Spanish Lessons

Topics

How to Conjugate Verbs in the Present Subjunctive in Spanish

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

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

An Example of the Present Subjunctive in Spanish: 

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

 

espero que practiquen en su casa

I hope you guys practice at home

Caption 60, Lecciones de guitarra Con Cristhian - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

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

 

Conjugating Verbs in the Present Subjunctive in Spanish

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Porque quiero que hablemos de negocios.

Because I want us to talk about business.

Caption 3, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

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

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

Caption 43, Factor Fobia Cucarachas - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Dígale que no suba.

Tell him not to come up.

Caption 43, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

Verbs with Spelling Changes in the Indicative Yo Form 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

banner PLACEHOLDER

Present Subjunctive Conjugations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

We will now hear a couple of these in context:

 

Lo mejor es que tengan sala de estudio

The best thing is for them to have a study room

Caption 45, Club de las ideas La biblioteca

 Play Caption

 

Bueno, te invito ahora a que conozcas el teatro.

Well, now I invite you to see the theater.

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

 Play Caption

 

Stem-Changing Verbs in the Spanish Present Subjunctive

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

 

1. -E to -ie in -ar and -er Verbs

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

 

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

 

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

 

2. -O to -ue in -ar and -er Verbs

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

 

vuelva, vuelvas, vuelva, volvamos, volváis, vuelvan

 

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

 

3. -E to -ie in -ir Verbs

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

 

sienta, sientas, sienta, sintamos, sintáis, sientan

 

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

 

4. -O to -ue in -ir Verbs

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

 

duerma, duermas, duerma, durmamos, durmáis, duerman

 

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

 

Examples:

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

 

lo mejor sería que vuelvas al convento.

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

Caption 15, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

Espero que ahora entiendan mejor

I hope that you now understand better

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

 Play Caption

banner3 PLACEHOLDER

Spelling Changes in the Spanish Present Subjunctive

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

 

1. Verbs ending in -ger and -gir

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Examples:

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

 

Es que no necesito que me recojas hoy. 

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

Caption 52, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 9 - Part 6

 Play Caption
 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

(Totally) Irregular Verbs in the Present Subjunctive in Spanish

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Espero que sea una bonita sorpresa.

I hope that it's a nice surprise.

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

 Play Caption

 

Dígame algo que no sepa.

Tell me something I don't know.

Caption 3, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

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

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Continue Reading

The Present Perfect In Spanish

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

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

How to Conjugate the Spanish Present Perfect Tense 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Conjugating the participle with -ar verbs:

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

 

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

mirar: mirado (to watch: watched)

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

bailarbailado (to dance: danced)

 

Conjugating the participle with -er and -ir verbs: 

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

 

comer: comido (to eat: eaten)

aprenderaprendido (to learn: learned)

recibirrecibido (to receive: received)

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

 

Irregular Participles: 

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

 

abrir: abierto (to open: opened)

cubrir: cubierto (to cover: covered)

decir: dicho (to say: said)

escribir: escrito (to write: written)

hacer: hecho (to do: done)

morir: muerto (to die: died)

poner: puesto (to put: put)

romper: roto (to break: broken)

resolver: resuelto (to resolve: resolved)

satisfacer: satisfecho (to satisfy: satisfied) 

ver: visto (to see: seen)

volver: vuelto (to return/returned)

 

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

 

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

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

When to Use the Present Perfect in Spanish 

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

 

Ya hemos visto que reciclar contribuye de forma importante,

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

Caption 23, 3R Campaña de reciclaje - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

Hoy ha llovido todo el día.

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

 

Discrepancy Between the Spanish and English Present Perfect Tenses

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

 

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

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

Captions 1-3, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption
 

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

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Continue Reading

The Three Grammatical Moods in Spanish

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

 

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

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

1. The Indicative Mood

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

 

Estoy seguro que voy a poder ayudarla en algo.

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

Caption 7, Yago 9 Recuperación - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

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

 

Hablaremos sobre el candombe.

We'll talk about candombe.

Caption 11, Sonido Babel El candombe de Uruguay

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 13, Guillermina y Candelario El Manglar

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

2. The Subjunctive Mood

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

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 58, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 17

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 28, Conjugación El verbo 'pensar'

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

 

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

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

3. The Imperative Mood 

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

 

¡Hazlo todo de nuevo!

Do it all over again!

Caption 32, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

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

 

Chicos, no me hagan esta broma tan pesada. 

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

Caption 49, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 1

 Play Caption
 

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

 

Empecemos por la forma, luego iremos al contenido. 

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

Caption 6, Ana Carolina Condicionales

 Play Caption
 

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

 

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

 

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

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Continue Reading

Yabla's Top 10 Spanish Idioms and Their (Very Different!) English Equivalents

Sometimes, various languages use very different idiomatic expressions to communicate exactly the same idea! As an example, the English expression "It was the straw that broke the camel's back," which refers to the last of a series of unpleasant events that causes some more extreme consequence, is conveyed with a Spanish saying with a totally different literal meaning: Fue la gota que derramó el vaso (It was the drop that spilled the glass). The purpose of today's lesson will be to bring to your attention several such idioms.

banner PLACEHOLDER

Translating Idiomatic Expressions 

As you may have noticed, Yabla sometimes includes brackets that indicate what a word or phrase means "literally" as opposed to how it has been translated. This is because, while we want our subscribers to learn the literal meaning of the words they are reading, we also want them to glean the intention behind a particular expression (which is more obvious in some cases than in others) and/or depict what a native English speaker would say in the same context. With that in mind, let's take a look at Yabla's Top Ten Spanish Idioms from our Yabla Spanish library.

 

1.  La práctica hace al maestro

This Spanish equivalent of "Practice makes perfect" literally means "Practice makes the master":

 

Es así de sencillo: La práctica hace al maestro.

It's that simple: Practice makes perfect [literally "Practice makes the master"].

Caption 7, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 13 - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

2. Tomarle el pelo (a alguien)

Who knows why the concept of jokingly deceiving someone is expressed with "to take" or "pull one's hair" in one language and "to pull one's leg" in another? 

 

¿Qué tango, me estás tomando el pelo?

What tango, are you pulling my leg [literally: Are you pulling my hair]?

Caption 46, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

3. Andarse por las ramas

The Spanish idiom andarse por las ramas and its variants mean "to walk around/between the branches" and have the same meaning as the English saying "to beat around the bush," or avoid getting straight to the point. 

 

Mi abu también dice que yo ando entre las ramas,

My grams also says that I beat around the bush [literally "I walk between the branches"],

Caption 20, X6 1 - La banda - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

4. Al que madruga Dios lo ayuda

Literally translated, Al que madruga Dios lo ayuda means "God helps he who gets up early." Meant to tout the benefits of early rising, similar sayings in English include "The early bird catches the worm" and "Early to bed, early to rise makes the man healthy, wealthy, and wise."

 

Además, yo siempre madrugo, ¿vio? Porque, "Al que madruga..." "Dios lo ayuda".

Besides, I always get up early, you know? Because, "The early bird..." "Catches the worm" [literally "God helps him"].

Captions 33-34, Muñeca Brava 47 Esperanzas - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

5. Hablando del rey Roma

Spanish-speakers use the expression "Speaking of the King of Rome" instead of "Speak of the devil" in circumstances where one is, for example, talking about someone when that person appears.

 

Miren, hablando del Rey de Roma.

Look, speak of the devil [literally "the King of Rome"].

Caption 60, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

For insight into even more idiomatic expressions from the intriguing Colombian series Confidencial: El rey de la estafa (Confidential: The King of Cons), we recommend the video Carlos Comenta- Confidencial- Vocabulario y expresiones (Carlos Comments- Confidential- Vocabulary and Expressions). 

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

6. Hacer el oso

Word for word, hacer el oso means "to play" or "act like a bear"! However, this oft-used Spanish expresion, employed frequently in countries like Colombia, is used to say that someone is "making a fool of him or herself."

 

Hermano, deje de hacer el oso.

Brother, stop making a fool of yourself [literally "playing the bear"].

Caption 40, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

To learn more such "Colombianisms," we suggest the lesson Colombian Slang: 100 Words and Phrases to Sound like a True Colombian.

 

7. Importar un pepino 

The word "darn" in English is an exclamation of disappointment, for example, when something goes wrong, while "not to give a darn" means "not to care." The Spanish equivalent importar un pepino, on the other hand, translates to "mattering as much as a cucumber" to the party in question:

 

¡Y el peor de todos es Pepino Pérez, que le importa un pepino todo!

And the worst of all of them is Pepino Pérez, who doesn't give a darn [literally "a cucumber"] about anything!

Caption 14, Kikirikí Agua - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

8. Con las manos en la masa

The image of getting "caught with one's hands in the dough," as the expression (atrapado) con las manos en la masa describes, seems like the perfect way to convey the notion of "getting caught red-handed" (in the act of doing some bad deed). 

 

Con las manos en la masa atraparon al ladrón

Red-handed [literally "with his hands in the dough"], they caught the thief

Caption 1, Eljuri Un fósforo

 Play Caption

 

9. La mosquita muerta

The expression la mosquita muerta, or "small dead fly," describes a person who appears nice or innocent but is actually evil or untrustworthy. Similar English expressions include "a wolf in sheep's clothing" or a "snake in the grass."

 

Como se equivocó la mosquita muerta esa.

What a big mistake that wolf in sheep's clothing [literally "small dead fly"] made.

Caption 11, Tu Voz Estéreo Embalsamado - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

10. Listo el pollo, pelada la gallina

Although the literal meaning of the Argentinian saying Listo el pollo, pelada la gallina is "The chicken's ready, the hen's plucked," it is used to announce the completion of some goal or task, making it similar to the more straightforward English expression, "Mission accomplished." Here, Mili from the popular Argentinian soap opera Muñeca Brava utters the second part of this expression to make this point:

 

¡Listo el último! -Va, ¡pelada la gallina!

The last one's ready! -Come on, mission accomplished [literally "the hen's plucked"]!

Caption 73, Muñeca Brava 47 Esperanzas - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

If Argentinean Spanish particularly interests you, you might read this lesson on the Top Ten Argentinian Slang Words You Need to Know

 

We hope you've enjoyed this lesson on Yabla's Top Ten Spanish Idioms and their English equivalents. If you are interested in learning more about what goes into translating idiomatic expressions and more, we recommend the lesson The Art of Translation, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Continue Reading

W.E.I.R.D.O.: An Acronym for Remembering When to Use the Subjunctive in Spanish

The use of the Spanish subjunctive can be a source of confusion for native English speakers. However, the easy-to-recall acronym W.E.I.R.D.O. can help you to understand when to use subjunctive in Spanish.

 

What is the Spanish Subjunctive Mood? 

The subjunctive is one of the three "moods" in Spanish: the indicative, the subjunctive, and the imperative. Most simply put, the imperative encompasses commands, the indicative describes objective or certain actions, and verbs in the subjunctive reflect subjectivity, a lack of certainty, or emotion.

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

How Do You Know It's Subjunctive? 

You can tell a Spanish verb is subjunctive because it is conjugated differently than "normal." For example, while hablas means "You speak" in the indicative, if you wish to say, "I hope you speak," the verb changes to hables in the translation Espero que tú hables because the concept of "hoping" something happens is subjunctive. In contrast, while the English language is perfectly capable of expressing these same ideas, there is no difference in the form of the verbs in the equivalent sentences "You speak" and "I hope you speak."

 

Because the subjunctive is a mood rather than a tense, it might depict actions in the past, present, or future. For this reason, just like in the indicative mood, there are many subjunctive tenses in Spanish. That said, the examples in today's lesson will be in the present subjunctive, which you can learn how to formulate in this lesson on conjugating the present subjunctive in Spanish

 

When to Use Subjunctive in Spanish

The Spanish subjunctive is used in dependent clauses that are often introduced by que or another conjunction. Subjunctive sentences typically involve more than one subject and more than one verb. For example, in our aforementioned sentence: Yo espero que tú hables, there are two subjects, Yo (I) and (you), and two verbs, espero (I hope) and hables (you speak), with the subjunctive verb hables appearing in the dependent clause that follows the word que.

 

The amusing acronym W.E.I.R.D.O., which stands for Wishes, Emotions, Impersonal Expressions, Recommendations, Doubt/Denial, and Ojalá, can help you to remember several contexts that require the subjunctive. In each subcategory, we will introduce you to several verbs that "trigger" the use of the subjunctive.   

 

1. Wishes

Just because one wishes or hopes things will happen doesn't mean they will, not to mention those actions we ask (or even order!) others to perform. Spanish employs the subjunctive mood to talk about such situations, often using the common formula of a "wishing" verb plus que plus a verb in the present subjunctive. Let's take a look at some examples: 

 

Si queremos que nuestro café sea más dulce podemos añadir azúcar, nata, leche condensada, miel.

If we want for our coffee to be sweeter we can add sugar, cream, condensed milk, honey.

