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Lessons for topic Spanish 101

The Shapes in Spanish

Do you know the names of the shapes in Spanish? Today's lesson will teach you what the most basic Spanish shapes are called as well as the words for more advanced Spanish shapes and figures. Let's get started! 

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How Do You Say "Shape" in Spanish?

Let's start with the basics! Listen to the following caption from the Yabla Spanish video library to hear how to say "shapes" in Spanish:

 

Puedes jugar con diferentes formas y colores

You can play with different shapes and colors

Caption 76, Manos a la obra Papel picado para Día de muertos

 Play Caption

 

Now, let's hear the Spanish word for the similar concept of "figures":

 

como los números o las figuras geométricas,

like numbers or geometric figures,

Caption 16, Carlos explica Vocabulario de las matemáticas - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Basic Spanish Shapes

Next, we'll learn the Spanish names for the most classic shapes, including their definite articles, and hear them in context:

 

El círculo (the circle)

 

Vamos a marcar el círculo

We're going to mark the circle,

Caption 47, Maoli Calabaza de Halloween

 Play Caption

 

El cuadrado (the square)

 

se presenta como un cuadrado de ocho por ocho

appears as an eight by eight square

Caption 18, Aprendiendo con Carlos El ajedrez - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

El rectángulo (the rectangle)

 

Puede ser un cuadrado, un rectángulo.

It can be a square, a rectangle.

Caption 41, María Fernanda Hacer un turbante

 Play Caption

 

El triángulo (the triangle)

 

Obtendrás un triángulo.

You will get a triangle.

Caption 39, Manos a la obra Separadores de libros: Charmander

 Play Caption

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Advanced Spanish Shapes

Let's move on to the Spanish words for some slightly more sophisticated shapes and hear them pronounced: 

 

El óvalo (the oval)

 

—podríamos decir que es un óvalo— 

we could say that it's an oval

Caption 49, Con Marta por Madrid La Plaza del Sol - Part 2

 Play Caption
 

El rombo (the diamond/rhombus)

 

Lograrás un rombo como éste.

You will get a diamond like this one.

Caption 45, Manos a la obra Separadores de libros: Charmander

 Play Caption

 

El trapecio (the trapezoid)

Interestingly, this word also means "trapezius" (the muscle) in Spanish as well as "trapeze," as in the following example, which we've included for pronunciation purposes:

 

como un número de trapecio,

as a trapeze act,

Caption 18, Circo Berlín Jose - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

El semicírculo (the semicircle)

 

"semicírculo",

"semicírculo" [semicircle],

Caption 74, Carlos explica Los prefijos en español - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

Polygons in Spanish

Figures with at least three but typically five or more sides and angles are called los polígonos (the polygons) in Spanish. Let's learn their Spanish names along with their respective numbers of lados (sides) and ángulos (angles):

 

El pentágono (the pentagon): 5 

 

El hexágono (the hexagon): 6

 

El hectágono (the hectagon): 7 

 

El octógono (the octagon): 8 

 

El nonógono (the nonagon): 9

 

El decágono (the decagon): 10 

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Bonus Spanish Shapes

While not "official" geometric shapes, figures like the heart, cross, star, etc., are recognized universally as shapes and/or symbols. Let's learn how to say them in Spanish!

 

El corazón (the heart)

 

a hacer pancitos de corazón, pancitos decorados y este tipo de, de...

into making heart rolls, decorated rolls, and this kind of, of...

Caption 18, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín Luis y el pan de muerto

 Play Caption

 

La cruz (the cross)

 

es la cruz de piedra.

is the stone cross.

Caption 16, Viajando con Carlos Popayán - Colombia - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

La estrella (the star)

 

y la estrella.

and the star.

Caption 27, Ana Carolina Símbolos de Navidad

 Play Caption

 

La flecha (the arrow)

 

con la punta bien afilada en forma de flecha,

with a well-sharpened tip in the shape of an arrow

Caption 32, Isabel Lavesa Dibujo en acuarela

 Play Caption

 

3-D Spanish Shapes

Do you know how to say 3-D in Spanish? You could say tridimensional (three-dimensional) or simply use the Spanish pronuncation of 3-D, as we hear here: 

 

Y las obras están sacadas de modelos 3-D del programa Google Earth.

And the works are taken from 3-D models from the Google Earth program.

Caption 24, El estudio De Julio Sarramián

 Play Caption

 

That said, we'll conclude this lesson with the names of several of the most common formas tridimensionales (3-D shapes):

 

La esfera (sphere)

 

El cilindro (the cylinder)

 

El cubo (the cube)

 

El cono (the cone)

 

¿podría ponerme un cono de chocolate por favor?

can you give me a chocolate cone please?

Caption 36, Málaga Calle Larios

 Play Caption

 

La pirámide (the pyramid)

 

en forma de pirámide invertida.

in the shape of an inverted pyramid.

Caption 14, Víctor en Caracas Centro comercial

 Play Caption

 

El prisma rectangular (the rectangular prism)

 

That's all for today. We hope that you have found this lesson on the names of the shapes in Spanish useful, and don't forget to write us with your questions and comments. ¡Hasta pronto!

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9 Categories of Words That Are Capitalized in English but Not Spanish

Have you ever noticed that there are several types of words that are capitalized in English but not in Spanish? Today's lesson will point out nine such categories where there is a discrepancy in capitalization between English and Spanish. 

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1. The Days of the Week

While the names of the days of the week must be capitalized in English, the same is not so of the days of the week in Spanish, whose first letters are lowercase. Let's take a look:

 

Voy a una academia de baile los martes y los jueves.

I go to a dance academy on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Caption 15, Ariana Mi Semana

 Play Caption

 

2. The Months

The same can be said for the names of the months in Spanish, which are written in all lowercase letters in contrast to their capitalized English counterparts. This is demonstrated in the following clip:

 

sobre todo en los meses de diciembre, enero, febrero e incluso en mayo.

especially in the months of December, January, February, and even in May.

Caption 27, Mercado de San Miguel Misael

 Play Caption

 

3. Languages

Although English capitalizes the names of languages, Spanish does not:

 

Bueno, yo hablo español, inglés y estoy aprendiendo alemán.

Well, I speak Spanish, English, and I'm learning German.

Captions 19-20, Cleer y Lida ¿Qué idiomas hablas?

 Play Caption

 

4. Nationality

Words that refer to someone or something's nationality do not start with a capital letter in Spanish as they do in English. Included in this category are both demonyms, or Spanish adjectives of nationality, and Spanish nouns that refer to the inhabitants of a particular nation. Let's see examples of each:

 

y puedas decir, "Este artista es colombiano, este es un artista brasilero", es decir,

and can say, "This artist is Colombian, this is a Brazilian artist," I mean,

Captions 69-70, Leonardo Rodriguez Sirtori Una vida como pintor - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

Antes de la llegada de los españoles, existían cientos de diferentes culturas.

Prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, there were hundreds of different cultures.

Caption 8, Historia mexicana Cultura y la unión de dos mundos

 Play Caption

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5. Religious Words

As we see below, this group includes the names of religions, their respective adjectives, and the nouns that describe their adherents.

 

y que se utilizó para simbolizar el triunfo del cristianismo sobre la fe musulmana.

and was employed as a symbol of the triumph of Christianity over the Muslim faith.

Captions 61-62, Viajando con Fermín Sevilla - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

España recibió más de treinta y cinco mil judíos,

Spain received more than thirty-five thousand Jews,

Caption 27, Víctor en España El Hotel Palace de Barcelona

 Play Caption

 

6. Personal Titles

When preceding a last name and/or addressing a specific person, English words like "mister" or "doctor" must be capitalized. The equivalent titles in Spanish, however, are written in all lowercase letters, as we see here:

 

Vamos a escuchar a la doctora Consejos y a su paciente Adrián

Let's listen to Doctor Advice and her patient Adrián

Caption 2, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Por y para

 Play Caption

 

Por supuesto, señora Castaño.

Of course, Ms. Castaño.

Caption 24, Cleer y Lida Recepción de hotel

 Play Caption

 

7. Titles

In English, most of the words of the titles of original compositions like books, films, songs, articles, or works of art are capitalized, with the notable exceptions of words like prepositions and coordinating conjunctions. In Spanish, on the other hand, only the first word of a title is capitalized, for example, the famed novel Cien años de soledad, which is written in English "One Hundred Years of Solitude." Let's see one more:

 

Para ello, el artista pintó un gran fresco titulado "El juicio final",

To do so, the artist painted a large fresco called "The Last Judgment,"

Caption 32, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

8. The First Words of Geographical Place Names

All of the words of proper nouns for specific geographical place names in English, like the Andes Mountains or Lake Titicaca, must be capitalized. In Spanish, however, the first words of these proper nouns are lowercase, e.g., la cordillera de los Andes and el lago Titicaca. Let's look at more examples:

 

y es atravesada por el río Cauca.

and is crossed by the Cauca River.

Caption 17, Viajando con Carlos Popayán - Colombia - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

en el océano Pacífico y en el mar Caribe.

in the Pacific Ocean and in the Caribbean Sea.

Caption 46, Instinto de conservación Parque Tayrona - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

9. The First Person Singular Personal Pronoun 

Although the first person singular personal pronoun "I" is always written with a capital letter in English, its Spanish equivalent yo is not, as we can see here:

 

No, pueden llorar, pero yo tengo que trabajar.

No, you can cry, but I have to work.

Caption 9, La Sucursal del Cielo Capítulo 2 - Part 8

 Play Caption

 

That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped to clarify several of the classes of words that should not be capitalized in Spanish, some of which might seem a bit counterintuitive to English speakers. Can you think of any additional cases in which Spanish and English capitalization are different? Feel free to write us with any questions or comments.

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Grammatical Agreement in Spanish

Are you familiar with the concept of grammatical agreement in Spanish? There are two main types of agreement in Spanish: noun agreement and verb agreement. Today's lesson will provide an introduction to each. 

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Noun Agreement in Spanish 

The concept of noun agreement is the following: Since Spanish nouns are either masculine or feminine and singular or plural, their definite or indefinite articles, adjectives, and other grammatical elements must correspond in terms of these attributes. Let's take a look at a chart that demonstrates this concept with masculine and feminine singular and plural nouns and their corresponding definite and indefinite articles. 

 

  Singular: Plural:  
Masculine: el chico (the boy) los chicos (the boys)  
  un chic(a boy) unos chicos (some boys)  
Feminine: la chic(the girl) las chicas (the girls)  
  una chica (a girl) unas chicas (some girls)  

 

 

 

 

 

The chart shows us the various ways to say "the" (el, los, la, las) and "a/an" (un, unos, una, unas), depending upon whether a noun is masculine or feminine and singular or plural. That said, let's keep a couple of additional points in mind regarding recognizing the number and gender of Spanish nouns and/or modifying them to achieve noun agreement.

 

1. Although many Spanish masculine singular nouns end in -o and many Spanish feminine nouns end in -a, this is not always the case. Therefore, less obvious nouns (e.g. el avión (the airplane) or la nube (the cloud)) require simply memorizing the gender of the noun, especially nouns that refer to inanimate objects. For this reason, Spanish students typically learn new nouns and their respective masculine or feminine definite articles simultaneously. 

 

2. As a general rule, many nouns that end in a vowel require the addition of an -s to make them plural, while many nouns that end in a consonant become plural by adding -es. Applying this to the abovementioned nouns, el avión becomes los aviones while la nube changes to las nubes.

 

Adjective Noun Agreement in Spanish

 

In addition to their articles, Spanish adjectives must also agree in terms of number and gender with the nouns they modify, with the same general spelling guidelines that we mentioned for pluralizing nouns. Let's hear how this works via some examples from our Yabla Spanish library:

 

Un coche bonito, unos coches bonitos. Una casa roja, las casas rojas.

A nice car, some nice cars. A red house, the red houses.

Captions 28-29, Fundamentos del Español 3 - Le Estructura de las Frases

 Play Caption

 

unos ojos azules, inmensos...

some huge, blue eyes...

Caption 24, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 6: El día de la Primitiva - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

As you delve further into more complex Spanish grammar such as direct object pronouns, you will see how the number and gender of Spanish nouns continue to exert their influence. 

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Verb Agreement in Spanish 

Verb agreement in Spanish refers to the fact that Spanish verbs need to be conjugated in accordance with their respective subjects or subject pronouns, agreeing in number (singular or plural) and person (first, second, or third). Although this concept exists in English, it is much simpler due to the fact that there are less subject pronouns in English (seven vs. thirteen in Spanish) and far less verb forms. For example, for all of the seven English subject pronouns, there are only two verb forms, as we see below:

 

Subject Pronoun:

I: speak

you: speak

he: speaks

she: speaks

we: speak

they: speak

it: speaks 

 

In Spanish, on the other hand, there are thirteen subject pronouns and many corresponding conjugations. Additionally, the manner in which each verb is conjugated depends upon which of the three common verb categories (-ar, -er, and -ir) it falls into, and many verbs are irregular, making verb agreement in Spanish significantly more complex. With this in mind, let's take a look at a chart with the conjugations of three common regular verbs, one from each category, in the present indicative tense:

 

Subject Pronoun: hablar: comer: subir:
yo hablo como subo
hablas comes subes
vos hablás comés subís
él/ella/usted habla come sube
vosotros/vosotras habláis coméis subís
nosotros/nosotras hablamos comemos subimos
ellos/ellas/ustedes hablan comen suben

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If that doesn't seem nuanced enough, keep in mind that that was just one of the sixteen Spanish verb tenses, each of which has its own specific manner of conjugating verbs in order to ensure verb agreement. 

 

We hope that these explanations have given you a better idea about the concept of noun and verb agreement in Spanish, which are essential to understanding Spanish sentences and constructing your own. Don't forget to write us with your questions and comments

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Por vs. Para Quiz

Do you know the difference between the Spanish prepositions por and para? Although both can be translated as "for" in certain instances, these two oft-confused words have different uses in Spanish and a wide variety of translations in different contexts. In the most general terms, por is used to indicate a cause or reason while para indicates a goal or purpose. If you need to learn or review the uses of por and para in greater detail, we recommend that you peruse Yabla's lesson entitled Por vs. Para: How to Use These Spanish Prepositions. Then, when you're ready, test your knowledge with this quiz!

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Por vs. Para: Fill in the Blank

In the following sentences, choose the preposition por or para that correctly completes each sentence. 

