How do we talk about our emotions in Spanish? Although there are many different ways, this lesson will focus on three main categories of words that are typically used to express the whole range of emotions in Spanish while covering some of the major emotions in Spanish we might wish to talk about.
The three main word categories for talking about our emotions in Spanish are adjectives, reflexive verbs, and nouns. Let's take a closer look at some tendencies of each of these three parts of speech when describing emotions in Spanish.
Remember that adjectives modify, or describe, nouns, and to name a few simple ones in Spanish, we could take contento/a(s) (happy), triste(s) (sad), and enojado/a(s) (angry). As always, such emotional adjectives must agree with the noun they modify in terms of number and gender. You will note that the adjectives that describe emotions in Spanish are commonly used in conjunction with particular verbs, such as estar (to be), sentir (to feel), ponerse (to become/get), or quedarse (to become/get), to name a few. So, "Estoy contento," for example, would mean: "I'm happy."
Reflexive verbs in Spanish actually convey the action of feeling a certain emotion in and of themselves. As an example, since enojarse means "to get angry," one could say simply "Me enojé" (I got angry) in lieu of using an adjective/verb combination like "Me puse enojado," which conveys the same thing.
As a third option, nouns like tristeza (sadness) are additionally employed to talk about emotions in Spanish. Among others, one common manner of doing so is with the word "Qué..." in fixed expressions like, "¡Qué tristeza!" which literally means, "What sadness!" (but would be more commonly expressed in English with an expression like "How sad!"). Verbs like sentir (to feel) or tener (to have) are also commonly used with such emotional nouns in sentences such as "Siento mucha alegría" ("I feel really happy," or, more literally, "I feel a lot of happiness").
Adjectives that mean "happy" include feliz/felices, contento/a(s), and alegre(s). Let's take a look at some examples of these words in context along with some of the aforementioned verbs:
pues, que yo creo que él sí quiere formalizar algo conmigo y yo estoy muy feliz.
well, I think that he does want to formalize something with me, and I'm very happy.
Captions 40-41, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 9Play Caption
y, pues, me siento muy contento de que lo... lo pude lograr.
and well, I feel very happy that I... I was able to achieve it.
Caption 27, Rueda de la muerte Parte 1Play Caption
Y estoy alegre, alegre de que no sea cierto.
And I'm happy, happy it's not true.
Caption 31, Chus recita poemas Neruda y PizarnikPlay Caption
Remember that the verb estar is used to talk about emotions in Spanish rather than the verb ser because emotions tend to be temporary rather than permanent. That said, if someone (or something) permanently embodies a particular emotional attribute (e.g. a "happy person"), the verb ser can be used because this emotion becomes a trait, as in the following example:
La Vela se caracteriza además por ser un pueblo alegre,
La Vela is also characterized as being a happy town,
Captions 16-17, Estado Falcón Locos de la Vela - Part 1Play Caption
Moving on to the verb category, a common reflexive verb that expresses the idea of "cheering up" or "getting" or "being happy" or "glad" is alegrarse. Let's see some examples of this verb:
Qué bien; me alegro de que estén aquí.
How great; I'm glad you're here.
Caption 42, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 2Play Caption
A tal punto que yo me alegré mucho, mucho, cuando supe que ibas a pasar veinticinco años en la cárcel.
To the point that I felt very happy, very, when I found out you were going to spend twenty-five years in prison.
Captions 56-57, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 1Play Caption
Lastly, we will deal with the corresponding nouns that mean "happiness" or "joy": (la) alegría and (la) felicidad.
Ay, bueno, Don Ramiro, de verdad, qué alegría escuchar eso.
Oh, well, Mister Ramiro, really, what a joy to hear that.
Caption 33, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 10Play Caption
While "what a joy" was translated a bit more literally here, it could also be a rough equivalent of "how great" (to hear that) or, of course, "I'm so happy" (to hear that). Let's look at one more example:
Hasta el sábado, amiga. ¡Qué felicidad!
See you Saturday, my friend. [I'm] so happy!
Caption 83, Cleer y Lida Conversación telefónica - Part 1Play Caption
Again, while "What happiness!" would be the literal translation of "¡Qué felicidad!" in English, you will note that this and many of our other examples of expressions with the word "Qué" plus an emotional noun have been translated slightly differently to reflect what an English speaker might say in a similar situation.
"Excitement" might be looked upon as an extension of happiness, and adjectives like emocionado/a(s) (excited) or entusiasmado/a(s) (excited/enthusiastic) express this in Spanish:
Estoy tan emocionado de volver a verte.
I am so excited to see you again.
Caption 53, Yago 11 Prisión - Part 3Play Caption
Ehm... Mi amor, estás muy entusiasmado con todo esto. -Mmm.
Um... My love, you're very enthusiastic about all this. -Mmm.
Caption 7, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 4Play Caption
As you might have guessed, the verbs for "to be/get excited" are emocionarse and entusiasmarse:
Ya me emocioné.
I already got excited.Play Caption
¿Por qué no entusiasmarnos más?
Why not get more excited?Play Caption
Although the noun (la) emoción can indeed mean "emotion," it can also mean "excitement":
Entonces... -¡Qué emoción! Qué emoción, y después... ¡oh!, ¿sí?
So... -How exciting! How exciting, and afterward... oh, really?
Captions 31-32, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 2Play Caption
That said, while emocionado/a(s), emocionarse, and "¡Qué emoción!" can also be used to talk about "being moved" with emotion, context should usually let you know the speaker's intention.
Triste(s) is undoubtedly the most common adjective that means "sad" in Spanish:
nos dimos cuenta [de] que mi barco estaba partido. Candelario se puso triste.
we realized my boat was split. Candelario got sad.
Captions 43-44, Guillermina y Candelario El Gran RescatePlay Caption
The reflexive verb entristecerse, on the other hand, means "to get" (or "feel" or "be" or "become," etc.) "sad":
La alumna se entristeció mucho al saber que se había fallecido su maestro.
The student became really sad when she found out that her teacher had passed away.
The noun (la) tristeza literally means "sadness," but is utilized along with "Qué" to say, "How sad":
Qué tristeza, ¿no? Terrible.
How sad, right? Terrible.
Caption 5, Tu Voz Estéreo Feliz Navidad - Part 19Play Caption
While there are a lot of adjectives that mean "angry" or "mad" in Spanish, the two most common standard (rather than slang) ones are probably enojado/a(s) and enfadado/a(s). Let's take a look:
¿Qué te pasa? ¿Estás enojado conmigo? No, no estoy enojado, estoy cansado. Estoy cansado, ¿OK?
What's going on with you? Are you mad at me? No, I'm not mad, I'm tired. I'm tired, OK?
Captions 42-43, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 3Play Caption
Estamos muy enfadadas. Estoy muy enfadada.
We are very angry. I am very angry.
Captions 30-31, El Aula Azul Estados de ánimoPlay Caption
By extension, verbs that mean "to get mad" or "angry" include enojarse and enfadarse, although there are many more:
Se enojó muchísimo con el viejo
She got really angry with my old man
Caption 86, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 6Play Caption
No me enfadé con él, ni le insulté,
I didn't get mad at him, nor did I insult him,
Captions 78-79, Cortometraje Beta - Part 1Play Caption
There are a lot of nouns that refer to anger in Spanish, and we bet you guessed two of them: (el) enojo and (el) enfado. Others include (la) ira, (la) rabia, and (la) bronca. Although it is not as common to hear these words in expressions with "Qué..." as some of the other nouns we have talked about, we can give you some examples of how a couple of these words are used to express anger in captions from our Yabla Spanish library:
Lo que yo sentía en ese momento era algo mucho más profundo que un enfado.
What I felt at that moment was something way deeper than anger.
Caption 81, Cortometraje Beta - Part 1Play Caption
porque claro, alguna vez siento mucha rabia y no me gusta sentir tanta rabia
because of course, sometimes I feel a lot of rage and I don't like feeling so much ragePlay Caption
For a lot of additional standard and slangy manners of talking about anger, feel free to refer to this lesson on expressing feelings of tiredness or anger in Spanish.
Let's start with the adjective that means "surprised": sorprendido/a(s).
Profesores, la verdad es que me he quedado sorprendida;
Professors, the truth is that I have been surprised;
Caption 19, Alumnos extranjeros del Tec de MonterreyPlay Caption
The reflexive verb that means "to be" or "to get surprised" is sorprenderse:
Es que... me sorprendí, querida. -¿Por qué?
It's just that... I was surprised, dear. -Why?
Caption 65, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 11Play Caption
And finally, the noun (la) sorpresa can be used with "Qué" to say "How surprising" or "What a surprise":
Qué sorpresa. -Qué... Vale, qué lindo verte.
What a surprise. -What... Vale, how nice to see you.
Caption 15, Español para principiantes Saludos y encuentrosPlay Caption
The common Spanish adjectives decepcionado/a(s) and desilusionado/s(s) both mean "disappointed":
Mi novia está desilusionado conmigo por haberle mentido.
My girlfriend is disappointed in me for having lied to her.
No. Estoy decepcionada. ¿De mí? ¿Y por qué estás decepcionada?
No. I'm disappointed. In me? And why are you disappointed?
Captions 61-63, Muñeca Brava 41 La Fiesta - Part 6Play Caption
Naturally, the verbs decepcionarse and desilusionarse mean "to get" or "be disappointed." Let's take a look at them in context:
Me decepcioné mucho cuando suspendí el examen.
I was really disappointed when I failed the test.
Nada. Tengo qué sé yo, miedo a desilusionarme, va.
Nothing. I have, I don't know, a fear of being disappointed, well.
Caption 38, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 5Play Caption
So, of course, "Qué desilusión" or "Qué decepción" would be "How disappointing" or "What a disappointment":
What a disappointment.Play Caption
Digo, personalmente no, no, no fue una desilusión porque viste, que cuando sos chico las pérdidas son diferentes.
I mean, personally it wasn't a disappointment because you know, when you are a kid, losses are different.
Captions 48-49, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 2Play Caption
Let's conclude today's lesson by talking about some more of what might be considered sentimientos negativos (negative feelings) in Spanish: worry, anxiety, and stress.
Adjectives like preocupado/a(s)(worried), estresado/a(s) ("stressed" or "stressed out"), ansioso/a(s) (anxious), or nervioso/a(s), which often means "restless," "anxious," etc. in addition to "nervous," can be used to describe those unpleasant sensations in Spanish. Let's look at some examples:
Entonces, cuando usted sufra una infección fuerte o esté preocupado o estresado,
So, when you get a strong infection or are worried or stressed,
Captions 35-36, Los médicos explican Consulta con el médico: herpesPlay Caption
Le noto un poco nervioso, ¿le pasa algo? -No, no, no...
I notice you're a bit on edge, is something wrong with you? -No, no, no...
