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Spanish Verb Tenses Explained: Part 2

Welcome to the second part of this lesson where we touch on all the different Spanish verb tenses! So... how many tenses in Spanish did we say there were? Sixteen! In the first part, we covered the ten "official" tenses of the indicative mood, which deals more with concrete facts, in addition to some "bonus" (non-official) tenses. Now, we'll move on to the other two Spanish moods: the subjunctive, where we will cover tenses eleven through sixteen of the Spanish verb paradigm, and the imperative. If you didn't already, we definitely recommend checking out Part 1 of this lesson. 

 

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The Subjunctive Tenses

While the indicative mood deals with facts, the subjunctive mood in Spanish, in a nutshell, deals with more abstract notions like wishes, desires, emotions, opinions, and more, which require a whole different set of tenses in Spanish. Although it would be impossible to delve too deeply into the multipronged usage of the subjunctive Spanish mood, we will try to illustrate several cases in which you might come across it. Let's get started!

 

11. Present Subjunctive (Presente del subjuntivo)

The present subjunctive is the subjunctive equivalent of the simple present tense. Let's take a look at an example from the Yabla Spanish library: 

 

Si queremos que una persona no nos hable de usted, tenemos que pedir a la persona que nos tutee. 

If we want a person to not talk to us in an formal way, we have to ask the person to use "tú" with us.

Captions 24-25, Karla e Isabel Tú y Usted

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Note that the reason the subjunctive form is employed here (we can tell it is subjunctive due to its conjugation, hable, which differs from its indicative form, habla) is because the sentence conveys that we want (queremos) for someone not to talk to us in a particular way, which doesn't mean that that person will actually respect our desire. Let's take a look at one more example: 

 

Mejor hablemos de ella. 

It's better we talk about her.

Caption 17, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 1

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Here, the word mejor (better) tips us off that the subjunctive form (hablemos instead of hablamos) is in order due to the expression of someone's opinion about what should happen, which doesn't necessarily mean that it will. 

 

12. Imperfect Subjunctive (Imperfecto de subjuntivo)

The imperfect subjunctive is the past equivalent of the present subjunctive. We see in the following example that the verb hablar has been conjugated in the imperfect subjunctive (habláramos) instead of in the indicative (hablábamos) due to the expression of desire, once again with the verb querer:

 

No, no te dije que quería hablar con vos, quería que habláramos los dos. 

No, I didn't tell you that I wanted to talk to you; I wanted for us to talk, the two [of us].

Caption 46, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 6

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Another very common use of the imperfect subjunctive is to talk about hypothetical situations. In this case, the imperfect subjunctive is often incorporated into a "si (if) clause" in conjunction with the conditional tense to communicate that "if" something were the case, then something else "would" happen, as in the following clip:

 
 

Eh... Si... ¿hablaríamos?... -Hablara. Hablara ruso, me... vi'... ¿vivía?... Viviría. -Viviría en Rusia. 

Um... "Si... ¿hablaríamos" [If... we would speak]? -"Hablara" [I spoke]. "Hablara ruso [I spoke Russian], me... vi'... ¿vivía" [I... I'd li'... I used to live]? "Viviría" [I'd live]. -"Viviría en Rusia" [I'd live in Russia].

Captions 22-25, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 7

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The hypothetical situation the teacher is going for here is: Si hablara rusoviviría en Rusia (If I spoke Russian, I'd live in Russia). To learn more about this type of construction, we highly recommend the entire series of which this video is a part. 

 

13. Future Subjunctive (Futuro (simple) de subjuntivo)

We definitely couldn't come up with any examples of the future subjunctive tense in our Yabla Spanish library because this tense is all but obsolete and is almost never even taught in modern Spanish. For that reason, you may not recognize it due to its different and little-seen conjugations, although you may occasionally come across it in legal documents or literature. We came up with this example:

 

El que hablare fuerte se echará de lo biblioteca. 

Whoever talks loudly will be thrown out of the library. 

 

The future subjunctive could conceivably be used here because the sentence refers to "whoever," rather than known individuals, as well as alluding to a possible future event. However, in modern Spanish, this very same idea would be conveyed with the present subjunctive:

 

El que hable fuerte se echará de lo biblioteca. 

Whoever talks loudly will be thrown out of the library. 

 

14. Present Perfect Subjunctive (Pretérito perfecto de subjuntivo)

The present perfect subjunctive is the equivalent of the present perfect indicative in situations that require the subjunctive, and the verb haber is thus conjugated in its subjunctive form. That said, we'll take this opportunity to mention another case that requires subjunctive: when expressing that something will happen "when" something else happens that hasn't yet, as in the following example:

 

Cuando se hayan hablado, se van a entender mejor.

When they've talked to each other, they are going to understand each other better. 

 

And, here's an additional example of the present perfect subjunctive from our Spanish video library with different verbs:

 

Espero que os haya gustado este vídeo sobre esta maravillosa planta y hayáis aprendido algo nuevo. 

I hope you've liked this video about this wonderful plant and have learned something new.

Captions 80-81, Fermín La plumeria - Part 1

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15. Pluperfect Subjunctive (Pluscuamperfecto de subjuntivo)

The pluperfect subjunctive is the subjunctive equivalent of the pluperfect tense and is also used to talk about hypothetical situations. It is formed with the pluperfect form of haber plus the participle, and, like the imperfect subjunctive, it is often used in conjunction with the conditional or conditional perfect to describe what "would have" happened if something else "had been" done. Let's see an example:

 

Si yo hubiera hablado con mi jefe antes, habría evitado cualquier malentendido. 

If I had spoken with my boss previously, I would have avoided any misunderstanding.

 

Let's look an additional example of the pluperfect subjunctive tense, which does not include the conditional:

 

Es como si nunca hubiéramos hablado

It's as if we had never talked.

Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 6

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The Spanish phrase como si (as if) quite often precedes verbs in the pluperfect subjunctive tense. 

 

16. Future Perfect Subjunctive (Futuro compuesto de subjuntivo)

Like the future subjunctive, the future perfect subjunctive is rarely encountered and might only be employed in literary or legal contexts to talk about what will happen in the future if a hypothetical situation "has not" yet occurred. It involves the future subjunctive form of the verb haber plus the participle, as follows:

 

Si el demandante todavía no hubiere hablado ante el tribunal para la fecha especificada, se desestimará su caso. 

If the plaintiff still hasn't spoken before the court by the specified date, his case will be dismissed. 

 

However, the present perfect subjunctive would take the place of the future perfect subjunctive in order to say this today:

 

Si el demandante todavía no haya hablado ante el tribunal para la fecha especificada, se desestimará su caso. 

If the plaintiff still hasn't spoken before the court by the specified date, his case will be dismissed. 

 

Since different verb conjugations are rarely required in English to talk about emotions, desires, or hypotheticals, the subjunctive mood can initially feel quite confusing for English speakers, and we hope that this lesson has this shed some light on some of the possible subjunctive scenarios in Spanish. For more information about the subjunctive in Spanish, the following link with take you to several additional lessons on different aspects of this topic. 

 

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The Imperative "Tenses"

Let's conclude our rundown of all Spanish tenses by talking about the "bonus" tenses in the imperative mood (modo imperativo), which are not included in the official classification of the different tenses in Spanish. Also called commands, these Spanish verb tenses are those that tell someone to do something, and they fall into several categories:

 

1. Commands with  (informal "you") :

 

Habla con la gente de laboratorio.

Talk to the people from the lab.

Caption 36, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 1 - Part 11

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2. Negative commands with :

 

A ver. Sebas, mi amor, no le hables así a tu papá.

Let's see. Sebas, my love, don't talk to your dad like that.

Caption 30, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 2

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3. Commands with vos (informal "you" in certain regions):

 

por favor hablá con Andrea; necesito encontrar a mi nieto. 

please talk to Andrea; I need to find my grandson.

Caption 59, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 9

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4. (Negative or positive) commands with usted (formal "you"):

 

Hable más despacio.

"Hable más despacio" [Speak more slowly].

Caption 40, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 2: Irregulares, Usted + plurales

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5. (Negative or positive) commands with ustedes (plural "you"):

 

Pues no me hablen de costumbre porque luego en vez de ganar, pierdo.

Well don't talk to me about habits because then instead of earning, I lose.

Caption 7, La Banda Chilanguense El habla de México - Part 3

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6. Commands with vosotros/as (informal plural "you"):

 

Con vosotros o vosotras: Hablad más despacio.

With "vosotros" or "vosotras" ["you" plural informal masculine/feminine]: "Hablad más despacio" [Talk more slowly].

Caption 25, Carlos explica El modo imperativo 1: Tú + vos

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7. Negative commands with vosotros/as:

 

No nos habléis de esa forma.

