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.
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.
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:
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 nievesPlay Caption
Este libro es menos interesante que el otro.
This book is less interesting than the other one.
Caption 72, Karla e Isabel ComparativosPlay 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.
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 7Play 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.
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 2Play 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 SaludarPlay Caption
Although the position of the noun in these examples is different, they demonstrate the additional point that prepositional object pronouns like mí 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.
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 3Play Caption
No es tanto más grande que yo.
She's not that much older than me.
Caption 31, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 10Play 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 1Play Caption
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 13Play Caption
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 5Play Caption
Mal. Peor que la semana pasada.
Bad. Worse than last week.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!
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:
Me gustan mucho las ciudades.
I really like cities.
Caption 58, Carlos y Cyndy Uso del Voseo en ArgentinaPlay 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 comprasPlay Caption
Muy bien, ¿te gusta esa música?
Great, do you like that music?
Caption 63, Carlos y Cyndy Comentario sobre Muñeca BravaPlay Caption
A nosotras nos gustan los colores del arcoíris.
We like the colors of the rainbow.
Caption 10, Español para principiantes Los coloresPlay 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 mí, 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 hacerPlay 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 12Play 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 3Play 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.
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.
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 aguacatePlay 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:
In this example, you have the word modernismo preceded by two prefixes (anti- and pos-).
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 galleryPlay Caption
Since the word "DVD" starts with a capital letter, a hyphen is necessary. Let's look at some additional examples:
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-.
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,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.
As the U.S. elections are right around the corner, we think now is the perfect time to learn some useful election vocabulary.
In presidential elections, the citizens of a country votan por (vote for) the candidate of their choice. In a referendum, however, voters will votar a favor de / en contra de (for or against) a particular decision.
No sé si voy a votar por Manuel u Oscar en las elecciones presidenciales.
I don't know if I am going to vote for Manuel or Oscar in the presidential elections.
Caption 33, Lecciones con Carolina Conjunciones disyuntivasPlay Caption
As we all know, political parties run campaigns to persuade citizens to vote for them. We also know about the promises that politicians make when están en campaña (they are campaigning).
"La mejor campaña" dijo, "es la del pueblo."
"The best campaign" he said, "is that of the people."
Caption 24, Andrés Manuel López Obrador En campañaPlay Caption
Interestingly, there is an expression with the word campaña that is not related to presidential or marketing campaigns. Ponerse en campaña means "to start working on something" or "become active."
está todo claro. -Nos ponemos hoy mismo en campaña.
everything is clear. -We'll start working on that today.
Caption 69, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 5Play Caption
We can find some compelling examples of electoral promises in Felipe Calderon's Campaign cuando se postulaba como presidente de México (when he was running for president of Mexico) back in 2006.
igualdad de oportunidades para todos, una democracia efectiva, que le dé sentido a nuestra vida cotidiana y finalmente desarrollo sustentable.
equal opportunity for everyone, an effective democracy that gives meaning to our everyday lives, and finally, sustainable development.
Captions 59-61, Felipe Calderón Publicidad - Part 3Play Caption
Unsurprisingly, these promises are pretty much the same in each contienda electoral (presidential race) and are often expressed at debates televisados (televised debates) before the veda electoral (election silence), the period in some countries prior to the election in which it is forbidden to show any sort of political propaganda.
Pero no sólo a los PANistas, como espero que sea el candidato de Acción Nacional en la próxima contienda presidencial de dos mil seis.
But not only the PANistas, since I hope he'll be the candidate for Acción Nacional in the next presidential race in two thousand six.
Captions 71-73, Felipe Calderón Publicidad - Part 3Play Caption
While in some countries, voting is mandatory (sufragio obligatorio), and a fine is imposed if one does not ejercer el derecho al voto (exercise one's right to vote), in countries like the U.S. or Mexico, it is optional (sufragio voluntario), and campaigns are thus conducted to encourage people to vote. Tu Rock es votar was a commercial created to persuade young people to participate in los comicios (the elections) in Mexico's 2006 presidential race. A similar campaign, as Armando explains, also enjoyed success in the U.S.:
Y lo habían hecho funcionar muy bien, y habían inscrito a más de millón y medio de jóvenes para votar en el proceso electoral norteamericano. Y ayudaron a, entre muchos otros esfuerzos,
And they had made it work very well, and they had registered more than one and a half million young people to vote in the American election process. And they helped to, among many other efforts,
Captions 20-23, Tu Rock es Votar Armando - Part 1Play Caption
The ways in which we cast our votes may also differ. Particularly in these times of COVID-19, some countries may opt for an electronic vote (voto electrónico) or mail-in voting over the traditional ballot box (urna), which brings us to the saying that el futuro del país se decidirá en las urnas (the future of the country will be decided at the ballot box). And, you may be surprised to hear Argentinians and Uruguayans speak about el cuarto oscuro (literally "the dark room"). Mind you, there is no connotation of darkness or dishonesty in this expression, which is simply the name of the voting booth in those nations.
Voting is a right and a responsibility, so we should always stay informed and carefully think it through before weighing in on who will be in charge, or, as Armando puts it:
y es elegir a quien va a tomar las riendas de este país.
and that is to choose who is going to take the reins of this country.
Caption 84, Tu Rock es Votar Armando - Part 1Play Caption
We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to vote! Oh, and leave us your comments and suggestions.
To begin this lesson, let's take a look at a caption in a Yabla video that recently baffled one our subscribers:
Obviamente, la comunicación es la esencia de este tipo de trabajos.
Obviously, communication is the essence of this type of job.
Caption 40, Negocios La solicitud de empleo - Part 2Play Caption
Spanish sentences such as this one involving "tipo de" ["type" or "types of"] tend to confuse English speakers. After all, the literal translation of this sentence would read, "Obviously, communication is the essence of this type of jobs," which doesn’t work in English since “this” is singular and “jobs” is plural. In the vast majority of similar constructions in English involving countable nouns (nouns like "leaf/leaves," "cookie/cookies," etc. that can be physically counted), there must be singular/singular or plural/plural agreement, leaving one with the choice of either "this type of job" or "these types of jobs."
However, this is not the case in Spanish since singular with plural is the most common construction, or occasionally singular with singular in the case of a single noun. Let’s look at some examples of each of these cases:
Si a todo esto añadimos otro tipo de problemas medio ambientales
If to all this we add another kind of environmental problem
Caption 16, 3R Campaña de reciclaje - Part 2Play Caption
yo sí tengo la esperanza que se reduzc'... se reduzcan este tipo de eventos, ¿no?
I do have the hope that these types of occurrences will be red'... will be reduced, right?
Caption 57, Amigos D.F. El secuestrarPlay Caption
¿Qué tipo de habitación desea?