Caption 9, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 6Play Caption
¿Hay algún pensamiento o algo que le mantenga a usted ansioso o desde cuándo... o algo que haya desencadenado todos estos problemas?
Is there some thought or something that keeps you anxious or from which... or something that has triggered all these problems?
Captions 32-33, Los médicos explican Diagnóstico: nervios y estrésPlay Caption
The reflexive verb preocuparse means "to worry," while estresarse means "to stress" or "get stressed out," etc.:
¿De verdad se preocupa por mi seguridad? Claro que sí me preocupo.
Do you really worry about my safety? Of course I worry.
Captions 36-37, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 3Play Caption
un día tengo que pagar uno, otro día otro, y eso, la... la gente se estresa.
one day I have to pay one, another day another one, and that... people get stressed out.
Caption 67, Cuentas claras Sobreviviendo enero - Part 2Play Caption
The corresponding nouns for the verbs and adjectives we have talked about are: (la) preocupación (worry), (el) estrés (stress), (los) nervios (nerves), and (la) ansiedad (anxiety), which can be used in sentences in infinite ways to describe these nerve-wracking sensations. For example, we might say "¡Qué nervios!" or "¡Qué estrés!" to say something like "I'm so nervous/anxious!" or "How stressful!"/"I'm so stressed out!" Let's look at some additional examples of these nouns with the verbs tener (to have) and sentir (to feel):
Últimamente tengo mucho estrés y estar un poco en la naturaleza es muy bueno.
Lately, I've been really stressed out, and it's great to be in nature a bit.
Captions 68-69, Cleer y Lida PicnicPlay Caption
Siento ansiedad, la necesidad de contar quién soy
I feel anxiety, the need to tell who I am
Caption 2, Monsieur Periné Mi libertadPlay Caption
You will note that while the literal translation of the first example would be "I have a lot of stress," "I've been really stressed out" may be the more likely equivalent for English speakers in this context. On the other hand, while the translator opted for the more literal "I feel anxiety" in the second example, "I feel anxious" would also be a viable option in English. For additional insight into how to discuss anxiety and stress in Spanish, we recommend the video Diagnóstico: nervios y estrés (Diagnosis: Nerves and Stress) from our series Los médicos explican (The Doctors Explain).
We have covered a multitude of emotions in Spanish, and videos like this one from our Curso de español [Spanish Course] series about Expresiones de sentimientos [Expressions of Feelings] and this one on Estados de Ánimo [Moods] by El Aula Azul can help you to express many more. And while most of the feelings we have talked about are pretty clearly negative or positive, the video Ni bien ni mal [Neither Good nor Bad] can help us to talk about some of those so-so emotions in Spanish. Are there any other feelings or emotions you'd like to learn to speak about in Spanish? Don't forget to let us know in your suggestions and comments.
Just when you thought you'd memorized the meanings of a bunch of infinitive verbs (their "to" forms, like saber (to know), poder (to be able), etc.), you find out that there are some verbs that actually change meanings from one tense to another! Verbs that mean one thing in tenses like the Spanish present indicative tense and the imperfect tense in Spanish but change meaning in the Spanish preterite tense will be the focus of today's lesson.
In a nutshell, there are two "main" past tenses in Spanish: the imperfect tense in Spanish, which is used to describe past actions that were ongoing, in progress, or interrupted, and the Spanish preterite tense, which describes completed past actions. As we mentioned, as the meaning of some Spanish verbs actually changes in the preterite tense in Spanish, let's take a look at some examples of several of these verbs and their translations in the present, the imperfect, and, finally, the preterite, via examples from Yabla Spanish's video library.
Let's take a look at some examples of the Spanish verb conocer in the present and imperfect tenses:
porque conozco un sitio muy bueno y podemos ir.
because I know a very good place and we can go.
Caption 67, Cleer Entrevista a GiluancarPlay Caption
Pablo Escobar conocía La Catedral como la palma de la mano,
Pablo Escobar knew La Cathedral like the back of his hand
Caption 42, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 2 - Part 6Play Caption
In both the Spanish present indicative and the imperfect tense, the Spanish verb conocer means "to know" in the sense of "being familiar with." However, in the preterite tense, the Spanish verb conocer has a different meaning. Let's take a look:
Cuando yo conocí a mi esposa, hace nueve años, la primera cosa yo le dije a ella, te... tú vas a ser la mamá de mis hijas.
When I met my wife, nine years ago, the first thing I said to her, you... you are going to be the mom of my daughters.
Captions 52-54, La Sub30 Familias - Part 4Play Caption
As you can see in this example, as the preterite tense in Spanish limits an action to a specific moment in time, the meaning of the Spanish verb conocer changes to "to meet" in the Spanish preterite tense.
Detrás de mí podemos observar la ciudad antigua
Behind me, we can observe the old city
Caption 11, Ciudad de Panamá Denisse introduce la ciudadPlay Caption
Yo pensé que podía saltar muy alto.
I thought I could jump really high.Play Caption
So, how does the meaning of the Spanish verb poder transform in the preterite?
Es que no entiendo cómo pudo entrar aquí.
It's just that I don't understand how he managed to get in here.Play Caption
Although "It's just that I don't understand how he was able to get in here" could also be a viable translation, in some contexts, this English rendition would not make it clear whether someone actually did something or merely had the ability to do so. Hence, the important thing to remember when the Spanish verb poder is conjugated in the Spanish preterite tense is that it ceases to describe merely the potential for something to happen and states that it actually did. "To manage" (to do something) is thus a common translation for the Spanish verb poder in the preterite tense that makes this distinction clear.
The meaning of no poder in both the present and imperfect tenses in Spanish is pretty straightforward: "to not be able to," in other words, "can't" in the present and "couldn't" in the (imperfect) past:
¿Cómo que no pueden hacer nada? ¿Cómo que no pueden hacer nada más?
What do you mean you can't do anything? What do you mean you can't do anything else?
Caption 17, Yago 3 La foto - Part 2Play Caption
Y no podía estudiar.
And I couldn't study.
Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 5 - Part 3Play Caption
So, what about the preterite? If we know that the preterite form of the Spanish verb poder means "to manage to" do something, it follows that the preterite form of no poder can mean "to not manage to," or, better yet, "to fail to" to do something.
Si usted no pudo controlar su matrimonio ¿cómo va a controlar y dirigir y manejar el interés público?
If you failed to control your marriage, how are you going to control and direct and manage public interest?
Captions 58-59, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 3Play Caption
While we might alternatively translate "si usted no pudo controlar su matrimonio" as "you couldn't control your marriage" or "you weren't able to control your marriage," the important thing to remember is that the verb poder in the preterite means that something in the past was attempted but did not come to fruition.
The Spanish verb saber typically means "to know" (in the sense of facts or information) in the present, imperfect, etc.:
No es información nueva, y ellas lo saben.
It's not new information, and they know it.Play Caption
Sí. Si algo sabíamos era que la plata no crece en los árboles.
Yes. If we knew anything, it was that money didn't grow on trees.
Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 2Play Caption
However, because the preterite tense in Spanish narrows the timeline of such "knowing" down to a specific moment, the meaning of the Spanish verb saber transforms, in the preterite tense, from "to know" to "to find out":
A tal punto que yo me alegré mucho, mucho, cuando supe que ibas a pasar veinticinco años en la cárcel.
To the point that I was very happy, very, when I found out you were going to spend twenty-five years in prison.
Captions 56-57, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 1Play Caption
The verb tener in Spanish means "to have" in most tenses, as in the following excerpts:
Todas las estaciones tienen sus ventajas.
All of the seasons have their advantages.
Caption 42, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 2Play Caption
Tenía una casa pues, amueblada de cuatrocientos metros
I had a, well, furnished, four-hundred meter house,
Caption 79, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 8Play Caption
And, although the meaning of the Spanish verb tener doesn't always change in the preterite, it sometimes takes on the meaning of "to receive" or "to get," as in the case of: Tuve una carta (I got a letter). Let's look at an additional example:
Y bueno, ahí tuve otras proposiciones, que no eran tampoco un sueño, pero eran mucho más interesantes que lo que tenía en Cuba,
And well, there, I got other proposals, which weren't a dream either, but they were much more interesting than what I had in Cuba,
Captions 49-51, Orishas Entrevista Canal PlusPlay Caption
6. Querer (to want)
The verb querer in Spanish most often means "to want." Let's see it in action:
Amigos de Yabla, hoy los queremos invitar a aprender español
Friends of Yabla, today we want to invite you to learn Spanish
Captions 1-2, El Hatillo, Caracas, Venezuela El cuatroPlay Caption
Yo de niña pensaba que quería ser bailarina. ¿Qué pensabas tú?
As a little girl I thought that I wanted to be a dancer. What did you think?
Caption 20, Conjugación El verbo 'pensar'Play Caption
In the preterite tense, however, the Spanish verb querer "puts a limit" on this past "wanting" and becomes a manner of saying that someone "tried" to do something:
Yo quise ser su amiga, pero no me dejó.
I tried to be his friend, but he didn't let me.Play Caption
In our first two tenses, the Spanish verb phrase no querer means exactly what it sounds like: "to not want." Let's examine some clips that demonstrate this construction in the present and imperfect:
Es que yo no quiero vivir en el centro.
The thing is, I don't want to live in the downtown area.Play Caption
y en un principio le dije que no quería tener un gato en casa.
and at first, I told her I didn't want to have a cat in my home.
Caption 32, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata PoeskaPlay Caption
The preterite form of the Spanish verb querer, on the other hand, means that someone not only "didn't want" to do something at a specific point in the past, they actually didn't (or "wouldn't"):
mi otra hermana, Zoraida Zárraga, mi sobrino, Harold Blanco, que no quisieron presentarse por temor a cámara.
my other sister, Zoraida Zarraga, my nephew, Harold Blanco, who refused to appear due to camera shyness.
Captions 11-13, Coro, Venezuela Relaciones familiaresPlay Caption
So, we see that the meaning of the verb no querer in Spanish can sometimes become to "to refuse" in the preterite tense.
We hope that this lesson has edified you regarding the alternative meanings of some Spanish verbs when they are conjugated in the preterite tense. Can you think of any we missed? Don't forget to tell us with your suggestions and comments.
Welcome to the second part of this lesson where we touch on all the different Spanish verb tenses! So... how many tenses in Spanish did we say there were? Sixteen! In the first part, we covered the ten "official" tenses of the indicative mood, which deals more with concrete facts, in addition to some "bonus" (non-official) tenses. Now, we'll move on to the other two Spanish moods: the subjunctive, where we will cover tenses eleven through sixteen of the Spanish verb paradigm, and the imperative. If you didn't already, we definitely recommend checking out Part 1 of this lesson.
While the indicative mood deals with facts, the subjunctive mood in Spanish, in a nutshell, deals with more abstract notions like wishes, desires, emotions, opinions, and more, which require a whole different set of tenses in Spanish. Although it would be impossible to delve too deeply into the multipronged usage of the subjunctive Spanish mood, we will try to illustrate several cases in which you might come across it. Let's get started!
