Spanish Lessons

Topics

Extranjerismos: Foreign Words Used in Spanish

Just like any other language, Spanish has adopted many words from different languages and cultures. These words are known in Spanish as extranjerismos, a term that comes from the word extranjero (foreign). That said, let's take a look at some of the most common words in Spanish that come from other languages.

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Arabismos- Words from the Arab World

Throughout the Middle Ages, the Spanish language adopted several Arabic words. Let's see some of them:

 

Alcalde (mayor)- from the original word alqáḍi

Soy Miguel Ángel Herrera, alcalde de Genalguacil,

I'm Miguel Angel Herrera, mayor of Genalguacil,

Captions 2-3, Viajando con Fermín Genalguacil - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Álgebra (algebra)- from the original word algĕbra

el álgebra, que estudia las estructuras abstractas,

algebra, which studies abstract structures,

Captions 48-49, Carlos explica Vocabulario de las matemáticas - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Azúcar (sugar)- from the original word assúkkar

con media taza de azúcar

with half a cup of sugar,

Caption 25, Ana Carolina Ponche navideño

 Play Caption

 

Guitarra (guitar)- from the original word qīṯārah

aprendí a tocar la guitarra de una manera diferente

I learned to play the guitar in a different manner

Caption 55, Luis Guitarra Influencias musicales - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Naranja (orange)- from the original word naranǧa

saben a naranja.

taste like orange.

Caption 34, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

If you hear the way Ariana pronounces the word naranja, you can notice the strong sound of the letter "j," which is a sound that the Spanish language took from the Arabic language. 

 

Galicismos- Words of French Origin

Just like in the English language, Spanish has also adopted many words derived from French. Let's see some of the most popular ones:

 

Bulevar (boulevard)- from the original word boulevard

hasta lo que hoy es conocido como el Bulevar donostiarra,

to what is known today as the "Bulevar donostiarra" [Donostiarra Boulevard]

Caption 28, Días festivos La Tamborrada de San Sebastián

 Play Caption

 

Chofer or chófer (driver)- from the original word chauffeur

que Amalia se quedó con él y con el chofer, ¿sí?

because Amalia stayed with him and with the driver, right?

Caption 28, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 9

 Play Caption

 

Élite or Elite (elite)- from the original word élite

unas estructuras de poder muy basadas en la élite, en la exclusión.

some power structures [that were] very based on the elite, on exclusion.

Caption 12, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 1 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Indigenismos- Words from Indigenous Languages

Many words from various indigenous Latin American cultures were incorporated into the Spanish language after the arrival of the Spaniards to the Americas. The following are some of the most popular words:

 

Caucho (rubber)- from the original Quechua word kawchu

Ellos jugaban con una pelota de caucho

They played with a rubber ball

Caption 85, Guillermo el chamán La cosmología de los mayas

 Play Caption

 

Maraca (maraca)- from the original Guaraní word mbaracá

guitarra, cuatro, güiro, maraca, bongo,

guitar, cuatro, güiro, maraca, bongo [drum],

Caption 32, Sonido Babel La plena de Puerto Rico

 Play Caption

 

Papa (potato)- from the original Quechua word papa

En los Andes se usa mucha papa y muchas cremas.

In the Andes, many potatoes are used and many creams.

Captions 75-76, Recetas de cocina Papa a la Huancaína

 Play Caption

 

Tomate (tomato)- from the original Nahuatl word tomatl

¿Qué es realmente el tomate?

What really is the tomato?

Caption 30, Fermín Ensalada de tomate

 Play Caption

 

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

 

Italianismos- Words from the Italian Language

Many Italian words made their way into the Spanish language during the Renaissance. Let's check out two of them:

 

Balcón (balcony)- from the original word balcone

Tomo unos mates en el balcón

I have some servings of mate on the balcony

Caption 7, GoSpanish La rutina diaria de Sol

 Play Caption

 

Novela (novel)- from the original word novella

basada en una novela de Paul van Loon

based on a novel by Paul van Loon

Caption 4, Europa Abierta Fucsia la pequeña bruja

 Play Caption

 

Anglicismos- Words from the English language

And last but not least, we have extranjerismos that come from the English language. Here a few:

 

Club (club)

que hagan un perímetro por dentro y por fuera del club, vaya.

that they should surround us inside and outside the club, come on.

Caption 13, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 12

 Play Caption

 

Fútbol or futbol (football/soccer)

El fútbol es un deporte que fue inventado en Inglaterra

Soccer is a sport that was invented in England

Caption 8, Sergio El fútbol en España

 Play Caption

 

In this translation, we used the word "soccer" instead of "football." However, the Spanish word comes from the original British term "football."

 

Líder (leader)

La India Catalina era la líder de la tribu indígena que habitó en la ciudad, anteriormente llamada la Isla Calamarí.

India Catalina was the leader of the indigenous tribe who inhabited the city, previously called Calamari Island.

Captions 26-27, Viajando en Colombia Cartagena en coche - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

Turista (tourist)

una ciudad cosmopolita, luminosa y que pone al servicio del turista una amplia variedad de infraestructuras.

a cosmopolitan, luminous city that puts at the service of the tourist a wide variety of infrastructures.

