Lezioni spagnolo

Argomenti

Lessons for topic Grammar

"Tipo de Trabajo" or "Tipo de Trabajos"? That Is the Question!

To begin this lesson, let's take a look at a caption in a Yabla video that recently baffled one our subscribers:

 

Obviamente, la comunicación es la esencia de este tipo de trabajos.

Obviously, communication is the essence of this type of job.

Caption 40, Negocios - La solicitud de empleo

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Spanish sentences such as this one involving "tipo de" ["type" or "types of"] tend to confuse English speakers. After all, the literal translation of this sentence would read, "Obviously, communication is the essence of this type of jobs," which doesn’t work in English since “this” is singular and “jobs” is plural. In the vast majority of similar constructions in English involving countable nouns (nouns like "leaf/leaves," "cookie/cookies," etc. that can be physically counted), there must be singular/singular or plural/plural agreement, leaving one with the choice of either "this type of job" or "these types of jobs." 

 

However, this is not the case in Spanish since singular with plural is the most common construction, or occasionally singular with singular in the case of a single noun. Let’s look at some examples of each of these cases:

 

Singular with Plural with Countable Nouns: 

 

Si a todo esto añadimos otro tipo de problemas medio ambientales.

If to all this we add another kind of environmental problem.

Caption 16, 3R - Campaña de reciclaje

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Yo sí tengo la esperanza que se reduzc'... se reduzcan este tipo de eventos, ¿no?

I do have the hope that these types of occurrences will be red'... will be reduced, right?

Caption 57, Amigos D.F. - El secuestrar

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Singular with Singular (with a Single Countable Noun): 

 

¿Qué tipo de habitación desea?

What kind of room would you like?

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

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Note that in the case above, habitación is considered a single noun since the gentleman being addressed is only looking for one room; hence the singular with singular construction.

 

Uncountable Nouns: 

In both Spanish and English, uncountable nouns (nouns like "water," "coffee," "love," etc. that cannot be counted) go in singular with tipo de (or "type(s)" or "kind(s)") of as follows: 

 

Y digamos que conforme se va fabricando ese tipo de líquido,

And let's say that just as that type of liquid is being produced,

Caption 92, Animales en familia - La operación de Yaki

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En ellos, recibió todo tipo de apoyo de sus simpatizantes.

In them, he got all kinds of support from his followers.

Caption 35, Andrés Manuel López Obrador - Publicidad de Obrador

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To add further confusion for English speakers (sorry!), in most such cases with "partitive" (referring to part of a whole) constructions like "tipo de," the verb can be conjugated in either singular or plural! Let's take a look at a couple of examples:

 

En cuanto al tipo de... trabajos que me gusta ver.

In terms of the types of... projects that I like to see.

Caption 22, Álvaro - Arquitecto Español en Londres

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Note that the verb gustar is conjugated in first person in accordance with the singular noun el tipo. However, without changing the translation, it would be perfectly acceptable to instead conjugate gustar in accordance with the plural trabajos:

 

En cuanto al tipo de... trabajos que me gustan ver.

In terms of the types of... projects that I like to see.

 

Let's look at one more example: 

 

Además, en la conjugación de los verbos,

Also, in the conjugation of verbs,

este tipo de sufijos nos indican.

these types of suffixes tell us.

Captions 35-36, Carlos explica - Diminutivos y Aumentativos Cap 1: Los sufijos

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While indicar is conjugated in accordace with the plural noun sufijos, it could alternatively be conjugated in accordance with the singular noun tipo

 

Además, en la conjugación de los verbos,

Also, in the conjugation of verbs,

este tipo de sufijos nos indica.           

these types of suffixes tell us.

 

Finally, it is worth noting that, in the cases of particular Spanish linking verbs like ser (to be), estar (to be), or parecer (to seem), the verb is nearly always conjugated in plural when followed by a subject complement (most simply defined as an "attribute"), as follows: 

 

Este tipo de bicicletas están pensadas

This type of bicycle is planned

para desplazamientos cortos.

for short distances.

Captions 5-6, Raquel - Alquilar una bicicleta

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To conclude, although we have focused on tipo de for the purpose of this lesson, other "partitive constructions" like el resto de (the rest of), la mayor parte de (most of), la mayoría de (most of), etc. function the same way.

 

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

 

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The Preterite Conjugation of Regular Spanish Verbs

Let's talk about the Spanish conjugation of regular verbs. In particular, let's see how to form the preterite conjugation of regular verbs ending in -ar, -er, and -ir. But first, let's review the main idea behind the preterite tense in Spanish.

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The Preterite Tense in Spanish

In very simple terms, when we talk about the Spanish preterite tense, we are talking about the simple past, in other words, a completed action that took place at a determined point in the past. Let's look at an example from the series where our friend Carlos talks about this tense:

 

Ayer trabajé hasta las ocho de la noche.

Yesterday I worked until eight at night.

Caption 30, Carlos explica - El pretérito Cap. 1: Perfecto simple o Indefinido

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In this example, trabajé is the preterite conjugation of the regular verb trabajar for the first-person singular yo (I). Note that the only change necessary to form the preterite in this example is removing the -ar ending of the infinitive verb and replacing it with the ending 

 

A Note About the Conjugations in This Lesson

There are a couple of things we want to mention about the conjugations you will find throughout this tutorial.

 

1. While usted (the formal, second-person singular "you") does not appear in our conjugation lists, keep in mind that when using that pronoun, the verb is conjugated in the exact same way as verbs in the third-person singular forms with él (he) and ella (she). Let's take a look at this in action with the preterite conjugation of the verb hablar (to speak/talk):

 

Usted habló de Fabio Sirenio.

You talked about Fabio Sirenio.

Caption 83, Yago - 7 Encuentros - Part 14

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Entonces él habló con...

So, he spoke with...

con los pescadores y los pescadores aceptaron.

with the fishermen and the fishermen accepted.

Caption 17, Instinto de conservación - Parque Tayrona

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2. In order to offer a more simplistic verb conjugation snapshot, in this article, we only employ the masculine versions of the plural forms nosotros (we), vosotros (you), and ellos (they). That said, keep in mind that the conjugations are the same for the feminine forms nosotras, vosotras, and ellas.

 

3. Just like ustedustedes (the standard second person plural "you" in Latin America and the formal second person plural in Spain) does not appear among the conjugations shared here. However, keep in mind that the conjugations of verbs with "ustedes" are the exact same as the third-person plural forms utilized with ellos and ellas (they). Let's look at an example of this with the preterite conjugation of the verb cantar (to sing):

 

Ustedes cantaron muy bien (You guys sang very well).

Ellos/Ellas cantaron muy bien (They sang very well).

 

Having said all this, let's explore the preterite conjugations of some regular verbs in Spanish.

 

The Preterite Conjugations of -AR Verbs

 

The Preterite Endings of -AR Verbs: (-é / -aste / -ó / -amos / -asteis / -aron)

Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the verb hablar (to speak).

 

Yo hablé (I spoke).

Tú hablaste (You spoke).

Él/Ella habló (He/She spoke).

Nosotros hablamos (We spoke).*

Vosotros hablasteis (You spoke).

Ellos hablaron (They spoke).

 

* It's important to note that because the verb conjugation for the first person plural "nosotros" (we) is the same for both the simple present and simple past tenses, the speaker's intention must be determined by context as follows: 

 

Nosotros estudiamos mucho todos los días (We study a lot every day).

Ayer nosotros estudiamos mucho (Yesterday, we studied a lot).

 

Examples of Preterite Conjugations with -AR Verbs:

 

Example 1.: The verb comprar (to buy)

 

¡Y compraste melones en vez de limones!*

And you bought melons instead of lemons!

Caption 16, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 2: Sam va de compras

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* Remember that pronouns are frequently omitted in Spanish. Thus, in the example above and without changing the meaning, one could say: "¡Y  compraste melones en vez de limones!" However, despite the fact that the speaker does not use the pronoun here, the -aste verb ending lets the listener know that the person referred to is "" (you).

 

Example 2.: The verb escuchar (to listen/hear)

 

La canción que escuchamos

The song that we heard

introduce la quinta parte del primer episodio.

introduces the fifth part of the first episode.

Caption 54, Carlos comenta - Los Años Maravillosos - La década de los 80 y música

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The Preterite Conjugations of -ER Verbs

 

The Preterite Endings of -ER Verbs: (-í / -iste / -ió / -imos / -isteis / -ieron).

Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the regular verb comer (to eat).

 

Yo comí (I ate).

Tú comiste (You ate).

Él/Ella com (He/She ate).

Nosotros comimos (We ate).

Vosotros comisteis (You ate).

Ellos comieron (They ate).

 

Examples of Preterite Conjugations with -ER Verbs:

 

Example 1.: The verb aprender (to learn)

 

...y aprendí que los pulpos pueden cambiar de color.

...and I learned that octopi can change color.

Caption 45, Guillermina y Candelario - La Señora Pulpo

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Example 2.: The verb vender (to sell)

 

Creo que vendimos unos quinientos dólares en unas...

I think we sold about five hundred dollars (worth) in about...

tres horas, dos horas.

three hours, two hours.

Captions 25-26, Un café con Julia - Año nuevo

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The Preterite Conjugations of -IR Verbs

 

The Preterite Endings of -IR Verbs: (-í / -iste / -ió / -imos / -isteis / -ieron)

Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the verb vivir (to live).

 

Yo viví (I lived).

Tú viviste (You lived).

Él/Ella viv (He/She lived).

Nosotros vivimos (We lived).

Vosotros vivisteis (You lived).

Ellos vivieron (They lived).

 

Examples of Preterite Conjugations with -IR Verbs:

 

Example 1.: The verb escribir (to write)

 

¿Por qué dices eso?

Why do you say that?

Porque una vez me escribiste

Because once you wrote to me

contándome que te casabas en Nueva York.

telling me that you were getting married in New York.