The present subjunctive is the subjunctive equivalent of the simple present tense. Let's take a look at an example from the Yabla Spanish library:
Si queremos que una persona no nos hable de usted, tenemos que pedir a la persona que nos tutee.
If we want a person to not talk to us in an formal way, we have to ask the person to use "tú" with us.
Captions 24-25, Karla e Isabel Tú y UstedPlay Caption
Note that the reason the subjunctive form is employed here (we can tell it is subjunctive due to its conjugation, hable, which differs from its indicative form, habla) is because the sentence conveys that we want (queremos) for someone not to talk to us in a particular way, which doesn't mean that that person will actually respect our desire. Let's take a look at one more example:
Mejor hablemos de ella.
It's better we talk about her.
Caption 17, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 1Play Caption
Here, the word mejor (better) tips us off that the subjunctive form (hablemos instead of hablamos) is in order due to the expression of someone's opinion about what should happen, which doesn't necessarily mean that it will.
The imperfect subjunctive is the past equivalent of the present subjunctive. We see in the following example that the verb hablar has been conjugated in the imperfect subjunctive (habláramos) instead of in the indicative (hablábamos) due to the expression of desire, once again with the verb querer:
No, no te dije que quería hablar con vos, quería que habláramos los dos.
No, I didn't tell you that I wanted to talk to you; I wanted for us to talk, the two [of us].
Caption 46, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 6Play Caption
Another very common use of the imperfect subjunctive is to talk about hypothetical situations. In this case, the imperfect subjunctive is often incorporated into a "si (if) clause" in conjunction with the conditional tense to communicate that "if" something were the case, then something else "would" happen, as in the following clip:
Eh... Si... ¿hablaríamos?... -Hablara. Hablara ruso, me... vi'... ¿vivía?... Viviría. -Viviría en Rusia.
Um... "Si... ¿hablaríamos" [If... we would speak]? -"Hablara" [I spoke]. "Hablara ruso [I spoke Russian], me... vi'... ¿vivía" [I... I'd li'... I used to live]? "Viviría" [I'd live]. -"Viviría en Rusia" [I'd live in Russia].
Captions 22-25, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 7Play Caption
The hypothetical situation the teacher is going for here is: Si hablara ruso, viviría en Rusia (If I spoke Russian, I'd live in Russia). To learn more about this type of construction, we highly recommend the entire series of which this video is a part.
We definitely couldn't come up with any examples of the future subjunctive tense in our Yabla Spanish library because this tense is all but obsolete and is almost never even taught in modern Spanish. For that reason, you may not recognize it due to its different and little-seen conjugations, although you may occasionally come across it in legal documents or literature. We came up with this example:
El que hablare fuerte se echará de lo biblioteca.
Whoever talks loudly will be thrown out of the library.
The future subjunctive could conceivably be used here because the sentence refers to "whoever," rather than known individuals, as well as alluding to a possible future event. However, in modern Spanish, this very same idea would be conveyed with the present subjunctive:
El que hable fuerte se echará de lo biblioteca.
Whoever talks loudly will be thrown out of the library.
The present perfect subjunctive is the equivalent of the present perfect indicative in situations that require the subjunctive, and the verb haber is thus conjugated in its subjunctive form. That said, we'll take this opportunity to mention another case that requires subjunctive: when expressing that something will happen "when" something else happens that hasn't yet, as in the following example:
Cuando se hayan hablado, se van a entender mejor.
When they've talked to each other, they are going to understand each other better.
And, here's an additional example of the present perfect subjunctive from our Spanish video library with different verbs:
Espero que os haya gustado este vídeo sobre esta maravillosa planta y hayáis aprendido algo nuevo.
I hope you've liked this video about this wonderful plant and have learned something new.
Captions 80-81, Fermín La plumeria - Part 1Play Caption
The pluperfect subjunctive is the subjunctive equivalent of the pluperfect tense and is also used to talk about hypothetical situations. It is formed with the pluperfect form of haber plus the participle, and, like the imperfect subjunctive, it is often used in conjunction with the conditional or conditional perfect to describe what "would have" happened if something else "had been" done. Let's see an example:
Si yo hubiera hablado con mi jefe antes, habría evitado cualquier malentendido.
If I had spoken with my boss previously, I would have avoided any misunderstanding.
Let's look an additional example of the pluperfect subjunctive tense, which does not include the conditional:
Es como si nunca hubiéramos hablado.
It's as if we had never talked.
Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 6Play Caption
The Spanish phrase como si (as if) quite often precedes verbs in the pluperfect subjunctive tense.
Like the future subjunctive, the future perfect subjunctive is rarely encountered and might only be employed in literary or legal contexts to talk about what will happen in the future if a hypothetical situation "has not" yet occurred. It involves the future subjunctive form of the verb haber plus the participle, as follows:
Si el demandante todavía no hubiere hablado ante el tribunal para la fecha especificada, se desestimará su caso.
If the plaintiff still hasn't spoken before the court by the specified date, his case will be dismissed.
However, the present perfect subjunctive would take the place of the future perfect subjunctive in order to say this today:
Si el demandante todavía no haya hablado ante el tribunal para la fecha especificada, se desestimará su caso.
If the plaintiff still hasn't spoken before the court by the specified date, his case will be dismissed.
Since different verb conjugations are rarely required in English to talk about emotions, desires, or hypotheticals, the subjunctive mood can initially feel quite confusing for English speakers, and we hope that this lesson has this shed some light on some of the possible subjunctive scenarios in Spanish. For more information about the subjunctive in Spanish, the following link with take you to several additional lessons on different aspects of this topic.
Let's conclude our rundown of all Spanish tenses by talking about the "bonus" tenses in the imperative mood (modo imperativo), which are not included in the official classification of the different tenses in Spanish. Also called commands, these Spanish verb tenses are those that tell someone to do something, and they fall into several categories:
Habla con la gente de laboratorio.
Talk to the people from the lab.Play Caption
A ver. Sebas, mi amor, no le hables así a tu papá.
Let's see. Sebas, my love, don't talk to your dad like that.
Caption 30, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 2Play Caption
por favor hablá con Andrea; necesito encontrar a mi nieto.
please talk to Andrea; I need to find my grandson.
Caption 59, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 9Play Caption
Hable más despacio.
"Hable más despacio" [Speak more slowly].Play Caption
Pues no me hablen de costumbre porque luego en vez de ganar, pierdo.
Well don't talk to me about habits because then instead of earning, I lose.Play Caption
Con vosotros o vosotras: Hablad más despacio.
With "vosotros" or "vosotras" ["you" plural informal masculine/feminine]: "Hablad más despacio" [Talk more slowly].
Caption 25, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 1: Tú + vosPlay Caption
No nos habléis de esa forma.
Don't speak to us in that way.
Hablemos de otra palabra.
Let's talk about another word.Play Caption
While we won't get into the norms for conjugating all of these types of commands with -ar, -er, and -ir verbs, we recommend Yabla's four-part video series entitled El modo imperativo (The Imperative Mode), beginning here, which explores this topic.
And that wraps up our lesson on all of the verb tenses in Spanish. We hope you've enjoyed it (and learned a lot)! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
Today, we will embark on a brief journey that encompasses all the Spanish verb tenses. However, rather than focusing on how to conjugate the verb tenses in Spanish, which you may or may not have already learned, we'll take a closer look at when to use each one, using the extremely common verb hablar ("to talk" or "to speak") to illustrate them whenever possible, as well as plenty of examples from the Yabla Spanish video library.
How many different tenses in Spanish are there in total? According to the Real Academia Española, there are sixteen Spanish verb tenses. There are also some "bonus tenses," which aren't officially included in their classification, which we will also cover in this lesson. Let's get started.
To make matters just a bit more complicated, Spanish verb tenses fall into three categories called "moods," which are the indicative, the subjunctive, and the imperative. Generally speaking, the indicative verb tenses in Spanish are the first Spanish verb tenses learned, and, in contrast to the Spanish verb tenses in the other moods (subjunctive and imperative), they tend to deal with facts and objective reality. Let's take a look:
Let's start with the present tense in Spanish, also known as the "simple present." This tense is primarily used in two ways, the first being to talk about a present action that is habitual, repeated, or ongoing. Let's take a look:
Aunque soy extranjero, yo hablo español muy bien.
Although I'm a foreigner, I speak Spanish very well.Play Caption
Since it is an ongoing fact that the speaker speaks Spanish very well, it is appropriate to use the present tense. We can also use this tense to talk about an action that is actually in progress at the moment:
¿Hablo con la Señora Pepa Flores, la manager de Amalia Durango?
Am I speaking with Mrs. Pepa Flores, Amalia Durango's manager?
Captions 37-38, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 5Play Caption
Notice that the second example of the present tense was translated to the English present progressive tense. This is the tense with a form of the word "to be" and the gerund, or -ing form of a verb ("I'm eating," "He's swimming," etc.). The present progressive tense in Spanish, which is similarly formed with a present conjugation of the verb estar (to be) and a verb's gerundio (gerund, which usually ends in -ando or -iendo in Spanish), is always translated in this fashion and really emphasizes that an action is in progress at this very moment. Let's take a look:
OK. Xavi, ahora que estamos hablando de... de comida, de alimentos, quisiera hacerte una pregunta.
OK. Xavi, now that we're talking about... about food, about foods, I'd like to ask you a question.Play Caption
For more information about and examples of the present progressive tense in Spanish, check out this lesson as well as this video that contrasts the use of the simple present with the present progressive. Now that we've seen a couple of the present verb tenses in Spanish, let's check out some of the Spanish past tenses.
The imperfect is one of the Spanish past tenses and talks about an action that was ongoing or habitual in the past or that was in progress and/or interrupted in the moment described. Translations for the imperfect in Spanish for the verb hablar could thus include "used to talk," "would talk," or "was talking." Let's take a look at couple of examples:
Bueno, cuando yo era pequeña hablaba con la ficha de Einstein.
Well, when I was little, I used to talk to the Einstein card.
Caption 36, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 3Play Caption
Ya que estás, contanos a los dos... ¿De qué hablaban?
Now that you're here, tell us both... What were you talking about?
Caption 2, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 6Play Caption
To learn more about the imperfect tense in Spanish, check out this lesson entitled: The Imperfect Tense in Spanish: The Past That Just Won't Quit.
The past equivalent of the present progressive tense is the past progressive tense, which emphasizes that an action in the past was in progress. As with the present and present progressive tenses, while the imperfect tense in Spanish can sometimes be translated with the past progressive in English ("I was eating," "You were running," etc.), the past progressive tense in Spanish is always translated in this fashion, with "was" or "were" plus a verb's gerund. It is formed in the same way as the present progressive except that the verb estar is conjugated in the imperfect tense:
Le hemos despistado. -Porque estaba hablando.
