Spanish Lessons


"Hasta que" vs. "Hasta que no"? What's the Difference?!

The Spanish adverbial phrases  hasta que and hasta que no are both useful to describe situations in which one action depends upon another, in other words, what will or won't be done or happen "until" something else happens. However, because the literal translations for phrases involving the latter construction don't make sense in English, the hasta que no construction can be confusing for English speakers. We hope this lesson will clarify this confusion.


Hasta que 

The adverbial phrase hasta que means "until" and can be used with many different verb tenses. However, in the sentences we will be talking about today, the verb that follows hasta que refers to something that might happen in the future but has not yet happened and must thus be conjugated in a subjunctive tense. Let's take a look at several examples in the present subjunctive


y lo dejaremos ahí hasta que hierva.

and we'll leave it there until it boils.

Caption 19, Ana Carolina Ponche navideño

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y el jarabe se lo toma tres veces al día hasta que lo termine.

and you take the syrup three times a day until you finish it.

Caption 28, Cita médica La cita médica de Cleer - Part 2

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Note that these first two examples talk about what someone is going to do until something else happens. Now let's look at some examples of things one won't do until something else happens:


De momento no las saco fuera y las dejo que estén tranquilas, hasta que se sientan seguras 

For now, I don't take them out, and I leave them alone until they feel safe

Captions 9-10, Amaya Mis burras Lola y Canija

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¿Ya? Y no voy a descansar hasta que atrape a esa rata.

OK? And I'm not going to rest until I catch that rat.

Caption 30, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 10

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Hasta que no

Hasta que no functions in almost the exact same way as hasta que in such sentences. However, note that in contrast to hasta que, sentences with hasta que no always involve a double negative (i.e. what can't happen until something else does). Let's take a look:


pero de momento no puedo darle una respuesta hasta que no hayamos entrevistado al resto de candidatos.

but at the moment I can't give you an answer until we have interviewed the rest of the candidates.

Captions 61-62, Negocios La solicitud de empleo - Part 2

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Note that while the literal translation of "hasta que no hayamos entrevistado al resto de candidatos" would be "until we haven't interviewed the rest of the candidates," which wouldn't make sense, the actual meaning is "until we have interviewed the rest of the candidates." The word "no" is therefore an "expletive," which, in grammar, means an "empty word" that might add emphasis but doesn't add meaning. And interestingly, the form of this sentence with merely hasta que would work just as well with no difference in meaning, as follows:


pero de momento no puedo darle una respuesta hasta que hayamos entrevistado al resto de candidatos.

but at the moment I can't give you an answer until we have interviewed the rest of the candidates.


Let's see two more examples:


Pero vamos, eso nadie lo sabe hasta que no estemos en el terreno.

But come on, nobody knows that until we're in the area.

Caption 27, Los Reporteros Caza con Galgo - Part 2

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Sí. -...con él no podemos hacer nada... Ajá. -hasta que no desarrolle bien.

Yes. -...we can't do anything with him... Uh-huh. -until he develops well.

Captions 38-39, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Coatís

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Once again, the literal translations "until we're not" and "until he doesn't develop" would be nonsensical, and hence the sentences have been translated in the same fashion as they would be if the word "no" weren't present since hasta que estemos/hasta que no estemos (until we're) and hasta que desarrolle/hasta que no desarrolle (until he develops) are synonymous. 


In conclusion, although there has been some debate among linguists about the legitimacy of hasta que no, which is more likely to be heard in Spain (to learn more such differences, check out this lesson on A Few Outstanding Differences Between Castilian and Latin American Spanish), the constructions hasta que and hasta que no have been deemed interchangeable when talking about what can't or won't happen until something else takes place. That said, we hope that this lesson has brought some clarity regarding the somewhat confusing hasta que no construction... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments


"Tipo de Trabajo" or "Tipo de Trabajos"? That Is the Question!

To begin this lesson, let's take a look at a caption in a Yabla video that recently baffled one our subscribers:


Obviamente, la comunicación es la esencia de este tipo de trabajos.

Obviously, communication is the essence of this type of job.

Caption 40, Negocios - La solicitud de empleo

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Spanish sentences such as this one involving "tipo de" ["type" or "types of"] tend to confuse English speakers. After all, the literal translation of this sentence would read, "Obviously, communication is the essence of this type of jobs," which doesn’t work in English since “this” is singular and “jobs” is plural. In the vast majority of similar constructions in English involving countable nouns (nouns like "leaf/leaves," "cookie/cookies," etc. that can be physically counted), there must be singular/singular or plural/plural agreement, leaving one with the choice of either "this type of job" or "these types of jobs." 


However, this is not the case in Spanish since singular with plural is the most common construction, or occasionally singular with singular in the case of a single noun. Let’s look at some examples of each of these cases:


Singular with Plural with Countable Nouns: 


Si a todo esto añadimos otro tipo de problemas medio ambientales.

