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.
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.
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."
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.
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").
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 9Play Caption
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 1Play Caption
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 PizarnikPlay Caption
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 1Play Caption
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 2Play Caption
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 1Play Caption
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 10Play Caption
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 1Play Caption
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.
"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 3Play Caption
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 4Play Caption
As you might have guessed, the verbs for "to be/get excited" are emocionarse and entusiasmarse:
Ya me emocioné.
I already got excited.Play Caption
¿Por qué no entusiasmarnos más?
Why not get more excited?Play Caption
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 2Play Caption
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.
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 RescatePlay Caption
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.
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 19Play Caption
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 3Play Caption
Estamos muy enfadadas. Estoy muy enfadada.
We are very angry. I am very angry.
Captions 30-31, El Aula Azul Estados de ánimoPlay Caption
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 6Play Caption
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 1Play Caption
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 1Play Caption
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 ragePlay Caption
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.
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 MonterreyPlay Caption
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 11Play Caption
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 encuentrosPlay Caption
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 6Play Caption
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 5Play Caption
So, of course, "Qué desilusión" or "Qué decepción" would be "How disappointing" or "What a disappointment":
What a disappointment.Play Caption
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 2Play Caption
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 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: herpesPlay Caption
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 6Play Caption
¿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 estrésPlay Caption
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 3Play Caption
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 2Play Caption
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 PicnicPlay Caption
Siento ansiedad, la necesidad de contar quién soy
I feel anxiety, the need to tell who I am
Caption 2, Monsieur Periné Mi libertadPlay Caption
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.
Just when you thought you'd memorized the meanings of a bunch of infinitive verbs (their "to" forms, like saber (to know), poder (to be able), etc.), you find out that there are some verbs that actually change meanings from one tense to another! Verbs that mean one thing in tenses like the Spanish present indicative tense and the imperfect tense in Spanish but change meaning in the Spanish preterite tense will be the focus of today's lesson.
In a nutshell, there are two "main" past tenses in Spanish: the imperfect tense in Spanish, which is used to describe past actions that were ongoing, in progress, or interrupted, and the Spanish preterite tense, which describes completed past actions. As we mentioned, as the meaning of some Spanish verbs actually changes in the preterite tense in Spanish, let's take a look at some examples of several of these verbs and their translations in the present, the imperfect, and, finally, the preterite, via examples from Yabla Spanish's video library.
Let's take a look at some examples of the Spanish verb conocer in the present and imperfect tenses:
porque conozco un sitio muy bueno y podemos ir.
because I know a very good place and we can go.
Caption 67, Cleer Entrevista a GiluancarPlay Caption
Pablo Escobar conocía La Catedral como la palma de la mano,
Pablo Escobar knew La Cathedral like the back of his hand
Caption 42, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 2 - Part 6Play Caption
In both the Spanish present indicative and the imperfect tense, the Spanish verb conocer means "to know" in the sense of "being familiar with." However, in the preterite tense, the Spanish verb conocer has a different meaning. Let's take a look:
Cuando yo conocí a mi esposa, hace nueve años, la primera cosa yo le dije a ella, te... tú vas a ser la mamá de mis hijas.
When I met my wife, nine years ago, the first thing I said to her, you... you are going to be the mom of my daughters.
Captions 52-54, La Sub30 Familias - Part 4Play Caption
As you can see in this example, as the preterite tense in Spanish limits an action to a specific moment in time, the meaning of the Spanish verb conocer changes to "to meet" in the Spanish preterite tense.
Detrás de mí podemos observar la ciudad antigua
Behind me, we can observe the old city
Caption 11, Ciudad de Panamá Denisse introduce la ciudadPlay Caption
Yo pensé que podía saltar muy alto.
I thought I could jump really high.Play Caption
So, how does the meaning of the Spanish verb poder transform in the preterite?
Es que no entiendo cómo pudo entrar aquí.
It's just that I don't understand how he managed to get in here.Play Caption
Although "It's just that I don't understand how he was able to get in here" could also be a viable translation, in some contexts, this English rendition would not make it clear whether someone actually did something or merely had the ability to do so. Hence, the important thing to remember when the Spanish verb poder is conjugated in the Spanish preterite tense is that it ceases to describe merely the potential for something to happen and states that it actually did. "To manage" (to do something) is thus a common translation for the Spanish verb poder in the preterite tense that makes this distinction clear.
The meaning of no poder in both the present and imperfect tenses in Spanish is pretty straightforward: "to not be able to," in other words, "can't" in the present and "couldn't" in the (imperfect) past:
¿Cómo que no pueden hacer nada? ¿Cómo que no pueden hacer nada más?
What do you mean you can't do anything? What do you mean you can't do anything else?
Caption 17, Yago 3 La foto - Part 2Play Caption
Y no podía estudiar.
And I couldn't study.
Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 5 - Part 3Play Caption
So, what about the preterite? If we know that the preterite form of the Spanish verb poder means "to manage to" do something, it follows that the preterite form of no poder can mean "to not manage to," or, better yet, "to fail to" to do something.
Si usted no pudo controlar su matrimonio ¿cómo va a controlar y dirigir y manejar el interés público?
If you failed to control your marriage, how are you going to control and direct and manage public interest?
Captions 58-59, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 3Play Caption
While we might alternatively translate "si usted no pudo controlar su matrimonio" as "you couldn't control your marriage" or "you weren't able to control your marriage," the important thing to remember is that the verb poder in the preterite means that something in the past was attempted but did not come to fruition.
The Spanish verb saber typically means "to know" (in the sense of facts or information) in the present, imperfect, etc.:
No es información nueva, y ellas lo saben.
It's not new information, and they know it.Play Caption
Sí. Si algo sabíamos era que la plata no crece en los árboles.
Yes. If we knew anything, it was that money didn't grow on trees.
Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 2Play Caption
However, because the preterite tense in Spanish narrows the timeline of such "knowing" down to a specific moment, the meaning of the Spanish verb saber transforms, in the preterite tense, from "to know" to "to find out":
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 was 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 1Play Caption
The verb tener in Spanish means "to have" in most tenses, as in the following excerpts:
Todas las estaciones tienen sus ventajas.
All of the seasons have their advantages.
Caption 42, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 2Play Caption
Tenía una casa pues, amueblada de cuatrocientos metros
I had a, well, furnished, four-hundred meter house,
Caption 79, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 8Play Caption
And, although the meaning of the Spanish verb tener doesn't always change in the preterite, it sometimes takes on the meaning of "to receive" or "to get," as in the case of: Tuve una carta (I got a letter). Let's look at an additional example:
Y bueno, ahí tuve otras proposiciones, que no eran tampoco un sueño, pero eran mucho más interesantes que lo que tenía en Cuba,
And well, there, I got other proposals, which weren't a dream either, but they were much more interesting than what I had in Cuba,
Captions 49-51, Orishas Entrevista Canal PlusPlay Caption
6. Querer (to want)
The verb querer in Spanish most often means "to want." Let's see it in action:
Amigos de Yabla, hoy los queremos invitar a aprender español
Friends of Yabla, today we want to invite you to learn Spanish
Captions 1-2, El Hatillo, Caracas, Venezuela El cuatroPlay Caption
Yo de niña pensaba que quería ser bailarina. ¿Qué pensabas tú?
As a little girl I thought that I wanted to be a dancer. What did you think?
Caption 20, Conjugación El verbo 'pensar'Play Caption
In the preterite tense, however, the Spanish verb querer "puts a limit" on this past "wanting" and becomes a manner of saying that someone "tried" to do something:
Yo quise ser su amiga, pero no me dejó.
I tried to be his friend, but he didn't let me.Play Caption
In our first two tenses, the Spanish verb phrase no querer means exactly what it sounds like: "to not want." Let's examine some clips that demonstrate this construction in the present and imperfect:
Es que yo no quiero vivir en el centro.
The thing is, I don't want to live in the downtown area.Play Caption
y en un principio le dije que no quería tener un gato en casa.
and at first, I told her I didn't want to have a cat in my home.
Caption 32, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata PoeskaPlay Caption
The preterite form of the Spanish verb querer, on the other hand, means that someone not only "didn't want" to do something at a specific point in the past, they actually didn't (or "wouldn't"):
mi otra hermana, Zoraida Zárraga, mi sobrino, Harold Blanco, que no quisieron presentarse por temor a cámara.
my other sister, Zoraida Zarraga, my nephew, Harold Blanco, who refused to appear due to camera shyness.
Captions 11-13, Coro, Venezuela Relaciones familiaresPlay Caption
So, we see that the meaning of the verb no querer in Spanish can sometimes become to "to refuse" in the preterite tense.
We hope that this lesson has edified you regarding the alternative meanings of some Spanish verbs when they are conjugated in the preterite tense. Can you think of any we missed? Don't forget to tell us with your suggestions and comments.
In a previous lesson, we talked about short form possessive adjectives in Spanish: words like mi (my), tu (your), and nuestro (our), etc. that are placed in front of a noun to indicate ownership. The focus of this lesson will be long form possessive adjectives in Spanish, which, while similar in meaning, are different in terms of their form and placement.
While short form Spanish possessive adjectives always go before the noun they modify, long form possessive adjectives in Spanish come after the noun they describe. Furthermore, while some of the short form Spanish possessive adjectives remain the same whether a noun is masculine or feminine, long form Spanish possessive adjectives always change form for singular/plural and masculine/feminine in all of their forms. And finally, while short form possessive adjectives in Spanish never go with an article, long form Spanish possessive adjectives are often accompanied by a noun's definite or indefinite article.