 

1. Las tijeras son ____ cortar. 

a. por

b. para

 

2.  Vamos a viajar  _____ Europa este verano.  

a. por

b. para

 

3. Yo voy al gimnasio cuatro veces _____ semana.

a. por

b. para

 

4. Noel tiene que entregar su trabajo  ______ el lunes. 

a. por

b. para

 

5. Lo hice ____ amor. 

a. por

b. para

 

6. Ellos prepararon una cena espectacular _______ mi familia. 

a. por

b. para

 

7.  ____ mí, Daniel es el mejor restaurante de Nueva York. 

a. por

b. para

 

8. A Guillermo le encanta caminar _____ la ribera. 

a. por

b. para

 

9. Mi mamá vino ____ visitarme. 

a. por 

b. para

 

10. Nosotros solemos estar de muy mal humor _____ la mañana.

a. por

b. para

 

11. Juan esperó _____ cuatro horas en una fila para comprar las entradas. 

a. por

b. para

 

12. Orlando compró un auto nuevo ____ mucho dinero. 

a. por

b. para

13. Carla trabaja  ______ una empresa muy famosa. 

a. por

b. para

 

14. Hay que subir ____ las escaleras para llegar al segundo piso. 

a. por

b. para

15. El edificio fue construido ____ un arquitecto muy reconocido. 

a. por

b. para

16. Los estudiantes van ____ la escuela. 

a. por

b. para

17.  _____ lo que veo, ella está enferma y no va a poder venir.

a. por

b. para

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BONUS ROUND

Choose the correct combination of the prepositions por and para to make the sentences grammatically correct.

 

18. Liliana está estudiando cinco horas ____ día ____ su examen. 

a. por, para

b. para, por

c. para, para

d. por, por

 

19. El libro que compré ____ mi mamá fue escrito ____ su autor favorito. 

a. por, para

b. para, por

c. para, para

d. por, por

 

20.  ____ la noche, me gusta caminar ____ mi barrio ____ relajarme

a. Por, por, por

b. Para, para, para

c. Por, para, para

d. Por, por, para

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Por vs. Para Quiz: The Answers

The following are the answers to all of the questions in this Por vs. Para Quiz as well as the translations and grammatical reasons for each. 

 

1. Correct Answer: b. para 

Las tijeras son para cortar. 

The scissors are for cutting. 

REASON: The Spanish preposition para is used to talk about the use of something. 

 

2.  Correct Answer: a. por

 Vamos a viajar por Europa este verano. 

We're going to travel in Europe this summer. 

REASON: Use por when talking about approximate location

 

3. Correct Answer: a. por 

 Yo voy al gimnasio cuatro veces por semana.

I go to the gym three times a week. 

REASON: When referring to the frequency of an action, choose the preposition por. Note the alternative translation in the following example from the Yabla Spanish video library:

 

Serían trescientos euros por mes

It would be three hundred euros per month

Caption 55, Karla e Isabel Alquilar una habitación - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

4. Correct Answer: b. para

Noel tiene que entregar su trabajo para el lunes.  

Noel has to turn in her project on Monday. 

REASON: When talking about a future point in time or deadline, pick para

 

5. Correct Answer: a. por 

Lo hice por amor. 

I did it for love. 

REASON: The Spanish preposition por can be used to talk about the reason for something. 

 

6. Correct Answer: b. para 

Ellos prepararon una cena espectacular para mi familia. 

They made an amazing dinner for my family. 

REASON: When naming a recipient, go with para, as in the following clip:

 

Este libro es para ti.

This book is for you.

Caption 47, Carlos y Cyndy Uso del Voseo en Argentina

 Play Caption

 

7. Correct Answer: b. para 

 Para mí, Daniel es el mejor restaurante de Nueva York. 

To me, Daniel is the best restaurant in New York. 

REASON: Para in Spanish can be employed to express a personal opinion

 

8. Correct Answer: a. por

A Guillermo le encanta caminar por la ribera. 

Guillermo loves to walk along the riverbank. 

REASON: The Spanish preposition por can be placed prior to place names to denote a course of movement within that location

 

9. Correct Answer: b. para

Mi mamá vino para visitarme. 

My mom came to visit me. 

REASON: When talking about the purpose for something, opt for the preposition para

 

10. Correct Answer: a. por

Nosotros solemos estar de muy mal humor por la mañana.

We tend to be in a very bad mood in the morning. 

REASON: When referencing the time of day, use por

 

11. Correct Answer: a. por 

 Juan esperó por cuatro horas en una fila para comprar las entradas. 

Juan waited for in a line for four hours to buy the tickets. 

REASON: The Spanish preposition por is correctly used in this sentence to describe duration, like in this similar example:

 

Por muchos años estuvo abandonado,

For many years, it was abandoned,

Caption 66, Amaya Teatro romano

 Play Caption

 

12. Correct answer: a. por 

Orlando compró un auto nuevo por mucho dinero. 

Orlando bought a new car for a lot of money. 

REASON: Por should be used to speak about financial transactions.

 

13. Correct answer: b. para

Carla trabaja para una empresa muy famosa. 

Carla works for a very famous company. 

REASON: Para is the correct Spanish preposition for referring to employment

 

14. Correct answer: a. por

Hay que subir por las escaleras para llegar al segundo piso 

You have to go up [using/with] the stairs to get to the second floor. 

REASON: Utilize por to describe the means used to do something. 

 

15. Correct answer: a. por

El edificio fue construido por un arquitecto muy reconocido. 

The building was built by a very famous architect. 

REASON: In passive sentences in Spanish, the preposition por can be employed to designate who or what performed an action

 

16. Correct answer: b. para

Los estudiantes van para la escuela. 

The students are going to the school. 

REASON: Para in Spanish can refer to the direction of or destination for some movement, as we see twice here:

 

Andrea, yo me voy para donde Amalia y usted salga para el hotel.

Andrea, I'll go to Amalia's and you go to the hotel.

Caption 42, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 9

 Play Caption

 

17. Correct answer: a. por

 Por lo que veo, ella está enferma y no va a poder venir.

From what I can see, she's sick and isn't going to be able to come. 

REASON: Por is the correct Spanish preposition for providing evidence that is used to form a conclusion

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BONUS ROUND

 

18. Correct answer: a. por, para

Liliana está estudiando por cinco horas cada día para su examen. 

Liliana is studying for five hours a day for her test. 

REASON: Despite the fact that both por and para are translated into English as "for" in this sentence, it is necessary to choose por in Spanish to denote duration and para to state an objective.

 

19. Correct answer: b. para, por

El libro que compré para mi mamá fue escrito por su autor favorito. 

The book that I bought for my mom was written by her favorite author. 

REASON: Here, the word para refers to a recipient while por points to the agent of an action in a passive sentence

 

20. Correct answer: dpor, por, para

 Por la tarde, me gusta caminar por mi barrio para relajarme

In the evening, I like to walk around my neighborhood in order to relax.

REASON: In this sentence, por refers to the time of day as well as a general location, and para states a purpose

 

That's all for this quiz on the Spanish prepositions por vs. para. We hope you did well! For more on this topic, be sure to check out Yabla's three-part video series, Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para' , 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. 

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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 or reason.

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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.  

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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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

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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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

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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.

 

  POR PARA
     
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).
   
Frequency   
  Susana va a la piscina tres veces por semana (Susana goes to the pool three times a/per week).  
     
     

Additional:

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).
   
Purchases/Transactions  
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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Contractions in Spanish

Surely "you're" familiar with "contractions" in English, or shorter words formed by combining two or more words, dropping one or more letter, and adding an apostrophe (for example, "you're" from "you are" in this sentence). But do you know about contractions in Spanish? Interestingly, while there are close to 100 contractions in English, in Spanish, there are only two (and no apostrophes are required!). Let's learn what they are and how to use them. 