Captions 61-62, Yago - 6 Mentiras - Part 5

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Example 2.: The verb abrir (to open)

 

Primero, Lisa Bernal abrió la herida.

First, Lisa Bernal opened the wound.

Caption 61, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 6 - Part 4

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And with this example, we have reached the end of this lesson. But before we go, a little homework for you: go ahead and choose some other regular verbs and practice the Spanish conjugation of the preterite tense. Sooner or later, you will be able to master those preterite endings! We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

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The Many Meanings of the Verb Llegar

Since its straightforward translation is "to arrive," you might wonder if the Spanish verb llegar is worth a whole lesson. However, this is language, and we always find new meanings, uses, and/or idiomatic expressions. That said, let's take a few minutes to analyze this verb and see a qué conclusión podemos llegar ("what conclusion we can draw" or "come to").

 

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Llegar a(l) + Place

When we refer to a place, llegar means "to arrive." 

 

Soñé que llegaba al colegio y estaba sin ropa.

I dreamed that I arrived at school and I was [there] with no clothes.

Caption 27, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1

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Llegar a Alguien

Llegar can additonally mean to reach someone, either physically or emotionally. If someone shuts you out, no hay forma de llegar a esa persona (there's no way to reach that person). On the other hand, in the example below, the team at Biopark had not been able to physically reach the leopards. 

 

No había forma de... de llegar a ellos.

There wasn't any way to... to get close to them.

Caption 27, Animales en familia - Un día en Bioparc: Cachorro de leopardo

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Llegar + Point or Amount

Again with this idea of reaching, llegar can also be used with an amount or specific point in space as we see in the following examples: 

 

Supongo que si están un poquito más chaparritos,

I guess if you're a little bit shorter,

les ha de llegar al pecho.

it should come up to your chest.

Caption 24, Alan x el mundo - Mi playa favorita de México!

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Podremos estar llegando

We could be reaching

a los ochocientos mil euros aproximadamente.

eight hundred thousand euros approximately.

Caption 32, Los Reporteros - Crecen los robos en tiendas

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And speaking of money, there is a Spanish idiom that includes this verb: llegar a fin de mes (literally "to make it to the end of the month"), which is the Spanish equivalent of "making ends meet."

 

Llegar + Time References 

Llegar can be used with seasons, months, or times of day as well to indicate their beginning or arrival. In this context, it often translates as "to come": Cuando llega la noche / "When night comes" or "falls."

 

...y lo tuvo con ella hasta que llegó la primavera.

...and had him with her until spring came.

Caption 41, Cleer - El patito feo

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Llegar to Express Achievement 

Another meaning of llegar is "to achieve." It is actually a verb that collocates with éxito (success), so if you become succesful, has llegado al éxito (you've achieved success). 

 

De las etapas por las que pasan los conjuntos

Of the stages that groups go through

en su desarrollo y a lo que pueden llegar.

in their development and what they can become.

Captions 74-75, Arturo Vega - Entrevista

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Another possible translation of llegar is "to manage to" since when you llegas a hacer algo, you've succedeed in doing it after some effort.  

 

...de lo que yo quería como llegar a expresar, ¿sí?

...to what I wanted to, like, manage to express, right?

Caption 13, Bogotá - Fotógrafo José Segundo Quinche Pérez

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Llegar Preceded by si (to Introduce a Condition)

Sometimes, when llegar follows si to introduce a condition, it makes that condition a bit more remote since si llego a enterarme de algo is closer to if I happen to/manage to hear anything. 

 

Si llega a saber cualquier cosa que suceda

If you come to find out anything that happens

entre Milagros y su hermano, hágamela saber.

between Milagros and her brother, let me know about it.

Captions 21-22, Muñeca Brava - 33 El partido

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Si llega a pillarlos, me avisa y consigo la cámara.

If you manage to catch them, let me know and I'll get the camera.

Caption 72, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 4

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As you may notice, many of the meanings of the verb llegar are comparable to those of the English verb "to get" (e.g "to reach," "to arrive," "to manage," etc.).

 

We hope this lesson has been clear, but si llegan a tener dudas (if you happen to have any questions), don't forget to send us your questions, comments, and suggestions¡Hasta la próxima!

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All About the Verb Llevar and Its Many Uses

¿Cómo te llevas con el español? (How do you get along in Spanish?) Wait— didn't llevar mean "to take"? Well, yes... you're right! The verb llevar often translates as "to take," and not just in phrases like "take your umbrella" or "take your children to school," but also in collocations like "to take time." And these are just a few of the uses of the verb llevar that we'll examine in this lesson. Actually, llevaría más de una lección (it would take more than one lesson) to cover all of its uses. But let's try and do our best here!

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Llevar Meaning "To Take" Something or Someone Somewhere

 

We can llevar something from one place to another and also accompany or guide someone somewhere, as in the following examples:

 

Tengo la posibilidad de llevar todos los días al colegio a mi hijo.

I have the chance to take my son to school every day.

Caption 53, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 18

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Le voy a llevar de compras.

I'm going to take him shopping.

Caption 7, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 2: Sam va de compras

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It is no wonder, then, that the term for "takeout food" (comida para llevar) in Spanish can be literally translated as "food for taking":

 

Aquí había unas comidas para llevar. 

There were some takeout places here.

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

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Note that while the speaker uses the term for "takeout food" to refer to the location, it is more common to say casa de comidas para llevar to refer to a takeout restaurant. By the way, in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, these places are also called rotisería.

 

Llevar to Introduce Cause 

 

When this idea of direction goes beyond space to express cause, llevar means something closer to the verbs "to lead" or "to drive" in English, as in the following example:

 

Una cosa llevó a la otra, ¿no?

One thing led to another, right?

Caption 13, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 3

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A person might llevarte a la desesperación, a la ruina o a la locura ("lead" or "drive you to despair, bankrutpcy, or madness"), or maybe you are lucky and end up being very successful, like in this Yabla video:

 

Muchas veces, incluso nos puede llevar al éxito profesional.

Many times, it can even lead us to professional success.

Caption 13, Club de las ideas - Intuición

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Llevar Used with Time

 

Llevar also resembles "to take" when used with time, work, or effort to express that it is necessary to invest such time or effort in something. For instance, in one of our videos, María Sol explains that learning Spanish is a long process by saying that:

 

...de que puede llevar mucho tiempo.

...that it can take a long time.

Caption 29, GoSpanish - Entrevista con María Sol

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Yet, it can also be used to refer to the time that has gone by since the inception of something:

 

¿Cuánto tiempo llevas en Marbella? -En Marbella, cuarenta y un años.

How long have you been in Marbella? -In Marbella, forty-one years.

Caption 10, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 11

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Llevamos más de dos semanas sin agua.

We've been without water for more than two weeks.

Caption 24, Kikirikí - Agua

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Llevar Meaning "to Wear"

 

We also use llevar to refer to the clothing or glasses we "wear," or the way we have our hair, in sentences such as Llevaba lentes (He/She was wearing glasses) or María llevaba el cabello largo (María had long hair).

 

...y me gusta llevar faldas normalmente.

...and I like to wear skirts usually.

Caption 6, El Aula Azul - Actividades Diarias

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Llevar a Cabo

 

Another instance in which llevar can be translated as "to take" is when we use the expression llevar a cabo (to take place), which might also mean "to carry out" or "conduct" depending on the case/collocation.

 

Aquí se va a llevar a cabo el Campeonato WK.

Here, the WK Championship is going to take place.

Caption 3, Adícora, Venezuela - Víctor

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Dejarse Llevar

 

We'll often hear people inviting us to let go, relax, and enjoy the feeling of dejarse llevar (letting oneself go), another expression which incorporates this verb:

 

Hay que estar relajado y dejarse llevar, ¿no?

You should be relaxed and let yourself go, right?

Caption 12, Club de las ideas - Intuición

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Llevarse Bien/Mal 

 

Finally, we'll can state that nos llevamos bien/mal with a person or people to describe how well or poorly we "get along with" others.

 

Que la puedes llevar a una... a un sitio,

That you can take her to a... to a place,

y sabes que se va a llevar bien con todo el mundo...

and you know she'll get along with everyone...

Caption 61, Biografía - Enrique Iglesias

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As you can tell, there are so many uses of llevar that se hace difícil llevar la cuenta (it's hard to keep track) of all of them. We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions¡Hasta la próxima!

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How to Use Prepositional Pronouns in Spanish

In an interview appearing in the Spanish series, 75 minutos, we can hear a beautiful gypsy voice singing the following:

 

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

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

Soñé contigo, estoy sin ti y así llevo to' mi vi'a

I dreamed about you, I am without you, and I carry on like that all my life

Captions 10-11, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa

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Do you see that "ti" in the example above? That's a prepositional pronoun, or pronoun that follows a preposition. As prepositional pronouns may have been outshone in your studies by the complexity of object pronouns (me, te, se, le, etc.), let’s focus on them for a change.

 

A Look at Prepositional Pronouns in Action

When pronouns follow prepositions, they take on a special form in the first and second person singular, as follows:

 

Tú sabes que una fiesta sin mí no es una fiesta

You know that a party without me is not a party

porque yo soy el alma de las fiestas.

because I am the soul of parties.

Caption 19, Club 10 - Capítulo 1 - Part 2

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He sentido un flechazo por ti.

I felt love at first sight with you.

Caption 7, Cortometraje - Flechazos

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Note that, unlike the possessive adjective mi (e.g. Mi nombre, or "My name"), the prepositional pronoun  has a graphic accent (tilde) whereas ti does not. 

 

In contrast to the first and second persons, the other persons utilize the same form as the subject pronoun (él, ella, nosotros, etc.) and do not require any special form:

 

Es un poco estresante para nosotros.

It's a bit stressful for us.

Caption 6, Animales en familia - Un día en Bioparc: Cachorro de leopardo

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No, estoy hablando de ella.

