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Lessons for topic Verbs

How to Conjugate Verbs in the Present Subjunctive in Spanish

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

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An Example of the Present Subjunctive in Spanish: 

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

 

espero que practiquen en su casa

I hope you guys practice at home

Caption 60, Lecciones de guitarra Con Cristhian - Part 3

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

 

Conjugating Verbs in the Present Subjunctive in Spanish

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Porque quiero que hablemos de negocios.

Because I want us to talk about business.

Caption 3, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 6

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

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

Caption 43, Factor Fobia Cucarachas - Part 1

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Dígale que no suba.

Tell him not to come up.

Caption 43, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 6

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Verbs with Spelling Changes in the Indicative Yo Form 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Present Subjunctive Conjugations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

We will now hear a couple of these in context:

 

Lo mejor es que tengan sala de estudio

The best thing is for them to have a study room

Caption 45, Club de las ideas La biblioteca

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Bueno, te invito ahora a que conozcas el teatro.

Well, now I invite you to see the theater.

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

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Stem-Changing Verbs in the Spanish Present Subjunctive

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

 

1. -E to -ie in -ar and -er Verbs

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

 

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

 

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

 

2. -O to -ue in -ar and -er Verbs

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

 

vuelva, vuelvas, vuelva, volvamos, volváis, vuelvan

 

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

 

3. -E to -ie in -ir Verbs

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

 

sienta, sientas, sienta, sintamos, sintáis, sientan

 

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

 

4. -O to -ue in -ir Verbs

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

 

duerma, duermas, duerma, durmamos, durmáis, duerman

 

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

 

Examples:

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

 

lo mejor sería que vuelvas al convento.

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

Caption 15, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 7

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Espero que ahora entiendan mejor

I hope that you now understand better

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

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Spelling Changes in the Spanish Present Subjunctive

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

 

1. Verbs ending in -ger and -gir

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Examples:

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

 

Es que no necesito que me recojas hoy. 

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

Caption 52, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 9 - Part 6

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

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

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

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(Totally) Irregular Verbs in the Present Subjunctive in Spanish

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Espero que sea una bonita sorpresa.

I hope that it's a nice surprise.

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

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Dígame algo que no sepa.

Tell me something I don't know.

Caption 3, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 4

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

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The Present Perfect In Spanish

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

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How to Conjugate the Spanish Present Perfect Tense 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Conjugating the participle with -ar verbs:

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

 

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

mirar: mirado (to watch: watched)

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

bailarbailado (to dance: danced)

 

Conjugating the participle with -er and -ir verbs: 

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

 

comer: comido (to eat: eaten)

aprenderaprendido (to learn: learned)

recibirrecibido (to receive: received)

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

 

Irregular Participles: 

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

 

abrir: abierto (to open: opened)

cubrir: cubierto (to cover: covered)

decir: dicho (to say: said)

escribir: escrito (to write: written)

hacer: hecho (to do: done)

morir: muerto (to die: died)

poner: puesto (to put: put)

romper: roto (to break: broken)

resolver: resuelto (to resolve: resolved)

satisfacer: satisfecho (to satisfy: satisfied) 

ver: visto (to see: seen)

volver: vuelto (to return/returned)

 

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

 

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

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When to Use the Present Perfect in Spanish 

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

 

Ya hemos visto que reciclar contribuye de forma importante,

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

Caption 23, 3R Campaña de reciclaje - Part 3

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

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

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

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Hoy ha llovido todo el día.

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

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

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

 

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

 

Discrepancy Between the Spanish and English Present Perfect Tenses

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

 

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

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

Captions 1-3, Ariana Cita médica

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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The Three Grammatical Moods in Spanish

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

 

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

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1. The Indicative Mood

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

 

Estoy seguro que voy a poder ayudarla en algo.

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

Caption 7, Yago 9 Recuperación - Part 7

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

 

Hablaremos sobre el candombe.

We'll talk about candombe.

Caption 11, Sonido Babel El candombe de Uruguay

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

 

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

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

Caption 13, Guillermina y Candelario El Manglar

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

 

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

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2. The Subjunctive Mood

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Caption 58, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 17

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

 

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

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

Caption 28, Conjugación El verbo 'pensar'

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

 

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

 

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

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3. The Imperative Mood 

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

 

¡Hazlo todo de nuevo!

Do it all over again!

Caption 32, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 7

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

 

Chicos, no me hagan esta broma tan pesada. 

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

Caption 49, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 1

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

 

Empecemos por la forma, luego iremos al contenido. 

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

Caption 6, Ana Carolina Condicionales

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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Meaning of Commands with Nosotros/as

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

 

Miremos quién era Pablo Escobar.

Let's look at who Pablo Escobar was.

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

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Comamos una pasta.

Let's eat some pasta.

Caption 74, Sofy y Caro Comida en un restaurante

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y abramos nuestro corazón a otras culturas,

and let's open our hearts to other cultures,

Caption 79, Silvina Una entrevista con la artista

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Conjugating the Imperative with Nosotros in Spanish

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Negative Commands with Nosotros 

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

 

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

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

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

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Let's see one more example: 

 

Así que no perdamos más tiempo

So let's not waste any more time

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

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Irregular Nosotros Command Verbs

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

 

Vamos, Merycita.

Let's go, Merycita.

Caption 39, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 3

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

 

No vayamos al evento.

Let's not go to the event.

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

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

 

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

 

Let's take a look at some examples:

 

¡Vamos a bailar!

Let's dance!

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

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Bueno, vamos a ver.

Well, let's see.

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

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¡Vamos a empezar!

Let's begin!

Caption 10, Ana Carolina Gérmenes

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

 

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

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Expressing Emotions in Spanish

How do we talk about our emotions in Spanish? Although there are many different ways, this lesson will focus on three main categories of words that are typically used to express the whole range of emotions in Spanish while covering some of the major emotions in Spanish we might wish to talk about. 

 

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The Three Main Ways of Talking About Emotions in Spanish 

The three main word categories for talking about our emotions in Spanish are adjectives, reflexive verbs, and nouns. Let's take a closer look at some tendencies of each of these three parts of speech when describing emotions in Spanish.

 

1. Adjectives

Remember that adjectives modify, or describe, nouns, and to name a few simple ones in Spanish, we could take contento/a(s) (happy), triste(s) (sad), and enojado/a(s) (angry). As always, such emotional adjectives must agree with the noun they modify in terms of number and gender. You will note that the adjectives that describe emotions in Spanish are commonly used in conjunction with particular verbs, such as estar (to be), sentir (to feel), ponerse (to become/get), or quedarse (to become/get), to name a few. So, "Estoy contento," for example, would mean: "I'm happy."

 

 

2. Reflexive Verbs

Reflexive verbs in Spanish actually convey the action of feeling a certain emotion in and of themselves. As an example, since enojarse means "to get angry," one could say simply "Me enojé" (I got angry) in lieu of using an adjective/verb combination like "Me puse enojado," which conveys the same thing. 

 

 

3. Nouns

As a third option, nouns like tristeza (sadness) are additionally employed to talk about emotions in Spanish. Among others, one common manner of doing so is with the word "Qué..." in fixed expressions like, "¡Qué tristeza!" which literally means, "What sadness!" (but would be more commonly expressed in English with an expression like "How sad!"). Verbs like sentir (to feel) or tener (to have) are also commonly used with such emotional nouns in sentences such as "Siento mucha alegría" ("I feel really happy," or, more literally, "I feel a lot of happiness").

 

Conveying Common Emotions in Spanish

With these categories in mind, let's learn a plethora of ways to express the gamut of common emotions in Spanish. 

 

1. HAPPINESS

 

Adjectives: 

Adjectives that mean "happy" include feliz/felices, contento/a(s), and alegre(s). Let's take a look at some examples of these words in context along with some of the aforementioned verbs:

 

pues, que yo creo que él sí quiere formalizar algo conmigo y yo estoy muy feliz.

well, I think that he does want to formalize something with me, and I'm very happy.

Captions 40-41, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 9

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y, pues, me siento muy contento de que lo... lo pude lograr.

and well, I feel very happy that I... I was able to achieve it.

Caption 27, Rueda de la muerte Parte 1

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Y estoy alegre, alegre de que no sea cierto.

And I'm happy, happy it's not true.

Caption 31, Chus recita poemas Neruda y Pizarnik

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Remember that the verb estar is used to talk about emotions in Spanish rather than the verb ser because emotions tend to be temporary rather than permanent. That said, if someone (or something) permanently embodies a particular emotional attribute (e.g. a "happy person"), the verb ser can be used because this emotion becomes a trait, as in the following example: 

 

La Vela se caracteriza además por ser un pueblo alegre,

La Vela is also characterized as being a happy town,

Captions 16-17, Estado Falcón Locos de la Vela - Part 1

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Reflexive Verbs: 

Moving on to the verb category, a common reflexive verb that expresses the idea of "cheering up" or "getting" or "being happy" or "glad" is alegrarse. Let's see some examples of this verb:

 

Qué bien; me alegro de que estén aquí.

How great; I'm glad you're here.

Caption 42, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 2

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A tal punto que yo me alegré mucho, mucho, cuando supe que ibas a pasar veinticinco años en la cárcel.

To the point that I felt very happy, very, when I found out you were going to spend twenty-five years in prison.

Captions 56-57, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 1

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Nouns:

Lastly, we will deal with the corresponding nouns that mean "happiness" or "joy": (la) alegría and (la) felicidad.

 

Ay, bueno, Don Ramiro, de verdad, qué alegría escuchar eso.

Oh, well, Mister Ramiro, really, what a joy to hear that.

Caption 33, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 10

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While "what a joy" was translated a bit more literally here, it could also be a rough equivalent of "how great" (to hear that) or, of course, "I'm so happy" (to hear that). Let's look at one more example:

 

Hasta el sábado, amiga. ¡Qué felicidad!

See you Saturday, my friend. [I'm] so happy!

Caption 83, Cleer y Lida Conversación telefónica - Part 1

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Again, while "What happiness!" would be the literal translation of "¡Qué felicidad!" in English, you will note that this and many of our other examples of expressions with the word "Qué" plus an emotional noun have been translated slightly differently to reflect what an English speaker might say in a similar situation. 

 

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2. EXCITEMENT

 

Adjectives: 

"Excitement" might be looked upon as an extension of happiness, and adjectives like emocionado/a(s) (excited) or entusiasmado/a(s) (excited/enthusiastic) express this in Spanish:

 

Estoy tan emocionado de volver a verte.

I am so excited to see you again.

Caption 53, Yago 11 Prisión - Part 3

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Ehm... Mi amor, estás muy entusiasmado con todo esto. -Mmm.

Um... My love, you're very enthusiastic about all this. -Mmm.

Caption 7, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 4

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Reflexive Verbs:

As you might have guessed, the verbs for "to be/get excited" are emocionarse and entusiasmarse

 

Ya me emocioné.

I already got excited.

Caption 22, Alan x el mundo Mi playa favorita de México! - Part 1

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¿Por qué no entusiasmarnos más?

Why not get more excited?

Caption 14, Natalia de Ecuador Consejos: haciendo amigos como adultos

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Nouns:

Although the noun (la) emoción can indeed mean "emotion," it can also mean "excitement":

 

Entonces... -¡Qué emoción! Qué emoción, y después... ¡oh!, ¿sí?

So... -How exciting! How exciting, and afterward... oh, really?

Captions 31-32, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 2

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That said, while emocionado/a(s)emocionarse, and "¡Qué emoción!" can also be used to talk about "being moved" with emotion, context should usually let you know the speaker's intention. 

 

 

3. SADNESS

 

Adjectives:

Triste(s) is undoubtedly the most common adjective that means "sad" in Spanish:

 

nos dimos cuenta [de] que mi barco estaba partido. Candelario se puso triste

we realized my boat was split. Candelario got sad.

Captions 43-44, Guillermina y Candelario El Gran Rescate

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Reflexive Verbs:

The reflexive verb entristecerse, on the other hand, means "to get" (or "feel" or "be" or "become," etc.) "sad":

 

La alumna se entristeció mucho al saber que se había fallecido su maestro. 

