nouns:

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

 

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

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

Caption 81, Cortometraje Beta - Part 1

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

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

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

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

 

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5. SURPRISE

 

Adjectives:

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

 

Profesores, la verdad es que me he quedado sorprendida

Professors, the truth is that I have been surprised;

Caption 19, Alumnos extranjeros del Tec de Monterrey

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Reflexive Verbs:

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

 

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

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

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

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Nouns:

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

 

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

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

Caption 15, Español para principiantes Saludos y encuentros

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6. DISAPPOINTMENT

 

Adjectives:

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

 

Mi novia está desilusionado conmigo por haberle mentido.

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

 

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

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

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

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Reflexive Verbs:

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

 

Me decepcioné mucho cuando suspendí el examen. 

I was really disappointed when I failed the test. 

 

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

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

Caption 38, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 5

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Nouns:

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

 

Qué decepción.

What a disappointment.

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

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

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

Captions 48-49, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 2

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

 

7. WORRY/ANXIETY/STRESS

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

 

Adjectives:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Caption 9, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 6

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

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

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

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Reflexive Verbs:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Caption 67, Cuentas claras Sobreviviendo enero - Part 2

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Nouns:

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

 

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

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

Captions 68-69, Cleer y Lida Picnic

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Siento ansiedad, la necesidad de contar quién soy

I feel anxiety, the need to tell who I am

Caption 2, Monsieur Periné Mi libertad

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

colombian slang words and phrases

 

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

 

1. Nouns

2. Adjectives

3. Verbs

4. Colombian sayings and expressions

 

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

 

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

 

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Colombian Slang Nouns

 

1. bacán (a cool dude)

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

Example:

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

3. boleta (an embarrassing situation or person)

Example:

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

 

4. caco (a thief)

Example:

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

 

5. camello (a job, work)

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

Example:

Le traigo un regalito y le tengo un camello.

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

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

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6. cantaleta (constant scolding or nagging)

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

Example:

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

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

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

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7. catorce (a favor)

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

Example:

Dorita, ¿nos hace el catorce y la foto?

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

Caption 60, X6 1 - La banda - Part 11

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8. chécheres (stuff)

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

Example:

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

 

9. chimba (a very cool person or thing)

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

Example:

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

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

Example:

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

 

10. chino/china (friend, dude, kid)

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

Examples:

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

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

 

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

Example:

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

 

12. churrias (diarrhea)

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

Example:

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

 

13. churro (a handsome guy)

Example:

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

 

14. chuspa (a plastic bag)

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

Example:

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

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

Example:

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

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

Example:

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

 

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

Examples:

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

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

 

17. gallinazo (a man who likes to flirt)

 

18. gomelo/gomela (a snob)

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

Example:

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

 

19. guachafita (chaos, disorder)

Example:

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

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

 

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

Example:

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

 

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

Example:

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

 

22. guayabo (hangover)

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

Example:

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

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

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

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23. jincho/jincha (drunk)

Example:

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

 

24. llave (friend, dude)

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

Example:

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

 

25. lucas (Colombian pesos)

Example:

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

 

26. mamera (something very boring or annoying)

Example:

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

 

27. man (guy)

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

Example:

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

 

28. mecato (snacks)

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

 

29. miércoles (shoot, oops)

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

 

30. mono/mona (a blonde person)

Example:

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

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

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

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31. motoso (a nap)

Example:

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

 

32. parcero/parcera (friend)

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

Example:

 

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

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

Caption 1, Juanes La Plata

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33. parche (a group of friends)

Example:

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

 

34. paro (a strike)

Example:

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

 

35. pecueca (stinky feet)

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

Pedro tiene pecueca (Pedro has stinky feet).

 

36. perra (drunkenness)

Example:

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

 

37. pieza (bedroom)

Example:

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

 

38. plata (money)

Example:

Estamos hablando de mucha plata.

We're talking about a lot of money.

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

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39. pola (beer)

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

 

40. rumba (a party)

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

Example:

¿Estaba en una rumba?

Was he at a party?

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

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

Example:

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

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

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

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42. sapo/sapa (a snitch, a toady)

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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43. tinto (a cup of black coffee)

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

 

44. tombo (a policeman)

 

45. vaina (stuff, thing)

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

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

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

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

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

 

46. vieja (a girl, a woman, a chick)

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

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

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

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

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Colombian Slang Adjectives

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

 

47. achantado (sad, ashamed)

Example:

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

 

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

Example:

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

 

49. bacano/bacana (cool)

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

 

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

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

Examples:

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

52. chato/chata (dear)

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

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

 

53. chévere (cool)

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

Example:

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

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

Caption 4, Club 10 Capítulo 2 - Part 3

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54. chimbo/chimba (cheap or bad)

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

Example:

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

 

55. chiviado (fake)

Example:

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

 

56. inmamable (annoying, unbearable)

Example:

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

 

57. jarto/jarta (boring, annoying)

Example:

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

60. prendido/prendida (tipsy)

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

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

 

61. rolo/rola (someone from Bogota)

 

62. tenaz (tough, difficult)

Example:

Aprender chino es tenaz (Learning Chinese is tough).

 

Colombian Slang Verbs

 

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

Example:

No me digas que se achantó porque se me declaró.

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

Caption 13, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 5 - Part 5

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64. camellar (to work hard)

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

 

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

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

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

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65. cuadrar (to schedule or plan something)

Example:

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Example:

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

 

68. gallinacear (to flirt)

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

Example:

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

 

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

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

Example:

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

 

70. hacer vaca (to collect money)

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

Example:

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

 

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

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

Example 1:

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

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

 

Example 2:

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

 

72. rajarse (to fail)

Example:

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

 

73. rumbear (to party, to go out)

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

Example:

Salir a rumbear sin pensar en la cuenta

To go out on the town without thinking about the bill

Caption 65, Bacilos Mi Primer Millón

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

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

 

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

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

 

75. sapear (to snitch)

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

 

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Colombian Slang Sayings and Expressions

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

 

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

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

Example:

-¿Dónde está Patricia? -Está azotando baldosa.

-Where is Patricia? -She's dancing.

 

77. ¿Bien o qué? (All good?)

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

 

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

Example:

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

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

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

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

Example:

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

Example:

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

81. ¡Guácala! (Gross!)

Example:

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

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

 

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

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

Example:

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

 

83. ¡Listo! (OK, great!)

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

Example 1:

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

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

Caption 50, Cleer y Lida Conversación telefónica - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Example 2:

Listo. Entonces, hasta el sábado.

Great. So, see you Saturday.

Caption 82, Cleer y Lida Conversación telefónica - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

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

Example:

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

Example:

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

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

 

86. parar bolas (to pay attention)

Example:

Hermanito, pare bolas.

Little brother, pay attention.

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

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87. pilas (watch out)

Example:

Pilas. Las viejas van en camino.

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

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

 Play Caption

 

88. poner los cachos (to cheat on someone)

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

Example:

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

 

89. ¡Qué boleta! (How embarrassing!)

Example:

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

 

90. ¡Qué chimba! (How cool!)

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

 

Bacano. Chévere. ¡Qué chimba!

Cool. Nice. How cool!

Captions 67-69, Skampida Gustavo y David

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

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

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

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

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

 

92. ¡Qué ceba! (gross!)

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

 

93. ¡Qué embarrada! (What a pity!)

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

Example:

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

 

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

Example:

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

 

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

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

Example:

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

 

96. ¡Qué oso! (How embarrassing!)

Example:

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

 

97. ¡Qué vaina! (What a pity!)

Example:

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

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

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

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98. Quiubo (What's up/ Hi)

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

Example:

¿Quiuboquiubo, linda? ¿Cómo vas?

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

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

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

 

99. ser una nota (to be awesome)

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

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

 

100. ¡Ya dijo! (Yeah, right!)

Example:

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

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

 

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

 

-¡Quiubo parce!, ¿bien o qué?

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

-¡Uy! ¡Qué embarrada! ¿Y con quién?

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

-¡Ah! Ese man es un gallinazo.

-Así es llave. ¡Gallinazo e inmamable! 

 

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

 

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Saying Years in Spanish

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

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

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

 

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

 

how to say years in spanish

 

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

 

135

 

Madrid AB ciento treinta y cinco con destino Nueva York, John F. Kennedy.

Madrid AB one hundred thirty-five to New York, John F. Kennedy."

Captions 32-33, Raquel Avisos de Megafonía

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180

 

Cuenta con una vista privilegiada de toda la ciudad de alrededor de ciento ochenta grados.

It has an extraordinary one-hundred-eighty-degree view of the whole city.

Caption 65, Quito El Panecillo

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Multiples of 100

For the numbers from 200 to 999, you will need to use the multiples of 100. Let's review them:

 

doscientos (two hundred)
trescientos (three hundred)
cuatrocientos (four hundred)
quinientos (five hundred)
seiscientos (six hundred)
setecientos (seven hundred)
ochocientos (eight hundred)
novecientos (nine hundred)

 

And, of course, let's not forget about mil (one thousand)!

 

Now that we have reviewed these numbers, let's see how to write and pronounce some historical years in Spanish.

 

1492

 

Cristóbal Colón descubrió América en mil cuatrocientos noventa y dos.

Christopher Columbus discovered America in fourteen ninety-two.

Caption 34, Carlos explica El pretérito Cap. 1: Perfecto simple o Indefinido

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1697

 

Mil seiscientos noventa y siete, invasión francesa a Cartagena,

Sixteen ninety-seven, French invasion of Cartagena,

Caption 12, Cartagena de Indias Fuerte de San Felipe de Barajas

 Play Caption

 

 

1728

 

El ingenio más antiguo de Europa, que data del año mil setecientos veintiocho,

The oldest factory in Europe, which dates back to the year seventeen hundred twenty-eight,

Captions 36-37, Viajando con Fermín Frigiliana, Málaga

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How to Say Years in Spanish after 1900

The twentieth century was one of the most defining centuries in the history of humankind. For this reason, we often refer to years that belong to that century. If you want to write and pronounce those years in Spanish, you will need to use the following formula:

 

mil + novecientos + the number

 

Let's take a look at some of them.

 

1900

 

y fue construida en el año mil novecientos.

and was built in nineteen hundred.

Caption 77, Viajando con Fermín Mijas Pueblo

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1922

 

Fue realizado en mil novecientos veintidós

It was made in nineteen twenty-two

Caption 37, Marisa en Madrid Parque de El Retiro

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1985

 

En mil novecientos ochenta y cinco, sucedieron muchas cosas buenas.

In nineteen eighty-five, many good things happened.

Caption 2, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

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The Years in Spanish after 2000 

If you want to know how to write years in Spanish after the year 2000, you need to use the following simple formula:

 

dos + mil + the number

 

Let's look at some nore examples to see just how easy it is to say these years in Spanish.

 

2002

 

y murió hace algunos años en el dos mil dos.

and died some years ago in two thousand two.

