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Valentine's Day in Spanish: Vocabulary and Traditions

In preparation for El Día de San Valentín (Valentine's Day), let's listen to several pertinent clips from the Yabla Spanish video library... and learn some vocabulary in the process!

 

Aunque no crean, existe el amor a primera vista

Believe it or not, love at first sight does exist.

Caption 56, El reencuentro Las amigas hablan del trabajo y el amor.

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Cupido vuelve a apuntar con su flecha

Cupid aims with his arrow again

Caption 5, Tito El Bambino Llueve el amor

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Mande a pedir un ramo de doce rosas rojas

Order a bouquet of twelve red roses,

Caption 45, Programación de oficina El dictado del jefe

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Chocolate Perfección: el chocolate para enamorados.

"Chocolate Perfección": the chocolate for lovers.

Captions 43-44, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 5: Ha nacido una estrella - Part 2

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Valentine's Day in North America 

The captions above include some common themes and traditions of Valentine's Day in North America, which is meant to  festejar el amor  (celebrate love) for romantic partners and family members, and, increasingly, to show appreciation for friends. Typical ways of doing so include  intercambiar regalos (exchanging gifts) and tarjetas de San Valentín  (valentines), mandar flores (sending flowers), most typically rosas rojas (red roses), giving cajas de chocolate en forma de corazón (heart-shaped boxes of chocolate), and planning special citas (dates), such as salir a cenar (going out to dinner). Valentine's Day in North America is celebrated on el catorce de febrero (February fourteenth).

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Valentine's Day in the Spanish-Speaking World

Valentine's Day is celebrated in a similar fashion on the same day in many Spanish speaking countries, with varying degrees of popularity. In addition to El Día de San Valentín, many countries refer to this holiday as El Día del Amor y la Amistad (Love and Friendship Day) or El Día de los Enamorados (Lovers' Day), while some use these terms interchangeably. And Guatemala has a unique name: El Día del Cariño (Affection Day).

 

Many Valentine's costumbres (traditions) in the Spanish-speaking world overlap with North American ones:

 

La floristería. ¿Sí? Es una tienda donde la gente compra flores, plantas, ¿sí? Por ejemplo, para cumpleaños, o para... en... en primavera, o para el Día de los Enamorados, por ejemplo.

The florist. Right? It's a store where people buy flowers, plants, right? For example, for birthdays, or for... in... in spring, or for Valentine's Day, for example.

Captions 3-6, Curso de español Tiendas y edificios públicos en la ciudad

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However, there are some differences. In Chile, las orquídeas (orchids) are the flowers of love rather than roses. And some countries, like the Dominican Republic, have the tradition of a game called Amigo secreto (Secret Friend) or Angelito (Little Angel) among friends or colleagues, which is similar to the idea of Secret Santa. 

 

Valentine's Day Alternatives

Some countries celebrate their Valentine's Day on a different date, while others commemorate both February 14th and additional love and friendship holidays. 

 

Colombia's El Día del Amor y la Amistad falls on the third Saturday in September, while Argentina's La Semana de la Dulzura (Sweetness Week), where amigos (friends) and amantes (lovers) exchange chocolate and other dulces (sweets), lasts from June 1st through 7th. Argentinians also recognize El Día del Amigo (Friend Day) on July 20th, whereas Mexico has its El Día Internacional de la Amistad (International Friendship Day) on August 30th. Additional romantic holidays include El Día del Estudiante, de la Juventud, de la Primavera, y del Amor (The Day of the Student, Youth, Spring, and Love) on September 21st in Bolivia and El Día de San Jorge (Saint George's Day) in Catalonia on April 23rd, where red roses are traditionally gifted to women and books to men. On El Día de San Dionisio (Saint Dionysius Day) in Valencia on October 9th, the gift of choice is the Spanish sweet mazapán (marzipan) wrapped in a pañuelo (handkerchief).

 

Valentine's Day Verbs

Now that we know about various international Valentine's-like festivities, let's learn some romantic Spanish vocabulary, starting with some verbs:

 

abrazar: to hug/embrace

acurrucar: to cuddle 

adorar: to adore/love

amar: to love

besar: to kiss 

coquetear: to flirt 

casarse: to marry/get married

enamorarse: to fall in love

encantar: to [cause] love

gustar: to [cause someone to] like 

querer: to like/love

 

Related to these words are, of course, essential Valentine's Day nouns like  el beso (the kiss) and el abrazo (the hug) and adjectives like enamorado/a (in love). Let's hear a few of these words in action:

 

Me quiero casar con ella. Estoy enamorado, ¿eh?