Captions 25-26, Karla e Isabel Como pedir un café

 Play Caption

 

Así que, esperamos que lo disfruten, que lo sepan gozar, pero eso sí de una manera muy sana.

So, we hope you enjoy it, that you know how to enjoy it, but mind you in a very healthy way.

Captions 25-26, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Solo te pido que me digas cuál de ellos es Triskas:

I'll just ask for you to tell me which of them is Triskas:

Captions 11-12, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 5: Ha nacido una estrella - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

Verbs that fall into this category of describing wishes or desires include desear (to want/wish/desire), esperar (to hope), exigir (to demand/require), insistir (to insist), mandar (to order), necesitar (to need), ordenar (to order), pedir (to ask), preferir (to prefer), and querer (to want).

 

2. Emotions

Spanish also utilizes the subjunctive mood to talk about one's feeling regarding some action or state, even if it's objectively true. As an example, if you wanted to say "I'm very happy you have a new job," you might use the formula emotion verb plus a conjunction (e.g. que or de que) plus a subjunctive verb to get: Me alegro mucho de que tengas un trabajo nuevo. Let's see some more examples:

 

Me alegro de que le guste

I'm glad you like it.

Caption 15, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 2

 Play Caption
 

A mí lo que me molesta es quetengas la verdad de todo. -Loca...

What bothers me is that you have the truth about everything. -Girl...

Caption 54, Yago 9 Recuperación - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

Encantada [de] que estés aquí, Carolina, bienvenida. -Muchas gracias. 

[I'm] delighted you're here, Carolina, welcome. -Thank you very much.

Caption 9, El reencuentro Las amigas hablan del trabajo y el amor.

 Play Caption
 

Note that in this last example, the speaker omits the implied verb estar (to be), using only the adjective encantada to convey her delight as is often done in spoken Spanish.

 

Some common emotion verbs that invoke the subjunctive include alegrarse (to be happy/glad), enojarse (to be/get angry), encantar (to delight), lamentar (to regret), molestar (to bother), sentir (to be sorry)and sorpender (to surprise), among others. For more ways to talk about feelings in Spanish, we recommend this lesson on expressing emotions in Spanish

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

3. Impersonal Expressions

Impersonal expressions in both Spanish and English are constructions that do not involve a particular person, for example, Hace viento (It's windy). Impersonal expressions in Spanish that involve the word Es (It's) plus almost any adjective plus the word que are indicators that the verb that follows should be conjugated in the Spanish subjunctive. 

 

Although the adjectives in such impersonal expressions are innumerable, several popular ones include: agradable (nice), bueno (good), dudoso (doubtful), curioso (interesting), estupendo (great), extraño (strange), importante (important), increíble (amazing), necesario (necessary), probable (probable), raro (strange), urgente (urgent), and vergonzoso (embarrassing). Here are a few examples:

 

es raro que todavía no haya nadie. 

and it's strange that there's nobody [here] still.

Caption 38, Raquel Avisos de Megafonía

 Play Caption

 

Señor Di Carlo, es importante que hable con usted. 

Mister DiCarlo, it's important that I talk to you.

Caption 78, Muñeca Brava 41 La Fiesta - Part 6

 Play Caption
 

No es necesario que mientas.

It's not necessary for you to lie.

Caption 17, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 12

 Play Caption

 

Although impersonal expressions can typically be positive or negative and still require the subjunctive, as in this last example (no es necesario in lieu of es necesario), the exception is when they state facts. Examples include es verdad que (it's true that), es cierto que (it's certain that), es seguro que (it's sure that) and es un hecho que (it's a fact that). However, the negative versions of these phrases do require the Spanish subjunctive, as we see in the following examples in which only the second sentence calls for the subjunctive switch: 

 

Es un hecho que él está enfermo (It's a fact that he's sick) = INDICATIVE.

No eun hecho que él esté enfermo (It's not a fact that he's sick) = SUBJUNCTIVE.

 

4. Recommendations

As with wishes, the fact we can't be sure if the actions we suggest or recommend will come to fruition is expressed with the subjunctive in Spanish. Our formula would thus consist of a "recommending verb" plus que plus a verb in subjunctive. Such "recommending" verbs include but aren't limited to aconsejar (to advise), decir (to tell), dejar (to allow), exigir (to demand), hacer (to make/force), insistir (to insist), mandar (to order), ordenar (to order), prohibir (to forbid), proponer (to advise), recomendar (to recommend), rogar (to beg), sugerir (to suggest), and suplicar (to beg), some of which overlap with the "wishes" category. Let's see some examples: 

 

les sugiero que visiten el sugestivo Museo del oro, 

I suggest that you visit the intriguing Gold Museum,

Caption 34, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - Mitos y leyendas Muiscas

 Play Caption
 

te recomiendo que muevas algunos muebles del salón a la cocina.

I recommend that you move some pieces of furniture from the living room to the kitchen.

Captions 32-33, Karla e Isabel Preparar una fiesta

 Play Caption

 

les aconsejo que vayan a Zipaquirá,

I advise you to go to Zipaquira,

Caption 29, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - Mitos y leyendas Muiscas

 Play Caption

 

The Yabla video Escuela Don Quijote- En el aula- Part 1 can teach you even more about using the Spanish subjunctive to give advice.

banner PLACEHOLDER

5. Doubt and Denial 

Sentences that express doubt and denial also call for the Spanish subjunctive via a similar formula: a doubt/denial verb plus que plus a verb in the subjunctive. Interestingly, although this includes the verb dudar (to doubt) in sentences like Dudo que venga (I doubt he'll come), most of the other verbs in this category are negative, in other words, consist of a verb with "no" in front of it. Examples include: no creer (to not believe), no estar seguro (to not be sure), no parecer (to not seem), no pensar (to not think), and no suponer (to not suppose). Let's see some of these in action:

 

No, no. No creo que haga falta; eso ya está aclarado.

No, no. I don't think it's necessary; that's already cleared up.

Caption 36, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

No, no me parece que queden bien.

No, it doesn't seem like you fit together well to me.

Caption 41, Misión Chef 2 - Pruebas - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

On the other hand, the positive versions of these very same verbs (without no) trigger the indicative rather than the subjunctive:

 

Me parece que es la hora de terminar, ¿eh?

I think it's time to finish, huh?

Caption 76, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: parecer y parecerse

 Play Caption

 

Creo que necesito ir al médico.

I think I need to go to the doctor.

Caption 4, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

6. Ojalá

Another construction that always goes with the subjunctive is ojalá que (or sometimes just ojalá), which can be translated with such expressions as "I hope," "Let's hope," "If only," and even "God willing." This can be seen in the title of the famous (and very catchy!) tune by Juan Luis Guerra, Ojalá que llueva café en el campo (I Hope it Rains Coffee on the Countryside). Let's watch another couple of examples from our Yabla video library: 

 

Pues, ojalá que tengáis siempre abiertas las puertas de vuestras casas y de vuestros corazones

Well, I hope that you always have open the doors to your homes and your hearts

Captions 56-57, Luis Guitarra Llegaste tú

 Play Caption

 

Ojalá que todo siga así.

I hope everything keeps going like that.

Caption 60, El reencuentro Las amigas hablan del trabajo y el amor.

 Play Caption

 

For more examples, check out Clase Aula Azul's video on the use of ojalá with the subjunctive in Spanish. Let's conclude with one last example:

 

Bueno, muchas gracias y... y ojalá nos veamos pronto.

Well, thank you very much and... and I hope we see each other soon.

Caption 36, Los Juegos Olímpicos Mario Mola

 Play Caption

 

Our sentiments exactly! On that note, we hope you've enjoyed this lesson on when to use the subjunctive in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Continue Reading

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

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

banner3 PLACEHOLDER

Meaning of Commands with Nosotros/as

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

 

Miremos quién era Pablo Escobar.

Let's look at who Pablo Escobar was.

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

 Play Caption

 

Comamos una pasta.

Let's eat some pasta.

Caption 74, Sofy y Caro Comida en un restaurante

 Play Caption

 

y abramos nuestro corazón a otras culturas,

and let's open our hearts to other cultures,

Caption 79, Silvina Una entrevista con la artista

 Play Caption

 

Conjugating the Imperative with Nosotros in Spanish

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

banner PLACEHOLDER

Negative Commands with Nosotros 

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

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

Let's see one more example: 

 

Así que no perdamos más tiempo

So let's not waste any more time

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

 Play Caption

 

 

Irregular Nosotros Command Verbs

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

 

Vamos, Merycita.

Let's go, Merycita.

Caption 39, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

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

 

No vayamos al evento.

Let's not go to the event.

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

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

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

 

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

 

Let's take a look at some examples:

 

¡Vamos a bailar!

Let's dance!

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

 Play Caption

 

Bueno, vamos a ver.

Well, let's see.

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

 Play Caption

 

¡Vamos a empezar!

Let's begin!

Caption 10, Ana Carolina Gérmenes

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Continue Reading

Yabla's Top 40 Hobbies in Spanish

Let's talk about hobbies in Spanish! Hobbies, or pursuits in which one engages in his or her tiempo libre (free time), can range from things you do, to things you study, to things you collect... and more! 

banner PLACEHOLDER

How Do You Say "Hobby" in Spanish? 

There are three main ways to say "hobby" in Spanish, one of which is the English word "hobby":

 

Pues, a mí me encanta bailar. Ese es mi hobby favorito. -OK,

Well, I love to dance. That is my favorite hobby. -OK,

Captions 7-8, Cleer Hobbies

 Play Caption

 

The Spanish word pasatiempo is another way to say "hobby." You might remember it as being similar to the English word "pastime":

 

Ya ustedes... Todo mundo sabe qué es béisbol. Pero no el profesional, solamente como pasatiempo.

You already... Everybody knows what baseball is. But, not the professional [kind], just as a hobby.

Captions 50-51, Peluquería La Percha Félix

 Play Caption

 

La afición is yet another way to say "hobby" in Spanish:

 

Vale... o sea que habéis conseguido transformar vuestra afición en vuestra profesión, ¿no?

OK... in other words, you guys have managed to transform your hobby into your profession, right?

Caption 72, Novalima Entrevista - Part 2

 Play Caption

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

Top 40 Hobbies in Spanish

Now that you know how to say "hobby" in Spanish, we'll introduce you to the Spanish words for a multitude of different pastimes you might take up with examples from our Spanish video library. Since some internet hobby lists include as many as 1,001 hobbies, we narrowed it down to Yabla's Top 40 Hobbies in Spanish.

 

1. Acting: la actuación

Also known as el teatro (theater), la actuación (acting) could be a fun thing to study, perhaps culminating in participation in una obra de teatro (a play). The verb associated with la actuación is actuar (to act).

 

En esta universidad afortunadamente tenemos grandes talleres de teatro, de actuación, de música

At this university, fortunately, we have big workshops for theater, acting, music,

Captions 14-15, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Ana

 Play Caption

 

2. Astrology: la astrología

Estudiar astrología (studying astrology) involves the observation of celestial bodies like the sun (el sol), the moon (la luna), the stars (las estrellas), and the planets (los planetas) for the purpose of predicting traits or events. 

 

porque el fin último de la astrología es ser una herramienta de autoconocimiento.

because the ultimate goal of astrology is to be a tool for self-knowledge.

Caption 18, Conversaciones con Luis Astrología

 Play Caption

 

As there is some terminology overlap with la astronomía (astronomy), this lesson on Astronomy 101 in Spanish might come in handy, while the above-cited video on astrology might pique your interest. 

 

3. Baking: la panadería

La panadería (baking) might be a fun (and tasty) pursuit! Alternative Spanish words for "baking" in Spanish include la repostería and el horneado, while the verb hornear means "to bake."

 

Estudié panadería profesional y pastelería moderna en dos universidades de allá. 

I studied professional baking and modern pastry making in two universities there.

Caption 6, Misión Chef 2 - Pruebas - Part 3

 Play Caption
 

If you love baking, Yabla videos about baking such delectable dishes as Colombian buñuelosLeche asada (also from Colombia), Ecuadorian Chaqui Tanda, or even a good old chocolate cake, might be right up your alley. 

 

4. Bargain hunting: la búsqueda de gangas

Who doesn't love a good ganga (bargain)? If you find them particularly intriguing, la búsqueda de gangas (or "bargain hunting," which could also be conveyed with the verb buscar gangas) might be right for you!

 

Los ricos también buscan gangas

Rich people also hunt for bargains

Caption 13, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

The above-cited caption is from a series entitled Gangas para ricos (Bargains for Rich People).

 

5. Birdwatching: la observación de aves

Many people find realizar observación de aves (the verb for "birdwatching") to be an interesting and educational activity to do al aire libre (outdoors).

 

La Unidad Operativa de Punta Norte, que es por excelencia, bueno, un punto de observación de aves

The Operational Unit of Punta Norte, which is, par excellence, well, a birdwatching point

Captions 24-25, Perdidos en la Patagonia Península Valdés

 Play Caption

 

6. Chess: el ajedrez

Popular mundialmente (worldwide), el ajedrez (chess) is both a fun and cerebral pastime. You can describe the action of "playing chess" with the verb jugar al ajedrez.

