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I Am in Spanish: Soy vs. Estoy

If you are wondering how to say I am in Spanish, there are two possible options to choose from: yo soy and yo estoy. If that surprises you, the first thing you need to know is that the English verb "to be" has two equivalents in Spanish: ser and estar. Let's hear how to say I am in Spanish with these two verbs:


With the verb ser (yo soy):


Bueno, yo soy Amaya

Well, I'm Amaya

Caption 2, Amaya - Donkey Dreamland

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With the verb estar (yo estoy):


¿Cómo estás? Yo estoy bien.

How are you? I'm well.

Captions 7-8, Cleer y Lida - Llegando a una nueva ciudad

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Now that you are aware of the above, we would like to give you some simple tips to keep in mind when dealing with the soy vs. estoy dilemma.



Yo Soy: I Am in Spanish for Permanent Qualities

In Spanish, the verb ser is used to express permanent conditions such as the following:


To say your name:


Yo soy Karen, y en este momento.

I'm Karen, and right now.

Caption 3, Aprendiendo con Karen - El tiempo

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To indicate your nationality:


Yo soy argentina.

I'm Argentine.

Caption 53, Carlos y Cyndy - Uso del Voseo en Argentina

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You can also name your place of origin by using the preposition de plus the name of the place you come from:


Yo soy de Guatemala, tengo veintiséis años.

I'm from Guatemala, I'm twenty-six years old.

Caption 4, Hispanoamericanos en Berlín - Hilda y los volcanes

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To explain your relationship with someone else:


Yo soy la hermana de Ximena.

I'm Ximena's sister.

Caption 7, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante - Capítulo 2

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To relay your profession:


¡Ah! Yo soy profesora de niños.

Oh! I'm a children's teacher.

Caption 20, El Aula Azul - Los profesores de la escuela

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To describe personality traits or physical appearance:


Yo soy un tipo humanitario, te estoy escuchando.

I'm a humanitarian man, I'm listening to you.

Caption 26, Yago - 13 La verdad - Part 4

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Yo soy negro, y entonces, por ende a mí me gusta la música negra,

I'm black, and so, therefore I like black music,

y la música negra en esos años para mí era Michael Jackson.

and black music in those years for me was Michael Jackson.

Captions 56-58, Leonardo Rodriguez Sirtori - Una vida como pintor

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Yo estoy: I am in Spanish for Variable Conditions

On the other hand, you use the verb estar in Spanish when talking about variables, conditions, or states, such as the following:


To express a temporary emotion or condition:


Bueno, bueno, yo estoy encantada.

Well, well, I'm delighted.

Es que, no sabéis qué me ha pasado.

It's just that, you don't know what's happened to me.

Captions 8-9, Clase Aula Azul - La segunda condicional

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To indicate your location:


Ahora bien, yo estoy en el Departamento de Cundinamarca.

Having said that, I am in the Department of Cundinamarca.

Caption 20, Viajando con Carlos - Boyacá - Colombia

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To describe an action in progress:


Yo estoy meditando en este momento.

I'm meditating right now.

Caption 40, Dayana - La meditación

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To state a particular position or idea about something:


Quiero que sepas que yo estoy dispuesta a conceder entrevistas.

I want you to know that I'm willing to grant interviews.

Caption 37, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante - Capítulo 3

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Yo estoy segura que Mariana te va a volver a buscar.

I'm sure that Mariana is going to seek you out again.

Caption 21, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante - Capítulo 5

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That's all for this lesson. We hope you now feel confident about how to say I am in Spanish, whether with the verb ser or the verb estar. And don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments.


Words That Start with Y in Spanish

Although there aren't many words that start with the letter Y in Spanish, this letter is quite important, particularly if we think in terms of the conjunction and pronoun that are formed with it. Let's hear some clips from our popular beginner series Conversaciones en el parque:


The conjunction y (and) 


Sí, a mí me gustan las plantas y las flores y los árboles.

Yes, I like the plants and the flowers and the trees.

Captions 12-13, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

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The pronoun yo (I)


Yo tengo dos naranjas.

I have two oranges.

Caption 29, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

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Aside from these two important uses, there are a few additional words in Spanish that start with Y, and we will mention some of the most common. First, however, let's learn a couple of things about the letter Y in Spanish.


Names for and Pronunciation of the Letter Y in Spanish

The letter Y is the 26th letter of the Spanish alphabet and has two names: "i griega," which literally means "Greek i," and "ye."


In terms of pronunciation, the letter "Y" in Spanish has the same sound as the vowel "I" when it stands alone, as in the conjunction y, or at the end of a word, following another vowel. Let's hear this in a few clips:


Como veis, estoy rodeada de paja, ¿vale?

As you can see, I'm surrounded by straw, right?

Caption 5, Amaya - Donkey Dreamland

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se siente muy enfadada, muy enojada,

they feel very angry, very mad,

Caption 25, Aprendiendo con Silvia - Frases hechas

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o a la palabra "Uruguay".

or in the word "Uruguay."

En ese caso, la "i griega" del final hace las veces de una vocal "i".

In that case, the letter "y" at the end acts as an "i" vowel.

