In today's lesson, we're going to look at todos los usos y signficados (all of the uses and meanings) of the word todo in Spanish. Well, maybe not all of them... but a lot!
Primero que todo (first of all), we'd like to say that the Spanish word todo and its feminine and plural equivalents have many meanings including "all," "whole," "every," "each," "everyone," and more, depending upon the context in which they are utilized. Actually, while todo and its alternate forms most commonly function as an adjective or a pronoun, they can also function as an adverb or even a noun. Let's examine how this word works in each of these cases, its various translations into English, and several idiomatic expressions that employ it.
Let's recall that an adjective modifies, or describes, a noun. When the word todo functions as an adjective, it must agree in number and gender with the noun it modifies. We must thus choose between its masculine singular (todo), masculine plural (todos), feminine singular (toda) or feminine plural (todas) forms, placing it either directly in front of either a noun, a noun's direct article, or a possessive adjective. Let's look at some examples:
No, en España, el español se parece mucho en todo el país.
No, in Spain, Spanish is a lot alike in the whole country.
Captions 5-6, Carlos y Xavi Part 4 Tradiciones y comida de BarcelonaPlay Caption
Although the literal translation of todo el país would be "all the country," common ways to say todo el in English include "the whole" or "the entire." Thus, an alternative translation for this sentence might be: "No, in Spain, Spanish is a lot alike in the entire country." Let's look at an additional example:
La asistente le dará una tarjeta con toda la información
The assistant will give you a card with all the information
Caption 42, Cita médica La cita médica de Cleer - Part 2Play Caption
Note that in this example, the feminine singular form toda has the more straightforward translation "all." Let's move on to some plural examples:
Invitamos a todos sus amigos al karaoke
We invite all her friends to karaoke
Caption 44, Blanca y Mariona Planificación de cenaPlay Caption
Note that while, in the sentence above, the plural form is translated to "all," in other cases, it can be translated as "every":
Salimos todas las noches.
We go out every night.
Caption 20, Clara y Cristina Hablan de actividadesPlay Caption
In other cases, either translation could suffice:
Feliz tarde, amigos de Yabla de todos los países del mundo.
Happy afternoon, Yabla friends from every country in the world.
Caption 2, Adícora, Venezuela El tatuaje de RosanaPlay Caption
An alternative translation could, of course, be: "Happy afternoon, Yabla friends from all the countries in the world."
The definition of a pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. Hence, when the word todo is used a pronoun in Spanish, it must match the number/gender of the noun to which it refers. Let's look at a simple example:
¿Cuánta torta comiste? -Me la comí toda.
How much cake did you eat? -I ate it all.
¿Cuántos caramelos comiste? -Todos.
How much candies did you eat? -All of them.
Let's take a look at an example from the Yabla video library where todas replaces a plural feminine noun (las estaciones/the seasons):
Creo que es la mejor estación de todas.
I think that it's the best season of all.
Caption 22, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 1Play Caption
Todo on its own is also the equivalent of the English word "everything":
Sí, Lucio me cuenta todo.
Yes, Lucio tells me everything.
Caption 30, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 2Play Caption
The plural todos, on the other hand, means "everybody" or "everyone":
porque es información nueva para todos.
because it's new information for everyone.Play Caption
In fact, the title of a recent Yabla video, Todo es de todos (Everything Belongs to Everyone) employs both of those terms. However, note the difference in translation for todos in the following example:
¿De ahí saldrá el aguacate que todos conocemos? -Claro.
The avocado that we all know will come from there? -Sure.
Caption 57, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 17Play Caption
Although "The avocado that everyone knows will come from there?" could be a viable translation, the fact that the verb conocer (to know) has been translated in the first person plural (nosotros/"we") form makes "we all" a legitimate (and perhaps more explanatory) translation.
When todo functions as an adverb, it is typically used to make emphatic statements. Possible translations include "really," "completely," "all," or "totally." For example, one might say: El chico se veía todo lindo (The guy looked really good) or Mi habitación está toda desordenada (My room is totally messy). Let's look at an example from the Yabla video library:
¡Yo te vi, yo te vi toda llena de barro!
I saw you! I saw you all covered in mud!
Caption 41, Yago 3 La foto - Part 5Play Caption
As a noun, el todo means "the whole" and can be seen in the translation for Aristotle's famous sentence:
El todo es más que la suma de las partes.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
And speaking of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, let's examine some common Spanish idioms that include forms of the word todo with meanings beyond their literal words.
While todo el mundo literally means "all the world" or "the whole/entire world," this phrase is an extremely common way of expressing the idea of "everybody" or "everyone" in Spanish:
Todo el mundo puede tocar el tambor donde, cuando y como quiera- mayores, niños, mujeres,
Everybody can play the drum wherever, whenever, and however they want- older people, children, women,
Captions 47-49, Viernes Santo en Tobarra ¡La Cuna del Tambor! - Part 1Play Caption
Literally "all the day," the notion of "all day" is encompassed by the Spanish expression todo el día:
¿Todo el día? El tiempo que quieras.
All day? As long as you want.
Captions 103-104, Alan x el mundo Mi playa favorita de México! - Part 2Play Caption
The plural form todos los días ("all the days"), on the other hand, means "every day":
Además, la vemos todos los días.
Besides, we see it every day.Play Caption
Like it sounds, the Spanish phrase sobre todo can indeed mean "above all" or "above everything." Additional, frequent translations include "mostly," "mainly," and "especially":
Primero, sobre todo si es tu primera tarjeta de crédito, eh... es recomendable que el... que el límite no sea mayor a tus ingresos.
First, especially if it is your first credit card, um... it is recommendable for the... for the limit not to be greater than your income.
Captions 51-52, Cuentas claras Sobreviviendo enero - Part 3Play Caption
En todo caso, espero que a partir de hoy, se sientan más cómodos usando las redes sociales en español.
In any case, I hope that starting from today, you feel more comfortable using social networks in Spanish.
Captions 53-54, Carlos explica Internet y lenguaje digital: Redes socialesPlay Caption
Por todos lados might seem to mean "around all sides," but it really means "everywhere":
Mili, ¿Dónde estabas? Te estuve buscando por todos lados.
Mili, where were you? I was looking for you everywhere.