Caption 9, San Sebastián Peine del viento

 Play Caption

 

2013

 

En dos mil trece, recibió más de cuatro millones de visitantes,

In two thousand thirteen, it received more than four million visitors,

Captions 6-7, Marisa en Madrid Parque de El Retiro

 Play Caption

 

2020

 

Y este dos mil veinte, que es un año bisiesto,

And this two thousand twenty, which is a leap year,

Caption 7, El coronavirus Introducción y vocabulario

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As you can see, it is not too difficult to say years in Spanish, right? We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

 

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Todos los Significados (All the Meanings) of the Word Todo in Spanish

In today's lesson, we're going to look at todos los usos y signficados (all of the uses and meanings) of the word todo in Spanish. Well, maybe not all of them... but a lot!

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What Part of Speech is the Word Todo in Spanish?

Primero que todo (first of all), we'd like to say that the Spanish word todo and its feminine and plural equivalents have many meanings including "all," "whole," "every," "each," "everyone," and more, depending upon the context in which they are utilized. Actually, while todo and its alternate forms most commonly function as an adjective or a pronoun, they can also function as an adverb or even a noun. Let's examine how this word works in each of these cases, its various translations into English, and several idiomatic expressions that employ it. 

 

Todo as an Adjective

Let's recall that an adjective modifies, or describes, a noun. When the word todo functions as an adjective, it must agree in number and gender with the noun it modifies. We must thus choose between its masculine singular (todo), masculine plural (todos), feminine singular (toda) or feminine plural (todas) forms, placing it either directly in front of either a noun, a noun's direct article, or a possessive adjective. Let's look at some examples:

 

No, en España, el español se parece mucho en todo el país.

No, in Spain, Spanish is a lot alike in the whole country.

Captions 5-6, Carlos y Xavi Part 4 Tradiciones y comida de Barcelona

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Although the literal translation of todo el país would be "all the country," common ways to say todo el in English include "the whole" or "the entire." Thus, an alternative translation for this sentence might be: "No, in Spain, Spanish is a lot alike in the entire country." Let's look at an additional example:

 

La asistente le dará una tarjeta con toda la información

The assistant will give you a card with all the information

Caption 42, Cita médica La cita médica de Cleer - Part 2

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Note that in this example, the feminine singular form toda has the more straightforward translation "all." Let's move on to some plural examples:

 

Invitamos a todos sus amigos al karaoke

We invite all her friends to karaoke

Caption 44, Blanca y Mariona Planificación de cena

 Play Caption

 

Note that while, in the sentence above, the plural form is translated to "all," in other cases, it can be translated as "every":

 

Salimos todas las noches.

We go out every night.

Caption 20, Clara y Cristina Hablan de actividades

 Play Caption

 

In other cases, either translation could suffice:

 

Feliz tarde, amigos de Yabla de todos los países del mundo.

Happy afternoon, Yabla friends from every country in the world.

Caption 2, Adícora, Venezuela El tatuaje de Rosana

 Play Caption

 

An alternative translation could, of course, be: "Happy afternoon, Yabla friends from all the countries in the world."

 

Todo as a Pronoun

The definition of a pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. Hence, when the word todo is used a pronoun in Spanish, it must match the number/gender of the noun to which it refers. Let's look at a simple example: 

 

¿Cuá​nta torta comiste? -Me la comí toda.

How much cake did you eat? -I ate it all

But:

 

¿Cuá​ntos caramelos comiste? -Todos.

How much candies did you eat? -All of them. 

 

Let's take a look at an example from the Yabla video library where todas replaces a plural feminine noun (las estaciones/the seasons):

 

Creo que es la mejor estación de todas

I think that it's the best season of all.

Caption 22, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 1

 Play Caption
 

Todo on its own is also the equivalent of the English word "everything":

 

Sí, Lucio me cuenta todo.

Yes, Lucio tells me everything.

Caption 30, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

The plural todos, on the other hand, means "everybody" or "everyone":

 

porque es información nueva para todos.

because it's new information for everyone.

Caption 60, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

In fact, the title of a recent Yabla video, Todo es de todos (Everything Belongs to Everyone) employs both of those terms. However, note the difference in translation for todos in the following example:

 

¿De ahí saldrá el aguacate que todos conocemos? -Claro. 

The avocado that we all know will come from there? -Sure.

Caption 57, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 17

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Although "The avocado that everyone knows will come from there?" could be a viable translation, the fact that the verb conocer (to know) has been translated in the first person plural (nosotros/"we") form makes "we all" a legitimate (and perhaps more explanatory) translation. 

 

Todo as an Adverb

When todo functions as an adverb, it is typically used to make emphatic statements. Possible translations include "really," "completely," "all," or "totally." For example, one might say: El chico se veía todo lindo (The guy looked really good) or Mi habitación está toda desordenada (My room is totally messy). Let's look at an example from the Yabla video library:

 

¡Yo te vi, yo te vi toda llena de barro!

I saw you! I saw you all covered in mud!

Caption 41, Yago 3 La foto - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

Todo as a Noun

As a noun, el todo means "the whole" and can be seen in the translation for Aristotle's famous sentence:

 

El todo es más que la suma de las partes.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. 

 

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Top Ten Common Spanish Expressions with Forms of the WordTodo

And speaking of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, let's examine some common Spanish idioms that include forms of the word todo with meanings beyond their literal words.

 

1Todo el mundo

While todo el mundo literally means "all the world" or "the whole/entire world," this phrase is an extremely common way of expressing the idea of "everybody" or "everyone" in Spanish:

 

Todo el mundo puede tocar el tambor donde, cuando y como quiera- mayores, niños, mujeres,

Everybody can play the drum wherever, whenever, and however they want- older people, children, women,

Captions 47-49, Viernes Santo en Tobarra ¡La Cuna del Tambor! - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

2. Todo el día

Literally "all the day," the notion of "all day" is encompassed by the Spanish expression todo el día:

 

¿Todo el día? El tiempo que quieras.

All day? As long as you want.

Captions 103-104, Alan x el mundo Mi playa favorita de México! - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

3. Todos los días

The plural form todos los días ("all the days"), on the other hand, means "every day":

 

Además, la vemos todos los días.

Besides, we see it every day.

Caption 11, Guillermina y Candelario Una aventura extrema - Part 2

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4. Sobre todo

Like it sounds, the Spanish phrase sobre todo can indeed mean "above all" or "above everything." Additional, frequent translations include "mostly," "mainly," and "especially":

 

Primero, sobre todo si es tu primera tarjeta de crédito, eh... es recomendable que el... que el límite no sea mayor a tus ingresos. 

First, especially if it is your first credit card, um... it is recommendable for the... for the limit not to be greater than your income.

Captions 51-52, Cuentas claras Sobreviviendo enero - Part 3

 Play Caption
 

5. En todo caso 

Even though the literal meaning of en todo caso is "in all case," it is the Spanish equivalent of the English expression "in any case":
 

En todo caso, espero que a partir de hoy, se sientan más cómodos usando las redes sociales en español.

In any case, I hope that starting from today, you feel more comfortable using social networks in Spanish.

Captions 53-54, Carlos explica Internet y lenguaje digital: Redes sociales

 Play Caption

 

6. Por todos lados 

Por todos lados might seem to mean "around all sides," but it really means "everywhere": 

 

Mili, ¿Dónde estabas? Te estuve buscando por todos lados.

Mili, where were you? I was looking for you everywhere.

Caption 16, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 10

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7. De todas formas

De todas formas in Spanish means not "of all shapes," but is rather a manner of saying "anyway":

 

Bueno, de todas formas, mire, el tipo se está haciendo pasar por Pierre Bernard.

Well, anyway, look, the guy is posing as Pierre Bernard.

Caption 7, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 8

 Play Caption

 

The similar Spanish expressions de todas maneras and de todos modos also mean "anyway," "anyhow," or "in any case." 

 

8. De todo

The phrase de todo ("of everything") is another way to say "everything" in Spanish:

 

Aquí tiene de todo, perro, oveja...

Here, they have everything: [a] dog, sheep...

Caption 1, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

9. Del todo

Del todo ("of the whole"), on the other hand, means "completely" or "entirely"':

 

Quizás l'... la relación más equilibrada que yo he buscado no ha pasado del todo y ahora me siento un poquito sola

Maybe th'... the more balanced relationship that I've looked for hasn't completely happened, and now I feel a little bit lonely

Captions 19-20, El reencuentro Las amigas hablan del trabajo y el amor.

 Play Caption

 

For additional examples of this expression and more, we recommend the lesson En absoluto, de ninguna manera, del todo.

 

10. Todo recto

And finally, if you want to tell someone to go "straight ahead," todo recto (literally "all straight") is the way to go in Spanish:

 

Tiene que ir todo recto. -Sí.

You have to go straight ahead. -Yes.

Caption 17, Curso de español ¿Hay una escuela por aquí?

 Play Caption

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These are just a smattering of the many Spanish expressions that incorporate forms of todo that can be heard in everyday Spanish. ¡Sería imposible nombrarlos todos (It would be imposible to name them all)! That said:

 

Eso es todo por hoy, amigos. 

That's all for today, friends.

Caption 56, Ana Carolina Símbolos de Navidad

 Play Caption
 

For additional information on expressions that include the Spanish word todo, we recommend the additional lesson When Nada (Nothing) is Todo (Everything). In the meantime, gracias por todo (thanks for everything), and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

 

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How Do You Say "How Much" in Spanish (And So Much More!)?

How do you say "how much" in Spanish? In this lesson, you will learn to say "how much" in Spanish in both questions and statements as well to formulate some more specific "how much" questions and answers that you might be eager to learn!

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How Do You Say "How Much" in Spanish? 

The simplest answer to this question is that, while there may be additional ways of saying "how much" in Spanish in particular contexts, the word cuánto is the most common way to say "how much" in Spanish and the one we will focus on today. Let's take a look at this word in action:

 

Ay, papá, para que se dé cuenta cuánto vamos a ganar con este negocio;

Oh, dude, so that you realize how much we are going to earn with this business;

Caption 11, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 4

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While, in the example above, the word cuánto functions as a adverb meaning "how much" in Spanish, the word cuánto can also act as an adjective. In such cases, it will need to agree with the noun it modifies in terms of number and gender. Let's take a look at some examples of the word cuánto in its singular/plural and masculine/feminine forms:

 

Quiero, quiero, quiero ver cuánto amor a ti te cabe

I want, I want, I want to see how much love fits in you

Caption 40, Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee Despacito

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Escúchame, ¿cuántos frigoríficos necesitáis?

Listen to me, how many refrigerators do you guys need?

Caption 46, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 2

 Play Caption
 

¿Cuánta harina le agrego?

How much flour shall I add to it?

Caption 72, Ricardo La compañera de casa - Part 3

 Play Caption
 

¿Cuántas palabras sabes en español?

How many words do you know in Spanish?

Caption 1, El Aula Azul Adivina qué es - Part 2

 Play Caption
 
Notice that the translation for the plural forms of the word cuántocuántos and cuántas, is "how many."
 

Common Expressions with "How Much" in Spanish

Now that you know how to say "how much" in Spanish, let's look at some of the most searched-for English phrases including the words "how much" that many people want to learn how to say in Spanish:

 

1. "How much money" in Spanish

 

As one of the most common things one might associate with the words "how much" is money, you might be curious about how to say "how much money" in Spanish, which is simple: Add the singular masculine form of the adjective cuánto to the word for money, dinero, which is masculine and singular as well:

 

¿Cuánto dinero se puede sacar? Perras.

How much money can one get? Coins [colloquial].