 

Este... mis pasatiempos, me fascina lo que es el ajedrez.

Um... my hobbies, I love chess.

Caption 27, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Manuel Orozco Sánchez - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

7. Collecting: reunir

The verbs reunir and coleccionar both mean "to collect" while una colección refers to "a collection" of some artículo (item). Popular items to collect include las camisetas (t-shirts), los sellos (stamps), las tazas (mugs), los postales (postcards), las tarjetas de beisbol (baseball cards), and even los coches (cars), although, unless they are carros de juguete (toy cars), the latter is most probably less accessible to the masses!

 

Él ha conseguido reunir una gran variedad de modelos de las grandes marcas de automóvil:

He has managed to collect a great variety of models from the big automobile brands:

Captions 11-12, Málaga Museo del automóvil

 Play Caption

 

8. Cocktails: los cócteles 

A "cocktail" hobby might include simply tasting (probar) exotic drinks at various coctelerías (cocktail bars) or, alternatively, practicing la coctelería (which also means "bartending") or la mixología (mixology), the art of making alcoholic beverages oneself!

 

Mezclamos el hielo en todos nuestros cócteles y mucha azúcar.

We mix the ice in all our cocktails and a lot of sugar.

Caption 36, Otavalo Restaurante 'Carbón de Palo'

 Play Caption

 

You might kick off your cocktail hobby by making this simple recipe for Ponche Navideño (eggnog, or literally "Christmas Punch").

 

9. Cooking: la cocina

La cocina is the noun for "cooking" while the verb cocinar means "to cook."

 

Y también me gusta mucho cocinar. Ahora mismo, voy a un curso de cocina,

And also I really like to cook. Right now, I'm going to a cooking class,

Captions 37-38, Marta Se presenta

 Play Caption

 

For cooking aficionados, Yabla has many tasty recipe ideas, including Spanish crema de broccoli, Colombian pollo sudado, and Venezuelan arepas, just to name a few. You can also delve deeper into Spanish cuisine with the series La Cocina de María (María's Kitchen)while Misión Chef (Mission Chef) takes you behind the scenes of a Mexican cooking competition for underprivileged kids. 

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

10. Cycling: el ciclismo

"Cycling" or "biking" are known as el ciclismo in Spanish, while the verbs to describe this action range from practicar ciclismo (literally "to practice cycling") to andar/montar en bici ("to bike" or "ride a bike"). Bici is, of course, short for la bicicleta (the bicycle). 

 

De por sí el ciclismo es un... es un deporte de.... del pueblo,

In itself, cycling is a... is a sport of... of the people,

Caption 34, Semilleros Escarabajos Chapter 2 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

To glean more insight into the world of professional cycling, we recommend the above-referenced series entitled Semilleros Escarabajos from Colombia, where cycling is considered by many to be the national sport. 

 

11. Dance: el baile

El baile is the noun for "dance," and bailar (to dance) is probably one of the first verbs you learned when studying Spanish. Dancing provides a creative outlet as well as buen ejercicio (good exercise). 

 

Me encanta bailar,

I love to dance,

Caption 33, El Aula Azul Los profesores de la escuela - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

There are so many styles of dance you might choose to study, such as ballet, tap, jazz, and hip-hop, or Latin styles like salsa, bachata, cumbia, merengue, flamenco, and more. 

 

12. Dining out: salir a comer

Verbs like salir a comer, salir a cenar, or comer afuera describe the popular hobby of "dining out" or "going out to eat" at restaurants, enabling one to try una variedad (a variety) of cocinas (cuisines). 

 

¿Vamos a salir a comer, señor Urrutia?

Are we going to go out to eat, Mister Urrutia?

Caption 28, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

13. Drawing: el dibujo

The hobby known as el dibujo (drawing/sketching) has been associated with improved self-confidence and mental health. The verb dibujar means "to draw," while the verbs bosquejar and bocetar mean "to sketch."

 

eh... primero que todo le doy gracias a Dios por haberme dado esta capacidad de expresión que es el dibujo.

um... first of all, I give thanks to God for having given me this capacity for expression, which is drawing.

Captions 75-77, Bucaramanga, Colombia Pintor callejero

 Play Caption

 

If drawing interests you, you might try this video about Mexican illustrator Antonio Vargas

 

14. Film: el cine

This hobby might entail the frequent viewing of películas (movies/films) at el cine (the movie theater), studying la historia del cine (the history of film/cinema), or perhaps even "filmmaking" (which can also be known as el cine or el rodaje) yourself. 

 

y me encanta ver películas en el cine.

and I love watching movies at the movie theater.

Caption 33, El Aula Azul Los profesores de la escuela - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

 

15. Geography: la geografía

Many people are passionate about estudiar geografía (studying geography), which examines both physical locations on la Tierra (Earth) and the relationship between people and their sociedades (societies).

 

Pero me di cuenta que cuando uno estudia geografía y estudia el mundo, en realidad eso es un reflejo de nuestra mente.

But I realized that when one studies geography and studies the world, that is actually a reflection of our minds.

Captions 50-51, Outward Bound Danny

 Play Caption

 

16. Gardening: la jardinería

"Gardening" can be known as la jardinería or el cuidado de un jardín (literally "the care of a garden"). Verbs for "to garden" include cuidar un jardín, cultivar, or plantar

 

Seguro que a muchas de vosotras y vosotros os gusta la jardinería

Surely many of you like gardening

Caption 2, Fermín La plumeria - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Gardening fans might enjoy Yabla host Fermín's video on an interesting flower called la plumeria

 

17. Golf: el golf

We don't think you'll have a hard time remembering how to say "golf" in Spanish: el golf. Jugar al golf, on the other hand, means "to play golf."

 

son alumnos del instituto José Cadalzo de San Roque y son unos apasionados por el golf.

they are students from the José Cadalzo de San Roque Institute and they are golf enthusiasts.

Captions 4-5, Club de las ideas Biodiesel - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

If golfing is your cup of tea, try the video Pasión por el golf (Passion for Golf).

 

18. Horseback riding: la equitación

While the nouns la equitación and la cabalgata mean "horseback riding," the verb montar a caballo means "to ride a horse."

 

Recuerda también que tenemos cursos de música y cursos de equitación,

Also remember that we have music courses and horseback riding courses,

Captions 27-28, El Aula Azul Conversación: Los cursos de español - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

This clip references horseback riding as one of the many activities available in addition to learning Spanish at El Aula Azul language school in San Sebastián, Spain. 

 

19. Hiking: el senderismo

"Hiking" in Spanish is known as el senderismo or el excursionismo. "To hike" or "take a hike" might be described with verbs like practicar senderismo/excursionismohacer una caminata or simply subir

 

justo aquí encima de mí, está el Monte Ulía, que es perfecto para practicar senderismo

right here above me, is Monte Ulía [Mount Ulía], which is perfect for hiking

Captions 15-17, El Aula Azul Barrio de Gros

 Play Caption

 

banner PLACEHOLDER

20. Juggling: el malabar

If you are looking for a more exotic hobby, el malabar (a.k.a. malabarismo, or "juggling") could be your thing! Verbs that mean "to juggle" include hacer malabares and hacer juegos malabares.

 

y ya entramos en el malabar.

and then we get into juggling.

Caption 16, Juan Sánchez Clase de circo

 Play Caption

 

21. Kitesurfing: el kite

"Kitesurfing" is often known as el kitesurfing, el kitesurf, or simply el kite in Spanish, and the action is hacer kitesurf, etc.

 

Estamos en una escuela de kite.

We're at a kitesurfing school.

Caption 3, Adícora, Venezuela La Posada Sea Club - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Kitesurfing may not be available everywhere, but Yabla has had the opportunity to travel to a prime kitsurfing location, Adícora, Venezuela, and made a lot of videos related to this topic! You might take a look at Darío y el kitesurfing, La Posada Sea Club, and Adícora Kite Club, just to name a few. 

 

22. Knitting: el tejido

We're sure your friends will be delighted with all of the prendas (garments) and other manualidades (crafts) you make them when you take up "knitting," which can be known in Spanish by names such as el tejido, el punto, and la calceta. The action of knitting is commonly called tejer or hacer punto.

 

Nosotros no hacemos solamente un tejido sino hacemos en varias formas de tejido.

We don't just do one [kind of] knitting, but rather do various types of knitting.

Caption 23, Otavalo Jorge, creador de atrapasueños

 Play Caption

 

23. Language learning: el aprendizaje de idiomas

As you already know, aprender un idioma (the verb for "learning a language," while el aprendizaje is the noun) can be both challenging and rewarding!

 

Hola, y bienvenido a Yabla español, el programa revolucionario para el aprendizaje de español.

Hello, and welcome to Yabla Spanish, the revolutionary program for the learning of Spanish.

Captions 1-2, Spanish INTRO Karola

 Play Caption

 

We hope that Yabla is helping your own language journey, and also recommend our sister site Go Spanish by Yabla to reinforce what you are learning with small group or private classes. 

 

24. Makeup: el maquillaje

El maquillaje is also an increasingly popular hobby for which one can find many online tutorials. The action of applying makeup or "making (someone) up" is called maquillar while applying makeup to oneself is expressed with the reflexive verb maquillarse

 

y hoy voy a maquillar a mi amiga, Catalina, que necesita un maquillaje para una entrevista.

and today I am going to make up my friend, Catalina, who needs a makeup application for an interview.

Captions 9-10, Maquillaje Con Cata y Cleer

 Play Caption

 

Of course, makeup could be for every day as Cleer demonstrates in her video Maquillaje- Con Cata y Cleer or theatrical, as Mónica shows in her theatrical makeup demonstration on how to age our faces! 

 

25. Meditation: la meditación

There are a variety of different técnicas (techniques) with which one can meditar (to meditate), some of which are done in conjunction with movement such as yoga or tai chi, which is known as "meditation in motion."  

 

Con la meditación, ejercitamos nuestra capacidad de permanecer abiertos,

With meditation, we exercise our capacity to remain open,

Captions 21-23, Ana Carolina La meditación

 Play Caption

 

Learn more about meditation with Ana Carolina or participate in a guided meditation with Ana Teresa

 

26. Painting: la pintura

Get your creative juices flowing with la pintura, which can refer generally to the art of "painting" or the "paint" itself. The verb pintar means "to paint." 

 

Entonces, este... yo estaba pintando en esa época 

So, then... I was painting at that time

Caption 8, Arturo Vega Entrevista - Part 3

 Play Caption
 

Series like Leonardo Rodriguez Sirtori - Una vida como pintor as well as the videos Claudia y su pintura and María Marí- Pasión por su arte can give you greater insight into a painter's life. 

 

27. Photography: la fotografía

With the advent of smart phones that take higher quality photos all the time and the opportunity to filter and display photos on popular social media sites, it seems that more and more people are becoming interested in la fotografía (photography). The people who take photos are known as fogógrafos/as (photographers), and the action of taking photos is expressed with sacar or tomar fotos.

 

Si te gusta la fotografía, estoy seguro de que disfrutarás adentrándote por sus callejuelas estrechas,

If you like photography, I'm sure you'll enjoy losing yourself in its narrow streets,

Captions 30-31, Viajando con Fermín Sevilla - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

28. Poetry: la poesía

La poesía (poetry) fascinates many people, whether it entails simply reading it (leer poesía) or writing it oneself (escribir poesía).

 

¿Escribes poesía? -Sí.

You write poetry? -Yes.

Caption 69, Karla e Isabel Palabras

 Play Caption

 

29. Pole dancing: el pole dance 

El pole dance (pole dancing) is an incredibly aerobic activity that is no longer limited to just strip clubs!

 

Vengo a compartir con ustedes hoy un tema sumamente interesante: los beneficios del pole dance.

I've come to share with you today an extremely interesting topic: the benefits of pole dancing.

Captions 2-4, Melyna Pole dance

 Play Caption

 

Apparently, pole dancing has enjoyed particular popularity in Ecuador in recent days, as Melyna shares with us in her video entitled Pole dance

banner3 PLACEHOLDER

30. Pottery: la cerámica

In the popular series Los Años Maravillosos (the Colombian version of The Wonder Years), Kevin's mom finds an escape from her everyday life by signing up for una clase de cerámica (a pottery class), and maybe you can too!

 

Es que me inscribí en el curso de cerámica de la parroquia.

It's just that I enrolled in the church's pottery class.

Caption 20, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 12 - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

31. Playing an instrument: tocar un instrumento 

Tocar un instrumento means "to play" or "playing an instrument."

 

y que quería aprender a tocar la guitarra 

and that I wanted to learn to play the guitar

Caption 18, Luis Guitarra Influencias musicales - Part 1

 Play Caption
 

To learn the names of musical instruments you might play in Spanish, try Spanish singer-songwriter Luis Guitarra's Instrumentos musicales or Karla e Isabel- Instrumentos musicales. Alternatively, the Curso de guitarra (Guitar Course) series can teach you how to play some simple chords and tunes. 