The student became really sad when she found out that her teacher had passed away. 

 

Nouns:

The noun (la) tristeza literally means "sadness," but is utilized along with "Qué" to say, "How sad":

 

Qué tristeza, ¿no? Terrible.

How sad, right? Terrible.

Caption 5, Tu Voz Estéreo Feliz Navidad - Part 19

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4. ANGER

 

Adjectives:

While there are a lot of adjectives that mean "angry" or "mad" in Spanish, the two most common standard (rather than slang) ones are probably enojado/a(s) and enfadado/a(s). Let's take a look:

 

¿Qué te pasa? ¿Estás enojado conmigo? No, no estoy enojado, estoy cansado. Estoy cansado, ¿OK? 

What's going on with you? Are you mad at me? No, I'm not mad, I'm tired. I'm tired, OK?

Captions 42-43, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 3

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Estamos muy enfadadas. Estoy muy enfadada.

We are very angry. I am very angry.

Captions 30-31, El Aula Azul Estados de ánimo

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Reflexive Verbs:

By extension, verbs that mean "to get mad" or "angry" include enojarse and enfadarse, although there are many more:

 

Se enojó muchísimo con el viejo

She got really angry with my old man

Caption 86, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 6

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No me enfadé con él, ni le insulté,

I didn't get mad at him, nor did I insult him,

Captions 78-79, Cortometraje Beta - Part 1

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Nouns:

There are a lot of nouns that refer to anger in Spanish, and we bet you guessed two of them: (el) enojo and (el) enfado. Others include (la) ira, (la) rabia, and (la) bronca. Although it is not as common to hear these words in expressions with "Qué..." as some of the other nouns we have talked about, we can give you some examples of how a couple of these words are used to express anger in captions from our Yabla Spanish library:

 

Lo que yo sentía en ese momento era algo mucho más profundo que un enfado.

What I felt at that moment was something way deeper than anger.

Caption 81, Cortometraje Beta - Part 1

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porque claro, alguna vez siento mucha rabia y no me gusta sentir tanta rabia

because of course, sometimes I feel a lot of rage and I don't like feeling so much rage

Captions 42-43, Escribiendo un libro Algunos consejos sobre cómo comenzar - Part 1

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For a lot of additional standard and slangy manners of talking about anger, feel free to refer to this lesson on expressing feelings of tiredness or anger in Spanish. 

 

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5. SURPRISE

 

Adjectives:

Let's start with the adjective that means "surprised": sorprendido/a(s).

 

Profesores, la verdad es que me he quedado sorprendida

Professors, the truth is that I have been surprised;

Caption 19, Alumnos extranjeros del Tec de Monterrey

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Reflexive Verbs:

The reflexive verb that means "to be" or "to get surprised" is sorprenderse:

 

Es que... me sorprendí, querida. -¿Por qué?

It's just that... I was surprised, dear. -Why?

Caption 65, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 11

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Nouns:

And finally, the noun (la) sorpresa can be used with "Qué" to say "How surprising" or "What a surprise": 

 

Qué sorpresa. -Qué... Vale, qué lindo verte.

What a surprise. -What... Vale, how nice to see you.

Caption 15, Español para principiantes Saludos y encuentros

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6. DISAPPOINTMENT

 

Adjectives:

The common Spanish adjectives decepcionado/a(s) and desilusionado/s(s) both mean "disappointed":

 

Mi novia está desilusionado conmigo por haberle mentido.

My girlfriend is disappointed in me for having lied to her. 

 

No. Estoy decepcionada. ¿De mí? ¿Y por qué estás decepcionada?

No. I'm disappointed. In me? And why are you disappointed?

Captions 61-63, Muñeca Brava 41 La Fiesta - Part 6

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Reflexive Verbs:

Naturally, the verbs decepcionarse and desilusionarse mean "to get" or "be disappointed." Let's take a look at them in context:

 

Me decepcioné mucho cuando suspendí el examen. 

I was really disappointed when I failed the test. 

 

Nada. Tengo qué sé yo, miedo a desilusionarme, va.

Nothing. I have, I don't know, a fear of being disappointed, well.

Caption 38, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 5

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Nouns:

So, of course, "Qué desilusión" or "Qué decepción" would be "How disappointing" or "What a disappointment":

 

Qué decepción.

What a disappointment.

Caption 82, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 3

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Digo, personalmente no, no, no fue una desilusión porque viste, que cuando sos chico las pérdidas son diferentes. 

I mean, personally it wasn't a disappointment because you know, when you are a kid, losses are different.

Captions 48-49, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 2

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Note that "No fue una desilusiónmight also have been translated as "I wasn't disappointed" in this context. 
 

 

7. WORRY/ANXIETY/STRESS

Let's conclude today's lesson by talking about some more of what might be considered sentimientos negativos (negative feelings) in Spanish: worry, anxiety, and stress.

 

Adjectives:

Adjectives like preocupado/a(s)(worried), estresado/a(s) ("stressed" or "stressed out"), ansioso/a(s) (anxious), or nervioso/a(s), which often means "restless," "anxious," etc. in addition to "nervous," can be used to describe those unpleasant sensations in Spanish. Let's look at some examples:

 

Entonces, cuando usted sufra una infección fuerte o esté preocupado o estresado

So, when you get a strong infection or are worried or stressed,

Captions 35-36, Los médicos explican Consulta con el médico: herpes

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Le noto un poco nervioso, ¿le pasa algo? -No, no, no...

I notice you're a bit on edge, is something wrong with you? -No, no, no...

Caption 9, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 6

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¿Hay algún pensamiento o algo que le mantenga a usted ansioso o desde cuándo... o algo que haya desencadenado todos estos problemas?

Is there some thought or something that keeps you anxious or from which... or something that has triggered all these problems?

Captions 32-33, Los médicos explican Diagnóstico: nervios y estrés

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Reflexive Verbs:

The reflexive verb preocuparse means "to worry," while estresarse means "to stress" or "get stressed out," etc.:

 

¿De verdad se preocupa por mi seguridad? Claro que sí me preocupo.

Do you really worry about my safety? Of course I worry.

Captions 36-37, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 3

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un día tengo que pagar uno, otro día otro, y eso, la... la gente se estresa.

one day I have to pay one, another day another one, and that... people get stressed out.

Caption 67, Cuentas claras Sobreviviendo enero - Part 2

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Nouns:

The corresponding nouns for the verbs and adjectives we have talked about are: (la) preocupación (worry), (el) estrés (stress), (los) nervios (nerves), and (la) ansiedad (anxiety), which can be used in sentences in infinite ways to describe these nerve-wracking sensations. For example, we might say "¡Qué nervios!" or "¡Qué estrés!" to say something like "I'm so nervous/anxious!" or "How stressful!"/"I'm so stressed out!" Let's look at some additional examples of these nouns with the verbs tener (to have) and sentir (to feel):

 

Últimamente tengo mucho estrés y estar un poco en la naturaleza es muy bueno.

Lately, I've been really stressed out, and it's great to be in nature a bit.

Captions 68-69, Cleer y Lida Picnic

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Siento ansiedad, la necesidad de contar quién soy

I feel anxiety, the need to tell who I am

Caption 2, Monsieur Periné Mi libertad

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You will note that while the literal translation of the first example would be "I have a lot of stress," "I've been really stressed out" may be the more likely equivalent for English speakers in this context. On the other hand, while the translator opted for the more literal "I feel anxiety" in the second example, "I feel anxious" would also be a viable option in English. For additional insight into how to discuss anxiety and stress in Spanish, we recommend the video Diagnóstico: nervios y estrés (Diagnosis: Nerves and Stress) from our series Los médicos explican (The Doctors Explain).

 

We have covered a multitude of emotions in Spanish, and videos like this one from our Curso de español  [Spanish Course] series about Expresiones de sentimientos [Expressions of Feelings] and this one on Estados de Ánimo [Moods] by El Aula Azul can help you to express many more. And while most of the feelings we have talked about are pretty clearly negative or positive, the video Ni bien ni mal [Neither Good nor Bad] can help us to talk about some of those so-so emotions in Spanish. Are there any other feelings or emotions you'd like to learn to speak about in Spanish? Don't forget to let us know in your suggestions and comments

 

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Spanish Verbs That Change Meaning in the Preterite Tense

Just when you thought you'd memorized the meanings of a bunch of infinitive verbs (their "to" forms, like saber (to know), poder (to be able), etc.), you find out that there are some verbs that actually change meanings from one tense to another! Verbs that mean one thing in tenses like the Spanish present indicative tense and the imperfect tense in Spanish but change meaning in the Spanish preterite tense will be the focus of today's lesson. 

 

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What Is the Spanish Preterite Tense?

In a nutshell, there are two "main" past tenses in Spanish: the imperfect tense in Spanish, which is used to describe past actions that were ongoing, in progress, or interrupted, and the Spanish preterite tense, which describes completed past actions. As we mentioned, as the meaning of some Spanish verbs actually changes in the preterite tense in Spanish, let's take a look at some examples of several of these verbs and their translations in the present, the imperfect, and, finally, the preterite, via examples from Yabla Spanish's video library. 

 

Spanish Verbs That Change Meaning in the Preterite Tense 

 

1. Conocer (to know)

Let's take a look at some examples of the Spanish verb conocer in the present and imperfect tenses:

 

Present Tense:

porque conozco un sitio muy bueno y podemos ir.

because I know a very good place and we can go.

Caption 67, Cleer Entrevista a Giluancar

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Imperfect Tense:

Pablo Escobar conocía La Catedral como la palma de la mano,

Pablo Escobar knew La Cathedral like the back of his hand

Caption 42, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 2 - Part 6

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In both the Spanish present indicative and the imperfect tense, the Spanish verb conocer means "to know" in the sense of "being familiar with." However, in the preterite tense, the Spanish verb conocer has a different meaning. Let's take a look:

 

Preterite Tense:

Cuando yo conocí a mi esposa, hace nueve años, la primera cosa yo le dije a ella, te... tú vas a ser la mamá de mis hijas.

When I met my wife, nine years ago, the first thing I said to her, you... you are going to be the mom of my daughters.

Captions 52-54, La Sub30 Familias - Part 4

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As you can see in this example, as the preterite tense in Spanish limits an action to a specific moment in time, the meaning of the Spanish verb conocer changes to "to meet" in the Spanish preterite tense. 

 

2. Poder (to be able)

The Spanish verb poder means "to be able," in the sense of "can" in the present or "could" in the past. Let's see some examples:

 

Present Tense:

Detrás de mí podemos observar la ciudad antigua

Behind me, we can observe the old city

Caption 11, Ciudad de Panamá Denisse introduce la ciudad

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Imperfect Tense:

Yo pensé que podía saltar muy alto.

I thought I could jump really high.

Caption 14, Guillermina y Candelario Una Amiga muy Presumida - Part 2

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So, how does the meaning of the Spanish verb poder transform in the preterite?

 

Preterite Tense:

Es que no entiendo cómo pudo entrar aquí.

It's just that I don't understand how he managed to get in here.

Caption 20, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 8

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Although "It's just that I don't understand how he was able to get in here" could also be a viable translation, in some contexts, this English rendition would not make it clear whether someone actually did something or merely had the ability to do so. Hence, the important thing to remember when the Spanish verb poder is conjugated in the Spanish preterite tense is that it ceases to describe merely the potential for something to happen and states that it actually did. "To manage" (to do something) is thus a common translation for the Spanish verb poder in the preterite tense that makes this distinction clear. 

 

3. No poder (to not be able)

The meaning of no poder in both the present and imperfect tenses in Spanish is pretty straightforward: "to not be able to," in other words, "can't" in the present and "couldn't" in the (imperfect) past:

 

Present Tense:

¿Cómo que no pueden hacer nada? ¿Cómo que no pueden hacer nada más?

What do you mean you can't do anything? What do you mean you can't do anything else?

Caption 17, Yago 3 La foto - Part 2

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Imperfect Tense:

Y no podía estudiar.