We've confused her. -Because she was talking.
Caption 59, Jugando a la Brisca En la callePlay Caption
The preterite is another one of the Spanish past tenses. In contrast to the imperfect tense, the preterite tense in Spanish describes past actions that have been completed. It could be compared with verbs ending in -ed in English (e.g. "He fished," "We traveled," etc.). Let's see an example:
Pero claro, en Televisión Española me hablaron de Gastón Almanza
But of course, at Spanish Television they talked to me about Gaston AlmanzaPlay Caption
The preterite is also used for past actions that interrupted other actions in progress, which would often be conjugated in the imperfect, as in the following example:
Yo hablaba por teléfono cuando mi novio me habló con una voz muy alta.
I was talking on the phone when my boyfriend talked to me in a very loud voice.
To find out more about the preterite tense, we recommend this lesson from our Yabla lesson archives.
The future tense in Spanish is pretty straightforward; it talks about something we "will" do in the future. Let's take a look:
Hoy hablaremos de las preposiciones de lugar.
Today, we will talk about prepositions of place.
Caption 9, Ana Carolina Preposiciones de lugarPlay Caption
Interestingly, sometimes the Spanish future tense is used in situations where English speakers would employ "would" to imply disbelief:
¿Y tú me hablarás de esta manera?
And you'd talk to me like that?
So, what about the Spanish conditional tenses? The simple conditional tense is the typical Spanish equivalent of saying one "would" do something in English, often in a hypothetical situation:
Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.
Well, if I were you, I would speak with him.Play Caption
This tense is often, but not always, seen in conjunction with the imperfect subjunctive tense (fuera, or "I were" in the example above), which we will cover in part two of this lesson, to specify that if some hypothetical situation "were" in place, something else "would" happen.
Although this tense is called the present perfect in English, its Spanish name is préterito perfecto ("preterite perfect" or "past perfect"), and it is the Spanish past tense used to say that one "has done" something within a specific time period, which could be anything from that day to one's life. It is formed with the verb haber, which is translated as "has" or "have" in English, along with the participle form of the verb (which will typically have the suffix -ado or -ido in Spanish and -ed or -en in English). Let's take a look:
El día de hoy, hemos hablado de artículos que utilizamos al día a día
Today, we've talked about items we use every day
Caption 41, Ana Carolina Artículos de aseo personalPlay Caption
Interestingly, in Spain, the present perfect is often used to describe things that happened in the recent past in situations in which English speakers would use the simple past and Latin Americans would more likely use the preterite. This usage can be seen quite clearly throughout this video from El Aula Azul. Let's take a look at an excerpt:
Pero cuando ha salido de clase, cuando hemos terminado la clase, ha ido a coger el coche, y resulta que la ventanilla estaba rota.
But when she's left class, when we've finished the class, she's gone to get her car, and it turns out that the window was broken.
Captions 12-14, El Aula Azul Conversación: Un día de mala suertePlay Caption
Although the translators at Yabla chose to translate this tense literally in this video to facilitate the learning of the present perfect tense, this sounds quite awkward in English, where a native speaker would probably say: "But when she left class, when we finished the class, she went to get her car, and it turns out that the window was broken."
In this video, Carlos provides an even more thorough explanation about when to use this tense as part of a useful four-part series on the different past tenses in Spanish.
The pluperfect is the past equivalent of the present perfect tense. It is formed with the imperfect conjugation of the verb haber and the participle form of the infinitive. It is often used to describe things we "had" already done when something else occurred.
que no era tan escandalosa como... como la gente había hab'... había hablado al principio.
That it wasn't as scandalous as... as the people had sa'... had said in the beginning.
Captions 41-42, Los Juegos Olímpicos Pablo HerreraPlay Caption
Also known as the preterite perfect, the past anterior tense is extremely similar to the pluperfect tense but employs the preterite conjugation of the verb haber plus the participle. It is used more commonly in literature and less in everyday speech. While we couldn't find an example of this tense with the verb hablar, we did find one with the verb coger (to grab):
Apenas lo hubo cogido, el niño se despertó.
He'd barely grabbed it, the little boy woke up.
Captions 46-47, Chus recita poemas Antonio MachadoPlay Caption
Just in case you were wondering, an example sentence with the verb hablar might be: Yo ya hube hablado con mi maestra antes del examen (I had already spoken to my teacher before the test), and there would be no difference in translation between this sentence and the same sentence with the verb conjugated in its pluperfect form (Yo ya había hablado con mi maestra antes del examen).
If one said, Yo ya habré hablado con el chico por teléfono antes de conocerlo cara a cara (I will have already spoken to the guy on the phone before meeting him face to face), he or she would be employing the future perfect tense, which includes the future tense conjugation of the verb haber plus the participle. This conveys the English construction "will have." Let's take a look at an example of this tense from the Yabla Spanish library:
Ay, ¿por qué se me habrá ocurrido comer bandeja paisa antes de que me encerraran, ah?
Oh, why would it have occurred to me to eat "bandeja paisa" [a Colombian dish] before they locked me up, huh?
Captions 27-28, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 3Play Caption
In this example, we see that, similarly to the future tense, the future perfect tense can also be used to express disbelief, and it is translated with the English word "would" (rather than "will") in such cases.
The conditional perfect tense in Spanish is the equivalent of saying "would have" in English. It utilizes the conditional form of the verb haber plus the participle to talk about what one "would have" done or what "would have" happened in a hypothetical situation:
Seguro que a él sí le habrían aceptado las invitaciones.
Surely they would have accepted his invitations.
Caption 24, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 5Play Caption
An example with the verb hablar would be: Si lo pudiera hacer otra vez, habría hablado con el chico que me gustaba (If I could do it again, I'd have spoken to the guy I liked). Yabla's lesson, "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda," expands upon the conditional perfect tense and more.
Once you know all Spanish tenses in the indicative mood, you could also conjugate the verb estar in its many tenses to come up with additional progressive tenses, as follows:
Preterite Progressive (Pretérito continuo): Yo estuve hablando (I was talking)
Conditional Progressive (Condicional continuo): Yo estaría hablando (I would be talking)
Future Progressive (Futuro continuo): Yo estaré hablando (I will be talking)
We could even apply this to the compound tenses we learned:
Present Perfect Progressive (Pretérito perfecto continuo): Yo he estado hablando (I have been talking)
Pluperfect Progressive (Pretérito pluscuamperfecto continuo): Yo había estado hablando (I had been talking)
Conditional Perfect Progressive (Condicional compuesto continuo): Yo habría estado hablando (I would have been talking)
Future Perfect Progressive (Futuro compuesto continuo): Yo habré estado hablando (I will have been talking)
That was a lot of Spanish verb tenses!!! And that was just the first ten verb tenses in Spanish! Part two of this lesson will deal with the verb tenses in Spanish in the other two "moods," subjunctive and imperative. In the meantime, we hope you enjoyed part one of this lesson on Spanish verb tenses... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
How do we talk about an action in progress in Spanish? We use the Spanish present progressive tense, which we'll explore in this lesson.
What is present progressive in Spanish? Simply put, the present progressive tense in Spanish describes actions that are unfolding as we speak, at this moment. Also called the present progressive, its English equivalent includes some form of the verb "to be" in present tense along with the gerund, or -ing form, of a verb. Some examples include: "I'm reading," "You are watching TV," or "We are eating dinner." The Spanish present progressive, which we'll learn to conjugate, takes a very similar form.
So, when exactly do we use the present progressive tense in Spanish? And, what's the difference between the simple present and the Spanish present progressive? This can be a bit confusing since there is some overlap in terms of their English translations at times. Let's take a look:
¿Qué hacés vos acá? -¿Cómo qué hago? Corro.
What are you doing here? -What do you mean, what am I doing? I'm running.
Captions 65-66, Cuatro Amigas Piloto - Part 1Play Caption
Although, much like the present progressive, the simple present tense in Spanish can sometimes be translated into English using the -ing form to say that one "is doing" something in the present, the Spanish simple present tense is also used to describe actions one does on a habitual basis:
¿Y los sábados y domingos, qué haces?
And on Saturdays and Sundays, what do you do?
Caption 19, Español para principiantes Los días de la semanaPlay Caption
That said, if you really want to emphasize and/or remove any doubt that an action is in progress or happening at this moment, it's necessary to use the Spanish present progressive:
Silvia, ¿qué estás haciendo? -Estoy cocinando.
Silvia, what are you doing? -I'm cooking.
Captions 31-32, El Aula Azul Actividades diarias: En casa con SilviaPlay Caption
In fact, this last caption is from a video by El Aula Azul that simply and clearly demonstrates the difference between the simple present tense and the present progressive tense in Spanish.
Now that you know when to use the present progressive in Spanish, let's learn how to conjugate present progressive verbs in Spanish. To start, let's review (or learn!) the simple present conjugation of the verb estar (to be), which will convey the idea of "am" or "are":
Yo estoy (I am)
Tú estás (You are)
Él/ella/usted está (He, she is/you are)
Nosotros/nosotras estamos (We are)
Vosotros/vosotras estáis (You are [plural])
Ellos/ellas/ustedes están (They/you [plural] are)
Next, we'll need to break up infinitive Spanish verbs into two categories, verbs that end in -ar and verbs that end in either -er or -ir, in order to form their gerunds (gerundios).
To form the gerund for regular -ar verbs, we'll take the verb's stem (the part before the -ar) and add the suffix -ando. For example, for hablar (to talk), we take the stem habl- and add -ando to get hablando. Let's take a look at a few examples of regular -ar verbs in the present progressive tense in Spanish:
Entonces, en este momento, ¿veis?, está hablando con su madre por teléfono.
So, right now, you see? He's talking to his mom on the phone.
Captions 60-61, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 1Play Caption
Eh... estoy buscando a Milagros.
Um... I am looking for Milagros.
Caption 6, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 1Play Caption
Estamos caminando aquí en Bleeker Street
We are walking here on Bleeker Street
Caption 72, Eljuri "Fuerte" EPKPlay Caption
Conjugating regular -er and -ir verbs in the present progressive Spanish tense is just as easy! Simply take the stem (remove the -er or -ir) and add the suffix -iendo. Thus, for correr (to run), we have corr- plus -iendo to get corriendo, and for vivir (to live), we take viv- plus -iendo for viviendo. Let's look at a few more examples:
¿Por qué estás comiendo basura?
Why are you eating garbage?
Caption 9, Kikirikí Agua - Part 4Play Caption
Está subiendo, está subiendo la rama.
He's climbing, he's climbing the branch.
Caption 98, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: CoatísPlay Caption
¿Dónde estáis vendiendo aceite?
Where are you selling oil?
Caption 1, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 14Play Caption
Although the Spanish present progressive tense is arguably one of the easier verbs to learn to conjugate in Spanish, there are some irregular verbs, of course, which fall into a few categories. Let's examine those categories of verbs with irregular conjugations in the Spanish present progressive.
