Spanish Lessons


Understanding the Colloquial Spanish Word Venga in English

Have you ever heard the word venga in Spanish? If you have been studying Spanish for a while or have ever been to Spain, you have probably heard someone say this word. But, do you really know the meaning of the Spanish word venga? In this lesson, we will teach you seven different ways to employ this very useful colloquial term.


But first, let's establish three important things. First, the word venga is the conjugation of the verb venir in the formal imperative (for the second person singular pronoun usted, which means "you"). Let's take a look at this very simple example of the traditional use of this word:


¡Estoy hablando con usted, señor! ¡Venga aquí, por favor!

I'm talking to you, sir! Come here, please!


Second, in addition to its formal use, as venga is a word that is used colloquially in multiple ways throughout Spain, if you are planning a visit to that country, we recommend familiarizing yourself with as many of these uses as possible. 


And third, much of the time, the Spanish word venga is roughly translated with the English expression "Come on." That said, let's take a look at the following uses of the colloquial term venga.


1. Motivation or Encouragement

One of the most common uses of the Spanish word venga is to motivate or encourage someone to do something. We can see this use in the following clips from our popular series Extr@: Extra en español:


Venga, cuéntamelo, Sam. No pasa nada.

Come on, tell me, Sam. It's no big deal.

Caption 50, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 7: La gemela - Part 4

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Venga, díselo.

Come on, tell him.

Caption 5, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam - Part 6

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In this context, you might also use venga to dare someone to do something:


No vas a atreverte. ¿Cómo que no? Venga.

You won't dare. What do you mean I won't? Go ahead.

Captions 1-3, Cortometraje Flechazos

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2. Giving Orders

Sometimes, in the context of giving orders, the word venga can be used in a more decisive manner:


¿Hay alguien? Conteste, venga.

Is anyone there? Answer, come on.

Captions 28-29, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2: Sam va de compras - Part 4

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3. As a Synonym for "Let's Do It"

In this context, the word venga is usually used as a call to action to do something specific:


¿Sí? ¡Venga va! Vamos a corregir.

Yes? Come on! Let's correct [this].

Caption 91, Escuela BCNLIP Clase con Javi: el futuro - Part 6

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Venga, vámonos.

Come on, let's go.

Caption 60, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 3

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4. Expression of Agreement

Similar to the previous use, the word venga can be used to express agreement between two people. In this case, venga would be equivalent to saying "OK" in English. Let's see an example:


La semana que viene sin falta, a cenar a mi casa. Vale, te llamo. -Venga,

Next week no matter what, dinner at my house. OK, I'll call you. -OK,

Captions 95-96, Blanca y Mariona Vida en general

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You may notice that this use of venga very often comes up at the end of spoken conversations, especially on the telephone when one person indicates the end of the conversation with this word and the other person repeats it:


Venga. -Venga. Hasta luego.

OK. -OK. Bye.


5. As a Synonym for "Hurry Up"

People tend to repeat the word venga when they want to encourage someone to do something quickly. Let's see this use in action:


Venga, venga que es noche y... y las castañas sin coger.

Come on, come on, as it's getting late and... and the chestnuts haven't been picked.

Caption 63, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 4

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6. Asking Favors or Begging

Just like we use "come on" in English, we can use the word venga to ask someone to do something for us. Let's look: 


Venga, Sam. Tienes que vestirte de basurero.

Come on, Sam. You have to dress as a garbage man.

Caption 37, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 6: El día de la Primitiva - Part 5

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7. Expression of Disapproval or Disbelief

Just like the English expression "Come on," the Spanish word venga can additionally be used as an interjection to express astonishment, disbelief, or disapproval about something, as in the following example:


Pero venga, tío. Eso no tiene sentido.

But come on, man. That doesn't make sense. 


That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand the many meanings of the Spanish word venga, and if you ever go to Spain, we encourage you to use it. And, ¡​venga! Don't forget to send us your suggestions and comments.


