Spanish Lessons

Topics

What Is the Present Progressive in Spanish?

How do we talk about an action in progress in Spanish? We use the Spanish present progressive tense, which we'll explore in this lesson.

 

The Spanish Present Progressive Tense

What is present progressive in Spanish? Simply put, the present progressive tense in Spanish describes actions that are unfolding as we speak, at this moment. Also called the present progressive, its English equivalent includes some form of the verb "to be" in present tense along with the gerund, or -ing form, of a verb. Some examples include: "I'm reading," "You are watching TV," or "We are eating dinner." The Spanish present progressive, which we'll learn to conjugate, takes a very similar form. 

 

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

Simple Present vs. Present Progressive in Spanish

So, when exactly do we use the present progressive tense in Spanish? And, what's the difference between the simple present and the Spanish present progressive? This can be a bit confusing since there is some overlap in terms of their English translations at times. Let's take a look:

 

¿Qué hacés vos acá? -¿Cómo qué hagoCorro

What are you doing here? -What do you mean, what am I doingI'm running.

Captions 65-66, Cuatro Amigas Piloto - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Although, much like the present progressive, the simple present tense in Spanish can sometimes be translated into English using the -ing form to say that one "is doing" something in the present, the Spanish simple present tense is also used to describe actions one does on a habitual basis:

 

¿Y los sábados y domingos, qué haces

And on Saturdays and Sundays, what do you do?

Caption 19, Español para principiantes Los días de la semana

 Play Caption

 

That said, if you really want to emphasize and/or remove any doubt that an action is in progress or happening at this moment, it's necessary to use the Spanish present progressive:

 

Silvia, ¿qué estás haciendo? -Estoy cocinando

Silvia, what are you doing? -I'm cooking.

Captions 31-32, El Aula Azul Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

 Play Caption

 

In fact, this last caption is from a video by El Aula Azul that simply and clearly demonstrates the difference between the simple present tense and the present progressive tense in Spanish. 

 

How to Form the Spanish Present Progressive 

Now that you know when to use the present progressive in Spanish, let's learn how to conjugate present progressive verbs in Spanish. To start, let's review (or learn!) the simple present conjugation of the verb estar (to be), which will convey the idea of "am" or "are":

 

Yo estoy (I am)

 estás (You are)

Él/ella/usted está (He, she is/you are)

Nosotros/nosotras estamos (We are)

Vosotros/vosotras estáis (You are [plural])

Ellos/ellas/ustedes están (They/you [plural] are)

 

Next, we'll need to break up infinitive Spanish verbs into two categories, verbs that end in -ar and verbs that end in either -er or -ir, in order to form their gerunds (gerundios).

 

 

Conjugating -ar verbs in the Spanish Present Progressive 

 

To form the gerund for regular -ar verbs, we'll take the verb's stem (the part before the -ar) and add the suffix -ando. For example, for hablar (to talk), we take the stem habl- and add -ando to get hablando. Let's take a look at a few examples of regular -ar verbs in the present progressive tense in Spanish:

 

Entonces, en este momento, ¿veis?, está hablando con su madre por teléfono.

So, right now, you see? He's talking to his mom on the phone.

Captions 60-61, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Eh... estoy buscando a Milagros.

Um... I am looking for Milagros.

Caption 6, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Estamos caminando aquí en Bleeker Street

We are walking here on Bleeker Street

Caption 72, Eljuri "Fuerte" EPK

 Play Caption

 

 

Conjugating -er  and -ir verbs in the Spanish Present Progressive 

 

Conjugating regular -er and -ir verbs in the present progressive Spanish tense is just as easy! Simply take the stem (remove the -er or -ir) and add the suffix -iendo.  Thus, for correr (to run), we have corr- plus -iendo to get corriendo, and for vivir (to live), we take viv- plus -iendo for viviendo. Let's look at a few more examples: 

 

¿Por qué estás comiendo basura?

Why are you eating garbage?

Caption 9, Kikirikí Agua - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

Está subiendo, está subiendo la rama.

He's climbing, he's climbing the branch.

Caption 98, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Coatís

 Play Caption

 

¿Dónde estáis vendiendo aceite?

Where are you selling oil?

Caption 1, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 14

 Play Caption

 

Irregular Verbs in the Present Progressive in Spanish

Although the Spanish present progressive tense is arguably one of the easier verbs to learn to conjugate in Spanish, there are some irregular verbs, of course, which fall into a few categories. Let's examine those categories of verbs with irregular conjugations in the Spanish present progressive. 

 

1. -Er and -ir verbs with a vowel before the ending

 

Verbs with the endings -aer, -eer, -oir, and -uir change from -iendo to -yendo in the Spanish present progressive. Here are some examples:

 

traer: trayendo (to bring/bringing) 

caer: cayendo (to fall/falling)

leer: leyendo (to read/reading)

creer: creyendo (to believe/believing)

construir: construyendo (to build/building)

huir: huyendo (to escape/escaping)

oír: oyendo (to hear/hearing)

 

Interestingly, the present progressive form of the verb ir (to go) is also yendo:

 

Sí, me venía a despedir porque ya me estoy yendo.

Yes, I came to say goodbye because I'm leaving now.

Caption 90, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

2. Stem-changing verbs in the present tense (-e to -ie or -i)

 

Some verbs that change stems in the Spanish simple present tense also have an irregular form in the Spanish present progressive. Verbs whose stems change from -e to -ie (e.g. sentir becomes yo siento, tú sientes, etc.) or -e to -i (vestir changes to yo visto, tú vistes, etc.) tend to change stems from an -e to an -i in the Spanish present progressive as well, while maintaining the suffix -iendo. Let's take a look at some common examples:

 

sentir: sintiendo (to feel/feeling)

preferir: prefiriendo (to prefer/preferring) 

mentir: mintiendo (to lie/lying)

vestir: vistiendo (to dress/dressing)

seguir: siguiendo (to follow/following)

conseguir: consiguiendo (to get/getting)

 

3. Stem-changing verbs in the present tense (-o to -ue)

 

On the other hand, verbs that change from an -o to a -ue in the simple present often change from an -o to a -u in the Spanish present progressive while maintaining their regular ending (-iendo). Examples include poder ("to be able," which morphs into yo puedotú​ puedes, etc.), dormir (to sleep," which becomes yo duermotú​ duermes, etc.), and morir ("to die," which transforms to yo muero, tú​ mueres, etc.). Let's look:

 

poder: pudiendo (to be able/being able)

dormir: durmiendo (to sleep/sleeping)

morir: muriendo (to die/dying) 

 

4. -Ir verbs that change from -e to -i in the simple present and end in -eír

 

Verbs in this fourth category also change from -to -i in the simple present (e.g. reír, or "to laugh," becomes yo río, tú ríes, etc.) but also have an -before the -ir ending. In this case, the -is dropped, while the ending -iendo is maintained, as follows: 

 

reír: riendo (to laugh/laughing)

sonreír: sonriendo (to smile/smiling)

freír: friendo (to fry/frying) 

 

The aforementioned irregular verbs in the present progressive in Spanish by no means constitute an exhaustive list, and although the rules that dictate which verbs are irregular might seem daunting, with increased exposure to Spanish, conjugating such irregular verbs in the present progressive in Spanish should become intuitive in no time! 

 

Irregular Spanish Present Progressive Verbs in Action 

 

Let's conclude today's lesson by looking at an example from each of the aforementioned categories of irregular present progressive verbs in Spanish:

 

Ellos están construyendo la puerta de entrada al santuario de burros.

They're building the entry gate to the donkey sanctuary.

Caption 25, Amaya Voluntarios

 Play Caption

 

Esa mujer nos está mintiendo y quiero saber por qué.

That woman is lying to us and I want to know why.

Caption 42, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

¡Aldo, tu hermano se está muriendo y a vos lo único que te interesa es la herencia!

Aldo, your brother is dying, and the only thing that interests you is the inheritance!

Caption 63, Yago 3 La foto - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

Se está riendo de todos nosotros.

He's laughing at all of us.

Caption 28, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

That's all for today. For more information on the present progressive Spanish tense, check out our latest video from El Aula Azul on that very topic! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

 

Continue Reading

How Do You Say "How Much" in Spanish (And So Much More!)?

How do you say "how much" in Spanish? In this lesson, you will learn to say "how much" in Spanish in both questions and statements as well to formulate some more specific "how much" questions and answers that you might be eager to learn!

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

How Do You Say "How Much" in Spanish? 

The simplest answer to this question is that, while there may be additional ways of saying "how much" in Spanish in particular contexts, the word cuánto is the most common way to say "how much" in Spanish and the one we will focus on today. Let's take a look at this word in action:

 

Ay, papá, para que se dé cuenta cuánto vamos a ganar con este negocio;

Oh, dude, so that you realize how much we are going to earn with this business;

Caption 11, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

While, in the example above, the word cuánto functions as a adverb meaning "how much" in Spanish, the word cuánto can also act as an adjective. In such cases, it will need to agree with the noun it modifies in terms of number and gender. Let's take a look at some examples of the word cuánto in its singular/plural and masculine/feminine forms:

 

Quiero, quiero, quiero ver cuánto amor a ti te cabe

I want, I want, I want to see how much love fits in you

Caption 40, Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee Despacito

 Play Caption

 

Escúchame, ¿cuántos frigoríficos necesitáis?

Listen to me, how many refrigerators do you guys need?

Caption 46, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 2

 Play Caption
 

¿Cuánta harina le agrego?

How much flour shall I add to it?

Caption 72, Ricardo La compañera de casa - Part 3

 Play Caption
 

¿Cuántas palabras sabes en español?

How many words do you know in Spanish?

Caption 1, El Aula Azul Adivina qué es - Part 2

 Play Caption
 
Notice that the translation for the plural forms of the word cuántocuántos and cuántas, is "how many."
 

Common Expressions with "How Much" in Spanish

Now that you know how to say "how much" in Spanish, let's look at some of the most searched-for English phrases including the words "how much" that many people want to learn how to say in Spanish:

 

1. "How much money" in Spanish

 

As one of the most common things one might associate with the words "how much" is money, you might be curious about how to say "how much money" in Spanish, which is simple: Add the singular masculine form of the adjective cuánto to the word for money, dinero, which is masculine and singular as well:

 

¿Cuánto dinero se puede sacar? Perras.

How much money can one get? Coins [colloquial].

Caption 48, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

2. "How much does it cost?" in Spanish

 

Now that we're talking about money, the abilty to ask the question, "How much does it cost?" in Spanish might come in extremely handy when traveling to a Spanish-speaking country. So, how do you say "How much does it cost?" in Spanish?

 

As it turns out, there are a number of ways to say "How much does it cost?" in Spanish. Most literally, as the verb costar means "to cost" in Spanish, "¿Cuánto cuesta?" and "¿Cuánto cuestan?" mean "How much does it cost?" or "How much do they cost?" respectively, with the verb conjugated in the third person singular or plural depending upon whether what is being asked about is singular or plural. In these cases, the word cuánto functions as an adverb meaning "how much" in Spanish and is thus always masculine and singular. 

 

"¿Cuánto cuesta esta billetera? ¿Cuánto cuesta esta cartera?"

"How much does this wallet cost? How much does this purse cost?"

Captions 32-33, Ana Carolina Salir de compras

 Play Caption
 

¿Y cuánto cuestan las lecciones?

And how much do the lessons cost?

Caption 21, Costa Azul Surf Shop Hablando con los Empleados Del Surf - Part 2

 Play Caption
 
The Spanish expression "¿Cuánto vale?" (literally "How much is it worth?) can also mean "How much does it cost?" in Spanish, with the verb conjugated in singular or plural once again depending on the sentence's subject, which is singular (este coche, or "this car") in this sentence:
 

¿Cuánto vale este coche? Este coche vale nuevo treinta y seis mil euros. 

How much does this car cost? This car costs new thirty-six thousand euros.

Captions 60-61, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 18

 Play Caption
 
Yet another expression meaning "How much does it cost?" in Spanish is: "¿A cuánto sale?" which might be literally translated as "What does it come out to?" The plural form salen would, of course, be used to ask about more than one noun.
 