 

32. Reading: leer

The pastime "reading" is most typically described by the verb leer (to read). Reading is, of course, a great hobby for improving one's vocabulario (vocabulary) as well as opening one's mente (mind).

 

Sobre mis "hobbies", por ejemplo, me gusta mucho leer. 

About my hobbies, for example, I love reading.

Caption 17, Burgos María de los Ángeles

 Play Caption

 

33. Running: correr

Interestingly, the word correr can be both a noun meaning "running" and a verb meaning "to run." Taken straight from English, el jogging is also used to talk about this hobby that relieves stress and builds endurance. 

 

En el próximo febrero quince, voy a correr la maratón de Austin, Texas, 

Next February fifteenth, I'm going to run the marathon in Austin, Texas,

Captions 28-29, Cerro de Ancón Entrenamiento

 Play Caption

 

34. Soccer: el fútbol

El fútbol is an internationally popular deporte (sport) with very enthusiastic fanáticos (fans), whether they prefer to simply watch los partidos de fútbol ​(soccer matches) or jugar al fútbol ​(play soccer) themselves.

 

Los viernes, juego al fútbol con mis amigas.

On Fridays, I play soccer with my friends.

Caption 21, Ariana Mi Semana

 Play Caption

 

35. Surfing: el surf

"Surfing" is called el surf in Spanish, and the verb for "to surf" is surfear.

 

Una de mis grandes aficiones desde niña es el surf

One of my big hobbies since I was a little girl is surfing,

Caption 4, Ana Teresa Yoga y surf

 Play Caption
 

For videos on surfing, try this one on the Costa Azul Surf Shop in Los Cabos, Baja, Mexico, and Ana Teresa's video on yoga and surfing as complementary practices.

 

36. Swimming: la natación

La natación is an excellent, low-impact way to get exercise, which many find muy relajante (very relaxing). The verb nadar means to "swim."

 

Para nosotros, que amamos este deporte, la natación es nuestro estilo de vida. 

For us, who love this sport, swimming is our lifestyle.

Captions 24-25, Víctor en Caracas La natación

 Play Caption

 

For swimming-related videos, try La natación or Socorrismo en Málaga (Lifeguarding in Málaga).

 

37. Tennis: el tenis

El tenis (tennis) could be an exhilarating and physically-challenging deporte (sport) to try. Jugar al tenis means "to play tennis."

 

Me gusta mucho jugar al tenis.

I really like to play tennis.

Caption 21, Marta Se presenta

 Play Caption
 

38. Traveling: viajar

Traveling is known by the verb that means "to travel," viajar, whereas the noun los viajes refers to one's "travels" or "trips." We agree with the sentiment expressed in the following clip: 

 

y obviamente que viajar siempre viene bien

and obviously traveling always does one good

Caption 47, GoSpanish Entrevista con María Sol

 Play Caption
 

39. Wine tasting: catar vinos

The wine tasting hobby is often described with the verbs catar vinos or probar vinos. A wine tasting event, on the other hand, is known as una cata de vinos or una degustación de vinos

 

Lo primero que vamos a hacer cuando vamos a probar un vino, es mirar el color.

The first thing we're going to do when we're going to taste a wine is to look at the color.

Captions 32-33, Montserrat Cata de vinos - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Via Yabla's video library, you can attend a Cata de vinos (wine tasting) with Amaya or try Montserrat's favorite wines.

 

40. Yoga: el yoga

We doubt you'll have trouble remembering the name for "yoga" in Spanish since it is the same as in English with a masculine article: el yoga. Practicar yoga (to practice yoga) is the action.

 

y mucha gente no sabe todo lo que hay detrás del yoga, que no es solamente un ejercicio físico,

and many people don't know everything there is behind yoga, which isn't just a physical exercise,

Captions 9-11, Ana Teresa Introducción al yoga

 Play Caption

 

To learn more about the many beneficios (benefits) of this practice, tanto físicos como espirituales (both physical and spiritual), we offer you this yoga series with Ana Teresa as well as the series Bienestar con Elizabeth (Well-being with Elizabeth) with whom you can practice along! Meanwhile, Rosa introduces to a type of yoga you may or may not be familiar with: Yoga con burros (Yoga with Donkeys)!

 

We hope you've enjoyed this lesson on Yabla's Top 40 Hobbies in Spanish, and perhaps gotten inspired to take up something new! For more on the general topic of hobbies, check out Hobbies by Cleer or Nuestros hobbies (Our Hobbies) by Karla and Isabel, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Continue Reading

Talking About Thanksgiving in Spanish

Let's learn some vocabulary to talk about the North American holiday el Día de Acción de Gracias (Thanksgiving) in Spanish! 

banner PLACEHOLDER

When Is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving takes place cada año (each year) on el cuarto jueves de noviembre (the fourth Thursday in November), which is, of course, la estación de otoño (the fall season). For a plethora of fall-related words, check out this lesson on Spanish Vocabulary for the Autumn Season.

 

The History of Thanksgiving 

La historia (the history) of Thanksgiving is polémica  (controversial). Although many of us learned about a harmonious festín (feast) between los peregrinos (the pilgrims) and los nativos de América del Norte (the Native Americans), the previous and subsequent bloodshed have led many to rethink the way Thanksgiving is taught or whether they should celebrate it. In fact, many Native American tribes observe Thanksgiving as a day of luto (mourning).

 

That said, the idea of dar las gracias (giving thanks) is una costumbre (a tradition) that predates the so-called first Thanksgiving in mil seiscientos veintiuno, or 1621 (See this lesson on saying the years in Spanish!). It is a federal holiday in the United States that is cherished by many for the purpose of juntarse (getting together) with one's seres queridos (loved ones) to darse un banquete (feast) and festejar (celebrate) the things for which they feel agradecidos (grateful).

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

Traditional Thanksgiving Feast

Although the pilgrims probably didn't eat Turkey at the first Thanksgiving, it has become the staple of many Thanksgiving meals:

 

Un pavo real como los peregrinos

A real turkey like the pilgrims.

Caption 60, Calle 13 Cumbia de los Aburridos

 Play Caption
 
Let's take a look at the words for many additional components of the traditional Thanksgiving feast that appear in videos from the Yabla Spanish library:
 

de puré de patata suave, entonces... eso es lo que vamos a perseguir.

smooth mashed potatoes, so... that's what we are going to seek.

Caption 14, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 4

 Play Caption
 

Es solomillo ibérico, relleno

It's Iberian tenderloin with stuffing.

Caption 72, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 6

 Play Caption
 

Podéis utilizar también cualquier otra verdura que os guste, como calabaza o judías verdes

You can also use any other vegetable that you like, such as pumpkin or green beans.

Captions 16-17, La cocina de María Cocido Malagueño

 Play Caption
 

¡Ah! -...arándanos rojos. -¡Arándanos rojos

¡Ah! -...cranberries. -Cranberries!

Caption 34, Cleer y Lida Picnic

 Play Caption
 

Y el dulce de batata también.

And the sweet potato jam also.

Caption 17, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

Here are some additional Thanksgiving food words that might come in handy:

 

Apple pie: el pastel de manzana, la torta de manzana

Brussels sprouts: los coles de Bruselas, los repollitos de Bruselas

Dinner rolls: los pancitos, los panecillos, los rollos

Corn: el maíz

Gravy: la salsa de carne, la salsa espesa, la salsa

Pecan pie: la tarta de nuez pecana, la tarta de pecana

Pumpkin pie: el pastel de calabaza

Yams: los ñames

 

Thanksgiving Activities and Symbols

In addition to comer (eating), many people congregate to watch fútbol americano (football) or view the famous desfile (parade) the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, be it on TV or en persona (in person).

 

They might also decorate their homes with such Thanksgiving símbolos (symbols) as las velas (candles), el maíz criollo (Indian corn), las calabazas (gourds), and los cuernos de la abundancia (cornucopias or horns of plenty). 

 

However, the most important Thanksgiving activity (and indeed every day!) is giving thanks, which we think Claudia Montoya sings quite nicely about this in this clip:

 

Por eso cada día quiero dar las gracias Por todo lo que yo tengo, también lo que no tengo

That's why I want to give thanks every day For everything I have, what I don't have as well

Captions 12-13, Claudia Montoya Volverte a abrazar

 Play Caption

 

Some other ways to talk about being grateful and giving thanks in Spanish include:

 

agradecer: to thank, to express gratitude/thanks

estar agradecido/a por: to be grateful for

sentirse afortunado/a: to feel fortunate/blessed

sentirse bendecido/a: to feel blessed

sentirse agradecido/a por lo que uno tiene:  to count one's blessings (literally "to be grateful for what one has")

las bendiciones: the blessings

 

On that note, les agradecemos mucho (We thank you very much) for reading this lesson on Thanksgiving terms in Spanish. We hope you've enjoyed it, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Continue Reading

¡Feliz Halloween! (Happy Halloween!)

Today's lesson will highlight clips from our Yabla Spanish library to teach you some pertinent terms to talk about many people's favorite holiday... Halloween!!! So get ready, and enjoy this lesson about Halloween in Spanish!

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

How do you say Halloween in Spanish?

Although Halloween is primarily thought of as a North American holiday, its fun festivities have been adopted by many countries throughout the world. When we speak about Halloween in Spanish, we typically keep its English name:

 

Esta noche es Halloween y seguro que muchas veces habéis pensado disfrazaros con vuestra mascota

Tonight is Halloween and surely you've thought many times of dressing up with your pet

Captions 137-138, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Coatís

 Play Caption

 

This caption describes the common Halloween costumbre (custom) of disfrazarse (dressing up). You'll note from the previous sentence that costumbre means "custom" or "tradition" rather than "costume" as you might think, making it somewhat of a false cognate. On the other hand, the correct way to say "the costume" in Spanish is el disfraz.

 

Ay, Aurelito, ¿me prestarías un disfraz?

Oh, Aurelito, would you lend me a costume?

Caption 32, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

What other vocabulary words might we associate with Halloween? We might start by reviewing some Spanish vocabulary for the autumn season since Halloween falls at that time of year. We could then move on to some of Halloween's personajes más espeluznantes (spookiest characters).

 

Halloween Characters in Spanish

Let's look at some video clips that include the names of some of the most typical Halloween characters:

 

¿Quién no ha querido a una diosa licántropa

Who hasn't loved a werewolf goddess?

Caption 5, Shakira Loba

 Play Caption
 

porque sí sé... ahí está el monstruo.

because I know... here's the monster.

Caption 29, Antonio Vargas - Artista Comic

 Play Caption

 

El fantasma y la loca se quieren casar

The ghost and the madwoman want to get married

Caption 24, Gloria Trevi Psicofonía

 Play Caption

 

En la época, eran utilizadas para espantar las brujas 

In the era, they were used to scare away witches

Caption 46, Viajando en Colombia Cartagena en coche - Part 2

 Play Caption
 
And speaking of espantar (to scare away), let's look at some additional Spanish words that mean "to scare," "be scared," or "scary."
 

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

"Scary" Halloween Terms

To Scare:

Let's look at another verb that means "to frighten" or "scare": 

 

o cuando hay una fecha importante, ellos salen... a divertir y a asustar a la gente porque están como unos diablos.

or when there is an important date, they go out... to amuse and to frighten people because they're [dressed] like devils.

Captions 45-46, El Trip Ibiza

 Play Caption

 

And, in addition to asustar, we learn the word for another Halloween character: un diablo (a devil). Let's see another verb that means "to scare": 

 

¡Me da miedo! -¡Ahí te tienes que quedar, ya está!

It scares me! -There you have to stay, ready!

Caption 24, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

Note that the noun el miedo means "the fear," and the verb dar miedo (literally "to give fear") can thus mean either "to scare" or "be scary." When employed in conjunction with an indirect object pronoun to indicate to whom this action is happening (le in this case, which corresponds with usted), the most common translation is "to scare," as we see in this caption. 

 

To Be Scared:

So, what if we want to say that we "are" or "feel scared"? A common verb for this is tener miedo (literally "to have fear"), as seen in this caption with the Halloween-appropriate noun la oscuridad (the dark/darkness):

 

¡Porque le tiene miedo a la oscuridad!

Because he's afraid of the dark!

Caption 24, Guillermina y Candelario El parque de diversiones - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

The reflexive form of asustar, asustarse, also means "to be" or "get scared":

 

Aparecieron unos cazadores, y el patito se asustó mucho

Some hunters appeared, and the duckling got really scared

Caption 36, Cleer El patito feo

 Play Caption

 

Yet another way to talk about being "scared" in Spanish is with adjectives like asustado (scared) or aterrorizado (terrified): 

 

Llegan muy asustados, muy aterrorizados,

They arrive very scared, very terrified,

Caption 25, Los Reporteros Caza con Galgo - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

For more on the ways in which verbs, adjectives, and nouns can be used to describe our feelings, be sure to check out our lesson on expressing emotions in Spanish

 

Scary:

Let's conclude this section with a few ways to express the concept of "scary":

 

¡Uy, qué miedo!

Oh, how scary!

