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Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (In Spanish)

As the old song goes, "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do," in any language! That said, as there are an abundance of ways to describe the concept of "breaking up" in a relationship in Spanish, we thought we'd introduce you to several, many of which are featured in videos from our Yabla Spanish library. 

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Ways to Say "to Break Up" in Spanish

Interestingly, many common verbs with different meanings in everyday use can also mean "to break up" in Spanish in certain contexts. The way one chooses to speak about "breaking up" in Spanish will depend upon both regional tendencies and personal preference. Let's take a look at some of them:

 

1. Acabar con (alguien)

 

Starting with an example from our lesson on the verb acabar, literally meaning "to finish with," acabar con is one manner of saying "to break up" in Spanish:

 

Pienso acabar con mi novio.

I'm planning to break up with my boyfriend. 

 

2. Terminar (a alguien) 

 

The Spanish verb terminar also means "to finish," but it can also mean "to break up." So, naturally, terminar a alguien (literally "to finish someone") means "to break up with" that person. We encounter these expressions a lot in Colombian series like Los Años Maravillosos and Confidencial: El rey de la estafa:

 

Van a terminar.

They're going to break up.

Caption 64, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 1

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Andrea, Andrea, no me diga que es en serio que usted me va a terminar.

Andrea, Andrea, don't tell me it's serious that you're going to break up with me.

Caption 47, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 13

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3. Cortar 

 

Literally meaning "to cut" or "cut off," cortar is yet another Spanish verb used to speak about "breaking up" with someone:

 

No está enamorado de Andrea y no sabe cómo cortarla.

He's not in love with Andrea and doesn't know how to break up with her.

Caption 89, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 1

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4. Dejar 

 

The Spanish verb dejar means "to leave." Let's look at an example where the verb dejar in the preterite tense has been translated as "broke up with":

 

Salía con un chico, pero la dejó hace dos semanas.

She was dating a guy, but he broke up with her two weeks ago.

Captions 54-55, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y persona ideal

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Although this sentence may alternatively have been translated as "he left her two weeks ago," the English expression "to leave someone" is arguably used more commonly to talk about abandoning a longer-term relationship. So, in this context, where someone appears to have been dating someone for a shorter time, "to break up with" serves as a viable translation for the verb dejar

 

5. Pelearse

 

Although the Spanish verb pelearse typically means "to fight," "have an argument," or even "come to blows with," in certain countries like Argentina, it can also mean "to break up":

 

More, vos acabas de pelearte con Tomás,

More [Morena], you just broke up with Tomas,

Caption 49, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 1

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That said, should you hear se pelearon (literally "they fought") or están peleados (they're in a fight), additional clarification may be required. While in certain regions or contexts, these two utterances might simply describe people "in a fight" or "mad at each other," in others, they can mean "they broke up," "split up," or "are broken up" temporarily. 

 

6. Romper con 

 

The verb romper in Spanish can mean to "to break," as in an object, but when combined with the preposition con (with), it can additionally mean "to break up":

 

Ella rompió con su novio hace dos semanas.

She broke up with her boyfriend two weeks ago. 

 

Of course, the verb romper could also be used to describe the "breaking" of one's heart following the breakup: 

 

A las niñas, les rompen el corazón.

Girls, they get their hearts broken [literally, "they break their hearts"].

Captions 44-45, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 4 - Part 7

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Additional Spanish "Breakup" Verbs

Vamos a terminar ("Let's conclude," in this context) this lesson with two terms that should be easy to remember since they are very similar to their English counterparts:

 

7. Separarse

 

The Spanish verb separarse means "to get separated":

 

Pasa que mis viejos se separaron, por eso.

It so happens that my parents got separated, that's why.

Caption 38, Muñeca Brava 30 Revelaciones - Part 6

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8. Divorciarse

 

As you might guess, the Spanish verb divorciarse means "to get divorced":

 

Pero... como mis papás se divorciaron cuando yo tenía dos años y mi mamá no se volvió a casar...

But... since my parents got divorced when I was two years old, and my mother didn't remarry...

Captions 54-55, La Sub30 Familias - Part 2

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Now that we've provided you with a multitude of ways to say "to break up" in Spanish, te dejamos. But don't worry! We're not breaking up with you. We're just saying goodbye for today— and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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

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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

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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.

I'm sorry, excuse me.

Tengo que contestar esta llamada.

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

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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.

A girl called your cell phone.

Elena atendió, ella preguntó por vos y entonces Elena le dijo,

Elena answered, she asked for you and then Elena said to her,

"¿Quién habla?"

"Who is it?"

Y la mina colgó.

And the girl hung up.

Captions 43-45, Yago - 11 Prisión

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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.

I'm talking on the telephone.

Yo hablo por teléfono.

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?

How are you?

Muy bien.

Very well.

Y ahora que te oigo, de maravilla.

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.

Compliments in Spanish

When it comes to bringing good vibes and positive energy, there's nothing better than a nice compliment. In fact, we use compliments when we want to express respect, approval, or admiration for someone. With that being said, let's learn some easy ways to express compliments in Spanish.

