Spanish Lessons


The Word "Listo" in Spanish

You've probably learned the Spanish word listo as an adjective that means "ready." But did you know that the Spanish word listo can have different meanings and function as a noun or interjection as well? Let's explore the many meanings of the word listo in Spanish. ¿​Estás listo/a (Are you ready)?


1. Ready

The word listo in Spanish can be used as an adjective with the verb estar to describe the state of being mentally or physically complete or prepared for some situation, activity, or action. When employed as an adjective, the Spanish word listo must match the noun it modifies in terms of number and gender, as follows:


Masculine singular: listo

Feminine singular: lista

Masculine/mixed plural: listos

Feminine plural: listas


Let's see some examples:


El nuevo estadio estará listo para el próximo año.

The new stadium will be ready by next year.

Caption 41, Carlos explica - Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para'

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Estoy lista para mi entrevista.

I am ready for my interview.

Caption 66, Maquillaje Con Cata y Cleer

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When describing readiness for an action, the formula estar listo/a para + infinitive is often utilized:


Estamos listos para comer.

We're ready to eat.

Caption 30, Ana Carolina - El comedor

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"Hello", ya estoy lista para triunfar ante las cámaras.

Hello, now I am ready to triumph in front of the cameras.

Caption 45, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso

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2. Smart/Clever

When used with the verb ser in lieu of estar, the Spanish adjective listo instead means "intelligent." Let's take a look:


un "lince" es un ser listo, muy inteligente.

a "lynx" is a smart, very intelligent being.

Caption 64, Beatriz - Palabras polisémicas

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Sam, eres listo. Hablas muy bien el español.

Sam, you're smart. You speak Spanish very well.

Caption 19, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 2: Sam va de compras

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3. Cunning/Crafty

As an extension of the "smart" meaning, the Spanish adjective listo can also be employed with ser to mean "cunning" or "sly," which sometimes has a negative connotation. The following caption describes un jornalero listo (a crafty day laborer) who is able to able to reap financial gain by tricking others:


Hay que ver qué listo era este jornalero. 

You've got to see how crafty this day laborer was.

Caption 54, Cleer - El cuento de las tres palabras

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4. Smarty Pants

As a noun, the Spanish word listo/a can refer to either a crafty person or a "smarty pants" (or the more vulgar English equivalent), in the sense of a person who thinks they know everything.


En cada clase, siempre hay un listo que cree saberlo todo. 

In every class, there's always a smarty pants who thinks they know everything. 


5. Done!/OK!/Great!/That's it!

Finally, you will often hear the Spanish word listo in its masculine singular form as an interjection to indicate agreement, acknowledgement, or completion. You might recognize this use from our lesson on Colombian slang, although it is used similarly in many Spanish-speaking countries. Let's see a few examples of the Spanish word listo as an interjection, with varying translations:


Entonces van: la tía Olga, el tío Juan, el tío Óscar y mi mamá.

So: Aunt Olga, Uncle Juan, Uncle Oscar, and my mom are going.

OK, listo.

OK, done.

Captions 17-18, Cleer y Carolina - Organizando la fiesta del abuelo

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Voy a ir a darle la buenas noches. -Bueno, listo.

I'm going to say good night to her. -OK, great.

Caption 48, X6 - 1 - La banda - Part 10

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Listo! Por hoy terminamos

That's it! We're done for the day.

Caption 23, Muñeca Brava - 48 - Soluciones

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And speaking of being done for the day, that's all for this lesson, which we hope has helped you to understand the many uses of the Spanish word listo. Don't forget to write us with your questions and comments.


Ser and Estar: An Easy Trick for Using These Verbs

Do you know how to say the verb "to be" in Spanish? The answer to that question has two options: ser and estar. In fact, mastering the verbs ser and estar is one of the first challenges you need to tackle when learning Spanish. In order to help you out with this challenge, we're going to share a very simple trick with you. Hopefully, it will help you remember when to use ser and estar.  


Two words for learning the difference between ser and estar

The trick is very simple. All you need to remember are these two words: DOCTOR and PLACE. Use the former for the verb ser and the latter for the verb estar.


DOCTOR for ser


The word DOCTOR stands for the following: 









Let's see some examples using the third person singular of ser in the present tense:




"El coronavirus es un virus contagioso".

"The coronavirus is a contagious virus."

Caption 27, El coronavirus - Introducción y vocabulario

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Tu papá es jefe de cartera, mi amor.

Your dad is a portfolio manager, my love.

Caption 52, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 3

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Él es un chico... Es muy simpático.

He's a guy... He's very nice.

Caption 52, Clase Aula Azul - Información con subjuntivo e indicativo

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Diremos, "¿Qué hora es?"

We'll say, "What time is it?"

Caption 49, Español para principiantes - La hora

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Mi... mi madre es libanesa, mi padre de España.

My... my mother is Lebanese, my father [is] from Spain.

Caption 67, Eljuri - Hablamos Con La Artista Sobre Su Nuevo Álbum

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Esa es mi tía Silvia.

That is my Aunt Silvia.

Caption 24, Español para principiantes - Demostrativos

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PLACE for estar


The word PLACE stands for the following:








Let's see some examples using the first person singular of estar in the present tense:




Ahora, estoy en el centro.

Now, I'm in the center.

Caption 25, Raquel - Las direcciones

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Ahora estoy en el Monumento Natural Dunas de Artola,

Now I'm at the Dunas of Artola [Artola Dunes] Natural Monument,

en la Playa de Cabopino.

on Cabopino Beach.

Captions 31-32, Viajando con Fermín - Dunas de Marbella

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Silvia, ¿qué estás haciendo?

Silvia, what are you doing?

Estoy bebiendo un vaso de agua.

I'm drinking a glass of water.

Captions 25-26, El Aula Azul - Actividades diarias: En casa con Silvia

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Ay... ¿Y puedes llamar a mi trabajo y decir que estoy enferma?

Oh... And can you call my work and say I'm sick?

Caption 4, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 2: Sam va de compras

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Estoy triste.

am sad.

Estoy triste.

I am sad.

Captions 9-10, El Aula Azul - Estados de ánimo

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Finally, we want to leave you with a little rhyme that will help you to choose the appropriate verb between ser and estar. This little rhyme, which is quite handy for the verb estar, goes like this:


For how you feel and where you are,

always use the verb ESTAR. 


In other words, keep in mind that when talking about emotions and location you should always use the verb estar.


That's it for today. We hope this little trick helps you to understand the difference between ser and estar, a little bit better. And don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions

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