Spanish Lessons


Lessons for topic Grammar

The Many Ways To Say "To Get" in Spanish

Do you know how to say "to get" in Spanish? Due to the numerous ways in which this word can be used in English, there is no "one size fits all" translation for this term. That said, let's explore the many meanings of the verb "to get" in English and learn their Spanish equivalents.


Meanings of "To Get" and Their Spanish Equivalents

Breaking down the verb "to get" in English into many of its possible definitions, let's find out which verbs are used to express these ideas in Spanish and hear them in context. 


1. To obtain or acquire: obtener, conseguir


"Efectivamente. Acaba de conseguir otro trabajo".

"Indeed. He just got another job."

Caption 60, Carlos explica 20 formas de decir sí sin decir sí

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2. To receive: recibir, tener


"Hoy recibí la carta".

"Today, I got the letter."

Caption 46, Carlos explica Los artículos en español - Part 2

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Note that while the verb tener typically means "to have," it is a word that sometimes changes meaning in the preterite tense. Hence "Tuve una noticia" could be translated as "I got some news."


3. To achieve, win, or earn: sacar, ganar, obtener


lograr obtener un buen resultado en el examen. 

to manage to get a good grade on the exam.

Caption 42, Carlos explica Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para' - Part 1

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Este... Saqué el bachillerato 

Um... I got my high school diploma,

Caption 50, Cleer Entrevista a Giluancar

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4. To fetch or bring: traer


voy y te traigo la cerveza. 

I'll go, and I'll get you the beer.

Caption 39, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 12 - Part 6

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5. To buy: comprar


es en el caso que se nos termine la pasta dental y no podamos salir a la tienda a comprar otra. 

is in case we run out of toothpaste and we can't go to the store to get another one.

Captions 50-51, Otavalo Consejos de salud bucal

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6. To understand: comprender, entender


Yo no entiendo por qué quieres actuar en esa obra. 

I don't get why you want to act in that play.

Caption 32, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 9 - Part 3

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7. To become: ponerse


Candelario se puso triste.

Candelario got sad.

Caption 44, Guillermina y Candelario El Gran Rescate

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Keep in mind that a number of Spanish verbs intrinsically contain the idea of "to get" in the sense of "becoming." For example, the verb entristecerse also means "to get sad." Additional examples include mejorar (to get better), empeorar (to get worse), molestarse (to get annoyed), alegrarse (to get happy), and many more. 


8. To catch: agarrar, coger, agarrar


Todos pillamos el COVID y tuvimos que quedarnos en casa durante casi dos semanas.

We all got COVID and had to stay home for almost two weeks. 


Regarding the use of the verb coger in this context, be aware that while it is extremely common in Spain, in many Latin American countries like Mexico, it has a vulgar connotation and should thus be exercised with caution. 


9. To reach a destination: llegar


El cuarto significado señala cuánto tiempo falta para llegar a un destino 

The fourth meaning indicates how much time is left to get to a destination

Captions 3-4, Aprendiendo con Silvia Significados, usos y expresiones con "quedar" - Part 2

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Translations for Additional Common Expressions With "To Get"


10: To get to: tener la oportunidad de, tener la ocasión de, poder hacer


Incluso tuve la oportunidad de jugar a nivel competitivo.

I even got to play at a competitive level.

Caption 28, Club 10 Capítulo 2 - Part 2

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11: To get [someone] to [do something]: lograr que, conseguir que, convencer a 


y logré que para este caso nombraran a una juez que es amiga mía.

and, for this case, I got them to appoint a judge who's a friend of mine.

Caption 19, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 2 - Part 11

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Remember that with all of these expressions, verbs that follow the conjunction que in Spanish should be conjugated in the subjunctive


12. To get [something done]: mandar + infinitive, hacer que + verb in subjunctive 


dónde la pueden mandar hacer o...

where you can get it made, or...

Caption 57, Rueda de la muerte Parte 1

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An alternative way to express this would be: dónde pueden hacer que la hagan.


That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to realize the numerous ways in which the English verb "to get" is used and that you now know which Spanish verbs to choose for similar situations. Don't forget to write us with your questions and suggestions

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Ir + Gerund to Emphasize Progression in Spanish

Are you familiar with the Spanish present progressive tense that utilizes the formula estar (to be) + gerund (the equivalent of the -ing form in English) to talk about an action in progress? Let's see an example:


¡Lo estás haciendo genial!

You're doing it great!

Caption 47, Aprendiendo con Zulbany Piensa rápido - Part 1

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Now let's look at an example where the verb ir (to go) is used with the gerund in lieu of the verb estar:


tú vas haciendo y pasan dos horas y te dicen vale ya está.

you're doing it and two hours go by and they tell you OK, that's it.

Caption 55, Blanca y Mariona Proyectos para el verano

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What's the difference? Although both estás haciendo and vas haciendo are translated as "you're doing" in these examples, the construction ir + gerund is often employed to emphasize the fact that an action is, was, or will be evolving over time, gradually, or as part of a process. Let's explore this notion a bit further. 


How to Form Ir + Gerund in Spanish

As the formula suggests, this construction is created by combining a conjugated form of the verb ir (to go) in any tense with the gerund, for example, cambiando (changing), aprendiendo (learning), or diciendo (saying), which you can learn to conjugate in the aforementioned lesson on the present perfect. Let's see some examples in the present, imperfect, and future tenses.


Vamos cocinando (We're cooking) 

Iban creando (They were creating)

Iremos entendiendo (We'll be understanding)


How Does Ir + Gerund Differ From the Present Progressive? 

As we mentioned in the introduction, ir + gerund typically describes actions that take place over time, bit by bit, or as part of a process. Therefore, while their translations are sometimes the exact same as they would be if the verb estar were to replace the verb ir, this implication is present within this structure. With this in mind, let's see a few examples of this construction. 


y... fuimos creciendo juntos en ese momento.

and...we were growing together at that moment,

Caption 77, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 6

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In this caption, the preterite tense of the verb ir is used to describe something that happened in the distant past. However, the formula ir + gerund was chosen to demonstrate that the "growing" being talked about was a process that was unfolding at that moment in time. Let's see another example:


Mientras la cebolla está pochando, en otra sartén vamos a ir haciendo la patata.

While the onion is sauteing, in another frying pan, we're going to be making the potato.

Captions 42-43, La cocina de María Tortilla de patatas

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Here, the formula ir + gerund is once again used to talk about the process of making the potato over time. For this reason, you will often find this construction in sentences that contain the word mientras (while) to talk about an action that is evolving while something else happens. Let's look at one more example:


"Y el consciente..." ¿Viste como tú misma vas cambiando en la medida que vas trabajando?

"And the Conscious"... Did you see how you yourself are changing as you are working?

Captions 18-19, Escribiendo un libro Algunos consejos sobre cómo comenzar - Part 3

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Once again, ir + gerund is utilized because "changing" and "working" are actions that aren't just in progress at some moment but are rather part of a bigger picture of evolution over time. So, the implication here is "Did you see how you yourself are (gradually) changing as you are working (over time)? In fact, words like "gradually" or "over time" may or may not be added to the translations of some instances of the ir + gerund construction, which is sometimes difficult to translate precisely. 


That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to better understand the often seen but seldom talked about ir + gerund construction, and don't forget to write us with your questions and comments


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Por vs. Para: How and When to Use These Spanish Prepositions

The por vs. para dilemma is one of the biggest headaches for English speakers learning Spanish, especially since both are sometimes translated as "for." If you are still confused about the Spanish prepositions por and para, this lesson will explain how and when to use each. We hope that by the end of it, you will understand the difference between these two words and be able to use them with confidence. 


Por vs. Para: The Key Difference

Before we examine some specific uses of por and para in Spanish, we would like to invite you to think about these prepositions as opposites in the following terms:


Por: Indicates a cause, reason, or motive.

Para: Indicates a purpose, objective, or goal.


In a video from his series about the prepositions por and para, Carlos explains this difference by contrasting two sentences. Let's hear the first:


Estoy preocupado por el examen.

I'm worried about the exam.

Caption 35, Carlos explica Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para' - Part 1

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In this sentence, the preposition por indicates that the exam is the cause or reason for Carlos' concern. Now, let's look at the other sentence:


María estudió tres días para el examen.

Maria studied for the exam for three days.

Caption 39, Carlos explica Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para' - Part 1

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In this case, the preposition para indicates that the exam was María's goal and/or purpose for studying, most likely to try to achieve the best possible grade. 


Now that we have highlighted this overarching difference between the prepositions por and para, let's explore a variety of more nuanced uses of each of these Spanish words.  


How and When to Use the Preposition Por in Spanish

Let's take a look at many of the most common uses of the preposition por in Spanish.


To Indicate the Reason for Something


Si ese tipo vino aquí por dinero, pues... eso es lo único que quiere.

If that guy came here for money, well... that's the only thing he wants.

Captions 49-50, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 3 - Part 8

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Before Place Names to Denote a Course of Movement Within That Location


Pero ¿sabéis lo que le gusta hacer a Lukas? Ir a correr por la playa.

But, do you know what does Lukas like to do? Go running on the beach.

Captions 58-59, Amaya Mi camper van

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To Indicate Approximate Location 


Hoy he decidido hacer unas compras por el centro de la ciudad.

Today I've decided to do some shopping in the city's downtown.

Caption 2, Raquel Haciendo compras

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To Talk About the Time of Day


Las clases son normalmente por la tarde;

The classes are usually in the afternoon;

Caption 6, El Aula Azul Las actividades de la escuela - Part 2

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To Express Duration


Fui jugador amateur por mucho tiempo,

I was an amateur player for a long time,

Caption 22, Víctor en Caracas El fútbol con Tony Carrasco

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To Indicate the Frequency of an Action


Es de vital importancia que la tienda online se actualice. Deberíamos actualizar al menos dos veces por semana.

It's of vital importance that the online store is updated. We should update at least twice a week.

Captions 6-7, Raquel y Marisa Español Para Negocios - Nuestra tienda online

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To Indicate the Means Used To Do Something


Ayer llamé a mi cuñada por teléfono

Yesterday, I called my sister-in-law on the phone

Caption 5, Aprendiendo con Silvia Frases hechas - Part 3

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To Talk About Purchases and Transactions


¿Por cuánto lo has comprado?

