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Top Verbs for Cooking in Spanish

Do you know how to read una receta (a recipe) in Spanish and/or talk about the various actions one must perform to prepare una comida (a meal)? In order to help you do so, we've taken fifty of the most popular cooking verbs in English, then given you the equivalent Spanish term(s) for each, along with lots of examples from our Yabla Spanish library. Let's get started! 


Top 50 Cooking Verbs With Spanish Translations 


1. Add: agregar, añadir, poner, colocar, 

When talking about "adding" in an ingredient, there are various choices! While the first two mean "to add," the second two literally mean "to put" or "place" but are frequently seen in recipes to describe the same action:


Una vez sudado los ingredientes, le colocamos: salsa inglesa,

Once the ingredients are stewed, we add in: Worcestershire sauce,

Captions 50-51, Recetas de cocina Pabellón criollo

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2. Beat: batir


El siguiente paso es batir ocho o nueve huevos.

The next step is to beat eight or nine eggs.

Captions 37-38, Clara cocina Una tortilla española

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3. Break: romper

And speaking of eggs, you have "to break" or "crack" them, which is described with the Spanish verb romper (to break):


Rompe los huevos contra una superficie plana.

Break the eggs on a flat surface.


4. Boil: hervir


Ahora llena una cazuela de agua y luego ponla a hervir

Now, fill a pot with water, and then, bring it to a boil.

Captions 37-38, El Aula Azul Receta de garbanzos

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5. Blend: mezclar, incorporar, juntar, combinar, licuar, batir 

There are many ways to describe the action of "blending" in Spanish. While the first four options we have listed are more likely to refer to simply "mixing thoroughly," batir and licuar tend to describe more vigorous actions and perhaps even some instrument like a una/a batidor/a (whisk) or licuadora (blender).


Todo esto vamos a llevar a licuar, a dar vueltas

All of this, we're going to blend, to spin around,

Caption 29, Mónica Batido

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6. Bake: hornear


se hornea 

and you bake it

Caption 78, Viajando con Fermín Restaurante La Viña - Part 2

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7. Barbecue: asar, hacer a la parrilla, hacer a la barbacoa


y vamos a asar dos tiempos la parte de la grasa

and we're going to barbecue the part with the fat two times

Caption 49, Osos en la cocina Carne asada

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8. Cut: cortar


Vamos a cortar en pedazos pequeños también la lechuga,

Let's also cut the lettuce into small pieces,

Caption 16, Ana Carolina Receta para una picada

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9. Cover: cubrir

The verb cubrir might refer to covering something with una tapa (a cover/lid) or something else, like water:


Vamos a cubrirlo y vamos a subirle el fuego.

We're going to cover it, and we're going to increase the heat.

Caption 37, Cocinando con Miguelito Pollo sudado - Part 2

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10. Cook: cocinar, cocer


La papa es fácil de cocinar

Potatoes are easy to cook,

Caption 14, Cocinando con Miguelito Pollo sudado - Part 3

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11. Cool: enfríar


Luego, pones el papel encerado por encima y dejas que enfríe.

Then, you put the wax paper on top and you let it cool.

Captions 26-27, Manos a la obra Postres de Minecraft

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12. Chop: picar, trocear


Picamos todo; todo se tiene que picar muy, muy pequeño. 

We chop everything; everything has to be chopped very, very small.

Caption 13, Cleer y Lida Ají

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13. Dice: cortar en dados, trocear

The Spanish word dados literally means "dice," as in the dice you play games with. Cortar en dados (literally "to cut in dice") is thus one of the ways to talk about the "dicing" action in Spanish:


Cortarlo en dados y freírlos hasta dorar.

Dice it, and fry them until browned.

Caption 50, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 5

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14. Drain: escurrir, colar

Although the verbs escurrir and colar can both mean "to drain," as in simply getting rid of excess liquid, they can also mean "to strain," as in running something through a colador (colander, sieve, etc.) to separate the solid from the liquid:


Ahora cuela los garbanzos con un colador. Escúrrelos bien.