And I couldn't study.

Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 5 - Part 3

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So, what about the preterite? If we know that the preterite form of the Spanish verb poder means "to manage to" do something, it follows that the preterite form of no poder can mean "to not manage to," or, better yet, "to fail to" to do something.

 

Preterite Tense:

Si usted no pudo controlar su matrimonio ¿cómo va a controlar y dirigir y manejar el interés público?

If you failed to control your marriage, how are you going to control and direct and manage public interest?

Captions 58-59, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 3

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While we might alternatively translate "si usted no pudo controlar su matrimonio" as "you couldn't control your marriage" or "you weren't able to control your marriage," the important thing to remember is that the verb poder in the preterite means that something in the past was attempted but did not come to fruition.

 

4. Saber (to know)

The Spanish verb saber typically means "to know" (in the sense of facts or information) in the present, imperfect, etc.:

 

Present Tense:

No es información nueva, y ellas lo saben.

It's not new information, and they know it.

Caption 7, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 3

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Imperfect Tense:

Sí. Si algo sabíamos era que la plata no crece en los árboles.

Yes. If we knew anything, it was that money didn't grow on trees.

Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 2

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However, because the preterite tense in Spanish narrows the timeline of such "knowing" down to a specific moment, the meaning of the Spanish verb saber transforms, in the preterite tense, from "to know" to "to find out":

 

Preterite Tense:

A tal punto que yo me alegré mucho, mucho, cuando supe que ibas a pasar veinticinco años en la cárcel.

To the point that I was very happy, very, when I found out you were going to spend twenty-five years in prison.

Captions 56-57, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 1

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5. Tener (to have)

The verb tener in Spanish means "to have" in most tenses, as in the following excerpts:

 

Present Tense:

Todas las estaciones tienen sus ventajas.

All of the seasons have their advantages.

Caption 42, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 2

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Imperfect Tense:

Tenía una casa pues, amueblada de cuatrocientos metros

I had a, well, furnished, four-hundred meter house,

Caption 79, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 8

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And, although the meaning of the Spanish verb tener doesn't always change in the preterite, it sometimes takes on the meaning of "to receive" or "to get," as in the case of: Tuve una carta (I got a letter). Let's look at an additional example:

 

Preterite Tense:

Y bueno, ahí tuve otras proposiciones, que no eran tampoco un sueño, pero eran mucho más interesantes que lo que tenía en Cuba,

And well, there, I got other proposals, which weren't a dream either, but they were much more interesting than what I had in Cuba,

Captions 49-51, Orishas Entrevista Canal Plus

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6. Querer (to want) 

The verb querer in Spanish most often means "to want." Let's see it in action:

 

Present Tense:

Amigos de Yabla, hoy los queremos invitar a aprender español

Friends of Yabla, today we want to invite you to learn Spanish

Captions 1-2, El Hatillo, Caracas, Venezuela El cuatro

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Imperfect Tense:

Yo de niña pensaba que quería ser bailarina. ¿Qué pensabas tú?

As a little girl I thought that I wanted to be a dancer. What did you think?

Caption 20, Conjugación El verbo 'pensar'

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In the preterite tense, however, the Spanish verb querer "puts a limit" on this past "wanting" and becomes a manner of saying that someone "tried" to do something:

 

Preterite Tense:

Yo quise ser su amiga, pero no me dejó.

I tried to be his friend, but he didn't let me.

Caption 38, Guillermina y Candelario Un marciano en la playa - Part 1

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7. No querer (to not want) 

In our first two tenses, the Spanish verb phrase no querer means exactly what it sounds like: "to not want." Let's examine some clips that demonstrate this construction in the present and imperfect:

 

Present Tense:

 

Es que yo no quiero vivir en el centro.

The thing is, I don't want to live in the downtown area.

Caption 71, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y persona ideal

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Imperfect Tense:

 

y en un principio le dije que no quería tener un gato en casa.

and at first, I told her I didn't want to have a cat in my home.

Caption 32, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata Poeska

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The preterite form of the Spanish verb querer, on the other hand, means that someone not only "didn't want" to do something at a specific point in the past, they actually didn't (or "wouldn't"):

 

mi otra hermana, Zoraida Zárraga, mi sobrino, Harold Blanco, que no quisieron presentarse por temor a cámara.

my other sister, Zoraida Zarraga, my nephew, Harold Blanco, who refused to appear due to camera shyness.

Captions 11-13, Coro, Venezuela Relaciones familiares

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So, we see that the meaning of the verb no querer in Spanish can sometimes become to "to refuse" in the preterite tense. 

 

We hope that this lesson has edified you regarding the alternative meanings of some Spanish verbs when they are conjugated in the preterite tense. Can you think of any we missed?  Don't forget to tell us with your suggestions and comments

 

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Spanish Verb Tenses Explained: Part 2

Welcome to the second part of this lesson where we touch on all the different Spanish verb tenses! So... how many tenses in Spanish did we say there were? Sixteen! In the first part, we covered the ten "official" tenses of the indicative mood, which deals more with concrete facts, in addition to some "bonus" (non-official) tenses. Now, we'll move on to the other two Spanish moods: the subjunctive, where we will cover tenses eleven through sixteen of the Spanish verb paradigm, and the imperative. If you didn't already, we definitely recommend checking out Part 1 of this lesson. 

 

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The Subjunctive Tenses

While the indicative mood deals with facts, the subjunctive mood in Spanish, in a nutshell, deals with more abstract notions like wishes, desires, emotions, opinions, and more, which require a whole different set of tenses in Spanish. Although it would be impossible to delve too deeply into the multipronged usage of the subjunctive Spanish mood, we will try to illustrate several cases in which you might come across it. Let's get started!

 

11. Present Subjunctive (Presente del subjuntivo)

The present subjunctive is the subjunctive equivalent of the simple present tense. Let's take a look at an example from the Yabla Spanish library: 

 

Si queremos que una persona no nos hable de usted, tenemos que pedir a la persona que nos tutee. 

If we want a person to not talk to us in an formal way, we have to ask the person to use "tú" with us.

Captions 24-25, Karla e Isabel Tú y Usted

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Note that the reason the subjunctive form is employed here (we can tell it is subjunctive due to its conjugation, hable, which differs from its indicative form, habla) is because the sentence conveys that we want (queremos) for someone not to talk to us in a particular way, which doesn't mean that that person will actually respect our desire. Let's take a look at one more example: 

 

Mejor hablemos de ella. 

It's better we talk about her.

Caption 17, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 1

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Here, the word mejor (better) tips us off that the subjunctive form (hablemos instead of hablamos) is in order due to the expression of someone's opinion about what should happen, which doesn't necessarily mean that it will. 

 

12. Imperfect Subjunctive (Imperfecto de subjuntivo)

The imperfect subjunctive is the past equivalent of the present subjunctive. We see in the following example that the verb hablar has been conjugated in the imperfect subjunctive (habláramos) instead of in the indicative (hablábamos) due to the expression of desire, once again with the verb querer:

 

No, no te dije que quería hablar con vos, quería que habláramos los dos. 

No, I didn't tell you that I wanted to talk to you; I wanted for us to talk, the two [of us].

Caption 46, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 6

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Another very common use of the imperfect subjunctive is to talk about hypothetical situations. In this case, the imperfect subjunctive is often incorporated into a "si (if) clause" in conjunction with the conditional tense to communicate that "if" something were the case, then something else "would" happen, as in the following clip:

 
 

Eh... Si... ¿hablaríamos?... -Hablara. Hablara ruso, me... vi'... ¿vivía?... Viviría. -Viviría en Rusia. 

Um... "Si... ¿hablaríamos" [If... we would speak]? -"Hablara" [I spoke]. "Hablara ruso [I spoke Russian], me... vi'... ¿vivía" [I... I'd li'... I used to live]? "Viviría" [I'd live]. -"Viviría en Rusia" [I'd live in Russia].

Captions 22-25, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 7

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The hypothetical situation the teacher is going for here is: Si hablara rusoviviría en Rusia (If I spoke Russian, I'd live in Russia). To learn more about this type of construction, we highly recommend the entire series of which this video is a part. 

 

13. Future Subjunctive (Futuro (simple) de subjuntivo)

We definitely couldn't come up with any examples of the future subjunctive tense in our Yabla Spanish library because this tense is all but obsolete and is almost never even taught in modern Spanish. For that reason, you may not recognize it due to its different and little-seen conjugations, although you may occasionally come across it in legal documents or literature. We came up with this example:

 

El que hablare fuerte se echará de lo biblioteca. 

Whoever talks loudly will be thrown out of the library. 

 

The future subjunctive could conceivably be used here because the sentence refers to "whoever," rather than known individuals, as well as alluding to a possible future event. However, in modern Spanish, this very same idea would be conveyed with the present subjunctive:

 

El que hable fuerte se echará de lo biblioteca. 

Whoever talks loudly will be thrown out of the library. 

 

14. Present Perfect Subjunctive (Pretérito perfecto de subjuntivo)

The present perfect subjunctive is the equivalent of the present perfect indicative in situations that require the subjunctive, and the verb haber is thus conjugated in its subjunctive form. That said, we'll take this opportunity to mention another case that requires subjunctive: when expressing that something will happen "when" something else happens that hasn't yet, as in the following example:

 

Cuando se hayan hablado, se van a entender mejor.

When they've talked to each other, they are going to understand each other better. 

 

And, here's an additional example of the present perfect subjunctive from our Spanish video library with different verbs:

 

Espero que os haya gustado este vídeo sobre esta maravillosa planta y hayáis aprendido algo nuevo. 

I hope you've liked this video about this wonderful plant and have learned something new.

Captions 80-81, Fermín La plumeria - Part 1

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15. Pluperfect Subjunctive (Pluscuamperfecto de subjuntivo)

The pluperfect subjunctive is the subjunctive equivalent of the pluperfect tense and is also used to talk about hypothetical situations. It is formed with the pluperfect form of haber plus the participle, and, like the imperfect subjunctive, it is often used in conjunction with the conditional or conditional perfect to describe what "would have" happened if something else "had been" done. Let's see an example:

 

Si yo hubiera hablado con mi jefe antes, habría evitado cualquier malentendido. 

If I had spoken with my boss previously, I would have avoided any misunderstanding.

 

Let's look an additional example of the pluperfect subjunctive tense, which does not include the conditional:

 

Es como si nunca hubiéramos hablado

It's as if we had never talked.

Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 6

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The Spanish phrase como si (as if) quite often precedes verbs in the pluperfect subjunctive tense. 

 

16. Future Perfect Subjunctive (Futuro compuesto de subjuntivo)

Like the future subjunctive, the future perfect subjunctive is rarely encountered and might only be employed in literary or legal contexts to talk about what will happen in the future if a hypothetical situation "has not" yet occurred. It involves the future subjunctive form of the verb haber plus the participle, as follows:

 

Si el demandante todavía no hubiere hablado ante el tribunal para la fecha especificada, se desestimará su caso. 

If the plaintiff still hasn't spoken before the court by the specified date, his case will be dismissed. 

 

However, the present perfect subjunctive would take the place of the future perfect subjunctive in order to say this today:

 

Si el demandante todavía no haya hablado ante el tribunal para la fecha especificada, se desestimará su caso. 

If the plaintiff still hasn't spoken before the court by the specified date, his case will be dismissed. 

 

Since different verb conjugations are rarely required in English to talk about emotions, desires, or hypotheticals, the subjunctive mood can initially feel quite confusing for English speakers, and we hope that this lesson has this shed some light on some of the possible subjunctive scenarios in Spanish. For more information about the subjunctive in Spanish, the following link with take you to several additional lessons on different aspects of this topic. 

 

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The Imperative "Tenses"

Let's conclude our rundown of all Spanish tenses by talking about the "bonus" tenses in the imperative mood (modo imperativo), which are not included in the official classification of the different tenses in Spanish. Also called commands, these Spanish verb tenses are those that tell someone to do something, and they fall into several categories:

 

1. Commands with  (informal "you") :

 

Habla con la gente de laboratorio.

