Now that you've learned how to introduce yourself in Spanish, let's go over some basic questions and answers when telling others about ourselves or asking about them.
Asking someone where they are from might be a common introductory question when getting to know someone. Let's take a look at both the tú (informal "you") and usted (formal "you") forms of this question:
O, ¿de dónde eres? ¿De dónde es?
Or, where are you from? [with "tú"]. Where are you from? [with "usted"].
Captions 13-14, Karla e Isabel Tú y UstedPlay Caption
And, what if someone asks you this question? You might use the construction Yo soy de (I'm from) to say the city, country, etc. you come from. Let's see some examples:
Yo soy de San Fernando, Cádiz.
I am from San Fernando, Cádiz.
Caption 27, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 21Play Caption
Yo soy de Argentina, de la provincia de Córdoba, eh... exactamente de un pueblito que se llama Río Ceballos,
I'm from Argentina, from the province of Córdoba, um... precisely from a little town called Río Ceballos;
Captions 8-9, Luana y Fede ViajesPlay Caption
Alternatively, you might say your nationality, particularly when talking about yourself in a foreign country:
Yo soy argentina.
Caption 53, Carlos y Cyndy Uso del Voseo en ArgentinaPlay Caption
Caption 2, Madrid Un recorrido por la capital de EspañaPlay Caption
To learn more about how to talk about nationalities in Spanish, check out this lesson on Adjectives of Nationality in Spanish. Let's explore some additional common questions/answers when getting acquainted with someone in Spanish.
Another is common question you might ask or get asked is, "What do you do (for a living)"? Let's explore a few ways to ask this question:
Bueno, perdón. ¿Tú a qué te dedicas?
Well, sorry. What do you do?Play Caption
¿En qué trabajas tú, Inmaculada?
In what [field] do you work, Inmaculada?
Caption 31, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 12Play Caption
The usted versions would be "¿Usted a qué se dedica?" and "¿En qué trabaja usted?" Another possible way to ask this question is:
¿Cuál es tu/su trabajo?
What's your job?
Now, let's look at some possible responses.
Me dedico a vender la leche.
I sell milk for a living.
Caption 2, Milkman Milk Seller, NicaraguaPlay Caption
Yo trabajo en una tienda de ropa de segunda mano... -Ah...
I work at a second hand clothing store... -Oh...
Caption 69, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 14Play Caption
No, yo soy azafata.
No, I'm a flight attendant.Play Caption
Note that when talking about your profession in Spanish, the appropriate verb is ser ("to be" for fixed characteristics) rather than estar ("to be" for more temporary states) and that, in Spanish, unlike English, you don't include the article. For that reason, the aforementioned example reads soy azafata rather than soy una azafata.
The ways to say "How old are you?" in Spanish are "¿Cuántos años tienes?" when using tú and "¿Cuántos años tiene?" with addressing someone with usted. Let's hear the tú version in action:
¿Tú cuántos años tienes, Mariano?
How old are you, Mariano?
Caption 69, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 6Play Caption
To answer this question, we use the verb tener años, which literally means "to have years," inserting the correct number of years between these two words. This is the Spanish equivalent of "being (a certain number) of years old." Let's take a look:
Tengo dieciséis años.
I'm sixteen years old.
Caption 7, Cleer Entrevista a LilaPlay Caption
If you'd like to learn or refresh your Spanish numbers, check out the lesson The Numbers from One to One Hundred in Spanish.
In this caption, you will hear both the question and answer to this question.
¿Y eres casado o soltero? Estoy casado con una mujer italiana de Nápoles.
And are you married or single? I'm married to an Italian woman from Naples.
Captions 8-9, Carlos y Xavi Part 2 Ustedes y VosotrosPlay Caption
You might notice that in the example above, the first speaker uses the verb ser, saying "¿Y eres casado...?" instead of "¿Y estás casado?" while the second speaker uses the verb estar to answer. Although the adjective casado/a (married) is traditionally used with the verb estar, you might hear it used with ser in some Spanish-speaking regions. For more on the nuances of these two verbs, check out Ser vs. Estar- Yo Soy and Ser vs. Estar- Yo Estoy.
We ask both of these questions with the Spanish verb tener (to have), which is conjugated as tiene with usted and tienes with tú. Let's hear how to ask these two questions with tú:
¿Tienes hijos? -No.
Do you have children? -No.
Caption 87, Adícora, Venezuela El tatuaje de RosanaPlay Caption
¿Tienes hermanos o hermanas?
Do you have brothers or sisters?
Caption 5, Carlos y Xavi Part 2 Ustedes y VosotrosPlay Caption
It is worth noting that, as the plural masculine noun los hermanos could refer to either just "brothers" or to both "brothers and sisters" or "siblings," you could simply say "¿Tienes hermanos?" when asking if someone has brothers and/or sisters. Similarly, los hijos could specifically mean "sons" or include both male and female "children." The singular and plural feminine nouns la(s) hermana(s) and la(s) hijas, on the other hand, refer to specifically female "sister(s)" and "daughter(s)." With that in mind, let's look at some potential answers to these questions:
Yo tengo dos hijos pequeños y...