Caption 16, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 10Play Caption
De todas formas in Spanish means not "of all shapes," but is rather a manner of saying "anyway":
Bueno, de todas formas, mire, el tipo se está haciendo pasar por Pierre Bernard.
Well, anyway, look, the guy is posing as Pierre Bernard.Play Caption
The similar Spanish expressions de todas maneras and de todos modos also mean "anyway," "anyhow," or "in any case."
The phrase de todo ("of everything") is another way to say "everything" in Spanish:
Aquí tiene de todo, perro, oveja...
Here, they have everything: [a] dog, sheep...
Caption 1, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 6Play Caption
Del todo ("of the whole"), on the other hand, means "completely" or "entirely"':
Quizás l'... la relación más equilibrada que yo he buscado no ha pasado del todo y ahora me siento un poquito sola
Maybe th'... the more balanced relationship that I've looked for hasn't completely happened, and now I feel a little bit lonely
Captions 19-20, El reencuentro Las amigas hablan del trabajo y el amor.Play Caption
For additional examples of this expression and more, we recommend the lesson En absoluto, de ninguna manera, del todo.
And finally, if you want to tell someone to go "straight ahead," todo recto (literally "all straight") is the way to go in Spanish:
Tiene que ir todo recto. -Sí.
You have to go straight ahead. -Yes.
Caption 17, Curso de español ¿Hay una escuela por aquí?Play Caption
These are just a smattering of the many Spanish expressions that incorporate forms of todo that can be heard in everyday Spanish. ¡Sería imposible nombrarlos todos (It would be imposible to name them all)! That said:
Eso es todo por hoy, amigos.
That's all for today, friends.
Caption 56, Ana Carolina Símbolos de NavidadPlay Caption
For additional information on expressions that include the Spanish word todo, we recommend the additional lesson When Nada (Nothing) is Todo (Everything). In the meantime, gracias por todo (thanks for everything), and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
Should you use mucho or muy? Do you know how to say the Spanish words muy and mucho in English? What is the difference between muy vs. mucho in Spanish?
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.
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 especialPlay Caption
¡estos plátanos son muy pequeños!
these bananas are very small!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 JackyPlay 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 1Play 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.
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.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 4Play 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.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.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).
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 2Play 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 11Play 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 médicaPlay Caption
A 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 1Play 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.
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 HuancaínaPlay Caption
Estos ejercicios ayudan mucho
These exercises really help
Caption 59, Bienestar con Elizabeth RelajaciónPlay Caption
Me gusta mucho este parque.
I really like this park.Play Caption
Sí, me gustan mucho las uvas.
Yes, I like grapes a lot.Play Caption
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 14Play 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 16Play 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 11Play 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.
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.
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 17Play 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 9Play 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 11Play Caption
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.
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: parecido, as 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 artePlay 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 6Play Caption
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 automóvilPlay 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 5Play 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 EresPlay Caption
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 5Play 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 túPlay Caption
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?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 1Play 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.
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!
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!
Do you know how to say "yellow" or "purple" in Spanish? Get ready to learn how to write and say the names of the colors in Spanish.
Let's take a look at this list of the primary colors in Spanish.
Even though there are millions of colors out there, most of the time we use only a limited number of colors in our daily life. The following list features the names of the most frequently used colors in Spanish and English.
- amarillo (yellow)
- anaranjado or naranja (orange)
- añil or índigo (indigo)
- azul (blue)
- blanco (white)
- dorado (golden)
- escarlata (scarlet)
- fucsia (fuchsia)
- gris (gray)
- marrón or café (brown)
- morado (purple)
- negro (black)
- plateado (silver)
- rojo (red)
- rosa or rosado (pink)
- violeta (violet)
Now, it's time to learn how to say the colors in Spanish.
Recorta un cuadro de papel amarillo de cinco centímetros
Cut out a five centimeter yellow square from yellow paperPlay Caption
anaranjado or naranja
Adentro, son de color anaranjado.
Inside, they are orange-colored.Play Caption
By the way, do you know how to say "orange" (the fruit) in Spanish? The answer is "naranja"!
Ay, me encanta tu camiseta azul.
Oh, I love your blue shirt.
Caption 3, Español para principiantes Los coloresPlay Caption
Mi perro pequeño es blanco.
My small dog is white.Play Caption
y el negro, donde se tira lo orgánico
and the black one, where the organic [waste] is thrown away
Caption 7, Rosa ReciclarPlay Caption
el verde, donde va el vidrio,
the green one, where the glass goes,
Caption 5, Rosa ReciclarPlay Caption
Mi cocina es de madera de color marrón.
My kitchen is (made) of brown-colored wood.
Caption 23, Ariana Mi CasaPlay Caption
Keep in mind that some people prefer to use to word "café" instead of "marrón" when referring to the color "brown."
Predominan los colores verde, morado,
The colors green, purple, predominate,
Caption 46, Viajando con Fermín Dunas de MarbellaPlay Caption
It is also quite common to use the adjective "púrpura" when talking about the color purple.
el rojo carmesí, que es un rojo frío,
the Crimson Red, which is a cool red,Play Caption
Let's finish this lesson with a little quiz. Can you provide the English word for each one of the seven colors of the rainbow in Spanish? Try it out!
1. rojo = ???
2. naranja or anaranjado = ???
3. amarillo = ???
4. verde = ???
5. azul = ???
6. añil = ???
7. violeta = ???
Did you get them all? If you didn't, you can always go back and check out the list we provided at the beginning of this lesson with the Spanish colors in alphabetical order.
That's it for today. We hope you enjoyed this lesson and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.
Let's talk about gender. If you have been studying Spanish, you probably know that nouns in Spanish have a gender. For example, the word libro (book) is a masculine noun. On the contrary, the noun pelota (ball) is feminine. If you want to use those nouns with their corresponding definite articles, you will say el libro (the book) and la pelota (the ball). Now, what about the noun agua (water)? Is agua masculine or feminine? Do you say el agua or la agua?
Let's take a look at some clips:
Cuando uno tiene sed
When one is thirsty
Pero el agua no está cerca
But the water's not close by
Captions 17-18, Jarabe de Palo - AguaPlay Caption
Y como para completar la historia, desperdiciaban el agua todo el tiempo.
And, as if to make matters worse, they wasted water all the time.