Caption 48, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 5

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2. "How much does it cost?" in Spanish

 

Now that we're talking about money, the abilty to ask the question, "How much does it cost?" in Spanish might come in extremely handy when traveling to a Spanish-speaking country. So, how do you say "How much does it cost?" in Spanish?

 

As it turns out, there are a number of ways to say "How much does it cost?" in Spanish. Most literally, as the verb costar means "to cost" in Spanish, "¿Cuánto cuesta?" and "¿Cuánto cuestan?" mean "How much does it cost?" or "How much do they cost?" respectively, with the verb conjugated in the third person singular or plural depending upon whether what is being asked about is singular or plural. In these cases, the word cuánto functions as an adverb meaning "how much" in Spanish and is thus always masculine and singular. 

 

"¿Cuánto cuesta esta billetera? ¿Cuánto cuesta esta cartera?"

"How much does this wallet cost? How much does this purse cost?"

Captions 32-33, Ana Carolina Salir de compras

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¿Y cuánto cuestan las lecciones?

And how much do the lessons cost?

Caption 21, Costa Azul Surf Shop Hablando con los Empleados Del Surf - Part 2

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The Spanish expression "¿Cuánto vale?" (literally "How much is it worth?) can also mean "How much does it cost?" in Spanish, with the verb conjugated in singular or plural once again depending on the sentence's subject, which is singular (este coche, or "this car") in this sentence:
 

¿Cuánto vale este coche? Este coche vale nuevo treinta y seis mil euros. 

How much does this car cost? This car costs new thirty-six thousand euros.

Captions 60-61, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 18

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Yet another expression meaning "How much does it cost?" in Spanish is: "¿A cuánto sale?" which might be literally translated as "What does it come out to?" The plural form salen would, of course, be used to ask about more than one noun.
 

¿A cuánto sale más o menos el botecito?

How much does the little jar cost, more or less?

Caption 29, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 6

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4. "How much is it?" in Spanish 

 
Just like "How much is it?" is an alternative manner of asking "How much does it cost?" in English, "¿Cuánto es?"  is another way of asking "¿Cuánto cuesta?" in Spanish. As an example, you could say "¿Cuánto es esto?" if you want to ask "How much is this?" in Spanish (or "¿Cuánto son estos?" to say "How much are these?").  Let's take a look at this expression in the past imperfect tense:
 

¿Cuánto era, dos zoquitos? Eh. -No sé si...

How much was it, two zoquitos? Yeah. -I don't know if...

Caption 26, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 5

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5. "How much do I owe you?" in Spanish 

 

To continue on our money theme, you might need to ask a waiter, for example, "How much do I owe you?" in Spanish. The Spanish verb for "to owe" is deber, as illustrated in the following sentence:

 

si debés más, pues, multiplicado, te daría una deuda mucho mayor.

if you owe more, well, multiplied, it would give you a much bigger debt.

Caption 47, Cuentas claras Sobreviviendo enero - Part 2

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Hence the way to ask "How much do I owe you?" in Spanish would be "¿Cuánto te debo?" or "¿Cuánto le debo?" where deber is conjugated in the first person (yo, or "I") and te or le are the indirect object pronouns representing "you" with either tú or usted.
 

6. "How much do you weigh?" in Spanish 

 

Even though this might be an unpopular question in some circles, many people are curious to know how to say "How much do you weigh?" in Spanish. Since the verb pesar means "to weigh," it can be paired with cuánto to ask about a person's weight as follows:

 

¿La madre, cuánto puede pesar, Jesús?

The mother, how much can she weigh, Jesus?

Caption 81, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Cachorro de leopardo - Part 2

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"¿Cuánto pesas?" (with ) or "¿Cuánto pesa?" (with usted ) would thus be manners of asking someone "How much do you weigh?" in Spanish. 
 

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Additional Expressions with Cuánto/s with Different English Translations 

Although our focus today has been how to translate English questions with "how much" into Spanish using the word cuánto and its variants, we should take a moment to mention that two of the most common Spanish questions that employ this word are not literally translated as "how much" or "how" many" in English. Let's take a look:

 

1. ¿Cuántos años tienes? 

 

You have probably heard the very common Spanish questions: "¿Cuántos años tienes?" or "¿Cuántos años tiene?"

 

¿Tú cuántos años tienes, Mariano? Yo, treinta y cinco. -¿Estás casado, tienes niños?

How old are you, Mariano? Me, thirty-five. -Are you married; do you have kids?

Captions 69-70, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 6

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Although "¿Cuántos años tienes?" literally means "How many years do you have?" this is the English equivalent of "How old are you?" since the Spanish "tener años" (to have years) refers to being a certain age. 
 
 

2. ¿Cuánto tiempo? 

 

Although the Spanish phrase "cuánto tiempo" literally means "how much time," this is most commonly expressed in English as "how long."

 

Para ese momento ¿ustedes cuánto tiempo llevaban de novios?

At that time, how long had you been girlfriend and boyfriend?

Caption 27, Tu Voz Estéreo Feliz Navidad - Part 8

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A Couple of Answers to Questions with "How Much" in Spanish

Now that you know a multitude of questions that include the concept of "how much" in Spanish, it might be useful know a couple of answers! Since one possible response to "How much?" might be "Too much," let's learn how to say "too much" in Spanish, which is most often expressed with the Spanish word demasiado.
 

¿Tu marido trabaja de domingo a domingo. ¿Cuánto? -Demasiado trabaja.

Your husband works from Sunday to Sunday. How much? -He works too much.

Captions 29-30, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 19

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Another common English response to the question of "How much?" in English could be "Not much"! So, how do you say "not much" in Spanish? This one is pretty literal and simple! Let's take a look:
 

Bueno, sé un poquito pero no mucho.

Well, I know a little bit but not much.

Caption 3, Arume La Vida Escolar

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In Conclusion...

To wrap up today's lesson on "how much" in Spanish, allow us to ask: ¿Cuánto aprendiste? (How much did you learn?). We hope that the answer is "very much" and look forward to your suggestions and comments

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Beyond Cansado/Enojado: Describing Feelings of Tiredness or Anger in Spanish

Unfortunately, we all have times when we feel tired (cansado) or angry (enojado). So, how can we describe these emotions in Spanish, beyond those basic terms? In this lesson, we will go over some more evocative expressions to explain how you feel, say, after a hard day at the office or when you are sick and tired of arguing with that certain someone once more.

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Feeling Tired

There are several adjectives and phrases to show that we have run out of energy, one of which is estar agotado/a (to be exhausted):

 

Yo también estoy agotada.

I am also exhausted.

Caption 27, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 5

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In addition, the girls on Muñeca Brava, who are always colorful in their vocabulary and ready to share their emotions, give us three expressions in a row!

 

Te juro, Mili, que estoy muerta. No doy más. Knockout.

I swear to you, Mili, that I'm dead tired. I'm exhausted. Knocked out.

Captions 2-3, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 2

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Sometimes we are so tired that we tend to get irritable, and, in this kind of limbo before anger itself, you might feel agobio or fastidio. Unlike the previous examples, feeling agobiado or fastidioso cannot result from physical activity since these terms are related to your emotions. 

 

de un tipo que está agobiado.

of a guy who is overwhelmed.

Caption 60, Bersuit Vergarabat EPK - Part 2

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Feeling Angry

On those other days when we are just plain mad, vocabulary like cabreado (annoyed), harto (sick and tired), and arrecho (angry) might come in handy. 

Bronca/rabia (annoyance)

 

It is worth mentioning that both bronca and rabia collocate, or tend to go along with, the same verbs: dar (in this case "to cause"), tener ("to be" or "feel" in these examples), and pasar (when that feeling has "passed," or "ended"):

 

Me da bronca/rabia.    It makes me angry/annoys me.

Tengo bronca/rabia.       I'm angry/furious.

Se me pasó la bronca/rabia.    I'm not angry anymore. 

 

me empezó a apretar y lo que más bronca me dio que me...

he started to squeeze me and what annoyed me the most [was] that...

Caption 14, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 7

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que una forma de manejar la rabia es aceptar que tengo rabia y por qué,

that a way to manage rage is to accept that I feel rage and why,

Captions 51-52, Escribiendo un libro Algunos consejos sobre cómo comenzar - Part 1

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Other useful adjectives are podrido/a (informal, colloquial), which is common in Argentina, or encabronado/a, which is common in Spain:

 

Mira, mi madre y vos me tienen podrido.

Look, I'm sick and tired of you and my mother.

Caption 30, Muñeca Brava 1 Piloto - Part 3

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Sacar de quicio/sacar de las casillas  (to make someone lose their temper)

 

On an episode of El Aula Azul's La Doctora Consejos, we learn the expression sacar de quicio (to annoy someone) and recommend watching this video to hear several examples of this expression:

 

¿qué cosas te sacan de quicio?

what things do you find annoying?

Caption 65, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y sentimientos

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This same video contains another idiom with a similar meaning that also uses the verb sacar:

 

¡Eso sí que me saca de mis casillas!

That really drives me crazy!

Caption 77, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y sentimientos

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And when someone has lost his or her temper, you might hear others say "Está sacado/a" (He/she lost it).

 

 

Estar hasta la coronilla

 

This additional idiom can be useful if you feel you've had enough and are short of patience:

 

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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Additional Verbs Meaning "to Make Someone Mad" (or Worse!)

Some other common verbs that can be used when something or someone "makes you angry" (or perhaps the less polite "pisses you off") include joder, reventar, sacar, embolar, and cabrear. In Spain, joder is also used as an extremely common exclamation (meaning anything on the spectrum of curse words from "Damn!" to worse), and in many countries, it can also mean "to party, "joke around with," or "kid" someone. 

 

Me revienta que me digas "te lo dije."

I hate it when you say "I told you so."

Caption 35, Muñeca Brava 1 Piloto - Part 10

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Keep in mind that, as all these verbs are informal and could potentially be perceived as rude outside the company of friends, it is always safer to go with more neutral verbs like enojar, irritar, molestar, or enfadar to express the idea that something has "made you mad." In doing so, you will also avoid regionalisms that could cause confusion across different Spanish dialects. 

 

Context Is Always Key

Some words can mean either angry or, of all things, horny! As a misunderstanding in this realm could be embarrassing, always analyze the context. In Argentina, for instance, the very informal calentarse or estar caliente can have either meaning. 

 

Bueno, Llamita, pero eso tiene solución; no te calentés.

Well, Llamita, but that has a solution; don't get mad.

Captions 65-66, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 5

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The same thing happens across countries with the word arrecho. While arrecho means "angry" in Venezuela, in Colombia it can either mean "cool" or, once again, "horny." A bit confusing, right?

 

Yabla's video Curso de español Expresiones de sentimientos elaborates on this and other expressions of emotion:

 

Entonces, "arrecho" en Venezuela significa enojado, pero en otros países significa otra cosa diferente

So, "arrecho" in Venezuela means mad, but in other countries it means different things

Captions 49-50, Curso de español Expresiones de sentimientos

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The word arrecho is also used by the Colombian band ChocQuib Town, with its alternative meaning:

 

Y si sos chocoano, sos arrecho por cultura, ¡ey!

And if you are from Chocó, you are horny by culture, ay!