Possessive Adjectives in Spanish: Part 2

In a previous lesson, we talked about short form possessive adjectives in Spanish: words like mi (my), tu (your), and nuestro (our), etc. that are placed in front of a noun to indicate ownership. The focus of this lesson will be long form possessive adjectives in Spanish, which, while similar in meaning, are different in terms of their form and placement. 




What's the Difference Between Short and Long Form Possessive Adjectives in Spanish? 

While short form Spanish possessive adjectives always go before the noun they modify, long form possessive adjectives in Spanish come after the noun they describe. Furthermore, while some of the short form Spanish possessive adjectives remain the same whether a noun is masculine or feminine, long form Spanish possessive adjectives always change form for singular/plural and masculine/feminine in all of their forms. And finally, while short form possessive adjectives in Spanish never go with an article, long form Spanish possessive adjectives are often accompanied by a noun's definite or indefinite article


The Long Form Spanish Possessive Adjectives

Let's take a look at the long form Spanish possessive adjectives, their possible meanings, and how they correspond to the personal pronouns in Spanish. You will note that the long form Spanish possessive adjectives for nosotros/as and vosotros/as are the exact same as their short form equivalents.


Yomío, mío, míos, mías (my, mine, of mine)


tuyo, tuya, tuyos, tuyas (your, yours, of yours)


Él/ella/ustedsuyo, suya, suyos, suyas (his, of his, her, hers, of hers, your, yours, of yours, its) 


Nosotros/nosotras: nuestro, nuestros, nuestra, nuestras (our, ours, of ours)


Vosotros/vosotrasvuestro, vuestros, vuestra, vuestras ((plural informal) your, yours, of yours)


Ellos/ellas/ustedessuyo, suya, suyos, suyas (their, theirs, of theirs, (plural) your, yours, of yours)


You may have noticed that, in comparison to short form Spanish possessive adjectives, there are more possible translations for long form possessive adjectives in Spanish, which will vary according to their context. 


Examples of Long Form Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

Let's take a look at the many translations of long form possessive adjectives in Spanish via a plethora of examples from Yabla's Spanish video library.


1. Mío, mío, míos, mías


Este sombrero es mío. Estos sombreros son míos.

This hat is mine. These hats are mine.

Captions 10-11, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2

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Esta botella es mía. Estas botellas son mías.

This bottle is mine. These bottles are mine.

Captions 15-16, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2

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We chose these two examples to illustrate that, as we mentioned, long form Spanish possessive adjectives always agree with the nouns they modify in terms of both number and gender. As with short form Spanish possessive adjectives, the number/gender of the person or entity that "owns" is insignificant. Additionally, you will note that the translation for these Spanish possessive adjectives here is "mine." Let's look at an example where their translation is slightly different: 


Y han venido unos amigos míos desde Mallorca, aquí hasta Málaga,

And some friends of mine have come here to Malaga from Mallorca

Caption 15, Amaya Voluntarios

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Not only do we see an alternative translation for the long form Spanish possessive adjective míos (of mine), we see that long form Spanish possessive can be accompanied an article, in this case, the indefinite article unos




2. Tuyo, tuya, tuyos, tuyas 

Now, let's look at some translations for the long form Spanish possessive adjective tuyo and its variants:


¿Es tuya esta mochila? 

Is this backpack yours?

Caption 6, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 3: ¿De quién es esta mochila?

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Así que, ¿no soy hijo tuyo?

So, I'm not your son?

Caption 68, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 2

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The interesting thing about this second example is that the long form Spanish possessive adjective tuyo has been translated as "your" instead of "yours" or "of yours," which is identical to the translation for the equivalent short form Spanish possessive adjective (tu). Hence, the same English sentence could have been written with the short form possessive adjective in Spanish, as follows:


Así que, ¿no soy tu hijo? 

So, I'm not your son?