Don't speak to us in that way. 

 

8. (Negative or positive) commands with nosotros/as (we): 

 

Hablemos de otra palabra.

Let's talk about another word.

Caption 19, Carlos comenta Confidencial - Jerga típica colombiana

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While we won't get into the norms for conjugating all of these types of commands with -ar, -er, and -ir verbs, we recommend Yabla's four-part video series entitled El modo imperativo (The Imperative Mode), beginning here, which explores this topic. 

 

And that wraps up our lesson on all of the verb tenses in Spanish. We hope you've enjoyed it (and learned a lot)! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

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Spanish Verb Tenses Explained: Part 1

Today, we will embark on a brief journey that encompasses all the Spanish verb tenses. However, rather than focusing on how to conjugate the verb tenses in Spanish, which you may or may not have already learned, we'll take a closer look at when to use each one, using the extremely common verb hablar ("to talk" or "to speak") to illustrate them whenever possible, as well as plenty of examples from the Yabla Spanish video library. 

 

How Many Tenses Are There in Spanish?

How many different tenses in Spanish are there in total? According to the Real Academia Española, there are sixteen Spanish verb tenses. There are also some "bonus tenses," which aren't officially included in their classification, which we will also cover in this lesson. Let's get started.

 

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Indicative Tenses

To make matters just a bit more complicated, Spanish verb tenses fall into three categories called "moods," which are the indicative, the subjunctive, and the imperative. Generally speaking, the indicative verb tenses in Spanish are the first Spanish verb tenses learned, and, in contrast to the Spanish verb tenses in the other moods (subjunctive and imperative), they tend to deal with facts and objective reality. Let's take a look:

 

1. Present (Presente)

Let's start with the present tense in Spanish, also known as the "simple present." This tense is primarily used in two ways, the first being to talk about a present action that is habitual, repeated, or ongoing. Let's take a look:

 

Aunque soy extranjero, yo hablo español muy bien.

Although I'm a foreigner, I speak Spanish very well.

Caption 56, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 4

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Since it is an ongoing fact that the speaker speaks Spanish very well, it is appropriate to use the present tense. We can also use this tense to talk about an action that is actually in progress at the moment:

 

¿Hablo con la Señora Pepa Flores, la manager de Amalia Durango?

Am I speaking with Mrs. Pepa Flores, Amalia Durango's manager?

Captions 37-38, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 5

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***BONUS TENSE: Present Progressive (Presente Continuo)*** 

Notice that the second example of the present tense was translated to the English present progressive tense. This is the tense with a form of the word "to be" and the gerund, or -ing form of a verb ("I'm eating," "He's swimming," etc.). The present progressive tense in Spanish, which is similarly formed with a present conjugation of the verb estar (to be) and a verb's gerundio (gerund, which usually ends in -ando or -iendo in Spanish), is always translated in this fashion and really emphasizes that an action is in progress at this very moment. Let's take a look:

 

OK. Xavi, ahora que estamos hablando de... de comida, de alimentos, quisiera hacerte una pregunta.

OK. Xavi, now that we're talking about... about food, about foods, I'd like to ask you a question.

Captions 23-24, Carlos y Xavi Part 3 Diferencias de vocabulario entre España y Colombia

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For more information about and examples of the present progressive tense in Spanish, check out this lesson as well as this video that contrasts the use of the simple present with the present progressive. Now that we've seen a couple of the present verb tenses in Spanish, let's check out some of the Spanish past tenses. 

 

2. Imperfect (Pretérito imperfecto)

The imperfect is one of the Spanish past tenses and talks about an action that was ongoing or habitual in the past or that was in progress and/or interrupted in the moment described. Translations for the imperfect in Spanish for the verb hablar could thus include "used to talk," "would talk," or "was talking." Let's take a look at couple of examples:

 

Bueno, cuando yo era pequeña hablaba con la ficha de Einstein.

Well, when I was little, I used to talk to the Einstein card.

Caption 36, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 3

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Ya que estás, contanos a los dos... ¿De qué hablaban?

Now that you're here, tell us both... What were you talking about?

Caption 2, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 6

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To learn more about the imperfect tense in Spanish, check out this lesson entitled: The Imperfect Tense in Spanish: The Past That Just Won't Quit

 

***BONUS TENSE: Past Progressive (Pasado continuo)*** 

The past equivalent of the present progressive tense is the past progressive tense, which emphasizes that an action in the past was in progress. As with the present and present progressive tenses, while the imperfect tense in Spanish can sometimes be translated with the past progressive in English ("I was eating," "You were running," etc.), the past progressive tense in Spanish is always translated in this fashion, with "was" or "were" plus a verb's gerund. It is formed in the same way as the present progressive except that the verb estar is conjugated in the imperfect tense:

 

Le hemos despistado. -Porque estaba hablando

We've confused her. -Because she was talking.

Caption 59, Jugando a la Brisca En la calle

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3. Preterite (Pretérito indefinido)

The preterite is another one of the Spanish past tenses. In contrast to the imperfect tense, the preterite tense in Spanish describes past actions that have been completed. It could be compared with verbs ending in -ed in English (e.g. "He fished," "We traveled," etc.). Let's see an example:

 

Pero claro, en Televisión Española me hablaron de Gastón Almanza

But of course, at Spanish Television they talked to me about Gaston Almanza

Caption 13, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 10

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The preterite is also used for past actions that interrupted other actions in progress, which would often be conjugated in the imperfect, as in the following example:

 

Yo hablaba por teléfono cuando mi novio me habló con una voz muy alta. 

I was talking on the phone when my boyfriend talked to me in a very loud voice. 

 

To find out more about the preterite tense, we recommend this lesson from our Yabla lesson archives. 

 

4. Future (Futuro simple)

The future tense in Spanish is pretty straightforward; it talks about something we "will" do in the future. Let's take a look: 

 

Hoy hablaremos de las preposiciones de lugar.

Today, we will talk about prepositions of place.

Caption 9, Ana Carolina Preposiciones de lugar

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Interestingly, sometimes the Spanish future tense is used in situations where English speakers would employ "would" to imply disbelief: 

 

¿Y tú me hablarás de esta manera?

And you'd talk to me like that? 

 

5. Simple Conditional (Condicional simple)

So, what about the Spanish conditional tenses? The simple conditional tense is the typical Spanish equivalent of saying one "would" do something in English, often in a hypothetical situation:

 

Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.

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

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

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This tense is often, but not always, seen in conjunction with the imperfect subjunctive tense (fuera, or "I were" in the example above), which we will cover in part two of this lesson, to specify that if some hypothetical situation "were" in place, something else "would" happen.  

 

6. Present Perfect (Pretérito perfecto)

Although this tense is called the present perfect in English, its Spanish name is préterito perfecto ("preterite perfect" or "past perfect"), and it is the Spanish past tense used to say that one "has done" something within a specific time period, which could be anything from that day to one's life. It is formed with the verb haber, which is translated as "has" or "have" in English, along with the participle form of the verb (which will typically have the suffix -ado or -ido in Spanish and -ed or -en in English). Let's take a look:

 

El día de hoy, hemos hablado de artículos que utilizamos al día a día

Today, we've talked about items we use every day

Caption 41, Ana Carolina Artículos de aseo personal

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Interestingly, in Spain, the present perfect is often used to describe things that happened in the recent past in situations in which English speakers would use the simple past and Latin Americans would more likely use the preterite. This usage can be seen quite clearly throughout this video from El Aula Azul. Let's take a look at an excerpt:

 

Pero cuando ha salido de clase, cuando hemos terminado la clase, ha ido a coger el coche, y resulta que la ventanilla estaba rota.

But when she's left class, when we've finished the class, she's gone to get her car, and it turns out that the window was broken.

Captions 12-14, El Aula Azul Conversación: Un día de mala suerte

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Although the translators at Yabla chose to translate this tense literally in this video to facilitate the learning of the present perfect tense, this sounds quite awkward in English, where a native speaker would probably say: "But when she left class, when we finished the class, she went to get her car, and it turns out that the window was broken."

 

In this video, Carlos provides an even more thorough explanation about when to use this tense as part of a useful four-part series on the different past tenses in Spanish. 

 

7. Pluperfect (Pretérito pluscuamperfecto)

The pluperfect is the past equivalent of the present perfect tense. It is formed with the imperfect conjugation of the verb haber and the participle form of the infinitive. It is often used to describe things we "had" already done when something else occurred.

 

que no era tan escandalosa como... como la gente había hab'... había hablado al principio.

That it wasn't as scandalous as... as the people had sa'... had said in the beginning.

