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The Diaeresis (Dieresis) in Spanish

In this lesson, we will talk about the diaeresis or dieresis in Spanish. But, do you know what a diaeresis is to begin with? Let's take a look at the following clip:

 

u con dieresis

 

El pueblo de Izamal fue un importante centro urbano maya en la antigüedad.

The town of Izamal was an important Mayan urban center in ancient times.

Caption 26, Mérida y sus alrededores Izamal Pueblo Mágico

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Did you find the dieresis in that clip? If not, please keep reading this lesson, as we are going to tell you how to use the dieresis in Spanish.

 

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What Is a Diaeresis?

In English, a diaeresis is a mark placed over a vowel to indicate that the vowel is emphasized or pronounced separately from the other vowels (as in "naïve" or "Brontë"). In Spanish, a diaeresis is represented by the same symbol (two little dots above a letter). That said, we will now highlight the word that has the diaeresis in the previous clip:

 

El pueblo de Izamal fue un importante centro urbano maya en la antigüedad.

The town of Izamal was an important Mayan urban center in ancient times.

Caption 26, Mérida y sus alrededores Izamal Pueblo Mágico

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However, as using a dieresis in Spanish is slightly different than in English, let's learn the golden rule for employing this unique symbol. 

 

The Golden Rule for Using a Dieresis in Spanish

The rule is quite simple: a diaeresis must be placed over the vowel "u" to indicate that said vowel must be pronounced in words that have the combinations -gue and -gui (since in most Spanish words with these letter combinations, the "u" is silent). For example, in words like guerra (war) and guerilla (guerrilla), the gue- is pronounced more like the English word "gay," while in words like guía (guide) and guisante (pea), gui- sounds like "ghee." The addition of the diaeresis, on the other hand, would transform the sound of the letters gue- to "gway" and -gui to "gwee." Let's take a look at a couple of examples:

 

u con dieresis

 

todos bastante negativos, humillación, vergüenza, dolor,

all quite negative, humiliation, shame, pain,

Caption 55, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 3

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u con dieresis

 

Los pingüinos se parecen a las gallinas

Penguins are like chickens

Caption 24, Guillermina y Candelario Nuestro Amigo Pinguino

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Additionally, please keep in mind that the diaeresis must be used in words that are written in capital letters. Also, if you are wondering how to spell diaeresis in Spanish, it is written as follows: diéresis (an esdrújula word with the graphic accent on the third-to-last syllable).

 

Are there a lot of Spanish words that require a diaeresis? Although there are not that many, let's take a look at some of the most common palabras con diéresis (words with a diaeresis) in Spanish.

 

Palabras con Diéresis in Spanish

 

1. ambigüedad (ambiguity)

 

palabras con dieresis

 

Me muevo mucho entre la ambigüedad.

I move a lot within ambiguity.

Caption 12, María Marí Su pasión por su arte - Part 2

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2. bilingüe (bilingual)

 

palabras con dieresis 

 

Justo encima del diccionario bilingüe

Right above the bilingual dictionary,

Caption 5, Tutoriales de Yabla Características adicionales Yabla

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3. cigüeña (stork)

 

palabras con dieresis

 

Más bien. ¿Quién se piensa que me trajo, la cigüeña de París?

Of course. Who do you think brought me, the stork from Paris?

Caption 16, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 8

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4. lingüística (language / linguistics)

 

palabras con dieresis

 

o sea, programas de inmersión lingüística en Barcelona.

I mean, language immersion programs, in Barcelona.

Caption 10, Escuela BCNLIP Presentación de la directora - Part 2

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5. sinvergüenza (shameless)

 

u con dieresis

 

Mírelo tan sinvergüenza.

Look at how shameless he is.

Caption 27, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 2

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And that's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand how to use the dieresis in Spanish. By the way, do you know more palabras con diéresis? Let us know, and don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments. ¡Hasta la próxima! 

 

What Is the Present Progressive in Spanish?

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

 

The Spanish Present Progressive Tense

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

 

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Simple Present vs. Present Progressive in Spanish

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

 

¿Qué hacés vos acá? -¿Cómo qué hagoCorro

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

Captions 65-66, Cuatro Amigas Piloto - Part 1

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

 

¿Y los sábados y domingos, qué haces

And on Saturdays and Sundays, what do you do?

Caption 19, Español para principiantes Los días de la semana

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

 

Silvia, ¿qué estás haciendo? -Estoy cocinando

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

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

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

 

How to Form the Spanish Present Progressive 

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

 

Yo estoy (I am)

 estás (You are)

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

Nosotros/nosotras estamos (We are)

Vosotros/vosotras estáis (You are [plural])

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

 

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

 

 

Conjugating -ar verbs in the Spanish Present Progressive 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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Eh... estoy buscando a Milagros.

