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Lessons for topic Verbs

El Voseo: Not as Intimidating as It Seems

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

 

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

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

Captions 27-29, Yago 9 Recuperación - Part 9

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

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

 

The Good News About Vos

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Conjugating Verbs with Vos in the Present Indicative 

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 50, Yago 2 El puma - Part 3

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Si vos sabés muy bien que yo me sé adaptar.

You know very well that I know how to adapt.

Caption 43, Cuatro Amigas Piloto - Part 2

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 66, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 10

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Irregular Verbs with Vos

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Conjugating Verbs with Vos in the Imperative

 

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

 

Sabés que no tomo whisky. -¡Pero tomá!

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

Caption 22, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 3

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Este... tené un poquito de paciencia.

Umm... have a little bit of patience.

Caption 7, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 9

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Vení, vamos a bailar.

Come, let's go dance.

Caption 33, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 6

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

 

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

 

Olvidate, divertite, hacé algo. -No quiero,

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

Caption 8, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 7

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

La verdad es que pareces cansado.

To be honest, you seem tired.

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

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Las cosas son más fáciles de lo que parecen.

Things are easier than what they seem.

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

En eso me parezco mucho a mi madre. 

I'm a lot like my mother in that way.

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

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¡Nos gustan las mismas cosas! Nos parecemos

We like the same things! We are similar.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

A ti te parece bonita. 

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

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

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

 

Let's conclude with one last example:

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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"Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda" in Spanish

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

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

 

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

 

Yo habría (I would have)

Tú habrías (You would have)

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

Nosotros/Nosotras habríamos (We would have)

Vosotros/Vosotras habríais (You all would have)

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

 

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

 

Infinitive: comenzar   /   Past participle: comenzado

Infinitive: comer        /    Past participle: comido

Infinitive: subir         /     Past participle: subido

 

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

 

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

 

Ya habríais ahorrado... -Dos mil euros. 

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

Caption 72, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 8

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

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

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

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

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

Caption 33, X6 1 - La banda - Part 10

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

 

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

 

Yo podría (I could)

Tú podrías (You could)

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

Nosotros/Nosotras podríamos (We could)

Vosotros/Vosotras podríais (You all could)

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

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 4, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Yo debería (I should)

Tú deberías (You should)

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

Nosotros/Nosotras deberíamos (We should)

Vosotros/Vosotras deberíais (You all should)

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

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 16, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 11

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Digo, debería haber confiado y...

I mean, I should have trusted and...

Caption 46, Club de las ideas Intuición - Part 1

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

 

No deberías haber salido de casa.

You shouldn't have left the house.

Caption 45, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 4

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

 

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

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

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Me gustan mucho las ciudades.

I really like cities.

Caption 58, Carlos y Cyndy Uso del Voseo en Argentina

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

 

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

 

        -(A mí) me gusta/n: I like.

        -(A ti) te gusta/n: You like.

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

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

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

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

 

Let's take a look at some examples:

 

y aquí tengo una blusa que me gusta.

and I have here a blouse that I like.

Caption 6, Ana Carolina Salir de compras

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Muy bien, ¿te gusta esa música?

Great, do you like that music?

Caption 63, Carlos y Cyndy Comentario sobre Muñeca Brava

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A nosotras nos gustan los colores del arcoíris.

We like the colors of the rainbow.

Caption 10, Español para principiantes Los colores

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Note that, while in the third example, A nosotras was included before nos gustan, this is completely optional, and we could have written simply, Nos gustan los colores del arcoíris (We like the colors of the rainbow) to mean exactly the same thing. In fact, all such "a phrases" (, a 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 hacer

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

 

Me gustas. 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 12

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

 

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

 

A este chico le gusto mucho.

That guy likes me a lot.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: I please that guy a lot. 

 

A ustedes les gustamos mucho. 

You guys like us a lot.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: We please you guys a lot. 