Captions 41-42, Los Juegos Olímpicos Pablo Herrera

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8. Past Anterior (Pretérito anterior)

Also known as the preterite perfect, the past anterior tense is extremely similar to the pluperfect tense but employs the preterite conjugation of the verb haber plus the participle. It is used more commonly in literature and less in everyday speech. While we couldn't find an example of this tense with the verb hablar, we did find one with the verb coger (to grab): 

 

Apenas lo hubo cogido, el niño se despertó.

He'd barely grabbed it, the little boy woke up.

Captions 46-47, Chus recita poemas Antonio Machado

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Just in case you were wondering, an example sentence with the verb hablar might be: Yo ya hube hablado con mi maestra antes del examen (I had already spoken to my teacher before the test), and there would be no difference in translation between this sentence and the same sentence with the verb conjugated in its pluperfect form (Yo ya había hablado con mi maestra antes del examen).

 

9. Future Perfect (Futuro compuesto)

If one said, Yo ya habré hablado con el chico por teléfono antes de conocerlo cara a cara (I will have already spoken to the guy on the phone before meeting him face to face), he or she would be employing the future perfect tense, which includes the future tense conjugation of the verb haber plus the participle. This conveys the English construction "will have." Let's take a look at an example of this tense from the Yabla Spanish library:

 

Ay, ¿por qué se me habrá ocurrido comer bandeja paisa antes de que me encerraran, ah?

Oh, why would it have occurred to me to eat "bandeja paisa" [a Colombian dish] before they locked me up, huh?

Captions 27-28, La Familia Cheveroni Capítulo 1 - Part 3

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In this example, we see that, similarly to the future tense, the future perfect tense can also be used to express disbelief, and it is translated with the English word "would" (rather than "will") in such cases. 

 

10. Conditional Perfect (Condicional compuesto)

The conditional perfect tense in Spanish is the equivalent of saying "would have" in English. It utilizes the conditional form of the verb haber plus the participle to talk about what one "would have" done or what "would have" happened in a hypothetical situation:

 

Seguro que a él sí le habrían aceptado las invitaciones.

Surely they would have accepted his invitations.

Caption 24, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 5

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An example with the verb hablar would be: Si lo pudiera hacer otra vez, habría hablado con el chico que me gustaba (If I could do it again, I'd have spoken to the guy I liked). Yabla's lesson, "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda," expands upon the conditional perfect tense and more.

 

***ADDITIONAL BONUS TENSES: The Progressives*** 

Once you know all Spanish tenses in the indicative mood, you could also conjugate the verb estar in its many tenses to come up with additional progressive tenses, as follows:

 

Preterite Progressive (Pretérito continuo): Yo estuve hablando (I was talking)

Conditional Progressive (Condicional continuo): Yo estaría hablando (I would be talking)

Future Progressive (Futuro continuo): Yo estaré hablando (I will be talking)

 

We could even apply this to the compound tenses we learned:

 

Present Perfect Progressive (Pretérito perfecto continuo): Yo he estado hablando (I have been talking)

Pluperfect Progressive (Pretérito pluscuamperfecto continuo): Yo había estado hablando (I had been talking)

Conditional Perfect Progressive (Condicional compuesto continuo)Yo habría estado hablando (I would have been talking)

Future Perfect Progressive (Futuro compuesto continuo): Yo habré estado hablando (I will have been talking)

 

That was a lot of Spanish verb tenses!!! And that was just the first ten verb tenses in Spanish! Part two of this lesson will deal with the verb tenses in Spanish in the other two "moods," subjunctive and imperative. In the meantime, we hope you enjoyed part one of this lesson on Spanish verb tenses... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

 

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What is the Present Progressive in Spanish?

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

 

The Spanish Present Progressive Tense

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

 

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Simple Present vs. Present Progressive in Spanish

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

 

¿Qué hacés vos acá? -¿Cómo qué hagoCorro

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

Captions 65-66, Cuatro Amigas Piloto - Part 1

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

 

¿Y los sábados y domingos, qué haces

And on Saturdays and Sundays, what do you do?

Caption 19, Español para principiantes Los días de la semana

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

 

Silvia, ¿qué estás haciendo? -Estoy cocinando

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

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

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

 

How to Form the Spanish Present Progressive 

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

 

Yo estoy (I am)

 estás (You are)

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

Nosotros/nosotras estamos (We are)

Vosotros/vosotras estáis (You are [plural])

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

 

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

 

 

Conjugating -ar verbs in the Spanish Present Progressive 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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Eh... estoy buscando a Milagros.

Um... I am looking for Milagros.

Caption 6, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 1

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Estamos caminando aquí en Bleeker Street

We are walking here on Bleeker Street

Caption 72, Eljuri "Fuerte" EPK

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

 

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

 

¿Por qué estás comiendo basura?

Why are you eating garbage?

Caption 9, Kikirikí Agua - Part 4

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Está subiendo, está subiendo la rama.

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

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

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¿Dónde estáis vendiendo aceite?

Where are you selling oil?

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

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Irregular Verbs in the Present Progressive in Spanish

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

 

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

 

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

 

traer: trayendo (to bring/bringing) 

caer: cayendo (to fall/falling)

leer: leyendo (to read/reading)

creer: creyendo (to believe/believing)

construir: construyendo (to build/building)

huir: huyendo (to escape/escaping)

oír: oyendo (to hear/hearing)

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 90, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 5

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

 

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

 

sentir: sintiendo (to feel/feeling)

preferir: prefiriendo (to prefer/preferring) 

mentir: mintiendo (to lie/lying)

vestir: vistiendo (to dress/dressing)

seguir: siguiendo (to follow/following)

conseguir: consiguiendo (to get/getting)

 

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

 

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

 

poder: pudiendo (to be able/being able)

dormir: durmiendo (to sleep/sleeping)

morir: muriendo (to die/dying) 

 

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

 

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

 

reír: riendo (to laugh/laughing)

sonreír: sonriendo (to smile/smiling)

freír: friendo (to fry/frying) 

 

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

 

Irregular Spanish Present Progressive Verbs in Action 

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 25, Amaya Voluntarios

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Esa mujer nos está mintiendo y quiero saber por qué.

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

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

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

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

Caption 63, Yago 3 La foto - Part 5

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Se está riendo de todos nosotros.

He's laughing at all of us.

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

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

 

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The Spanish Verb Quemar: Don't Get Burned!

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

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Quemar vs. Quemarse

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

 

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

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

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

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Mili, quemá esa camisa por favor; que desaparezca;

Mili, burn that shirt please; it should disappear;

Caption 10, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 1

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

 

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

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

Captions 22-23, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 4

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

 

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

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

Captions 40-41, Dany Arepas - Part 2

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

 

Non-Physical Meanings of the Verb Quemar

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Captions 25-26, Alberto Barros Mano a mano

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

 

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

 

También ayuda a quemar grasas

It also helps to burn fat.

Caption 35, Cleer Hobbies

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

 

Alternative Translations for the Verb Quemarse

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

 

Y hace unos veinticinco años se quemó todo este edificio. 

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

Caption 5, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 8

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

 

Se me quemó una lamparita... 

A light bulb burned out on me...

Caption 77, Verano Eterno Fiesta Grande - Part 10

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

 

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

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

Captions 52-54, Club de las ideas La motivación

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

When Quemarse Doesn't Mean "To Burn"

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

 

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

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

Caption 22, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 10

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

 

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

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

Caption 16, Málaga La tradición de los espetos

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

 

Quemarse as an Idiomatic Expression

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

 

Ahí te quemaste, hermano.

 That's where you screwed up, brother.

 

Me quemé en el examen de astronomia. 

I blew it on the astronomy test. 

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 28, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 10

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

 

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

 

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Spanish Reflexive Verbs for Your Daily Routine

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

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Recognizing Spanish Reflexive Verbs 

 

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

 

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

 

Conjugating Spanish Reflexive Verbs: Reflexive Pronouns

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reflexive Verbs in Spanish for Your Daily Routine

 

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

 

1. Despertarse

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 62, Los médicos explican Diagnóstico: nervios y estrés

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2. Levantarse

 

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

 

Se levanta muy temprano. 

She gets up very early.

Caption 51, El Aula Azul Las Profesiones - Part 1

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

 

3. Bañarse

 

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

 

Uno se baña todos los días, mijita.

One bathes every day, my girl.

Caption 41, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 2

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

 

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

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

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

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4. Ducharse

 

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

 

¿Qué está haciendo Silvia? Silvia se está duchando.

What is Silvia doing? Silvia is taking a shower.

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

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

 

5. Lavarse

 

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

 

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

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

Captions 45-48, Lecciones con Carolina Verbos reflexivos

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

 

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

I wash my hands. You wash your hands.