Caption 15, Salvando el planeta Palabra - LlegadaPlay Caption
Y apenas sus pies tocaron el agua,
And as soon as their feet touched the water,
se convirtieron en dos grandes serpientes.
they turned into two big snakes.Play Caption
Can you now answer our question? According to the above clips, is agua masculine or feminine? In all the previous clips, the word agua is placed right after the masculine definite article "el" so the noun agua must be masculine, right? Not so fast! Let's take a look at the following clips:
Limonadas, refrescos o simplemente agua fresca.
Lemonades, sodas or just cold water.
Caption 42, Aprendiendo con Karen - Utensilios de cocinaPlay Caption
Las formas de presentación incluyen el agua ozonizada y el aceite ozonizado.
The formulations include ozonized water and ozonized oil.
Caption 35, Los médicos explican - Beneficios del ozonoPlay Caption
Un día, los vientos del páramo agitaron las aguas de la laguna.
One day, the winds from the tundra shook up the waters of the lake.Play Caption
Did you see that? If you look at the first two clips, you can see that the adjectives that go after the noun agua are feminine adjectives that end with the vowel "a" (fresca and ionizada). Also, in the third clip, you can see that the term aguas (plural form of agua) is preceded by the feminine definite article "las". So, is agua masculine or feminine?
The answer is very simple: the noun agua is always feminine. However, if you are wondering why we say "el agua" and not "la agua" there is a simple rule you need to keep in mind: If a feminine noun starts with a stressed "a", you need to use the masculine definite article "el". Let's see more feminine nouns that start with a stressed "a":
el águila (the eagle)
el alma (the soul)
Nevertheless, it is important to say that for plural feminine nouns, you need to use the plural feminine definitive article "las":
las aguas (the waters)
las águilas (the eagles)
las almas (the souls)
Finally, keep in mind that if the noun is feminine the adjective needs to be feminine too. For example, let's say that we want to say "the water is dirty." Since water is feminine in Spanish, you need to use the feminine version of the adjective (sucia):
RIGHT - El agua está sucia
WRONG - El agua está sucio
So, there you have it. We hope you learned something useful today and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.
¡Hasta la próxima!
Bravo/brava is an adjective with various meanings in Spanish. We use it when we want to say someone is brave or courageous. In some Spanish-speaking countries, however, bravo/brava is also used as a synonym for angry, mad or upset. This adjective can also help us describe the world around us by meaning rough or fierce. Finally, we also use bravo when we want to acknowledge someone's work in a positive way.
As mentioned above, bravo is synonym for brave or courageous. Let's take a look at the following sentence:
Siendo el más bravo de todos, Miguel fue el primero que saltó del trampolín.
Being the bravest of all, Miguel was the first to jump off the diving board.
In some countries such as, for example, Colombia, bravo/brava is used when we want to say that someone is angry or upset:
Kevin, su novia está muy brava. Deb'...
Kevin, your girlfriend is very mad. You nee'...
En este contexto, "brava" es sinónimo de enojada o enfadada.
In this context, "brava," is a synonym of mad or angry.
Captions 17-18, Carlos comenta - Los Años Maravillosos - Forma de hablarPlay Caption
Bravo is also a very useful word for describing nature. For instance, bravo is a very common adjective when talking about a rough or choppy sea or river. Similarly, when talking about animals, bravo/brava can describe an animal that is fierce.
El agua estaba muy brava, y soplaba un viento muy fuerte.
The water was very choppy, and a very strong wind was blowing.
Captions 30-31, Guillermina y Candelario - Capitan CandelarioPlay Caption
Have you ever been in a theater where people shout "bravo" at the end of a play? Well, in Spanish we also use bravo the same way. However, we also say bravo/brava when we want to tell to someone they did something good, or did a good job. In other words, we use bravo/brava to say "well done" or "good for you."
Apart from that, we also use bravo/brava in various specific situations. For example, when you have to do something you don't want to do, you can say you did it "a la brava" (by force). We also use brava/bravo to express a very strong desire:
¡Oiga, que sed tan brava!
Hey, what a strong thirst!
Caption 52, Kikirikí - Agua - Part 1Play Caption
Bravo/brava is also used in the context of sports:
- Barra brava or barrabrava (a group of hooligans in football/soccer)
- "Hacer barra" (to cheer up someone or a team)
That's all for today. We hope this lesson helped you to expand your vocabulary. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.
Let’s talk about adverbs. Adverbs are very important in Spanish grammar and many of them are closely connected to adjectives. In fact, there are a good number of adverbs that can be easily formed if we are familiar with the original adjective. In this lesson, we will see how to use adjectives in order to form Spanish adverbs with the suffix mente.
Let’s take a look at these very used adverbs in Spanish.
...pero principalmente cubanos que llegaron a este país hace cuarenta años.
...but mainly Cubans who arrived to this country forty years ago.
Caption 6, La Calle 8 - Un recorrido fascinantePlay Caption
Además, este año hay una zona dedicada especialmente a la gastronomía.
Additionally, this year there is an area dedicated especially to gastronomy.
Caption 28, Fuengirola - Feria Internacional de los PueblosPlay Caption
Nos criamos completamente ciegos, sordos, mudos con respecto al dinero.
We grew up completely blind, deaf, dumb with respect to money.
Caption 70, Cuentas claras - Sobreviviendo eneroPlay Caption
As you can see, the suffix mente corresponds to the English suffix ‘ly’. But how do you form Spanish adverbs with mente? Let’s take a look.
In order to build Spanish adverbs with mente, you just have to follow this very simple formula:
Feminine form of the adjective + mente
For example, if we want to form an adverb with the adjective último (last), we just need to take the feminine form of that adjective (última) and add the suffix mente, like this:
última + mente = últimamente (lastly).
Let’s look at some more examples:
Claro (clear): clara + mente = claramente (clearly)
Lento (slow): lenta + mente = lentamente (slowly)
Honesto (honest): honesta + mente = honestamente (honestly)
However, if an adjective doesn’t end in ‘o’, it means that it has one form that is used for both masculine and feminine. In that case, you just need to add the suffix mente to the adjective in order to get the adverb. Let’s see some examples:
Alegre (happy): alegre + mente = alegremente (happily)
Triste (sad): triste + mente = tristemente (sadly)
Frecuente (frequent): frecuente + mente = frecuentemente (frequently)
Normal (normal): normal + mente = normalmente (normally)
It is also important to mention that if you have a sentence with two adverbs in a series, only the last one will have the suffix mente at the end. The first one will keep the feminime form of the adjective:
Él camina rápida y alegremente
He walks quickly and happily
Ellos hablaron clara y concisamente
They spoke clearly and concisely
Finally, something important to keep in mind: If the original adjective has a graphic accent on it (tilde), the adverb will also have that accent. Some examples:
Creo que mi mamá comprendió su equivocación rápidamente.
