Spanish Lessons

Topics

Talking About Thanksgiving in Spanish

Let's learn some vocabulary to talk about the North American holiday el Día de Acción de Gracias (Thanksgiving) in Spanish! 

banner PLACEHOLDER

When Is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving takes place cada año (each year) on el cuarto jueves de noviembre (the fourth Thursday in November), which is, of course, la estación de otoño (the fall season). For a plethora of fall-related words, check out this lesson on Spanish Vocabulary for the Autumn Season.

 

The History of Thanksgiving 

La historia (the history) of Thanksgiving is polémica  (controversial). Although many of us learned about a harmonious festín (feast) between los peregrinos (the pilgrims) and los nativos de América del Norte (the Native Americans), the previous and subsequent bloodshed have led many to rethink the way Thanksgiving is taught or whether they should celebrate it. In fact, many Native American tribes observe Thanksgiving as a day of luto (mourning).

 

That said, the idea of dar las gracias (giving thanks) is una costumbre (a tradition) that predates the so-called first Thanksgiving in mil seiscientos veintiuno, or 1621 (See this lesson on saying the years in Spanish!). It is a federal holiday in the United States that is cherished by many for the purpose of juntarse (getting together) with one's seres queridos (loved ones) to darse un banquete (feast) and festejar (celebrate) the things for which they feel agradecidos (grateful).

banner2 PLACEHOLDER

Traditional Thanksgiving Feast

Although the pilgrims probably didn't eat Turkey at the first Thanksgiving, it has become the staple of many Thanksgiving meals:

 

Un pavo real como los peregrinos

A real turkey like the pilgrims.

Caption 60, Calle 13 Cumbia de los Aburridos

 Play Caption
 
Let's take a look at the words for many additional components of the traditional Thanksgiving feast that appear in videos from the Yabla Spanish library:
 

de puré de patata suave, entonces... eso es lo que vamos a perseguir.

smooth mashed potatoes, so... that's what we are going to seek.

Caption 14, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 4

 Play Caption
 

Es solomillo ibérico, relleno

It's Iberian tenderloin with stuffing.

Caption 72, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 6

 Play Caption
 

Podéis utilizar también cualquier otra verdura que os guste, como calabaza o judías verdes

You can also use any other vegetable that you like, such as pumpkin or green beans.

Captions 16-17, La cocina de María Cocido Malagueño

 Play Caption
 

¡Ah! -...arándanos rojos. -¡Arándanos rojos

¡Ah! -...cranberries. -Cranberries!

Caption 34, Cleer y Lida Picnic

 Play Caption
 

Y el dulce de batata también.

And the sweet potato jam also.

Caption 17, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

Here are some additional Thanksgiving food words that might come in handy:

 

Apple pie: el pastel de manzana, la torta de manzana

Brussels sprouts: los coles de Bruselas, los repollitos de Bruselas

Dinner rolls: los pancitos, los panecillos, los rollos

Corn: el maíz

Gravy: la salsa de carne, la salsa espesa, la salsa

Pecan pie: la tarta de nuez pecana, la tarta de pecana

Pumpkin pie: el pastel de calabaza

Yams: los ñames

 

Thanksgiving Activities and Symbols

In addition to comer (eating), many people congregate to watch fútbol americano (football) or view the famous desfile (parade) the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, be it on TV or en persona (in person).

 

They might also decorate their homes with such Thanksgiving símbolos (symbols) as las velas (candles), el maíz criollo (Indian corn), las calabazas (gourds), and los cuernos de la abundancia (cornucopias or horns of plenty). 