Talk to the people from the lab.

Caption 36, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 1 - Part 11

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2. Negative commands with :

 

A ver. Sebas, mi amor, no le hables así a tu papá.

Let's see. Sebas, my love, don't talk to your dad like that.

Caption 30, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 2

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3. Commands with vos (informal "you" in certain regions):

 

por favor hablá con Andrea; necesito encontrar a mi nieto. 

please talk to Andrea; I need to find my grandson.

Caption 59, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 9

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4. (Negative or positive) commands with usted (formal "you"):

 

Hable más despacio.

"Hable más despacio" [Speak more slowly].

Caption 40, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 2: Irregulares, Usted + plurales

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5. (Negative or positive) commands with ustedes (plural "you"):

 

Pues no me hablen de costumbre porque luego en vez de ganar, pierdo.

Well don't talk to me about habits because then instead of earning, I lose.

Caption 7, La Banda Chilanguense El habla de México - Part 3

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6. Commands with vosotros/as (informal plural "you"):

 

Con vosotros o vosotras: Hablad más despacio.

With "vosotros" or "vosotras" ["you" plural informal masculine/feminine]: "Hablad más despacio" [Talk more slowly].

Caption 25, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 1: Tú + vos

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7. Negative commands with vosotros/as:

 

No nos habléis de esa forma.

Don't speak to us in that way. 

 

8. (Negative or positive) commands with nosotros/as (we): 

 

Hablemos de otra palabra.

Let's talk about another word.

Caption 19, Carlos comenta Confidencial - Jerga típica colombiana

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While we won't get into the norms for conjugating all of these types of commands with -ar, -er, and -ir verbs, we recommend Yabla's four-part video series entitled El modo imperativo (The Imperative Mode), beginning here, which explores this topic. 

 

And that wraps up our lesson on all of the verb tenses in Spanish. We hope you've enjoyed it (and learned a lot)! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

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Spanish Verb Tenses Explained: Part 1

Today, we will embark on a brief journey that encompasses all the Spanish verb tenses. However, rather than focusing on how to conjugate the verb tenses in Spanish, which you may or may not have already learned, we'll take a closer look at when to use each one, using the extremely common verb hablar ("to talk" or "to speak") to illustrate them whenever possible, as well as plenty of examples from the Yabla Spanish video library. 

 

How Many Tenses Are There in Spanish?

How many different tenses in Spanish are there in total? According to the Real Academia Española, there are sixteen Spanish verb tenses. There are also some "bonus tenses," which aren't officially included in their classification, which we will also cover in this lesson. Let's get started.

 

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Indicative Tenses

To make matters just a bit more complicated, Spanish verb tenses fall into three categories called "moods," which are the indicative, the subjunctive, and the imperative. Generally speaking, the indicative verb tenses in Spanish are the first Spanish verb tenses learned, and, in contrast to the Spanish verb tenses in the other moods (subjunctive and imperative), they tend to deal with facts and objective reality. Let's take a look:

 

1. Present (Presente)

Let's start with the present tense in Spanish, also known as the "simple present." This tense is primarily used in two ways, the first being to talk about a present action that is habitual, repeated, or ongoing. Let's take a look:

 

Aunque soy extranjero, yo hablo español muy bien.

Although I'm a foreigner, I speak Spanish very well.

Caption 56, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 4

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Since it is an ongoing fact that the speaker speaks Spanish very well, it is appropriate to use the present tense. We can also use this tense to talk about an action that is actually in progress at the moment:

 

¿Hablo con la Señora Pepa Flores, la manager de Amalia Durango?

Am I speaking with Mrs. Pepa Flores, Amalia Durango's manager?

Captions 37-38, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 5

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***BONUS TENSE: Present Progressive (Presente Continuo)*** 

Notice that the second example of the present tense was translated to the English present progressive tense. This is the tense with a form of the word "to be" and the gerund, or -ing form of a verb ("I'm eating," "He's swimming," etc.). The present progressive tense in Spanish, which is similarly formed with a present conjugation of the verb estar (to be) and a verb's gerundio (gerund, which usually ends in -ando or -iendo in Spanish), is always translated in this fashion and really emphasizes that an action is in progress at this very moment. Let's take a look:

 

OK. Xavi, ahora que estamos hablando de... de comida, de alimentos, quisiera hacerte una pregunta.

OK. Xavi, now that we're talking about... about food, about foods, I'd like to ask you a question.

Captions 23-24, Carlos y Xavi Part 3 Diferencias de vocabulario entre España y Colombia

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For more information about and examples of the present progressive tense in Spanish, check out this lesson as well as this video that contrasts the use of the simple present with the present progressive. Now that we've seen a couple of the present verb tenses in Spanish, let's check out some of the Spanish past tenses. 

 

2. Imperfect (Pretérito imperfecto)

The imperfect is one of the Spanish past tenses and talks about an action that was ongoing or habitual in the past or that was in progress and/or interrupted in the moment described. Translations for the imperfect in Spanish for the verb hablar could thus include "used to talk," "would talk," or "was talking." Let's take a look at couple of examples:

 

Bueno, cuando yo era pequeña hablaba con la ficha de Einstein.

Well, when I was little, I used to talk to the Einstein card.

Caption 36, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 3

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Ya que estás, contanos a los dos... ¿De qué hablaban?

Now that you're here, tell us both... What were you talking about?

Caption 2, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

To learn more about the imperfect tense in Spanish, check out this lesson entitled: The Imperfect Tense in Spanish: The Past That Just Won't Quit

 

***BONUS TENSE: Past Progressive (Pasado continuo)*** 

The past equivalent of the present progressive tense is the past progressive tense, which emphasizes that an action in the past was in progress. As with the present and present progressive tenses, while the imperfect tense in Spanish can sometimes be translated with the past progressive in English ("I was eating," "You were running," etc.), the past progressive tense in Spanish is always translated in this fashion, with "was" or "were" plus a verb's gerund. It is formed in the same way as the present progressive except that the verb estar is conjugated in the imperfect tense:

 

Le hemos despistado. -Porque estaba hablando

We've confused her. -Because she was talking.

Caption 59, Jugando a la Brisca En la calle

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3. Preterite (Pretérito indefinido)

The preterite is another one of the Spanish past tenses. In contrast to the imperfect tense, the preterite tense in Spanish describes past actions that have been completed. It could be compared with verbs ending in -ed in English (e.g. "He fished," "We traveled," etc.). Let's see an example:

 

Pero claro, en Televisión Española me hablaron de Gastón Almanza

But of course, at Spanish Television they talked to me about Gaston Almanza

Caption 13, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 10

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The preterite is also used for past actions that interrupted other actions in progress, which would often be conjugated in the imperfect, as in the following example:

 

Yo hablaba por teléfono cuando mi novio me habló con una voz muy alta. 

I was talking on the phone when my boyfriend talked to me in a very loud voice. 

 

To find out more about the preterite tense, we recommend this lesson from our Yabla lesson archives. 

 

4. Future (Futuro simple)

The future tense in Spanish is pretty straightforward; it talks about something we "will" do in the future. Let's take a look: 

 

Hoy hablaremos de las preposiciones de lugar.

Today, we will talk about prepositions of place.

Caption 9, Ana Carolina Preposiciones de lugar

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Interestingly, sometimes the Spanish future tense is used in situations where English speakers would employ "would" to imply disbelief: 

 

¿Y tú me hablarás de esta manera?

And you'd talk to me like that? 

 

5. Simple Conditional (Condicional simple)

So, what about the Spanish conditional tenses? The simple conditional tense is the typical Spanish equivalent of saying one "would" do something in English, often in a hypothetical situation:

 

Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.

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

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

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This tense is often, but not always, seen in conjunction with the imperfect subjunctive tense (fuera, or "I were" in the example above), which we will cover in part two of this lesson, to specify that if some hypothetical situation "were" in place, something else "would" happen.  

 

6. Present Perfect (Pretérito perfecto)

Although this tense is called the present perfect in English, its Spanish name is préterito perfecto ("preterite perfect" or "past perfect"), and it is the Spanish past tense used to say that one "has done" something within a specific time period, which could be anything from that day to one's life. It is formed with the verb haber, which is translated as "has" or "have" in English, along with the participle form of the verb (which will typically have the suffix -ado or -ido in Spanish and -ed or -en in English). Let's take a look:

 

El día de hoy, hemos hablado de artículos que utilizamos al día a día

Today, we've talked about items we use every day

Caption 41, Ana Carolina Artículos de aseo personal

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Interestingly, in Spain, the present perfect is often used to describe things that happened in the recent past in situations in which English speakers would use the simple past and Latin Americans would more likely use the preterite. This usage can be seen quite clearly throughout this video from El Aula Azul. Let's take a look at an excerpt:

 

Pero cuando ha salido de clase, cuando hemos terminado la clase, ha ido a coger el coche, y resulta que la ventanilla estaba rota.

But when she's left class, when we've finished the class, she's gone to get her car, and it turns out that the window was broken.

Captions 12-14, El Aula Azul Conversación: Un día de mala suerte

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Although the translators at Yabla chose to translate this tense literally in this video to facilitate the learning of the present perfect tense, this sounds quite awkward in English, where a native speaker would probably say: "But when she left class, when we finished the class, she went to get her car, and it turns out that the window was broken."

 

In this video, Carlos provides an even more thorough explanation about when to use this tense as part of a useful four-part series on the different past tenses in Spanish. 

 

7. Pluperfect (Pretérito pluscuamperfecto)

The pluperfect is the past equivalent of the present perfect tense. It is formed with the imperfect conjugation of the verb haber and the participle form of the infinitive. It is often used to describe things we "had" already done when something else occurred.

 

que no era tan escandalosa como... como la gente había hab'... había hablado al principio.

That it wasn't as scandalous as... as the people had sa'... had said in the beginning.

Captions 41-42, Los Juegos Olímpicos Pablo Herrera

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8. Past Anterior (Pretérito anterior)

Also known as the preterite perfect, the past anterior tense is extremely similar to the pluperfect tense but employs the preterite conjugation of the verb haber plus the participle. It is used more commonly in literature and less in everyday speech. While we couldn't find an example of this tense with the verb hablar, we did find one with the verb coger (to grab): 

 

Apenas lo hubo cogido, el niño se despertó.

He'd barely grabbed it, the little boy woke up.

Captions 46-47, Chus recita poemas Antonio Machado

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Just in case you were wondering, an example sentence with the verb hablar might be: Yo ya hube hablado con mi maestra antes del examen (I had already spoken to my teacher before the test), and there would be no difference in translation between this sentence and the same sentence with the verb conjugated in its pluperfect form (Yo ya había hablado con mi maestra antes del examen).

 

9. Future Perfect (Futuro compuesto)

If one said, Yo ya habré hablado con el chico por teléfono antes de conocerlo cara a cara (I will have already spoken to the guy on the phone before meeting him face to face), he or she would be employing the future perfect tense, which includes the future tense conjugation of the verb haber plus the participle. This conveys the English construction "will have." Let's take a look at an example of this tense from the Yabla Spanish library:

 

Ay, ¿por qué se me habrá ocurrido comer bandeja paisa antes de que me encerraran, ah?

Oh, why would it have occurred to me to eat "bandeja paisa" [a Colombian dish] before they locked me up, huh?

Captions 27-28, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 3

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In this example, we see that, similarly to the future tense, the future perfect tense can also be used to express disbelief, and it is translated with the English word "would" (rather than "will") in such cases. 

 

10. Conditional Perfect (Condicional compuesto)

The conditional perfect tense in Spanish is the equivalent of saying "would have" in English. It utilizes the conditional form of the verb haber plus the participle to talk about what one "would have" done or what "would have" happened in a hypothetical situation:

 

Seguro que a él sí le habrían aceptado las invitaciones.

Surely they would have accepted his invitations.

Caption 24, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 5

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An example with the verb hablar would be: Si lo pudiera hacer otra vez, habría hablado con el chico que me gustaba (If I could do it again, I'd have spoken to the guy I liked). Yabla's lesson, "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda," expands upon the conditional perfect tense and more.