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The Spanish Contraction Al

In short, the Spanish contraction al is used whenever the preposition a (at, to, etc.) is followed by the masculine definite article el (the). While the scenarios in which this takes place are too numerous to name, let's take a look at several of the most common ones with examples from our Yabla Spanish video library. 

 

When Heading Toward a Place

Al in this case is usually translated as "to the" in English. 

 

Siempre voy al mercado cuando no tengo ingredientes.

I always go to the market when I don't have ingredients.

Caption 10, Ariana Cena especial

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When Describing Location

This is the equivalent of the English "at the."

 

Puede tomar el ascensor que está al final del pasillo a la izquierda

You can take the elevator that is at the end of the hall on the left

Caption 57, Cleer y Lida Recepción de hotel

 Play Caption

 

With Certain Verbs That Require the Preposition a

Since the preposition a is an essential part of certain verbs such as acostumbrarse a (to get used to), asistir a (to attend), jugar a ("to play" something), and many more, a becomes al when a masculine definite article follows.

 

Los viernes, juego al fútbol con mis amigas. 

On Fridays, I play soccer with my friends.

Caption 21, Ariana Mi Semana

 Play Caption
 

Following the Personal a

As the preposition a is required prior to people who function as the objects of sentences in Spanish, a likewise becomes al in the presence of the masculine definite article. 

 

y ya le pedí al chef que la comida fuese vegetariana

and I already asked the chef for the food to be vegetarian

Caption 55, Programación de oficina El dictado del jefe

 Play Caption

 

When Describing a Limit 

In this usage, al is typically employed with the other Spanish contraction del (from the) to describe the end point of something, for example, a range.

 

Estos son los números del uno al cien.

These are the numbers from one to a hundred.

Caption 44, El Aula Azul Los Números del 1-100

 Play Caption

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The Spanish Contraction Del 

This second Spanish contraction is formed by combining the preposition de (of, from, about, by, etc.) with the masculine singular definite article el when one follows another in a sentence. Let's see some of the many common situations in which you might find it.

 

When Heading Away From a Place

This describes the point of origin from which something leaves.

 

También para cuando salimos del agua, eh...

[It's] also for when we come out of the water, um...

Caption 36, Ana Teresa Yoga y surf

 Play Caption

 

When Describing Origin

This describes where someone or something originates or comes from.

 

La mayoría de la gente viene del Pacífico

Most of the people come from the Pacific,

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

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When Describing Possession

This is used like 's in English to indicate ownership when what is owned is preceded by el

 

Yago, pero ese caballo es del patrón. Se va a calentar, ¡Yago!

Yago, but that's the master's horse. He's going to get mad, Yago!

Caption 35, Yago 1 La llegada - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

With Certain Verbs That Include the Preposition De

Like a, de is a part of certain Spanish verbs like acordarse de (to remember), olvidarse de (to forget), and depender de (to depend on) and thus changes to del when el is present.

 

¿Te acuerdas del atraco en el banco?

Do you remember the stickup at the bank?

Caption 54, Los casos de Yabla El examen - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

With Prepositional Phrases That Contain De

The contraction del might be used when el follows any of the numerous prepositional phrases that contain the word de (e.g. después de, antes de, a partir de, etc.).

 

El contrato empieza a correr a partir del próximo mes.

The lease starts to run starting from next month.

Caption 26, Ricardo La compañera de casa - Part 2

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When Indicating the Beginning of a Range

As we mentioned in the section regarding al, al and del are often used together when describing a range, with del indicating its beginning. 

 

Cogí unos días libres del veinte al veintiséis de abril".

I took a few days off from April twentieth to twenty-sixth."

Caption 26, Aprendiendo con Silvia Horas, fechas y períodos de tiempo - Part 3

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When Not to Use Contractions in Spanish 

Now that you have learned a plethora of situations in which you should employ the Spanish contractions al and del, you should be aware of some others in which you should not use them.

 

1. With Definite Articles Other Than El

Note that when any other definite article (la, las, or los) comes after the word a or de, no contraction is formed.

 

el corazón envía más sangre a las piernas

the heart sends more blood to the legs

Caption 31, Aprendiendo con Silvia Las emociones - Part 12

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2. When El Is Part of a Proper Noun

Don't use a Spanish contraction when the word el is part of a proper noun. Carlos sums this up perfectly:

 

No decimos "el Presidente del Salvador", sino "el Presidente de El Salvador".

We don't say "el Presidente del Salvador," but rather "el Presidente de El Salvador" [the President of El Salvador].

Captions 46-47, Carlos explica Geografía y gentilicios

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3. With the Word él (with an accent)

The Spanish contractions al and del must not be used when what follows a or de is the accented form, or Spanish subject pronoun él (which means "he," "him," or "it" rather than "the").

 

Ahora, Lukas, todo el mundo se enamora de él.

Now, Lukas, everybody falls in love with him.

Caption 51, Amaya La historia de Lukas

 Play Caption

 

That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to know when and when not to use the two Spanish contractions al and del, and don't forget to write us with your questions and comments

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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!

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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.

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

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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

 Play Caption

 

2. Antes que nada:

 

Pero antes que nada, lo básico:

But first of all, the basics:

Caption 2, Conversaciones con Luis Astrología

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

6. Nada más:

 

no le importa nada más.

nothing else matters to them.

Caption 34, Aprendiendo con Silvia Frases hechas - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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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The Spanish Word Entonces

Are you familiar with the word entonces in Spanish? While the common Spanish word entonces is often translated with equivalent English words like "then" or "so," the numerous meanings of this word are actually quite nuanced. Let's take a look at several of them.

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1. At That Time, Moment, or Occasion

Like the English word "then," in this usage, the Spanish word entonces could generally be replaced with the English phrase "at that moment" to refer to an occurrence at a specific point in time. Let's see some examples.

 

At a Specific Point in the Past

 

entonces se escaparon. 

And then you guys escaped.

Caption 35, Guillermina y Candelario El mundo de los juguetes perdidos - Part 2

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When talking about the past, it is common to use some of the following expressions, which are usually translated as "at that time" or  "back then":

 

en aquel entonces

por aquel entonces

en ese entonces

por ese entonces 

 

Let's listen to some of these in context:

 

Lo que vivió Colombia en aquel entonces era realmente aterrador. 

What Colombia experienced at that time was really terrifying.

Caption 50, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 1 - Part 14

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En aquel entonces los niños todavía podían salir solos 

Back then children could still go out alone

Caption 2, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 9

 Play Caption

 

En mi urbanización, junto a la piscina, vive una amiga que por aquel entonces tenía una gata totalmente blanca y con un pelo precioso. 

In my housing complex, next to the pool, a female friend lives who back then, had a totally white cat with beautiful fur.

Captions 26-27, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata Poeska

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At a Specific Point in the Future

 

entonces sabremos que hemos hecho un buen trabajo. 

then we'll know that we've done a good job.

Caption 77, Ana Carolina La meditación

 Play Caption

 

Notably, entonces may be used along with the preposition solo (only) to describe a moment in time as the equivalent of the English expression "only then":

 

Solo entonces se sabrá quiénes son los mejores. 

Only then it will be known who are the best ones.

Caption 76, Región mundo Paso a paso - Part 5

 Play Caption

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2. That Time, Moment, or Occasion

In this second usage, entonces is placed right after some preposition to refer to a period of time in the past. Let's examine how entonces can be used with a couple of prepositions. 

