In this lesson, we're going to look at todos los usos y significados (all of the uses and meanings) of the word todo in Spanish. Well, maybe not all of them... but a lot!
Primero que todo (first of all), we'd like to say that the Spanish word todo and its feminine and plural equivalents have many meanings including "all," "whole," "every," "each," "everyone," and more, depending upon the context in which they are utilized. Actually, while todo and its alternate forms most commonly function as an adjective or a pronoun, they can also function as an adverb or even a noun. Let's examine how this word works in each of these cases, its various translations into English, and several idiomatic expressions that employ it.
Let's recall that an adjective modifies, or describes, a noun. When the word todo functions as an adjective, it must agree in number and gender with the noun it modifies. We must thus choose between its masculine singular (todo), masculine plural (todos), feminine singular (toda) or feminine plural (todas) forms, placing it either directly in front of either a noun, a noun's direct article, or a possessive adjective. Let's look at some examples:
No, en España, el español se parece mucho en todo el país.
No, in Spain, Spanish is a lot alike in the whole country.
Captions 5-6, Carlos y Xavi Part 4 Tradiciones y comida de BarcelonaPlay Caption
Although the literal translation of todo el país would be "all the country," common ways to say todo el in English include "the whole" or "the entire." Thus, an alternative translation for this sentence might be: "No, in Spain, Spanish is a lot alike in the entire country." Let's look at an additional example:
La asistente le dará una tarjeta con toda la información
The assistant will give you a card with all the information
Caption 42, Cita médica La cita médica de Cleer - Part 2Play Caption
Note that in this example, the feminine singular form toda has the more straightforward translation "all." Let's move on to some plural examples:
Invitamos a todos sus amigos al karaoke
We invite all her friends to karaoke
Caption 44, Blanca y Mariona Planificación de cenaPlay Caption
Note that while, in the sentence above, the plural form is translated to "all," in other cases, it can be translated as "every":
Salimos todas las noches.
We go out every night.
Caption 20, Clara y Cristina Hablan de actividadesPlay Caption
In other cases, either translation could suffice:
Feliz tarde, amigos de Yabla de todos los países del mundo.
Happy afternoon, Yabla friends from every country in the world.
Caption 2, Adícora, Venezuela El tatuaje de RosanaPlay Caption
An alternative translation could, of course, be: "Happy afternoon, Yabla friends from all the countries in the world."
The definition of a pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. Hence, when the word todo is used a pronoun in Spanish, it must match the number/gender of the noun to which it refers. Let's look at a simple example:
¿Cuánta torta comiste? -Me la comí toda.
How much cake did you eat? -I ate it all.
¿Cuántos caramelos comiste? -Todos.
How much candies did you eat? -All of them.
Let's take a look at an example from the Yabla video library where todas replaces a plural feminine noun (las estaciones/the seasons):
Creo que es la mejor estación de todas.
I think that it's the best season of all.
Caption 22, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 1Play Caption
Todo on its own is also the equivalent of the English word "everything":
Sí, Lucio me cuenta todo.
Yes, Lucio tells me everything.
Caption 30, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 2Play Caption
The plural todos, on the other hand, means "everybody" or "everyone":
porque es información nueva para todos.
because it's new information for everyone.Play Caption
In fact, the title of a recent Yabla video, Todo es de todos (Everything Belongs to Everyone) employs both of those terms. However, note the difference in translation for todos in the following example:
¿De ahí saldrá el aguacate que todos conocemos? -Claro.
The avocado that we all know will come from there? -Sure.
Caption 57, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 17Play Caption
Although "The avocado that everyone knows will come from there?" could be a viable translation, the fact that the verb conocer (to know) has been translated in the first person plural (nosotros/"we") form makes "we all" a legitimate (and perhaps more explanatory) translation.
When todo functions as an adverb, it is typically used to make emphatic statements. Possible translations include "really," "completely," "all," or "totally." For example, one might say: El chico se veía todo lindo (The guy looked really good) or Mi habitación está toda desordenada (My room is totally messy). Let's look at an example from the Yabla video library:
¡Yo te vi, yo te vi toda llena de barro!
