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Idiomatic expressions with the verb Tener

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

 Bueno, pero tengo frío.
Well, but I'm cold.
Caption 31, Natalia de Ecuador - Palabras de uso básico

 Y más que tenemos hambre ya a esta hora.
And plus, we're already hungry at this hour.
Caption 106, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 5

Tenemos sueño.
We are sleepy.
Caption 38, El Aula Azul - Estados de ánimo


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

¡Tengo miedo, tengo miedo, tengo miedo!
I'm afraid, I'm afraid, I'm afraid!
Caption 42, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reunión - Part 2

 Siento que te cansaste y tienes ganas
I feel that you got tired and you want
Caption 4, Circo - Velocidades luz

la gente parece que siempre tiene prisa
people seem to always be in a hurry...
Caption 38, Maestra en Madrid - Nuria y amigo 

En este momento duda porque tiene vergüenza de ir a la escuela,
At this moment she hesitates because she's ashamed to go to school,
Caption 49, Con ánimo de lucro - Cortometraje - Part 4

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

Tengo veintiún años y soy estudiante de negocios internacionales.
I'm twenty-one years old and I'm a student of international business.
Caption 2, Amigos D.F. - Consejos para la calle


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

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Stress at the end: Palabras agudas

Let's talk about stress. In Spanish, all words are stressed on one syllable. Depending on the syllable where that stress falls, words in Spanish are divided into the following four groups:
 
Palabras agudas (Oxytone words) | Last syllable
Palabras graves (Paroxytone words) | Second-to-last syllable
Palabras esdrújulas (Proparoxytone words) | Third-to-last syllable
Palabras sobresdrújulas (Over-proparoxytone words) | Any syllable before the third-to-last syllable
 
Today, we will talk about palabras agudas. Let’s look at a couple of words:
 

Palabras como "corazón" o "tambor" son palabras agudas.
Words like "corazón" [heart] or "tambor" [drum] are oxytone words.
Caption 22, Carlos Explica - Acentuación parte 5 - Clasificación de las palabras según el acento

 

The word corazón has three syllables (co | ra | zón) and the stress falls on the last syllable “zón.” Similarly, the word tambor has two syllables (tam | bor) and the stress falls on the last syllable “bor.”
 
However, the word corazón has an accent mark (tilde) on top of the “ó,” while the “o” in the last syllable of tambor doesn’t have that accent. Why? Because oxytone words need that accent ONLY when they end in “n”, in “s” or in a vowel:
 

La manera más simple de llegar a Barcelona es con el autobús
The simplest way to get to Barcelona is by bus
Caption 26, Blanca - Cómo moverse en Barcelona

El coquí es un sapito que tenemos aquí en Puerto Rico.
The coquí is a little frog that we have here in Puerto Rico.
Caption 31, Carli Muñoz - Niñez - Part 1


The word autobús has three syllables (au | to | bús) and the stress falls on the last syllable. Since this word ends in “s,” we need to put a tilde on the vowel of the last syllable. Likewise, the word coquí (co | quí) is stressed on the last syllable and we need to put the tilde on the “í” since this word ends in a vowel.
 
Important! In Spanish the accent mark ( ´ ) can only be placed on top of a vowel.
 
There are many oxytone words in Spanish. In fact, all verbs in the infinitive are palabras agudas:
 

¿Quieres tomar algo de beber, Raquel?
Do you want to have something to drink, Raquel?
Caption 22, Raquel - Presentaciones


Both tomar ( to | mar) and beber (be | ber) have two syllables and the stress falls on the last one. However, since they both end in “r,” the accent mark is not needed.

That's it for now. If you feel like practicing a little bit more, take one of our videos and try to find all the oxytone words without a tilde. And of course, don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

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A Common Past: ser and ir

We all know that irregular verbs are tricky. Very often, however, we can take advantage of those special rules that make the learning process a bit easier. Today, we will explore the past tense of the irregular verbs ser (to be) and ir (to go).
 
First of all, the good news: the verbs ser and ir share the same simple past conjugation! By simple past, we are referring to what is known in Spanish as pretérito perfecto simple or just pretérito (preterit). Let’s review the simple past conjugation of the verb ser:
 

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

Pensar que un día fui la respuesta
To think that one day I was the answer
Caption 14, Belanova - Tal vez

Aprendí que los primeros en hacer cómic fueron los aztecas.
I learned that the first ones to make comics were the Aztecs.
Caption 48, Antonio Vargas - Artista - Comic - Part 1


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

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

Y sí, definitivamente fuimos a tomar un café, fuimos a cenar.
And yes, we definitely went for a coffee, went to dinner.
Caption 18, Enanitos Verdes - Luz de Día

¿Y te fuiste a vivir con tu novio con cuánto? -Con diecisiete.
And you went to live with your boyfriend when you were how old? -I was seventeen.
Caption 92, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 14


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

 Yo me fui de la casa cuando tenía nueve años.
I left home when I was nine years old.
Caption 41, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 5

Desde aquel día que te fuiste, supe que eras para mí
From that day on which you left, I knew you were for me
Caption 1, Andy Andy - Maldito Amor


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

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First, Second and Third: The Ordinal Numbers

Let’s talk about numbers today. The ordinal numbers express position, order or succession in a series, such as first, second and third. Let's take a look at some of the rules that you need to keep in mind when using ordinal numbers.
 