So, we see that there are cases in which we could choose to use either the long or short form Spanish possessive adjective to express the exact same idea in English, although the long form is, perhaps, the slightly less common/more literary manner of doing so. 


3. Suyo, suya, suyos, suyas

As we saw in Part 1 of this lesson about short form Spanish possessive adjectives in regards to su and sus, this particular set of long form possessive adjectives can be confusing because they correspond with a lot of personal pronouns (él, ella, usted, ellos, ellas, and ustedes) and thus have a multitude of different translations, which we listed above. Context should usually help you to determine the meaning of these long form possessive adjectives in Spanish. Let's take a look: 


Estos sombreros son suyos.

These hats are hers.

Caption 31, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2

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While this example seems pretty simple at first glance, since the masculine plural form of the Spanish possessive adjective was chosen to agree with the noun it modifies (sombreros) rather than its corresponding personal pronoun (ella), this very same sentence could also mean "These hats are his," "These hats are yours" (one person or multiple people), or "These hats are theirs" (all males, all females, or a mixed group). So, let's hope that the text or conversation has given you some previous clues as to who the hats belong to and/or who is being spoken about (it usually does!). Let's see another example:


Efectivamente, era el rostro suyo

Indeed, it was his face

Caption 35, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 3

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What can we discern here? First, because the previous sentences in this flash fiction story by Carlos refer to the maestro de ceremonias, we know that "his" was the correct translation choice for suyo in this context. Second, remember that since the translation for the short form possessive adjective in Spanish su in English can also be "his," the very same idea could also have been conveyed with the sentence: "Efectivamente, era su rostro." Finally, we will reiterate that, although with short form possessive Spanish adjectives, the article is never used (it's simply su rostro), with the long form, they can be, as in the case of el rostro suyo. That said, this is a personal choice, and one might also omit the article and write simply "era rostro suyo" with no change in meaning. Let's look at one more variation of this long form Spanish possessive adjective.


Y también me gustó mucho la novela suya, eh, "Amor y pico"; me encantó.

And I also liked your soap opera a lot, um, "Love and Fortune;" I loved it.

Caption 41, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 1

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Here, since the speaker is consistently addressing a female actress with usted (formal "you") and talking to her about a soap opera she did, it is obvious that "your" is the intended meaning of the long form Spanish possessive adjective suya, which agrees in number and gender with the noun it modifies (la novela) and that, furthermore, the speaker chose to include that noun's definite article (la). We bet you're getting the hang of this by now! 


4. Nuestro, nuestros, nuestra, nuestras

Let's start off with some very simple examples:


Este sombrero es nuestro. Estos sombreros son nuestros. Esta botella es nuestra. Estas botellas son nuestras.

This hat is ours. These hats are ours. This bottle is ours. These bottles are ours.

Captions 35-38, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2

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Now, let's move on to a bit tougher one:


Padre nuestro, vamos a bendecir el alimento que vamos a comer.

Father of ours [or "Our Father], let's bless the food that we are going to eat.

Caption 55, Lecciones con Carolina Adjetivos posesivos - Part 1

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Through these clips, we can see not only the number/gender agreement we have been speaking about, but also some different translations for the long form Spanish possessive adjective forms of nuestro


5. Vuestro, vuestros, vuestra, vuestras

Let's conclude our lesson by looking at some clips of the long form Spanish possessive adjectives vuestro, etc.: 


Esta botella es vuestra. Estas botellas son vuestras.

This bottle is yours [plural]. These bottles are yours [plural].

Captions 41-42, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2

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¿Y el embutido es vuestro?

And, the sausage is yours?

Caption 57, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 4

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In lieu of this translation, this last sentence might also have been translated as "And is the sausage yours?" or even "And is it your sausage?"


We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand long form Spanish possessive adjectives and how they are different from short form possessive adjectives in Spanish. As an additional source for learning about long form possessive adjectives in Spanish, we additionally recommend the lesson Clase Aula Azul- La posesión- Part 2, and no se olviden de dejarnos los comentarios y sugerencias tuyos (don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions).