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How do you say 'compliment' in Spanish?

First things first. There are various terms you can use for the word compliment in Spanish. The following are your options:

- Cumplido

- Elogio

- Halago

- Piropo

 

Keep in mind, however, that the word piropo is mostly used to indicate a short sentence that is concerned with the beauty of a woman:

 

En cambio vos no cambiaste nada;

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

estás más hermosa que nunca.

you're more beautiful than ever.

Caption 56, Yago - 11 Prisión

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Expressing congratulations before compliments in Spanish

Very often, compliments are preceded by some form of congratulations. Let's see that in action:

 

Los felicito, muchachos; eso está muy bien.

I congratulate you, kids; that's great.

Caption 36, Tu Voz Estéreo - Feliz Navidad

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Enhorabuena, Amaya... -Muchas gracias. -...por tu primera venta.

Congratulations, Amaya... -Thanks a lot. -...on your first sale.

Caption 77, Santuario para burros - Tienda solidaria

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Good job!

Do you know how to say 'good job' in Spanish? Let's see how to express one of the most common compliments:

 

Te felicito; buen trabajo, ¿eh?

I congratulate you; good job, huh?

Caption 49, Muñeca Brava - 47 Esperanzas

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Debo admitir que hiciste un excelente trabajo, realmente.

I must admit that you did an excellent job, really.

Caption 4, Muñeca Brava - 33 El partido

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Hello beautiful in Spanish

There are many ways to compliment a woman on her looks. Let's see some examples of compliments for women in Spanish:

 

Hola, guapa.

Hello, beautiful.

Caption 30, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 3

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Pasa. -Qué bonita que estás, ¿eh?

Come in. -How pretty you look, huh?

Caption 1, Yago - 12 Fianza

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Yo jamás dejaría plantada a una mujer tan guapa como esta.

I would never stand up a woman as beautiful as this one.

Caption 67, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capitulo 5

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Compliments with the verb gustar

The verb gustar (to like) is very useful when it comes to express compliments. Just like English, what you want to say is 'I like this of you':

 

Me gusta como sos. Me gusta tu pelo.

I like how you are. I like your hair.

Captions 80-81, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema

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You can also use similar verbs to express compliments in Spanish:

 

Es que me encanta cómo hablas.

It's just that I love the way you speak.

Caption 49, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 2

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¡Hey! Adoro tu caminar

Hey! I adore your walking

Caption 34, Huecco - Dame Vida

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Encouraging in Spanish with compliments

There are lots of compliments you can use when you want to encourage someone. Teachers, for example, use these kinds of compliments often with their students:

 

Perfecto, chicos. Muy bien.

Perfect, guys. Very good.

Caption 57, Clase Aula Azul - El verbo parecer

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Qué + positive word

A very common way of expressing compliments in Spanish consists of using the word qué (what) followed by a positive word (most of the time an adjective):

 

¡Qué buen observador eres!

What a good observer you are!

Caption 30, Guillermina y Candelario - El Mar enamorado

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¡Pero qué lindo dibujito!

But what a nice little drawing!

¡Mateo, qué bien está dibujado, che!

Mateo, how well it's drawn, wow!

Captions 41-42, Yago - 4 El secreto

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Quiero que todo el mundo sea feliz y contento.

I want everyone to be happy and content.

¡Muy bien! Qué bonito, ¿mmm?

Very good! How nice, hmm?

Captions 34-35, Clase Aula Azul - Pedir deseos

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Indirect compliments

Sometimes, we can express compliments or flatter someone by saying good things about something that is connected to that person:

 

Ay, me encanta tu camiseta azul. Gracias.

Oh, I love your blue shirt. Thank you.

Captions 3-4, Español para principiantes - Los colores

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Si, si lo criaste vos, tiene que ser un buen pibe.

If, if you raised him, he must be a good kid.

Caption 33, Yago - 6 Mentiras

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And that's it for today. Try practicing some of these compliments in Spanish and don't forget to send us your questions and comments.

 

¡Hasta la próxima!

Vocabulary

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How to Write and Use the Prefix Super in Spanish

Let's start this lesson with a little quiz. Do you know how to write "superhero" in Spanish? Choose one of the following:

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a. Super héroe

b. Superhéroe

c. Súper héroe

d. Súperheroe

 

If you don't know the answer, this lesson will help you to find out which one is the proper spelling.

 

The meaning of the prefix super in Spanish

 

When it works as a prefix, the word super has different meanings. Sometimes, it means 'above' like in the word superestructura (superstructure). It can also mean 'excellence' or 'superiority':

 

¿Con el superagente, Jaime Suárez?

With the super-agent, Jaime Suarez?

Caption 53, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 3

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In some words, the prefix super expresses the 'highest degree' of something: 

 

Eh... La iglesia es superhermosa.

Um... The church is super beautiful.

Caption 14, Bogotá - Una visita a la ciudad

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And finally, the prefix super can also indicate the 'excess' of something:

 

Ehm... Tenemos la... la... la... la... la superpoblación.