The first ten ordinals are very often used in spoken Spanish so let’s take a moment to review them: Primero (first), segundo (second), tercero (third), cuarto (fourth), quinto(fifth), sexto (sixth), séptimo (seventh), octavo (eighth), noveno (ninth) and décimo (tenth).
 
Generally speaking, the ordinal numbers in Spanish go before the noun and agree in gender and number with the noun they are describing:
 

Las primeras imágenes que veo son impactantes, la verdad,
The first images that I see are shocking, truthfully,
Caption 34, Iker Casillas - apoya el trabajo de Plan


A very important rule regarding the ordinals primero (first) and tercero (third) is that they drop the final ‘o’ before a masculine noun:
 

Y por ejemplo este nuevo disco es vuestro tercer disco creo... tercero o cuarto.
And for example this new record is your third record I believe... Third or fourth.
Caption 65, Bajofondo Tango Club - Mar Dulce - Part 1 


Ordinal numbers can be simple or compound. Simple ordinals have their own form while compound ordinals are made by joining simple numbers. The ordinal numbers “eleventh” and “twelfth” are unique in Spanish because they can have both simple and compound forms. For example, we could write the ordinal “twelfth” as a simple number (duodécimo) or as a compound one (décimo segundo):
 

En el dos mil diecisiete, El Real Madrid ganó su décima segunda '"Champions".
In two thousand seventeen, Real Madrid won its twelfth championship.
Cap. 39, Carlos explica - Los Números - Los Números Ordinales


Also, let’s remember that we use ordinal numbers for sovereign figures like kings, queens and popes. In this case, the ordinals are placed after the noun they describe:
 

fuimos a la beatificación del Papa Juan Pablo Segundo.
we went to the beatification of Pope John Paul the Second.
Caption XX, Latinos por el mundo - Chilenas en Venecia 


That's it for now. Remember to memorize and practice the first 10 ordinals as they are commonly used in everyday language! And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

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Gentilicios: Adjectives of Nationality

Let's talk about gentilicios (demonyms)! Gentilicios are words that we use as adjectives when we want to say the place where someone or something comes from. Some examples of demonyms are words like “Brazilian,” “African” or “Chinese.”
 
Unlike English, we don’t capitalize demonyms in Spanish:

 

Mejor dicho, esas que son una mezcla entre peruana y colombiano.
In other words, those that are a mix between a Peruvian girl and a Colombian guy.
Caption 35, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 1


We form demonyms using suffixes, which most of the time need to be consistent with the gender and the number of the noun they are describing. Let’s take the suffix ano:
 

Roberto es mexicano | Roberto is Mexican (singular masculine)
Claudia es mexicana | Claudia is Mexican (singular feminine)
Roberto y Claudia son mexicanos | Roberto and Claudia are Mexicans (plural masculine)
Claudia y Daniela son mexicanas | Claudia and Daniela are Mexicans (plural feminine)

 

cuando realmente veo otros mexicanos, otros latinos,
when I see other Mexicans, other Latin people,
Caption 57, Arturo Vega - Entrevista - Part 5

 
Other suffixes that are very often used to form gentilicios are és (singular masculine) and esa(singular feminine) as well as co (singular masculine) and ca (singular feminine):
 

De padre austriaco y madre francesa, es casi políglota de nacimiento.
From an Austrian father and French mother, he's pretty much multilingual from birth.
Caption 12, Europa Abierta - Alejandro Hermann - El arte de pintar


We also have the suffix eño (singular masculine) as in limeño (from Lima, the capital of Peru), and the suffix í as in the demonym iraní (from Iran). The latter is used for both masculine and feminine and only changes in its plural form (iraní becomes either iranís or iraníes, both forms are correct):

 

madrileñomadrileña, de Madrid, la capital de España.
or "madrileño," "madrileña," [from Madrid], from Madrid, the capital of Spain.
Caption 34, Carlos Explica - Geografía y gentilicios


Just like iraní, the demonym estadounidense (from the United States) is the same for the masculine and feminine forms. Some people use americano or americana when referring to someone from the US. However, if you are travelling across Latin America try to use estadounidense instead. Most people in Latin America treat the word América as a continent and not a country so using that demonym when referring to the US will certainly leave a nice impression across the Americas.
 
That's all for now. We would like to leave you with the following exercise: Choose 20 countries from the world and try to write the gentilicios for each one. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

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Irse de boca

Let's continue learning idiomatic expressions that use names of body parts. This lesson focuses on the word boca (mouth).
 
The expression llevarse algo a la boca (literally "to put something in one's mouth") means "to eat." You can see an example in the following quote from our catalog of videos:
 

que te lleves algo a la boca. -¡Hombre, algo a la barriga!
you put something in your mouth. -Man, something to put into my belly!
Caption 87, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 10


Somewhat similar is the expression no tener nada que llevarse a la boca (literally, "to lack something to put in one's mouth"), which basically means "to be very poor."
 