Captions 27-28, Carlos explica - Acentuación Cap. 5: Diptongo, triptongo, hiato

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For all other instances, the letter Y adopts the consonant sound you can hear in the following words:


cuando el ciclista cayó al asfalto.

when the cyclist fell on the asphalt.

Caption 72, Carlos explica - Vocabulario de las matemáticas

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la papaya,


Caption 40, El Aula Azul - Adivinanzas de colores

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¿Estás de acuerdo con Susana

Do you agree with Susana

en que el video apoya las conversaciones de paz?

that the video supports the peace talks?

Caption 27, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 9

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Now that we know its names and pronunciation, let's dive into our list of words in Spanish that start with the letter Y.


Common Words in Spanish that Start with Y


ya (already)

Right behind the conjunction y and the pronoun yo, this adverb is probably one of the most frequently used words that start with Y in Spanish. 


ya es un gran logro personal.

it's already a great personal achievement.

Caption 52, Aprendiendo con Silvia - Las emociones

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yacimiento (site)


empezaron a excavar y encontraron este gran yacimiento.

they began to excavate and found this great site.

Caption 59, Amaya - Teatro romano

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yanqui (Yankee)


contra siglos de explotación por el imperialismo yanqui.

against centuries of exploitation by Yankee imperialism.

Caption 2, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar - Capítulo 1

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yate (yatch)


Me he comprado un yate.

I've bought myself a yacht.

Caption 23, Clase Aula Azul - La segunda condicional

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yegua (mare)


también una yegua

a mare as well,

Caption 34, Quito - Zoológico de Guayllabamba

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yema (yolk)


Así separamos la clara de la yema.

This is how we separate the white from the yolk.

Caption 52, El Aula Azul - Receta de natillas

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yerba (herb, grass)

Keep in mind that this word can also be written with "h" (hierba).


Y me pidió mate de bombilla

And he asked me for mate with a bombilla

y no tengo yerba.

and I don't have the [mate] herb.

Caption 50, Yago - 5 La ciudad

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yerno (son-in-law)


Es el yerno de mi abuelo Juan.

He's my Grandpa Juan's son-in-law.

Caption 15, Curso de español - ¿Qué relación hay entre ellos?

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yeso (cast or plaster)


sin tener que poner un yeso

without having to put on a cast

o algo que le limite mucho más.

or something that would limit him much more.

Caption 46, Los médicos explican - El tratamiento de las fracturas

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cuatro ladrillos de esos estuvieran pegados con yeso.

four of those bricks were glued with plaster.

Caption 55, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar - Capítulo 2

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yoyó or yoyo (yo-yo)


Me creen. Me creen. Me creen un yoyó.

They believe me. They believe me. They believe I am a yo-yo.

Me tienen pa'rriba y pa'bajo.

They've got me [going] up and down.

Captions 68-69, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema

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yoga (yoga)


Cuando trabajamos en yoga las posturas,

When we work in yoga, on the postures,

Caption 5, Ana Teresa - El yoga y la columna vertebral

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yogur (yogurt)


Me encanta comer cereal con yogur de cerezas. -OK.

I love to eat cereal with cherry yogurt. -OK.

Caption 15, Carlos y Xavi - Diferencia de pronunciación entre España y Colombia

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yuca (yucca)


La yuca es una raíz... que crece en la selva,

Yucca is a root... that grows in the jungle,

Caption 66, Otavalo - Julia nos muestra las verduras

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In addition to these words, there are other Spanish words of foreign origin that start with the letter Y, such as yen (yen), yudo (judo), and yihad (jihad), just to name a few. And let's not forget one word that is hopefully helping you a lot with your Spanish: Yabla!


With this last familiar word, we have come to the end of this lesson. Did we leave out any important Spanish words that start with the letter Y? If so, please let us know so we can add them to this list... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.


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Spanish Vocabulary for the Autumn Season

Today's lesson will take us through some Spanish vocabulary that might come in handy to talk about el otoño (the autumn/fall) and some of the phenomena associated with esta estación (this season). 


El tiempo (The Weather)

Let's start by taking a look at a quote from our Yabla Spanish library about el tiempo in autumn, which means  "the weather" (rather than "the time") in this context:


Pero en primavera y en otoño, el tiempo es mucho mejor

But in spring and in fall, the weather is much better

Captions 16-17, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 1

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The fall season is typically characterized by more moderate temperaturas (temperatures) as well as viento (wind) and sometimes lluvia (rain) or niebla (fog) (although there might be some sol (sun) as well!). Let's look at these autumn weather words in context:


Pasame las llaves y llamá un taxi ante' que venga la lluvia.

Give me the keys and call a cab before the rain comes. 

Caption 51, Yago 5 La ciudad - Part 9

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Ya está haciendo un poco de viento; ¿no te parece que hace frío? Sí, a pesar de que hace un hermoso sol.

It's a bit windy now; doesn't it seem like it's cold to you? Yes, in spite of the fact that it's beautifully sunny.

Captions 78-79, Sofy y Caro Entrevistar para un trabajo

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Ten cuidado cuando conduzcas hoy porque hay mucha niebla y no se puede ver bien.