Captions 10-11, Málaga Semana Santa

 Play Caption

 

That's all for this lesson. We hope you enjoyed this list of foreign-influenced words in Spanish. Can you think of any additional extranjerismos in Spanish? Don't forget to let us know with your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

 

Signup to get Free Spanish Lessons sent by email



Muy vs. Mucho in Spanish

Should you use mucho or muyDo you know how to say the Spanish words muy and mucho in English? What is the difference between muy vs. mucho in Spanish? 

 

Definitions of Muy vs. Mucho

Simply put, muy in English would be "very" or "really," while mucho in English means "many," "much," or "a lot." However, as these words can wear muchos sombreros (a lot of hats), muy vs. mucho can be un concepto muy difícil (a very difficult concept) for many English speakers. 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Muy + Adjective

When muy is accompanied by an adjective, the adjective that modifies the noun must agree with that noun in terms of gender and number. The "good news," however, is that the word muy itself always stays the same, regardless of whether the noun it modifies is singular or plural or masculine or feminine. Let's take a look:

 

es un artista plástico español muy reconocido.

is a very famous fine art artist.

Caption 14, Amaya Vínculo: un mural muy especial

 Play Caption

 

¡estos plátanos son muy pequeños!

these bananas are very small!

Caption 30, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

 Play Caption

 

Es una ciudad muy linda que tiene un cri'... clima primaveral.

It's a very beautiful city that has a spri'... spring-like climate.

Caption 47, Cleer Entrevista con Jacky

 Play Caption

 

Las ranas son definitivamente las mejores maestras en salto.muhy Pero son muy vanidosas.

Frogs are definitely the best jumping masters. But they're very full of themselves.

Captions 22-23, Guillermina y Candelario Una Amiga muy Presumida - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Just to reiterate, although the adjectives are singular or plural and masculine or feminine, in agreement with their corresponding nouns, the word muy always remains the same. 

 

Muy + Adverb

The word muy in Spanish also remains the same when accompanying an adverb, which modifies a verb, as in the following examples:

 

Con un poco de práctica, podremos aprender estas reglas muy fácilmente

With a bit of practice, we will be able to learn these rules very easily.

Caption 55, Carlos explica Acentuación Cap. 3: La división en sílabas - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Kristen, por ejemplo, tú has dicho, muy rápidamente,

Kristen, for example, you've said, very quickly,

Caption 11, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

When constructing or understanding sentences with muy in Spanish, how will you know whether you are contending with an adjective or an adverb? When you see a word that ends with the suffix -mente (equivalent to -ly in English), as in the examples above, you can be sure you have an adverb. However, as not all adverbs take this form and some words can function as either adjectives or adverbs, depending upon the context, it can sometimes be tough to tell the difference. Let's take a look at an example with the word rápido, which may be used as an adverb in lieu of rápidamente:

 

porque lo hacen muy rápido

because they do it very quickly.

Caption 46, Animales en familia Señales de calma y cosquillas en los perros

 Play Caption

 

Like the English word "fast," rápido can function as an adjective when describing a noun (e.g. un carro rápido/a fast car) or an adverb when describing an action (el carro va rápido/the car goes fast) to talk about something that happens "fast" or "quickly." The tricky aspect of this is that, while rápido would need to agree in terms of gender and number when employed as an adjective (e.g. unos carros rápidos), as an adverb, it remains the same (in its masculine singular form) regardless of the number of people or objects performing the action. Let's see one more example:

 

Vamos a trabajar muy fuerte.

We're going to work very hard.

Caption 29, Documental de Alejandro Fernandez Viento A Favor - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Note that as always, the word muy is unchanging, and because fuerte (strong, hard, etc.) works as an adverb here, it remains unchanged, in its singular form, as well. Were it an adjective, on the other hand, gender and number would need to be taken into account, as in the example "Somos muy fuertes" (We are very strong). 

 

Mucho as an Adjective: Mucho + Noun

Moving on to the word mucho in Spanish, taking into account what we have learned thus far regarding adjectives and adverbs, let's examine how this word can function as either of these parts of speech. To start, when mucho functions as an adjective, it must agree in terms of number and gender with the noun it modifies. Let's look:

 

¿Sí? No tengo mucho tiempo libre ahora. 

Right? I don't have a lot of free time now.

Caption 20, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

La verdad es que yo he tenido muchos perros,

The truth is that I've had many dogs,

Caption 50, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 11

 Play Caption
 

En Málaga, hay mucha gente con tus mismos síntomas. 

In Malaga, there are a lot of people with your same symptoms.

Caption 20, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

muchas personas les gusta ir de vacaciones allí 

A lot of people like to go on vacation there

Caption 22, El Aula Azul Adivina el país - Part 1

 Play Caption
 

As you can see in these examples that employ masculine singular/plural and feminine singular/plural nouns, the form mucho takes (mucho, muchos, mucha, or muchas) changes in accordance with the noun it modifies. 

 

Mucho as an Adverb: Mucho + Verb

In contrast, when mucho functions as an adverb, modifying a verb, it is always mucho in the singular/masculine form, and the gender/quantity of the noun or verb has no effect on it. Let's look at some examples:

 

¿Se utiliza mucho el ajo en los platos peruanos?