I think that my mom understood her mistake quickly.
Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 2Play Caption
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.Play Caption
That's it for this lesson. Now, here is your homework: Take 10 adjectives and try to form the corresponding adverbs using the suffix mente. Can you write some sentences too? Have fun and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.
Let's talk about gentilicios (demonyms)! Gentilicios are words that we use as adjectives when we want to say the place where someone or something comes from. In other words, they are adjectives of nationality in Spanish! Some examples of demonyms are words like “Brazilian,” “African” or “Chinese.”
Unlike English, we don’t capitalize demonyms in Spanish:
Mejor dicho, esas que son una mezcla entre peruana y colombiano.
In other words, those that are a mix between a Peruvian girl and a Colombian guy.
Caption 35, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 1Play Caption
We form demonyms using suffixes, which most of the time need to be consistent with the gender and the number of the noun they are describing. Let’s take the suffix ano:
Roberto es mexicano | Roberto is Mexican (singular masculine)
Claudia es mexicana | Claudia is Mexican (singular feminine)
Roberto y Claudia son mexicanos | Roberto and Claudia are Mexicans (plural masculine)
Claudia y Daniela son mexicanas | Claudia and Daniela are Mexicans (plural feminine)
cuando realmente veo otros mexicanos, otros latinos,
when I see other Mexicans, other Latin people,
Caption 13, Arturo Vega - Entrevista - Part 5Play Caption
Other suffixes that are very often used to form gentilicios are és (singular masculine) and esa(singular feminine) as well as co (singular masculine) and ca (singular feminine):
De padre austriaco y madre francesa, es casi políglota de nacimiento.
From an Austrian father and French mother, he's pretty much multilingual from birth.Play Caption
We also have the suffix eño (singular masculine) as in limeño (from Lima, the capital of Peru), and the suffix í as in the demonym iraní (from Iran). The latter is used for both masculine and feminine and only changes in its plural form (iraní becomes either iranís or iraníes, both forms are correct):
o madrileño, madrileña, de Madrid, la capital de España.
or "madrileño," "madrileña," [from Madrid], from Madrid, the capital of Spain.
Caption 34, Carlos explica - Geografía y gentiliciosPlay Caption
Just like iraní, the demonym estadounidense (from the United States) is the same for the masculine and feminine forms. Some people use americano or americana when referring to someone from the US. However, if you are travelling across Latin America try to use estadounidense instead. Most people in Latin America treat the word América as a continent and not a country so using that demonym when referring to the US will certainly leave a nice impression across the Americas.
That's all for now. We would like to leave you with the following exercise: Choose 20 countries from the world and try to write the gentilicios for each one. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have a gem and we want to share it with you. It's a little slip of the tongue that Rosie, one of the girls in the NPS series, makes while being introduced to a handsome new sports instructor:
Ay, a mí me encanta el deporte y más si el "teacher" está así de bueno.
Oh, I love sports and even more if the teacher is so good-looking.
Rosie's subconscious betrayed her for a moment there, because that's apparently not what she wanted to say, as she immediately corrects her blunder:
Ah, ay, digo, digo si es tan bueno.
Uh, oh, I mean, I mean if he's so good.
The difference between estar bueno (to be good-looking*) vs ser bueno (to be good) is the classic example used to explain the proper way to combine the verbs estar and ser (both meaning "to be") with adjectives, and to understand the sometimes not-so-subtle difference in meaning that results from it: if you use ser, the adjective is a fundamental characteristic of the person or thing you are describing, whereas if you use estar, it's a description of a mood or appearance, something less intrinsic or something not permanent. Having the chance to learn this rule with a pun is priceless, don't you think?
There are many interesting examples of adjectives that change meaning when they are combined with the Spanish verbs ser and estar to describe people. For example, the adjective frío, which means "cold."
You can use this adjective with the verb ser to describe a fundamental characteristic of a person or group of persons:
Lo siento. Pero acá la gente es fría y distante, es una... -¡Mentira!
Sorry. But here the people are cold and distant, it's a... -Lie!
Caption 73, Yago - 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 3Play Caption
But if you say that someone está frío, that can only mean that the person('s body) is actually cold. Here is a grim example:
Está en la cama, muerto. Está frío y azul.
He's on the bed, dead. He’s cold and blue.
That's why, in fact, the combination of the verb estar with the adjective frío is much more commonly used to describe objects, concepts, and beings regarded as inanimate: la noche está fría (the night is cold), la champaña está fría (the champagne is cold), etc. But careful: that doesn't mean that you can't use ser + an adjective to describe such things. You can, especially with concepts and abstract ideas. For example:
...si la temperatura exterior es más fría que la interior
...or if the temperature outside is colder than the inside [temperature]
Captions 58-59, Tecnópolis - El CoronilPlay Caption
En Buenos Aires las noches están frías.
In Buenos Aires nights are cold.
Yet that doesn't mean that you can't say en Buenos Aires las noches están frías. It's just definitely less common and actually incorrect if what you mean is that all nights in Buenos Aires are generally cold. So, if you ever find or hear such an assertion using the verb estar instead of ser, it would probably be accompanied by certain implicit or explicit clues that would tell you that the adjective frías (cold) is being used to describe a temporary situation. For example:
En Buenos Aires las noches están frías, por ahora.
In Buenos Aires nights are cold, for now.
No salgas, está frío afuera.
Don't go out, it's cold outside.
So, you may be wondering: how do I say in Spanish that someone is cold, meaning that the person feels cold? Well, you have to use a different verb instead: tener (to have). Have you ever heard a Spanish native speaker say "I have cold" by mistake? That's why.
...y yo nada más tengo frío y hambre y no sé qué hacer.
...and I'm just cold and I'm hungry and I don't know what to do.
Caption 23, Yago - 6 Mentiras - Part 1Play Caption
So, unless you are a zombie or another kind of undead creature, don't ever say estoy frío.