What kind of room would you like?Play Caption
Note that in the case above, habitación is considered a single noun since the gentleman being addressed is only looking for one room; hence the singular with singular construction.
In both Spanish and English, uncountable nouns (nouns like "water," "coffee," "love," etc. that cannot be counted) go in singular with tipo de (or "type(s)" or "kind(s)") of as follows:
y digamos que conforme se va fabricando ese tipo de líquido,
and let's say that just as that type of liquid is being produced,Play Caption
En ellos, recibió todo tipo de apoyo de sus simpatizantes.
In them, he got all kinds of support from his followers.Play Caption
To add further confusion for English speakers (sorry!), in most such cases with "partitive" (referring to part of a whole) constructions like "tipo de," the verb can be conjugated in either singular or plural! Let's take a look at a couple of examples:
En cuanto al tipo de... trabajos que me gusta ver
In terms of the types of... projects that I like to see,
Caption 22, Álvaro Arquitecto Español en LondresPlay Caption
Note that the verb gustar is conjugated in first person in accordance with the singular noun el tipo. However, without changing the translation, it would be perfectly acceptable to instead conjugate gustar in accordance with the plural trabajos:
En cuanto al tipo de... trabajos que me gustan ver
In terms of the types of... projects that I like to see,
Let's look at one more example:
Además, en la conjugación de los verbos, este tipo de sufijos nos indican
Also, in the conjugation of verbs, these types of suffixes tell us
Captions 35-36, Carlos explica Diminutivos y Aumentativos Cap 1: Los sufijosPlay Caption
While indicar is conjugated in accordace with the plural noun sufijos, it could alternatively be conjugated in accordance with the singular noun tipo:
Además, en la conjugación de los verbos, este tipo de sufijos nos indica
Also, in the conjugation of verbs, these types of suffixes tell us
Finally, it is worth noting that, in the cases of particular Spanish linking verbs like ser (to be), estar (to be), or parecer (to seem), the verb is nearly always conjugated in plural when followed by a subject complement (most simply defined as an "attribute"), as follows:
Este tipo de bicicletas están pensadas para desplazamientos cortos,
This type of bicycle is planned for short distances,
Captions 5-6, Raquel Alquilar una bicicletaPlay Caption
To conclude, although we have focused on tipo de for the purpose of this lesson, other "partitive constructions" like el resto de (the rest of), la mayor parte de (most of), la mayoría de (most of), etc. function the same way.
We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions.
Let's talk about the Spanish conjugation of regular verbs. In particular, let's see how to form the preterite conjugation of regular verbs ending in -ar, -er, and -ir. But first, let's review the main idea behind the preterite tense in Spanish.
In very simple terms, when we talk about the Spanish preterite tense, we are talking about the simple past, in other words, a completed action that took place at a determined point in the past. Let's look at an example from the series where our friend Carlos talks about this tense:
Ayer trabajé hasta las ocho de la noche.
Yesterday I worked until eight at night.Play Caption
In this example, trabajé is the preterite conjugation of the regular verb trabajar for the first-person singular yo (I). Note that the only change necessary to form the preterite in this example is removing the -ar ending of the infinitive verb and replacing it with the ending -é.
There are a couple of things we want to mention about the conjugations you will find throughout this tutorial.
1. While usted (the formal, second-person singular "you") does not appear in our conjugation lists, keep in mind that when using that pronoun, the verb is conjugated in the exact same way as verbs in the third-person singular forms with él (he) and ella (she). Let's take a look at this in action with the preterite conjugation of the verb hablar (to speak/talk):
Usted habló de Fabio Sirenio.
You talked about Fabio Sirenio.
Caption 83, Yago 7 Encuentros - Part 14Play Caption
Entonces él habló con... con los pescadores y los pescadores aceptaron.
So, he spoke with... with the fishermen and the fishermen accepted.
Caption 17, Instinto de conservación Parque Tayrona - Part 6Play Caption
2. In order to offer a more simplistic verb conjugation snapshot, in this article, we only employ the masculine versions of the plural forms nosotros (we), vosotros (you), and ellos (they). That said, keep in mind that the conjugations are the same for the feminine forms nosotras, vosotras, and ellas.
3. Just like usted, ustedes (the standard second person plural "you" in Latin America and the formal second person plural in Spain) does not appear among the conjugations shared here. However, keep in mind that the conjugations of verbs with "ustedes" are the exact same as the third-person plural forms utilized with ellos and ellas (they). Let's look at an example of this with the preterite conjugation of the verb cantar (to sing):
Ustedes cantaron muy bien (You guys sang very well).
Ellos/Ellas cantaron muy bien (They sang very well).
Having said all this, let's explore the preterite conjugations of some regular verbs in Spanish.
Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the verb hablar (to speak).
Yo hablé (I spoke).
Tú hablaste (You spoke).
Él/Ella habló (He/She spoke).
Nosotros hablamos (We spoke).*
Vosotros hablasteis (You spoke).
Ellos hablaron (They spoke).
* It's important to note that because the verb conjugation for the first person plural "nosotros" (we) is the same for both the simple present and simple past tenses, the speaker's intention must be determined by context as follows:
Nosotros estudiamos mucho todos los días (We study a lot every day).
Ayer nosotros estudiamos mucho (Yesterday, we studied a lot).
Example 1.: The verb comprar (to buy)
¡Y compraste melones en vez de limones!*
And you bought melons instead of lemons!Play Caption
* Remember that pronouns are frequently omitted in Spanish. Thus, in the example above and without changing the meaning, one could say: "¡Y tú compraste melones en vez de limones!" However, despite the fact that the speaker does not use the pronoun here, the -aste verb ending lets the listener know that the person referred to is "tú" (you).
Example 2.: The verb escuchar (to listen/hear)
La canción que escuchamos introduce la quinta parte del primer episodio
The song that we heard introduces the fifth part of the first episodePlay Caption
Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the regular verb comer (to eat).
Yo comí (I ate).
Tú comiste (You ate).
Él/Ella comió (He/She ate).
Nosotros comimos (We ate).
Vosotros comisteis (You ate).
Ellos comieron (They ate).
Example 1.: The verb aprender (to learn)
y aprendí que los pulpos pueden cambiar de color.
and I learned that octopi can change color.
Caption 45, Guillermina y Candelario La Señora PulpoPlay Caption
Example 2.: The verb vender (to sell)
creo que vendimos unos quinientos dólares en unas... tres horas, dos horas.
I think we sold about five hundred dollars (worth) in about... three hours, two hours.
Captions 25-26, Un café con Julia Año nuevoPlay Caption
Let's take a look at the preterite conjugation of the verb vivir (to live).
Yo viví (I lived).
Tú viviste (You lived).
Él/Ella vivió (He/She lived).
Nosotros vivimos (We lived).
Vosotros vivisteis (You lived).
