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Para que: Saying "So That" in Spanish

Today's lesson will focus on the oft-used conjunction para que, which means "so that" or "in order for" in Spanish. 

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Examples of para que in Spanish Sentences

Beginning with a few sentences that contain the Spanish conjunction para que, see if you can identify elements that they all have in common.

 

y ahora colocaré esta mezcla en la refrigeradora, para que se enfríe un poco,

and now, I'll put this mixture in the refrigerator so that it cools down a bit,

Captions 33-34, Ana Carolina Ponche navideño

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¿Pueden dejar de llorar para que empecemos la competencia?

Can you stop crying so that we can start the competition?

Caption 53, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 5

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y los invito a que pongan en práctica todas estas reglas para que puedan usar correctamente estas preposiciones.

and I invite you to put all these rules into practice so that you can use these prepositions correctly.

Captions 70-71, Carlos explica Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para' - Part 3

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Para que Parameters

Did you come up with any commonalities? Let's lay down a couple of ground rules for using para que in Spanish.

 

1. Para que should only be used when there is a change of subject.  

In other words, one thing is done by one entity so that another entity "can" do something else.  

 

Using the English translations, in the first example, "I" (the first subject) will put the mixture in the fridge so that "it" (the second subject) is able to cool down. In the second, "you guys" (the first subject) should stop crying so that "we" (the second subject) can commence the competition, and in the third, "I" (the first subject) am doing the inviting in order for you "you guys" (the second subject) to use the prepositions right.

 

* Note that in these Spanish sentences, the subjects are implied by their verb conjugations rather than explicitly stated (for example, as invito is the first person singular of the verb invitar (to invite), we know the subject is "I").

 

2. Para que is always followed by a subjunctive tense.

If we think of this in terms of our W.E.I.R.D.O. formula for when to use the subjunctive in Spanish, it makes sense since just because something "could" happen based on an initial action, we aren't sure if it will. You will note that two of three translations include the word "can," although this is not always the case, and there are often many ways to translate a Spanish that includes para que into English. 

 

Although all of the examples we have seen thus far have included verbs in the present subjunctive tense, you might come across examples in other subjunctive tenses, such as the imperfect subjunctive when the action takes place in the past. Let's take a look at some examples: 

 

Les dimos los juguetes, los bolígrafos, uno para cada uno para que pudieran escribir.

We gave them the toys, the pens, one for each one so that they could write.

Captions 8-9, Con ánimo de lucro Cortometraje - Part 4

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Lo que hice fue preparar todos los burros, para que estuviesen acostumbrados a recibir a visitas,

What I did was to prepare all the donkeys so they were used to getting visitors,

Captions 35-36, Amaya Apertura del refugio

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Alternative translations for this second example might be "so that they would be used to getting visitors" or "so that they could get used to getting visitors."

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Expressing "So That" With No Subject Change

Although you might hear it done occasionally in spoken Spanish, remember that you should not use para que to connect clauses when there is no change of subject. For example, what if you wanted to say, "I'm going to call the restaurant as soon as possible so that I can get a table"? You shouldn't say Yo voy a llamar el restaurante lo antes posible para que (yo) pueda conseguir una mesa" but instead use para + the infinitive as follows:

 

Yo voy a llamar el restaurante lo antes posible para poder conseguir una mesa.

I'm going to call the restaurant as soon as possible so I can get a table (literally "to be able to get a table"). 

 

Let's see some more examples:

 

mis toallitas desmaquillantes, y mi espejo, donde me miro todas las mañanas para saber que estoy bien.

my makeup remover towelettes, and my mirror, where I look at myself every morning in order to know I look OK.

Captions 55-56, Amaya "Mi camper van"

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An alternative translation could be "so that I know I look OK."

 

Siempre hemos de asistir personalmente a la entidad bancaria para poder realizar la firma de todos los documentos originales.

We should always go personally to the banking entity in order to be able to do the signing of all the original documents.

Captions 13-14, Raquel Abrir una cuenta bancaria

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Another way to say this in English could be "so we can sign all of the original documents." In any case, because there is no change in subject in either of these examples (in the first one, it's yo/I and in the second one, it's nosotros/we), the formula para plus the infinitive was used in lieu of para que

 

¿Para qué?

To conclude, remember that when para qué is used in question or implied question form, it has an accent and means "why?" or "what for?" Let's see some examples:

 

¿Y para qué lo necesito?

And what do I need it for?

Caption 6, Clase Aula Azul Planes para el futuro - Part 1

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¿Para qué fuiste al cine?

Why [for what purpose] did you go to the movies?