 

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

 

Let's conclude with one final example: 

 

y la directora de la biblioteca me dijo 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 3

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

 

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

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

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The Preterite Conjugation of Regular Spanish Verbs

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

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The Preterite Tense in Spanish

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

 

Ayer trabajé hasta las ocho de la noche.

Yesterday I worked until eight at night.

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

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

 

A Note About the Conjugations in This Lesson

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

 

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

 

Usted habló de Fabio Sirenio.

You talked about Fabio Sirenio.

Caption 83, Yago 7 Encuentros - Part 14

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Entonces él habló con... con los pescadores y los pescadores aceptaron.

So, he spoke with... with the fishermen and the fishermen accepted.

Caption 17, Instinto de conservación Parque Tayrona - Part 6

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

The Preterite Conjugations of -AR Verbs

 

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

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

 

Yo hablé (I spoke).

Tú hablaste (You spoke).

Él/Ella habló (He/She spoke).

Nosotros hablamos (We spoke).*

Vosotros hablasteis (You spoke).

Ellos hablaron (They spoke).

 

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

 

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

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

 

Examples of Preterite Conjugations with -AR Verbs:

 

Example 1.: The verb comprar (to buy)

¡Y compraste melones en vez de limones!*

And you bought melons instead of lemons!

Caption 16, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2 - Sam va de compras - Part 6

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

 

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

La canción que escuchamos introduce la quinta parte del primer episodio

The song that we heard introduces the fifth part of the first episode

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

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The Preterite Conjugations of -ER Verbs

 

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

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

 

Yo comí (I ate).

Tú comiste (You ate).

Él/Ella com (He/She ate).

Nosotros comimos (We ate).

Vosotros comisteis (You ate).

Ellos comieron (They ate).

 

Examples of Preterite Conjugations with -ER Verbs:

 

Example 1.: The verb aprender (to learn)

y aprendí que los pulpos pueden cambiar de color.

and I learned that octopi can change color.

Caption 45, Guillermina y Candelario La Señora Pulpo

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Example 2.: The verb vender (to sell)

creo que vendimos unos quinientos dólares en unas... tres horas, dos horas.

I think we sold about five hundred dollars (worth) in about... three hours, two hours.

Captions 25-26, Un café con Julia Año nuevo

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The Preterite Conjugations of -IR Verbs

 

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

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

 

Yo viví (I lived).

Tú viviste (You lived).

Él/Ella viv (He/She lived).

Nosotros vivimos (We lived).

Vosotros vivisteis (You lived).

Ellos vivieron (They lived).

 

Examples of Preterite Conjugations with -IR Verbs:

 

Example 1.: The verb escribir (to write)

¿Por qué dices eso? Porque una vez me escribiste contándome que te casabas en Nueva York.

Why do you say that? Because once you wrote to me telling me that you were getting married in New York.

Captions 61-62, Yago 6 Mentiras - Part 5

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Example 2.: The verb abrir (to open)

Primero, Lisa Bernal abrió la herida,

First, Lisa Bernal opened the wound,

Caption 61, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 4

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

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The Many Meanings of the Verb Llegar

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

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Llegar a(l) + Place

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

 

Soñé que llegaba al colegio y estaba sin ropa.

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

Caption 27, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 4

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Llegar a Alguien

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

 

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

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

Caption 27, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Cachorro de leopardo - Part 1

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Llegar + Point or Amount

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

 

Supongo que si están un poquito más chaparritos, les ha de llegar al pecho,

I guess if you're a little bit shorter, it should come up to your chest,

Caption 24, Alan x el mundo Mi playa favorita de México! - Part 2

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podremos estar llegando a los ochocientos mil euros aproximadamente.

we could be reaching eight hundred thousand euros approximately.

Caption 32, Los Reporteros Crecen los robos en tiendas - Part 2

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

 

Llegar + Time References 

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

 

y lo tuvo con ella hasta que llegó la primavera.

and had him with her until spring came.