Let's take a look at the long form Spanish possessive adjectives, their possible meanings, and how they correspond to the personal pronouns in Spanish. You will note that the long form Spanish possessive adjectives for nosotros/as and vosotros/as are the exact same as their short form equivalents.
Yo: mío, mío, míos, mías (my, mine, of mine)
Tú: tuyo, tuya, tuyos, tuyas (your, yours, of yours)
Él/ella/usted: suyo, suya, suyos, suyas (his, of his, her, hers, of hers, your, yours, of yours, its)
Nosotros/nosotras: nuestro, nuestros, nuestra, nuestras (our, ours, of ours)
Vosotros/vosotras: vuestro, vuestros, vuestra, vuestras ((plural informal) your, yours, of yours)
Ellos/ellas/ustedes: suyo, suya, suyos, suyas (their, theirs, of theirs, (plural) your, yours, of yours)
You may have noticed that, in comparison to short form Spanish possessive adjectives, there are more possible translations for long form possessive adjectives in Spanish, which will vary according to their context.
Let's take a look at the many translations of long form possessive adjectives in Spanish via a plethora of examples from Yabla's Spanish video library.
Este sombrero es mío. Estos sombreros son míos.
This hat is mine. These hats are mine.
Captions 10-11, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2Play Caption
Esta botella es mía. Estas botellas son mías.
This bottle is mine. These bottles are mine.
Captions 15-16, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2Play Caption
We chose these two examples to illustrate that, as we mentioned, long form Spanish possessive adjectives always agree with the nouns they modify in terms of both number and gender. As with short form Spanish possessive adjectives, the number/gender of the person or entity that "owns" is insignificant. Additionally, you will note that the translation for these Spanish possessive adjectives here is "mine." Let's look at an example where their translation is slightly different:
Y han venido unos amigos míos desde Mallorca, aquí hasta Málaga,
And some friends of mine have come here to Malaga from Mallorca
Caption 15, Amaya VoluntariosPlay Caption
Not only do we see an alternative translation for the long form Spanish possessive adjective míos (of mine), we see that long form Spanish possessive can be accompanied an article, in this case, the indefinite article unos.
Now, let's look at some translations for the long form Spanish possessive adjective tuyo and its variants:
¿Es tuya esta mochila?
Is this backpack yours?Play Caption
Así que, ¿no soy hijo tuyo?
So, I'm not your son?
Caption 68, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 2Play Caption
The interesting thing about this second example is that the long form Spanish possessive adjective tuyo has been translated as "your" instead of "yours" or "of yours," which is identical to the translation for the equivalent short form Spanish possessive adjective (tu). Hence, the same English sentence could have been written with the short form possessive adjective in Spanish, as follows:
Así que, ¿no soy tu hijo?
So, I'm not your son?
So, we see that there are cases in which we could choose to use either the long or short form Spanish possessive adjective to express the exact same idea in English, although the long form is, perhaps, the slightly less common/more literary manner of doing so.
As we saw in Part 1 of this lesson about short form Spanish possessive adjectives in regards to su and sus, this particular set of long form possessive adjectives can be confusing because they correspond with a lot of personal pronouns (él, ella, usted, ellos, ellas, and ustedes) and thus have a multitude of different translations, which we listed above. Context should usually help you to determine the meaning of these long form possessive adjectives in Spanish. Let's take a look:
Estos sombreros son suyos.
These hats are hers.
Caption 31, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2Play Caption
While this example seems pretty simple at first glance, since the masculine plural form of the Spanish possessive adjective was chosen to agree with the noun it modifies (sombreros) rather than its corresponding personal pronoun (ella), this very same sentence could also mean "These hats are his," "These hats are yours" (one person or multiple people), or "These hats are theirs" (all males, all females, or a mixed group). So, let's hope that the text or conversation has given you some previous clues as to who the hats belong to and/or who is being spoken about (it usually does!). Let's see another example:
Efectivamente, era el rostro suyo
Indeed, it was his face
Caption 35, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 3Play Caption
What can we discern here? First, because the previous sentences in this flash fiction story by Carlos refer to the maestro de ceremonias, we know that "his" was the correct translation choice for suyo in this context. Second, remember that since the translation for the short form possessive adjective in Spanish su in English can also be "his," the very same idea could also have been conveyed with the sentence: "Efectivamente, era su rostro." Finally, we will reiterate that, although with short form possessive Spanish adjectives, the article is never used (it's simply su rostro), with the long form, they can be, as in the case of el rostro suyo. That said, this is a personal choice, and one might also omit the article and write simply "era rostro suyo" with no change in meaning. Let's look at one more variation of this long form Spanish possessive adjective.
Y también me gustó mucho la novela suya, eh, "Amor y pico"; me encantó.
And I also liked your soap opera a lot, um, "Love and Fortune;" I loved it.Play Caption
Here, since the speaker is consistently addressing a female actress with usted (formal "you") and talking to her about a soap opera she did, it is obvious that "your" is the intended meaning of the long form Spanish possessive adjective suya, which agrees in number and gender with the noun it modifies (la novela) and that, furthermore, the speaker chose to include that noun's definite article (la). We bet you're getting the hang of this by now!
Let's start off with some very simple examples:
Este sombrero es nuestro. Estos sombreros son nuestros. Esta botella es nuestra. Estas botellas son nuestras.
This hat is ours. These hats are ours. This bottle is ours. These bottles are ours.
Captions 35-38, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2Play Caption
Now, let's move on to a bit tougher one:
Padre nuestro, vamos a bendecir el alimento que vamos a comer.
Father of ours [or "Our Father], let's bless the food that we are going to eat.Play Caption
Through these clips, we can see not only the number/gender agreement we have been speaking about, but also some different translations for the long form Spanish possessive adjective forms of nuestro.
Let's conclude our lesson by looking at some clips of the long form Spanish possessive adjectives vuestro, etc.:
Esta botella es vuestra. Estas botellas son vuestras.
This bottle is yours [plural]. These bottles are yours [plural].
Captions 41-42, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2Play Caption
¿Y el embutido es vuestro?
And, the sausage is yours?
Caption 57, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 4Play Caption
In lieu of this translation, this last sentence might also have been translated as "And is the sausage yours?" or even "And is it your sausage?"
We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand long form Spanish possessive adjectives and how they are different from short form possessive adjectives in Spanish. As an additional source for learning about long form possessive adjectives in Spanish, we additionally recommend the lesson Clase Aula Azul- La posesión- Part 2, and no se olviden de dejarnos los comentarios y sugerencias tuyos (don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions).
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 Maravillosos, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa, and Tu Voz Estéreo), have we got some good Colombian Spanish slang to teach you today!
We have divided our list of Colombian slang words and phrases into the following four main categories:
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!
This one comes from the adjective "bacano," which means cool.
Ese tipo es un bacán (That guy is a cool dude).
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).
Ese tipo es una boleta (That guy is an embarrassment).
Los cacos robaron el banco (The thieves robbed the bank).
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).
Le traigo un regalito y le tengo un camello.
I'm bringing you a little gift and I have a job for you.Play Caption
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.
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 6Play Caption
Although "catorce" literally means "fourteen," it has another meaning in Colombian slang.
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 11Play Caption
The Colombian slang word chécheres is quite handy when you want to refer to a group of (mostly useless) things.
Esta sala está llena de chécheres (This living room is full of useless stuff).
"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.
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."
¡Me salvé de pura chimba! (I was saved by pure luck!)
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.
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).
Luis tiene chucha. Debería usar desodorante (Luis has B.O. He should use deodorant).
This colorful Colombian Spanish slang is usually used with the verb "tener" in the expression "tener churrias."
No puedo ir a la reunión. ¡Tengo churrias! (I can't go to the meeting. I have diarrhea!)
Brad Pitt es un churro (Brad Pitt is a handsome guy).
This is one of the Colombian slang words you will need to know when going to the supermarket.
¿Me puede dar dos chuspas, por favor? (Could you give me two plastic bags, please?)
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.
Ronaldo se descachó (Ronaldo missed his chance/didn't score the goal).
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).
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.
Esa universidad está llena de gomelos (That university is full of snobs).
"¡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.
El esposo de Claudia grita todo el tiempo. ¡Es un guache! (Claudia's husband screams all the time. He is a very rude person!)
¡Vamos a tomarnos un guaro! (Let's go have a drink!)
And of course, if you have lots of "guaros," you will probably have a big "guayabo."
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 2Play Caption
Pedro ya estaba jincho cuando llegó a la fiesta (Pedro was already drunk when he got to the party).
Literally, "llave" means "key." However, this is also another Colombian slang word for a pal.
¿Cómo está llave? (How are you, dude?)
Solo tengo 20.000 lucas (I only have 20,000 Colombian pesos).
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")).
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.
Ese man es muy intelligent (That guy is really smart).
This is a Colombian slang word used to indicate a group or set of different snacks such as cookies or chips.
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..."
Bueno, y ¿quién era ese mono, todo así papacito?
Well, and who was that blonde guy, all hot like that?Play Caption
Tengo ganas de echarme un motoso (I feel like taking a nap).
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).
Parce, venga, yo le digo una cosa, hermano, vea
Friend, come, I'll tell you something, brother, look
Caption 1, Juanes La PlataPlay Caption
Ayer fui con mi parche a la fiesta (Yesterday, I went with my group of friends to the party).
Los vándalos aprovechan los paros para destruir las ciudades (Vandals take advantage of strikes in order to destroy cities).
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).
Juan tenía una perra cuando llegó a casa (Juan was really drunk when he got home).