I want to marry her. I'm in love, huh?

Caption 59, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 9

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¿Y no te alcanza el tiempo para coquetear con cierto chico... rubio, guapo, encantador?

And don't you have enough time to flirt with a certain guy... blond, handsome, charming?

Captions 116-117, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 10

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Siento que cada día te quiero más

I feel that each day I love you more

Caption 27, Alberto Barros Mano a mano

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Since the subtle differences between the different "love" verbs can seem a bit confusing for English speakers, we recommend our lessons on three different ways to express love in Spanish and Amar y Querer. And, since the way that verbs like gustar and encantar  work can feel a bit counterintuitive, we recommend this two-part lesson on Querer vs. "To Like": A Difference in Perception.

 

Terms of Endearment

Let's conclude today's lesson with some ways to refer affectionately to your romantic partner, although you might additionally hear many of them used among friends. While we will provide their literal translations below, many of them can be used similarly to the way that the terms "honey," "dear" or "sweetie" are used in English. 

 

Amor: love

Cariño: affection

Corazón: heart

Mi cielo: my sky

Mi rey/reina: my king/queen

Mi vida: my life

Querido/querida: dear

 

Let's hear a few of these in action:

 

y te mando un beso, corazón.

and I send you a kiss, sweetheart.

Caption 11, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 7

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Dame un beso. -¿De verdad, mi cielo?

Give me a kiss. -Really, my dear?

Caption 64, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 1 - Part 3

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¡Mi reina! Mi amor, cómo te extrañé. -Hola, yo también.

My queen! My love, how I missed you. -Hello, me too.

Captions 1-2, Yago 6 Mentiras - Part 2

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And remember that while gordo/a literally means "fat" or "fatty," it is also used as a term of endearment in some Latin American countries (although we definitely don't recommend employing it's English equivalent!).

 

Ay, gordo, muchísimas gracias por haber estado aquí. -A ti por invitarme.

Oh, honey, thank you very much for having been here. -To you for inviting me.

Caption 13, Club 10 Capítulo 2 - Part 4

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We hope that this lesson rife with Valentine's Day vocabulary has been useful to you, and  ¡Feliz Día de San Valentín (Happy Valentine's Day)! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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The Spanish Verb Quemar: Don't Get Burned!

Are you familiar with the Spanish verb quemar and its reflexive counterpart quemarse? Although a common translation for both of these verbs is "to burn," they have many additional, nuanced translations, including some idiomatic ones, which this lesson will explore.

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Quemar vs. Quemarse

In some cases, distinguishing between a verb and its reflexive form is a bit challenging. Most simply put, the verb quemar often means "to burn" in the sense of a subject "burning" on object, for example, when something has the ability "to burn" other things due to its high temperature or something or someone "burns" something else, as in the example: Yo espero no quemar la torta (I hope not to burn the cake). Let's take a look at some additional examples:

 

me encanta, eh... usar salvia

I love to, um... use sage

que incluso tengo en mi... en mi jardín.

that I even have in my... in my garden.

La quemo y con eso recorro mi casa

I burn it, and I go around the house with it,

Captions 31-33, Tatiana y su cocina - Sus ingredientes "mágicos"

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Mili, quemá esa camisa por favor; que desaparezca;

Mili, burn that shirt please; it should disappear;

Caption 10, Muñeca Brava - 46 Recuperación

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In contrast, the reflexive form, quemarse, refers to an action that happens on its own or within itself and, thus, frequently describes someone or something "burning itself" or "getting burned":

 

No es nada, señora. -¿Cómo no me voy a preocupar

It's nothing, ma'am. -How am I not going to be worried

si te quemaste? -¡Ay pero qué tonta!

if you burned yourself? -Oh, but how foolish [I am]!

Captions 22-23, Yago - 8 Descubrimiento

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Note that an alternative translation for te quemaste in this sentence could be, "you got burned." Let's look at an additional example:

 

Este es el color, aproxi'... es como marrón dorado

This is the color, approx'... it's like golden brown,

pero no muy oscuro porque si no, se quema la arepa.

but not very dark because, otherwise, the arepa gets burned.