Caption 41, Cleer El patito feo

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Llegar to Express Achievement 

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

 

De las etapas por las que pasan los conjuntos 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 3

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

 

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

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

Caption 13, Bogotá Fotógrafo José Segundo Quinche Pérez

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Llegar Preceded by si (to Introduce a Condition)

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

 

Si llega a saber cualquier cosa que suceda 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 5

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

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

Caption 72, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 4

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

 

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

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All About the Verb Llevar and Its Many Uses

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

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Llevar Meaning "To Take" Something or Someone Somewhere

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 53, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 18

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Le voy a llevar de compras.

I'm going to take him shopping.

Caption 7, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2 - Sam va de compras - Part 4

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

 

Aquí había unas comidas para llevar. 

There were some takeout places here.

Caption 8, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 10

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

 

Llevar to Introduce Cause 

 

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

 

una cosa llevó a la otra, ¿no?

one thing led to another, right?

Caption 13, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 8

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

 

Muchas veces, incluso nos puede llevar al éxito profesional.

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

Caption 13, Club de las ideas Intuición - Part 1

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Llevar Used with Time

 

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

 

de que puede llevar mucho tiempo,

that it can take a long time,

Caption 29, GoSpanish Entrevista con María Sol

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

 

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

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

Caption 10, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 11

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Llevamos más de dos semanas sin agua

We've been without water for more than two weeks

Caption 24, Kikirikí Agua - Part 1

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Llevar Meaning "to Wear"

 

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

 

y me gusta llevar faldas normalmente,

and I like to wear skirts usually,

Caption 6, El Aula Azul Actividades Diarias

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Llevar a Cabo

 

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

 

Aquí se va a llevar a cabo el Campeonato WK.

Here, the WK Championship is going to take place.

Caption 3, Adícora, Venezuela Víctor

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Dejarse Llevar

 

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

 

Hay que estar relajado y dejarse llevar, ¿no?

You should be relaxed and let yourself go, right?

Caption 12, Club de las ideas Intuición - Part 1

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Llevarse Bien/Mal 

 

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

 

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

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

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Describing People in Spanish with the Verb Ser

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

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To identify someone

 

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 4

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

 

To indicate the gender of a person

 

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

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

Caption 61, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 9

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To state someone's nationality

 

Paul es estadounidense, de los Estados Unidos.

Paul is American, from the United States.

Caption 16, Carlos explica Geografía y gentilicios

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To indicate somebody's job

 

Mi padre es arquitecto

My father is an architect

Caption 25, Leif El Arquitecto Español y su Arte - Part 1

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To talk about physical traits

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

 

Es bajo, es gordo,

He's short, he's fat,

Caption 33, El Aula Azul Mis Primos

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Alguien que es delgado tiene poco peso

Someone who is skinny doesn't weigh much

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

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Carolina tiene treinta y cinco años 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 Primos

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To describe someone's personality

 

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

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

Caption 8, El Aula Azul Mi familia

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

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

Caption 84, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 10

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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 4

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

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How to Use the Present Indicative in Spanish

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

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1. To talk about actions in the present

 

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

¿Dónde están las chicas? ¿Las chicas? -Ajá. Lola y Ana. -Uh... Lola y Ana viven aquí.

Where are the girls? The girls? -Uh-huh. Lola and Ana. -Uh... Lola and Ana live here.

Captions 26-29, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam - Part 4

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

 

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

Trabajo en un colegio. Soy maestra de música y de ciencias.

I work at a school. I'm a music and science teacher.

Captions 6-7, Ariana Mi Casa

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

 

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

 

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

 

En agosto, vamos a la playa. En septiembre, empieza el otoño.

In August, we go to the beach. In September, the fall begins.

Captions 21-22, El Aula Azul Estaciones y Meses

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

 

La Laguna de San Pablo está a los pies del imponente Volcán Imbabura.