For how much have you bought it?

Caption 17, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 16

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In Passive Sentences to Indicate Who or What Performs the Action


O: "El edificio ha sido diseñado por la arquitecta".

Or: "The building has been designed by the [female] architect."

Caption 34, Lecciones con Carolina La voz pasiva - Part 3

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To Provide Evidence Used To Form a Conclusion


Por lo que se ve, pues, no está quemado, no está dañado,

From what you [can] see, well, it's not burned, it's not damaged,

Captions 39-40, Aprendiendo con Priscilla Vocabulario de taller mecánico

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How and When to Use the Preposition Para in Spanish

Now that we know how to use the preposition por in Spanish, let's see how to use the preposition para.


To Express the Purpose for Something


El veterinario vino ayer para comprobar que el bebé que lleva dentro está en buen estado,

The veterinarian came yesterday to check that the baby she's carrying is in good shape,

Captions 66-67, Amaya Apertura del refugio

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To Name a Recipient


Este libro es para ti.

This book is for you.

Caption 47, Carlos y Cyndy Uso del Voseo en Argentina

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To Indicate a Time Limit or Point in the Future 


Tengo que terminar el trabajo para mañana.

I have to finish this work by tomorrow.

Caption 39, Carlos explica Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para' - Part 2

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To Indicate the Direction or Destination of a Movement


Eh... voy para la casa. Si quiere, vamos juntos.

Um... I'm going home. If you want, we can go together.

Captions 7-8, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 14 - Part 9

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To Indicate the Use of Something


Tengo que tomar un medicamento para el dolor y otro para bajar la fiebre.

I have to take a medication for the pain and another one to lower the fever.

Captions 30-31, Ariana Cita médica

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To Talk About Employment


Trabajo para una empresa francesa de electrónica

I work for a French electronics company

Caption 13, Carlos y Xavi Part 2 Ustedes y Vosotros

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To Express Personal Opinions


porque es una ciudad que, para mí, lo tiene todo.

because it's a city that, for me, has it all.

Caption 7, San Sebastián El rompeolas

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Por vs Para: Understanding the Main Differences

Now that we have learned how to use the Spanish prepositions por and para, we would like to take a moment to summarize the main differences between them in the following chart.


Key Difference: Cause/Reason Purpose/Goal
Ana estudia japonés por placer (Ana studies Japanese for pleasure). Ana estudia japonés para poder visitar Japón algún día (Ana is studying Japanese in order to be able to visit Japan someday).
Place: Movement Destination/Direction
Juan camina por la playa (Juan walks on/along the beach). Juan va para la playa (Juan is going to the beach).
Approximate Location  
Claudia vive por el centro (Claudia lives in the downtown area).  
Time: Time of Day Time Limit
Me gusta correr por la mañana (I like to run in the morning). Tengo que terminar el informe para el jueves (I have to finish the report by Thursday).
Duration  Future Point in Time
Luis habló por dos horas (Luis spoke for two hours). Necesito un billete del metro para mañana (I need a subway ticket for tomorrow).
  Susana va a la piscina tres veces por semana (Susana goes to the pool three times a/per week).  


Conclusions Opinions
Por la cara que tenía, yo creo que Pedro estaba triste (From the look on his face, I think Pedro was sad). Para mí, esta es la mejor pizza (To me, this is the best pizza).
Agents of Passive Sentences Recipients
El Coliseo fue construido por los romanos (The Colosseum was built by the Romans). El regalo es para María (The gift is for Maria).
Means/Tools Employment
Juan habla por teléfono (Juan is talking on the phone). Mario trabaja para una multinacional (Mario works for a multinational company).
Compré la cámara por 200 dólares (I bought the camera for 200 dollars).  


Before we go, we would like to highlight a very common mistake among non-native Spanish speakers. Although your inclination might be to use the word para, remember that in order to express gratitude in Spanish, the preposition por should always be used, as in the sentence "Gracias por el regalo" (Thanks for the gift).


That's all for today. Although we know that this lesson did not touch on all of the possible uses of the prepositions por and para, we hope that it has helped you to better understand how and when to use each of them, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!


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Beyond "Nothing": 7 Additional Meanings of the Spanish Word Nada

You are surely familiar with the Spanish pronoun nada with the meaning of "nothing." But are you aware that it can have several additional meanings and translations? Let's explore many of them!


Nada Meaning "Nothing"

Before we learn several of the lesser-known meanings of the Spanish word nada, let's look at its most common usage. Like "nothing" in English, the pronoun nada in Spanish can mean an absence or lack of anything, as we see here:


Es una palabra que define todo y nada al mismo tiempo

It's a word that defines everything and nothing at the same time

Caption 55, Carlos comenta Confidencial - Jerga típica colombiana

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Alternative Meanings of Nada

Now, let's move on to our 7 additional meanings of the Spanish word nada that may not initially come to mind. 


1. Anything:

When used with a double negative, the English equivalent of the pronoun nada in Spanish changes to "anything":


No, hoy no tengo nada qué hacer.

No, today I don't have anything to do.

Caption 42, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

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For a more in depth explanation of this topic, check out Yabla's lesson entitled Nada: Nothing or Anything?


2. None:

When the pronoun nada in Spanish is used to mean "none," it is typically accompanied by the preposition de, as we see below:


¿Por qué hace como si nada de esto estuviera pasando?

Why are you acting as if none of this were happening?

Caption 25, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 4 - Part 8

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3. Any:

Similarly to the manner in which nada can mean either "nothing," or "anything," its meaning also changes from "none" to "any" when used with the preposition de in a double negative sentence:


¡No, no... no! -No tiene que hacer nada de esto. -¡No, no, no, no, no!

No, no... no! -You don't have to do any of this. -No, no, no, no, no!

Caption 16, Tu Voz Estéreo Embalsamado - Part 17

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4. At All:

In this usage, nada functions as an adverb that can be translated with the English phrase "at all":


pero como no lo hago nada bien,

but since I don't do it well at all,

Caption 5, Beatriz Expresiones con colores

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5. Nowhere:

Moving on to some uses of the Spanish word nada as a noun, let's see how la nada can mean "nowhere":


"¿La gente cómo puede vivir en medio de la nada, no?",

"How can people live in the middle of nowhere, right?"

Caption 3, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín Irwin y la acuarela - Part 3

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6. Nothingness:

Like the pronoun nada, the noun la nada can describe a complete lack of anything:


Era el frío de la nada

It was the cold of nothingness

Caption 41, Acercándonos a la Literatura José Asunción Silva - "Nocturno III"

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7. Void:

The Spanish noun la nada can additionally be translated as "the void" when referring either to empty space in a physical sense or one's feeling of emptiness:


Y mi papá miraba hacia la nada con una rabia feroz de la que no era muy consciente.

And my dad stared into the void with a ferocious rage he wasn't very conscious.

Caption 54, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 2 - Part 1

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Expressions With Nada in Spanish

Now that you have learned 7 alternative English translations for the Spanish word nada, let's look at some common Spanish fixed expressions that include it, noting their English equivalents:


1. Antes de nada:


Antes de nada, vamos a repasar algunos conceptos e información necesaria

Before anything else, we're going to review some concepts and necessary information

Caption 1, Raquel y Marisa Aprender a conducir - Part 1

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2. Antes que nada:


Pero antes que nada, lo básico:

But first of all, the basics:

Caption 2, Conversaciones con Luis Astrología

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3. Como si nada:


y que anda por ahí como si nada, entonces.

and that he's out there as if it were nothing then.

Caption 20, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 4

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4. De nada:


De nada. Estoy para servirle. Permiso.

You're welcome. I'm at your service. Excuse me.

Caption 61, Programación de oficina El dictado del jefe

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5. Más que nada:


Bueno, ahora estoy haciendo, más que nada, un trabajo con los niños

Well, now, I'm doing, above all else, a project with children

Caption 28, Cleer Entrevista con Jacky

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6. Nada más:


no le importa nada más.

nothing else matters to them.

Caption 34, Aprendiendo con Silvia Frases hechas - Part 1

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7. No tener nada que ver con:


pero que no tiene nada que ver con temas religiosos.

but which has nothing to do with religious themes.

Caption 25, Viajando con Fermín La Feria de Santo Tomás

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8. Para nada:


¿Entonces no importa si la llamo? Para nada. -¡Para nada

Then it doesn't matter if I call her? Not at all. -Not at all!

Captions 43-44, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 5 - Part 7

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9. Primero que nada:


Primero que nada, pedirte perdón por lo de ayer.

First of all, to apologize for yesterday.

Caption 12, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 5 - Part 4

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10. Pues nada:


Pues nada, espero que... hayáis conocido un poquito este deporte, esta escuela, a mí,

Anyway, I hope that... you've learned a little bit about this sport, this school, myself,

Captions 80-81, Escuela de Pádel Albacete Hablamos con José Luis

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That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand many of the meanings of the Spanish word nada beyond simply "nothing," and don't forget to write us with your questions and suggestions


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10 Spanish Words That Change Meaning With an Accent

What a difference an accent makes! Did you know that the meanings of several Spanish words vary depending upon whether or not they have a written accent? Today, we'll learn ten such pairs of words, providing examples of each in context. Are you ready?!


1. Aun vs. Aún 


The adverb aun in Spanish, without an accent, is the equivalent of the English word "even":


Aun así, me hubiera gustado tener algo más de luz.

Even so, I'd have liked to have had a bit more light.

Caption 63, Viajando con Fermín La Cueva de Nerja - Part 2

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The adverb aún, on the other hand, with an accent, means "yet" or "still" in Spanish:


Aún no tengo hijos, eh...

I don't have kids yet, um...

Caption 29, La Sub30 Familias - Part 9

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2. De vs. Dé​


The preposition de in Spanish is an extremely common word that can mean "of" or "from":


Yo soy de Barcelona, nací aquí,

I'm from Barcelona, I was born here,

Caption 23, Carlos y Xavi Diferencia de pronunciación entre España y Colombia - Part 1

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The word with an accent, however, is a conjugated form of the verb dar (to give) in Spanish. It could be either the present subjunctive form that corresponds to the subject pronouns él (he), ella (she), or usted (formal "you") or the formal imperative. Let's look at an example of each:


Present Subjunctive:

que me una explicación.

for him to give me an explanation.