¿A cuánto sale más o menos el botecito?

How much does the little jar cost, more or less?

Caption 29, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

4. "How much is it?" in Spanish 

 
Just like "How much is it?" is an alternative manner of asking "How much does it cost?" in English, "¿Cuánto es?"  is another way of asking "¿Cuánto cuesta?" in Spanish. As an example, you could say "¿Cuánto es esto?" if you want to ask "How much is this?" in Spanish (or "¿Cuánto son estos?" to say "How much are these?").  Let's take a look at this expression in the past imperfect tense:
 

¿Cuánto era, dos zoquitos? Eh. -No sé si...

How much was it, two zoquitos? Yeah. -I don't know if...

Caption 26, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

5. "How much do I owe you?" in Spanish 

 

To continue on our money theme, you might need to ask a waiter, for example, "How much do I owe you?" in Spanish. The Spanish verb for "to owe" is deber, as illustrated in the following sentence:

 

si debés más, pues, multiplicado, te daría una deuda mucho mayor.

if you owe more, well, multiplied, it would give you a much bigger debt.

Caption 47, Cuentas claras Sobreviviendo enero - Part 2

 Play Caption
 
Hence the way to ask "How much do I owe you?" in Spanish would be "¿Cuánto te debo?" or "¿Cuánto le debo?" where deber is conjugated in the first person (yo, or "I") and te or le are the indirect object pronouns representing "you" with either tú or usted.
 

6. "How much do you weigh?" in Spanish 

 

Even though this might be an unpopular question in some circles, many people are curious to know how to say "How much do you weigh?" in Spanish. Since the verb pesar means "to weigh," it can be paired with cuánto to ask about a person's weight as follows:

 

¿La madre, cuánto puede pesar, Jesús?

The mother, how much can she weigh, Jesus?

Caption 81, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Cachorro de leopardo - Part 2

 Play Caption
 
"¿Cuánto pesas?" (with ) or "¿Cuánto pesa?" (with usted ) would thus be manners of asking someone "How much do you weigh?" in Spanish. 
 

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Additional Expressions with Cuánto/s with Different English Translations 

Although our focus today has been how to translate English questions with "how much" into Spanish using the word cuánto and its variants, we should take a moment to mention that two of the most common Spanish questions that employ this word are not literally translated as "how much" or "how" many" in English. Let's take a look:

 

1. ¿Cuántos años tienes? 

 

You have probably heard the very common Spanish questions: "¿Cuántos años tienes?" or "¿Cuántos años tiene?"

 

¿Tú cuántos años tienes, Mariano? Yo, treinta y cinco. -¿Estás casado, tienes niños?

How old are you, Mariano? Me, thirty-five. -Are you married; do you have kids?

Captions 69-70, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 6

 Play Caption
 
Although "¿Cuántos años tienes?" literally means "How many years do you have?" this is the English equivalent of "How old are you?" since the Spanish "tener años" (to have years) refers to being a certain age. 
 
 

2. ¿Cuánto tiempo? 

 

Although the Spanish phrase "cuánto tiempo" literally means "how much time," this is most commonly expressed in English as "how long."

 

Para ese momento ¿ustedes cuánto tiempo llevaban de novios?

At that time, how long had you been girlfriend and boyfriend?

Caption 27, Tu Voz Estéreo Feliz Navidad - Part 8

 Play Caption
 

A Couple of Answers to Questions with "How Much" in Spanish

Now that you know a multitude of questions that include the concept of "how much" in Spanish, it might be useful know a couple of answers! Since one possible response to "How much?" might be "Too much," let's learn how to say "too much" in Spanish, which is most often expressed with the Spanish word demasiado.
 

¿Tu marido trabaja de domingo a domingo. ¿Cuánto? -Demasiado trabaja.

Your husband works from Sunday to Sunday. How much? -He works too much.

Captions 29-30, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 19

 Play Caption
 
Another common English response to the question of "How much?" in English could be "Not much"! So, how do you say "not much" in Spanish? This one is pretty literal and simple! Let's take a look:
 

Bueno, sé un poquito pero no mucho.

Well, I know a little bit but not much.

Caption 3, Arume La Vida Escolar

 Play Caption
 

In Conclusion...

To wrap up today's lesson on "how much" in Spanish, allow us to ask: ¿Cuánto aprendiste? (How much did you learn?). We hope that the answer is "very much" and look forward to your suggestions and comments

Continue Reading

The Imperfect Tense in Spanish: The Past That Just Won't Quit

What is the imperfect tense in Spanish? In contrast to the Spanish preterite, or simple past tense, which typically describes completed actions in the past, the imperfect tense in Spanish depicts past actions that were carried out regularly, over a longer period of time, or were in progress at a specified point. In addition to these uses of the imperfect tense in Spanish, there are other specific contexts in which it is necessary to use this tense, many of which we hope to illuminate for you today. 

banner PLACEHOLDER

When Do You Use Imperfect Tense in Spanish? 

Let's take a look at some situations in which it is necessary to use the Spanish imperfect tense.

 

 

1. To Describe Habitual Actions in the Past

 

The imperfect tense in Spanish distinguishes actions that occurred on a habitual basis in the past from isolated incidents. Let's begin to understand this by examining how this idea might be expressed in English:

 

When I was young, I used to visit my grandparents every summer.

 

When I was young, I would visit my grandparents every summer.

 

When I was young, I visited my grandparents every summer. 

 

Interestingly, all of these English sentences could be translated to Spanish using the same sentence in the imperfect tense:  "Cuando yo era joven, visitaba a mis abuelos todos los veranos." This is because, despite their structural differences, they all mean the same thing: that the speaker would regularly visit his or her grandparents in the past. 

 

Armed with this idea that the imperfect tense in Spanish can encompass various English constructions, let's take a look at some additional examples of sentences with verbs in the imperfect tense:

 

Cuentan los cronistas que veían desfilar a las tropas bajando desde lo que era el Cuartel de San Telmo hasta lo que hoy es conocido como el Bulevar donostiarra, 

The chroniclers tell that they would see the troops parading, coming down from what used to be the San Telmo Barracks to what is known today as the "Bulevar donostiarra" [Donostiarra Boulevard]

Captions 26-28, Días festivos La Tamborrada de San Sebastián

 Play Caption
 

eh... -Sí. -... practicaba fútbol.

um... -Yes. -...I used to play soccer.

Caption 27, Club 10 Capítulo 2 - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

In this second example, although an English speaker might say either, "Oh! I used to play soccer too!" or "Oh! I played soccer too!" to talk about something he or she did regularly at a previous juncture, the Spanish language would always employ the imperfect tense to distinguish this as a habitual action in the past. In contrast, if the speaker had just completed a game of soccer yesterday, he would instead use the preterite tense:

 

Ayer practiqué fútbol.

I played soccer yesterday. 

 

All that said, at the moment of constructing a sentence, in order to decide when to use the imperfect tense in Spanish, an English speaker must consider whether a past action took place just once or over an extended period, in which case it will be necessary to choose the imperfect tense. 

 

 

2. To Describe Incomplete or Interrupted Actions in the Past 

 

The imperfect tense in Spanish is also used to describe past actions that were incomplete or interrupted at the depicted moment. Let's take a look:

 

Vi que me acompañaba, mientras yo cantaba. -Sí.

I saw that you were accompanying me while I was singing. -Yes.

Caption 28, Yago 1 La llegada - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

Notice that imperfect verbs that describe past actions in progress are most commonly (but again, not always) expressed in English in the past progressive tense, e.g., "You were accompanying," "I was singing," etc. The same can be said of interrupted past actions, where the action in progress is conjugated in the imperfect tense in Spanish, while the interrupting action is in the preterite tense:

 

OK, o sea que vos pensás que yo iba por la calle y de repente conocí a una chica y la llevé a una obra en construcción para seducirla.

OK, in other words, you think that I was going down the street and suddenly, I met a girl and took her to a construction site to seduce her.

Captions 22-23, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Me sentía perdido hasta que un día me llegó un email.

I was feeling lost until, one day, I got an email.

Caption 24, Con ánimo de lucro Cortometraje - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

Notably, although the Spanish past progressive tense can also be used to describe incomplete or interrupted actions in some cases (e.g. Yo cocinaba cuando mi marido llegó a casa and Yo estaba cocinando cuando mi marido llegó a casa both mean "I was cooking when my husband got home"), in our examples above, the imperfect tense in Spanish would be the more likely choice. 

 

3. To Describe Conditions and Characteristics

 

Since they tend to be ongoing, rather than having a definite beginning or end, the imperfect tense in Spanish is additionally used to describe physical and other characteristics of people or things in the past.

 

Tenía una barba blanca que le llegaba hasta la cintura y una larga cabellera. Tenía además una corona dorada y vestía un manto blanco.

He had a white beard that went down to his waist and long hair. He also had a golden crown and wore a white robe.

Captions 12-14, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El mito de Bochica

 Play Caption
 

Pero no era la... mi... la Connie, mi esposa, sino era la otra, la rubia, que era muy bonita de ojos azules. 

But it wasn't the... my... Connie, my wife, but rather it was the other one, the blonde, who was very pretty with blue eyes.

Captions 29-30, Gonzalo el Pintor Vida - Part 1

 Play Caption
 
In this second example, it is notable that, even though the third person singular form of the verb ser (to be) in its preterite form (fue) can also be translated as "was" in some cases, the imperfect tense in Spanish is the correct manner of talking about traits in the past. The imperfect is also the preferred tense for describing past states of being, as in the following example:
 

Tenía su pata rota. Esta pata de aquí, la tenía rota.

His leg was broken. This leg here, it was broken.

Captions 17-18, Amaya La historia de Lukas

 Play Caption
 
This descriptive nature of the imperfect tense in Spanish makes it ideal for explaining "how things were," or "setting the scene" in literature, which is the focus of this additional Yabla lesson on the imperfect tense. 
 

4. To Talk About Age

 
Since age can also be thought of as characteristic rather than something that "occurs" in a given moment, the imperfect tense in Spanish is used to talk about it in past tense: 
 

Desde cuando tenía doce años, más o menos. 

Since I was twelve years old, more or less.

Caption 13, Encuentro Volkswagen en Adícora Escarabajos en la playa - Part 2

 Play Caption
 

4. To Talk About Dates and Time

 

Additionally, since "setting the scene" might entail recounting what day or time it "was," dates and times must be described in the Spanish imperfect tense:

 

Eran las cinco de la tarde.

It was five o'clock in the evening. 

 

ya que recuerdo que hacía un calor terrible, aunque todavía era el mes de junio

as I remember that it was terribly hot, despite the fact that it was still the month of June,

Captions 38-39, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata Poeska

 Play Caption

 

5. To Talk About Feelings

 

The imperfect tense in Spanish is also utilized to speak about emotions in the past:

 

Un poquito y ajá, y estaba triste porque dejaba mi familia y eso y ya.

A little bit, and uh-huh, and I was sad because I was leaving my family and all that and that's it.

Caption 70, Cleer Entrevista a Lila

 Play Caption

 

Todos en la casa estaban muy emocionados

Everyone in the house was very excited,

Caption 17, Cuentos de hadas Cenicienta - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

The Imperfect Tense in Spanish: Final Thoughts 

So... when do you use the imperfect tense in Spanish? We hope that this lesson has made it more clear that, in contrast to the Spanish preterite tense, the Spanish imperfect is reserved for past events that "kept on going" for an extended period. For more examples of imperfect tense in Spanish, we recommend Carlos' video on this topic, where he explores not only when to use imperfect tense in Spanish, but also how to conjugate its regular and some of its most common irregular forms.

 

That's all for today, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Beyond Cansado/Enojado: Describing Feelings of Tiredness or Anger in Spanish

Unfortunately, we all have times when we feel tired (cansado) or angry (enojado). So, how can we describe these emotions in Spanish, beyond those basic terms? In this lesson, we will go over some more evocative expressions to explain how you feel, say, after a hard day at the office or when you are sick and tired of arguing with that certain someone once more.