The San Pablo Lagoon is at the foot of the imposing Imbabura Volcano.

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

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

 

3. To talk about routines and repetitive actions

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

 

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

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

Caption 2, GoSpanish La rutina diaria de Sol

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

 

Dante y Mika vienen todos los días a trabajar conmigo aquí al Refugio del Burrito,

Dante and Mika come work with me every day here at the Little Donkey Shelter,

Caption 62, Rosa La perrita Mika

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Caption 63, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 7

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

 

Bueno, pues entonces, no hay que pensarlo más. Mañana hablamos con el jefe y desde la oficina

OK, well then, we don't have to think about it anymore. Tomorrow we'll talk to the boss and from the office

Captions 11-12, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 6

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

 

 

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

 

El Imperio romano cae en el año 476

The Roman Empire falls in the year 476

 

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

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Dónde Está or Dónde Es?

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.

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

 

What Does Dónde Está Mean?

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?

Caption 20, Español para principiantes Hablando de ubicaciones

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El pulverizador, ss... ss... está en el baño.

The spray, ss... ss... is in the bathroom.

Caption 63, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 3 - Sam aprende a ligar - Part 2

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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, Málaga

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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!

 

"Dónde Es" vs. "Dónde Está"

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 3 - Part 6

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¿Dónde es la fiesta?

Where is the party?

Caption 11, Raquel Expresiones para un festival de música.

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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:

 

EVENT 

-¿Dónde es el desayuno? -El desayuno es en el hotel.

-Where is the breakfast? -The breakfast is at the hotel.

 

FOOD

-¿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!

Continua a leggere

Making a Phone Call in Spanish: 5 Essential Verbs

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.

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1. Llamar (to call)

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 médica

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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 peruana - Part 5

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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 5 - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

2. Responder (to answer)

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. Tengo que contestar esta llamada.

I'm sorry, excuse me. I have to answer this call.

Captions 8-9, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 1

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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:

 

Bueno

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.

 

Hola

This is the Spanish equivalent of 'hello'.

 

¿Sí?

Literally, this means 'yes'. It is also a very normal way of answering the phone in Spanish. 

 

Diga or dígame

The translation of this is 'tell me'. A very common way of answering the phone in Spain.

 

Aló

This way of answering the phone is very popular in Colombia. It works as a simple 'hello'.

 

Buenos días, buenas tardes or buenas noches

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).

 

3. Colgar (to hang up)

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 8 - Part 4

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When you want to say that someone hung up on you or someone else:

Una mina llamó por teléfono a tu celular. Elena atendió, ella preguntó por vos y entonces Elena le dijo, "¿Quién habla?" Y la mina colgó.

A girl called your cell phone. Elena answered, she asked for you and then Elena said to her, "Who is it?" And the girl hung up.

Captions 43-45, Yago 11 Prisión - Part 5

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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).

 

4. Hablar (to talk)

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. Yo hablo por teléfono.

I'm talking on the telephone. I talk on the telephone.

Captions 49-50, El Aula Azul Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

 Play Caption

 

5. Escuchar (to hear, to listen)

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:

¿Qué tal? -Muy bien. Y ahora que te oigo, de maravilla.

How are you? -Very well. And now that I hear you, wonderful.

Captions 33-35, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 13

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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.

Continua a leggere

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

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

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The easy conjugation of gustar

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

 

A mí me gusta el acento de las colombianas.

I like the Colombian women's accent.

Caption 50, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 6

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

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

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

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

 

When to use gusta or gustan?

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

 

Using gusta

 

Use the third person singular gusta for the following cases:

 

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

Me gusta la camisa.

I like the shirt.

Caption 4, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2 - Sam va de compras - Part 6

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

 

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

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

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

Captions 6-7, El Aula Azul Actividades Diarias

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

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

Pedro likes to read, play guitar and exercise.