Is garlic used a lot in Peruvian dishes?

Caption 19, Recetas de cocina Papa a la Huancaína

 Play Caption

 

Estos ejercicios ayudan mucho

These exercises really help

Caption 59, Bienestar con Elizabeth Relajación

 Play Caption

 

Me gusta mucho este parque.

I really like this park.

Caption 9, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

Sí, me gustan mucho las uvas.

Yes, I like grapes a lot.

Caption 21, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

Mucho/os/a/as as a Pronoun

To conclude our discussion on muy vs. mucho, note that the word mucho and its corresponding feminine/plural alternatives can be used as pronouns to replace nouns that have been mentioned or implied. Notice that the pronoun forms of mucho must agree in gender and number with the nouns they replace, as follows:

 

¿Se encuentran aquí buenas cositas o no, buenas gangas? -Sí, sí, sí. -¿Sí? -Muchas

Can you find good stuff here or not, good bargains? -Yes, yes, yes. -Yes? -Many.

Captions 102-103, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 14

 Play Caption
 
 

Sí. -¿Que mucha más gente viene ahora? Sí, mucha. -Yo tengo un niño pequeño entonces...

Yes. -That a lot more people come now? Yes, a lot. -I have a small child so...

Captions 43-44, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 16

 Play Caption
 

Puedes ver que no tenemos muchos porque hemos vendido últimamente bastantes.

You can see that we don't have many because we have sold quite a few lately.

Captions 46-47, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 11

 Play Caption
 

While you can clearly see in the first two examples that the word mucho changes forms (to mucha and muchas) to agree with the feminine singular and plural nouns it replaces (cositas/gangas and gente), the third example is notable because the noun being replaced by the masculine plural form muchos is not immediately apparent. However, since the conversation in question, which began several captions earlier, involves cars (the masculine plural noun, los coches), the masculine plural form muchos must be utilized to express the idea of "many" in this context. 

 

We hope that this lesson has helped to clarify the difference between muy vs. mucho in Spanish since sus muchos usos y matices pueden resultar muy difíciles (their many uses and nuances can be very difficult) for English speakers. We welcome any insight you might have on mucho vs. muy in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

Signup to get Free Spanish Lessons sent by email



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.

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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

 Play Caption

 

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.

A punto vs. Apunto

Do you know how to use a punto as opposed to apunto? Do you know the meaning of the expression "estar a punto de"? Let's start this lesson with a little quiz. Which term would you use in the following sentences, a punto or apunto?:

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Te ______ en la lista de pacientes.

I'll write you down on the patient list.

 

What about this one?:

En 1985, Colombia estuvo ______ de conseguir la paz.

In 1985, Colombia was about to achieve peace.

 

Let's review the meaning of a punto and apunto.

 

The meaning of a punto

A punto is an adverbial phrase that can be used in the following two ways:

 

1. To indicate that something is ready for the end it has been prepared for.

2. As a synonym of "timely" or "on time". 

 

Here's one example:

 

¿Esto lo hago hasta que quede a punto de nieve?

Shall I do this until it forms peaks [literally "until it looks like snow"]?

-Has'... Ah, no, eh... -Claro.

-Unt'... Oh, no, um... -Of course.

Caption 9, Ricardo - La compañera de casa

 Play Caption

 

A punto de + infinitive

While the adverbial phrase a punto is used fairly often, the most common use of a punto is when it's part of the prepositional phrase a punto de + infinitive verb. In terms of its meaning, we use a punto de + infinitive verb when we want to say that something is or was about to happen. In fact, you can think of a punto de as the English equivalent "about to". Let's look at a couple of examples:

 

La señora pulpo me contó que tenía muchos hijitos a punto de nacer.

Lady octopus told me that she had many children about to be born.

Captions 21-22, Guillermina y Candelario - La Señora Pulpo

 Play Caption

 

Estoy súper emocionada, pues estoy a punto de ingresar

I'm super excited because I'm about to enter

a uno de los lugares más emblemáticos.

one of the most symbolic places.

Captions 10-12, Paseando con Karen - Barrio Antiguo

 Play Caption

 

Cuando estaba a punto de huir y regresar a mi casa,

When I was about to flee and go back home,

hubo un milagro que salvó mi bachillerato.

there was a miracle that saved my high school diploma.

Captions 18-19, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1 - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

If you keep in mind the last two sentences, it is worth mentioning that most of the time in Spanish we use the verb estar (to be) before a punto de + infinitive verb. As we mentioned previously, we use this formula for sentences in the past as well as the present.

 

What about the meaning of apunto?

Now that you know how to use a punto and a punto de, we can say that apunto (one word) corresponds to the first person singular of the verb apuntar in the present tense. Apuntar can mean:

 

To point out something

To take notes or write down something

To subscribe to something

 

Let's see an example:

 

A cogerlos con la mano, me apunto.

For taking them with my hand, I'll sign up.

-Cógelo con las manos.

-Take it with your hands.

Caption 25, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa

 Play Caption

 

So, now that we have revealed the meanings and uses of both a punto and apunto, it's time to see the answers to the quiz we used to introduce this lesson:

 

Te apunto en la lista de pacientes.

I'll write you down on the patient list.