*Just so you know, the adjective bueno in estar bueno is actually closer to "yummy" or "hot" than to "good-looking."
The proper use of the words bien (well) and bueno (good) seems to be specially challenging for English speakers. From a grammatical point of view the difference between these words is quite simple: bueno (good) is an adjective, and bien (well) an adverb. But that doesn’t help much, does it? Especially if you don't have a clear understanding of the function of adjectives and adverbs themselves. And even if you do, people who are really fluent don't usually go around wondering if a word is an adverb or an adjective in order to use it properly.
Is not that grammar isn't helpful, it's just that very often people try to use it as a rigid template that you can superimpose on any given portion of speech to determine its correctness. But trying to grammatically deconstruct a sentence in Spanish, or any language, can be a tricky and confusing exercise, one more suited to linguists than to language learners. Indeed, from a learner's perspective, grammar is more useful if you learn to see it as a set of very basic structures (think of Legos), that you learn how to combine and then use to build basic structures that may eventually be used to build more complex structures and so on. Imagine a foreign language is some kind of alien technology that you want to replicate and master. Would you prefer if you are given the blue print and some of its basic components, or would you rather try to do reverse engineering on it?
For example, "adjectives modify nouns and only nouns" is a much simpler grammar "Lego piece" than "adverbs modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs." Right? So maybe we can start with that. The word bueno(good) is an adjective, like bonito (pretty), flaco (skinny), and malo (bad). Add another basic Lego piece such as "in Spanish, adjectives must agree in gender and number with the nouns they modify," and you can build:
El perro bonito /The pretty dog and Los perros bonitos /The pretty dogs
El gato flaco / The skinny cat and Los gatos flacos / The skinny cats
El lobo malo / The bad wolf and Los lobos malos / The bad wolves
La niña buena / The good girl and Las niñas buenas / The good girls
A classic example of the proper use of bueno is the expression buenos días:
¡Hola, buenos días! -Joaquín.
Hi, good morning! -Joaquín.
Caption 7, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 16Play Caption
Now, what about bien (well)? Bien is an adverb, like rápidamente (fast) or mal (badly). Adverbs in Spanish are invariable, which means they have only one form and do not change according to gender or number. The main function of adverbs is to modify verbs:
Yo corro rápidamente /I ran fast
Ella baila mal / She dances badly
Yo lo hago bien / I do it well
Adverbs also modify other adverbs:
Yo corro bastante rápidamente / I ran quite fast
Ella baila muy mal / She dances very badly
Yo lo hago bien temprano / I do it very early (yes, bien can also mean "very")
Adverbs also modify adjectives:
El perro muy bonito /The very pretty dog
El gato bastante flaco / The quite skinny cat
El lobo terriblemente malo / The terribly bad wolf
La niña tan buena / The so very good girl
So, if the adjective bueno can only be used to modify a noun, and bien can only be used to modify a verb, an adjective or another adverb, how can Spanish speakers say things like La sopa está buena (the soup is good) or Yo soy bueno (I'm good) all the time? Aren't estar and ser verbs? They are, but here we have to step up our game and remember that these two verbs are very special in Spanish—they are special Lego pieces with special rules.
You use the verb ser with an adjective to describe something or someone by stating their characteristics as essential qualities that are an intrinsic part of who they are. In a way, you could say that this use of the verb ser +an adjective is redundant because, whether you use ser or not, you are essentially expressing the same thing about the object or person (noun) you are talking about. Another way to put it is that when you use the verb ser (to be) with an adjective you are just talking about a characteristic as if it were an action, in a verbal form. Compare our first set of examples:
El perro bonito / The pretty dog = El perro es bonito /The dog is pretty
El gato flaco / The skinny cat = El gato es flaco / The cat is skinny
El lobo malo / The bad wolf = El lobo es malo / The wolf is bad
Las niñas buenas / The good girls = Las niñas son buenas / The girls are good
But if you use the verb estar (to be) with an adjective you are not talking about a characteristic as if it were an essential trait, you are talking about a characteristic of someone or something but not seeing it as intrinsically related to that someone or something. It may be a trait only present for the moment, for example. English doesn't usually makes this subtle distinction, so we have added some extra information to the translations so you can better grasp the difference of using estar instead or ser:
El perro es bonito / The dog is pretty ≠ El perro está bonito / The dog is pretty (right now but maybe not tomorrow).
El gato es flaco / The cat is skinny ≠ El gato está flaco / The cat is skinny (today, but it could get fat if we feed him).
Now, since estar is not used to express an intrinsic quality, the following examples using estar can't be referring to moral or spiritual qualities (intrinsic by nature) such as being good or being bad, so malo (bad) and bueno (good) here can only refer to something different:
El lobo es malo / The wolf is bad ≠ El lobo está malo / The wolf is sick (or tastes badly).
Las niñas son buenas / The girls are good ≠ Las niñas están buenas / The girls are tasty (Something the Big Bad Wolf could say, for example (think buenas = sabrosas = tasty). As "tasty" in English buenas can also mean "good looking," which is a rather vulgar expression, by the way).
That covers the use of ser and estar plus an adjective like bueno (good). Let's see what happens if you combine these verbs with an adverb, like bien (well). The first good news is that you never use the verb ser with and adverb. So you can never user bien (well) with the verb ser. Never. The following are all incorrect expressions:
Yo soy bien
Nosotros somos tan bien
El carro es bien
You must use instead an adjective combined with the verb ser if you want to talk about ethical or intrinsic qualities:
Yo soy bueno / I am good
Nosotros somos tan buenos / We are so good
El carro es bueno / The car is good (maybe it's a good brand, or a good model, or just a good one for some other reason)
If you want to talk about non-essential, non-intrinsic, non-ethical qualities, you need to use an adjective combined with the verb estar:
Yo estoy bueno / I am tasty (If a good meal could talk, it could say something like that. The expression can also mean " I'm good looking" by extension, see above).
Nosotros estamos tan buenos / We are so tasty (or "good looking," see above).
El carro está bueno / The car is in good condition.
Or, finally, an adverb with the verb estar:
Yo estoy bien / I am well
Nosotros estamos tan bien / We are so well
El carro está bien / The car is Ok (is doing well)
Over the last few weeks you have seen a few video lessons about adjectives as part of our series Lecciones con Carolina. So you probably know by now that one of the most challenging aspects of Spanish adjectives is that they must agree in gender and number with the noun they modify. Having this in mind, we have prepared for you a brief review on how adjectives are built in Spanish.