La pieza de Rosa es grande (Rosa's bedroom is big).
Estamos hablando de mucha plata.
We're talking about a lot of money.Play Caption
This is a slang word mostly used in Bogota and the surrounding areas.
This slang word is used with various Colombian sayings such as "¡Qué rumba!" (What a party!) or "irse de rumba" (to go out).
¿Estaba en una rumba?
Was he at a party?Play Caption
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 3Play Caption
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 1Play Caption
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.
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”Play Caption
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.
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 6Play Caption
There are so many Colombian slang words to describe people and things. Let's learn some of the most useful ones.
Jaime está achantado porque la novia lo dejó (Jaime is sad because his girlfriend broke up with him).
Estoy amañado en este barrio (I feel at home in this neighborhood).
If you are wondering how to say "cool" in Colombia, this is one of the words you can use.
This is an adjective that can be used in different ways. Let's take a look.
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.
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).
Although this word is not unique to Colombia, it is widely used throughout the country.
Vive en Medellín. Sí. -Ah, tan chévere...
She lives in Medellin. Yes. -Oh, so cool...
Caption 4, Club 10 Capítulo 2 - Part 3Play Caption
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.
¡Qué libro tan chimbo! (What a bad book!)
Ese bolso Gucci no es original, es chiviado (That Gucci purse isn't original, it is fake).
Mi jefe me llama cada cinco minutos. ¡Es un tipo inmamable! (My boss calls me every five minutes. He is an unbearable guy!)
Antonio solo habla de él mismo. ¡Qué tipo tan jarto! (Antonio only talks about himself. What an annoying guy!)
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!)
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).
Aprender chino es tenaz (Learning Chinese is tough).
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 5Play Caption
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 expresionesPlay Caption
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).
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 1Play Caption
Los huéspedes se emberracaron cuando vieron la habitación del hotel (The guests got pissed off when they saw the hotel room).
This verb is typically used to describe a man who is flirting with a woman.
A Marco le gusta gallinacear con Beatriz (Marco likes to flirt with Beatriz).
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.
He estado guiseando toda la mañana (I've been cooking and cleaning the house all morning).
Although this might literally sound like "to make cow," it actually means "to collect money."
Ayer hicimos vaca para la fiesta (Yesterday, we collected money for the party).
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:
-¿Estás estudiando? -No. Estoy solo mamando gallo.
-Are you studying? -No. I'm just fooling around.
A Miguel le gusta reírse y mamar gallo todo el tiempo (Miguel likes to laugh and joke around all the time).
Me rajé en el examen de matemáticas (I failed the math test).
Rumbear is a common verb to talk about partying. However, don't be surprised if your Colombian friend says "rumbiar" instead of "rumbear."
Salir a rumbear sin pensar en la cuenta
To go out on the town without thinking about the bill
Caption 65, Bacilos Mi Primer MillónPlay Caption
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).
La actitud arrogante de Luisa, me sacó la piedra (Luisa's arrogant attitude made me angry).
This is the verb form of the noun sapo we talked about earlier.
If you want to impress your Colombian friends, we invite you to use the following, very Colombian expressions and phrases.
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."
-¿Dónde está Patricia? -Está azotando baldosa.
-Where is Patricia? -She's dancing.
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?"
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 8Play Caption
"¡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
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 2Play Caption
- ¿Sabes que en algunos países comen insectos? -¿En serio? ¡Guácala!
- Do you know that in some countries people eat insects? -Really? Gross!
While the meaning of these words is "to play the bear," colloquially, this expression means something very different.
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).
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:
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 1Play Caption
Listo. Entonces, hasta el sábado.
Great. So, see you Saturday.
Caption 82, Cleer y Lida Conversación telefónica - Part 1Play Caption
"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
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."
Hermanito, pare bolas.
Little brother, pay attention.Play Caption
Pilas. Las viejas van en camino.
Watch out [literally: "Batteries"]. The old ladies are on their way.Play Caption
Although the Colombian slang term poner los cachos literally means "to put horns on" someone, this is a slang term for cheating.
Luis descubrió que Virginia le está poniendo los cachos (Luis found out that Virginia is cheating on him).
Fredy llegó borracho al funeral. ¡Qué boleta! (Fredy arrived drunk to the funeral. How embarrassing!)
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 DavidPlay Caption
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!)
This slang word is used as an alternative to "¡Guácala!"
Similar to the meaning of the verb "embarrar," Colombians use the expression "¡Qué embarrada!" when they want to express disappointment or regret about something.
Mario perdió su trabajo. ¡Qué embarrada! (Mario lost his job. What a pity!)
¡Qué jartera esta fiesta! (How boring this party [is]!)
This is another way of saying "¡Qué jartera!" and is a very common Colombian slang expression.
Este domingo tengo que trabajar. ¡Qué mamera! (I have to work this Sunday. What a pain in the butt!)
El alcalde llegó borracho a la reunión. ¡Qué oso! (The mayor arrived drunk to the meeting. How embarrassing!)
"¡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”Play Caption
"Quiubo" comes from the expression "¿Qué hubo?" (What's up?) An alternative spelling for "quibuo" is "kiubo."
¿Quiubo, quiubo, linda? ¿Cómo vas?
What's up, what's up, beautiful? How are you?Play Caption
¡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.
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!)
-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!
What are possessive adjectives in Spanish? Most simply put, possessive adjectives in Spanish are the Spanish equivalents of words like "my," "your," "his, "mine," etc. that indicate ownership or possession. There are two types of Spanish possessive adjectives: long form and short form. In the first part of this lesson, we will deal with how to use short form possessive adjectives in Spanish.
Let's take a look at the short form Spanish possessive adjectives and how they correspond to the personal pronouns in Spanish:
Yo: mi, mis (my)
Tú: tu, tus (your)
Él/ella/usted: su, sus (his, her, its, your)
Nosotros/nosotras: nuestro, nuestros, nuestra, nuestras (our)
Vosotros/vosotras: vuestro, vuestros, vuestra, vuestras (plural informal "your")
Ellos/ellas/ustedes: su, sus (their/plural "your")
What did you notice at first glance? Allow us to point out a couple of our observations:
1. The Spanish possessive adjectives that correspond to nosotros/nosotras (masculine and feminine "we") and vosotros/vosotras (masculine and feminine plural, informal "you") look a bit more complicated because there are more forms, four rather than two. This is because the forms of these Spanish possessive adjectives are affected by the genders of the nouns they modify, whereas the others are not.
2. The words su and sus in Spanish correspond to a lot of personal pronouns (él, ella, usted, ellos, ellas, and ustedes) and can thus mean a lot of different things ("his," "her," "its," singular and plural "your," and "their"). We'll help you to learn to distinguish their meanings in context.
3. Regardless of whether a personal pronoun is singular (e.g. yo, tú, etc.) or plural (e.g. ellos, ustedes, etc.), they all have singular and plural possessive adjective forms. This is because, whether a Spanish possessive adjective is singular or plural or masculine or feminine has nothing to do with the number or gender of the personal pronoun it is associated with and everything to do with the number and gender of the noun it modifies.
Keeping these points in mind, let's take a closer look at each of the possessive adjectives in Spanish, as well as some examples from our Yabla Spanish video library.
Generally speaking, Spanish adjectives agree with the noun they modify in terms of number and gender. That said, the "good news" about the Spanish possessive adjectives for "my," mi and mis, is that they remain the same regardless of a noun's gender. For both masculine and feminine nouns, then, the singular form mi should be used for singular nouns, while the plural form mis should accompany plural nouns. Let's look:
A mi lado, tengo a mi amigo, Xavi,
Beside me, I have my friend, Xavi,Play Caption
nos encontramos con mi amiga, la rana.
we ran into my friend, the frog.Play Caption
Hoy os voy a hablar de mis amigos felinos, que también son mis vecinos.
Today, I'm going to talk to you about my feline friends who are also my neighbors.
Captions 3-4, Fermín y los gatos Mis gatas vecinasPlay Caption
Los viernes, juego al fútbol con mis amigas.
On Fridays, I play soccer with my friends.
Caption 21, Ariana Mi SemanaPlay Caption
As you can see, the singular Spanish possessive adjective mi is used for both the masculine and feminine forms of the noun amigo/a, while the plural Spanish possessive adjective mis is used for the plural masculine and feminine nouns, amigos and amigas. Pretty simple, right?
The short form Spanish possessive adjectives tu and tus, which mean "your" when addressing someone informally, are similarly simplistic: tu is utilized for singular nouns, while tus is used for plural nouns, regardless of gender. Let's see some examples with tu and tus:
¿Qué es lo que más te gusta de tu casa?
What is it that you like the most about your house?Play Caption
Déjame saber en tus comentarios
Let me know in your comments
Caption 59, Ana Carolina Conjugaciones verbalesPlay Caption
Although the noun casa is feminine, the same Spanish possessive adjective, tu, would also be used for masculine singular nouns (tu coche = your car, etc.). In turn, while the word tus appears with the masculine plural noun comentarios in this example, the very same possessive adjective would be used for feminine plural nouns, e.g. tus manzanas (your apples).