 

Using gustan

 

Use the third person plural gustan for the following cases:

 

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

A Lola le gustan los hombres fuertes

Lola likes strong men

Caption 14, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam - Part 5

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

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

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

 

Gusta vs gustan with questions and negative sentences

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

 

¿Te gusta la ciencia?

Do you like science?

Caption 42, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 2 - Part 5

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A mí no me gusta tu camiseta.

I don't like your shirt.

Caption 12, Español para principiantes Los colores

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¿No te gustan las velas?

You don't like candles?

Caption 38, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 11

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

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Habemos: A Valid Conjugation of "Haber"?

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

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Let's look at an example:

 

Hay muchos problemas,

There are a lot of problems,

Caption 6, Adícora - Venezuela El tatuaje de Rosana

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

 

Entonces, que todavía no lo hay pero entonceshabemos gente que queremos hacerlo y... y, eh...

So, it doesn't exist yet, but then, there are those of us who want to do it, and... and, um...

Captions 90-91, Playa Adícora Chober - Part 2

Play Caption

 

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

 

The Simple Present Conjugation of the Verb Haber

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

 

Yo he (I have)

has (you have)

Él/Ella ha (he/she has)

Usted ha (you have)

Nosotros hemos (we have)

Vosotros habéis (you have)

Ellos/Ustedes han (they/you have)

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

 

So, What About Habemos

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

 

WRONG: Habemos pocos ingenieros en la empresa.

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

 

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

 

aunque indiscutiblemente habemos [sic] más cubanos que nada.

although undeniably, we have more Cubans than anything.

Caption 47, La Calle 8 Un recorrido fascinante

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

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

Caption 25, Instinto de conservación Parque Tayrona - Part 5

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

Entonces, que todavía no lo hay pero entonceshabemos [sic] gente que queremos hacerlo y... y, eh...

So, it doesn't exist yet, but then, there are those of us who want to do it, and... and, um...

Captions 90-91, Playa Adícora Chober - Part 2

Play Caption

 

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

Continua a leggere

Ser and Estar: An Easy Trick for Using These Verbs

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

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Two words for learning the difference between ser and estar

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

 

DOCTOR for ser

 

The word DOCTOR stands for the following: 

 

Description

Occupation

Characteristic

Time

Origin

Relationship.

 

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

 

Description

"El coronavirus es un virus contagioso".

"The coronavirus is a contagious virus."

Caption 27, El Coronavirus Introducción y vocabulario

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Occupation

Tu papá es jefe de cartera, mi amor.

Your dad is a portfolio manager, my love.

Caption 52, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 3

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Characteristic

Él es un chico... Es muy simpático,

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

Caption 52, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Time

Diremos, "¿Qué hora es?"

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

Caption 49, Español para principiantes La hora

 Play Caption

 

Origin

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

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

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

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Relationship

Esa es mi tía Silvia.

That is my Aunt Silvia.

Caption 24, Español para principiantes Demostrativos

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PLACE for estar

 

The word PLACE stands for the following:

 

Position

Location

Action

Condition

Emotion

 

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

 

Position

Ahora, estoy en el centro.

Now, I'm in the center.

Caption 25, Raquel Las direcciones

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Location

Ahora estoy en el Monumento Natural Dunas de Artola, en la Playa de Cabopino,

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

Captions 31-32, Viajando con Fermín Dunas de Marbella

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Action

Silvia, ¿qué estás haciendo? Estoy bebiendo un vaso de agua.

Silvia, what are you doing? I'm drinking a glass of water.

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

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Condition

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

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

Caption 4, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2 - Sam va de compras - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

Emotion

Estoy triste. Estoy triste.

I am sad. I am sad.

Captions 9-10, El Aula Azul Estados de ánimo

 Play Caption

 

 

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

 

For how you feel and where you are,

always use the verb ESTAR. 