In Spanish, adjectives that end in -o have four forms. We have singular masculine adjectives ending in -o, and singular feminine ending in -a:
Es un gasto económico muy alto para la fundación.
Is a very high economic expense for the foundation.
Caption 28, Animales en familia - Adopta a PinoPlay Caption
¡Qué casa más bonita tienen tus abuelos! ¿eh?
What a beautiful house your grandparents have! huh?
Caption 47, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 20Play Caption
The corresponding plural adjectives end in -os, for the masculine:
En el bulevar de los sueños rotos
On the boulevard of broken dreamsPlay Caption
and in -as, for the feminine:
Es una tonta ésa, como todas las tontas que se meten con Ivo.
She's a dumb, that one, like all the dumb ones who get involved with Ivo.
Captions 38-39, Muñeca Brava - 45 El secreto - Part 4Play Caption
We also have Spanish adjectives that end in -e. They only have two forms, -e for singular and -es for plural. Here is an example of an adjective ending in -e in the singular form that is used to modify the feminine noun fuerza (strength):
...anatómicamente y tienen fuerza física suficiente.
...anatomically when they already have enough physical strength.Play Caption
And here is an example of an adjective ending in -e in the plural form that is used to modify the masculine nouns vinos (nouns) and paisajes (landscapes), but also the feminine noun cervezas (beers):
En España tenemos de todos. Grandes vinos... grandes cervezas y grandes paisajes.
In Spain, we have them all. Great wines... great beers, and great landscapes.
Captions 41-42, Casa Pancho - vinos y pinchos - Part 2Play Caption
On the other hand, some Spanish adjectives end in a consonant, like popular (popular),voraz (voracious), and fácil (easy). These are similar to the ones ending in -e: they only have two forms. The singular form is invariable for feminine and masculine nouns:
La tarea fácil / The easy homework.
El curso fácil / The easy course.
El actor popular / The popular actor.
La actriz popular / The popular actress.
El lobo voraz / The voracious (male) wolf.
La loba voraz / The voracious (female) wolf.
And the plural form uses -es for both feminine and masculine nouns. Notice how you may learn to substitute z for c in some cases:
Las tareas fáciles / The easy homeworks.
Los curso fáciles / The easy courses.
Los actores populares / The popular actors.
Las actrices populares / The popular actresses.
Los lobos voraces / The voracious (male) wolves.
Las lobas voraces / The voracious (female) wolves.
Finally, there is a group of adjectives in Spanish that end in a consonant but don't follow the previous rule exactly. These are adjectives ending in -án, -ón, and -or. For these, the feminine adds -a for the singular, and -as for the plural. The masculine uses -es for the plural form. The good news is there are not many adjectives in this group. Some examples are:
El hombre haragán / The lazy man.
La mujer haragana / The lazy woman.
El maestro fanfarrón / The boastful (male) teacher.
La maestra fanfarrona / The boastful (female) teacher.
El policía abusador / The abusive policeman.
La policía abusadora / The abusive policewoman.
Can you figure out the corresponding plural forms? They are as follows:
Los hombres haraganes / The lazy men.
Las mujeres haraganas / The lazy women.
Los maestros fanfarrones / The braggart (male) teachers.
La maestra fanfarrona / The braggart (female) teachers.
Los policías abusadores / The abusive policemen.
Las policías abusadoras / The abusive policewomen.
One of the most common prefixes used in Spanish is a. This prefix is very interesting because when coming from the Latin prefix ab- or abs-, a- denotes separation or privation, but when coming from the Latin prefix ad-, a- denotes approximation or presence. Another interesting and useful aspect of this prefix is that it can be added to certain nouns and adjectives to form verbs.
Let's compare the different uses of the prefix a-. Take the word ausente (absent). This is a perfect example of the use of the prefix a- to indicate separation. We have a full movie titled El Ausente:
Ya llegó el que andaba ausente y éste no consiente nada...
Now he arrived, the one who was absent and this one does not allow anything...
Captions 9-10, El Ausente - Acto 3 - Part 5Play Caption
Strikingly enough, the prefix a- can also mean approximation or presence. A good example is the verb asistir meaning "to attend":
Siempre hemos de asistir personalmente a la entidad bancaria.
We should always go personally to the banking entity.
Caption 13, Raquel - Abrir una cuenta bancariaPlay Caption
Much more practically useful is to know that we can add the prefix a- to other words, like nouns and adjectives, to form verbs. Below is an example from a video published this week. The verb acostumbrar (to get used to) is formed with the prefix a and the noun costumbre (custom, use):
Vea, Pepino, hay sitios donde les enseñan a los animales a que se vuelvan a acostumbrar a su hábitat.
Look, Pepino [Cucumber], there are places where they teach animals to become used to their habitat again.
Captions 10-11, Kikirikí - Animales - Part 7Play Caption
Now, using the noun tormento (torment) we get the verb atormentar (to torment):
Eso seguro era algo que podía atormentarlos.
That surely was something that could torment them.
Caption 46, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 10Play Caption
There are so many! From susto (fright) you get asustar (to scare):
¡Ay no, Candelario! No me asustes.
Oh no, Candelario! Don't scare me.Play Caption
You can also use adjectives. For example, lejos (far) and cerca (close) give us alejar (to put or to go far away), and acercar (to put or to get close):
Después me alejaré
Then I will go away
Caption 22, Reyli - Qué nos pasóPlay Caption
Ella trataba de acercarse a mí.
She tried to get close to me.
Caption 9, Biografía - Pablo Echarri - Part 3Play Caption
Here is a list with more examples. Maybe you can find them in our Spanish catalog.
Tonto (fool) - atontar (to fool or become a fool)
Plano (flat) - aplanar (to flatten)
Grande (big) - agrandar (to make bigger)
Pasión (passion) - apasionar (to become passionate)
Nido (nest) - anidar (to form a nest)
Morado (purple) - amoratar (to get or give bruises)
Francés (French) - afrancesar (to become French-like)
Grieta (crack) - agrietar (to crack)
In one of Yabla's videos, Spanish veterinarian, Jesús López, uses two interesting and very similar words:
Cualquiera puede traer cualquier animal.