Ellos vivieron (They lived).
Example 1.: The verb escribir (to write)
¿Por qué dices eso? Porque una vez me escribiste contándome que te casabas en Nueva York.
Why do you say that? Because once you wrote to me telling me that you were getting married in New York.
Captions 61-62, Yago 6 Mentiras - Part 5Play Caption
Example 2.: The verb abrir (to open)
Primero, Lisa Bernal abrió la herida,
First, Lisa Bernal opened the wound,
Caption 61, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 4Play Caption
And with this example, we have reached the end of this lesson. But before we go, a little homework for you: go ahead and choose some other regular verbs and practice the Spanish conjugation of the preterite tense. Sooner or later, you will be able to master those preterite endings! We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!
Do you know how to say goodbye in Spanish? Believe it or not, there are many different ways to say goodbye in Spanish. In this lesson, we will review some of the standard terms you can use as well as other alternative ways of saying goodbye in Spanish slang. Let's take a look.
If you want to know the most standard way of saying goodbye in Spanish, adiós is your go-to term. Let's hear how to pronounce it:
Caption 50, Cita médica La cita médica de Cleer - Part 2Play Caption
Bueno, mucho gusto, Ana. -Mucho gusto. Adiós. -Adiós.
Well, nice to meet you, Ana. -Nice to meet you. Goodbye. -Goodbye.
Captions 67-68, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 3: ¿De quién es esta mochila?Play Caption
The preposition hasta (usually translated as "until" or "even" in English) is quite useful when we want to say bye to someone. While the following expressions are not as literal as adiós, people use them often when they want to say goodbye in Spanish. The idea here is, "Let's meet at some point in the future." Let's take a look:
Así que, ¡nos vemos muy pronto! ¡Hasta luego!
So, see you very soon! See you later!
Captions 83-84, Amaya Mi burro PepePlay Caption
¡Adiós, amigos de Yabla, hasta pronto!
Bye, friends of Yabla, see you soon!
Caption 51, Ariana EspañaPlay Caption
Gracias por su atención y hasta la próxima. Hasta luego.
Thank you for your attention, and see you next time. See you later.
Captions 74-75, Carlos explica Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para' - Part 2Play Caption
Hasta mañana, Ivo. -Chau, mi amor. -Chau. Chau, papá. -Chau.
See you tomorrow, Ivo. -Bye, my love. -Bye. Bye, dad. -Bye.
Captions 79-80, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 1Play Caption
Bueno, os esperamos por Madrid. ¡Hasta la vista!
Well, we await you in Madrid. So long!
Captions 91-92, Marisa en Madrid Parque de El RetiroPlay Caption
Are you wondering how to say bye in Spanish in the shortest possible way? Look no further. These slang terms, taken from the standard Italian manner of saying goodbye (ciao), are the words you're looking for. Let's see how to pronounce chao and chau:
Bueno... Nos vemos en la casa, chao.
OK... See you at home, bye.
Caption 53, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 9 - Part 6Play Caption
porque ahora tengo un compromiso. Claro. Chau, Andrea. -Chau.
because now I have an appointment. [Is that] clear? Bye, Andrea. -Bye.
Captions 21-22, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 9Play Caption
Ha sido un placer estar con vosotros. Nos vemos. Un saludo.
It has been a pleasure being with you. See you. A greeting.Play Caption
OK, take care.Play Caption
Solamente quería saber si usted estaba vivo todavía. Suerte, Magoo.
I just wanted to know if you were still alive. Good luck, Magoo.
Captions 36-37, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 1Play Caption
Since its straightforward translation is "to arrive," you might wonder if the Spanish verb llegar is worth a whole lesson. However, this is language, and we always find new meanings, uses, and/or idiomatic expressions. That said, let's take a few minutes to analyze this verb and see a qué conclusión podemos llegar ("what conclusion we can draw" or "come to").
When we refer to a place, llegar means "to arrive."
Soñé que llegaba al colegio y estaba sin ropa.
I dreamed that I arrived at school and I was [there] with no clothes.
Caption 27, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 4Play Caption
Llegar can additonally mean to reach someone, either physically or emotionally. If someone shuts you out, no hay forma de llegar a esa persona (there's no way to reach that person). On the other hand, in the example below, the team at Biopark had not been able to physically reach the leopards.
No había forma de... de llegar a ellos.
There wasn't any way to... to get close to them.Play Caption
Again with this idea of reaching, llegar can also be used with an amount or specific point in space as we see in the following examples:
Supongo que si están un poquito más chaparritos, les ha de llegar al pecho,
I guess if you're a little bit shorter, it should come up to your chest,Play Caption
podremos estar llegando a los ochocientos mil euros aproximadamente.
we could be reaching eight hundred thousand euros approximately.Play Caption
And speaking of money, there is a Spanish idiom that includes this verb: llegar a fin de mes (literally "to make it to the end of the month"), which is the Spanish equivalent of "making ends meet."
Llegar can be used with seasons, months, or times of day as well to indicate their beginning or arrival. In this context, it often translates as "to come": Cuando llega la noche / "When night comes" or "falls."
y lo tuvo con ella hasta que llegó la primavera.
and had him with her until spring came.
Caption 41, Cleer El patito feoPlay Caption
Another meaning of llegar is "to achieve." It is actually a verb that collocates with éxito (success), so if you become succesful, has llegado al éxito (you've achieved success).
De las etapas por las que pasan los conjuntos en su desarrollo y a lo que pueden llegar.
Of the stages that groups go through in their development and what they can become.
Captions 74-75, Arturo Vega Entrevista - Part 3Play Caption
Another possible translation of llegar is "to manage to" since when you llegas a hacer algo, you've succedeed in doing it after some effort.
de lo que yo quería como llegar a expresar, ¿sí?
to what I wanted to, like, manage to express, right?
Caption 13, Bogotá Fotógrafo José Segundo Quinche PérezPlay Caption
Sometimes, when llegar follows si to introduce a condition, it makes that condition a bit more remote since si llego a enterarme de algo is closer to if I happen to/manage to hear anything.
Si llega a saber cualquier cosa que suceda entre Milagros y su hermano, hágamela saber.
If you come to find out anything that happens between Milagros and her brother, let me know about it.
Captions 21-22, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 5Play Caption
Si llega a pillarlos, me avisa y consigo la cámara.
If you manage to catch them, let me know and I'll get the camera.
Caption 72, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 4Play Caption
As you may notice, many of the meanings of the verb llegar are comparable to those of the English verb "to get" (e.g "to reach," "to arrive," "to manage," etc.).
We hope this lesson has been clear, but si llegan a tener dudas (if you happen to have any questions), don't forget to send us your questions, comments, and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!