Now, strain the chickpeas with a strainer. Drain them well.

Captions 40-41, El Aula Azul Receta de garbanzos

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15. Fry: freír


En la sartén, un poco de aceite y fríes la mezcla.

In the frying pan, a little bit of oil, and you fry the mixture.

Caption 35, El Aula Azul Adivinanzas de comidas - Part 1

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16. Flip: voltear, dar la vuelta 


la volteamos y hacemos lo mismo y podemos ir volteándola hasta que esté totalmente cocinada.

we flip it, and we do the same thing, and we can keep flipping it until it's totally cooked.

Captions 34-35, Dany Arepas - Part 2

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17. Grind: moler, triturar

Note that these words can also be used as equivalents of the English "to crush."


y después de eso procederemos a molerla.

and after that we will proceed to grind it.

Caption 51, Una Historia de Café La Tostión

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18. Grate: rallar


¿Qué, sos un queso pa' que te ralle?

What, are you some cheese for me to grate?

Caption 70, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 10

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19. Grill: cocinar/asar a la parrilla, cocinar a la brasa/asar a la brasa

You might have noticed that the terms for "to grill" and "to barbecue" in Spanish are similar, and people often confuse these actions ("barbecuing" tends to describe cooking something for longer over a lower heat, and perhaps on an actual "barbecue"). Most of the time, context should let you know which meaning is intended. 


Ahora vamos a asar las arepas.

Now we are going to grill the arepas.

Caption 31, Recetas de cocina Arepas colombianas

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20. Heat: calentar


Lo ponemos en la estufa... y lo vamos a calentar a un fuego medio o bajo.

We put it on the stove... and we're going to heat it over medium or low heat.

Caption 18, Cocinando con Miguelito Pollo sudado - Part 1

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21. Knead: amasar


Entonces, tenemos que amasarla bien.

Then, we have to knead it well.

Caption 66, Recetas de cocina Carimañolas

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22. Light: encender 


es que, si cada persona en el cuarto enciende un fósforo al mismo tiempo,

is that, if every person in the room lights a match at the same time,

Captions 52-53, Eljuri Hablamos Con La Artista Sobre Su Nuevo Álbum

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Similarly, the verb encender can also mean "to turn on."


23. Measure: medir


¿Y medís la grasa que tiene,

And you measure the fat that it has,

Caption 17, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 14

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24. Mix: mezclar, batir, incorporar


eh, que sea grande y espacioso para poder mezclar.

um, which is large and spacious to be able to mix.

Caption 25, Dany Arepas - Part 1

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25. Microwave: cocinar en microondas


Ahora voy a cocinar en microondas las palomitas.

Now, I'm going to microwave the popcorn.


26. Mash: hacer puré de algo 

"Haz puré con un aplastador de papas" means "Mash with a potato masher." Now, let's look at a clip that describes the result of this action!


Ella va a hacer un puré de papa y yo voy a hacer la pechuga.

She is going to make some mashed potatoes, and I am going to make the chicken breast.

Caption 27, Misión Chef 2 - Pruebas - Part 7

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27. Melt: derretir 


Derrítalo en agua caliente. Eh... derretirlo... eh...

Melt it in hot water. Um... melt it... um...

Captions 29-30, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 5: Ha nacido una estrella - Part 7

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28. Mince: moler, picar 


Lo vamos a picar como en una crema.

We're going to mince it like in a cream.

Caption 77, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 2

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29. Marinate: marinar, adobar


Lo dejamos marinar una hora en el refrigerador

We let it marinate for one hour in the refrigerator

Caption 9, Osos en la cocina Pollo asiático

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30. Peel: pelar


El primer paso es pelar las patatas,

The first step is to peel the potatoes,

Caption 23, Clara cocina Una tortilla española

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31. Pour: verter algo en, volcar algo en, poner algo en 


y vierte un poco de aceite.

and pour in a bit of oil.

