Spanish Lessons


Phrases with Esté

In our previous lesson we discussed the memorization of short phrases as a strategy to gain confidence when conversing in Spanish. The idea is to memorize specific chunks of speech and use them as building blocks to create more complex ideas. In this lesson we will focus on exploring phrases that use the verb esté.


The verb esté is a conjugated form of the verb estar (to be) in the present subjunctive. Let's see how speakers use it in everyday speech and learn how to build new sentences with it.
You can find many examples of the phrase para que esté in our catalog of videos. This phrase is used to express purpose and it's usually followed by an adjective or a verb in participio (-ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho endings and its feminine and plural variants):

uno trata de abarcar lo más posible para que esté protegida lo más posible, ¿no?

one tries to cover as much as possible so that she would be as protected as she can be, right?

Captions 55-56, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 5

 Play Caption

In this case the speaker is talking about another person, a woman. The pronoun ella (she) is not needed in Spanish but you can actually add pronouns, names, or noun phrases between que and esté. You can also use actual adjectives instead of participios. For example:
para que Luisa esté protegida | So that Luisa would be protected.
para que el niño esté sano | So that the kid is healthy.
para que el trabajo esté terminado | So that the job is finished.
Here's an example from our catalog:

para que la patata esté blanda, se tiene que cocer mucho la crema

in order for the potato to be soft, the cream has to be cooked a lot

Captions 43-44, Cómetelo - Crema de brócoli - Part 4

 Play Caption

Since the subjunctive esté 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 que and esté, or not. Check out the following example that also uses negation:
Compra un seguro de vida para que [yo] no esté preocupada \ Buy a life insurance policy so I won’t be worried.
Another common phrase that uses esté is aunque esté. This phrase is used to introduce the idea of a concession. The word aunque [aún + que] means although, even if, though.

aunque esté un poquito más deteriorado, ¿no?

even though it might be a little bit more spoiled, right?

Caption 24, Los Reporteros - Sembrar, comer, tirar - Part 4

 Play Caption

Here are some additional examples:
Todos los años visito al doctor aunque [yo] no esté enfermo / I visit the doctor every year even if I'm not sick.
Aunque esta camiseta esté vieja, me sigue gustando mucho / Even though this t-shirt might be old, I still like it.
El dentista te recibirá hoy aunque esté muy ocupado / The dentist will see you today even if he's very busy.
Aunque esté cansado, aún tengo que hacer ejercicio / Even though I may be tired, I still need to exercise.
Finally, the phrase que esté muy bien (informal: que estés muy bien) is sometimes used to say goodbye:

Al contrario Joaquín, me da mucho gusto, le mando un abrazo. Que esté muy bien.

To the contrary, Joaquin, it's a pleasure, I send you a hug. Hope you're well.

Captions 18-19, ¡Tierra, Sí! - Atenco - Part 1

 Play Caption


You can also use it as an introductory greeting by adding the verb espero (I hope), especially in written communications: Hola, espero que estés bien (Hi, I hope you are well).
There are of course many other uses of the verb esté. Try to find more examples in our catalog of videos. Please send your feedback and suggestions to

Grammar Verbs

Signup to get Free Spanish Lessons sent by email

The -azo/aza Suffix

The Spanish -azo/aza suffix is mostly used as an augmentative, an affix that reinforces the original word. It may also be used to denote a hit or blow given with (or to) the object to which the suffix is attached. Let's find some examples in our Spanish videos.


In a new installment of the Argentinian telenovela Yago, we hear the protagonist using the -azo/aza suffix as an augmentative, by far its most common use:


Fue un gustazo, Lucio. -El gusto fue mío.

It was a great pleasure, Lucio. -The pleasure was mine.

Captions 74-75, Yago - 8 Descubrimiento - Part 6

 Play Caption

Other common examples of this use are solazo (harsh sun), golpanazo (big hit), and cuerpazo (big body, mostly used figuratively as "great body"). 

On the other hand, a puñetazo is a hit given with a puño (fist):

Yo digo que es como un puñetazo en el estómago.

I say it's like a punch in the stomach.

Caption 33, Festivaliando - Mono Núñez - Part 8

 Play Caption

In the same fashion, a porrazo is a hit given with a porra (club, baton). Probably due to its unfortunate frequent use, porrazo has come to mean any kind of hit, even a self-inflicted one or one not precisely administered with a club:  

Me di un  porrazo en la cabeza.
I gave myself a thump on the head.

Some other common examples of this use of the -azo/aza suffix are manazo (a hit given with the hand), cabezazo (a hit given with the head), trancazo (a hit given with a bar, or any hit by extension), cañonazo (a canyon shot), latigazo (a hit given with a whip), and codazo (a hit given with the elbow).

Now, as we previously said, the -azo/aza suffix is also used to express a hit given to the object represented by the word to which the suffix is appended. A good example is espaldarazo (a hit given to the back), which is only used figuratively to mean "support," as in te doy el espaldarazo (I give you my support). In Mexico and El Salvador, you will also hear the expression dar un madrazo (to hit the mother of something or someone, that is to hit really hard). Of course, as with many slang expressions that refer figuratively to motherhood, madrazo is not a polite expression, but extremely common:


A madrazos, en una palabra grosera.

With blows, to use a bad word.

Caption 37, ¡Tierra, Sí! - Atenco - Part 1

 Play Caption

By extension madrazos are also insults, harsh words:

... sino que nos dice un madrazo.

... but rather he says something harsh to us.

Caption 5, Región mundo - Paso a paso - Part 3

 Play Caption



Signup to get Free Spanish Lessons sent by email

Nomás: Not Only or No More?

How might a new airport affect the families living off the farming land of Atenco, Mexico? Listen to the interviews in this documentary for some strongly held opinions.

In the introduction, a listener might think they're hearing double:


A no nomás al estado de México.

And not only to the state of Mexico.

Caption 9, ¡Tierra, Sí! - Atenco - Part 1

 Play Caption



No nomás ("not only") is not to be confused with no, no más ("no, no more"). In Mexico and parts of Central America, nomás as a single word can mean solamente or sólo (in English: "only"). It's distinguished from the two words 'no más' by their context.

But note that
'no nomás' probably sounds a little odd to someone from Spain, who would say "No sólo el estado de México," instead. (Loyal readers may recall we
previously discussed why sólo takes an accent mark when it means "only.")


Signup to get Free Spanish Lessons sent by email

You May Also Like