Verbs with the endings -aer, -eer, -oir, and -uir change from -iendo to -yendo in the Spanish present progressive. Here are some examples:
traer: trayendo (to bring/bringing)
caer: cayendo (to fall/falling)
leer: leyendo (to read/reading)
creer: creyendo (to believe/believing)
construir: construyendo (to build/building)
huir: huyendo (to escape/escaping)
oír: oyendo (to hear/hearing)
Interestingly, the present progressive form of the verb ir (to go) is also yendo:
Sí, me venía a despedir porque ya me estoy yendo.
Yes, I came to say goodbye because I'm leaving now.
Caption 90, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 5Play Caption
Some verbs that change stems in the Spanish simple present tense also have an irregular form in the Spanish present progressive. Verbs whose stems change from -e to -ie (e.g. sentir becomes yo siento, tú sientes, etc.) or -e to -i (vestir changes to yo visto, tú vistes, etc.) tend to change stems from an -e to an -i in the Spanish present progressive as well, while maintaining the suffix -iendo. Let's take a look at some common examples:
sentir: sintiendo (to feel/feeling)
preferir: prefiriendo (to prefer/preferring)
mentir: mintiendo (to lie/lying)
vestir: vistiendo (to dress/dressing)
seguir: siguiendo (to follow/following)
conseguir: consiguiendo (to get/getting)
On the other hand, verbs that change from an -o to a -ue in the simple present often change from an -o to a -u in the Spanish present progressive while maintaining their regular ending (-iendo). Examples include poder ("to be able," which morphs into yo puedo, tú puedes, etc.), dormir (to sleep," which becomes yo duermo, tú duermes, etc.), and morir ("to die," which transforms to yo muero, tú mueres, etc.). Let's look:
poder: pudiendo (to be able/being able)
dormir: durmiendo (to sleep/sleeping)
morir: muriendo (to die/dying)
Verbs in this fourth category also change from -e to -i in the simple present (e.g. reír, or "to laugh," becomes yo río, tú ríes, etc.) but also have an -e before the -ir ending. In this case, the -e is dropped, while the ending -iendo is maintained, as follows:
reír: riendo (to laugh/laughing)
sonreír: sonriendo (to smile/smiling)
freír: friendo (to fry/frying)
The aforementioned irregular verbs in the present progressive in Spanish by no means constitute an exhaustive list, and although the rules that dictate which verbs are irregular might seem daunting, with increased exposure to Spanish, conjugating such irregular verbs in the present progressive in Spanish should become intuitive in no time!
Let's conclude today's lesson by looking at an example from each of the aforementioned categories of irregular present progressive verbs in Spanish:
Ellos están construyendo la puerta de entrada al santuario de burros.
They're building the entry gate to the donkey sanctuary.
Caption 25, Amaya VoluntariosPlay Caption
Esa mujer nos está mintiendo y quiero saber por qué.
That woman is lying to us and I want to know why.Play Caption
¡Aldo, tu hermano se está muriendo y a vos lo único que te interesa es la herencia!
Aldo, your brother is dying, and the only thing that interests you is the inheritance!
Caption 63, Yago 3 La foto - Part 5Play Caption
Se está riendo de todos nosotros.
He's laughing at all of us.Play Caption
That's all for today. For more information on the present progressive Spanish tense, check out our latest video from El Aula Azul on that very topic! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
Are you familiar with the Spanish verb quemar and its reflexive counterpart quemarse? Although a common translation for both of these verbs is "to burn," they have many additional, nuanced translations, including some idiomatic ones, which today's lesson will explore.
In some cases, distinguishing between a verb and its reflexive form is a bit challenging. Most simply put, the verb quemar often means "to burn" in the sense of a subject "burning" on object, for example, when something has the ability "to burn" other things due to its high temperature or something or someone "burns" something else, as in the example: Yo espero no quemar la torta (I hope not to burn the cake). Let's take a look at some additional examples:
me encanta, eh... usar salvia que incluso tengo en mi... en mi jardín. La quemo y con eso recorro mi casa
I love to, um... use sage that I even have in my... in my garden. I burn it, and I go around the house with it,
Captions 31-33, Tatiana y su cocina Sus ingredientes "mágicos"Play Caption
Mili, quemá esa camisa por favor; que desaparezca;
Mili, burn that shirt please; it should disappear;
Caption 10, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 1Play Caption
In contrast, the reflexive form, quemarse, refers to an action that happens on its own or within itself and, thus, frequently describes someone or something "burning itself" or "getting burned":
No es nada, señora. -¿Cómo no me voy a preocupar si te quemaste? -¡Ay pero qué tonta!
It's nothing, ma'am. -How am I not going to be worried if you burned yourself? -Oh, but how foolish [I am]!
Captions 22-23, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 4Play Caption
Note that an alternative translation for te quemaste in this sentence could be, "you got burned." Let's look at an additional example:
Este es el color, aproxi'... es como marrón dorado pero no muy oscuro porque si no, se quema la arepa.
This is the color, approx'... it's like golden brown, but not very dark because, otherwise, the arepa gets burned.
Captions 40-41, Dany Arepas - Part 2Play Caption
While se quema la arepa could also be expressed with the phrase "the arepa burns," the important thing is that, with the reflexive form, the process is happening by or to itself rather than with a subject performing the action on some object.
Like the English verb "to burn," the Spanish verb quemar also has meanings that extend beyond the literal meaning of physical burning. Let's take a look:
En... Y en las noches, eh, siento que, que todo el brazo me quema.
At... And at night, um, I feel that, that my whole arm burns.Play Caption
Siento dentro de mí ese sentimiento Que es grande, profundo y me quema por dentro. Yo sé que es amor
I feel inside me that feeling That's big, deep, and it burns me inside. I know it's love
Captions 25-26, Alberto Barros Mano a manoPlay Caption
So, we see that, like the word "burn" in English, the Spanish verb quemar can extend to intense physical and emotional sensations, which is why both the Spanish and English versions often appear in music and literature.
Just like in English, the Spanish verb quemar can also mean "to work off," as in "to burn calories," etc.:
También ayuda a quemar grasas.
It also helps to burn fat.
Caption 35, Cleer HobbiesPlay Caption
And finally, as we can refer to "burning," or recording, a CD in English, we could also quemar un compact in Spanish.
So, what about quemarse? In certain contexts, the Spanish verb quemarse can also mean to "burn down," in the sense of getting destroyed by fire. Let's take a look:
Y hace unos veinticinco años se quemó todo este edificio.
And about twenty-five years ago this whole building burned down.
Caption 5, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 8Play Caption
In other cases, quemarse can mean "to burn out" or "blow" (as in a fuse), as in ceasing to work due to excessive friction or heat:
Se me quemó una lamparita...
A light bulb burned out on me...
Caption 77, Verano Eterno Fiesta Grande - Part 10Play Caption
Yet another possible translation for quemarse in some contexts is "to go up in smoke," in the sense of catching fire:
porque cuando se escapan sueltan chispas que provocan que se queme la instalación eléctrica, y puede provocar un incendio.
because when they get loose they give off sparks that make the electrical system go up in smoke, and it can cause a fire.
Captions 52-54, Club de las ideas La motivaciónPlay Caption
If someone exclaims, "¡Te quemaste!" to you after a day at the beach, you might assume they are conveying to you that you've gotten a sunburn, and, in some countries, that might be true. However, this very same expression is utilized in other countries, like Argentina, to tell someone they got a suntan. We see this usage in the following clip, where the speaker refers to herself as quemada, which literally means "burnt":
A mí me encanta estar quemada pero este sol me recalienta la cabeza,
I love being tan, but this sun is overheating my head,
Caption 22, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 10Play Caption
Then, in the following passage, the verb quemarse has been translated as "to grill" since it refers to the manner in which this fish is cooked, rather than it actually burning:
Es más higiénica y se quema el pescado pero no se cae la caña.
It's more hygienic, and the fish grills, but the cane doesn't fall.
Caption 16, Málaga La tradición de los espetosPlay Caption
In some cases involving cooking, the English verb "to char" could be another possible translation.
We'll conclude this lesson by mentioning an idiomatic use of the verbs quemarse, which, in some cases, is a rough equivalent of the English "to blow it" or "screw up." For example:
Ahí te quemaste, hermano.
That's where you screwed up, brother.
Me quemé en el examen de astronomia.
I blew it on the astronomy test.
Let's take a look at a similar example from the Yabla video library:
Hablando de quemar, cómo me quemé con Andrea, mi vida, por favor.
Speaking of burning, I really burned my bridges with Andrea, my dear, please.
Caption 28, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 10Play Caption
As the speaker is referring to making a mistake with a particular person during an argument, the English expression "to burn one's bridges" adequately conveys this idea in this context. Interestingly, another manner of saying this in Spanish is quemar las naves (literally "to burn one's boats").
We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, which mentions just some of the many uses of the Spanish verbs quemar and quemarse. Can you think of more? Don't hesitate to let us know with your suggestions and comments.
What are reflexive verbs in Spanish? A reflexive verb is a verb in which the subject (person or thing that completes the action) and object (person or thing that receives the action) are one in the same. In other words, the action "reflects back" onto the subject, or entails something one does to or for him or herself. It is no wonder then, that many of the things we "do to ourselves" in our daily routines (e.g. shaving ourselves, washing ourselves, etc.) fall into the category of reflexive Spanish verbs.
How can we recognize Spanish reflexive verbs? The main way to distinguish reflexive verbs in Spanish is by the fact that they all end in the pronoun se in their infinitive form. To take a very simple example, while the verb hablar means "to talk," hablarse is a reflexive verb meaning "to talk to oneself." However, the translations for reflexive verbs in Spanish aren't always so straight-forward.
As we often say just "I shave" or "I wash" in lieu of "I shave/wash myself," the English translations of Spanish reflexive verbs won't always include pronouns like "myself," "yourself," etc. In other cases, the meanings of verbs like parecer (to seem) completely change in their reflexive forms (parecerse means "to look like"). And so, as there are a lot more reflexive verbs in Spanish than in English, many of which may not "seem" reflexive, with increased exposure to Spanish, we will learn which English concepts are expressed with Spanish reflexive verbs.
To conjugate reflexive verbs in Spanish, we must memorize the reflexive pronouns that correspond to each personal pronoun: yo (I), tú (you), etc.). Reflexive pronouns are most often placed before the verb, which is conjugated "as usual" (in the same way as its non-reflexive form). To demonstrate this, let's take a look at the reflexive pronouns and the simple present conjugation of the regular verb hablar. We will then show you the conjugation of its reflexive form (hablarse).
|Personal Pronoun||Reflexive Pronoun||Hablar||Hablarse|
|él, ella, usted||se||habla||se habla|
|ellos/as, ustedes||se||hablar||se hablan|
Now that you know the Spanish reflexive pronouns and how to conjugate reflexive Spanish verbs, let's take a look at some examples of reflexive verbs in Spanish for describing things that many of us do on a daily basis, with lots of instances from our Yabla video library as always! Here is our list of Spanish reflexive verbs for your daily routine:
The Spanish reflexive verb despertarse means "to wake up":
y por la mañana me despierto entre seis y cuarenta y cinco a siete y cuarto.
and in the morning I wake up between six forty-five and seven fifteen.Play Caption
After waking up, the next step might be levantarse ("to get up" or "get out of bed"):
Se levanta muy temprano.