Caption 27, Ariana - Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

En mil novecientos ochenta y cinco, sucedieron muchas cosas buenas.

In nineteen eighty-five, many good things happened.

Colombia estuvo a punto de conseguir la paz.

Colombia was about to achieve peace.

Captions 2-3, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1 - Part 2

 Play Caption

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

And that's it for now. We hope you enjoyed this lesson and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

100 Hard Spanish Words to Say Correctly

Are you ready to learn some hard Spanish words? Don’t worry! We don’t want to scare you but rather we would like to highlight some of the issues that transform even simple words into difficult ones. Let’s review the following list featuring 100 of the most difficult Spanish words for English speakers

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

 

Hard Spanish words to pronounce

 

Pronunciation is definitely the issue to keep in mind when we talk about hard Spanish words. In fact, if you are a native English speaker, there are several sounds that are quite challenging. Let’s start with some of the most difficult words to pronounce in Spanish for English speakers. We have divided these words in groups according to the pronunciation challenge they represent.

 

That J sound

 

For many foreigners, words with the letter “j” are some of the most difficult Spanish words to say. If you are an English speaker, you can try to say the “j” in Spanish as a very strong “h” in English. Think of how you pronounce the letter “h” in the word ham. Let’s take a look: 

 

1. Ají (chili or bell pepper)

¿Ají?

"Ají" [chili pepper]?

Caption 37, Ricardo - La compañera de casa

 Play Caption

 

2. Bajo (short)

Es bajo, es gordo.

He's short, he's fat.

Caption 33, El Aula Azul - Mis Primos

 Play Caption

 

3. Caja (box)

...y ellos también mandaron una caja grandísima.

...and they also sent a huge box.

Caption 25, Diana Quintana - En Navidad regalemos una sonrisa

 Play Caption

 

4. Anaranjado (orange)

Adentro, son de color anaranjado.

Inside, they are orange-colored.

Caption 13, Otavalo - Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

 Play Caption

 

5. Empujar (to push)

 

6. Equipaje (luggage)

¿Puedo dejar aquí mi equipaje?

Can I leave my luggage here?

Caption 59, Cleer y Lida - Recepción de hotel

 Play Caption

 

7. Espantapájaros (scarecrow)

8. Cojear (to limp)

9. Injusticia (injustice)

 

10. Jamón (ham)

Fíjate: jamón, Javier.

Check it out: ham, Javier.

Caption 27, Fundamentos del Español - 10 - La Pronunciación

 Play Caption

 

11. Jirafa (giraffe)

12. Jornada (day)

13. Jota (J - the sound of the letter J in Spanish)

 

14. Jugar (to play)

También podemos jugar a las cartas.

We can also play cards.

Caption 12, Clara y Cristina - Hablan de actividades

 Play Caption

 

15. Junio (June)

16. Lujoso (luxurious)

 

17. Lejano (far, far away)

Érase una vez en un lejano reino, ahí vivía una joven niña.

Once upon a time in a faraway kingdom, there lived a young girl.

Caption 2, Cuentos de hadas - La Cenicienta

 Play Caption

 

18. Majo (nice)

19. Mojado (wet)

20. Pájaro (bird)

21. Sonrojar (to blush)

22. Tajada (slice)

 

That G sound

 

Just as it happens with the letter “j,”, there are several tricky words in Spanish with the letter “g”. What’s hard about this consonant is that there is a soft and a hard way to pronounce it. For example, you have a soft “g” in the word gato (cat). Think about the pronunciation of the syllable “ga” in the word gather. On the other hand, you have a hard “g” in the word gente (people), which is kind of similar to how you pronounce the “h” in the word helmet. Let’s see some tough Spanish words with the letter “g”:

 

23. Acogedor (cozy, welcoming)

Perfecto, porque es un barco muy marinero, muy acogedor para la gente.

Perfect, because it's a very seaworthy boat, very welcoming for the people.

Caption 16, La Gala - El bote de Dalí

 Play Caption

 

24. Agente (agent)

25. Agitar (shake)

26. Aguja (needle)

 

27. Agujero (hole)

Tiene un cuerpo con un agujero en el centro.

It has a body with a hole in the center.

Caption 45, Karla e Isabel - Instrumentos musicales

 Play Caption

 

28. Apagar (to turn off)

 

29. Coger (to take, to get)

El segundo paso es coger la cebolla.

The second step is to get the onion.

Caption 25, Clara cocina - Una tortilla española

 Play Caption

 

30. Garganta (throat)

Me duele la garganta.

My throat hurts.

Caption 11, Ariana - Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

31. General (general)

En general, los nombres acabados en "a" son femeninos.

In general, nouns ending in "a" are feminine.

Caption 10, Fundamentos del Español - 2 - Nombres y Género

 Play Caption

 

32. Geneaología (genealogy)

33. Geología (geology)

 

34. Gigante (giant, gigantic)

Una de las piezas más llamativas es este ajedrez gigante.

One of the most appealing pieces is this gigantic chess board.

Caption 35, Europa Abierta - Taller de escenografía en Olivares

 Play Caption

 

35. Ginecólogo (gynecologist)

36. Girasol (sunflower)

37. Guapo (handsome)

38. Juguetón (playful)

39. Tangible (tangible)

40. Tigre (tiger)

41. Zoológico (zoo)

 

That double RR sound

 

There are plenty of tricky words in Spanish with the strong sound of the double “rr”. The following are some of them: 

 

42. Aburrido (bored)

Ah, esto está muy aburrido, ni siquiera se entiende.