Caption 55, El Aula Azul Receta de garbanzos

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32. Roast: asar, rostizar, tostar

Take note that in addition to "grill" and "barbecue," the Spanish verb asar can also mean "to roast," or "cook in an oven or open fire." When talking about "roasting" coffee beans, nuts, or seeds, however, the verb tostar (literally "to toast") is commonly employed to describe the "roasting" action:


El café se tuesta entre doscientos y doscientos cincuenta grados centígrados.

Coffee is roasted at between two hundred and two hundred fifty degrees centigrade.

Caption 7, Una Historia de Café La Tostión

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33. Refrigerate: refrigerar, enfríar


Refrigera la torta por dos horas antes de servir.

Refrigerate cake for two hours prior to serving. 


34. Roll out: estirar

The verb estirar, which usually means "to stretch," can also refer to "rolling out" dough, for example, with a rolling pin:


el rulero, empezar a estirar la empanada.

the rolling pin, start to roll out the empanada.

Caption 37, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín Lalo y la receta de la empanada

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35. Rinse: enjuagar, desinfectar

Although enjuagar is the most common verb meaning "to rinse," sometimes the verb desinfectar can be used when referring to "rinsing" food items.


las frutas, lo... las lavamos, las desinfectamos,

the fruit, we... we wash it, we rinse it,

Caption 15, Otavalo Mali Tea

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36. Stir: remover, revolver

Have you ever heard of "false friends," or false cognates in Spanish? While remover sounds like "to remove" and revolver resembles "to revolve," both of these verbs mean "to stir" in Spanish (the latter making a bit more sense!). Meanwhile, the false friend estirar, which looks and sounds more like "to stir," means "to stretch" (or "roll out," as we learned earlier). 


Recordad: remover bien la mezcla.

Remember: Stir the mixture well.

Caption 65, El Aula Azul Receta de natillas

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37. Scramble: revolver 

In addition to "to stir," the Spanish verb revolver can also mean "to scramble."


Revuelve los huevos en una sartén de acero inoxidable. 

Scramble the eggs in a stainless steel frying pan. 


38. Sprinkle: espolvorear, rociar


Espolvorea con azúcar y canela. 

Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. 


39. Squeeze: exprimir, sacar(le) jugo 


Exprimimos medio limón por cada trozo de carne.

We squeeze half a lemon for each piece of meat.

Caption 36, Osos en la cocina Carne asada

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40. Spread: untar


con queso y mantequilla que puedes untar sobre el pan.

with cheese and butter that you can spread on the bread.

Captions 40-41, Natalia de Ecuador Alimentos para el desayuno

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41. Steam: cocer/cocinar al vapor 


Al vapor, el brócoli conserva su textura, su sabor y sus propiedades. 

Steamed, broccoli keeps its texture, its flavor, and its properties.

Captions 58-59, Soledad Ensaladilla de brócoli

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42. Simmer: hervir a fuego lento

This Spanish verb literally means "to boil at low heat," which is what "simmering" refers to:


Hierve el guiso a fuego lento por tres a cuatro horas.

Simmer the stew for three to four hours. 


43. Slice: cortar, cortar en lonchas, cortar/picar en rebanadas


Picamos en rebanadas.

We slice [them].

Caption 15, Recetas de cocina Ensalada de pepino

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44. Sauté: saltear, sofreír


le echo... lo salteo con aceite y le echo una guindilla. 

I put it in... I sauté it with oil and I add a chili pepper to it.

Caption 27, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 3

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45. Sift: tamizar, cerner 


De un litro, hay que cogerle y cernirle

From one liter, you have to take it and sift it,

Caption 102, Comunidad Tsáchila Ayahuasca y plantas curativas

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46. Toss: mezclar, revolver, remover

Notice that the Spanish words for "tossing" a salad are not the literal translations for the word "toss" as in "throw," but rather mean "to mix" (mezclar) and "to stir" (revolver, remover). 


Verter el aderezo en la ensalada y revolver poco antes de servir.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss just before serving. 


47. Toast: tostar


La uso para tostar el pan del desayuno por las mañanas.

I use it to toast the breakfast bread in the morning.

