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The Many Uses of the Spanish Verb Echar

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

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Standard Meanings of the Verb Echar

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

 

To Throw:

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

 

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

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

Caption 17, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 1

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To Throw Out/Away:

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

 

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

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

Captions 3-4, Rosa Reciclar

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Todo estaba tranquilo y lo echaste a la basura

Everything was calm and you threw it in the garbage

Caption 3, Sondulo Que te vaya mal

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To Add/Put in:

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

 

Le voy a echar un poco de nata...

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

Caption 47, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 9

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Bueno, también le podemos echar diferentes clases de condimentos.

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

Caption 24, Cocinando con Miguelito Pollo sudado - Part 2

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To Pour:

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

 

Solo falta echarla en el molde 

We just need to pour it into the mold

Caption 38, Cleer y Lía El día de la madre

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To Kick Out/Throw Out/Expel/Fire: 

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

 

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

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

Caption 33, Muñeca Brava 3 Nueva Casa - Part 4

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Se mueren por saber por qué echó a la chirusa.

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

Caption 42, Carlos y Cyndy Comentario sobre Muñeca Brava

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To Expel/Emit/Give Off: 

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

 

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

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

Caption 49, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 7

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To Start:

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

 

y ven la batidora, echan a correr.

and they see the blender, they start to run.

Caption 31, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 8

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

 

Pero ya las lágrimas se echaban a correr

But the tears were starting to fall

Caption 8, Jeremías Uno y uno igual a tres

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More Meanings of the Reflexive Verb Echarse

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

 

 

To Lie Down/Get Down/Throw Oneself

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

 

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

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

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

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To Move

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

 

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

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

Caption 57, Viajando con Fermín Frigiliana, Málaga

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Échate pa' un lado

Move aside

Caption 8, Javier García EPK - Part 2

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Idiomatic Expressions with the Spanish Verb Echar

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

 

Echar la culpa (to blame)

 

¡Y me echó la culpa de todo!

And she blamed everything on me!

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

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

 

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

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

Caption 32, Cleer El espejo de Matsuyama

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

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

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

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

 

Después de comer, solemos echar la siesta

After eating, we usually take a nap

Caption 20, El Aula Azul Actividades Diarias

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Echar la llave (to lock)

 

Ahora cerramos la puerta, echamos la llave

Now we close the door, we lock it,

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

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Echar de menos (to miss)

 

De España echo mucho de menos el clima,

From Spain, I really miss the weather,

Caption 39, Álvaro Arquitecto Español en Londres

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Echar la/una mano (to lend a hand)

 

para que nos eche una mano y les vamos a dar

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

Caption 50, Club de las ideas Bioparc

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Echar(le) un vistazo (to take a look)

 

De acuerdo, deje que eche un vistazo.

OK, let me take a look.

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

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Echarle ganas (to work hard)

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Caption 3, Muñeca Brava 3 Nueva Casa - Part 5

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

 

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

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

Caption 23, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 2

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Echar las campanas al vuelo (to vehemently celebrate prematurely)

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Para que: Saying "So That" in Spanish

Today's lesson will focus on the oft-used conjunction para que, which means "so that" or "in order for" in Spanish. 

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Examples of para que in Spanish Sentences

Beginning with a few sentences that contain the Spanish conjunction para que, see if you can identify elements that they all have in common.

 

y ahora colocaré esta mezcla en la refrigeradora, para que se enfríe un poco,

and now, I'll put this mixture in the refrigerator so that it cools down a bit,

Captions 33-34, Ana Carolina Ponche navideño

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¿Pueden dejar de llorar para que empecemos la competencia?

Can you stop crying so that we can start the competition?

Caption 53, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 5

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y los invito a que pongan en práctica todas estas reglas para que puedan usar correctamente estas preposiciones.

and I invite you to put all these rules into practice so that you can use these prepositions correctly.

Captions 70-71, Carlos explica Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para' - Part 3

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Para que Parameters

Did you come up with any commonalities? Let's lay down a couple of ground rules for using para que in Spanish.

 

1. Para que should only be used when there is a change of subject.  

In other words, one thing is done by one entity so that another entity "can" do something else.  

 

Using the English translations, in the first example, "I" (the first subject) will put the mixture in the fridge so that "it" (the second subject) is able to cool down. In the second, "you guys" (the first subject) should stop crying so that "we" (the second subject) can commence the competition, and in the third, "I" (the first subject) am doing the inviting in order for you "you guys" (the second subject) to use the prepositions right.

 

* Note that in these Spanish sentences, the subjects are implied by their verb conjugations rather than explicitly stated (for example, as invito is the first person singular of the verb invitar (to invite), we know the subject is "I").

 

2. Para que is always followed by a subjunctive tense.

If we think of this in terms of our W.E.I.R.D.O. formula for when to use the subjunctive in Spanish, it makes sense since just because something "could" happen based on an initial action, we aren't sure if it will. You will note that two of three translations include the word "can," although this is not always the case, and there are often many ways to translate a Spanish that includes para que into English. 

 

Although all of the examples we have seen thus far have included verbs in the present subjunctive tense, you might come across examples in other subjunctive tenses, such as the imperfect subjunctive when the action takes place in the past. Let's take a look at some examples: 

 

Les dimos los juguetes, los bolígrafos, uno para cada uno para que pudieran escribir.

We gave them the toys, the pens, one for each one so that they could write.

Captions 8-9, Con ánimo de lucro Cortometraje - Part 4

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Lo que hice fue preparar todos los burros, para que estuviesen acostumbrados a recibir a visitas,

What I did was to prepare all the donkeys so they were used to getting visitors,

Captions 35-36, Amaya Apertura del refugio

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Alternative translations for this second example might be "so that they would be used to getting visitors" or "so that they could get used to getting visitors."

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Expressing "So That" With No Subject Change

Although you might hear it done occasionally in spoken Spanish, remember that you should not use para que to connect clauses when there is no change of subject. For example, what if you wanted to say, "I'm going to call the restaurant as soon as possible so that I can get a table"? You shouldn't say Yo voy a llamar el restaurante lo antes posible para que (yo) pueda conseguir una mesa" but instead use para + the infinitive as follows:

 

Yo voy a llamar el restaurante lo antes posible para poder conseguir una mesa.

I'm going to call the restaurant as soon as possible so I can get a table (literally "to be able to get a table"). 

 

Let's see some more examples:

 

mis toallitas desmaquillantes, y mi espejo, donde me miro todas las mañanas para saber que estoy bien.

my makeup remover towelettes, and my mirror, where I look at myself every morning in order to know I look OK.

Captions 55-56, Amaya "Mi camper van"

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An alternative translation could be "so that I know I look OK."

 

Siempre hemos de asistir personalmente a la entidad bancaria para poder realizar la firma de todos los documentos originales.

We should always go personally to the banking entity in order to be able to do the signing of all the original documents.

Captions 13-14, Raquel Abrir una cuenta bancaria

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Another way to say this in English could be "so we can sign all of the original documents." In any case, because there is no change in subject in either of these examples (in the first one, it's yo/I and in the second one, it's nosotros/we), the formula para plus the infinitive was used in lieu of para que

 

¿Para qué?

To conclude, remember that when para qué is used in question or implied question form, it has an accent and means "why?" or "what for?" Let's see some examples:

 

¿Y para qué lo necesito?

And what do I need it for?

Caption 6, Clase Aula Azul Planes para el futuro - Part 1

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¿Para qué fuiste al cine?

Why [for what purpose] did you go to the movies?

Caption 53, Carlos explica Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para' - Part 1

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Keep in mind that although para qué can also be translated as "why" in some contexts, it has a slightly different meaning than por qué (which also means "why") in that it focuses on goal or purpose rather than strictly reason. For more on this subtle distinction, check out this video on the Spanish prepositions por vs. para.

 

That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has made the expression para que more clear para que la puedan usar bien (so that you can use it correctly) and sound like a native speaker. And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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"Hasta que" vs. "Hasta que no"? What's the Difference?!

The Spanish adverbial phrases  hasta que and hasta que no are both useful to describe situations in which one action depends upon another, in other words, what will or won't be done or happen "until" something else happens. However, because the literal translations for phrases involving the latter construction don't make sense in English, the hasta que no construction can be confusing for English speakers. We hope this lesson will clarify this confusion.

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Hasta que 

The adverbial phrase hasta que means "until" and can be used with many different verb tenses. However, in the sentences we will be talking about today, the verb that follows hasta que refers to something that might happen in the future but has not yet happened and must thus be conjugated in a subjunctive tense. Let's take a look at several examples in the present subjunctive

 

y lo dejaremos ahí hasta que hierva.

and we'll leave it there until it boils.

Caption 19, Ana Carolina Ponche navideño

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y el jarabe se lo toma tres veces al día hasta que lo termine.

and you take the syrup three times a day until you finish it.

Caption 28, Cita médica La cita médica de Cleer - Part 2

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Note that these first two examples talk about what someone is going to do until something else happens. Now let's look at some examples of things one won't do until something else happens:

 

De momento no las saco fuera y las dejo que estén tranquilas, hasta que se sientan seguras 

For now, I don't take them out, and I leave them alone until they feel safe

Captions 9-10, Amaya Mis burras Lola y Canija

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¿Ya? Y no voy a descansar hasta que atrape a esa rata.

OK? And I'm not going to rest until I catch that rat.

Caption 30, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 10

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Hasta que no

Hasta que no functions in almost the exact same way as hasta que in such sentences. However, note that in contrast to hasta que, sentences with hasta que no always involve a double negative (i.e. what can't happen until something else does). Let's take a look:

 

pero de momento no puedo darle una respuesta hasta que no hayamos entrevistado al resto de candidatos.

but at the moment I can't give you an answer until we have interviewed the rest of the candidates.

Captions 61-62, Negocios La solicitud de empleo - Part 2

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Note that while the literal translation of "hasta que no hayamos entrevistado al resto de candidatos" would be "until we haven't interviewed the rest of the candidates," which wouldn't make sense, the actual meaning is "until we have interviewed the rest of the candidates." The word "no" is therefore an "expletive," which, in grammar, means an "empty word" that might add emphasis but doesn't add meaning. And interestingly, the form of this sentence with merely hasta que would work just as well with no difference in meaning, as follows:

 

pero de momento no puedo darle una respuesta hasta que hayamos entrevistado al resto de candidatos.

but at the moment I can't give you an answer until we have interviewed the rest of the candidates.

 

Let's see two more examples:

 

Pero vamos, eso nadie lo sabe hasta que no estemos en el terreno.

But come on, nobody knows that until we're in the area.

Caption 27, Los Reporteros Caza con Galgo - Part 2

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Sí. -...con él no podemos hacer nada... Ajá. -hasta que no desarrolle bien.

Yes. -...we can't do anything with him... Uh-huh. -until he develops well.

Captions 38-39, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Coatís

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Once again, the literal translations "until we're not" and "until he doesn't develop" would be nonsensical, and hence the sentences have been translated in the same fashion as they would be if the word "no" weren't present since hasta que estemos/hasta que no estemos (until we're) and hasta que desarrolle/hasta que no desarrolle (until he develops) are synonymous. 

 

In conclusion, although there has been some debate among linguists about the legitimacy of hasta que no, which is more likely to be heard in Spain (to learn more such differences, check out this lesson on A Few Outstanding Differences Between Castilian and Latin American Spanish), the constructions hasta que and hasta que no have been deemed interchangeable when talking about what can't or won't happen until something else takes place. That said, we hope that this lesson has brought some clarity regarding the somewhat confusing hasta que no construction... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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The Personal a in Spanish

Whenever a person is the object of a sentence in Spanish, the word a (which can literally mean "to," "at," etc., depending upon the context) must be included prior to the person. This is called the "personal a" in English and the "a personal" in Spanish.

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What is an Object?

In both English and Spanish, the subject of a sentence is the person or thing that performs an action and the object is the person or thing that receives it. For example, in the English sentence "Edison ate cake," "Edison" is the subject and "cake" is the object. And in the sentence "Gonzalo hugged Eva," "Gonzalo" is the subject while "Eva" is the object. So, while the translation for the first example, Edison comió torta, would not require the personal a, the second one would since Eva is a person: Gonzalo abrazó a Eva​.

 

Examples of the Personal a

Now that we understand a bit how the personal works, let's see a few examples where the same verb in the same tense either has a personal or doesn't, depending upon whether the object of the sentence is a person. You will note that there is no direct translation for the personal a in the English sentences. 

 

Ver:

 

Pero yo vi sombras.

But I saw shadows.

Caption 26, Tu Voz Estéreo Feliz Navidad - Part 4

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Yo vi a Pablo Escobar,

I saw Pablo Escobar

Caption 28, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 2 - Part 8

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Entender:

 

me di cuenta que no entendía todos los conceptos

I realized that I didn't understand all the concepts

Caption 73, Guillermo el chamán La tecnología maya

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De verdad, en ese momento no entendía a las niñas.

Really, at that moment, I didn't understand girls.

Caption 53, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 11 - Part 6

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Conocer:

 

Conocí las islas Barú de... de Colombia

I visited the Barú Islands in... in Colombia

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

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Conocí a María ayer.

I met María yesterday.

Caption 22, Lecciones con Carolina Saber y conocer

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Using the Personal a with Pronouns

When a pronoun like alguien (someone), nadie (no one/anyone), quien, alguno/a(s) (some/someobody/one),  or ninguno/a(s) (none/no one/any) replace a person or people as the direct object in a sentence, the personal is used as well:

 

No queremos alarmar a nadie.

We don't want to alarm anyone.

Caption 52, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 8

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Perdón, eh, ¿busca a alguien?

Excuse me, um, are you looking for someone?

Caption 1, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 10

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Todos los años, tengo que reñir a alguno.

Every year, I have to tell someone off.

Caption 46, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 10

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Additional Uses of the Personal a

The personal a is also used with animals or inanimate objects when the person speaking about them "personifies" them or has affection for them. One example is pets:

 

¿Federico te regaló a Zazén? 

Did Federico give you Zazen?

Caption 9, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 6

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However, if an animal is not a pet, the personal a is not used:
 

Generalmente acá se ven elefantes marinos 

Generally, here you see elephant seals

Caption 37, Perdidos en la Patagonia La Punta Cantor

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Another example could be one's country:
 

Me fascina, quiero ayudar a mi país,

I love it. I want to help my country

Caption 24, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Manuel Orozco Sánchez - Part 1

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And someone might even have a particular affection for some other inanimate object:

 

Yo amo a mi carro. -Se nota. -Único, bello.