Oh, this is very boring, you can't even understand it.

Caption 24, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 2

 Play Caption

 

43. Carrera (career)

El presidente empezó su carrera política...

The president began his political career...

Caption 29, Lecciones con Carolina - El gerundio

 Play Caption

 

44. Carretera (road)

 

45. Carro (car)

¿Ha venido en carro?

Have you come in a car?

Caption 64, Cleer y Lida - Recepción de hotel

 Play Caption

 

46. Correr (to run)

 

47. Desarrollar (Develop)

Pero el reto era desarrollar proyectos de biomedicina.

But the challenge was to develop biomedical projects.

Caption 10, Club de las ideas - Lego Fest en Sevilla

 Play Caption

 

48. Error (mistake)

Esto es un error.

This is a mistake.

Caption 21, Lecciones con Carolina - Errores comunes

 Play Caption

 

49. Ferrocarril (railroad, train)

...en un carrito tipo ferrocarril tirado por un caballo.

...in a little train-like car pulled by a horse.

Caption 8, Mérida y sus alrededores - Haciendas de Cuzamá

 Play Caption

 

50. Garrote (club)

 

51. Guerra (war)

La palabra más fea es guerra.

The ugliest word is war.

Caption 61, Karla e Isabel - Palabras

 Play Caption

 

52. Guitarra (guitar)

53. Herradura (horseshoe)

54. Irresponsable (irresponsible)

55. Morral (backpack)

56. Ornitorrinco (platypus)

 

57. Perro (dog)

Se escucha un perro.

You can hear a dog.

Caption 43, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

 Play Caption

 

58. Puertorriqueño (Puerto Rican)

 

That TR sound

 

Without any doubt, words that have a syllable where the consonant “t” is followed by the consonant “r,” are some of the most difficult words for English speakers to pronounce in Spanish. If you want to improve this sound, please listen carefully to some of the audio clips we have included for the next set of words.

 

59. Abstracto (abstract)

60. Astronomía (astronomy)

 

61. Astrología (astrology)

...y voy a entender lo que es la astrología.

...and I am going to understand what astrology is.

Caption 60, Conversaciones con Luis - Astrología

 Play Caption

 

62. Atracción (atraction)

Porque es en el centro... el sitio donde hay mayor atracción.

Because it's at the center... the place where there are more attractions.

Caption 21, Yabla en Lima - Miraflores

 Play Caption

 

63. Cuatro (four)

Número cuatro: microscopio.

Number four: microscope.

Caption 19, Aprendiendo con Karen - Útiles escolares

 Play Caption

 

64. Entretener (to entertain)

65. Entretenido (entertaining)

66. Patrón (patron)

67. Patrulla (patrol)

68. Petróleo (oil)

69. Poltrona (easy chair)

70. Potro (colt)

 

71. Tradicion (tradition)

Uno de los mitos más conocidos de la tradición indígena colombiana.

One of the best known myths of the indigenous Colombian tradition.

Caption 13, Aprendiendo con Carlos - América precolombina - Mitos y leyendas Muiscas

 Play Caption

 

72. Traicionar (to betray)

 

73. Trampa (trap)

No, no, me tendió una trampa y yo caí.

No, no, she set a trap for me and I fell into it.

Caption 29, Muñeca Brava - 44 El encuentro

 Play Caption

 

74. Treinta y tres (thirty-three)

Treinta y tres

Thirty-three

Caption 49, Español para principiantes - Los números del 1 al 100

 Play Caption

 

75. Tres (three)

76. Trilogía (trilogy)

 

77. Triste

Estoy triste.

I am sad.

Caption 10, El Aula Azul - Estados de ánimo

 Play Caption

 

78. Tronco (trunk)

 

All those vowels

 

Unlike English, Spanish vowels are very clearly defined. Five vowels equals five sounds, period. While that may sound simple, the problem is that English speakers are used to pronouncing vowels in many more different ways. Here are some hard Spanish words that highlight this challenge.

 

79. Aguacate (avocado)

Este es guacamole hecho con aguacate...

This is guacamole made ​​with avocado...

Caption 33, Tacos Emmanuel - Cómo hacer tacos de pescado

 Play Caption

 

80. Estadounidense (American)

Paul es estadounidense, de los Estados Unidos.

Paul is American, from the United States.

Caption 16, Carlos explica - Geografía y gentilicios

 Play Caption

 

81. Eucalipto (eucalyptus)

82. Euforia (euphoria)

83. Idiosincrasia (idiosyncrasy)

84. Licuadora (blender)

 

85. Paraguas (umbrella)

Voy a coger un paraguas, por si acaso.

I am going to grab an umbrella, just in case.

Caption 42, Clara explica - El tiempo - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

86. Triángulo (triangle)

Después pones este triángulo con la base hacia abajo.

Afterwards you put this triangle with the base toward the bottom.