Um... I am looking for Milagros.

Caption 6, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 1

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Estamos caminando aquí en Bleeker Street

We are walking here on Bleeker Street

Caption 72, Eljuri "Fuerte" EPK

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

 

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

 

¿Por qué estás comiendo basura?

Why are you eating garbage?

Caption 9, Kikirikí Agua - Part 4

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Está subiendo, está subiendo la rama.

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

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

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¿Dónde estáis vendiendo aceite?

Where are you selling oil?

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

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Irregular Verbs in the Present Progressive in Spanish

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

 

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

 

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

 

traer: trayendo (to bring/bringing) 

caer: cayendo (to fall/falling)

leer: leyendo (to read/reading)

creer: creyendo (to believe/believing)

construir: construyendo (to build/building)

huir: huyendo (to escape/escaping)

oír: oyendo (to hear/hearing)

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 90, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 5

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

 

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

 

sentir: sintiendo (to feel/feeling)

preferir: prefiriendo (to prefer/preferring) 

mentir: mintiendo (to lie/lying)

vestir: vistiendo (to dress/dressing)

seguir: siguiendo (to follow/following)

conseguir: consiguiendo (to get/getting)

 

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

 

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

 

poder: pudiendo (to be able/being able)

dormir: durmiendo (to sleep/sleeping)

morir: muriendo (to die/dying) 

 

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

 

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

 

reír: riendo (to laugh/laughing)

sonreír: sonriendo (to smile/smiling)

freír: friendo (to fry/frying) 

 

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

 

Irregular Spanish Present Progressive Verbs in Action 

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 25, Amaya Voluntarios

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Esa mujer nos está mintiendo y quiero saber por qué.

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

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

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

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

Caption 63, Yago 3 La foto - Part 5

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Se está riendo de todos nosotros.

He's laughing at all of us.

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

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

 

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Afuera vs Fuera

Let's talk about adverbs! In this lesson, we have a big match: afuera vs. fuera. Do you know the meaning of these two words? Let's explore how to use and pronounce these frequently used Spanish adverbs.

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The meaning of afuera and fuera

As an adverb, afuera refers to a place that is outside of where you are:

 

Todo lo malo me pasa dentro de esta casa, no afuera.

All the bad things happen to me inside this house, not outside.

Caption 20, Muñeca Brava - 18 - La Apuesta

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Similarly, the adverb fuera is used to talk about the exterior part of something:

 

Puedes ir a tomar café a una cafetería fuera de la escuela.

You can go to drink coffee at a cafe outside of the school.

Caption 17, El Aula Azul - Las actividades de la escuela

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Using afuera and fuera to indicate movement

If you want to indicate that someone is going outside, toward the exterior, or even abroad (with verbs of movement), you can use either afuera or fuera. Both forms are correct and are used indistinctly in both Spain and Latin America. Let's see some sentences:

 

Vení, vamos afuera.

Come, let's go outside.

Caption 28, Yago - 9 Recuperación

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Cuando los cuatro compañeros nos fuimos a estudiar fuera.

When we four friends went to study abroad.

Caption 7, Escuela de Pádel Albacete - Hablamos con José Luis

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Using afuera and fuera to indicate a condition or state

When you want to indicate that someone or something is outside, or when you want to make a reference to the outside world, you use fuera in both Spain and Latin America. However, it is also very common to use afuera throughout the Americas. Let's hear the pronunciation of these two words one more time:

 

¡Qué lindo que está afuera! ¿No? El clima está divino.

How nice it is outside! No? The weather is divine.

Caption 15, Muñeca Brava - 1 Piloto

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Me doy una buena ducha aquí fuera.

I take a good shower here outside.

Caption 31, Amaya - "Mi camper van"

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The interjections afuera and fuera

Both afuera and fuera can be used as interjections. Generally speaking, you use these interjections when you ask someone to leave a place. 

 

¡Suficiente, fuera de mi casa!

Enough, out of my house!

Caption 61, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 4

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Idiomatic expressions with fuera

There are several useful idiomatic expressions with the word fuera. Let's see some of them:

 

Este hombre vive fuera de la realidad, Señoría.

This man lives outside of reality, Your Honor.

Caption 36, Los casos de Yabla - Problemas de convivencia

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Su ropa está fuera de moda.

His clothes are out of fashion.

Caption 8, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam

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No hay nada fuera de lo normal.

There isn't anything out of the ordinary.