 

***ADDITIONAL BONUS TENSES: The Progressives*** 

Once you know all Spanish tenses in the indicative mood, you could also conjugate the verb estar in its many tenses to come up with additional progressive tenses, as follows:

 

Preterite Progressive (Pretérito continuo): Yo estuve hablando (I was talking)

Conditional Progressive (Condicional continuo): Yo estaría hablando (I would be talking)

Future Progressive (Futuro continuo): Yo estaré hablando (I will be talking)

 

We could even apply this to the compound tenses we learned:

 

Present Perfect Progressive (Pretérito perfecto continuo): Yo he estado hablando (I have been talking)

Pluperfect Progressive (Pretérito pluscuamperfecto continuo): Yo había estado hablando (I had been talking)

Conditional Perfect Progressive (Condicional compuesto continuo)Yo habría estado hablando (I would have been talking)

Future Perfect Progressive (Futuro compuesto continuo): Yo habré estado hablando (I will have been talking)

 

That was a lot of Spanish verb tenses!!! And that was just the first ten verb tenses in Spanish! Part two of this lesson will deal with the verb tenses in Spanish in the other two "moods," subjunctive and imperative. In the meantime, we hope you enjoyed part one of this lesson on Spanish verb tenses... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

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What Is the Present Progressive in Spanish?

How do we talk about an action in progress in Spanish? We use the Spanish present progressive tense, which we'll explore in this lesson.

 

The Spanish Present Progressive Tense

What is present progressive in Spanish? Simply put, the present progressive tense in Spanish describes actions that are unfolding as we speak, at this moment. Also called the present progressive, its English equivalent includes some form of the verb "to be" in present tense along with the gerund, or -ing form, of a verb. Some examples include: "I'm reading," "You are watching TV," or "We are eating dinner." The Spanish present progressive, which we'll learn to conjugate, takes a very similar form. 

 

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Simple Present vs. Present Progressive in Spanish

So, when exactly do we use the present progressive tense in Spanish? And, what's the difference between the simple present and the Spanish present progressive? This can be a bit confusing since there is some overlap in terms of their English translations at times. Let's take a look:

 

¿Qué hacés vos acá? -¿Cómo qué hagoCorro

What are you doing here? -What do you mean, what am I doingI'm running.

Captions 65-66, Cuatro Amigas Piloto - Part 1

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Although, much like the present progressive, the simple present tense in Spanish can sometimes be translated into English using the -ing form to say that one "is doing" something in the present, the Spanish simple present tense is also used to describe actions one does on a habitual basis:

 

¿Y los sábados y domingos, qué haces

And on Saturdays and Sundays, what do you do?

Caption 19, Español para principiantes Los días de la semana

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That said, if you really want to emphasize and/or remove any doubt that an action is in progress or happening at this moment, it's necessary to use the Spanish present progressive:

 

Silvia, ¿qué estás haciendo? -Estoy cocinando

Silvia, what are you doing? -I'm cooking.

Captions 31-32, El Aula Azul Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

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In fact, this last caption is from a video by El Aula Azul that simply and clearly demonstrates the difference between the simple present tense and the present progressive tense in Spanish. 

 

How to Form the Spanish Present Progressive 

Now that you know when to use the present progressive in Spanish, let's learn how to conjugate present progressive verbs in Spanish. To start, let's review (or learn!) the simple present conjugation of the verb estar (to be), which will convey the idea of "am" or "are":

 

Yo estoy (I am)

 estás (You are)

Él/ella/usted está (He, she is/you are)

Nosotros/nosotras estamos (We are)

Vosotros/vosotras estáis (You are [plural])

Ellos/ellas/ustedes están (They/you [plural] are)

 

Next, we'll need to break up infinitive Spanish verbs into two categories, verbs that end in -ar and verbs that end in either -er or -ir, in order to form their gerunds (gerundios).

 

 

Conjugating -ar verbs in the Spanish Present Progressive 

 

To form the gerund for regular -ar verbs, we'll take the verb's stem (the part before the -ar) and add the suffix -ando. For example, for hablar (to talk), we take the stem habl- and add -ando to get hablando. Let's take a look at a few examples of regular -ar verbs in the present progressive tense in Spanish:

 

Entonces, en este momento, ¿veis?, está hablando con su madre por teléfono.

So, right now, you see? He's talking to his mom on the phone.

Captions 60-61, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 1

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Eh... estoy buscando a Milagros.

Um... I am looking for Milagros.

Caption 6, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 1

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Estamos caminando aquí en Bleeker Street

We are walking here on Bleeker Street

Caption 72, Eljuri "Fuerte" EPK

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Conjugating -er  and -ir verbs in the Spanish Present Progressive 

 

Conjugating regular -er and -ir verbs in the present progressive Spanish tense is just as easy! Simply take the stem (remove the -er or -ir) and add the suffix -iendo.  Thus, for correr (to run), we have corr- plus -iendo to get corriendo, and for vivir (to live), we take viv- plus -iendo for viviendo. Let's look at a few more examples: 

 

¿Por qué estás comiendo basura?

Why are you eating garbage?

Caption 9, Kikirikí Agua - Part 4

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Está subiendo, está subiendo la rama.

He's climbing, he's climbing the branch.

Caption 98, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Coatís

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¿Dónde estáis vendiendo aceite?

Where are you selling oil?

Caption 1, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 14

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Irregular Verbs in the Present Progressive in Spanish

Although the Spanish present progressive tense is arguably one of the easier verbs to learn to conjugate in Spanish, there are some irregular verbs, of course, which fall into a few categories. Let's examine those categories of verbs with irregular conjugations in the Spanish present progressive. 

 

1. -Er and -ir verbs with a vowel before the ending

 

Verbs with the endings -aer, -eer, -oir, and -uir change from -iendo to -yendo in the Spanish present progressive. Here are some examples:

 

traer: trayendo (to bring/bringing) 

caer: cayendo (to fall/falling)

leer: leyendo (to read/reading)

creer: creyendo (to believe/believing)

construir: construyendo (to build/building)

huir: huyendo (to escape/escaping)

oír: oyendo (to hear/hearing)

 

Interestingly, the present progressive form of the verb ir (to go) is also yendo:

 

Sí, me venía a despedir porque ya me estoy yendo.

Yes, I came to say goodbye because I'm leaving now.

Caption 90, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 5

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2. Stem-changing verbs in the present tense (-e to -ie or -i)

 

Some verbs that change stems in the Spanish simple present tense also have an irregular form in the Spanish present progressive. Verbs whose stems change from -e to -ie (e.g. sentir becomes yo siento, tú sientes, etc.) or -e to -i (vestir changes to yo visto, tú vistes, etc.) tend to change stems from an -e to an -i in the Spanish present progressive as well, while maintaining the suffix -iendo. Let's take a look at some common examples:

 

sentir: sintiendo (to feel/feeling)

preferir: prefiriendo (to prefer/preferring) 

mentir: mintiendo (to lie/lying)

vestir: vistiendo (to dress/dressing)

seguir: siguiendo (to follow/following)

conseguir: consiguiendo (to get/getting)

 

3. Stem-changing verbs in the present tense (-o to -ue)

 

On the other hand, verbs that change from an -o to a -ue in the simple present often change from an -o to a -u in the Spanish present progressive while maintaining their regular ending (-iendo). Examples include poder ("to be able," which morphs into yo puedotú​ puedes, etc.), dormir (to sleep," which becomes yo duermotú​ duermes, etc.), and morir ("to die," which transforms to yo muero, tú​ mueres, etc.). Let's look:

 

poder: pudiendo (to be able/being able)

dormir: durmiendo (to sleep/sleeping)

morir: muriendo (to die/dying) 

 

4. -Ir verbs that change from -e to -i in the simple present and end in -eír

 

Verbs in this fourth category also change from -to -i in the simple present (e.g. reír, or "to laugh," becomes yo río, tú ríes, etc.) but also have an -before the -ir ending. In this case, the -is dropped, while the ending -iendo is maintained, as follows: 

 

reír: riendo (to laugh/laughing)

sonreír: sonriendo (to smile/smiling)

freír: friendo (to fry/frying) 

 

The aforementioned irregular verbs in the present progressive in Spanish by no means constitute an exhaustive list, and although the rules that dictate which verbs are irregular might seem daunting, with increased exposure to Spanish, conjugating such irregular verbs in the present progressive in Spanish should become intuitive in no time! 

 

Irregular Spanish Present Progressive Verbs in Action 

 

Let's conclude today's lesson by looking at an example from each of the aforementioned categories of irregular present progressive verbs in Spanish:

 

Ellos están construyendo la puerta de entrada al santuario de burros.

They're building the entry gate to the donkey sanctuary.

Caption 25, Amaya Voluntarios

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Esa mujer nos está mintiendo y quiero saber por qué.

That woman is lying to us and I want to know why.

Caption 42, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 6

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¡Aldo, tu hermano se está muriendo y a vos lo único que te interesa es la herencia!

Aldo, your brother is dying, and the only thing that interests you is the inheritance!

Caption 63, Yago 3 La foto - Part 5

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Se está riendo de todos nosotros.

He's laughing at all of us.

Caption 28, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 2

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That's all for today. For more information on the present progressive Spanish tense, check out our latest video from El Aula Azul on that very topic! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

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The Spanish Verb Quemar: Don't Get Burned!

Are you familiar with the Spanish verb quemar and its reflexive counterpart quemarse? Although a common translation for both of these verbs is "to burn," they have many additional, nuanced translations, including some idiomatic ones, which today's lesson will explore.

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Quemar vs. Quemarse

In some cases, distinguishing between a verb and its reflexive form is a bit challenging. Most simply put, the verb quemar often means "to burn" in the sense of a subject "burning" on object, for example, when something has the ability "to burn" other things due to its high temperature or something or someone "burns" something else, as in the example: Yo espero no quemar la torta (I hope not to burn the cake). Let's take a look at some additional examples:

 

me encanta, eh... usar salvia que incluso tengo en mi... en mi jardín. La quemo y con eso recorro mi casa

I love to, um... use sage that I even have in my... in my garden. I burn it, and I go around the house with it,

Captions 31-33, Tatiana y su cocina Sus ingredientes "mágicos"

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Mili, quemá esa camisa por favor; que desaparezca;

Mili, burn that shirt please; it should disappear;

Caption 10, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 1

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In contrast, the reflexive form, quemarse, refers to an action that happens on its own or within itself and, thus, frequently describes someone or something "burning itself" or "getting burned":

 

No es nada, señora. -¿Cómo no me voy a preocupar si te quemaste? -¡Ay pero qué tonta!

It's nothing, ma'am. -How am I not going to be worried if you burned yourself? -Oh, but how foolish [I am]!

Captions 22-23, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 4

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Note that an alternative translation for te quemaste in this sentence could be, "you got burned." Let's look at an additional example:

 

Este es el color, aproxi'... es como marrón dorado pero no muy oscuro porque si no, se quema la arepa.

This is the color, approx'... it's like golden brown, but not very dark because, otherwise, the arepa gets burned.

Captions 40-41, Dany Arepas - Part 2

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While se quema la arepa could also be expressed with the phrase "the arepa burns," the important thing is that, with the reflexive form, the process is happening by or to itself rather than with a subject performing the action on some object.

 

Non-Physical Meanings of the Verb Quemar

Like the English verb "to burn," the Spanish verb quemar also has meanings that extend beyond the literal meaning of physical burning. Let's take a look:

 

En... Y en las noches, eh, siento que, que todo el brazo me quema.

At... And at night, um, I feel that, that my whole arm burns.

Caption 13, Los médicos explican El tratamiento de las fracturas - Part 1

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Siento dentro de mí ese sentimiento Que es grande, profundo y me quema por dentro. Yo sé que es amor

I feel inside me that feeling That's big, deep, and it burns me inside. I know it's love

Captions 25-26, Alberto Barros Mano a mano

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So, we see that, like the word "burn" in English, the Spanish verb quemar can extend to intense physical and emotional sensations, which is why both the Spanish and English versions often appear in music and literature. 