Caption 42, Manos a la obra - Separadores de libros: Charmander

 Play Caption

 

87. Vergüenza (shame)

 

Longest Spanish words

 

There is a ‘cute’ joke in Spanish that goes like this: 

 

- Do you know what the longest word in Spanish is?

- No. What is it?

- Arroz (rice)! 

- Arroz? That’s a very short word.

- No, arroz is the longest word in Spanish because it starts with ‘a’ and ends with ‘z’!

 

Of course, that’s only a joke! Arroz is one of the easiest words in Spanish. However, the following are some of the most challenging and longest Spanish words:

 

88. Electroencefalograma (electroencephalogram)

89. Esternocleidomastoideo (sternocleidomastoid)

90. Contrarrevolucionario (counter-revolutionary)

91. Constitucionalidad (constitutionality)

92. Internacionalización (internalization)

93. Otorrinolaringólogo (otolaryngologist)

 

Apart from these very complicated words, all those adverbs that end in -mente are also some of the longest Spanish words. Let’s look at a few:

 

94. Constitucionalmente (constitutionally)

 

95. Desafortunadamente (unfortunately)

Cuando tú creces, desafortunadamente te das cuenta que.

When you grow up, unfortunately, you realize that.

Caption 23, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 9

 Play Caption

 

96. Desconsoladamente (inconsolably)

97. Fuertemente (heavily)

 

 

98. Tradicionalmente (traditionally)

Y nos dedicamos al cultivo del champiñón tradicionalmente.

And we are dedicated to the cultivation of the mushroom traditionally.

Caption 4, La Champiñonera - El cultivo de champiñón

 Play Caption

 

99. Tristemente (sadly)

 

And finally, can you think of any Spanish word that has all the vowels on it? We have a long word for you, which is actually quite short in English:

 

100. Murciélago (bat)

La palabra más larga es murciélago.

The longest word is bat.

Caption 43, Karla e Isabel - Palabras

 Play Caption

 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

That's it for now. We know that there are many more hard Spanish words that we should include in this list. If you feel like it, please share some additional difficult Spanish words with us, and we’ll be happy to add them to this lesson. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

 

Signup to get Free Spanish Lessons sent by email



Regular AR Verbs in Spanish

In the Spanish language, all infinitive verbs belong to one of the following groups: verbs ending in ‘-ar’, verbs ending in ‘-er and verbs ending in ‘-ir.

 

Likewise, each infinitive verb is formed using the following formula:

Verb stem + infinitive ending.

 

Let’s look at some of the most common regular ‘AR’ verbs in Spanish:

 

Hablar (to speak) = Habl + ar

Comprar (to buy) = Compr + ar

Estudiar  (to study) = Estudi + ar

 

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

What makes a verb regular?

A verb is considered regular when the verb stem doesn’t change from the infinitive form to the conjugated form of the verb. Let’s take the regular verb hablar (to speak) and see its conjugation in the simple present. Notice how the stem stays the same but the endings vary:

 

Yo hablo (I speak)

Tú hablas (You speak)

Él/Ella habla (He/She speaks)

Nosotros/as hablamos (We speak)

Vosotros/as habláis (You speak)

Ellos/as hablan (They speak)

 

 

... o cuando mis alumnos hablan español.

... or when my students speak Spanish.

Caption 84, Lecciones con Carolina - Adjetivos posesivos

 Play Caption

 

Now, let’s take the regular verb comprar (to buy) and see how the conjugation works in the simple past:

 

Yo compré (I bought)

Tú compraste (You bought)

Él/Ella compró (He/She bought)

Nosotros/as compramos (We bought)

Vosotros/as comprasteis (You bought)

Ellos/as compraron (They bought)

 

 

¿Recuerdas el regalo que compré? -Mm-hm.

Do you remember the gift that I bought? -Mm-hm.

Caption 17, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos - El pasado

 Play Caption

 

Let’s use a different verb to see the conjugation of a regular ‘AR’ verb in the simple future. Let’s take the verb estudiar (to study):

 

Yo estudiaré (I will study)

Tú estudiarás (You will study)

Él/Ella estudiará (He/She will study)

Nosotros/as estudiaremos (We will study)

Vosotros/as estudiaréis (You will study)

Ellos/as estudiarán (They will study)

 

 

La Comisaría de Pesca dice que estudiará la forma de pagar esa indemnización.

The Fisheries Commissioner says that she will evaluate the way to pay that compensation.

Caption 50, Europa Abierta - Aguas en discordia

 Play Caption

 

Do you want to know more regular ‘AR’ verbs in Spanish?

Take a look at the following list featuring some of the most used 'AR' verbs in Spanish:

 

Cantar (to sing) 

Ahora puedo cantar.

Now I can sing.

Caption 36, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

Bailar (to dance) 

nos gusta bailar, nos gusta disfrutar,

we like to dance, we like to have fun,

Caption 34, Días festivos La diablada pillareña - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

In this example, the speaker also uses another -ar verb in Spanish: disfrutar (to have fun/to enjoy).

 

Bajar (to go down) 

Y ahora, voy a bajar.

And now, I am going to go down.

Caption 15, Raquel Las direcciones

 Play Caption

 

Caminar (to walk) 

Comenzó a caminar sin rumbo fijo.

He began to walk with no particular destination in mind.

Caption 39, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Contestar (to answer) 

Tengo que contestar esta llamada.