Caption 20, ChocQuibTown Somos Pacifico

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That's all for now. We hope that you have found these alternative manners of talking about tiredness and anger useful (and that you don´t need to use them too often)! And don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments

 

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The Spanish Verb Quemar: Don't Get Burned!

Are you familiar with the Spanish verb quemar and its reflexive counterpart quemarse? Although a common translation for both of these verbs is "to burn," they have many additional, nuanced translations, including some idiomatic ones, which today's lesson will explore.

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Quemar vs. Quemarse

In some cases, distinguishing between a verb and its reflexive form is a bit challenging. Most simply put, the verb quemar often means "to burn" in the sense of a subject "burning" on object, for example, when something has the ability "to burn" other things due to its high temperature or something or someone "burns" something else, as in the example: Yo espero no quemar la torta (I hope not to burn the cake). Let's take a look at some additional examples:

 

me encanta, eh... usar salvia que incluso tengo en mi... en mi jardín. La quemo y con eso recorro mi casa

I love to, um... use sage that I even have in my... in my garden. I burn it, and I go around the house with it,

Captions 31-33, Tatiana y su cocina Sus ingredientes "mágicos"

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Mili, quemá esa camisa por favor; que desaparezca;

Mili, burn that shirt please; it should disappear;

Caption 10, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 1

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In contrast, the reflexive form, quemarse, refers to an action that happens on its own or within itself and, thus, frequently describes someone or something "burning itself" or "getting burned":

 

No es nada, señora. -¿Cómo no me voy a preocupar si te quemaste? -¡Ay pero qué tonta!

It's nothing, ma'am. -How am I not going to be worried if you burned yourself? -Oh, but how foolish [I am]!

Captions 22-23, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 4

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Note that an alternative translation for te quemaste in this sentence could be, "you got burned." Let's look at an additional example:

 

Este es el color, aproxi'... es como marrón dorado pero no muy oscuro porque si no, se quema la arepa.

This is the color, approx'... it's like golden brown, but not very dark because, otherwise, the arepa gets burned.

Captions 40-41, Dany Arepas - Part 2

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While se quema la arepa could also be expressed with the phrase "the arepa burns," the important thing is that, with the reflexive form, the process is happening by or to itself rather than with a subject performing the action on some object.

 

Non-Physical Meanings of the Verb Quemar

Like the English verb "to burn," the Spanish verb quemar also has meanings that extend beyond the literal meaning of physical burning. Let's take a look:

 

En... Y en las noches, eh, siento que, que todo el brazo me quema.

At... And at night, um, I feel that, that my whole arm burns.

Caption 13, Los médicos explican El tratamiento de las fracturas - Part 1

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Siento dentro de mí ese sentimiento Que es grande, profundo y me quema por dentro. Yo sé que es amor

I feel inside me that feeling That's big, deep, and it burns me inside. I know it's love

Captions 25-26, Alberto Barros Mano a mano

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So, we see that, like the word "burn" in English, the Spanish verb quemar can extend to intense physical and emotional sensations, which is why both the Spanish and English versions often appear in music and literature. 

 

Just like in English, the Spanish verb quemar can also mean "to work off," as in "to burn calories," etc.:

 

También ayuda a quemar grasas

It also helps to burn fat.

Caption 35, Cleer Hobbies

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And finally, as we can refer to "burning," or recording, a CD in English, we could also quemar un compact in Spanish. 

 

Alternative Translations for the Verb Quemarse

So, what about quemarse? In certain contexts, the Spanish verb quemarse can also mean to "burn down," in the sense of getting destroyed by fire. Let's take a look:

 

Y hace unos veinticinco años se quemó todo este edificio. 

And about twenty-five years ago this whole building burned down.

Caption 5, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 8

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In other cases, quemarse can mean "to burn out" or "blow" (as in a fuse), as in ceasing to work due to excessive friction or heat:

 

Se me quemó una lamparita... 

A light bulb burned out on me...

Caption 77, Verano Eterno Fiesta Grande - Part 10

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Yet another possible translation for quemarse in some contexts is "to go up in smoke," in the sense of catching fire:

 

porque cuando se escapan sueltan chispas que provocan que se queme la instalación eléctrica, y puede provocar un incendio. 

because when they get loose they give off sparks that make the electrical system go up in smoke, and it can cause a fire.

Captions 52-54, Club de las ideas La motivación

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So, as always, context is key to understanding the meaning of the verb quemarse since its meanings can vary. 
 

When Quemarse Doesn't Mean "To Burn"

If someone exclaims, "¡Te quemaste!" to you after a day at the beach, you might assume they are conveying to you that you've gotten a sunburn, and, in some countries, that might be true. However, this very same expression is utilized in other countries, like Argentina, to tell someone they got a suntan. We see this usage in the following clip, where the speaker refers to herself as quemada, which literally means "burnt":

 

A mí me encanta estar quemada pero este sol me recalienta la cabeza,

I love being tan, but this sun is overheating my head,

Caption 22, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 10

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Then, in the following passage, the verb quemarse has been translated as "to grill" since it refers to the manner in which this fish is cooked, rather than it actually burning:

 

Es más higiénica y se quema el pescado pero no se cae la caña.

It's more hygienic, and the fish grills, but the cane doesn't fall.

Caption 16, Málaga La tradición de los espetos

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In some cases involving cooking, the English verb "to char" could be another possible translation. 

 

Quemarse as an Idiomatic Expression

We'll conclude this lesson by mentioning an idiomatic use of the verbs quemarse, which, in some cases, is a rough equivalent of the English "to blow it" or "screw up." For example:

 

Ahí te quemaste, hermano.

 That's where you screwed up, brother.

 

Me quemé en el examen de astronomia. 

I blew it on the astronomy test. 

 

Let's take a look at a similar example from the Yabla video library:

 

Hablando de quemar, cómo me quemé con Andrea, mi vida, por favor.

Speaking of burning, I really burned my bridges with Andrea, my dear, please.

Caption 28, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 10

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As the speaker is referring to making a mistake with a particular person during an argument, the English expression "to burn one's bridges" adequately conveys this idea in this context. Interestingly, another manner of saying this in Spanish is quemar las naves (literally "to burn one's boats").

 

We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, which mentions just some of the many uses of the Spanish verbs quemar and quemarse. Can you think of more? Don't hesitate to let us know with your suggestions and comments

 

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Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (In Spanish)

As the old song goes, "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do," in any language! That said, as there are an abundance of ways to describe the concept of "breaking up" in a relationship in Spanish, we thought we'd introduce you to several, many of which are featured in videos from our Yabla Spanish library. 

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Ways to Say "to Break Up" in Spanish

Interestingly, many common verbs with different meanings in everyday use can also mean "to break up" in Spanish in certain contexts. The way one chooses to speak about "breaking up" in Spanish will depend upon both regional tendencies and personal preference. Let's take a look at some of them:

 

1. Acabar con (alguien)

 

Starting with an example from our lesson on the verb acabar, literally meaning "to finish with," acabar con is one manner of saying "to break up" in Spanish:

 

Pienso acabar con mi novio.

I'm planning to break up with my boyfriend. 

 

2. Terminar (a alguien) 

 

The Spanish verb terminar also means "to finish," but it can also mean "to break up." So, naturally, terminar a alguien (literally "to finish someone") means "to break up with" that person. We encounter these expressions a lot in Colombian series like Los Años Maravillosos and Confidencial: El rey de la estafa:

 

Van a terminar.

They're going to break up.

Caption 64, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 1

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Andrea, Andrea, no me diga que es en serio que usted me va a terminar.

Andrea, Andrea, don't tell me it's serious that you're going to break up with me.

Caption 47, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 13

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3. Cortar 

 

Literally meaning "to cut" or "cut off," cortar is yet another Spanish verb used to speak about "breaking up" with someone:

 

No está enamorado de Andrea y no sabe cómo cortarla.

He's not in love with Andrea and doesn't know how to break up with her.

Caption 89, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 1

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4. Dejar 

 

The Spanish verb dejar means "to leave." Let's look at an example where the verb dejar in the preterite tense has been translated as "broke up with":

 

Salía con un chico, pero la dejó hace dos semanas.

She was dating a guy, but he broke up with her two weeks ago.

Captions 54-55, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y persona ideal

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Although this sentence may alternatively have been translated as "he left her two weeks ago," the English expression "to leave someone" is arguably used more commonly to talk about abandoning a longer-term relationship. So, in this context, where someone appears to have been dating someone for a shorter time, "to break up with" serves as a viable translation for the verb dejar

 

5. Pelearse

 

Although the Spanish verb pelearse typically means "to fight," "have an argument," or even "come to blows with," in certain countries like Argentina, it can also mean "to break up":

 

More, vos acabas de pelearte con Tomás,

More [Morena], you just broke up with Tomas,

Caption 49, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 1

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That said, should you hear se pelearon (literally "they fought") or están peleados (they're in a fight), additional clarification may be required. While in certain regions or contexts, these two utterances might simply describe people "in a fight" or "mad at each other," in others, they can mean "they broke up," "split up," or "are broken up" temporarily. 

 

6. Romper con 

 

The verb romper in Spanish can mean to "to break," as in an object, but when combined with the preposition con (with), it can additionally mean "to break up":

 

Ella rompió con su novio hace dos semanas.

She broke up with her boyfriend two weeks ago. 

 

Of course, the verb romper could also be used to describe the "breaking" of one's heart following the breakup: 

 

A las niñas, les rompen el corazón.

Girls, they get their hearts broken [literally, "they break their hearts"].

Captions 44-45, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 7

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Additional Spanish "Breakup" Verbs

Vamos a terminar ("Let's conclude," in this context) this lesson with two terms that should be easy to remember since they are very similar to their English counterparts:

 

7. Separarse

 

The Spanish verb separarse means "to get separated":

 

Pasa que mis viejos se separaron, por eso.

It so happens that my parents got separated, that's why.

Caption 38, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 6

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8. Divorciarse

 

As you might guess, the Spanish verb divorciarse means "to get divorced":

 

Pero... como mis papás se divorciaron cuando yo tenía dos años y mi mamá no se volvió a casar...

But... since my parents got divorced when I was two years old, and my mother didn't remarry...

Captions 54-55, La Sub30 Familias - Part 2

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Now that we've provided you with a multitude of ways to say "to break up" in Spanish, te dejamos. But don't worry! We're not breaking up with you. We're just saying goodbye for today— and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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Spanish Reflexive Verbs for Your Daily Routine

What are reflexive verbs in Spanish? A reflexive verb is a verb in which the subject (person or thing that completes the action) and object (person or thing that receives the action) are one in the same. In other words, the action "reflects back" onto the subject, or entails something one does to or for him or herself. It is no wonder then, that many of the things we "do to ourselves" in our daily routines (e.g. shaving ourselves, washing ourselves, etc.) fall into the category of reflexive Spanish verbs. 

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Recognizing Spanish Reflexive Verbs 

 

How can we recognize Spanish reflexive verbs? The main way to distinguish reflexive verbs in Spanish is by the fact that they all end in the pronoun se in their infinitive form. To take a very simple example, while the verb hablar means "to talk," hablarse is a reflexive verb meaning "to talk to oneself." However, the translations for reflexive verbs in Spanish aren't always so straight-forward. 

