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Suelo, I Usually...

We all have routines and actions that we "usually" carry out. Meet Silvia from the El Aula Azul Language School in San Sebastian, Spain, who typically does the same things every day.


Yo normalmente me levanto a las siete de la mañana.

I normally get up at seven in the morning.

Caption 1, El Aula Azul - Actividades Diarias

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Silvia "normally" gets up at seven, expressed in Spanish much the same as we would in English. However, where we English speakers tend to use the adverb "usually," Spanish speakers opt for the present tense of soler—a verb that means "to be accustomed to."

Silvia tells us:


Ehm... Suelo ducharme con agua caliente.

Um... I usually take a hot shower.

Caption 2, El Aula Azul - Actividades Diarias

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 She "is accustomed to" showering with hot water; it is what she usually does.


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

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

Caption 3, El Aula Azul - Actividades Diarias

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Then, she usually brushes her teeth in the bathroom, it's what she is accustomed to doing. Notice that in Spanish people "wash" (lavarse) their teeth. It's possible to use cepillarse (to brush), which is closer to the English, but lavarse is the more common way to express this activity.

This is also a good time to remind ourselves that Spanish tends not to use possessive pronouns when talking about body parts. Notice that Silvia says that she brushes "los dientes," not "mis dientes." We discussed this before in the lesson "Ojo - Keep an Eye on This Lesson."

Speaking of past lessons, we also took a look at soler before, but focusing on the imperfect tense, solía—which indicates that someone "was accustomed to" doing something, typically expressed in English as "used to."


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