Two very useful phrases using the word boca (mouth) are boca arriba (face up) and boca abajo (face down):
 

Túmbese, boca arriba.
Lay down, face up.
Caption 34, Club de las ideas - Técnico en imagen para diagnóstico


The expression abrir la boca (to open one's mouth) means "to speak out," "to confess or reveal a secret," or "to spill a gossip," depending on the context:
 

Eso sí, miralo y no abras la boca hasta que volvamos a hablar vos y yo, ¿eh?
Mind you, watch it and don't open your mouth until we speak again, you and I, OK?
Caption 6, Muñeca Brava - 9 Engaños - Part 8


Also similar is irse de boca (literally "to go mouth on"), that is "to run off at the mouth" or simply "to be indiscreet":
 

No te habrás ido de boca diciéndole la verdad a ese Sirenio, ¿no?
You wouldn't have been indiscreet by telling that Sirenio guy the truth, right?
Caption 52, Yago - 9 Recuperación - Part 12


El presidente se fue de boca otra vez.
The president ran his mouth off again. 


Finally, keep in mind that irse de boca is also a synonym phrase of caerse de boca (to go headlong, to fall flat on your face). This is a very colloquial expression that you probably won't use in a formal situation:

 

Se fue de boca y se fracturó la nariz.
He went headlong and fractured his nose.


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

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A que sí / A que no

Learning how to combine prepositions such as a, ante, con, de, desde, en, para, por, and sin (among others) is key to being able to build complex ideas in Spanish. For example, you can use them to introduce a subordinate clause in a very simple sentence:
 

Voy al banco a cambiar un cheque (I go/I'm going to the bank to cash a check)
Voy al banco para cambiar un cheque (I go/I'm going to the bank to cash a check)
Voy al banco con María (I go/I'm going to the bank with Maria)
Voy al banco de la esquina (I go/I'm going to the bank on the corner of the street)
Voy al banco desde temprano (I go/I'm going to the bank early in the morning)
Voy al banco en carro (I go/I'm going to the bank by car)
Voy al banco por unos documentos (I go/I'm going to the bank to get some documents)
Voy al banco según me indicaste (I go/I'm going to the bank as you told me to)
Voy al banco sin mi paraguas (I go/I'm going to the bank without my umbrella)


You can also combine prepositions with other particles in Spanish. One interesting case is the combination of prepositions with the word que. Let's focus on the combination a que (entirely different from a qué), which is very useful! Here's an example:

 

Pues yo te invito a que lo pruebes.
Well, I invite you to try it.
Caption 87, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 6


Another way to express the same idea in Spanish is te invito a probarlo (I invite you to try it). Do you notice the difference? The preposition a introduces a verb in the infinitive (probarlo) while the combination a que introduces a clause with a conjugated verb (pruebes).
 
Another example/meaning of a que is:

 

Mi padre era muy reacio a que [yo] las tocara.
My father was very reluctant for me to touch them.
Caption 57, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 10


 
As you can see, English has a different, more convoluted way to express this idea of being reluctant about an action performed by a third person. But the Spanish a que construction can be combined with a conjugated verb in the subjunctive. If you were wondering, you can't express this precise idea in Spanish using the infinitive. But if the subjunctive is still hard for you, try something simple and depersonalized: Mi padre era muy reacio a tocarlas (My father was very reluctant to touch them).
 
The phrase a que can be used to answer someone who's asking an a qué question:
 

¿A qué viniste? -Vine a que me pagues.
What did you come for? - I came for you to pay me.


Finally, there's an expression using the combination a que that you will surely like. It's used to confirm that we are on the same page with somebody, that we agree about something:
 

¿Tú la cuidas bien a que sí?
You take good care of her, right?
Caption 23, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 16


In Spanish this expression a que sí  is equivalent and very similar to ¿verdad que sí? (literally "is it true that yes?"). It can also be used in the negative form:
 

¿A que no adivinas dónde estuvimos?
I bet you won't guess where we were?
Caption 9, Guillermina y Candelario - Carrera de Relevos - Part 1


You can think of this expression as a short version of the phrase apuesto a que no (I bet that you don't...)which is also used in positive terms: apuesto a que sí (I bet you do...), by the way. It's just much more common to use the negative form to stress the daring nature of this expression. But it's perfectly correct to say: ¡A que sí puedes. Inténtalo! (I bet you can. Try!).
 
That's all for now! We'll explore more of these combinations in future lessons. Don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

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A mano

Let's continue learning idiomatic expressions in Spanish that use body parts. This lesson focuses on the word mano (hand).
 
The expressions echar una mano (to throw a hand) or dar una mano (to give a hand) mean "to help." Frequently, people use this expression with negation in the interrogative form: ¿no me echas una mano? or ¿no me das una mano? are common ways to ask for help in Spanish:

 

¿No me das una manita con Pablo?
Won't you give me a little hand with Pablo?
Caption 44, Muñeca Brava - 30 Revelaciones - Part 4


See? You can even throw in a diminutive like manita (little hand)! Native Spanish speakers use diminutives a lot, so you can use this truquito (little trick) to make your Spanish sound more natural.
 