 

As we often say just "I shave" or "I wash" in lieu of "I shave/wash myself," the English translations of Spanish reflexive verbs won't always include pronouns like "myself," "yourself," etc. In other cases, the meanings of verbs like parecer (to seem) completely change in their reflexive forms (parecerse means "to look like"). And so, as there are a lot more reflexive verbs in Spanish than in English, many of which may not "seem" reflexive, with increased exposure to Spanish, we will learn which English concepts are expressed with Spanish reflexive verbs.

 

Conjugating Spanish Reflexive Verbs: Reflexive Pronouns

 

To conjugate reflexive verbs in Spanish, we must memorize the reflexive pronouns that correspond to each personal pronoun: yo (I), tú (you), etc.). Reflexive pronouns are most often placed before the verb, which is conjugated "as usual" (in the same way as its non-reflexive form). To demonstrate this, let's take a look at the reflexive pronouns and the simple present conjugation of the regular verb hablar. We will then show you the conjugation of its reflexive form (hablarse).

 

Personal Pronoun Reflexive Pronoun Hablar Hablarse
yo me hablo me hablo
te hablas te hablas
él, ella, usted se habla se habla
nosotros/as nos hablamos nos hablamos
vosotros/as os habláis os habláis
ellos/as, ustedes se hablar se hablan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reflexive Verbs in Spanish for Your Daily Routine

 

Now that you know the Spanish reflexive pronouns and how to conjugate reflexive Spanish verbs, let's take a look at some examples of reflexive verbs in Spanish for describing things that many of us do on a daily basis, with lots of instances from our Yabla video library as always! Here is our list of Spanish reflexive verbs for your daily routine: 

 

1. Despertarse

 

The Spanish reflexive verb despertarse means "to wake up":

 

y por la mañana me despierto entre seis y cuarenta y cinco a siete y cuarto. 

and in the morning I wake up between six forty-five and seven fifteen.

Caption 62, Los médicos explican Diagnóstico: nervios y estrés

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2. Levantarse

 

After waking up, the next step might be levantarse ("to get up" or "get out of bed"):

 

Se levanta muy temprano. 

She gets up very early.

Caption 51, El Aula Azul Las Profesiones - Part 1

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In other contexts, the reflexive Spanish verb levantarse could also mean, among other things, "to stand up" or "get up," as from a seat, or even "to rise up against," as in a rebellion. 

 

3. Bañarse

 

The Spanish noun baño means "bath," and the verb bañarse can mean "to take a bath" as well. However, as bañarse can also be the more general "to bathe," a person might even use this verb to express the fact that they are taking a shower! Let's look at an example of this reflexive Spanish verb: 

 

Uno se baña todos los días, mijita.

One bathes every day, my girl.

Caption 41, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 2

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On the other hand, if a person at the beach expresses their desire to bañarse, rather than wanting to wash the sand off of themselves, they are letting you know they would like to take a dip! The Spanish reflexive verb bañarse can also mean "to go swimming," a translation that often comes as a surprise to English speakers:

 

No hay muchas olas grandes como en Atacames. Es más tranquilo para bañarse.

There aren't many big waves like in Atacames. It's more peaceful to go swimming.

Captions 62-63, Pipo Un paseo por la playa de Atacames

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4. Ducharse

 

In the morning, at night, or after the beach, indeed, one might need to ducharse (to take a shower):

 

¿Qué está haciendo Silvia? Silvia se está duchando.

What is Silvia doing? Silvia is taking a shower.

Captions 11-12, El Aula Azul Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

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Note that, in this example, the verb ducharse is conjugated in the present progressive tense. As with the present indicative and all other tenses, verbs are conjugated in the exact same way as they would be were they non-reflexive, with the addition of the appropriate reflexive pronoun. 

 

5. Lavarse

 

The reflexive verb in Spanish lavarse generally means "to wash (oneself)." Let's look at an example: 

 

Por ejemplo, "Yo me lavo". La acción recae sobre la persona que realiza la acción. Pero, "Yo lavo los platos".

For example, "Yo me lavo" [I wash myself]. The action falls back upon the person who carries out the action. But, "Yo lavo los platos" [I wash the dishes].

Captions 45-48, Lecciones con Carolina Verbos reflexivos

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In this informative video about Spanish reflexive verbs, Yabla fan favorite Carolina explains the difference between reflexive and non-reflexive verbs, in this case the verbs lavar (to wash) and lavarse (to wash oneself). Let's look at an additional example: 

 

Yo me lavo las manos. Tú te lavas las manos.

I wash my hands. You wash your hands.

Captions 19-20, Fundamentos del Español 9 - Verbos Reflexivos

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Unlike in English, where we express the idea of washing one's hands or some other body part with a possessive pronoun (my, your, etc.), this is not the case in Spanish. Instead, we use the definite article for the noun in question, manos (hands), in this case, las (the). Because the reflexive pronoun already indicates that the action is something we do to ourselves, it would be redundant in Spanish to say: Yo me lavo mis manos. As the correct way to express this is "Yo me lavo las manos," it might help you to remember the literal but non-sensical translation: "I wash myself the hands."

 

That said, let's move on to something else that's expressed with the notion of "washing" in Spanish: lavarse los dientes (to brush one's teeth). 

 

6. Lavarse/cepillarse los dientes

 

Lavarse los dientes (literally "to wash one's teeth") is one of saying "to brush one's teeth" in Spanish: 

 

Después, ehm... suelo lavarme los dientes en el baño,

After that, um... I usually brush my teeth in the bathroom,

Caption 3, El Aula Azul Actividades Diarias

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Different countries, regions, or individuals might instead use cepillarse los dientes, which also means "to brush one's teeth." Let's check out an example in the preterite tense: 

 

Se cepilló los dientes,

He brushed his teeth,

Caption 20, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 2

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7. Cepillarse el pelo/cabello

 

By extension, the noun el cepillo means "the brush," and we might have a cepillo de dientes (toothbrush) as well as a cepillo de pelo/cabello (hair brush), as in the following caption:

 

Sí... -¿Qué necesitamos para ir allí? El cepillo de dientes. El cepillo del pelo.

Yes... -What do we need to go there? A toothbrush. A hair brush.

Captions 49-51, Un Viaje a Mallorca Planificando el viaje

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So, you've probably surmised by now that the verb cepillarse el pelo/cabello means "to brush one's hair."

 

8. Peinarse

 

The verb peinarse can mean "to comb one's hair" with a comb (un peine), "to brush one's hair," or "to do" or "style" one's hair in general:

 

Por eso paró en la playa para mirarse en el espejo y peinarse.

That's why she stopped on the beach to look at herself in the mirror and comb her hair.

Captions 21-22, Guillermina y Candelario Mi Amiga la Sirena

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9. Afeitarse

 

Afeitarse is the verb for "to shave" (oneself, of course)!

 

Vos sabés lo que es todas las mañanas... mirarse en el espejo cuando uno se afeita

Do you know what it's like every morning... to look at oneself in the mirror when one's shaving,

Captions 30-31, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 13

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10. Maquillarse

 

The next step in one's morning routine might be maquillarse (to put on makeup):

 

Aquí, siempre me maquillo para mis conciertos.

Here, I always put on makeup for my concerts.

Caption 47, Ariana Mi Casa

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Alternatively, one might say Aquí, siempre me pinto para mis conciertos, as pintarse (literally "to paint oneself") also means "to put on makeup." 

 

11. Vestirse

 

Vestirse is the way to say "to get dressed" in Spanish. 

 

Yo salgo y... y te vistes.

I'll leave and... and you get dressed.

Caption 30, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 8

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Another way to say this might be ponerse la ropa (to put on one's clothes). 

 

12. Sacarse la ropa

 

Although sacarse la ropa is one manner of saying "to get undressed" or "take off one's clothes," there are many other examples of reflexive verbs in Spanish that mean the same thing, including: quitarse la ropa, desvestirse, and desnudarse. Let's look at a couple of examples: 

 

Si "Libertinaje" te saca... te invita a sacarte la ropa,

If "Libertinaje" takes off your..... invites you to take off your clothes,

Captions 4-5, Bersuit Vergarabat EPK - Part 1

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Y se desnuda poco a poco y se convierte en tu piel

And she gets naked little by little and she becomes your skin

Caption 6, Reik Inolvidable

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As you can see, the more literal "to get naked" might be an alternate translation for desnudarse. 

 

13. Acostarse 

 

We're finally getting to the end of our daily routine, when it's time for us to acostarnos (go to bed): 

 

Tranquilícese, vaya a acostarse y deje de pensar en imposibles.

Calm down, go to bed, and stop thinking about impossible things.

Caption 31, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 5

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14. Dormirse

 

And finally, once in bed, it's time to fall asleep! While the non-reflexive dormir means "to sleep," dormirse means "to fall asleep." 

 

Me dormí pensando en ti; pensando en ti, me desperté

I fell asleep thinking about you; thinking about you, I woke up

Caption 10, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 13

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More Reflexive Verbs in Spanish 

 

Of course, this is just a partial list of reflexive verbs in Spanish that might be applicable to our daily routines. There are a lot more common reflexive verbs in Spanish that describe things one might do on a daily basis, including secarse (to dry oneself off), sentarse (to sit down), sentirse (to feel), emocionarse (to get excited), encontrarse con alguien (to meet with someone), acordarse de (to remember), olvidarse (to forget), sonreírse (to smile), reírse (to laugh), despedirse (to say goodbye), irse (to leave), and many, many more! 

 

For additional information on Spanish reflexive verbs, check out this video from the series Fundamentos del Español. And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

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Top 10 False Cognates in Spanish

In a previous lesson, we focused on the Spanish verb pretender (to hope, expect, try, etc.). Although this word closely resembles the English word "pretend," its meaning is totally different, putting it into the category of false cognates in Spanish. Also known as "faux amis" or "false friends," English-speakers often misuse these types of words for obvious reasons! Let's take a look at some of the most common false cognates in Spanish so we can be on the lookout for them in everyday speech. 

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List of False Cognates in Spanish: Yabla's Top Ten 

 

1. embarazada 

While English speakers might be tempted to say Estoy embarazada when attempting to say "I'm embarrassed," this could lead to a very serious misunderstanding! Let's take a look: 

 

Si estuviera embarazada, me hubiera dado cuenta. ¿No le parece?

If I were pregnant, I would have noticed! Don't you think?

Caption 71, Muñeca Brava 44 El encuentro - Part 2

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While we can see that estar embarazada means "to be pregnant," there are many ways to express the idea of being embarrassed in Spanish, such as tener vergüenza or dar(le) pena (a alguien). Let's look at some examples:

 

Es que me da pena.

It's just that I'm embarrassed.

Caption 42, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 3

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

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

Caption 49, Con ánimo de lucro Cortometraje - Part 4

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2. actual

The Spanish adjective actual is very confusing since it is spelled exactly like the English word "actual." However, actual is a false cognate in Spanish that "actually" means "current," as in the following example: 

 

Creo que realmente hay que buscar otra vía, otra solución a... la situación de ahora. -A la situación actual.

I think that you really need to find another road, another solution to... to the situation now. -To the current situation.