 

"Back Then"

 

In the following example, we see the preposition de  combined with entonces to mean "(from) back then":

 

Yo me imagino que los artistas de entonces 

I imagine that the artists back then

Caption 40, Leonardo Rodriguez Sirtori Una vida como pintor - Part 5

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"Ever Since"

 

The preposition desde can be combined with entonces to form the expression desde entonces, or "ever since" in English:

 

y esa es la razón por la cual resido aquí desde entonces

and that's the reason I've been living here ever since.

Caption 19, Adriana Mi historia con el café

 Play Caption

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3. In That Case, Therefore, or Being So

Let's explore how the Spanish word entonces can also be used similarly to the English words "then" and "so" with various, more specific meanings.

 

With Conditional Sentences

 

In this scenario, entonces is used to describe what might happen if something else takes place first. 

 

Si vienes, entonces te invito a comer. 

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

Caption 22, Ana Carolina Condicionales

 Play Caption

 

To Conclude What Was Previously Said

 

Eh... No tenía muchos órganos, no estaban desarrollados, porque había tenido poco espacio en el útero de la madre. Entonces, fue un bebé prematuro, 

Um... He didn't have a lot of organs, they weren't developed because he had had little space in the mother's womb. So, he was a premature baby,

Captions 46-48, Amaya El burrito Luz - Part 2

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To Elaborate on Something That Was Previously Introduced

 

Yo voy a decir unas frases, y... utilizando ustedes, y tú vas a decir la misma frase utilizando vosotros. ¿OK? Entonces comenzamos con la primera frase. 

I'm going to say some sentences, and... using "ustedes," and you are going to say the same sentence using "vosotros." OK? So, let's start with the first sentence.

Captions 52-54, Carlos y Xavi Part 2 Ustedes y Vosotros

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To Introduce a Question That Asks for Clarification

 

¿no es cierto? -No, tampoco es lugar para mí. Entonces ¿por qué vas? Porque estoy loco. 

isn't that right? -No, it's not a place for me either. Then, why do you go? Because I'm crazy.

Captions 63-65, Muñeca Brava 47 Esperanzas - Part 1

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To Make an Obvious Conclusion 

 

In this usage, the word entonces often appears within the expression pues entonces (well then). 

 

"¡Esto está superfrío y de todas formas no sé nadar". "Pues entonces no podemos ir allí, donde comienza el cielo", 

"This is super cold, and anyway, I don't know how to swim." "Well then, we can't go there, where the sky begins,"

Captions 40-42, Pigueldito y Federico El cielo

 Play Caption

 

With this use of the Spanish word entonces, we have reached the end of this lesson. We hope that you now feel more confident about using the word entonces in Spanish, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions¡Hasta la próxima!

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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?!

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1. Aun vs. Aún 

Aun:

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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Aún:

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​

De:

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

Esta:

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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Está

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

 Play Caption

 

4. El vs. Él

El:

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

 Play Caption

 

Él:

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

 Play Caption

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5. Mas vs. Más

Mas:

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"

 Play Caption

 

Más:

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"

 Play Caption

 

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

Mi:

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

 Play Caption

 

:

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

 Play Caption

 

7. Se vs.

Se:

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

 Play Caption

 

:

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

 Play Caption

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8. Si vs. Sí​

Si:

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

9. Te vs.

Te:

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

 Play Caption

 

:

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

 Play Caption

 

 

10. Tu vs.

Tu:

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

 Play Caption

 

:

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

 Play Caption

 

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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The Meals of the Day in Spanish

Generally speaking, there are three main meals that many people eat each day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Do you know how to say the names of those three meals in Spanish? Let's see how the answer to that question depends upon where you happen to be in the Spanish-speaking world.

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The Meals of the Day in Spain and Mexico

If you are in Spain or Mexico, the following are the names of the three main daily meals:

 

el desayuno (breakfast)

 

es la hora del desayuno

it's breakfast time,

Caption 7, Clase Aula Azul Acciones habituales y en este momento - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

la comida (lunch)

 

Todos los días, hago la comida a mediodía

Every day, I make lunch at midday

Caption 24, Ariana Mi Casa

 Play Caption

 

la cena (dinner)

 

y normalmente cuando llego a casa, me hago la cena,

and usually when I get home, I make myself dinner,

Caption 30, El Aula Azul Actividades Diarias

 Play Caption

 

In the following clip, our Mexican friend Karla mentions all three of these daily meals as she tells us how, in her country, tacos can be eaten at any time of the day!

 

Eh... Puedes encontrar tacos en todas las esquinas, en todas las ciudades de todo México y puedes comerlo, en realidad, de desayuno, de comida o de cena,

Um... You can find tacos on every corner, in every city throughout Mexico, and you can eat it, actually, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner,

Captions 37-39, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín Karla y los tacos - Part 2

 Play Caption

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The Meals of the Day in Other Latin American Countries

In contrast, in most Latin American countries, the names of the three main meals are as follows:

 

el desayuno (breakfast)

 

Hoy es domingo y vamos a hacer el desayuno.

Today is Sunday, and we're going to make breakfast.

Captions 6-7, Quito Desayuno con Julia

 Play Caption

 

el almuerzo (lunch)

 

Al mediodía, preparo el almuerzo.

At noon, I make lunch.

Caption 14, GoSpanish La rutina diaria de Maru

 Play Caption

 

la comida or la cena (dinner)

While some places use the word comida (e.g. Colombia), others use the term cena (e.g. Argentina). Let's hear a couple of clips:

 

¿Qué es la comida?

What's for dinner?

Caption 9, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

Bueno, espero que lleguemos justo para la cena porque tengo un hambre que me muero.

Well, I hope that we are arriving just [in time] for dinner because I am dying of hunger.

Caption 49, Muñeca Brava 44 El encuentro - Part 6

 Play Caption

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The Word Almuerzo in Spain

As we have just seen, the main difference between the meals of the day in Spain and Mexico vs. other Latin American countries is the term people use to talk about lunch. However, if you happen to hear the word almuerzo in Spain, you should be aware that, in that country, almuerzo refers to a mid-morning snack. In addition, it is very common for Spanish people to enjoy an afternoon snack called la merienda. Let's hear Raquel and Marisa explain this in detail:

 

El almuerzo es lo que tomamos entre el desayuno y la comida. Pero además tenemos la merienda y la cena. La merienda suele ser a las seis de la tarde. Y la cena es la última comida del día.

The mid-morning snack is what we have between breakfast and lunch. But in addition, we have the afternoon snack and dinner. The afternoon snack is usually at six in the afternoon. And dinner is the last meal of the day.

Captions 30-33, Raquel Presentaciones

 Play Caption

 

That's all for this lesson. We hope you learned some new words today, and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments.

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The Three Ways to Say "There" in Spanish: Pronunciation and Usage

Do you know how to say "there" in Spanish? There are three different ways: ahí, allí and allá. Today's lesson will explore the differences and similarities between them in both pronunciation and usage. 

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Pronunciation of the Words for "There" in Spanish

Let's learn how to pronounce the three ways to say "there" in Spanish.

 

Ahí

When listening to this word, keep in mind that the letter h in Spanish is silent (see Spanish Alphabet: Letters and Pronunciation to review this and more). Let's hear it in context:

 

Ahí está.

There it is.

Caption 10, Animales en familia La operación de Yaki - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

 

Allí

Although the word allí in Spanish is often confused with words like hay, ay, and ahí, its pronunciation is actually different from ahí due to the double L (ll) sound in Spanish, which is equivalent to the letter y. Let's listen to it:

 

Allí, los productos son muy frescos.

There, the products are very fresh.