Now, dar una mano (to give a hand, to help) is different from dar la mano (literally, "to give the hand"), which means "to shake hands" or "to hold hands." Usually the verb dar (to give) is used with a pronoun in these expressions. So you can say: le doy la mano (I shake his/her/your hand), nos damos la mano (we shake hands, we shake each other's hands). In other cases the pronoun can be added to the verb dar as a suffix, for example: ¡dame la mano! (shake my hand!), or:

 

En ocasiones más formales también podemos darnos la mano.
For more formal occasions, we can also shake each other's hands.
Caption 12, Raquel - Presentaciones - Part 1


Slightly different is tomar la mano de alguien (to take somebody's hand):

 

Bachué se despidió llorando y tomó la mano de su esposo.
Bachué said goodbye crying and took her husband's hand.
Caption 49, América precolombina - El mito de Bachué


If you add the preposition de (by) you get the expression de la mano (by the hand, holdings hands). Tomar de la mano is "to hold by the hand," estar de la mano is "to be holding hands," cruzar la calle de la mano de tu mamá means "to cross the street holding your mom's hand," and caminar de la mano con tu novia means "to walk with your girlfriend holding hands". Here's one more example:

 

Un helado, un paseo, tomados de la mano
An ice cream, a stroll, holding hands
Caption 4, Alberto Jiménez - Causalidad - Part 2

 
On the other hand, estar a mano (literally, “to be at hand") means "to be even:"
 

Estaríamos a mano. ¿Eh?
We would be even. Huh?
Caption 30, Muñeca Brava - 2 Venganza - Part 6

 

The expression hecho a mano means "made by hand." And the phrase a mano can either mean "by hand":
 

Los que se pueden coger con la mano desde abajo, se cogen a mano.
The ones that can be picked by hand from below are picked by hand.
Caption 88, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 16

 
or "at hand," which can also be spelled a la mano:

 

 Ponte lo que tengas a [la] mano.
Wear whatever you have at hand.

 
To do something mano a mano (hand in hand) means to do something together:
 

Los investigadores trabajan con los pescadores mano a mano.
The researchers work with the fishermen hand in hand.

 
In Mexico, Dominican Republic, and other Spanish speaking countries, people use mano to shorten hermano/a (brother, sister), just like “bro” and “sis” in English. For example: No, mano, así no se hace (No, bro, that's not how you do it), Oye, mana, vámonos a casa (Hey, sis, let's go home).

And that's all for this lesson! Don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

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De ojos y narices

Let's continue learning idiomatic expressions in Spanish. This time, we’ll focus on expressions that use body parts.
 
Let’s start with nariz (nose). Spanish speakers use the plural form narices (noses) instead of the singular form nariz (nose) quite frequently. To do something in front of somebody's narices means to do something right in front of that person, desvergonzadamente (shamelessly):

 

Ese tipo se me burló hoy en las narices.
That guy today made fun of me in my face.

Te estás burlando de Lola en sus narices.
You're making fun of Lola in her face.

 

But meter las narices (stick one nose in) means entrometerse (to meddle) in other people's business, just like in English:

 

 No metas las narices en este asunto.
Don't stick your nose into this.

 

Let's move to el ojo (the eye). You can say mucho ojo (literally, a lot of eye) to ask someone to keep his or her eyes open, to be alert, to be careful:

 

Amigo, mucho ojo con la circular de la Interpol, ¿bueno? -Sí, señor.
Friend, be very careful with the Interpol newsletter, OK? -Yes, sir.
Caption 21, Carlos comenta - Confidencial - Vocabulario y expresiones

 

Variations of mucho ojo are pon mucho ojo (literally, put a lot of eye in it), abre bien los ojos(wide open your eyes), mantén los ojos abiertos (keep your eyes open), etc. Or you can just say ojo (eye!):

 

¡Ojo, que viene la estampida!
Watch out, as the stampede is coming!
Caption 44, Kikirikí - Animales - Part 2

 

The expression hacer mal de ojo (give the evil eye) is also very common. It can be shortened to hacer ojo. Some examples are: descubre quién te hizo mal de ojo (get to discover who gave you the evil eye), el mal de ojo no existe, no seas supersticioso (the evil eye doesn't exist, don't be superstitious), me parece que alguien te hizo ojo por envidia (it seems to me that someone gave you the evil eye out of envy).
 
OK. Let's wrap it up with a cute expression. It's used to excuse yourself when you shed a tear out of sentimentality, happiness, emotion, etc. The expression is in tension between denial and acceptance, and sometimes people even use it to actually deny that they have been crying, for any reason. For example:

 

No, yo no salí llorando, lo que pasa es que me... me... me entró una basurita en el ojo y... ¿Qué? 
No, I didn't run out crying, the thing is that I... I... got a little junk in my eye and... So what?

 

A variant of the same expression is me entró una mugre en el ojo (I got some dirt in my eye) and, make a note, you can also use both expressions literally, given the unfortunate occasion.
 
That's all for this lesson. There're many more idiomatic expressions that use the word ojo(eye) in Spanish. Try typing dar en el ojo and pegar un ojo in our videos search tool to discover some of them! Don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

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Some Expressions

Let's learn some useful Spanish expressions.
 