Um... We have (the... the... the... the... the) overpopulation.

Caption 50, Los médicos explican - Entrevista con el Doctor Suarez

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The meaning of the word súper (with an accent)

 

Have you ever seen the word súper with an accent? If you think that súper is the same as super (with no accent), you are wrong. The word súper needs the accent only in the following situations:

 

1. When it is used as a noun for the short form of the word supermercado (supermarket) or the type of gasoline:

 

Roberto fue al súper a comprar naranjas.

Roberto went to the supermarket to buy oranges. 

 

2. When it works as an adjective or adverb to express that someone or something is/was great:

 

Súper, y ¿qué le dijeron de Gastón Almanza?

Super, and what did they tell you about Gaston Almanza?

Caption 20, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 1

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The simplest thing to remember here is that the prefix super doesn't have a graphic accent.

 

How to write words that use the prefix super in Spanish

 

Believe it or not, there are many native Spanish speakers who don't know how to properly write words that are formed with the prefix super. The main rule, however, is quite simple: When writing, the prefix super should be connected to the word that follows. With that simple rule, we can answer the question we posed at the beggining of this lesson:

 

Y tengo de superhéroe lo que Juanes de vallenato

And I've got from a superhero what Juanes [has] from vallenato

Caption 30, Juanes - La Plata

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However, every rule has its exception and this rule has the following one:

 

Super followed by a hyphen

 

When the word that follows super starts with a capital letter or when this prefix is followed by a number, you need to add a hyphen:

 

super-Obama or super-10

 

Super separated by the word that follows it

 

You need to leave a space after super when it goes before a series of words that have their own meaning:

 

Yo siempre me he sentido super a gusto cantando al lado de ese grandísimo músico...

I have always felt pretty at home singing along this great musician...

Caption 50, David Bisbal - Haciendo Premonición Live

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That's it for today. We invite you to write 10 words with the prefix super. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

The Verb Volver

Although the verb, volver, is most often translated as "to return," it can actually take on a variety of meanings. Let's take a look at some of the many ways native Spanish speakers might use it in real-life situations. 

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The Basic Concept

Typically, the verb volver means "to return" or "come back." Like other Spanish verbs, it is very commonly used in its infinitive form in combination with such verbs as querer (to want) or ir (to go). Learning how to use the infinitive form of verbs within such phrases is actually very useful— particuarly if you haven't yet mastered the conjugation of such irregular verbs. Let's first take a look at volver in the infinitive: 

 

No quiero volver al hotel y el apartamento me gusta.

I don't want to go back to the hotel, and I like the apartment.

Captions 18-19, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 13

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Nada... voy a volver a última hora de la tarde, nada más.

None... I'm going to come back late in the afternoon, that's all.

Caption 54, Muñeca Brava 9 Engaños - Part 4

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Using Volver to Indicate Repetition (As "Again")

The verb volver can also be combined with other Spanish verbs to indicate the English concepts of "over" or "again." 

 

Pues espero volver a verte pronto

Well, I hope to see you again soon

Caption 93, Blanca y Mariona Vida en general

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The infinitive, volver, with the preposition a (literally "to," "at," etc.) can be linked with other Spanish verbs in phrases such as volver a vernos (to see each other again), volver a empezar (to start over), volver a entrar (to reenter), etc. Let's take a look at such examples of the formula, volver + + infinitive, where volver has been conjugated:

Pero bueno, cuando pueda, me vuelvo a inscribir en otro gimnasio y me meto.

But well, when I can, I'll sign up at another gym again, and I'll go. .

Caption 29, Patricia Marti - Diversión y Ejercicio

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Doblamos un pliego de papel china naranja a la mitad y volvemos a doblar a la mitad.

We fold a sheet of orange tissue paper in half and we fold it in half again.

Captions 65-66, Manos a la obra Papel picado para Día de muertos

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The Pronominal Form: Volverse

The verb, volver, also has a pronominal form: volverse, which can take on such diverse meanings as "to turn around," "to become," "to turn upside down," "to turn inside out," and "to go back," among others. Let's look at a few examples where volverse means "to become":

 

Porque nunca ha estudiado con niñas y como el colegio se volvió mixto, está temblando.

Because he has never studied with girls and since the school became mixed, he is shaking.

Caption 38, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 4

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Entonces, el asunto se vuelve más complicado.

So, the issue becomes more complicated.

Caption 32, Cuentas claras - Sobreviviendo enero - Part 3

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La diferencia de edad también se puede apreciar en el pico, que también se vuelve de color más rosáceo con la edad.

The age difference can also be seen in the beak, which also becomes more pinkish with age.

Captions 50-51, Rosa Laguna Fuente de Piedra

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Finally, the expression volverse loco or loca is very often used when people want to say that someone went crazy:

 

¿Mi hija se volvió loca, Papá?

Did my daughter go crazy, Dad?

Caption 28, Yago 6 Mentiras - Part 14

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

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