The Spanish Verb Decir

The verb decir (to say, to tell) is very common in Spanish. Let’s learn how to use it.
One of the most commonly used forms of this verb is digo (I say):

Pero si yo digo: Yo voy en el autobús y usted va en el coche,

But if I say: I am going in the bus and you [formal] are going on the car,

Captions 49-51, Fundamentos del Español - 6 - Tú y Usted

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The verb decir is frequently followed by the word que (that):

Yo digo que la fruta es para comerla no para hacerse una fotografía con ella.

I say that fruit is to eat it not to take a picture with it.

Caption 48, Los Reporteros - Sembrar, comer, tirar - Part 2

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Also remember that in Spanish you don't always need to use personal pronouns before verbs, since these are conjugated differently for each person:

Pues entonces rejuvenece coger castañas. -Digo que sí.

Well then, it rejuvenates to pick chestnuts. -I say so.

Captions 18-19, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 4

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Another common instance of the verb decir is dice (he/she/it says). The reason why dice is very useful is because it helps us talk about what we read or hear. For example:
Hay un letrero en la puerta que dice que ya está cerrado | There's a sign on the door sayingit's closed already.
El mensaje dice que viene una gran tormenta | The message says a big storm is coming.
Mayra dice que te tienes que ir | Mayra says you have to go.
We mentioned before that it’s very common to omit personal pronouns before verbs in Spanish. But you will find that the verb decir is frequently preceded by reflexive, direct, or indirect object pronouns (me, te, se, nos, os, le, les, la, las, lo) depending on what is being said and to whom. For example:

¿Quién nos dice que la vida nos dará el tiempo necesario?

Who says [to us] life will give us the necessary time?

Caption 11, Julieta Venegas - El Presente

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Supongamos que un amigo me dice lo siguiente:

Let's imagine that a friend tells me the following:

Caption 44, Carlos explica - Diminutivos y Aumentativos Cap 2: Definiciones generales

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It's also important to remember how pronouns are combined when using this verb. You must place reflexive or indirect object pronouns first, and then direct object pronouns right next to the verb. In the following example te replaces an indirect object (you) and lo (it) replaces a direct object:

Te lo digo de corazón.

I tell [it to] you from the heart.

Caption 25, Documental de Alejandro Fernandez - Viento A Favor

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The past tense dijo (he/she/it said) is another useful form of this verb. For example, you can use it to talk about what someone told you in the past. The expression me lo dijo (he/she/it told it to me) is worth learning:

¡Es verdad, pana, mi hermano me lo dijo!

It's true, pal, my brother told it to me!

Caption 45, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso - Part 3

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No le digas (don’t tell him/her) and no me digas (don’t tell me) are  also useful:

¡No le digas, Candelario!

Don't tell him, Candelario!

Caption 14, Guillermina y Candelario - La Isla de las Serpientes

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Another fixed expression is se dice (it's said, one says), which is equivalent to dice la gente(people say):

Bueno y se dice que la mujer tiene un sexto sentido

Well, and one says that a woman has a sixth sense

Caption 16, Club de las ideas - Intuición - Part 1

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The same phrase, se dice, can also be used to talk about the correct pronunciation of a word, or its meaning in a different language. For example:
Buenos días se dice "bonjour" en Francés | "Bonjour" is good morning in French.
No se dice "soy contento", se dice "estoy contento" | You don't say "soy contento," you say "estoy contento" (I'm happy).
You can find many more examples of the verb decir in our catalog. You just need to type the form of the verb that you want to practice in the search tool to start learning real Spanish from real speakers in real situations!

Ser vs Estar - Yo Soy

Let's continue our series on the use of the verbs ser and estar, now focusing on how you can use soy (“I'm”—the first-person singular form of ser in the present tense) to talk about yourself.