Caption 60, Yago 13 La verdad - Part 5

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Formal Imperative:

mela, no se va a dar cuenta.

Give it to me, she won't realize.

Caption 42, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 2

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3. Esta vs. Está


Without an accent, esta is the singular feminine demonstrative adjective that means "this":


Esta pasión empezó cuando yo era muy pequeña

This passion started when I was really little,

Caption 5, Adriana La lectura

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With an accent, está is the third person singular and formal second person singular conjugation of the verb estar (to be).


y el mar está muy agitado.

and the sea is very choppy.

Caption 40, Aprendiendo con Silvia Las emociones - Part 8

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4. El vs. Él


The word el in Spanish is the masculine singular definite article that means "the":


En el parque hay árboles,

At the park there are trees,

Caption 15, El Aula Azul Mi Barrio

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Él with an accent is a subject pronoun that means "he" or "it": 


Él tiene una responsabilidad con ustedes,

He has a responsibility to you guys,

Caption 41, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 13 - Part 4

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5. Mas vs. Más


The Spanish word mas without an accent is a conjunction that is used similarly to the word pero in Spanish and also means "but":


"Te dije que me hicieras caso, mas no escuchaste".

"I told you to pay attention to me, but you didn't listen."

Caption 21, Aprendiendo con Priscilla La palabra "más"

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Meanwhile, the word más with an accent is the Spanish equivalent of the word "more":


"Necesito comprar más carros".

"I need to buy more cars."

Caption 15, Aprendiendo con Priscilla La palabra "más"

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For more on the difference between these two words, take a look the video from which these two examples were taken: Aprendiendo con Priscilla- La palabra "más."


6. Mi vs. Mí


The non-accented word mi in Spanish is a short form possessive adjective that means "my" when referring to singular nouns:


Mi casa es pequeña.

My house is small.

Caption 10, Ariana Mi Casa

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The accented version of this word is a prepositional pronoun that can be used after any  preposition (except the preposition con) to mean "me":


Para , el mejor jugador de fútbol es Leo Messi.

For me, the best soccer player is Leo Messi.

Caption 52, Carlos explica Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para' - Part 3

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7. Se vs.


The pronoun se in Spanish has many uses, including in impersonal and passive se constructions, in the no fault construction, to say "each other" in phrases like se abrazaron (they hugged each other), and as the reflexive pronoun that accompanies reflexive verbs with él, ella, usted, and ustedes. The following example includes se in both an impersonal and a reflexive construction.


y, como se dice en España: "Hay que saberse bañar

and, as they say in Spain: "You have to know how to bathe yourself

Caption 77, Soledad Amistades

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The accented version of the word sé is the first person conjugation of the verb saber (to know) in the present indicative:


yoque Ríos está aquí, hermano.

I know that Rios is here, brother.

Caption 58, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 6

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8. Si vs. Sí​


Si without an accent in Spanish means "if":


Si vienes, entonces te invito a comer.

If you come, then I'll treat you to a meal.

Caption 22, Ana Carolina Condicionales

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And, as you surely already know, with an accent in Spanish means "yes":


. -, señor.

Yes. -Yes, sir.

Caption 94, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 1

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Carolina sums up this difference well:


Entonces, "" es una palabra afirmativa cuando queremos algo, mientras que "si" es una palabra condicional.

So, "" is an affirmative word when we want something, while "si" is a conditional word.

Captions 38-40, Lecciones con Carolina Haber vs. A Ver / Si vs. Sí

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9. Te vs.


Te with no accent can be either a direct or indirect object pronoun or a reflexive pronoun that corresponds to the informal second person singular subject pronoun . Let's see it in use as a direct object pronoun:


Te voy a llevar a los mejores restaurantes.

I am going to take you to the best restaurants.

Caption 23, Clara y Cristina Hablan de actividades

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The accented version of té refers to the beverage "tea":


Si querés tomar tomalo en tu escritorio... -Ah, está bien...

If you want to have tea, have it at your desk... -Oh, OK...

Caption 29, Muñeca Brava 3 Nueva Casa - Part 7

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10. Tu vs.


Tu (no accent!) is the informal second person singular possessive adjective that means "your":


¿Cómo se llama tu mamá?

What's your mom's name?

Caption 26, Ana Carolina Preguntas básicas con su hijo

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As we mentioned previously, with an accent is a subject pronoun that informally means "you" in Spanish


¿Y ? Que tampoco me has vuelto a llamar.

And you? You haven't called me again either.

Caption 18, Cleer y Lida Conversación telefónica - Part 1

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That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has clarified the difference between words in Spanish that, while pronounced identically, have different meanings depending upon whether or not they have an accent. Don't hesitate to write us with any questions, suggestions, or comments.


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Beyond "During": The Preposition Durante in Spanish

As you might imagine, the Spanish preposition durante can often mean "during." However, in different contexts, it is also the equivalent of the English words "for" and "over." This lesson will explore some of the meanings and peculiarities of the Spanish preposition durante


When Durante Functions Like "During"

The Spanish preposition durante should be translated as "during" when it refers to when something took place. Let's explore two subcategories of this usage.


Throughout the Course of

Like the English preposition "during," the Spanish word durante can mean "throughout the duration or course of." Let's see an example:


el calor en Sevilla es bastante fuerte durante los meses de verano

the heat in Seville is quite intense during the summer months,

Caption 21, Viajando con Fermín Sevilla - Part 2

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A Specific Point 

Also like "during," durante can refer to a specific point within some time period, as this caption illustrates:


Durante nuestra visita hemos tenido la ocasión de charlar con Mikel,

During our visit, we've had the opportunity to chat with Mikel,

Captions 65-66, Viajando con Fermín Restaurante La Viña - Part 1

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When Durante Means "For"

When the Spanish preposition durante is used to talk about something's duration, or how long it lasted, it works like the English preposition "for." Let's see an example:


tenemos que hacer muchos ejercicios seguidos durante un minuto.

we have to do a lot of exercises in a row for a minute.

Caption 26, Ariana Crossfit - Part 1

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Notice that, unlike the English preposition "during," the Spanish preposition durante can also come before plural periods of time, as we see in the following clip:


Ay, Kevin, nosotros no podemos esperarlo durante cuatro años.

Oh, Kevin, we can't wait for you for four years.

Caption 3, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 13 - Part 7

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In other words, while it would be unusual to say "we can't wait for you during four years" in English, it is common to see the Spanish preposition durante used in this fashion as the equivalent of the English word "for."


When Durante Works Like "Over"

Sometimes, durante describes an action that took place gradually, repetitively, or continuously within a particular timespan, in which case it is advisable to translate it as "over." Let's take a look:


han surgido durante los últimos diez años unas cincuenta escuelas de baile de salsa

some fifty salsa dance schools have sprung up over the last ten years,

Caption 2, Región mundo Paso a paso - Part 2

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In the same vein, note that, when paired with todo/a (all/whole), the Spanish preposition durante means "throughout":


Los burros, durante toda la historia, han sido infravalorados, ¿no?

Donkeys, throughout history, have been undervalued, right?

Caption 25, Santuario para burros Santuario - Part 1

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That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has clarified many of the different meanings and translations of the Spanish preposition durante... and don't forget to write us with your suggestions and comments.


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Lo que vs. Lo de: What's the Difference?

Do you know the word lo in Spanish? You may have learned lo as a direct object pronoun, in which case it typically replaces a singular, masculine noun to mean "him" or "it."  The focus of today's lesson, however, will be two common Spanish phrases with lo that learners of the language sometimes confuse: lo que and lo de. Let's find out how they differ!


Lo que

Lo que in Spanish is a neuter relative pronoun whose most common translations are "what," "which," "that which," or "the thing that." It is always followed by a conjugated verb and refers either to some concept, idea, or situation within the sentence or serves to add additional information about something that has been previously mentioned in it. Let's see some examples.


Ahora lo que vamos a hacer es dar un gran paseo por la playa

What we're going to do now is take a long walk along the beach

Caption 5, Amaya Mi camper van

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Marcela, ¿estás segura que esto es lo que quieres?

Marcela, are you sure that this is what you want?

Caption 1, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 1 - Part 2

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Solamente Estados Unidos produce setecientos treinta y cinco kilos de desechos por persona y año, lo que equivale a dos kilogramos diarios por persona y día.

Just the United States produces seven hundred thirty-five kilos of waste per person per year, which is equivalent to two kilograms daily per person per day.

Captions 14-17, 3R Campaña de reciclaje - Part 1

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Lo de 

In contrast to lo que, lo de can be followed by various parts of speech such as infinitive verbs, nouns, etc. While a formal translation for lo de might be "the matter concerning," it roughly corresponds to such English phrases as "the thing about" or "the ... thing," with possible additional implications depending upon the context. Let's look at some captions that include it.


¿Ya sabe lo de Casas y Cata?

Do you know the thing about Casas and Cata yet?

Caption 62, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 1

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Porque nos dices que es, eh... haces también lo de las motos, ¿no? -Sí.

Because you say to us that it's, um... you also do the motorcycle thing, right? -Yes.

Caption 16, Rueda de la muerte Parte 2

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Primero que nada, pedirte perdón por lo de ayer.

First of all, to apologize for [what happened] yesterday.

Caption 12, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 5 - Part 4

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Note that, in this last example, since the speaker is apologizing to the listener for something they both know happened, the implication could vary depending upon what it was, e.g., for "what happened," "what I did/said," etc. 


With that said, we hope that this lesson has helped you to learn the difference between the Spanish expressions lo que and lo de. If you want to learn more expressions that include the word lo in Spanish, we recommend this one on the formula lo + adjective. In the meantime, don't forget to write us with any questions or suggestions.


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The Many Uses of the Spanish Word Que (With and Without an Accent)!

You may have learned that the Spanish word que without an accent most commonly means "that," while its accented version qué tends to function like the English word "what" within questions. However, since both versions of que in Spanish can be employed as different parts of speech and within different constructions, with varying English translations, today's lesson will lay out many of these with plenty of examples from the Yabla Spanish library. 


Uses of Que in Spanish Without an Accent


1. Que as a Pronoun Meaning "That" or "Who"

In this usage, que is used like "that" or "who" in English to introduce essential characteristics. Let's see some examples:


En esta aula tan solo había un chico que era español;

In this classroom, there was only one boy who was Spanish,

Caption 23, Aprendiendo con Silvia - Nacionalidades y adjetivos - Part 1

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Se lo comen todo, hasta un aceite que huele a orégano.