Caption 29, Aprendiendo con Zulbany Piensa rápido

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48. Weigh: pesar


Para cada jarra de café debo pesar siempre la misma cantidad

For each mug of coffee I must always weigh out the same amount,

Captions 53-54, Una Historia de Café La Tostión

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49. Whisk: batir, usar una batidora/un batidor de varillas

The previously discussed Spanish verb batir can also be used for the action of "whisking." To be more specific, you might also mention the name of the "whisk" instrument:


Usando una batidora de varillas, bate la mezcla hasta que esté uniforme

Using a wire whisk, blend mixture until it is uniform. 


A much simpler translation with the same meaning would be simply: "Whisk mixture until uniform." 


50. Wash: lavar


Mientras lavamos el tomate y vamos preparando la ensalada,

While we wash the tomato and we're making the salad,

Caption 28, Fermín Ensalada de tomate

 Play Caption


We hope that this lesson on the top Spanish verbs for cooking has brought to light a lot of new cooking vocabulary as well as making you aware of a multitude of Yabla videos you might not have seen with a ton of scrumptious recipes to try! And if you do, we would love for you to write us with your experiences and comments!


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All About "You" in Spanish: The Many Ways to Say It

How do you say "you" in Spanish? In contrast to English, where "you" just say "you," there are a plethora of different ways to say this in Spanish, which we'll explore today. 


Spanish Subject Pronouns for "You"

Subject pronouns in Spanish (e.g. yo (I), (you), él/ella (he/she), etc.) are the most basic way to say "you." While in English, "you" is the only second person subject pronoun, in Spanish, there are five different ones, and the one you choose will depend on such factors as whether you are addressing one or more than one person, if the situation is more or less formal, and what region you are in. Let's take a closer look. 



Simply put, tú means "you" for speaking to just one person in less formal situations, such as speaking to someone you already know. This is the most common familiar second person subject pronoun in most Spanish-speaking countries.


hablas obviamente muy bien el español, pero

You obviously speak Spanish very well, but

Caption 10, Carlos y Xavi Part 4 Tradiciones y comida de Barcelona

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2. Vos

Vos is used in a similar fashion as tú in certain countries/regions. It is heard predominantly in Argentina and Uruguay but also in certain areas of Paraguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Mexico, and Venezuela. 


¿Y vos hablás de mí?

And you talk about me?

Caption 51, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 11

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3. Usted

Usted is used to address just one person in more formal situations. Examples might be when you don't know someone and wish to be polite or, perhaps, when addressing an elder. 


¿Usted habla del ganso ese? -Sí.

Are you talking about that goose? -Yes.

Caption 54, Muñeca Brava 1 Piloto - Part 10

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4. Vosotros/Vosotras

Vosotros and vosotras are employed to address more than one person informally and are thus the plural equivalent of . Vosotros is used for a group of all males or a mixed male-female group, while vosotras is used for more than one person when everyone is female. Vosotros and vosotras are only used in Spain. 


Vosotros habláis.

You [plural] speak.

Caption 11, Fundamentos del Español 7 - Ser y Estar

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5. Ustedes 

Ustedes is used in all Spanish-speaking countries except Spain as the only plural form of saying "you," regardless of formality. However, in Spain, it is used more formally as the plural equivalent of usted (to distinguish it with the less formal vosotros/as). 


Y es que hay muchas diferencias entre la forma en que ustedes hablan el español

And it's just that there are a lot of differences between the way in which you guys speak Spanish

Captions 44-45, Carlos y Xavi Part 2 Ustedes y Vosotros

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All of the aforementioned subject pronouns in these clips have been translated as "you" with the exception of the last one, which was translated with the informal "you guys" to emphasize that it is directed to more than one person. However, it would be perfectly acceptable to translate ustedes as merely "you" since English often employs this pronoun to address multiple people.


For an abundance of additional information on these five subject pronouns for "you" in Spanish, we recommend Carlos' five-part video series on the Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo


Verb Conjugation 

As you may have noticed in the examples above, all of which contain the simple present form of the verb hablar (to speak), the form of "you" utilized affects the verb conjugation. Although this happens in every verb tense in Spanish, let's start by taking a look at the simple present tense conjugations of three common Spanish verbs with their various "you" forms highlighted. 