I love my car. -You can see that. -Unique, beautiful.

Caption 97, Encuentro Volkswagen en Adícora Escarabajos en la playa - Part 2

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This is definitely the exception to the rule, though. In most cases, the personal a would not be used with such inanimate objects:

 

Vaya a lavar el auto, por favor!

Go to wash the car, please!

Caption 31, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 5

 Play Caption

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When Not to Use the Personal a

The Verb Tener

The personal a is not generally used with the verb tener:

 

¿Tienes hijos? -No.

Do you have children? -No.

Caption 87, Adícora, Venezuela El tatuaje de Rosana

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However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. One is when one has an emotional or close relationship with someone:

 

Tengo a Alejandrita que tiene diez y James que tiene diecinueve.

I have little Alejandra who is ten and James who is nineteen.

Captions 59-60, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 20

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Another is when someone is physically holding someone:

 

Él tenía a mi hija en sus brazos

He had my daughter in his arms.

 

A third is when one "has" someone "somewhere":

 

Teníamos a los gemelos en una clase de baile

We had the twins in a dance class. 

 

The Verb Haber

The personal a is not used with the verb haber, either:

 

hay muchas personas que se oponen a que haya paz en Colombia.

there are many people who are opposed to there being peace in Colombia.

Caption 32, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 9 - Part 1

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había una mujer que podía ser la protagonista de mi canción.

there was a woman who could be the main character of my song.

Captions 48-49, Luis Guitarra Historia de Lucía - Part 2

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In conclusion, although the personal a in Spanish can be a bit counterintuitive for English speakers since we don't have anything like it, we hope that this lesson has helped you to understand what it is and when it is and isn't used, and... don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments,

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The Passive Voice in Spanish

Let's talk about the passive voice in Spanish!

 

What is "Voice"?

Let's start by understanding the concept of voz (voice) in a sentence- in English or Spanish. This refers to the relationship between a sentence's subject and verb. A sentence's voice can be active or passive. But what's the difference?

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The Active Voice

In the active voice, the subject performs a verb's action onto an object and is thus considered the sentence's actor or agent (the person or thing that carries out the action). Let's see some examples:

 

Pedro come galletas. 

"Pedro come galletas" [Pedro eats cookies].

Caption 21, Carlos explica La concordancia gramatical - Part 2

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In this caption, Pedro is the subject/agent who executes the action of "eating" the object (the cookies).

 

eh... pintábamos muchísimos fondos oscuros

um... we painted a ton of dark backgrounds

Caption 99, María Marí Su pasión por su arte - Part 1

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In this example, "we" is the subject/agent who carried out the action of "painting" the object, "a ton of dark backgrounds."

 

Gabriel García Márquez escribió muchos libros.

Gabriel García Márquez wrote a lot of books.

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

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And finally, here, Gabriel García Márquez is the subject, and agent, who performed the action of "writing" the object (a lot of books).  

 

The Passive Voice

In the passive voice, on the other hand, what was previously the object in the active voice actually becomes the subject, but, this time, receives the action of the verb. At the same time, the previous subject becomes a "passive agent" who may or may not be mentioned at the end of the sentence. That said, before finding out how to convey sentences in the passive voice in Spanish, let's convert our previous English examples of the active voice to the passive voice:

 

Active: Pedro eats cookies

Passive: Cookies are eaten by Pedro

 

um... we painted a ton of dark backgrounds

um... a ton of dark backgrounds were painted by us

 

Active: Gabriel García Márquez wrote a lot of books.

Passive: A lot of books were written by Gabriel García Márquez.

 

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Two Formulas

Now that we have a better concept of the passive voice, how do we express it in Spanish? Let's learn two different formulas for doing so. 

 

1. Ser + past participle + (por + agent)

In this first formula, the verb ser (to be) is conjugated in accordance with the subject of the sentence and followed by a past participle (you may wish to consult this lesson that covers conjugating the past participle). In this construction, the participle (the equivalent of English words like "spoken," "eaten," "gone," etc.) must agree with the subject in terms of number and gender. Subsequently, por plus an agent may be optionally added to explain who or what completed the action. Let's take a look at some examples of this formula in Spanish:

 

y es escrito por mí personalmente.

and is personally written by me.

Caption 46, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 1 - Part 7

 Play Caption
 
Since the speaker is referring to a singular, masculine object (un libro/a book), the verb ser is conjugated in its third person singular form, and the participle, escrito, is masculine and singular. Let's see another example:
 

En el Siglo dieciocho, las costas de San José en Almería eran asaltadas frecuentemente por piratas 

In the eighteenth century, the coasts of San José in Almería were assaulted frequently by pirates

Captions 32-33, Club de las ideas Batería de breves - Part 1

 Play Caption
 
Here, what "were assaulted" were the plural, feminine "las costas," so the plural conjugation of ser is followed by the feminine/plural participle asaltadas. Let's see one more:
 

Las tarjetas fueron usadas

The cards were used

Caption 32, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 12

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Note that in accordance with las tarjetas, the third person plural of serfueron, is used along with the feminine plural participle usadas. However, in contrast to the other two examples where por is used to identify the person or people who carried out the action, here, the agent is unknown and thus unmentioned. Let's move on to our second formula.

 

2. Se + verb in third person

This construction is formed with se and a verb in third person singular or plural, depending upon whether what is being spoken about (the subject) is singular or plural. Let's see a few examples:

 

Este vino se hace con una de las uvas más populares 

This wine is made with one of the most popular grapes

Caption 21, Amaya Cata de vinos

 Play Caption
 

las corridas se celebraban en la Plaza Mayor.

bullfights were held in the Plaza Mayor.

Caption 5, El Trip Madrid

 Play Caption
 

"Garr", no entiendo para qué se hicieron esos uniformes.

Garr, I don't understand why those uniforms were made.

Caption 53, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

In the first caption, the verb hacer is conjugated in the third person singular to agree with el vino, while celebrar and hacer in the second and third examples are plural in agreement with las corridas and los uniformes. Notice that there is no mention of the entity who performed the action in any of these sentences since this second formula rarely mentions the action's agent. 

 

When Is the Passive Voice Used?

The passive voice is more commonly encountered in the media or literature or when the agent that carried out the action is unknown or considered less relevant. It can only be used with transitive verbs, or verbs that are capable of transmitting some action onto a direct object. In terms of tenses, you may have noticed that our examples have included the presentimperfect, and preterite. While the passive voice formulas contain particular grammatical specifications, there is no mention of any of the specific Spanish verb tenses because active Spanish sentences in any verb tense can be converted to the passive voice. With this in mind, let's conclude this lesson with a present perfect tense example of the verb descubrir (to discover) in the active as well as both formats of the passive voice:

 

Active:

 

Científicos han descubierto que cuando un abrazo dura más de veinte segundos se produce un efecto terapéutico

Scientists have discovered that when a hug lasts more than twenty seconds, a therapeutic effect is produced

Captions 5-7, Aprendiendo con Silvia El abrazo

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Passive 1:

 

Ya que ellos, pues, han sido descubiertos en Inglaterra

Since they, well, have been discovered in England

Caption 40, Hugo Rodríguez Duendes artesanales

 Play Caption

 

Passive 2:

 

porque se han descubierto muchas virtudes

because many virtues have been discovered

Caption 9, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

That's all for today. For more information on the passive voice in Spanish, check out this four-part video series on La voz pasiva as well as this lesson on the passive vs. impersonal se constructions. And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

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The Pluperfect Tense in Spanish

Like in English, the Spanish pluperfect tense describes something that happened before something else, for example, something that "had" already happened at a certain point in time or before another past action. Let's find out how to conjugate the Spanish pluperfect tense and hear several examples in action.

 

Conjugating the Spanish Pluperfect

The Spanish pluperfect tense, which is sometimes referred to as the past perfect tense, is pretty easy to conjugate! It is very similar to the Spanish present perfect tense (the verb haber in the present tense + the participle) except that haber will be conjugated in the Spanish imperfect tense. So, the formula for the pluperfect tense in Spanish would be:

 

haber in the imperfect tense + the participle

 

Let's first take a look at the imperfect conjugation of haber:

 

Personal Pronoun: Conjugation of Haber:
yo había
habías
él/ella/usted había
nosotros/as habíamos
vosotros/as habíais
ellos/ellas/ustedes habían

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Now we need a Spanish participle. These correspond to English participles (which often but not always end in -ed or -en). Examples include regular -ar verbs like hablado (talked/spoken) and mirado (looked), regular -er verbs like comido (eaten) and aprendido (learned), regular -ir verbs like recibido (received) and dormido (slept), and irregular verbs like abierto (opened), visto (seen), and dicho (said). For a list of more irregular Spanish participles as well as a detailed explanation of how to conjugate participles in Spanish, we invite you to consult this lesson on the present perfect tense in Spanish

 

Meaning of the Spanish Pluperfect

Whereas the verb haber in the present tense can be translated as "have" in the context of the present perfect in examples like Yo he comido (I have eaten), Tú has comenzado (You have begun), or Nosotros/as hemos hablado (We have talked/spoken), the translation for the imperfect conjugation of haber within the pluperfect tense is "had." That said, let's look at those same verbs conjugated in the pluperfect, noting their translations:

 

Yo había comido: I had eaten

Tú habías comenzado: You had begun

Nosotros/as habíamos hablado: We had talked/spoken

 

Examples of the Spanish Pluperfect

Now that we know how to conjugate the Spanish pluperfect and how to translate it, let's view a few examples. You will note from the translations that the Spanish pluperfect is used in very similar situations as the pluperfect in English. 

 

Cuando Cenicienta quiso dar las gracias, el hada ya había desaparecido.

When Cinderella tried to say thank you, the fairy had already disappeared.

Caption 1, Cuentos de hadas Cenicienta - Part 2

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Here, the pluperfect is used to indicate that the fairy "had disappeared" prior to the moment that Cinderella "tried" to say goodbye (as described by the preterite verb quiso).  Let's see another one:

 

Pero es que nunca había visto una anguila.

But the thing is that I had never seen an eel.

Caption 3, Guillermina y Candelario Un pez mágico - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

In this example, rather than expressing that "he'd" never "seen" an eel before some other past action, the speaker employs the pluperfect to explain that, at the moment in the past that he is describing, he "hadn't seen" an eel ever in his life. Let's look at one more: 

 

decidieron regresar al lugar de donde habían venido.

they decided to return to the place where they had come from.

Caption 44, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El mito de Bachué

 Play Caption

 

In this final example, the preterite verb decidieron lets us know that in that moment in the past, "they decided" to go back to the location where they "had come from" (at some other moment in time prior to deciding to go back, of course!). 

 

That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand how the Spanish pluperfect tense is conjugated and used... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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The Spanish "Second Conditional": A Simple Hypothetical Formula

What would you do if you won the lottery? Spanish uses a type of conditional sentence known as the segunda condicional (second conditional) to describe these types of scenarios, which is formed with a simple formula that we will cover today. 

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The Second Conditional in Spanish

There are many different types of Spanish conditionals, or conditional sentences. These are sentences that describe the result "if" a certain condition were in place. They are formed with a conditional si, or "if" clause, plus a main clause, and are classified according to the likelihood of the hypothetical situation. The second conditional typically focuses on scenarios that are unlikely or hypothetical, but can also be used to make an utterance extra polite

 

The Spanish Second Conditional Formula

Let's take a look at the formula for the second conditional in Spanish:

 

Si + imperfect subjunctive verb + conditional verb 

 

If you need to learn or review these tenses or how to conjugate them, we recommend these lessons on the Spanish imperfect subjunctive tense, which describes the unlikely or hypothetical action, and the Spanish conditional tense which conveys the action(s) that "would" happen if some other condition "were" in place.

 

Examples of the Spanish Second Conditional 

Let's take a look at several examples of the Spanish second conditional and some situations in which it could be employed. We'll start with some sentences that describe very unlikely situations:

 

Si me tocara la lotería, viajaría por todo el mundo, y me alojaría en los hoteles más lujosos. 

If I won the lottery, I'd travel around the whole world, and I'd stay at the most luxurious hotels.

Captions 26-27, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: La segunda condicional

 Play Caption
 

Si tuvieras que morir, no podrías dejarme aquí

If you had to die, you couldn't leave me here

Caption 8, La Gusana Ciega No Me Tientes

 Play Caption
 

Si pudiera bajarte una estrella del cielo Lo haría sin pensarlo dos veces

If I could lower you down a star from the sky I'd do it without thinking twice 

Captions 5-6, Enrique Iglesias Cuando me enamoro

 Play Caption
 
Now, let's take a look at some situations that are hypothetical but less outlandish, including the equivalent for the common English expression, "if I were you":
 

Y si tuvieras hijos, ¿te gustaría que practicaran el surf también?

And if you had kids, would you like them to surf as well?

Captions 63-64, El Aula Azul Un día de surf

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Si tuviera que definirla en una sola palabra, sería amor.

If I had to define her in just one word, it would be love.

Caption 22, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata Poeska

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Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él. 

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

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

 Play Caption

 

And finally, let's see an example where the second conditional is used in a likely scenario for the sake of politeness:

 

Pues, si pudiera venir a la oficina mañana a las nueve, la ubicaríamos en su puesto enseguida. 

Well, if you could come to the office tomorrow at nine, we would get you acquainted with your position right away.

Captions 28-29, Negocios Empezar en un nuevo trabajo - Part 1

 Play Caption
 

Note that while the first conditional si puede venir a la oficina mañana a las nueve, la ubicaremos en su puesto enseguida (if you can come to the office tomorrow at nine, we will get you acquainted with your position right away) could also have been used in this situation, the second conditional in Spanish is sometimes chosen to infuse a sentence with extra formality. 

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Reversing the Formula

In some cases, the order of the imperfect subjunctive and the conditional verbs can be flipped. Let's take a look at a couple of examples:

 

Pero, por eso, estamos imaginando qué pasaría si nos tocara la lotería,

But that's why we're imagining what would happen if we won the lottery,

Captions 34-35, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

¿Qué harías si te encontraras un sobre con cincuenta mil euros?

What would you do if you found an envelope with fifty thousand euros?