Caption 53, Carlos explica Las preposiciones 'por' y 'para' - Part 1

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Keep in mind that although para qué can also be translated as "why" in some contexts, it has a slightly different meaning than por qué (which also means "why") in that it focuses on goal or purpose rather than strictly reason. For more on this subtle distinction, check out this video on the Spanish prepositions por vs. para.

 

That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has made the expression para que more clear para que la puedan usar bien (so that you can use it correctly) and sound like a native speaker. And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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"Hasta que" vs. "Hasta que no"? What's the Difference?!

The Spanish adverbial phrases  hasta que and hasta que no are both useful to describe situations in which one action depends upon another, in other words, what will or won't be done or happen "until" something else happens. However, because the literal translations for phrases involving the latter construction don't make sense in English, the hasta que no construction can be confusing for English speakers. We hope this lesson will clarify this confusion.

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Hasta que 

The adverbial phrase hasta que means "until" and can be used with many different verb tenses. However, in the sentences we will be talking about today, the verb that follows hasta que refers to something that might happen in the future but has not yet happened and must thus be conjugated in a subjunctive tense. Let's take a look at several examples in the present subjunctive

 

y lo dejaremos ahí hasta que hierva.

and we'll leave it there until it boils.

Caption 19, Ana Carolina Ponche navideño

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y el jarabe se lo toma tres veces al día hasta que lo termine.

and you take the syrup three times a day until you finish it.

Caption 28, Cita médica La cita médica de Cleer - Part 2

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Note that these first two examples talk about what someone is going to do until something else happens. Now let's look at some examples of things one won't do until something else happens:

 

De momento no las saco fuera y las dejo que estén tranquilas, hasta que se sientan seguras 

For now, I don't take them out, and I leave them alone until they feel safe

Captions 9-10, Amaya Mis burras Lola y Canija

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¿Ya? Y no voy a descansar hasta que atrape a esa rata.

OK? And I'm not going to rest until I catch that rat.

Caption 30, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 10

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Hasta que no

Hasta que no functions in almost the exact same way as hasta que in such sentences. However, note that in contrast to hasta que, sentences with hasta que no always involve a double negative (i.e. what can't happen until something else does). Let's take a look:

 

pero de momento no puedo darle una respuesta hasta que no hayamos entrevistado al resto de candidatos.

but at the moment I can't give you an answer until we have interviewed the rest of the candidates.

Captions 61-62, Negocios La solicitud de empleo - Part 2

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Note that while the literal translation of "hasta que no hayamos entrevistado al resto de candidatos" would be "until we haven't interviewed the rest of the candidates," which wouldn't make sense, the actual meaning is "until we have interviewed the rest of the candidates." The word "no" is therefore an "expletive," which, in grammar, means an "empty word" that might add emphasis but doesn't add meaning. And interestingly, the form of this sentence with merely hasta que would work just as well with no difference in meaning, as follows:

 

pero de momento no puedo darle una respuesta hasta que hayamos entrevistado al resto de candidatos.

but at the moment I can't give you an answer until we have interviewed the rest of the candidates.

 

Let's see two more examples:

 

Pero vamos, eso nadie lo sabe hasta que no estemos en el terreno.

But come on, nobody knows that until we're in the area.

Caption 27, Los Reporteros Caza con Galgo - Part 2

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Sí. -...con él no podemos hacer nada... Ajá. -hasta que no desarrolle bien.

Yes. -...we can't do anything with him... Uh-huh. -until he develops well.

Captions 38-39, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Coatís

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Once again, the literal translations "until we're not" and "until he doesn't develop" would be nonsensical, and hence the sentences have been translated in the same fashion as they would be if the word "no" weren't present since hasta que estemos/hasta que no estemos (until we're) and hasta que desarrolle/hasta que no desarrolle (until he develops) are synonymous. 

 

In conclusion, although there has been some debate among linguists about the legitimacy of hasta que no, which is more likely to be heard in Spain (to learn more such differences, check out this lesson on A Few Outstanding Differences Between Castilian and Latin American Spanish), the constructions hasta que and hasta que no have been deemed interchangeable when talking about what can't or won't happen until something else takes place. That said, we hope that this lesson has brought some clarity regarding the somewhat confusing hasta que no construction... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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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.

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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

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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

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Azúcar (sugar)- from the original word assúkkar

con media taza de azúcar

with half a cup of sugar,

Caption 25, Ana Carolina Ponche navideño

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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

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Naranja (orange)- from the original word naranǧa

saben a naranja.

taste like orange.

Caption 34, Ariana Cita médica

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Tomate (tomato)- from the original Nahuatl word tomatl

¿Qué es realmente el tomate?

What really is the tomato?

Caption 30, Fermín Ensalada de tomate

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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