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Feeling Tired

There are several adjectives and phrases to show that we have run out of energy, one of which is estar agotado/a (to be exhausted):

 

Yo también estoy agotada.

I am also exhausted.

Caption 27, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 5

 Play Caption

In addition, the girls on Muñeca Brava, who are always colorful in their vocabulary and ready to share their emotions, give us three expressions in a row!

 

Te juro, Mili, que estoy muerta. No doy más. Knockout.

I swear to you, Mili, that I'm dead tired. I'm exhausted. Knocked out.

Captions 2-3, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 2

 Play Caption

Sometimes we are so tired that we tend to get irritable, and, in this kind of limbo before anger itself, you might feel agobio or fastidio. Unlike the previous examples, feeling agobiado or fastidioso cannot result from physical activity since these terms are related to your emotions. 

 

de un tipo que está agobiado.

of a guy who is overwhelmed.

Caption 60, Bersuit Vergarabat EPK - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Feeling Angry

On those other days when we are just plain mad, vocabulary like cabreado (annoyed), harto (sick and tired), and arrecho (angry) might come in handy. 

Bronca/rabia (annoyance)

 

It is worth mentioning that both bronca and rabia collocate, or tend to go along with, the same verbs: dar (in this case "to cause"), tener ("to be" or "feel" in these examples), and pasar (when that feeling has "passed," or "ended"):

 

Me da bronca/rabia.    It makes me angry/annoys me.

Tengo bronca/rabia.       I'm angry/furious.

Se me pasó la bronca/rabia.    I'm not angry anymore. 

 

me empezó a apretar y lo que más bronca me dio que me...

he started to squeeze me and what annoyed me the most [was] that...

Caption 14, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

que una forma de manejar la rabia es aceptar que tengo rabia y por qué,

that a way to manage rage is to accept that I feel rage and why,

Captions 51-52, Escribiendo un libro Algunos consejos sobre cómo comenzar - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Other useful adjectives are podrido/a (informal, colloquial), which is common in Argentina, or encabronado/a, which is common in Spain:

 

Mira, mi madre y vos me tienen podrido.

Look, I'm sick and tired of you and my mother.

Caption 30, Muñeca Brava 1 Piloto - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

Sacar de quicio/sacar de las casillas  (to make someone lose their temper)

 

On an episode of El Aula Azul's La Doctora Consejos, we learn the expression sacar de quicio (to annoy someone) and recommend watching this video to hear several examples of this expression:

 

¿qué cosas te sacan de quicio?

what things do you find annoying?

Caption 65, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y sentimientos

 Play Caption

 

This same video contains another idiom with a similar meaning that also uses the verb sacar:

 

¡Eso sí que me saca de mis casillas!

That really drives me crazy!

Caption 77, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y sentimientos

 Play Caption

 

And when someone has lost his or her temper, you might hear others say "Está sacado/a" (He/she lost it).

 

 

Estar hasta la coronilla

 

This additional idiom can be useful if you feel you've had enough and are short of patience:

 

Muy bien, estaba hasta la coronilla. 

Just great, I was fed up.

Caption 16, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 4

 Play Caption
 

Additional Verbs Meaning "to Make Someone Mad" (or Worse!)

Some other common verbs that can be used when something or someone "makes you angry" (or perhaps the less polite "pisses you off") include joder, reventar, sacar, embolar, and cabrear. In Spain, joder is also used as an extremely common exclamation (meaning anything on the spectrum of curse words from "Damn!" to worse), and in many countries, it can also mean "to party, "joke around with," or "kid" someone. 

 

Me revienta que me digas "te lo dije."

I hate it when you say "I told you so."

Caption 35, Muñeca Brava 1 Piloto - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

Keep in mind that, as all these verbs are informal and could potentially be perceived as rude outside the company of friends, it is always safer to go with more neutral verbs like enojar, irritar, molestar, or enfadar to express the idea that something has "made you mad." In doing so, you will also avoid regionalisms that could cause confusion across different Spanish dialects. 

 

Context Is Always Key

Some words can mean either angry or, of all things, horny! As a misunderstanding in this realm could be embarrassing, always analyze the context. In Argentina, for instance, the very informal calentarse or estar caliente can have either meaning. 

 

Bueno, Llamita, pero eso tiene solución; no te calentés.

Well, Llamita, but that has a solution; don't get mad.

Captions 65-66, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

The same thing happens across countries with the word arrecho. While arrecho means "angry" in Venezuela, in Colombia it can either mean "cool" or, once again, "horny." A bit confusing, right?

 

Yabla's video Curso de español Expresiones de sentimientos elaborates on this and other expressions of emotion:

 

Entonces, "arrecho" en Venezuela significa enojado, pero en otros países significa otra cosa diferente

So, "arrecho" in Venezuela means mad, but in other countries it means different things

Captions 49-50, Curso de español Expresiones de sentimientos

 Play Caption

 

The word arrecho is also used by the Colombian band ChocQuib Town, with its alternative meaning:

 

Y si sos chocoano, sos arrecho por cultura, ¡ey!

And if you are from Chocó, you are horny by culture, ay!

Caption 20, ChocQuibTown Somos Pacifico

 Play Caption

 

That's all for now. We hope that you have found these alternative manners of talking about tiredness and anger useful (and that you don´t need to use them too often)! And don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments

 

Continue Reading

The Spanish Verb Quemar: Don't Get Burned!

Are you familiar with the Spanish verb quemar and its reflexive counterpart quemarse? Although a common translation for both of these verbs is "to burn," they have many additional, nuanced translations, including some idiomatic ones, which today's lesson will explore.

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Quemar vs. Quemarse

In some cases, distinguishing between a verb and its reflexive form is a bit challenging. Most simply put, the verb quemar often means "to burn" in the sense of a subject "burning" on object, for example, when something has the ability "to burn" other things due to its high temperature or something or someone "burns" something else, as in the example: Yo espero no quemar la torta (I hope not to burn the cake). Let's take a look at some additional examples:

 

me encanta, eh... usar salvia que incluso tengo en mi... en mi jardín. La quemo y con eso recorro mi casa

I love to, um... use sage that I even have in my... in my garden. I burn it, and I go around the house with it,

Captions 31-33, Tatiana y su cocina Sus ingredientes "mágicos"

 Play Caption

 

Mili, quemá esa camisa por favor; que desaparezca;

Mili, burn that shirt please; it should disappear;

Caption 10, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

In contrast, the reflexive form, quemarse, refers to an action that happens on its own or within itself and, thus, frequently describes someone or something "burning itself" or "getting burned":

 

No es nada, señora. -¿Cómo no me voy a preocupar si te quemaste? -¡Ay pero qué tonta!

It's nothing, ma'am. -How am I not going to be worried if you burned yourself? -Oh, but how foolish [I am]!

Captions 22-23, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

Note that an alternative translation for te quemaste in this sentence could be, "you got burned." Let's look at an additional example:

 

Este es el color, aproxi'... es como marrón dorado pero no muy oscuro porque si no, se quema la arepa.

This is the color, approx'... it's like golden brown, but not very dark because, otherwise, the arepa gets burned.

Captions 40-41, Dany Arepas - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

While se quema la arepa could also be expressed with the phrase "the arepa burns," the important thing is that, with the reflexive form, the process is happening by or to itself rather than with a subject performing the action on some object.

 

Non-Physical Meanings of the Verb Quemar

Like the English verb "to burn," the Spanish verb quemar also has meanings that extend beyond the literal meaning of physical burning. Let's take a look:

 

En... Y en las noches, eh, siento que, que todo el brazo me quema.

At... And at night, um, I feel that, that my whole arm burns.

Caption 13, Los médicos explican El tratamiento de las fracturas - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Siento dentro de mí ese sentimiento Que es grande, profundo y me quema por dentro. Yo sé que es amor

I feel inside me that feeling That's big, deep, and it burns me inside. I know it's love

Captions 25-26, Alberto Barros Mano a mano

 Play Caption

 

So, we see that, like the word "burn" in English, the Spanish verb quemar can extend to intense physical and emotional sensations, which is why both the Spanish and English versions often appear in music and literature. 

 

Just like in English, the Spanish verb quemar can also mean "to work off," as in "to burn calories," etc.:

 

También ayuda a quemar grasas

It also helps to burn fat.

Caption 35, Cleer Hobbies

 Play Caption
 

And finally, as we can refer to "burning," or recording, a CD in English, we could also quemar un compact in Spanish. 

 

Alternative Translations for the Verb Quemarse

So, what about quemarse? In certain contexts, the Spanish verb quemarse can also mean to "burn down," in the sense of getting destroyed by fire. Let's take a look:

 

Y hace unos veinticinco años se quemó todo este edificio. 

And about twenty-five years ago this whole building burned down.

Caption 5, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 8

 Play Caption

 

In other cases, quemarse can mean "to burn out" or "blow" (as in a fuse), as in ceasing to work due to excessive friction or heat:

 

Se me quemó una lamparita... 

A light bulb burned out on me...

Caption 77, Verano Eterno Fiesta Grande - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

Yet another possible translation for quemarse in some contexts is "to go up in smoke," in the sense of catching fire:

 

porque cuando se escapan sueltan chispas que provocan que se queme la instalación eléctrica, y puede provocar un incendio. 

because when they get loose they give off sparks that make the electrical system go up in smoke, and it can cause a fire.

Captions 52-54, Club de las ideas La motivación

 Play Caption
 
So, as always, context is key to understanding the meaning of the verb quemarse since its meanings can vary. 
 

When Quemarse Doesn't Mean "To Burn"

If someone exclaims, "¡Te quemaste!" to you after a day at the beach, you might assume they are conveying to you that you've gotten a sunburn, and, in some countries, that might be true. However, this very same expression is utilized in other countries, like Argentina, to tell someone they got a suntan. We see this usage in the following clip, where the speaker refers to herself as quemada, which literally means "burnt":

 

A mí me encanta estar quemada pero este sol me recalienta la cabeza,

I love being tan, but this sun is overheating my head,

Caption 22, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

Then, in the following passage, the verb quemarse has been translated as "to grill" since it refers to the manner in which this fish is cooked, rather than it actually burning:

 

Es más higiénica y se quema el pescado pero no se cae la caña.

It's more hygienic, and the fish grills, but the cane doesn't fall.

Caption 16, Málaga La tradición de los espetos

 Play Caption

In some cases involving cooking, the English verb "to char" could be another possible translation. 

 

Quemarse as an Idiomatic Expression

We'll conclude this lesson by mentioning an idiomatic use of the verbs quemarse, which, in some cases, is a rough equivalent of the English "to blow it" or "screw up." For example:

 

Ahí te quemaste, hermano.

 That's where you screwed up, brother.

 

Me quemé en el examen de astronomia. 

I blew it on the astronomy test. 

 

Let's take a look at a similar example from the Yabla video library:

 

Hablando de quemar, cómo me quemé con Andrea, mi vida, por favor.

Speaking of burning, I really burned my bridges with Andrea, my dear, please.

Caption 28, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

As the speaker is referring to making a mistake with a particular person during an argument, the English expression "to burn one's bridges" adequately conveys this idea in this context. Interestingly, another manner of saying this in Spanish is quemar las naves (literally "to burn one's boats").

 

We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, which mentions just some of the many uses of the Spanish verbs quemar and quemarse. Can you think of more? Don't hesitate to let us know with your suggestions and comments

 

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

 

 

Continue Reading

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (In Spanish)

As the old song goes, "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do," in any language! That said, as there are an abundance of ways to describe the concept of "breaking up" in a relationship in Spanish, we thought we'd introduce you to several, many of which are featured in videos from our Yabla Spanish library. 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Ways to Say "to Break Up" in Spanish

Interestingly, many common verbs with different meanings in everyday use can also mean "to break up" in Spanish in certain contexts. The way one chooses to speak about "breaking up" in Spanish will depend upon both regional tendencies and personal preference. Let's take a look at some of them:

 

1. Acabar con (alguien)

 

Starting with an example from our lesson on the verb acabar, literally meaning "to finish with," acabar con is one manner of saying "to break up" in Spanish:

 

Pienso acabar con mi novio.