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

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

 

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

 

6. Lavarse/cepillarse los dientes

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 3, El Aula Azul Actividades Diarias

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

 

Se cepilló los dientes,

He brushed his teeth,

Caption 20, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 2

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7. Cepillarse el pelo/cabello

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

8. Peinarse

 

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

 

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

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

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

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9. Afeitarse

 

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

 

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

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

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

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10. Maquillarse

 

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

 

Aquí, siempre me maquillo para mis conciertos.

Here, I always put on makeup for my concerts.

Caption 47, Ariana Mi Casa

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

 

11. Vestirse

 

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

 

Yo salgo y... y te vistes.

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

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

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

 

12. Sacarse la ropa

 

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

 

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

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

Captions 4-5, Bersuit Vergarabat EPK - Part 1

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

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

Caption 6, Reik Inolvidable

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

 

13. Acostarse 

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 31, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 5

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14. Dormirse

 

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

 

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

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

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

 Play Caption

 

More Reflexive Verbs in Spanish 

 

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

 

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

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El Voseo: Not as Intimidating as It Seems

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

 

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

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

Captions 27-29, Yago 9 Recuperación - Part 9

 Play Caption

 

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

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

 

The Good News About Vos

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Conjugating Verbs with Vos in the Present Indicative 

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 50, Yago 2 El puma - Part 3

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Si vos sabés muy bien que yo me sé adaptar.

You know very well that I know how to adapt.

Caption 43, Cuatro Amigas Piloto - Part 2

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 66, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 10

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Irregular Verbs with Vos

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Conjugating Verbs with Vos in the Imperative

 

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

 

Sabés que no tomo whisky. -¡Pero tomá!

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

Caption 22, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 3

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Este... tené un poquito de paciencia.

Umm... have a little bit of patience.

Caption 7, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 9

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Vení, vamos a bailar.

Come, let's go dance.

Caption 33, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 6

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

 

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

 

Olvidate, divertite, hacé algo. -No quiero,

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

Caption 8, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 7

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

La verdad es que pareces cansado.

To be honest, you seem tired.

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

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Las cosas son más fáciles de lo que parecen.

Things are easier than what they seem.

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

En eso me parezco mucho a mi madre. 

I'm a lot like my mother in that way.

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

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¡Nos gustan las mismas cosas! Nos parecemos

We like the same things! We are similar.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

A ti te parece bonita. 

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

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

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

 

Let's conclude with one last example:

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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"Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda" in Spanish

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

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

 

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

 

Yo habría (I would have)

Tú habrías (You would have)

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

Nosotros/Nosotras habríamos (We would have)

Vosotros/Vosotras habríais (You all would have)

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

 

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

 

Infinitive: comenzar   /   Past participle: comenzado

Infinitive: comer        /    Past participle: comido

Infinitive: subir         /     Past participle: subido

 

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

 

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

 

Ya habríais ahorrado... -Dos mil euros. 

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

Caption 72, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 8

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

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

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

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

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

Caption 33, X6 1 - La banda - Part 10

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

 

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

 

Yo podría (I could)

Tú podrías (You could)

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

Nosotros/Nosotras podríamos (We could)

Vosotros/Vosotras podríais (You all could)

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

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 4, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Yo debería (I should)

Tú deberías (You should)

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

Nosotros/Nosotras deberíamos (We should)

Vosotros/Vosotras deberíais (You all should)

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

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 16, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 11

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Digo, debería haber confiado y...

I mean, I should have trusted and...

Caption 46, Club de las ideas Intuición - Part 1

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

 

No deberías haber salido de casa.

You shouldn't have left the house.

Caption 45, Muñeca Brava 46 Recuperación - Part 4

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

 

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

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

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Me gustan mucho las ciudades.

I really like cities.

Caption 58, Carlos y Cyndy Uso del Voseo en Argentina

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

 

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

 

        -(A mí) me gusta/n: I like.

        -(A ti) te gusta/n: You like.

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

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

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

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

 

Let's take a look at some examples:

 

y aquí tengo una blusa que me gusta.

and I have here a blouse that I like.

Caption 6, Ana Carolina Salir de compras

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Muy bien, ¿te gusta esa música?

Great, do you like that music?

Caption 63, Carlos y Cyndy Comentario sobre Muñeca Brava

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A nosotras nos gustan los colores del arcoíris.

We like the colors of the rainbow.

Caption 10, Español para principiantes Los colores

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

 

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

 

aquí tengo una blusa que me gusta

and I have here a blouse that I like.

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

 

Muy bien, ¿te gusta esa música

Great, do you like that music?

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

 

A nosotras nos gustan los colores del arcoíris

We like the colors of the rainbow.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: The colors of the rainbow please us. 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 14, Zoraida Lo que gusta hacer

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

A este chico le gusto mucho.

That guy likes me a lot.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: I please that guy a lot. 

 

A ustedes les gustamos mucho. 

You guys like us a lot.

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION: We please you guys a lot. 

 

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

 

Let's conclude with one final example: 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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The Many Meanings of the Verb Llegar

Since its straightforward translation is "to arrive," you might wonder if the Spanish verb llegar is worth a whole lesson. However, this is language, and we always find new meanings, uses, and/or idiomatic expressions. That said, let's take a few minutes to analyze this verb and see a qué conclusión podemos llegar ("what conclusion we can draw" or "come to").

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Llegar a(l) + Place

When we refer to a place, llegar means "to arrive." 

 

Soñé que llegaba al colegio y estaba sin ropa.

I dreamed that I arrived at school and I was [there] with no clothes.

Caption 27, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 4

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Llegar a Alguien

Llegar can additonally mean to reach someone, either physically or emotionally. If someone shuts you out, no hay forma de llegar a esa persona (there's no way to reach that person). On the other hand, in the example below, the team at Biopark had not been able to physically reach the leopards. 

 

No había forma de... de llegar a ellos.

There wasn't any way to... to get close to them.

Caption 27, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Cachorro de leopardo - Part 1

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Llegar + Point or Amount

Again with this idea of reaching, llegar can also be used with an amount or specific point in space as we see in the following examples: 

 

Supongo que si están un poquito más chaparritos, les ha de llegar al pecho,

I guess if you're a little bit shorter, it should come up to your chest,

Caption 24, Alan x el mundo Mi playa favorita de México! - Part 2

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podremos estar llegando a los ochocientos mil euros aproximadamente.

we could be reaching eight hundred thousand euros approximately.

Caption 32, Los Reporteros Crecen los robos en tiendas - Part 2

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And speaking of money, there is a Spanish idiom that includes this verb: llegar a fin de mes (literally "to make it to the end of the month"), which is the Spanish equivalent of "making ends meet."

 

Llegar + Time References 

Llegar can be used with seasons, months, or times of day as well to indicate their beginning or arrival. In this context, it often translates as "to come": Cuando llega la noche / "When night comes" or "falls."

 

y lo tuvo con ella hasta que llegó la primavera.

and had him with her until spring came.

Caption 41, Cleer El patito feo

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Llegar to Express Achievement 

Another meaning of llegar is "to achieve." It is actually a verb that collocates with éxito (success), so if you become succesful, has llegado al éxito (you've achieved success). 

 

De las etapas por las que pasan los conjuntos en su desarrollo y a lo que pueden llegar.

Of the stages that groups go through in their development and what they can become.

Captions 74-75, Arturo Vega Entrevista - Part 3

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Another possible translation of llegar is "to manage to" since when you llegas a hacer algo, you've succedeed in doing it after some effort.  

 

de lo que yo quería como llegar a expresar, ¿sí?

to what I wanted to, like, manage to express, right?

Caption 13, Bogotá Fotógrafo José Segundo Quinche Pérez

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Llegar Preceded by si (to Introduce a Condition)

Sometimes, when llegar follows si to introduce a condition, it makes that condition a bit more remote since si llego a enterarme de algo is closer to if I happen to/manage to hear anything. 

 

Si llega a saber cualquier cosa que suceda entre Milagros y su hermano, hágamela saber.

If you come to find out anything that happens between Milagros and her brother, let me know about it.

Captions 21-22, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 5

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Si llega a pillarlos, me avisa y consigo la cámara.

If you manage to catch them, let me know and I'll get the camera.

Caption 72, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 4

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As you may notice, many of the meanings of the verb llegar are comparable to those of the English verb "to get" (e.g "to reach," "to arrive," "to manage," etc.).

 

We hope this lesson has been clear, but si llegan a tener dudas (if you happen to have any questions), don't forget to send us your questions, comments, and suggestions¡Hasta la próxima!