¿Cómo te llevas con el español? (How do you get along in Spanish?) Wait— didn't llevar mean "to take"? Well, yes... you're right! The verb llevar often translates as "to take," and not just in phrases like "take your umbrella" or "take your children to school," but also in collocations like "to take time." And these are just a few of the uses of the verb llevar that we'll examine in this lesson. Actually, llevaría más de una lección (it would take more than one lesson) to cover all of its uses. But let's try and do our best here!
We can llevar something from one place to another and also accompany or guide someone somewhere, as in the following examples:
Tengo la posibilidad de llevar todos los días al colegio a mi hijo.
I have the chance to take my son to school every day.
Caption 53, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 18Play Caption
Le voy a llevar de compras.
I'm going to take him shopping.Play Caption
It is no wonder, then, that the term for "takeout food" (comida para llevar) in Spanish can be literally translated as "food for taking":
Aquí había unas comidas para llevar.
There were some takeout places here.
Caption 8, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 10Play Caption
Note that while the speaker uses the term for "takeout food" to refer to the location, it is more common to say casa de comidas para llevar to refer to a takeout restaurant. By the way, in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, these places are also called rotisería.
When this idea of direction goes beyond space to express cause, llevar means something closer to the verbs "to lead" or "to drive" in English, as in the following example:
una cosa llevó a la otra, ¿no?
one thing led to another, right?
Caption 13, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 8Play Caption
A person might llevarte a la desesperación, a la ruina o a la locura ("lead" or "drive you to despair, bankrutpcy, or madness"), or maybe you are lucky and end up being very successful, like in this Yabla video:
Muchas veces, incluso nos puede llevar al éxito profesional.
Many times, it can even lead us to professional success.
Caption 13, Club de las ideas Intuición - Part 1Play Caption
Llevar also resembles "to take" when used with time, work, or effort to express that it is necessary to invest such time or effort in something. For instance, in one of our videos, María Sol explains that learning Spanish is a long process by saying that:
de que puede llevar mucho tiempo,
that it can take a long time,
Caption 29, GoSpanish Entrevista con María SolPlay Caption
Yet, it can also be used to refer to the time that has gone by since the inception of something:
¿Cuánto tiempo llevas en Marbella? -En Marbella, cuarenta y un años.
How long have you been in Marbella? -In Marbella, forty-one years.
Caption 10, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 11Play Caption
Llevamos más de dos semanas sin agua
We've been without water for more than two weeks
Caption 24, Kikirikí Agua - Part 1Play Caption
We also use llevar to refer to the clothing or glasses we "wear," or the way we have our hair, in sentences such as Llevaba lentes (He/She was wearing glasses) or María llevaba el cabello largo (María had long hair).
y me gusta llevar faldas normalmente,
and I like to wear skirts usually,
Caption 6, El Aula Azul Actividades DiariasPlay Caption
Another instance in which llevar can be translated as "to take" is when we use the expression llevar a cabo (to take place), which might also mean "to carry out" or "conduct" depending on the case/collocation.
Aquí se va a llevar a cabo el Campeonato WK.
Here, the WK Championship is going to take place.
Caption 3, Adícora, Venezuela VíctorPlay Caption
We'll often hear people inviting us to let go, relax, and enjoy the feeling of dejarse llevar (letting oneself go), another expression which incorporates this verb:
Hay que estar relajado y dejarse llevar, ¿no?
You should be relaxed and let yourself go, right?
Caption 12, Club de las ideas Intuición - Part 1Play Caption
Finally, we'll can state that nos llevamos bien/mal with a person or people to describe how well or poorly we "get along with" others.
Que la puedes llevar a una... a un sitio, y sabes que se va a llevar bien con todo el mundo...
That you can take her to a... to a place, and you know she'll get along with everyone...
Caption 61, Biografía Enrique IglesiasPlay Caption
As you can tell, there are so many uses of llevar that se hace difícil llevar la cuenta (it's hard to keep track) of all of them. We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!
In an interview appearing in the Spanish series, 75 minutos, we can hear a beautiful gypsy voice singing the following:
Me dormí pensando en ti; pensando en ti, me desperté Soñé contigo, estoy sin ti y así llevo to' mi vi'a
I fell asleep thinking about you; thinking about you, I woke up I dreamed about you, I am without you, and I carry on like that all my life
Captions 10-11, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 13Play Caption
Do you see that "ti" in the example above? That's a prepositional pronoun, or pronoun that follows a preposition. As prepositional pronouns may have been outshone in your studies by the complexity of object pronouns (me, te, se, le, etc.), let’s focus on them for a change.
When pronouns follow prepositions, they take on a special form in the first and second person singular, as follows:
Tú sabes que una fiesta sin mí no es una fiesta porque yo soy el alma de las fiestas.
You know that a party without me is not a party because I am the soul of parties.
Caption 19, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 2Play Caption
he sentido un flechazo por ti,
I felt love at first sight with you,
Caption 7, Cortometraje FlechazosPlay Caption
Note that, unlike the possessive adjective mi (e.g. Mi nombre, or "My name"), the prepositional pronoun mí has a graphic accent (tilde) whereas ti does not.
In contrast to the first and second persons, the other persons utilize the same form as the subject pronoun (él, ella, nosotros, etc.) and do not require any special form:
es un poco estresante para nosotros
it's a bit stressful for usPlay Caption
No, estoy hablando de ella.
No, I'm talking about her.
Caption 22, Muñeca Brava 41 La Fiesta - Part 6Play Caption
O en los brazos de ella.
Or in her arms.
Caption 21, El Ausente Acto 3 - Part 8Play Caption
The third person is the only grammatical person to employ a specific form exclusively for reflexive use: sí. Although this form does not indicate gender or number, these aspects are apparent (and the agreement with the subject achieved) with the words mismo(s) and misma(s), which often follow the prepositional pronoun sí when expressing the idea of "himself" or "herself."
Agente, Pierre Bernard no habló mucho de sí mismo.
Agent, Pierre Bernard didn't talk much about himself.Play Caption
Sí can also come after the preposition entre in the third person plural to express the idea of "with each other," as follows:
Entonces, ellas son amigas entre sí, también.
So, they are friends with each other also.Play Caption
However, entre can be also followed by the subject pronouns yo and tú:
Pues lo que está sucediendo es entre tú y yo
Because what's happening is between you and me
Captions 26-27, Vivanativa Si tú me quieresPlay Caption
Soñé contigo, estoy sin ti / I dreamed about you, I am without you
Considering the fact that pronouns do not often merge with the prepositions that preceed them, you may have wondered why conmigo, contigo and consigo are written as a single word. The fact is that the prepositional pronouns mí, ti, and sí have special forms when used with the preposition con.