The expression total, para qué ( literally "total, what for") is used to express hopelessness if you think that something is likely to fail or is unpromising. The phrase is equivalent to the English expression "So, what's the use," as you can see in the following example:
 
¡Ay! Total para qué... ¡Ya olvídalo!
Oh! So what's the use... Forget it already!

Another interesting expression is tener en cuenta (to keep into account, to keep in mind):
 

Intentaré hacer todo lo que me has dicho y tener en cuenta tus recomendaciones.
I will try to do everything that you have told me and keep in mind your recommendations.
Caption 56-57, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos - Subjuntivo y condicional


Here's another example using teniendo (having, keeping) in a more formal context:
 

Teniendo en cuenta lo anterior, quisiera compartir con ustedes el siguiente mito muisca
Taking into account the foregoing, I would like to share with you the following Muisca myth
Caption 19-20, Aprendiendo con Carlos - América precolombina - El mito de Bachué

 
On the contrary, the expression hacer de cuenta, means "to pretend":
 

Entonces, haz de cuenta están hablando ellos
So, pretend they are talking...
Caption 16, Amigos D.F. - Consejos para la calle - Part 1

 
As you can see, this expression is frequently used in the imperative mode:
 

Pero hagamos de cuenta que es profundísimo.
But let's pretend that it is very deep.
Caption 33, Salvando el planeta Palabra - Llegada - Part 8

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The Spanish Verb Decir

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

Pero si yo digo: yo voy en el coche y tú vas en el autobús. 
But if I say: I'm going in the car, and you are going on the bus.
Caption 46, Fundamentos del Español - 6 - Tú y Usted

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

Yo digo que la fruta es para comerla no para hacerse una fotografía con ella.
I say that fruit is to eat it not to take a picture with it.
Caption 48, Los Reporteros - Sembrar, comer, tirar - Part 2

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

Pues entonces rejuvenece coger castañas. -Digo que sí.
Well then, it rejuvenates to pick chestnuts. -I say so.
Caption 19, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 4


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

¿Quién nos dice que la vida nos dará el tiempo necesario?
Who says [to us] that life will give us the necessary time?
Caption 19, Julieta Venegas - El Presente
 
Supongamos que un amigo me dice lo siguiente:
Let's imagine that a friend tells me the following:
Caption 44, Carlos explica - Diminutivos y Aumentativos Parte 2


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

Te lo digo de corazón.
 I tell [it to] you from the heart.
Caption 25, Documental de Alejandro Fernandez - Viento A Favor


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

¡Es verdad, pana, mi hermano me lo dijo!
It's true, pal, my brother told it to me!
Caption 45, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso - Part 3

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

¡No le digas, Candelario!
Don’t tell him, Candelario!
Caption 14, Guillermina y Candelario - La isla de las serpientes


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

Bueno y se dice que la mujer tiene un sexto sentido.
Well, and one says that a woman has a sixth sense.
Caption 48, El Ausente - Acto 2 - Part 3

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

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The Verb Llevar

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

Yo ya llevo veintitrés años aquí ya.
have already been here for twenty-three years now.
Caption 64, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 18

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

tenemos que teñirlo, esto pues, nos lleva un ratito,
we have to dye it, this well, it takes us a little while,
Caption 68, Animales en familia - Un día en Bioparc: Microchip para Nacahué


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

¿Por qué lleváis guantes?
Why do you wear gloves?
Caption 46, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 5


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

...por eso traen pantalones.
…that's why they wear pants.
Caption 48, El Ausente - Acto 2 - Part 3


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

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Phrases with esté

In our previous lesson we discussed the memorization of short phrases as a strategy to gain confidence when conversing in Spanish. The idea is to memorize specific chunks of speech and use them as building blocks to create more complex ideas. In this lesson we will focus on exploring phrases that use the verb esté.
 
The verb esté is a conjugated form of the verb estar (to be) in the present subjunctive. Let's see how speakers use it in everyday speech and learn how to build new sentences with it.
 
You can find many examples of the phrase para que esté in our catalog of videos. This phrase is used to express purpose and it's usually followed by an adjective or a verb in participio (-ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings and its feminine and plural variants):
 

uno trata de abarcar lo más posible para que esté protegida lo más posible, ¿no?
one tries to cover as much as possible so that she would be as protected as she can be, right?
Caption 55, Biografía - Natalia Oreiro - Part 5


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

para que la patata esté blanda, se tiene que cocer mucho la crema
in order for the potato to be soft, the cream has to be cooked a lot
Caption 43-44, Cómetelo - Crema de brócoli - Part 4


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

aunque esté un poquito más deteriorado, ¿no?
even though it might be a little bit more spoiled, right?
Caption 23, Los Reporteros - Sembrar, comer, tirar - Part 4


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

Al contrario Joaquín, me da mucho gusto, le mando un abrazo. - Que esté muy bien.
To the contrary, Joaquin, it's a pleasure, I send you a hug. - Hope you're well.
Caption 19, ¡Tierra, Sí! - Atenco - Part 1


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

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Si fuera

The keys to picking up a language quickly are constant exposure and practice. But practice is not always easy to obtain, either because you lack the opportunity or, more often, because you lack the confidence to engage in a conversation. So you lack learning because you lack practice, and you lack practice because you lack learning. How frustrating!