Caption 11, Ariana Cena especial

 Play Caption

 

Hence, the pronunciation difference between the words ahí and allí can be broken down as follows:

 

ahí = ah-ee

allí = ah-yee

 

That said, this difference can be very hard to hear for non-native speakers, especially with accents from Spain or other regions where the ll/y sound is quite subtle. This sound is, however, more distinct in other regions like the Dominican Republic, where it sounds like a soft g or j, and Argentina and Uruguay, where it sounds like "sh," as we hear in this caption:

 

Por allí, están los botones "hide".

Over there are the "hide" buttons.

Caption 34, Julieta Promo

 Play Caption

 

Allá

The difference in the final letter makes the word allá stand out even more from its predecessors. Let's hear it pronounced:

 

Aha... allá.

Uh-huh... there.

Caption 55, Aprendiendo con Priscilla Juego de palabras

 Play Caption

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Using the Words for "There" in Spanish

Now let's explore the difference in meaning between the different words for "there" in Spanish. 

 

Ahí

The RAE (Real Academia Española) defines the word ahí as "en" or "ese lugar" ("in" or "to that place") or simply "ese lugar" (that place). Having said that, remember that ese in Spanish is the "nearer" version of "that" with definitions ranging from "near the speaker," "far from the speaker but near to the listener" or "close but not within reach." With this in mind, let's see a couple of examples of the word ahí in context.

 

¿Me puedo sentar ahí? -Claro.

Can I sit there? -Of course.

Caption 27, Confidencial: Broma pesada Capítulo 1 - Part 8

 Play Caption

 

Ahí está. 

There it is.

Caption 41, Ana Carolina Recorrido por el parque

 Play Caption

 

Allí

While the English translation of the definition for allí is the same as for ahí ("in" or "to that place" or "that place"), the difference lies in the replacement of the word ese with aquel, which also means "that" but constitutes a further distance (as explained in this lesson on demonstrative adjectives) that might be thought of as "far from both the speaker and the listener." Its translation can thus be either "there" or "over there." Let's see two examples where the speakers refer to locations far from where they currently are:

 

Y allí existe una de las mayores huertas de España,

And there, there is one of the biggest vegetable gardens in Spain,

Caption 41, Soledad Ensaladilla de brócoli

 Play Caption

 

y allí estuve durante diez años;

And I was there for ten years,

Caption 23, Luis Guitarra Influencias musicales - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Allá

According to the RAE, one definition of allá, which can also be translated as "there" or "over there," is "en aquel lugar o sus proximidades" (in that place or its vicinity), making the term a bit more vague. Let's see an example:

 

Sin embargo, uno de los ecosistemas más importantes de la zona está allá. En el mar.

However, one of the most important ecosystems of the area is over there. In the sea.

Caption 65, Instinto de conservación Parque Tayrona - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Allá can also be used in lieu of allí to emphasize the distance of a particular place:

 

Y pues entré a hacer mi maestría allá en Moscú, de... de imagen.

And well, I went to do my master's degree there in Moscow in... in photography.

Caption 40, Bogotá Fotógrafo José Segundo Quinche Pérez

 Play Caption

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Ahí, Allí and Allá: Overlap in Usage 

Although we have explored the primary definitions for the Spanish terms ahíallí and allá, note that if you scroll further down in the entry for ahí, the RAE actually lists allí and allá as synonyms! This is because, like the words for "here" in Spanish (aquí and acá), the use of the words for "there" varies vastly from region to region and person to person, leading many speakers to use these terms differently or interchangeably. Let's see a couple of examples that deviate from the parameters we have learned:

 

¡Oh, mira ese vestido allá

Oh, look at that dress over there!

Caption 23, Cleer y Carolina De compras

 Play Caption

 

ahí, no es como Madrid que sales cuando te da la gana, es que allí, no paras. 

And there, it's not like in Madrid where you go out when you feel like it, it's just that there, you never stop.

Captions 18-20, Arume Barcelona

 Play Caption
 
In the first example, since the dress that is spoken about is quite close to both the speaker and the listener, using our initial definitions, we might have expected her to choose ahí rather than allá.  And in the second, interestingly, the speaker refers to the exact same place, Barcelona, using both ahí and allí.

 

 Ahí, Allí and Allá: The Takeaway

To conclude today's lesson, let's concisely sum up what we have learned:

 

1. Generally speaking, ahí describes something relatively close to the speaker and/or listener. It is most typically translated as "there."

 

2. Allí usually describes something further away from both the speaker and listener. It is most typically translated as "there" or "over there."

 

3. Allá is similar to allíbut less specific, and can also be employed to emphasize distance. Its translations are "there" or "over there."

 

4. There is a great deal of overlap in the manner in which these words for "there" are used in spoken Spanish, which is often influenced more by the individual or region than any strict parameter of distance or grammatical rule.

 

That's all for this lesson. We hope that it has helped you to understand the differences and similarities among the three different ways to say "there" in Spanish, and don't forget to write us with your questions and comments

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How to Say "Here" in Spanish: Aquí vs. Acá

There are two Spanish equivalents of the word "here" in Spanish: aquí and acá. So, is there a difference between them? Let's find out!

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Aquí

The Royal Spanish Academy's initial definitions for the word aquí in Spanish are "at" or "to this place." Let's hear a couple of examples from Mexico and Spain:

 

No, gracias. Tengo unas galletas aquí.

No, thank you. I have some cookies here.

Caption 13, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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Hoy estamos aquí en la costa de Málaga.

Today we're here on the coast of Malaga.

Caption 2, Amaya Cata de vinos

 Play Caption

 

Acá

On the other hand, the Dictionary of the Spanish language defines acá as "at" or "to this place or nearby." Let's look at another example from Mexico and one from Argentina:

 

y eso es lo que trato de hacer mayormente acá en Alemania,

and that's what I try to do mostly here in Germany

Caption 9, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín Karla y el pozole - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Acá es donde trabaja el alcalde de Buenos Aires.

Here is where the mayor of Buenos Aires works.

Caption 10, Yabla en Buenos Aires Plaza Mayo - Part 2

 Play Caption

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Aquí vs. Acá

Did you pick up on any difference? As you may have noted, the official definition for acá could entail a larger scope or distance from the speaker. That said, there are a few things to keep in mind regarding this nuance: 

 

1. Certain regions, like Mexico, seem to observe this slight difference between the words aquí and acá more than others, which view the terms as completely interchangeable. 

 

2. Even in regions that consider the terms to be slightly different, it is often diffcult to determine the exact scope that defines each one, and individual use varies widely. 

 

3. Some regions use one term or another almost exclusively. For example, in Spain, aquí is almost always used to say "here," whereas it would be rare to hear it in Argentina, where acá is prevalent.

 

That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has brought to light how the Spanish words aquí and acá can be different... or exactly the same, depending upon the country, context, or person. Don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments!

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How to Use Hay, Ahí, and Ay in Spanish

Are you confused about the similar-sounding Spanish words hay, ahí, and ay? If that's the case, this brief lesson will help you to know how and when to use each of them. Let's take a look!

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The Meaning of Hay

The word hay, an impersonal form of the Spanish verb haber, is used to express existence. In other words, hay is the Spanish equivalent of "there is" and "there are." Let's see a couple of clips that include it:

 

Encima de ella, hay una lámpara negra.

Above her, there's a black lamp.