Caption 21, Guillermina y Candelario La Peluqueria del Mar - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Literally meaning "What fear!" the Spanish expression ¡Qué miedo! is a common way to say "how scary" something is. We can also use our previously-mentioned verb dar miedo (this time without the indirect object pronoun) to convey the idea of "being scary":

 

Eh... Sí. Lo desconocido siempre da miedo.

Um... Yes. The unknown is always scary.

Caption 13, Yago 13 La verdad - Part 8

 Play Caption

 

We can also say "scary" with adjectives like escalofriante, sinestro/a, or miedoso/a:

 

¿Y esa calavera tan miedosa?

And that very scary skull?

Caption 20, Guillermina y Candelario Un pez mágico - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

And with the word for "the skull" in Spanish (la calavera), we come to our last category: Halloween objects! 

banner PLACEHOLDER

Halloween Objects 

If we know how to say "skull," we had better find out how to say "skeleton" in Spanish:

 

con una forma parecida a la del esqueleto de un dinosaurio,

with a shape similar to that of a dinosaur's skeleton,

Caption 30, Raquel Valencia - Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

 Play Caption

 

So, where might we find such esqueletos? Why, in their tumbas (graves) in el cementerio (the cemetery) of course!

 

en Ricardo, en su tumba en el cementerio,

about Ricardo in his grave in the cemetery,

Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 8

 Play Caption

 

So, let's set the scene in that cemetery with a "full moon" in Spanish, which might inspire some hombre lobo (another word for "werewolf") to come out:

 

la luna llena Por los cielos azulosos, infinitos y profundos esparcía su luz blanca 

And the full moon In the bluish skies, infinite and profound, scattered its white light

Captions 11-12, Acercándonos a la Literatura José Asunción Silva - "Nocturno III"

 Play Caption

 

Now, let's focus on some slightly less ominous symbols of Halloween such as el gato negro (the black cat), seen in its diminutive form in the following caption:

 

También está este gatito negro

There's also this black kitty

Caption 73, Fermín y los gatos Mis gatas vecinas

 Play Caption

 

The "pumpkin" is, perhaps, the most famed Halloween symbol of all:

 

Justo en el doblez del papel, trazamos la mitad de la calabaza.

Right on the fold of the paper, we draw half of the pumpkin.

Caption 67, Manos a la obra Papel picado para Día de muertos

 Play Caption

 

And finally, we associate Halloween with trick-or-treating, or going door to door to get "candy":

 

Y ahora cortamos pedacitos de caramelo.

And now we cut little pieces of candy.

Caption 38, Manos a la obra Postres de Minecraft

 Play Caption

 

The way to say "Trick or treat!" varies from region to region, but some popular ways are: "Dulce o truco" in Argentina, "Dulce o travesura" in Mexico, and the more literal but less accurate "Truco o trato" (from the verb "tratar," or "to treat") in Spain, where they also say "Dulce o caramelo." In Colombia, you might hear "Triqui, triqui," where kids sing the following song:

 

Triqui triqui Halloween/Quiero dulces para mí/Si no hay dulces para mí/se le crece la naríz,

which translates as:

Trick or treat, Halloween/I want treats for me/If there are no treats for me/Your nose will grow.

 

Meanwhile, Pedir dulce o truco/travesura, etc. can be used to talk about the action of  "trick-or-treating."

 

Halloween Vocabulary in Review

Let’s conclude today’s lesson with a review of the Halloween vocabulary we have learned:

 

el Halloween: Halloween

¡Feliz Halloween! Happy Halloween! 

difrazarse: to dress up 

el disfraz: the costume 

la costumbre: the custom, tradition

el personaje: the character

espeluznante: spooky

el/la licántropo/a: the werewolf

el hombre lobo: the werewolf

el monstruo: the monster

el fantasma: the ghost

el/la loco/a: the madman/madwoman

la bruja: the witch

el diablo: the devil 

espantar: to scare away

asustar: to scare 

el miedo: the fear

dar miedo: to scare/be scary

tener miedo: to be scared

asustarse: to be/get scared

asustado/a: scared/frightened

aterrorizado/a: terrified 

escalofriante: scary

siniestro/a: scary

miedoso/a: scary

¡Qué miedo! How scary!

la oscuridad: the darkness/dark

la calavera: the skull 

el esqueletothe skeleton

la tumba: the grave

el cementerio: the cemetery

la luna llena: the full moon

el gato negro: the black cat

la calabaza: the pumkin

el caramelo: the candy

¡Dulce o truco/travesura/caramelo! Trick or treat!

¡Truco o trato! Trick or treat!

¡Triqui triqui! Trick or treat!

Pedir dulce o truco/travesura: to go trick or treating 

 

We hope you've enjoyed this lesson about Halloween in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments. 

 

¡Feliz Halloween! (Happy Halloween!).

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

 

Continue Reading

Names of Fruits in Spanish

Let's talk about the various types of fruits in Spanish. Do you know how to say the names of fruits like "apple" or "peach" in Spanish? If you don't know, don't worry! In this lesson, we will find out how to spell and say the names of different fruits in Spanish. Of course, we can't talk about all of the fruits of the world, but we will cover many of the most popular ones with the following list of fruits in Spanish and English. Let's take a look!

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Pome Fruits in Spanish

 

Manzana (apple)

 

Una manzana roja.

A red apple.

Caption 32, Cleer y Lida Picnic

 Play Caption

 

 

Pera (pear)

 

La palabra "pera" tiene dos sílabas:

The word "pera" [pear] has two syllables:

Caption 11, Lara enseña Tildes - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

 

Stone Fruits in Spanish

 

Albaricoque (apricot)

 

Lo único que, en vez de llevar mermelada de albaricoque,

The only one that, instead of having inside apricot jam,

Caption 29, Horno San Onofre El Chocolate

 Play Caption

 

 

Cereza (cherry)

 

A mí me recuerda... como si fuese una cereza.

It reminds me... as if it were a cherry.

Caption 58, Amaya Cata de vinos

 Play Caption

 

 

Ciruela (plum)

 

 

Durazno (peach)

 

Me volvió a gustar la compota de durazno

I started liking peach baby food again

Caption 4, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

It is important to say that another Spanish term for the word "peach" is melocotón. This term is the prevalent term in Spain:

 

Por ejemplo con melocotón.

For example with peach.

Caption 53, Recetas Tortilla

 Play Caption

 

 

Nectarina (nectarine)

 

 

Citrus Fruits in Spanish

 

Lima (lime)

 

una lima, y se utilizan mucho para una bebida

a lime, and are used a lot for a drink

Caption 21, Otavalo Julia nos muestra las verduras

 Play Caption

 

 

Limón (lemon)

 

con un poco de sal y limón

with a bit of salt and lemon

Caption 14, Ana Carolina Receta para una picada

 Play Caption

 

 

Mandarina (tangerine)

 

Aquí están las mandarinas.

Here are tangerines.

Caption 75, Otavalo Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

 Play Caption

 

 

Naranja (orange)

 

saben a naranja.

taste like orange.

Caption 34, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

banner3 PLACEHOLDER

Gourd Family Fruits in Spanish

 

Melón (melon)

 

Ahora le vamos a poner un poquito de melón.

Now we're going to add a little melon.

Caption 19, Desayuno Puerto Escondido Frutas

 Play Caption

 

 

Sandía (watermelon)

 

Le vamos a poner... sandía,

We're going to put... watermelon,

Caption 3, Desayuno Puerto Escondido Frutas

 Play Caption

 

 

Berries in Spanish

 

Fresa (strawberry)

 

Y me comí un heladito de fresa porque me daba antojos.

And I ate a strawberry ice cream because I was craving it.

Caption 14, Los médicos explican Consulta con el médico: la diarrea

 Play Caption

 

 

Frambuesa (raspberry)

 

lleva una mermelada natural de frambuesa

it has inside an organic raspberry jam

Caption 30, Horno San Onofre El Chocolate

 Play Caption

 

 

Mora (blackberry)

 

La mora es mi fruta favorita.

The blackberry is my favorite fruit.

Caption 59, Otavalo Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

 Play Caption

 

 

Kiwi (kiwi)

 

 

Uva (grape)

 

Estas son las uvas.

These are grapes.

Caption 22, Otavalo Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

 Play Caption

 

banner PLACEHOLDER

Tropical and Exotic Fruits in Spanish

 

Banano (banana)

 

Esto es el banano o plátano.

This is the banana or plantain.

Caption 38, Otavalo Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

 Play Caption

 

As you saw in the video clip, this fruit is also known in some regions as the plátano. However, keep in mind that the word plátano can also refer to the plantain:

 

Por último, procedemos a freír el tradicional plátano venezolano,

Lastly, we proceed to fry the traditional Venezuelan plantains,

Caption 75, Recetas de cocina Pabellón criollo

 Play Caption

 

 

Coco (coconut)

 

El agua de coco es muy nutritiva y además te calma mucho la sed.

Coconut water is very nutritious and plus it quenches your thirst a lot.

Caption 84, Otavalo Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

 Play Caption

 

 

Granadilla (passion fruit)

 

Esta es una granadilla.

This is a passion fruit.

Caption 40, Otavalo Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

 Play Caption

 

 

Guanábana (soursop)

 

Se llama guanábana

It's called soursop

Caption 28, Otavalo Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

 Play Caption

 

 

Guayaba (guava)

 

Esto se llama guayaba.

This is called guava.

Caption 54, Otavalo Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

 Play Caption

 

 

Mango (mango)

 

Este es el mango.

This is mango.

Caption 21, Otavalo Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

 Play Caption

 

 

Papaya (papaya)

 

Son unas papayas chiquitas

They are small papayas

Caption 11, Otavalo Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

 Play Caption

 

 

Piña (pineapple)

 

piña en trocitos,

chunks of pineapple,

Caption 13, Cleer y Lida El regreso de Lida

 Play Caption

 

 

In addition to all of the fruits we have mentioned, we would like to add two more fruits that are often not treated as such:

 

Aguacate (avocado)

 

Vamos a conocer un poco sobre la historia del aguacate y sus beneficios.

We're going to find out a bit about the history of the avocado and its benefits.

Caption 3, Melyna El aguacate

 Play Caption

 

 

Tomate (tomato)

 

Por lo tanto, botánicamente hablando, el tomate es una fruta,

Therefore, botanically speaking, the tomato is a fruit

Captions 33-34, Fermín Ensalada de tomate

 Play Caption

 

 

List of fruits in Spanish and English

Now that we have seen how to write and pronounce the names of many important fruits in Spanish, we wanted to leave you with the following quick reference list of fruits in Spanish and English:

 

aguacate (avocado)

albaricoque (apricot)

banano (banana)

cereza (cherry)

ciruela (plum)

coco (coconut)

durazno (peach)

fresa (strawberry)

frambuesa (raspberry)

granadilla (passion fruit)

guanábana (soursop)

guayaba (guava)

kiwi (kiwi)

lima (lime)

limón (lemon)

mandarina (tangerine)

mango (mango)

manzana (apple)

melocotón (peach)

melón (melon)

mora (blackberry)

naranja (orange)

nectarina (nectarine)

papaya (papaya)

pera (pear)

piña (pineapple)

plátano (banana)

sandía (watermelon)

tomate (tomato)

uva (grape)

 

And that's all for this lesson. Before we go, we invite you to answer the following question: ¿Cuál es tu fruta preferida? We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and we'd love for you to send us your suggestions and comments¡Hasta la próxima!

 

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

 

Continue Reading

The Spanish Vowels

Do you know how many vowels are in the Spanish alphabet? Are you able to pronounce the Spanish vowels? Do you know what strong and weak vowels are? Have you seen Spanish vowels with accents? Let's get some answers to these questions and more!

 

How Many Vowels are in the Spanish Alphabet?

The short answer is five! The following are the five Spanish vowels:

 

a

e

i

o

u

 

Do you want to hear how to pronounce the vowels in Spanish? Let's listen to our friend Sol from GoSpanish.Com:

 

En español, tenemos cinco vocales: "a", "e", "i", "o", "u".

In Spanish, we have five vowels: "a," "e," "i," "o," "u."

Captions 2-7, Español para principiantes Las vocales

 Play Caption

 

Now that we know how many vowels there are in the Spanish alphabet and how to pronounce them, it is important to mention that these five vowels can be divided into two main groups. Let's take a closer look.

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

 

Strong vs. Weak Spanish Vowels

 

1. Strong vowels

In Spanish, strong vowels are called vocales abiertas (literally "open vowels") because when you say them, your tongue stays in the lower part of your mouth, and the oral cavity must expand. These vowels are:

 

a

e

o

 

2. Weak vowels

On the contrary, weak vowels are known in Spanish as vocales cerradas ("closed vowels") because when you pronounce them, your tongue stays closer to the roof of your mouth, and the oral cavity need not expand. These vowels are:

 

i

u

 

Differentiating between strong and weak vowels will help you to improve your understanding of how to divide words into syllables. In fact, when doing so, we invite you to keep in mind the following basic rules:

 

* Strong vowel + strong vowel together = Two syllables

Una boa, una anaconda, ¡ay no!