But there are always ways around this problem. One of them involves memorizing common phrases to be prepared for the next time you get the chance to engage in a conversation. For example, you can memorize entire phrases by topic; phrases to introduce yourself, to ask for directions, to order food, etc. Or you could memorize smaller, more specialized chunks of speech and use them as building blocks to create more complex ideas. For example, phrases like quiero que... (I want that), or no sé si (I don't know if). On this lesson we will focus on exploring one of these phrases: si fuera

The phrase si fuera actually involves mastering an advanced skill in Spanish: the use of the verb ser (to be) in the subjunctive mood. But instead of learning rules and conjugation tables, you can memorize it as it is, and learn how speakers use it in everyday speech to build your own sentences.

Si fuera is usually combined with the preposition como (as) and followed by a noun phrase:
 

Así como si fuera una pinza. 
Like this as if it were a clamp.
Caption 22, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 17

 
Since fuera is used for both the first and third person singular, you can use the same expression to talk about yourself. You can add the pronoun yo (I) between si and fuera, or not:

¡Si fuera tu jefe te despediría! 
If I were your boss, I'd have you fired! 

Here's an example from our catalog:
 

Yo quiero amarte como si fuera tu único dueño.
I want to love you as if I were your only master.
Caption 63, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 3

 
Look at this useful example that combines si fuera with a basic simple sentence like esto es(this is):
 

Esto es como si fuera el rastro de los móviles o el rastro de tu vida.
This is as if it were a cell phone trail or your life's trail.
Caption 31, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 4

 
Si fuera can also be followed by a pronoun, it's used a lot in conditional sentences:
 

Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.
Well, if I were you, I would speak with him.
Caption 24, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos - Subjuntivo y condicional


And si fuera can also be followed by an adjective instead of a noun:

Si [yo] fuera rico me respetarías un poco - If I were rich you would respect me a little.
Si mi jefa fuera injusta conmigo yo renunciaría a mi trabajo - If my boss were unfair to me I would quit my job.

At this point you could also learn the expression como si fuera poco:
 

como si fuera poco, todo lo que hacen...
And, as if that weren't enough, everything that they do...
Caption 30, Salvando el planeta Palabra - Llegada - Part 8

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Ser vs Estar - Subjunctive Sea and Esté

Let's continue our series on the use of the verbs ser and estar, now focusing on some examples using the subjunctive to express wishes, or to refer to hypothetical situations. The present subjunctive for the first person singular yo (I) is esté for the verb estar and sea for the verb ser. Here're some examples of first person singular sea and esté:

Mamá quiere que [yo] sea doctor  / Mom wants me to be a doctor.
Mi hermana piensa que es mejor que [yo] sea dentista / My sister thinks it's best for me to be a dentist.

Lola me pide que [yo] esté tranquilo / Lola asks me to be calm.
Imagino que es mejor que no [yo] esté preocupado / I imagine it's better for me not to beworried.

Note that it's very common to use the pronoun que (that) before the subjunctive. In fact, some Spanish speakers learn to conjugate the subjunctive altogether with this pronoun, like: que yo sea, que tú seas, etc. or que yo estéque tú estés, etc. to differentiate it from the indicative.

The forms sea and esté are also used for the third person singular, which is very convenient since you can use it to talk about wishes or hypothetical situations pertaining to other people, things, and ideas. For example:

Entonces, para que sea una sorpresa también.
So, for it to be a surprise also.
Caption 7, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 10
 
Quiero comprar un barco que sea capaz de... de hacer travesías largas.
I want to buy a boat that is capable of... de hacer travesías largas.
Caption 72, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 20

Y que ya no sea Belanova el grupo de bajo, computadora y voz.
So that Belanova won't be the group of the bass, computer and voice any longer.
Caption 13, Belanova - Entrevista - Part 4

And with esté:

Ya la llamaremos cuando la doctora esté disponible.
We'll call you when the doctor is available.
Caption 42, Cita médica - La cita médica de Cleer

Son tres modos que se usan para pedirle a alguien que esté alerta.
There are three ways that are used to ask someone to be alert.
Caption 27, Carlos comenta - Confidencial - Vocabulario y expresiones
 
Para que la aceituna esté en condiciones para envasar el lunes.
So that the olives are in condition for packing on Monday.
Caption 35, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 19
 
Finally, there's a very common and useful expression that uses sea: o sea, which is used to clarify or explain something. This expression translates as "in other words," "meaning," and other similar phrases.

O sea, que te vas a quedar sin marido durante tres meses.
In other words, you are going to be without a husband for three months.
Caption 27, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 3
 

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Ser vs Estar - Yo Soy

Let's continue our series on the use of the verbs ser and estar, now focusing on how you can use soy (“I'm”—the first-person singular form of ser in the present tense) to talk about yourself.
 
The present tense of the verb ser (to be) is soy. You can use it combined with an adjective (or a participiothe -ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings and their feminine and plural forms, used as an adjective) to express an intrinsic characteristic or status, a permanent state of mind, body, or soul.
 