Captions 40-41, Dany - Arepas

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While se quema la arepa could also be expressed with the phrase "the arepa burns," the important thing is that, with the reflexive form, the process is happening by or to itself rather than with a subject performing the action on some object.

 

Non-Physical Meanings of the Verb Quemar

Like the English verb "to burn," the Spanish verb quemar also has meanings that extend beyond the literal meaning of physical burning. Let's take a look:

 

En... Y en las noches, eh, siento que, que todo el brazo me quema.

At... And at night, um, I feel that, that my whole arm burns.

Caption 13, Los médicos explican - El tratamiento de las fracturas

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Siento dentro de mí ese sentimiento

I feel inside me that feeling

Que es grande, profundo y me quema por dentro. Yo sé que es amor

That's big, deep, and it burns me inside. I know it's love

Captions 25-26, Alberto Barros - Mano a mano

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So, we see that, like the word "burn" in English, the Spanish verb quemar can extend to intense physical and emotional sensations, which is why both the Spanish and English versions often appear in music and literature. 

 

Just like in English, the Spanish verb quemar can also mean "to work off," as in "to burn calories," etc.:

 

También ayuda a quemar grasas

It also helps to burn fat.

Caption 35, Cleer - Hobbies

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And finally, as we can refer to "burning," or recording, a CD in English, we could also quemar un compact in Spanish. 

 

Alternative Translations for the Verb Quemarse

So, what about quemarse? In certain contexts, the Spanish verb quemarse can also mean to "burn down," in the sense of getting destroyed by fire. Let's take a look:

 

Y hace unos veinticinco años se quemó todo este edificio. 

And about twenty-five years ago this whole building burned down.

Caption 5, Yago - 12 Fianza

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In other cases, quemarse can mean "to burn out" or "blow" (as in a fuse), as in ceasing to work due to excessive friction or heat:

 

Se me quemó una lamparita... 

A light bulb burned out on me...

Caption 77, Verano Eterno - Fiesta Grande

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Yet another possible translation for quemarse in some contexts is "to go up in smoke," in the sense of catching fire:

 

porque cuando se escapan sueltan chispas

because when they get loose they give off sparks

que provocan que se queme la instalación eléctrica,

that make the electrical system go up in smoke,

y puede provocar un incendio. 

and it can cause a fire.

Captions 52-54, Club de las ideas - La motivación

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So, as always, context is key to understanding the meaning of the verb quemarse since its meanings can vary. 
 

When Quemarse Doesn't Mean "To Burn"

If someone exclaims, "¡Te quemaste!" to you after a day at the beach, you might assume they are conveying to you that you've gotten a sunburn, and, in some countries, that might be true. However, this very same expression is utilized in other countries, like Argentina, to tell someone they got a suntan. We see this usage in the following clip, where the speaker refers to herself as quemada, which literally means "burnt":

 

A mí me encanta estar quemada

I love being tan,

pero este sol me recalienta la cabeza,

but this sun is overheating my head,

Caption 22, Muñeca Brava - 30 Revelaciones

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Then, in the following passage, the verb quemarse has been translated as "to grill" since it refers to the manner in which this fish is cooked, rather than it actually burning:

 

Es más higiénica y se quema el pescado pero no se cae la caña.

It's more hygienic, and the fish grills, but the cane doesn't fall.

Caption 16, Málaga - La tradición de los espetos

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In some cases involving cooking, the English verb "to char" could be another possible translation. 

 

Quemarse as an Idiomatic Expression

We'll conclude this lesson by mentioning an idiomatic use of the verbs quemarse, which, in some cases, is a rough equivalent of the English "to blow it" or "screw up." For example:

 

Ahí te quemaste, hermano.

 That's where you screwed up, brother.

 

Me quemé en el examen de astronomia. 

I blew it on the astronomy test. 

 

Let's take a look at a similar example from the Yabla video library:

 

Hablando de quemar,

Speaking of burning,

cómo me quemé con Andrea, mi vida, por favor.

I really burned my bridges with Andrea, my dear, please.

Caption 28, Muñeca Brava - 30 Revelaciones

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As the speaker is referring to making a mistake with a particular person during an argument, the English expression "to burn one's bridges" adequately conveys this idea in this context. Interestingly, another manner of saying this in Spanish is quemar las naves (literally "to burn one's boats").