 

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

 

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

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Vivir en vs Vivir a

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

 

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

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

 

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

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

 

When to use vivir + en

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

 

hice mis amigos, tengo mi novia y me encanta vivir en Miami,

I made friends, I have my girlfriend, and I love to live in Miami,

Captions 35-36, Fiesta en Miami Antonio

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Siempre he tenido mi idea de vivir en Alemania.

I have always wanted to live in Germany.

Caption 82, Gonzalo el Pintor Vida - Part 2

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When to use vivir + a

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

 

me voy a ir a vivir a Barcelona,

I'm going to go live in Barcelona,

Caption 23, Arume Málaga, España - Part 1

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¿Viene a vivir a Buenos Aires?

She's coming to live in Buenos Aires?

Caption 38, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 1

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Combining 'vivir en' and 'vivir a'

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

 

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

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

Captions 10-11, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 21

 Play Caption

 

 

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

 

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The Conditional Tense in Spanish: Conjugation and Use

Generally speaking, we use the conditional tense in Spanish to talk about hypothetical things. However, we also use the conditional tense for polite requests or when we want to express wishes and desires. Let's take a look at some simple rules that will help you to master the conditional tense in Spanish.

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The conjugation of the conditional tense

Before talking about the uses of the conditinal tense, it is important to review how to conjugate it. Let's start with the regular verbs. For these verbs, you just need to take the infinitive form and add the conditional ending. 

 

Regular verbs ending in -ar

Let's take the verb hablar (to speak)

Yo hablaría (I would speak)

Tú hablarías (You would speak)

Él/Ella hablaría (He/She would speak)

Nosotros hablaríamos (We would speak)

Vosotros hablaríais (You would speak)

Ellos hablarían (They would speak)

 

Regular verbs ending in -er

Let's take the verb comer (to eat)

Yo comería (I would eat)

Tú comerías (You would eat)

Él/Ella comería (He/She would eat)

Nosotros comeríamos (We would eat)

Vosotros comeríais (You would eat)

Ellos comerían (They would eat)

 

Regular verbs ending in -ir

Let's take the verb abrir (to open)

Yo abriría (I would open)

Tú abrirías (You would open)

Él/Ella abriría (He/She would open)

Nosotros abriríamos (We would open)

Vosotros abriríais (You would open)

Ellos abrirían (They would open)

 

Irregular conditional verbs in Spanish

There are several irregular verbs that are used all the time in the conditional tense. For these verbs, you need to keep in mind that they maintain the same stem that they have in the future tense. Let's see the conjugation for the verbs decir (to say) and hacer (to make).

 

Yo diría (I would say)

Tú dirías (You would say)

Él/Ella diría (He/She would say)

Nosotros diríamos (We would say)

Vosotros diríais (You would say)

Ellos dirían (They would say)

 

Yo haría (I would make)

Tú harías (You would make)

Él/Ella haría (He/She would make)

Nosotros haríamos (We would make)

Vosotros haríais (You would make)

Ellos harían (They would make)

 

5 common uses of the conditional tense in Spanish

In Spanish, it is quite common to use the conditional tense when you want to do any of the following:

 

1. To ask for information in a polite way

¿Podrías por favor decirnos a los... a nuestros amigos de Yabla en qué lugar están ustedes?

Could you please tell us to the... to our friends from Yabla where you guys are?

Captions 66-67, Monsieur Periné Entrevista

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2. To express a wish or desire

¿Te gustaría volver a tu ciudad? Pues la verdad es que me encantaría volver a Málaga.

Would you like to return to your city? Well the truth is that I would love to go back to Málaga.

Captions 33-34, Clara y Cristina Saludar

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3. To make a suggestion

Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.

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

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

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4. To express a hypothesis or to take a guess

Cuatro horas es demasiado. Creo que no llegaría a tiempo a la reunión.

Four hours is too much. I think that I would not arrive in time for the meeting.