If to all this we add another kind of environmental problem.

Caption 16, 3R - Campaña de reciclaje

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Yo sí tengo la esperanza que se reduzc'... se reduzcan este tipo de eventos, ¿no?

I do have the hope that these types of occurrences will be red'... will be reduced, right?

Caption 57, Amigos D.F. - El secuestrar

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Singular with Singular (with a Single Countable Noun): 


¿Qué tipo de habitación desea?

What kind of room would you like?

Caption 10, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 1

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Note that in the case above, habitación is considered a single noun since the gentleman being addressed is only looking for one room; hence the singular with singular construction.


Uncountable Nouns: 

In both Spanish and English, uncountable nouns (nouns like "water," "coffee," "love," etc. that cannot be counted) go in singular with tipo de (or "type(s)" or "kind(s)") of as follows: 


Y digamos que conforme se va fabricando ese tipo de líquido,

And let's say that just as that type of liquid is being produced,

Caption 92, Animales en familia - La operación de Yaki

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En ellos, recibió todo tipo de apoyo de sus simpatizantes.

In them, he got all kinds of support from his followers.

Caption 35, Andrés Manuel López Obrador - Publicidad de Obrador

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To add further confusion for English speakers (sorry!), in most such cases with "partitive" (referring to part of a whole) constructions like "tipo de," the verb can be conjugated in either singular or plural! Let's take a look at a couple of examples:


En cuanto al tipo de... trabajos que me gusta ver.

In terms of the types of... projects that I like to see.

Caption 22, Álvaro - Arquitecto Español en Londres

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Note that the verb gustar is conjugated in first person in accordance with the singular noun el tipo. However, without changing the translation, it would be perfectly acceptable to instead conjugate gustar in accordance with the plural trabajos:


En cuanto al tipo de... trabajos que me gustan ver.

In terms of the types of... projects that I like to see.


Let's look at one more example: 


Además, en la conjugación de los verbos,

Also, in the conjugation of verbs,

este tipo de sufijos nos indican.

these types of suffixes tell us.

Captions 35-36, Carlos explica - Diminutivos y Aumentativos Cap 1: Los sufijos

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While indicar is conjugated in accordace with the plural noun sufijos, it could alternatively be conjugated in accordance with the singular noun tipo


Además, en la conjugación de los verbos,

Also, in the conjugation of verbs,

este tipo de sufijos nos indica.           

these types of suffixes tell us.


Finally, it is worth noting that, in the cases of particular Spanish linking verbs like ser (to be), estar (to be), or parecer (to seem), the verb is nearly always conjugated in plural when followed by a subject complement (most simply defined as an "attribute"), as follows: 


Este tipo de bicicletas están pensadas

This type of bicycle is planned

para desplazamientos cortos.

for short distances.

Captions 5-6, Raquel - Alquilar una bicicleta

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To conclude, although we have focused on tipo de for the purpose of this lesson, other "partitive constructions" like el resto de (the rest of), la mayor parte de (most of), la mayoría de (most of), etc. function the same way.


We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions.


Regular IR Verbs in Spanish

How many regular '-ir' verbs do you know in Spanish? Now that we have already talked about verbs ending in ‘-ar’ and verbs ending in '-er', it's time to take a look at the last main group of regular verbs. Again, keep in mind that we form regular verbs when we put together a verb stem and an infinitive ending. For example, the verb describir (to describe) is made with the verb stem 'describ' plus the infinitive ending '-ir'. With that being said, let's take a look at the following regular verbs ending in '-ir':


  • Abrir (to open) = Abr + ir
  • Escribir (to write) = Escrib + ir
  • Vivir  (to live) = Viv + ir


Conjugation of ir verbs in simple present, past and future

We know we have a regular verb when the verb stem doesn't change once it is conjugated. Do you want to see how that works in the simple present? Let’s use the verb abrir (to open) for this: 


  • Yo abro (I open)
  • Tú abres (you open)
  • Él/Ella abre (he/she opens)
  • Nosotros/as abrimos (we open)
  • Vosotros/as abrís (you open)
  • Ellos/as abren (they open)


Abres el rombo, y el pico superior lo doblas hacia abajo.

You open the diamond, and the top point you fold downwards.

Captions 46-47, Manos a la obra - Separadores de libros: Charmander

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Now, let’s see how to conjugate a regular '-ir' verb in the simple past. Let's take the verb escribir (to write): 


  • Yo escribí (I wrote)
  • Tú escribiste (you wrote)
  • Él/Ella escrib (he/she wrote)
  • Nosotros/as escribimos (we wrote)
  • Vosotros/as escribisteis (you wrote)
  • Ellos/as escribieron (they wrote)


Gabriel García Márquez escribió muchos libros.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote a lot of books.