They eat everything, even an oil that smells like oregano.

Caption 43, Amaya Burras a dieta

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2. Que as a Pronoun to Introduce Additional Information 

Sometimes, que functions like the English words "who," "that," or "which" to introduce additional, or nonessential, information, in which case it is typically set off by commas as in the following caption:


Así que Poeska, que es demasiado buena, optaba por irse

So Poeska, who is too nice, would choose to leave

Caption 64, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata Bimba

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3. Que as a Conjunction Meaning "Because" or "Since"

This less formal use of the word que could be translated with the English words "because" or "since":


Ay, no te quejés tanto, que mañana me tenés que llevar a hacer unas vuelticas.

Oh, don't complain so much since tomorrow, you have to take me to run some errands.

Caption 4, La Sucursal del Cielo Capítulo 2 - Part 8

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4. Que as a Conjunction Meaning "Than" 

Que is often used as the Spanish equivalent of "than" for making comparisons in Spanish


Eres más compleja que tu madre.

You're more complex than your mother.

Caption 60, Yago - 6 Mentiras - Part 5

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5. Que to Introduce a Subordinate Clause Expressing a Statement or Hypothesis 

In this case, the word que comes between a verb and a subsequent conjecture or statement. Let's take a look:


Recuerde que todo el país tiene los ojos en usted

Remember that the whole country has its eyes on you,

Caption 62, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 3 - Part 5

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Y bueno, yo creo que Lukas se nos ha quedado dormido.

And well, I think Lukas has fallen asleep on us.

Caption 57, Amaya Mi camper van

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Note that while, in the first example, the word que has been translated as "that," in the second example, it has not been translated at all. This is because, although the word que is necessary in such constructions in Spanish, its English equivalent is often optional (the word "that" could also be left out of the first example). Furthermore, remember that if what follows que is a wish or desire, the next verb must be conjugated in a subjunctive tense, as follows:


No queremos que nuestra ley parezca demasiado blanda.

We don't want our law to look too lenient.

Caption 25, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 2 - Part 14

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6. Que + Subjunctive to Say "Hopefully" or "May"

And speaking of the subjunctive, the word que can be used along with a subjunctive verb to give the idea that one "hopes" or desires something, or in the way that English speakers use "May..." 


Que descanses. -Gracias.

[I hope you] sleep well. -Thanks.

Caption 12, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 3

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¡Que suenen las voces del himno nacional,

May the voices of the national anthem sound,

Caption 39, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 5 - Part 8

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Uses of Qué in Spanish With an Accent

There are two main uses of the word qué in Spanish with a tilde, or written accent. Let's find out what they are. 


1. For Direct and Indirect Questions

The word qué in Spanish with a written accent is the equivalent of "what" in English and appears in both direct and indirect questions, or statements that include unknown information. Let's see an example of each:


¿Y tú, Cleer, qué idiomas hablas?

And you, Cleer, what languages do you speak?

Caption 18, Cleer y Lida ¿Qué idiomas hablas?

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porque todavía no se sabe de qué rincón o de qué carta se está hablando.

because it's still not known what corner or what letter is being spoken about.

Captions 46-47, Carlos explica Los artículos en español - Part 3

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2. For Exclamations or Interjections

Qué with an accent can also mean "how" or "what" within exclamations or interjections like the following:


¡Ah, qué rico!

Oh, how tasty!

Caption 40, Cleer y Lida Juego de preguntas y respuestas - Part 2

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¡Pero qué chica más inteligente!

But what a smart girl!

Caption 27, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 5

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That's all for today. Although the many uses of the Spanish word que can feel a bit overwhelming, we hope that this lesson has clarified for you many of the major ones, and don't forget to write us with your questions or comments

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How to Say "Ever" in Spanish

In a previous lesson, we learned various ways to say "never" in Spanish. But what about "ever"? Find out in today's lesson!



The Never/Ever Overlap 

To start, note that two of the very same formulas that were used to say "never" in Spanish can also be used to say "ever." This is due to the fact that sometimes an idea in English can be expressed with either of these two words. Let's take a look at these formulas to understand better.



1. Nunca + affirmative sentence 

Let's look at this formula where nunca has been translated as "never":


Oh... ¡Nunca voy a tener un novio!

Oh... I'm never going to have a boyfriend!

Caption 28, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 3 - Sam aprende a ligar

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However, this very same formula can also mean "ever" because an alternative translation of the sentence above into English would be:


Oh... ¡Nunca voy a tener un novio!

Oh... I'm not ever going to have a boyfriend!


2. No + sentence + nunca

The same can be said for the formula no + sentence + nunca, as in the following example:


No te has equivocado nunca.

You've never made a mistake.


Once again, this very same construction can also be used to convey the idea of "ever" since an alternative English translation for this sentence would be: "You haven't ever made a mistake." Let's view this same sentence in question form:


¿No te has equivocado nunca?

Haven't you ever made a mistake?

Caption 73, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa

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Negative commands with nunca

In addition, negative commands with the word nunca can be used to say the equivalent of "ever" in Spanish:


Y por favor, no me lo dejes solo nunca

And please, for me, don't ever leave him alone.

Caption 5, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante - Capítulo 1 - Part 14

 Play Caption
Of course, "never leave him alone" would be another way to express the meaning of this Spanish sentence. 



Additional Ways to Say "Ever" in Spanish

Let's examine some more ways to say the English word "ever" in Spanish in different contexts. 


Alguna vez

One of the most common and straightforward ways to say "ever" in Spanish in the sense of "at some point in time" is alguna vez, typically within a question with either the present perfect or preterite tense. Let's see some examples: 


¿Se han preguntado alguna vez por qué es importante reír? 

Have you ever wondered why it's important to laugh?

Caption 8, Mónica - La risa

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¿Alguna vez te pasó? 

Has it ever happened to you?

Caption 32, Verano Eterno - Fiesta Grande

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De todos los tiempos

De todos los tiempos is yet another way to say "ever" in Spanish when the meaning is "of all time," which is, in fact, the literal translation of this phrase and could replace "ever" in the following example:


Hoy tenemos la fortuna de tenerlo entre nosotros,

Today we have the fortune to have him amongst us,

al más grande exponente de todos los tiempos, ¡al Señor Gardel!

the greatest example ever, Mister Gardel!

Captions 44-45, Yago - 1 La llegada

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English Expressions with "Ever" in Spanish

Finally, let's check out how many common English expressions with "ever" such as "more than ever," "never ever," etc. are said in Spanish. 


Nunca jamás (never ever)


Y yo te amé, como nunca jamás lo imaginé

And I loved you, as I never ever imagined it

Caption 8, Muñeca Brava - 9 Engaños

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Más que nunca (more than ever)


Ahora más que nunca, vas a hacer lo que yo te diga.

Now more than ever, you are going to do whatever I tell you.

Caption 10, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema

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Mejor/peorque nunca (better/worse than ever)


El tiempo ha estado mejor/peor que nunca.

The weather has been better/worse than ever


Más + adjective/adverb + que nunca (more ... than ever, -er than ever)

In fact, any adjective or adverb can be used between más (more) and que nunca (than ever) to convey the equivalent of English phrases with "than ever." Let's see a few examples:


Hoy he corrido más rápido que nunca.

Today, I've run faster than ever


En cambio vos no cambiaste nada;

On the other hand you haven't changed a bit;

estás más hermosa que nunca

you're more beautiful than ever.

Caption 56, Yago - 11 Prisión

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Nunca más (ever again)


¿No me quieres volver a ver nunca más?

You don't ever want to see me again?

Caption 2, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante - Capítulo 1 - Part 2

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Another translation for this sentence could be "You never want to see me again?"


Desde entonces (ever since)


y desde entonces se nos quedó adentro.

and it has remained within us ever since.

Caption 8, Región mundo - Paso a paso

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And speaking of "ever since," did you know that, in addition to Vivieron felices para siempre, one of the manners of saying the popular storybook line "They lived happily ever after" in Spanish is Vivieron felices y comieron perdices ("They lived happily and ate partridges")? On that note, we'll conclude this lesson, hoping that you've learned a lot of useful phrases for translating the concept of "ever" into Spanish. And don't forget to write us with any questions or suggestions


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How to Say "Never" in Spanish

How do you say "never" in Spanish? Today's lesson will teach us a couple of different ways to say "never" in Spanish as well as some simple formulas and rules for using them. Are you ready?



The Spanish Word Nunca

The most common way to say "never" in Spanish is with the word nunca. Let's hear it in action:


¿Pero pantaloncitos calientes? ¡No, nunca!

But hot pants? No, never!

Caption 16, La Sucursal del Cielo - Capítulo 1

 Play Caption


Rules for Using Nunca in Spanish

Now that we know that nunca is the most common word for "never" in Spanish, let's learn a couple of formulas for using it.


1. Nunca + affirmative sentence 

Let's see some examples of this construction from our Yabla Spanish library:


Nunca he estado en China.

I have never been in China.

Caption 27, Carlos explica - El pretérito Cap 3: Perfecto compuesto II

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Juan nunca pone atención en clase.

Juan never pays attention in class.

Caption 20, Carlos explica - Los cinco sentidos

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Note that if there is an explicitly stated subject like Juan in the second example, it must be placed before the word nunca.


2. No + sentence + nunca

This way of saying "never" in Spanish entails a "double negative," which, in contrast to English, in Spanish is grammatically correct. Taking our previous two examples, we will now convert them to this double negative formula to express exactly the same thing:


Nunca he estado en China.

No he estado en China nunca.

Both mean: "I have never been to China."


Juan nunca pone atención en clase.

Juan no pone atención en clase nunca

Both mean: "Juan never pays attention in class."


Now, let's look at a couple of additional examples of this double negative formula, noting that within this construction, the word nunca can go pretty much anywhere as long as it comes after the verb.


Creo que este momento no lo voy a olvidar nunca.

I think I'll never forget this moment.

Caption 10, Tu Voz Estéreo - Laura

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Él todavía no ha salido nunca afuera.

He has still never gone outside [of it].