I have two small children, and...
Caption 66, El Aula Azul Un día de surfPlay Caption
Y, bueno, eh... tengo una hija de ocho años, ya sabéis.
And, well, um... I have an eight-year-old daughter, you already know.
Caption 26, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 1Play Caption
Sí, tengo una hermana más pequeña que tiene tres años menos.
Yes, I have a younger sister who is three years younger.
Caption 6, Carlos y Xavi Part 2 Ustedes y VosotrosPlay Caption
Let's move on to our last common question when getting to know someone in Spanish.
Here are some possible ways to broach the topic of what people like to do when they aren't working.
¿qué te gusta hacer?
what do you like to do?
Caption 24, Cleer Entrevista a LilaPlay Caption
¿Qué cosas te gusta hacer en tu tiempo libre?
What do you like to do in your free time?Play Caption
Or, you could simply say: "¿Qué te gusta hacer en tu tiempo libre?" A good formula for answering what you like to do is to say (a mí) me gusta (I like) or (a mí) me encanta (I love) plus a verb in the infinitive. Let's see some examples:
Me gusta salir a rumbear...
I like to go out dancing...
Caption 15, Zoraida Lo que gusta hacerPlay Caption
Pues, me gusta escuchar música, eh... pintar, y me gusta viajar mucho.
Well, I like to listen to music, um... paint, and I like to travel a lot.
Captions 25-26, Cleer Entrevista a LilaPlay Caption
y me encanta ir a la playa con mis amigos.
and I love going to the beach with my friends.
Caption 39, Clara y Cristina SaludarPlay Caption
We hope that this lesson has helped you learn some basic questions/answers for getting to know someone and telling them about yourself. Can you think of any other preliminary question you would like to learn to ask or answer in Spanish? Feel free to let us know with your suggestions and comments.
Do you ever feel frustrated when you can't make out what a Spanish speaker is saying because he or she speaks so fast that an entire sentence seems to sound like a single long word? Well, we won't lie to you: there's no easy solution to that problem, only listening practice and more listening practice. However, we can at least give you something to blame next time you find yourself lost in a conversation due to this problem: blame the synalepha.
A fancy word indeed, synalepha (or sinalefa in Spanish) is the merging of two syllables into one, especially when it causes two words to be pronounced as one. La sinalefa is a phonological phenomenon that is typical of Spanish (and Italian) and it's widely used in all Latin America and Spain. Native speakers use sinalefas unconsciously to add fluidity, speed and concision to what they are saying.
There are basically two types of sinalefas. Let's learn about them using examples from our catalog of videos. Maybe that'll help you catch them next time. And if you have a subscription with us, make sure you click on the link to actually hear how the sinalefas are pronounced!
The first type of sinalefa merges two vowels, the last one and the first one of two contiguous words. A single sentence can contain several of them, for example:
¿Cómo es el departamento comercial de una empresa
How is the commercial department of a company
que trabaja en setenta y dos países?
that operates in seventy-two countries?
Captions 1-2, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesaPlay Caption
So, thanks to the sinalefas, this is how the speaker actually pronounces the sentence: ¿Cómoes el departamento comercial deunaempresa que trabajaen setentay dos países? Yes, the letter "y" counts as a vowel whenever it sounds like the vowel "i."
Here's another example, this time from Colombia:
¿Qué pensaría mi hermano
What would my brother
si supiera de este vídeo que estamos filmando?
think if he knew about this video that we are filming?
Caption 31, Conjugación - El verbo 'pensar'Play Caption
Again, thanks to the sinalefas, what the girl speaking actually pronounces is: ¿Qué pensaría mihermano si supiera deeste video queestamos filmando? Yes, the consonant "h" doesn't interfere with the sinalefa, because, as you probably already know, this letter is always silent unless it is next to the letter "c."
Now, the second type of sinalefa merges three vowels of two contiguous words. Here's an example:
¿O a usted le gustaría que lo mantuvieran encerrado?
Or would you like for them to keep you locked up?
Caption 21, Kikirikí - AnimalesPlay Caption
Oausted is what the character pronounces. Can you try to pronounce it the same way?
Here's another example, from Mexico this time:
cosa que no le corresponde a él.
something that is not his job.
Caption 6, ¡Tierra, Sí! - AtencoPlay Caption
Finally, one more example that is somewhat extreme. Hear the host of the Colombian show Sub30 posing a question that contains four sinalefas (loop button recommended):
¿Será que eso sólo pasa en nuestra época o ha
Could it be that that only happens nowadays or has
pasado desde siempre?
it always been like this?
Caption 3, La Sub30 - FamiliasPlay Caption
That girl surely speaks fast! Notice that she even merged two words that end and begin with the same consonant “n” into a single one, which, together with the sinalefas, results in what sounds like a super long word: pasaennuestraépocaoha.