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The Many Uses of the Spanish Verb Echar

The Spanish verb echar can be used in many different ways and appears in a host of different Spanish idiomatic expressions. Let's explore the many meanings and uses of the Spanish verb echar.

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Standard Meanings of the Verb Echar

While the first definition of echar in dictionaries is typically "to throw," it can refer to any literal or figurative movement from one point to another and can thus be translated in many fashions depending upon the context. Let's take a look at several of its most common meanings with examples from our Yabla Spanish library.

 

To Throw:

Although the Spanish verb echar can literally mean "to throw," "toss," or "hurl" something, it is probably more common to hear verbs like tirar, lanzar, or arrojar used with this meaning. That said, let's take a look at an example where echar means to physically throw something:

 

y le echas harina y se lo pones en el pelo y... ¡Chwak!

and you throw flour on her and you put it in her hair and... Bam!

Caption 17, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

To Throw Out/Away:

The Spanish verb echar can also be used in the way we use the verbs "to throw" something "out" or "away," whether literally or figuratively. Let's look at an example of each: 

 

Por lo general, tenemos cuatro contenedores: el azul, donde echamos el papel, cartón, revistas, 

Generally, we have four trash bins: the blue one, where we throw away paper, cardboard, magazines,

Captions 3-4, Rosa Reciclar

 Play Caption
 

Todo estaba tranquilo y lo echaste a la basura

Everything was calm and you threw it in the garbage

Caption 3, Sondulo Que te vaya mal

 Play Caption

 

To Add/Put in:

The verb echar in Spanish often appears in recipes and other contexts when talking about "adding" or "putting in" some ingredient, etc. Let's take a look:

 

Le voy a echar un poco de nata...

I'm going to add a bit of cream to it...

Caption 47, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 9

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Bueno, también le podemos echar diferentes clases de condimentos.

Well, we can also put in different kinds of seasoning.

Caption 24, Cocinando con Miguelito Pollo sudado - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

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To Pour:

Along these same lines, echar can also be used to mean to pour something into something else: 

 

Solo falta echarla en el molde 

We just need to pour it into the mold

Caption 38, Cleer y Lía El día de la madre

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To Kick Out/Throw Out/Expel/Fire: 

The verb echar in Spanish may also refer to getting rid of someone in the sense of throwing or kicking them out, temporarily or permanently:

 

No sé qué hace este señor todavía acá, lo eché esta misma tarde.

I don't know what this gentleman is still doing here. I threw him out this very afternoon.

Caption 33, Muñeca Brava 3 Nueva Casa - Part 4

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Se mueren por saber por qué echó a la chirusa.

They're dying to know why she fired the vulgar girl.

Caption 42, Carlos y Cyndy Comentario sobre Muñeca Brava

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To Expel/Emit/Give Off: 

And speaking of "expelling" and "fire," the verb echar in Spanish can also mean to "expel," "emit," "give off," or "spew" fire or smoke, for example: 

 

Pero eso no lo iba a entender un dragón al que solo le interesaba rugir y echar fuego por la boca.

But a dragon who was only interested in roaring and spewing fire from his mouth wasn't going to get it.

Caption 49, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 7

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To Start:

And, to conclude with our more standard uses of the Spanish verb echar, the formula echar + infinitive means "to start" [doing something]:

 

y ven la batidora, echan a correr.

and they see the blender, they start to run.

Caption 31, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 8

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This meaning might also be seen with the reflexive version of the verb, echarse.

 

Pero ya las lágrimas se echaban a correr

But the tears were starting to fall

Caption 8, Jeremías Uno y uno igual a tres

 Play Caption

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More Meanings of the Reflexive Verb Echarse

Let's take a look at some additional uses of the reflexive verb echarse. 

 

 

To Lie Down/Get Down/Throw Oneself

The reflexive verb echarse can be used to talk about "lying down" as in Me voy a echar en la cama (I'm going to lie down in bed) or generally "throwing oneself" or "getting down":

 

Los hombres que cuando se les dicen de echarse al suelo es que no quieren ninguno.

When men are told to get down on the ground, the thing is that no one wants to.

Captions 52-53, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 8

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To Move

The reflexive verb echarse can additionally have the connotation of moving from one place to another, as in the first example, and is therefore heard often in songs, as in the second, with various translations to tell people how they should move.