No, I'm talking about her.

Caption 22, Muñeca Brava - 41 La Fiesta

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O en los brazos de ella.

Or in her arms.

Caption 21, El Ausente - Acto 3 - Part 8

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Reflexive Use of the Third Person

The third person is the only grammatical person to employ a specific form exclusively for reflexive use: . Although this form does not indicate gender or number, these aspects are apparent (and the agreement with the subject achieved) with the words mismo(s) and misma(s), which often follow the prepositional pronoun sí when expressing the idea of "himself" or "herself." 

 

Agente, Pierre Bernard no habló mucho de sí mismo.

Agent, Pierre Bernard didn't talk much about himself.

Caption 24, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 4

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 can also come after the preposition entre in the third person plural to express the idea of "with each other," as follows:

 

Entonces, ellas son amigas entre sí, también.

So, they are friends with each other also.

Caption 48, Clase Aula Azul - Información con subjuntivo e indicativo

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However, entre can be also followed by the subject pronouns yo and tú:

 

Pues lo que está sucediendo

Because what's happening

es entre tú y yo

is between you and me

Captions 26-27, Vivanativa - Si tú me quieres

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Conmigo, Contigo, and Consigo

 

Soñé contigo, estoy sin ti / I dreamed about you, I am without you

 

Considering the fact that pronouns do not often merge with the prepositions that preceed them, you may have wondered why conmigo, contigo and consigo are written as a single word. The fact is that the prepositional pronouns , ti, and have special forms when used with the preposition con.

 

Quédate conmigo

Stay with me

Caption 42, Carlos Baute y Marta Sanchez - Colgando en tus manos

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Bailar contigo y perdernos esta noche

Dancing with you and losing ourselves tonight

Caption 9, Monsieur Periné - Bailar Contigo

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Porque si no, muchas personas

Because otherwise, many people

tienen conflictos consigo mismas.

have conflicts with themselves.

Captions 2-3, Natalia de Ecuador - Los tipos de temperamento

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Some years ago, a politician in Latin America gained notoriety after saying conmigo o sinmigo, an egregious error for a native speaker of Spanish, let alone a public figure! Now that you have read this lesson, you can rest assured that contigo no tendremos ese problema (we won’t have that problem with you). We hope you liked this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

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The Preposition con in Spanish

Do you know how to use the preposition con (most commonly translated as "with") in Spanish? Let's explore some of the various ways of using this preposition correctly.

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Con to Describe Accompaniment

Like its English counterpart, the first use of the preposition con that most likely comes to mind is to introduce the concept of accompaniment by someone or something. We can find this use in the name of some of our series such as Aprendiendo con Carlos, Paseando con Karen, and also in the words of Ester from El Aula Azul:

 

Quédate con nosotros hoy

Stay with us today,

y aprende algo nuevo en nuestra clase.

and learn something new in our class.

Captions 4-5, Clase Aula Azul - Información con subjuntivo e indicativo

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The way con is used here is no different from the way we use "with" to describe accompaniment in English. However, it is worth mentioning that stranded prepositions (prepositions separated from their objects and often placed at the end of the sentence) do not occur in Spanish. Thus, a question like the one below must place the preposition con next to its object quién at the beginning of the sentence, as opposed to the manner in which "who" and "with" can be separated in informal English. 

 

¿Y con quién vives en Alemania?

And who do you live with in Germany?

Caption 21, La rutina diaria - La mañana

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Con Used to Indicate the Means or Tools Used to Do Something

The preposition con can also be employed to introduce the means or tools used to do an activity or achieve something. 

 

Hazlo primero con lápiz y después con plumón.

Do it first in pencil and then with a marker.

Caption 17, Manos a la obra - Separadores de libros: Pikachu

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Y os puedo asegurar que

And I can assure you that,

con paciencia y con disciplina se consigue todo.

with patience and discipline, one can achieve anything.

Caption 73, Fermín y los gatos - Mi gata Bimba

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We also use the preposition con in Spanish to introduce the way something is done or how it should be done:

 

¡Por acá, Guillermina, con cuidado!

Through here, Guillermina, carefully!

Caption 30, Guillermina y Candelario - Una película de terror

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Notice that the word cuidado can also appear before con in phrases such as the following:

 

Cuidado con el perro.

Beware of the dog.

 

Or, as Karen warns us in her video:

 

Mucho cuidado con lo que escribes.

[Be] very careful with what you write.

Caption 38, Aprendiendo con Karen - Útiles escolares

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Using Con with Verbs

When the preposition con is followed by an infinitive, it can function as a gerund (the -ing form of a verb, which functions as a noun):

 

Con decir perdón es suficiente.

Saying you're sorry is enough.

Caption 20, Muñeca Brava - 47 Esperanzas

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Con is also the dependent preposition (preposition that depends upon or must follow a particular noun, verb, or adjective) after certain verbs such as terminar (to put an end to something), bastar (to be enough or suffice) or comparar (to compare), to name a few. 

 

Terminar con mi noviazgo no parecía tan complicado.

Ending my relationship didn't seem so complicated.

Caption 61, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 8

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Y me basta con saber que estás allí

And it's enough to know that you're there

Caption 19, Franco De Vita - Mi sueño

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A pesar de que lo... la cultura azteca también

Although the... the Aztec culture also

tenía su preciosismo no se compara con los Mayas...

had its beauty, it can't be compared to the Mayans...

Captions 46-47, Antonio Vargas - Artista - ilustración

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Creating Contrast

Finally, the preposition con can additionally introduce a phrase that stands in contrast to the following clause, taking on a meaning similar to "although" or "despite."

 

Esta mujer aquí donde la ve,

This woman who stands here before you,

con lo simpática que parece, es como un general.

as nice as she seems, is like a general.

Captions 62-63, Los casos de Yabla - El perrito malcriado

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That's all for this lesson. We hope it has been clear for you and you can now use this preposition con más seguridad y precisión (with greater confidence and accuracy)! And, don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions

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Nada: Nothing or Anything?

Most of the time, we use the word nada in Spanish as an indefinite pronoun that can be translated as either "nothing" or "anything." In this lesson, we will examine how to use this word to mean one vs. the other. Let's take a look.

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Using Nada  with Adjectives

Before we jump into the "nothing" vs. "anything" uses of nada, it's important to state the following: When an adjective appears next to nada, the adjective must be masculine. Let's look at a few examples:

 

No es nada malo, es algo natural.

It's nothing bad, it's something natural.

Caption 12, La Cocaleros - Personas y políticas

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Tenemos que devolver a la madre y esperamos

We have to return it to the mother and hope

que la madre no encuentre nada raro en su cachorro.

that the mother doesn't find anything strange with her cub.

Captions 90-91, Animales en familia - Un día en Bioparc: Cachorro de leopardo

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Que haya jóvenes que realicen pequeños hurtos no es nada nuevo.

That there are young people who commit petty thefts is nothing new.

Caption 16, Los Reporteros - Crecen los robos en tiendas

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Nada as "Anything"

If nada comes after a verb, it must be expressed in a negative form with either no or some other negative element such as jamás/nunca (never) or nadie (nobody). Although such "double negatives" are incorrect in English (for example, you can't say "I don't have nothing"), in such cases in Spanish, nada becomes the positive "anything" in the English translation. Let's look at a couple of examples:

 

Juan no ha comido nada desde que llegó al aeropuerto.

Juan hasn't eaten anything since he arrived at the airport.

Caption 41, Carlos explica - El pretérito Cap 3: Perfecto compuesto II

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No, no como nada frito.

No, I don't eat anything fried.

Caption 40, Cata y Cleer - En el restaurante

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In the example above, you can see how the adjective frito is masculine (just to check whether you remember our aforementioned rule!). 

 

Me encanta también cocinar.

I also love to cook.

Nunca me has hecho nada, ni un plato.

You have never made anything for me, not even one dish.

Captions 74-75, Cleer - Hobbies

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Nada as "Nothing"

On the other hand, if nada goes before a verb, the verb does not need to be accompanied by a negative element. In this case, nada functions like the word "nothing" in English. Let's take a look:

 

Mi primo vive en una casucha en donde nada funciona bien.

My cousin lives in a "casucha" [awful house] where nothing works well.

Caption 54, Carlos explica - Diminutivos y Aumentativos Cap 2: Definiciones generales

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Nada me detendrá

Nothing will stop me

Caption 32, Ednita Nazario - Después De Ti

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Nada as a noun

Finally, keep in mind that when nada is used as a noun meaning "the void" or "nothingness," it is a feminine noun:

 

Era el frío de la nada

It was the cold of nothingness

Caption 41, Acercándonos a la Literatura - José Asunción Silva - "Nocturno III"

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Notice how in this case, the word nada is preceded by the definite female article "la."

 

That's all for this lesson. We invite you to keep these rules in mind, and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments

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Describing People in Spanish with the Verb Ser

In this lesson, we will learn how to describe people in Spanish using the verb ser (to be). In particular, we'll focus on five different uses of the verb ser that you can use to identify and describe people. Let's take a look.

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To identify someone

 

Eh... Luis, ella es mi mamá, mamá, él es Luis.

Um... Luis, this is my mom, Mom, this is Luis.

Y ella es mi abuela Carmen.

And this is my Grandma Carmen.

Captions 18-19, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 4

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It's worth mentioning that the example above shows a very common way to introduce people in Spanish.

 

To indicate the gender of a person

 

Es un hombre que se dedica a lo que yo hago.

He's a man who devotes himself to what I do.

Caption 61, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 4

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To state someone's nationality

 

Paul es estadounidense, de los Estados Unidos.

Paul is American, from the United States.

Caption 16, Carlos explica - Geografía y gentilicios

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To indicate somebody's job

 

Mi padre es arquitecto

My father is an architect

Caption 25, Leif - El Arquitecto Español y su Arte

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To talk about physical traits

In particular, when we refer to essential traits, such as height, weight, and physical appearance.