I'm planning to break up with my boyfriend. 

 

2. Terminar (a alguien) 

 

The Spanish verb terminar also means "to finish," but it can also mean "to break up." So, naturally, terminar a alguien (literally "to finish someone") means "to break up with" that person. We encounter these expressions a lot in Colombian series like Los Años Maravillosos and Confidencial: El rey de la estafa:

 

Van a terminar.

They're going to break up.

Caption 64, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Andrea, Andrea, no me diga que es en serio que usted me va a terminar.

Andrea, Andrea, don't tell me it's serious that you're going to break up with me.

Caption 47, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 13

 Play Caption

 

3. Cortar 

 

Literally meaning "to cut" or "cut off," cortar is yet another Spanish verb used to speak about "breaking up" with someone:

 

No está enamorado de Andrea y no sabe cómo cortarla.

He's not in love with Andrea and doesn't know how to break up with her.

Caption 89, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

4. Dejar 

 

The Spanish verb dejar means "to leave." Let's look at an example where the verb dejar in the preterite tense has been translated as "broke up with":

 

Salía con un chico, pero la dejó hace dos semanas.

She was dating a guy, but he broke up with her two weeks ago.

Captions 54-55, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y persona ideal

 Play Caption

 

Although this sentence may alternatively have been translated as "he left her two weeks ago," the English expression "to leave someone" is arguably used more commonly to talk about abandoning a longer-term relationship. So, in this context, where someone appears to have been dating someone for a shorter time, "to break up with" serves as a viable translation for the verb dejar

 

5. Pelearse

 

Although the Spanish verb pelearse typically means "to fight," "have an argument," or even "come to blows with," in certain countries like Argentina, it can also mean "to break up":

 

More, vos acabas de pelearte con Tomás,

More [Morena], you just broke up with Tomas,

Caption 49, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

That said, should you hear se pelearon (literally "they fought") or están peleados (they're in a fight), additional clarification may be required. While in certain regions or contexts, these two utterances might simply describe people "in a fight" or "mad at each other," in others, they can mean "they broke up," "split up," or "are broken up" temporarily. 

 

6. Romper con 

 

The verb romper in Spanish can mean to "to break," as in an object, but when combined with the preposition con (with), it can additionally mean "to break up":

 

Ella rompió con su novio hace dos semanas.

She broke up with her boyfriend two weeks ago. 

 

Of course, the verb romper could also be used to describe the "breaking" of one's heart following the breakup: 

 

A las niñas, les rompen el corazón.

Girls, they get their hearts broken [literally, "they break their hearts"].

Captions 44-45, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

Additional Spanish "Breakup" Verbs

Vamos a terminar ("Let's conclude," in this context) this lesson with two terms that should be easy to remember since they are very similar to their English counterparts:

 

7. Separarse

 

The Spanish verb separarse means "to get separated":

 

Pasa que mis viejos se separaron, por eso.

It so happens that my parents got separated, that's why.

Caption 38, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

8. Divorciarse

 

As you might guess, the Spanish verb divorciarse means "to get divorced":

 

Pero... como mis papás se divorciaron cuando yo tenía dos años y mi mamá no se volvió a casar...

But... since my parents got divorced when I was two years old, and my mother didn't remarry...

Captions 54-55, La Sub30 Familias - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Now that we've provided you with a multitude of ways to say "to break up" in Spanish, te dejamos. But don't worry! We're not breaking up with you. We're just saying goodbye for today— and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

Continue Reading

Spanish Reflexive Verbs for Your Daily Routine

What are reflexive verbs in Spanish? A reflexive verb is a verb in which the subject (person or thing that completes the action) and object (person or thing that receives the action) are one in the same. In other words, the action "reflects back" onto the subject, or entails something one does to or for him or herself. It is no wonder then, that many of the things we "do to ourselves" in our daily routines (e.g. shaving ourselves, washing ourselves, etc.) fall into the category of reflexive Spanish verbs. 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Recognizing Spanish Reflexive Verbs 

 

How can we recognize Spanish reflexive verbs? The main way to distinguish reflexive verbs in Spanish is by the fact that they all end in the pronoun se in their infinitive form. To take a very simple example, while the verb hablar means "to talk," hablarse is a reflexive verb meaning "to talk to oneself." However, the translations for reflexive verbs in Spanish aren't always so straight-forward. 

 

As we often say just "I shave" or "I wash" in lieu of "I shave/wash myself," the English translations of Spanish reflexive verbs won't always include pronouns like "myself," "yourself," etc. In other cases, the meanings of verbs like parecer (to seem) completely change in their reflexive forms (parecerse means "to look like"). And so, as there are a lot more reflexive verbs in Spanish than in English, many of which may not "seem" reflexive, with increased exposure to Spanish, we will learn which English concepts are expressed with Spanish reflexive verbs.

 

Conjugating Spanish Reflexive Verbs: Reflexive Pronouns

 

To conjugate reflexive verbs in Spanish, we must memorize the reflexive pronouns that correspond to each personal pronoun: yo (I), tú (you), etc.). Reflexive pronouns are most often placed before the verb, which is conjugated "as usual" (in the same way as its non-reflexive form). To demonstrate this, let's take a look at the reflexive pronouns and the simple present conjugation of the regular verb hablar. We will then show you the conjugation of its reflexive form (hablarse).

 

Personal Pronoun Reflexive Pronoun Hablar Hablarse
yo me hablo me hablo
te hablas te hablas
él, ella, usted se habla se habla
nosotros/as nos hablamos nos hablamos
vosotros/as os habláis os habláis
ellos/as, ustedes se hablar se hablan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Reflexive Verbs in Spanish for Your Daily Routine

 

Now that you know the Spanish reflexive pronouns and how to conjugate reflexive Spanish verbs, let's take a look at some examples of reflexive verbs in Spanish for describing things that many of us do on a daily basis, with lots of instances from our Yabla video library as always! Here is our list of Spanish reflexive verbs for your daily routine: 

 

1. Despertarse

 

The Spanish reflexive verb despertarse means "to wake up":

 

y por la mañana me despierto entre seis y cuarenta y cinco a siete y cuarto. 

and in the morning I wake up between six forty-five and seven fifteen.

Caption 62, Los médicos explican Diagnóstico: nervios y estrés

 Play Caption

 

2. Levantarse

 

After waking up, the next step might be levantarse ("to get up" or "get out of bed"):

 

Se levanta muy temprano. 

She gets up very early.

Caption 51, El Aula Azul Las Profesiones - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

In other contexts, the reflexive Spanish verb levantarse could also mean, among other things, "to stand up" or "get up," as from a seat, or even "to rise up against," as in a rebellion. 

 

3. Bañarse

 

The Spanish noun baño means "bath," and the verb bañarse can mean "to take a bath" as well. However, as bañarse can also be the more general "to bathe," a person might even use this verb to express the fact that they are taking a shower! Let's look at an example of this reflexive Spanish verb: 

 

Uno se baña todos los días, mijita.

One bathes every day, my girl.

Caption 41, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

On the other hand, if a person at the beach expresses their desire to bañarse, rather than wanting to wash the sand off of themselves, they are letting you know they would like to take a dip! The Spanish reflexive verb bañarse can also mean "to go swimming," a translation that often comes as a surprise to English speakers:

 

No hay muchas olas grandes como en Atacames. Es más tranquilo para bañarse.

There aren't many big waves like in Atacames. It's more peaceful to go swimming.

Captions 62-63, Pipo Un paseo por la playa de Atacames

 Play Caption

 

4. Ducharse

 

In the morning, at night, or after the beach, indeed, one might need to ducharse (to take a shower):

 

¿Qué está haciendo Silvia? Silvia se está duchando.

What is Silvia doing? Silvia is taking a shower.

Captions 11-12, El Aula Azul Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

 Play Caption

 

Note that, in this example, the verb ducharse is conjugated in the present progressive tense. As with the present indicative and all other tenses, verbs are conjugated in the exact same way as they would be were they non-reflexive, with the addition of the appropriate reflexive pronoun. 

 

5. Lavarse

 

The reflexive verb in Spanish lavarse generally means "to wash (oneself)." Let's look at an example: 

 

Por ejemplo, "Yo me lavo". La acción recae sobre la persona que realiza la acción. Pero, "Yo lavo los platos".

For example, "Yo me lavo" [I wash myself]. The action falls back upon the person who carries out the action. But, "Yo lavo los platos" [I wash the dishes].

Captions 45-48, Lecciones con Carolina Verbos reflexivos

 Play Caption

 

In this informative video about Spanish reflexive verbs, Yabla fan favorite Carolina explains the difference between reflexive and non-reflexive verbs, in this case the verbs lavar (to wash) and lavarse (to wash oneself). Let's look at an additional example: 

 

Yo me lavo las manos. Tú te lavas las manos.

I wash my hands. You wash your hands.

Captions 19-20, Fundamentos del Español 9 - Verbos Reflexivos

 Play Caption

 

Unlike in English, where we express the idea of washing one's hands or some other body part with a possessive pronoun (my, your, etc.), this is not the case in Spanish. Instead, we use the definite article for the noun in question, manos (hands), in this case, las (the). Because the reflexive pronoun already indicates that the action is something we do to ourselves, it would be redundant in Spanish to say: Yo me lavo mis manos. As the correct way to express this is "Yo me lavo las manos," it might help you to remember the literal but non-sensical translation: "I wash myself the hands."

 

That said, let's move on to something else that's expressed with the notion of "washing" in Spanish: lavarse los dientes (to brush one's teeth). 

 

6. Lavarse/cepillarse los dientes

 

Lavarse los dientes (literally "to wash one's teeth") is one of saying "to brush one's teeth" in Spanish: 

 

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

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

Caption 3, El Aula Azul Actividades Diarias

 Play Caption

 

Different countries, regions, or individuals might instead use cepillarse los dientes, which also means "to brush one's teeth." Let's check out an example in the preterite tense: 

 

Se cepilló los dientes,

He brushed his teeth,

Caption 20, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

7. Cepillarse el pelo/cabello

 

By extension, the noun el cepillo means "the brush," and we might have a cepillo de dientes (toothbrush) as well as a cepillo de pelo/cabello (hair brush), as in the following caption:

 

Sí... -¿Qué necesitamos para ir allí? El cepillo de dientes. El cepillo del pelo.

Yes... -What do we need to go there? A toothbrush. A hair brush.

Captions 49-51, Un Viaje a Mallorca Planificando el viaje

 Play Caption

 

So, you've probably surmised by now that the verb cepillarse el pelo/cabello means "to brush one's hair."

 

8. Peinarse

 

The verb peinarse can mean "to comb one's hair" with a comb (un peine), "to brush one's hair," or "to do" or "style" one's hair in general:

 

Por eso paró en la playa para mirarse en el espejo y peinarse.

That's why she stopped on the beach to look at herself in the mirror and comb her hair.

Captions 21-22, Guillermina y Candelario Mi Amiga la Sirena

 Play Caption

 

9. Afeitarse

 

Afeitarse is the verb for "to shave" (oneself, of course)!

 

Vos sabés lo que es todas las mañanas... mirarse en el espejo cuando uno se afeita

Do you know what it's like every morning... to look at oneself in the mirror when one's shaving,

Captions 30-31, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 13

 Play Caption

 

10. Maquillarse

 

The next step in one's morning routine might be maquillarse (to put on makeup):

 

Aquí, siempre me maquillo para mis conciertos.

Here, I always put on makeup for my concerts.

Caption 47, Ariana Mi Casa

 Play Caption

 

Alternatively, one might say Aquí, siempre me pinto para mis conciertos, as pintarse (literally "to paint oneself") also means "to put on makeup." 

 

11. Vestirse

 

Vestirse is the way to say "to get dressed" in Spanish. 

 

Yo salgo y... y te vistes.

I'll leave and... and you get dressed.

Caption 30, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 8

 Play Caption

 

Another way to say this might be ponerse la ropa (to put on one's clothes). 

