Spanish Lessons


Combining Verbs in Spanish - Part 2 - Gerundios and Participios

Combining Verbs in Spanish - Part 1

Let's continue our lesson on the use of verbal periphrases. In the first part of this lesson, we reviewed examples that combine conjugated verbs with infinitives. Now it's time to learn periphrases that combine conjugated verbs with the Spanish forms of the verb known as gerundios and participios.


Verbal periphrases that use the gerundio are used to express the passing of an action. They combine a conjugated auxiliary verb and a gerundio. Remember, the English gerund is the -ing form of the verb, but the Spanish gerundio is the -ndo form. Perhaps the easiest and most common example of these periphrases is the one that uses the verb estar (to be) as the auxiliary verb:

Estoy cursando las últimas dos materias del último trimestre.

I am taking the last two courses of the last trimester.

Caption 4, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana - Viviana Reyes

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Y con esta blusa, vamos a ver, ya estamos armando el... el disfraz.

And with this blouse, let's see, we're already putting together the... the costume.

Captions 22-23, Un disfraz - En el mercado

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However, you can use other verbs as well. The most used are the verbs andar (to go),empezar (to start), llevar (to carry), salir (to go out), etc. Here's an interesting example using the reflexive verb quedarse (to stay, to remain):

No, él se queda aquí trabajando.

No, he stays here working.

Caption 11, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa

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Here is an example with the verb salir (to go out):

Y además salió diciendo que para él era un orgullo que yo estuviera en el país.

And he also appeared saying that he was very proud that I was in the country.

Caption 62, Biografía - Natalia Oreiro

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Ya después me pasé a otra banda en la que... en la que volvimos a hacer covers.

Later on, I changed to another band in which... in which we did covers again.

Captions 49-50, Willy - Entrevista - Part 3

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On the other hand, periphrases that use the participio are usually meant to express the result of an action. They combine a conjugated auxiliary verb with a participio. Remember that the Spanish participio is the -ado, -ido, -to, -so, -cho forms of the verb (and their feminine and plural counterparts). Here is our first example using the auxiliary verb quedarse (to stay):

Se queda perfectamente pegado.

It remains perfectly stuck.

Caption 32, Tecnópolis - Ciencia en casa

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Compare this example using the verb quedarse and participio with the previous one that uses quedarse and gerundio. Do you get the difference in use and meaning between the two?
Let's review a few more examples of periphrases using participio. You can use the verb tener (to have) as auxiliary verb:

Es verdad que nosotros tenemos instaladas videocámaras en los pasillos.

It's true that we have video cameras installed in the hallways.

Caption 12, Club de las ideas - Si yo fuera director

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Or you can use the verb llevar (to carry):

Estos paquetes ... llevan puestos desde el miércoles pasado.

These packagages ... have been set since last Wednesday.

Captions 3-6, La Champiñonera - El cultivo de champiñón

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Or the verb dejar (to leave):

Y le dejo esto puesto, ¿eh?

And I leave this on, huh?

Caption 46, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos

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To finish this lesson, compare these two examples of periphrases: one uses the gerundio and the other uses the participio. Which is which? Can you understand the difference in meaning? We are sure you do!

Me tengo que ir. Te dejo escrita la lista de invitados. | I have to go. I leave written the guest list for you [I'm leaving the guest list written out for you].
Me tengo que ir. Te dejo escribiendo la lista de invitados. | I have to go. I leave you writing the guest list [I'm leaving you to write the guest list].

Thank you for reading!

Using 'Si Clauses' as Part of a Question - Part 2

Using 'Si Clauses' as Part of a Question - Part 1

In a previous lesson we explored the use of conditional si clauses in questions. Since one of our new videos for the week focuses on the Spanish conditional, we think it's a great opportunity to continue exploring the topic, reviewing a couple of examples where si clauses are used in a more orthodox way. 


As you know, conditional si clauses always have two parts: the condition, or si (if) clause, and the followup, which indicates what will happen if the condition is met. In these examples, the subjunctive is used in the si clauses, while the conditional (underlined) is reserved for the followup:

Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.

Well, if I were you, I would speak with him.

Caption 24, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

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Creo que si fuera consciente me... me volvería loca porque es así como muy fuerte.

I think that if I were paying attention I... I would go crazy because it's kind of really intense.

Captions 115-116, Biografía - Natalia Oreiro - Part 9

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Si tuviera otra oportunidad De empezar de cero otra vez, De vivir una nueva vida más Yo volvería a repetir Y volvería a nacer

If I had another chance To start from zero again, To live one more new life I would repeat And would be born again

Captions 2-6, La habitación roja - La segunda oportunidad

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More frequently though, you will hear that speakers use the indicative for both the main clause and the si clause:

Y si le caes mal, es su problema entonces.

And if he doesn't like you, it's his problem then.

Captions 30-31, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

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It is as if the speaker assumes that the condition has, in fact, been met, and therefore uses the indicative to state both, the si clause and the main clause, as facts. Can you tell how this example would look if we were to use the conditional and the subjunctive instead of the indicative? It would look like this:

Y si le cayeras mal, sería su problema entonces. 
And if he didn't like you, that would be his problem then. 

Interesting, right? Let's review a few more examples using indicative:

Yo, si me los pongo, lo aguanto.

Me, if I put them on, I deal with it.

Caption 60, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 14

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Así que si quieres me esperas, si no comprendo

So, if you want, you wait for me, if not, I understand

Caption 16, Karamelo Santo - Que no digan nunca

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¡Ay, chicos, si quieren les hago tostadas!

Hey, guys, if you want, I'll make toast for you!

Caption 41, Muñeca Brava - 2 Venganza - Part 9

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