A boa, an anaconda, oh, no!

Caption 49, Cleer y Lida Juego de preguntas y respuestas - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

The word boa has two syllables: bo-a.

 

* Weak vowel + unsetressed weak vowel together = One syllable

Detrás de mí podemos observar la ciudad antigua

Behind me, we can observe the old city

Caption 11, Ciudad de Panamá Denisse introduce la ciudad

 Play Caption

 

Notice how the i and the u of the word ciudad belong to the same syllable: ciu-dad.

 

* Strong vowel + unstressed weak vowel = one syllable

toda esa deuda acumulada

all that accumulated debt

Caption 10, Luis Guitarra Todo es de todos - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Notice how the e and the u of the word deuda are both in the same syllable: deu-da.

 

Keep in mind, however, that when a stressed weak vowel is next to another type of vowel, the two vowels must be separated into two different syllables:

 

Y en invierno suele hacer mucho frío.

An in winter it tends to be very cold.

Caption 15, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

The word frío has a stressed weak vowel next to a strong vowel. This combination creates a "hiatus," or break between two consecutive vowels that are not in the same syllable. For this reason, the word frío has two syllables: frí-o. Words like frío that contain accented vowels are quite common in Spanish. 

 

Finally, we would like to wrap up this lesson about the vowels in Spanish with a very simple question: Do you know any Spanish word that contains all of the five vowels? Although there are many, check out the following clip to see one of them in action:

 

La palabra más larga es murciélago. ¿Por qué? Pues porque tiene las cinco vocales dentro de la palabra.

The longest word is bat. Why? Well because it has the five vowels within the word.

Captions 43-45, Karla e Isabel Palabras

 Play Caption

 

And that's all for this lesson. We hope you've enjoyed learning about the Spanish vowels, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Continue Reading

The Spanish Future Tense

The Spanish future tense is one of the most straightforward tenses in Spanish, both in terms of knowing when to use it and how to conjugate it. Let's take a closer look at this tense.

 

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

 

What Is the Future Tense in Spanish?

The future tense in Spanish corresponds to the English construction with "will" plus a verb and is used to talk about actions that are slated to happen in the future or that someone has the intention to carry out. Simple English examples of this concept include: "Tomorrow, I will go to the store," or "Next week, it will rain." With this in mind, let's examine several examples of the future tense in Spanish:

 

y hoy les hablaré de una de mis pasiones:

and today, I'll talk to you about one of my passions:

Caption 4, Ana Carolina La meditación

 Play Caption

 

Yo creo que esto lo venderemos súper bien. 

I think we'll sell this one really well.

Caption 44, Santuario para burros Tienda solidaria

 Play Caption
 

El botón [sic] la ayudará con su equipaje y lo subirá en un par de minutos a la habitación.

The porter will help you with your luggage and will take it up to the room in a couple of minutes.

Captions 61-62, Cleer y Lida Recepción de hotel

 Play Caption

 

Note that as English "will" constructions are often expressed with contractions (the personal pronoun plus apostrophe double l, such as "I'll," "we'll," etc.), many Spanish future tense verbs can be translated to English in this less formal fashion.

 

Conjugating the Future Tense in Spanish 

Conjugating most verbs in the future tense in Spanish is quite simple. You just take the verb's infinitive ("to" form) in its entirety and add the corresponding future tense ending. So, using the verbs in our previous examples, we'd start with their infinitive forms: hablar (to talk), vender (to sell), ayudar (to help), and subir (to take up). You will note that these infinitive verbs fall into all three infinitive verb categories: -ar, -er, and -ir

 

Step two of the process of conjugating Spanish future tense verbs is to memorize the quite simple endings that correspond to their personal pronouns, which are as follows:

 

Personal Pronoun: Ending:
Yo:
Tú: -ás
Él/ella/usted: -á
Nosotros/nosotras: -emos
Vosotros/vosotras: -éis
Ellos/ellas/ustedes: -án

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armed with this information, let's conjugate some future tense verbs using different verbs and personal pronouns than the examples above.

 

1. Suppose we want to say that more than one person "will see" something (with the personal pronoun ustedes, or plural "you"). We would take the infinitive verb ver (to see) and add the appropriate ending (-án) to get verán:

 

Mañana ustedes verán si nos... si nos medimos a ese, a ese reto.

Tomorrow you guys will see if we... if we measure up to that, to that challenge.

Captions 36-37, Festivaliando Mono Núñez - Part 13

 Play Caption

 

2. Now, let's imagine that you want to tell more than one person in a familiar environment what they'll "need." Oh— and you're in Spain, where the personal pronouns vosotros/as are the way to address more than one person as "you" informally. We'd take the verb for "to need" (necesitar) and the corresponding ending -éis to get necesitaréis:

 

Para empezar a hacer la tortilla española, necesitaréis los siguientes ingredientes:

To start to make the Spanish tortilla, you'll need the following ingredients:

Captions 8-9, Clara cocina Una tortilla española

 Play Caption

 

3. And finally, what if you would like to say with the tú (informal "you") form to someone what he or she "will discover"? You'd start with the verb descubrir (to discover) and add the -ás ending that goes with to get descubrirás:

 

Pronto lo descubrirás

Soon you'll discover it

Caption 68, X6 1 - La banda - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

banner PLACEHOLDER

 

Irregular Verbs in the Spanish Future Tense

As with all Spanish verb tenses, there are some irregular verbs in the future tense in Spanish, many of which are extremely common. That said, it would behoove you to memorize the following stems, which are used in lieu of these verbs' infinitives to conjugate the "top twelve" irregular future tense verbs in Spanish: 

 

Irregular Verb:  Stem:
caber (to fit):  cabr-
decir (to tell): dir-
haber (to have/be): habr-
hacer (to make/do): har-
poder (to be able): podr-
poner (to put): pondr-
querer (to want): querr-
saber (to know): sabr-
salir (to leave): saldr-
tener (to have): tendr-
valer (to be worth): valdr-
venir (to come): vendr-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, let's conjugate a few of these irregular Spanish future tense verbs: 

 

1. How would we express "I'll say" in Spanish? Rather than the infinitive, we'd take the aforementioned stem for the Spanish verb decir, -dir, and add the ending that corresponds with yo (I), or -é, to get diré:

 

Primero, diré el verbo en infinitivo,

First, I'll say the verb in the infinitive,

Caption 38, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 1: Tú + vos

 Play Caption

 

2. How would we say "you'll have" in Spanish? Take the stem of the irregular verb tener (to have), tendr-, and add the ending for (you), -ás, to get: tendrás.

 

Sí, después de las clases en grupo, tendrás media hora de descanso

Yes, after the group classes, you'll have a half hour break

Caption 27, El Aula Azul Las actividades de la escuela - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

3. And finally, what if want to express that "we'll be able" to do something? We'll take podr-, the stem for the verb for "to be able" (poder), and add the ending for nosotros/as, -emos, to come up with podremos:

 

Con un poco de práctica, podremos aprender estas reglas muy fácilmente.

With a bit of practice, we will be able to learn these rules very easily.

Caption 55, Carlos explica Acentuación Cap. 3: La división en sílabas - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

An Alternative Use for the Future Tense

Although the translations for Spanish verbs conjugated in the Spanish future tense almost always involve the word "will," the future tense in Spanish can occasionally be used to express doubt or disbelief, and, in such cases, corresponds more closely with the English concepts of "would," "could," "might," or "may."  Such cases are typically quite clear from their contexts as inserting the word "will" would seem nonsensical. Let's take a look at a couple of examples: 

 

¿No tendrás unos pesitos para mí?

You wouldn't have a few pesos for me?

Caption 23, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 14

 Play Caption

 

Favio, ¿dónde estarás?

Favio, where could you be?

Caption 44, Yago 1 La llegada - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

Having said that, in the vast majority of the cases you will come across, the future tense in Spanish can be translated with "will." 

 

We hope you've enjoyed this lesson on the future tense in Spanish. If you are interested in verb tenses, we recommend you check out our lessons on all of the Spanish verb tenses, beginning with the indicative verb tenses in Spanish and moving on to the Spanish subjunctive tenses. And, for an even deeper look into the future tense in Spanish with a plethora of example sentences, we recommend you check out this extended lesson by Javi on the future tense in Spanish as well as this lesson on an alternative to the Spanish future tense

 

That's all for today! Don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments, and estaremos en contacto (we'll be in touch).

 

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

 

Continue Reading

Spanish Cognates for English Words That End in -ation

In the course of your Spanish studies, you may have noticed certain patterns that make "predicting" words you may never have even heard before possible in many cases. The focus of today's lesson is one such group of words.

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

The -ation/-ación Connection

Due to their shared roots in the Latin language, many English words that end with the suffix -ation are cognates (words in different languages that share similar meanings, spellings, and pronunciations) along with their Spanish equivalents that end in a very similar suffix: -ación. Let's look at several, very common examples that you may have heard:

 

Justo el día de hoy le ha dado un mensaje a la nación 

Just today he's given a message to the nation

Caption 23, Yabla en Lima El Centro - Part 2

 Play Caption
 

y tenía mucha imaginación.

and he had a lot of imagination.

Caption 9, El Aula Azul Adivina personajes históricos - Part 2

 Play Caption
 

Ehm... ¿Tiene alguna recomendación como de pollo o de pescado?

Um... Do you have any recommendation, like, for chicken or fish?

Captions 32-33, Cata y Cleer En el restaurante

 Play Caption
 

y, por suerte, casi siempre hay mucha participación.

and, luckily, there is almost always a lot of participation.

Caption 78, Viajando con Fermín Asociación ProDunas Marbella

 Play Caption

 

What can we notice about these words? First off, most of them share virtually identical spellings in English and Spanish but for the replacement of the English suffix -ation with the Spanish -ación. The only minor exception in these examples is the inclusion of a double consonant (m) in the English word "recommendation" that does not appear in la recomendación (this is due to an English spelling rule that we won't delve into in this lesson). 

 

Another noteworthy feature of this class of -ation/-ación cognates (and, in fact, all words that end in -ación in Spanish) is that these nouns' gender in Spanish is feminine. 

 

banner PLACEHOLDER

Applying the Formula to More Complex Words

That said, what if we were at a party, and we wanted to talk about more complex concepts such as "industrialization," "globalization," or "commercialization," and we weren't familiar with the correct Spanish terms? We might try to substitute the Spanish suffix -ación for -ation, just to see what we came up with:  

 

tenemos la... lógicamente, la industrialización,

we have the... logically, industrialization,

Caption 51, Los médicos explican Entrevista con el Doctor Suarez

 Play Caption

 

Y no te quiero hablar de la globalización

And I don't want to talk about globalization

Caption 47, Yago 6 Mentiras - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

Es una ruta a nivel turístico bastante joven que está en pleno proceso de comercialización.

It's a rather young route at the touristic level that is in the middle of the process of commercialization.

Captions 30-31, Europa Abierta Taller de escenografía en Olivares

 Play Caption

 

It worked! You will note that, once again, the spellings and meanings of these terms in Spanish and English are virtually identical except for the slight difference in their suffixes and the addition of the double "m" in "commercialization," again due to English spelling norms. That said, we suggest applying this formula to English words ending in -ation to make an educated guess about their Spanish translations since chances are you'll be right!

 

Exceptions to the -ation/-ación Rule 

Of course, as with all things in life, no formula is perfect, and there are always exceptions. Let's take a look at couple of them:

 

En los meses de verano, su población llega a multiplicarse por cuatro.

In the summer months, its population gets multiplied by four.

Caption 14, Fuengirola Mercado

 Play Caption

 

Although our formula would take us to the not-quite-correct word populación, we'd venture to guess that a native Spanish speaker would understand perfectly well what you meant by "En los meses de verano, su populación [sic] llega a multiplicarse por cuatro" and just might gently edify you as to the correct term. Let's look at another example:

 

porque justo salir del aeropuerto ya te encuentras con la estación de autobús.

because just leaving from the airport you come across the bus station right away.

Caption 28, Blanca Cómo moverse en Barcelona

 Play Caption

 

In this case, the word estación is extremely similar to the English word "station" except for the suffix and the "e" at the beginning, which is due, this time, to a Spanish norm whereby almost all words with an  "s" and a consonant at the beginning are preceded by an "e." And again, we're pretty sure that were you to inquire about the whereabouts of la stación de tren, someone would still direct you to the train station! 

 

Although there are some words that end in -ation in English whose translations are even less similar than the aforementioned examples (e.g. translation/traducción, explanation/explicación, etc.), we still suggest that our formula is a great place to start because, even if you aren't perfectly correct in your attempt to morph an -ation word in English into an -ación word in Spanish, chances are you'll be understood and/or corrected, which is how we learn. And, in many, many cases, as we've shown you... you'll be correct!

 

That's all for today. Have you noticed any other patterns that have helped you to make educated guesses about words in Spanish? Let us know with your suggestions and comments

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Continue Reading

Extranjerismos: Foreign Words Used in Spanish

Just like any other language, Spanish has adopted many words from different languages and cultures. These words are known in Spanish as extranjerismos, a term that comes from the word extranjero (foreign). That said, let's take a look at some of the most common words in Spanish that come from other languages.