 

However, the most important Thanksgiving activity (and indeed every day!) is giving thanks, which we think Claudia Montoya sings quite nicely about this in this clip:

 

Por eso cada día quiero dar las gracias Por todo lo que yo tengo, también lo que no tengo

That's why I want to give thanks every day For everything I have, what I don't have as well

Captions 12-13, Claudia Montoya Volverte a abrazar

 Play Caption

 

Some other ways to talk about being grateful and giving thanks in Spanish include:

 

agradecer: to thank, to express gratitude/thanks

estar agradecido/a por: to be grateful for

sentirse afortunado/a: to feel fortunate/blessed

sentirse bendecido/a: to feel blessed

sentirse agradecido/a por lo que uno tiene:  to count one's blessings (literally "to be grateful for what one has")

las bendiciones: the blessings

 

On that note, les agradecemos mucho (We thank you very much) for reading this lesson on Thanksgiving terms in Spanish. We hope you've enjoyed it, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

banner4 PLACEHOLDER

Vocabulary

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.
 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

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

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

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 newsletter@yabla.com.

Grammar Verbs

Signup to get Free Spanish Lessons sent by email



Tres verbos amigos

The basic meaning of the verbs aplastar and aplanar is "to flatten." You will hear many Spanish speakers using these as synonyms, though aplastar is way more common. There's a subtle difference, however, between these two verbs, since aplastar may imply a more drastic action and is sometimes better translated as "to crush," while aplanar involves a more controlled and careful activity. So, for example, you want to say aplasté a la cucaracha (I crushed the cockroach) rather than aplané a la cucaracha (I flattened the cockroach), right? In a similar (but less icky) way, our friend Meli prefers to use aplanar when giving instructions for her crafty projects:
 

aplanas para que quede uniforme.

And you flatten it so that it's even.

Caption 25, Manos a la obra - Postres de Minecraft

 Play Caption

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

The following example is enlightening, for it shows how aplastar may be okay for smashed potatoes but not for picatostes (croutons):

Cuando le das con el cuchillo se aplasta.

When you stick it with the knife, it flattens out.

Caption 96, Cómetelo - Crema de brócoli - Part 4

 Play Caption


As we mentioned before, aplastar is more frequently used than aplanar, especially when used figuratively, and so you can find several videos using aplastar in our catalog. Here's one example:
 

...y no dejándose aplastar por el poder del día.

...and not letting the power of the day crush you.

Caption 26, Andrés Manuel López Obrador - En campaña

 Play Caption


But there's a third verb that is close to aplastar and aplanar. It's a funny-sounding word (and one with a very polemic etymology by the way: here's a good article about it) that's perfect for crushing gooey, crunchy bugs because its sound is actually reminiscent of squeezing/smashing. We are talking about the verb apachurrar (to smash, to crush). A purist would say that Meli is not being extremely precise with language by using apachurrar in the context of making crafts:
 

Ya que tenemos una esferita como ésta, la vamos a apachurrar.

Now that we have a little sphere like this one, we are going to press it down.

Captions 41-42, Manos a la obra - Borradores y marcatextos

 Play Caption


You can see that she actually pressed down the little sphere quite gently, so maybe using aplanar or even aplastar would have been more accurate to describe what she is doing. But hey, who wouldn’t want to say apachurrar when you have mastered rolling your R's as nicely as she has!
 
You may have noticed that all three verbs, aplanaraplastar, and apachurrar, start with the prefix a-. This is because they belong to a group of Spanish verbs (verbos parasintéticos) that are created by adding the prefix a- or en- to nominal or adjectival forms. Some common examples are enamorar ("to fall in love" or "to inspire love"), apasionar (to be passionate about), encarcelar (to incarcerate) and atemorizar (to frighten). One verb in this group is alisar (to make smooth or straight), which has some resemblance in meaning to the verbs aplanar, aplastar, and apachurrar:
 

Además me acabo de... de alisar el cabello.

Besides I just finished... straightening my hair.

Caption 44, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso - Part 6

 Play Caption

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

This is the end of this lesson. But ¡no te apachurres, no te aplanes, no te aplastes! ("Don't get depressed," get it?) We have many more lessons on the site!

A Useful Verb: Hacer

The Spanish verb hacer primarily means "to do" or "to make." This verb is used in a wide range of expressions, which makes it one of the most versatile verbs in Spanish. However, and maybe for the same reason, the meanings and uses of hacer are not always easy to grasp. The fact that this is an irregular verb doesn't make it any easier either. So, to successfully master the verb hacer, the first step would be to memorize its conjugation (the past tense is especially challenging). After that, we recommend that you study it using a case-by-case approach. Luckily, the use of hacer is extremely common, so our catalog of videos offers you plenty of examples. 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Let's quickly review the two basic meanings of the word hacer. The first meaning is "to make":
 

Vamos a hacer un arroz.