Anyone can bring any animal.Play Caption
The Spanish words, cualquiera (anyone) and cualquier (any), may look very much alike, but their functions happen to be very different. While cualquiera is an indefinite pronoun, cualquier is an indefinite adjective.
For that reason, whenever the adjective, cualquier, is used, it must be accompanied by a noun, e.g. cualquier animal (any animal). Let's take a look at these examples:
En cualquier caso, los datos de España no son nada alentadores.
In any case, the data from Spain is not encouraging at all.
Captions 27-28, 3R - Campaña de reciclajePlay Caption
Mira los niños, juegan con globos de cualquier color
Look at the kids, they play with balloons of any color
Caption 9, Café Tacuba - MediodíaPlay Caption
¿Puede venir cualquier persona aquí? -Sí.
Can any person come here? -Yes.
Caption 5, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricosPlay Caption
On the other hand, the pronoun, cualquiera (anyone), should not be used to accompany a noun, but rather to substitute it, as cualquiera means "anyone." For example, you can use the pronoun, cualquiera, to substitute the phrase, cualquier persona, in the previous example:
¿Puede venir cualquiera aquí? -Sí.
Can anyone come here? -Yes.
Here is another example containing the pronoun, cualquiera:
No cualquiera podía ser caballero. O sea...
Not just anyone could be a knight. I mean...
Caption 17, Antonio Vargas - Artista - ilustraciónPlay Caption
Now, to further complicate the matter, Spanish has a common plural form for both the adjective, cualquier, and the pronoun, cualquiera, which is cualesquiera. Although the use of this plural form for both the adjective and the pronoun is uncommon in everyday speech, let's go ahead and transform the previous examples into their plural forms as an excercise. You will note that their English translations are identical to their singular equivalents.
For the adjective, cualquier:
¿Pueden venir cualesquiera personas aquí? -Sí.*
Can any person come here? -Yes.
For the pronoun, cualquiera:
No cualesquiera podían ser caballeros.
Not just anyone could be a knight.
* As a side note, a shorter version for the adjective, cualesquier, also exists, but this is even less common and can generally only be found in old literature.
Finally, and very interestingly, there is one instance in which the word, cualquiera (and its plural, cualesquiera), can be used as a qualitative adjective meaning "insignificant" or "irrelevant." When used in this manner, the adjective always comes after the noun rather than before it. This use is equivalent to the English expression "any old" or "just any." Let's see an example.
Sólo espera, que hoy no será un día cualquiera
Just wait, because today won't be any old day
Caption 49, Cuarto poder - Aquí no se está jugandoPlay Caption
This adjective is most commonly used in negative phrases:
Este no es un perro cualquiera; es el perro de mi padre. / This is not just any dog. It's my father's dog.
No era un tipo cualquiera; era el jefe de la tribu. / He wasn't just any guy. He was the tribe's chief.
By extension, however unfairly, the expressions, un cualquiera and una cualquiera, can mean "a nobody" and "a prostitute" (or low class or sexually promiscous woman), respectively. You can find an example in our Argentinian telenovela, Muñeca Brava:
Pero a mí no me va a ofender porque yo no soy una cualquiera.
But you're not going to disrespect me because I am not a floozy.
Captions 83-84, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reuniónPlay Caption
This is the end of the lesson. Thank you for reading, and don't forget to send us you comments and suggestions.
Do you know how to say "cool" in Spanish as in, "That video is so cool!"? What is the best equivalent of this slangy English word that can have such meanings as "good," "nice," "great," "OK," or "in fashion"? Let's find out.
Any translator knows well that translating the word "cool" into Spanish poses a big challenge. In fact, there are many Spanish words for "cool" depending upon the speaker's country or origin. In the following sections, we'll provide you with some of those terms.
In Mexico, many people use padre and chido. While the use of padre is more generalized, chido is typically more popular among younger generations:
Y, y en cuanto la vi... No, ésta tiene que ser mía. -¡Qué padre!
And, and as soon as I saw it... No, this one has to be mine. -How cool!
Caption 34, Sergio en Monterrey - El ámbar mexicanoPlay Caption
Muy padre, porque la escalera viene así, después tiene un descanso,
Very cool, because the staircase comes down like this, afterwards it has a landing,
Caption 50, El teatro. Conversación con un doble de acción.Play Caption
...que está chido que estemos en Estados Unidos.
...it's cool that we're in the United States.
Caption 47, Belanova - Entrevista - Part 3Play Caption
Of course, since Mexico has such diverse people living across a vast territory, you'll find other, similar expressions as well. Conmadre (literally, "with mother") and suave (smooth) are good examples. You can hear suave in one of our videos from Monterrey, Mexico. However, it is worth noting that this expression is not very common in that particular city, and the student who utilizes it is from another state.
Aunque a veces sí está pesado, está muy suave porque se te van volando.
Although sometimes it is hard, it's very cool because they go flying by for you.
Captions 28-29, Yo estudio en el Tec - de MonterreyPlay Caption
Many people in countries like Colombia, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador use the word chévere:
¡Súper chévere que la... el hijo de uno diga "No, mi mamá es una chef"!
Very cool for one's child to say, "No, my mom is a chef!"
Caption 13, Misión Chef - 2 - Pruebas - Part 1Play Caption
In Colombia, a newer alternative to chévere is bacano (and bacán in Cuba, Peru, and Chile):
Mi papá era un médico muy bacano, muy interesante.
My father was a very cool doctor, very interesting.
Caption 13, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 2Play Caption
In Argentina, people tend to use words like copado, masa, and groso:
Podemos sacar algo copado esta noche.
We can get something cool tonight.
Caption 87, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema - Part 3Play Caption
¡Soy una masa!
I'm so cool!
Caption 69, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema - Part 1Play Caption
In Spain, you'll often hear guay:
Y realmente la improvisación fue... fue la clave. Era muy guay.
And really the improvisation was... was the key. It was very cool.
Captions 31-32, Blanca y Mariona - Proyectos para el veranoPlay Caption
Sam, tengo esta ropa para ti. Vas a estar guay.
Sam, I have these clothes for you. You're going to look cool.Play Caption
In the following clip, Carlos (from Colombia) and Xavi (from Spain) talk about how they say the word "cool" in their countries. You will see that the word chulo is used in Spain as an alternative term for the more common guay:
¿Qué significa guay? Guay es bueno, chulo, divertido. OK. En Colombia nosotros diríamos chévere o bacano.
