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The Spanish Vowels

Do you know how many vowels are in the Spanish alphabet? Are you able to pronounce the Spanish vowels? Do you know what strong and weak vowels are? Have you seen Spanish vowels with accents? Let's get some answers to these questions and more!

 

How Many Vowels are in the Spanish Alphabet?

The short answer is five! The following are the five Spanish vowels:

 

a

e

i

o

u

 

Do you want to hear how to pronounce the vowels in Spanish? Let's listen to our friend Sol from GoSpanish.Com:

 

En español, tenemos cinco vocales: "a", "e", "i", "o", "u".

In Spanish, we have five vowels: "a," "e," "i," "o," "u."

Captions 2-7, Español para principiantes Las vocales

 Play Caption

 

Now that we know how many vowels there are in the Spanish alphabet and how to pronounce them, it is important to mention that these five vowels can be divided into two main groups. Let's take a closer look.

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Strong vs. Weak Spanish Vowels

 

1. Strong vowels

In Spanish, strong vowels are called vocales abiertas (literally "open vowels") because when you say them, your tongue stays in the lower part of your mouth, and the oral cavity must expand. These vowels are:

 

a

e

o

 

2. Weak vowels

On the contrary, weak vowels are known in Spanish as vocales cerradas ("closed vowels") because when you pronounce them, your tongue stays closer to the roof of your mouth, and the oral cavity need not expand. These vowels are:

 

i

u

 

Differentiating between strong and weak vowels will help you to improve your understanding of how to divide words into syllables. In fact, when doing so, we invite you to keep in mind the following basic rules:

 

* Strong vowel + strong vowel together = Two syllables

Una boa, una anaconda, ¡ay no!

A boa, an anaconda, oh, no!

Caption 49, Cleer y Lida Juego de preguntas y respuestas - Part 3

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The word boa has two syllables: bo-a.

 

* Weak vowel + unsetressed weak vowel together = One syllable

Detrás de mí podemos observar la ciudad antigua

Behind me, we can observe the old city

Caption 11, Ciudad de Panamá Denisse introduce la ciudad

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Notice how the i and the u of the word ciudad belong to the same syllable: ciu-dad.

 

* Strong vowel + unstressed weak vowel = one syllable

toda esa deuda acumulada

all that accumulated debt

Caption 10, Luis Guitarra Todo es de todos - Part 1

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Notice how the e and the u of the word deuda are both in the same syllable: deu-da.

 

Keep in mind, however, that when a stressed weak vowel is next to another type of vowel, the two vowels must be separated into two different syllables:

 

Y en invierno suele hacer mucho frío.

An in winter it tends to be very cold.

Caption 15, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

The word frío has a stressed weak vowel next to a strong vowel. This combination creates a "hiatus," or break between two consecutive vowels that are not in the same syllable. For this reason, the word frío has two syllables: frí-o. Words like frío that contain accented vowels are quite common in Spanish. 

 

Finally, we would like to wrap up this lesson about the vowels in Spanish with a very simple question: Do you know any Spanish word that contains all of the five vowels? Although there are many, check out the following clip to see one of them in action:

 

La palabra más larga es murciélago. ¿Por qué? Pues porque tiene las cinco vocales dentro de la palabra.

The longest word is bat. Why? Well because it has the five vowels within the word.

Captions 43-45, Karla e Isabel Palabras

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And that's all for this lesson. We hope you've enjoyed learning about the Spanish vowels, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

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Spanish Vocabulary for the Autumn Season

Today's lesson will take us through some Spanish vocabulary that might come in handy to talk about el otoño (the autumn/fall) and some of the phenomena associated with esta estación (this season). 

