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Summer Vocabulary Expressions in Spanish

Let's learn some Spanish expressions related to the summer season.


Hace, the impersonal form of the verb hacer (to do, to make) is essential to talk about the weather in Spanish. Do you want to know how to say "it's hot"?


Ferné, sopla esa gaita que hace calor.

Ferné, blow those bagpipes 'cuz it's hot.

Caption 75, Calle 13 - Cumbia de los Aburridos

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In Spanish you can talk about the sun as being caliente or caluroso (both words mean "hot") or fuerte (strong):

Y no es un sol tan fuerte y tan caluroso como en verano.

And it's not a sun as strong and as hot as during the summer.

Caption 23, Azotea Del Círculo de Bellas Artes - Andrés nos enseña una nueva perspectiva

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Of course, you can also talk about the sun as being radiante (radiant):

Como pueden ver es un sol radiante.

As you can see it's a radiant sun.

Caption 45, Cabarete - Charlie el taxista

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Check out how Spanish uses the verb tomar (to take) to express the action of getting sun:

Y también me alegra que esté tomando sol

And it also makes me happy that she is getting sun

porque últimamente está muy pálida.

because lately she's very pale.

Captions 24-25, Muñeca Brava - 33 El partido

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If you get sun te bronceas (you get a tan), and having una piel bronceada (a tan skin, the verb is derived from the word bronce) is nice. 

Ir a tomar sol con ella y su bronceador

Go sunbathe with her and her suntan lotion

Caption 29, Enanitos Verdes - Cuánto Poder

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But if you get too much sun te quemas (you get sunburn)! Some people may even like this, but it's not really a healthy thing to do. You may hear some Spanish speakers use the expression estar quemado as a synonym of estar bronceado:

A mí me encanta estar quemada

I love being tan

pero este sol me recalienta la cabeza,

but this sun is overheating my head,

los sesos, así que me voy adentro.

my brains, so I'm going inside.

Captions 22-23, Muñeca Brava - 30 Revelaciones

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We say it's better to use bloqueador solar (sunscreen), don't you think? Did you notice the verb recalentar (to overheat)?

By the way, the word calor (heat) is one of those Spanish nouns of indeterminate gender, like el sartén/la sartén (the pan), la azúcar/el azúcar (the sugar), etc. This means that both forms of the noun, masculine and feminine, are considered correct by the DRAE. However, the use of one form or the other can tell you a lot about who the speaker is. For example, the use of la calor is common in the coastal regions of Peru and many small town across all Latin America, but it's still considered incorrect (even a sign of lack of education) by many Spanish speakers, who don't necessarily (and why would they) catch up with the many updates and revisions done to the DRAE by the Real Academia Española. Here are two examples:

Pero la calor en verano es un poco mala.

But the heat in summer is a bit bad.

Caption 43, Clara y Cristina - Hablan de actividades

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A ti como que el calor te está afectando las neuronas, ¿verdad?

For you [it's] like the heat is affecting your brain cells, right?

Caption 26, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso

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What we do recommend is to stick to the use of only one form, whichever you prefer. If you like to say la calor always use the feminine, if you like to use el calor, well, stick to the masculine. Apply this advice to similar words like el sartén/la sartén (the pan), la azúcar/el azúcar (the sugar). As an exception, the noun la mar/el mar (the sea), a summer word for many indeed, comes to mind. Our take on this word is that you use el mar when talking about the sea in a very practical way, for example:


Bajando por todo el mar Mediterráneo

Going down along the whole Mediterranean Sea [coast]

Caption 49, Álvaro - Arquitecto Español en Londres

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And use la mar for when you want to get poetic:


Muchos son los talentos que se pierden en la mar

A lot of talents get lost in the sea

Caption 16, La Mala Rodriguez - La Niña

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Using O Sea in Spanish

Have you ever heard someone use the expression, o sea? Chances are you have because this is a very popular and useful expression in both Spain and Latin America. Let's see how to use it.



How to Use O Sea in Spanish

The expression, o sea, is generally used to introduce an explanation or consequence of something one has already said. If you think about it, the meaning is quite literal: The phrase is made up of the disjunctive conjunction, o ("or"), and the word, sea ("would be"), the third person present subjunctive form of the verb, ser ("to be"). Let's look at some examples.


Porque Barcelona no aburre nunca.

Because Barcelona is never boring.

O sea, siempre hay actividades,

I mean, there are always activities,

Captions 41-42, Escuela BCNLIP - Presentación de la directora

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Nos lo hemos pasado muy bien,

We had a great time,

muy bien. -Qué bien, o sea que buenísimas vacaciones.

great. -How nice, I mean, an amazing vacation.

Captions 48-49, El Aula Azul - Conversación: Vacaciones recientes

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You can also think of o sea as an equivalent of the English expression, "in other words":


O sea que ¿el tipo de hoy era Wilson Ríos?

In other words, the guy from today was Wilson Rios?

Caption 33, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 1

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Sometimes, the word, que ("that"), is added after o sea without altering its meaning:

Sé surfear, ¿no? O sea que tengo una profesión ahora.

I can surf, right? I mean, I have a profession now.

Caption 43, Costa Azul Surf Shop - Hablando con los Empleados Del Surf

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Be careful, however: The combination "o + sea" can sometimes have a totally different meaning, so always pay close attention to the context:


...sea bueno o sea malo.

...whether it's good or whether it's bad.

Caption 34, Club de las ideas - Intuición

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Using O Sea as "Duh" or "Like"

In Latin America, there is another use of o sea that is very popular among upper/middle-class youngsters, some of whom are considered snobby and superficial. In this case, o sea is used as a sarcastic remark that can be translated as "obviously," "duh," "come on," "give me a break," or "I mean," depending on the context. Let's observe that use in action:


¡Ay pues, obvio que va a querer!

Oh well, [it's] obvious that he is going to want to!

¡Porque nadie le dice que no a una chica popular, o sea!

Because no one says no to a popular girl, duh!

Captions 21-22, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso

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You may also notice that in colloquial speech, o sea is sometimes used incessantly among certain groups or individuals as a filler word in the same way that certain English-speakers (e.g. Valley girls, etc.) constantly use the word, “like.”



O Sea Should Be Two Words!

Finally, keep in mind that the expression, o sea, is written as two words, and it is incorrect to write it as a single word (osea means "bony"!). Furthermore, it is sometimes used as an alternative for the expression o séase, which should be also avoided. 

That's all for today. We invite you to incorporate this useful expression into your vocabulary, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions