Spanish Lessons


More than Three Amigos

If you visited a Spanish speaking country during the last spring break, chances are you were invited to a party. Maybe it was a birthday party, a wedding or, most likely, just a meet-up with friends. No matter the occasion, there are some Spanish words and phrases that always come in handy at a party. Let's see a few examples:


The word salud means a lot of different things in Spanish. The basic meaning is, of course, "health," but this tiny word is also uttered as a courtesy when someone sneezes (the underlying meaning is that the person wishes that you haven't got the flu), and it's also customarily used to make a toast (the underlying meaning is that the person wishes the drink contributes to everybody's health and well-being). There are different ways to use it.
You can simply use salud as English uses the word "cheers":


¡Salud! -¡Salud!

Cheers! -Cheers!

Caption 92, Casa Pancho - vinos y pinchos - Part 2

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If you are the person making the toast, you can also go for something like this:


Muy bien, a la salud del novio. -¡Ahí va!

Great, to the groom's health. -There you go!

Caption 21, Yago - 3 La foto - Part 6

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In some countries, like Mexico and Ecuador, it’s very common to use an endearing diminutive:




Caption 27, Otavalo - Leche de chiva - gran alimento

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Another word that is also used to make a toast is provecho, which literally means "profit" or "advantage." This word is used before either drinking or eating (salud can only be used with drinks) and it means that the person speaking wishes that you "profit" from the food or beverage you are having. By the way, you can either say buen provecho or only provecho:

Buen provecho.

Enjoy your meal.

Caption 71, Cocinando con Miguelito - Pollo sudado - Part 3

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Now, the word for party in Spanish is fiesta, sure. But this is not the only word people use. You should learn some variants, otherwise you'll be missing some great fun:
For example, your friends in many countries of Latin America may invite you to a parranda (party). If you are parrandero (a party animal) you'll probably want to show up:

Es buen amigo, parrandero y bailador

He is a good friend, he likes to party and he's a dancer

Caption 45, Alberto Barros - Mano a mano

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In other places, notably in Mexico City, people use the word reventón (party, literally a "blow-out"). If the party involves getting drunk then the invitation would be something like vámonos de juerga/farra/parranda (somewhat equivalent to "let's go get crazy drunk")There are, of course, many words to describe the act of drinking: chupar, pistear, libar, mamarembriagarseirse de copas (copas means "cups"), empinar el codo (literally "to raise the elbow"), ponerse hasta atrás (to get really drunk, literally "to get oneself behind") are just a few.

No hay plata pa' comer pero sí pa' chupar

There is no money to eat but there is to drink

Caption 60, ChocQuibTown - De donde vengo yo

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And what do you call your friends, buddies, pals, mates at a party? Well, that depends on where you are:
In Mexico City, friends are called cuates:

que te presenta a una persona, a un cuate cercano,

that introduces someone, a close buddy,

Caption 13, Amigos D.F. - Te presento...

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But if you are in the northern part of Mexico, we strongly recommend you avoid the use of cuates. Instead, you can use camaradacompa (short for compadre), or carnal (bro); all of these are more or less common everywhere in the country. Here's a great example of a phrase you can use to start a party anywhere in Mexico:

¡Órale compadre, échese un trago!

Come on, pal, throw down a drink!

Caption 5, El Ausente - Acto 1 - Part 7

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What about other places? Well, it's a long list. In Spain, people use tío (uncle)In Argentina, pibe (kid). In Perú, pata. In Venezuela, pana. In Cuba, asere. In Colombia, parsa. In Honduras, mara... The list goes on and on. One thing is for sure: you can use amigo safely anywhere Spanish is spoken. Maybe that's the friendliest thing to do.


Spanish Adjectives

Over the last few weeks you have seen a few video lessons about adjectives as part of our series Lecciones con Carolina. So you probably know by now that one of the most challenging aspects of Spanish adjectives is that they must agree in gender and number with the noun they modify. Having this in mind, we have prepared for you a brief review on how adjectives are built in Spanish.


In Spanish, adjectives that end in -o have four forms. We have singular masculine adjectives ending in -o, and singular feminine ending in -a:


Es un gasto económico muy alto para la fundación.

Is a very high economic expense for the foundation.

Caption 28, Animales en familia - Adopta a Pino

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¡Qué casa más bonita tienen tus abuelos! ¿eh?

What a beautiful house your grandparents have! huh?

Caption 47, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 20

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The corresponding plural adjectives end in -os, for the masculine:


En el bulevar de los sueños rotos

On the boulevard of broken dreams

Caption 1, Joaquin Sabina - Por El Boulevar De Los Sueños Rotos

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and in -as, for the feminine:


Es una tonta ésa, como todas las tontas que se meten con Ivo.

She's a dumb, that one, like all the dumb ones who get involved with Ivo.

Captions 38-39, Muñeca Brava - 45 El secreto - Part 4

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We also have Spanish adjectives that end in -e. They only have two forms, -e for singular and -es for plural. Here is an example of an adjective ending in -e in the singular form that is used to modify the feminine noun fuerza (strength):


...anatómicamente y tienen fuerza física suficiente.

...anatomically when they already have enough physical strength.

Caption 42, Centro de Recuperación de la Fauna Salvaje - Veterinario Jesús López

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And here is an example of an adjective ending in -e in the plural form that is used to modify the masculine nouns vinos (nouns) and paisajes (landscapes), but also the feminine noun cervezas (beers):


En España tenemos de todos. Grandes vinos... grandes cervezas y grandes paisajes.

In Spain, we have them all. Great wines... great beers, and great landscapes.

Captions 41-42, Casa Pancho - vinos y pinchos - Part 2

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On the other hand, some Spanish adjectives end in a consonant, like popular (popular),voraz (voracious),  and fácil (easy). These are similar to the ones ending in -e: they only have two forms. The singular form is invariable for feminine and masculine nouns:

La tarea fácil / The easy homework.
El curso fácil  / The easy course.
El actor popular The popular actor.
La actriz popular The popular actress.
El lobo voraz / The voracious (male) wolf.
La loba voraz / The voracious (female) wolf.

And the plural form uses -es for both feminine and masculine nouns. Notice how you may learn to substitute z for c in some cases:

Las tareas fáciles / The easy homeworks.
Los curso fáciles  / The easy courses.
Los actores populares The popular actors.
Las actrices populares The popular actresses.
Los lobos voraces The voracious (male) wolves.
Las lobas voraces / The voracious (female) wolves.

Finally, there is a group of adjectives in Spanish that end in a consonant but don't follow the previous rule exactly. These are adjectives ending in -án-ón, and -or. For these, the feminine adds -a for the singular, and -as for the plural. The masculine uses -es for the plural form. The good news is there are not many adjectives in this group. Some examples are:

El hombre haragán / The lazy man.
La mujer haragana  The lazy woman.
El maestro fanfarrón The boastful (male) teacher.
La maestra fanfarrona The boastful (female) teacher.
El policía abusador The abusive policeman.
La policía abusadora The abusive policewoman.


Can you figure out the corresponding plural forms? They are as follows:

Los hombres haraganes / The lazy men.
Las mujeres haraganas  The lazy women.
Los maestros fanfarrones The braggart (male) teachers.
La maestra fanfarrona The braggart (female) teachers.
Los policías abusadores The abusive policemen.
Las policías abusadoras The abusive policewomen. 

¿Cuánto vale? Add it up!

¿Cuánto vale? literally means “How much is it worth?” but you will find that it can be used interchangeably with ¿Cuánto cuesta? which literally means “How much does it cost?” Patrons of Casa Panchos in Burgos, Spain, often use this phrase when deciding on a fine wine:

Cillar de Silos. Muy bueno. -¿Cuánto vale?

Cillar de Silos. Very good. -How much is it?

Captions 65-66, Casa Pancho - vinos y pinchos - Part 2

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But be careful if you hear the impersonal expression se vale. This has nothing to do with worthiness; rather it is used to express that something is just or fair. The land dwellers in Atenco use the phrase in the negative form:

Todo lo hicieron por debajo del agua, ¿eh? Y eso no está bien. No se vale eso.

They did everything under the table, eh? And that's not right. That's not fair.

Captions 23-24, ¡Tierra, Sí! Atenco - Part 3

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La cuenta, as anyone who’s ever ventured to a Spanish speaking country can tell you, is “the check” or bill you get at the end your meal. Hacer la cuenta is to prepare the check for the customer. However, replace la with de and we obtain a totally different meaning. Hacer de cuenta has nothing to do with invoicing a customer, but rather means “to pretend.” 


Haz de cuenta de que ya yo no existo, no te resisto.

Pretend I no longer exist, I can't stand you any longer.

Caption 48, Dante Spinetta - Donde

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The verb sumar means “to add.” The adjective sumo means “high” or “great”, for example sumo sacerdote gives us “high priest.” A lo sumo is a common saying that means “at most.” You may have heard it in our popular telenovela Muñeca Brava, uttered by Rocky, the chauffeur, when he explains that he's done his best not to gossip.


A lo sumo se me escapó lo de la hija de Ramón.

What I disclosed, at most, was the issue about Ramon's daughter.

Caption 59, Muñeca Brava - 44 El encuentro - Part 3

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The adverb sumamente means “extremely,” as we hear from Andrea, Ivo’s fiance, also in Muñeca Brava:


Oh, sumamente inteligente, ¿verdad? -Lo sé. Lo sé.

Oh, extremely intelligent, right? -I know. I know.

Captions 28-30, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reunión - Part 5

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We hope you’ve found this sumamente interesting! For comments or questions email us at
Further reading from past lessons:
Valer la pena and probar
Contar: Counting and Recounting



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