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Arabismos- Words from the Arab World

Throughout the Middle Ages, the Spanish language adopted several Arabic words. Let's see some of them:

 

Alcalde (mayor)- from the original word alqáḍi

Soy Miguel Ángel Herrera, alcalde de Genalguacil,

I'm Miguel Angel Herrera, mayor of Genalguacil,

Captions 2-3, Viajando con Fermín Genalguacil - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Álgebra (algebra)- from the original word algĕbra

el álgebra, que estudia las estructuras abstractas,

algebra, which studies abstract structures,

Captions 48-49, Carlos explica Vocabulario de las matemáticas - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Azúcar (sugar)- from the original word assúkkar

con media taza de azúcar

with half a cup of sugar,

Caption 25, Ana Carolina Ponche navideño

 Play Caption

 

Guitarra (guitar)- from the original word qīṯārah

aprendí a tocar la guitarra de una manera diferente

I learned to play the guitar in a different manner

Caption 55, Luis Guitarra Influencias musicales - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Naranja (orange)- from the original word naranǧa

saben a naranja.

taste like orange.

Caption 34, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

If you hear the way Ariana pronounces the word naranja, you can notice the strong sound of the letter "j," which is a sound that the Spanish language took from the Arabic language. 

 

Galicismos- Words of French Origin

Just like in the English language, Spanish has also adopted many words derived from French. Let's see some of the most popular ones:

 

Bulevar (boulevard)- from the original word boulevard

hasta lo que hoy es conocido como el Bulevar donostiarra,

to what is known today as the "Bulevar donostiarra" [Donostiarra Boulevard]

Caption 28, Días festivos La Tamborrada de San Sebastián

 Play Caption

 

Chofer or chófer (driver)- from the original word chauffeur

que Amalia se quedó con él y con el chofer, ¿sí?

because Amalia stayed with him and with the driver, right?

Caption 28, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 9

 Play Caption

 

Élite or Elite (elite)- from the original word élite

unas estructuras de poder muy basadas en la élite, en la exclusión.

some power structures [that were] very based on the elite, on exclusion.

Caption 12, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 1 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Indigenismos- Words from Indigenous Languages

Many words from various indigenous Latin American cultures were incorporated into the Spanish language after the arrival of the Spaniards to the Americas. The following are some of the most popular words:

 

Caucho (rubber)- from the original Quechua word kawchu

Ellos jugaban con una pelota de caucho

They played with a rubber ball

Caption 85, Guillermo el chamán La cosmología de los mayas

 Play Caption

 

Maraca (maraca)- from the original Guaraní word mbaracá

guitarra, cuatro, güiro, maraca, bongo,

guitar, cuatro, güiro, maraca, bongo [drum],

Caption 32, Sonido Babel La plena de Puerto Rico

 Play Caption

 

Papa (potato)- from the original Quechua word papa

En los Andes se usa mucha papa y muchas cremas.

In the Andes, many potatoes are used and many creams.

Captions 75-76, Recetas de cocina Papa a la Huancaína

 Play Caption

 

Tomate (tomato)- from the original Nahuatl word tomatl

¿Qué es realmente el tomate?

What really is the tomato?

Caption 30, Fermín Ensalada de tomate

 Play Caption

 

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

 

Italianismos- Words from the Italian Language

Many Italian words made their way into the Spanish language during the Renaissance. Let's check out two of them:

 

Balcón (balcony)- from the original word balcone

Tomo unos mates en el balcón

I have some servings of mate on the balcony

Caption 7, GoSpanish La rutina diaria de Sol

 Play Caption

 

Novela (novel)- from the original word novella

basada en una novela de Paul van Loon

based on a novel by Paul van Loon

Caption 4, Europa Abierta Fucsia la pequeña bruja

 Play Caption

 

Anglicismos- Words from the English language

And last but not least, we have extranjerismos that come from the English language. Here a few:

 

Club (club)

que hagan un perímetro por dentro y por fuera del club, vaya.

that they should surround us inside and outside the club, come on.

Caption 13, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 12

 Play Caption

 

Fútbol or futbol (football/soccer)

El fútbol es un deporte que fue inventado en Inglaterra

Soccer is a sport that was invented in England

Caption 8, Sergio El fútbol en España

 Play Caption

 

In this translation, we used the word "soccer" instead of "football." However, the Spanish word comes from the original British term "football."

 

Líder (leader)

La India Catalina era la líder de la tribu indígena que habitó en la ciudad, anteriormente llamada la Isla Calamarí.

India Catalina was the leader of the indigenous tribe who inhabited the city, previously called Calamari Island.

Captions 26-27, Viajando en Colombia Cartagena en coche - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

Turista (tourist)

una ciudad cosmopolita, luminosa y que pone al servicio del turista una amplia variedad de infraestructuras.

a cosmopolitan, luminous city that puts at the service of the tourist a wide variety of infrastructures.

Captions 10-11, Málaga Semana Santa

 Play Caption

 

That's all for this lesson. We hope you enjoyed this list of foreign-influenced words in Spanish. Can you think of any additional extranjerismos in Spanish? Don't forget to let us know with your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

 

Continue Reading

Spanish Vocabulary for the Autumn Season

Today's lesson will take us through some Spanish vocabulary that might come in handy to talk about el otoño (the autumn/fall) and some of the phenomena associated with esta estación (this season). 

 

El tiempo (The Weather)

Let's start by taking a look at a quote from our Yabla Spanish library about el tiempo in autumn, which means  "the weather" (rather than "the time") in this context:

 

Pero en primavera y en otoño, el tiempo es mucho mejor

But in spring and in fall, the weather is much better

Captions 16-17, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

The fall season is typically characterized by more moderate temperaturas (temperatures) as well as viento (wind) and sometimes lluvia (rain) or niebla (fog) (although there might be some sol (sun) as well!). Let's look at these autumn weather words in context:

 

Pasame las llaves y llamá un taxi ante' que venga la lluvia.

Give me the keys and call a cab before the rain comes. 

Caption 51, Yago 5 La ciudad - Part 9

 Play Caption

 

Ya está haciendo un poco de viento; ¿no te parece que hace frío? Sí, a pesar de que hace un hermoso sol.

It's a bit windy now; doesn't it seem like it's cold to you? Yes, in spite of the fact that it's beautifully sunny.

Captions 78-79, Sofy y Caro Entrevistar para un trabajo

 Play Caption

 

Ten cuidado cuando conduzcas hoy porque hay mucha niebla y no se puede ver bien.

Be careful when you drive today because there's a lot of fog, and you can't see well.

Captions 17-18, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

The videos Clara explica el tiempo - Part 1 and Clara explica el tiempo- Part 2  (Clara Explains the Weather- Parts 1 and 2) as well as Aprendiendo con Karen- El tiempo (Learning with Karen- The Weather) can help you learn even more ways to talk about the weather in Spanish

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

 

¿Cuándo es el otoño? (When Is Autumn?)

While some Spanish-speaking countries like Colombia and Ecuador have less climatic variation due to their proximity to the equator, others experience the autumn season in different months than North America. For example, fall in countries like Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, etc. takes place from approximately marzo a junio (March to June), while Spain experiences the fall in the same months as in the United States: septiembre a diciembre (September through December), as demonstrated in this video about the months and seasons in Spanish by El Aula Azul:

 

En septiembre, empieza el otoño. En octubre, caen las hojas.

In September, the fall begins. In October, the leaves fall.

Captions 22-23, El Aula Azul Estaciones y Meses

 Play Caption

 

And that brings us to las hojas (the leaves), which, along with their tendency to change colors, dry up, and fall off trees in the autumn, are arguably the most frequently-employed symbol of the fall season.

 

Símbolos del otoño (Symbols of Fall)

What other objects are associated with the fall? Let's take a look at a few: 

 

¡Soy un espantapájaros!

I'm a scarecrow!

Caption 95, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 15

 Play Caption
 

¿Cuánto puede costar una cesta así en el mercado?

How much can a basket like this cost at the market?

Caption 121, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 11

 Play Caption
 

¿Adivináis qué animal come esta paja y este heno?

Can you guess what animal eats this straw and this hay?

Caption 6, Amaya Donkey Dreamland

 Play Caption

 

Ahora, vamos con nuestro siguiente diseño de calabaza

Now, we go on to our next pumpkin design.

Caption 64, Manos a la obra Papel picado para Día de muertos

 Play Caption
 
Of course, while the calabaza (pumpkin) is a decorative symbol of the autumn season, it is also a fall food that can be made into delectable desserts, stews, and even espresso beverages... which brings us to our next category!

 

Comidas de otoño (Fall Food)

What other foods do we associate with the autumn season?

 

Es época de quinoa, de la cosecha, de las arvejas tiernas, del maíz, que también ya acabamos de cosechar

It's the season for quinoathe harvest, sweet peas, corn, which we also just finished harvesting.

Captions 27-28, Otavalo Proyecto familiar Kawsaymi - Part 2

 Play Caption
 

Si hay un olor típico en el otoño es el de las castañas asadas.

If there is a typical smell in autumn, it's that of the roasted chestnuts.

Caption 24, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Las manzanas puedes hacer dulce de manzana, pie de manzana, torta de manzana, 

[With] apples you can make apple jam, apple pie, apple cake,

Caption 19, Otavalo Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

 Play Caption
 

And speaking of apples, they can also be used to make sidra (cider) of both the alcoholic and non-alchoholic variety:

 

y la bebida más típica es la sidra de manzana.

and the most typical drink is hard apple cider.

Caption 57, Viajando con Fermín La Feria de Santo Tomás

 Play Caption

 

In this video, Fermín tells us in this about the Feria de Santo Tomás (Saint Tomas Fair), which takes place on the last day of autumn, December 21st, and is thought to be the first day of the Christmas season. 

banner PLACEHOLDER

 

Fiestas de otoño (Fall Holidays)

To continue on the theme of fiestas (holidays), let's talk about the Spanish terms for some fall celebrations in both the United States and Latin America:

 

Y en el interior le decimos, eh... Día de Muertos. Eh... Quizás tenga un poco de relación en la fecha con el Halloween de Estados Unidos,

And in [places] inside the country we call it, um... Day of the Dead. Um... Perhaps it's a little bit related with the United States's Halloween in respect to date,

Captions 69-70, Yabla en Yucatán Don Salo - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

And, in addition to Halloween and the Day of the Dead, we have, in November, the important North American holiday of Thanksgiving, which is called el Día de Acción de Gracias in Spanish. 

 

Autumn Vocabulary in Review

Let's conclude today's lesson with a quick-reference review of the words we have learned:

 

el otoño (the autumn/fall)

la estación (the season)

el tiempo (the weather)

la temperatura (the temperture)

la lluvia (the rain)

el viento (the wind)

la niebla (the fog)

el sol (the sun)

hacer sol (to be sunny)

hacer viento (to be windy)

hacer frío (to be cold)

marzo (March)

abril (April)

mayo (May)

junio (June)

septiembre (September)

octubre (October)

noviembre (November)

diciembre (December)

las hojas (the leaves)

el espantapájaros (the scarecrow)

la cesta (the basket)

la paja (the straw)

el heno (the hay)

la calabaza (the pumpkin)

la quinoa (the quinoa)

la cosecha (the harvest)

cosechar (to harvest)

el maíz (the corn)

las castañas asadas (the roasted chestnuts)

la manzana (the apple)

la fiesta (the holiday)

el Día de Muertos/el Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)

el Día de Acción de Gracias (Thanksgiving)

 

And that brings us to the end of our lesson on useful Spanish vocabulary for the autumn season. We hope you've enjoyed it, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Continue Reading

Astronomy 101: The Names of the Planets in Spanish (and More)!

How do you say the names of the planets in Spanish? We'll start off today's lesson by telling you how and then follow up with some simple astronomical vocabulary. 

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

The Names of the Planets in Spanish

The names of the planets in Spanish are as follows: 

 

1. Mercurio = Mercury

 

2. Venus = Venus

 

3. La Tierra = (the) Earth

 

4. Marte = Mars

 

5. Júpiter = Jupiter

 

6. Saturno = Saturn

 

7. Urano = Uranus

 

8. Neptuno = Neptune

 

Now that you know what the planets are called in Spanish, let's take a look at a few examples from our Yabla Spanish library where their names are mentioned:

 

El planeta Marte alguna vez tuvo ríos, lagos y mares.

The planet Mars once had rivers, lakes, and seas.

Caption 6, Yabla informa Noticias con Cleer

 Play Caption

 

The clip you just heard is from a news segment by Yabla's Cleer which delves into the mystery of what happened to the water on Mars. Let's see another clip that mentions the name of a planet, this time from a song:

 

Planeta Mercurio y el año de la serpiente Signo patente tatuado y en mi frente 

Planet Mercury and the year of the snake Obvious sign, tatooed and on my forehead

Captions 10-11, Ana Tijoux 1977

 Play Caption
 

We shouldn't neglect to mention that, as you may know, what was formerly considered to be the ninth planet, Pluto, was reclassified as a "dwarf planet" in 2006. The name for Pluto in Spanish is Plutón.