I saw you! I saw you all covered in mud!
Caption 41, Yago 3 La foto - Part 5Play Caption
As a noun, el todo means "the whole" and can be seen in the translation for Aristotle's famous sentence:
El todo es más que la suma de las partes.
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
And speaking of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, let's examine some common Spanish idioms that include forms of the word todo with meanings beyond their literal words.
While todo el mundo literally means "all the world" or "the whole/entire world," this phrase is an extremely common way of expressing the idea of "everybody" or "everyone" in Spanish:
Todo el mundo puede tocar el tambor donde, cuando y como quiera- mayores, niños, mujeres,
Everybody can play the drum wherever, whenever, and however they want- older people, children, women,
Captions 47-49, Viernes Santo en Tobarra ¡La Cuna del Tambor! - Part 1Play Caption
Literally "all the day," the notion of "all day" is encompassed by the Spanish expression todo el día:
¿Todo el día? El tiempo que quieras.
All day? As long as you want.
Captions 103-104, Alan x el mundo Mi playa favorita de México! - Part 2Play Caption
The plural form todos los días ("all the days"), on the other hand, means "every day":
Además, la vemos todos los días.
Besides, we see it every day.Play Caption
Like it sounds, the Spanish phrase sobre todo can indeed mean "above all" or "above everything." Additional, frequent translations include "mostly," "mainly," and "especially":
Primero, sobre todo si es tu primera tarjeta de crédito, eh... es recomendable que el... que el límite no sea mayor a tus ingresos.
First, especially if it is your first credit card, um... it is recommendable for the... for the limit not to be greater than your income.
Captions 51-52, Cuentas claras Sobreviviendo enero - Part 3Play Caption
En todo caso, espero que a partir de hoy, se sientan más cómodos usando las redes sociales en español.
In any case, I hope that starting from today, you feel more comfortable using social networks in Spanish.
Captions 53-54, Carlos explica Internet y lenguaje digital: Redes socialesPlay Caption
Por todos lados might seem to mean "around all sides," but it really means "everywhere":
Mili, ¿Dónde estabas? Te estuve buscando por todos lados.
Mili, where were you? I was looking for you everywhere.
Caption 16, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 10Play Caption
De todas formas in Spanish means not "of all shapes," but is rather a manner of saying "anyway":
Bueno, de todas formas, mire, el tipo se está haciendo pasar por Pierre Bernard.
Well, anyway, look, the guy is posing as Pierre Bernard.Play Caption
The similar Spanish expressions de todas maneras and de todos modos also mean "anyway," "anyhow," or "in any case."
The phrase de todo ("of everything") is another way to say "everything" in Spanish:
Aquí tiene de todo, perro, oveja...
Here, they have everything: [a] dog, sheep...
Caption 1, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 6Play Caption
Del todo ("of the whole"), on the other hand, means "completely" or "entirely"':
Quizás l'... la relación más equilibrada que yo he buscado no ha pasado del todo y ahora me siento un poquito sola
Maybe th'... the more balanced relationship that I've looked for hasn't completely happened, and now I feel a little bit lonely
Captions 19-20, El reencuentro Las amigas hablan del trabajo y el amor.Play Caption
For additional examples of this expression and more, we recommend the lesson En absoluto, de ninguna manera, del todo.
And finally, if you want to tell someone to go "straight ahead," todo recto (literally "all straight") is the way to go in Spanish:
Tiene que ir todo recto. -Sí.
You have to go straight ahead. -Yes.
Caption 17, Curso de español ¿Hay una escuela por aquí?Play Caption
These are just a smattering of the many Spanish expressions that incorporate forms of todo that can be heard in everyday Spanish. ¡Sería imposible nombrarlos todos (It would be imposible to name them all)! That said:
Eso es todo por hoy, amigos.
That's all for today, friends.