 

Es bajo, es gordo.

He's short, he's fat.

Caption 33, El Aula Azul - Mis Primos

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Alguien que es delgado tiene poco peso.

Someone who is skinny doesn't weigh much.

Captions 32-33, Lecciones con Carolina - Adjetivos - Descripción de personas - Físico

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Carolina tiene treinta y cinco años

Carolina is thirty-five years old

pero parece que tiene veinte.

but she looks like she is twenty.

Es muy guapa.

She's very pretty.

Captions 2-4, El Aula Azul - Mis Primos

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To describe someone's personality

 

Ellos son muy majos. Mi prima Marta es muy simpática.

They are very nice. My cousin Marta is very nice.

Caption 8, El Aula Azul - Mi familia

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Ricardo es muy... es muy tranquilo, ¿viste?

Ricardo is very... he's very calm, you know?

Caption 84, Biografía - Natalia Oreiro

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Porque mi mamá es una persona muy difícil.

Because my mom is a very difficult person.

-Eso a mí no me importa.

-That doesn't matter to me.

Caption 20, Yago - 10 Enfrentamientos

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That's it for today. Can you describe someone you know using the verb ser? We invite you to try it out and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

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How to Use the Present Indicative in Spanish

Generally speaking, we use the present indicative in Spanish to talk about actions that are taking place at the moment (now). However, that's not the only use of it. Let's take a look at the following list so you can understand how to use the present indicative in Spanish.

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1. To talk about actions in the present

 

Actions that are taking place right at the moment (now):

 

¿Dónde están las chicas?

Where are the girls?

¿Las chicas? -Ajá.

The girls? -Uh-huh.

Lola y Ana. -Uh...

Lola and Ana. -Uh...

Lola y Ana viven aquí.

Lola and Ana live here.

Captions 26-29, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam

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In the above sentence, you can see how the verbs estar (to be) and vivir (to live) are conjugated in the present indicative for the third person plural (las chicas/Lola y Ana/ellas... están/viven).

 

You can also talk about actions that take place over time:

 

Trabajo en un colegio.

I work at a school.

Soy maestra de música y de ciencias.

I'm a music and science teacher.

Captions 6-7, Ariana - Mi Casa

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In this example, you can see the verbs trabajar (to work) and ser (to be) conjugated in the present indicative for the first person singular (yo trabajo/soy).

 

IMPORTANT! Remember that in Spanish it is very common to drop the pronouns from the sentences. As you can see in the sentence above, Ariana doesn't say "yo trabajo" but rather only "trabajo".

 

2. To express absolute statements and facts as well as universal truths

 

En agosto, vamos a la playa.

In August, we go to the beach.

En septiembre, empieza el otoño.

In September, the fall begins.

Captions 21-22, El Aula Azul - Estaciones y Meses

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In the example above, we can see the present indicative of the verb ir (to go) in the first person plural (nosotros vamos) and the present indicative of the verb empezar (to begin) in the third person singular (el otoño empieza).

 

La Laguna de San Pablo está a los pies del imponente

The San Pablo Lagoon is at the foot of the imposing

Volcán Imbabura.

Imbabura Volcano.

Caption 13, Otavalo - Un día en la ciudad de los lagos

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In the example above, Natalia uses the present indicative of the verb estar for the third person singular (está) to state a fact.

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3. To talk about routines and repetitive actions

You can talk about daily activities and habitual actions using the present indicative:

 

De lunes a viernes, me levanto a las siete de la mañana.

From Monday to Friday, I get up at seven in the morning.

Caption 2, GoSpanish - La rutina diaria de Sol

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In the above clip, you can see how Sol uses the present indicative of the verb levantarse (yo me levanto) to express one of her habitual actions.

 

Dante y Mika vienen todos los días a trabajar conmigo

Dante and Mika come work with me every day

aquí al Refugio del Burrito.

here at the Little Donkey Shelter.

Caption 62, Rosa - La perrita Mika

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Similarly, Rosa uses the present indicative of the verb venir (to come) to describe something habitual. In this case, the verb is conjugated in the third person plural (Dante y Mika/ellos... vienen).

 

4. To talk about actions that will take place in the near future

 

Did you know that the present indicative can be used for things happening in the near future? Let's see some examples.

 

Le prometo que termino de morfar y... y salgo a laburar. Va a ver.

I promise you that I'll finish eating and... and go out to work. You'll see.

Caption 63, Yago - 8 Descubrimiento

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In this sentence, the speaker is using the present indicative of the verb salir (to go out) in order to express an action that will take place in the near future. Once he's done with his lunch, he will go out to work. The verb is conjugated in the first person singular (yo salgo).

 

Bueno, pues entonces, no hay que pensarlo más.

OK, well then, we don't have to think about it anymore.

Mañana hablamos con el jefe y desde la oficina

Tomorrow we'll talk to the boss and from the office

Captions 11-12, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 2

 Play Caption

 

In the previous example, you can fully appreciate how the present indicative of the verb hablar (to talk) is used to indicate an action that will take place tomorrow! This may be a bit weird for English speakers but it is a very common formula used by Spanish speakers. The verb is conjugated in the first person plural (nosotros hablamos).

 

Finally, it is worth mentioning that in journalism and the academic field, some people like to use the present indicative when referring to historical facts. Let's see the following example:

 

El Imperio romano cae en el año 476

The Roman Empire falls in the year 476

 

And that's it for today. We hope this lesson helped you to understand how to use the present indicative in Spanish. And don't forget to send us your comments and questions.

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Demonstrative Adjectives in Spanish

Do you know how to say "those" or "that" in Spanish? Let's explore Spanish demonstrative adjectives. However, before doing that, let's start this lesson with an important definition.

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What Is a Demonstrative Adjective?

Adjectives describe and modify nouns. We use demonstrative adjectives to determine which person or object, for example, we are referring to, taking its distance with respect to the speaker and/or listener into account. Let's first review our options in English:

 

- Near the speaker: "this" and "these."

- Near the listener OR far from both the speaker and the listener: "that" and "those."

 

The Gender Factor and Greater Number of Demonstrative Adjectives in Spanish

While there are only four demonstrative adjectives in English, you will notice that there are many more in Spanish (twelve to be exact!). Why is that? One reason is that, because nouns in Spanish have a gender, demonstrative adjectives in Spanish are not only singular and plural but masculine and feminine as well.

 

In addition, Spanish has two different sets of demonstrative adjectives to differentiate between nouns that are close to the listener vs. nouns that are far from both the speaker and listener (roughly corresponding to the English concept of "over there" rather than just "there"). 

 

Let's take a closer look at the demonstrative adjectives in Spanish, using M to indicate "masculine" and F to indicate "feminine":

 

- Near the speaker: "this" (M: este, F: esta) and "these" (M: estos, F: estas).

- Near the listener: "that" (M: ese, F: esa) and "those" (M: esos, F: esas).

- Far from both the speaker and the listener: "that" (over there) (M: aquel, F: aquella) and "those" (over there) (M: aquellos, F: aquellas).

 

It is worth noting that, in addition to indicating further physical distance, aquel/aquella/aquellos/aquellas can also refer to metaphorical distance such as dates or events in the future or past. 

 

How to Pronounce Demonstrative Adjectives in Spanish

Now that we know the demonstrative adjectives in Spanish, it's time to look at some examples. Let's watch and listen to the following clips:

 

Near the speaker: este, esta, estos, estas

 

Me gusta mucho este parque.

I really like this park.

Caption 9, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

Esta mochila es de Lucas.

This backpack is Lucas'.

Caption 59, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 3: ¿De quién es esta mochila?

 Play Caption

 

En la noche, utilizaremos estos vasos bajos para servir licor.

At night, we'll use these short glasses to serve liquor.

Caption 20, Ana Carolina - El comedor

 Play Caption

 

Estas cintas son las que estamos sacando recientemente;

These ribbons are the ones that we are coming out with recently;

son nuevos diseños.

they are new designs.

Caption 19, Comercio - Camisas tradicionales

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Near the listener: ese, esa, esos, esas

 

Oiga y ese carro, esa belleza ¿de dónde la sacó, hermano, ah?

Hey and that car, that beauty, where did you get it, brother, huh?

Caption 43, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 1

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¿Y esos otros tatuajes que tienes aquí, de qué son?

And those other tattoos you have here, what are they of?

Caption 67, Adícora, Venezuela - El tatuaje de Rosana

 Play Caption

 

Mire, Rubio, yo necesito que usted

Look, Rubio, I need you

le ponga vigilancia inmediata a esas dos mujeres, hermano.

to put those two women under immediate surveillance, brother.

Caption 52, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 4

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Far from both the speaker and the listener: aquel, aquella, aquellos, aquellas

 

La terminación del piso sería, en el futuro, de roca...

The last part of the floor would be, in the future, made out of rock...

de roca rústrica [sic] a propósito traída de aquel cerro que está allá.

out of rustic rock brought specifically from that hill over there.

Captions 22-23, Edificio en Construcción - Hablando con los trabajadores

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Esas cifras ya nos dicen

Those numbers tell us

que aquellas civilizaciones prehistóricas

that those prehistoric civilizations

ya sabían mucho de cálculo. 

already knew a lot about calculus.

Captions 27-29, Rosa - Los dólmenes de Antequera

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Sería, "Aquellos coches son de mi padre"

Would be, "Those cars are my father's"

o "Aquellas casas son de mi madre".

or "Those houses are my mother's."

Captions 35-36, Lecciones con Carolina - Adjetivos demostrativos

 Play Caption

 

Keep in mind, however, that in less formal Spanish, we tend to use ese, esa, esos, and esas much more than aquel, aquella, aquellos, aquellas.