In contrast to mi/s and tu/s, the Spanish possessive adjectives for "our" do change in accordance with both a noun's number and gender. Let's take a look at the masculine/feminine and singular/plural forms of the nouns hijo (boy), hija (girl), etc. with their corresponding forms of the Spanish possessive adjective nuestro:
Nuestro hijo (our son)
Nuestros hijos (our sons)
Nuestra hija (our daughter)
Nuestras hijas (our daughters)
As you can see, this Spanish possessive adjective takes the ending -o for masculine singular nouns, -os for masculine plural nouns, -a for feminine singular nouns, and -as for feminine plural nouns. Let's view a couple of examples from Yabla's video library:
Para nuestro primer experimento utilizaremos algo que jamás creíamos que podría faltar en nuestros hogares:
For our first experiment, we'll use something we never thought could be lacking in our homes:
Captions 11-13, Ana Carolina GérmenesPlay Caption
¿Qué había sucedido con nuestra amistad, mmm? ¿Desde cuándo la mujer empezó a gobernar nuestras vidas?
What had happened to our friendship, hmm? Since when did women start to govern our lives?
Captions 17-18, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 3Play Caption
We can see in these examples all four versions of the Spanish possessive adjective for "we," all of which agree with the nouns they modify in terms of both number and gender.
If you take the Spanish possessive adjectives for "we" (nosotros, etc.) and replace the "n" with a "v," you have the possessive adjectives in Spanish that mean "your" when addressing more than one person in a less formal situation. This form corresponds to the Spanish personal pronouns vosotros/as, which are primarily used in Spain. Let's take a look:
Vuestro hijo (your son)
Vuestros hijos (your sons)
Vuestra hija (your daughter)
Vuestras hijas (your daughters)
Let's examine a couple of video excerpts:
y además podéis aprovechar para dar vuestra opinión
and you can also take the opportunity to give your opinion
Caption 36, La cocina de María Tortilla de patatasPlay Caption
Pero antes vamos a ver a vuestros amigos,
But beforehand we're going to see your friends,Play Caption
The "good news," once again, about su in Spanish and sus in Spanish is that there are only two forms, singular and plural, that modify both masculine and feminine nouns. The "bad news," though, at least in terms of their initial challenge for native English speakers, is that these possessive adjectives in Spanish can mean many different things depending on their contexts. Having said that, let's take a look at su in Spanish and sus in Spanish, which can mean either "his," "her," "its," "your" (in the case of either one or more than one person), or "their."
Es su coche (It's his car).
Son sus coches. (They are his cars).
Es su motocicleta (It's his motorcycle).
Son sus motocicletas. (They are his motorcycles).
Es su coche (It's her car).
Son sus coches (They are her cars).
Es su motocicleta (It's her motorcycle).
Son sus motocicletas (They are her motorcycles).
Your (formal, one person):
Es su coche (It's your car).
Es su motocicleta (It's your motorcycle).
Son sus coches (They are your cars).
Son sus motocicletas (They are your motorcycles).
Your (more than one person):
Es su coche (It's your (guys') car).
Es su motocicleta (It's your (guys') motorcycle).
Son sus coches (They are your (guys') cars).
Son sus motocicletas (They are your (guys') motorcycles).
Es su coche (It's their car).
Es su motocicleta (It's their motorcycle).
Son sus coches (They are their cars).
Son sus motocicletas (They are their motorcycles).
Wait, what?! You might notice that the four sentences under each English possessive adjective category are all the same! And yet, their translations are totally different. So, how would we decipher the intended meaning of su in Spanish or sus in Spanish when these two possessives in Spanish can mean so many things? As always, context is key! Let's take a look at some examples to illuminate this:
El artista más importante es Gaudí. Hoy voy a visitar una de sus obras más conocidas, la Sagrada Familia.
The most important artist is Gaudi. Today I'm going to visit one of his most well-known works, the Sagrada Familia [Sacred Family].
Captions 45-47, Ariana EspañaPlay Caption
Since the previous sentence mentions the artist Gaudi, it is pretty obvious that sus in this context means "his," referring to "his works." And, just to reiterate, the plural form sus must be used here since obras is a plural noun, in spite of the fact that Gaudi is just one person since one person can own more than one thing, while more than one person can own just one thing (think nuestra casa). Let's take a look at a couple of additional examples of su/s in Spanish:
por ejemplo, para que usted practique con su novia, Cata.
for example for you to practice with your girlfriend, Cata.
Caption 17, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 2 - Part 6Play Caption
Here, the word usted tips us off that the speaker means "your girlfriend," as su in Spanish can mean "your" in the formal style of address. And, even in the absence of that explicit word, were someone to generally address you with the usted form, you would take for granted that they meant "you" when utilizing su in Spanish or sus in Spanish. Let's see one more:
Desde sus inicios, el Centro Hispano de Todos los Santos se ha dedicado a sembrar esperanza.
Since its beginnings, the Centro Hispano de Todos los Santos [All Saints Hispanic Center] has been dedicated to sowing hope.
Captions 1-2, Transformación EstéticaPlay Caption
In this example, sus in Spanish has been translated as "its" since the inicios "belong to" an inanimate object: the All Saints Hispanic Center.
Although context can usually provide us with good clues about the meaning of su in Spanish or sus in Spanish, there are ambiguous cases that may require clarification. In a story or conversation involving both males and females, for example, a reference to su casa might cause confusion as to whose house it actually is. In such cases, it might be preferable to, in lieu of a Spanish possessive adjective, employ the preposition de ("of" or "belonging to") plus a personal pronoun (ella, usted, etc.) for the sake of clarity, as in the following example:
no es un problema de la gente de la ciudad, es un problema personal de usted conmigo.
it's not a problem of the people of the city, it's your personal problem with me.
Caption 15, Yago 7 Encuentros - Part 1Play Caption
Since, had the speaker said su problema personal, that could theoretically refer to either la gente de la ciudad (and thus be translated as "their personal problem with me") or the person to whom he is speaking, it was a safer bet to go with de usted.
We hope that this lesson has helped you to better understand how to use possessive adjectives in Spanish in their short form. For more information on short form possessive adjectives in Spanish, be sure to check out Adjetivos posesivos- Part 2 from the series Lecciones con Carolina, which deals with agreement, as well as this useful lesson from El Aula Azul entitled La posesión- Part 1. And, as always, no se olviden de dejarnos sus sugerencias y comentarios (don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments).
Welcome to the second part of this lesson where we touch on all the different Spanish verb tenses! So... how many tenses in Spanish did we say there were? Sixteen! In the first part, we covered the ten "official" tenses of the indicative mood, which deals more with concrete facts, in addition to some "bonus" (non-official) tenses. Now, we'll move on to the other two Spanish moods: the subjunctive, where we will cover tenses eleven through sixteen of the Spanish verb paradigm, and the imperative. If you didn't already, we definitely recommend checking out Part 1 of this lesson.
While the indicative mood deals with facts, the subjunctive mood in Spanish, in a nutshell, deals with more abstract notions like wishes, desires, emotions, opinions, and more, which require a whole different set of tenses in Spanish. Although it would be impossible to delve too deeply into the multipronged usage of the subjunctive Spanish mood, we will try to illustrate several cases in which you might come across it. Let's get started!
The present subjunctive is the subjunctive equivalent of the simple present tense. Let's take a look at an example from the Yabla Spanish library:
Si queremos que una persona no nos hable de usted, tenemos que pedir a la persona que nos tutee.
If we want a person to not talk to us in an formal way, we have to ask the person to use "tú" with us.
Captions 24-25, Karla e Isabel Tú y UstedPlay Caption
Note that the reason the subjunctive form is employed here (we can tell it is subjunctive due to its conjugation, hable, which differs from its indicative form, habla) is because the sentence conveys that we want (queremos) for someone not to talk to us in a particular way, which doesn't mean that that person will actually respect our desire. Let's take a look at one more example:
Mejor hablemos de ella.
It's better we talk about her.
Caption 17, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 1Play Caption
Here, the word mejor (better) tips us off that the subjunctive form (hablemos instead of hablamos) is in order due to the expression of someone's opinion about what should happen, which doesn't necessarily mean that it will.
The imperfect subjunctive is the past equivalent of the present subjunctive. We see in the following example that the verb hablar has been conjugated in the imperfect subjunctive (habláramos) instead of in the indicative (hablábamos) due to the expression of desire, once again with the verb querer:
No, no te dije que quería hablar con vos, quería que habláramos los dos.
No, I didn't tell you that I wanted to talk to you; I wanted for us to talk, the two [of us].
Caption 46, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 6Play Caption
Another very common use of the imperfect subjunctive is to talk about hypothetical situations. In this case, the imperfect subjunctive is often incorporated into a "si (if) clause" in conjunction with the conditional tense to communicate that "if" something were the case, then something else "would" happen, as in the following clip:
Eh... Si... ¿hablaríamos?... -Hablara. Hablara ruso, me... vi'... ¿vivía?... Viviría. -Viviría en Rusia.
Um... "Si... ¿hablaríamos" [If... we would speak]? -"Hablara" [I spoke]. "Hablara ruso [I spoke Russian], me... vi'... ¿vivía" [I... I'd li'... I used to live]? "Viviría" [I'd live]. -"Viviría en Rusia" [I'd live in Russia].
Captions 22-25, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 7Play Caption
The hypothetical situation the teacher is going for here is: Si hablara ruso, viviría en Rusia (If I spoke Russian, I'd live in Russia). To learn more about this type of construction, we highly recommend the entire series of which this video is a part.
We definitely couldn't come up with any examples of the future subjunctive tense in our Yabla Spanish library because this tense is all but obsolete and is almost never even taught in modern Spanish. For that reason, you may not recognize it due to its different and little-seen conjugations, although you may occasionally come across it in legal documents or literature. We came up with this example:
El que hablare fuerte se echará de lo biblioteca.
Whoever talks loudly will be thrown out of the library.
The future subjunctive could conceivably be used here because the sentence refers to "whoever," rather than known individuals, as well as alluding to a possible future event. However, in modern Spanish, this very same idea would be conveyed with the present subjunctive:
El que hable fuerte se echará de lo biblioteca.