Caption 56, Ana Carolina Símbolos de NavidadPlay Caption
For additional information on expressions that include the Spanish word todo, we recommend the additional lesson When Nada (Nothing) is Todo (Everything). In the meantime, gracias por todo (thanks for everything), and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
In the first part of our lesson on comparative structures, we covered comparisons of inequality. However, what if we would like to talk about similarity? Part two of this lesson will deal with comparisons of equality as well as superlatives, and considering that 2020 has been uno de los años más difíciles para muchos (one of the hardest years for many people), superlative structures could definitely come in handy.
Let's start by using the Spanish equivalent of as ___ as (as good as, as fast as, etc.). We can use this structure with both adjectives and adverbs.
Oye, no, no es tan fácil como tú lo ves, ¿eh?
Hey, no, it's not as easy as you see it, huh?
Caption 21, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 17Play Caption
Tampoco saliste con una mina tan finoli como ella.
You haven't dated a woman as elegant as her either.
Caption 18, Yago - 12 FianzaPlay Caption
Notice that we use tan rather than tanto before the adjective or adverb. Thus, in the previous examples, it would be a mistake to say tanto fácil or tanto finoli. We can, however, say tanto más or tanto menos fácil (as explained in part one of this lesson).
On the other hand, the similar structure tanto como is the Spanish equivalent of "as much as." In the following example, note that because tanto is an adverb, it is unmarked for gender and number.
Espero que hayáis disfrutado al menos
I hope that you have enjoyed at least
tanto como yo disfruto
as much as I enjoy
estando todos los días con vosotros.
being here every day with you guys.
Captions 76-78, Cómetelo - Crema de brócoliPlay Caption
Unlike the examples with adjectives and adverbs above, tanto must be marked for gender when used with nouns. We will therefore use tanto/s before masculine nouns and tanta/s before feminine nouns as follows:
Tiene tanto dinero como su hijo.
She has as much money as her son does.
Tiene tanta paciencia como tú.
She has as much patience as you do.
Tienes tantas hermanas como yo.
You have as many sisters as I do.
When talking about things (cosas) that are similar, we can employ this term as an adjective (marked for number and gender) to say that they are parecidas. On the other hand, to express that something is done in a similar way, we use the unmarked adverb: parecido, as in Juana y su hermana hablan parecido. And to top it all off, parecido is also a noun that indicates resemblance.
La [cultura] gitana es muy parecida a la cultura árabe.
Gypsy [culture] is very similar to Arab culture.
Caption 37, Europa Abierta - Jassin Daudi - Con artePlay Caption
Notice the use of the preposition a following the adjective parecida to indicate "to."
Now, let's look at parecido as a noun as it appears in this caption from Clase Aula Azul, which explains the use of the verb parecer:
Hablamos de parecidos físicos, ¿sí?
We're talking about physical similarities, right?
Se parece es como decir, es parecido, es similar, ¿mmm?
"Se parece" [It looks like] is like saying, it's alike, it's similar, hmm?
Captions 37-38, Clase Aula Azul - El verbo parecerPlay Caption
While we can use parecido or similar to describe similarities, what if the items being compared are exactly the same? When items are virtually indistinguishable, idéntico, igual, or mismo are suitable terms. Remember that these are adjectives and are therefore marked for number and gender, except for igual, which is gender neutral. It is worth mentioning that only el/la mismo/a or los/las mismos/as can come before the noun. Thus, if one has the same t-shirt someone is wearing, he or she might say the following:
Tengo la misma remera (I have the same t-shirt).
Tengo una remera igual (I have a t-shirt just like that).
Tengo una remera idéntica (I have an identical t-shirt).
Let's take a look at some additional examples:
Porque uno idéntico a este
Because one identical to this one
embarcó en el Titanic en mil novecientos doce.
embarked on the Titanic in nineteen twelve.
Captions 24-25, Málaga - Museo del automóvilPlay Caption
Si hay diez personas trabajando con los mismos medios y las mismas herramientas.