Caption 39, Animales en familia - Un día en Bioparc: Cachorro de leopardo

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The Spanish Word Jamás

Just like nunca, the Spanish word jamás also means "never" in Spanish but is generally considered more emphatic. To remember how to use this word correctly, we can simply substitute the word jamás for nunca in our aforementioned formulas, utilizing the same parameters. Let's see some examples:


Yo jamás te mentiría.

I would never lie to you.

Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 7

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No se me hubiera ocurrido jamás.

It never would have occurred to me.

Caption 21, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 12

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Nunca Jamás

If you want to be even more emphatic, you can combine nunca and jamás to get nunca jamás, which means something like "never ever" and is commonly seen in songs, telenovelas (Spanish soap operas), and other dramatic scenarios. Let's take a look:


Nunca jamás sentí tanto dolor. -No, no, no, no

I have never ever felt so much pain. -No, no, no, no

Es un puñal clavado aquí en mi corazón

It's a dagger stabbed here in my heart

Captions 15-16, Victor Manuelle - Nunca Habia Llorado Así

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Que quedaste embarazada y nunca jamás lo volviste a ver.

That you ended up pregnant and you never ever saw him again.

Caption 50, Yago - 10 Enfrentamientos

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With these melodramatic examples, we hope that this lesson has helped you feel more confident expressing the idea of "never" in Spanish, and don't forget to write us with your questions and comments.


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Infinitive Verbs in Spanish

Let's start this lesson off with a quote that refers to a very important and oft-mentioned concept in Spanish: 


Veamos el verbo en infinitivo

Let's look at the verb in infinitive

Caption 13, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 2: Irregulares, Usted + plurales

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Most simply put, the infinitive is the impersonal, unconjugated, or "to" form of a verb, such as "to swim," "to see," or "to dance" in English. Let's take a closer look at Spanish infinitives and learn many of their potential uses.


Types of Infinitives in Spanish 

Do you know how many types of infinitive verbs there are in Spanish? Let's hear the answer from Yabla's popular teacher Carolina:


Con infinitivo tenemos tres tipos de verbos: verbos que terminan en "ar", como "cantar", verbos que terminan en "er", como "comer" y verbos que terminan en "ir", como "salir".

With infinitive we have three types of verbs: verbs that end in "ar," like "cantar" [to sing], verbs that end in "er," like "comer" [to eat] and verbs that end in "ir," like "salir" [to leave].

Captions 11-14, Lecciones con Carolina El gerundio - Part 1

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These three categories of infinitive verbs determine the patterns according to which regular verbs are conjugated in all of the various verb tenses in Spanish. Although there are far too many to name, we have provided below ten of the most common Spanish infinitives in each category. The bold print indicates some irregular or stem-changing verbs whose conjugations deviate from the norm.


-AR Verbs -ER Verbs -IR Verbs
dar (to give) aprender (to learn) abrir (to open)
estar (to be) comer (to eat) decir (to tell)
hablar (to talk) creer (to believe) describir (to describe)
llamar (to call) hacer (to make/do) escribir (to write)
llegar (to arrive) poder (to be able) pedir (to ask)
llevar (to take/carry) querer (to want) recibir (to receive)
pasar (to spend) saber (to know) salir (to leave)
quedar (to remain) ser (to be) sentir (to feel)
tomar (to take) tener (to have) venir (to come)
trabajar (to work) vender (to sell) vivir (to live)


Uses of Spanish Infinitives 

Now that we understand what an infinitive verb is, let's learn some of the ways in which these non-conjugated verbs can be employed in Spanish. 


Spanish Infinitives After Certain Conjugated Verbs

Many specific conjugated verbs in Spanish can be followed immediately by an infinitive verb. In this case, the infinitive may be translated into English with either the "to" or present participle (-ing) form, depending upon the specific verb and context. Let's see a couple of examples with querer (to want) and evitar (to avoid), which are often followed by infinitive verbs:


Perfecto. Yo quiero viajar a Japón. ¿Sí?

Perfect. I want to travel to Japan. Right?

Caption 77, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 1

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"Evita beber desde media tarde bebidas estimulantes

"Avoid drinking, starting from mid-afternoon, stimulant drinks

Caption 24, Aprendiendo con Silvia Consejos para dormir mejor - Part 1

 Play Caption


Although the list of these tverbs that are frequently followed by the infinitive is quite long, some additional common ones include buscar (to seek), deber (to have to/must), esperar (to hope), intentar (to try), necesitar (to need), soler (to usually), tener que (to have to), and temer (to fear).


Spanish Infinitives Following Prepositions

When a verb follows a preposition in Spanish, it should be in the infinitive form. In these cases, Spanish infinitive verbs will be translated with the -ing form of the verb. Let's look at some examples:


Antes de empezar, necesito mis anteojos.

Before starting, I need my glasses.

Caption 19, Natalia de Ecuador Los adverbios de orden

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¡Perdónalo! Lo dijo sin pensar.

Forgive him! He said it without thinking.

Caption 34, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 4

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Some other prepositions after which infinitive Spanish verbs are often found include, but aren't limited to: a (to, at), con (with), de (from, of), después de (after), and en (at/in/on).


Spanish Infinitives After Fixed Expressions

There are many common fixed expressions in Spanish that include prepositions and thus require the infinitive, including the near future tense, ir a + infinitive ("to be going to" do something), pensar en + infinitive ("to think about" doing something), dejar de + infinitive ("to stop" or "quit" doing something), tener ganas de + infinitive ("to feel like" doing something), haber que + infinitive (for some action "to be necessary"), estar por + infinitive ("to be about to" do something), and countless more! Let's see a few of these in action:  


que tengo ganas de saltar y bailar.

that I feel like jumping and dancing.

Caption 4, Aprendiendo con Silvia Las emociones - Part 6

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Había que pagar el precio.

One had to pay the price.

Caption 2, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 5 - Part 5

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¡Ya deje de hablar de esa niña!

Stop talking about that girl already!

Caption 7, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 2

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Spanish Infinitives as Nouns

Sometimes, like in English, Spanish infinitive verbs can function like nouns, as in the following excerpt: 


Me encanta comprar.

I love shopping.

Caption 40, Ariana Mi Semana

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Note that in such cases, while the article is not required, it may be added for emphasis as follows:


Ahora hasta de hablar,

Now even about talking,

los muchachos les da pena el hablar maya.

the young kids are embarrassed about speaking Maya.

Caption 54, Yabla en Yucatán - Don Salo - Part 1

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Spanish Infinitives as Commands

In certain situations, such as explaining how to do something step by step in a manual, cookbook, show, etc., or telling the public on a sign or some other medium what they can and cannot do, Spanish verbs in the infinitive can be construed as commands. Let's take a look: 


"No fumar. Esto produce la muerte".

"Don't smoke. This causes death."

Caption 56, Los médicos explican - Las migrañas

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An alternative translation on a sign might be: "No smoking." 


That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand what infinitive verbs are and many of their possible uses. Can you think of any more? Don't forget to write us with your suggestions and comments.



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Giving Advice in Spanish

Do you know how to give advice in Spanish? Today's lesson will give you some advice... on ways to give advice in Spanish!


How Do You Say "Advice" in Spanish?

While the noun for "advice" in Spanish is consejo, in contrast to the English equivalent (an uncountable noun that does not change forms in the plural), the concept of general "advice" in Spanish can be conveyed with either the singular consejo or the plural form, consejos. Let's look at an example of each:


Entonces como consejo sano, ¿verdad? Tú mismo decir...

So as sound advice, right? You yourself saying...

Caption 54, Cuentas claras - Sobreviviendo enero

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¿Qué consejos le darías a un turista que viene a Barcelona?

What advice would you give to a tourist who's coming to Barcelona?

Caption 51, Carlos y Xavi - Part 4 Tradiciones y comida de Barcelona

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That said, when a definite or indefinite article (el, un, unos or los) or quantifying term like a number appears before this noun to refer to specific advice, the word consejo can sometimes be interpreted as a "piece of advice" or "tip," as in the following captions:


Es como un consejo de sentido común de la vida. 

It's like a piece of common sense advice in life.

Caption 49, Verónica - "Reprogramación psicocorporal"

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Pues, hoy les traemos cuatro consejos muy sencillos.

Well, today we bring you four very simple tips.

Caption 6, Natalia de Ecuador - Consejos: haciendo amigos como adultos

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Verbs for Giving Advice in Spanish

The verb that means "to give advice" in Spanish is aconsejar, which, when addressed to a specific person or people, can also mean "to advise" or "recommend":


Así que les aconsejo que aprendan los primeros diez ordinales

So, I advise you to learn the first ten ordinals,

ya que son muy útiles. 

as they are very useful.

Caption 51, Carlos explica - Los Números: Números Ordinales

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Now, let's look at some additional "advice verbs" in Spanish:

Sugerir (to suggest)


les sugiero que visiten el sugestivo Museo del oro. 

I suggest that you visit the intriguing Gold Museum.

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

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Recomendar (to recommend)


Yo te recomiendo leer mucho en español para mejorar tu nivel. 

recommend you read a lot in Spanish to improve your level.

Captions 64-65, El Aula Azul - Mis libros preferidos

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Proponer (to suggest)


os propongo que vengáis a visitar Genalguacil. 

suggest you come to visit Genalguacil.

Caption 67, Viajando con Fermín - Genalguacil

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Now that you are familiar with these terms, here are a few rules of thumb for "advice verbs" like the ones we have just seen:

1. An indirect object pronoun (like leste, etc.) will often but not always be present to indicate "to whom" the advice is being given. 
2. "Advice verbs" are often followed by the conjunction que + a verb in the subjunctive mood.
3. In the absence of the word que, the "advice verb" is typically followed by a verb in the infinitive.

"Should" or "Must" Verbs in Spanish

Since giving advice in Spanish is all about telling someone your opinion about what they "should" (or shouldn't) or "must" (or mustn't) do, let's now examine a few additional "advice verbs" in Spanish that express just that! Keep in mind that while our initial "advice verbs" were conjugated in the first person, the conjugations in this group will correspond to the many Spanish ways to say "you." 


Deber + infinitive

The verb deber + the infinitive tells someone what they "must" or "have to" do and is thus useful for giving advice in Spanish. 


Ustedes deben permanecer juntos, felices. 

You have to stay together, happy.