What does "guay" mean? "Guay" is good, cool, fun. OK. In Colombia, we'd say "chévere" or "bacano."
Captions 39-41, Carlos y Xavi Part 2 Ustedes y VosotrosPlay Caption
While the multitude of terms we've provided as equivalents for "cool" by no means constitute an exhaustive list, they should definitely get you started on your journey to express or understand this idea in many Spanish-speaking countries.
We want to remind you that, regardless of the culture, country, or language, slang words are inextricably linked to the cultural or individual identity of the people who use them, and one can never be too respectful of this. In that spirit, it's always wise to learn more "neutral" alternatives to slang. Genial, estupendo, and, to a certain extent, bárbaro are a good fit to express the idea of "cool" or its equivalents (and be cool in Spanish as well!).
¿Te parece que tus patrones se enojarán? -¡No, está bárbaro!
Do you think that your bosses would get mad? -No, it's cool!
Caption 16, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 6Play Caption
¡Este grupo está genial!
This group is great!
Caption 27, Raquel - Expresiones para un festival de música.Play Caption
¡Muy bien, estupendo!
Very good, great!Play Caption
The superlative of bueno (good), buenísimo, is also a good alternative:
Bueno, buenísimo, como anillo al dedo.
Well, very good, it fits like a glove [literally: like a ring to a finger].
Caption 69, Muñeca Brava 9 Engaños - Part 8Play Caption
In other contexts, the non-slang expression, está bien, might be used in a case in which an English speaker might say "that's fine" or "that's cool," while está de moda might be used to indicate that a certain trend, for example, is currently "cool" or in fashion.
By the way, unless you're a purist, you could even go with "cool" in English as many Spanish speakers do frequently these days:
El estilo es súper vanguardista. Un estilo muy cool.
The style is super avant-garde. A very cool style.
Captions 12-13, Arume BarcelonaPlay Caption
Las chicas visten cool para impresionar
The girls dress cool to impress
Caption 25, Dhira La NochePlay Caption
That's all for for today. We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. And of course, stay cool!
¿Hombres? Pero mirá que sos cínica, Martita, ¿eh?
Men? But you're quite shameless Martita, aren't you?
Captions 15-16, Muñeca Brava - 18 - La Apuesta - Part 12Play Caption
Pero no lo hace de mala, eh. De bruta que es, lo hace.
But she doesn't do it because she's mean. She does it because she's just stupid.
Captions 22-23, Muñeca Brava - 18 - La Apuesta - Part 12Play Caption
Mili is having it out with her fellow domestica, Marta, in La Muñeca brava, La apuesta, part 12. Mili calls Marta cínica and bruta. But Marta doesn’t look like a "brute" and we really don’t know her philosophical affiliations. So, what gives?
The words bruto and cínico share Latin roots with their English cousins “brute” and “cynical,” but they don’t mean exactly the same thing. As a matter of fact, they usually mean something else when used in Spanish. If you look at how we translated these words, you will find “stupid” for bruta, and “shameless” for cínica.
Both are adjectives that, when applied to human beings, can also be nouns. No seas bruta or bruto translates into English as “Don’t be stupid” or “[…] dense,” the idea being “as stupid or dense as an animal, a ‘brute.’ ” In Spanish, on the other hand, if you want to call someone a “brute,” you’d say he's an animal (“animal”) or bestia (“beast”): Ese animal quiso propasarse con mi prima. (“That brute tried to go too far with my cousin.”)
In English, “cynical” usually refers to a person who believes in nothing or is generally distrustful of people. “That critic is a real cynic. He never likes anything!” But for this critic to be cínico in Spanish, he would have another quality entirely: Ese critico es un verdadero cínico. Escribió una buena reseña de la obra sólo porque la actriz principal es su amante. “That critic has no shame. He wrote a good review of the play only because the leading lady is his lover.”
There is a Yiddish word, frequently used in English, that nails cínico right on the head: chutzpah. In Spanish it only has the negative sense, though, which according to Leo Rosten is “gall, brazen nerve, effrontery”. That’s the Spanish cínico in a nutshell. “Talk about chutzpah, the nerve of that guy!” ¡Qué cínico!
Bruto and "brute" both have a shared root in the Latin "brutus" ("heavy, dull, stupid," later came to mean "associated with lower animals/beasts"). The English "brute" tends to associate more with the physicality aspect (strong yet not graceful) while the Spanish bruto tends to associate more with the mentality aspect (simple minded, ignorant, stupid), but there does exist some crossover in both languages.
Similarly, the Spanish cínico does at times take on a meaning very similar to the meaning we usually ascribe to "cynical" in English, and the reverse is also true. Their shared ancestry goes even deeper than the Latin "cynic," all the way back to the Greek "Kunikas."
For further reading on cínico:
An excellent and very interesting deeper look at cínico and cynical:
An expat in Chile discovers the cínico / cynical difference the hard way:
Otro is a simple word in Spanish that looks and sounds like its English equivalent, "other" or "another." But with this ease of recognition and use, many non-native speakers misuse otro by adding an article where it doesn't belong.
Here's a tricky question. How do you say "another" in Spanish — as in, "I'll have another (beer)"?
Answer: "Tomaré otra (cerveza)."
Note that it's NOT: una otra or un otro. That's wrong. It would be like saying "an another" in English.
In an episode of the documentary series 75 minutos, we find the following clip:
Yo tengo lo que me pertenece a la de... de la custodia: un fin de semana sí y otro no.
I have what belongs to me to the... from the custody: one weekend yes and the other, no.
Captions 13-14, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 17Play Caption
Note once again that otro in Spanish doesn't require the article that "other" does in English.
The time to use a definite article before otro is when we need to distinguish between "another" and "the other" if, indeed, the distinction needs to be made:
Otro día = "Another day"
El otro día = "The other day"
So, if you add an article before otro(a), make sure it's a definite article (el or la) and not an indefinite one (un or una):
¡Hola! -La otra socia. -Sí. -La otra.
Hello! -The other partner. -Yes. -The other one.
Caption 16, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 8Play Caption
And finally, don't forget about otra vez, a very useful expression that you can use when you want to say 'another time' or 'once again.'
That's it for today. Did you like this little reminder? Please send us your comments, questions, and suggestions.