Caption 18, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Hay y estar

 Play Caption

 

hay cosas muy interesantes,

there are very interesting things,

Caption 61, Aprendiendo con Silvia Campanas - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

The Meaning of Ahí

Ahí, on the other hand, is an adverb meaning "in that place." It is one of the Spanish equivalents of the English word "there." Let's see some examples:

 

y lo dejaremos ahí hasta que hierva.

and we'll leave it there until it boils.

Caption 19, Ana Carolina Ponche navideño

 Play Caption

 

y Minos, con una cara que no era la suya, se quedó ahí para siempre.

and Minos, with a face that wasn't his own, stayed there forever.

Captions 43-44, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 3

 Play Caption

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The Meaning of Ay

Last but not least, the Spanish word ay, which is often translated with the English interjection "oh," is used to express a range of different emotions like the following:

 

Affliction

 

Ay, lentejas al almuerzo, lentejas a la comida... Ay, mamá, -Lentejitas. -¡qué pobreza tan asquerosa! -¡Mm!

Oh, lentils for lunch, lentils for dinner... Oh, Mom, -Lentils. -what revolting poverty! -Hmm!

Captions 17-18, Confidencial: Broma pesada Capítulo 1 - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

Surprise

 

¡Ay! ¡Estoy horrible!

Oh! I look horrible!

Caption 44, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 7: La gemela - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

Pain

 

Es por ahí. ¡Ahí es! Ay... ¡ay!

It's around there. There it is! Oh... oh!

Caption 8, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 1 - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

You can also use the word ay to introduce a comment or response about something. Let's look at a couple of examples of this usage:

 

¿Qué? Ay, Kevin, nosotros no podemos esperarlo durante cuatro años.

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

Captions 2-3, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 13 - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

 

Ay, mijo, hacele caso a tu mamá, ¿sí?

Oh, my son, listen to your mom, OK?

Caption 39, Carlos comenta La sucursal del cielo - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

Now that we know how to use these three words, we would like to invite you to remember the following sentence, which some teachers use to teach the difference between the aforementioned terms:

 

Ahí hay un hombre que dice ay.

There, there's a man who says oh.

 

That's all for this lesson. Do you now feel confident about using the words hay, ahí, and ay? We hope so, and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments.

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The Preposition sin in Spanish

In this lesson, we will talk about the Spanish preposition sin, which usually translates to "without" in English. In the following lines, we will explore the various ways to use sin, providing different examples to illustrate its use in different contexts. Get ready!

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To Express a Lack or Absence

Like the English preposition "without," the primary function of the Spanish preposition sin is to indicate the absence or lack of something. Let's take a look:

 

en la camioneta, una camioneta blanca sin, este, sin ventanas.

in a van, a white van without, um, without windows.

Caption 32, Amigos D.F. El secuestrar

 Play Caption

 

Y así acaba nuestro carnaval y la gente sin dinero pero contenta.

And that's how our carnival ends, and people [are left] without money but happy.

Captions 82-83, Cleer y Lida El Carnaval de Barranquilla - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Of course, an alternative translation for sin in this second example would be "with no money," which conveys the same idea.

 

Note that, when used to talk about a lack of something, the preposition sin is the direct opposite of the preposition con. Let's see an example of each with the same noun:

 

Entonces, se recomienda, todas las mañanas, comer la mitad de una toronja o un pomelo; sin azúcar, no hagan trampa.

So, it's recommended, every morning, to eat half a grapefruit or a "pomelo;" without sugar, don't cheat.

Captions 67-69, Otavalo Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

 Play Caption

 

Es una bebida refrescante que se pone jugo de limón con azúcar y agua.

It's a refreshing drink in which one puts lemon juice with sugar and water.

Caption 24, Otavalo Julia nos muestra las verduras

 Play Caption

 

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To Express Opposition or Contradiction

In certain cases, sin can convey opposition or contradiction between two elements. Let's take a look:

 

Sin embargo, muchas veces tenemos complementos que hacen las veces de adjetivo sin ser adjetivos necesariamente:

However, we often have complements that function as adjectives without necessarily being adjectives:

Captions 50-52, Ana Carolina El uso correcto de los adjetivos

 Play Caption

 

To Indicate Time or Duration

The preposition sin can also be used to talk about something that has not occurred during a specific period of time. Let's see this usage in action:

 

Cuéntame ¿qué ha pasado en estos siete años sin vernos? -Ay...

Tell me what has happened in these seven years without seeing each other? -Oh...

Caption 10, El reencuentro Las amigas hablan del trabajo y el amor.

 Play Caption

 

A more colloquial way to express this in English might be "in these seven years we didn't see each other."

 

To Emphasize Something

When used after the adverb no, the preposition sin helps to reinforce a message or emphasize something. Let's look at the following video clip:

 

Me despido de todos, no sin antes recordarles que estén pendiente[s] de nuestro siguiente video.

I'll say goodbye to everyone, not without first reminding you to be on the lookout for our next video.

Captions 32-33, Manos a la obra Separadores de libros: Pikachu

 Play Caption

 

To Give Orders

When followed by an infinitive verb, the preposition sin can additionally be used to give orders! Let's see one last example:

 

¡Niños, todos a la cama y sin protestar!

Children, all to bed and without protest!


As you can see, the preposition sin allows for the expression of absence, opposition, and other related concepts. We encourage you to practice using it in different ways to solidify your understanding of this versatile preposition, and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments.

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The Word "Listo" in Spanish

You've probably learned the Spanish word listo as an adjective that means "ready." But did you know that the Spanish word listo can have different meanings and function as a noun or interjection as well? Let's explore the many meanings of the word listo in Spanish. ¿​Estás listo/a (Are you ready)?

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1. Ready

The word listo in Spanish can be used as an adjective with the verb estar to describe the state of being mentally or physically complete or prepared for some situation, activity, or action. When employed as an adjective, the Spanish word listo must match the noun it modifies in terms of number and gender, as follows:

 

Masculine singular: listo

Feminine singular: lista

Masculine/mixed plural: listos

Feminine plural: listas

 

Let's see some examples:

 

El nuevo estadio estará listo para el próximo año.

The new stadium will be ready by next year.

Caption 41, Carlos explica - Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para'

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Estoy lista para mi entrevista.

I am ready for my interview.

Caption 66, Maquillaje Con Cata y Cleer

 Play Caption

 

When describing readiness for an action, the formula estar listo/a para + infinitive is often utilized:

 

Estamos listos para comer.

We're ready to eat.

Caption 30, Ana Carolina - El comedor

 Play Caption

 

"Hello", ya estoy lista para triunfar ante las cámaras.

Hello, now I am ready to triumph in front of the cameras.

Caption 45, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso

 Play Caption

 

2. Smart/Clever

When used with the verb ser in lieu of estar, the Spanish adjective listo instead means "intelligent." Let's take a look:

 

un "lince" es un ser listo, muy inteligente.

a "lynx" is a smart, very intelligent being.

Caption 64, Beatriz - Palabras polisémicas

 Play Caption

 

Sam, eres listo. Hablas muy bien el español.

Sam, you're smart. You speak Spanish very well.

Caption 19, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 2: Sam va de compras

 Play Caption

 

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3. Cunning/Crafty

As an extension of the "smart" meaning, the Spanish adjective listo can also be employed with ser to mean "cunning" or "sly," which sometimes has a negative connotation. The following caption describes un jornalero listo (a crafty day laborer) who is able to able to reap financial gain by tricking others:

 

Hay que ver qué listo era este jornalero. 

You've got to see how crafty this day laborer was.

Caption 54, Cleer - El cuento de las tres palabras

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4. Smarty Pants

As a noun, the Spanish word listo/a can refer to either a crafty person or a "smarty pants" (or the more vulgar English equivalent), in the sense of a person who thinks they know everything.