Personal Pronoun Hablar Comer Subir
Yo  hablo como  subo
hablas  comes  subes
Vos hablás comés subís
Él/ella habla come sube
Usted habla come sube
Nosotros/nosotras hablamos comemos subimos
Ellos/ellas hablan  comen suben
Ustedes hablan comen suben
Vosotros/vosotras habláis coméis subís


You will note that the verb conjugations for all of the five forms of "you" in Spanish differ from one another. Additionally, the conjugation for usted is the same as the conjugation for the third person singular él/ella (he/she) while the conjugation for ustedes is the same as the third person plural conjugation for ellos/ellas (they). Additionally, the conjugations for vos and vosotros/as are the same for -ir verbs.


Remember that in Spanish, you don't necessarily need to explicitly say the subject pronoun in order to know which one is in use because the verb tenses themselves make that clear. That said, let's examine a few examples with different forms of "you" and the verb saber (to know). 


¿Sabéis qué es un volcán?

Do you know what a volcano is?

Caption 18, Aprendiendo con Silvia Los volcanes

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Ay, ¿sabes qué?

Oh, you know what?

Caption 21, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 1

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¿Sabe que no me parece suficiente?

Do you know that it doesn't seem like enough to me?

Caption 62, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 3

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Despite the absence of subject pronouns, you can tell from the verbs' conjugation that the first example refers to vosotros, the second example refers to , and the third example refers to usted, and for this reason, all three have been translated with "you know." While the third example could technically refer to él or ella as well since the conjugations for all three are the same, the context (one person speaking directly to another rather than talking about anyone else) alerts you that the speaker is addressing the other person as usted


Alternative "You" Pronouns in Spanish

Subject pronouns are not the only way to represent the word "you" in Spanish. Other types of Spanish pronouns (direct object, indirect object, and prepositional) also mean "you." Let's see which of each of these types of pronouns correspond with which "you" subject pronouns:


Subject Pronoun Direct Object Pronoun Indirect Object Pronoun Prepositional Pronoun
te te ti
Vos  te te vos
Usted lo, la le usted
Ustedes los, las les ustedes
Vosotros/as os os vosotros/as


While we won't delve too deeply into these topics, we will provide a brief summary of each of them and give you some examples.


Direct Object Pronouns

Direct object pronouns take the place of the direct object (the recipient of an action) in a sentence and answer the question of "what" or "who." Let's see a couple of examples:


Vale, no... no os veo... no os veo con mucha...

OK, I don't... I don't see you... I don't see you with a lot...

Caption 39, Escuela BCNLIP Clase con Javi: el futuro - Part 3

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Los veo en el próximo video.

See you in the next video.

Caption 44, Manos a la obra Postres de Minecraft

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In both examples, the translation of the direct object pronoun is "you." In the first, os takes the place of vosotros, and in the second, los takes the place of ustedes


Indirect Object Pronouns

Indirect object pronouns answer the question "to who/whom" or "for who/whom" an action is carried out. Let's take a look:


De verdad, yo le doy la plata que tengo ahí;

Seriously, I'll give you the money I have there;

Caption 25, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 1 - Part 1

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Otra recomendación que les puedo hacer es que traigan zapatos para el agua,

Another recommendation that I can give you is to bring water shoes,

Captions 35-36, Alan x el mundo Mi playa favorita de México! - Part 2

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In the first example, le lets you know that the speaker will give the money "to" usted, while in the second, the recommendation is being given "to" ustedes. While the indirect object pronouns in these two captions have been translated with simply "you," the translator might also have opted for "I'll give the money I have there to you" and/or "Another recommendation that I can give to you is to bring water shoes."


To learn more about indirect and direct object pronouns, check out this two-part lesson on How to Use Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns.


Prepositional Pronouns

Prepositional pronouns are pronouns that follow a preposition (words like para (for), de (of, about), en (in, about), etc.) in a sentence. 


Este libro es para ti. Este libro es para vos.