 

El tiempo (The Weather)

Let's start by taking a look at a quote from our Yabla Spanish library about el tiempo in autumn, which means  "the weather" (rather than "the time") in this context:

 

Pero en primavera y en otoño, el tiempo es mucho mejor

But in spring and in fall, the weather is much better

Captions 16-17, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

The fall season is typically characterized by more moderate temperaturas (temperatures) as well as viento (wind) and sometimes lluvia (rain) or niebla (fog) (although there might be some sol (sun) as well!). Let's look at these autumn weather words in context:

 

Pasame las llaves y llamá un taxi ante' que venga la lluvia.

Give me the keys and call a cab before the rain comes. 

Caption 51, Yago 5 La ciudad - Part 9

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Ya está haciendo un poco de viento; ¿no te parece que hace frío? Sí, a pesar de que hace un hermoso sol.

It's a bit windy now; doesn't it seem like it's cold to you? Yes, in spite of the fact that it's beautifully sunny.

Captions 78-79, Sofy y Caro Entrevistar para un trabajo

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Ten cuidado cuando conduzcas hoy porque hay mucha niebla y no se puede ver bien.

Be careful when you drive today because there's a lot of fog, and you can't see well.

Captions 17-18, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

The videos Clara explica el tiempo - Part 1 and Clara explica el tiempo- Part 2  (Clara Explains the Weather- Parts 1 and 2) as well as Aprendiendo con Karen- El tiempo (Learning with Karen- The Weather) can help you learn even more ways to talk about the weather in Spanish

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¿Cuándo es el otoño? (When Is Autumn?)

While some Spanish-speaking countries like Colombia and Ecuador have less climatic variation due to their proximity to the equator, others experience the autumn season in different months than North America. For example, fall in countries like Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, etc. takes place from approximately marzo a junio (March to June), while Spain experiences the fall in the same months as in the United States: septiembre a diciembre (September through December), as demonstrated in this video about the months and seasons in Spanish by El Aula Azul:

 

En septiembre, empieza el otoño. En octubre, caen las hojas.

In September, the fall begins. In October, the leaves fall.

Captions 22-23, El Aula Azul Estaciones y Meses

 Play Caption

 

And that brings us to las hojas (the leaves), which, along with their tendency to change colors, dry up, and fall off trees in the autumn, are arguably the most frequently-employed symbol of the fall season.

 

Símbolos del otoño (Symbols of Fall)

What other objects are associated with the fall? Let's take a look at a few: 

 

¡Soy un espantapájaros!

I'm a scarecrow!

Caption 95, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 15

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¿Cuánto puede costar una cesta así en el mercado?

How much can a basket like this cost at the market?

Caption 121, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 11

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¿Adivináis qué animal come esta paja y este heno?

Can you guess what animal eats this straw and this hay?

Caption 6, Amaya Donkey Dreamland

 Play Caption

 

Ahora, vamos con nuestro siguiente diseño de calabaza

Now, we go on to our next pumpkin design.

Caption 64, Manos a la obra Papel picado para Día de muertos

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Of course, while the calabaza (pumpkin) is a decorative symbol of the autumn season, it is also a fall food that can be made into delectable desserts, stews, and even espresso beverages... which brings us to our next category!

 

Comidas de otoño (Fall Food)

What other foods do we associate with the autumn season?

 

Es época de quinoa, de la cosecha, de las arvejas tiernas, del maíz, que también ya acabamos de cosechar

It's the season for quinoathe harvest, sweet peas, corn, which we also just finished harvesting.

Captions 27-28, Otavalo Proyecto familiar Kawsaymi - Part 2

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Si hay un olor típico en el otoño es el de las castañas asadas.

If there is a typical smell in autumn, it's that of the roasted chestnuts.

Caption 24, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 1

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Las manzanas puedes hacer dulce de manzana, pie de manzana, torta de manzana, 

[With] apples you can make apple jam, apple pie, apple cake,

Caption 19, Otavalo Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

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And speaking of apples, they can also be used to make sidra (cider) of both the alcoholic and non-alchoholic variety:

 

y la bebida más típica es la sidra de manzana.

and the most typical drink is hard apple cider.