 

Just like in English, the Spanish verb quemar can also mean "to work off," as in "to burn calories," etc.:

 

También ayuda a quemar grasas

It also helps to burn fat.

Caption 35, Cleer Hobbies

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And finally, as we can refer to "burning," or recording, a CD in English, we could also quemar un compact in Spanish. 

 

Alternative Translations for the Verb Quemarse

So, what about quemarse? In certain contexts, the Spanish verb quemarse can also mean to "burn down," in the sense of getting destroyed by fire. Let's take a look:

 

Y hace unos veinticinco años se quemó todo este edificio. 

And about twenty-five years ago this whole building burned down.

Caption 5, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 8

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In other cases, quemarse can mean "to burn out" or "blow" (as in a fuse), as in ceasing to work due to excessive friction or heat:

 

Se me quemó una lamparita... 

A light bulb burned out on me...

Caption 77, Verano Eterno Fiesta Grande - Part 10

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Yet another possible translation for quemarse in some contexts is "to go up in smoke," in the sense of catching fire:

 

porque cuando se escapan sueltan chispas que provocan que se queme la instalación eléctrica, y puede provocar un incendio. 

because when they get loose they give off sparks that make the electrical system go up in smoke, and it can cause a fire.

Captions 52-54, Club de las ideas La motivación

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So, as always, context is key to understanding the meaning of the verb quemarse since its meanings can vary. 
 

When Quemarse Doesn't Mean "To Burn"

If someone exclaims, "¡Te quemaste!" to you after a day at the beach, you might assume they are conveying to you that you've gotten a sunburn, and, in some countries, that might be true. However, this very same expression is utilized in other countries, like Argentina, to tell someone they got a suntan. We see this usage in the following clip, where the speaker refers to herself as quemada, which literally means "burnt":

 

A mí me encanta estar quemada pero este sol me recalienta la cabeza,

I love being tan, but this sun is overheating my head,

Caption 22, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 10

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Then, in the following passage, the verb quemarse has been translated as "to grill" since it refers to the manner in which this fish is cooked, rather than it actually burning:

 

Es más higiénica y se quema el pescado pero no se cae la caña.

It's more hygienic, and the fish grills, but the cane doesn't fall.

Caption 16, Málaga La tradición de los espetos

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In some cases involving cooking, the English verb "to char" could be another possible translation. 

 

Quemarse as an Idiomatic Expression

We'll conclude this lesson by mentioning an idiomatic use of the verbs quemarse, which, in some cases, is a rough equivalent of the English "to blow it" or "screw up." For example:

 

Ahí te quemaste, hermano.

 That's where you screwed up, brother.

 

Me quemé en el examen de astronomia. 

I blew it on the astronomy test. 

 

Let's take a look at a similar example from the Yabla video library:

 

Hablando de quemar, cómo me quemé con Andrea, mi vida, por favor.

Speaking of burning, I really burned my bridges with Andrea, my dear, please.

Caption 28, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 10

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As the speaker is referring to making a mistake with a particular person during an argument, the English expression "to burn one's bridges" adequately conveys this idea in this context. Interestingly, another manner of saying this in Spanish is quemar las naves (literally "to burn one's boats").

 

We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, which mentions just some of the many uses of the Spanish verbs quemar and quemarse. Can you think of more? Don't hesitate to let us know with your suggestions and comments

 

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Spanish Reflexive Verbs for Your Daily Routine

What are reflexive verbs in Spanish? A reflexive verb is a verb in which the subject (person or thing that completes the action) and object (person or thing that receives the action) are one in the same. In other words, the action "reflects back" onto the subject, or entails something one does to or for him or herself. It is no wonder then, that many of the things we "do to ourselves" in our daily routines (e.g. shaving ourselves, washing ourselves, etc.) fall into the category of reflexive Spanish verbs. 

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Recognizing Spanish Reflexive Verbs 

 

How can we recognize Spanish reflexive verbs? The main way to distinguish reflexive verbs in Spanish is by the fact that they all end in the pronoun se in their infinitive form. To take a very simple example, while the verb hablar means "to talk," hablarse is a reflexive verb meaning "to talk to oneself." However, the translations for reflexive verbs in Spanish aren't always so straight-forward. 

 

As we often say just "I shave" or "I wash" in lieu of "I shave/wash myself," the English translations of Spanish reflexive verbs won't always include pronouns like "myself," "yourself," etc. In other cases, the meanings of verbs like parecer (to seem) completely change in their reflexive forms (parecerse means "to look like"). And so, as there are a lot more reflexive verbs in Spanish than in English, many of which may not "seem" reflexive, with increased exposure to Spanish, we will learn which English concepts are expressed with Spanish reflexive verbs.

 

Conjugating Spanish Reflexive Verbs: Reflexive Pronouns

 

To conjugate reflexive verbs in Spanish, we must memorize the reflexive pronouns that correspond to each personal pronoun: yo (I), tú (you), etc.). Reflexive pronouns are most often placed before the verb, which is conjugated "as usual" (in the same way as its non-reflexive form). To demonstrate this, let's take a look at the reflexive pronouns and the simple present conjugation of the regular verb hablar. We will then show you the conjugation of its reflexive form (hablarse).

 

Personal Pronoun Reflexive Pronoun Hablar Hablarse
yo me hablo me hablo
te hablas te hablas
él, ella, usted se habla se habla
nosotros/as nos hablamos nos hablamos
vosotros/as os habláis os habláis
ellos/as, ustedes se hablar se hablan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reflexive Verbs in Spanish for Your Daily Routine

 

Now that you know the Spanish reflexive pronouns and how to conjugate reflexive Spanish verbs, let's take a look at some examples of reflexive verbs in Spanish for describing things that many of us do on a daily basis, with lots of instances from our Yabla video library as always! Here is our list of Spanish reflexive verbs for your daily routine: 

 

1. Despertarse

 

The Spanish reflexive verb despertarse means "to wake up":

 

y por la mañana me despierto entre seis y cuarenta y cinco a siete y cuarto. 

and in the morning I wake up between six forty-five and seven fifteen.

Caption 62, Los médicos explican Diagnóstico: nervios y estrés

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2. Levantarse

 

After waking up, the next step might be levantarse ("to get up" or "get out of bed"):

 

Se levanta muy temprano. 

She gets up very early.

Caption 51, El Aula Azul Las Profesiones - Part 1

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In other contexts, the reflexive Spanish verb levantarse could also mean, among other things, "to stand up" or "get up," as from a seat, or even "to rise up against," as in a rebellion. 

 

3. Bañarse

 

The Spanish noun baño means "bath," and the verb bañarse can mean "to take a bath" as well. However, as bañarse can also be the more general "to bathe," a person might even use this verb to express the fact that they are taking a shower! Let's look at an example of this reflexive Spanish verb: 

 

Uno se baña todos los días, mijita.

One bathes every day, my girl.

Caption 41, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 2

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On the other hand, if a person at the beach expresses their desire to bañarse, rather than wanting to wash the sand off of themselves, they are letting you know they would like to take a dip! The Spanish reflexive verb bañarse can also mean "to go swimming," a translation that often comes as a surprise to English speakers:

 

No hay muchas olas grandes como en Atacames. Es más tranquilo para bañarse.

There aren't many big waves like in Atacames. It's more peaceful to go swimming.

Captions 62-63, Pipo Un paseo por la playa de Atacames

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4. Ducharse

 

In the morning, at night, or after the beach, indeed, one might need to ducharse (to take a shower):

 

¿Qué está haciendo Silvia? Silvia se está duchando.

What is Silvia doing? Silvia is taking a shower.

Captions 11-12, El Aula Azul Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

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Note that, in this example, the verb ducharse is conjugated in the present progressive tense. As with the present indicative and all other tenses, verbs are conjugated in the exact same way as they would be were they non-reflexive, with the addition of the appropriate reflexive pronoun. 

 

5. Lavarse

 

The reflexive verb in Spanish lavarse generally means "to wash (oneself)." Let's look at an example: 

 

Por ejemplo, "Yo me lavo". La acción recae sobre la persona que realiza la acción. Pero, "Yo lavo los platos".

For example, "Yo me lavo" [I wash myself]. The action falls back upon the person who carries out the action. But, "Yo lavo los platos" [I wash the dishes].

Captions 45-48, Lecciones con Carolina Verbos reflexivos

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In this informative video about Spanish reflexive verbs, Yabla fan favorite Carolina explains the difference between reflexive and non-reflexive verbs, in this case the verbs lavar (to wash) and lavarse (to wash oneself). Let's look at an additional example: 

 

Yo me lavo las manos. Tú te lavas las manos.

I wash my hands. You wash your hands.

Captions 19-20, Fundamentos del Español 9 - Verbos Reflexivos

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Unlike in English, where we express the idea of washing one's hands or some other body part with a possessive pronoun (my, your, etc.), this is not the case in Spanish. Instead, we use the definite article for the noun in question, manos (hands), in this case, las (the). Because the reflexive pronoun already indicates that the action is something we do to ourselves, it would be redundant in Spanish to say: Yo me lavo mis manos. As the correct way to express this is "Yo me lavo las manos," it might help you to remember the literal but non-sensical translation: "I wash myself the hands."

 

That said, let's move on to something else that's expressed with the notion of "washing" in Spanish: lavarse los dientes (to brush one's teeth). 

 

6. Lavarse/cepillarse los dientes

 

Lavarse los dientes (literally "to wash one's teeth") is one of saying "to brush one's teeth" in Spanish: 

 

Después, ehm... suelo lavarme los dientes en el baño,

After that, um... I usually brush my teeth in the bathroom,

Caption 3, El Aula Azul Actividades Diarias

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Different countries, regions, or individuals might instead use cepillarse los dientes, which also means "to brush one's teeth." Let's check out an example in the preterite tense: 

 

Se cepilló los dientes,

He brushed his teeth,

Caption 20, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 2

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7. Cepillarse el pelo/cabello

 

By extension, the noun el cepillo means "the brush," and we might have a cepillo de dientes (toothbrush) as well as a cepillo de pelo/cabello (hair brush), as in the following caption:

 

Sí... -¿Qué necesitamos para ir allí? El cepillo de dientes. El cepillo del pelo.

Yes... -What do we need to go there? A toothbrush. A hair brush.

Captions 49-51, Un Viaje a Mallorca Planificando el viaje

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So, you've probably surmised by now that the verb cepillarse el pelo/cabello means "to brush one's hair."

 

8. Peinarse

 

The verb peinarse can mean "to comb one's hair" with a comb (un peine), "to brush one's hair," or "to do" or "style" one's hair in general:

 

Por eso paró en la playa para mirarse en el espejo y peinarse.

That's why she stopped on the beach to look at herself in the mirror and comb her hair.

Captions 21-22, Guillermina y Candelario Mi Amiga la Sirena

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9. Afeitarse

 

Afeitarse is the verb for "to shave" (oneself, of course)!

 

Vos sabés lo que es todas las mañanas... mirarse en el espejo cuando uno se afeita

Do you know what it's like every morning... to look at oneself in the mirror when one's shaving,

Captions 30-31, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 13

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10. Maquillarse

 

The next step in one's morning routine might be maquillarse (to put on makeup):

 

Aquí, siempre me maquillo para mis conciertos.

Here, I always put on makeup for my concerts.

Caption 47, Ariana Mi Casa

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Alternatively, one might say Aquí, siempre me pinto para mis conciertos, as pintarse (literally "to paint oneself") also means "to put on makeup." 

 

11. Vestirse

 

Vestirse is the way to say "to get dressed" in Spanish. 

 

Yo salgo y... y te vistes.

I'll leave and... and you get dressed.

Caption 30, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 8

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Another way to say this might be ponerse la ropa (to put on one's clothes). 