 

donde el pueblo se echa a la calle junto a miles de visitantes

where the town goes out onto the street along with thousands of visitors

Caption 57, Viajando con Fermín Frigiliana, Málaga

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Échate pa' un lado

Move aside

Caption 8, Javier García EPK - Part 2

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Idiomatic Expressions with the Spanish Verb Echar

Now, let's look at several Spanish idioms that involve the Spanish verbs echar or echarse with examples in context:

 

Echar la culpa (to blame)

 

¡Y me echó la culpa de todo!

And she blamed everything on me!

Caption 13, Guillermina y Candelario La Peluqueria del Mar - Part 1

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Echarse a reír/llorar (to burst out laughing/crying)

 

El marido se echó a reír al ver la cara de sorpresa de su esposa.

The husband burst out laughing when he saw his wife's surprised face.

Caption 32, Cleer El espejo de Matsuyama

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Después de haberse marchado todos, estaba sola en casa y se echó a llorar.

After everyone had left, she was alone in the house and burst out crying.

Captions 29-30, Cuentos de hadas Cenicienta - Part 1

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Echar la/una siesta (to take a nap/siesta)

 

Después de comer, solemos echar la siesta

After eating, we usually take a nap

Caption 20, El Aula Azul Actividades Diarias

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Echar la llave (to lock)

 

Ahora cerramos la puerta, echamos la llave

Now we close the door, we lock it,

Caption 12, Escuela BCNLIP Clase con Javi: el futuro - Part 1

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Echar de menos (to miss)

 

De España echo mucho de menos el clima,

From Spain, I really miss the weather,

Caption 39, Álvaro Arquitecto Español en Londres

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Echar la/una mano (to lend a hand)

 

para que nos eche una mano y les vamos a dar

so that he can lend us a hand and we are going to give them

Caption 50, Club de las ideas Bioparc

 Play Caption

 

 

Echar(le) un vistazo (to take a look)

 

De acuerdo, deje que eche un vistazo.

OK, let me take a look.

Caption 63, Negocios Empezar en un nuevo trabajo - Part 2

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Echarle ganas (to work hard)

 

Así es y pues aquí mira, trabajando, echándole ganas y...

It's so, and well, [we] are here, [you] see, working, giving it my all and...

Caption 17, Edificio en Construcción Hablando con los trabajadores - Part 2

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Echar a perder (to mess up/spoil/ruin or bankrupt)

 

No puedo, negrita, ya eché a perder como diez laburo'.

I can't, honey. I already messed up like ten jobs.

Caption 3, Muñeca Brava 3 Nueva Casa - Part 5

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Echar (más) leña al fuego (to add (more) fuel to the fire)

 

¡Callate, Rufino! No eches más leña al fuego, ¿querés?

Shut up, Rufino! Don't put more wood into the fire [don't add fuel to the fire], will you?

Caption 23, Yago 8 Descubrimiento - Part 2

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Echar las campanas al vuelo (to vehemently celebrate prematurely)

 

Todavía no ha jugado el partido de fútbol y ya está "echando las campanas al vuelo", 

He hasn't played the soccer match yet, and he's already "throwing the bells in the air,"

Captions 45-46, Aprendiendo con Silvia Campanas - Part 2

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Although the literal meaning is totally different, this Spanish expression is comparable to the English idiom about "counting one's chickens before they are hatched." For more such examples, check out this lesson on Spanish idioms and their (very different) English equivalents.

 

As there are so many standard and idiomatic ways to use the Spanish verb echar that it would be impossible to name them all, we've provided just a smattering! Don't hesitate to write to us with any more you come across, or with any ideas for future lessons. ¡Hasta la próxima!

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Wie heißen die Farben auf Spanisch?

Weißt du, was „gelb“ oder „lila“ auf Spanisch heißt? Hier kannst du lernen, wie man die Namen der Farben auf Spanisch schreibt und sagt.

 
Die Grundfarben auf Spanisch

Amarillo (gelb)
Azul (blau)
Rojo (rot)

 

Spanische Farben in alphabetischer Reihenfolge

Obwohl es Millionen von Farben gibt, verwenden wir in unserem täglichen Leben meist nur eine begrenzte Anzahl von Farben. In der folgenden Liste findest du die Namen der am häufigsten verwendeten Farben im Spanischen und Deutschen.