 

That's all for today. Although there are many more demonstrative adjectives in Spanish than in English, learning to use them is relatively simple. We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

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Yabla's Top 12 Spanish Verbs for Carrying on a Conversation

Today's lesson will examine Yabla's "Top 12" picks for the most useful verbs for having a conversation in Spanish. This time, we'll focus on the meanings of those verbs as well as giving you a lot of simple, conversational examples from Yabla's Spanish video library. Additionally, we'll provide you with conjugation tables for the "Top 3" most useful Spanish tenses: the simple present, the imperfect (which describes ongoing or continuous past actions), and the preterite (which describes completed past actions).

 

In addition to the aforementioned links, you can consult this lesson entitled Spanish Verb Tenses Explained if you need to brush up on those tenses and more! Although memorizing all of these conjugations might seem a bit intimidating, it could really help your ability to converse in Spanish.

 

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1. Ser (to be) 

The fact that there are two verbs that mean "to be" in Spanish, ser and estar, can feel quite confusing for non-native speakers. Generally speaking, the verb ser is employed to describe more permanent characteristics. The acronym DOCTOR (description, occupation, condition, time, origin, relationship) is very useful for helping us to remember some of the many situations in which this verb is used. Let's take a look at how this verb is conjugated as well as some examples: 

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  soy era fui
Tú  eres eras fuiste
Él, ella, usted es era fue
Nosotros, nosotras somos éramos fuimos
Vosotros, vosotras sois erais fuisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes son eran fueron

 

Soy profesor de fotografía.

I'm a photography teacher.

Caption 13, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

Sus cuadros eran muy extraños.

His paintings were very strange.

Caption 25, El Aula Azul - Adivina personajes históricos

 Play Caption

 

También fuimos parte de todas estas, eh... mega empresas, pero...

We were also part of all these, um... mega companies, but...

Caption 22, Doctor Krápula - Entrevista

 Play Caption

 

Notably, although ser usually denotes permanence, while the preterite tense denotes that something had a definite ending point, the verb ser is used in the preterite to describe something that "was" in the past, but did come to a conclusive end. 

 

2. Estar (to be)

The verb estar also means "to be" for traits that are variable/less permanent. The acronym PLACE (position, location, action, condition, emotion) might help you to remember some contexts in which the verb estar should be chosen. Let's take a look: 

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  estoy estaba estuve
Tú  estás estabas estuviste
Él, ella, usted está estaba estuvo
Nosotros, nosotras estamos estábamos estuvimos
Vosotros, vosotras estáis estabais estuvisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes están estaban estuverion

 

Sí... Vale, entonces, estamos aquí.

Yes... OK, then, we're here.

Caption 6, Curso de español - Disculpe, ¿hay un cine por aquí?

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Un poquito y ajá, y estaba triste porque

A little bit, and uh-huh, and I was sad because

dejaba mi familia y eso y ya.

I was leaving my family and all that and that's it.

Caption 70, Cleer - Entrevista a Lila

 Play Caption

 

Los árabes estuvieron en España más de seiscientos años.

The Arabs were in Spain for more than six hundred years.

Caption 23, Rosa - Antequera, Málaga

 Play Caption

 

Be sure to check out this lesson if you want to learn more about the difference between ser and estar

 

3. Tener (to have)

The verb tener means "to have" in Spanish. Let's take a closer look: 

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  tengo tenía tuve
Tú  tienes tenías tuviste
Él, ella, usted tiene tenía tuvo
Nosotros, nosotras tenemos teníamos tuvimos
Vosotros, vosotras tenéis teníais tuvisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes tienen tenían tuvieron

 

¿Tienes plumones y tijeras?

You have markers and scissors?

Sí, tengo plumones y tijeras,

Yes, I have markers and scissors,

pero no tengo mi teléfono.

but I don't have my phone.

Captions 20-22, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 1: No tengo mi teléfono.

 Play Caption

 

Tenían mi mochila en la Oficina de Objetos Perdidos.

They had my backpack in the Lost and Found.

Caption 44, Raquel - Oficina de objetos perdidos

 Play Caption

 

La noche anterior a la rumba, tuve otro sueño.

The night before going out on the town, I had another dream.

Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 7

 Play Caption

 

Additionally, we invite you to explore some of the many idiomatic expressions with the verb tener

 

And, we'll just take a second to mention that if you throw in the word que after the verb tener plus a verb's infinitive ("to" form), you'll have the very useful Spanish construction tener que that means, "to have to" (do something):

 

Hoy tengo que trabajar.

Today I have to work.

Caption 74, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 14

 Play Caption

 

Tuvimos que trasladarnos a esta nueva ciudad.

We had to move to this new city.

Caption 39, Ciudad de Panamá - Denisse introduce la ciudad

 Play Caption

 

4. Hacer (to make/to do)

The Spanish verb hacer can mean either "to make" or "to do." But, not to fear— typically, the context will let you know quite clearly which meaning is intended.

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  hago hacía hice
Tú  haces hacías hiciste
Él, ella, usted hace hacía hizo
Nosotros, nosotras hacemos hacíamos hicimos
Vosotros, vosotras hacéis hacíais hicisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes hacen hacían hicieron

 

Y ¿tú qué haces?

And what are you doing?

Caption 24, Guillermina y Candelario - Un pez mágico

 Play Caption

 

Y yo no hacía esto. Yo hago otro acto, que es con las motos.

And I didn't do this. I do another act, which is with motorcycles.

Caption 35, Rueda de la muerte - Parte 1

 Play Caption

 

También hizo alguna película.

He also made a movie.

Caption 28, El Aula Azul - Adivina personajes históricos

 Play Caption

 

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5. Ir (to go)

The Spanish verb ir means "to go." Let's check out some of its conjugations and uses:

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  voy iba fui
Tú  vas ibas fuiste
Él, ella, usted va iba fue
Nosotros, nosotras vamos íbamos fuimos
Vosotros, vosotras vais ibais fuisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes van iban fueron

 

Voy a la piscina los lunes y los miércoles.

I go to the pool on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Caption 7, Ariana - Mi Semana

 Play Caption

 

Iba mucho con mi padre al campo.

I used to go with my father to the countryside a lot.

Caption 56, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 10

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¿Por qué fuiste al cine?

Why did you go to the movies?

Caption 48, Carlos explica - Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para'

 Play Caption

 

You might have noticed that the preterite form of the verb ir is conjugated in the exact same way as the verb ser. However, in most cases, context should help you to easily identify which verb is in use. 

 

Another great "trick" to be aware of is that adding an a plus a verb's infinitive to the verb ir is a very simple way of expressing what we are "going to" do and is, thus, an alternative to the future tense. Let's take a look: 

 

Vamos a hablar de mi familia, ¿sí?

We are going to talk about my family, OK?

Caption 2, Curso de español - Vamos a hablar de la familia

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Porque las chicas iban a salir, para no dejarte sola.

Because the girls were going to go out, so you wouldn't be alone.

Caption 11, Muñeca Brava - 18 - La Apuesta

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6. Venir (to come)

If we're going to talk about ir (to go), we'd better mention venir (to come)! Let's look:

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  vengo venía vine
Tú  vienes venías viniste
Él, ella, usted viene venía vino
Nosotros, nosotras venimos veníamos vinimos
Vosotros, vosotras venís veníais vinisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes vienen venían vinieron

 

Yo vengo del sur de España

I come from the South of Spain

Caption 10, Carolina - Acentos

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¿Qué venía después?

What came next?

Caption 23, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 8

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Los otros cisnes vinieron hacia él.

The other swans came toward him.

Caption 50, Cleer - El patito feo

 Play Caption

 

7. Decir (to say)

The Spanish verb decir means "to say" or "to tell."

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  digo decía dije
Tú  dices decías dijiste
Él, ella, usted dice decía dijo
Nosotros, nosotras decimos decíamos dijimos
Vosotros, vosotras decís decíais dijisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes dicen decían dijeron

 

Yo digo que Playa Balandra es el paraíso oficial.

I say that Balandra Beach is the official paradise.

Caption 67, Alan x el mundo - Mi playa favorita de México!

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Pero siempre me decía: ¡Mira! Mira eso allá.

But he always used to tell me: Look! Look at that over there.

Caption 42, Federico Kauffman Doig - Arqueólogo

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Y la señorita me dijo algo completamente diferente.

And the lady told me something totally different.

Caption 45, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 5

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Since we often say or tell things "to" others, you will notice that the verb decir is quite typically accompanied by indirect object pronouns like me (to me), te (to you), etc. to indicate the person to whom something is said or told. You can learn more about this and other aspects of this verb in our lesson entitled The Spanish Verb Decir.

 

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8. Poder (to be able)

The verb poder means "to be able." It can be used alone to say simply "I can," "you could," etc. but is often used in conjunction with an infinitive verb to express what it is one "is able" to do. Let see it in action:

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  puedo podía pude
Tú  puedes podías pudiste
Él, ella, usted puede podía pudo
Nosotros, nosotras podemos podíamos pudimos
Vosotros, vosotras podéis podíais pudisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes pueden podían pudieron

 

¿Puedo ver el menú por favor?

Can I see the menu please?

Caption 12, Cata y Cleer - En el restaurante

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¿Por qué las cosas no podían ser sencillas?

Why couldn't things be easy?

Caption 31, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 10

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Gracias a su cola, pudieron volar.

Thanks to its tail, you were able to fly.

Caption 49, Guillermina y Candelario - Una aventura extrema

 Play Caption

 

To learn more about the verb poder and how it is used, we recommend the following lesson: The Verb Poder - Common Expressions.

 

9. Saber (to know)

This word means "to know," but, in its preterite form, can mean "to find out." 

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  sabía supe
Tú  sabes sabías supiste
Él, ella, usted sabe sabía supo
Nosotros, nosotras sabemos sabíamos supimos
Vosotros, vosotras sabéis sabíais supisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes saben sabían supieron

 

Pero no sé dónde!

But I don't know where!

Caption 28, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso

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No sabía qué decirle.

I didn't know what to say to her.