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All About the Verb Llevar and Its Many Uses

¿Cómo te llevas con el español? (How do you get along in Spanish?) Wait— didn't llevar mean "to take"? Well, yes... you're right! The verb llevar often translates as "to take," and not just in phrases like "take your umbrella" or "take your children to school," but also in collocations like "to take time." And these are just a few of the uses of the verb llevar that we'll examine in this lesson. Actually, llevaría más de una lección (it would take more than one lesson) to cover all of its uses. But let's try and do our best here!

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Llevar Meaning "To Take" Something or Someone Somewhere

 

We can llevar something from one place to another and also accompany or guide someone somewhere, as in the following examples:

 

Tengo la posibilidad de llevar todos los días al colegio a mi hijo.

I have the chance to take my son to school every day.

Caption 53, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 18

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Le voy a llevar de compras.

I'm going to take him shopping.

Caption 7, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2 - Sam va de compras - Part 4

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It is no wonder, then, that the term for "takeout food" (comida para llevar) in Spanish can be literally translated as "food for taking":

 

Aquí había unas comidas para llevar. 

There were some takeout places here.

Caption 8, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 10

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Note that while the speaker uses the term for "takeout food" to refer to the location, it is more common to say casa de comidas para llevar to refer to a takeout restaurant. By the way, in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, these places are also called rotisería.

 

Llevar to Introduce Cause 

 

When this idea of direction goes beyond space to express cause, llevar means something closer to the verbs "to lead" or "to drive" in English, as in the following example:

 

una cosa llevó a la otra, ¿no?

one thing led to another, right?

Caption 13, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 8

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A person might llevarte a la desesperación, a la ruina o a la locura ("lead" or "drive you to despair, bankrutpcy, or madness"), or maybe you are lucky and end up being very successful, like in this Yabla video:

 

Muchas veces, incluso nos puede llevar al éxito profesional.

Many times, it can even lead us to professional success.

Caption 13, Club de las ideas Intuición - Part 1

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Llevar Used with Time

 

Llevar also resembles "to take" when used with time, work, or effort to express that it is necessary to invest such time or effort in something. For instance, in one of our videos, María Sol explains that learning Spanish is a long process by saying that:

 

de que puede llevar mucho tiempo,

that it can take a long time,

Caption 29, GoSpanish Entrevista con María Sol

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Yet, it can also be used to refer to the time that has gone by since the inception of something:

 

¿Cuánto tiempo llevas en Marbella? -En Marbella, cuarenta y un años.

How long have you been in Marbella? -In Marbella, forty-one years.

Caption 10, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 11

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Llevamos más de dos semanas sin agua

We've been without water for more than two weeks

Caption 24, Kikirikí Agua - Part 1

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Llevar Meaning "to Wear"

 

We also use llevar to refer to the clothing or glasses we "wear," or the way we have our hair, in sentences such as Llevaba lentes (He/She was wearing glasses) or María llevaba el cabello largo (María had long hair).

 

y me gusta llevar faldas normalmente,

and I like to wear skirts usually,

Caption 6, El Aula Azul Actividades Diarias

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Llevar a Cabo

 

Another instance in which llevar can be translated as "to take" is when we use the expression llevar a cabo (to take place), which might also mean "to carry out" or "conduct" depending on the case/collocation.

 

Aquí se va a llevar a cabo el Campeonato WK.

Here, the WK Championship is going to take place.

Caption 3, Adícora, Venezuela Víctor

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Dejarse Llevar

 

We'll often hear people inviting us to let go, relax, and enjoy the feeling of dejarse llevar (letting oneself go), another expression which incorporates this verb:

 

Hay que estar relajado y dejarse llevar, ¿no?

You should be relaxed and let yourself go, right?

Caption 12, Club de las ideas Intuición - Part 1

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Llevarse Bien/Mal 

 

Finally, we'll can state that nos llevamos bien/mal with a person or people to describe how well or poorly we "get along with" others.

 

Que la puedes llevar a una... a un sitio, y sabes que se va a llevar bien con todo el mundo...

That you can take her to a... to a place, and you know she'll get along with everyone...

Caption 61, Biografía Enrique Iglesias

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As you can tell, there are so many uses of llevar that se hace difícil llevar la cuenta (it's hard to keep track) of all of them. We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions¡Hasta la próxima!

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Describing People in Spanish with the Verb Ser

In this lesson, we will learn how to describe people in Spanish using the verb ser (to be). In particular, we'll focus on five different uses of the verb ser that you can use to identify and describe people. Let's take a look.

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To identify someone

 

Eh... Luis, ella es mi mamá, mamá, él es Luis. Y ella es mi abuela Carmen.

Um... Luis, this is my mom, Mom, this is Luis. And this is my Grandma Carmen.

Captions 18-19, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 4

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It's worth mentioning that the example above shows a very common way to introduce people in Spanish.

 

To indicate the gender of a person

 

es un hombre que se dedica a lo que yo hago.

he's a man who devotes himself to what I do.

Caption 61, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 4 - Part 9

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To state someone's nationality

 

Paul es estadounidense, de los Estados Unidos.

Paul is American, from the United States.

Caption 16, Carlos explica Geografía y gentilicios

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To indicate somebody's job

 

Mi padre es arquitecto

My father is an architect

Caption 25, Leif El Arquitecto Español y su Arte - Part 1

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To talk about physical traits

In particular, when we refer to essential traits, such as height, weight, and physical appearance.

 

Es bajo, es gordo,

He's short, he's fat,

Caption 33, El Aula Azul Mis Primos

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Alguien que es delgado tiene poco peso

Someone who is skinny doesn't weigh much

Captions 32-33, Lecciones con Carolina Adjetivos - Descripción de personas - Físico

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Carolina tiene treinta y cinco años pero parece que tiene veinte. Es muy guapa.

Carolina is thirty-five years old but she looks like she is twenty. She's very pretty.

Captions 2-4, El Aula Azul Mis Primos

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To describe someone's personality

 

Ellos son muy majos. Mi prima Marta es muy simpática.

They are very nice. My cousin Marta is very nice.

Caption 8, El Aula Azul Mi familia

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Ricardo es muy... es muy tranquilo, ¿viste?

Ricardo is very... he's very calm, you know?

Caption 84, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 10

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Porque mi mamá es una persona muy difícil. -Eso a mí no me importa.

Because my mom is a very difficult person. -That doesn't matter to me.

Caption 20, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 4

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That's it for today. Can you describe someone you know using the verb ser? We invite you to try it out and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

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Dónde Está or Dónde Es?

If you have been studying Spanish, you probably know that the Spanish verbs, ser and estar, have a common translation in English: '"to be." With that in mind, let's start this lesson with a practical example. Your Spanish friend has just invited you to her wedding (boda) in Madrid, and you want to ask her (in Spanish, of course!) the following simple question: "Where is the wedding?" Which verb would you choose, ser or estar? Would you ask, Dónde está or Dónde es la boda? Let's find out.

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What Does Dónde Está Mean?

Are you wondering about the meaning of dónde está in English? Generally speaking, we use the verb estar when we want to talk about the position or location of someone or something. Considering that dónde means "where," we use dónde está when we want to know where someone or something is located. Let's look at a couple of examples so that you can better understand the use of the verb estar when talking about position or location:

 

¿Sabes dónde está la biblioteca?

Do you know where the library is?

Caption 20, Español para principiantes Hablando de ubicaciones

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El pulverizador, ss... ss... está en el baño.

The spray, ss... ss... is in the bathroom.

Caption 63, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 3 - Sam aprende a ligar - Part 2

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Se llama Frigiliana, y está en la provincia de Málaga.

It's called Frigiliana, and it's in the province of Malaga.

Caption 6, Viajando con Fermín Frigiliana, Málaga

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According to the above logic, we could solve the question we posed at the beginning of this lesson by saying, ¿Dónde está la boda?, right? Well, not so fast!

 

"Dónde Es" vs. "Dónde Está"

When using dónde (where) for asking about the location of something, there is one case in which you should use the verb ser rather than estar: when asking about the location of an event. For that reason, the correct manner of asking the aforementioned question would be, ¿Dónde es la boda? Let's look at additional examples where the verb ser would be necessary:

 

¿Dónde es el funeral?

Where's the funeral?

Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 6

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¿Dónde es la fiesta?

Where is the party?

Caption 11, Raquel Expresiones para un festival de música.

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There are, however, some cases in which you can use either verb, depending upon what you wish to express. For example, if you want to ask someone about the executive breakfast your company is organizing, you would say, ¿Dónde es el desayuno? In this case, you use the verb ser because you are talking about an event. However, if you are referring to the breakfast as the food you are going to eat, you would say, ¿Dónde está el desayuno? In this case, you use the verb estar because you are asking about the location of something that is not an event. Let's take a look:

 

EVENT 

-¿Dónde es el desayuno? -El desayuno es en el hotel.

-Where is the breakfast? -The breakfast is at the hotel.

