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Las Vacaciones

Summer is a good time to take some time off... or learn how to properly use the Spanish word for vacation: vacaciones.  Let’s do just that.


For starters, even though the Dictionary of the Spanish Language of the Royal Spanish Academy or DRAE includes the singular vacación, the plural vacaciones (vacation) is the only form people use:


Sí, se ha ido hasta de vacaciones a Italia con el zoquito.

Yes, she has even gone on vacation to Italy with the zoquito.

Caption 74, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos

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Spanish also has the verb vacacionar (to vacation), but it's much more common to use expressions that involve the use of another verb combined with the word vacaciones, for example: ir de vacaciones (to go on vacation). This expression requires the use of a reflexive pronoun (se, in this case) and the preposition de (on). You must also be careful to conjugate the verb ir (to go) properly. In the example above, for example, you see the perfect tense ha ido de vacaciones (has gone on vacation). But you can also use other tenses. The following example includes the reflexive pronoun me, the preposition de, and the first-person singular form of the verb ir (to go) in present tense, which is voy (I go): voy de vacaciones, compro regalos, tengo la cena.

...I go on vacation, I buy gifts, I have dinner.

Caption 63, Cuentas claras - Sobreviviendo enero

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But you can use other verbs too. You can use the verb estar (to be), for example, which doesn't need the use of reflexive pronouns:


Como todos sabemos, estamos de vacaciones.

As we all know, we're on vacation.

Caption 6, El bulevar - de Adícora

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Or the verb tomar (to take), which doesn't need the preposition de and can be used with or without a reflexive pronoun:

Tomó vacaciones de un mes.

She took a one-month vacation.

Regresó otra vez a Alemania.

Then she went back to Germany again.

Captions 24-25, Gonzalo el Pintor - Vida

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Yes, it's also correct to say: se tomó vacaciones de un mes (she took a one-month vacation).
Also very common is the use of the verb andar (literally "to walk"):
Genaro anda de vacaciones.
Genaro is on vacation.

Or venir (to come), which needs the preposition de and could take a reflexive pronoun:

Qué bien que te has venido aquí de vacaciones.

How nice that you have come here on vacation.

Caption 2, Clara y Cristina - Hablan de actividades

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or not:
Qué bien que has venido aquí de vacaciones.
How nice that you have come here on vacation.
Can you think of more verbs that can be combined with the word vacaciones? We can. One example is the verb salir (to go out): salimos de vacaciones (we go out on vacation, we leave on vacation). Try to find some more examples in our catalog!


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