Caption 38, Negocios - Empezar en un nuevo trabajo

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That's it for today. We hope this review helps you to use correctly the adverbs fuera and afuera. As you could see throughout this lesson, more than talking about afuera vs fuera, we should really treat this subject as afuera = fuera! Keep that in mind and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions

6 Rules for Forming the Plural of Nouns in Spanish

In this lesson, we talk about the plural in Spanish. In particular, we talk about the plural when it refers to nouns. Let's start this lesson with a little quiz. Do you know the plural form of the following nouns?:

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1. Casa (house)

2. Perro (dog)

3. Universidad (university)

4. Lápiz (pencil)

5. Jabalí (wild boar)

6. Análisis (analysis)

 

If you are not sure about how to make a singular noun plural in Spanish, we invite you to take a look at the following simple rules. While going through these rules, we will be unveiling the plural form of the 6 nouns we included in our quiz. Let's take a look.

 

Rule 1: Add an 'S' to form the plural of nouns ending in unstressed vowels

 

- Casa (house) - Casas (houses)

- Estudiante (student) - Estudiantes (students)

- Perro (perro) - Perros (dogs)

 

Se escucha un perro.

You can hear a dog.

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

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Tus perros también son muy bonitos.

Your dogs are very beautiful too.

Caption 58, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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Rule 2: Add an 'S' to form the plural of nouns ending in stressed 'a,' 'e' and 'o'

 

- Papá (dad) - Papás (dads)

- Dominó (domino) - Dominós (dominoes)

- Café (coffee) - Cafés (coffees)

 

Y les voy a mostrar el proceso de control de calidad de café de Colombia.

And I'm going to show you the quality-control process for coffee from Colombia.

Caption 5, Una Historia de Café - La Bodega

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Cada uno de estos cafés tiene distintas cualidades tanto físicas como sensoriales.

Each one of these coffees has different qualities both physically and sensorially.

Caption 14, Una Historia de Café - La Bodega

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Rule 3: Add 'ES' or 'S' to form the plural of nouns ending in stressed 'i' and 'u'

 

- Bisturí (scalpel) - Bisturíes or bisturís (scalpels)

- Jabalí (wild boar) - Jabalíes or jabalís (wild boars)

- Tabú (taboo) - Tabúes or tabús (taboos)

 

Generally speaking, however, it is preferred to use the plural formed with 'ES'.

Also, this rule is very common when you are dealing with adjectives of nationality:

 

- Iraní (Iranian) - Iraníes or iranís (Iranians)

 

Rule 4: Add 'ES' to form the plural of nouns ending in consonant

 

- Árbol (tree) - Árboles (trees)

- Profesor (teacher) - Profesores (teachers)

- Universidad (university) - Universidades (universities)

- Rey (king) - Reyes (kings)

 

La rata esta es el rey de la estafa por allá en Europa.

This rat is the king con artist over there in Europe.

Caption 45, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 1

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Actualmente es la residencia oficial de los reyes de España.

Currently, it's the official residence of the King and Queen of Spain.

Caption 23, Madrid - Un recorrido por la capital de España

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Notice that the singular noun árbol has a graphic accent in the second-to-last syllable (palabra grave). However, when you form the plural, the graphic accent moves to the third-to-last-syllable becoming a proparoxytone word (palabra esdrújula). Similarly, singular nouns like profesor and universidad that are stressed in the last syllable (palabras agudas) become paroxytone words (palabras graves) in the plural form. 

 

Rule 5: When a noun ends in 'Z,' the plural form switches the 'Z' for a 'C'

 

- Lápiz (pencil) - Lápices (pencils) 

- Raíz (root) - Raíces (roots)

- Voz (voice) - Voces (voices)

 

Tengo muy buena voz.

I have a very good voice.

Caption 91, Los casos de Yabla - Problemas de convivencia

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Vuelven esas voces a mi cabeza.

Those voices come back to my head.

Caption 37, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos - Subjuntivo y condicional

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Rule 6: Nouns ending in 'S' or 'X' that are the same in singular and plural in Spanish.

Paroxytone or proparoxytone nouns ending in 's' or 'x' keep the same form in plural. Let's see some examples:

 

- Cactus (cactus) - Cactus (cactuses/cacti)

- Tórax (thorax) - Tórax (thoraxes/thoraces)

Análisis (analysis) - Análisis (analyses/tests)

 

Y en un análisis de nuestras debilidades, oportunidades, fortalezas y amenazas.

And an analysis of our weaknesses, opportunities, strengths and threats.

Caption 37, Raquel y Marisa - Español Para Negocios - Crear una empresa

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...para hacerle los análisis de sangre, de heces.

...to do the blood tests, stool (tests).

Caption 54, Santuario para burros - Santuario

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That's it for now. We hope these rules help you to use the plural in Spanish. If you feel like practicing a little bit more, take 20 nouns and try to form their plural forms. And of course, don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

 

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