- amarillo (gelb)
- anaranjado oder naranja (orange)
- añil oder índigo (indigo)
- azul (blau)
- blanco (weiß)
- dorado (golden)
- escarlata (scharlachrot)
- fucsia (fuchsia)
- gris (grau)
- marrón oder café (braun)
- morado (lila)
- negro (schwarz)
- plateado (silber)
- rojo (rot)
- rosa oder rosado (rosa)
- violeta (violett)

 

Die Aussprache der wichtigsten Farben im Spanischen

Was heißt „gelb“ auf Spanisch?
amarillo

Recorta un cuadro de papel amarillo de cinco centímetros

Schneide ein fünf Zentimeter großes gelbes Quadrat aus gelbem Papier aus

Caption 70, Manos a la obra - Separadores de libros: Charmander

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Wie heißt die Farbe „Orange“ auf Spanisch?
anaranjado oder naranja

Adentro, son de color anaranjado.

Innen sind sie orangefarben.

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

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Übrigens, weißt du, wie eine Orange auf Spanisch heißt? Richtig, sie heißt auch „naranja“!
 
Was heißt „blau“ auf Spanisch?
azul

Ay, me encanta tu camiseta azul.

Oh, ich liebe dein blaues Hemd.

Caption 3, Español para principiantes - Los colores

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Was heißt „weiß“ auf Spanisch?
blanco

Mi perro pequeño es blanco.

Mein kleiner Hund ist weiß.

Caption 52, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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Was heißt "schwarz" auf Spanisch?
negro

y el negro, donde se tira lo orgánico

und die schwarze, wo der organische [Abfall] weggeworfen wird

Caption 7, Rosa - Reciclar

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Was heißt „grün“ auf Spanisch?
verde

el verde, donde va el vidrio,

die grüne, wohin das Glas kommt,

Caption 5, Rosa - Reciclar

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Was heißt „braun“ auf Spanisch?
marrón

Mi cocina es de madera de color marrón.

Meine Küche ist aus braunem Holz.

Caption 23, Ariana - Mi Casa

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Beachte, dass manche Leute lieber das Wort „café“ statt „marrón“ verwenden, wenn sie sich auf die Farbe „Braun“ beziehen.

 

Was heißt „lila“ auf Spanisch?
morado

Predominan los colores verde, morado,

Die Farben Grün und Lila überwiegen,

Caption 46, Viajando con Fermín - Dunas de Marbella

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Man kann auch das Adjektiv „púrpura“ verwenden, wenn man über die Farbe Lila spricht.
 
Was heißt „rot“ auf Spanisch?
rojo

el rojo carmesí, que es un rojo frío,

das Karmesinrot, welches ein kühles Rot ist,

Caption 30, Leonardo Rodriguez - Sirtori Una vida como pintor

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Die Farben des Regenbogens auf Spanisch

Zum Schluss noch ein kleines Quiz. Kannst du das deutsche Wort für jede der sieben Farben des Regenbogens auf Spanisch nennen? Probier‘s mal aus!

1. rojo = ???
2. naranja oder anaranjado = ???
3. amarillo = ???
4. verde = ???
5. azul = ???
6. añil = ???
7. violeta = ???

 

Hast du es geschafft? Wenn nicht, kannst du jederzeit zurückgehen und noch mal in der Liste nachschauen, die am Anfang dieser Lektion in alphabetischer Reihenfolge bereitgestellt ist.

Das war‘s für heute. Wir hoffen, dass dir diese Lektion gefallen hat und vergiss nicht, uns deine Kommentare und Vorschläge zu schicken.

How to Write and Say The Colors in Spanish

Do you know how to say "yellow" or "purple" in Spanish? Get ready to learn how to write and say the names of the colors in Spanish.

 

The primary colors in Spanish

Let's take a look at this list of the primary colors in Spanish.

 

Amarillo (Yellow)

Azul (Blue)

Rojo (Red)

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Spanish colors in alphabetical order

Even though there are millions of colors out there, most of the time we use only a limited number of colors in our daily life. The following list features the names of the most frequently used colors in Spanish and English.

 

- amarillo (yellow)

- anaranjado or naranja (orange)

- añil or índigo (indigo)

- azul (blue)

- blanco (white)

- dorado (golden)

- escarlata (scarlet)

- fucsia (fuchsia)

- gris (gray)

- marrón or café (brown)

- morado (purple)

- negro (black)

- plateado (silver)

- rojo (red)

- rosa or rosado (pink)

- violeta (violet)

 

The pronunciation of the most important colors in Spanish

Now, it's time to learn how to say the colors in Spanish.

 

How do you say "yellow" in Spanish?

amarillo

 

Recorta un cuadro de papel amarillo de cinco centímetros.

Cut out a five centimeter yellow square from yellow paper.

Caption 70, Manos a la obra - Separadores de libros: Charmander

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How do you say the color "orange" in Spanish?

anaranjado or naranja

 

Adentro, son de color anaranjado.