This book is for you. This book is for you.

Captions 47-48, Carlos y Cyndy Uso del Voseo en Argentina

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y hoy, he preparado para ustedes estos objetos

and today, I've prepared these objects for you

Caption 3, Ana Carolina El uso correcto de los adjetivos

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Interestingly, ti is the only prepositional pronoun meaning "you" that differs in form from its corresponding subject pronoun.


We hope that this lesson has made clear the many different ways that Spanish expresses the concept of "you." That's all for today... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments


¡Feliz Halloween! (Happy Halloween!)

Today's lesson will highlight clips from our Yabla Spanish library to teach you some pertinent terms to talk about many people's favorite holiday... Halloween!!! So get ready, and enjoy this lesson about Halloween in Spanish!


How do you say Halloween in Spanish?

Although Halloween is primarily thought of as a North American holiday, its fun festivities have been adopted by many countries throughout the world. When we speak about Halloween in Spanish, we typically keep its English name:


Esta noche es Halloween y seguro que muchas veces habéis pensado disfrazaros con vuestra mascota

Tonight is Halloween and surely you've thought many times of dressing up with your pet

Captions 137-138, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Coatís

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This caption describes the common Halloween costumbre (custom) of disfrazarse (dressing up). You'll note from the previous sentence that costumbre means "custom" or "tradition" rather than "costume" as you might think, making it somewhat of a false cognate. On the other hand, the correct way to say "the costume" in Spanish is el disfraz.


Ay, Aurelito, ¿me prestarías un disfraz?

Oh, Aurelito, would you lend me a costume?

Caption 32, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 2

 Play Caption


What other vocabulary words might we associate with Halloween? We might start by reviewing some Spanish vocabulary for the autumn season since Halloween falls at that time of year. We could then move on to some of Halloween's personajes más espeluznantes (spookiest characters).


Halloween Characters in Spanish

Let's look at some video clips that include the names of some of the most typical Halloween characters:


¿Quién no ha querido a una diosa licántropa

Who hasn't loved a werewolf goddess?

Caption 5, Shakira Loba

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porque sí sé... ahí está el monstruo.

because I know... here's the monster.

Caption 29, Antonio Vargas - Artista Comic

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El fantasma y la loca se quieren casar

The ghost and the madwoman want to get married

Caption 24, Gloria Trevi Psicofonía

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En la época, eran utilizadas para espantar las brujas 

In the era, they were used to scare away witches

Caption 46, Viajando en Colombia Cartagena en coche - Part 2

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And speaking of espantar (to scare away), let's look at some additional Spanish words that mean "to scare," "be scared," or "scary."


"Scary" Halloween Terms

To Scare:

Let's look at another verb that means "to frighten" or "scare": 


o cuando hay una fecha importante, ellos salen... a divertir y a asustar a la gente porque están como unos diablos.

or when there is an important date, they go out... to amuse and to frighten people because they're [dressed] like devils.

Captions 45-46, El Trip Ibiza

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And, in addition to asustar, we learn the word for another Halloween character: un diablo (a devil). Let's see another verb that means "to scare": 


¡Me da miedo! -¡Ahí te tienes que quedar, ya está!

It scares me! -There you have to stay, ready!

Caption 24, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 7

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Note that the noun el miedo means "the fear," and the verb dar miedo (literally "to give fear") can thus mean either "to scare" or "be scary." When employed in conjunction with an indirect object pronoun to indicate to whom this action is happening (le in this case, which corresponds with usted), the most common translation is "to scare," as we see in this caption. 


To Be Scared:

So, what if we want to say that we "are" or "feel scared"? A common verb for this is tener miedo (literally "to have fear"), as seen in this caption with the Halloween-appropriate noun la oscuridad (the dark/darkness):


¡Porque le tiene miedo a la oscuridad!

Because he's afraid of the dark!