Stay with mePlay Caption
Bailar contigo y perdernos esta noche
Dancing with you and losing ourselves tonight
Caption 9, Monsieur Periné Bailar ContigoPlay Caption
Porque si no, muchas personas tienen conflictos consigo mismas
Because otherwise, many people have conflicts with themselves
Captions 2-3, Natalia de Ecuador Los tipos de temperamentoPlay Caption
Some years ago, a politician in Latin America gained notoriety after saying conmigo o sinmigo, an egregious error for a native speaker of Spanish, let alone a public figure! Now that you have read this lesson, you can rest assured that contigo no tendremos ese problema (we won’t have that problem with you). We hope you liked this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!
Do you know how to use the preposition con (most commonly translated as "with") in Spanish? Let's explore some of the various ways of using this preposition correctly.
Like its English counterpart, the first use of the preposition con that most likely comes to mind is to introduce the concept of accompaniment by someone or something. We can find this use in the name of some of our series such as Aprendiendo con Carlos, Paseando con Karen, and also in the words of Ester from El Aula Azul:
Quédate con nosotros hoy y aprende algo nuevo en nuestra clase.
Stay with us today, and learn something new in our class.Play Caption
The way con is used here is no different from the way we use "with" to describe accompaniment in English. However, it is worth mentioning that stranded prepositions (prepositions separated from their objects and often placed at the end of the sentence) do not occur in Spanish. Thus, a question like the one below must place the preposition con next to its object quién at the beginning of the sentence, as opposed to the manner in which "who" and "with" can be separated in informal English.
¿Y con quién vives en Alemania?
And who do you live with in Germany?
Caption 21, La rutina diaria La mañanaPlay Caption
The preposition con can also be employed to introduce the means or tools used to do an activity or achieve something.
Hazlo primero con lápiz y después con plumón.
Do it first in pencil and then with a marker.
Caption 17, Manos a la obra Separadores de libros: PikachuPlay Caption
y os puedo asegurar que con paciencia y con disciplina se consigue todo.
and I can assure you that, with patience and discipline, one can achieve anything.
Caption 73, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata BimbaPlay Caption
We also use the preposition con in Spanish to introduce the way something is done or how it should be done:
¡Por acá, Guillermina, con cuidado!
Through here, Guillermina, carefully!Play Caption
Notice that the word cuidado can also appear before con in phrases such as the following:
Cuidado con el perro.
Beware of the dog.
Or, as Karen warns us in her video:
Mucho cuidado con lo que escribes.
[Be] very careful with what you write.
Caption 38, Aprendiendo con Karen Útiles escolares - Part 1Play Caption
When the preposition con is followed by an infinitive, it can function as a gerund (the -ing form of a verb, which functions as a noun):
Con decir perdón es suficiente.
Saying you're sorry is enough.
Caption 20, Muñeca Brava 47 Esperanzas - Part 5Play Caption
Con is also the dependent preposition (preposition that depends upon or must follow a particular noun, verb, or adjective) after certain verbs such as terminar (to put an end to something), bastar (to be enough or suffice) or comparar (to compare), to name a few.
Terminar con mi noviazgo no parecía tan complicado,
Ending my relationship didn't seem so complicated,
Caption 61, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 5Play Caption
Y me basta con saber que estás allí
And it's enough to know that you're there
Caption 19, Franco De Vita Mi sueñoPlay Caption
A pesar de que lo... la cultura azteca también tenía su preciosismo no se compara con los Mayas...
Although the... the Aztec culture also had its beauty, it can't be compared to the Mayans...
Captions 46-47, Antonio Vargas - Artista ilustración - Part 2Play Caption
Finally, the preposition con can additionally introduce a phrase that stands in contrast to the following clause, taking on a meaning similar to "although" or "despite."
Esta mujer aquí donde la ve, con lo simpática que parece, es como un general.
This woman who stands here before you, as nice as she seems, is like a general.
Captions 62-63, Los casos de Yabla El perrito malcriado - Part 1Play Caption
That's all for this lesson. We hope it has been clear for you and you can now use this preposition con más seguridad y precisión (with greater confidence and accuracy)! And, don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions!
Most of the time, we use the word nada in Spanish as an indefinite pronoun that can be translated as either "nothing" or "anything." In this lesson, we will examine how to use this word to mean one vs. the other. Let's take a look.
Before we jump into the "nothing" vs. "anything" uses of nada, it's important to state the following: When an adjective appears next to nada, the adjective must be masculine. Let's look at a few examples:
No es nada malo, es algo natural.
It's nothing bad, it's something natural.
Caption 12, La Cocaleros Personas y políticas - Part 1Play Caption
Tenemos que devolver a la madre y esperamos que la madre no encuentre nada raro en su cachorro.
We have to return it to the mother and hope that the mother doesn't find anything strange with her cub.Play Caption
Que haya jóvenes que realicen pequeños hurtos no es nada nuevo.
That there are young people who commit petty thefts is nothing new.Play Caption
If nada comes after a verb, it must be expressed in a negative form with either no or some other negative element such as jamás/nunca (never) or nadie (nobody). Although such "double negatives" are incorrect in English (for example, you can't say "I don't have nothing"), in such cases in Spanish, nada becomes the positive "anything" in the English translation. Let's look at a couple of examples:
Juan no ha comido nada desde que llegó al aeropuerto.
Juan hasn't eaten anything since he arrived at the airport.Play Caption
No, no como nada frito.
No, I don't eat anything fried.
Caption 40, Cata y Cleer En el restaurantePlay Caption
In the example above, you can see how the adjective frito is masculine (just to check whether you remember our aforementioned rule!).
me encanta también cocinar. Nunca me has hecho nada, ni un plato.
I also love to cook. You have never made anything for me, not even one dish.
Captions 74-75, Cleer HobbiesPlay Caption
On the other hand, if nada goes before a verb, the verb does not need to be accompanied by a negative element. In this case, nada functions like the word "nothing" in English. Let's take a look:
Mi primo vive en una casucha en donde nada funciona bien.
My cousin lives in a "casucha" [awful house] where nothing works well.Play Caption
Nada me detendrá
Nothing will stop me
Caption 32, Ednita Nazario Después De TiPlay Caption
Finally, keep in mind that when nada is used as a noun meaning "the void" or "nothingness," it is a feminine noun:
Era el frío de la nada
It was the cold of nothingnessPlay Caption
Notice how in this case, the word nada is preceded by the definite female article "la."
That's all for this lesson. We invite you to keep these rules in mind, and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments.
Recently, one of our subscribers wrote into us, alarmed by the following translation:
Caption 7, Café Tacuba MediodíaPlay Caption
As the literal meaning of Parece mentira is "It seems like a lie," he didn't understand how the translators at Yabla could have so terribly missed the mark. Long story short, translation is not always literal, and there are many occasions on which the same word, expression, or text could be translated in more than one fashion. There are many factors that come into play at the moment of translating, including idiomatic speech, differences in dialects, the format or genre of the translation, and even the audience for which it is intended.