 

En cada clase, siempre hay un listo que cree saberlo todo. 

In every class, there's always a smarty pants who thinks they know everything. 

 

5. Done!/OK!/Great!/That's it!

Finally, you will often hear the Spanish word listo in its masculine singular form as an interjection to indicate agreement, acknowledgement, or completion. You might recognize this use from our lesson on Colombian slang, although it is used similarly in many Spanish-speaking countries. Let's see a few examples of the Spanish word listo as an interjection, with varying translations:

 

Entonces van: la tía Olga, el tío Juan, el tío Óscar y mi mamá.

So: Aunt Olga, Uncle Juan, Uncle Oscar, and my mom are going.

OK, listo.

OK, done.

Captions 17-18, Cleer y Carolina - Organizando la fiesta del abuelo

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Voy a ir a darle la buenas noches. -Bueno, listo.

I'm going to say good night to her. -OK, great.

Caption 48, X6 - 1 - La banda - Part 10

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Listo! Por hoy terminamos

That's it! We're done for the day.

Caption 23, Muñeca Brava - 48 - Soluciones

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And speaking of being done for the day, that's all for this lesson, which we hope has helped you to understand the many uses of the Spanish word listo. Don't forget to write us with your questions and comments.

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The Cardinal Directions in Spanish

Do you know how to say "east" or "southwest" in Spanish? In this lesson, we will learn how to spell and say the names of the four cardinal directions in Spanish as well as the intermediate, or ordinal directions. Let's take a look.

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The 4 Cardinal Directions in Spanish

First things first: The cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are known in Spanish as los puntos cardinales. Let's learn the names and pronunciations of the four cardinal directions in Spanish:

 

North (el norte)

 

En el norte de España.

In the north of Spain.

Caption 48, Aprendiendo con Silvia - Deportes tradicionales canarios

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East (el este)

 

¡Ah! Y en el este lloverá. 

Oh! And, in the east, it will rain.

Caption 24, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 5: Ha nacido una estrella

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South (el sur)

 

En el sur, por ejemplo, existe la cultura maya.

In the south, for example, there's the Mayan culture.

Caption 13, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín - Manuel y El barrilito

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West (el oeste)

 

San Pedro está situado en el oeste del canal de entrada a la bahía.

San Pedro is located in the west of the entrance channel to the bay.

Caption 34, Viajando con Fermín - Pasajes (Pasaia)

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The 4 Ordinal Directions in Spanish

Now that we know how say the four cardinal directions in Spanish, it is time to find out the words for the four ordinal directions, which are known in Spanish as los puntos ordinales. By the way, because they are located between the cardinal directions, these are also known as las direcciones intercardinales (the intercardinal directions). 

 

Northeast (el noreste)

 

En el noreste de México.

In the northeast of Mexico.

Caption 34, Paseando con Karen - Bienvenidos a Parque Fundidora

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Southeast (el sudeste)

 

Eh... Son plantas, eh... la mayoría,

Um... They're plants [that are], um... the majority,

originarias todas del sudeste asiático.

all native to Southeast Asia.

Caption 88, Estepona - Orquídeas y plantas raras

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Southwest (el sudoeste)

 

Popayán es una ciudad que está ubicada

Popayan is a city that is located

en el sudoeste de Colombia.

in the southwest of Colombia.

Caption 3, Viajando con Carlos - Popayán - Colombia

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Northwest (el noroeste)

 

Caminaron un rato hacia el noroeste.

They walked northwest for a while.

Caption 8, Pigueldito y Federico - Ordenar

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When referring to "southeast" and "southwest," you can also use the terms sureste and suroeste (with the prefix sur-) instead of sudeste and sudoeste. However, the Real Academia Española prefers the variations with the prefix sud-

 

That's all for now. We hope you learned something useful today, and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments.

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I Am in Spanish: Soy vs. Estoy

If you are wondering how to say I am in Spanish, there are two possible options to choose from: yo soy and yo estoy. If that surprises you, the first thing you need to know is that the English verb "to be" has two equivalents in Spanish: ser and estar. Let's hear how to say I am in Spanish with these two verbs:

 

With the verb ser (yo soy):

 

Bueno, yo soy Amaya

Well, I'm Amaya

Caption 2, Amaya - Donkey Dreamland

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With the verb estar (yo estoy):

 

¿Cómo estás? Yo estoy bien.

How are you? I'm well.

Captions 7-8, Cleer y Lida - Llegando a una nueva ciudad

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Now that you are aware of the above, we would like to give you some simple tips to keep in mind when dealing with the soy vs. estoy dilemma.

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Yo Soy: I Am in Spanish for Permanent Qualities

In Spanish, the verb ser is used to express permanent conditions such as the following:

 

To say your name:

 

Yo soy Karen, y en este momento.

I'm Karen, and right now.

Caption 3, Aprendiendo con Karen - El tiempo

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To indicate your nationality:

 

Yo soy argentina.

I'm Argentine.

Caption 53, Carlos y Cyndy - Uso del Voseo en Argentina

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You can also name your place of origin by using the preposition de plus the name of the place you come from:

 

Yo soy de Guatemala, tengo veintiséis años.

I'm from Guatemala, I'm twenty-six years old.

Caption 4, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín - Hilda y los volcanes

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To explain your relationship with someone else:

 

Yo soy la hermana de Ximena.

I'm Ximena's sister.

Caption 7, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante - Capítulo 2

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To relay your profession:

 

¡Ah! Yo soy profesora de niños.

Oh! I'm a children's teacher.

Caption 20, El Aula Azul - Los profesores de la escuela

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To describe personality traits or physical appearance:

 

Yo soy un tipo humanitario, te estoy escuchando.

I'm a humanitarian man, I'm listening to you.

Caption 26, Yago - 13 La verdad - Part 4

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Yo soy negro, y entonces, por ende a mí me gusta la música negra,

I'm black, and so, therefore I like black music,

y la música negra en esos años para mí era Michael Jackson.

and black music in those years for me was Michael Jackson.

Captions 56-58, Leonardo Rodriguez Sirtori - Una vida como pintor

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Yo estoy: I am in Spanish for Variable Conditions

On the other hand, you use the verb estar in Spanish when talking about variables, conditions, or states, such as the following:

 

To express a temporary emotion or condition:

 

Bueno, bueno, yo estoy encantada.

Well, well, I'm delighted.

Es que, no sabéis qué me ha pasado.

It's just that, you don't know what's happened to me.

Captions 8-9, Clase Aula Azul - La segunda condicional

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To indicate your location:

 

Ahora bien, yo estoy en el Departamento de Cundinamarca.

Having said that, I am in the Department of Cundinamarca.

Caption 20, Viajando con Carlos - Boyacá - Colombia

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To describe an action in progress:

 

Yo estoy meditando en este momento.

I'm meditating right now.

Caption 40, Dayana - La meditación

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To state a particular position or idea about something:

 

Quiero que sepas que yo estoy dispuesta a conceder entrevistas.

I want you to know that I'm willing to grant interviews.

Caption 37, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante - Capítulo 3

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Yo estoy segura que Mariana te va a volver a buscar.

I'm sure that Mariana is going to seek you out again.

Caption 21, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante - Capítulo 5

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That's all for this lesson. We hope you now feel confident about how to say I am in Spanish, whether with the verb ser or the verb estar. And don't forget to send us your suggestions 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.

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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)

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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

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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).

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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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