Caption 24, Guillermina y Candelario El parque de diversiones - Part 2

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The reflexive form of asustar, asustarse, also means "to be" or "get scared":


Aparecieron unos cazadores, y el patito se asustó mucho

Some hunters appeared, and the duckling got really scared

Caption 36, Cleer El patito feo

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Yet another way to talk about being "scared" in Spanish is with adjectives like asustado (scared) or aterrorizado (terrified): 


Llegan muy asustados, muy aterrorizados,

They arrive very scared, very terrified,

Caption 25, Los Reporteros Caza con Galgo - Part 3

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For more on the ways in which verbs, adjectives, and nouns can be used to describe our feelings, be sure to check out our lesson on expressing emotions in Spanish



Let's conclude this section with a few ways to express the concept of "scary":


¡Uy, qué miedo!

Oh, how scary!

Caption 21, Guillermina y Candelario La Peluqueria del Mar - Part 1

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Literally meaning "What fear!" the Spanish expression ¡Qué miedo! is a common way to say "how scary" something is. We can also use our previously-mentioned verb dar miedo (this time without the indirect object pronoun) to convey the idea of "being scary":


Eh... Sí. Lo desconocido siempre da miedo.

Um... Yes. The unknown is always scary.

Caption 13, Yago 13 La verdad - Part 8

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We can also say "scary" with adjectives like escalofriante, sinestro/a, or miedoso/a:


¿Y esa calavera tan miedosa?

And that very scary skull?

Caption 20, Guillermina y Candelario Un pez mágico - Part 2

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And with the word for "the skull" in Spanish (la calavera), we come to our last category: Halloween objects! 


Halloween Objects 

If we know how to say "skull," we had better find out how to say "skeleton" in Spanish:


con una forma parecida a la del esqueleto de un dinosaurio,

with a shape similar to that of a dinosaur's skeleton,

Caption 30, Raquel Valencia - Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

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So, where might we find such esqueletos? Why, in their tumbas (graves) in el cementerio (the cemetery) of course!


en Ricardo, en su tumba en el cementerio,

about Ricardo in his grave in the cemetery,

Caption 28, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 8

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So, let's set the scene in that cemetery with a "full moon" in Spanish, which might inspire some hombre lobo (another word for "werewolf") to come out:


la luna llena Por los cielos azulosos, infinitos y profundos esparcía su luz blanca 

And the full moon In the bluish skies, infinite and profound, scattered its white light

Captions 11-12, Acercándonos a la Literatura José Asunción Silva - "Nocturno III"

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Now, let's focus on some slightly less ominous symbols of Halloween such as el gato negro (the black cat), seen in its diminutive form in the following caption:


También está este gatito negro

There's also this black kitty

Caption 73, Fermín y los gatos Mis gatas vecinas

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The "pumpkin" is, perhaps, the most famed Halloween symbol of all:


Justo en el doblez del papel, trazamos la mitad de la calabaza.

Right on the fold of the paper, we draw half of the pumpkin.

Caption 67, Manos a la obra Papel picado para Día de muertos

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And finally, we associate Halloween with trick-or-treating, or going door to door to get "candy":


Y ahora cortamos pedacitos de caramelo.

And now we cut little pieces of candy.

Caption 38, Manos a la obra Postres de Minecraft

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The way to say "Trick or treat!" varies from region to region, but some popular ways are: "Dulce o truco" in Argentina, "Dulce o travesura" in Mexico, and the more literal but less accurate "Truco o trato" (from the verb "tratar," or "to treat") in Spain, where they also say "Dulce o caramelo." In Colombia, you might hear "Triqui, triqui," where kids sing the following song:


Triqui triqui Halloween/Quiero dulces para mí/Si no hay dulces para mí/se le crece la naríz,

which translates as:

Trick or treat, Halloween/I want treats for me/If there are no treats for me/Your nose will grow.


Meanwhile, Pedir dulce o truco/travesura, etc. can be used to talk about the action of  "trick-or-treating."