Caption 19, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: La segunda condicional

 Play Caption

 

That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand a very common formula for talking about hypothetical situations in Spanish. For further information on this topic, we recommend this entertaining video entitled La Doctora Consejos: La segunda condicional (Doctor Advice: The Second Conditional) by El Aula Azul, or this more in-depth lesson called La Segunda Condicional by Clase El Aula Azul. And as always... don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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All About "You" in Spanish: The Many Ways to Say It

How do you say "you" in Spanish? In contrast to English, where "you" just say "you," there are a plethora of different ways to say this in Spanish, which we'll explore today. 

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Spanish Subject Pronouns for "You"

Subject pronouns in Spanish (e.g. yo (I), (you), él/ella (he/she), etc.) are the most basic way to say "you." While in English, "you" is the only second person subject pronoun, in Spanish, there are five different ones, and the one you choose will depend on such factors as whether you are addressing one or more than one person, if the situation is more or less formal, and what region you are in. Let's take a closer look. 

 

1.

Simply put, tú means "you" for speaking to just one person in less formal situations, such as speaking to someone you already know. This is the most common familiar second person subject pronoun in most Spanish-speaking countries.

 

hablas obviamente muy bien el español, pero

You obviously speak Spanish very well, but

Caption 10, Carlos y Xavi Part 4 Tradiciones y comida de Barcelona

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2. Vos

Vos is used in a similar fashion as tú in certain countries/regions. It is heard predominantly in Argentina and Uruguay but also in certain areas of Paraguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Mexico, and Venezuela. 

 

¿Y vos hablás de mí?

And you talk about me?

Caption 51, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 11

 Play Caption

 

3. Usted

Usted is used to address just one person in more formal situations. Examples might be when you don't know someone and wish to be polite or, perhaps, when addressing an elder. 

 

¿Usted habla del ganso ese? -Sí.

Are you talking about that goose? -Yes.

Caption 54, Muñeca Brava 1 Piloto - Part 10

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4. Vosotros/Vosotras

Vosotros and vosotras are employed to address more than one person informally and are thus the plural equivalent of . Vosotros is used for a group of all males or a mixed male-female group, while vosotras is used for more than one person when everyone is female. Vosotros and vosotras are only used in Spain. 

 

Vosotros habláis.

You [plural] speak.

Caption 11, Fundamentos del Español 7 - Ser y Estar

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5. Ustedes 

Ustedes is used in all Spanish-speaking countries except Spain as the only plural form of saying "you," regardless of formality. However, in Spain, it is used more formally as the plural equivalent of usted (to distinguish it with the less formal vosotros/as). 

 

Y es que hay muchas diferencias entre la forma en que ustedes hablan el español

And it's just that there are a lot of differences between the way in which you guys speak Spanish

Captions 44-45, Carlos y Xavi Part 2 Ustedes y Vosotros

 Play Caption

 

All of the aforementioned subject pronouns in these clips have been translated as "you" with the exception of the last one, which was translated with the informal "you guys" to emphasize that it is directed to more than one person. However, it would be perfectly acceptable to translate ustedes as merely "you" since English often employs this pronoun to address multiple people.

 

For an abundance of additional information on these five subject pronouns for "you" in Spanish, we recommend Carlos' five-part video series on the Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo

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Verb Conjugation 

As you may have noticed in the examples above, all of which contain the simple present form of the verb hablar (to speak), the form of "you" utilized affects the verb conjugation. Although this happens in every verb tense in Spanish, let's start by taking a look at the simple present tense conjugations of three common Spanish verbs with their various "you" forms highlighted. 

 

Personal Pronoun Hablar Comer Subir
Yo  hablo como  subo
hablas  comes  subes
Vos hablás comés subís
Él/ella habla come sube
Usted habla come sube
Nosotros/nosotras hablamos comemos subimos
Ellos/ellas hablan  comen suben
Ustedes hablan comen suben
Vosotros/vosotras habláis coméis subís

 

You will note that the verb conjugations for all of the five forms of "you" in Spanish differ from one another. Additionally, the conjugation for usted is the same as the conjugation for the third person singular él/ella (he/she) while the conjugation for ustedes is the same as the third person plural conjugation for ellos/ellas (they). Additionally, the conjugations for vos and vosotros/as are the same for -ir verbs.

 

Remember that in Spanish, you don't necessarily need to explicitly say the subject pronoun in order to know which one is in use because the verb tenses themselves make that clear. That said, let's examine a few examples with different forms of "you" and the verb saber (to know). 

 

¿Sabéis qué es un volcán?

Do you know what a volcano is?

Caption 18, Aprendiendo con Silvia Los volcanes

 Play Caption

 

Ay, ¿sabes qué?

Oh, you know what?

Caption 21, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

¿Sabe que no me parece suficiente?

Do you know that it doesn't seem like enough to me?

Caption 62, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

Despite the absence of subject pronouns, you can tell from the verbs' conjugation that the first example refers to vosotros, the second example refers to , and the third example refers to usted, and for this reason, all three have been translated with "you know." While the third example could technically refer to él or ella as well since the conjugations for all three are the same, the context (one person speaking directly to another rather than talking about anyone else) alerts you that the speaker is addressing the other person as usted

 

Alternative "You" Pronouns in Spanish

Subject pronouns are not the only way to represent the word "you" in Spanish. Other types of Spanish pronouns (direct object, indirect object, and prepositional) also mean "you." Let's see which of each of these types of pronouns correspond with which "you" subject pronouns:

 

Subject Pronoun Direct Object Pronoun Indirect Object Pronoun Prepositional Pronoun
te te ti
Vos  te te vos
Usted lo, la le usted
Ustedes los, las les ustedes
Vosotros/as os os vosotros/as

 

While we won't delve too deeply into these topics, we will provide a brief summary of each of them and give you some examples.

 

Direct Object Pronouns

Direct object pronouns take the place of the direct object (the recipient of an action) in a sentence and answer the question of "what" or "who." Let's see a couple of examples:

 

Vale, no... no os veo... no os veo con mucha...

OK, I don't... I don't see you... I don't see you with a lot...

Caption 39, Escuela BCNLIP Clase con Javi: el futuro - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

Los veo en el próximo video.

See you in the next video.

Caption 44, Manos a la obra Postres de Minecraft

 Play Caption

 

In both examples, the translation of the direct object pronoun is "you." In the first, os takes the place of vosotros, and in the second, los takes the place of ustedes

 

Indirect Object Pronouns

Indirect object pronouns answer the question "to who/whom" or "for who/whom" an action is carried out. Let's take a look:

 

De verdad, yo le doy la plata que tengo ahí;

Seriously, I'll give you the money I have there;

Caption 25, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 1 - Part 1

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Otra recomendación que les puedo hacer es que traigan zapatos para el agua,

Another recommendation that I can give you is to bring water shoes,

Captions 35-36, Alan x el mundo Mi playa favorita de México! - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

In the first example, le lets you know that the speaker will give the money "to" usted, while in the second, the recommendation is being given "to" ustedes. While the indirect object pronouns in these two captions have been translated with simply "you," the translator might also have opted for "I'll give the money I have there to you" and/or "Another recommendation that I can give to you is to bring water shoes."

 

To learn more about indirect and direct object pronouns, check out this two-part lesson on How to Use Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns.

 

Prepositional Pronouns

Prepositional pronouns are pronouns that follow a preposition (words like para (for), de (of, about), en (in, about), etc.) in a sentence. 

 

Este libro es para ti. Este libro es para vos.

This book is for you. This book is for you.

Captions 47-48, Carlos y Cyndy Uso del Voseo en Argentina

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y hoy, he preparado para ustedes estos objetos

and today, I've prepared these objects for you

Caption 3, Ana Carolina El uso correcto de los adjetivos

 Play Caption

 

Interestingly, ti is the only prepositional pronoun meaning "you" that differs in form from its corresponding subject pronoun.

 

We hope that this lesson has made clear the many different ways that Spanish expresses the concept of "you." That's all for today... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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A Few Outstanding Differences between Castilian and Latin American Spanish

What are some differences between Castilian Spanish from Spain and Latin American Spanish? As with North American and British English, there are many more similarities than differences, and Spanish speakers from all countries can usually understand one another in spite of differences between continents, countries, and even regions. That said, this lesson will point out a few key differences between Castilian and Latin American Spanish that might aid your understanding of and/or communication with different Spanish speakers. 

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Pronunciation

You may have noticed that the letters "c" and "z" are pronounced with a "th" sound in Castilian Spanish in order to distinguish them from the letter "s." Let's take a look:

 

Muchas gracias.

Thank you very much.

Caption 88, Ana Teresa Canales energéticos

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Although it sounds like Ana Teresa from Spain says "grathias," you will note that there is no difference in the pronunciation of the "c" and the "s" in Latin American Spanish. To confirm this, let's hear Ana Carolina from Ecuador pronounce this same word:

 

Muchas gracias por acompañarnos hoy;

Thank you very much for joining us today;

Caption 37, Ana Carolina El comedor

 Play Caption

 

Yabla's Carlos and Xavi provide a lot more examples of this pronunciation difference in this video about the difference in pronunciation between Spain and Colombia

 

Vosotros/as vs. Ustedes

Spanish speakers from both Spain and Latin America tend to address a single person formally with the pronoun usted and use (or vos in certain Latin American countries and/or regions) in more familiar circumstances. However, Castilian Spanish additionally makes this distinction for the second person plural forms: they formally address more than one person as ustedes and employ vosotros/as, along with its unique verb conjugations, in less formal ones. Let's look at an example with this unique-to-Spain pronoun. 

 

Practicáis un poco vosotros ahora.

You guys practice a bit now.

Caption 105, Clase Aula Azul El verbo gustar - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

Most Latin American speakers, on the other hand, do not use vosotros/as and instead use ustedes to address more than one person, regardless of whether the situation is formal or informal.

 

O sea menos que los... -No, ustedes tienen que hacer dos acompañamientos

I mean less than the... -No, you guys have to make two side dishes

Caption 68, Misión Chef 2 - Pruebas - Part 8

 Play Caption

 

Although the teacher in this video, who is from Mexico, refers to his individual students with the informal prounoun , as a group, he refers to them as ustedes. For more information about the pronouns vosotros/as and ustedes, we recommend Carlos' video Ustedes y vosotros.

 

Use of Present Perfect vs. Preterite 

Another difference you might notice when speaking to someone from Spain is the more prevalent use of the present perfect tense (e.g. "I have spoken," "we have gone," etc.) to describe things that happened in the recent past in cases in which both Latin Americans and English speakers would more likely use the simple past/preterite. Let's first take a look at a clip from Spain:

 

Oye, ¿ya sabes lo que le ha pasado a Anastasia? No, ¿qué le ha pasado?

Hey, do you know what has happened to Anastasia? No, what has happened to her?

Captions 4-5, El Aula Azul Conversación: Un día de mala suerte

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Now, let's look at one from Argentina:

 

¿Pero qué le pasó?

But what happened to her?

Caption 92, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

While the speakers in both videos use the same verb, pasar (to happen), to describe events that took place that same day, note that the speaker from Spain chooses the present perfect ha pasado (has happened), which would be less common in both Latin American Spanish and English, while the Argentinean speaker opts for the preterite pasó (happened). 

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Vocabulary

There are many terms that are said one way in Spain and a totally different way in Latin America (with a lot of variation between countries, of course!). Although there are too many to name, Yabla has put together our top ten list of English nouns and verbs whose translations differ in Spain and Latin America. 

 

1. Car: El coche vs. el carro/auto 

Spanish speakers from Spain tend to use the word coche for "car":

 

Hoy vamos a repasar cómo alquilar un coche.

Today we are going to go over how to rent a car.

Caption 2, Raquel Alquiler de coche

 Play Caption

 

Although the word carro would instead refer to a "cart" or "carriage" to Spaniards, this is the word most commonly used to say "car" in many countries in Latin America:

 

Recójalas allí en la puerta y tenga el carro listo, hermano.

Pick them up there at the door and have the car ready, brother.

Caption 54, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 4

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Auto is another common Latin American word for "car":

 

El auto amarillo está junto al dinosaurio.

The yellow car is next to the dinosaur.

Caption 18, Ana Carolina Preposiciones de lugar

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2. To Drive: Conducir vs. manejar

And speaking of cars, while the verb conducir is the most typical way to say "to drive" in Spain, Latin Americans are more likely to utter manejar. Let's compare a clip from Spain to one from Colombia:

 

Ahora os vamos a dar algunos consejos que nos ayudarán a conocer mejor nuestro coche y a conducirlo.

Now we are going to give you some advice that will help us get to better know our car and how to drive it.

Captions 2-4, Raquel y Marisa Aprender a conducir - Part 2

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Usted sabe que para mí manejar de noche es muy difícil por mi problema de la vista.

You know that for me, driving at night is very difficult because of my vision problem.

Captions 50-51, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 2

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3. To Take: Coger vs. tomar

When listening to someone from Spain speak about "taking" or "grabbing" something, from the bus to an everyday object, you are likely to hear the verb coger:

 

Puedes coger el autobús.

You can take the bus.

Caption 6, Marta Los Modos de Transporte

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While you may occasionally hear coger in this context in some Latin American countries, it is less common and, in fact, even considered vulgar in some places. Hence the more common way to say this throughout Latin America is tomar.

 

Te vas a ir a tomar un taxi

You are going to go take a taxi

Caption 7, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 1

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4. Computer: El ordenador vs. la computadora

Let's check out some captions from Spain to find out the word for "computer" there:

 

Puede hacer uso del ordenador con el nombre de usuario y la contraseña que he creado para usted. 

You can make use of the computer with the username and the password that I have created for you.

Captions 23-24, Negocios Empezar en un nuevo trabajo - Part 2

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And now, let's see a video from Mexico to hear the most prevalent term for "computer" throughout Latin America:

 

El uso de las computadoras y el internet forman parte de la educación de los estudiantes 

The use of computers and the internet are part of the students' education

Captions 38-39, Aprendiendo con Karen Útiles escolares - Part 2

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5. Juice: El zumo vs. el jugo

Not only can we hear the Castilian Spanish word for "juice" in this clip, but also the aforementioned "th" pronunciation of the "z":

 

Sí, un zumo de naranja.

Yes, an orange juice.

Caption 26, Raquel Presentaciones

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Latin Americans, in contrast, usually call juice jugo:

 

Y jugo de naranja y jugo de manzana.

And orange juice and apple juice.