Caption 12, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1

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Nunca supe la verdad

I never found out the truth

Caption 2, Aleks Syntek - Intocable

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10.  Querer (to want)

If we're going to converse in Spanish, we had better be able to say what we "want"! The verb querer can stand alone to express our desire for a particular thing or be used with an infinitive verb to say what we "want to do." Let's take a look:

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  quiero quería quise
Tú  quieres querías quisiste
Él, ella, usted quiere quería quiso
Nosotros, nosotras queremos queríamos quisimos
Vosotros, vosotras queréis queríais quisisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes quieren querían quisieron

 

Porque realmente quiero mi propio baño.

Because I really want my own bathroom.

Caption 37, Cleer y Lida - Reservando una habitación

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Y algunos querían volver a su casa.

And some wanted to go back to their home.

Caption 13, Guillermina y Candelario - El mundo de los juguetes perdidos

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No me quiso decir su nombre.

She wouldn't tell me her name.

Caption 8, Yago - 14 La peruana

 Play Caption

 

Keep in mind that when the verb querer is used with no in the preterite, it can convey the idea that someone "wouldn't" do something or "refused to." 

 

One more important aspect of the Spanish verb querer is that, when speaking about actions that we "want" others to do or that we "want" to happen, the subjunctive form of the verb that follows is required (vuelvas instead of vuelves in the following example):

 

Quiero que... que vuelvas a New York.

I want for... for you to come back to New York.

Caption 23, Yago - 11 Prisión

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11. Dar (to give)

The Spanish verb dar means "to give." Let's look at some of its forms and examples:

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  doy daba di
Tú  das dabas diste
Él, ella, usted da daba dio
Nosotros, nosotras damos dábamos dimos
Vosotros, vosotras dais dabais disteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes dan daban dieron

 

Yo doy agua a mi gato.

I give water to my cat.

Caption 14, Lecciones con Carolina - Verbo - dar

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Adriana Espinel siempre daba unas respuestas tan profundas.

Adriana Espinel always gave such deep answers.

Caption 72, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 4

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Eh... Mi asistente me dio sus datos.

Um... My assistant gave me your information.

Caption 39, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 1

 Play Caption

 

Like the verb decir, the verb dar is often accompanied by indirect object pronouns to highlight the person to whom something is given. 

 

12. Ver (to see)

And, to conclude our list of the Top 12 Spanish verbs for carrying on a conversation, we thought it would be a good idea to give you a verb to describe the things you observe! 

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  veo veía vi
Tú  ves veías viste
Él, ella, usted ve veía vio
Nosotros, nosotras vemos veíamos vimos
Vosotros, vosotras veis veíais visteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes ven veían vieron

 

Eh... ¿Cómo veo la vida?

Um... How do I see life?

Caption 79, Adícora, Venezuela - El tatuaje de Rosana

 Play Caption

 

¡Pero veíamos serpientes por todos lados!

But we saw snakes everywhere!

Caption 41, Guillermina y Candelario - La Isla de las Serpientes

 Play Caption

 

Vimos una película.

We saw a movie.

Caption 14, Zulbani - Trip to Merida

 Play Caption

 

Although it was certainly tough to narrow down the top 12 useful verbs in Spanish for carrying on a conversation, we hope you've enjoyed this lesson and that it helps you to hold a lot of stimulating conversations! Let us know with your suggestions and comments if there are any other verbs or topics you'd like to learn more about. 

 

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Gusta vs Gustan: How to Use Gustar in Singular and Plural

Are you familiar with the Spanish verb gustar (to like)? Have you ever been in a situation where you didn't know whether to use gusta or gustan when talking about something you like? If using gusta vs gustan is tricky for you, here are some simple rules to help you understand the difference between gusta and gustan.

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The easy conjugation of gustar

Let's start with some good news. When you want to say that you like someone or something, the only thing you need to know is how to conjugate the verb gustar in the third person either in its singular (gusta) or plural (gustan) form. Let's take a look at a couple of simple sentences with gustar:

 

A mí me gusta el acento de las colombianas.

I like the Colombian women's accent.

Caption 50, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 2

 Play Caption

 

Sí, a mí me gustan las plantas y las flores y los árboles.

Yes, I like the plants and the flowers and the trees.

Captions 12-13, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

That's it. You don't need anything else. Now, let's see when to use gusta or gustan.

 

When to use gusta or gustan?

The following simple rules will help you to master the gustan vs gusta battle.

 

Using gusta

 

Use the third person singular gusta for the following cases:

 

1. When the verb gustar is followed by a singular noun.

 

Me gusta la camisa.

I like the shirt.

Caption 4, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 2: Sam va de compras

 Play Caption

 

Keep in mind that most of the time, you will need to place a definite article before the noun.

 

2. When the verb gustar is followed by a verb in the infinitive.

 

...y me gusta llevar faldas normalmente, sobre todo en... en invierno.

...and I like to wear skirts usually, especially in... in winter.

Captions 6-7, El Aula Azul - Actividades Diarias

 Play Caption

 

3. When the verb gustar is followed by several infinitive verbs.

A Pedro le gusta leer, tocar guitarra y hacer ejercicio.

Pedro likes to read, play guitar and exercise.

 

Using gustan

 

Use the third person plural gustan for the following cases:

 

1. When the verb gustar is followed by a plural noun.

 

A Lola le gustan los hombres fuertes.

Lola likes strong men.

Caption 14, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam

 Play Caption

 

2. When the verb gustar is followed by multiple, independent nouns.

Me gustan el diseño, la decoración y la arquitectura de esa casa.

I like the design, decoration, and architecture of that house.

 

Gusta vs gustan with questions and negative sentences

When asking questions or stating negative sentences, you need to stick to the same rules we mentioned before. Let's look at a couple of examples:

 

¿Te gusta la ciencia?

Do you like science?

Caption 42, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 2

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A mí no me gusta tu camiseta.

I don't like your shirt.

Caption 12, Español para principiantes - Los colores

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¿No te gustan las velas?

You don't like candles?

Caption 38, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema

 Play Caption

 

That's it for today. But before we leave you, we invite you to answer this very simple question so you can practice a little bit the difference between gusta and gustan: ¿Qué te gusta hacer en tu tiempo libre? And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

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Habemos: A Valid Conjugation of "Haber"?

Haber is definitely on the list of tricky Spanish verbs. In fact, even native Spanish speakers sometimes struggle with this verb, which can be used in different ways and forms to mean different things. Even though haber is most often used as the auxiliary verb, "to have," in the imperfect tenses (e.g. Yo he comido, or "I have eaten"), it is also used in cases in which we say "there is" or "there are" in English and in other cases, can mean "to be" or "to exist." 

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Let's look at an example:

 

Hay muchos problemas.

There are a lot of problems.

Caption 6, Adícora, Venezuela - El tatuaje de Rosana

 Play Caption

 

Along these lines, some speakers use habemos to make a reference to a group of people. In this case, you can think of habemos as something along the lines of "we are," "we have," "there are those of us who," etc. Let's take a look at the following sentence:

 

Entonces, que todavía no lo hay pero entonces,

So, it doesn't exist yet, but then,

habemos gente que queremos hacerlo y... y, eh...

there are those of us who want to do it, and... and, um...

Captions 90-91, Playa Adícora - Chober

 Play Caption

 

But, is it correct to use habemos in this manner? Let's find out.

 

The Simple Present Conjugation of the Verb Haber

As we noted in the example above, habemos seems to correspond to the first person plural in the simple present tense. But is that accurate? Let's take a look at how we conjugate haber in the simple present:

 

Yo he (I have)

has (you have)

Él/Ella ha (he/she has)

Usted ha (you have)

Nosotros hemos (we have)

Vosotros habéis (you have)

Ellos/Ustedes han (they/you have)

 

As you can see, hemos appears, but not habemos. So, is habemos a sort of special, alternative manner of conjugating haber?

 

So, What About Habemos

Long story short: No, we can't use habemos in this context. It's incorrect! Let's look at an example:

 

WRONG: Habemos pocos ingenieros en la empresa.

RIGHT: Somos pocos ingenieros en la compañía (There are just a few of us engineers at the company).

 

So, why do some people use habemos in error? The most likely reason is because habemos is the archaic conjugation of haber in the first person plural, which as we mentioned above, is now hemos. However, it shouldn't be used to mean "we are," "we have," "there are," etc. Let's take a look at this mistake in action in the following clips:

 

Aunque indiscutiblemente habemos [sic] más cubanos que nada.

Although undeniably, we have more Cubans than anything.

Caption 47, La Calle 8 - Un recorrido fascinante

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Y donde no solo habemos [sic] cinco familias, sino hay...

And where there are not only five families, but rather there are...

Caption 25, Instinto de conservación - Parque Tayrona

 Play Caption

 

And of course, we can also see in action the first example mentioned in this lesson:

 

Entonces, que todavía no lo hay pero entonces,

So, it doesn't exist yet, but then,

habemos [sic] gente que queremos hacerlo y... y, eh...

there are those of us who want to do it, and... and, um...

Captions 90-91, Playa Adícora - Chober

 Play Caption

 

That's all for today. We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

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Aun vs Aún

In this lesson, we will talk about adverbs and punctuation. Are you familiar with the word "aun" in Spanish? Do you know when to write that word with accent on the letter "ú"? Let's start this lesson with a little quiz. Which word would you use in the following sentences, aun or aún?:

 

____ si te digo la verdad, no me crees

Even if I tell you the truth, you don't believe me

 

Estamos ____ en la fase de entrevistas.

We are still in the interview phase.

 

Let's read the following explanation to find out the answer.

