Spanish Lessons


Math in Spanish: The Words You Need

How do you say "math" in Spanish? This is a question even native speakers ask themselves. The reason is that there are two terms that people use to say "mathematics" in Spanish. Let's find out which term you should use and explore some of the most basic math terms in Spanish. 


How do you say "mathematics" in Spanish?

Matemática and its plural form matemáticas are the two valid terms you can use when talking about the noun that refers to "the science of numbers, forms, amounts, and their relationships." Let's see a couple of examples:




Vos te puedes equivocar en la matemática también.

You can make mistakes in math too.

Caption 19, Yago - 11 Prisión

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Esta mañana he resuelto el problema de matemáticas.

This morning I solved the math problem.

Caption 55, Lecciones con Carolina - Participios irregulares

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Yo tenía que responder exámenes de matemáticas.

I had to answer math tests.

Caption 34, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 7

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There are a couple of things worth mentioning. First of all, keep in mind that the plural form matemáticas tends to be used more frequently than the singular form. Second of all, you don't need to use capital letters for any of these two terms. Now, let's review some useful vocabulary related to math in Spanish.


Basic math terms in Spanish


Basic mathematical operations


Let's see how to say the most basic math operations in Spanish:


Addition (Adición or suma)

Substraction (Sustracción or resta)

Multiplication (Multiplicación)

Division (División)


And how about the verbs that you use to indicate those basic operations? Let's listen to our friend Ester from El Aula Azul:


Tienes números, tienes que sumar,

You have numbers, you have to add,

tienes que restar, multiplicar, dividir.

you have to subtract, to multiply, to divide.

Captions 4-5, El Aula Azul - Piensa rápido

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Now, let's see how to express these operations with some examples:


1 +1 = one plus one (uno más uno)

2 - 1 = two minus one (dos menos uno)

2 x 2 = two times two (dos por dos)

4 ÷ 2 = four divided by two (cuatro dividido dos)


Math terms we use in everyday life

There are many math terms we use every day even when we are not talking about mathematics. Let's look at some of these terms:


Mi escultura es la solución a una ecuación.

My sculpture is the solution to an equation.

Caption 25, San Sebastián - Peine del viento

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Y ¿cuál es la temperatura promedio en tu pueblo?

And what's the average temperature in your town?

Caption 39, Cleer - Entrevista a Lila

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Producimos un doce coma seis por ciento más de residuos que la media Europea.

We produce twelve-point-six percent more waste than the average of Europe.

Caption 29, 3R - Campaña de reciclaje

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Ya ven uno y uno es igual a tres

Now you see one and one equals three

Caption 10, Jeremías - Uno y uno igual a tres

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Otra cosa im'... importante que tienes que calcular

Another im'... important thing that you have to calculate

además de todo ese movimiento.

in addition to all that movement.

Captions 64-65, El teatro. - Conversación con un doble de acción.

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Los números cardinales pueden ser simples o compuestos.

Cardinal numbers can be simple or compound.

Caption 11, Carlos explica - Los Números: Números Cardinales

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And that's it for today. If you want to learn more math in Spanish, we invite you to check out this useful English-Spanish glossary of terms and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.


Llevarse Bien: To Get Along

In the song's refrain, there's another example of a common verb used in a secondary sense.


Si dos ya no se llevan bien

If two don't get along [well]

Caption 11, Jeremías - Uno y uno igual a tres

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The first definition you'll probably learn for the common verb llevar is "to carry." Learn the nuances of this versatile verb and you'll find this construction:

Llevarse bien/mal con alguien
"To get on well/badly with somebody"

For more examples -- and more nuances of llevar -- you could check out:
ThoughtCo. > Spanish language > Using llevar




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Echarse: To Start To

Cheating! Bitter tears! Broken hearts!... There's a lot of action in this week's featured song by Jeremías -Uno y uno igual a tres ("One and One, the Same As Three") -- which is why the singer uses a lot of verbs (except in the song title).


By and large, the verbs sprinkled throughout these lyrics are standards found in classic reference texts, like 501 Spanish Verbs and The Big Red Book of Spanish Verbs. But they may not follow the first definitions found on the top of the page. Let's take a closer look at some lyrics.


Pero ya las lágrimas se echaban a correr

But the tears were starting to fall

Caption 8, Jeremías - Uno y uno igual a tres

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The first definition students usually learn for echar is usually "to throw" -as in, ¡Echa la pelota! ("Throw the ball!"). But in this construction -echarse a + infinitive- the more faithful translation is "to begin to [do something]." For example:

De repente, se echó a reír
Suddenly, he began to laugh 

Suddenly, he burst out


So, in the song lyric cited above, a student of Spanish who only knew the first definition of echar might try to translate the sentence as "But the tears had already thrown themselves to running." Well, almost... familiarity with the construction echarse a + infinitive will help you quickly realize that the tears had started to run (or, in English, it's more common to say tears "fall").


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