Caption 23, Cleer y Lida El regreso de Lida

 Play Caption

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6. Peach: El melocotón vs. el durazno

Many fruits and vegetables have different names in different countries, and one such example is peaches, which are called melocotones in Spain and duraznos in Latin America. Let's hear these words in action in videos from Spain and Colombia:

 

Macedonia de frutas. -Sí. Por ejemplo con melocotón

Fruit salad. -Yes. For example, with peach.

Captions 52-53, Recetas Tortilla

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Me volvió a gustar la compota de durazno 

I started liking peach baby food again,

Caption 4, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 1

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7. Apartment: El piso vs. el departamento/apartamento

Another set of words that differ significantly are the words for "apartment": piso in Spain and departamento or apartamento in Latin America, as we can see below in these videos from Spain and Argentina:

 

Vender un piso se ha puesto muy difícil,

Selling ​​an apartment has become very difficult,

Caption 39, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 1

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Tienes un lindo departamento, realmente. -Gracias.

You have a nice apartment, really. -Thank you.

Caption 27, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 3

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8. Cell phone: El móvil vs. el celular 

In Spain, you'll hear people talking about their moviles, or cell phones:

 

mi móvil funciona, normalmente.

my cell phone works, usually.

Caption 22, Clase Aula Azul Se involuntario - Part 1

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As we can hear in the following clip, Mexicans and other Latin Americans instead say celular

 

¡Eh! ¿Tienes tu celular?

Hey! Do you have your cell phone?

Caption 55, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 1: No tengo mi teléfono.

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9. Glasses: Las gafas vs. los lentes

Many articles of clothing are called different things in different countries, and "glasses" are no exception, as we see via examples from Spain and Mexico:

 

Tiene el pelo gris y lleva gafas.

He has gray hair and wears glasses.

Caption 30, El Aula Azul Adivina personajes famosos - Part 1

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También tienes unos lentes.

You also have some glasses.

Caption 13, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 1: No tengo mi teléfono.

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10. Socks: Los calcetines vs. las medias:

Let's conclude with the words for "socks" in Spain vs. Latin America, with videos from Spain and Venezuela:

 

Una chaqueta y unos calcetines también... calientes.

A jacket and some socks, too... warm ones.

Caption 25, Un Viaje a Mallorca Planificando el viaje

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Además, esos animales huelen peor que mis medias después de una patinata.

Besides, those animals smell worse than my socks after a skating spree.

Captions 10-11, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 11

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To hear even more examples of vocabulary that differs from Spain to Latin America, we recommend Carlos and Xavi's video on some differences in vocabulary between Spain and Colombia. We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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Whatever, Whenever, and More! Another Use of the Spanish Subjunctive

How do you translate expressions with words like "whatever," "whenever," and "however" to Spanish? Today, we will explore some simple manners of doing so using the Spanish subjunctive along with certain key words and/or phrases. 

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Whatever

It is fitting that the Spanish subjunctive is employed to express the notion of "whatever" because, in contrast to the more objective indicative, this mood describes things that are subjective, vague, or unknown. That said, the third person singular of the present subjunctive form of the verb ser (to be) appears in the Spanish equivalent of "whatever," lo que sea, which literally means "what it may be." With this in mind, we can use the formula lo que plus a subjunctive verb to convey the idea of "whatever" one may do, think, etc., when what that is not specifically known by the speaker. Let's look at some examples: 

 

Tú puedes hacer lo que tú quieras porque es tu libro,

You can do whatever you want because it's your book,

Caption 2, Escribiendo un libro Algunos consejos sobre cómo comenzar - Part 3

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Had this speaker said "Tú puedes hacer lo que tú quieres" ("You can do what you want"), in the indicative, he would probably be referring to something specific that this author wanted to do. However, the subjunctive form quieras makes it clear that her possibilities are endless. This is particularly interesting because the English equivalents of these Spanish sentences ("you can do what you want" vs. "whatever you want") do not necessarily make this distinction. Let's see another example:

 

haré lo que usted me diga.

I'll do whatever you tell me to.

Caption 83, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 3

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Similarly, had this gentleman said, haré lo que usted me dices, the idea would be "I'll do what you're telling me (specifically) to do" rather than "I'll do absolutely any (perhaps crazy!) thing you might tell me."

 

Whenever

The idea of "whenever" in Spanish is very similar, and the words cuando (when) and siempre que ("as long as" or literally "always that") can be paired with verbs in the Spanish subjunctive to say "whenever" as in the following caption:

 

y con eso ya puedes mudarte cuando quieras.

and with that you can then move in whenever you want.

Caption 43, Ricardo La compañera de casa - Part 2

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Again, had the speaker said to his perspective tenant "puedes mudarte cuando quieres" (you can move in when you want), he would most likely be referring to a specific date, perhaps one that she had previously mentioned. However, the subjunctive form cuando quieras lets her know that whatever date she might choose will work fine. Here is one more example: 

 

Estos ejercicios los puedes realizar en la mañana, tarde o noche, siempre que necesites mover tu cuerpo.

You can do these exercises in the morning, afternoon, or night, whenever you need to move your body.

Captions 7-8, Bienestar con Elizabeth Activar las articulaciones

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Literally meaning "always that you need," siempre que necesites means "whenever you need" or "whenever you might need to move your body," rather than at any specific moment. 

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Wherever

You might have guessed by now that the word donde (where) plus a verb in the Spanish subjunctive can mean "wherever." Let's take a look:

 

Tú dejas las cosas, donde sea, da igual. 

You leave your things, wherever, it's all the same.

Caption 5, Arume Barcelona

 Play Caption
 

Here, we can see that donde sea is a popular way of saying simply "wherever," although the literal translation would be "wherever it might be." Let's check out an example with a different verb: 

 

en el restaurante, en el punto de información o donde estés.

at the restaurant, at the information point or wherever you are.

Caption 26, Natalia de Ecuador Palabras de uso básico

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Like the other expressions we have examined in this lesson, the speaker's intention in this caption is to explain that she would like to help people with basic expressions they might use, not in any specific place, but anywhere at all.  

 

Whichever

To say "whichever," we can use formulas such as a noun plus que plus a verb in the Spanish subjunctive or a relative pronoun (e.g. el que, la que, los que, or las que, which mean "the one(s)") plus que plus a verb in the Spanish subjunctive. Let's take a look:

 

Podéis utilizar el verbo que queráis.

You can use whichever verb you want.

Caption 58, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 2

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No pasa nada. Vamos a hacer los que tengamos,

No problem. Let's do whichever ones we have,

Caption 49, Escuela BCNLIP Clase con Javi: el futuro - Part 19

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In the first example, the teacher uses the formula to emphasize the students choice among all of the available verbs, while the second caption communicates that they can practice with any of the possible examples they might have gotten, even if they differ from student to student. 

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However

By "however," we don't mean sin embargo as in the conjunctive adverb, but rather "in whichever way" as in English expressions like "Do it however you see fit." For this purpose, Let's look at some examples in Spanish:

 

El destino hay que aceptarlo como venga. -¿Qué?

One has to accept destiny however it comes. -What?

Caption 56, Club 10 Capítulo 2 - Part 5

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Of course, we never know "how" destiny will unfold, so it is apt to use the subjunctive to talk about it! Another possible translation for this sentence could be "however it may come." Let's see one more example of this formula:

 

lo que tienen que hacer es aguantar como puedan las... los golpes de los de la red,

what they have to do is to withstand however they can, the... the hits from the ones by the net,

Caption 46, Escuela de Pádel Albacete Hablamos con José Luis

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Once again, as the ways they might withstand the hits from the players by the net are innumerable, the Spanish subjunctive comes into play. 

 

Whoever/Whomever

We bet you're getting the hang of this by now, but we'd better show you some examples of how to say "whoever" and "whomever" in Spanish:

 

No sé, pero quien sea la tiene difícil

I don't know, but whoever it is has got it rough

Captions 7-8, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 2

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An alternative translation could be "whoever it may be." 

 

Nosotras les hacemos la sugerencia a las personas que escuchen el programa

We make the suggestion to whomever listens to the program

Caption 19, Protección ambiental Ni una bolsa más

 Play Caption

 

These examples demonstrate that the formulas quien(es) or la(s) persona(s) plus que plus a subjunctive verb are the Spanish equivalents of expressions with "whoever" and/or "whomever," which are frequently confused in English ("whoever" is a subject pronoun, while "whomever" is an object pronoun). That said, the manner in which those formulas are translated will depend upon which function they fulfill within the grammatical context. 

 

Popular Expressions with "However," etc. in Spanish

Sometimes, repetition of the Spanish subjunctive verb is used to emphasize this idea of non-specificity, which we can see in many popular Spanish expressions. You will note that the repetition is not translated, and that another possible translation for such cases is "no matter":

 

pase lo que pase, yo siempre voy a estar contigo,

no matter what happens, I'm always going to be with you,

Captions 30-31, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 1 - Part 13

 Play Caption

 

An alternative translation here could be: "Whatever happens, I'm always going to be with you."

 

Haga lo que haga este tipo, este delincuente, aquí en el país es responsabilidad mía...

Whatever this guy might do, this criminal, here in the country it's my responsibility...

Captions 26-27, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

Here, one might also say "No matter what this guy does." Let's conclude today's lesson with an excerpt from a song by our friend Luis Guitarra, which includes a plethora of similar cases: 

 

Vivan como vivan Hagan lo que hagan Sueñen con quien sueñen Sean como sean Vayan donde vayan Cuenten o no cuenten Digan lo que digan Salgan con quien salgan Piensen como piensen

No matter how they live No matter what they do No matter who they dream of No matter how they are No matter where they go No matter whether they tell No matter what they say No matter who they go out with No matter how they think

Captions 63-71, Luis Guitarra Somos transparentes

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We hope you've enjoyed this lesson on how to say things like "whatever," "however," "whichever," etc. in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

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The Imperfect Subjunctive in Spanish

What is the imperfect subjunctive tense in Spanish? It is basically the past version of the Spanish present subjunctive! That said, let's begin this lesson with a bit of background on the subjunctive, which is one of the three Spanish moods.

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The Spanish Subjunctive Mood

Most simply put, Spanish uses different verb tenses to distinguish between objective states and actions and subjective, uncertain, or emotional ones, for example, things we merely "hope" will happen. So, while there's no difference in verb form between "you come" and "I hope you come" in English, in the equivalent statement in Spanish, (usted) viene (you come) changes to the present subjunctive venga as we see here: 

 

Espero que venga a ver nuestros productos,

I hope you come see our products,

Caption 70, Otavalo Artesanos

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To get a tad more technical, as we see in the example above, in Spanish sentences with a subjunctive verb, we often (but not always) see the following structure:

 

1. An independent clause with a verb in the indicative that "triggers" the use of the subjunctive (we'll learn more about these later!)

2. A conjunction, or connecting word, like que

3. A dependent clause with a subjunctive verb

 

And while a "triggering" present tense verb provokes the present subjunctive, a "triggering" verb in some form of the past tense (e.g. preterite, imperfect, or past perfect) will be followed by a verb in the Spanish imperfect subjunctive, as we see here:

 

La verdad esperaba que usted viniera con su apoderada.

Truthfully I was hoping that you'd come with your client.

Caption 70, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

How to Conjugate the Imperfect Subjunctive in Spanish

Now that you know a little bit about the Spanish imperfect subjunctive, let's learn how to conjugate it. If you know how to conjugate the third person plural of the preterite in Spanish, conjugating the imperfect subjunctive is relatively easy. You simply remove the -ron ending to get the imperfect subjunctive stem, then add one of two sets of endings (there are two distinct forms of the imperfect subjunctive in Spanish that are used interchangeably). Let's first take a look at these two ending sets:

 

Subject Pronoun: Ending 1: Ending 2: 
yo: -ra -se
tú: -ras -ses
él/ella/usted: -ra -se
nosotros/as: -ramos -semos
vosotros/as: -rais -seis
ellos/ellas/ustedes: -ran -sen

 

Now, let's remove the -ron endings to come up with the imperfect stems for several common Spanish verbs: 

 

Verb 3rd Person Plural Preterite Stem
hablar hablaron habla-
comer comieron comie-
subir subieron subie-
estar estuvieron estuvie-
ser fueron fue-

 

Now that we have the stems, let's add the endings to come up with the two versions of the Spanish imperfect subjunctive for all of these verbs, noting the addition of the accent in the nosotros/as (we) forms to maintain pronunciation. Although the first ending set is more commonly heard, while the second is the more "classic" form, there is no difference in meaning whatsoever.

 

Ending Set 1:

 

Pronoun/Verb: hablar comer subir estar ser
yo: hablara comiera subiera estuviera fuera
tú: hablaras comieras subieras estuvieras fueras
él/ella/usted: hablara comiera subiera estuviera fuera
nosotros/as: habláramos comiéramos subiéramos estuviéramos fuéramos
vosotros/as: hablarais comierais subierais estuvierais fuerais
ellos/ellas/ustedes: hablaran comieran subieran estuverian fueran

 

Ending Set 2:

 

Pronoun/Verb: hablar comer subir estar ser
yo: hablase comiese subiese estuviese fuese
tú: hablases comieses subieses estuvieses fueses
él/ella/usted: hablase comiese subiese estuviese fuese
nosotros/as: hablásemos comiésemos subiésemos estuviésemos fuésemos
vosotros/as: hablaseis comieseis subieseis estuvieseis fueseis
ellos/ellas/ustedes: hablasen comiesen subiesen estuviesen fuesen

 

And the good news is... there are no irregular verbs in the Spanish imperfect subjunctive!

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When to Use the Spanish Imperfect Subjunctive

So, what are some examples of Spanish verbs that trigger the subjunctive? The acronym W.E.I.R.D.O., which stands for Wishes, Emotions, Impersonal Expressions, Recommendations, Doubt/Denial, and Ojalá, can help you to remember many of them. Keep in mind that because today's lesson focuses on the imperfect subjunctive, all of said verbs will appear in one of the Spanish past tenses.

 

As you read the English translations, you might notice that while all of the Spanish sentences meet our aforementioned criteria for using the imperfect subjunctive, there is no "one size fits all" formula for translating this verb tense because it is used in a variety of different circumstances that call for varying verb tenses in English.  

