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Lessons for topic Spanish 101

Summer Vocabulary Expressions in Spanish

Let's learn some Spanish expressions related to the summer season.


Hace, the impersonal form of the verb hacer (to do, to make) is essential to talk about the weather in Spanish. Do you want to know how to say "it's hot"?


Ferné, sopla esa gaita que hace calor.

Ferné, blow those bagpipes 'cuz it's hot.

Caption 75, Calle 13 - Cumbia de los Aburridos

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In Spanish you can talk about the sun as being caliente or caluroso (both words mean "hot") or fuerte (strong):

Y no es un sol tan fuerte y tan caluroso como en verano.

And it's not a sun as strong and as hot as during the summer.

Caption 23, Azotea Del Círculo de Bellas Artes - Andrés nos enseña una nueva perspectiva

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Of course, you can also talk about the sun as being radiante (radiant):

Como pueden ver es un sol radiante.

As you can see it's a radiant sun.

Caption 45, Cabarete - Charlie el taxista

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Check out how Spanish uses the verb tomar (to take) to express the action of getting sun:

Y también me alegra que esté tomando sol porque últimamente está muy pálida.

And it also makes me happy that she is getting sun because lately she's very pale.

Captions 24-25, Muñeca Brava - 33 El partido - Part 11

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If you get sun te bronceas (you get a tan), and having una piel bronceada (a tan skin, the verb is derived from the word bronce) is nice. 

Ir a tomar sol con ella y su bronceador

Go sunbathe with her and her suntan lotion

Caption 29, Enanitos Verdes - Cuánto Poder

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But if you get too much sun te quemas (you get sunburn)! Some people may even like this, but it's not really a healthy thing to do. You may hear some Spanish speakers use the expression estar quemado as a synonym of estar bronceado:

A mí me encanta estar quemada pero este sol me recalienta la cabeza, los sesos, así que me voy adentro.

I love being tan but this sun is overheating my head, my brains, so I'm going inside.

Captions 22-23, Muñeca Brava - 30 Revelaciones - Part 10

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We say it's better to use bloqueador solar (sunscreen), don't you think? Did you notice the verb recalentar (to overheat)?

By the way, the word calor (heat) is one of those Spanish nouns of indeterminate gender, like el sartén/la sartén (the pan), la azúcar/el azúcar (the sugar), etc. This means that both forms of the noun, masculine and feminine, are considered correct by the DRAE. However, the use of one form or the other can tell you a lot about who the speaker is. For example, the use of la calor is common in the coastal regions of Peru and many small town across all Latin America, but it's still considered incorrect (even a sign of lack of education) by many Spanish speakers, who don't necessarily (and why would they) catch up with the many updates and revisions done to the DRAE by the Real Academia Española. Here are two examples:

Pero la calor en verano es un poco mala.

But the heat in summer is a bit bad.

Caption 43, Clara y Cristina - Hablan de actividades

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A ti como que el calor te está afectando las neuronas, verdad

For you [it's] like the heat is affecting your brain cells, right?

Caption 26, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso - Part 6

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What we do recommend is to stick to the use of only one form, whichever you prefer. If you like to say la calor always use the feminine, if you like to use el calor, well, stick to the masculine. Apply this advice to similar words like el sartén/la sartén (the pan), la azúcar/el azúcar (the sugar). As an exception, the noun la mar/el mar (the sea), a summer word for many indeed, comes to mind. Our take on this word is that you use el mar when talking about the sea in a very practical way, for example:


Bajando por todo el mar Mediterráneo

Going down along the whole Mediterranean Sea [coast]

Caption 49, Álvaro - Arquitecto Español en Londres

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and use la mar for when you want to get poetic:


Muchos son los talentos que se pierden en la mar

A lot of talents get lost in the sea.

Caption 16, La Mala Rodriguez - La Niña

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The Numbers from One to One Hundred in Spanish

Learning the numbers from one to one hundred in Spanish is a very straightforward task. In fact, our friends at El Aula Azul created a very useful video to aid us with the basics. While you will see that it isn't really necessary to memorize every digit from one to one hundred, we'll give you a couple of tips to keep in mind.


One to Ten

These you do need to memorize, and the numbers from one to ten are as follows: uno (1), dos (2), tres (3), cuatro (4), cinco (5), seis (6), siete (7), ocho (8), nueve (9), and diez (10). We suggest that you practice them by saying them out loud a number of times.


Eleven through Twenty-Nine 

The numbers from eleven through twenty-nine also require some memorization, specifically those from eleven through fifteen, which are as follows: once (11), doce (12), trece (13), catorce (14), and quince (15).


You will then notice that there is a basic pattern to form the following digits: simply take diez (10) or veinte (20) and follow them with y plus the corresponding single digit to form your desired number. For example, if ten is diez, and six is seis, then sixteen will be "diez y seis." Similarly, if twenty is veinte and four is cuatro, then twenty-four must be "veinte y cuatro." Right? Well, almost!


A little trick will help you to learn to spell the names of the numbers sixteen through nineteen as well as twenty-one through twenty-nine correctly. Although those numbers were previously spelled as two words, their modern spellings are now preferred: Sixteen is written "dieciséis," nineteen is "diecinueve," twenty-nine is "veintinueve," and so on. The pattern is that, while the numbers sixteen through nineteen employ the prefix dieci (rather than diez y) followed by six through nine, the digits twenty-one through twenty-nine use "veinti" (not "veinte y") plus the numbers one through nine. Voilá! The number sixteen is therefore spelled dieciséis while twenty-four is veinticuatro.


Thirty to One Hundred

The good news is that, after treinta (30), the previous spelling returns, and you can once again use the basic pattern: thirty-one is "treinta y uno," forty-eight is "cuarenta y ocho," etc. All that are left to memorize are the numbers corresponding to las decenas (the multiples of ten), in other words: veinte (20), treinta (30), cuarenta (40), cincuenta (50), sesenta (60), setenta (70), ochenta (80), noventa (90), and cien (100). Our trusty pattern can then be utilized to figure out any other number in between: cuarenta y uno (41), sesenta y dos (62), ochenta y ocho (88), noventa y cuatro (94), etc. 


We hope you enjoy learning the numbers in Spanish, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions


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U for O, E for Y

Un segmento de una hora u hora y media.

A period of one hour or one hour and a half.

Caption 40, Rafael T. - La Cultura Maya

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Sooner or later we all notice cases where 'u' replaces 'o' ("or") or where 'e' replaces 'y'  ("and"). These conjunctions change when the word following them starts with the same letter sound. Therefore in the example above, 'o' changes to 'u' because the beginning sound of the next word, hora, is [o] (note that the h is silent).


The rule of thumb is pretty simple: With the conjunctions o ("or") and y ("and"), the vowels change if they are followed by the same vowel sounds.

Here are some examples of the vowel change in action:

¿Vas a comprar siete cervezas u ocho?
Are you going to buy seven beers or eight?

¿Quieres cervezas o gaseosas?
Do you want beers or sodas?



Julieta e Ignacio estudian la medicina.
Julieta and Ignacio study medicine.

Yasmil y Javier tocan a la guitarra.
Yasmil and Javier play the guitar.

Try speaking the sentence without changing the vowel and you should hear that it sounds funny to say the same vowel sound twice. That should help you remember this simple rule.

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