Since much of the art of translation involves making actual choices, rather than simply translating each word literally, the audience for a translation and its intended purpose come into play. For example, someone might hire a translator to translate a legally binding contract into layperson's language if the purpose of the translation is simply for that client to be able to understand what is being said in everyday terms. On the other hand, were that same contract to be presented by a lawyer at a trial in a Spanish-speaking country, the translation would need to match the high register of the original document and contain exact equivalents of its complex legal terminology. This is further complicated by the fact that sometimes the laws of one country are so different from another's that there simply is no equivalent terminology.
On the other hand, literary translation can be quite complicated with genres like poetry or children's stories that employ rhyme. The translator is then faced with the choice between translating the literal meaning of the poem and completely losing this literary element or employing rhyme while inevitably altering the meaning (as little as possible, of course!). Again, either one of these translation styles could be legitimate, depending upon the audience for the translation and/or what the translator considers more important in terms of maintaining the essence of the original literature.
In the case of Yabla, our audience consists of language learners. As our goal is to translate in a way that facilitates language learning, we are basically left with two choices in our aforementioned example: to literally translate the phrase, Parece mentira, as "It seems like a lie," which sounds a bit awkward in English, or to translate the actual meaning of this idiomatic expression, which is indeed utilized to convey the idea that something is "unbelievable," indcredible," or "hard to believe." Over time, Yabla has transitioned from more literal translation to a style that expresses actual meaning and/or the way in which a native speaker would express him or herself whenever possible.
To illustrate a very simple example, the concept of "black and white" (movies, for example) in Spanish is expressed in reverse order as blanco y negro. While in the past, Yabla may have opted to translate this as “white and black” in order not to confuse learners (perhaps leading them to believe that Yabla's translators need to brush up on their colors!), these days, we would most likely go with the more common manner of expressing this in English. This can be seen in the following clip.
Son los vari blanco y negro,
They are the black and white ruffed lemurs,
Caption 34, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: LémuresPlay Caption
Of course, as this is also a proper name, the translator should always choose the real name by which something is known in the target language (in our case, English) rather than the source language (Spanish), even when the literal translation would be completely different:
Bueno, en las costa se pueden, bueno, observar pingüinos, lobos marinos.
Well, at the shore you can see penguins, sea lions [literally "sea wolves"].
Caption 49, Buenos Aires Heladería CumelenPlay Caption
Interestingly, the very same animal, the sea lion, is literally referred to as a "sea wolf" in Spanish. However, translating it in this matter would only serve to confuse English speakers, perhaps causing them to wonder whether the speaker could be referring to some alternative species (or maybe a fantastical creature!). Whenever possible, Yabla also employs brackets to indicate the literal translation in such cases.
To further demonstrate the complex nature of translation, let's examine a few additional examples:
¿Qué te parece San Sebastián, Matías?
What do you think of San Sebastian [literally, "How does San Sebastian seem to you"], Matias?
Caption 29, Clase Aula Azul El verbo parecer - Part 3hat Play Caption
The literal translation of ¿Qué te parece San Sebastián? is "How does San Sebastian seem to you?" However, although there is nothing grammatically incorrect about that English sentence, the translator must again put him or herself in the shoes of a speaker who, for example, is inquiring about the visitor to a particular city's opinion of it. In this case, "What do you think of San Sebastian?" would be a much more common utterance. Once again, since the intention of this video is to teach Yabla students grammar, you will note that the literal translation has additionally been provided in brackets.
Let's take a look at an example in which two completely different idioms are used to express the same idea in Spanish vs. English:
El arreglo, un ojo de la cara.
The repair, an arm and a leg [literally "an eye off my face"].Play Caption
Amusingly, to say something costs "an eye off my face" has the same meaning as the English expression, "to cost an arm and a leg," and the translator should thus choose the equivalent idiomatic expression in the target language.
Let's look at one last example:
Sí, gorda, ya lo sé.
Yes, honey, I know that already.
Caption 32, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 8Play Caption
As gorda literally means "fatty," the translation "honey" might initially seem off. However, terms such as gordo/a ("fatty"), flaco/a ("skinny'), and negro/negra ("blackie") are frequently employed in many Spanish-speaking countries (regardless of whether the person actually has these physical characteristics!) as terms of endearment equivalent to such English words as "dear," "honey," or "sweetie." This additionally demonstrates how a term deemed perfectly acceptable in one country could, in another, be misunderstood at best and offensive at worst. This becomes extremely important when translating, for example, advertisements targeted at specific audiences.
That's all for today. We hope that these examples have shed some light on a few of the countless challenges and choices that translators face regularly, and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions!
If you are learning Spanish, you know that the hard, rolled sound of the letter 'r' in Spanish is one of the most challenging sounds to master. In this lesson, we will review some of the rules you should keep in mind when writing that sound. Let's take a look.
When it comes to pronunciation, there are two types of 'r' sounds in Spanish: the soft, simple 'r' sound and the hard, rolled 'r' sound. Let's listen to these two sounds in the following clip from our friend, Amaya:
Viajo con mi perro, como habéis visto antes. Pero además, lo que hago es que intento aprovechar
I travel with my dog, as you've seen before. But additionally, what I do is that I try to take advantage of
Captions 16-17, Amaya El Refugio del BurritoPlay Caption
As you can see, the word perro (dog) is pronounced with the hard, rolled 'r' sound, while the word pero (but) is pronounced with the soft 'r' sound. In order to indicate the pronunciation of that rolled ‘r’ sound between two vowels, the ‘rr’ (double ‘r’) must be utilized. Let's look at some more words that follow this rule:
Tras la guerra con Napoleón,
After the war with Napoleon,
Caption 64, Marisa en Madrid Parque de El RetiroPlay Caption
¿Ha venido en carro?
Have you come in a car?
Caption 64, Cleer y Lida Recepción de hotelPlay Caption
Mi barrio no es muy grande,
My neighborhood is not very big,
Caption 2, El Aula Azul Mi BarrioPlay Caption
Furthermore, it is important to note that words that begin with "r" also have this hard, rolled 'r' sound despite being written with the regular (not double) 'r.' Let's listen to some examples:
Encima del río hay un puente.
Over the river there's a bridge.
Caption 20, El Aula Azul Mi BarrioPlay Caption
se oyó un ruido atronador
a thunderous noise was heardPlay Caption
Miren, hablando del Rey de Roma.
Look, speak of the devil [literally "the King of Rome"].Play Caption
An important rule of thumb is to double the regular ‘r’ to ‘rr’ in cases where an element ending in a vowel is combined with a word that begins with "r.” This occurs very often with words that are formed with prefixes. Let's look at an example:
como es la contrarreloj y trabajos de intensidad.
like the time trial and high intensity workouts.