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The meaning of "aun" in Spanish

The adverb aun (without graphic accent) refers to the English adverb "even." Let's see a couple of examples:

 

Aun estudiando mucho, no pasó el examen

Even studying hard, he did not pass the exam

 

Yo hice aun más de lo que quería

I did even more than I wanted

 

he vivido demasiado

I have lived too much

aun con tanta historia

even with so much history

Captions 7-8, Kany Garcia - Estigma de amor

 Play Caption

 

Also, keep in mind that when aun is followed by así to mean "even so," it doesn't need an accent. Let's take a look:

 

Revolvimos los planetas

We stirred the planets

aun así te vas

And even so you leave

Captions 16-17, Belanova - Y aun así te vas

 Play Caption

 

When to write aún with an accent

When the word aun works as the English adverb "still", you need to need to put the accent on the letter "ú". Let's see some examples:

 

Para los que aún no me conocen, mi nombre es Natalia.

For those who still don't know me, my name is Natalia.

Caption 3, Natalia de Ecuador - Consejos: haciendo amigos como adultos

 Play Caption

 

Así que aún queda la pequeña esperanza.

So, there's still a little hope.

Caption 44, Rosa - Fuente de Piedra

 Play Caption

 

Durante este período, México aún tenía el nombre de la Nueva España.

During this period, Mexico still had the name New Spain.

Caption 16, Paseando con Karen - Monterrey - Museo de Historia Mexicana

 Play Caption

 

Considering the above, let's unveil the answer to our quiz:

 

Aun si te digo la verdad, no me crees

Even if I tell you the truth, you don't believe me

 

Estamos aún en la fase de entrevistas.

We are still in the interview phase.

Caption 19, Negocios - La solicitud de empleo

 Play Caption

 

And that's it for today. We hope you enjoyed this lesson and don't forget to send us your comments and questions.

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Ser and Estar: An Easy Trick for Using These Verbs

Do you know how to say the verb "to be" in Spanish? The answer to that question has two options: ser and estar. In fact, mastering the verbs ser and estar is one of the first challenges you need to tackle when learning Spanish. In order to help you out with this challenge, we're going to share a very simple trick with you. Hopefully, it will help you remember when to use ser and estar.  

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Two words for learning the difference between ser and estar

The trick is very simple. All you need to remember are these two words: DOCTOR and PLACE. Use the former for the verb ser and the latter for the verb estar.

 

DOCTOR for ser

 

The word DOCTOR stands for the following: 

 

Description

Occupation

Characteristic

Time

Origin

Relationship.

 

Let's see some examples using the third person singular of ser in the present tense:

 

Description

 

"El coronavirus es un virus contagioso".

"The coronavirus is a contagious virus."

Caption 27, El coronavirus - Introducción y vocabulario

 Play Caption

 

Occupation

 

Tu papá es jefe de cartera, mi amor.

Your dad is a portfolio manager, my love.

Caption 52, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 3

 Play Caption

 

Characteristic

 

Él es un chico... Es muy simpático.

He's a guy... He's very nice.

Caption 52, Clase Aula Azul - Información con subjuntivo e indicativo

 Play Caption

 

Time

 

Diremos, "¿Qué hora es?"

We'll say, "What time is it?"

Caption 49, Español para principiantes - La hora

 Play Caption

 

Origin

 

Mi... mi madre es libanesa, mi padre de España.

My... my mother is Lebanese, my father [is] from Spain.

Caption 67, Eljuri - Hablamos Con La Artista Sobre Su Nuevo Álbum

 Play Caption

 

Relationship

 

Esa es mi tía Silvia.

That is my Aunt Silvia.

Caption 24, Español para principiantes - Demostrativos

 Play Caption

 

PLACE for estar

 

The word PLACE stands for the following:

 

Position

Location

Action

Condition

Emotion

 

Let's see some examples using the first person singular of estar in the present tense:

 

Position

 

Ahora, estoy en el centro.

Now, I'm in the center.

Caption 25, Raquel - Las direcciones

 Play Caption

 

Location

 

Ahora estoy en el Monumento Natural Dunas de Artola,

Now I'm at the Dunas of Artola [Artola Dunes] Natural Monument,

en la Playa de Cabopino.

on Cabopino Beach.

Captions 31-32, Viajando con Fermín - Dunas de Marbella

 Play Caption

 

Action

 

Silvia, ¿qué estás haciendo?

Silvia, what are you doing?

Estoy bebiendo un vaso de agua.

I'm drinking a glass of water.

Captions 25-26, El Aula Azul - Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

 Play Caption

 

Condition

 

Ay... ¿Y puedes llamar a mi trabajo y decir que estoy enferma?

Oh... And can you call my work and say I'm sick?

Caption 4, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 2: Sam va de compras

 Play Caption

 

Emotion

 

Estoy triste.

am sad.

Estoy triste.

I am sad.

Captions 9-10, El Aula Azul - Estados de ánimo

 Play Caption

 

Finally, we want to leave you with a little rhyme that will help you to choose the appropriate verb between ser and estar. This little rhyme, which is quite handy for the verb estar, goes like this:

 

For how you feel and where you are,

always use the verb ESTAR. 

 

In other words, keep in mind that when talking about emotions and location you should always use the verb estar.

 

That's it for today. We hope this little trick helps you to understand the difference between ser and estar, a little bit better. And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions

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The Essential Spanish Question Words

How many question words in Spanish are you familiar with? Do you know how to write a question in Spanish? Asking questions is one of the most important skills you need to master in the language you are learning. In this lesson, we will learn the most important interrogative words in Spanish. However, before we explore those words, let's discuss a couple of things about asking questions in Spanish. 

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How do you say the word 'question' in Spanish?

'Pregunta' is how you say the word 'question' in Spanish. 'Pregunta' is a feminine noun and its plural form is 'preguntas'. Let's practice the pronunciation of this term:

 

Kevin, la pregunta es:

Kevin, the question is:

Caption 13, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1

 Play Caption

 

Los voy a dejar con cuatro preguntas.

I am going to leave you with four questions.

Caption 48, Carlos explica - Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo: Ustedes y vosotros

 Play Caption

 

Spanish question structure

Do you know how to write a question in Spanish? Let's take a look at the basic structure of a question in Spanish.

 

Punctuation and question marks

To begin with, you need to stick to the rules of Spanish punctuation. Because of that, when you write a question in Spanish you need to remember that question marks are always double-sided. In other words, you need to start the question with an opening question mark (¿) and end it with a closing one (?):

 

¿Cómo es Japón?

What's Japan like?

¿Qué te gusta de Japón?

What do you like about Japan?

Captions 69-70, Clase Aula Azul - Pedir deseos

 Play Caption

 

Yes/No questions

Let's start with simple questions. Believe it or not, for these kinds of questions your intonation is what matters the most. You basically make Yes/No questions by transforming a statement into a question. The Spanish question structure for these kinds of questions is the following:

 

¿ + (subject) + conjugated verb + (additional information) + ?

 

Please note that the terms in parenthesis are optional. Let's see a couple of examples:

 

A Pedro le gusta comer pizza. (Pedro likes to eat pizza.)

¿A Pedro le gusta comer pizza? (Does Pedro like to eat pizza?)

 

For negative questions, you just need to place a "no" before the conjugated verb.

 

No quieres estudiar. (You don't want to study.)

¿No quieres estudiar? (Don't you want to study?)

 

Go ahead and play the following clips so you can hear the intonation of the following Yes/No questions. Notice how the pitch of the speaker's voice gets higher at the end of the sentence when asking questions in Spanish:

 

Mmm... ¿Quieres ir al cine?

Mmm... Do you want to go to the movies?

-Sí, ¡buena idea!

-Yes, good idea!

Captions 45-46, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

¿Necesitas ayuda?

Do you need help?

-Mmm... Sí.

-Mmm... Yes.

Captions 9-10, Español para principiantes - La hora

 Play Caption

 

¿No conoces Manhattan?

You don't know Manhattan?

Caption 37, Yago - 2 El puma

 Play Caption

 

As you can see, it is very common to start Yes/No questions with a conjugated verb.

 

Questions that ask for specific information

The following is the Spanish question structure you need to keep mind when your question is aimed at getting some sort of information:

 

¿ + (preposition) + question word + conjugated verb + (additional information) + ?

 

Please note that the terms in parenthesis are optional. Let's see a couple of examples:

 

¡Oh! ¿Dónde está el cajero automático?

Oh! Where's the ATM?

Caption 36, Natalia de Ecuador - Palabras de uso básico

 Play Caption

 

In the example above, we have the following structure: 

¿ + question word (dónde) + conjugated verb (está) + additional information (el cajero automático) + ?

 

Let's listen to another clip:

 

¿Desde cuándo tienes este piso?

Since when have you had this apartment?

Caption 35, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos

 Play Caption

 

In this last example, the Spanish question structure is the following: 

¿ + preposition (desde) + question word (cuándo) + conjugated verb (tienes) + additional information (este piso) + ?

 

Now that we have seen the structure of a question, let's take a look at some Spanish question words in sentences.

 

Top Spanish question words

It's time to review the most important interrogative words in Spanish. If you are thinking about WH questions, you are right. Let's find out what the Spanish question words are for 'what', 'which', 'when', 'where', 'who', 'why' and 'how'.

 

Top question words in Spanish

For your reference, here's a list of the top question words in Spanish.

 

What / Which (Qué / Cuál)

When (Cuándo)

Where (Dónde)

Who (Quién)

Why (Por qué)

How (Cómo)

 

Now, let's see each one of these question words in action with a list of some of the most basic Spanish questions you can ask.

 

Basic questions to ask in Spanish using WH questions

And now, let's dive into our list.

 

What / Which (Qué / Cuál)

 

Diremos, "¿Qué hora es?"

We'll say, "What time is it?"

Caption 49, Español para principiantes - La hora

 Play Caption

 

O, ¿A qué te dedicas?

Or, What do you do? [with "tú"].

Caption 17, Karla e Isabel - Tú y Usted

 Play Caption

 

Oye, y ¿en qué trabajas?

Hey, and what do you do [for a living]?