Captions 43-44, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 5

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If you do want to speak about the "actual situation" in Spanish, you might say: la situación verdadera or la situación real. Let's check out these two words in action:

 

Pero esta es la verdadera isla

But this one is the actual island

Caption 26, Cholito En la playa con Cholito - Part 2

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Nadie sabe el nombre real de esta ciudad,

Nobody knows the actual name of this city,

Caption 37, Querido México Teotihuacán

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3. éxito

The Spanish noun éxito might look like "exit," but its actual meaning is "success," while the Spanish verb tener éxito means "to be successful": 

 

Bueno, ha sido un éxito, ¿no, Jesús?

Well, it has been a success, right, Jesus?

Caption 88, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Cachorro de leopardo - Part 2

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El brut ha tenido mucho éxito.

The brut has been very successful.

Caption 51, Europa Abierta Champagne en Andalucía

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On the other hand, in order to talk about an actual "exit" in Spanish, la salida is the way to go: 

 

Tiene una salida al patio de atrás para su ventilación.

It has an exit to the back patio for your ventilation.

Caption 12, Ricardo La compañera de casa - Part 2

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4. fábrica

Although it might seem like la fábrica would mean "the fabric," its true translation is "the factory." 

 

un tipo que tenía una fábrica de alcancías ¿no? Y la gente dejaba de ahorrar y el tipo se va a la quiebra.

a guy who had a piggy bank factory, right? And people stopped saving and the guy goes bankrupt.

Captions 32-33, Muñeca Brava 47 Esperanzas - Part 3

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As we see in the following example, the Spanish word for "fabric" is tela:

 

Aquí, tengo un cárdigan liviano. La tela no es muy gruesa,

Here, I have a light knit sweater. The fabric isn't very thick,

Captions 30-31, Natalia de Ecuador Vocabulario de prendas de vestir

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As a side note, although the verb fabricar occasionally means "to fabricate" in the sense of lying or making things up, the more common verbs for describing those actions are mentir and inventar, whereas the most typical translation for fabricar is "to make" or "manufacture":

 

la cuarta generación de una empresa familiar que fabrica diferentes variedades de zumos, sidras, sopas y mermeladas.

the fourth generation of a family business that manufactures different kinds of juices, ciders, soups and jams.

Captions 28-29, Europa Abierta Empuje para Pymes

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That said, let's take a look at some additional verbs that fall into the "false friend" category.

 

5. molestar

The Spanish verb molestar does not mean "to molest" (for which you might say abusar or acosar sexualmente), but rather "to annoy" or "bother":

 

Vine a decirte que te quedes tranquilo, que mi hijo no te va a molestar más.

I came to tell you to not to worry, that my son is not going to bother you anymore.

Captions 1-2, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 8

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Once again, substitution of the word this verb sounds like in English could result in a very serious misunderstanding. 

 

6. enviar 

Just because it sounds like "envy," don't mix up the Spanish verb enviar, which means "to send," with envidiar (to envy). Let's take a look at examples of each of these verbs: 

 

Como ya tengo su dirección de correo, le puedo enviar el contrato.

As I already have your e-mail address, I can send you the contract.

Caption 37, Negocios Empezar en un nuevo trabajo - Part 1

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¡Ay, cómo envidio esa sartén! No sabe.

Oh, how I envy that frying pan! You don't know.

Caption 1, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 7

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7. introducir

The most common translations for the Spanish verb introducir are "to put" or "insert." Let's look: 

 

Ahora lo que tenemos que hacer es introducir todo en la olla.

What we have to do now is put everything in the pot.

Caption 43, La cocina de María Cocido Malagueño

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Ahora introduces la esquina izquierda en este doblez,

Now you insert the left corner into this fold,

Caption 48, Manos a la obra Separadores de libros: Charmander

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It is worth noting that the Spanish verb introducir can occasionally be translated as "to introduce," most often when speaking about the introduction of some item or concept. However, the most frequently employed verb to describe the idea of "introducing," say, people to one another, is presentar

 

Les quiero presentar a Pedro, un experto en la Calle Ocho.

I want to introduce you guys to Pedro, an expert on Calle Ocho.

Caption 21, La Calle 8 Un recorrido fascinante

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8. asistir

Let's examine a typical use of the Spanish verb asistir:

 

y me fascinaba perderme entre sus calles y asistir a la innumerable cantidad de eventos culturales que la ciudad tiene para ofrecerte.

and it fascinated me to get lost in its streets and attend the countless number of cultural events that the city has to offer you.

Captions 11-13, Latinos por el mundo Gio en Barcelona

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Although the Spanish verb asistir can indeed mean "to help" or "assist," this verb and its counterpart asistir a are included in the category of false cognates in Spanish due to their alternative meaning, "to attend."

 

9. recordar

Although the Spanish false cognate recordar certainly seems like it would mean "to record," it actually means "to remember" or "remind," as in the following captions:

 

empiezan a hacer su ritual de movimientos y sonidos, si hace falta, para recordarte que es la hora de su comida.

they start to do their ritual of movements and sounds, if necessary, to remind you that it's their mealtime.

Captions 58-59, Fermín y los gatos Mis gatas vecinas

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¿Recuerdas cuál era la copa para servir vino?

Do you remember which cup was the one for serving wine?

Caption 36, Ana Carolina El comedor

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"To record," in turn, is conveyed with the Spanish verb grabar:

 

Utiliza video o audio para grabarte mientras lees o improvisas un pequeño diálogo,

Use video or audio to record yourself while you read or improvise a little dialogue,

Captions 51-52, Ana Carolina Mejorando la pronunciación

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10. soportar

Rather than "to support," the Spanish verb soportar often means "to tolerate," "endure," or "bear":

 

No lo pude aguantar, no se puede soportar eso.

I couldn't stand it, that can't be tolerated.

Caption 50, Yago 7 Encuentros - Part 2

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Although "soportar" can also mean "support" in the sense of bearing weight, the more common verb for talking about the notion of "supporting" someone or something, especially in figurative senses such as emotionally, economically, etc., is apoyar:

 

La abuela estaba loca si pensaba que la íbamos a apoyar.

Grandma was crazy if she thought that we were going to support her.

Caption 9, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 1

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These are just a few examples of the many false cognates in Spanish. For additional examples of false cognates in Spanish, you might enjoy our lessons on the verbs realizar (to carry out) and falta (shortage, foul, offense, etc.). In the meantime, we hope our list of false cognates in Spanish will help you to identify and understand them when you run across them— and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

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Body Parts in Spanish from Head to Toe

Are you familiar with the body parts in Spanish? Do you know how to say words like "hands," "legs," or "face" in Spanish? Let's see how to write and pronounce las partes del cuerpo en español (the parts of the body in Spanish), from head to toe!

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Parts of the Head in Spanish

 

Head (cabeza)

Inclina tu cabeza hacia atrás,

Tilt your head back;

Caption 19, Bienestar con Elizabeth Rehabilitación vestibular

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Hair (pelo or cabello)

Pelo is a very common word for "hair." However, keep in mind that pelo can refer to any kind of body hair, while the word cabello only refers to the hair on one's head. 

 

Vale, pero los dos tenemos el pelo negro, vale, muy bien, perfecto.

OK, but we both have black hair, OK, very good, perfect.

Caption 12, Clase Aula Azul El verbo parecer - Part 7

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Para mi cabello, aquí tengo mi cepillo de cabello

For my hair, I have here my hair brush

Caption 27, Ana Carolina Artículos de aseo personal

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Ears (las orejas)

Keep in mind that the Spanish word for the inner ear is el oído while the external ear (what you actually see) is called la oreja.

 

Las orejas son partes del cuerpo que se encuentran en cada lateral de la cabeza y que forman la parte exterior del oído.

The ears are parts of the body that are found on each side of the head and that form the external part of the inner ear.

Captions 53-55, Clara explica El cuerpo

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Parts of the Face in Spanish

Some of the most often used parts of the body in Spanish are placed in our face. Let's take a look.

 

Face (la cara, el rostro)

There are two words for face in Spanish: la cara and el rostro. However, while cara is mostly used to talk about the physical part of the body, rostro is often used to talk in a sort of poetic, abstract way about someone's face. Let's see how to pronounce both words:

 

Esa mañana, al lavarse la cara,

That morning, while washing his face,

Caption 15, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 2

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Pinto mi rostro de mascarada

I paint my face in masquerade

Caption 20, Alejandra Guzmán Porque no estás aquí

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Forehead (la frente)

Dio un suspiro y un golpe en la frente,

She let out a sigh and banged her forehead,

Caption 55, Cleer Rafael Pombo y "Pastorcita"

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Eyes (los ojos)

Me encantaría tener los ojos azules.

I would love to have blue eyes.

Caption 34, Clara explica El cuerpo

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Eyebrows (las cejas)

Ahora voy a delinear las cejas con un lápiz color café.

Now I am going to line the eyebrows with a brown-colored pencil.

Caption 53, Maquillaje Con Cata y Cleer

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Eyelashes (las pestañas)

Después tenemos las pestañas.

Then we have the eyelashes.

Caption 21, Marta de Madrid El cuerpo - La cabeza

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Cheeks (las mejillas)

Cuando una mujer hablaba de mis mejillas,

When a woman talked about my cheeks,

Caption 23, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 6

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Nose (la nariz)

que podía tener sangre por la nariz.

that he might have a bloody nose.

Caption 15, Juan Sánchez Personajes

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Mouth (la boca)

Esta... esta boca quiere decir que está como un poco...

This... this mouth wants to say that it's like a bit...

Caption 67, Bucaramanga, Colombia Pintor callejero

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Lips (los labios)

Tanto te quise besar que me duelen los labios

I wanted to kiss you so much that my lips hurt

Caption 2, Shakira Sale el Sol

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Teeth (los dientes)

para que los dientes estén más fuertes

so that the teeth become stronger

Caption 61, Los médicos explican Consejos: dientes de niños

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Tongue (la lengua)

Esta letra la pronuncias poniendo la lengua junto al paladar

You pronounce this letter by putting the tongue next to the palate

Caption 61, Ana Carolina Mejorando la pronunciación

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Chin (la barbilla or el mentón)

Después tenemos la barbilla.

Then we have the chin.

Caption 70, Marta de Madrid El cuerpo - La cabeza

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Vas a bajar el mentón hacia tu cuello

You're going to lower your chin toward your neck,

Caption 28, Bienestar con Elizabeth Relajación

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Additional Parts of the Body in Spanish

 

Neck (el cuello)

La cabeza es la parte superior del cuerpo que está situada sobre el cuello

The head is the top part of the body that is situated on the neck

Captions 49-50, Clara explica El cuerpo

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Shoulders (los hombros)

y a Chibchacum lo puso a cargar la Tierra en sus hombros.

and forced Chibchacum to carry the Earth on his shoulders.

Caption 57, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El mito de Bochica

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Arms (los brazos)

Esta que tengo en mis brazos se llama Poeska.

This one I have in my arms is named Poeska.

Caption 21, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata Poeska

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Elbows (los codos)

Vamos a mover codos, que normalmente no movemos esta articulación.

We're going to move [our] elbows, as we don't normally move this joint.

Captions 15-16, Bienestar con Elizabeth Activar las articulaciones

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Wrists (las muñecas)

Of all the names of body parts in Spanish, this is probably the most unique. The word muñeca indeed means not only "wrist" but "doll" as well, so keep that in mind when you need to remember how to say "wrist" in Spanish.