She gets up very early.
Caption 51, El Aula Azul Las Profesiones - Part 1Play Caption
In other contexts, the reflexive Spanish verb levantarse could also mean, among other things, "to stand up" or "get up," as from a seat, or even "to rise up against," as in a rebellion.
The Spanish noun baño means "bath," and the verb bañarse can mean "to take a bath" as well. However, as bañarse can also be the more general "to bathe," a person might even use this verb to express the fact that they are taking a shower! Let's look at an example of this reflexive Spanish verb:
Uno se baña todos los días, mijita.
One bathes every day, my girl.
Caption 41, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 2Play Caption
On the other hand, if a person at the beach expresses their desire to bañarse, rather than wanting to wash the sand off of themselves, they are letting you know they would like to take a dip! The Spanish reflexive verb bañarse can also mean "to go swimming," a translation that often comes as a surprise to English speakers:
No hay muchas olas grandes como en Atacames. Es más tranquilo para bañarse.
There aren't many big waves like in Atacames. It's more peaceful to go swimming.
Captions 62-63, Pipo Un paseo por la playa de AtacamesPlay Caption
In the morning, at night, or after the beach, indeed, one might need to ducharse (to take a shower):
¿Qué está haciendo Silvia? Silvia se está duchando.
What is Silvia doing? Silvia is taking a shower.
Captions 11-12, El Aula Azul Actividades diarias: En casa con SilviaPlay Caption
Note that, in this example, the verb ducharse is conjugated in the present progressive tense. As with the present indicative and all other tenses, verbs are conjugated in the exact same way as they would be were they non-reflexive, with the addition of the appropriate reflexive pronoun.
The reflexive verb in Spanish lavarse generally means "to wash (oneself)." Let's look at an example:
Por ejemplo, "Yo me lavo". La acción recae sobre la persona que realiza la acción. Pero, "Yo lavo los platos".
For example, "Yo me lavo" [I wash myself]. The action falls back upon the person who carries out the action. But, "Yo lavo los platos" [I wash the dishes].
Captions 45-48, Lecciones con Carolina Verbos reflexivosPlay Caption
In this informative video about Spanish reflexive verbs, Yabla fan favorite Carolina explains the difference between reflexive and non-reflexive verbs, in this case the verbs lavar (to wash) and lavarse (to wash oneself). Let's look at an additional example:
Yo me lavo las manos. Tú te lavas las manos.
I wash my hands. You wash your hands.
Captions 19-20, Fundamentos del Español 9 - Verbos ReflexivosPlay Caption
Unlike in English, where we express the idea of washing one's hands or some other body part with a possessive pronoun (my, your, etc.), this is not the case in Spanish. Instead, we use the definite article for the noun in question, manos (hands), in this case, las (the). Because the reflexive pronoun already indicates that the action is something we do to ourselves, it would be redundant in Spanish to say: Yo me lavo mis manos. As the correct way to express this is "Yo me lavo las manos," it might help you to remember the literal but non-sensical translation: "I wash myself the hands."
That said, let's move on to something else that's expressed with the notion of "washing" in Spanish: lavarse los dientes (to brush one's teeth).
Lavarse los dientes (literally "to wash one's teeth") is one of saying "to brush one's teeth" in Spanish:
Después, ehm... suelo lavarme los dientes en el baño,
After that, um... I usually brush my teeth in the bathroom,
Caption 3, El Aula Azul Actividades DiariasPlay Caption
Different countries, regions, or individuals might instead use cepillarse los dientes, which also means "to brush one's teeth." Let's check out an example in the preterite tense:
Se cepilló los dientes,
He brushed his teeth,
Caption 20, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 2Play Caption
By extension, the noun el cepillo means "the brush," and we might have a cepillo de dientes (toothbrush) as well as a cepillo de pelo/cabello (hair brush), as in the following caption:
Sí... -¿Qué necesitamos para ir allí? El cepillo de dientes. El cepillo del pelo.
Yes... -What do we need to go there? A toothbrush. A hair brush.
Captions 49-51, Un Viaje a Mallorca Planificando el viajePlay Caption
So, you've probably surmised by now that the verb cepillarse el pelo/cabello means "to brush one's hair."
The verb peinarse can mean "to comb one's hair" with a comb (un peine), "to brush one's hair," or "to do" or "style" one's hair in general:
Por eso paró en la playa para mirarse en el espejo y peinarse.
That's why she stopped on the beach to look at herself in the mirror and comb her hair.
Captions 21-22, Guillermina y Candelario Mi Amiga la SirenaPlay Caption
Afeitarse is the verb for "to shave" (oneself, of course)!
Vos sabés lo que es todas las mañanas... mirarse en el espejo cuando uno se afeita
Do you know what it's like every morning... to look at oneself in the mirror when one's shaving,
Captions 30-31, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 13Play Caption
The next step in one's morning routine might be maquillarse (to put on makeup):
Aquí, siempre me maquillo para mis conciertos.
Here, I always put on makeup for my concerts.
Caption 47, Ariana Mi CasaPlay Caption
Alternatively, one might say Aquí, siempre me pinto para mis conciertos, as pintarse (literally "to paint oneself") also means "to put on makeup."
Vestirse is the way to say "to get dressed" in Spanish.
Yo salgo y... y te vistes.
I'll leave and... and you get dressed.Play Caption
Another way to say this might be ponerse la ropa (to put on one's clothes).
Although sacarse la ropa is one manner of saying "to get undressed" or "take off one's clothes," there are many other examples of reflexive verbs in Spanish that mean the same thing, including: quitarse la ropa, desvestirse, and desnudarse. Let's look at a couple of examples:
Si "Libertinaje" te saca... te invita a sacarte la ropa,
If "Libertinaje" takes off your..... invites you to take off your clothes,
Captions 4-5, Bersuit Vergarabat EPK - Part 1Play Caption
Y se desnuda poco a poco y se convierte en tu piel
And she gets naked little by little and she becomes your skin
Caption 6, Reik InolvidablePlay Caption
As you can see, the more literal "to get naked" might be an alternate translation for desnudarse.
We're finally getting to the end of our daily routine, when it's time for us to acostarnos (go to bed):
Tranquilícese, vaya a acostarse y deje de pensar en imposibles.
Calm down, go to bed, and stop thinking about impossible things.
Caption 31, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 5Play Caption
And finally, once in bed, it's time to fall asleep! While the non-reflexive dormir means "to sleep," dormirse means "to fall asleep."
Me dormí pensando en ti; pensando en ti, me desperté
I fell asleep thinking about you; thinking about you, I woke up
Caption 10, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 13Play Caption
Of course, this is just a partial list of reflexive verbs in Spanish that might be applicable to our daily routines. There are a lot more common reflexive verbs in Spanish that describe things one might do on a daily basis, including secarse (to dry oneself off), sentarse (to sit down), sentirse (to feel), emocionarse (to get excited), encontrarse con alguien (to meet with someone), acordarse de (to remember), olvidarse (to forget), sonreírse (to smile), reírse (to laugh), despedirse (to say goodbye), irse (to leave), and many, many more!
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 9Play Caption
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 (tú) te casas, tienes, and eres?
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 tú as the informal second person singular pronoun ("you"), causing some of the verb conjugations to vary slightly.
"Do I really have to learn another verb tense?!" you might be saying. However, even though el voseo (the use of vos instead of tú) 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 tú):
1. The verb conjugations for vos only differ from those with tú 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 tú, 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 tú. In fact, in the present indicative of vos, there are only three irregular verbs, while in the present indicative of tú, there are over one hundred irregular/stem changing verbs to memorize.
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 3Play Caption
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 2Play Caption
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 6Play Caption
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 tú 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 Tú:||Present Indicative with Vos:|
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 10Play Caption
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 3Play Caption
Now, let's take a look at these captions again, substituting the verb tú for vos:
Además, tú ni vas al colegio, has perdido un montón de años. Tú 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 ser, sos, does differ from the tú 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 (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 3Play Caption
Este... tené un poquito de paciencia.
Umm... have a little bit of patience.
Caption 7, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 9Play Caption
Vení, vamos a bailar.
Come, let's go dance.
Caption 33, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 6Play Caption
Once again, verbs like tener and venir that are irregular in the imperative form with tú (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 7Play Caption
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 7Play Caption
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.
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.
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.Play Caption
Las cosas son más fáciles de lo que parecen.
Things are easier than what they seem.Play Caption
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|
|él, ella, usted||se||le|
|ellos, ellas, ustedes||se||les|
Should we encounter se then, we 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|
|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.Play Caption
¡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 bocadillosPlay Caption
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 7Play Caption
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?Play Caption
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 tú (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 2Play Caption
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 patatasPlay Caption
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.
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.
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 8Play Caption
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 8Play Caption
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 10Play Caption
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 5Play Caption
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 11Play Caption
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 4Play Caption
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 11Play Caption
Digo, debería haber confiado y...
I mean, I should have trusted and...
Caption 46, Club de las ideas Intuición - Part 1Play Caption
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 4Play Caption
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.
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:
Me gustan mucho las ciudades.
I really like cities.
Caption 58, Carlos y Cyndy Uso del Voseo en ArgentinaPlay Caption
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 comprasPlay Caption
Muy bien, ¿te gusta esa música?
Great, do you like that music?
Caption 63, Carlos y Cyndy Comentario sobre Muñeca BravaPlay Caption
A nosotras nos gustan los colores del arcoíris.
We like the colors of the rainbow.
Caption 10, Español para principiantes Los coloresPlay Caption
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 mí, 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:
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 música/"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 hacerPlay Caption
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. Porque sí. -Tú también me gustas mucho.
I like you. Just because. -I like you a lot too.
Captions 44-46, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 12Play Caption
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 que el texto había gustado mucho.
and the director of the library told me that [people] had liked the text a lot.
Captions 48-49, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 3Play Caption
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.
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").
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 - Part 4Play Caption
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.Play Caption
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, les ha de llegar al pecho,
I guess if you're a little bit shorter, it should come up to your chest,Play Caption
podremos estar llegando a los ochocientos mil euros aproximadamente.
we could be reaching eight hundred thousand euros approximately.Play Caption
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 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 feoPlay Caption
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 en su desarrollo y a lo que pueden llegar.
Of the stages that groups go through in their development and what they can become.