 

12. Sacarse la ropa

 

Although sacarse la ropa is one manner of saying "to get undressed" or "take off one's clothes," there are many other examples of reflexive verbs in Spanish that mean the same thing, including: quitarse la ropa, desvestirse, and desnudarse. Let's look at a couple of examples: 

 

Si "Libertinaje" te saca... te invita a sacarte la ropa,

If "Libertinaje" takes off your..... invites you to take off your clothes,

Captions 4-5, Bersuit Vergarabat EPK - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Y se desnuda poco a poco y se convierte en tu piel

And she gets naked little by little and she becomes your skin

Caption 6, Reik Inolvidable

 Play Caption

 

As you can see, the more literal "to get naked" might be an alternate translation for desnudarse. 

 

13. Acostarse 

 

We're finally getting to the end of our daily routine, when it's time for us to acostarnos (go to bed): 

 

Tranquilícese, vaya a acostarse y deje de pensar en imposibles.

Calm down, go to bed, and stop thinking about impossible things.

Caption 31, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

14. Dormirse

 

And finally, once in bed, it's time to fall asleep! While the non-reflexive dormir means "to sleep," dormirse means "to fall asleep." 

 

Me dormí pensando en ti; pensando en ti, me desperté

I fell asleep thinking about you; thinking about you, I woke up

Caption 10, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 13

 Play Caption

 

More Reflexive Verbs in Spanish 

 

Of course, this is just a partial list of reflexive verbs in Spanish that might be applicable to our daily routines. There are a lot more common reflexive verbs in Spanish that describe things one might do on a daily basis, including secarse (to dry oneself off), sentarse (to sit down), sentirse (to feel), emocionarse (to get excited), encontrarse con alguien (to meet with someone), acordarse de (to remember), olvidarse (to forget), sonreírse (to smile), reírse (to laugh), despedirse (to say goodbye), irse (to leave), and many, many more! 

 

For additional information on Spanish reflexive verbs, check out this video from the series Fundamentos del Español. And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

Continue Reading

Top 10 False Cognates in Spanish

In a previous lesson, we focused on the Spanish verb pretender (to hope, expect, try, etc.). Although this word closely resembles the English word "pretend," its meaning is totally different, putting it into the category of false cognates in Spanish. Also known as "faux amis" or "false friends," English-speakers often misuse these types of words for obvious reasons! Let's take a look at some of the most common false cognates in Spanish so we can be on the lookout for them in everyday speech. 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

List of False Cognates in Spanish: Yabla's Top Ten 

 

1. embarazada 

While English speakers might be tempted to say Estoy embarazada when attempting to say "I'm embarrassed," this could lead to a very serious misunderstanding! Let's take a look: 

 

Si estuviera embarazada, me hubiera dado cuenta. ¿No le parece?

If I were pregnant, I would have noticed! Don't you think?

Caption 71, Muñeca Brava 44 El encuentro - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

While we can see that estar embarazada means "to be pregnant," there are many ways to express the idea of being embarrassed in Spanish, such as tener vergüenza or dar(le) pena (a alguien). Let's look at some examples:

 

Es que me da pena.

It's just that I'm embarrassed.

Caption 42, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

En este momento, duda porque tiene vergüenza de ir a la escuela,

At this moment she hesitates because she's embarrassed to go to school,

Caption 49, Con ánimo de lucro Cortometraje - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

2. actual

The Spanish adjective actual is very confusing since it is spelled exactly like the English word "actual." However, actual is a false cognate in Spanish that "actually" means "current," as in the following example: 

 

Creo que realmente hay que buscar otra vía, otra solución a... la situación de ahora. -A la situación actual.

I think that you really need to find another road, another solution to... to the situation now. -To the current situation.

Captions 43-44, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

If you do want to speak about the "actual situation" in Spanish, you might say: la situación verdadera or la situación real. Let's check out these two words in action:

 

Pero esta es la verdadera isla

But this one is the actual island

Caption 26, Cholito En la playa con Cholito - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Nadie sabe el nombre real de esta ciudad,

Nobody knows the actual name of this city,

Caption 37, Querido México Teotihuacán

 Play Caption

 

3. éxito

The Spanish noun éxito might look like "exit," but its actual meaning is "success," while the Spanish verb tener éxito means "to be successful": 

 

Bueno, ha sido un éxito, ¿no, Jesús?

Well, it has been a success, right, Jesus?

Caption 88, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Cachorro de leopardo - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

El brut ha tenido mucho éxito.

The brut has been very successful.

Caption 51, Europa Abierta Champagne en Andalucía

 Play Caption

 

On the other hand, in order to talk about an actual "exit" in Spanish, la salida is the way to go: 

 

Tiene una salida al patio de atrás para su ventilación.

It has an exit to the back patio for your ventilation.

Caption 12, Ricardo La compañera de casa - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

4. fábrica

Although it might seem like la fábrica would mean "the fabric," its true translation is "the factory." 

 

un tipo que tenía una fábrica de alcancías ¿no? Y la gente dejaba de ahorrar y el tipo se va a la quiebra.

a guy who had a piggy bank factory, right? And people stopped saving and the guy goes bankrupt.

Captions 32-33, Muñeca Brava 47 Esperanzas - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

As we see in the following example, the Spanish word for "fabric" is tela:

 

Aquí, tengo un cárdigan liviano. La tela no es muy gruesa,

Here, I have a light knit sweater. The fabric isn't very thick,

Captions 30-31, Natalia de Ecuador Vocabulario de prendas de vestir

 Play Caption

 

As a side note, although the verb fabricar occasionally means "to fabricate" in the sense of lying or making things up, the more common verbs for describing those actions are mentir and inventar, whereas the most typical translation for fabricar is "to make" or "manufacture":

 

la cuarta generación de una empresa familiar que fabrica diferentes variedades de zumos, sidras, sopas y mermeladas.

the fourth generation of a family business that manufactures different kinds of juices, ciders, soups and jams.

Captions 28-29, Europa Abierta Empuje para Pymes

 Play Caption

 

That said, let's take a look at some additional verbs that fall into the "false friend" category.

 

5. molestar

The Spanish verb molestar does not mean "to molest" (for which you might say abusar or acosar sexualmente), but rather "to annoy" or "bother":

 

Vine a decirte que te quedes tranquilo, que mi hijo no te va a molestar más.

I came to tell you to not to worry, that my son is not going to bother you anymore.

Captions 1-2, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 8

 Play Caption

 

Once again, substitution of the word this verb sounds like in English could result in a very serious misunderstanding. 

 

6. enviar 

Just because it sounds like "envy," don't mix up the Spanish verb enviar, which means "to send," with envidiar (to envy). Let's take a look at examples of each of these verbs: 

 

Como ya tengo su dirección de correo, le puedo enviar el contrato.

As I already have your e-mail address, I can send you the contract.

Caption 37, Negocios Empezar en un nuevo trabajo - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

¡Ay, cómo envidio esa sartén! No sabe.

Oh, how I envy that frying pan! You don't know.

Caption 1, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

7. introducir

The most common translations for the Spanish verb introducir are "to put" or "insert." Let's look: 

 

Ahora lo que tenemos que hacer es introducir todo en la olla.

What we have to do now is put everything in the pot.

Caption 43, La cocina de María Cocido Malagueño

 Play Caption

 

Ahora introduces la esquina izquierda en este doblez,

Now you insert the left corner into this fold,

Caption 48, Manos a la obra Separadores de libros: Charmander

 Play Caption

 

It is worth noting that the Spanish verb introducir can occasionally be translated as "to introduce," most often when speaking about the introduction of some item or concept. However, the most frequently employed verb to describe the idea of "introducing," say, people to one another, is presentar

 

Les quiero presentar a Pedro, un experto en la Calle Ocho.

I want to introduce you guys to Pedro, an expert on Calle Ocho.

Caption 21, La Calle 8 Un recorrido fascinante

 Play Caption

 

8. asistir

Let's examine a typical use of the Spanish verb asistir:

 

y me fascinaba perderme entre sus calles y asistir a la innumerable cantidad de eventos culturales que la ciudad tiene para ofrecerte.

and it fascinated me to get lost in its streets and attend the countless number of cultural events that the city has to offer you.

Captions 11-13, Latinos por el mundo Gio en Barcelona

 Play Caption

 

Although the Spanish verb asistir can indeed mean "to help" or "assist," this verb and its counterpart asistir a are included in the category of false cognates in Spanish due to their alternative meaning, "to attend."

 

9. recordar

Although the Spanish false cognate recordar certainly seems like it would mean "to record," it actually means "to remember" or "remind," as in the following captions:

 

empiezan a hacer su ritual de movimientos y sonidos, si hace falta, para recordarte que es la hora de su comida.

they start to do their ritual of movements and sounds, if necessary, to remind you that it's their mealtime.

Captions 58-59, Fermín y los gatos Mis gatas vecinas

 Play Caption

 

¿Recuerdas cuál era la copa para servir vino?

Do you remember which cup was the one for serving wine?

Caption 36, Ana Carolina El comedor

 Play Caption

 

"To record," in turn, is conveyed with the Spanish verb grabar:

 

Utiliza video o audio para grabarte mientras lees o improvisas un pequeño diálogo,

Use video or audio to record yourself while you read or improvise a little dialogue,

Captions 51-52, Ana Carolina Mejorando la pronunciación

 Play Caption

 

10. soportar

Rather than "to support," the Spanish verb soportar often means "to tolerate," "endure," or "bear":

 

No lo pude aguantar, no se puede soportar eso.

I couldn't stand it, that can't be tolerated.

Caption 50, Yago 7 Encuentros - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Although "soportar" can also mean "support" in the sense of bearing weight, the more common verb for talking about the notion of "supporting" someone or something, especially in figurative senses such as emotionally, economically, etc., is apoyar:

 

La abuela estaba loca si pensaba que la íbamos a apoyar.

Grandma was crazy if she thought that we were going to support her.

Caption 9, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

These are just a few examples of the many false cognates in Spanish. For additional examples of false cognates in Spanish, you might enjoy our lessons on the verbs realizar (to carry out) and falta (shortage, foul, offense, etc.). In the meantime, we hope our list of false cognates in Spanish will help you to identify and understand them when you run across them— and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

Continue Reading

Muy vs. Mucho in Spanish

Should you use mucho or muyDo you know how to say the Spanish words muy and mucho in English? What is the difference between muy vs. mucho in Spanish? 

 

Definitions of Muy vs. Mucho

Simply put, muy in English would be "very" or "really," while mucho in English means "many," "much," or "a lot." However, as these words can wear muchos sombreros (a lot of hats), muy vs. mucho can be un concepto muy difícil (a very difficult concept) for many English speakers. 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Muy + Adjective

When muy is accompanied by an adjective, the adjective that modifies the noun must agree with that noun in terms of gender and number. The "good news," however, is that the word muy itself always stays the same, regardless of whether the noun it modifies is singular or plural or masculine or feminine. Let's take a look:

 

es un artista plástico español muy reconocido.

is a very famous fine art artist.

Caption 14, Amaya Vínculo: un mural muy especial

 Play Caption

 

¡estos plátanos son muy pequeños!

these bananas are very small!

Caption 30, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

 Play Caption

 

Es una ciudad muy linda que tiene un cri'... clima primaveral.

It's a very beautiful city that has a spri'... spring-like climate.

Caption 47, Cleer Entrevista con Jacky

 Play Caption

 

Las ranas son definitivamente las mejores maestras en salto.muhy Pero son muy vanidosas.

Frogs are definitely the best jumping masters. But they're very full of themselves.

Captions 22-23, Guillermina y Candelario Una Amiga muy Presumida - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Just to reiterate, although the adjectives are singular or plural and masculine or feminine, in agreement with their corresponding nouns, the word muy always remains the same. 