Caption 20, Semilleros Escarabajos Capítulo 1 - Part 5Play Caption
In the example above, we have a word that is comprised of the prefix contra- (counter-) and the noun reloj (clock). As you can see, the prefix ends in a vowel, and the noun starts with 'r'. Since we want to keep the hard 'r' sound of the word reloj, we must double the 'r', and our new word must thus be written as contrarreloj (rather than contrareloj). In summary, in order to keep the hard 'r' sound between the two vowels, the 'r' must be doubled to 'rr.'
Let's take a look at some additional words that follow this rule:
Contrarreforma (Counter-Reformation): contra- + reforma
microrrelato (flash fiction): micro- + relato
pararrayos (lightning rod): para + rayos
That's all for today. We invite you to keep these rules in mind when writing that hard, rolled 'r' sound in Spanish. And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!
In this lesson, we will learn how to describe people in Spanish using the verb ser (to be). In particular, we'll focus on five different uses of the verb ser that you can use to identify and describe people. Let's take a look.
Eh... Luis, ella es mi mamá, mamá, él es Luis. Y ella es mi abuela Carmen.
Um... Luis, this is my mom, Mom, this is Luis. And this is my Grandma Carmen.
Captions 18-19, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 4Play Caption
It's worth mentioning that the example above shows a very common way to introduce people in Spanish.
es un hombre que se dedica a lo que yo hago.
he's a man who devotes himself to what I do.Play Caption
Paul es estadounidense, de los Estados Unidos.
Paul is American, from the United States.
Caption 16, Carlos explica Geografía y gentiliciosPlay Caption
Mi padre es arquitecto
My father is an architect
Caption 25, Leif El Arquitecto Español y su Arte - Part 1Play Caption
In particular, when we refer to essential traits, such as height, weight, and physical appearance.
Es bajo, es gordo,
He's short, he's fat,
Caption 33, El Aula Azul Mis PrimosPlay Caption
Alguien que es delgado tiene poco peso
Someone who is skinny doesn't weigh muchPlay Caption
Carolina tiene treinta y cinco años pero parece que tiene veinte. Es muy guapa.
Carolina is thirty-five years old but she looks like she is twenty. She's very pretty.
Captions 2-4, El Aula Azul Mis PrimosPlay Caption
Ellos son muy majos. Mi prima Marta es muy simpática.
They are very nice. My cousin Marta is very nice.
Caption 8, El Aula Azul Mi familiaPlay Caption
Ricardo es muy... es muy tranquilo, ¿viste?
Ricardo is very... he's very calm, you know?
Caption 84, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 10Play Caption
Porque mi mamá es una persona muy difícil. -Eso a mí no me importa.
Because my mom is a very difficult person. -That doesn't matter to me.
Caption 20, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 4Play Caption
That's it for today. Can you describe someone you know using the verb ser? We invite you to try it out and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!
Generally speaking, we use the present indicative in Spanish to talk about actions that are taking place at the moment (now). However, that's not the only use of it. Let's take a look at the following list so you can understand how to use the present indicative in Spanish.
Actions that are taking place right at the moment (now):
¿Dónde están las chicas? ¿Las chicas? -Ajá. Lola y Ana. -Uh... Lola y Ana viven aquí.
Where are the girls? The girls? -Uh-huh. Lola and Ana. -Uh... Lola and Ana live here.
Captions 26-29, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam - Part 4Play Caption
In the above sentence, you can see how the verbs estar (to be) and vivir (to live) are conjugated in the present indicative for the third person plural (las chicas/Lola y Ana/ellas... están/viven).
You can also talk about actions that take place over time:
Trabajo en un colegio. Soy maestra de música y de ciencias.
I work at a school. I'm a music and science teacher.
Captions 6-7, Ariana Mi CasaPlay Caption
In this example, you can see the verbs trabajar (to work) and ser (to be) conjugated in the present indicative for the first person singular (yo trabajo/soy).
IMPORTANT! Remember that in Spanish it is very common to drop the pronouns from the sentences. As you can see in the sentence above, Ariana doesn't say "yo trabajo" but rather only "trabajo".
En agosto, vamos a la playa. En septiembre, empieza el otoño.
In August, we go to the beach. In September, the fall begins.
Captions 21-22, El Aula Azul Estaciones y MesesPlay Caption
In the example above, we can see the present indicative of the verb ir (to go) in the first person plural (nosotros vamos) and the present indicative of the verb empezar (to begin) in the third person singular (el otoño empieza).
La Laguna de San Pablo está a los pies del imponente Volcán Imbabura.
The San Pablo Lagoon is at the foot of the imposing Imbabura Volcano.
Caption 13, Otavalo Un día en la ciudad de los lagosPlay Caption
In the example above, Natalia uses the present indicative of the verb estar for the third person singular (está) to state a fact.
You can talk about daily activities and habitual actions using the present indicative:
De lunes a viernes, me levanto a las siete de la mañana.
From Monday to Friday, I get up at seven in the morning.
Caption 2, GoSpanish La rutina diaria de SolPlay Caption
In the above clip, you can see how Sol uses the present indicative of the verb levantarse (yo me levanto) to express one of her habitual actions.
Dante y Mika vienen todos los días a trabajar conmigo aquí al Refugio del Burrito,
Dante and Mika come work with me every day here at the Little Donkey Shelter,
Caption 62, Rosa La perrita MikaPlay Caption
Similarly, Rosa uses the present indicative of the verb venir (to come) to describe something habitual. In this case, the verb is conjugated in the third person plural (Dante y Mika/ellos... vienen).
Did you know that the present indicative can be used for things happening in the near future? Let's see some examples.
Le prometo que termino de morfar y... y salgo a laburar. Va a ver.
I promise you that I'll finish eating and... and go out to work. You'll see.
Caption 63, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 7Play Caption
In this sentence, the speaker is using the present indicative of the verb salir (to go out) in order to express an action that will take place in the near future. Once he's done with his lunch, he will go out to work. The verb is conjugated in the first person singular (yo salgo).
Bueno, pues entonces, no hay que pensarlo más. Mañana hablamos con el jefe y desde la oficina
OK, well then, we don't have to think about it anymore. Tomorrow we'll talk to the boss and from the office
Captions 11-12, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 6Play Caption
In the previous example, you can fully appreciate how the present indicative of the verb hablar (to talk) is used to indicate an action that will take place tomorrow! This may be a bit weird for English speakers but it is a very common formula used by Spanish speakers. The verb is conjugated in the second person plural (nosotros hablamos).