 

FOOD

-¿Dónde está el desayuno? -El desayuno está en la nevera. 

-Where's breakfast? -Breakfast is in the fridge.

 

Finally, a good rule of thumb to decide when it would be necessary to use ¿Dónde es...? rather than ¿Dónde está? is to ask oneself whether the verb could be subsituted with tiene lugar (takes place), in which case the verb, ser, should be utilized. For example: Since ¿Dónde tiene lugar la fiesta? (Where is the party taking place) makes perfect sense, ¿Dónde es la fiesta? would be the correct manner of asking where the party is.

 

That's all for today. We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

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Making a Phone Call in Spanish: 5 Essential Verbs

Do you ever feel like practicing your Spanish over the phone? In this lesson, we would like to share with you the most important verbs you need to know when making or talking about a phone call. Also, we will show you the words you can use if you are wondering how to answer the phone in Spanish.

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1. Llamar (to call)

This is probably the most important verb when you want to indicate that you are making a call. Let's see some useful sentences.

 

When you are about to call someone:

Un momento, voy a llamar por teléfono.

One moment, I'm going to call [them].

Caption 6, Ariana Cita médica

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When you want to say that you called someone:

Cuando llamé por teléfono, era para hablar con Lucio.

When I called on the phone, it was to talk to Lucio.

Caption 23, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 5

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When you want to indicate that someone called someone:

La primera vez que tu papá me llamó, no fue a la casa.

The first time your dad called me, it was not to the house.

Caption 42, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 5 - Part 5

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2. Responder (to answer)

Of course, when you call someone, you expect an answer. Let's see this verb in action.

 

Disculpa, estaba en una reunión y no pude responder tu llamada.

Sorry, I was in a meeting and I couldn't answer your call.

 

You can also use the verb contestar (to answer) in this situation:

Que pena, discúlpame. Tengo que contestar esta llamada.

I'm sorry, excuse me. I have to answer this call.

Captions 8-9, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 1

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The example above also provides us with another very useful noun: llamada (a call).

 

By the way, do you know how to answer the phone in Spanish? In English, we say 'hello' but what's about in Spanish? There are several options:

 

Bueno

Literally, bueno means 'fine' or 'well'. However, in this context, you can take bueno as a simple 'hello'. This way of answering the phone is very common in Mexico.

 

Hola

This is the Spanish equivalent of 'hello'.

 

¿Sí?

Literally, this means 'yes'. It is also a very normal way of answering the phone in Spanish. 

 

Diga or dígame

The translation of this is 'tell me'. A very common way of answering the phone in Spain.

 

Aló

This way of answering the phone is very popular in Colombia. It works as a simple 'hello'.

 

Buenos días, buenas tardes or buenas noches

Some people prefer to answer the phone according to the time of the day so you can say buenos días (good morning), buenas tardes (good afternoon) or buenas noches (good night).

 

3. Colgar (to hang up)

This is the verb you use when you need to get off the phone.

 

When you want to tell someone that you need to go:

Oye, tengo que colgar porque vamos a comer.

Listen, I have to hang up because we're going to eat.

Captions 56-57, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 4

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When you want to say that someone hung up on you or someone else:

Una mina llamó por teléfono a tu celular. Elena atendió, ella preguntó por vos y entonces Elena le dijo, "¿Quién habla?" Y la mina colgó.

A girl called your cell phone. Elena answered, she asked for you and then Elena said to her, "Who is it?" And the girl hung up.

Captions 43-45, Yago 11 Prisión - Part 5

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From the example above, you can also see that the verb atender (to respond) is another verb you can use instead of responder (to answer). Also, keep in mind that when talking about a smartphone you use the word celular throughout Latin America and the word móvil in Spain. If you prefer, you can also use the word teléfono (telephone).

 

4. Hablar (to talk)

Of course, you talk over the phone so if you want to express that action, you can say it like our friend Silvia from El Aula Azul:

Estoy hablando por teléfono. Yo hablo por teléfono.

I'm talking on the telephone. I talk on the telephone.

Captions 49-50, El Aula Azul Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

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5. Escuchar (to hear, to listen)

A phone call is about listening to someone else so this is a very important verb especially when you want to make sure the other person is able to listen to you.

 

Me puedes escuchar?

Can you hear me?

 

You can also use the verb oir (to hear) in this context:

¿Qué tal? -Muy bien. Y ahora que te oigo, de maravilla.

How are you? -Very well. And now that I hear you, wonderful.

Captions 33-35, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 13

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And that's it for today. Are you ready to make a phone call in Spanish? We hope so. And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

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Yabla's Top 12 Spanish Verbs for Carrying on a Conversation

Today's lesson will examine Yabla's "Top 12" picks for the most useful verbs for having a conversation in Spanish. This time, we'll focus on the meanings of those verbs as well as giving you a lot of simple, conversational examples from Yabla's Spanish video library. Additionally, we'll provide you with conjugation tables for the "Top 3" most useful Spanish tenses: the simple present, the imperfect (which describes ongoing or continuous past actions), and the preterite (which describes completed past actions).

 

In addition to the aforementioned links, you can consult this lesson entitled Spanish Verb Tenses Explained if you need to brush up on those tenses and more! Although memorizing all of these conjugations might seem a bit intimidating, it could really help your ability to converse in Spanish.

 

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1. Ser (to be) 

The fact that there are two verbs that mean "to be" in Spanish, ser and estar, can feel quite confusing for non-native speakers. Generally speaking, the verb ser is employed to describe more permanent characteristics. The acronym DOCTOR (description, occupation, condition, time, origin, relationship) is very useful for helping us to remember some of the many situations in which this verb is used. Let's take a look at how this verb is conjugated as well as some examples: 

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  soy era fui
Tú  eres eras fuiste
Él, ella, usted es era fue
Nosotros, nosotras somos éramos fuimos
Vosotros, vosotras sois erais fuisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes son eran fueron

 

Soy profesor de fotografía.

I'm a photography teacher.

Caption 13, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 5

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Sus cuadros eran muy extraños.

His paintings were very strange.

Caption 25, El Aula Azul Adivina personajes históricos - Part 1

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también fuimos parte de todas estas, eh... mega empresas, pero...

we were also part of all these, um... mega companies, but...

Caption 22, Doctor Krápula Entrevista

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Notably, although ser usually denotes permanence, while the preterite tense denotes that something had a definite ending point, the verb ser is used in the preterite to describe something that "was" in the past, but did come to a conclusive end. 

 

 

2. Estar (to be)

The verb estar also means "to be" for traits that are variable/less permanent. The acronym PLACE (position, location, action, condition, emotion) might help you to remember some contexts in which the verb estar should be chosen. Let's take a look: 

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  estoy estaba estuve
Tú  estás estabas estuviste
Él, ella, usted está estaba estuvo
Nosotros, nosotras estamos estábamos estuvimos
Vosotros, vosotras estáis estabais estuvisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes están estaban estuverion

 

Sí... Vale, entonces, estamos aquí.

Yes... OK, then, we're here.

Caption 6, Curso de español Disculpe, ¿hay un cine por aquí?

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

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

Caption 70, Cleer Entrevista a Lila

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Los árabes estuvieron en España más de seiscientos años

The Arabs were in Spain for more than six hundred years

Caption 23, Rosa Antequera, Málaga - Part 2

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Be sure to check out this lesson if you want to learn more about the difference between ser and estar

 

 

3. Tener (to have)

The verb tener means "to have" in Spanish. Let's take a closer look: 

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  tengo tenía tuve
Tú  tienes tenías tuviste
Él, ella, usted tiene tenía tuvo
Nosotros, nosotras tenemos teníamos tuvimos
Vosotros, vosotras tenéis teníais tuvisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes tienen tenían tuvieron

 

¿Tienes plumones y tijeras? Sí, tengo plumones y tijeras, pero no tengo mi teléfono.

You have markers and scissors? Yes, I have markers and scissors, but I don't have my phone.

Captions 20-22, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 1: No tengo mi teléfono.

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Tenían mi mochila en la Oficina de Objetos Perdidos.

They had my backpack in the Lost and Found.

Caption 44, Raquel Oficina de objetos perdidos

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La noche anterior a la rumba, tuve otro sueño.

The night before going out on the town, I had another dream.

Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 5

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Additionally, we invite you to explore some of the many idiomatic expressions with the verb tener

 

And, we'll just take a second to mention that if you throw in the word que after the verb tener plus a verb's infinitive ("to" form), you'll have the very useful Spanish construction tener que that means, "to have to" (do something):

 

Hoy tengo que trabajar.

Today I have to work.

Caption 74, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 14

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tuvimos que trasladarnos a esta nueva ciudad.

we had to move to this new city.