If there are ten people working with the same media and the same tools.
Caption 73, Lo que no sabías - Arte electrónicoPlay Caption
As a side note, the interesting expressions me da igual or me da lo mismo mean "it's all the same to me" or "I don´t really care":
Ya lo que digan me da igual
What people say doesn't matter to me anymore
Caption 22, Alejandro Fernandez - EresPlay Caption
Another keyword when it comes to making comparisons is como (like).
Juli, vas a quedar como una cobarde,
Juli, you're going to look like a coward,
como si te diera miedo.
as if it scared you.
Captions 44-45, Club 10 - Capítulo 1Play Caption
And you will definitely remember this comparative structure after listening to the Calle 13 song in this clip:
No hay nadie como tú
There is no one like you
Caption 29, Calle 13 - No hay nadie como túPlay Caption
Finally, we have the superlative forms with the following structures: el/los/la/las/lo + más + adjective:
La prueba de sonido es lo más importante quizás porque es la preparación, ¿no?
The sound check is the most important thing, maybe because it's the staging, right?
Caption 6, David Bisbal - Haciendo Premonición LivePlay Caption
Este es el aguacate más caro que hay en el mercado.
This is the most expensive avocado that there is on the market.
Caption 38, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 1Play Caption
Note that there are a few irregular superlatives:
el mejor (the best)
el peor (the worst)
el mayor (the oldest)
For "the oldest," el más grande can also be used. While this is very common in some regions and can also mean "the largest," "the greatest," or "the biggest," it is important to remember that, as is the case with all irregular superlatives, mayor cannot be used in conjunction with más. Thus the sentence "Paul is the oldest in his class" can be translated as Paul es el más grande de su clase or Paul es el mayor de su clase but NOT Paul es el más mayor.
We hope that you have enjoyed our newsletter, y lo que es más importante (what matters most) is that you have learned a lot! Don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
Do you know how to use a punto as opposed to apunto? Do you know the meaning of the expression "estar a punto de"? Let's start this lesson with a little quiz. Which term would you use in the following sentences, a punto or apunto?:
Te ______ en la lista de pacientes.
I'll write you down on the patient list.
What about this one?:
En 1985, Colombia estuvo ______ de conseguir la paz.
In 1985, Colombia was about to achieve peace.
Let's review the meaning of a punto and apunto.
A punto is an adverbial phrase that can be used in the following two ways:
1. To indicate that something is ready for the end it has been prepared for.
2. As a synonym of "timely" or "on time".
Here's one example:
¿Esto lo hago hasta que quede a punto de nieve?
Shall I do this until it forms peaks [literally "until it looks like snow"]?
-Has'... Ah, no, eh... -Claro.
-Unt'... Oh, no, um... -Of course.
Caption 9, Ricardo - La compañera de casaPlay Caption
While the adverbial phrase a punto is used fairly often, the most common use of a punto is when it's part of the prepositional phrase a punto de + infinitive verb. In terms of its meaning, we use a punto de + infinitive verb when we want to say that something is or was about to happen. In fact, you can think of a punto de as the English equivalent "about to". Let's look at a couple of examples:
La señora pulpo me contó que tenía muchos hijitos a punto de nacer.
Lady octopus told me that she had many children about to be born.
Captions 21-22, Guillermina y Candelario - La Señora PulpoPlay Caption
Estoy súper emocionada, pues estoy a punto de ingresar
I'm super excited because I'm about to enter
a uno de los lugares más emblemáticos.
one of the most symbolic places.
Captions 10-12, Paseando con Karen - Barrio AntiguoPlay Caption
Cuando estaba a punto de huir y regresar a mi casa,
When I was about to flee and go back home,
hubo un milagro que salvó mi bachillerato.
there was a miracle that saved my high school diploma.
Captions 18-19, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1 - Part 5Play Caption
If you keep in mind the last two sentences, it is worth mentioning that most of the time in Spanish we use the verb estar (to be) before a punto de + infinitive verb. As we mentioned previously, we use this formula for sentences in the past as well as the present.