 

12. Sacarse la ropa

 

Although sacarse la ropa is one manner of saying "to get undressed" or "take off one's clothes," there are many other examples of reflexive verbs in Spanish that mean the same thing, including: quitarse la ropa, desvestirse, and desnudarse. Let's look at a couple of examples: 

 

Si "Libertinaje" te saca... te invita a sacarte la ropa,

If "Libertinaje" takes off your..... invites you to take off your clothes,

Captions 4-5, Bersuit Vergarabat EPK - Part 1

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Y se desnuda poco a poco y se convierte en tu piel

And she gets naked little by little and she becomes your skin

Caption 6, Reik Inolvidable

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As you can see, the more literal "to get naked" might be an alternate translation for desnudarse. 

 

13. Acostarse 

 

We're finally getting to the end of our daily routine, when it's time for us to acostarnos (go to bed): 

 

Tranquilícese, vaya a acostarse y deje de pensar en imposibles.

Calm down, go to bed, and stop thinking about impossible things.

Caption 31, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 5

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14. Dormirse

 

And finally, once in bed, it's time to fall asleep! While the non-reflexive dormir means "to sleep," dormirse means "to fall asleep." 

 

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

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

Caption 10, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 13

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More Reflexive Verbs in Spanish 

 

Of course, this is just a partial list of reflexive verbs in Spanish that might be applicable to our daily routines. There are a lot more common reflexive verbs in Spanish that describe things one might do on a daily basis, including secarse (to dry oneself off), sentarse (to sit down), sentirse (to feel), emocionarse (to get excited), encontrarse con alguien (to meet with someone), acordarse de (to remember), olvidarse (to forget), sonreírse (to smile), reírse (to laugh), despedirse (to say goodbye), irse (to leave), and many, many more! 

 

For additional information on Spanish reflexive verbs, check out this video from the series Fundamentos del Español. And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

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El Voseo: Not as Intimidating as It Seems

Let's start today's lesson with a quote from the Argentinean telenovela, Yago:

 

Pero si no te casás, no tenés nada para aportar a la sociedad. No sos nadie, Melina. No sos nada. 

But if you don't get married, you don't have anything to contribute to the company. You're nobody, Melina. You're nothing.

Captions 27-29, Yago 9 Recuperación - Part 9

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What's going on here (aside from a seemingly very dramatic situation)? Since the speaker is addressing this character as "you," shouldn't these verbs be conjugated as (te casastienes, and eres?

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What's going on here, grammatically speaking, is that in Argentina, Uruguay, and many other regions (including parts of Paraguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Mexico, and Venezuela) vos is used in place of  as the informal second person singular pronoun ("you"), causing some of the verb conjugations to vary slightly. 

 

The Good News About Vos

 

"Do I really have to learn another verb tense?!" you might be saying. However, even though el voseo (the use of vos instead of ) might seem intimidating at first, there is a lot of "good news" regarding vos, particularly if you are already familiar with el tuteo (the use of ):

 

1. The verb conjugations for vos only differ from those with  in two tenses: the present indicative and the informal imperative (command). All of the other verb tenses (preterite, imperfect, etc.) are exactly the same as with, as are many of its pronouns (e.g. direct object, indirect object, reflexive, and possessive). 

 

2. The formulas for conjugating verbs with vos in both present indicative and imperative are extremely simple.

 

3. With the voseo, there are a lot less irregular verbs than with . In fact, in the present indicative of vos, there are only three irregular verbs, while in the present indicative of , there are over one hundred irregular/stem changing verbs to memorize.

 

Conjugating Verbs with Vos in the Present Indicative 

 

Let's start with how to conjugate -ar, -er, and -ir verbs with vos in the present indicative: Simply take the infinitive, replace the "r" with an "s," and add an accent to the final vowel. Let's look at some examples with the infinitives escuchar (to listen), saber (to know), and subir (to go up). 

 

Qu'... Vos no me escuchás ni cuando yo te estoy contando una cosa que para mí es importante.

Wh'... You don't listen to me, not even when I'm telling you something that is important to me.

Caption 50, Yago 2 El puma - Part 3

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Si vos sabés muy bien que yo me sé adaptar.

You know very well that I know how to adapt.

Caption 43, Cuatro Amigas Piloto - Part 2

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En el segundo piso, de ahí subís y ahí es tu salón.

On the second floor, you go up there and there's your classroom.

Caption 49, La Sucursal del Cielo Capítulo 1 - Part 6

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In the case of these regular -ar and -er verbs, you will note that their conjugations with vos are virtually identical to their tú forms (escuchas and sabes) with the addition of their written (and spoken) accents. Howeber, regular -ir verbs like subir, which are typically conjugated with -es in their form (subes), retain their-i vowel plus an accent. 

 

As previously mentioned, verbs that are irregular or stem-changing with tú are regular with vos. To get an idea, let's take the common verbs comenzar (to begin), tener (to have), and  decir (to say), all of which have irregular forms when conjugated with tú. With vos, on the other hand, these verbs follow our regular pattern of replacing the "r" with "s" and adding an accent to the final noun: 

 

Verb in Infinitive: Present Indicative with : Present Indicative with Vos:
comenzar comienzas comenzás
tener tienes tenés​
decir dices decís

 

Let's look at a couple of these in action:

 

y decís: "Bueno, pará que mañana tenés que seguir

and you say, "Hey, hold on 'cause tomorrow you have to continue

Caption 66, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 10

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Irregular Verbs with Vos

 

There are only three irregular verbs in the vos form of the present indicative, one of which we already saw (ser) and two of which share their forms with tú (haber and ir). All three of these appear in the following clip: 

 

Además, vos ni vas al colegio, has perdido un montón de años. Vos no sos nadie.

Besides, you don't even go to school, you have missed a ton of years. You're [a] nobody.

Captions 33-34, La Sucursal del Cielo Capítulo 1 - Part 3

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Now, let's take a look at these captions again, substituting the verb tú for vos:

 

Además, ni vas al colegio, has perdido un montón de años.  no eres nadie.

Besides, you don't even go to school, you have missed a ton of years. You're [a] nobody.

 

While the vos form of sersos, does differ from the form (eres), the verb conjugations for ir (vas) and haber (has) are exactly the same for both tú and vos.

 

Conjugating Verbs with Vos in the Imperative

 

Conjugating verbs with vos in the imperative (command) form is even easier: Simply take the infinitive, remove the r, and add an accent over the final vowel. Let's look at some examples of the vos command forms for each type of verb ending, utilizing the verbs tomar (to drink), tener (to have), and venir (to come).

 

Sabés que no tomo whisky. -¡Pero tomá!

You know that I don't drink whiskey. -But, drink it!

Caption 22, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 3

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Este... tené un poquito de paciencia.

Umm... have a little bit of patience.

Caption 7, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 9

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Vení, vamos a bailar.

Come, let's go dance.

Caption 33, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 6

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Once again, verbs like tener and venir that are irregular in the imperative form with  (ten and ven, respectively) are regular in the imperative form with vos. While ir (to go) is the only irregular verb in this category, its formal conjugations, id or ite, are almost never heard, and the command form of andar (to walk/go), andá, is often used in its place. 

 

Keep in mind that, due to the Spanish accent rules, the addition of a pronoun to a command form with vos may lead to the omission of the written accent:

 

Olvidate, divertite, hacé algo. -No quiero,

Forget about it, have fun, do something. -I don't want to,

Caption 8, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 7

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To conclude, remember that in all of the other tenses besides the present indicative and informal imperative, vos is conjugated in exactly the same way as tú. In the following example, we see the preterite form of ser (to be) fuiste as well as the imperfect form of estar (to be), taking into account that the indirect object pronoun te is also identical for both vos and tú:

 

porque a vos no te hice absolutamente nada. Todo lo contrario. Fuiste la protagonista de la fiesta, estabas maravillosa

because I've done absolutely nothing to you. On the contrary. You were the star of the party, you were looking wonderful

Captions 15-17, Muñeca Brava 41 La Fiesta - Part 7

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We hope that this lesson has made conjugating verbs with the informal second person pronoun vos seem a bit less daunting. For more information on this topic, we recommend this Yabla series on the Voseo, ustedeo, and tuteo as well as this video on the use of vos in Argentina and don't hesitate to contact us with your comments and suggestions.

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Distinguishing Parecer vs. Parecerse (in the Presence of Pronouns!)

A recent Yabla video entitled La Doctora Consejos: parecer vs. parecerse demonstrated the difference between the verb parecer (to seem) and the reflexive verb parecerse ("to look like" or "be similar"). Although, at first glance, the difference between these two verbs might seem simple, this can be confusing when pronouns are thrown into the mix.

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When no pronouns are present, it will be quite obvious that the verb in question is parecer. Let's take a look:

 

La verdad es que pareces cansado.

To be honest, you seem tired.

Caption 11, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: parecer y parecerse

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Las cosas son más fáciles de lo que parecen.

Things are easier than what they seem.

Caption 25, Carlos explica Acentuación Cap. 3: La división en sílabas - Part 2

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On the other hand, when a sentence does involve pronouns, these two verbs become a bit harder to distinguish. One reason for this is that, although parecerse employs reflexive pronouns, while parecer is often accompanied by indirect object pronouns, there is some overlap in terms of the forms of these two pronoun types. Let's take a look:

 

Personal Pronoun Reflexive Pronoun Indirect Object Pronoun
yo  me me
te te
él, ella, usted se le
nosotros, nosotras nos nos
vosotros, vosotras os  os 
ellos, ellas, ustedes se les

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should we encounter se thenwe will know it is reflexive, while we will recognize le or les as indirect object pronouns. However, as you will notice that the reflexive and indirect object pronouns that correspond to four out of the six personal pronouns appear identical (me, te, nos, and os), how can we tell whether an instance of parecer accompanied by one of these pronouns is indeed parecer or its reflexive counterpart? 

 

Let's start with the verb parecerse. Keeping in mind that this is a reflexive verb, note that it is conjugated "as usual" to agree with its subject's corresponding personal pronoun: in other words, just like the verb parecer with the addition of the appropriate reflexive pronoun. With this in mind, let's take a look at the present indicative forms of parecer and parecerse:

 

Personal Pronoun: Present Indicative of Parecer: Present Indicative of Parecerse
yo parezco  me parezco 
pareces te pareces
él, ella, usted parece se parece 
nosotros, nosotras parecemos  nos parecemos 
vosotros, vosotras parecéis  os parecéis
ellos, ellas, ustedes parecen  se parecen

 

Now, let's look at some examples of the verb parecerse in action:

 

En eso me parezco mucho a mi madre. 

I'm a lot like my mother in that way.

Caption 38, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: parecer y parecerse

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¡Nos gustan las mismas cosas! Nos parecemos

We like the same things! We are similar.

Captions 40-41, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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pero entonces tienes que decir, "Mis ojos se parecen a los ojos de mi madre", 

but then you have to say, "My eyes look like my mother's eyes,"

Caption 28, Clase Aula Azul El verbo parecer - Part 7

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Note that with the verb parecerse, the conjugations agree with the sentence's subjects, or who or what is performing the action of the sentence: in these cases yo (I), nosotros (we), and mis ojos (my eyes). In other words, we conjugate them in accordance with who or what "looks like" or "is similar to" something else.   

 

In contrast, when the verb parecer is accompanied by an indirect object pronoun, this verb falls into a class of verbs that function in a manner similar to the verb gustar. While we use the same conjugations of parecer (present indicative, etc.), the person or thing to whom or which something seems a certain way becomes the object of the sentence (receiver of the verb's action), while what seems that way to that entity is the subject. Let's take a look at some examples:

 

¿Qué cosas te parecen muy importantes en tu día a día? 

What things seem very important to you in your daily life?

Caption 25, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: parecer y parecerse

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Here, parecer is conjugated in accordance with las cosas (the things) that seem important rather than the person to whom they are, and the indirect object pronoun te tells us that the person they seem important to is (you). In addition, when parecer is accompanied by an indirect object pronoun, it entails an opinion, similar to the idea in English that someone "thinks" something. So, although, in the above example, parecer is translated as "to seem," an additional translation might be: "What things in your daily life do you think are important?" Let's look at another example:

 

A ti te parece bonita. 