Caption 44, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante - Capítulo 2

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Note that when the verb deber is conjugated in the Spanish conditional form, it is the equivalent of the English "should":


Adrián, deberías tomar las pastillas que te di. 

Adrian, you should take the pills that I gave you.

Caption 40, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

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Tener que + infinitive 

Since the Spanish verb tener que also means "to have to," it is often used along with the infinitive to give advice in Spanish:


Tienes que saber siempre muy bien cuál es tu límite. 

You always have to know very well what your limit is.

Caption 56, Ana Teresa - Yoga y surf

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Phrases for Giving Advice in Spanish

Yet another way to give advice in Spanish is through fixed expressions, whose English translations are the exact equivalents of some English advice-giving phrases with which you are probably familiar. Let's take a look!


¿Por qué no...? (Why don't you...?)


"Por qué no aprendes a tocar guitarra?"

"Why don't you learn to play the guitar?"

Caption 67, Alberto Jiménez - Causalidad

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Si yo fuera tú + conditional (If I were you, I would...)


Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.

Well, if I were you, I would speak with him.

Caption 24, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

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By the way, this utterance falls into the category of the second conditional in Spanish that employs the imperfect subjunctive and conditional tenses to describe what "would" happen if some condition "were" in place. 


Hay Que + infinitive (It's necessary to... (do some action))


¡Hay que probarla! No, yo creo que sí. 

You have to try it! No, I think so.

Caption 22, Cleer y Lida - El regreso de Lida

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Although hay que is an impersonal expression that means "it's necessary," it takes on the meaning of "you have to" in the context of giving advice in Spanish.

Lo mejor es... (The best thing is...)


Por ahora lo mejor es que descanse.

For now, the best thing is for you to rest.

Caption 18, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante - Capítulo 1

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Es mejor... (It's better...)


Por eso es mejor evitar que la ira tome el control.

That's why it's better to avoid [letting] anger take control.

Caption 42, Aprendiendo con Silvia - Las emociones

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As with our first set of "advice verbs," the verb that follows these impersonal expressions in the last two examples will be either in the infinitive or subjunctive, depending upon whether or not it follows the conjunction que


Using Commands to Give Advice in Spanish

And finally, another method for giving advice in Spanish is simply telling someone what to do! For this purpose, we recommend that you learn or review the Spanish imperative mood, which includes both informal commands and formal commands. For now, let's take a look at a pair of examples of familiar commands in Spanish, one negative and one positive, that are used to give advice in Spanish in the following captions:


No tengas miedo de tomar la iniciativa.

Don't be afraid to take the initiative.

Caption 20, Natalia de Ecuador - Consejos: haciendo amigos como adultos

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Evita beber desde media tarde bebidas estimulantes

Avoid drinking, starting from mid-afternoon, stimulant drinks

como el café, el té o bebidas con cola. Mm-hm.

like coffee, tea, or cola drinks. Mm-hmm.

Captions 24-25, Aprendiendo con Silvia - Consejos para dormir mejor

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That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has given you a lot of ideas about how to give advice in Spanish. Can you think of any more? Don't forget to write us with your suggestions, comments... or advice!


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The Future Perfect in Spanish

Do you know when to use the future perfect in Spanish? Known in Spanish as the futuro compuesto or antefuturo, the future perfect tense in Spanish works very similarly to its English counterpart to speak about things that "will have" happened at a given point of time in the future. However, despite its name, it can also be used to describe or ask about things that "must" or "would have" happened in the past! Let's take a look at how to conjugate the future perfect in Spanish as well examples of these usages.



How to Conjugate the Future Perfect Tense in Spanish

Just like the Spanish present perfect tense, which is used to express things one "has done" in utterances like Yo he comido (I have eaten), the future perfect in Spanish employs the verb haber (an auxiliary, or helping, verb that means "have") plus the past participle (whose regular forms end in -ado or -ido and correspond to English participles ending in -ed or -en such as "danced," "taken," etc.). However, in contrast to the present perfect, where haber is conjugated in the present tense, the future perfect in Spanish employs the future tense of this verb. With this in mind, let's see the formula for conjugating the future perfect in Spanish:


Future tense of haber + past participle 


Now, let's look at the future tense conjugations of the verb haber then hear how they are pronounced: 

Personal Pronoun: Future Conjugation of Haber:
yo  habré (I will have)
tú  habrás (you will have)
él/ella/usted  habrá (he/she/you will have)
nosotros/as habremos (we will have)
vosotros/as  habréis (you will have)
ellos/ellas/ustedes habrán (they/you will have)


Habré, habrás, habrá, habremos, habréis, habrán.

I will haveyou will havehe/she/you will havewe will have, you all will havethey/you all will have.

Caption 81, Escuela BCNLIP - Clase con Javi: el futuro

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And finally, we will examine some examples of this formula in action:


ya que entonces el hechizo habrá terminado.

because then the spell will have finished.

Caption 56, Cuentos de hadas - Cenicienta

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Habréis visto que sobre la mesa tengo también un trozo de limón.

You'll have seen that on the table, I also have a piece of lemon.

Captions 33-34, Soledad - Ensalada de alcachofa

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You may have noticed that, as we indicated in the introduction, while the first example refers to something that "will happen" in the future, the second describes something that the speaker's audience probably saw in the past! Let's examine more closely these two different ways to employ the future perfect tense in Spanish. 


Using the Future Perfect in Spanish to Talk About the Future

The following examples illustrate the use of the Spanish future perfect tense to describe what "will have" happened in the future, which the context indicates quite clearly:


todavía estará más bueno,

it will be even better

ya que habrá cogido más cuerpo y más sabor.

since it will have gotten more body and more flavor.

Captions 69-70, Fermín - Ensalada de tomate

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Dentro de cinco años, los ingenieros habrán terminado de construir el puente. 

Within five years, the engineers will have finished building the bridge. 


Para el año 2030, yo habré ahorrado mucho dinero. 

By the year 2030, I will have saved a lot of money. 


Using the Future Perfect in Spanish to Talk About the Past

Let's conclude by looking at examples of the future perfect tense in Spanish that depict what "will" or "must" have happened in the past or speculate about what "would" or "could have" taken place:


Si pusieron atención,

If you paid attention,

se habrán dado cuenta que Kevin y Leo, que son hermanos,

you will have noticed that Kevin and Leo, who are brothers,

Captions 50-51, Carlos comenta - Los Años Maravillosos - Forma de hablar

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Bueno, querido, pero algo habrás hecho.

Well, dear, but you must have done something.

Caption 25, Muñeca Brava - 39 Verdades - Part 4

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¿Lo buscó bien?

Did you look for him well?

Lo buscó... -¿Pero dónde se habrá ido?

You looked for him... -But where would he have gone?

Caption 36, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante - Capítulo 3

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Although the translations for each of these examples vary slightly, what they all have in common is the fact that the action being described requires an educated guess about something that has already happened. 


That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand when to use future perfect in Spanish, and don't forget to write us with your questions and comments


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The Preposition contra in Spanish

Are you familiar with the Spanish preposition contra? In most cases, the Spanish preposition contra can be translated as "against" and functions very similarly to many uses of its English counterpart. Occasionally, however, this Spanish preposition can be used to depict situations in which a different English preposition could be utilized. Let's explore some uses and nuances of this Spanish preposition. 


1. Opposition of Two or More Things

The first meaning of the Spanish preposition contra refers to the opposition of two or more things, in which case it is typically translated as "against." Let's take a look at a couple of examples that describe entities facing off "against" one another:


una batalla ocurrida en mil setecientos dos que enfrentó a ingleses y holandeses contra españoles y franceses,

a battle that took place in seventeen oh two, which pitted the English and Dutch against the Spanish and French,

Captions 56-57, Adrián en Galicia Vigo

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¿Cómo ves el Mundial? ¿Cómo ves esto? -Yo lo veo que vamos a ser España contra Argentina.

How do you see the World Cup? How do you see this? -I see it as we're going to be Spain against Argentina.

Captions 55-56, Víctor en España El Mundial de Catar 2022 - Part 2

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Similarly, the Spanish preposition contra can reference the literal or figurative fight "against" something specific, such as a disease or cause:


pero la lucha contra el narcotráfico continúa

but the fight against narco-trafficking continues,

Caption 41, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 1 - Part 11

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Busco un remedio contra el dolor de cabeza.

I'm looking for some headache medicine. 


Note that in this last example, while the word "contra" implies combatting pain, it is not explicitly translated into English. 


2. A Contrary Position 

Like the English word "against," the Spanish preposition contra can indicate a sentiment of disagreement, disapproval, or opposition, for example, to a particular cause, notion, or person. Let's examine some examples of this meaning of contra:


¡Y contra eso estamos!

And we're against that!

Caption 58, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 1 - Part 13

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In this context, the word contra often appears within the construction en contra de, which means "against" or "in opposition to":


Los diferentes sistemas o soluciones constructivas, eh... No estoy a favor o en contra de ninguno.

The different systems or constructive solutions, um... I'm not in favor of or against any one.

Captions 7-8, Leif El Arquitecto Español y su Arte - Part 2

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3. Towards

This third use of the Spanish preposition contra denotes the direction of a movement "towards" something or someone. Although the word "against" can sometimes act as an English equivalent of this usage, in other cases, different English prepositions may be more common translations. For example, if you said "Reboté mi pelota contra la pared," a common translation would be "I bounced my ball off the wall." Let's see a few more examples:


El coche chocó contra la pared

The car crashed into the wall 


Bochica lanzó su báculo contra la montaña,

Bochica threw his staff at the mountain,

Caption 51, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El mito de Bochica

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se percuten contra el piso. Otras veces, esos instrumentos se percuten... madera contra madera.

are struck against the floor. Other times, those instruments are struck... reed to reed.

Captions 29-31, Sonido Babel Los quitiplás

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4. In Front of

This meaning of the Spanish preposition contra typically describes things that are leaning "on" or "(up) against" something else, or facing it, as in the following examples:


El niño apoyó su patinete contra la pared.

The child leaned his scooter on/against the wall. 


Arrimaron los tablones contra el muro. 

They put the boards up against the wall. 


5. In Exchange for

In common expressions like "entrega contra reembolso" (delivery on/upon payment) or "pago contra entrega" (payment on/upon receipt), the Spanish preposition contra conveys that one thing happens in exchange for another and/or cannot happen until something else has occurred:


Recibirán el dinero contra entrega de la factura. 