 

1. Wishes

Verbs that describe our wishes, hopes, or desires call for the Spanish subjunctive and include desear (to want/wish/desire), esperar (to hope), exigir (to demand/require), insistir (to insist), mandar (to order), necesitar (to need), ordenar (to order), pedir (to ask), preferir (to prefer), and querer (to want). Let's take a look at two examples where said verbs in the Spanish imperfect tense prompt the use of the Spanish imperfect subjunctive:

 

que lo único que esperaba era que su madre pudiera acompañarlo a una presentación del colegio.

as the only thing he was hoping for was for his mother to be able to go with him to a school performance.

Captions 2-3, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 2 - Part 11

 Play Caption

 

Pero dijo que quería que fueran amigos.

But she said she wanted you guys to be friends.

Caption 55, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 11 - Part 4

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In these two examples, the English infinitives "to be" and "to be able" were used to translate the Spanish imperfect subjunctive because in English, we often say that we what we hoped was for something "to happen." However, in the first example "the only thing he was hoping for was that his mother could accompany him to a school performance" could be another viable/equivalent translation.

 

2.  Emotions

Emotional verbs like alegrarse (to be happy/glad), enojarse (to be/get angry), encantar (to delight), lamentar (to regret/be sorry), molestar (to bother), sentir (to be sorry), and sorprender (to surprise) also provoke the subjunctive. Let's see two examples of the imperfect subjunctive sparked by the imperfect and preterite tenses:

 

¿Y por eso te preocupaba tanto que él viniera a verme, que me contara algo?

And that's why it worried you so much that he'd come to see me, that he'd tell me something?

Caption 54, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 2

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No, me encantó que me llamaras, escucháme, eh...

No, I loved it that you called me; listen to me, um...

Caption 63, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 3

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The first example describes one's past worry about what might happen (whether or not it did), and since in English, we often say we were worried about what "would happen," it was translated in this fashion. The second example, on the other hand, describes an action that actually took place: "you called". And yet, despite the necessary differences in the English translations, we see that in both cases, the use of an "emotional" verb in the first clause triggered the use of the Spanish imperfect subjunctive in the second. 

 

3. Impersonal Expressions

Impersonal expressions are constructions that don't involve any particular person and typically begin with the third person singular of some form of ser (to be) plus almost any adjective. Examples include bueno (good), curioso (interesting), dudoso (doubtful), extraño (strange), importante (important), necesario (necessary), probable (probable), raro (strange), urgente (urgent), and many more (the exception being adjectives that indicate certainty, such as cierto (certain) or seguro (sure). Let's see some examples of impersonal expressions in the imperfect tense that call for an imperfect subjunctive verb in the second clause:

 

Es que era muy raro que no abrieran la puerta.

It's just that it was very strange that they weren't opening the door.

Caption 20, Tu Voz Estéreo Embalsamado - Part 10

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Y para mí era bien importante que el grupo tuviera letras...

And it was really important to me that the band had lyrics...

Caption 61, La Gusana Ciega Entrevista - Part 1

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Again, the first caption describes an action that was actually happening (they weren't opening the door), while the second describes someone's past preference (which may or may not have come to fruition). Regardless, an impersonal expression in the imperfect tense triggered the use of the imperfect subjunctive. Note that an alternative translation for the second example might be: "And it was really important to me for the band to have lyrics."

 

4. Recommendations

Verbs that either recommend or don't recommend other actions, such as aconsejar (to advise), decir (to tell), dejar (to allow), exigir (to demand), hacer (to make/force), insistir (to insist), mandar (to order), ordenar (to order), prohibir (to forbid), proponer (to suggest), recomendar (to recommend), rogar (to beg), sugerir (to suggest), and suplicar (to beg) call for the subjunctive mood. Let's look at some examples in the preterite:

 

Le propuse que hiciéramos un pequeño taller de artesanía,

I suggested to him that we open a small craft studio,

Caption 40, Playa Adícora Francisco - Part 2

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Yo sé que les dijimos que no vinieran por acá pero

I know we told them not to come here, but

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

 Play Caption

 

Although we might find out later whether or not someone's advice was actually taken, in the moment it was given, the aforementioned "advising" verbs always trigger the Spanish imperfect subjunctive. 

 

5. Doubt/Denial

When conjugated in some form of the past, doubt verbs like dudar (to doubt), no creer (to not believe) or no poder creer (to not be able to believe), no parecer (to not seem), no pensar (to not think), and no suponer (to not suppose) call for the imperfect subjunctive:

 

Bueno, por un instante llegué a dudar de que estuvieras.

Well, for a moment, I even began to doubt that you would be [here].

Caption 41, Yago 4 El secreto - Part 11

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Yo no podía creer que me pasara que una chica así se me acercara

I couldn't believe this was happening to me that such a girl would approach me

Captions 7-8, Enanitos Verdes Cuánto Poder

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In these examples, past "doubt" causes the Spanish imperfect subjunctive, regardless of whether the situations were actually unfolding. The second example is interesting because it has been translated with both the past progressive "was happening" and the conditional "would approach" in English to represent that the speaker still can't believe such a situation "would happen" to him, even as it was. 

 

6. Ojalá

Although ojalá and ojalá que aren't technically verbs but rather conjunctions, they are roughly equivalent to such English expressions as "I hope," "let's hope," or "God willing" and require the subjunctive. When used with the imperfect subjunctive, these expressions are often to describe hypothetical situations that one wishes "were" true (interestingly, the change from "was" to "were" to represent a hypothetical situation is the only time we see a verb change in the subjunctive mood in English). Let's look at some examples:

 

No es crucial. Ojalá todos los problemas fueran estos.

It's not crucial. If only all problems were [like] these.

Caption 19, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 9

 Play Caption

 

Y ojalá todo el mundo estuviera lo suficientemente entusiasmado.

And I wish everyone were excited enough.

Caption 8, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

We hope that these examples have helped you to understand how to conjugate the Spanish imperfect subjunctive tense, some scenarios in which to use it, and some of the many ways in which it might be translated to English. In future lessons, we hope to focus on some additional, common uses of this tense, but in the meantime... don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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How to Conjugate Verbs in the Present Subjunctive in Spanish

The present subjunctive in Spanish is one of the many verb tenses in the Spanish subjunctive mood. The subjunctive mood is one of three moods in Spanish (the indicative, the imperative, and the subjunctive) that indicates the presence of doubt, emotion, or subjectivity, in contrast to the indicative, which states facts. The focus of today's lesson will be the conjugation of the Spanish present subjunctive tense. 

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An Example of the Present Subjunctive in Spanish: 

Before going on to conjugation, let's see an example of the present subjunctive in Spanish, which typically appears after the present indicative in dependent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction such as que (that). As a simple example, if you say, "I hope [that] you practice at home" with ustedes (plural you) in Spanish, the correct manner of doing so would be: 

 

espero que practiquen en su casa

I hope you guys practice at home

Caption 60, Lecciones de guitarra Con Cristhian - Part 3

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Rather than espero que practican en su casa because the verb tense changes from the indicative (practican) to the subjunctive (practiquen) due to the "hope" regarding whether the action will take place. In another lesson, we will explore the many scenarios in which the Spanish subjunctive mood comes into play. 

 

Conjugating Verbs in the Present Subjunctive in Spanish

The first step in conjugating most verbs in the present subjunctive is to recall the present indicative yo (I) form of the verb. We then remove the -o in order to get the stem and add the corresponding endings for -ar and -er/-ir verbs, which we can think of as the "opposite" of the endings for each verb class in the present indicative. 

 

Let's use the aforementioned formula to get the stems for three of the most common regular verbs:

 

Verb Yo Form Stem
hablar (to speak) hablo habl-
comer (to eat) como com-
subir (to go up) subo sub-

 

 

 

 

Now, let's look at the present subjunctive endings for -ar vs. -er/-ir verbs: 

 

Personal Pronoun: -ar Verbs: -er/-ir Verbs:
yo -e -a
-es -as
él/ella/usted -e -a
nosotros/as -emos -amos
vosotros/as -éis -áis
ellos/ellas/ustedes -en -an

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armed with this information, we can easily conjugate these verbs in the present subjunctive in Spanish. You will note that in the present subjunctive, the yo form and the él/ella/usted form are exactly the same.

 

Personal Pronoun: hablar: comer: subir:
yo hable coma suba
hables comas subas
él/ella/usted hable coma suba
nosotros/as hablemos comamos subamos
vosotros/as habléis comåis subáis
ellos/ellas/ustedes hablen coman suban

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, let's see these Spanish present subjunctive verbs in action:

 

Porque quiero que hablemos de negocios.

Because I want us to talk about business.

Caption 3, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 6

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¿'tas listo? -¿Qué querés que yo coma lo mismo?

You ready? -What, do you want me to eat the same thing?

Caption 43, Factor Fobia Cucarachas - Part 1

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Dígale que no suba.

Tell him not to come up.

Caption 43, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 6

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Verbs with Spelling Changes in the Indicative Yo Form 

Note that the in the vast majority of cases, even verbs with spelling changes in the yo form will follow this very same formula for obtaining their stems/conjugations. Let's see several examples:

 

Verb Yo Form  Stem
caber quepo quep-
coger cojo coj-
conocer conozco conozc-
decir digo dig-
hacer hago hag-
poner pongo pong-
salir salgo salg-
tener tengo teng-
traer traigo traig-
ver veo ve-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Present Subjunctive Conjugations:

caber (to fit): quepa, quepas, quepa, quepamos, quepáis, quepan

coger (to take): coja, cojas, coja, cojamos, cojáis, cojan

conocer (to know): conozca, conozcas, conozca, conozcamos, conozcáis, conozcan

decir (to say): diga, digas, diga, digamos, digáis, digan

hacer (to make/do): haga, hagas, haga, hagamos, hagáis, hagan

poner (to put): ponga, pongas, ponga, pongamos, pongáis, pongan

salir (to go out): salga, salgas, salga, salgamos, salgáis, salgan

tener (to have): tenga, tengas, tenga, tengamos, tengáis, tengan

traer (to bring): traiga, traigas, traiga, traigamos, traigáis, traigan

ver (to see): vea, veas, vea, veamos, veáis, vean

 

We will now hear a couple of these in context:

 

Lo mejor es que tengan sala de estudio

The best thing is for them to have a study room

Caption 45, Club de las ideas La biblioteca

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Bueno, te invito ahora a que conozcas el teatro.

Well, now I invite you to see the theater.

Caption 24, El teatro. Conversación con un doble de acción.

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Stem-Changing Verbs in the Spanish Present Subjunctive

Let's examine several categories of stem-changing verbs that behave slightly differently in the present subjunctive in Spanish:

 

1. -E to -ie in -ar and -er Verbs

An example of this category is querer (to want), for which the yo form is quiero. While the stem for this verb is indeed quier- as usual, the stem change does not take place in the nosotros/as and vosotros/as forms, which use the stem of the infinitive (removing the -ar or -er) as follows: 

 

quiera, quieras, quiera, queramos, queráis, quieran.

 

Additional verbs that fall into this category include: cerrar (to close), entender (to understand), and perder (to lose).

 

2. -O to -ue in -ar and -er Verbs

One example is volver (to return), and the yo form is vuelvo. The stem for this verb is vuelv-, but as with the previous category, there is no stem change in the nosotros/as and vosotros/as forms, which also take the stem from the infinitive:

 

vuelva, vuelvas, vuelva, volvamos, volváis, vuelvan

 

Some other verbs in this category are: poder (to be able), contar (to tell), volver (to return), and encontrar (to find).

 

3. -E to -ie in -ir Verbs

An example would be sentir (to feel). As in the first category, these verbs change stems in all forms except for nosotros/as and vosotros/as. With -ir verbs, however, the -ie changes to an -i, as follows: 

 

sienta, sientas, sienta, sintamos, sintáis, sientan

 

Verbs that work similarly include repetir (to repeat) and preferir (to prefer).

 

4. -O to -ue in -ir Verbs

The verb dormir (to sleep) falls into this category in which verbs change stems in all forms except nosotros/as and vosotros/as, where the -o changes to a -u

 

duerma, duermas, duerma, durmamos, durmáis, duerman

 

The verb morir (to die) also belongs to this class of verbs. 

 

Examples:

Let's listen to a couple of examples of such stem-changing verbs in the present subjunctive in Spanish:

 

lo mejor sería que vuelvas al convento.

the best thing would be for you to return to the convent.

Caption 15, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 7

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Espero que ahora entiendan mejor

I hope that you now understand better

Caption 56, Carlos explica Diminutivos y Aumentativos Cap 2: Definiciones generales

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Spelling Changes in the Spanish Present Subjunctive

To make matters a bit more complicated, some verbs in the Spanish present subjunctive change spelling in order to maintain their pronunciation, and some verbs change both stems and spelling! Let's take a look at these additional verb categories.

 

1. Verbs ending in -ger and -gir

It is worth noting that the g in verbs ending in -ger and -gir changes to ain the Spanish present subjunctive, for example, in the aforementioned verb coger (to get). However, this doesn't really deviate from our formula since the present indicative yo form of coger is cojo. Other verbs that follow this pattern in Spanish include corregir (to correct), elegir (to choose), and recoger (to pick up).

 

corregir: corrija, corrijas, corrija, corrijamos, corrijáis, corrijan

elegir: elija, elijas, elija, elijamos, elijáis, elijan

recoger: recoja, recojas, recoja, recojamos, recojáis, recojan

 

2. Verbs ending in -car, -gar, and -zar

In the Spanish present subjunctive, verbs ending in -car change their final consonant to -qu, verbs ending in -gar change to -gu, and -zar verbs' changes to a c. Let's take a look at verbs in each of these categories:

 

sacar (to take out): saque, saques, saque, saquemos, saquéis, saquen

tocar (to take): toque, toques, toque, toquemos, toquéis, toquen

 

cargar (to charge): cargue, cargues, cargue, carguemos, carguéis, carguen

pagar (to pay): pague, pagues, pague, paguemos, paguéis, paguen

 

lanzar (to throw): lance, lances, lance, lancemos, lancéis, lancen

empezar (to start): empiece, empieces, empiece, empecemos, empecéis, empiecen

 

As you can see, the verb empezar changes both stems (-e to -ie) and its final consonant (z to c) in the Spanish present subjunctive.

 

Examples:

Let's hear some examples of verbs with spelling changes in the Spanish present subjunctive:

 

Es que no necesito que me recojas hoy. 

It's just that I don't need you to pick me up today.

Caption 52, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 9 - Part 6

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Bueno, ¿tú me aconsejas que comience a escribir ya con todas estas inquietudes que tengo?