Captions 74-75, Arturo Vega Entrevista - Part 3Play Caption
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 PérezPlay Caption
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 entre Milagros y su hermano, hágamela saber.
If you come to find out anything that happens between Milagros and her brother, let me know about it.
Captions 21-22, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 5Play Caption
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 - Part 4Play Caption
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!
¿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!
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 18Play Caption
Le voy a llevar de compras.
I'm going to take him shopping.Play Caption
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 10Play Caption
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.
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 - Part 8Play Caption
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 - Part 1Play Caption
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 SolPlay Caption
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 11Play Caption
Llevamos más de dos semanas sin agua
We've been without water for more than two weeks
Caption 24, Kikirikí Agua - Part 1Play Caption
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 DiariasPlay Caption
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 VíctorPlay Caption
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 - Part 1Play Caption
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, y sabes que se va a llevar bien con todo el mundo...
That you can take her to a... to a place, and you know she'll get along with everyone...
Caption 61, Biografía Enrique IglesiasPlay Caption
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!
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.
Eh... Luis, ella es mi mamá, mamá, él es Luis. Y ella es mi abuela Carmen.
Um... Luis, this is my mom, Mom, this is Luis. And this is my Grandma Carmen.
Captions 18-19, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 4Play Caption
It's worth mentioning that the example above shows a very common way to introduce people in Spanish.
es un hombre que se dedica a lo que yo hago.
he's a man who devotes himself to what I do.Play Caption
Paul es estadounidense, de los Estados Unidos.
Paul is American, from the United States.
Caption 16, Carlos explica Geografía y gentiliciosPlay Caption
Mi padre es arquitecto
My father is an architect
Caption 25, Leif El Arquitecto Español y su Arte - Part 1Play Caption
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 PrimosPlay Caption
Alguien que es delgado tiene poco peso
Someone who is skinny doesn't weigh muchPlay Caption
Carolina tiene treinta y cinco años pero parece que tiene veinte. Es muy guapa.
Carolina is thirty-five years old but she looks like she is twenty. She's very pretty.
Captions 2-4, El Aula Azul Mis PrimosPlay Caption
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 familiaPlay Caption
Ricardo es muy... es muy tranquilo, ¿viste?
Ricardo is very... he's very calm, you know?
Caption 84, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 10Play Caption
Porque mi mamá es una persona muy difícil. -Eso a mí no me importa.
Because my mom is a very difficult person. -That doesn't matter to me.
Caption 20, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 4Play Caption
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!
If you have been studying Spanish, you probably know that the Spanish verbs, ser and estar, have a common translation in English: '"to be." With that in mind, let's start this lesson with a practical example. Your Spanish friend has just invited you to her wedding (boda) in Madrid, and you want to ask her (in Spanish, of course!) the following simple question: "Where is the wedding?" Which verb would you choose, ser or estar? Would you ask, Dónde está or Dónde es la boda? Let's find out.
Are you wondering about the meaning of dónde está in English? Generally speaking, we use the verb estar when we want to talk about the position or location of someone or something. Considering that dónde means "where," we use dónde está when we want to know where someone or something is located. Let's look at a couple of examples so that you can better understand the use of the verb estar when talking about position or location:
¿Sabes dónde está la biblioteca?
Do you know where the library is?Play Caption
El pulverizador, ss... ss... está en el baño.
The spray, ss... ss... is in the bathroom.Play Caption
Se llama Frigiliana, y está en la provincia de Málaga.
It's called Frigiliana, and it's in the province of Malaga.
Caption 6, Viajando con Fermín - Frigiliana, MálagaPlay Caption
According to the above logic, we could solve the question we posed at the beginning of this lesson by saying, ¿Dónde está la boda?, right? Well, not so fast!
When using dónde (where) for asking about the location of something, there is one case in which you should use the verb ser rather than estar: when asking about the location of an event. For that reason, the correct manner of asking the aforementioned question would be, ¿Dónde es la boda? Let's look at additional examples where the verb ser would be necessary:
¿Dónde es el funeral?
Where's the funeral?
Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 3Play Caption
¿Dónde es la fiesta?
Where is the party?
Caption 11, Raquel - Expresiones para un festival de música.Play Caption
There are, however, some cases in which you can use either verb, depending upon what you wish to express. For example, if you want to ask someone about the executive breakfast your company is organizing, you would say, ¿Dónde es el desayuno? In this case, you use the verb ser because you are talking about an event. However, if you are referring to the breakfast as the food you are going to eat, you would say, ¿Dónde está el desayuno? In this case, you use the verb estar because you are asking about the location of something that is not an event. Let's take a look:
-¿Dónde es el desayuno? -El desayuno es en el hotel.
-Where is the breakfast? -The breakfast is at the hotel.
-¿Dónde está el desayuno? -El desayuno está en la nevera.
-Where's breakfast? -Breakfast is in the fridge.
Finally, a good rule of thumb to decide when it would be necessary to use ¿Dónde es...? rather than ¿Dónde está? is to ask oneself whether the verb could be subsituted with tiene lugar (takes place), in which case the verb, ser, should be utilized. For example: Since ¿Dónde tiene lugar la fiesta? (Where is the party taking place) makes perfect sense, ¿Dónde es la fiesta? would be the correct manner of asking where the party is.
That's all for today. We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!
Do you ever feel like practicing your Spanish over the phone? In this lesson, we would like to share with you the most important verbs you need to know when making or talking about a phone call. Also, we will show you the words you can use if you are wondering how to answer the phone in Spanish.
This is probably the most important verb when you want to indicate that you are making a call. Let's see some useful sentences.
When you are about to call someone:
Un momento, voy a llamar por teléfono.
One moment, I'm going to call [them].
Caption 6, Ariana - Cita médicaPlay Caption
When you want to say that you called someone:
Cuando llamé por teléfono, era para hablar con Lucio.
When I called on the phone, it was to talk to Lucio.
Caption 23, Yago - 14 La peruanaPlay Caption
When you want to indicate that someone called someone:
La primera vez que tu papá me llamó, no fue a la casa.
The first time your dad called me, it was not to the house.
Caption 42, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 5Play Caption
Of course, when you call someone, you expect an answer. Let's see this verb in action.
Disculpa, estaba en una reunión y no pude responder tu llamada.
Sorry, I was in a meeting and I couldn't answer your call.
You can also use the verb contestar (to answer) in this situation:
Que pena, discúlpame.
I'm sorry, excuse me.
Tengo que contestar esta llamada.
I have to answer this call.
Captions 8-9, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 3 - Part 1Play Caption
The example above also provides us with another very useful noun: llamada (a call).
By the way, do you know how to answer the phone in Spanish? In English, we say 'hello' but what's about in Spanish? There are several options:
Literally, bueno means 'fine' or 'well'. However, in this context, you can take bueno as a simple 'hello'. This way of answering the phone is very common in Mexico.
This is the Spanish equivalent of 'hello'.
Literally, this means 'yes'. It is also a very normal way of answering the phone in Spanish.
The translation of this is 'tell me'. A very common way of answering the phone in Spain.
This way of answering the phone is very popular in Colombia. It works as a simple 'hello'.
Some people prefer to answer the phone according to the time of the day so you can say buenos días (good morning), buenas tardes (good afternoon) or buenas noches (good night).
This is the verb you use when you need to get off the phone.
When you want to tell someone that you need to go:
Oye, tengo que colgar porque vamos a comer.
Listen, I have to hang up because we're going to eat.
Captions 56-57, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 8Play Caption
When you want to say that someone hung up on you or someone else:
Una mina llamó por teléfono a tu celular.
A girl called your cell phone.
Elena atendió, ella preguntó por vos y entonces Elena le dijo,
Elena answered, she asked for you and then Elena said to her,
"Who is it?"
Y la mina colgó.
And the girl hung up.
Captions 43-45, Yago - 11 PrisiónPlay Caption
From the example above, you can also see that the verb atender (to respond) is another verb you can use instead of responder (to answer). Also, keep in mind that when talking about a smartphone you use the word celular throughout Latin America and the word móvil in Spain. If you prefer, you can also use the word teléfono (telephone).
Of course, you talk over the phone so if you want to express that action, you can say it like our friend Silvia from El Aula Azul:
Estoy hablando por teléfono.
I'm talking on the telephone.
Yo hablo por teléfono.
I talk on the telephone.
Captions 49-50, El Aula Azul - Actividades diarias: En casa con SilviaPlay Caption
A phone call is about listening to someone else so this is a very important verb especially when you want to make sure the other person is able to listen to you.
Me puedes escuchar?
Can you hear me?
You can also use the verb oir (to hear) in this context:
How are you?
Y ahora que te oigo, de maravilla.
And now that I hear you, wonderful.
Captions 33-35, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 3 - Part 13Play Caption
And that's it for today. Are you ready to make a phone call in Spanish? We hope so. And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.
Today's lesson will examine Yabla's "Top 12" picks for the most useful verbs for having a conversation in Spanish. This time, we'll focus on the meanings of those verbs as well as giving you a lot of simple, conversational examples from Yabla's Spanish video library. Additionally, we'll provide you with conjugation tables for the "Top 3" most useful Spanish tenses: the simple present, the imperfect (which describes ongoing or continuous past actions), and the preterite (which describes completed past actions).
In addition to the aforementioned links, you can consult this lesson entitled Spanish Verb Tenses Explained if you need to brush up on those tenses and more! Although memorizing all of these conjugations might seem a bit intimidating, it could really help your ability to converse in Spanish.
The fact that there are two verbs that mean "to be" in Spanish, ser and estar, can feel quite confusing for non-native speakers. Generally speaking, the verb ser is employed to describe more permanent characteristics. The acronym DOCTOR (description, occupation, condition, time, origin, relationship) is very useful for helping us to remember some of the many situations in which this verb is used. Let's take a look at how this verb is conjugated as well as some examples:
|Él, ella, usted||es||era||fue|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||son||eran||fueron|
Soy profesor de fotografía.
I'm a photography teacher.
Caption 13, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 5Play Caption
Sus cuadros eran muy extraños.
His paintings were very strange.
Caption 25, El Aula Azul - Adivina personajes históricosPlay Caption
También fuimos parte de todas estas, eh... mega empresas, pero...
We were also part of all these, um... mega companies, but...
Caption 22, Doctor Krápula - EntrevistaPlay Caption
Notably, although ser usually denotes permanence, while the preterite tense denotes that something had a definite ending point, the verb ser is used in the preterite to describe something that "was" in the past, but did come to a conclusive end.
The verb estar also means "to be" for traits that are variable/less permanent. The acronym PLACE (position, location, action, condition, emotion) might help you to remember some contexts in which the verb estar should be chosen. Let's take a look:
|Él, ella, usted||está||estaba||estuvo|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||están||estaban||estuverion|
Sí... Vale, entonces, estamos aquí.