 

We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, which mentions just some of the many uses of the Spanish verbs quemar and quemarse. Can you think of more? Don't hesitate to let us know with your suggestions and comments

 

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More than Three Amigos

If you visited a Spanish speaking country during the last spring break, chances are you were invited to a party. Maybe it was a birthday party, a wedding or, most likely, just a meet-up with friends. No matter the occasion, there are some Spanish words and phrases that always come in handy at a party. Let's see a few examples:
 

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The word salud means a lot of different things in Spanish. The basic meaning is, of course, "health," but this tiny word is also uttered as a courtesy when someone sneezes (the underlying meaning is that the person wishes that you haven't got the flu), and it's also customarily used to make a toast (the underlying meaning is that the person wishes the drink contributes to everybody's health and well-being). There are different ways to use it.
 
You can simply use salud as English uses the word "cheers":

 

¡Salud! -¡Salud!

Cheers! -Cheers!

Caption 92, Casa Pancho - vinos y pinchos

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If you are the person making the toast, you can also go for something like this:

 

Muy bien, a la salud del novio. -¡Ahí va!

Great, to the groom's health. -There you go!

Caption 21, Yago - 3 La foto

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In some countries, like Mexico and Ecuador, it’s very common to use an endearing diminutive:

 

¡Salucita!

Cheers!

Caption 27, Otavalo - Leche de chiva - gran alimento

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Another word that is also used to make a toast is provecho, which literally means "profit" or "advantage." This word is used before either drinking or eating (salud can only be used with drinks) and it means that the person speaking wishes that you "profit" from the food or beverage you are having. By the way, you can either say buen provecho or only provecho:
 

Buen provecho.

Enjoy your meal.

Caption 71, Cocinando con Miguelito - Pollo sudado

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Now, the word for party in Spanish is fiesta, sure. But this is not the only word people use. You should learn some variants, otherwise you'll be missing some great fun:
 
For example, your friends in many countries of Latin America may invite you to a parranda (party). If you are parrandero (a party animal) you'll probably want to show up:
 

Es buen amigo, parrandero y bailador

He is a good friend, he likes to party and he's a dancer

Caption 45, Alberto Barros - Mano a mano

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In other places, notably in Mexico City, people use the word reventón (party, literally a "blow-out"). If the party involves getting drunk then the invitation would be something like vámonos de juerga/farra/parranda (somewhat equivalent to "let's go get crazy drunk")There are, of course, many words to describe the act of drinking: chupar, pistear, libar, mamarembriagarseirse de copas (copas means "cups"), empinar el codo (literally "to raise the elbow"), ponerse hasta atrás (to get really drunk, literally "to get oneself behind") are just a few.
 

No hay plata pa' comer pero sí pa' chupar

There is no money to eat but there is to drink

Caption 60, ChocQuibTown - De donde vengo yo

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And what do you call your friends, buddies, pals, mates at a party? Well, that depends on where you are:
 
In Mexico City, friends are called cuates:
 

que te presenta a una persona, a un cuate cercano,

that introduces someone, a close buddy,

Caption 13, Amigos D.F. - Te presento...

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But if you are in the northern part of Mexico, we strongly recommend you avoid the use of cuates. Instead, you can use camaradacompa (short for compadre), or carnal (bro); all of these are more or less common everywhere in the country. Here's a great example of a phrase you can use to start a party anywhere in Mexico:
 

¡Órale compadre, échese un trago!

Come on, pal, throw down a drink!

Caption 5, El Ausente - Acto 1

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What about other places? Well, it's a long list. In Spain, people use tío (uncle)In Argentina, pibe (kid). In Perú, pata. In Venezuela, pana. In Cuba, asere. In Colombia, parsa. In Honduras, mara... The list goes on and on. One thing is for sure: you can use amigo safely anywhere Spanish is spoken. Maybe that's the friendliest thing to do.

Expressions

Using the Word "Sea" - Subjunctive | Verb Ser (to be)

The present subjunctive of the verb ser (to be) is the same in both the first- and third-person singular: sea. This little word is used profusely in Spanish for the most varied purposes. Let's explore and learn a few.
 

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The first person yo (I) uses sea. You can use it to express other people's wishes or expectations placed on you:
 
Quieres que [yo] sea cuidadosa
You want me to be cautious
 
or to deny hypothetic situations or conditions:
 
No es que yo sea mala...
It's not that I'm bad...
 
The third person (he, she, it) also uses sea. Here are examples using sea to talk about people (he, she). The tricky part is that Spanish usually gets rid of the pronouns él or ella, so you will only hear or see the verb sea.
 