Be careful when you drive today because there's a lot of fog, and you can't see well.

Captions 17-18, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 2

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The videos Clara explica el tiempo - Part 1 and Clara explica el tiempo- Part 2  (Clara Explains the Weather- Parts 1 and 2) as well as Aprendiendo con Karen- El tiempo (Learning with Karen- The Weather) can help you learn even more ways to talk about the weather in Spanish



¿Cuándo es el otoño? (When Is Autumn?)

While some Spanish-speaking countries like Colombia and Ecuador have less climatic variation due to their proximity to the equator, others experience the autumn season in different months than North America. For example, fall in countries like Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, etc. takes place from approximately marzo a junio (March to June), while Spain experiences the fall in the same months as in the United States: septiembre a diciembre (September through December), as demonstrated in this video about the months and seasons in Spanish by El Aula Azul:


En septiembre, empieza el otoño. En octubre, caen las hojas.

In September, the fall begins. In October, the leaves fall.

Captions 22-23, El Aula Azul Estaciones y Meses

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And that brings us to las hojas (the leaves), which, along with their tendency to change colors, dry up, and fall off trees in the autumn, are arguably the most frequently-employed symbol of the fall season.


Símbolos del otoño (Symbols of Fall)

What other objects are associated with the fall? Let's take a look at a few: 


¡Soy un espantapájaros!

I'm a scarecrow!

Caption 95, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 15

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¿Cuánto puede costar una cesta así en el mercado?

How much can a basket like this cost at the market?

Caption 121, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 11

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¿Adivináis qué animal come esta paja y este heno?

Can you guess what animal eats this straw and this hay?

Caption 6, Amaya Donkey Dreamland

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Ahora, vamos con nuestro siguiente diseño de calabaza

Now, we go on to our next pumpkin design.

Caption 64, Manos a la obra Papel picado para Día de muertos

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Of course, while the calabaza (pumpkin) is a decorative symbol of the autumn season, it is also a fall food that can be made into delectable desserts, stews, and even espresso beverages... which brings us to our next category!


Comidas de otoño (Fall Food)

What other foods do we associate with the autumn season?


Es época de quinoa, de la cosecha, de las arvejas tiernas, del maíz, que también ya acabamos de cosechar

It's the season for quinoathe harvest, sweet peas, corn, which we also just finished harvesting.

Captions 27-28, Otavalo Proyecto familiar Kawsaymi - Part 2

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Si hay un olor típico en el otoño es el de las castañas asadas.

If there is a typical smell in autumn, it's that of the roasted chestnuts.

Caption 24, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 1

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Las manzanas puedes hacer dulce de manzana, pie de manzana, torta de manzana, 

[With] apples you can make apple jam, apple pie, apple cake,

Caption 19, Otavalo Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

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And speaking of apples, they can also be used to make sidra (cider) of both the alcoholic and non-alchoholic variety:


y la bebida más típica es la sidra de manzana.

and the most typical drink is hard apple cider.

Caption 57, Viajando con Fermín La Feria de Santo Tomás

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In this video, Fermín tells us in this about the Feria de Santo Tomás (Saint Tomas Fair), which takes place on the last day of autumn, December 21st, and is thought to be the first day of the Christmas season. 



Fiestas de otoño (Fall Holidays)

To continue on the theme of fiestas (holidays), let's talk about the Spanish terms for some fall celebrations in both the United States and Latin America:


Y en el interior le decimos, eh... Día de Muertos. Eh... Quizás tenga un poco de relación en la fecha con el Halloween de Estados Unidos,

And in [places] inside the country we call it, um... Day of the Dead. Um... Perhaps it's a little bit related with the United States's Halloween in respect to date,

Captions 69-70, Yabla en Yucatán Don Salo - Part 2

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And, in addition to Halloween and the Day of the Dead, we have, in November, the important North American holiday of Thanksgiving, which is called el Día de Acción de Gracias in Spanish. 


Autumn Vocabulary in Review

Let's conclude today's lesson with a quick-reference review of the words we have learned:


el otoño (the autumn/fall)

la estación (the season)

el tiempo (the weather)

la temperatura (the temperture)

la lluvia (the rain)

el viento (the wind)

la niebla (the fog)

el sol (the sun)

hacer sol (to be sunny)

hacer viento (to be windy)

hacer frío (to be cold)

marzo (March)

abril (April)

mayo (May)

junio (June)

septiembre (September)

octubre (October)

noviembre (November)

diciembre (December)

las hojas (the leaves)

el espantapájaros (the scarecrow)

la cesta (the basket)

la paja (the straw)

el heno (the hay)

la calabaza (the pumpkin)

la quinoa (the quinoa)

la cosecha (the harvest)

cosechar (to harvest)

el maíz (the corn)

las castañas asadas (the roasted chestnuts)

la manzana (the apple)

la fiesta (the holiday)

el Día de Muertos/el Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)

el Día de Acción de Gracias (Thanksgiving)


And that brings us to the end of our lesson on useful Spanish vocabulary for the autumn season. We hope you've enjoyed it, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.


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