 

sufren mucha lesión en codos, en muñecas y en hombros.

they suffer a lot of injuries on [their] elbows, wrists and shoulders.

Caption 28, Adícora, Venezuela Los fisioterapeutas

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Hands (las manos)

los voy a colocar en mis manos,

I'm going to place them in my hands,

Caption 30, Ana Carolina Gérmenes

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Fingers (los dedos de la mano)

Tiene agujeros donde se colocan los dedos,

It has holes where you place your fingers,

Caption 38, Karla e Isabel Instrumentos musicales

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Legs (las piernas)

Si tienes unas piernas fuertes y ganas de andar,

If you have some strong legs and feel like walking,

Caption 102, Blanca Cómo moverse en Barcelona

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Knees (las rodillas)

¡Vamos! Doble sus rodillas.

Let's go! Bend your knees.

Caption 24, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 3 - Sam aprende a ligar - Part 1

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Feet (los pies)

unos zapatos para los pies del bebé.

some shoes for the baby's feet.

Caption 35, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 4: Regalos para un nuevo bebé

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Toes (los dedos del pie)

También, este... son frecuentes en lesionarse [sic] mucho las articulaciones metatarsianas que son los dedos del pie,

Also, um... they frequently hurt their metatarsal joints a lot, which are the toes,

Captions 25-26, Adícora, Venezuela Los fisioterapeutas

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And with this last term, we have come to the end of this lesson about body parts in Spanish. We encourage you to practice the names of all of these partes del cuerpo, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions¡Hasta la próxima!

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Making Comparisons in Spanish - Part 2

In the first part of our lesson on comparative structures, we covered comparisons of inequality. However, what if we would like to talk about similarity? Part two of this lesson will deal with comparisons of equality as well as superlatives, and considering that 2020 has been uno de los años más difíciles para muchos (one of the hardest years for many people), superlative structures could definitely come in handy. 

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Comparisons of Equality

 

1. tan + adjective/adverb + como 

 

Let's start by using the Spanish equivalent of as ___ as (as good as, as fast as, etc.). We can use this structure with both adjectives and adverbs.

 

Oye, no, no es tan fácil como tú lo ves, ¿eh? 

Hey, no, it's not as easy as you see it, huh?

Caption 21, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 17

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tampoco saliste con una mina tan finoli como ella. 

you haven't dated a woman as elegant as her either.

Caption 18, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 9

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Notice that we use tan rather than tanto before the adjective or adverb. Thus, in the previous examples, it would be a mistake to say tanto fácil or tanto finoli. We can, however, say tanto más or tanto menos fácil (as explained in part one of this lesson). 

 

On the other hand, the similar structure tanto como is the Spanish equivalent of "as much as." In the following example, note that because tanto is an adverb, it is unmarked for gender and number. 

 

Espero que hayáis disfrutado al menos tanto como yo disfruto estando todos los días con vosotros. 

I hope that you have enjoyed at least as much as I enjoy being here every day with you guys.

Captions 76-78, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 11

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2. tanto + noun + como

 

Unlike the examples with adjectives and adverbs above, tanto must be marked for gender when used with nouns. We will therefore use tanto/s before masculine nouns and tanta/s before feminine nouns as follows:

 

Tiene tanto dinero como su hijo. 

She has as much money as her son does. 

 

Tiene tanta paciencia como tú.

She has as much patience as you do. 

 

Tienes tantas hermanas como yo.

You have as many sisters as I do. 

 

3. parecido(s)/parecida(s)           

 

When talking about things (cosas) that are similar, we can employ this term as an adjective (marked for number and gender) to say that they are parecidas. On the other hand, to express that something is done in a similar way, we use the unmarked adverb: parecidoas in Juana y su hermana hablan parecido. And to top it all off, parecido is also a noun that indicates resemblance.  

 

La [cultura] gitana es muy parecida a la cultura árabe. 

Gypsy [culture] is very similar to Arab culture.

Caption 37, Europa Abierta Jassin Daudi - Con arte

 Play Caption

 

Notice the use of the preposition a following the adjective parecida to indicate "to."

 

Now, let's look at parecido as a noun as it appears in this caption from Clase Aula Azul, which explains the use of the verb parecer:

 

Hablamos de parecidos físicos, ¿sí? Se parece es como decir, es parecido, es similar, ¿mmm?

We're talking about physical similarities, right? "Se parece" [It looks like] is like saying, it's alike, it's similar, hmm?

Captions 37-38, Clase Aula Azul El verbo parecer - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

4. idéntico/igual/mismo 

 

While we can use parecido or similar to describe similarities, what if the items being compared are exactly the same? When items are virtually indistinguishable, idéntico, igual, or mismo are suitable terms. Remeber that these are adjectives and are therefore marked for number and gender, except for igual, which is gender neutral. It is worth mentioning that only el/la mismo/a or los/las mismos/as can come before the noun. Thus, if one has the same t-shirt someone is wearing, he or she might say the following:

 

Tengo la misma remera (I have the same t-shirt).

Tengo una remera igual (I have a t-shirt shirt just like that).

Tengo una remera idéntica (I have an identical t-shirt). 

 

Let's take a look at some additional examples: 

 

Porque uno idéntico a este embarcó en el Titanic en mil novecientos doce. 

Because one identical to this one embarked on the Titanic in nineteen twelve.

Captions 24-25, Málaga Museo del automóvil

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Si hay diez personas trabajando con los mismos medios y las mismas herramientas,

If there are ten people working with the same media and the same tools,

Caption 73, Lo que no sabías Arte electrónico - Part 5

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As a side note, the interesting expressions me da igual or me da lo mismo mean "it's all the same to me" or "I don´t really care":

 

Ya lo que digan me da igual 

What people say doesn't matter to me anymore

Caption 22, Alejandro Fernandez Eres

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5. Como 

 

Another keyword when it comes to making comparisons is como (like). 

 

Juli, vas a quedar como una cobarde, como si te diera miedo. 

Juli, you're going to look like a coward, as if it scared you.

Captions 44-45, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 5

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And you will definitely remember this comparative structure after listening to the Calle 13 song in this clip:

 

No hay nadie como tú

There is no one like you

Caption 29, Calle 13 No hay nadie como tú

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Superlative Structures

 

Finally, we have the superlative forms with the following structures: el/los/la/las/lo + más + adjective:

 

La prueba de sonido es lo más importante quizás porque es la preparación, ¿no?

The sound check is the most important thing, maybe because it's the staging, right?

Caption 6, David Bisbal Haciendo Premonición Live - Part 2

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Este es el aguacate más caro que hay en el mercado. 

This is the most expensive avocado that there is on the market.

Caption 38, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Note that there are a few irregular superlatives:

 

el mejor   (the best)

el peor      (the worst)

el mayor    (the oldest) 

 

For "the oldest," el más grande can also be used. While this is very common in some regions and can also mean "the largest," "the greatest," or "the biggest," it is important to remember that, as is the case with all irregular superlatives, mayor cannot be used in conjunction with más. Thus the sentence "Paul is the oldest in his class" can be translated as Paul es el más grande de su clase or Paul es el mayor de su clase but NOT Paul es el más mayor. 

 

We hope that you have enjoyed our newsletter, y lo que es más importante (what matters most) is that you have learned a lot! Don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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The Spanish Word of the Year 2020

 

Don't you just want 2020 to be over? Without a doubt, this year has been quite challenging, especially due to everything that has occurred as the result of the coronavirus. In fact, 2020's Spanish Word of the Year is one of the terms most associated with this awful virus. Let's reveal this year's tragic winner. 

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"Pandemia" : The Spanish Word of the Year 2020

 

Yes, pandemia (pandemic) is 2020's Spanish Word of the Year. Do we really have to explain why? Our friend Fermin sums it all up in a very simple phrase:

 

esta maldita pandemia del coronavirus.

this damn coronavirus pandemic.

Caption 5, El coronavirus Confinamiento en España - Part 1

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It is important to say, however, that in contrast to the English word "pandemic," which can function as both an adjective and a noun, in the Spanish language, pandemia is only a noun, whereas the adjective is pandémico/pandémica.

 

Runners-up for 2020 Spanish Word of the Year

Most of the words on this list of runners-up for 2020 Spanish Word of the Year are associated with the coronavirus pandemic. However, at the end of this list, we have also included a word (a name, actually) that represents yet another of the many sad events that have occurred this year. Let's take a look.

 

Cuarentena (Quarantine)

 

Hoy les voy a contar sobre mi cuarentena en casa.

Today I'm going to tell you about my quarantine at home.

Caption 4, El coronavirus La cuarentena en Ecuador

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Confinamiento (Confinement)

 

Los tres primeros días del confinamiento tuvimos sensaciones muy extrañas.

The first three days of confinement, we felt very strange feelings.

Captions 7-8, El coronavirus Confinamiento en España - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Desinfectante (Sanitizing/Sanitizer)

 

The Diccionario de la Lengua Española (DLE) states that the word desinfectante is an adjective. Let's see it in action:

 

La segunda tarea que realizo es rellenar el gel desinfectante, que se encuentra ubicado en tres posiciones distintas:

The second task I perform is refilling the sanitizing gel, which is found in three different locations:

Captions 16-17, Sergio Socorrismo y COVID-19

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However, throughout Latin America, the word desfinfectante is also used as a noun:

 

También recuerda ocupar desinfectante para mano, que tenga por lo menos unos [sic] sesenta por ciento de alcohol.

Also remember to use hand sanitizer that has at least sixty percent alcohol.

Captions 16-17, El coronavirus Cómo protegerse

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Mascarilla (Mask)

 

Las medidas sanitarias que utilizo son: la mascarilla y desinfectarme las manos.

The sanitary measures that I use are: the mask and sanitizing my hands.

Captions 12-13, Sergio Socorrismo y COVID-19

 Play Caption

 

Crisis (Crisis)

 

y una gran crisis a nivel sanitario, económico y social.

and a great health, economic and social crisis.

Caption 60, El coronavirus Introducción y vocabulario

 Play Caption

 

Maradona

 

From Kobe Bryant to Sean Connery, this year, the world has lost some of its most beloved people. In fact, the Spanish-speaking world has lost one of its most iconic figures: Diego Armando Maradona, and the death of the football/soccer superstar has been deeply felt throughout the world. 

 

Si yo fuera Maradona, nunca me equivocaría Si yo fuera Maradona, perdido en cualquier lugar La vida es una tómbola de noche y de día La vida es una tómbola y arriba y arriba

If I were Maradona, I would never make a mistake If I were Maradona, lost anywhere Life is a raffle [lottery] by night and day Life is a raffle and up and up

Captions 3-6, Manu Chao La Vida Tómbola

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That's all for today. What do you think of the Spanish Word of the Year 2020? Do you agree with this choice? Can you think of a better word? Please, feel free to share with us your comments and suggestions, and let's hope 2021 brings us less tragedy and more joy.  

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Making Comparisons in Spanish - Part 1

Despite the old saying that "Las comparaciones son odiosas" (Comparisons are odious), the truth is that they are often necessary. Whether you need to decide on a vacation destination, select a present for a loved one, or weigh the pros and cons of any situation, comparisons will be a part of your decision-making process. That said, let's learn some useful language for that purpose. 