Well, do you advise me to start writing now with all these concerns that I have?

Captions 68-69, Escribiendo un libro Algunos consejos sobre cómo comenzar - Part 2

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(Totally) Irregular Verbs in the Present Subjunctive in Spanish

Although you have seen that there are a lot of nuances to conjugating verbs in the present subjunctive in Spanish, there are only six verbs that are considered truly irregular. We have provided their conjugations here: 

 

Personal Pronoun: dar estar haber ir ser saber
yo esté haya vaya sea sepa
des estés hayas vayas seas sepas
él/ella/usted esté haya vaya sea sepa
nosotros/as demos estemos hayamos vayamos seamos sepamos
vosotros/as deis estéis hayáis vayáis seáis sepáis
ellos/ellas/ustedes den estén hayan vayan sean sepan

 

Note that the yo and él/ella/usted conjugations of the verb dar, has an accent on the to distinguish it from the preposition de (of/from). 

 

Let's conclude by hearing a couple of these irregular verbs in the Spanish present subjunctive in action: 

 

Espero que sea una bonita sorpresa.

I hope that it's a nice surprise.

Caption 11, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 8

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Dígame algo que no sepa.

Tell me something I don't know.

Caption 3, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 4

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And speaking of learning new things, we hope you've found this lesson on conjugating verbs in the Spanish present subjunctive helpful! To hear a bunch more verbs conjugated in the Spanish present subjunctive, we recommend this video on Subjunctivo y sentimientos (Subjuntive and Feelings), and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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The Present Perfect In Spanish

What is the present perfect tense in Spanish? Despite its name in English, the Spanish present perfect tense is actually one of the past tenses in Spanish, which indicates that one "has done" some action within some specific period of time. This lesson will examine how to conjugate this useful Spanish tense as well as providing examples of when to use it. 

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How to Conjugate the Spanish Present Perfect Tense 

The present perfect tense in Spanish is relatively easy to conjugate. To do so, we should remember a simple formula: haber in present tense + participle. Let's first take a look at the present conjugation of the verb haber, which corresponds to the English "has" or "have" in the present perfect:

 

Personal Pronoun: Conjugation of Haber:
yo he
has
él/ella/usted ha 
nosotros/as hemos
vosotros/as habéis
ellos/ellas/ustedes han

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, let's examine how to conjugate the participle form of verbs in Spanish, which corresponds to English words with endings like -ed or -en, such as "taken," "looked," "baked," etc.

 

Conjugating the participle with -ar verbs:

Take the infinitive, remove the -ar, and add the suffix -ado:

 

hablar: hablado (to talk/speak: talked/spoken)

mirar: mirado (to watch: watched)

comenzar: comenzado (to start/begin: started/begun)

bailarbailado (to dance: danced)

 

Conjugating the participle with -er and -ir verbs: 

Take the infinitive, remove the -er or -ir, and add the suffix -ido:

 

comer: comido (to eat: eaten)

aprenderaprendido (to learn: learned)

recibirrecibido (to receive: received)

subir: subido (to rise/go up: risen/gone up) 

 

Irregular Participles: 

There are several irregular participle forms in Spanish that it would definitely be helpful to memorize. Here are several:

 

abrir: abierto (to open: opened)

cubrir: cubierto (to cover: covered)

decir: dicho (to say: said)

escribir: escrito (to write: written)

hacer: hecho (to do: done)

morir: muerto (to die: died)

poner: puesto (to put: put)

romper: roto (to break: broken)

resolver: resuelto (to resolve: resolved)

satisfacer: satisfecho (to satisfy: satisfied) 

ver: visto (to see: seen)

volver: vuelto (to return/returned)

 

Now that we know how to conjugate the auxiliary verb haber as well as the participle, we can conjugate verbs in and formulate sentences using the present perfect in Spanish. 

 

For example, if we wanted to say, "I have spoken," we'd take the form of the verb haber that corresponds with yo (he) and the participle of the verb hablar (to speak), hablado, to get: Yo he hablado. And, we could take hemos (we have) along with the irregular participle abierto (opened) to get Hemos abierto la puerta (We've opened the door).

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When to Use the Present Perfect in Spanish 

Ahora que hemos aprendido (Now that we've learned) how to conjugate verbs in the present perfect tense in Spanish, we should think about when to use it. Just like the present perfect in English, we use the Spanish present perfect to describe actions that have been completed within a certain period of time. As previously mentioned, because these actions were completed in the past, however recent, the present perfect is considered a past tense in Spanish, in which it is known as el pretérito perfecto (literally the "past" or "preterite perfect"). With this in mind, let's take a look at some examples:

 

Ya hemos visto que reciclar contribuye de forma importante,

We have already seen that recycling contributes in an important way,

Caption 23, 3R Campaña de reciclaje - Part 3

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¿Pero se han preguntado alguna vez cómo se cultivan y se comercializan?

But have you ever wondered how they are grown and sold?

Captions 75-76, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 16

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Hoy ha llovido todo el día.

"Hoy ha llovido todo el día" [Today it has rained the whole day].

Caption 69, Carlos explica El pretérito Cap. 2: Perfecto compuesto I

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The examples above entail specific but different time periods. When the speaker says Ya hemos visto (We have already seen) in the first example, he is referring to us having already seen the importance of recycling in that video. In the second caption, the speaker asks if the people to whom he is speaking have ever (alguna vez) wondered, in their entire lives. And finally, this third example of the present perfect in Spanish explains what has happened that day.

 

It is important to note that while sentences in the present perfect often contain such references to the time period they describe as todo el día (all day), alguna vez (ever), ya (already), etc., this is not always the case. For example, in an effort to find out if "you have (ever) traveled to Spain," someone might simply ask: ¿Has viajado a España? 

 

Discrepancy Between the Spanish and English Present Perfect Tenses

Sometimes, Spanish speakers from Spain in particular use the present perfect to talk about actions in the recent past in situations in which English speakers would most likely use the past tense and Latin Americans would probably use the Spanish preterite. Let's look at an example:

 

Hola, soy Ariana Moreno y he dormido fatal. He pasado una mala noche. 

Hello, I'm Ariana Moreno, and I've slept horribly. I've had a bad night.

Captions 1-3, Ariana Cita médica

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Although the translators at Yabla opted to literally translate he dormido (I've slept) and he pasado (I've spent) with the present perfect in English, the English version sounds a bit awkward in this context because an English speaker would almost always say "I slept horribly. I had a bad night" when referring to the previous night. A Spanish-speaker from Central or South America, on the other hand, might say: "Dormí fatal. Pasé una mala noche" in the preterite. Let's look at another example: 

 

Pues nada, que ha empezado el día superbién, se ha levantado a las ocho, ha desayunado en la cafetería al lado de la escuela como siempre, ha venido a clase, hemos tenido la clase como todos los lunes.

Well, she's started the day very well, she's gotten up at eight, she's had breakfast in the cafeteria next to the school as always, she's come to class, we've had the class like every Monday.

Captions 6-10, El Aula Azul Conversación: Un día de mala suerte

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The caption above illustrates once again that, although the same is not true in English, when talking about the very recent past (typically the same day or perhaps the previous night), Spanish speakers from Spain are much more likely to employ the present perfect tense.

 

We hope that this lesson has made it clear how to conjugate and use the present perfect tense in Spanish. For further explanation and examples, check out Carlos' video on El pretérito compuestoor "Compound perfect," which is yet another name for the present perfect in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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The Three Grammatical Moods in Spanish

What are grammatical "moods"? Many definitions of grammatical moods in linguistics explain them as features of verbs that describe "modality." But, what is "modality"?

 

In a nutshell, "modality" refers to a speaker's attitude toward what he or she is saying, which might entail such concepts as possibility, probability, certainty or doubt. "Moods" are not the same as tenses, which convey when things happen, and each of the sixteen Spanish tenses fall into one of the three mood categories. That said, let's delve deeper into the three grammatical moods in Spanish: the indicative, the subjunctive, and the imperative.

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1. The Indicative Mood

Most simply put, the indicative mood describes facts, things about which the speaker is certain, or "the objective truth." Let's take a look at some examples of sentences with verbs in the indicative mood. 

 

Estoy seguro que voy a poder ayudarla en algo.

I'm sure that I am going to be able to help you with something.

Caption 7, Yago 9 Recuperación - Part 7

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This speaker says in the Spanish present indicative tense that he's seguro (sure) that he will be able to help the person to whom he's speaking. Such phrases referring to certainty like Estoy seguro que (I'm sure that) or even Yo creo que (I believe that) are tip-offs that the verb(s) that follow(s) will be in the indicative because they indicate conviction. However, many examples of verbs in the indicative mood in Spanish won't be quite so straightforward. 

 

Hablaremos sobre el candombe.

We'll talk about candombe.

Caption 11, Sonido Babel El candombe de Uruguay

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In this example of the future indicative tense in Spanish, the speaker states (with certainty) what it is he will talk about. Let's take a look at an additional example. 

 

¡Sí! Fuimos a buscar conchas pero no fue fácil encontrarlas.

Yes! We went to look for shells but it wasn't easy to find them.

Caption 13, Guillermina y Candelario El Manglar

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In this final example in the Spanish preterite tense, the speaker clearly states the objective truth about what happened in the past: Fuimos a buscar (We went to look for) seashells, and no fue (it wasn't) easy. Although whether or not something is easy is a subjective concept, it is important to remember that it is the speaker's attitude or belief about what he or she is stating that determines the mood. 

 

There are ten verb tenses in the Spanish indicative mood: the present, the imperfect, the preterite, the future, the simple conditional, the present perfect, the pluperfect, the past anterior, the conditional perfect, and the future perfect. For a closer look at each of these tenses with examples, we recommend this lesson on the Spanish indicative tenses. 

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2. The Subjunctive Mood

While the indicative conveys certainty and objectivity, the subjunctive conveys such opposing concepts as subjectivity, doubt, wishful thinking, hypothetical situations, and more. Let's take a look at some examples:

 

No, no, no. No creo que sea muy peligroso

No, no, no. I don't think he's very dangerous,

Caption 55, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 8

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Just like the expression Creo que (I believe that) lets you know that the following verb will be conjugated in the indicative, the phrase No creo que (I don't believe that) is an indicator for the subjunctive. Although we won't enter into verb conjugation in this lesson, we will say that verbs in the subjunctive mood are conjugated differently than in the indicative: for example, sea is the subjunctive conjugation of ser (to be) in third person singular and is thus used in place of the indicative form es. Let's take a look at another example:

 

de verdad, esperamos que te hayamos podido devolver la alegría.

we really hope that we've been able to give you back your joy.

Caption 58, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 17

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Here, the indicative present perfect form hemos podido (we've been able) has been replaced with the subjunctive present perfect, hayamos podido, because the speaker is expressing a hope that something has happened rather than stating that it actually has. Let's look at another example of the subjunctive mood in Spanish:

 

Si yo fuera un hombre, yo pensaría que las mujeres son complicadas.

If I were a man, I would think that women are complicated.

Caption 28, Conjugación El verbo 'pensar'

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This sentence employs a common construction that combines the imperfect subjunctive with the Spanish conditional tense to talk about what "would" happen "were" a hypothetical situation in place. 

 

Learning all of the situations and/or constructions that require the subjunctive mood in Spanish can be quite challenging for native English speakers since verbs in the subjunctive mood in English rarely change. As a guideline, statements in which the second verb in a construction changes to the subjunctive include wishes like deseo que (I wish that...), emotions like me alegro de que (I'm happy that...), impersonal expressions like es importante que (it's important that...), recommendations like sugiero que (I suggest that...), and doubts like dudo que (I doubt that...), just to name a few. 

 

The Spanish subjunctive mood encompasses six tenses: the present subjunctive, the imperfect subjunctive, the future subjunctive, the present perfect subjunctive, the pluperfect subjunctive, and the future perfect subjunctive, which are explained in greater detail in this lesson on the subjunctive tenses in Spanish that also touches on our third and final Spanish mood. 

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3. The Imperative Mood 

Understanding the speaker's "attitude" in the imperative mood is less nuanced: one is "ordering" or "commanding" someone else to do something:

 

¡Hazlo todo de nuevo!

Do it all over again!

Caption 32, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 7

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This is an example of a positive, informal command (with , or the singular, informal "you") in Spanish. Let's see another example:

 

Chicos, no me hagan esta broma tan pesada. 

Guys, don't play this very annoying joke on me.

Caption 49, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 1

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Here, we see the negative command that corresponds to the pronoun ustedes (plural "you"). Let's check out one more:

 

Empecemos por la forma, luego iremos al contenido. 

Let's start with the form, then we'll go on to the content.

Caption 6, Ana Carolina Condicionales

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This "less commanding" sentence reflects the imperative form that goes with nosotros/as, or "we," which you can learn more about in the lesson Let's Learn Spanish Commands with Nosotros/as.

 

We can group Spanish commands into eight categories: positive commands with , negative commands with, (positive or negative) commands with usted (formal "you"), (positive or negative) commands with ustedes (plural "you"), positive commands with vos (informal "you" in certain regions), positive commands with vosotros/as (informal plural "you" in Spain), negative commands with vosotros/as, and (positive or negative) commands with nosotros/as (we). For a more in-depth look at the various types of commands in Spanish, we recommend the following four-part  series on El modo imperativo.

 

We hope that this lesson has shed some light on the concept of the three grammatical "moods" in Spanish and would like to conclude it with an imperative sentence: No te olvides de dejarnos tus sugerencias y comentarios (Don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments).

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W.E.I.R.D.O.: An Acronym for Remembering When to Use the Subjunctive in Spanish

The use of the Spanish subjunctive can be a source of confusion for native English speakers. However, the easy-to-recall acronym W.E.I.R.D.O. can help you to understand when to use subjunctive in Spanish.

 

What is the Spanish Subjunctive Mood? 

The subjunctive is one of the three "moods" in Spanish: the indicative, the subjunctive, and the imperative. Most simply put, the imperative encompasses commands, the indicative describes objective or certain actions, and verbs in the subjunctive reflect subjectivity, a lack of certainty, or emotion.

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How Do You Know It's Subjunctive? 

You can tell a Spanish verb is subjunctive because it is conjugated differently than "normal." For example, while hablas means "You speak" in the indicative, if you wish to say, "I hope you speak," the verb changes to hables in the translation Espero que tú hables because the concept of "hoping" something happens is subjunctive. In contrast, while the English language is perfectly capable of expressing these same ideas, there is no difference in the form of the verbs in the equivalent sentences "You speak" and "I hope you speak."