Inside, they are orange-colored.

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

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By the way, do you know how to say "orange" (the fruit) in Spanish? The answer is "naranja"!

 

How do you say "blue" in Spanish?

azul

 

Ay, me encanta tu camiseta azul.

Oh, I love your blue shirt.

Caption 3, Español para principiantes - Los colores

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How do you say "white" in Spanish?

blanco

 

Mi perro pequeño es blanco.

My small dog is white.

Caption 52, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

 Play Caption

 

How do you say "black" in Spanish?

negro

 

...y el negro, donde se tira lo orgánico.

...and the black one, where the organic [waste] is thrown away.

Caption 7, Rosa - Reciclar

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How do you say "green" in Spanish?

verde

 

El verde, donde va el vidrio.

The green one, where the glass goes.

Caption 5, Rosa - Reciclar

 Play Caption

 

How do you say "brown" in Spanish?

marrón

 

Mi cocina es de madera de color marrón.

My kitchen is (made) of brown-colored wood.

Caption 23, Ariana - Mi Casa

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Keep in mind that some people prefer to use to word "café" instead of "marrón" when referring to the color "brown."

 

How do you say "purple" in Spanish?

morado

 

Predominan los colores verde, morado.

The colors green, purple, predominate.

Caption 46, Viajando con Fermín - Dunas de Marbella

 Play Caption

 

It is also quite common to use the adjective "púrpura" when talking about the color purple.

 

How do you say "red" in Spanish?

rojo

 

El rojo carmesí, que es un rojo frío.

The Crimson Red, which is a cool red.

Caption 30, Leonardo Rodriguez Sirtori - Una vida como pintor

 Play Caption

 

The colors of the rainbow in Spanish 

Let's finish this lesson with a little quiz. Can you provide the English word for each one of the seven colors of the rainbow in Spanish? Try it out!

 

1. rojo = ???

2. naranja or anaranjado = ??? 

3. amarillo = ???

4. verde = ???

5. azul = ???

6. añil = ???

7. violeta = ???

 

Did you get them all? If you didn't, you can always go back and check out the list we provided at the beginning of this lesson with the Spanish colors in alphabetical order.

 

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

 

Gender of Inanimate Objects in Spanish

Let's talk about gender. How do you know if a word like leche (milk) or mapa (map) is feminine or masculine? Let's explore some rules (and exceptions) that will help you to identify the gender of inanimate objects in Spanish. Please, keep in mind that we will use the definite articles el (masculine) and la (feminine) in order to better recognize the gender of the nouns we are mentioning throughout this article. 

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Nouns ending in -o and -a

Generally speaking, nouns that end in -o are masculine while those ending in -a are feminine. Let's see some of the most common objects that follow this rule:

 

Masculine nouns ending in -o:

El libro (the book)

El baño (the bathroom)

El piano (the piano)

El diccionario (the dictionary)

El asiento (the seat)

 

Feminine nouns ending in -a:

La casa (the house)

La cama (the bed)

La lámpara (the lamp)

La cocina (the kitchen)

La caja (the box)

 

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Let's look at some of the most common ones.

 

Feminine nouns ending in -o:

 

La mano derecha se colocará en esta posición llamada acorde de LA mayor.

The right hand will be placed in this position called A major chord.

Caption 1, Curso de guitarra - Para los que empiezan desde cero

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Es la foto de mis abuelos, es mi familia.

It's a photo of my grandparents. It's my family.

Caption 5, Yago - 3 La foto

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Masculine nouns ending in -a:

 

Y bueno, el día llega a su fin, y llegas a casa a relajarte.

And well, the day comes to an end, and you get home to relax.

Captions 80-81, Natalia de Ecuador - Vocabulario de prendas de vestir

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Por ejemplo: problema, el problema, mapa, el mapa.

For example: problem, the problem, map, the map.

Captions 16-17, Isabel - El Género Gramatical - Masculino y Femenino

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¿Y pudieron conocer el planeta de su amigo?

And were you able to see your friend's planet?

Caption 31, Guillermina y Candelario - Un marciano en la playa

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Cuando utilizamos el idioma español.

When we use the Spanish language.

Entonces, vamos a hablar entonces ya.

So, then we are going to talk now.

Captions 5-6, Lecciones con Carolina - Errores comunes

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Nouns ending in -e, -i, -u or a consonant

There is no particular rule for this group. Some of the nouns here are masculine while others are feminine. Some examples:

 

Eh... los ordeñadores pasan a

Um... the milkers go on to

pesar la leche para ver la cantidad que produce cada una.

weigh the milk to check the quantity that each one produces.