Halloween Vocabulary in Review

Let’s conclude today’s lesson with a review of the Halloween vocabulary we have learned:


el Halloween: Halloween

¡Feliz Halloween! Happy Halloween! 

difrazarse: to dress up 

el disfraz: the costume 

la costumbre: the custom, tradition

el personaje: the character

espeluznante: spooky

el/la licántropo/a: the werewolf

el hombre lobo: the werewolf

el monstruo: the monster

el fantasma: the ghost

el/la loco/a: the madman/madwoman

la bruja: the witch

el diablo: the devil 

espantar: to scare away

asustar: to scare 

el miedo: the fear

dar miedo: to scare/be scary

tener miedo: to be scared

asustarse: to be/get scared

asustado/a: scared/frightened

aterrorizado/a: terrified 

escalofriante: scary

siniestro/a: scary

miedoso/a: scary

¡Qué miedo! How scary!

la oscuridad: the darkness/dark

la calavera: the skull 

el esqueletothe skeleton

la tumba: the grave

el cementerio: the cemetery

la luna llena: the full moon

el gato negro: the black cat

la calabaza: the pumkin

el caramelo: the candy

¡Dulce o truco/travesura/caramelo! Trick or treat!

¡Truco o trato! Trick or treat!

¡Triqui triqui! Trick or treat!

Pedir dulce o truco/travesura: to go trick or treating 


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


¡Feliz Halloween! (Happy Halloween!).



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Caption 46, 45

Tres verbos amigos

The basic meaning of the verbs aplastar and aplanar is "to flatten." You will hear many Spanish speakers using these as synonyms, though aplastar is way more common. There's a subtle difference, however, between these two verbs, since aplastar may imply a more drastic action and is sometimes better translated as "to crush," while aplanar involves a more controlled and careful activity. So, for example, you want to say aplasté a la cucaracha (I crushed the cockroach) rather than aplané a la cucaracha (I flattened the cockroach), right? In a similar (but less icky) way, our friend Meli prefers to use aplanar when giving instructions for her crafty projects:

aplanas para que quede uniforme.

And you flatten it so that it's even.

Caption 25, Manos a la obra - Postres de Minecraft

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The following example is enlightening, for it shows how aplastar may be okay for smashed potatoes but not for picatostes (croutons):


Cuando le das con el cuchillo se aplasta.

When you stick it with the knife, it flattens out.

Caption 96, Cómetelo - Crema de brócoli

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As we mentioned before, aplastar is more frequently used than aplanar, especially when used figuratively, and so you can find several videos using aplastar in our catalog. Here's one example:

...y no dejándose aplastar por el poder del día.

...and not letting the power of the day crush you.

Caption 26, Andrés Manuel López Obrador - En campaña

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But there's a third verb that is close to aplastar and aplanar. It's a funny-sounding word (and one with a very polemic etymology by the way: here's a good article about it) that's perfect for crushing gooey, crunchy bugs because its sound is actually reminiscent of squeezing/smashing. We are talking about the verb apachurrar (to smash, to crush). A purist would say that Meli is not being extremely precise with language by using apachurrar in the context of making crafts:

Ya que tenemos una esferita como ésta,

Now that we have a little sphere like this one,

la vamos a apachurrar.

we are going to press it down.

Captions 41-42, Manos a la obra - Borradores y marcatextos

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You can see that she actually pressed down the little sphere quite gently, so maybe using aplanar or even aplastar would have been more accurate to describe what she is doing. But hey, who wouldn’t want to say apachurrar when you have mastered rolling your R's as nicely as she has!
You may have noticed that all three verbs, aplanaraplastar, and apachurrar, start with the prefix a-. This is because they belong to a group of Spanish verbs (verbos parasintéticos) that are created by adding the prefix a- or en- to nominal or adjectival forms. Some common examples are enamorar ("to fall in love" or "to inspire love"), apasionar (to be passionate about), encarcelar (to incarcerate) and atemorizar (to frighten). One verb in this group is alisar (to make smooth or straight), which has some resemblance in meaning to the verbs aplanar, aplastar, and apachurrar:

Además me acabo de... de alisar el cabello.

Besides I just finished... straightening my hair.

Caption 44, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso

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This is the end of this lesson. But ¡no te apachurres, no te aplanes, no te aplastes! ("Don't get depressed," get it?) We have many more lessons on the site!