I have to answer this call.

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

 Play Caption

 

Descansar (to rest) 

Me encanta descansar un poquito después del trabajo.

I love to rest a little bit after work.

Caption 21, Ariana Mi Casa

 Play Caption

 

Entrar (to enter) 

para entrar en nuevos mercados.

to enter into new markets.

Caption 6, Negocios Problemas laborales - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Escuchar (to listen to) 

Tómate un tiempo para escuchar,

Take some time to listen to,

Caption 17, Ana Carolina Mejorando la pronunciación

 Play Caption

 

Limpiar (to clean)

Ahora sólo me falta limpiar mi mesa de noche.

Now I just have to clean my nightstand.

Caption 27, Ana Carolina Arreglando el dormitorio

 Play Caption

 

Now, a final challenge: take one of the verbs we just mentioned and try conjugating it in simple present, past and future. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.

 

banner3 PLACEHOLDER

 

Explore more lessons:

Spanish Reflexive Verbs for Your Daily Routine

Is Agua Masculine or Feminine?

How to Say "Cool" in Spanish

 

The Many Facets of the Verb Encontrar

While the most common translation for the Spanish verb encontrar is "to find," this verb is quite versatile and can be used to express a plethora of ideas. Let's take a look at some notable examples. 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

As previously stated, encontrar most typically means "to find" in the sense of "locate" or "discover," as in the following examples:
 

desde Argentina hasta México, podemos encontrar cumbia.

from Argentina to Mexico, we can find cumbia.

Caption 24, Sonido Babel La cumbia

 Play Caption

 

Pero abuelo, yo encontré muchas cosas para hacer el regalo de Guillermina 

But Grandpa, I found a lot of things to make Guillermina's gift

Caption 14, Guillermina y Candelario La Peluqueria del Mar - Part 2

 Play Caption
 

However, the verb encontrar has several additional uses. It is frequently seen in its reflexive form, encontrarse, which, similarly to the verb estar, can mean "to be" or "find oneself":

 

Porque Barcelona se encuentra entre el mar y la montaña.

Because Barcelona is located between the sea and the mountains.

Caption 14, Blanca - Sobre la ciudad de Barcelona

 Play Captio

 

Sí, el Señor Aldo Sirenio no se encuentra en este momento en la empresa.

Yes, Mister Aldo Sirenio is not at the company at the moment.

Caption 35, Yago 5 La ciudad - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

La gente verdaderamente se encuentra muy preocupada.

People are truly very worried.

Caption 19, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1 - Part 3

 Play Caption

 

Note that, like the verb estar (to be), encontrarse can refer to physical location, a temporary state of being, or the fact of being physically present. For this reason, any of the previous examples could be replaced by the verb estar with no change in translation as follows: 

 

-Porque Barcelona está entre el mar y la montaña

-Sí, el Señor Aldo Sirenio no está en este momento en la empresa.

-La gente verdaderamente está muy preocupada

 

Now, let's look at an example where encontrarse might be more literally translated as "to find onself":

 

De nuevo me encuentro sin un solo centavo

Again I find myself without a single cent

Caption 40, Control Machete El Apostador

 Play Caption

 

Another use of encontrarse is comparable to the verb sentirse (to feel) in Spanish:
 

Bueno Adrián, ¿qué tal estás? ¿Cómo te encuentras

Well Adrian, how are you? How do you feel?

Captions 5-6, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

 Play Caption
 

Quiero pedir una cita para hoy porque no me encuentro bien.

I want to make an appointment for today because I don't feel well.

Captions 9-10, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

That said, should a Spanish speaker ask you, "¿Cómo te encuentras?" ("How are you?" or "How do you feel?"), possible answers might include, "Estoy bien" (I'm well), "Más o menos" (OK), or "Me siento mal" (I feel bad). Just don't say "Estoy aquí" (I'm here) since this question most definitely does not refer to your whereabouts! If the question is "¿Dónde te encuentras?" (Where are you?), on the other hand, "Estoy en casa" (I'm at home), or wherever you might be, would be a perfectly acceptable response.

Additionally, the reflexive verb encontrarse con can mean either "to meet" in a planned fashion or "to run into" by chance:

 

Eh, mi hermanito menor se encontró con la noviecita. 

Hey, my little brother met up with his little girlfriend.

Caption 24, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 7

 Play Caption

 

Imagínate abuelo, que cuando regresábamos de la escuela nos encontramos con mi amiga, la rana. 

Imagine, Grandpa, that when we were coming back from school, we ran into my friend, the frog.

Captions 16-18, Guillermina y Candelario Una Amiga muy Presumida - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

In fact, el encuentro is also a noun which can mean either a planned or chance meeting or encounter.

 

Now, let's look at some alternative meanings of the regular (non-reflexive) form of encontrar, which can also be used in a similar manner as the verb parecer (to seem): 

 

Bueno, doctor, y a mi enfermito ¿cómo lo encuentra?

Well, Doctor, and my little patient, how is he?