For starters, you can use it to introduce yourself:
 
Soy Paco, de 75 Minutos. -Hola.
I'm Paco, from 75 Minutos. -Hola.
Caption 7, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 4
 
You can also use soy to talk about your occupation, career, etc.
 
Yo soy guardia civil.
I am a Civil Guard.
Caption 33, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 12
 
And you can use soy to talk about your personality, preferences, nationality, beliefs or affiliations. For example: Yo soy musulmán (I'm muslim), soy miembro del partido (|'m a member of the party), soy tu hada madrina (I'm your fairy godmother).
 
Soy buena clienta, sí. La verdad que sí.
I am a good customer, yes. I truly am.
Caption 2, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 7
 
Yo soy bastante escrupulosa y no me da nada.
I am pretty fussy and it doesn't bother me at all.
Caption 21, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 7
 
The verb soy can also be used to talk about a role, status, function, etc:
 
Tú eres testigo. -Yo soy testigo. -Tú eres testigo.
You're a witness. -I'm a witness. -You're a witness.
Caption 81, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 11
 
We mentioned, in our previous lesson on the subject, that estoy can also be used to talk about roles when combined with the preposition de, so saying yo estoy de testigo is also correct. There are subtle differences, though, which sometimes get lost in translation:
 
Yo soy testigo - I'm a witness
Yo estoy de testigo - I'm (working as) a witness
 
It's perhaps at this point, when these verbs are combined with adjectives (or participios used as adjectives), that English speakers get the most confused about the difference between soyand estoy. It gets even more confusing because in many cases it may seem Spanish speakers use both verbs indistinctly. Here are some examples:
 
Yo soy casado - I'm (a) married (person).
Yo estoy casado - I'm married.
Yo soy gordo - I'm (a) fat (person).
Yo estoy gordo - I'm fat.
Yo soy pequeña - I'm (a) small (person).
Yo estoy pequeña - I'm small.
 
Sometimes, however, it's impossible to use them indistinctly. It happens more frequently when the verbs are combined with participios (-ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings), which take estar much more easily than ser:
 
Yo estoy devastado - I'm devastated.
*Yo soy devastado - Incorrect, don't use it.
Yo estoy cansado - I'm tired.
*Yo soy cansado - Incorrect, don't use it.
Yo estoy herido - I'm wounded.
*Yo soy herido - Incorrect, don't use it.
Yo estoy muerto - I'm dead.
*Yo soy muerto - Incorrect, don't use it.
 
*It's interesting how this may be different while using other modes or tenses. For example both yo estuve herido and yo fui herido (I was wounded) are possible, given the right context. However, fui herido is actually far more common than yo estuve herido, which would need a special context to make proper sense, for example: Yo estuve herido sin recibir ayuda por 10 horas (I was wounded without receiving any help for 10 hours).
 
The verb soy is also frequently combined with prepositions. For example, when combined with the preposition de, the verb soy indicates origin. So, besides soy mexicano (I'm Mexican) you can also say soy de México (I'm from Mexico).
 
Typically, the verb soy is followed by articles, but estoy doesn't take articles. Compare these:
 
Soy el mejor (I'm the best), soy mejor (I'm better), and estoy mejor (I feel better) are correct, but never say estoy el mejor. 
Soy tu padre (I'm your father), soy padre (I'm a father / also "I'm a nice person") and even estoy padre (I feel or look good) are correct, but you can't say estoy el padre.
Soy buena (I'm good), soy la buena (I'm the good one), estoy buena (I'm hot, good looking) are correct, but never say estoy la buena.
 
The same happens with pronouns. You won't find a pronoun naturally following the verb estar, except, maybe, when you want to reiterate the subject and change the natural order of words (hyperbaton) for emphatic or stylistic purposes: estoy yo tan triste (me, I feel so sad)Normally, you'd say estoy tan triste (I feel so sad)This could also be done with ser: soy yo tan triste (me, I'm such a sad person).  But again, normally you'd just say soy tan triste (I'm such a sad person).
 
There are many other ways in which you can use the verb soy; these are just some of the most common ones. 

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Ser vs Estar - Yo estoy

How much you learn about the proper use of ser and estar (both meaning "to be") depends on your exposure to how real Spanish is spoken by real people. This lesson focuses on how a person can use estoy (“I'm” —the first-person singular form of estar in the present tense) to talk about himself or herself.
 
The present tense of the verb estar (to be) is estoy. You can use it combined with an adjective (or a participiothe -ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings and their feminine and plural forms, used as an adjective) to express your current state of mind, body, or soul:
 

Yo estoy listo ya... ¿Dónde está el perro?
I'm ready now... Where's the dog?
Caption 108, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 5


It's very common, for example, to use estar to talk about emotions, convictions, and beliefs:
 

Bueno, pero estoy muy contenta.
Well, but I am very happy.
Caption 12, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 6
 
Yo creo que sí. -Estoy convencido que poco a poco vamos a... a buscar alternativas.
I think so. -I am convinced that little by little we are going to... to look for alternatives.
Caption 75-76, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 5


You can use any other regular adjective as well. Some examples are below:
 
Estoy limpio - I'm clean.
Estoy enferma - I'm sick.
Estoy sola - I'm lonely.
 