No importa que sea morena, blanca, rubia o canela

It doesn't matter if she is dark-skinned, white, blonde or brown

Caption 52, Alberto Barros - Mano a mano

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¿Cómo me voy a andar fijando en él por más simpático...

How am I going to go around thinking about him no matter how nice...

alto, caballero y bello que sea?

tall, gentlemanly and handsome he might be?

Captions 74-75, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso

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It's the same when you use sea to, for example, talk about a poisonous mushroom:
 

Por tocarlo no pasa nada.

Nothing happens by touching it.

Aunque sea mortal.

Even though it's lethal.

Captions 114-115, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa

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However, the use of sea extends far beyond that in Spanish. Many idiomatic expressions use it. For example, the expression sea lo que is used to express fatalistic sentiments. Use this model phrase to learn it: sea + lo que dios mande (literally, let it be what God commands). Note that it uses subjunctive plus subjunctive:
 
Que sea lo que dios mande
Let it be God's will.
 
Of course, it's possible to get rid of the pronoun que (that) and combine the phrase with a different verb, like querer (to want):
 

Sea lo que Dios quiera.

Let it be God's will.

Caption 9, Baile Folklórico de Puerto Rico - Los Bailarines

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But there's also the expression sea lo que sea, literally meaning "let it be whatever it might be," or more simply put: "whatever it may be."
 
Sea lo que sea, quiero saber la verdad.
I want to know the truth, whatever that may be.

The shorter expression lo que sea (whatever) is even more common:
 

No es solamente utilizar una moneda local o lo que sea.

It's not just to use a local coin or whatever.

Caption 67, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 4

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...sea hombre, mujer, o lo que sea.

...whether it's a man, a woman or whatever.

Caption 60, Arume - Barcelona

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The clause para que sea (for it to be, so that it is) is also a great addition to your Spanish vocabulary:
 

Entonces, para que sea una sorpresa también.

So, for it to be a surprise also.

Caption 12, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 10

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Para que sea más fácil, le cortáis por la mitad.

So that it is easier, you cut it in half.

Caption 49, Cómetelo - Crema de brócoli

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Finally, don't forget the expression o sea (I mean, meaning):
 

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¡O sea, esto es más de lo que cualquier chica popular puede soportar!

I mean, this is more than any popular girl could bear!

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

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The Complicated World of Reflexive Verbs in Spanish

The use of reflexive verbs in Spanish can be very challenging for English speakers. A verb is used reflexively when the subject of the verb is also its object. In other words, when the subject is acting on itself.

 

Of course, English also uses reflexive verbs. However, while English makes use of expressions like "to himself," "to herself," etc., Spanish uses reflexive pronouns. Let's compare the use of reflexive verbs in Spanish and English in the following examples:

 

Es que con su electricidad se defiende.

The thing is that with her electricity, she defends herself.

Caption 22, Guillermina y Candelario - Un pez mágico

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One of the most challenging aspects of the use of reflexive verbs in Spanish is the different ways in which reflexive pronouns and verbs are combined. You can use the pronoun as in the first example: ella se defiende (she defends herself), but adding the reflexive pronoun as a suffix to the verb is also correct (though kind of poetic), ella defiéndese (she defends herself). 

 

Here's another example that even combines two reflexive verbs in such a way:

 

Ella está dedicándose a relajarse pintando.

She's dedicating herself to relaxing [herself] by painting.

Caption 21, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 13

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And there is even a different way to express the exact same idea: 

Ella se está dedicando relajarse pintando

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It's also very common to use more than one verb in reflexive expressions in Spanish. Usually one verb is conjugated and the other one is an infinitive. Here is an example that combines the verbs saber (to know) and cuidar (to take care):

 

No le teme a nada, él se sabe cuidar

He's not afraid of anything, he knows how to take care of himself

Caption 42, Alberto Barros - Mano a mano

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There is another way to express the same idea. Can you guess it now? Let's take a look:

él sabe cuidarse.

 

Remember we said that Spanish uses reflexive pronouns while English uses expressions such as "to himself," "to herself," etc.? Well, that doesn't mean that Spanish doesn't have similar expressions. Let's see what those expressions are:

 

- mí mismo (myself) 

- sí misma (herself)

- sí mismo (himself, itself)

- sí mismos (themselves), and 

- nosotros mismos (ourselves) 

 

It may seem repetitive, but it's correct and very common to use them altogether with reflexive pronouns and verbs:

 

De crecer, de vivir, de ver, de realizarse a sí mismos.