Caption 39, Ciudad de Panamá Denisse introduce la ciudad

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4. Hacer (to make/to do)

The Spanish verb hacer can mean either "to make" or "to do." But, not to fear— typically, the context will let you know quite clearly which meaning is intended.

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  hago hacía hice
Tú  haces hacías hiciste
Él, ella, usted hace hacía hizo
Nosotros, nosotras hacemos hacíamos hicimos
Vosotros, vosotras hacéis hacíais hicisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes hacen hacían hicieron

 

Y ¿tú qué haces?

And what are you doing?

Caption 24, Guillermina y Candelario Un pez mágico - Part 1

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Y yo no hacía esto. Yo hago otro acto, que es con las motos.

And I didn't do this. I do another act, which is with motorcycles.

Caption 35, Rueda de la muerte Parte 1

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También hizo alguna película.

He also made a movie.

Caption 28, El Aula Azul Adivina personajes históricos - Part 1

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5. Ir (to go)

The Spanish verb ir means "to go." Let's check out some of its conjugations and uses:

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  voy iba fui
Tú  vas ibas fuiste
Él, ella, usted va iba fue
Nosotros, nosotras vamos íbamos fuimos
Vosotros, vosotras vais ibais fuisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes van iban fueron

 

Voy a la piscina los lunes y los miércoles.

I go to the pool on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Caption 7, Ariana Mi Semana

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iba mucho con mi padre al campo.

I used to go with my father to the countryside a lot.

Caption 56, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 10

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¿Por qué fuiste al cine?

Why did you go to the movies?

Caption 48, Carlos explica Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para' - Part 1

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You might have noticed that the preterite form of the verb ir is conjugated in the exact same way as the verb ser. However, in most cases, context should help you to easily identify which verb is in use. 

 

Another great "trick" to be aware of is that adding an a plus a verb's infinitive to the verb ir is a very simple way of expressing what we are "going to" do and is, thus, an alternative to the future tense. Let's take a look: 

 

Vamos a hablar de mi familia, ¿sí?

We are going to talk about my family, OK?

Caption 2, Curso de español Vamos a hablar de la familia

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porque las chicas iban a salir, para no dejarte sola.

because the girls were going to go out, so you wouldn't be alone.

Caption 11, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 2

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6. Venir (to come)

If we're going to talk about ir (to go), we'd better mention venir (to come)! Let's look:

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  vengo venía vine
Tú  vienes venías viniste
Él, ella, usted viene venía vino
Nosotros, nosotras venimos veníamos vinimos
Vosotros, vosotras venís veníais vinisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes vienen venían vinieron

 

 

yo vengo del sur de España

I come from the South of Spain

Caption 10, Carolina Acentos

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¿Qué venía después?

What came next?

Caption 23, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 6

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Los otros cisnes vinieron hacia él

The other swans came toward him

Caption 50, Cleer El patito feo

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7. Decir (to say)

The Spanish verb decir means "to say" or "to tell."

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  digo decía dije
Tú  dices decías dijiste
Él, ella, usted dice decía dijo
Nosotros, nosotras decimos decíamos dijimos
Vosotros, vosotras decís decíais dijisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes dicen decían dijeron

 

Yo digo que Playa Balandra es el paraíso oficial;

I say that Balandra Beach is the official paradise;

Caption 67, Alan x el mundo Mi playa favorita de México! - Part 1

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pero siempre me decía: ¡Mira! Mira eso allá,

but he always used to tell me: Look! Look at that over there,

Caption 42, Federico Kauffman Doig Arqueólogo - Part 1

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y la señorita me dijo algo completamente diferente.

and the lady told me something totally different.

Caption 45, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 8

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Since we often say or tell things "to" others, you will notice that the verb decir is quite typically accompanied by indirect object pronouns like me (to me), te (to you), etc. to indicate the person to whom something is said or told. You can learn more about this and other aspects of this verb in our lesson entitled The Spanish Verb Decir.

 

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8. Poder (to be able)

The verb poder means "to be able." It can be used alone to say simply "I can," "you could," etc. but is often used in conjunction with an infinitive verb to express what it is one "is able" to do. Let see it in action:

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  puedo podía pude
Tú  puedes podías pudiste
Él, ella, usted puede podía pudo
Nosotros, nosotras podemos podíamos pudimos
Vosotros, vosotras podéis podíais pudisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes pueden podían pudieron

 

¿Puedo ver el menú por favor?

Can I see the menu please?

Caption 12, Cata y Cleer En el restaurante

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¿Por qué las cosas no podían ser sencillas?

Why couldn't things be easy?

Caption 31, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 5

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Gracias a su cola, pudieron volar.

Thanks to its tail, you were able to fly.

Caption 49, Guillermina y Candelario Una aventura extrema - Part 2

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To learn more about the verb poder and how it is used, we recommend the following lesson: The Verb Poder— Common Expressions.

 

 

9. Saber (to know)

This word means "to know," but, in its preterite form, can mean "to find out." 

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  sabía supe
Tú  sabes sabías supiste
Él, ella, usted sabe sabía supo
Nosotros, nosotras sabemos sabíamos supimos
Vosotros, vosotras sabéis sabíais supisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes saben sabían supieron

 

pero no sé dónde!

but I don't know where!

Caption 28, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 3

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No sabía qué decirle.

I didn't know what to say to her.

Caption 12, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 9

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Nunca supe la verdad

I never found out the truth

Caption 2, Aleks Syntek Intocable

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10.  Querer (to want)

If we're going to converse in Spanish, we had better be able to say what we "want"! The verb querer can stand alone to express our desire for a particular thing or be used with an infinitive verb to say what we "want to do." Let's take a look:

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  quiero quería quise
Tú  quieres querías quisiste
Él, ella, usted quiere quería quiso
Nosotros, nosotras queremos queríamos quisimos
Vosotros, vosotras queréis queríais quisisteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes quieren querían quisieron

 

porque realmente quiero mi propio baño.

because I really want my own bathroom.

Caption 37, Cleer y Lida Reservando una habitación

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y algunos querían volver a su casa.

and some wanted to go back to their home.

Caption 13, Guillermina y Candelario El mundo de los juguetes perdidos - Part 2

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No me quiso decir su nombre.

She wouldn't tell me her name.

Caption 8, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 11

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Keep in mind that when the verb querer is used with no in the preterite, it can convey the idea that someone "wouldn't" do something or "refused to." 

 

One more important aspect of the Spanish verb querer is that, when speaking about actions that we "want" others to do or that we "want" to happen, the subjunctive form of the verb that follows is required (vuelvas instead of vuelves in the following example):

 

Quiero que... que vuelvas a New York.

I want for... for you to come back to New York.

Caption 23, Yago 11 Prisión - Part 2

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11. Dar (to give)

The Spanish verb dar means "to give." Let's look at some of its forms and examples:

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  doy daba di
Tú  das dabas diste
Él, ella, usted da daba dio
Nosotros, nosotras damos dábamos dimos
Vosotros, vosotras dais dabais disteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes dan daban dieron

 

Yo doy agua a mi gato.

I give water to my cat.

Caption 14, Lecciones con Carolina Verbo - dar

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Adriana Espinel siempre daba unas respuestas tan profundas

Adriana Espinel always gave such deep answers

Caption 72, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 1

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Eh... Mi asistente me dio sus datos.

Um... My assistant gave me your information.

Caption 39, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 8

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Like the verb decir, the verb dar is often accompanied by indirect object pronouns to highlight the person to whom something is given. 

 

 

12. Ver (to see)

And, to conclude our list of the Top 12 Spanish verbs for carrying on a conversation, we thought it would be a good idea to give you a verb to describe the things you observe! 

 

Personal Pronoun Present Imperfect Preterite
Yo  veo veía vi
Tú  ves veías viste
Él, ella, usted ve veía vio
Nosotros, nosotras vemos veíamos vimos
Vosotros, vosotras veis veíais visteis
Ellos, ellas, ustedes ven veían vieron

 

Eh... ¿Cómo veo la vida?

Um... How do I see life?

Caption 79, Adícora, Venezuela El tatuaje de Rosana

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¡Pero veíamos serpientes por todos lados!

But we saw snakes everywhere!

Caption 41, Guillermina y Candelario La Isla de las Serpientes - Part 1

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Vimos una película.

We saw a movie.

Caption 14, Zulbani Trip to Merida

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Although it was certainly tough to narrow down the top 12 useful verbs in Spanish for carrying on a conversation, we hope you've enjoyed this lesson and that it helps you to hold a lot of stimulating conversations! Let us know with your suggestions and comments if there are any other verbs or topics you'd like to learn more about. 