Now that you know how to use a punto and a punto de, we can say that apunto (one word) corresponds to the first person singular of the verb apuntar in the present tense. Apuntar can mean:
To point out something
To take notes or write down something
To subscribe to something
Let's see an example:
A cogerlos con la mano, me apunto.
For taking them with my hand, I'll sign up.
-Cógelo con las manos.
-Take it with your hands.
Caption 25, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesaPlay Caption
So, now that we have revealed the meanings and uses of both a punto and apunto, it's time to see the answers to the quiz we used to introduce this lesson:
Te apunto en la lista de pacientes.
I'll write you down on the patient list.
Caption 27, Ariana - Cita médicaPlay Caption
En mil novecientos ochenta y cinco, sucedieron muchas cosas buenas.
In nineteen eighty-five, many good things happened.
Colombia estuvo a punto de conseguir la paz.
Colombia was about to achieve peace.
Captions 2-3, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1 - Part 2Play Caption
And that's it for now. We hope you enjoyed this lesson and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.
The keys to picking up a language quickly are constant exposure and practice. But practice is not always easy to obtain, either because you lack the opportunity or, more often, because you lack the confidence to engage in a conversation. So you lack learning because you lack practice, and you lack practice because you lack learning. How frustrating!
But there are always ways around this problem. One of them involves memorizing common phrases to be prepared for the next time you get the chance to engage in a conversation. For example, you can memorize entire phrases by topic; phrases to introduce yourself, to ask for directions, to order food, etc. Or you could memorize smaller, more specialized chunks of speech and use them as building blocks to create more complex ideas. For example, phrases like quiero que... (I want that), or no sé si (I don't know if). On this lesson we will focus on exploring one of these phrases: si fuera.
The phrase si fuera actually involves mastering an advanced skill in Spanish: the use of the verb ser (to be) in the subjunctive mood. But instead of learning rules and conjugation tables, you can memorize it as it is, and learn how speakers use it in everyday speech to build your own sentences.
Si fuera is usually combined with the preposition como (as) and followed by a noun phrase:
Así como si fuera una pinza.
Like this as if it were a clamp.
Caption 22, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 17Play Caption
Since fuera is used for both the first and third person singular, you can use the same expression to talk about yourself. You can add the pronoun yo (I) between si and fuera, or not:
¡Si fuera tu jefe te despediría!
If I were your boss, I'd have you fired!
Here's an example from our catalog:
Yo quiero amarte como si fuera tu único dueño.
I want to love you as if I were your only master.
Caption 63, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 3Play Caption
Look at this useful example that combines si fuera with a basic simple sentence like esto es(this is):
Esto es como si fuera el rastro de los móviles o el rastro de tu vida.
This is as if it were a cell phone trail or your life's trail.
Caption 31, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 4Play Caption
Si fuera can also be followed by a pronoun, it's used a lot in conditional sentences:
Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.
Well, if I were you, I would speak with him.Play Caption
And si fuera can also be followed by an adjective instead of a noun:
Si [yo] fuera rico me respetarías un poco - If I were rich you would respect me a little.
Si mi jefa fuera injusta conmigo yo renunciaría a mi trabajo - If my boss were unfair to me I would quit my job.
At this point you could also learn the expression como si fuera poco:
Y como si fuera poco, todo lo que hacen...
And, as if that weren't enough, everything that they do...
Caption 30, Salvando el planeta Palabra Llegada - Part 8Play Caption
Summer is almost over (well, if you live in the northern hemisphere) and after tanning under the sun, enjoying lazy afternoons, lots of oversleeping and all sorts of binging, it's time to get back to work. For many of us that means going back to school. Time to get up early, grab textbooks, check schedules, study for exams, and learn more Spanish.
So let's explore some school-related vocabulary that may not be that new to you, but that you may need to refresh a little, desempolvar tus conocimientos (literally "to dust off your knowledge") as the Spanish expression goes.