Whoever talks loudly will be thrown out of the library.
The present perfect subjunctive is the equivalent of the present perfect indicative in situations that require the subjunctive, and the verb haber is thus conjugated in its subjunctive form. That said, we'll take this opportunity to mention another case that requires subjunctive: when expressing that something will happen "when" something else happens that hasn't yet, as in the following example:
Cuando se hayan hablado, se van a entender mejor.
When they've talked to each other, they are going to understand each other better.
And, here's an additional example of the present perfect subjunctive from our Spanish video library with different verbs:
Espero que os haya gustado este vídeo sobre esta maravillosa planta y hayáis aprendido algo nuevo.
I hope you've liked this video about this wonderful plant and have learned something new.
Captions 80-81, Fermín La plumeria - Part 1Play Caption
The pluperfect subjunctive is the subjunctive equivalent of the pluperfect tense and is also used to talk about hypothetical situations. It is formed with the pluperfect form of haber plus the participle, and, like the imperfect subjunctive, it is often used in conjunction with the conditional or conditional perfect to describe what "would have" happened if something else "had been" done. Let's see an example:
Si yo hubiera hablado con mi jefe antes, habría evitado cualquier malentendido.
If I had spoken with my boss previously, I would have avoided any misunderstanding.
Let's look an additional example of the pluperfect subjunctive tense, which does not include the conditional:
Es como si nunca hubiéramos hablado.
It's as if we had never talked.
Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 6Play Caption
The Spanish phrase como si (as if) quite often precedes verbs in the pluperfect subjunctive tense.
Like the future subjunctive, the future perfect subjunctive is rarely encountered and might only be employed in literary or legal contexts to talk about what will happen in the future if a hypothetical situation "has not" yet occurred. It involves the future subjunctive form of the verb haber plus the participle, as follows:
Si el demandante todavía no hubiere hablado ante el tribunal para la fecha especificada, se desestimará su caso.
If the plaintiff still hasn't spoken before the court by the specified date, his case will be dismissed.
However, the present perfect subjunctive would take the place of the future perfect subjunctive in order to say this today:
Si el demandante todavía no haya hablado ante el tribunal para la fecha especificada, se desestimará su caso.
If the plaintiff still hasn't spoken before the court by the specified date, his case will be dismissed.
Since different verb conjugations are rarely required in English to talk about emotions, desires, or hypotheticals, the subjunctive mood can initially feel quite confusing for English speakers, and we hope that this lesson has this shed some light on some of the possible subjunctive scenarios in Spanish. For more information about the subjunctive in Spanish, the following link with take you to several additional lessons on different aspects of this topic.
Let's conclude our rundown of all Spanish tenses by talking about the "bonus" tenses in the imperative mood (modo imperativo), which are not included in the official classification of the different tenses in Spanish. Also called commands, these Spanish verb tenses are those that tell someone to do something, and they fall into several categories:
Habla con la gente de laboratorio.
Talk to the people from the lab.Play Caption
A ver. Sebas, mi amor, no le hables así a tu papá.
Let's see. Sebas, my love, don't talk to your dad like that.
Caption 30, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 2Play Caption
por favor hablá con Andrea; necesito encontrar a mi nieto.
please talk to Andrea; I need to find my grandson.
Caption 59, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 9Play Caption
Hable más despacio.
"Hable más despacio" [Speak more slowly].Play Caption
Pues no me hablen de costumbre porque luego en vez de ganar, pierdo.
Well don't talk to me about habits because then instead of earning, I lose.Play Caption
Con vosotros o vosotras: Hablad más despacio.
With "vosotros" or "vosotras" ["you" plural informal masculine/feminine]: "Hablad más despacio" [Talk more slowly].
Caption 25, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 1: Tú + vosPlay Caption
No nos habléis de esa forma.
Don't speak to us in that way.
Hablemos de otra palabra.
Let's talk about another word.Play Caption
While we won't get into the norms for conjugating all of these types of commands with -ar, -er, and -ir verbs, we recommend Yabla's four-part video series entitled El modo imperativo (The Imperative Mode), beginning here, which explores this topic.
And that wraps up our lesson on all of the verb tenses in Spanish. We hope you've enjoyed it (and learned a lot)! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
In this lesson, we will talk about the diaeresis or dieresis in Spanish. But, do you know what a diaeresis is to begin with? Let's take a look at the following clip:
El pueblo de Izamal fue un importante centro urbano maya en la antigüedad.
The town of Izamal was an important Mayan urban center in ancient times.
Caption 26, Mérida y sus alrededores Izamal Pueblo MágicoPlay Caption
Did you find the dieresis in that clip? If not, please keep reading this lesson, as we are going to tell you how to use the dieresis in Spanish.
In English, a diaeresis is a mark placed over a vowel to indicate that the vowel is emphasized or pronounced separately from the other vowels (as in "naïve" or "Brontë"). In Spanish, a diaeresis is represented by the same symbol (two little dots above a letter). That said, we will now highlight the word that has the diaeresis in the previous clip:
El pueblo de Izamal fue un importante centro urbano maya en la antigüedad.
The town of Izamal was an important Mayan urban center in ancient times.
Caption 26, Mérida y sus alrededores Izamal Pueblo MágicoPlay Caption
However, as using a dieresis in Spanish is slightly different than in English, let's learn the golden rule for employing this unique symbol.
The rule is quite simple: a diaeresis must be placed over the vowel "u" to indicate that said vowel must be pronounced in words that have the combinations -gue and -gui (since in most Spanish words with these letter combinations, the "u" is silent). For example, in words like guerra (war) and guerilla (guerrilla), the gue- is pronounced more like the English word "gay," while in words like guía (guide) and guisante (pea), gui- sounds like "ghee." The addition of the diaeresis, on the other hand, would transform the sound of the letters gue- to "gway" and -gui to "gwee." Let's take a look at a couple of examples:
todos bastante negativos, humillación, vergüenza, dolor,
all quite negative, humiliation, shame, pain,
Caption 55, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 3Play Caption
Los pingüinos se parecen a las gallinas
Penguins are like chickens
Caption 24, Guillermina y Candelario Nuestro Amigo PinguinoPlay Caption
Additionally, please keep in mind that the diaeresis must be used in words that are written in capital letters. Also, if you are wondering how to spell diaeresis in Spanish, it is written as follows: diéresis (an esdrújula word with the graphic accent on the third-to-last syllable).
Are there a lot of Spanish words that require a diaeresis? Although there are not that many, let's take a look at some of the most common palabras con diéresis (words with a diaeresis) in Spanish.
Me muevo mucho entre la ambigüedad.
I move a lot within ambiguity.
Caption 12, María Marí Su pasión por su arte - Part 2Play Caption
Justo encima del diccionario bilingüe
Right above the bilingual dictionary,Play Caption
Más bien. ¿Quién se piensa que me trajo, la cigüeña de París?
Of course. Who do you think brought me, the stork from Paris?
Caption 16, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 8Play Caption
o sea, programas de inmersión lingüística en Barcelona.
I mean, language immersion programs, in Barcelona.Play Caption
Mírelo tan sinvergüenza.
Look at how shameless he is.Play Caption
And that's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand how to use the dieresis in Spanish. By the way, do you know more palabras con diéresis? Let us know, and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments. ¡Hasta la próxima!
Today, we will embark on a brief journey that encompasses all the Spanish verb tenses. However, rather than focusing on how to conjugate the verb tenses in Spanish, which you may or may not have already learned, we'll take a closer look at when to use each one, using the extremely common verb hablar ("to talk" or "to speak") to illustrate them whenever possible, as well as plenty of examples from the Yabla Spanish video library.
How many different tenses in Spanish are there in total? According to the Real Academia Española, there are sixteen Spanish verb tenses. There are also some "bonus tenses," which aren't officially included in their classification, which we will also cover in this lesson. Let's get started.
To make matters just a bit more complicated, Spanish verb tenses fall into three categories called "moods," which are the indicative, the subjunctive, and the imperative. Generally speaking, the indicative verb tenses in Spanish are the first Spanish verb tenses learned, and, in contrast to the Spanish verb tenses in the other moods (subjunctive and imperative), they tend to deal with facts and objective reality. Let's take a look:
Let's start with the present tense in Spanish, also known as the "simple present." This tense is primarily used in two ways, the first being to talk about a present action that is habitual, repeated, or ongoing. Let's take a look:
Aunque soy extranjero, yo hablo español muy bien.
Although I'm a foreigner, I speak Spanish very well.Play Caption
Since it is an ongoing fact that the speaker speaks Spanish very well, it is appropriate to use the present tense. We can also use this tense to talk about an action that is actually in progress at the moment:
¿Hablo con la Señora Pepa Flores, la manager de Amalia Durango?
Am I speaking with Mrs. Pepa Flores, Amalia Durango's manager?
Captions 37-38, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 5Play Caption
Notice that the second example of the present tense was translated to the English present progressive tense. This is the tense with a form of the word "to be" and the gerund, or -ing form of a verb ("I'm eating," "He's swimming," etc.). The present progressive tense in Spanish, which is similarly formed with a present conjugation of the verb estar (to be) and a verb's gerundio (gerund, which usually ends in -ando or -iendo in Spanish), is always translated in this fashion and really emphasizes that an action is in progress at this very moment. Let's take a look:
OK. Xavi, ahora que estamos hablando de... de comida, de alimentos, quisiera hacerte una pregunta.