You'll receive the money when you submit the invoice.


Interestingly, the securities industry uses a similar term, versus, in expressions like Delivery Versus Payment (DVP) to say that payment must take place in order for the delivery to happen. However, most of the time, the English words "on," "upon," or "when" convey this notion. 


That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has clarified for you the different uses of the Spanish preposition contra. Can you think of any additional examples and/or their English translations? We'd love for you to write us with you insights and questions.


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When Le(s) becomes Se in Spanish

Although the Spanish pronoun se is most typically associated with reflexive verbs or passive or impersonal constructions, there is a case in which the indirect object pronoun le actually converts to a se! Let's find out what it is. 


Direct/Indirect Object Prounouns: A Quick Overview

While a lot can be said about the topic of direct and indirect object pronouns, we'll provide you with a very brief overview.


Direct Object Pronouns

Direct object pronouns (me, te, lo, la, nos, os, los, las) replace a direct object to convey the idea of "me, "you," "it," "we," and "them." Their form depends upon whether what is being replaced is masculine or feminine and singular or plural. For example, if instead of saying "I have the apples" (Tengo las manzanas), you wanted to say simply "I have them," you'd use the feminine plural las to agree with las manzanas to say, "Yo las tengo."


Indirect Object Pronouns

Indirect object pronouns let us know "to whom" an action happens. If you wished to say, for example, "I gave the apple to him," you'd say Yo le di la manzana since le is the indirect object pronoun that corresponds to the subject pronoun él (he). The indirect object pronouns and their corresponding subject pronouns are: me (yo), te (), le (él, ella, usted), nos (nosotros/as), os (vosotros/as), and les (ellos/as, ustedes).


Combining Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns

So, what if you want to both replace a direct object and indicate "to whom" something happens? You'd then use both a direct and an indirect object pronoun, starting with the latter. Let's see a couple of examples from our Yabla Spanish library: 


Y tengo acá las revistas. Si quieres te las enseño después. Y...

And I have the magazines here. If you want I'll show them to you later. And...

Captions 77-78, Gonzalo el Pintor Vida - Part 2

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Here, Gonzalo uses las to replace the feminine plural noun las revistas (the magazines) and te to indicate that he will show them "to you." Let's see one more example. 


Y yo voy a la huerta a buscar los tomatitos ya que nadie me los trae.

And I'm going to go to the garden to look for the tomatoes since no one's bringing them to me.

Caption 32, Muñeca Brava 41 La Fiesta - Part 5

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In this case, the speaker uses the masculine plural los to replace the masculine plural los tomatitos (the tomatoes), and the indirect object pronoun me (to me) to reflect that "no one's bringing them to me."


When Le(s) Becomes Se

It seems pretty simple, right? The "problem" arises when the required indirect object pronoun is le or les. For example, if you wish to say, "I'm giving it to them," referring to el lapiz (the pencil), would you say: "Yo les lo doy"? The rules of the Spanish language state that whenever the indirect object pronoun in question is le or les, those words change to se to avoid the awkwardness of having two words that begin with "l" in a row. The correct manner of saying this would thus be Yo se lo doy. Let's look at a few more examples from our Yabla Spanish library. 


Voy a escribirle una carta y se la mando con el Señor Viento.

I'm going to write her a letter and I'll send it to her with Mister Wind.

Captions 56-58, Guillermina y Candelario El Mar enamorado

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Él... él se los dio a mi marido

He... he gave them to my husband,

Caption 76, Málaga Lourdes y la talabartería en Mijas Pueblo

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La quiero ver... con moñito y todo se lo regalo. -Bueno...

I want to see you... with a bow and everything, I'll give him to you. -Well...

Caption 14, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 7

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Pronoun Placement With Infinitives

Remember that, as with all direct and indirect object pronouns, se lo, etc. are typically placed directly before the verb. However, in the case of infinitive verbs, they are attached to the end of the infinitive to form a new word (with the appropriate placement of a written tilde according to the Spanish accent rules). Let's see a couple of examples:


Señor, esa información no puedo dársela yo.

Sir, I can't give you that information.

Caption 60, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 1 - Part 8

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El problema es que no era capaz de decírselo.

The problem is that I wasn't capable of telling it to him.

Caption 44, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 13 - Part 5

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We hope that this lesson has shed a bit of light on those cases in which the indirect object pronouns le and les change to se. Don't forget to write us with your questions and suggestions.


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The "No Fault Se" Construction in Spanish

Have you heard of the "no fault se" construction in Spanish? Do you know the "no fault se" formula and how to use it? Do you know which verbs are most commonly seen with the "no fault se"? Today's lesson will touch upon all of these topics!


What Is a "No Fault Se" Construction?

If you lose a lot of things, like many of us, you'll be happy to hear that, unlike English, the Spanish language doesn't think it's our fault! It tends to describe certain things happening "to us" rather than us carrying them out. For example, instead of saying Yo perdí el libro (I lost the book), it would be more common for a native Spanish speaker to say, Se me perdió el libro (literally "The book got lost to me"). And, instead of saying directly "I dropped the eggs," you might say Se me cayeron los huevos, which literally translates to something like "The eggs fell from me."


How to Form a "No Fault Se" Construction 

Now that we have some idea about the "no fault se" construction, which might also be referred to as the "involuntary se," let's learn the necessary elements to create sentences that employ it: 


1. The pronoun se.


2. An indirect object pronoun (metelenosos, or le) that indicates "to whom" the action "is happening" (or, depending on perception, who "did" it!).


3. A verb in the third person that is conjugated in either singular or plural in accordance with the subject (as in passive constructions). 


4. Optional: a (to) plus a prepositional pronoun (mí (me), ti (you), él (him), ella (her), usted (formal "you"), nosotros/as (we), vosotros/as (plural "you"), or ustedes (formal plural "you")), or a direct object to emphasize "the victim" of the action (see verbs like gustar).


Let's take a look at a couple of examples:


y se le cayó el trozo de carne.

and he dropped the piece of meat.

Caption 13, Club de las ideas La zorra y el cuervo

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In terms of our formula, we have 1. the pronoun se  2. the indirect object pronoun le to indicate that it happened "to him" (since le corresponds to the subject pronoun él (him)), and 3. the verb caer (to fall) conjugated in third person singular because la carne (the meat) is singular. Optionally, a él could have been added to emphasize the action's "victim" (a él​ se le cayó...). Let's see another example:


El martes se me perdieron las llaves de casa,

On Tuesday, my house keys got lost,

Caption 14, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: El pronombre "se"

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Here, we see: 1. the pronoun se  2. the indirect object pronoun me to point towards the first person, yo (I), and 3. the verb perder (to lose) conjugated in third person plural to agree with the plural las llaves (the keys). A mí could be an optional addition before "se me perdieron..." 


A Note About Translation 

In terms of the translation of the examples above, while the "no fault se" construction with caer is most often translated as "to drop," our second example might also have been communicated with "I lost my house keys" since this is the more common way of talking about losing things in English— although "got lost" might arguably convey this idea of "no fault" more effectively. That said, because there is not always an equivalent of every "no fault" construction in English, their translations may vary, and we will thus attempt to give you various English options for the following examples. 


Some Common "No Fault" Se Construction Verbs

Now, let's examine some additional verbs that commonly appear in the "no fault se" construction. 


1. Olvidarse (to forget)

Although a Spanish speaker could potentially say "Me olvidé" (I forgot), the idea of "forgetting" is more commonly expressed with the "no fault se" construction.


Por si se te olvidó, ¡soy tu madre! No, no se me olvidó. -Y si salí... 

In case you forgot, I'm your mother! No, I didn't forget. -And if I went out...

Captions 41-42, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 12

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Or, to emphasize this "involuntary" aspect, you might choose the alternative translations: "In case it slipped your mind/It didn't slip my mind." 


2. Ocurrir (to happen)

While the verb ocurrir means "to happen," when used in the "no fault se" construction, common translations include both "to occur to" and "to think of":


No sé, se me ocurre que igual nos podríamos encontrar en otros sitios.

I don't know, it occurs to me that we could also meet in other places.

Captions 21-22, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 9

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Se me ocurrió una gran idea.

I thought of a great idea.

Caption 28, Guillermina y Candelario El paseo sobre el mar

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3. Acabarse (to run out)

Whereas in English, one might confess that he or she "ran out of money," the money literally runs out on the person in Spanish!


Porque se me acabó el dinero y...

Because I ran out of money, and...

Caption 59, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 7: La gemela - Part 2

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Of course, one might also translate this construction as "my money run out."


4. Quemar (to burn)

Similarly, "I burned the cake" is most often expressed with the "no fault se" construction, as translated quite literally in the following example:


¡Dejé el pastel mucho tiempo en el horno y se me quemó

I left the cake in the oven for too long and it burned on me!

Caption 25, Guillermina y Candelario Experimentos en la cocina

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Less literal translations include "I burned it" and simply "it burned."

5. Quedar (to be left)

To talk about the idea of "leaving something behind" in the sense of "forgetting it" somewhere, native Spanish speakers frequently employ the "involuntary se" construction with the verb quedar:


Se te quedó esto. -Espera.

You left this behind. -Wait.

Caption 55, Salvando el planeta Palabra Llegada - Part 6

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These are just some of the verbs that are commonly utilized in the "no fault se" in Spanish. To see many more, check out El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: El pronombre se as well as Clase Aula Azul- Se involuntario, which explores this topic in depth... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments


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Hay que + Infinitive: A "Necessary" Construction

Do you know how to say that something "is necessary" in Spanish? Do you like telling people what "has to" be done? We'll teach you a simple formula!


A Simple Formula

To say something "is necessary" in Spanish, you might use the literal phrase es necesario (it's necessary) plus a verb's infinitive, or "to" form:


Es necesario usar papel, carbón o madera para encenderlo.

It's necessary to use paper, charcoal, or wood to light it.

Caption 22, El Aula Azul Adivina qué es - Part 1

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And, to tell someone what they "have to" do, you could use verbs like tener que (to have to) or deber (must) plus the infinitive:


Tienes que mejorar esto.

You have to improve this.