Caption 50, Carlos explica - El pretérito Cap. 1: Perfecto simple o Indefinido

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It is worth noting that for the first person plural (nosotros), the conjugation of the verb is exactly the same in both the simple present and the simple past:


...pero cuando escribimos estas dos palabras.

...but when we write these two words.

Caption 45, Lecciones con Carolina - Haber vs. A Ver / Si vs. Sí

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Now, let’s take one of the most common verbs in Spanish in order to see the conjugation of a regular ‘ir’ verb in the simple future:


  • Yo viviré (I will live)
  • Tú vivirás (you will live)
  • Él/Ella vivirá (he/she will live)
  • Nosotros/as viviremos (we will live)
  • Vosotros/as viviréis (you will live)
  • Ellos/as vivirán (they will live) 


...y que viviremos en un hogar agradable.

...and that we will live in a nice home.

Caption 55, Negocios - La solicitud de empleo

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Unlike the simple present and past, the conjugation in the simple future leaves the verb as it is (vivir) only adding a different ending.


5 sentences using regular ir verbs in Spanish


Let’s learn some more regular -ir verbs with the following sentences:


1. Aplaudir (to clap)


...o por ejemplo, en el flamenco se aplaude así.

...or for example, in flamenco one claps like this.

Caption 46, Marta de Madrid - El cuerpo - El tronco

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2. Decidir (to decide)


De un momento a otro, decidió quedarse en Bogotá.

From one minute to another, she decided to stay in Bogota.

Caption 22, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capitulo 4

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3. Discutir (to discuss/argue)


Chica, sabes que yo no discuto con novatas después del mediodía.

Girl, you know that I don't argue with rookies after noon.

Caption 57, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso

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4. Subir (to climb/go up/increase)


Subimos la temperatura del depósito a ochenta grados.

We increase the temperature of the tank to eighty degrees.

Caption 25, Club de las ideas - Biodiesel

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5. Sufrir (to suffer)


Sufres, gritas, nadie te da nada

You suffer, you scream, nobody gives you anything

Caption 21, Club de las ideas - La motivación

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That’s it for this lesson. Now that we have covered all the three groups of regular verbs, go ahead and try to write some sentences with verbs ending in -ar, -er and -ir. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

The Preposition de in Spanish

Let’s talk about prepositions in Spanish! In this lesson, we will discuss the very often used and common preposition de. This preposition has lots of uses in Spanish and because of that, we can use it like the following English prepositions: fromofin, and even than. Let’s have a look.



How to use the preposition de in Spanish​


There are several ways we can use the preposition de in Spanish. For example, we use the preposition de when we want to indicate the nationality or origin of someone or something:


¿De dónde eres? -Soy de Alemania

Where are you from? -I am from Germany.

Captions 36-37, Curso de español - ¿De dónde eres?

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We also use the preposition de when we want to indicate the material that something is made of.


El lápiz está hecho de madera.

The pencil is made of wood.

Caption 40, Aprendiendo con Karen - Útiles escolares

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Similarly, we use the preposition de when we want to describe the features or characteristics of someone or something, in other words, when we want to describe a noun with another noun.


Se toma mucho el jugo de naranja que tiene mucha vitamina C.

Orange juice is consumed a lot as it has a lot of vitamin C.

Caption 74, Otavalo - Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

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Eh, sobre todo aquí tenemos libros de historia de, eh…

Um, most of all, here we have history books about, um…

Caption 60, El Instituto Cervantes - Jefa de biblioteca

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Un profesor de español.

Spanish teacher.

Caption 22, El Aula Azul - Cursos y actividades de la escuela

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One of the most common uses of the preposition de is when we use it to talk about possession. Let’s look at an example.


Es una empresa de tradición familiar, de mis abuelos.

It's a company with a family tradition from my grandparents.

Caption 50, Europa Abierta - Carne ecológica y segura

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In the example above, you can see that the first de is used to describe the company, while the second de is used to indicate possession (the company belongs to the grandparents). We can also use the preposition de in terms of “possession” when we want to indicate the relation that connects people.


El novio de Claudia es un tipo muy pinta.

Claudia's boyfriend is a very "pinta" [handsome] guy.

Caption 27, Carlos comenta - Confidencial - Jerga típica colombiana

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The preposition de also helps us to indicate a cause when it is placed after an adjective and before a verb.


Estoy ya cansado de estar endeudado

I am tired of being in debt (I’m tired because I’m always in debt)

Caption 3, Bacilos - Mi Primer Millón

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We can also use the preposition de when we want to express something using a comparison or a point of reference with the expressions más de (more than) or menos de (less than):


Sí, un poquito menos de quinientos mil habitantes.

Yes, a little less than five hundred thousand inhabitants.