OK. Xavi, now that we're talking about... about food, about foods, I'd like to ask you a question.Play Caption
For more information about and examples of the present progressive tense in Spanish, check out this lesson as well as this video that contrasts the use of the simple present with the present progressive. Now that we've seen a couple of the present verb tenses in Spanish, let's check out some of the Spanish past tenses.
The imperfect is one of the Spanish past tenses and talks about an action that was ongoing or habitual in the past or that was in progress and/or interrupted in the moment described. Translations for the imperfect in Spanish for the verb hablar could thus include "used to talk," "would talk," or "was talking." Let's take a look at couple of examples:
Bueno, cuando yo era pequeña hablaba con la ficha de Einstein.
Well, when I was little, I used to talk to the Einstein card.
Caption 36, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 3Play Caption
Ya que estás, contanos a los dos... ¿De qué hablaban?
Now that you're here, tell us both... What were you talking about?
Caption 2, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 6Play Caption
To learn more about the imperfect tense in Spanish, check out this lesson entitled: The Imperfect Tense in Spanish: The Past That Just Won't Quit.
The past equivalent of the present progressive tense is the past progressive tense, which emphasizes that an action in the past was in progress. As with the present and present progressive tenses, while the imperfect tense in Spanish can sometimes be translated with the past progressive in English ("I was eating," "You were running," etc.), the past progressive tense in Spanish is always translated in this fashion, with "was" or "were" plus a verb's gerund. It is formed in the same way as the present progressive except that the verb estar is conjugated in the imperfect tense:
Le hemos despistado. -Porque estaba hablando.
We've confused her. -Because she was talking.
Caption 59, Jugando a la Brisca En la callePlay Caption
The preterite is another one of the Spanish past tenses. In contrast to the imperfect tense, the preterite tense in Spanish describes past actions that have been completed. It could be compared with verbs ending in -ed in English (e.g. "He fished," "We traveled," etc.). Let's see an example:
Pero claro, en Televisión Española me hablaron de Gastón Almanza
But of course, at Spanish Television they talked to me about Gaston AlmanzaPlay Caption
The preterite is also used for past actions that interrupted other actions in progress, which would often be conjugated in the imperfect, as in the following example:
Yo hablaba por teléfono cuando mi novio me habló con una voz muy alta.
I was talking on the phone when my boyfriend talked to me in a very loud voice.
To find out more about the preterite tense, we recommend this lesson from our Yabla lesson archives.
The future tense in Spanish is pretty straightforward; it talks about something we "will" do in the future. Let's take a look:
Hoy hablaremos de las preposiciones de lugar.
Today, we will talk about prepositions of place.
Caption 9, Ana Carolina Preposiciones de lugarPlay Caption
Interestingly, sometimes the Spanish future tense is used in situations where English speakers would employ "would" to imply disbelief:
¿Y tú me hablarás de esta manera?
And you'd talk to me like that?
So, what about the Spanish conditional tenses? The simple conditional tense is the typical Spanish equivalent of saying one "would" do something in English, often in a hypothetical situation:
Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.
Well, if I were you, I would speak with him.Play Caption
This tense is often, but not always, seen in conjunction with the imperfect subjunctive tense (fuera, or "I were" in the example above), which we will cover in part two of this lesson, to specify that if some hypothetical situation "were" in place, something else "would" happen.
Although this tense is called the present perfect in English, its Spanish name is préterito perfecto ("preterite perfect" or "past perfect"), and it is the Spanish past tense used to say that one "has done" something within a specific time period, which could be anything from that day to one's life. It is formed with the verb haber, which is translated as "has" or "have" in English, along with the participle form of the verb (which will typically have the suffix -ado or -ido in Spanish and -ed or -en in English). Let's take a look:
El día de hoy, hemos hablado de artículos que utilizamos al día a día
Today, we've talked about items we use every day
Caption 41, Ana Carolina Artículos de aseo personalPlay Caption
Interestingly, in Spain, the present perfect is often used to describe things that happened in the recent past in situations in which English speakers would use the simple past and Latin Americans would more likely use the preterite. This usage can be seen quite clearly throughout this video from El Aula Azul. Let's take a look at an excerpt:
Pero cuando ha salido de clase, cuando hemos terminado la clase, ha ido a coger el coche, y resulta que la ventanilla estaba rota.
But when she's left class, when we've finished the class, she's gone to get her car, and it turns out that the window was broken.
Captions 12-14, El Aula Azul Conversación: Un día de mala suertePlay Caption
Although the translators at Yabla chose to translate this tense literally in this video to facilitate the learning of the present perfect tense, this sounds quite awkward in English, where a native speaker would probably say: "But when she left class, when we finished the class, she went to get her car, and it turns out that the window was broken."
In this video, Carlos provides an even more thorough explanation about when to use this tense as part of a useful four-part series on the different past tenses in Spanish.
The pluperfect is the past equivalent of the present perfect tense. It is formed with the imperfect conjugation of the verb haber and the participle form of the infinitive. It is often used to describe things we "had" already done when something else occurred.
que no era tan escandalosa como... como la gente había hab'... había hablado al principio.
That it wasn't as scandalous as... as the people had sa'... had said in the beginning.
Captions 41-42, Los Juegos Olímpicos Pablo HerreraPlay Caption
Also known as the preterite perfect, the past anterior tense is extremely similar to the pluperfect tense but employs the preterite conjugation of the verb haber plus the participle. It is used more commonly in literature and less in everyday speech. While we couldn't find an example of this tense with the verb hablar, we did find one with the verb coger (to grab):
Apenas lo hubo cogido, el niño se despertó.
He'd barely grabbed it, the little boy woke up.
Captions 46-47, Chus recita poemas Antonio MachadoPlay Caption
Just in case you were wondering, an example sentence with the verb hablar might be: Yo ya hube hablado con mi maestra antes del examen (I had already spoken to my teacher before the test), and there would be no difference in translation between this sentence and the same sentence with the verb conjugated in its pluperfect form (Yo ya había hablado con mi maestra antes del examen).
If one said, Yo ya habré hablado con el chico por teléfono antes de conocerlo cara a cara (I will have already spoken to the guy on the phone before meeting him face to face), he or she would be employing the future perfect tense, which includes the future tense conjugation of the verb haber plus the participle. This conveys the English construction "will have." Let's take a look at an example of this tense from the Yabla Spanish library:
Ay, ¿por qué se me habrá ocurrido comer bandeja paisa antes de que me encerraran, ah?
Oh, why would it have occurred to me to eat "bandeja paisa" [a Colombian dish] before they locked me up, huh?
Captions 27-28, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 3Play Caption
In this example, we see that, similarly to the future tense, the future perfect tense can also be used to express disbelief, and it is translated with the English word "would" (rather than "will") in such cases.
The conditional perfect tense in Spanish is the equivalent of saying "would have" in English. It utilizes the conditional form of the verb haber plus the participle to talk about what one "would have" done or what "would have" happened in a hypothetical situation:
Seguro que a él sí le habrían aceptado las invitaciones.
Surely they would have accepted his invitations.
Caption 24, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 5Play Caption
An example with the verb hablar would be: Si lo pudiera hacer otra vez, habría hablado con el chico que me gustaba (If I could do it again, I'd have spoken to the guy I liked). Yabla's lesson, "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda," expands upon the conditional perfect tense and more.
Once you know all Spanish tenses in the indicative mood, you could also conjugate the verb estar in its many tenses to come up with additional progressive tenses, as follows:
Preterite Progressive (Pretérito continuo): Yo estuve hablando (I was talking)
Conditional Progressive (Condicional continuo): Yo estaría hablando (I would be talking)
Future Progressive (Futuro continuo): Yo estaré hablando (I will be talking)
We could even apply this to the compound tenses we learned:
Present Perfect Progressive (Pretérito perfecto continuo): Yo he estado hablando (I have been talking)
Pluperfect Progressive (Pretérito pluscuamperfecto continuo): Yo había estado hablando (I had been talking)
Conditional Perfect Progressive (Condicional compuesto continuo): Yo habría estado hablando (I would have been talking)
Future Perfect Progressive (Futuro compuesto continuo): Yo habré estado hablando (I will have been talking)
That was a lot of Spanish verb tenses!!! And that was just the first ten verb tenses in Spanish! Part two of this lesson will deal with the verb tenses in Spanish in the other two "moods," subjunctive and imperative. In the meantime, we hope you enjoyed part one of this lesson on Spanish verb tenses... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
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.
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:
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:
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 MegafoníaPlay Caption
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 PanecilloPlay Caption
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.
Cristóbal Colón descubrió América en mil cuatrocientos noventa y dos.
Christopher Columbus discovered America in fourteen ninety-two.Play Caption
Mil seiscientos noventa y siete, invasión francesa a Cartagena,
Sixteen ninety-seven, French invasion of Cartagena,Play Caption
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, MálagaPlay Caption
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.
y fue construida en el año mil novecientos.
and was built in nineteen hundred.
Caption 77, Viajando con Fermín Mijas PuebloPlay Caption
Fue realizado en mil novecientos veintidós
It was made in nineteen twenty-two
Caption 37, Marisa en Madrid Parque de El RetiroPlay Caption
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 2Play Caption
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.
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 vientoPlay Caption
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 RetiroPlay Caption
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 vocabularioPlay Caption
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!
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!
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.
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 BarcelonaPlay Caption
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 2Play Caption
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 cenaPlay 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 actividadesPlay 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 RosanaPlay Caption
An alternative translation could, of course, be: "Happy afternoon, Yabla friends from all the countries in the world."
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:
¿Cuánta torta comiste? -Me la comí toda.