The present tense of the verb ser (to be) is soy. You can use it combined with an adjective (or a participiothe -ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings and their feminine and plural forms, used as an adjective) to express an intrinsic characteristic or status, a permanent state of mind, body, or soul.
For starters, you can use it to introduce yourself:


Soy Paco, de 75 Minutos. -Hola.

I'm Paco, from 75 Minutes. -Hello.

Caption 7, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 4

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You can also use soy to talk about your occupation, career, etc.

Yo soy guardia civil.

I am a Civil Guard.

Caption 33, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 12

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And you can use soy to talk about your personality, preferences, nationality, beliefs or affiliations. For example: Yo soy musulmán (I'm muslim), soy miembro del partido (|'m a member of the party), soy tu hada madrina (I'm your fairy godmother).

Soy buena clienta, sí. La verdad que sí.

I am a good customer, yes. I truly am.

Caption 2, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 7

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Yo soy bastante escrupulosa y no me da nada.

I am pretty fussy and it doesn't bother me at all.

Caption 21, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 7

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The verb soy can also be used to talk about a role, status, function, etc:

Tú eres testigo. -Yo soy testigo. -Tú eres testigo.

You're a witness. -I'm a witness. -You're a witness.

Caption 81, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 11

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We mentioned, in our previous lesson on the subject, that estoy can also be used to talk about roles when combined with the preposition de, so saying yo estoy de testigo is also correct. There are subtle differences, though, which sometimes get lost in translation:
Yo soy testigo - I'm a witness
Yo estoy de testigo - I'm (working as) a witness
It's perhaps at this point, when these verbs are combined with adjectives (or participios used as adjectives), that English speakers get the most confused about the difference between soyand estoy. It gets even more confusing because in many cases it may seem Spanish speakers use both verbs indistinctly. Here are some examples:
Yo soy casado - I'm (a) married (person).
Yo estoy casado - I'm married.
Yo soy gordo - I'm (a) fat (person).
Yo estoy gordo - I'm fat.
Yo soy pequeña - I'm (a) small (person).
Yo estoy pequeña - I'm small.
Sometimes, however, it's impossible to use them indistinctly. It happens more frequently when the verbs are combined with participios (-ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings), which take estar much more easily than ser:
Yo estoy devastado - I'm devastated.
*Yo soy devastado - Incorrect, don't use it.
Yo estoy cansado - I'm tired.
*Yo soy cansado - Incorrect, don't use it.
Yo estoy herido - I'm wounded.
*Yo soy herido - Incorrect, don't use it.
Yo estoy muerto - I'm dead.
*Yo soy muerto - Incorrect, don't use it.
*It's interesting how this may be different while using other modes or tenses. For example both yo estuve herido and yo fui herido (I was wounded) are possible, given the right context. However, fui herido is actually far more common than yo estuve herido, which would need a special context to make proper sense, for example: Yo estuve herido sin recibir ayuda por 10 horas (I was wounded without receiving any help for 10 hours).
The verb soy is also frequently combined with prepositions. For example, when combined with the preposition de, the verb soy indicates origin. So, besides soy mexicano (I'm Mexican) you can also say soy de México (I'm from Mexico).
Typically, the verb soy is followed by articles, but estoy doesn't take articles. Compare these:
Soy el mejor (I'm the best), soy mejor (I'm better), and estoy mejor (I feel better) are correct, but never say estoy el mejor. 
Soy tu padre (I'm your father), soy padre (I'm a father / also "I'm a nice person") and even estoy padre (I feel or look good) are correct, but you can't say estoy el padre.
Soy buena (I'm good), soy la buena (I'm the good one), estoy buena (I'm hot, good looking) are correct, but never say estoy la buena.