Caption 28, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Hay y estar

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Bueno, primero debemos hacer la lista de invitados 

Well, first, we must make the guest list

Caption 15, Cleer y Carolina Organizando la fiesta del abuelo

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However, if you are looking for a non-literal, conjugation-free alternative (to conjugate just the present indicative tense of tener que, for example, you have to memorize tengo que, tienes que, tiene que, tenemos quetenéis que, and tienen que), we invite you to use the following, very simple formula, which can express the same thing as the previous three options in various contexts:


Hay que + infinitive 


About Hay que + Infinitive 

Don't get us wrong— you are going to have to learn those verb conjugations sooner or later! But, perhaps while you do, or as a viable alternative that native speakers often employ, you could opt for hay que + infinitive.


Hay comes from the Spanish verb haber, which is an auxiliary, or helping, verb that means "to have" or "to be" and appears in its conjugated forms as part of different verb tenses (e.g. the present perfect, pluperfect, etc.). Hay is haber's impersonal form, which never changes (it is always just hay in the present tense) and can mean "there is" or "there are." However, when hay is combined with que + infinitive, it becomes a fixed expression that means "it's necessary" (to do something). Let's see a couple of examples:


hay que darle la oportunidad de defenderse.

it's necessary to give him the opportunity to defend himself.

Caption 22, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 2

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¡Hay que reclamar el premio antes de las diez de la noche!

You have to claim the prize before ten p.m.!

Caption 61, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 6: El día de la Primitiva - Part 4

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Note that the second example has been translated with "you have to," a more colloquial equivalent of "it's necessary" that includes the "universal you," implying "people" or "everyone." "One has to" or "one must" would also be valid translations. 


When to Use Hay que + Infinitive 

The construction hay que + infinitive can be used in basically any context in which you want to say that "it's necessary" to do a particular thing. That said, we have included below a few scenarios in which you are likely to come across it. When reading the translations, keep in mind that while this impersonal construction has no specific subject, in cases in which the context or sentence makes clear who the speaker feels "has to" or "must" act in a particular way, the construction is often translated as if the subject were explicitly stated. 


General Rules, Truths, or Wisdom

Since the construction hay que + infinitive explains what "people have to do," it only makes sense that it is often heard when talking about perceived wisdom about life:


En la vida hay que saber relajarse,

In life, you need to know how to relax,

Caption 44, Ana Teresa 5 principios del yoga

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El pasado hay que olvidarlo, hay que enterrarlo,

The past, you have to forget it, you have to bury it,

Captions 38-39, Yago 2 El puma - Part 1

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Giving Advice 

As we mentioned earlier, you might use the expression hay que + infinitive to tell someone what to do without explicitly saying "you must," as in these two examples from the popular series Confidencial: Asesino al Volante:


Yo sé que les dijimos que no vinieran por acá pero hay que darles la buena noticia.

I know we told them not to come here, but we have to give them the good news.

Captions 65-66, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 2 - Part 11

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Hay que demostrar que tú no eres ningún criminal,

You have to show that you're no criminal,

Caption 61, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 3 - Part 10

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In other cases, one might give a suggestion as to what they generally feel that "people" should do:


pues, hay que ir a México.

well, you have to go to Mexico.

Caption 32, World Travel Market en Londres Raúl nos habla de México

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Since giving directions entails explaining what "has to be done," you will often hear the construction hay que + infinitive in this context:


Después hay que torcer la primera calle a la izquierda.

Then you have to turn to the left on the first street.

Caption 34, Curso de español Disculpe, ¿hay un cine por aquí?

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Primero hay que ir todo derecho, ¿sí?

First you have to go straight ahead, right?

Caption 23, Curso de español Direcciones en la ciudad

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Similarly, hay que + infinitive will often be heard in contexts where specific instructions are given, such as cooking a particular recipe or for some other process:


Hay que añadir el agua poco a poco y vamos amasando hasta obtener una mezcla homogénea.

It's necessary to add the water little by little and we start kneading until obtaining a homogeneous mixture.

Captions 11-12, Recetas de cocina Arepas colombianas

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Cuando se bañan, hay que estar seguros de que no se mojen,

When they are bathed, you have to make sure they don't get wet,

Caption 39, La veterinaria "Huesos" visita a la doctora - Part 1

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These are, of course, just a few of the many situations in which you might use or encounter the construction hay que + infinitive. 


Additional Tenses of Haber que + Infinitive

While haber que + infinitive is probably most commonly seen the present indicative tense, it can also be found in other tenses. Let's see some examples in the imperfect tense , the preterite tense, and the future tense:


Definitivamente había que dejar el trabajo para dedicarme al restaurante.

I definitely had to leave my job to dedicate myself to the restaurant.

Caption 13, La Sub30 Familias - Part 9

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hubo que salir corriendo porque la Señora Di Carlo se moría.

we had to leave running because Mrs. Di Carlo was dying.

Caption 84, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 6

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En fin, supongo que habrá que esperar hasta el lunes.

Anyway, I guess that it will have to wait until Monday.

Caption 86, Negocios La solicitud de empleo - Part 2

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And remember that, just like for the present, you only have to remember one form of haber for each tense: había que for the imperfect, hubo que for the preterite, and habrá que in the future. Yabla's lesson entitled Había o habían muchos libros? elaborates further. 


As you've probably surmised from our plethora of examples, the construction haber que + infinitive is extremely common and useful, and now that you're familiar with it: hay que practicarlo mucho (you have to practice it a lot)! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.


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The Preposition entre in Spanish

Are you familiar with the Spanish preposition entre? While the preposition entre in Spanish is most often a direct equivalent for the many uses of the English words "among" and "between," it can occasionally be utilized in slightly different ways and with different translations than its English counterparts. Today's lesson will explore many of its nuances.


1. State Between Two Things 

According to the Dictionary of the Spanish language, the Spanish preposition entre "denotes the situation or state in between two or more things." Let's break up this definition into a few subcategories:



The Spanish preposition entre might describe the nature of a relationship "between" entities, whether talking about bloodlines or quality. Let's see an example of each:


La relación entre José y yo. ¿José es mi...? -Hermano.

The relationship between Jose and me. Jose is my...? -Brother.

Captions 19-20, Curso de español Vamos a hablar de la familia

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La relación entre mi papá y mi abuela era tan amistosa como la que tenía Rusia con Estados Unidos.

The relationship between my dad and my grandma was as friendly as the one Russia had with the United States.

Captions 8-9, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 13 - Part 2

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Now, let's look at an example where entre describes the "state" between two things:


encontréis ese equilibrio entre cuerpo y mente.

you find that balance between body and mind.

Caption 60, Ana Teresa 5 principios del yoga

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And finally, like the English word "between," the Spanish preposition entre can be employed to compare things:


¿Y sabéis cuál es la diferencia entre la lava y el magma? 

And do you know what the difference between lava and magma is?

Caption 24, Aprendiendo con Silvia Los volcanes

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2. "Within" or "In"

The preposition entre in Spanish also comes up in some situations in which an English speaker might use the word "in" or "within." Examining two different captions from the same video, note that while the first has been translated with the more literal "among," it could be substituted with the English word "in," while "in" is probably the only suitable choice in the second example.


Allí, se escondió entre los juncos. 

There, he hid among the reeds.

Caption 29, Cleer El patito feo

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Pero, afortunadamente, una viejita que lo había visto entre la nieve, lo recogió.

But, fortunately, an old woman who had seen him in the snow picked him up.

Caption 39, Cleer El patito feo

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3. An Intermediate State

Another use of the Spanish preposition entre is to refer to an intermediate state between two or more things:


Granada produce al año entre quince y veinte millones de kilos de aguacate 

Granada produces per year between fifteen and twenty million kilos of avocados

Captions 1-2, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 16

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Entonces los edificios tienen ese toque especial... de mezcla entre la arquitectura antigua y la moderna.

So the buildings have that special touch... from the mix between old and modern architecture.

Captions 20-21, Yabla en Buenos Aires Puerto Madero

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This Spanish preposition can furthermore depict an intermediate physical location:


se sentaba siempre entre las dos únicas chicas de la clase, 

always sat between the only two girls in the class,

Caption 33, Aprendiendo con Silvia Nacionalidades y adjetivos - Part 1

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4. "As One of"

The word entre in Spanish can likewise entail the idea of inclusion, as in the following two examples, where it could be replaced by the English phrase "as one of":


No gané el concurso, pero quedé entre los finalistas

I didn't win the contest, but I placed among the finalists,

Captions 46-47, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 3

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Entre ellos, tenemos estos burros de peluche que a la gente le gusta mucho.

Among them, we have these stuffed donkeys that people like a lot.

Captions 14-15, Santuario para burros Tienda solidaria

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5. Entailing Cooperation

As we see in the following examples, the Spanish preposition entre might also evoke the idea of collaborative effort:


Si podemos imaginarlo, entre todos podemos lograrlo.

If we can imagine it, among all of us, we can achieve it.

Caption 9, Con ánimo de lucro Cortometraje - Part 1

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El plato se llama "La Deli" y entre los tres le vamos a dar forma y la decoración.

The dish is called "The Deli," and between the three of us, we're going to give it shape and decorate it.

Caption 24, Misión Chef 2 - Pruebas - Part 7

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6. "According to the Custom of"

If you wish to speak about what is done customarily "among" particular groups, the Spanish preposition entre could additionally come in handy:


"Hermano" es una palabra que se usa mucho entre amigos 

"Brother" is a word that is used a lot among friends

Caption 35, Carlos comenta Confidencial - Jerga típica colombiana

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una serie argentina que es muy popular entre nuestros usuarios.

an Argentine series that is very popular among our users.

Captions 3-4, Carlos y Cyndy Comentario sobre Muñeca Brava

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7. Reciprocity

And finally, the preposition entre in Spanish can suggest reciprocity, in which case it might be translated with the English "each other."


y cómo se apoyaban entre ellos.

and how they supported each other.

Caption 19, Aprendiendo con Silvia Nacionalidades y adjetivos - Part 2

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se juntaban las españolas de ese pueblo para hablar entre ellas.

the Spanish women from that town would get together to talk to each other.

Captions 49-50, Soledad Amistades

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We hope that this lesson has helped you to better understand the many uses of the Spanish preposition entre, especially those that are slightly different than the manners in which its English equivalents "among" and "between" are employed. Feel free to write us with your questions and suggestions.



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