To grow, to live, to make themselves [to come into their own].

Captions 14-15, Horno San Onofre - La Historia de la Pastelería

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Another confusing aspect of reflexive verbs in Spanish is that they are not always used in the same situations in English. A classic example is the use of the reflexive bañarse to describe the action of taking a bath. You wouldn't normally say "I'm bathing myself" in English, but rather "I'm bathing" or "I'm taking a bath." Or take, for example, the verb arrepentir[se]:

 

Quisiera arrepentirme, ser el mismo, y no decirte eso

I would like to repent, to be the same, and to not tell you that

Caption 19, Camila - Aléjate de mi

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Sometimes things get even more confusing. Expressions like la sopa se quema or el plato se rompió (literally "the soup burns itself" and "the dish broke itself") don't seem to make much sense, right? How can inanimate objects act on themselves? However, these expressions are correct in Spanish, and they are commonly used as some kind of passive voice. That's how they usually translate to English:

 

...pero no muy oscuro porque si no, se quema la arepa.

...but not very dark because if not, the arepa gets burned.

Caption 41, Dany - Arepas - Part 2

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To end this lesson we want to share with you a Spanish saying that uses reflexive verbs. It may come in handy if you are thinking reflexive Spanish verbs are way too confusing. It goes like this: 

 

No te preocupes, mejor ocúpate (Don't worry yourself, it's better to occupy yourself).

 

We hope you enjoyed this lesson about reflexive verbs in Spanish and please send us your comments and suggestions.

 

Lo as a Direct Object Pronoun

Did you hear the news about the US becoming the second biggest Spanish-speaking country? Guess that means we are on the right track, right? Let's keep learning and polishing our Spanish then. As promised, here is a lesson on the use of lo as a direct pronoun. For your reference, our previous lesson on lo used as a neuter article is already up on our site.

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Besides being a neuter article, lo is the Spanish neuter direct object pronoun. It's used to replace an idea, situation, or concept (something non-specific or with no gender) that is the direct object of a transitive verb in any given sentence. For most direct objects, Spanish uses either the masculine pronoun (which is also lo, by the way) or the feminine pronoun (la), and their plural forms los, las:

Masculine, singular (el plátano)
Lulú come un plátano  Lulú lo come | Lulú eats a banana  Lulu eats it
Masculine, plural (los plátanos)
Lulú come plátanos  Lulú los come | Lulú eats bananas Lulu eats them
Feminine, singular (la tortilla)
Lulú hace una tortilla → Lulú la hace  Lulú makes a tortilla  Lulu makes it
Feminine, plural (las tortillas)
Lulú hace tortillas → Lulú las hace  Lulú makes tortillas  Lulu makes them

And this is how you use the neuter direct object pronoun lo:
Lucero dice [que] hoy lloverá  Lucero lo dice
Lucero says today will rain → Lucero says it

Note how in the previous examples lo (usually translated to "it," just as the singular masculine and feminine pronouns) doesn't refer to an object, but to a statement that has been made (about a situation: it will rain). This is by far the most common use of lo as a neuter direct pronoun in Spanish. In the following examples, try to identify the neuter direct object that lo is replacing:
 

Se murió. Cuando se lo dije, se derritió.

She died. When I told it to her, she melted. -Please.

Caption 61, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema - Part 4

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Finally, we have said that the neuter pronoun lo is translated as "it," but this is not always the case. Being lo such a useful pronoun (it can be used to substitute anything previously said in a conversation), it has find its way into many common phrases that have a specific way of being expressed in English, for example:
 

Tú no mataste a Victoria Sirenio. -Eso lo dice usted.

You didn't kill Victoria Sirenio. -That's what you say.

Captions 18-19, Yago - 7 Encuentros - Part 14

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Sometimes the use of lo is equivalent to the use of "that" as a pronoun:
 

Mira, Roberto, yo te quise como un hijo. Sí, lo sé. -Tú lo sabes. -Sí.

Look, Roberto, I loved you like a son. Yes, I know that. -You know that. -Yes.

Captions 9-10, Yago - 7 Encuentros - Part 14

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Ah, disculpa, no quería incomodarte. -No, no lo hiciste.