Caption 82, Ricardo - La compañera de casa

 Play Caption

 

Por supuesto; ¿cuál es su dirección de correo?

Of course; what is your e-mail address?

Caption 69, Negocios - Empezar en un nuevo trabajo

 Play Caption

 

¿Recuerdas cuál era la copa para servir vino?

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

Caption 36, Ana Carolina - El comedor

 Play Caption

 

When (Cuándo)

 

¿Y cuándo hizo el "check-in"?

And when did he check-in?

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

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¿Cuándo terminas de estudiar?

When do you finish studying?

Caption 72, Carlos explica - Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo: Conjugación

 Play Caption

 

Where (Dónde)

 

¿De dónde eres?

Where are you from?

Caption 36, Curso de español - ¿De dónde eres?

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Y ¿en dónde vives?

And where do you live?

Caption 8, Cleer - Entrevista a Lila

 Play Caption

 

Let's see a couple of clips from Raquel to see the kind of questions you ask when you want to find out where something is located:

 

¿Me podrías decir dónde está el baño?

Could you tell me where the bathroom is?

Caption 7, Raquel - Expresiones para un festival de música.

 Play Caption

 

¿Sabes dónde hay alguna farmacia?

Do you know where there's a pharmacy?

Caption 24, Raquel - Expresiones para un festival de música.

 Play Caption

 

Who (Quién)

We use 'who' when we want to find out someone's identity. Let's see a couple of examples:

 

Mi jugador favorito juega en el Real Madrid.

My favorite player plays for Real Madrid.

¿Quién es?

Who is it?

Captions 19-20, El Aula Azul - Las Profesiones

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¿Usted quién es?

Who are you?

Roberto. Un amigo.

Roberto. A friend.

Captions 24-25, Yago - 9 Recuperación

 Play Caption

 

Why (Por qué)

 

¿Por qué dices eso? -No...

Why are you saying that? -No...

Caption 14, Cortometraje - Beta

 Play Caption

 

How (Cómo)

 

Para saludar, podemos decir: "Hola. ¿Cómo estás? ¿Todo bien?"

To greet (people), we can say: "Hello. How are you? (Is) everything good?"

Caption 7, Español en las calles - Varias expresiones

 Play Caption

 

Keep in mind that the word 'cómo' is not always translated as the English word 'how'. In fact, one of the most basic Spanish questions you can ask is a good example of that:

 

Buenos días, ¿cómo te llamas?

Good morning, what's your name?

Caption 8, La rutina diaria - La mañana

 Play Caption

 

When we want to find out someone's age or the price of an object, we combine 'how' with other words such as 'old' or 'much'. When we want to get that kind of information, we use other interrogative words in Spanish. Let's take a look:

 

Ah, lindo.

Oh, nice.

¿Cuánto cuesta?

How much does it cost?

Captions 33-34, Natalia de Ecuador - Palabras de uso básico

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¿Cuántos años tienes?

How old are you?

Caption 6, Cleer - Entrevista a Lila

 Play Caption

 

Ah, vale. ¿Cuántos hijos tienes?

Oh, OK. How many sons do you have?

Caption 39, Clase Aula Azul - El verbo parecer

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¿Y cuántas botellas de agua hay aquí?

And how many bottles of water are there here?

Caption 78, Español para principiantes - Los números del 1 al 100

 Play Caption

 

And that's it for now. We hope you use this review of the most important Spanish question words as the perfect excuse to start asking questions in Spanish. Are you ready? We encourage you to do that and don't forget to send us your questions and comments.

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Vivir en vs. Vivir a

Many Yabla users have been wondering about the difference between 'vivir en' and 'vivir a' when you are talking about a particular place. In this lesson, we will explain how to properly use the verb vivir (to live) with either of these two prepositions. Let's start this lesson with a little quiz. Put the missing preposition(s) in the following sentence:

 

Porque si te cansas de vivir ___ Cádiz, te puedes ir a vivir ___ Málaga.

Because if you get tired of living in Cadiz, you can go to live in Malaga.

 

Would you use the preposition a or the preposition en? Or both? Let's find out the answer.

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When to use vivir + en

We use 'vivir en' when we want to indicate a place. Let's see some examples:

 

Hice mis amigos, tengo mi novia

I made friends, I have my girlfriend,

y me encanta vivir en Miami.

and I love to live in Miami.

Captions 35-36, Fiesta en Miami - Antonio

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Siempre he tenido mi idea de vivir en Alemania.

I have always wanted to live in Germany.

Caption 82, Gonzalo el Pintor - Vida

 Play Caption

 

When to use vivir + a

We use 'vivir a' when we want to indicate that someone is moving towards a place: a destination. Because of that, 'vivir a' is preceded by verbs that indicate movement such as ir (to go) or venir (to come). In fact, the preposition 'a' before the destination is required by the verb that indicates movement and not by the verb vivir (to live). Let's take a look:

 

Me voy a ir a vivir a Barcelona.

I'm going to go live in Barcelona.

Caption 23, Arume - Málaga, España

 Play Caption

 

¿Viene a vivir a Buenos Aires?

She's coming to live in Buenos Aires?

Caption 38, Yago - 8 Descubrimiento

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Combining 'vivir en' and 'vivir a'

Now that we understand the difference, it is time to solve our quiz:

 

Porque si te cansas de vivir en Cádiz,

Because if you get tired of living in Cadiz,

te puedes ir a vivir a Málaga.

you can go to live in Malaga.

Captions 10-11, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos

 Play Caption

 

That's it for now. We hope you like this lesson and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

 

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Spanish Si Clauses: How to Use and Form Conditional "If" Clauses

Do you want to know how to form 'if clauses' in Spanish? The first thing you need to know is that the word "si" is the Spanish term we use for the English word "if". So, from now on, think of 'si clauses' as 'if clauses'. Let's dive into some of the grammar rules and different uses that define 'si clauses' in Spanish.

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

The two parts of a conditional sentence with a 'si clause'

We use 'si clauses' when we want to form conditional sentences. In fact, all conditional sentences in Spanish have the following two parts:

 

1. The condition, expressed (in a subordinate or dependant clause) with the conditional "si" (the actual si clause/if clause), and

2. The main clause, which is the sentence that tells us what the result or consequence will be if the condition expressed by the si clause occurs.

 

Let's see an example:

 

Si llueve, nos mojamos.

If it rains, we get wet.

Caption 47, Ana Carolina - Condicionales

 Play Caption

 

In we take this example, we can easily see the two parts of that conditional sentence:

1. The condition with the si clause: Si llueve (If it rains)

2. The result clause: nos mojamos (we get wet)

 

When to use conditional 'si clauses' in Spanish

Just like with 'if clauses' in English, we use 'si clauses' in Spanish to talk about possibilities. Moreover, in Spanish, we have three different kinds of conditional sentences.

 

1. Conditional sentences with a likely result

We use these sentences to express things that are very likely to happen. In other words, if the condition occurs, the result will also occur. Let's see an example:

 

Si trabajas, tendrás dinero.

If you work, you'll have money.

Caption 56, Ana Carolina - Condicionales

 Play Caption

 

2. Conditional sentences with an unlikely result

We use this kind of 'si clauses' when the speaker has serious doubts about the condition and its potential result. Let's see an example:

 

Si me tocara la lotería, viajaría por todo el mundo,

If I won the lottery, I'd travel around the whole world,

y me alojaría en los hoteles más lujosos.

and I'd stay at the most luxurious hotels.

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

 Play Caption

 

3. Conditional sentences with an impossible result

Finally, we use these conditional sentences when we talk about a condition in the past that didn't occur, which means that it is impossible for the result to happen. Let's see an example:

 

Si hubiera estado sobrio, no me hubiera animado.

If I had been sober, I wouldn't have dared.

Caption 5, Yago - 12 Fianza

 Play Caption

 

The grammar behind conditional sentences with 'si clauses'

Now that we know the three main types of 'if clauses' in Spanish, let's see how to form each one of these types of conditional clauses.

 

1. Conditional sentences with a likely result

Condition: Si + present indicative

Result: present indicative OR future OR imperative

 

Let's look at an example:

 

Si sales, regresa temprano.

If you go out, come back early.

Caption 61, Ana Carolina - Condicionales

 Play Caption

 

Notice that the result is expressed using the imperative form regresa (come back).

 

2. Conditional sentences with an unlikely result

Condition: Si + past (imperfect) subjunctive

Result: Simple conditional

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Let's see the following example:

 

Si me encontrara un sobre con cincuenta mil euros,

If I found an envelope with fifty thousand euros,

lo cogería, claro. Y me compraría un coche descapotable.

I'd take it, of course. And I'd buy a convertible car.

Captions 21-23, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos: La segunda condicional

 Play Caption

 

Notice that in this caption the result is expressed with the conditional forms cogería (I'd take it) and compraría (I'd buy).

 

3. Conditional sentences with an impossible result

Condition: Si + pluperfect subjunctive

Result: Past conditional

 

Let's see an example:

Si hubiera leído más, habría terminado el libro

If I had read more, I would have finished the book.

 

However, sometimes when the result clause refers to something that is still valid in the present, you can use the simple conditional instead of the past conditional. Let's see an example:

 

Es una pena; si hubiéramos firmado el contrato la semana pasada,

It's a shame; If we had signed the contract last week,

todo seguiría igual.

everything would stay the same.

Captions 22-23, Negocios - Problemas laborales

 Play Caption

 

Furthermore, in spoken Spanish it is common to use the pluperfect subjunctive in the result clause just like in the example we previously mentioned:

 

Si hubiera estado sobrio, no me hubiera animado.

If I had been sober, I wouldn't have dared.

Caption 5, Yago - 12 Fianza

 Play Caption

 

That's it for today. Are you ready to write some 'si clauses' in Spanish? We encourage you to write a couple of sentences for each one of the three types of conditional sentences we have covered in this lesson. And don't forget to send us your comments and questions

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