 

Muy + Adverb

The word muy in Spanish also remains the same when accompanying an adverb, which modifies a verb, as in the following examples:

 

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

 

Kristen, por ejemplo, tú has dicho, muy rápidamente,

Kristen, for example, you've said, very quickly,

Caption 11, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

When constructing or understanding sentences with muy in Spanish, how will you know whether you are contending with an adjective or an adverb? When you see a word that ends with the suffix -mente (equivalent to -ly in English), as in the examples above, you can be sure you have an adverb. However, as not all adverbs take this form and some words can function as either adjectives or adverbs, depending upon the context, it can sometimes be tough to tell the difference. Let's take a look at an example with the word rápido, which may be used as an adverb in lieu of rápidamente:

 

porque lo hacen muy rápido

because they do it very quickly.

Caption 46, Animales en familia Señales de calma y cosquillas en los perros

 Play Caption

 

Like the English word "fast," rápido can function as an adjective when describing a noun (e.g. un carro rápido/a fast car) or an adverb when describing an action (el carro va rápido/the car goes fast) to talk about something that happens "fast" or "quickly." The tricky aspect of this is that, while rápido would need to agree in terms of gender and number when employed as an adjective (e.g. unos carros rápidos), as an adverb, it remains the same (in its masculine singular form) regardless of the number of people or objects performing the action. Let's see one more example:

 

Vamos a trabajar muy fuerte.

We're going to work very hard.

Caption 29, Documental de Alejandro Fernandez Viento A Favor - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Note that as always, the word muy is unchanging, and because fuerte (strong, hard, etc.) works as an adverb here, it remains unchanged, in its singular form, as well. Were it an adjective, on the other hand, gender and number would need to be taken into account, as in the example "Somos muy fuertes" (We are very strong). 

 

Mucho as an Adjective: Mucho + Noun

Moving on to the word mucho in Spanish, taking into account what we have learned thus far regarding adjectives and adverbs, let's examine how this word can function as either of these parts of speech. To start, when mucho functions as an adjective, it must agree in terms of number and gender with the noun it modifies. Let's look:

 

¿Sí? No tengo mucho tiempo libre ahora. 

Right? I don't have a lot of free time now.

Caption 20, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

La verdad es que yo he tenido muchos perros,

The truth is that I've had many dogs,

Caption 50, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 11

 Play Caption
 

En Málaga, hay mucha gente con tus mismos síntomas. 

In Malaga, there are a lot of people with your same symptoms.

Caption 20, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

muchas personas les gusta ir de vacaciones allí 

A lot of people like to go on vacation there

Caption 22, El Aula Azul Adivina el país - Part 1

 Play Caption
 

As you can see in these examples that employ masculine singular/plural and feminine singular/plural nouns, the form mucho takes (mucho, muchos, mucha, or muchas) changes in accordance with the noun it modifies. 

 

Mucho as an Adverb: Mucho + Verb

In contrast, when mucho functions as an adverb, modifying a verb, it is always mucho in the singular/masculine form, and the gender/quantity of the noun or verb has no effect on it. Let's look at some examples:

 

¿Se utiliza mucho el ajo en los platos peruanos?

Is garlic used a lot in Peruvian dishes?

Caption 19, Recetas de cocina Papa a la Huancaína

 Play Caption

 

Estos ejercicios ayudan mucho

These exercises really help

Caption 59, Bienestar con Elizabeth Relajación

 Play Caption

 

Me gusta mucho este parque.

I really like this park.

Caption 9, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

Sí, me gustan mucho las uvas.

Yes, I like grapes a lot.

Caption 21, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

Mucho/os/a/as as a Pronoun

To conclude our discussion on muy vs. mucho, note that the word mucho and its corresponding feminine/plural alternatives can be used as pronouns to replace nouns that have been mentioned or implied. Notice that the pronoun forms of mucho must agree in gender and number with the nouns they replace, as follows:

 

¿Se encuentran aquí buenas cositas o no, buenas gangas? -Sí, sí, sí. -¿Sí? -Muchas

Can you find good stuff here or not, good bargains? -Yes, yes, yes. -Yes? -Many.

Captions 102-103, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 14

 Play Caption
 
 

Sí. -¿Que mucha más gente viene ahora? Sí, mucha. -Yo tengo un niño pequeño entonces...

Yes. -That a lot more people come now? Yes, a lot. -I have a small child so...

Captions 43-44, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 16

 Play Caption
 

Puedes ver que no tenemos muchos porque hemos vendido últimamente bastantes.

You can see that we don't have many because we have sold quite a few lately.

Captions 46-47, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 11

 Play Caption
 

While you can clearly see in the first two examples that the word mucho changes forms (to mucha and muchas) to agree with the feminine singular and plural nouns it replaces (cositas/gangas and gente), the third example is notable because the noun being replaced by the masculine plural form muchos is not immediately apparent. However, since the conversation in question, which began several captions earlier, involves cars (the masculine plural noun, los coches), the masculine plural form muchos must be utilized to express the idea of "many" in this context. 

 

We hope that this lesson has helped to clarify the difference between muy vs. mucho in Spanish since sus muchos usos y matices pueden resultar muy difíciles (their many uses and nuances can be very difficult) for English speakers. We welcome any insight you might have on mucho vs. muy in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

Continue Reading

Body Parts in Spanish from Head to Toe

Are you familiar with the body parts in Spanish? Do you know how to say words like "hands," "legs," or "face" in Spanish? Let's see how to write and pronounce las partes del cuerpo en español (the parts of the body in Spanish), from head to toe!

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Parts of the Head in Spanish

 

Head (cabeza)

Inclina tu cabeza hacia atrás,

Tilt your head back;

Caption 19, Bienestar con Elizabeth Rehabilitación vestibular

 Play Caption

 

Hair (pelo or cabello)

Pelo is a very common word for "hair." However, keep in mind that pelo can refer to any kind of body hair, while the word cabello only refers to the hair on one's head. 

 

Vale, pero los dos tenemos el pelo negro, vale, muy bien, perfecto.

OK, but we both have black hair, OK, very good, perfect.

Caption 12, Clase Aula Azul El verbo parecer - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

Para mi cabello, aquí tengo mi cepillo de cabello

For my hair, I have here my hair brush

Caption 27, Ana Carolina Artículos de aseo personal

 Play Caption

 

Ears (las orejas)

Keep in mind that the Spanish word for the inner ear is el oído while the external ear (what you actually see) is called la oreja.

 

Las orejas son partes del cuerpo que se encuentran en cada lateral de la cabeza y que forman la parte exterior del oído.

The ears are parts of the body that are found on each side of the head and that form the external part of the inner ear.

Captions 53-55, Clara explica El cuerpo

 Play Caption

 

Parts of the Face in Spanish

Some of the most often used parts of the body in Spanish are placed in our face. Let's take a look.

 

Face (la cara, el rostro)

There are two words for face in Spanish: la cara and el rostro. However, while cara is mostly used to talk about the physical part of the body, rostro is often used to talk in a sort of poetic, abstract way about someone's face. Let's see how to pronounce both words:

 

Esa mañana, al lavarse la cara,

That morning, while washing his face,

Caption 15, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Pinto mi rostro de mascarada

I paint my face in masquerade

Caption 20, Alejandra Guzmán Porque no estás aquí

 Play Caption

 

Forehead (la frente)

Dio un suspiro y un golpe en la frente,

She let out a sigh and banged her forehead,

Caption 55, Cleer Rafael Pombo y "Pastorcita"

 Play Caption

 

Eyes (los ojos)

Me encantaría tener los ojos azules.

I would love to have blue eyes.

Caption 34, Clara explica El cuerpo

 Play Caption

 

Eyebrows (las cejas)

Ahora voy a delinear las cejas con un lápiz color café.

Now I am going to line the eyebrows with a brown-colored pencil.

Caption 53, Maquillaje Con Cata y Cleer

 Play Caption

 

Eyelashes (las pestañas)

Después tenemos las pestañas.

Then we have the eyelashes.

Caption 21, Marta de Madrid El cuerpo - La cabeza

 Play Caption

 

Cheeks (las mejillas)

Cuando una mujer hablaba de mis mejillas,

When a woman talked about my cheeks,

Caption 23, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

Nose (la nariz)

que podía tener sangre por la nariz.

that he might have a bloody nose.

Caption 15, Juan Sánchez Personajes

 Play Caption

 

Mouth (la boca)

Esta... esta boca quiere decir que está como un poco...

This... this mouth wants to say that it's like a bit...

Caption 67, Bucaramanga, Colombia Pintor callejero

 Play Caption

 

Lips (los labios)

Tanto te quise besar que me duelen los labios

I wanted to kiss you so much that my lips hurt

Caption 2, Shakira Sale el Sol

 Play Caption

 

Teeth (los dientes)

para que los dientes estén más fuertes

so that the teeth become stronger

Caption 61, Los médicos explican Consejos: dientes de niños

 Play Caption

 

Tongue (la lengua)

Esta letra la pronuncias poniendo la lengua junto al paladar

You pronounce this letter by putting the tongue next to the palate

Caption 61, Ana Carolina Mejorando la pronunciación

 Play Caption

 

Chin (la barbilla or el mentón)

Después tenemos la barbilla.

Then we have the chin.

Caption 70, Marta de Madrid El cuerpo - La cabeza

 Play Caption

 

Vas a bajar el mentón hacia tu cuello

You're going to lower your chin toward your neck,

Caption 28, Bienestar con Elizabeth Relajación

 Play Caption

 

Additional Parts of the Body in Spanish

 

Neck (el cuello)

La cabeza es la parte superior del cuerpo que está situada sobre el cuello

The head is the top part of the body that is situated on the neck

Captions 49-50, Clara explica El cuerpo

 Play Caption

 

Shoulders (los hombros)

y a Chibchacum lo puso a cargar la Tierra en sus hombros.

and forced Chibchacum to carry the Earth on his shoulders.

Caption 57, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El mito de Bochica

 Play Caption

 

Arms (los brazos)

Esta que tengo en mis brazos se llama Poeska.

This one I have in my arms is named Poeska.

Caption 21, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata Poeska

 Play Caption

 

Elbows (los codos)

Vamos a mover codos, que normalmente no movemos esta articulación.

We're going to move [our] elbows, as we don't normally move this joint.

Captions 15-16, Bienestar con Elizabeth Activar las articulaciones

 Play Caption

 

Wrists (las muñecas)

Of all the names of body parts in Spanish, this is probably the most unique. The word muñeca indeed means not only "wrist" but "doll" as well, so keep that in mind when you need to remember how to say "wrist" in Spanish.

 

sufren mucha lesión en codos, en muñecas y en hombros.

they suffer a lot of injuries on [their] elbows, wrists and shoulders.

Caption 28, Adícora, Venezuela Los fisioterapeutas

 Play Caption

 

Hands (las manos)

los voy a colocar en mis manos,

I'm going to place them in my hands,

Caption 30, Ana Carolina Gérmenes

 Play Caption

 

Fingers (los dedos de la mano)

Tiene agujeros donde se colocan los dedos,

It has holes where you place your fingers,

Caption 38, Karla e Isabel Instrumentos musicales

 Play Caption

 

Legs (las piernas)

Si tienes unas piernas fuertes y ganas de andar,

If you have some strong legs and feel like walking,

Caption 102, Blanca Cómo moverse en Barcelona

 Play Caption

 

Knees (las rodillas)

¡Vamos! Doble sus rodillas.

Let's go! Bend your knees.

Caption 24, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 3 - Sam aprende a ligar - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Feet (los pies)

unos zapatos para los pies del bebé.

some shoes for the baby's feet.

Caption 35, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 4: Regalos para un nuevo bebé

 Play Caption

 

Toes (los dedos del pie)

También, este... son frecuentes en lesionarse [sic] mucho las articulaciones metatarsianas que son los dedos del pie,

Also, um... they frequently hurt their metatarsal joints a lot, which are the toes,

Captions 25-26, Adícora, Venezuela Los fisioterapeutas

 Play Caption

 

And with this last term, we have come to the end of this lesson about body parts in Spanish. We encourage you to practice the names of all of these partes del cuerpo, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions¡Hasta la próxima!