Caption 57, Viajando con Fermín La Feria de Santo Tomás

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In this video, Fermín tells us in this about the Feria de Santo Tomás (Saint Tomas Fair), which takes place on the last day of autumn, December 21st, and is thought to be the first day of the Christmas season. 

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Fiestas de otoño (Fall Holidays)

To continue on the theme of fiestas (holidays), let's talk about the Spanish terms for some fall celebrations in both the United States and Latin America:

 

Y en el interior le decimos, eh... Día de Muertos. Eh... Quizás tenga un poco de relación en la fecha con el Halloween de Estados Unidos,

And in [places] inside the country we call it, um... Day of the Dead. Um... Perhaps it's a little bit related with the United States's Halloween in respect to date,

Captions 69-70, Yabla en Yucatán Don Salo - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

And, in addition to Halloween and the Day of the Dead, we have, in November, the important North American holiday of Thanksgiving, which is called el Día de Acción de Gracias in Spanish. 

 

Autumn Vocabulary in Review

Let's conclude today's lesson with a quick-reference review of the words we have learned:

 

el otoño (the autumn/fall)

la estación (the season)

el tiempo (the weather)

la temperatura (the temperture)

la lluvia (the rain)

el viento (the wind)

la niebla (the fog)

el sol (the sun)

hacer sol (to be sunny)

hacer viento (to be windy)

hacer frío (to be cold)

marzo (March)

abril (April)

mayo (May)

junio (June)

septiembre (September)

octubre (October)

noviembre (November)

diciembre (December)

las hojas (the leaves)

el espantapájaros (the scarecrow)

la cesta (the basket)

la paja (the straw)

el heno (the hay)

la calabaza (the pumpkin)

la quinoa (the quinoa)

la cosecha (the harvest)

cosechar (to harvest)

el maíz (the corn)

las castañas asadas (the roasted chestnuts)

la manzana (the apple)

la fiesta (the holiday)

el Día de Muertos/el Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)

el Día de Acción de Gracias (Thanksgiving)

 

And that brings us to the end of our lesson on useful Spanish vocabulary for the autumn season. We hope you've enjoyed it, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

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Todos los Significados (All the Meanings) of the Word Todo in Spanish

In this lesson, we're going to look at todos los usos y significados (all of the uses and meanings) of the word todo in Spanish. Well, maybe not all of them... but a lot!

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What Part of Speech is the Word Todo in Spanish?

Primero que todo (first of all), we'd like to say that the Spanish word todo and its feminine and plural equivalents have many meanings including "all," "whole," "every," "each," "everyone," and more, depending upon the context in which they are utilized. Actually, while todo and its alternate forms most commonly function as an adjective or a pronoun, they can also function as an adverb or even a noun. Let's examine how this word works in each of these cases, its various translations into English, and several idiomatic expressions that employ it. 

 

Todo as an Adjective

Let's recall that an adjective modifies, or describes, a noun. When the word todo functions as an adjective, it must agree in number and gender with the noun it modifies. We must thus choose between its masculine singular (todo), masculine plural (todos), feminine singular (toda) or feminine plural (todas) forms, placing it either directly in front of either a noun, a noun's direct article, or a possessive adjective. Let's look at some examples:

 

No, en España, el español se parece mucho en todo el país.

No, in Spain, Spanish is a lot alike in the whole country.

Captions 5-6, Carlos y Xavi Part 4 Tradiciones y comida de Barcelona

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Although the literal translation of todo el país would be "all the country," common ways to say todo el in English include "the whole" or "the entire." Thus, an alternative translation for this sentence might be: "No, in Spain, Spanish is a lot alike in the entire country." Let's look at an additional example:

 

La asistente le dará una tarjeta con toda la información

The assistant will give you a card with all the information

Caption 42, Cita médica La cita médica de Cleer - Part 2

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Note that in this example, the feminine singular form toda has the more straightforward translation "all." Let's move on to some plural examples:

 

Invitamos a todos sus amigos al karaoke

We invite all her friends to karaoke

Caption 44, Blanca y Mariona Planificación de cena

 Play Caption

 

Note that while, in the sentence above, the plural form is translated to "all," in other cases, it can be translated as "every":

 

Salimos todas las noches.