 

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Gusta vs Gustan: How to Use Gustar in Singular and Plural

Are you familiar with the Spanish verb gustar (to like)? Have you ever been in a situation where you didn't know whether to use gusta or gustan when talking about something you like? If using gusta vs gustan is tricky for you, here are some simple rules to help you understand the difference between gusta and gustan.

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The easy conjugation of gustar

Let's start with some good news. When you want to say that you like someone or something, the only thing you need to know is how to conjugate the verb gustar in the third person either in its singular (gusta) or plural (gustan) form. Let's take a look at a couple of simple sentences with gustar:

 

A mí me gusta el acento de las colombianas.

I like the Colombian women's accent.

Caption 50, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 6

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Sí, a mí me gustan las plantas y las flores y los árboles.

Yes, I like the plants and the flowers and the trees.

Captions 12-13, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

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That's it. You don't need anything else. Now, let's see when to use gusta or gustan.

 

When to use gusta or gustan?

The following simple rules will help you to master the gustan vs gusta battle.

 

Using gusta

 

Use the third person singular gusta for the following cases:

 

1. When the verb gustar is followed by a singular noun.

Me gusta la camisa.

I like the shirt.

Caption 4, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2 - Sam va de compras - Part 6

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Keep in mind that most of the time, you will need to place a definite article before the noun.

 

2. When the verb gustar is followed by a verb in the infinitive.

y me gusta llevar faldas normalmente, sobre todo en... en invierno.

and I like to wear skirts usually, especially in... in winter.

Captions 6-7, El Aula Azul Actividades Diarias

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3. When the verb gustar is followed by several infinitive verbs.

A Pedro le gusta leer, tocar guitarra y hacer ejercicio.

Pedro likes to read, play guitar and exercise.

 

Using gustan

 

Use the third person plural gustan for the following cases:

 

1. When the verb gustar is followed by a plural noun.

A Lola le gustan los hombres fuertes

Lola likes strong men

Caption 14, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam - Part 5

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2. When the verb gustar is followed by multiple, independent nouns.

Me gustan el diseño, la decoración y la arquitectura de esa casa.

I like the design, decoration, and architecture of that house.

 

Gusta vs gustan with questions and negative sentences

When asking questions or stating negative sentences, you need to stick to the same rules we mentioned before. Let's look at a couple of examples:

 

¿Te gusta la ciencia?

Do you like science?

Caption 42, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 2 - Part 5

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A mí no me gusta tu camiseta.

I don't like your shirt.

Caption 12, Español para principiantes Los colores

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¿No te gustan las velas?

You don't like candles?

Caption 38, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 11

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That's it for today. But before we leave you, we invite you to answer this very simple question so you can practice a little bit the difference between gusta and gustan: ¿Qué te gusta hacer en tu tiempo libre? And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

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Habemos: A Valid Conjugation of "Haber"?

Haber is definitely on the list of tricky Spanish verbs. In fact, even native Spanish speakers sometimes struggle with this verb, which can be used in different ways and forms to mean different things. Even though haber is most often used as the auxiliary verb, "to have," in the imperfect tenses (e.g. Yo he comido, or "I have eaten"), it is also used in cases in which we say "there is" or "there are" in English and in other cases, can mean "to be" or "to exist." 

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Let's look at an example:

 

Hay muchos problemas,

There are a lot of problems,

Caption 6, Adícora - Venezuela El tatuaje de Rosana

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Along these lines, some speakers use habemos to make a reference to a group of people. In this case, you can think of habemos as something along the lines of "we are," "we have," "there are those of us who," etc. Let's take a look at the following sentence:

 

Entonces, que todavía no lo hay pero entonceshabemos gente que queremos hacerlo y... y, eh...

So, it doesn't exist yet, but then, there are those of us who want to do it, and... and, um...

Captions 90-91, Playa Adícora Chober - Part 2

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But, is it correct to use habemos in this manner? Let's find out.

 

The Simple Present Conjugation of the Verb Haber

As we noted in the example above, habemos seems to correspond to the first person plural in the simple present tense. But is that accurate? Let's take a look at how we conjugate haber in the simple present:

 

Yo he (I have)

has (you have)

Él/Ella ha (he/she has)

Usted ha (you have)

Nosotros hemos (we have)

Vosotros habéis (you have)

Ellos/Ustedes han (they/you have)

As you can see, hemos appears, but not habemos. So, is habemos a sort of special, alternative manner of conjugating haber?

 

So, What About Habemos

Long story short: No, we can't use habemos in this context. It's incorrect! Let's look at an example:

 

WRONG: Habemos pocos ingenieros en la empresa.

RIGHT: Somos pocos ingenieros en la compañía (There are just a few of us engineers at the company).

 

So, why do some people use habemos in error? The most likely reason is because habemos is the archaic conjugation of haber in the first person plural, which as we mentioned above, is now hemos. However, it shouldn't be used to mean "we are," "we have," "there are," etc. Let's take a look at this mistake in action in the following clips:

 

aunque indiscutiblemente habemos [sic] más cubanos que nada.

although undeniably, we have more Cubans than anything.

Caption 47, La Calle 8 Un recorrido fascinante

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Y donde no solo habemos [sic] cinco familias, sino hay...

And where there are not only five families, but rather there are...

Caption 25, Instinto de conservación Parque Tayrona - Part 5

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And of course, we can also see in action the first example mentioned in this lesson:

Entonces, que todavía no lo hay pero entonceshabemos [sic] gente que queremos hacerlo y... y, eh...

So, it doesn't exist yet, but then, there are those of us who want to do it, and... and, um...

Captions 90-91, Playa Adícora Chober - Part 2

Play Caption

 

That's all for today. We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

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Ser and Estar: An Easy Trick for Using These Verbs

Do you know how to say the verb "to be" in Spanish? The answer to that question has two options: ser and estar. In fact, mastering the verbs ser and estar is one of the first challenges you need to tackle when learning Spanish. In order to help you out with this challenge, we're going to share a very simple trick with you. Hopefully, it will help you remember when to use ser and estar.  

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Two words for learning the difference between ser and estar

The trick is very simple. All you need to remember are these two words: DOCTOR and PLACE. Use the former for the verb ser and the latter for the verb estar.

 

DOCTOR for ser

 

The word DOCTOR stands for the following: 

 

Description

Occupation

Characteristic

Time

Origin

Relationship.

 

Let's see some examples using the third person singular of ser in the present tense:

 

Description

"El coronavirus es un virus contagioso".

"The coronavirus is a contagious virus."

Caption 27, El Coronavirus Introducción y vocabulario

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Occupation

Tu papá es jefe de cartera, mi amor.

Your dad is a portfolio manager, my love.

Caption 52, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 3

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Characteristic

Él es un chico... Es muy simpático,

He's a guy... He's very nice,

Caption 52, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 1

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Time

Diremos, "¿Qué hora es?"

We'll say, "What time is it?"

Caption 49, Español para principiantes La hora

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Origin

Mi... mi madre es libanesa, mi padre de España

My... my mother is Lebanese, my father [is] from Spain

Caption 67, Eljuri Hablamos Con La Artista Sobre Su Nuevo Álbum

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Relationship

Esa es mi tía Silvia.

That is my Aunt Silvia.

Caption 24, Español para principiantes Demostrativos

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PLACE for estar

 

The word PLACE stands for the following:

 

Position

Location

Action

Condition

Emotion

 

Let's see some examples using the first person singular of estar in the present tense:

 

Position

Ahora, estoy en el centro.

Now, I'm in the center.

Caption 25, Raquel Las direcciones

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Location

Ahora estoy en el Monumento Natural Dunas de Artola, en la Playa de Cabopino,

Now I'm at the Dunas of Artola [Artola Dunes] Natural Monument, on Cabopino Beach,

Captions 31-32, Viajando con Fermín Dunas de Marbella

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Action

Silvia, ¿qué estás haciendo? Estoy bebiendo un vaso de agua.

Silvia, what are you doing? I'm drinking a glass of water.

Captions 25-26, El Aula Azul Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

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Condition

Ay... ¿Y puedes llamar a mi trabajo y decir que estoy enferma?

Oh... And can you call my work and say I'm sick?

Caption 4, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2 - Sam va de compras - Part 7

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Emotion

Estoy triste. Estoy triste.

I am sad. I am sad.

Captions 9-10, El Aula Azul Estados de ánimo

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Finally, we want to leave you with a little rhyme that will help you to choose the appropriate verb between ser and estar. This little rhyme, which is quite handy for the verb estar, goes like this:

 

For how you feel and where you are,

always use the verb ESTAR. 

 

In other words, keep in mind that when talking about emotions and location you should always use the verb estar.

 

That's it for today. We hope this little trick helps you to understand the difference between ser and estar, a little bit better. And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions

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