Caption 47, Buenos Aires - Heladería Cumelen

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Besides the uses we mentioned above, we also use the preposition de when talking about expressions of time. Let’s see how:


Supongamos que son las cinco de la tarde

Let's suppose that it's five in the evening

Caption 66, Carlos explica - El pretérito Cap. 2: Perfecto compuesto I

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And finally, we use the preposition de along with the preposition a to indicate a particular range or period. Like in the following example:


El horario es de lunes a viernes

The schedule is from Monday to Friday

Caption 69, Negocios - La solicitud de empleo

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To summarize, the following are the most common uses of the preposition de in Spanish:

- To indicate nationality or origin

- To indicate the material that something is made of

- To describe the features or characteristics of someone or something (to describe a noun with another noun)

- To indicate possession

- To indicate a cause (after an adjective and before a verb)

- To express a comparison or point of reference (with más de or menos de)

- To talk about expressions of time

- To indicate a particular range (with the preposition a)


The contraction del in Spanish


When the preposition de goes before the definite article el, you need to combine the two words using the contraction del (de + el). Just as it happens with the contraction al (a + el), when you have the preposition de next to the article el, the contraction del is mandatory!


Estos son los números del uno al cien.

These are the numbers from one to a hundred.

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

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In this example, we can see both contractions (del and al) in action. Also, in this sentence, the speaker is using the preposition de and the preposition a together because she is indicating a range. Remember that it would be wrong to say that sentence in the following way: Estos son los números de el uno a el cien.


That's all for now. If you feel like it, try writing sentences with all the different uses we have mentioned for the preposition de. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.

The Preposition a in Spanish

In this lesson, we will discuss a very common and useful preposition. Just like most prepositions, the preposition a in Spanish can be used in various different ways. While we usually think of the preposition a as the English equivalent of to, this preposition can also work as in, on, from, by and at. Let’s take a look.


Uses of the preposition a in Spanish

To begin with, we use the preposition a to indicate motion to a particular place:


Por ejemplo, yo quiero viajar a Noruega la próxima semana…

For example, I want to travel to Norway next week…

Caption 10, Escuela Don Quijote - En el aula

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Llegué a Londres hace tres meses.

I arrived in London three months ago.

Caption 7, Lydia de Barcelona - Lydia y el festival de cine "Women Mujeres"

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We also use the preposition a when we want to connect a main verb with a verb in the infinitive. For example, when we are referring to the moment a particular action started:


En poco tiempo, la gente comenzó a hacer el mal.

After a short period of time, people began to do evil.

Caption 32, Aprendiendo con Carlos - América precolombina - El mito de Bochica

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In this context, however, one of the most common uses of the preposition a is when we want to express a future action using the following formula: ir (to go) + a (to) + infinitive verb:


Entonces el día de hoy, a petición de Chuy, vamos a hacer una carne asada.

So today, at Chuy's request, we're going to make grilled meat.

Caption 9, Osos en la cocina - Carne asada

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We also use the preposition a in Spanish when we want to indicate the end of a particular period of time:


El horario es de lunes a viernes.

The schedule is from Monday to Friday.

Caption 69, Negocios - La solicitud de empleo

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Another very common use of this preposition is when we want to indicate a particular point in a scale (time, distance, speed, temperature, etc.):


Estamos situados a cuarenta kilómetros de Barcelona.

We are located forty kilometers from Barcelona.

Caption 3, Feria de Vinos Españoles en Londres - Bodegas Castell D'Age

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Me levanto todas las mañanas a las siete.

I get up every morning at seven o'clock.

Caption 28, Club de las ideas - Pasión por el golf

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Finally, we use the preposition a before a direct object when that object is a person. Similarly, we also use this preposition when we want to introduce an indirect object:


A mi hermana le gusta el color rojo.

My sister likes the color red.

Caption 7, Español para principiantes - Los colores

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Entonces, nosotros les compramos a las personas para que...

So, we buy from people so that...

Caption 7, Fruteria "Los Mangos" - Vendiendo Frutas

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The contraction al  in Spanish

When the preposition a goes before the definite article el, you need to combine the two words using the contraction al (a + el):


No quiero viajar al mundo espacial

I don't want to travel to the space world

Caption 20, La Gusana Ciega - Invasión Estelar

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Pero sí os recomiendo que vengáis aquí al parque.

But I do recommend that you come here to the park.

Caption 80, Animales en familia - Un día en Bioparc: Lémures

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Please keep in mind that when you have the preposition a next to the article el, the contraction al is mandatory! For this reason, and considering the examples we just mentioned, it would have been wrong to say the following:

No quiero viajar a el mundo

… que vengáis aquí a el parque

In both cases, you need to use the contraction al.


That's all for now. Try writing sentences with all the different uses we have mentioned for the preposition a in Spanish. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.


Explore more lessons:

The preposition sobre

A que sí / A que no

Ser vs Estar - Yo estoy

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