Captions 30-31, Raquel La Compra de un Billete de Tren

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5. To express the future in relation to what someone said in the past

Y que nos juramos que esto nunca iría a pasar

And we vowed to each other that this would never happen

Caption 21, Franco De Vita, Dueto Con Debi Nova Si Quieres Decir Adiós

 Play Caption

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That's it for this lesson. We encourage you to write some sentences for the 5 different uses we mentioned for the conditional tense. And don't forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

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Regular IR verbs in Spanish

How many regular '-ir' verbs do you know in Spanish? Now that we have already talked about verbs ending in ‘-ar and verbs ending in '-er', it's time to take a look at the last main group of regular verbs. Again, keep in mind that we form regular verbs when we put together a verb stem and an infinitive ending. For example, the verb describir (to describe) is made with the verb stem 'describ' plus the infinitive ending '-ir'. With that being said, let's take a look at the following regular verbs ending in '-ir':

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  • Abrir (to open) = Abr + ir
  • Escribir (to write) = Escrib + ir
  • Vivir  (to live) = Viv + ir

 

Conjugation of ir verbs in simple present, past and future

We know we have a regular verb when the verb stem doesn't change once it is conjugated. Do you want to see how that works in the simple present? Let’s use the verb abrir (to open) for this: 

 

  • Yo abro (I open)
  • Tú abres (you open)
  • Él/Ella abre (he/she opens)
  • Nosotros/as abrimos (we open)
  • Vosotros/as abrís (you open)
  • Ellos/as abren (they open)

 

Abres el rombo,

You open the diamond,

Caption 46, Manos a la obra Separadores de libros: Charmander

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Now, let’s see how to conjugate a regular '-ir' verb in the simple past. Let's take the verb escribir (to write): 

 

  • Yo escribí (I wrote)
  • Tú escribiste (you wrote)
  • Él/Ella escrib (he/she wrote)
  • Nosotros/as escribimos (we wrote)
  • Vosotros/as escribisteis (you wrote)
  • Ellos/as escribieron (they wrote)

 

Gabriel García Márquez escribió muchos libros.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote a lot of books.

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

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It is worth noting that for the first person plural (nosotros), the conjugation of the verb is exactly the same in both the simple present and the simple past:

 

pero cuando escribimos estas dos palabras,

but when we write these two words,

Caption 45, Lecciones con Carolina Haber vs. A Ver /Si vs. Sí

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Now, let’s take one of the most common verbs in Spanish in order to see the conjugation of a regular ‘ir’ verb in the simple future:

 

  • Yo viviré (I will live)
  • Tú vivirás (you will live)
  • Él/Ella vivirá (he/she will live)
  • Nosotros/as viviremos (we will live)
  • Vosotros/as viviréis (you will live)
  • Ellos/as vivirán (they will live) 

 

y que viviremos en un hogar agradable,

and that we will live in a nice home,

Caption 55, Negocios La solicitud de empleo - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Unlike the simple present and past, the conjugation in the simple future leaves the verb as it is (vivir) only adding a different ending.

 

5 sentences using regular ir verbs in Spanish

 

Let’s learn some more regular -ir verbs with the following sentences:

 

1. Aplaudir (to clap)

 

o por ejemplo, en el flamenco se aplaude así.

or for example, in flamenco one claps like this.

Caption 46, Marta de Madrid El cuerpo - El tronco

 Play Caption

 

2. Decidir (to decide)

 

De un momento a otro, decidió quedarse en Bogotá,

From one minute to another, she decided to stay in Bogota,

Caption 22, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capitulo 4 - Part 6

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3. Discutir (to discuss/argue)

 

Chica, sabes que yo no discuto con novatas después del mediodía.

Girl, you know that I don't argue with rookies after noon.

Caption 57, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 2

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4. Subir (to climb/go up/increase)

 

Subimos la temperatura del depósito a ochenta grados.

We increase the temperature of the tank to eighty degrees.