The same happens with pronouns. You won't find a pronoun naturally following the verb estar, except, maybe, when you want to reiterate the subject and change the natural order of words (hyperbaton) for emphatic or stylistic purposes: estoy yo tan triste (me, I feel so sad)Normally, you'd say estoy tan triste (I feel so sad)This could also be done with ser: soy yo tan triste (me, I'm such a sad person).  But again, normally you'd just say soy tan triste (I'm such a sad person).
There are many other ways in which you can use the verb soy; these are just some of the most common ones. 

Uses of Ya - Part 2

Uses of ya - Part 1

Let's continue studying examples of the use of the Spanish word ya.


Used emphatically, ya is equivalent to para (stop) and basta (enough):


Ya, ya, ya, para, para, para, para, para, para. -¿Ya?

Enough, enough, enough, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. -Already?

Caption 35, Yago - 7 Encuentros

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But also to "now," "go," or "start":

A partir de este momento comienza la prueba. Ya. -¡Ya!

From this moment the test begins. Now. -Now!

Captions 39-40, Misión Chef - 2 - Pruebas

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Or something similar to "that's it":

Pues, ya.

Well, that's it.

Caption 104, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 9

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Ya is also a short answer meaning "yes," "right," "agreed." It may be the case that this use originated from common phrases like ya entiendo (I understand [already]) and  ya veo (I see [now]):

Mira que hasta en la forma de... de ejecutarlo varía mucho. -Ya.

Notice that, even the manner of... of playing it varies a lot. -Yeah.

Caption 1, Festivaliando - Mono Núñez

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Sí, ya veo.

Yes, I see.

Caption 77, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso

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Ya can also mean "since" when combined with the pronoun que:

Ya que es muy pequeña y por... tener dos océanos,

Since it is very small and due to... having two oceans,

Caption 39, World Travel Market en Londres - Maria nos habla de Guatemala

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But also "once" or "now that":

Ya que tenemos todo dentro de la licuadora,

Once we have everything inside of the blender,

Caption 26, [Bears in the Kitchen] Osos en la cocina - Carne asada

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Ya mismo  means  "right now" 


¿Está bien? -Esperando, ya mismo vamos a las castañas.

Are you OK? -Waiting, right now we're going to the chestnuts.

Caption 11, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 4

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Ya está is a common phrase meaning "it's ready" but it can also be used as "that's it":


Se pone en la caja y ya está.

It's put into the box and that's it.

Caption 86, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 16

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Combining Parts of Speech - Part 1

Combining Parts of Speech - Part 2

Combining Parts of Speech - Part 3

Combining Parts of Speech - Part 4


Using Spanish articles and pronouns is not always easy, and learning to combine them is even more complicated. Let's study some interesting examples to learn more about these combinations.
The phrases la que, el que mean "the one that" or "the one who":

...que es la que está con el niño atrás.

...who is the one who is with the little boy back there.

Caption 14, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 3

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Aligerar, hacer ritmo. -Y el que venga conmigo...

To hurry up, to make it quick. -And, whoever comes with me...

Caption 81, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 4

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As you can see, the English translations may be different, but the meaning is still the same in both examples. In the second case, a more literal translation is also possible: el que venga conmigo (the one who comes with me).

It's important to always have in mind the variations of gender and number: los que and las que ("the ones that" or "the ones who"):

los que se pueden coger con la mano desde abajo...

the ones that can be picked by hand from below...

Caption 88, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 16

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Now, in Spanish it's also possible to combine these expression with prepositions. For example, you can add the preposition and form a los quea las quea la que, and al que (remember that a + el + que al que).
These phrases could mean, literally, "to/for the one(s) that" or "to/for the one(s) who":

Al que llegó sin avisar

To the one who arrived without warning

Caption 21, Calle 13 - Pa'l norte

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Depending on the context, the English equivalent of these phrases is different, though. For example, check out the following caption including an extra pronoun (a reflexive one): nos (to us).