We're going to make rice.

Caption 74, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa

 Play Caption


The second basic meaning of hacer is "to do":
 

¿Y ahora qué hacemos?

And now what do we do?

Caption 12, Guillermina y Candelario - Una película de terror

 Play Caption


Keep in mind that these meanings of the verb hacer as "to do" or "to make" can be used in many different situations that don't necessarily correspond to the uses of "to make" and "to do" in English. For example, in Spanish you can use the verb hacer to say quiero hacer una llamada (I want to make a call), and hazme un favor (do me a favor). But you can also use it in expressions like me haces daño (you hurt me), and ella hizo una pregunta (she asked a question). Here's another example:
 

Tú me hiciste brujería.

You put a spell on me.

Caption 38, Calle 13 - Un Beso De Desayuno

 Play Caption


Hacer is also extensively used in Spanish to express time or duration. It can be used to express for how long you have been doing something:
 

Tengo veinte años y estoy hace dos años acá en Buenos Aires.

I'm twenty years old and I've been here in Buenos Aires for two years.

Caption 40, Buenos Aires - Heladería Cumelen

 Play Caption


Or to express the concept of "ago":
 

Hace unos días me olvidé la mochila en el tren.

A few days ago I forgot my backpack on the train.

Caption 22, Raquel - Oficina de objetos perdidos

 Play Caption


Hacer is also used in weather expressions:
 

Hoy hace tanto viento que casi me deja caer.

Today it is so windy that it almost makes me fall [over].

Caption 22, Clara explica - El tiempo - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

And other impersonal expressions, such as hacer falta (to need/be lacking):
 

Se puede poner entero, no hace falta quitar corteza.

It can be put in whole; it's not necessary to remove the crust.

Caption 84, Cómetelo - Crema de brócoli - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

To indicate taking on a role:

Siempre quieres que haga el papel de villana.
You always want me to play the role of the villain.

Or to indicate that someone is pretending to be something: 
 

Digo si pasa algo con mi hijo, no te hagas la ingenua.

I'm saying if something is happening with my son, don't play dumb.

Caption 13, Muñeca Brava - 44 El encuentro - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

The reflexive form hacerse is commonly used in this way in many expressions such as hacerse el loco (to pretend to be crazy), hacerse la mosquita muerta (to look as if butter wouldn't melt in one's mouth, literally "to pretend to be a dead fly"), hacerse el muerto (to play dead), etc. Here is another example:
 

Mira, no te hagas la viva.

Look, don't play smart.

Caption 3, Yago - 3 La foto - Part 4

 Play Caption


Hacer can also express the idea of getting used to something:
 

No hacerme a la idea de que esto está bien

Not to get used to the idea that this is OK

Caption 32, Xóchitl - Vida en Monterrey

 Play Caption

 

Hacer is also used to express that something doesn't matter in expressions such as no le hace (it doesn't matter), or no hace al caso (it doesn't pertain to the matter). Or it can mean "to refer to": Por lo que hace al dinero, tú no te preocupes (Concerning money, you don't worry). The list of its possible uses goes on and on! Let's see one last use of hacer, which was sent to us by one of our subscribers:

The expression hacer caso means "to pay attention," "to obey," or "to believe":

 

Nada, hay que hacerle caso al médico.

No way, you have to pay attention to the doctor.

Caption 63, Yago - 8 Descubrimiento - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

Hazme caso que tú eres perfecta.

Believe me that you are perfect.

Caption 58, Biografía - Enrique Iglesias

 Play Caption

 

Pero yo siempre, siempre, siempre le hago caso a Sor Cachete.

But I always, always, always, do as Sister Cachete says.

Caption 35, Muñeca Brava - 44 El encuentro - Part 2

 Play Caption

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

 

Thank you for reading and sending your suggestions.

 

You May Also Like