Continue Reading

El Voseo: Not as Intimidating as It Seems

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

 

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

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

Captions 27-29, Yago 9 Recuperación - Part 9

 Play Caption

 

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

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

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

 

The Good News About Vos

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Conjugating Verbs with Vos in the Present Indicative 

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 50, Yago 2 El puma - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

Si vos sabés muy bien que yo me sé adaptar.

You know very well that I know how to adapt.

Caption 43, Cuatro Amigas Piloto - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 66, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

Irregular Verbs with Vos

 

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

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Conjugating Verbs with Vos in the Imperative

 

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

 

Sabés que no tomo whisky. -¡Pero tomá!

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

Caption 22, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

Este... tené un poquito de paciencia.

Umm... have a little bit of patience.

Caption 7, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 9

 Play Caption

 

Vení, vamos a bailar.

Come, let's go dance.

Caption 33, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

 

Olvidate, divertite, hacé algo. -No quiero,

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

Caption 8, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

Continue Reading

Making Comparisons in Spanish - Part 2

In the first part of our lesson on comparative structures, we covered comparisons of inequality. However, what if we would like to talk about similarity? Part two of this lesson will deal with comparisons of equality as well as superlatives, and considering that 2020 has been uno de los años más difíciles para muchos (one of the hardest years for many people), superlative structures could definitely come in handy. 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Comparisons of Equality

 

1. tan + adjective/adverb + como 

 

Let's start by using the Spanish equivalent of as ___ as (as good as, as fast as, etc.). We can use this structure with both adjectives and adverbs.

 

Oye, no, no es tan fácil como tú lo ves, ¿eh? 

Hey, no, it's not as easy as you see it, huh?

Caption 21, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 17

Play Caption

 

tampoco saliste con una mina tan finoli como ella. 

you haven't dated a woman as elegant as her either.

Caption 18, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 9

 Play Caption

 

Notice that we use tan rather than tanto before the adjective or adverb. Thus, in the previous examples, it would be a mistake to say tanto fácil or tanto finoli. We can, however, say tanto más or tanto menos fácil (as explained in part one of this lesson). 

 

On the other hand, the similar structure tanto como is the Spanish equivalent of "as much as." In the following example, note that because tanto is an adverb, it is unmarked for gender and number. 

 

Espero que hayáis disfrutado al menos tanto como yo disfruto estando todos los días con vosotros. 

I hope that you have enjoyed at least as much as I enjoy being here every day with you guys.

Captions 76-78, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 11

 Play Caption

 

2. tanto + noun + como

 

Unlike the examples with adjectives and adverbs above, tanto must be marked for gender when used with nouns. We will therefore use tanto/s before masculine nouns and tanta/s before feminine nouns as follows:

 

Tiene tanto dinero como su hijo. 

She has as much money as her son does. 

 

Tiene tanta paciencia como tú.

She has as much patience as you do. 

 

Tienes tantas hermanas como yo.

You have as many sisters as I do. 

 

3. parecido(s)/parecida(s)           

 

When talking about things (cosas) that are similar, we can employ this term as an adjective (marked for number and gender) to say that they are parecidas. On the other hand, to express that something is done in a similar way, we use the unmarked adverb: parecidoas in Juana y su hermana hablan parecido. And to top it all off, parecido is also a noun that indicates resemblance.  

 

La [cultura] gitana es muy parecida a la cultura árabe. 

Gypsy [culture] is very similar to Arab culture.

Caption 37, Europa Abierta Jassin Daudi - Con arte

 Play Caption

 

Notice the use of the preposition a following the adjective parecida to indicate "to."

 

Now, let's look at parecido as a noun as it appears in this caption from Clase Aula Azul, which explains the use of the verb parecer:

 

Hablamos de parecidos físicos, ¿sí? Se parece es como decir, es parecido, es similar, ¿mmm?

We're talking about physical similarities, right? "Se parece" [It looks like] is like saying, it's alike, it's similar, hmm?

Captions 37-38, Clase Aula Azul El verbo parecer - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

4. idéntico/igual/mismo 

 

While we can use parecido or similar to describe similarities, what if the items being compared are exactly the same? When items are virtually indistinguishable, idéntico, igual, or mismo are suitable terms. Remeber that these are adjectives and are therefore marked for number and gender, except for igual, which is gender neutral. It is worth mentioning that only el/la mismo/a or los/las mismos/as can come before the noun. Thus, if one has the same t-shirt someone is wearing, he or she might say the following:

 

Tengo la misma remera (I have the same t-shirt).

Tengo una remera igual (I have a t-shirt shirt just like that).

Tengo una remera idéntica (I have an identical t-shirt). 

 

Let's take a look at some additional examples: 

 

Porque uno idéntico a este embarcó en el Titanic en mil novecientos doce. 

Because one identical to this one embarked on the Titanic in nineteen twelve.

Captions 24-25, Málaga Museo del automóvil

 Play Caption

 

Si hay diez personas trabajando con los mismos medios y las mismas herramientas,

If there are ten people working with the same media and the same tools,

Caption 73, Lo que no sabías Arte electrónico - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

As a side note, the interesting expressions me da igual or me da lo mismo mean "it's all the same to me" or "I don´t really care":

 

Ya lo que digan me da igual 

What people say doesn't matter to me anymore

Caption 22, Alejandro Fernandez Eres

 Play Caption

 

5. Como 

 

Another keyword when it comes to making comparisons is como (like). 

 

Juli, vas a quedar como una cobarde, como si te diera miedo. 

Juli, you're going to look like a coward, as if it scared you.

Captions 44-45, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

And you will definitely remember this comparative structure after listening to the Calle 13 song in this clip:

 

No hay nadie como tú

There is no one like you

Caption 29, Calle 13 No hay nadie como tú

 Play Caption

 

Superlative Structures

 

Finally, we have the superlative forms with the following structures: el/los/la/las/lo + más + adjective:

 

La prueba de sonido es lo más importante quizás porque es la preparación, ¿no?

The sound check is the most important thing, maybe because it's the staging, right?

Caption 6, David Bisbal Haciendo Premonición Live - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Este es el aguacate más caro que hay en el mercado. 

This is the most expensive avocado that there is on the market.

Caption 38, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Note that there are a few irregular superlatives:

 

el mejor   (the best)

el peor      (the worst)

el mayor    (the oldest) 

 

For "the oldest," el más grande can also be used. While this is very common in some regions and can also mean "the largest," "the greatest," or "the biggest," it is important to remember that, as is the case with all irregular superlatives, mayor cannot be used in conjunction with más. Thus the sentence "Paul is the oldest in his class" can be translated as Paul es el más grande de su clase or Paul es el mayor de su clase but NOT Paul es el más mayor. 

 

We hope that you have enjoyed our newsletter, y lo que es más importante (what matters most) is that you have learned a lot! Don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

Continue Reading

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

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

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

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

 

La verdad es que pareces cansado.

To be honest, you seem tired.

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

 Play Caption

 

Las cosas son más fáciles de lo que parecen.

Things are easier than what they seem.

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

En eso me parezco mucho a mi madre. 

I'm a lot like my mother in that way.

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

 Play Caption

 

¡Nos gustan las mismas cosas! Nos parecemos

We like the same things! We are similar.

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

 Play Caption

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 

A ti te parece bonita. 

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 

Let's conclude with one last example:

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

 

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

Continue Reading

"Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda" in Spanish

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

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

 

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

 

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

 

Yo habría (I would have)

Tú habrías (You would have)

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

Nosotros/Nosotras habríamos (We would have)

Vosotros/Vosotras habríais (You all would have)

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

 

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

 

Infinitive: comenzar   /   Past participle: comenzado

Infinitive: comer        /    Past participle: comido

Infinitive: subir         /     Past participle: subido

 

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

 

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

 

Ya habríais ahorrado... -Dos mil euros. 

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

Caption 72, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 8

 Play Caption

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

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

Caption 33, X6 1 - La banda - Part 10

 Play Caption
 

 

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

 

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

 

Yo podría (I could)

Tú podrías (You could)

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

Nosotros/Nosotras podríamos (We could)

Vosotros/Vosotras podríais (You all could)

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

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 4, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 5

 Play Caption
 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

 

Yo debería (I should)

Tú deberías (You should)

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

Nosotros/Nosotras deberíamos (We should)

Vosotros/Vosotras deberíais (You all should)

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

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 16, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 11

 Play Caption

 

Digo, debería haber confiado y...

I mean, I should have trusted and...

Caption 46, Club de las ideas Intuición - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

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

 

No deberías haber salido de casa.

You shouldn't have left the house.

Caption 45, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

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

 

Continue Reading

The Spanish Word of the Year 2020

 

Don't you just want 2020 to be over? Without a doubt, this year has been quite challenging, especially due to everything that has occurred as the result of the coronavirus. In fact, 2020's Spanish Word of the Year is one of the terms most associated with this awful virus. Let's reveal this year's tragic winner. 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

"Pandemia" : The Spanish Word of the Year 2020

 

Yes, pandemia (pandemic) is 2020's Spanish Word of the Year. Do we really have to explain why? Our friend Fermin sums it all up in a very simple phrase:

 

esta maldita pandemia del coronavirus.

this damn coronavirus pandemic.

Caption 5, El coronavirus Confinamiento en España - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

It is important to say, however, that in contrast to the English word "pandemic," which can function as both an adjective and a noun, in the Spanish language, pandemia is only a noun, whereas the adjective is pandémico/pandémica.

 

Runners-up for 2020 Spanish Word of the Year

Most of the words on this list of runners-up for 2020 Spanish Word of the Year are associated with the coronavirus pandemic. However, at the end of this list, we have also included a word (a name, actually) that represents yet another of the many sad events that have occurred this year. Let's take a look.

 

Cuarentena (Quarantine)

 

Hoy les voy a contar sobre mi cuarentena en casa.

Today I'm going to tell you about my quarantine at home.

Caption 4, El coronavirus La cuarentena en Ecuador

 Play Caption

 

Confinamiento (Confinement)

 

Los tres primeros días del confinamiento tuvimos sensaciones muy extrañas.

The first three days of confinement, we felt very strange feelings.

Captions 7-8, El coronavirus Confinamiento en España - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Desinfectante (Sanitizing/Sanitizer)

 

The Diccionario de la Lengua Española (DLE) states that the word desinfectante is an adjective. Let's see it in action:

 

La segunda tarea que realizo es rellenar el gel desinfectante, que se encuentra ubicado en tres posiciones distintas:

The second task I perform is refilling the sanitizing gel, which is found in three different locations:

Captions 16-17, Sergio Socorrismo y COVID-19

 Play Caption

 

However, throughout Latin America, the word desfinfectante is also used as a noun:

 

También recuerda ocupar desinfectante para mano, que tenga por lo menos unos [sic] sesenta por ciento de alcohol.

Also remember to use hand sanitizer that has at least sixty percent alcohol.

Captions 16-17, El coronavirus Cómo protegerse

 Play Caption

 

Mascarilla (Mask)

 

Las medidas sanitarias que utilizo son: la mascarilla y desinfectarme las manos.

The sanitary measures that I use are: the mask and sanitizing my hands.

Captions 12-13, Sergio Socorrismo y COVID-19

 Play Caption

 

Crisis (Crisis)

 

y una gran crisis a nivel sanitario, económico y social.

and a great health, economic and social crisis.

Caption 60, El coronavirus Introducción y vocabulario

 Play Caption

 

Maradona

 

From Kobe Bryant to Sean Connery, this year, the world has lost some of its most beloved people. In fact, the Spanish-speaking world has lost one of its most iconic figures: Diego Armando Maradona, and the death of the football/soccer superstar has been deeply felt throughout the world. 

 

Si yo fuera Maradona, nunca me equivocaría Si yo fuera Maradona, perdido en cualquier lugar La vida es una tómbola de noche y de día La vida es una tómbola y arriba y arriba

If I were Maradona, I would never make a mistake If I were Maradona, lost anywhere Life is a raffle [lottery] by night and day Life is a raffle and up and up

Captions 3-6, Manu Chao La Vida Tómbola

 Play Caption

 

That's all for today. What do you think of the Spanish Word of the Year 2020? Do you agree with this choice? Can you think of a better word? Please, feel free to share with us your comments and suggestions, and let's hope 2021 brings us less tragedy and more joy.  