Caption 25, Club de las ideas Biodiesel - Part 2

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5. Sufrir (to suffer)

 

sufres, gritas, nadie te da nada

you suffer, you scream, nobody gives you anything

Caption 21, Club de las ideas La motivación

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BANNER PLACEHOLDER

That’s it for this lesson. Now that we have covered all the three groups of regular verbs, go ahead and try to write some sentences with verbs ending in -ar, -er and -ir. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

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Regular ER Verbs in Spanish

Let’s talk about verbs. As we mentioned before, in Spanish language, all regular verbs belong to one of the following groups: verbs ending in ‘-ar, verbs ending in ‘-er’ and verbs ending in ‘-ir’. Today, we will take a look at those verbs ending in ‘-er’.

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Before that, however, let’s keep in mind that regular verbs are formed using the following formula: verb stem + infinitive ending. Let’s look at some of the most common regular ‘ER’ verbs in Spanish:

 

  • Aprender (to learn) = Aprend + er
  • Comer (to eat) = Com + er
  • Vender  (to sell) = Vend + er

 

Conjugation of er verbs in Spanish

A verb is considered regular when the verb stem doesn’t change from the infinitive form to the conjugated form of the verb. Let’s take the regular verb aprender (to learn) and see its conjugation in the simple present. Notice how the stem stays the same but the endings vary:

 

  • Yo aprendo (I learn)
  • Tú aprendes (you learn)
  • Él/Ella aprende (he/she learns)
  • Nosotros/as aprendemos (we learn)
  • Vosotros/as aprendéis (you learn)
  • Ellos/as aprenden (they learn)

 

Aquí aprenden a diseñar y confeccionar decorados,

Here they learn to design and make decorations,

Caption 26, Europa Abierta - Taller de escenografía en Olivares

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Now, let’s take the regular verb comer (to eat) and see how the conjugation works in the simple past:

 

  • Yo comí (I ate)
  • Tú comiste (you ate)
  • Él/Ella com (he/she ate)
  • Nosotros/as comimos (we ate)
  • Vosotros/as comisteis (you ate)
  • Ellos/as comieron (they ate)

 

Fuimos a pasear, comimos un helado,

We went for a walk, we ate an ice cream,

Caption 29, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos - El pasado

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Let’s use a different verb to see the conjugation of a regular ‘er’ verb in the simple future. Let’s take the verb vender (to sell):

 

  • Yo venderé (I will sell)
  • Tú venderás (you will sell)
  • Él/Ella venderá (he/she will sell)
  • Nosotros/as venderemos (we will sell)
  • Vosotros/as venderéis (you will sell)
  • Ellos/as venderán (they will sell)

 

Mañana venderé mi casa.

Tomorrow, I will sell my house.

 

5 sentences using er verbs in Spanish

Let’s finish this lesson by learning more verbs with these 5 sentences using er verbs in Spanish:

 

1. Beber (to drink)

Yo bebo agua.

I drink water.

Caption 27, El Aula Azul - Actividades diarias - En casa con Silvia

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2. Comprender (to comprehend / understand)

Ahora comprendo mejor la operación de mi padre

Now I understand my father's operation better

Caption 65, Club de las ideas - Lego Fest en Sevilla

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3. Correr (to run)

Corrió hacia la puerta y cuando el príncipe trató de seguirla,

She ran to the door and when the prince tried to follow her,

Caption 16, Cuentos de hadas - La Cenicienta - Part 2

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4. Prometer (to promise)

Ayer os prometí que estudiaríamos hoy "aconsejar,"

Yesterday I promised you that today we would learn "to advise,"

Caption 1, Escuela Don Quijote - En el aul - Part 1

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5. Temer (to fear / be afraid of)

Pero ellos no le temen a nada.

But they are not afraid of anything.

Caption 23, Salvando el planeta Palabra - Llegada - Part 8

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BANNER PLACEHOLDER

That’s it for this lesson. Now, a final challenge: Take one of the sentences we just mentioned and try to change it using a different person and a different verb tense. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.

 

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