 

Because the subjunctive is a mood rather than a tense, it might depict actions in the past, present, or future. For this reason, just like in the indicative mood, there are many subjunctive tenses in Spanish. That said, the examples in today's lesson will be in the present subjunctive, which you can learn how to formulate in this lesson on conjugating the present subjunctive in Spanish

 

When to Use Subjunctive in Spanish

The Spanish subjunctive is used in dependent clauses that are often introduced by que or another conjunction. Subjunctive sentences typically involve more than one subject and more than one verb. For example, in our aforementioned sentence: Yo espero que tú hables, there are two subjects, Yo (I) and (you), and two verbs, espero (I hope) and hables (you speak), with the subjunctive verb hables appearing in the dependent clause that follows the word que.

 

The amusing acronym W.E.I.R.D.O., which stands for Wishes, Emotions, Impersonal Expressions, Recommendations, Doubt/Denial, and Ojalá, can help you to remember several contexts that require the subjunctive. In each subcategory, we will introduce you to several verbs that "trigger" the use of the subjunctive.   

 

1. Wishes

Just because one wishes or hopes things will happen doesn't mean they will, not to mention those actions we ask (or even order!) others to perform. Spanish employs the subjunctive mood to talk about such situations, often using the common formula of a "wishing" verb plus que plus a verb in the present subjunctive. Let's take a look at some examples: 

 

Si queremos que nuestro café sea más dulce podemos añadir azúcar, nata, leche condensada, miel.

If we want for our coffee to be sweeter we can add sugar, cream, condensed milk, honey.

Captions 25-26, Karla e Isabel Como pedir un café

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Así que, esperamos que lo disfruten, que lo sepan gozar, pero eso sí de una manera muy sana.

So, we hope you enjoy it, that you know how to enjoy it, but mind you in a very healthy way.

Captions 25-26, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 1

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Solo te pido que me digas cuál de ellos es Triskas:

I'll just ask for you to tell me which of them is Triskas:

Captions 11-12, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 5: Ha nacido una estrella - Part 4

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Verbs that fall into this category of describing wishes or desires include desear (to want/wish/desire), esperar (to hope), exigir (to demand/require), insistir (to insist), mandar (to order), necesitar (to need), ordenar (to order), pedir (to ask), preferir (to prefer), and querer (to want).

 

2. Emotions

Spanish also utilizes the subjunctive mood to talk about one's feeling regarding some action or state, even if it's objectively true. As an example, if you wanted to say "I'm very happy you have a new job," you might use the formula emotion verb plus a conjunction (e.g. que or de que) plus a subjunctive verb to get: Me alegro mucho de que tengas un trabajo nuevo. Let's see some more examples:

 

Me alegro de que le guste

I'm glad you like it.

Caption 15, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 2

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A mí lo que me molesta es quetengas la verdad de todo. -Loca...

What bothers me is that you have the truth about everything. -Girl...

Caption 54, Yago 9 Recuperación - Part 4

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Encantada [de] que estés aquí, Carolina, bienvenida. -Muchas gracias. 

[I'm] delighted you're here, Carolina, welcome. -Thank you very much.

Caption 9, El reencuentro Las amigas hablan del trabajo y el amor.

 Play Caption
 

Note that in this last example, the speaker omits the implied verb estar (to be), using only the adjective encantada to convey her delight as is often done in spoken Spanish.

 

Some common emotion verbs that invoke the subjunctive include alegrarse (to be happy/glad), enojarse (to be/get angry), encantar (to delight), lamentar (to regret), molestar (to bother), sentir (to be sorry)and sorpender (to surprise), among others. For more ways to talk about feelings in Spanish, we recommend this lesson on expressing emotions in Spanish

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3. Impersonal Expressions

Impersonal expressions in both Spanish and English are constructions that do not involve a particular person, for example, Hace viento (It's windy). Impersonal expressions in Spanish that involve the word Es (It's) plus almost any adjective plus the word que are indicators that the verb that follows should be conjugated in the Spanish subjunctive. 

 

Although the adjectives in such impersonal expressions are innumerable, several popular ones include: agradable (nice), bueno (good), curioso (interesting), dudoso (doubtful), estupendo (great), extraño (strange), importante (important), increíble (amazing), necesario (necessary), probable (probable), raro (strange), urgente (urgent), and vergonzoso (embarrassing). Here are a few examples:

 

es raro que todavía no haya nadie. 

and it's strange that there's nobody [here] still.

Caption 38, Raquel Avisos de Megafonía

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Señor Di Carlo, es importante que hable con usted. 

Mister DiCarlo, it's important that I talk to you.

Caption 78, Muñeca Brava 41 La Fiesta - Part 6

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No es necesario que mientas.

It's not necessary for you to lie.

Caption 17, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 12

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Although impersonal expressions can typically be positive or negative and still require the subjunctive, as in this last example (no es necesario in lieu of es necesario), the exception is when they state facts. Examples include es verdad que (it's true that), es cierto que (it's certain that), es seguro que (it's sure that) and es un hecho que (it's a fact that). However, the negative versions of these phrases do require the Spanish subjunctive, as we see in the following examples in which only the second sentence calls for the subjunctive switch: 

 

Es un hecho que él está enfermo (It's a fact that he's sick) = INDICATIVE.

No eun hecho que él esté enfermo (It's not a fact that he's sick) = SUBJUNCTIVE.

 

4. Recommendations

As with wishes, the fact we can't be sure if the actions we suggest or recommend will come to fruition is expressed with the subjunctive in Spanish. Our formula would thus consist of a "recommending verb" plus que plus a verb in subjunctive. Such "recommending" verbs include but aren't limited to aconsejar (to advise), decir (to tell), dejar (to allow), exigir (to demand), hacer (to make/force), insistir (to insist), mandar (to order), ordenar (to order), prohibir (to forbid), proponer (to propose), recomendar (to recommend), rogar (to beg), sugerir (to suggest), and suplicar (to beg), some of which overlap with the "wishes" category. Let's see some examples: 

 

les sugiero que visiten el sugestivo Museo del oro, 

I suggest that you visit the intriguing Gold Museum,

Caption 34, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - Mitos y leyendas Muiscas

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te recomiendo que muevas algunos muebles del salón a la cocina.

I recommend that you move some pieces of furniture from the living room to the kitchen.

Captions 32-33, Karla e Isabel Preparar una fiesta

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les aconsejo que vayan a Zipaquirá,

I advise you to go to Zipaquira,

Caption 29, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - Mitos y leyendas Muiscas

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The Yabla video Escuela Don Quijote- En el aula- Part 1 can teach you even more about using the Spanish subjunctive to give advice.

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5. Doubt and Denial 

Sentences that express doubt and denial also call for the Spanish subjunctive via a similar formula: a doubt/denial verb plus que plus a verb in the subjunctive. Interestingly, although this includes the verb dudar (to doubt) in sentences like Dudo que venga (I doubt he'll come), most of the other verbs in this category are negative, in other words, consist of a verb with "no" in front of it. Examples include: no creer (to not believe), no estar seguro (to not be sure), no parecer (to not seem), no pensar (to not think), and no suponer (to not suppose). Let's see some of these in action:

 

No, no. No creo que haga falta; eso ya está aclarado.

No, no. I don't think it's necessary; that's already cleared up.

Caption 36, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 5

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No, no me parece que queden bien.

No, it doesn't seem like you fit together well to me.

Caption 41, Misión Chef 2 - Pruebas - Part 5

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On the other hand, the positive versions of these very same verbs (without no) trigger the indicative rather than the subjunctive:

 

Me parece que es la hora de terminar, ¿eh?

I think it's time to finish, huh?

Caption 76, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: parecer y parecerse

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Creo que necesito ir al médico.

I think I need to go to the doctor.

Caption 4, Ariana Cita médica

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6. Ojalá

Another construction that always goes with the subjunctive is ojalá que (or sometimes just ojalá), which can be translated with such expressions as "I hope," "Let's hope," "If only," and even "God willing." This can be seen in the title of the famous (and very catchy!) tune by Juan Luis Guerra, Ojalá que llueva café en el campo (I Hope it Rains Coffee on the Countryside). Let's watch another couple of examples from our Yabla video library: 

 

Pues, ojalá que tengáis siempre abiertas las puertas de vuestras casas y de vuestros corazones

Well, I hope that you always have open the doors to your homes and your hearts

Captions 56-57, Luis Guitarra Llegaste tú

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Ojalá que todo siga así.

I hope everything keeps going like that.

Caption 60, El reencuentro Las amigas hablan del trabajo y el amor.

 Play Caption

 

For more examples, check out Clase Aula Azul's video on the use of ojalá with the subjunctive in Spanish. Let's conclude with one last example:

 

Bueno, muchas gracias y... y ojalá nos veamos pronto.

Well, thank you very much and... and I hope we see each other soon.

Caption 36, Los Juegos Olímpicos Mario Mola

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Our sentiments exactly! On that note, we hope you've enjoyed this lesson on when to use the subjunctive in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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"Let's Learn" Spanish Commands with Nosotros/as

In past lessons, we have spoken about informal commands and formal commands in Spanish when addressed to one or more people. But, what if we want to give a command to a group of people of which we are a part? That's where the imperative form for nosotros/as ("we") comes in. 

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Meaning of Commands with Nosotros/as

While the meaning of positive and negative commands with , usted, ustedes, and vosotros can feel more, well... "commanding" ("Do this!" or "Don't do that!"), the translation for commands with nosotros/as sounds more like a suggestion: "Let's..." do such and such a thing. That said, "let's take a look at(veamos) a few examples:

 

Miremos quién era Pablo Escobar.

Let's look at who Pablo Escobar was.

Caption 3, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 1 - Part 7

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Comamos una pasta.

Let's eat some pasta.

Caption 74, Sofy y Caro Comida en un restaurante

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y abramos nuestro corazón a otras culturas,

and let's open our hearts to other cultures,

Caption 79, Silvina Una entrevista con la artista

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Conjugating the Imperative with Nosotros in Spanish

Now that we know the meaning of nosotros commands, let's learn how to conjugate them. In order to do so, we should revisit (or learn) how to conjugate verbs in the present subjunctive because the nosotros/as imperative form is the same as the nosotros/as present subjunctive.

 

To summarize briefly, to conjugate the present subjunctive, we take a verb's stem (most typically the yo form of the verb minus the -o), and add the appropriate endings (-e, -es, -e, -emos, -éis, and -en for -ar verbs and -a, -as, -a, -amos, -áis, and -an for -er and -ir verbs). Let's take a look:

 

Personal Pronoun: -ar Verbs -er Verbs  -ir Verbs
yo hable coma suba
hables  comas  subas
él/ella/usted hable  coma suba
nosotros/as hablemos comamos subamos
vosotros/as habléis comáis subáis
ellos/ellas/ustedes hablen coman suban

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although these are simple examples with regular verbs, other verbs are a bit more complex. For example, stem-changing verbs like perder (to lose), which changes to pierdo in the present, change stems in the subjunctive in all forms except nosotros/as and vosotros/as, making the conjugation in the nosotros form perdamos (rather than pierdamos). However, the important thing to remember is that the present subjunctive "we" form is the exact same as the nosotros/as command form! So, if you know one, you know the other.

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Negative Commands with Nosotros 

So, how do we tell someone "let's not" (do something)? As Carlos explains to us in the following clip, constructing a negative command with nosostros in Spanish is as easy as adding "no" in front of the affirmative form:

 

imperativo afirmativo: "Hablemos de este tema", imperativo negativo: "No hablemos de esto con tu mamá".

affirmative imperative: "Hablemos de este tema" [Let's talk about this subject], negative imperative: "No hablemos de esto con tu mamá" [Let's not talk about this with your mom].

Captions 30-32, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 4: Nosotros + reflexivos

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Let's see one more example: 

 

Así que no perdamos más tiempo

So let's not waste any more time

Caption 11, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 2

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Irregular Nosotros Command Verbs

Of course, verbs that have an irregular form in the present subjunctive also have an irregular form in the nosotros/as imperative form, for example, sepamos for saber, seamos for ser, estemos for estar, etc. So, when we talk about irregular verbs in the nosotros command form, we are talking about verbs whose form deviates from the present subjunctive form. This is only the case for the verb ir (to go) because, to say "Let's go" in Spanish, the present indicative conjugation of nosotros is used rather than the present subjunctive conjugation: 

 

Vamos, Merycita.

Let's go, Merycita.

Caption 39, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 3

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On the other hand, when we want to say "Let's not go," we do use the subjunctive form, vayamos:

 

No vayamos al evento.

Let's not go to the event.

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An Alternative Way to Say "Let's" in Spanish

An alternative way to say "Let's" in Spanish is with the following formula:

 

Ir (to go) conjugated in the nosotros form + a (to) + infinitive verb

 

Let's take a look at some examples:

 

¡Vamos a bailar!

Let's dance!

Caption 36, Guillermina y Candelario La competencia de baile - Part 2

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Bueno, vamos a ver.

Well, let's see.

Caption 4, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 3 - Sam aprende a ligar - Part 2

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¡Vamos a empezar!

Let's begin!

Caption 10, Ana Carolina Gérmenes

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Note that while this very same construction can also mean "we are going to" (do something), you will often be able to tell one's intended meaning from context. For example, in the caption above, ¡Vamos a bailar! has been translated as "Let's dance!" However, if a dance teacher said, Hoy vamos a bailar la cumbia as an explanation of the class's daily agenda, the more likely translation would be "Today, we're going to dance cumbia." That said, there are cases in which the intention of such a statement may be difficult to discern. 

 

For more on this topic, check out Carlos' video on the imperative with nosotros. We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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¡Feliz Halloween! (Happy Halloween!)

Today's lesson will highlight clips from our Yabla Spanish library to teach you some pertinent terms to talk about many people's favorite holiday... Halloween!!! So get ready, and enjoy this lesson about Halloween in Spanish!

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How do you say Halloween in Spanish?

Although Halloween is primarily thought of as a North American holiday, its fun festivities have been adopted by many countries throughout the world. When we speak about Halloween in Spanish, we typically keep its English name:

 

Esta noche es Halloween y seguro que muchas veces habéis pensado disfrazaros con vuestra mascota

Tonight is Halloween and surely you've thought many times of dressing up with your pet

Captions 137-138, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Coatís

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This caption describes the common Halloween costumbre (custom) of disfrazarse (dressing up). You'll note from the previous sentence that costumbre means "custom" or "tradition" rather than "costume" as you might think, making it somewhat of a false cognate. On the other hand, the correct way to say "the costume" in Spanish is el disfraz.