Captions 54-55, Gustavo Adolfo - Su finca lechera

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Se arma el árbol, el pesebre, los niños llevan sus instrumentos musicales.

The tree is set up, the manger, the children carry their musical instruments.

Caption 40, Lida y Cleer - Buñuelos

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La India Catalina era la líder de la tribu indígena.

India Catalina was the leader of the indigenous tribe.

Caption 26, Viajando en Colombia - Cartagena en coche

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Most nouns ending in -aje, -ambre, -án, -or or in a stressed vowel tend to be masculine

Let's look at some examples in this group:

 

Me relajo y contemplo el paisaje.

I relax and I look at the landscape.

Captions 30-31, Natalia de Ecuador - Los adverbios de orden

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Cuando me llega el dolor yo me arreglo

When pain hits me I manage

Caption 6, Jorge Celedón, Vicentico - Si Me Dejan

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¿Puedo ver el menú por favor?

Can I see the menu please?

Caption 12, Cata y Cleer - En el restaurante

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Most nouns ending in -cia, -ción, -dad, -eza, -ie, -itis, -nza, -sión, -tad, -tud and -umbre are feminine

 

La ciencia nunca falla, caballero.

Science never fails, sir.

Caption 39, Los casos de Yabla - Problemas de convivencia

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La acentuación es la acción y efecto de acentuar.

Accentuation is the action and effect of accenting.

Caption 13, Carlos explica - Acentuación Cap. 1: Conceptos básicos

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Mi hijo quiere estudiar inglés o japonés el próximo año en la universidad.

My son wants to study English or Japanese next year in college.

Caption 25, Lecciones con Carolina - Conjunciones disyuntivas

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Nouns that belong to the following categories are masculine

 

1. Oceans, lakes and rivers

 

Tenemos el océano Pacífico y el océano Atlántico.

We have the Pacific ocean and the Atlantic ocean.

Caption 24, Melany de Guatemala - País de la Eterna Primavera

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2. Days of the week

 

El martes, también salí por la noche.

On Tuesday, I also went out at night.

Caption 11, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos: El pasado

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3. Numbers

 

Y que el cien por cien de las ganancias pues iban destinadas a la coalición española.

And one hundred percent of the profits were going to the Spanish coalition.

Caption 45, David Bisbal - Haciendo Premonición Live

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4. Colors

 

El azul, donde echamos el papel, cartón, revistas.

The blue one, where we throw away paper, cardboard, magazines.

Caption 4, Rosa - Reciclar

 Play Caption

 

Nouns that belong to the following categories are feminine

 

1. Names of islands

 

Eh... Les recomiendo que vengan a visitar las islas Galápagos.

Um... I recommend that you come to visit the Galapagos Islands.

Caption 1, Galápagos - Una visita a este archipiélago

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2. Names of roads

 

Que queda ubicado sobre la Avenida Jiménez.

Which is located on Jiminez Avenue.

Caption 47, Bogotá - Chorro de Quevedo

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3. Names of letters

 

Me gustaría referirme a la pronunciación de dos letras,

I'd like to refer to the pronunciation of two letters,

la "elle" y la "ye".

the "double l" and the "y."

Captions 6-8, Carlos y Cyndy - La pronunciación en Colombia y Argentina

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Nouns with gender ambiguity

There are some inanimate nouns that can be either feminine or masculine, which means both forms are accepted.

 

El mar / la mar (the sea). For this noun, the masculine form is used more often.

El maratón / la maratón (the marathon). Both forms are accepted.

El arte / las artes (the arts). Usually the masculine form is used in the singular and the feminine one in the plural.

El sartén / la sartén (the pan). While the masculine noun is the most frequently used, some countries in the Americas tend to favor the feminine form.

 

Gender of 'almost' identical nouns

There are various words that are almost identical but they differ in meaning. Very often, indeed, you can fully grasp that difference by bringing the gender variable into it. Let's see some examples:

 

El cuchillo (the knife) / La cuchilla (the blade)

El barco (the ship) / La barca (the boat)

El bolso (the purse) / La bolsa (the bag)

El puerto (the port) / la puerta (the door)

El cuadro (the painting) / La cuadra (the block)

El manzano (the apple tree) / La manzana (the apple)

 

That's it for today. We hope you find this lesson useful and we invite you to send us your comments and suggestions.

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¡Hasta la próxima!

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