How much cake did you eat? -I ate it all.
¿Cuántos 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 1Play 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 2Play 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.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 17Play Caption
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.
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 5Play Caption
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.
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.
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 1Play Caption
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 2Play Caption
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.Play Caption
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 3Play Caption
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 socialesPlay Caption
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 10Play Caption
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.Play Caption
The similar Spanish expressions de todas maneras and de todos modos also mean "anyway," "anyhow," or "in any case."
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 6Play Caption
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.
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
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 NavidadPlay 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.
In this lesson, we would like to remind you of a very simple rule, which is nonetheless often forgotten even by native Spanish speakers. Let's start this lesson with a simple quiz. Which of the following sentences is incorrect?
Pero tenéis que entender que la mayoría de animales
But you have to understand that most animals
Captions 48-49, Amaya Mis burras Lola y CanijaPlay Caption
"Cultivaremos la mayoría de los alimentos en los océanos".
"We'll grow most of [our] food in the oceans."Play Caption
If you're not sure which sentence is incorrect, we invite you to read this lesson.
In expressions in which a part of a group is mentioned, it is appropriate to keep the article (el, la, los, or las) after the preposition de. Let's look at a couple of examples with different expressions:
La mitad de los artistas deberían estar presos
Half of the artists should be in jail
Caption 34, Calle 13 Calma PuebloPlay Caption
está limitado a la mitad de personas que pueden entrar habitualmente.
is limited to half the people who can usually enter.
Caption 32, Sergio Socorrismo y COVID-19Play Caption
In this sentence, the article is missing after the preposition de. Considering that, the following would be the appropriate way of saying this sentence:
está limitado a la mitad de las personas que pueden entrar habitualmente.
es uno de los principales problemas ambientales de la mayoría de los países del mundo,
is one of the main environmental problems of most countries in the world,
Captions 8-9, 3R Campaña de reciclaje - Part 1Play Caption
En la mayoría de casos, el burro es incautado por la policía de los animales
In most cases, the donkey is confiscated by the animal police
Caption 51, Santuario para burros Santuario - Part 1Play Caption
As you can see, in this sentence, the article is also missing after the preposition de. That said, the appropriate form would be the following:
En la mayoría de los casos, el burro es incautado por la policía de los animales
Can you now answer the question we posed at the beginning of this lesson?
While this mistake is not a dramatic one, we invite you to keep this rule in mind so you can construct these kinds of sentences properly. That's all for now. We hope you have enjoyed this brief reminder, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!
How do we talk about an action in progress in Spanish? We use the Spanish present progressive tense, which we'll explore in this lesson.
What is present progressive in Spanish? Simply put, the present progressive tense in Spanish describes actions that are unfolding as we speak, at this moment. Also called the present progressive, its English equivalent includes some form of the verb "to be" in present tense along with the gerund, or -ing form, of a verb. Some examples include: "I'm reading," "You are watching TV," or "We are eating dinner." The Spanish present progressive, which we'll learn to conjugate, takes a very similar form.
So, when exactly do we use the present progressive tense in Spanish? And, what's the difference between the simple present and the Spanish present progressive? This can be a bit confusing since there is some overlap in terms of their English translations at times. Let's take a look:
¿Qué hacés vos acá? -¿Cómo qué hago? Corro.
What are you doing here? -What do you mean, what am I doing? I'm running.
Captions 65-66, Cuatro Amigas Piloto - Part 1Play Caption
Although, much like the present progressive, the simple present tense in Spanish can sometimes be translated into English using the -ing form to say that one "is doing" something in the present, the Spanish simple present tense is also used to describe actions one does on a habitual basis:
¿Y los sábados y domingos, qué haces?
And on Saturdays and Sundays, what do you do?
Caption 19, Español para principiantes Los días de la semanaPlay Caption
That said, if you really want to emphasize and/or remove any doubt that an action is in progress or happening at this moment, it's necessary to use the Spanish present progressive:
Silvia, ¿qué estás haciendo? -Estoy cocinando.
Silvia, what are you doing? -I'm cooking.
Captions 31-32, El Aula Azul Actividades diarias: En casa con SilviaPlay Caption
In fact, this last caption is from a video by El Aula Azul that simply and clearly demonstrates the difference between the simple present tense and the present progressive tense in Spanish.
Now that you know when to use the present progressive in Spanish, let's learn how to conjugate present progressive verbs in Spanish. To start, let's review (or learn!) the simple present conjugation of the verb estar (to be), which will convey the idea of "am" or "are":
Yo estoy (I am)
Tú estás (You are)
Él/ella/usted está (He, she is/you are)
Nosotros/nosotras estamos (We are)
Vosotros/vosotras estáis (You are [plural])
Ellos/ellas/ustedes están (They/you [plural] are)
Next, we'll need to break up infinitive Spanish verbs into two categories, verbs that end in -ar and verbs that end in either -er or -ir, in order to form their gerunds (gerundios).
To form the gerund for regular -ar verbs, we'll take the verb's stem (the part before the -ar) and add the suffix -ando. For example, for hablar (to talk), we take the stem habl- and add -ando to get hablando. Let's take a look at a few examples of regular -ar verbs in the present progressive tense in Spanish:
Entonces, en este momento, ¿veis?, está hablando con su madre por teléfono.
So, right now, you see? He's talking to his mom on the phone.
Captions 60-61, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 1Play Caption
Eh... estoy buscando a Milagros.
Um... I am looking for Milagros.
Caption 6, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 1Play Caption
Estamos caminando aquí en Bleeker Street
We are walking here on Bleeker Street
Caption 72, Eljuri "Fuerte" EPKPlay Caption
Conjugating regular -er and -ir verbs in the present progressive Spanish tense is just as easy! Simply take the stem (remove the -er or -ir) and add the suffix -iendo. Thus, for correr (to run), we have corr- plus -iendo to get corriendo, and for vivir (to live), we take viv- plus -iendo for viviendo. Let's look at a few more examples:
¿Por qué estás comiendo basura?
Why are you eating garbage?
Caption 9, Kikirikí Agua - Part 4Play Caption
Está subiendo, está subiendo la rama.
He's climbing, he's climbing the branch.
Caption 98, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: CoatísPlay Caption
¿Dónde estáis vendiendo aceite?
Where are you selling oil?
Caption 1, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 14Play Caption
Although the Spanish present progressive tense is arguably one of the easier verbs to learn to conjugate in Spanish, there are some irregular verbs, of course, which fall into a few categories. Let's examine those categories of verbs with irregular conjugations in the Spanish present progressive.
Verbs with the endings -aer, -eer, -oir, and -uir change from -iendo to -yendo in the Spanish present progressive. Here are some examples:
traer: trayendo (to bring/bringing)
caer: cayendo (to fall/falling)
leer: leyendo (to read/reading)
creer: creyendo (to believe/believing)
construir: construyendo (to build/building)
huir: huyendo (to escape/escaping)
oír: oyendo (to hear/hearing)
Interestingly, the present progressive form of the verb ir (to go) is also yendo:
Sí, me venía a despedir porque ya me estoy yendo.
Yes, I came to say goodbye because I'm leaving now.
Caption 90, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 5Play Caption
Some verbs that change stems in the Spanish simple present tense also have an irregular form in the Spanish present progressive. Verbs whose stems change from -e to -ie (e.g. sentir becomes yo siento, tú sientes, etc.) or -e to -i (vestir changes to yo visto, tú vistes, etc.) tend to change stems from an -e to an -i in the Spanish present progressive as well, while maintaining the suffix -iendo. Let's take a look at some common examples:
sentir: sintiendo (to feel/feeling)
preferir: prefiriendo (to prefer/preferring)
mentir: mintiendo (to lie/lying)
vestir: vistiendo (to dress/dressing)
seguir: siguiendo (to follow/following)
conseguir: consiguiendo (to get/getting)
On the other hand, verbs that change from an -o to a -ue in the simple present often change from an -o to a -u in the Spanish present progressive while maintaining their regular ending (-iendo). Examples include poder ("to be able," which morphs into yo puedo, tú puedes, etc.), dormir (to sleep," which becomes yo duermo, tú duermes, etc.), and morir ("to die," which transforms to yo muero, tú mueres, etc.). Let's look:
poder: pudiendo (to be able/being able)
dormir: durmiendo (to sleep/sleeping)
morir: muriendo (to die/dying)
Verbs in this fourth category also change from -e to -i in the simple present (e.g. reír, or "to laugh," becomes yo río, tú ríes, etc.) but also have an -e before the -ir ending. In this case, the -e is dropped, while the ending -iendo is maintained, as follows:
reír: riendo (to laugh/laughing)
sonreír: sonriendo (to smile/smiling)
freír: friendo (to fry/frying)
The aforementioned irregular verbs in the present progressive in Spanish by no means constitute an exhaustive list, and although the rules that dictate which verbs are irregular might seem daunting, with increased exposure to Spanish, conjugating such irregular verbs in the present progressive in Spanish should become intuitive in no time!
Let's conclude today's lesson by looking at an example from each of the aforementioned categories of irregular present progressive verbs in Spanish:
Ellos están construyendo la puerta de entrada al santuario de burros.
They're building the entry gate to the donkey sanctuary.
Caption 25, Amaya VoluntariosPlay Caption
Esa mujer nos está mintiendo y quiero saber por qué.
That woman is lying to us and I want to know why.Play Caption
¡Aldo, tu hermano se está muriendo y a vos lo único que te interesa es la herencia!
Aldo, your brother is dying, and the only thing that interests you is the inheritance!