Yes... OK, then, we're here.Play Caption
Un poquito y ajá, y estaba triste porque
A little bit, and uh-huh, and I was sad because
dejaba mi familia y eso y ya.
I was leaving my family and all that and that's it.
Caption 70, Cleer - Entrevista a LilaPlay Caption
Los árabes estuvieron en España más de seiscientos años.
The Arabs were in Spain for more than six hundred years.
Caption 23, Rosa - Antequera, MálagaPlay Caption
Be sure to check out this lesson if you want to learn more about the difference between ser and estar.
The verb tener means "to have" in Spanish. Let's take a closer look:
|Él, ella, usted||tiene||tenía||tuvo|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||tienen||tenían||tuvieron|
¿Tienes plumones y tijeras?
You have markers and scissors?
Sí, tengo plumones y tijeras,
Yes, I have markers and scissors,
pero no tengo mi teléfono.
but I don't have my phone.
Captions 20-22, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 1: No tengo mi teléfono.Play Caption
Tenían mi mochila en la Oficina de Objetos Perdidos.
They had my backpack in the Lost and Found.
Caption 44, Raquel - Oficina de objetos perdidosPlay Caption
La noche anterior a la rumba, tuve otro sueño.
The night before going out on the town, I had another dream.
Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 7Play Caption
Additionally, we invite you to explore some of the many idiomatic expressions with the verb tener.
And, we'll just take a second to mention that if you throw in the word que after the verb tener plus a verb's infinitive ("to" form), you'll have the very useful Spanish construction tener que that means, "to have to" (do something):
Hoy tengo que trabajar.
Today I have to work.
Caption 74, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 14Play Caption
Tuvimos que trasladarnos a esta nueva ciudad.
We had to move to this new city.
Caption 39, Ciudad de Panamá - Denisse introduce la ciudadPlay Caption
|Él, ella, usted||hace||hacía||hizo|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||hacen||hacían||hicieron|
Y ¿tú qué haces?
And what are you doing?
Caption 24, Guillermina y Candelario - Un pez mágicoPlay Caption
Y yo no hacía esto. Yo hago otro acto, que es con las motos.
And I didn't do this. I do another act, which is with motorcycles.
Caption 35, Rueda de la muerte - Parte 1Play Caption
También hizo alguna película.
He also made a movie.
Caption 28, El Aula Azul - Adivina personajes históricosPlay Caption
|Él, ella, usted||va||iba||fue|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||van||iban||fueron|
Voy a la piscina los lunes y los miércoles.
I go to the pool on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Caption 7, Ariana - Mi SemanaPlay Caption
Iba mucho con mi padre al campo.
I used to go with my father to the countryside a lot.
Caption 56, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 10Play Caption
¿Por qué fuiste al cine?
Why did you go to the movies?Play Caption
You might have noticed that the preterite form of the verb ir is conjugated in the exact same way as the verb ser. However, in most cases, context should help you to easily identify which verb is in use.
Another great "trick" to be aware of is that adding an a plus a verb's infinitive to the verb ir is a very simple way of expressing what we are "going to" do and is, thus, an alternative to the future tense. Let's take a look:
Vamos a hablar de mi familia, ¿sí?
We are going to talk about my family, OK?Play Caption
Porque las chicas iban a salir, para no dejarte sola.
Because the girls were going to go out, so you wouldn't be alone.
Caption 11, Muñeca Brava - 18 - La ApuestaPlay Caption
If we're going to talk about ir (to go), we'd better mention venir (to come)! Let's look:
|Él, ella, usted||viene||venía||vino|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||vienen||venían||vinieron|
Yo vengo del sur de España
I come from the South of Spain
Caption 10, Carolina - AcentosPlay Caption
¿Qué venía después?
What came next?
Caption 23, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 8Play Caption
Los otros cisnes vinieron hacia él.
The other swans came toward him.
Caption 50, Cleer - El patito feoPlay Caption
The Spanish verb decir means "to say" or "to tell."
|Él, ella, usted||dice||decía||dijo|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||dicen||decían||dijeron|
Yo digo que Playa Balandra es el paraíso oficial.
I say that Balandra Beach is the official paradise.
Caption 67, Alan x el mundo - Mi playa favorita de México!Play Caption
Pero siempre me decía: ¡Mira! Mira eso allá.
But he always used to tell me: Look! Look at that over there.
Caption 42, Federico Kauffman Doig - ArqueólogoPlay Caption
Y la señorita me dijo algo completamente diferente.
And the lady told me something totally different.
Caption 45, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 5Play Caption
Since we often say or tell things "to" others, you will notice that the verb decir is quite typically accompanied by indirect object pronouns like me (to me), te (to you), etc. to indicate the person to whom something is said or told. You can learn more about this and other aspects of this verb in our lesson entitled The Spanish Verb Decir.
The verb poder means "to be able." It can be used alone to say simply "I can," "you could," etc. but is often used in conjunction with an infinitive verb to express what it is one "is able" to do. Let see it in action:
|Él, ella, usted||puede||podía||pudo|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||pueden||podían||pudieron|
¿Puedo ver el menú por favor?
Can I see the menu please?
Caption 12, Cata y Cleer - En el restaurantePlay Caption
¿Por qué las cosas no podían ser sencillas?
Why couldn't things be easy?
Caption 31, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 10Play Caption
Gracias a su cola, pudieron volar.
Thanks to its tail, you were able to fly.
Caption 49, Guillermina y Candelario - Una aventura extremaPlay Caption
To learn more about the verb poder and how it is used, we recommend the following lesson: The Verb Poder - Common Expressions.
This word means "to know," but, in its preterite form, can mean "to find out."
|Él, ella, usted||sabe||sabía||supo|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||saben||sabían||supieron|
Pero no sé dónde!
But I don't know where!
Caption 28, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concursoPlay Caption
No sabía qué decirle.
I didn't know what to say to her.
Caption 12, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1Play Caption
Nunca supe la verdad
I never found out the truth
Caption 2, Aleks Syntek - IntocablePlay Caption
If we're going to converse in Spanish, we had better be able to say what we "want"! The verb querer can stand alone to express our desire for a particular thing or be used with an infinitive verb to say what we "want to do." Let's take a look:
|Él, ella, usted||quiere||quería||quiso|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||quieren||querían||quisieron|
Porque realmente quiero mi propio baño.
Because I really want my own bathroom.
Caption 37, Cleer y Lida - Reservando una habitaciónPlay Caption
Y algunos querían volver a su casa.
And some wanted to go back to their home.Play Caption
No me quiso decir su nombre.
She wouldn't tell me her name.
Caption 8, Yago - 14 La peruanaPlay Caption
Keep in mind that when the verb querer is used with no in the preterite, it can convey the idea that someone "wouldn't" do something or "refused to."
One more important aspect of the Spanish verb querer is that, when speaking about actions that we "want" others to do or that we "want" to happen, the subjunctive form of the verb that follows is required (vuelvas instead of vuelves in the following example):
Quiero que... que vuelvas a New York.
I want for... for you to come back to New York.
Caption 23, Yago - 11 PrisiónPlay Caption
|Él, ella, usted||da||daba||dio|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||dan||daban||dieron|
Yo doy agua a mi gato.
I give water to my cat.
Caption 14, Lecciones con Carolina - Verbo - darPlay Caption
Adriana Espinel siempre daba unas respuestas tan profundas.
Adriana Espinel always gave such deep answers.
Caption 72, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 4Play Caption
Eh... Mi asistente me dio sus datos.
Um... My assistant gave me your information.
Caption 39, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 1Play Caption
Like the verb decir, the verb dar is often accompanied by indirect object pronouns to highlight the person to whom something is given.
And, to conclude our list of the Top 12 Spanish verbs for carrying on a conversation, we thought it would be a good idea to give you a verb to describe the things you observe!
|Él, ella, usted||ve||veía||vio|
|Ellos, ellas, ustedes||ven||veían||vieron|
Eh... ¿Cómo veo la vida?
Um... How do I see life?
Caption 79, Adícora, Venezuela - El tatuaje de RosanaPlay Caption
¡Pero veíamos serpientes por todos lados!
But we saw snakes everywhere!Play Caption
Vimos una película.
We saw a movie.
Caption 14, Zulbani - Trip to MeridaPlay Caption
Although it was certainly tough to narrow down the top 12 useful verbs in Spanish for carrying on a conversation, we hope you've enjoyed this lesson and that it helps you to hold a lot of stimulating conversations! Let us know with your suggestions and comments if there are any other verbs or topics you'd like to learn more about.
Are you familiar with the Spanish verb gustar (to like)? Have you ever been in a situation where you didn't know whether to use gusta or gustan when talking about something you like? If using gusta vs gustan is tricky for you, here are some simple rules to help you understand the difference between gusta and gustan.
Let's start with some good news. When you want to say that you like someone or something, the only thing you need to know is how to conjugate the verb gustar in the third person either in its singular (gusta) or plural (gustan) form. Let's take a look at a couple of simple sentences with gustar:
A mí me gusta el acento de las colombianas.
I like the Colombian women's accent.
Caption 50, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 2Play Caption
Sí, a mí me gustan las plantas y las flores y los árboles.
Yes, I like the plants and the flowers and the trees.Play Caption
That's it. You don't need anything else. Now, let's see when to use gusta or gustan.
The following simple rules will help you to master the gustan vs gusta battle.
Use the third person singular gusta for the following cases:
1. When the verb gustar is followed by a singular noun.
Me gusta la camisa.
I like the shirt.Play Caption
Keep in mind that most of the time, you will need to place a definite article before the noun.
2. When the verb gustar is followed by a verb in the infinitive.
...y me gusta llevar faldas normalmente, sobre todo en... en invierno.
...and I like to wear skirts usually, especially in... in winter.
Captions 6-7, El Aula Azul - Actividades DiariasPlay Caption
3. When the verb gustar is followed by several infinitive verbs.
A Pedro le gusta leer, tocar guitarra y hacer ejercicio.
Pedro likes to read, play guitar and exercise.
Use the third person plural gustan for the following cases:
1. When the verb gustar is followed by a plural noun.
A Lola le gustan los hombres fuertes.
Lola likes strong men.Play Caption
2. When the verb gustar is followed by multiple, independent nouns.
Me gustan el diseño, la decoración y la arquitectura de esa casa.
I like the design, decoration, and architecture of that house.
When asking questions or stating negative sentences, you need to stick to the same rules we mentioned before. Let's look at a couple of examples:
¿Te gusta la ciencia?
Do you like science?
Caption 42, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 2Play Caption
A mí no me gusta tu camiseta.
I don't like your shirt.
Caption 12, Español para principiantes - Los coloresPlay Caption
¿No te gustan las velas?
You don't like candles?
Caption 38, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poemaPlay Caption
That's it for today. But before we leave you, we invite you to answer this very simple question so you can practice a little bit the difference between gusta and gustan: ¿Qué te gusta hacer en tu tiempo libre? And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.