Finally, it is worth mention that in journalism and the academic field, some people like to use the present indicative when referring to historical facts. Let's see the following example:
El Imperio romano cae en el año 476
The Roman Empire falls in the year 476
And that's it for today. We hope this lesson helped you to understand how to use the present indicative in Spanish. And don't forget to send us your comments and questions.
Do you know how to say "those" or "that" in Spanish? Let's explore Spanish demonstrative adjectives. However, before doing that, let's start this lesson with an important definition.
Adjectives describe and modify nouns. We use demonstrative adjectives to determine which person or object, for example, we are referring to, taking its distance with respect to the speaker and/or listener into account. Let's first review our options in English:
- Near the speaker: "this" and "these."
- Near the listener OR far from both the speaker and the listener: "that" and "those."
While there are only four demonstrative adjectives in English, you will notice that there are many more in Spanish (twelve to be exact!). Why is that? One reason is that, because nouns in Spanish have a gender, demonstrative adjectives in Spanish are not only singular and plural but masculine and feminine as well.
In addition, Spanish has two different sets of demonstrative adjectives to differentiate between nouns that are close to the listener vs. nouns that are far from both the speaker and listener (roughly corresponding to the English concept of "over there" rather than just "there").
Let's take a closer look at the demonstrative adjectives in Spanish, using M to indicate "masculine" and F to indicate "feminine":
- Near the speaker: "this" (M: este, F: esta) and "these" (M: estos, F: estas).
- Near the listener: "that" (M: ese, F: esa) and "those" (M: esos, F: esas).
- Far from both the speaker and the listener: "that" (over there) (M: aquel, F: aquella) and "those" (over there) (M: aquellos, F: aquellas).
It is worth noting that, in addition to indicating further physical distance, aquel/aquella/aquellos/aquellas can also refer to metaphorical distance such as dates or events in the future or past.
Now that we know the demonstrative adjectives in Spanish, it's time to look at some examples. Let's watch and listen to the following clips:
Me gusta mucho este parque.
I really like this park.Play Caption
Esta mochila es de Lucas.
This backpack is Lucas'.Play Caption
En la noche, utilizaremos estos vasos bajos para servir licor.
At night, we'll use these short glasses to serve liquor.
Caption 20, Ana Carolina El comedorPlay Caption
Estas cintas son las que estamos sacando recientemente; son nuevos diseños.
These ribbons are the ones that we are coming out with recently; they are new designs.
Caption 19, Comercio Camisas tradicionalesPlay Caption
Oiga y ese carro, esa belleza ¿de dónde la sacó, hermano, ah?
Hey and that car, that beauty, where did you get it, brother, huh?Play Caption
¿Y esos otros tatuajes que tienes aquí, de qué son?
And those other tattoos you have here, what are they of?
Caption 67, Adícora - Venezuela El tatuaje de RosanaPlay Caption
Mire, Rubio, yo necesito que usted le ponga vigilancia inmediata a esas dos mujeres, hermano.
Look, Rubio, I need you to put those two women under immediate surveillance, brother.Play Caption
La terminación del piso sería, en el futuro, de roca... de roca rústrica [sic] a propósito traída de aquel cerro que está allá.
The last part of the floor would be, in the future, made out of rock... out of rustic rock brought specifically from that hill over there.
Captions 22-23, Edificio en Construcción Hablando con los trabajadores - Part 2Play Caption
Esas cifras ya nos dicen que aquellas civilizaciones prehistóricas ya sabían mucho de cálculo.
Those numbers tell us that those prehistoric civilizations already knew a lot about calculus.
Captions 27-29, Rosa Los dólmenes de AntequeraPlay Caption
sería, "Aquellos coches son de mi padre" o "Aquellas casas son de mi madre".
would be, "Those cars are my father's" or "Those houses are my mother's."
Captions 35-36, Lecciones con Carolina Adjetivos demostrativosPlay Caption
Keep in mind, however, that in less formal Spanish, we tend to use ese, esa, esos, and esas much more than aquel, aquella, aquellos, aquellas.
That's all for today. Although there are many more demonstrative adjectives in Spanish than in English, learning to use them is relatively simple. We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!
If you have been studying Spanish, you probably know that the Spanish verbs, ser and estar, have a common translation in English: '"to be." With that in mind, let's start this lesson with a practical example. Your Spanish friend has just invited you to her wedding (boda) in Madrid, and you want to ask her (in Spanish, of course!) the following simple question: "Where is the wedding?" Which verb would you choose, ser or estar? Would you ask, Dónde está or Dónde es la boda? Let's find out.
Are you wondering about the meaning of dónde está in English? Generally speaking, we use the verb estar when we want to talk about the position or location of someone or something. Considering that dónde means "where," we use dónde está when we want to know where someone or something is located. Let's look at a couple of examples so that you can better understand the use of the verb estar when talking about position or location:
¿Sabes dónde está la biblioteca?
Do you know where the library is?Play Caption
El pulverizador, ss... ss... está en el baño.
The spray, ss... ss... is in the bathroom.Play Caption
Se llama Frigiliana, y está en la provincia de Málaga.
It's called Frigiliana, and it's in the province of Malaga.
Caption 6, Viajando con Fermín Frigiliana, MálagaPlay Caption
According to the above logic, we could solve the question we posed at the beginning of this lesson by saying, ¿Dónde está la boda?, right? Well, not so fast!
When using dónde (where) for asking about the location of something, there is one case in which you should use the verb ser rather than estar: when asking about the location of an event. For that reason, the correct manner of asking the aforementioned question would be, ¿Dónde es la boda? Let's look at additional examples where the verb ser would be necessary:
¿Dónde es el funeral?
Where's the funeral?
Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 6Play Caption
¿Dónde es la fiesta?
Where is the party?
Caption 11, Raquel Expresiones para un festival de música.Play Caption
There are, however, some cases in which you can use either verb, depending upon what you wish to express. For example, if you want to ask someone about the executive breakfast your company is organizing, you would say, ¿Dónde es el desayuno? In this case, you use the verb ser because you are talking about an event. However, if you are referring to the breakfast as the food you are going to eat, you would say, ¿Dónde está el desayuno? In this case, you use the verb estar because you are asking about the location of something that is not an event. Let's take a look:
-¿Dónde es el desayuno? -El desayuno es en el hotel.
-Where is the breakfast? -The breakfast is at the hotel.
-¿Dónde está el desayuno? -El desayuno está en la nevera.
-Where's breakfast? -Breakfast is in the fridge.
Finally, a good rule of thumb to decide when it would be necessary to use ¿Dónde es...? rather than ¿Dónde está? is to ask oneself whether the verb could be subsituted with tiene lugar (takes place), in which case the verb, ser, should be utilized. For example: Since ¿Dónde tiene lugar la fiesta? (Where is the party taking place) makes perfect sense, ¿Dónde es la fiesta? would be the correct manner of asking where the party is.
That's all for today. We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!