Continue Reading

Making Comparisons in Spanish - Part 1

Despite the old saying that "Las comparaciones son odiosas" (Comparisons are odious), the truth is that they are often necessary. Whether you need to decide on a vacation destination, select a present for a loved one, or weigh the pros and cons of any situation, comparisons will be a part of your decision-making process. That said, let's learn some useful language for that purpose. 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Unlike English, Spanish does not modify adjectives with the addition of suffixes (e.g. the English -er and -est) for comparative purposes. Instead, adjectives are accompanied by comparative structures to indicate equality, inequality, or difference in degree between one or more people, ideas, or things. Since there is plenty to learn on this topic, this lesson will deal with inequality, while part two will cover comparisons of equality and superlatives

 

Comparisons of Inequality

 

For comparisons of inequality, the word that specifies what the comparison is about will be preceded by más (more) or menos (less). One might compare qualities (adjectives), ways of doing something (adverbs), or even nouns as in the sentence: La canasta roja tiene más manzanas que la verde (The red basket has more apples than the green one). Let's take a look at some common comparative structures involving adjectives, adverbs, and nouns, and some examples of each:

 

1. más/menos + adjective + que

 

La vida a esta altitud se hace más difícil que en el frondoso pinsapar.

Life at this altitude becomes more difficult than in the dense Spanish fir forest.

Caption 64, Tecnópolis Sierra de las nieves

 Play Caption

 

Este libro es menos interesante que el otro.

This book is less interesting than the other one.

Caption 72, Karla e Isabel Comparativos

 Play Caption

 

As you may have inferred from these examples, the comparative particle que is the equivalent of than in English. In addition, the video in our second example above introduces several comparative structures with examples and is thus worth viewing in conjunction with this lesson. 

 

2. más/menos + adverb + que 

 

les inyectaba hormonas para que crecieran más rápido

she would inject them with hormones so that they would grow faster

Caption 45, Kikirikí Animales - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

Note that, in this case, the comparative particle que is not present since the second term of the comparison is not mentioned. In addition, remember that, although the adverb rápidamente does exist, we often use rápido as an adverb as well as an adjective in the same way as the English word fast, depending upon whether it modifies a noun or a verb in a sentence. 

 

3. más/menos + noun  + que

 

As we saw in the introduction, this structure can also be used with nouns. In this case, it is worth mentioning that while, according to traditional English usage rules, "fewer" should be used for countable objects while "less" should be employed with singular mass nouns (i.e. salt), this distinction does not exist in Spanish. That said, menos will be used for both countable and uncountable nouns in Spanish. 

 

Ten en cuenta que los productos en tamaño familiar, sean de lo que sean, generan menos residuos por unidad de producto.

Take into account that family-sized products, whatever they are, generate less waste per product unit.

Captions 51-53, 3R Campaña de reciclaje - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Since the Spanish verb tener años (literally "to have years") is used to express the idea of someone being a certain age, the expression Tengo más años que mi hermana (literally "I have more years than my sister") is equivalent to saying "I am older than my sister." The following example is similar:

 

Yo tengo un año menos que tú.

I am a year younger than you.

Caption 12, Clara y Cristina Saludar

 Play Caption

 

Although the position of the noun in these examples is different, they demonstrate the additional point that prepositional object pronouns like and ti cannot be used in comparatives as the second object of comparison (immediately after que). For example, while in English, one can say either "My sister is younger than I am" or "My sister is younger than me," Mi hermana es más joven que mí is unacceptable in Spanish, while Mi hermana es más joven que yo is the correct way to express this. 

 

 

Intensifying or Mitigating Difference

 

Sometimes, the difference between the objects, people, or ideas being compared is so big or so small that formulas that include intensifiers such as mucho/muchísimo/tanto + más/menos or mitigators like un poco/poquito + más/menos can help to express this. 

 

Y eso también lo habéis comprado más barato de lo normal. Pero muchísimo más barato, ochenta por ciento más barato, una cosa así.

And that also you have bought cheaper than what's normal. But way cheaper, eighty percent cheaper, something like that.

Captions 14-15, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

No es tanto más grande que yo.

She's not that much older than me.

Caption 31, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

de Los Cabos sí queda un poquito más lejitos, un poquito más de dos horas,

from Los Cabos, it's a little bit further, a little bit over two hours,

Captions 73-74, Alan x el mundo Mi playa favorita de México! - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Parallel Comparative Structure 

 

The parallel comparative structure, cuanto más + adjective/adverb, más/menos, is also useful in Spanish. The common English expression, "The sooner, the better," for example, translates as: Cuanto antes, mejor.  

 

Cuanto más sucia, menos le[s] pagáis. -Claro.

The dirtier it is, the less you pay them. -Of course.

Caption 81, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 13

 Play Caption

 

Irregular Adjectives/Adverbs

 

A few adjectives and adverbs have irregular comparative forms and don't fall into the typical patterns using más/menos + adjective/adverb + que:

 

Adjective: buen/a (good)      Comparative: mejor (better) 

Adjective: mal/a (bad)          Comparative: peor (worse)

 

Es una buena cantante (She's a good singer).

Es mejor cantante que Mariana (She is a better singer than Mariana).

 

Es un mal alumno (He is a bad student).

Es peor alumno que Juan (He is a worse student than Juan).

 

Interestingly, when the adjectives mejor/peor describe how good or bad one is at something, their forms are irregular. However, when referring to good and evil, their regular comparative forms come into play:

 

Es más malo que el diablo.

He is more evil than the devil.

 

The following adverbs, however, have only an irregular comparative:

 

Adverb: bien (well)           Comparative: mejor (better) 

Adverb: mal (badly)          Comparative: peor (worse)

 

María canta mejor que su hermana.     

María sings better than her sister.

 

Let's conclude with some additional examples of regular and irregular comparatives from our Yabla video library:

 

tres aspirinas. -Bueno, tomá algo más fuerte que te haga mejor.

three aspirins. -Well, take something stronger that makes you better.

Caption 61, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

Mal. Peor que la semana pasada.

Bad. Worse than last week.

Caption 7, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

 Play Caption

 

That's all for this first part of our lesson on comparatives. We hope it has been clear, and don't forget to send us your questions, comments, and suggestions¡Hasta la próxima!

Continue Reading

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

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

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Me gustan mucho las ciudades.

I really like cities.

Caption 58, Carlos y Cyndy Uso del Voseo en Argentina

 Play Caption

 

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

 

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

 

        -(A mí) me gusta/n: I like.

        -(A ti) te gusta/n: You like.

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

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

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

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

 

Let's take a look at some examples:

 

y aquí tengo una blusa que me gusta.

and I have here a blouse that I like.

Caption 6, Ana Carolina Salir de compras

 Play Caption

 

Muy bien, ¿te gusta esa música?

Great, do you like that music?

Caption 63, Carlos y Cyndy Comentario sobre Muñeca Brava

 Play Caption

 

A nosotras nos gustan los colores del arcoíris.

We like the colors of the rainbow.

Caption 10, Español para principiantes Los colores

 Play Caption

 

Note that, while in the third example, A nosotras was included before nos gustan, this is completely optional, and we could have written simply, Nos gustan los colores del arcoíris (We like the colors of the rainbow) to mean exactly the same thing. In fact, all such "a phrases" (, a ti, a vosotros, etc.) indicated in parentheses above serve to add emphasis but do not change the meaning of sentences with gustar.

 

Now that we have learned how to indicate or know who or what is "doing the liking," let's focus on how to conjugate the verb gustar, which we will do in accordance with "what is being liked." Let's revisit the previous examples, as well as their alternative translations, to better understand this: 

 

aquí tengo una blusa que me gusta

and I have here a blouse that I like.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: and I have here a blouse that pleases me

 

Muy bien, ¿te gusta esa música

Great, do you like that music?

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: Great, and does that music please you? 

 

A nosotras nos gustan los colores del arcoíris

We like the colors of the rainbow.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: The colors of the rainbow please us. 

 

Notice that, since "what is being liked" is the subject that performs the action in Spanish, in the aforementioned examples, we see gustar conjugated in the third person singular (gusta) in the cases where the subject is singular (esa música/"that music" and una blusa/"a blouse") and third person plural (gustan) in the cases where the subject is plural (los colores del arcoíris/"the colors of the rainbow"). Similarly, the verb "to please" is conjugated in accordance with said subjects in English. 

 

What if, on the other hand, "what's liked" comes in the form of a verb's infinitive? In that case, the third person singular form of gustar should be utilized:

 

Y... aparte de... de la música, me gusta patinar.

And... apart from... from music, I like to skate.

Caption 14, Zoraida Lo que gusta hacer

 Play Caption

 

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

 

Me gustas. Porque sí. -Tú también me gustas mucho.

I like you. Just because. -I like you a lot too.

Captions 44-46, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 12

 Play Caption

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

 

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

 

A este chico le gusto mucho.

That guy likes me a lot.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: I please that guy a lot. 

 

A ustedes les gustamos mucho. 

You guys like us a lot.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: We please you guys a lot. 

 

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

 

Let's conclude with one final example: 

 

y la directora de la biblioteca me dijo que el texto había gustado mucho.

and the director of the library told me that [people] had liked the text a lot.

Captions 48-49, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 3

 Play Caption

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

 

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

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

Continue Reading

Writing Prefixes in Spanish: Three Rules to Know

Do you know how to write prefixes in Spanish? In this lesson, we will share three very useful rules that you should always keep in mind when using Spanish prefixes. Let's take a look.

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

1. Connect the Prefix to the Word That Follows

A prefix should always be connected to the word that follows. Let's look at an example:

 

¿Han visto algunos actores que tienen la piel supertersa?

Have you seen some actors who have super smooth skin?

Caption 39, María Fernanda Mascarilla de aguacate

 Play Caption

 

In this example, you can see that the prefix super- is connected to the word tersa (smooth). For that reason, it would be incorrect to write this word with a space (super tersa) or hyphen (super-tersa).

 

This rule also applies when you have several prefixes before a word:

 

antiposmodernism (anti-postmodernism)

 

In this example, you have the word modernismo preceded by two prefixes (anti- and pos-).

 

2. Use a Hyphen When the Word Starts with a Capital Letter

If a prefix goes before a word that starts with a capital letter, a hyphen should be used between the prefix and the word. Let's take a look:

 

y que dentro tiene dos mini-DVDs,

and which inside has two miniDVDs,

Caption 6, Fiesta en Miami This is not a gallery

 Play Caption

 

 

Since the word "DVD" starts with a capital letter, a hyphen is necessary. Let's look at some additional examples:

 

anti-NAFTA (anti-NAFTA)

pro-Obama (pro-Obama)

pos-Gorbachov (post-Gorvachov)

 

A hyphen must also be employed if the prefix is followed by a number instead of a word:

 

Campeonato Sudamericano Sub-20 (South American U-20* Championship)

 

* Keep in mind that "under" is the English equivalent of the Spanish prefix sub-.

 

3. Leave a Space Before a Multi-Word Lexical Unit

A multi-word lexical unit is a term made of two or more words. Examples include terms like pena de muerte (death penalty) and derechos humanos (human rights). If a prefix precedes a multi-word lexical unit, there must be a space between the prefix and said unit as follows:

 

anti pena de muerta (anti-death penalty)

pro derechos humanos (pro-human rights)

 

Finally, keep in mind that, sometimes, with the addition of a prefix, a word's accentuation changes. For example, by itself, the word bien (well) doesn't require a graphic accent. However, when the prefix super- is added, it automatically becomes a three-syllable word with the stress on the last syllable. And, since the word ends in "n," you will need to indicate such with a graphic accent (see lesson on palabras agudas).

 

Pues nada, que ha empezado el día superbién,

Well, she's started the day very well,

Caption 6, El Aula Azul Conversación: Un día de mala suerte

 Play Caption

 

That's all for now. We invite you to keep these three rules in mind when using prefixes in Spanish. And, don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

Continue Reading