Ah, a los que nos gusta surfear,

Ah, for those of us who like surfing,

Caption 9, Antonio Vargas - Artista - ilustración

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Also, depending on the context, and since the preposition a has many different meanings, the literal meaning of these phrases could also be "to the ones that" or "to the ones who" =  "whom" or "to which."  

Al que llamaban Speedy Gonzales.

Whom they called Speedy Gonzales.

Caption 4, A. B. Quintanilla - Speedy Gonzalez

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...a la que pertenecieron sus primeros moradores. which its first inhabitants belonged.

Caption 17, Club de las ideas - Mi entorno

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Check out this example, also with an extra reflexive pronoun: se (to it, to him, to her, to them)

El principal problema al que se enfrentan la mayoría de las PYMEs europeas

The main problem that most of the European SMEs face

Caption 5, Europa Abierta - Empuje para Pymes

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Tricky, right? The English translation is simply "that," but you can think of a literal one just to see how Spanish works: "the main problem to the one (to which) most of the European SMEs face."
You can also combine these phrases with a different preposition, for example the preposition con (with). Then you have con la que, con el que, con los que, con las que (with whom or with which). But let's save that for a future lesson. 


Emphatic Uses of and Si

Did you know that the Spanish words  (which usually means "yes") and si (which typically means "if") can also serve to make utterances more emphatic? Today's lesson will explore this topic.


The Emphatic Sí

Like English words such as "do" or did," "really," or "indeed," the Spanish word sí (yes) can be employed to add emphasis. For example, when someone says you didn't do something, you might reply in English, "I did do it," "I really did it," or "I did it indeed." Similarly, in Spanish, you can use the word  (with an accent) to retort: Y lo hice (I did do it).
Like the aforementioned words, this use of sí has a purely emphatic effect. While you could say simply Yo lo hice (I did it), Spanish speakers commonly add this sí to emphasize that fact. Let's look at some additional examples:


Ah claro, ahora lo entiendo hija, ¡qué torpe soy!

Oh, of course, now I do understand it, girl. How clumsy I am!

Caption 57, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 7

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Uy, si piensan arreglar con ese tipo, la cosa va a estar dura.

Oh, if you're thinking of settling with that guy, the matter's really going to be tough.

Caption 11, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 4 - Part 8

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¡Guau! Eso sí que era divertido

Wow! That was fun indeed,

Caption 36, Aprendiendo con Silvia Recuerdos de infancia - Part 2

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Note that, as in the last example, this emphatic  is often accompanied by the word que


The Emphatic Si

The Spanish word si, without the accent, which usually means "if," can also be used at the beginning of a phrase to give extra emphasis or oomph to assertions or expressions of doubt. This emphatic si is a bit less intuitive for English speakers because, as it does not introduce a conditional clause like si and "if" typically do, translating it as "if" would simply not make sense in most cases. For this reason, this emphatic si is often not reflected in translations at all. Let's look at a couple of examples.


No, si yo ya sé que Nicolás de eso no va a ver ni un peso.

No, I already know that Nicolás is not going to see even one peso out of that.

Caption 21, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 4 - Part 11

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Andrea... Andrea, si vos sabés que yo soy fiel a muerte.

Andrea... Andrea, you know that I am faithful to death.

Caption 67, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 4

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Since the word "but" can also serve to add emphasis in English in similar utterances, translators sometimes opt to translate the emphatic si with that word, like in the following example:


Si yo lo estoy diciendo hace rato ya, hombre.

But I've been saying it for a while already, man.

Caption 71, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 4

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That said, as the word "but" won't always seem "just right" in sentences that include the emphatic si, the most important thing is to remember is that its function is to add this emphatic feeling, even when there is no tangible translation. 


While it might seem initially confusing, we hope that this lesson has helped you to understand how the words sí and si can occasionally depart from their traditional meanings in order to add emphasis to certain phrases. Having said that, sí que pueden escribirnos con sus dudas y comentarios (you can definitely write us with your questions and comments)!


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