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Unlike English, Spanish does not modify adjectives with the addition of suffixes (e.g. the English -er and -est) for comparative purposes. Instead, adjectives are accompanied by comparative structures to indicate equality, inequality, or difference in degree between one or more people, ideas, or things. Since there is plenty to learn on this topic, this lesson will deal with inequality, while part two will cover comparisons of equality and superlatives

 

Comparisons of Inequality

 

For comparisons of inequality, the word that specifies what the comparison is about will be preceded by más (more) or menos (less). One might compare qualities (adjectives), ways of doing something (adverbs), or even nouns as in the sentence: La canasta roja tiene más manzanas que la verde (The red basket has more apples than the green one). Let's take a look at some common comparative structures involving adjectives, adverbs, and nouns, and some examples of each:

 

1. más/menos + adjective + que

 

La vida a esta altitud se hace más difícil que en el frondoso pinsapar.

Life at this altitude becomes more difficult than in the dense Spanish fir forest.

Caption 64, Tecnópolis Sierra de las nieves

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Este libro es menos interesante que el otro.

This book is less interesting than the other one.

Caption 72, Karla e Isabel Comparativos

 Play Caption

 

As you may have inferred from these examples, the comparative particle que is the equivalent of than in English. In addition, the video in our second example above introduces several comparative structures with examples and is thus worth viewing in conjunction with this lesson. 

 

2. más/menos + adverb + que 

 

les inyectaba hormonas para que crecieran más rápido

she would inject them with hormones so that they would grow faster

Caption 45, Kikirikí Animales - Part 7

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Note that, in this case, the comparative particle que is not present since the second term of the comparison is not mentioned. In addition, remember that, although the adverb rápidamente does exist, we often use rápido as an adverb as well as an adjective in the same way as the English word fast, depending upon whether it modifies a noun or a verb in a sentence. 

 

3. más/menos + noun  + que

 

As we saw in the introduction, this structure can also be used with nouns. In this case, it is worth mentioning that while, according to traditional English usage rules, "fewer" should be used for countable objects while "less" should be employed with singular mass nouns (i.e. salt), this distinction does not exist in Spanish. That said, menos will be used for both countable and uncountable nouns in Spanish. 

 

Ten en cuenta que los productos en tamaño familiar, sean de lo que sean, generan menos residuos por unidad de producto.

Take into account that family-sized products, whatever they are, generate less waste per product unit.

Captions 51-53, 3R Campaña de reciclaje - Part 2

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Since the Spanish verb tener años (literally "to have years") is used to express the idea of someone being a certain age, the expression Tengo más años que mi hermana (literally "I have more years than my sister") is equivalent to saying "I am older than my sister." The following example is similar:

 

Yo tengo un año menos que tú.

I am a year younger than you.

Caption 12, Clara y Cristina Saludar

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Although the position of the noun in these examples is different, they demonstrate the additional point that prepositional object pronouns like and ti cannot be used in comparatives as the second object of comparison (immediately after que). For example, while in English, one can say either "My sister is younger than I am" or "My sister is younger than me," Mi hermana es más joven que mí is unacceptable in Spanish, while Mi hermana es más joven que yo is the correct way to express this. 

 

 

Intensifying or Mitigating Difference

 

Sometimes, the difference between the objects, people, or ideas being compared is so big or so small that formulas that include intensifiers such as mucho/muchísimo/tanto + más/menos or mitigators like un poco/poquito + más/menos can help to express this. 

 

Y eso también lo habéis comprado más barato de lo normal. Pero muchísimo más barato, ochenta por ciento más barato, una cosa así.

And that also you have bought cheaper than what's normal. But way cheaper, eighty percent cheaper, something like that.

Captions 14-15, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 3

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No es tanto más grande que yo.

She's not that much older than me.

Caption 31, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 10

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de Los Cabos sí queda un poquito más lejitos, un poquito más de dos horas,

from Los Cabos, it's a little bit further, a little bit over two hours,

Captions 73-74, Alan x el mundo Mi playa favorita de México! - Part 1

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Parallel Comparative Structure 

 

The parallel comparative structure, cuanto más + adjective/adverb, más/menos, is also useful in Spanish. The common English expression, "The sooner, the better," for example, translates as: Cuanto antes, mejor.  

 

Cuanto más sucia, menos le[s] pagáis. -Claro.

The dirtier it is, the less you pay them. -Of course.

Caption 81, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 13

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Irregular Adjectives/Adverbs

 

A few adjectives and adverbs have irregular comparative forms and don't fall into the typical patterns using más/menos + adjective/adverb + que:

 

Adjective: buen/a (good)      Comparative: mejor (better) 

Adjective: mal/a (bad)          Comparative: peor (worse)

 

Es una buena cantante (She's a good singer).

Es mejor cantante que Mariana (She is a better singer than Mariana).

 

Es un mal alumno (He is a bad student).

Es peor alumno que Juan (He is a worse student than Juan).

 

Interestingly, when the adjectives mejor/peor describe how good or bad one is at something, their forms are irregular. However, when referring to good and evil, their regular comparative forms come into play:

 

Es más malo que el diablo.

He is more evil than the devil.

 

The following adverbs, however, have only an irregular comparative:

 

Adverb: bien (well)           Comparative: mejor (better) 

Adverb: mal (badly)          Comparative: peor (worse)

 

María canta mejor que su hermana.     

María sings better than her sister.

 

Let's conclude with some additional examples of regular and irregular comparatives from our Yabla video library:

 

tres aspirinas. -Bueno, tomá algo más fuerte que te haga mejor.

three aspirins. -Well, take something stronger that makes you better.

Caption 61, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

Mal. Peor que la semana pasada.

Bad. Worse than last week.

Caption 7, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

 Play Caption

 

That's all for this first part of our lesson on comparatives. We hope it has been clear, and don't forget to send us your questions, comments, and suggestions¡Hasta la próxima!

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Gustar vs. "to Like": A Difference in Perception - Part 2

In the first part of this lesson, we focused on the difference in perception in English versus Spanish when it comes to expressing the concept of "liking." Although in English, the subject of a sentence (the person, place, thing, or idea who performs the action of the sentence's verb) is perceived to "perform the action" of "liking" onto the object of the sentence (the receiver of the action, or "what is being liked"), in Spanish, the opposite is true. Let's review this concept with a simple example:

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Me gustan mucho las ciudades.

I really like cities.

Caption 58, Carlos y Cyndy Uso del Voseo en Argentina

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In English, "I" is the subject and "cities" is the object because "I" am the person who performs the action of liking upon "cities." In Spanish, on the other hand, las ciudades (the cities) are the subject that are thought to "cause" the implied object "yo" (I) to like them. As this functions similarly to the English verb "to please," it is useful to keep in mind the alternative translation "Cities really please me" when thinking about this and other sentences with gustar. 

 

Armed with this information, let's explore how to create and understand Spanish sentences with this verb. First off, how do we express in Spanish the English concept of who or what is "doing the liking"? In other words, how would one say, "I like" or "you like" or "they like," etc.? In order to do this, Spanish employs the following indirect object pronouns with the verb gustar as follows:

 

        -(A mí) me gusta/n: I like.

        -(A ti) te gusta/n: You like.

        -(A él/ella/usted) le gusta/n: He/She/You like(s).

        -(A nosotros/as) nos gusta/n: We like.

        -(A vosotros/as) os gusta/n: You (all) like.

        -(A ellos/ellas/ustedes) les gusta/n: They like/You (all) like.

 

Let's take a look at some examples:

 

y aquí tengo una blusa que me gusta.

and I have here a blouse that I like.

Caption 6, Ana Carolina Salir de compras

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Muy bien, ¿te gusta esa música?

Great, do you like that music?

Caption 63, Carlos y Cyndy Comentario sobre Muñeca Brava

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A nosotras nos gustan los colores del arcoíris.

We like the colors of the rainbow.

Caption 10, Español para principiantes Los colores

 Play Caption

 

Note that, while in the third example, A nosotras was included before nos gustan, this is completely optional, and we could have written simply, Nos gustan los colores del arcoíris (We like the colors of the rainbow) to mean exactly the same thing. In fact, all such "a phrases" (, a ti, a vosotros, etc.) indicated in parentheses above serve to add emphasis but do not change the meaning of sentences with gustar.

 

Now that we have learned how to indicate or know who or what is "doing the liking," let's focus on how to conjugate the verb gustar, which we will do in accordance with "what is being liked." Let's revisit the previous examples, as well as their alternative translations, to better understand this: 

 

aquí tengo una blusa que me gusta

and I have here a blouse that I like.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: and I have here a blouse that pleases me

 

Muy bien, ¿te gusta esa música

Great, do you like that music?

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: Great, and does that music please you? 

 

A nosotras nos gustan los colores del arcoíris

We like the colors of the rainbow.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: The colors of the rainbow please us. 

 

Notice that, since "what is being liked" is the subject that performs the action in Spanish, in the aforementioned examples, we see gustar conjugated in the third person singular (gusta) in the cases where the subject is singular (esa música/"that music" and una blusa/"a blouse") and third person plural (gustan) in the cases where the subject is plural (los colores del arcoíris/"the colors of the rainbow"). Similarly, the verb "to please" is conjugated in accordance with said subjects in English. 

 

What if, on the other hand, "what's liked" comes in the form of a verb's infinitive? In that case, the third person singular form of gustar should be utilized:

 

Y... aparte de... de la música, me gusta patinar.

And... apart from... from music, I like to skate.

Caption 14, Zoraida Lo que gusta hacer

 Play Caption

 

While in all of the aforementioned examples, the verb gustar has been conjugated in either third person singular or plural, there are cases in which the subject calls for a diffrent conjugation. Let's take a look:

 

Me gustas. Porque sí. -Tú también me gustas mucho.

I like you. Just because. -I like you a lot too.

Captions 44-46, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 12

 Play Caption

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: You please me. Just because. -You please me too. 

 

Since the subject "being liked" is tú (you), gustar is conjugated in the second person singular: gustas, and the alternative translation "You please me" can again help us to grasp this construction. Let's examine a couple of additional examples:

 

A este chico le gusto mucho.

That guy likes me a lot.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: I please that guy a lot. 

 

A ustedes les gustamos mucho. 

You guys like us a lot.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: We please you guys a lot. 

 

As always, the verb gustar is conjugated in agreement with the Spanish sentences' subjects: yo/"I" (in the first person singular gusto) and nosotros/"we" (in the first person plural gustamos). 

 

Let's conclude with one final example: 

 

y la directora de la biblioteca me dijo que el texto había gustado mucho.

and the director of the library told me that [people] had liked the text a lot.

Captions 48-49, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 3

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ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: and the director of the library told me that the text had pleased [people] a lot. 

 

Once again, gustar has been conjugated in the third person singular as había gustado (this time in the past perfect) in agreement with what is being liked: el texto (the text). However, the absence of an indirect object pronoun to specify who or what is "doing the liking" gives us the essence that the text is generally pleasing, in other words: people liked it. 

​We hope that these lessons have helped to shed some light on how to use/understand the verb gustar, which might initially seem daunting to English speakers. That's all for today, and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions.

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