Caption 63, Yago 3 La foto - Part 5Play Caption
Se está riendo de todos nosotros.
He's laughing at all of us.Play Caption
That's all for today. For more information on the present progressive Spanish tense, check out our latest video from El Aula Azul on that very topic! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
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!
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 4Play Caption
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 DespacitoPlay Caption
Escúchame, ¿cuántos frigoríficos necesitáis?
Listen to me, how many refrigerators do you guys need?
Caption 46, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 2Play Caption
¿Cuánta harina le agrego?
How much flour shall I add to it?
Caption 72, Ricardo La compañera de casa - Part 3Play Caption
¿Cuántas palabras sabes en español?
How many words do you know in Spanish?
Caption 1, El Aula Azul Adivina qué es - Part 2Play Caption
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:
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 5Play Caption
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 comprasPlay Caption
¿Y cuánto cuestan las lecciones?
And how much do the lessons cost?Play Caption
¿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 18Play Caption
¿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 6Play Caption
¿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 5Play Caption
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 2Play Caption
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?Play Caption
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:
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 6Play Caption
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 8Play Caption
¿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 19Play Caption
Bueno, sé un poquito pero no mucho.
Well, I know a little bit but not much.
Caption 3, Arume La Vida EscolarPlay Caption
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.
What is the imperfect tense in Spanish? In contrast to the Spanish preterite, or simple past tense, which typically describes completed actions in the past, the imperfect tense in Spanish depicts past actions that were carried out regularly, over a longer period of time, or were in progress at a specified point. In addition to these uses of the imperfect tense in Spanish, there are other specific contexts in which it is necessary to use this tense, many of which we hope to illuminate for you today.
Let's take a look at some situations in which it is necessary to use the Spanish imperfect tense.
The imperfect tense in Spanish distinguishes actions that occurred on a habitual basis in the past from isolated incidents. Let's begin to understand this by examining how this idea might be expressed in English:
When I was young, I used to visit my grandparents every summer.
When I was young, I would visit my grandparents every summer.
When I was young, I visited my grandparents every summer.
Interestingly, all of these English sentences could be translated to Spanish using the same sentence in the imperfect tense: "Cuando yo era joven, visitaba a mis abuelos todos los veranos." This is because, despite their structural differences, they all mean the same thing: that the speaker would regularly visit his or her grandparents in the past.
Armed with this idea that the imperfect tense in Spanish can encompass various English constructions, let's take a look at some additional examples of sentences with verbs in the imperfect tense:
Cuentan los cronistas que veían desfilar a las tropas bajando desde lo que era el Cuartel de San Telmo hasta lo que hoy es conocido como el Bulevar donostiarra,
The chroniclers tell that they would see the troops parading, coming down from what used to be the San Telmo Barracks to what is known today as the "Bulevar donostiarra" [Donostiarra Boulevard]
Captions 26-28, Días festivos La Tamborrada de San SebastiánPlay Caption
eh... -Sí. -... practicaba fútbol.
um... -Yes. -...I used to play soccer.
Caption 27, Club 10 Capítulo 2 - Part 2Play Caption
In this second example, although an English speaker might say either, "Oh! I used to play soccer too!" or "Oh! I played soccer too!" to talk about something he or she did regularly at a previous juncture, the Spanish language would always employ the imperfect tense to distinguish this as a habitual action in the past. In contrast, if the speaker had just completed a game of soccer yesterday, he would instead use the preterite tense:
Ayer practiqué fútbol.
I played soccer yesterday.
All that said, at the moment of constructing a sentence, in order to decide when to use the imperfect tense in Spanish, an English speaker must consider whether a past action took place just once or over an extended period, in which case it will be necessary to choose the imperfect tense.
The imperfect tense in Spanish is also used to describe past actions that were incomplete or interrupted at the depicted moment. Let's take a look:
Vi que me acompañaba, mientras yo cantaba. -Sí.
I saw that you were accompanying me while I was singing. -Yes.
Caption 28, Yago 1 La llegada - Part 7Play Caption
Notice that imperfect verbs that describe past actions in progress are most commonly (but again, not always) expressed in English in the past progressive tense, e.g., "You were accompanying," "I was singing," etc. The same can be said of interrupted past actions, where the action in progress is conjugated in the imperfect tense in Spanish, while the interrupting action is in the preterite tense:
OK, o sea que vos pensás que yo iba por la calle y de repente conocí a una chica y la llevé a una obra en construcción para seducirla.
OK, in other words, you think that I was going down the street and suddenly, I met a girl and took her to a construction site to seduce her.
Captions 22-23, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 2Play Caption
Me sentía perdido hasta que un día me llegó un email.
I was feeling lost until, one day, I got an email.
Caption 24, Con ánimo de lucro Cortometraje - Part 10Play Caption
Notably, although the Spanish past progressive tense can also be used to describe incomplete or interrupted actions in some cases (e.g. Yo cocinaba cuando mi marido llegó a casa and Yo estaba cocinando cuando mi marido llegó a casa both mean "I was cooking when my husband got home"), in our examples above, the imperfect tense in Spanish would be the more likely choice.
Since they tend to be ongoing, rather than having a definite beginning or end, the imperfect tense in Spanish is additionally used to describe physical and other characteristics of people or things in the past.
Tenía una barba blanca que le llegaba hasta la cintura y una larga cabellera. Tenía además una corona dorada y vestía un manto blanco.
He had a white beard that went down to his waist and long hair. He also had a golden crown and wore a white robe.
Captions 12-14, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El mito de BochicaPlay Caption
Pero no era la... mi... la Connie, mi esposa, sino era la otra, la rubia, que era muy bonita de ojos azules.
But it wasn't the... my... Connie, my wife, but rather it was the other one, the blonde, who was very pretty with blue eyes.
Captions 29-30, Gonzalo el Pintor Vida - Part 1Play Caption
Tenía su pata rota. Esta pata de aquí, la tenía rota.
His leg was broken. This leg here, it was broken.
Captions 17-18, Amaya La historia de LukasPlay Caption
Desde cuando tenía doce años, más o menos.
Since I was twelve years old, more or less.Play Caption
Additionally, since "setting the scene" might entail recounting what day or time it "was," dates and times must be described in the Spanish imperfect tense:
Eran las cinco de la tarde.
It was five o'clock in the evening.
ya que recuerdo que hacía un calor terrible, aunque todavía era el mes de junio,
as I remember that it was terribly hot, despite the fact that it was still the month of June,
Captions 38-39, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata PoeskaPlay Caption
The imperfect tense in Spanish is also utilized to speak about emotions in the past:
Un poquito y ajá, y estaba triste porque dejaba mi familia y eso y ya.
A little bit, and uh-huh, and I was sad because I was leaving my family and all that and that's it.
Caption 70, Cleer Entrevista a LilaPlay Caption
Todos en la casa estaban muy emocionados
Everyone in the house was very excited,
Caption 17, Cuentos de hadas Cenicienta - Part 1Play Caption
So... when do you use the imperfect tense in Spanish? We hope that this lesson has made it more clear that, in contrast to the Spanish preterite tense, the Spanish imperfect is reserved for past events that "kept on going" for an extended period. For more examples of imperfect tense in Spanish, we recommend Carlos' video on this topic, where he explores not only when to use imperfect tense in Spanish, but also how to conjugate its regular and some of its most common irregular forms.
That's all for today, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
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.
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 5Play Caption
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 2Play Caption
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 2Play Caption
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.
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 7Play Caption
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,Play Caption
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 3Play Caption
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?Play Caption
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!Play Caption
And when someone has lost his or her temper, you might hear others say "Está sacado/a" (He/she lost it).
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 4Play Caption
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 10Play Caption
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.
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
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 sentimientosPlay Caption
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 PacificoPlay Caption
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.
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.
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"Play Caption
Mili, quemá esa camisa por favor; que desaparezca;
Mili, burn that shirt please; it should disappear;
Caption 10, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 1Play Caption
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 4Play Caption
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 2Play Caption
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.
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.Play Caption
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 manoPlay Caption
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 HobbiesPlay Caption
And finally, as we can refer to "burning," or recording, a CD in English, we could also quemar un compact in Spanish.
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 8Play Caption
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 10Play Caption
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 motivaciónPlay Caption
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 10Play Caption
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 espetosPlay Caption
In some cases involving cooking, the English verb "to char" could be another possible translation.
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 10Play Caption
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 1Play Caption
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.Play Caption
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 1Play Caption
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 idealPlay Caption
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.
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 1Play Caption
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 7Play Caption
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:
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 6Play Caption
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 2Play Caption
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.
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.
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.
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|
|él, ella, usted||se||habla||se habla|
|ellos/as, ustedes||se||hablar||se hablan|
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:
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.Play Caption
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 1Play Caption
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.
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 2Play Caption
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 AtacamesPlay Caption
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 SilviaPlay Caption
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.
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 reflexivosPlay Caption
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 ReflexivosPlay Caption
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).
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 DiariasPlay Caption
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 2Play Caption
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 viajePlay Caption
So, you've probably surmised by now that the verb cepillarse el pelo/cabello means "to brush one's hair."
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 SirenaPlay Caption
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 13Play Caption
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 CasaPlay Caption
Alternatively, one might say Aquí, siempre me pinto para mis conciertos, as pintarse (literally "to paint oneself") also means "to put on makeup."
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.Play Caption
Another way to say this might be ponerse la ropa (to put on one's clothes).
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 1Play Caption
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 InolvidablePlay Caption
As you can see, the more literal "to get naked" might be an alternate translation for desnudarse.
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 5Play Caption
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 13Play Caption
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!