 

Gracias por la clase y por aclararme que yo no vivo ni en Plutón ni en la luna, 

Thanks for the class and for clarifying to me that I don't live either on Pluto or on the moon,

Caption 55, Conversaciones con Luis Astrología

 Play Caption
 

Additional Astronomical Vocabulary in Spanish

And, speaking of the moon, we thought you might be interested in learning how to say "the moon," "the sun," and some other basic vocabulary related to our solar system:

 

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

 

1. la luna = the moon

 

2. el sol = the sun

 

3. la estrella = the star 

 

4. el planeta = the planet

 

5. la galaxia = the galaxy 

 

6. la Vía Láctea = the Milky Way

 

7. el cometa = the comet

 

8. el agujero negro/el hoyo negro = the black hole 

 

9. la nave espacial = the spaceship 

 

10. la constelación = the constellation

 

11. el sistema solar = the solar system

 

12. la teoría del Big Bang = the Big Bang theory

 

13. el eclipse = the eclipse

 

14. la astronomía = astronomy

 

15. el telescopio = the telescope

 

Now, let's take a look at a several of these terms in action:

 

eh... finalmente viene el universo, que es la Vía Láctea.

um... finally comes the universe, which is the Milky Way.

Caption 31, Guillermo el chamán Los rituales

 Play Caption
 
 

Las... Se le llama Las Siete Luminarias porque hay siete volcanes que forman la Osa Mayor, que es la constelación de la Osa Mayor.

The... It's called The Seven Luminaries because there are seven volcanoes which make up Ursa Major, which is the Ursa Major constellation.

Captions 13-14, Guillermo el chamán La tecnología maya

 Play Caption

 

Lo que no sabemos, es de qué planeta son estos niños. Son del planeta Tierra.

What we don't know is from what planet these kids are. They are from planet Earth.

Captions 5-6, Salvando el planeta Palabra Llegada - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

La nave rusa Soyuz ha despegado desde el centro espacial europeo de Kourou

The Russian spaceship Soyuz has taken off from the European space center in Kourou

Caption 3, Europa Abierta Galileo vs. GPS

 Play Caption

 

Note that la nave can be used as a shorter way to say "the spaceship" in lieu of la nave espacial. The clip in which this video is found deals with the history of the European space program, in case you are interested in checking it out!

 

That's alll for today. We hope you've enjoyed this lesson on basic astronomical terms in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Continue Reading

Impersonal "Se" Vs. Passive "Se": What's the Difference?

What's the difference between the impersonal "se" construction and the passive "se" construction in Spanish? Although they look rather similar (and may be confused with reflexive verbs as well!), they function slightly differently, which we hope to illuminate for you today. 

 

banner PLACEHOLDER

 

The Impersonal "Se" Construction in Spanish

“Impersonal se" constructions, which consist of the pronoun "se" plus a verb conjugated in the third person singular, are called such because they describe people in general rather than any specific person. In other words, no specific agent performs the action of the verb. For this reason, impersonal "se" constructions are used to describe, for example, the manner in which things are done customarily in a particular place or to convey general principles. In English, we tend to express such concepts by using the universal “you,” “they,” “one,” “people," or sometimes omitting the personal pronoun altogether. Let’s take a look at some examples from our Yabla Spanish library. 

 

1.

Bueno, se baila mucho, eh... se come bastante, y se espera hasta las doce para desear la feliz Navidad.

Well, people dance a lot, um... people eat quite a bit, and people wait until twelve to wish [people] Merry Christmas.

Captions 42-44, Cleer y Lida La Navidad en Colombia

 Play Caption

 

Note that all the verbs in this example are conjugated in the third person singular, and the speaker describes actions that are done customarily (by people in general rather than a specific person) during the Christmas season in Colombia. And, while the translator opted to employ "people" to express this idea, the same sentence could read, "you dance a lot... you eat quite a bit... and you wait..." or, more formally, "one dances... one eats... and one waits." Let's take a look at another example:

 

2.

Se duerme de noche y se vive de día

One sleeps at night and lives during the day

Caption 38, Calle 13 No hay nadie como tú

 Play Caption

 

The lyrics to this catchy tune by Calle 13 refer to the way things are in the world in general, where "one sleeps" (or "you" or "people sleep") at night and live during the day. Let's move on to the next example:

 

3.

Es mi furgoneta, una camper van, una furgoneta camperizada, que se dice en español.

It's my van, a camper van, a "furgoneta camperizada" [camper van], like you say in Spanish.

Captions 9-10, Amaya "Mi camper van"

 Play Caption

 

Alternative translations for se dice in this sentence include "like people say," "as is said," or "like they say" because its intention is to describe what something is customarily called in Spanish. Are you getting the hang of it? 

 

4.

Y juntas vamos a ver algunas de aquellas situaciones que os podéis encontrar en algunos de aquellos países en donde se habla español.

And together, we're going to look at some of those situations that you might encounter in some of those countries where Spanish is spoken.

Captions 4-6, Karla e Isabel Alquilar una habitación - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Se habla español is impersonal because it explains that people in general speak Spanish in certain countries, rather than any specific person. An alternative choice here might have been" "in some of those countries where they speak Spanish." Let's look at one last one: 

 

5.

Ahora se llega a la cima bajando por la sierra

Now you reach the summit by going down the mountain

Caption 23, Calle 13 Ojos Color Sol ft. Silvio Rodríguez

 Play Caption

 

Note that directions are another common thing for which the impersonal "se" construction is utilized. This is similar to English, where we ask "How do you get there?" (¿Cómo se llega ahí?" in Spanish) when what we really want to find out is the objectively correct way to go. 

 

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

 

The Passive "Se" Construction in Spanish 

In contrast to the impersonal "se" construction in Spanish, in the passive "se," although a specific agent usually does perform the action, said agent is often unknown or unmentioned. Furthermore, the verb in this construction must be a transitive verb, or verb that transmits some action to a direct object. So, this would describe something that "is" or "was" done, for example, to something else, which is most typically inanimate (non-living). Additionally, the verb can be singular or plural depending upon whether the noun/direct object in question is singular or plural, which is not the case with the impersonal "se" construction, where the verb is always singular. Let's look at some examples:

 

1.

de una habitación que se alquila en un piso compartido.

about a room that is being rented in a shared apartment.

Caption 17, Karla e Isabel Alquilar una habitación - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Here, someone specific is renting out a room in a shared apartment; we just don't know who it is. The verb alquilar is a transitive verb because a direct object (una habitación, or "a room") receives its action. And, since the noun una habitación is singular, the verb has been conjugated in its third person singular form: alquila

 

2.

Aquí se venden barcos, ¿no?

Here boats are sold, right?

Caption 78, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 20

 Play Caption

 

This example is similar in that the agent who is selling boats is unknown, and the verb vender (to sell) is transitive because it exerts its action onto the noun (los) barcos. However, because the noun los barcos is plural, the verb has been conjugated in the third person plural: venden

 

3.

¿Mi confianza? Se perdió desde el día que me dejaste caer del columpio del parque a los dos años. 

My trust? It was lost the day that you let me fall off the swings in the park at two years old.

Captions 14-15, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 3

 Play Caption
 

The verb perder is transitive because a direct object (la confianza or "the trust") is, or in this case "was" lost (since it is conjugated in the preterite, or simple past tense). And, although the speaker is telling his father that he himself lost his confidence when his father let him fall from the swings, he opts to use the passive "se" construction se perdió, or "was lost," which doesn't specify that anyone actually did the losing. Let's look at another example.

 

4.

Otra de las hipótesis, de para qué se construyeron estos edificios, era para albergar ritos que se hacía en aquella época

Another one of the hypotheses about why these buildings were built was to house rites that were held during that era

Captions 44-46, Rosa Los Dólmenes de Antequera

 Play Caption
 

Here, we know who "built" (the transitive verb) "the buildings" (the direct object) in question: the ancient civilizations of Andalusia. But, since the sentence does not mention this agent, it employs the passive "se" construction to convey the idea that the buildings (los edificios) "were built" (se construyeron) in the past, utilizing the third person plural conjugation of construir (to build) in the preterite tense. Let's finish with one last example:

 

5.

La película más importante que se ha rodado en Guatemala y es cien por ciento guatemalteca es Ixcanul.

The most important movie that has been filmed in Guatemala and is one hundred percent Guatemalan is "Ixcanul."

Captions 17-18, World Travel Market en Londres Maria nos habla de Guatemala

 Play Caption

 

All of the same conditions have been met for the passive "se" construction: 1. the verb rodar (to film) is transitive: it exerts its action onto la película (the movie). 2. While we know that specific people filmed the movie, the sentence does not reference who they are. 3. The verb has been conjugated in the third person singular (this time in the present progressive tense) because the noun/direct object la película (the movie) is singular. 

 

We hope that this lesson has helped you to learn to distinguish the impersonal "se" construction from the passive "se" construction in Spanish, which can be a bit confusing. Se ha terminado la lección de hoy (Today's lesson has finished), and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

 

Continue Reading

Expressing Emotions in Spanish

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

 

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

 

The Three Main Ways of Talking About Emotions in Spanish 

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

 

1. Adjectives

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

 

 

2. Reflexive Verbs

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

 

 

3. Nouns

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

 

Conveying Common Emotions in Spanish

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

 

1. HAPPINESS

 

Adjectives: 

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

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

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

Caption 27, Rueda de la muerte Parte 1

 Play Caption

 

Y estoy alegre, alegre de que no sea cierto.

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

Caption 31, Chus recita poemas Neruda y Pizarnik

 Play Caption

 

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

 

La Vela se caracteriza además por ser un pueblo alegre,

La Vela is also characterized as being a happy town,

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

 Play Caption

 

Reflexive Verbs: 

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

 

Qué bien; me alegro de que estén aquí.

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

Caption 42, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

Nouns:

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

 

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

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

Caption 33, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

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

 

Hasta el sábado, amiga. ¡Qué felicidad!

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

Caption 83, Cleer y Lida Conversación telefónica - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

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

 

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

 

2. EXCITEMENT

 

Adjectives: 

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

 

Estoy tan emocionado de volver a verte.

I am so excited to see you again.

Caption 53, Yago 11 Prisión - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

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

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

Caption 7, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

Reflexive Verbs:

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

 

Ya me emocioné.

I already got excited.

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

 Play Caption

 

¿Por qué no entusiasmarnos más?

Why not get more excited?

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

 Play Caption

 

Nouns:

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

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 

 

3. SADNESS

 

Adjectives:

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

 

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

we realized my boat was split. Candelario got sad.

Captions 43-44, Guillermina y Candelario El Gran Rescate

 Play Caption

 

Reflexive Verbs:

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

 

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

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

 

Nouns:

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

 

Qué tristeza, ¿no? Terrible.

How sad, right? Terrible.

Caption 5, Tu Voz Estéreo Feliz Navidad - Part 19

 Play Caption

 

 

4. ANGER

 

Adjectives:

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

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

Estamos muy enfadadas. Estoy muy enfadada.

We are very angry. I am very angry.

Captions 30-31, El Aula Azul Estados de ánimo

 Play Caption

 

Reflexive Verbs:

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

 

Se enojó muchísimo con el viejo

She got really angry with my old man

Caption 86, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

No me enfadé con él, ni le insulté,

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

Captions 78-79, Cortometraje Beta - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Nouns:

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

 

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

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

Caption 81, Cortometraje Beta - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 

banner3 PLACEHOLDER

 

5. SURPRISE

 

Adjectives:

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

 

Profesores, la verdad es que me he quedado sorprendida

Professors, the truth is that I have been surprised;

Caption 19, Alumnos extranjeros del Tec de Monterrey

 Play Caption
 

Reflexive Verbs:

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

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

Nouns:

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

 

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

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

Caption 15, Español para principiantes Saludos y encuentros

 Play Caption

 

 

6. DISAPPOINTMENT

 

Adjectives:

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

 

Mi novia está desilusionado conmigo por haberle mentido.

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

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

Reflexive Verbs:

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

 

Me decepcioné mucho cuando suspendí el examen. 

I was really disappointed when I failed the test. 

 

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

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

Caption 38, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

Nouns:

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

 

Qué decepción.

What a disappointment.

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

 Play Caption

 

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

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

Captions 48-49, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 2

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

 

7. WORRY/ANXIETY/STRESS

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

 

Adjectives:

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

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption
 

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

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

Caption 9, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

Reflexive Verbs:

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

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

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

Caption 67, Cuentas claras Sobreviviendo enero - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Nouns:

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

 

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

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

Captions 68-69, Cleer y Lida Picnic

 Play Caption

 

Siento ansiedad, la necesidad de contar quién soy

I feel anxiety, the need to tell who I am

Caption 2, Monsieur Periné Mi libertad

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

 

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Continue Reading
123...2526