School supplies are first on the list:
Como presidente, López Obrador entregará
As president, López Obrador will provide
libros y útiles escolares gratuitos.
free books and school supplies.
Caption 3, Andrés Manuel López Obrador - ÚtilesPlay Caption
Do you know what the first three levels of education are called in Spanish?
a todos los alumnos de preescolar, primaria y secundaria.
to all pre-school, elementary and high-school students.
Caption 4, Andrés Manuel López Obrador - ÚtilesPlay Caption
Actually, things are are little bit more confusing than that. In some countries secundaria is called bachillerato, liceo, or educación media. High school, on the other hand, is called preparatoria or bachillerato in Mexico and educación secundaria or colegio in Spain, but in other Latin American countries, it could be secundaria, bachillerato, preparatoria, or educación media.
Me levanto y me llevo a los niños al colegio.
I get up and take the kids to school.
Caption 60, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesaPlay Caption
Colegio never means "college." In most Spanish-speaking countries colegio simply means "elementary school," and it's sometimes abbreviated as cole. In Mexico, colegio tends to be used for private elementary schools. The word for "college" in Spanish is universidad, a "college student" is a universitario or estudiante de universidad, and a "college degree" is called a título universitario:
El veinte por ciento de los universitarios...
Twenty percent of the college students...Play Caption
If you want to know how school life is in Latin America, we strongly recommend you start watching our new series Los Años maravillosos. It's full of interesting situations and great vocabulary. Bet you don't know what a pupitre is:
...cuando compartiéramos el pupitre con niñas.
...when we shared the desk with girls.
Caption 12, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1Play Caption
Pupitre (borrowed from Latin pulpitum) is only used for a special type of student's desk. In a school context, escritorios (desks) are usually for the teachers.
Anxieties about el primer día de escuela (the first day of school) seem to be universal:
Soñé que llegaba al colegio y estaba sin ropa.
I dreamed that I arrived at school and I was [there] with no clothes.
Caption 27, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1Play Caption
You can learn many other school words by watching this series and other videos in our catalog. Some examples are mochila (backpack), cuaderno (notebook), calificaciones (grades), and the super fun sacapuntas (pencil sharpener, but literally "spike maker"). We'll leave you with an interesting example: tiza (chalk). Why is tiza so interesting? Because it comes from a Mexican language, the Nahuatl "tizatl" ("white clay"). Tiza is what everybody calls a piece of chalk in all the Spanish-speaking countries.... except for Mexico, where chalk is known as gis, a word that is closer to "gesso" and "gypsus." The word tiza in Mexico is only used to refer to "billiard chalk"!
Otro is a simple word in Spanish that looks and sounds like its English equivalent, "other" or "another." But with this ease of recognition and use, many non-native speakers misuse otro by adding an article where it doesn't belong.
Here's a tricky question. How do you say "another" in Spanish — as in, "I'll have another (beer)"?
Answer: "Tomaré otra (cerveza)."
Note that it's NOT: una otra or un otro. That's wrong. It would be like saying "an another" in English.
In an episode of the documentary series 75 minutos, we find the following clip:
Yo tengo lo que me pertenece a la de... de la custodia: un fin de semana sí y otro no.
I have what belongs to me to the... from the custody: one weekend yes and the other, no.
Captions 13-14, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 17Play Caption
Note once again that otro in Spanish doesn't require the article that "other" does in English.
The time to use a definite article before otro is when we need to distinguish between "another" and "the other" if, indeed, the distinction needs to be made:
Otro día = "Another day"
El otro día = "The other day"
So, if you add an article before otro(a), make sure it's a definite article (el or la) and not an indefinite one (un or una):
¡Hola! -La otra socia. -Sí. -La otra.
Hello! -The other partner. -Yes. -The other one.
Caption 16, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 8Play Caption
And finally, don't forget about otra vez, a very useful expression that you can use when you want to say 'another time' or 'once again.'
That's it for today. Did you like this little reminder? Please send us your comments, questions, and suggestions.