Oh, sorry, I didn't want to make you uncomfortable. -No, you didn't do that.

Caption 66, Yago - 7 Encuentros - Part 14

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And sometimes translating lo is not even necessary: 
 

¿Qué vas a hacer? Porque yo no lo

What are you going to do? Because I don't know

Captions 19-20, Jarabe de Palo - Y ahora qué hacemos

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Si tú vienes con mentiras, eso sí que no lo aguanto yo

If you come with lies, that's something I can't stand

Caption 19, Alberto Barros - Mano a mano

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Caption 66, 10, 9, 19, 18
Adv-Intermediate

Amar, querer, encantar [three different ways to express love in Spanish]

There is more than one way to express love in Spanish. We have prepared a brief review, hoping that you'll find them useful during 2015. Happy New Year!

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The verb amar ("to love") is pretty easy to remember because it shares Latin roots with the English words "amorous" and "enamored."

 

Si supieras lo mucho que te amo

If you knew how much I love you

Caption 15, Ozomatli - Jardinero

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There's also the verb querer, which means both "to love" (someone) or "to want" (something). You've probably heard: Te quiero ("I love you")  and Yo quiero tacos  ("I want tacos").

 

Siento que cada día te quiero más

I feel that each day I love you more

Caption 27, Alberto Barros - Mano a mano

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Then there's the verb encantar ("to love" or "to enchant"), which is used to express "love" in the sense of liking something a whole heck of a lot (i.e., gustar mucho). For example: Me encanta esta ciudad ("I love this city") and Me encantan esos pantalones ("I love those pants").

Did you note in our examples above that the verb encantar (like gustar) agrees with the object of affection (la cuidad/los pantalones) instead of the speaker? The construction, if expressed in English, might be "Those pants enchant me." Carlos, a friend from Colombia, uses encantar to describe how he feels about his job:

 

La verdad es que mi trabajo me encanta.

The truth is that I love my job.

Caption 39, Carlos Quintana - Guía de musica latina

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We hope you have enjoyed this lesson!

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Vocabulary

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Negation in Spanish

 

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Did you watch our video about Spanish negation? In it, Marta explains that to make a negative sentence in Spanish, you basically need to place the word no before the verb in any given sentence, like this one from our animated friend Guillermina:
 

No quería que jugáramos con nuestros juguetes.

She didn't want us to play with our toys.

Caption 49, Guillermina y Candelario - El mundo de los juguetes perdidos

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By combining the word no with the word ni (nor) you can negate more than one idea:
 

Porque sin ti no me importan los minutos ni los días

Because without you I don't care about minutes or days

Caption 8, Belinda - Bella Traición

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As in English, you can use ni (nor) as many times as you want:
 

No te conoce el toro ni la higuera, ni caballos ni hormigas de tu casa.

The bull does not know you, nor the fig tree, nor the horses, nor the ants at your house.

Captions 4-5, Acercándonos a la Literatura - García Lorca - Alma ausente

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There are some other negative words in Spanish: nada (nothing), nadie (nobody), jamás (never), nunca (never), and tampoco (neither). How are these negative words used in Spanish? You place them right before the verb:
 

Mira, nunca me vayas a olvidar

Look, never forget me

Caption 24, Alberto Barros - Mano a mano

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You can also combine these words with the word no. In this case you should use no before the verb and the additional negative after it:
 

Porque en el campo no hay nadie. -Claro.

Because there is nobody in the field. -Of course.

Caption 19, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa

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As you can see, this leads us to probably the most interesting thing about negation in Spanish: the fact that double and triple negatives are very common:
 

No me gusta deberle nada a nadie.

I don't like to owe anything to anyone.

Caption 12, El Ausente - Acto 2

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Notice how in the previous quote the English translation uses the negative “don’t” first, and then the affirmative “anything” and “anyone” instead of “nothing” and “nobody” (which are the literal equivalent to nada and nadie). This is so because formal written English doesn’t use double negation. By contrast, the general rule in Spanish is not to mix negative and affirmative words in the same sentence. See for example:

 

Yo no pido nada más

I don't ask for anything else

Caption 14, Enrique Iglesias - Alguien soy yo

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Where Spanish uses two consecutive negatives (no and nada), English uses one negative (don't) and one affirmative (anything). Saying "Yo no pido algo más" or "Yo pido nada más" in Spanish is similar to saying “I don’t ask for nothing else” in English.

 

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