Captions 23-24, El Ausente - Acto 1 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

si al mundo lo encuentras enfermizo, delirante y brutal

if you find the world sickly, delirious and brutal

Caption 2, SiZu Yantra - Bienvenido

 Play Caption


Although the first example could literally be translated as "How do you find him?" a viable Spanish alternative could be ¿Cómo le parece? (How does he seem to you?), as the doctor is essentially being questioned about his opinion regarding the state of the patient. As the second example also uses the concept of "finding" to describe one's opinion, si el mundo le parece enfermizo (if the world seems sickly to you) expresses a similar idea. 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Finally, like in English, encontrar can be used to indicate a determination of fact, or "finding":

 

El jurado lo encontró culpable por robo en primer grado.  

The jury found him guilty of first-degree theft. 

 

These are just some of the many uses of the verb encontrar. We hope that you have found them useful y que no te encuentres muy agobiado/a (you don't feel too overwhelmed). And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions!

 

Grammar Verbs

Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps!

How can we express the idea of "maybe" or "perhaps" in Spanish? Although a lo mejor, quizá(s), and tal vez are often used interchangeably, let's take a look at some of the nuances of each as well as exploring some additional options. 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

A lo mejor

Despite its literal translation ("at the best"), the Spanish expression a lo mejor is used colloquially to express the idea of "perhaps" or "maybe." A lo mejor can fall anywhere in a sentence, and the verb that follows it is always conjugated in the indicative rather than the subjunctive. Let's take a look:

 

He pensado que como tú tienes más experiencia en estos temas, a lo mejor me puedes ayudar.

I've thought that since you have more experience in these matters, maybe you can help me.

Captions 7-8, Raquel y Marisa Español Para Negocios - Nuestro perfil profesional en la red

 Play Caption

 

Quién sabe, a lo mejor a partir de ahora confías un poquito más en ella.

Who knows? Maybe from now on, you'll trust it a little bit more.

Caption 72, Club de las ideas Intuición - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Tal vez

Tal vez is more typically (but not always) placed at the beginning of a sentence and can be used with either the indicative or the subjunctive

 

Tal vez cure el tiempo las heridas que dejaste en mi vida y que marcaste en mi alma

Perhaps time will cure the wounds that you left in my life and you marked on my soul

Captions 20-21, Reik No desaparecerá

 Play Caption

 

Y ahora, en tiempos de pandemia, tal vez es mejor tenerla tapada para cualquier tipo de contacto con otras personas.

And now, in this period of pandemic, perhaps it's better to keep it covered for any type of contact with other people.

Captions 80-82, Ana Carolina Gérmenes

 Play Caption

 

In the first example, the verb curar (to heal) has been conjugated in the subjunctive, while in the second passage, ser (to be) is in the indicative. Although the use of either the subjunctive or the indicative in a sentence may or may not affect its translation into English, the subjunctive gives the idea of additional doubt. For example, the substitution of the indicative form cura in the first example would convey greater hope on the part of the speaker about the prospect of time healing his wounds whereas the use of the subjunctive form, sea, in the second example would convey less certainty on Ana Carolina's part. 

 

Quizá(s)

Quizá(s) also tends to fall at the beginning of a sentence and can be used in either the indicative or subjunctive, also depending upon the degree of doubt. Let's look a couple of examples, with the first one in indicative and the second one in subjunctive:

 

Quizás esa persona ya sabe que en San Sebastián hay tres playas,

Perhaps that person already knows that there are three beaches in San Sebastian,

Captions 80-81, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Este... y... y quizás me atropelle un carro, ¿verdad?

Um... and... and maybe I could be hit by a car, right?

Caption 13, Seva Vive 5. La historia se da cuenta - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

All that said, which of the aforementioned adverbs for "maybe" should we choose? As all three can be used to express the same thing, let's take a look at the previous example, substituting quizás with both tal vez and a lo mejor:
 
Y tal vez me atropelle un carro, ¿verdad?
And maybe I could be hit by a car, right?
 
a lo mejor me atropella un carro, ¿verdad?
And maybe I could be hit by a car, right?

 

Note that while the translations for all three sentences are identical, with the substitution of tal vez, the sentence is otherwise unaltered. In order to employ a lo mejor correctly, on the other hand, the sentence's verb must be changed to indicative

.

Puede ser (que)

Yet another Spanish expression, puede ser, can also be used in lieu of quizá(s) and tal vez. While this literally means "it can be," alternative translations include "it could be," "it's possible" and even "perhaps" or "maybe."

 

Probablemente tengas gripe. Puede ser.

You probably have the flu. It's possible.

Captions 21-22, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

Alternatively, the construction puede ser que employs the subjunctive to introduce a possibility in a similar way to the English idea of "might":

 

Hasta puede ser que entonces podamos entender a Joan.

We might even be able to then understand Joan.

Caption 55, Con ánimo de lucro - Cortometraje - Part 10

 Play Caption

 

Acaso

Acaso also means "perhaps" or "maybe" and can be used with either the indicative or the subjunctive. Let's see an example with the verb creer (to think) in the indicative mood:

 

¿O acaso usted cree que las azafatas somos millonarias?

Or maybe you think that we flight attendants are millionaires?

Caption 43, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Armed with these possibilities for expressing the idea of "maybe" in Spanish, a lo mejor (perhaps) it's time to say goodbye for the time being. Don't hesitate to contact us with your suggestions and comments.

 

You May Also Like