You think it's pretty [literally "To you it seems pretty"].

Caption 11, Clase Aula Azul El verbo parecer - Part 2

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Were this the verb parecerse utilized with the reflexive pronoun te, the conjugation would instead be: te pareces (you look like). However, this is an instance of the verb parecer conjugated in the third person singular (parece) and accompanied by the indirect object pronoun te to indicate that what "seems" pretty to "you'" is "it'" (we know from the previous sentences that the "it" is the city of San Sebastian, Spain). And as with the verb gustar, adding a mí (to me), a ti (to you), a ellos (to them), etc. is optional but not essential for adding emphasis to this construction. 

 

Let's conclude with one last example:

 

y además podéis aprovechar para dar vuestra opinión sobre qué os parece este espacio y qué os parecen mis recetas.

and you can also take the opportunity to give your opinion about what you think of this space and what you think of my recipes.

Captions 36-37, La cocina de María Tortilla de patatas

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Again, remember that although os parece and os parecen have both been translated as "you think" here, which tends to be the more common way to express this idea colloquially, the more literal translations of sentences like this one (in this case, "and you can also take the opportunity to give your opinion about how this space seems to you and how my recipes seem to you") are useful to keep in mind when attempting to decipher or create such structures.

 

We hope this lesson has helped you to better differentiate the verbs parecer vs. parecerse when pronouns are present, particularly since many of the reflexive and indirect object se parecen (look alike). For an even more in-depth exploration of this topic, check out Clase Aula Azul's series entitled El verb parecer (The Verb Parecer).

 

That's all for today, and don't forget to send us your questions and comments

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"Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda" in Spanish

The colloquial expression "Woulda, coulda, shoulda" is often used to express regret about something that, in retrospect, one "would have," "could have," or "should have" done differently. As learners of Spanish are often anxious to find manners of expressing these same ideas in Spanish, today, we'll provide some simple formulas for doing so. 

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1. "Would have": Conditional form of haber + past participle 

 

When conjugated in the conditional tense, the auxiliary verb haber means "would have." Let's take a look at this conjugation:

 

Yo habría (I would have)

Tú habrías (You would have)

Él/Ella/Usted habría (He/She/You would have)

Nosotros/Nosotras habríamos (We would have)

Vosotros/Vosotras habríais (You all would have)

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes habrían (They/You all would have)

 

Then, to express what one "would have" done under other circumstances, we use the past participle. Although certain verbs have irregular past participle forms, in the majority of cases, the past participle is formed by replacing the -ar of infinitive -ar verbs with -ado or the -er or -ir of -er and -ir verbs with -ido as follows:

 

Infinitive: comenzar   /   Past participle: comenzado

Infinitive: comer        /    Past participle: comido

Infinitive: subir         /     Past participle: subido

 

Aside from this simple formula for conjugating the past participle of verbs, irregular past participles must be memorized. Some of the most common irregular past participles include: decir: dicho (said), escribir: escrito (written), hacer: hecho (done), poner: puesto (put), romper: roto (broken), morir: muerto (dead), ver: visto (seen), volver: vuelto (returned), cubrir: cubierto (covered). Although it would be impossible to list all of the irregular past participles here, you will find that many of them follow similar patterns that should become increasingly familiar with additional exposure to Spanish. 

 

Now that we know the formula for expressing the idea of "would have" in Spanish, let's take a look at some examples: 

 

Ya habríais ahorrado... -Dos mil euros. 

You would have saved... -Two thousand euros.

Caption 72, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 8

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Sólo se trataba de cerrar los ojos y aguantar el dolor, como habría hecho Ricardo Mendoza. 

It was just about closing my eyes and dealing with the pain, like Ricardo Mendoza would have done.

Captions 47-48, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 8

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Y si lo hiciera, yo ya me habría dado cuenta. -¿Sí? 

And if he did, I would have realized it by now. -Really?

Caption 33, X6 1 - La banda - Part 10

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2. "Could have": Conditional form of poder + haber + past participle

 

The formula for talking about things we "could have" done, but didn't, involves the conditional conjugation of the verb poder (to be able), plus the infinitive haber, plus the past participle. The conditional of the verb poder is as follows:

 

Yo podría (I could)

Tú podrías (You could)

Él/Ella/Usted podría (He/She/You could)

Nosotros/Nosotras podríamos (We could)

Vosotros/Vosotras podríais (You all could)

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes podrían (They/You all could)

 

Note that while the translation of the verb poder in its conditional form is "could," the addition of the infinitive haber creates a structure meaning "could have." For example, while Yo podría ir al circo means "I could go to the circus," Yo podría haber ido al circo (I could have gone to the circus) conveys the idea of an unfulfilled possibility. Let's take a look at some examples of this construction: 

 

¡Pero qué bien! ¡Lo mismo me podría haber contestado un policía! 

But how great! A policeman could have answered me the same way.

Caption 4, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 5

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Te la podrías haber traído más grande. ¿Cuántas has cogido?

You could have brought a bigger one. How many have you picked?

Caption 118, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 11

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Te podrías haber vestido un poco más de... con... no sé, de señorita, digo.

You could have dressed a little more like... with... I don't know, like a lady, I mean.

Captions 35-36, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 4

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3. "Should have": Conditional form of deber + haber + past participle

 

As you can see, this formula is extremely similar to the previous one, except that it employs the conditional form of the verb deber. Although the verb deber frequently involves the idea of obligation, with such translations as "to have to" or the idea that one "must" do something, in its conditional form, it takes on the meaning "should." Let's take a look at its conditional conjugation:

 

Yo debería (I should)

Tú deberías (You should)

Él/Ella/Usted debería (He/She/You should)

Nosotros/Nosotras deberíamos (We should)

Vosotros/Vosotras deberíais (You all should)

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes deberían (They/You all should)

 

As with our previous formula, the addition of the infinitive haber changes the meaning from "should" to "should have." Using the same example of the circus, while Yo  debería ir al circo means "I should go to the circus," Yo debería haber ido al circo (I should have gone to the circus) expresses regret about not having gone. Let's take a look at some additional examples: 

 

Le debería haber dado un trompazo en la boca nada más.

I should have punched her in the mouth and that's it.

Caption 16, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 11

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Digo, debería haber confiado y...

I mean, I should have trusted and...

Caption 46, Club de las ideas Intuición - Part 1

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Of course, just as one might have the feeling that he, she, or someone else should have done something differently in the past, we can also find fault with things that we or others shouldn't have done:

 

No deberías haber salido de casa.

You shouldn't have left the house.

Caption 45, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 4

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We hope that these simple formulas help you to speak about what you "would have," "could have," or "should have" done in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your questions and comments

 

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Gustar vs. "To Like": A Difference in Perception - Part 2

In the first part of this lesson, we focused on the difference in perception in English versus Spanish when it comes to expressing the concept of "liking." Although in English, the subject of a sentence (the person, place, thing, or idea who performs the action of the sentence's verb) is perceived to "perform the action" of "liking" onto the object of the sentence (the receiver of the action, or "what is being liked"), in Spanish, the opposite is true. Let's review this concept with a simple example:

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Me gustan mucho las ciudades.

I really like cities.

Caption 58, Carlos y Cyndy - Uso del Voseo en Argentina

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In English, "I" is the subject and "cities" is the object because "I" am the person who performs the action of liking upon "cities." In Spanish, on the other hand, las ciudades (the cities) are the subject that are thought to "cause" the implied object "yo" (I) to like them. As this functions similarly to the English verb "to please," it is useful to keep in mind the alternative translation "Cities really please me" when thinking about this and other sentences with gustar. 

 

Armed with this information, let's explore how to create and understand Spanish sentences with this verb. First off, how do we express in Spanish the English concept of who or what is "doing the liking"? In other words, how would one say, "I like" or "you like" or "they like," etc.? In order to do this, Spanish employs the following indirect object pronouns with the verb gustar as follows:

 

        -(A mí) me gusta/n: I like.

        -(A ti) te gusta/n: You like.

        -(A él/ella/usted) le gusta/n: He/She/You like(s).

        -(A nosotros/as) nos gusta/n: We like.

        -(A vosotros/as) os gusta/n: You (all) like.

        -(A ellos/ellas/ustedes) les gusta/n: They like/You (all) like.

 

Let's take a look at some examples:

 

Y aquí tengo una blusa que me gusta.

And I have here a blouse that I like.

Caption 6, Ana Carolina - Salir de compras

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Muy bien, ¿te gusta esa música?

Great, do you like that music?

Caption 63, Carlos y Cyndy - Comentario sobre Muñeca Brava

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A nosotras nos gustan los colores del arcoíris.

We like the colors of the rainbow.

Caption 10, Español para principiantes - Los colores

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Note that, while in the third example, A nosotras was included before nos gustan, this is completely optional, and we could have written simply, Nos gustan los colores del arcoíris (We like the colors of the rainbow) to mean exactly the same thing. In fact, all such "a phrases" (a , a ti, a vosotros, etc.) indicated in parentheses above serve to add emphasis but do not change the meaning of sentences with gustar.

 

Now that we have learned how to indicate or know who or what is "doing the liking," let's focus on how to conjugate the verb gustar, which we will do in accordance with "what is being liked." Let's revisit the previous examples, as well as their alternative translations, to better understand this: 

 

Y aquí tengo una blusa que me gusta. 

And I have here a blouse that I like.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: And I have here a blouse that pleases me

 

Muy bien, ¿te gusta esa música

Great, do you like that music?

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: Great, and does that music please you? 

 

A nosotras nos gustan los colores del arcoíris

We like the colors of the rainbow.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: The colors of the rainbow please us. 

 

Notice that, since "what is being liked" is the subject that performs the action in Spanish, in the aforementioned examples, we see gustar conjugated in the third person singular (gusta) in the cases where the subject is singular (esa músical"that music" and una blusa/"a blouse") and third person plural (gustan) in the cases where the subject is plural (los colores del arcoíris/"the colors of the rainbow"). Similarly, the verb "to please" is conjugated in accordance with said subjects in English. 

 

What if, on the other hand, "what's liked" comes in the form of a verb's infinitive? In that case, the third person singular form of gustar should be utilized:

 

Y... aparte de... de la música, me gusta patinar.

And... apart from... from music, I like to skate.

Caption 14, Zoraida - Lo que gusta hacer

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While in all of the aforementioned examples, the verb gustar has been conjugated in either third person singular or plural, there are cases in which the subject calls for a diffrent conjugation. Let's take a look:

 

Me gustas.

I like you.

Porque sí.

Just because.

-Tú también me gustas mucho.

-I like you a lot too.

Captions 44-46, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 4

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ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: You please me. Just because. -You please me too. 

 

Since the subject "being liked" is tú (you), gustar is conjugated in the second person singular: gustas, and the alternative translation "You please me" can again help us to grasp this construction. Let's examine a couple of additional examples:

 

A este chico le gusto mucho.

That guy likes me a lot.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: I please that guy a lot. 

 

A ustedes les gustamos mucho. 

You guys like us a lot.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: We please you guys a lot. 

 

As always, the verb gustar is conjugated in agreement with the Spanish sentences' subjects: yo/"I" (in the first person singular gusto) and nosotros/"we" (in the first person plural gustamos). 

 

Let's conclude with one final example: 

 

Y la directora de la biblioteca me dijo

And the director of the library told me

que el texto había gustado mucho.

that [people] had liked the text a lot.

Captions 48-49, Aprendiendo con Carlos - El microrrelato

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ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: and the director of the library told me that the text had pleased [people] a lot. 

 

Once again, gustar has been conjugated in the third person singular as había gustado (this time in the past perfect) in agreement with what is being liked: el texto (the text). However, the absence of an indirect object pronoun to specify who or what is "doing the liking" gives us the essence that the text is generally pleasing, in other words: people liked it. 

​We hope that these lessons have helped to shed some light on how to use/understand the verb gustar, which might initially seem daunting to English speakers. That's all for today, and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions.

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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").

 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

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!

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

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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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.

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

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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