 

Ay, Aurelito, ¿me prestarías un disfraz?

Oh, Aurelito, would you lend me a costume?

Caption 32, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 2

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What other vocabulary words might we associate with Halloween? We might start by reviewing some Spanish vocabulary for the autumn season since Halloween falls at that time of year. We could then move on to some of Halloween's personajes más espeluznantes (spookiest characters).

 

Halloween Characters in Spanish

Let's look at some video clips that include the names of some of the most typical Halloween characters:

 

¿Quién no ha querido a una diosa licántropa

Who hasn't loved a werewolf goddess?

Caption 5, Shakira Loba

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porque sí sé... ahí está el monstruo.

because I know... here's the monster.

Caption 29, Antonio Vargas - Artista Comic

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El fantasma y la loca se quieren casar

The ghost and the madwoman want to get married

Caption 24, Gloria Trevi Psicofonía

 Play Caption

 

En la época, eran utilizadas para espantar las brujas 

In the era, they were used to scare away witches

Caption 46, Viajando en Colombia Cartagena en coche - Part 2

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And speaking of espantar (to scare away), let's look at some additional Spanish words that mean "to scare," "be scared," or "scary."
 

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"Scary" Halloween Terms

To Scare:

Let's look at another verb that means "to frighten" or "scare": 

 

o cuando hay una fecha importante, ellos salen... a divertir y a asustar a la gente porque están como unos diablos.

or when there is an important date, they go out... to amuse and to frighten people because they're [dressed] like devils.

Captions 45-46, El Trip Ibiza

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And, in addition to asustar, we learn the word for another Halloween character: un diablo (a devil). Let's see another verb that means "to scare": 

 

¡Me da miedo! -¡Ahí te tienes que quedar, ya está!

It scares me! -There you have to stay, ready!

Caption 24, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 7

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Note that the noun el miedo means "the fear," and the verb dar miedo (literally "to give fear") can thus mean either "to scare" or "be scary." When employed in conjunction with an indirect object pronoun to indicate to whom this action is happening (le in this case, which corresponds with usted), the most common translation is "to scare," as we see in this caption. 

 

To Be Scared:

So, what if we want to say that we "are" or "feel scared"? A common verb for this is tener miedo (literally "to have fear"), as seen in this caption with the Halloween-appropriate noun la oscuridad (the dark/darkness):

 

¡Porque le tiene miedo a la oscuridad!

Because he's afraid of the dark!

Caption 24, Guillermina y Candelario El parque de diversiones - Part 2

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The reflexive form of asustar, asustarse, also means "to be" or "get scared":

 

Aparecieron unos cazadores, y el patito se asustó mucho

Some hunters appeared, and the duckling got really scared

Caption 36, Cleer El patito feo

 Play Caption

 

Yet another way to talk about being "scared" in Spanish is with adjectives like asustado (scared) or aterrorizado (terrified): 

 

Llegan muy asustados, muy aterrorizados,

They arrive very scared, very terrified,

Caption 25, Los Reporteros Caza con Galgo - Part 3

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For more on the ways in which verbs, adjectives, and nouns can be used to describe our feelings, be sure to check out our lesson on expressing emotions in Spanish

 

Scary:

Let's conclude this section with a few ways to express the concept of "scary":

 

¡Uy, qué miedo!

Oh, how scary!

Caption 21, Guillermina y Candelario La Peluqueria del Mar - Part 1

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Literally meaning "What fear!" the Spanish expression ¡Qué miedo! is a common way to say "how scary" something is. We can also use our previously-mentioned verb dar miedo (this time without the indirect object pronoun) to convey the idea of "being scary":

 

Eh... Sí. Lo desconocido siempre da miedo.

Um... Yes. The unknown is always scary.

Caption 13, Yago 13 La verdad - Part 8

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We can also say "scary" with adjectives like escalofriante, sinestro/a, or miedoso/a:

 

¿Y esa calavera tan miedosa?

And that very scary skull?

Caption 20, Guillermina y Candelario Un pez mágico - Part 2

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And with the word for "the skull" in Spanish (la calavera), we come to our last category: Halloween objects! 

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Halloween Objects 

If we know how to say "skull," we had better find out how to say "skeleton" in Spanish:

 

con una forma parecida a la del esqueleto de un dinosaurio,

with a shape similar to that of a dinosaur's skeleton,

Caption 30, Raquel Valencia - Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

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So, where might we find such esqueletos? Why, in their tumbas (graves) in el cementerio (the cemetery) of course!

 

en Ricardo, en su tumba en el cementerio,

about Ricardo in his grave in the cemetery,

Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 8

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So, let's set the scene in that cemetery with a "full moon" in Spanish, which might inspire some hombre lobo (another word for "werewolf") to come out:

 

la luna llena Por los cielos azulosos, infinitos y profundos esparcía su luz blanca 

And the full moon In the bluish skies, infinite and profound, scattered its white light

Captions 11-12, Acercándonos a la Literatura José Asunción Silva - "Nocturno III"

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Now, let's focus on some slightly less ominous symbols of Halloween such as el gato negro (the black cat), seen in its diminutive form in the following caption:

 

También está este gatito negro

There's also this black kitty

Caption 73, Fermín y los gatos Mis gatas vecinas

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The "pumpkin" is, perhaps, the most famed Halloween symbol of all:

 

Justo en el doblez del papel, trazamos la mitad de la calabaza.

Right on the fold of the paper, we draw half of the pumpkin.

Caption 67, Manos a la obra Papel picado para Día de muertos

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And finally, we associate Halloween with trick-or-treating, or going door to door to get "candy":

 

Y ahora cortamos pedacitos de caramelo.

And now we cut little pieces of candy.

Caption 38, Manos a la obra Postres de Minecraft

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The way to say "Trick or treat!" varies from region to region, but some popular ways are: "Dulce o truco" in Argentina, "Dulce o travesura" in Mexico, and the more literal but less accurate "Truco o trato" (from the verb "tratar," or "to treat") in Spain, where they also say "Dulce o caramelo." In Colombia, you might hear "Triqui, triqui," where kids sing the following song:

 

Triqui triqui Halloween/Quiero dulces para mí/Si no hay dulces para mí/se le crece la naríz,

which translates as:

Trick or treat, Halloween/I want treats for me/If there are no treats for me/Your nose will grow.

 

Meanwhile, Pedir dulce o truco/travesura, etc. can be used to talk about the action of  "trick-or-treating."

 

Halloween Vocabulary in Review

Let’s conclude today’s lesson with a review of the Halloween vocabulary we have learned:

 

el Halloween: Halloween

¡Feliz Halloween! Happy Halloween! 

difrazarse: to dress up 

el disfraz: the costume 

la costumbre: the custom, tradition

el personaje: the character

espeluznante: spooky

el/la licántropo/a: the werewolf

el hombre lobo: the werewolf

el monstruo: the monster

el fantasma: the ghost

el/la loco/a: the madman/madwoman

la bruja: the witch

el diablo: the devil 

espantar: to scare away

asustar: to scare 

el miedo: the fear

dar miedo: to scare/be scary

tener miedo: to be scared

asustarse: to be/get scared

asustado/a: scared/frightened

aterrorizado/a: terrified 

escalofriante: scary

siniestro/a: scary

miedoso/a: scary

¡Qué miedo! How scary!

la oscuridad: the darkness/dark

la calavera: the skull 

el esqueletothe skeleton

la tumba: the grave

el cementerio: the cemetery

la luna llena: the full moon

el gato negro: the black cat

la calabaza: the pumkin

el caramelo: the candy

¡Dulce o truco/travesura/caramelo! Trick or treat!

¡Truco o trato! Trick or treat!

¡Triqui triqui! Trick or treat!

Pedir dulce o truco/travesura: to go trick or treating 

 

We hope you've enjoyed this lesson about Halloween in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments. 

 

¡Feliz Halloween! (Happy Halloween!).

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The Spanish Future Tense

The Spanish future tense is one of the most straightforward tenses in Spanish, both in terms of knowing when to use it and how to conjugate it. Let's take a closer look at this tense.

 

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What Is the Future Tense in Spanish?

The future tense in Spanish corresponds to the English construction with "will" plus a verb and is used to talk about actions that are slated to happen in the future or that someone has the intention to carry out. Simple English examples of this concept include: "Tomorrow, I will go to the store," or "Next week, it will rain." With this in mind, let's examine several examples of the future tense in Spanish:

 

y hoy les hablaré de una de mis pasiones:

and today, I'll talk to you about one of my passions:

Caption 4, Ana Carolina La meditación

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Yo creo que esto lo venderemos súper bien. 

I think we'll sell this one really well.

Caption 44, Santuario para burros Tienda solidaria

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El botón [sic] la ayudará con su equipaje y lo subirá en un par de minutos a la habitación.

The porter will help you with your luggage and will take it up to the room in a couple of minutes.

Captions 61-62, Cleer y Lida Recepción de hotel

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Note that as English "will" constructions are often expressed with contractions (the personal pronoun plus apostrophe double l, such as "I'll," "we'll," etc.), many Spanish future tense verbs can be translated to English in this less formal fashion.

 

Conjugating the Future Tense in Spanish 

Conjugating most verbs in the future tense in Spanish is quite simple. You just take the verb's infinitive ("to" form) in its entirety and add the corresponding future tense ending. So, using the verbs in our previous examples, we'd start with their infinitive forms: hablar (to talk), vender (to sell), ayudar (to help), and subir (to take up). You will note that these infinitive verbs fall into all three infinitive verb categories: -ar, -er, and -ir

 

Step two of the process of conjugating Spanish future tense verbs is to memorize the quite simple endings that correspond to their personal pronouns, which are as follows:

 

Personal Pronoun: Ending:
Yo:
Tú: -ás
Él/ella/usted: -á
Nosotros/nosotras: -emos
Vosotros/vosotras: -éis
Ellos/ellas/ustedes: -án

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armed with this information, let's conjugate some future tense verbs using different verbs and personal pronouns than the examples above.

 

1. Suppose we want to say that more than one person "will see" something (with the personal pronoun ustedes, or plural "you"). We would take the infinitive verb ver (to see) and add the appropriate ending (-án) to get verán:

 

Mañana ustedes verán si nos... si nos medimos a ese, a ese reto.

Tomorrow you guys will see if we... if we measure up to that, to that challenge.

Captions 36-37, Festivaliando Mono Núñez - Part 13

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2. Now, let's imagine that you want to tell more than one person in a familiar environment what they'll "need." Oh— and you're in Spain, where the personal pronouns vosotros/as are the way to address more than one person as "you" informally. We'd take the verb for "to need" (necesitar) and the corresponding ending -éis to get necesitaréis:

 

Para empezar a hacer la tortilla española, necesitaréis los siguientes ingredientes:

To start to make the Spanish tortilla, you'll need the following ingredients:

Captions 8-9, Clara cocina Una tortilla española

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3. And finally, what if you would like to say with the tú (informal "you") form to someone what he or she "will discover"? You'd start with the verb descubrir (to discover) and add the -ás ending that goes with to get descubrirás:

 

Pronto lo descubrirás

Soon you'll discover it

Caption 68, X6 1 - La banda - Part 2

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Irregular Verbs in the Spanish Future Tense

As with all Spanish verb tenses, there are some irregular verbs in the future tense in Spanish, many of which are extremely common. That said, it would behoove you to memorize the following stems, which are used in lieu of these verbs' infinitives to conjugate the "top twelve" irregular future tense verbs in Spanish: 

 

Irregular Verb:  Stem:
caber (to fit):  cabr-
decir (to tell): dir-
haber (to have/be): habr-
hacer (to make/do): har-
poder (to be able): podr-
poner (to put): pondr-
querer (to want): querr-
saber (to know): sabr-
salir (to leave): saldr-
tener (to have): tendr-
valer (to be worth): valdr-
venir (to come): vendr-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, let's conjugate a few of these irregular Spanish future tense verbs: 

 

1. How would we express "I'll say" in Spanish? Rather than the infinitive, we'd take the aforementioned stem for the Spanish verb decir, -dir, and add the ending that corresponds with yo (I), or -é, to get diré:

 

Primero, diré el verbo en infinitivo,

First, I'll say the verb in the infinitive,

Caption 38, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 1: Tú + vos

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2. How would we say "you'll have" in Spanish? Take the stem of the irregular verb tener (to have), tendr-, and add the ending for (you), -ás, to get: tendrás.

 

Sí, después de las clases en grupo, tendrás media hora de descanso

Yes, after the group classes, you'll have a half hour break

Caption 27, El Aula Azul Las actividades de la escuela - Part 1

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3. And finally, what if want to express that "we'll be able" to do something? We'll take podr-, the stem for the verb for "to be able" (poder), and add the ending for nosotros/as, -emos, to come up with podremos:

 

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

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

Caption 55, Carlos explica Acentuación Cap. 3: La división en sílabas - Part 1

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An Alternative Use for the Future Tense

Although the translations for Spanish verbs conjugated in the Spanish future tense almost always involve the word "will," the future tense in Spanish can occasionally be used to express doubt or disbelief, and, in such cases, corresponds more closely with the English concepts of "would," "could," "might," or "may."  Such cases are typically quite clear from their contexts as inserting the word "will" would seem nonsensical. Let's take a look at a couple of examples: 

 

¿No tendrás unos pesitos para mí?

You wouldn't have a few pesos for me?

Caption 23, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 14

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Favio, ¿dónde estarás?

Favio, where could you be?

Caption 44, Yago 1 La llegada - Part 7

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Having said that, in the vast majority of the cases you will come across, the future tense in Spanish can be translated with "will." 

 

We hope you've enjoyed this lesson on the future tense in Spanish. If you are interested in verb tenses, we recommend you check out our lessons on all of the Spanish verb tenses, beginning with the indicative verb tenses in Spanish and moving on to the Spanish subjunctive tenses. And, for an even deeper look into the future tense in Spanish with a plethora of example sentences, we recommend you check out this extended lesson by Javi on the future tense in Spanish as well as this lesson on an alternative to the Spanish future tense

 

That's all for today! Don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments, and estaremos en contacto (we'll be in touch).

 

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