At this point it's useful to compare the possible meaning of similar phrases using ser instead of estar. Note how, by using ser instead of estar, the adjective becomes an intrinsic characteristic of the subject:
 
Soy limpio - I'm a clean person.
Soy enferma - Incorrect, it’s better to say soy una persona enferma "I'm a sick person," or even just estoy enferma (I’m sick), because this phrase can also mean “I’m a sick person” given the appropriate context.
Soy sola - Incorrect, it’s better to say soy una persona solitaria (I'm a lonely person).
 
You can combine estoy with the gerundio (-ando / -endo / -iendo endings) to talk about your actions, about what you are doing. The combination with haciendo, the gerundio of the verb hacer (to do) is very common:
 

Yo estoy haciendo el control de calidad del producto.
I'm doing the quality control of the product.
Caption 4, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 20

 
But you can combine estoy with any other gerundio, for example cogiendo, the gerundio of coger (to grab, to pick):
 

Hasta que no palme estoy cogiendo castañas.
As long as I don't croak, I'm picking chestnuts.
Caption 6, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 5

 
You can use estoy with a complement that denotes space to specify your location. The combination with an adverb of place is common:
 

Por eso estoy aquí, porque me han dicho...
That's why I am here because they have told me...
Caption 85, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 15

 
And also with the preposition en (in):
 

Eh, ahora mismo estoy en Málaga, estoy de vacaciones.
Right now I am in Malaga, I am on vacation.
Caption 2, Arume - Málaga, España

 
The verb estoy can also be combined with certain prepositions to express a wide array of ideas. For example, you can use it with the preposition de to talk about your role or position in a certain context:
 

Eh, y... estoy de acuerdo con, con Denisse ahí.
Uh, and... I agree (literally, "I'm in accord") with, with Denisse there.
Caption 24, Belanova - Entrevista - Part 3
 
No, luego, cuando acaba la campaña estoy de camarero.
No, after, once the season ends, I work as a waiter.
Caption 61, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 13
 
Eh, ahora mismo estoy en Málaga, estoy de vacaciones.
Right now I am in Malaga, I am on vacation.
Caption 2, Arume - Málaga, España

 
You can combine the verb estoy with the preposition por  and a verb in infinitive (-er, -ar, -irendings) to talk about what you are about to do:
 
Estoy por ganar el juego de scrabble. 
I'm about to win the Scrabble match.
 
Estoy por terminar. Espérenme, por favor.
I'm about to finish. Please, wait for me.
 
You can use estar and the preposition para to talk about purpose, function, etc.
 
Aquí estoy para servir
I'm here to serve.
 
Here's an interesting example from our catalog of videos:
 

estoy para dirigir cine tal vez.
or maybe, I'm suited to direct a movie.
Caption 68, Arturo Vega - Entrevista

 
There are many other ways in which you can use the verb estoy; these are just some of the most common ones. For now, we recommend you practice these expressions, maybe try transforming them into the past or future tenses!  Our next lesson in this series will focus on how soy (the first-person singular form of ser in the present tense) can be used to talk about oneself.

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The Spanish Verb asistir

The Spanish verb asistir (to be present, to attend) has many different meanings depending on the context. Let's learn how to use this interesting verb.
 
The verb asistir derives from the latin assistĕre, which literally means "to stop next to," and that’s the basic meaning of this verb:

 

Para asistir a una reunión de trabajo.
To attend a business meeting.
Caption 4, Raquel - La Compra de un Billete de Tren

 
This verb is always accompanied by the preposition a. Here's another example using a conjugated form of the verb:

 

Así que, por primera vez en Animales en familia, asistimos a una doble cirugía.
So, for the first time on "Animales en familia," we witness a double surgery.
Caption 9, Animales en familia - La operación de Yaki


As you can see in the example above, the verb asistir may have different translations. The following example uses the imperative form of the verb:

 

So, don't stop educating yourself. Lee libros, asiste a seminarios.
So, don't stop educating yourself. Read books, go to seminars.
Caption 60, Raquel y Marisa - Español Para Negocios - Crear una empresa

 
In certain contexts the verb asistir means "to attend to," in which case it's very common to use the passive voice. The passive voice uses the participle asistido and the preposition por(by), as you can see in the following example:

 

La enfermera asiste al paciente / El paciente es asistido por la enfermera.
The nurse attends to the patient / The patient is attended by the nurse.


Additionally, asistir also means "to give help or assistance":

 

El principal rol de un asistente quirúrgico es asistir al cirujano durante una operación.
The primary role of a surgical assistant is to assist the surgeon during an operation.


As in English, the verb asistir is also used in sports to describe the act of enabling another player making a good play:

 

¡Messi asistió a Suárez sin siquiera tocar la pelota!
Messi assisted Suarez without even touching the ball!


Finally the verb asistir is used to express the idea of reason or law being on somebody's side:

 

Al demandate le asiste el derecho y la razón
The plaintiff has the law and reason on his side.

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