We go out every night.

Caption 20, Clara y Cristina Hablan de actividades

 Play Caption

 

In other cases, either translation could suffice:

 

Feliz tarde, amigos de Yabla de todos los países del mundo.

Happy afternoon, Yabla friends from every country in the world.

Caption 2, Adícora, Venezuela El tatuaje de Rosana

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An alternative translation could, of course, be: "Happy afternoon, Yabla friends from all the countries in the world."

 

Todo as a Pronoun

The definition of a pronoun is a word that takes the place of a noun. Hence, when the word todo is used a pronoun in Spanish, it must match the number/gender of the noun to which it refers. Let's look at a simple example: 

 

¿Cuá​nta torta comiste? -Me la comí toda.

How much cake did you eat? -I ate it all

But:

 

¿Cuá​ntos caramelos comiste? -Todos.

How much candies did you eat? -All of them. 

 

Let's take a look at an example from the Yabla video library where todas replaces a plural feminine noun (las estaciones/the seasons):

 

Creo que es la mejor estación de todas

I think that it's the best season of all.

Caption 22, Clara explica El tiempo - Part 1

 Play Caption
 

Todo on its own is also the equivalent of the English word "everything":

 

Sí, Lucio me cuenta todo.

Yes, Lucio tells me everything.

Caption 30, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

The plural todos, on the other hand, means "everybody" or "everyone":

 

porque es información nueva para todos.

because it's new information for everyone.

Caption 60, Clase Aula Azul Información con subjuntivo e indicativo - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

In fact, the title of a recent Yabla video, Todo es de todos (Everything Belongs to Everyone) employs both of those terms. However, note the difference in translation for todos in the following example:

 

¿De ahí saldrá el aguacate que todos conocemos? -Claro. 

The avocado that we all know will come from there? -Sure.

Caption 57, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 17

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Although "The avocado that everyone knows will come from there?" could be a viable translation, the fact that the verb conocer (to know) has been translated in the first person plural (nosotros/"we") form makes "we all" a legitimate (and perhaps more explanatory) translation. 

 

Todo as an Adverb

When todo functions as an adverb, it is typically used to make emphatic statements. Possible translations include "really," "completely," "all," or "totally." For example, one might say: El chico se veía todo lindo (The guy looked really good) or Mi habitación está toda desordenada (My room is totally messy). Let's look at an example from the Yabla video library:

 

¡Yo te vi, yo te vi toda llena de barro!

I saw you! I saw you all covered in mud!

Caption 41, Yago 3 La foto - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

Todo as a Noun

As a noun, el todo means "the whole" and can be seen in the translation for Aristotle's famous sentence:

 

El todo es más que la suma de las partes.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. 

 

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Top Ten Common Spanish Expressions with Forms of the WordTodo

And speaking of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, let's examine some common Spanish idioms that include forms of the word todo with meanings beyond their literal words.

 

1Todo el mundo

While todo el mundo literally means "all the world" or "the whole/entire world," this phrase is an extremely common way of expressing the idea of "everybody" or "everyone" in Spanish:

 

Todo el mundo puede tocar el tambor donde, cuando y como quiera- mayores, niños, mujeres,

Everybody can play the drum wherever, whenever, and however they want- older people, children, women,

Captions 47-49, Viernes Santo en Tobarra ¡La Cuna del Tambor! - Part 1

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2. Todo el día

Literally "all the day," the notion of "all day" is encompassed by the Spanish expression todo el día:

 

¿Todo el día? El tiempo que quieras.

All day? As long as you want.

Captions 103-104, Alan x el mundo Mi playa favorita de México! - Part 2

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3. Todos los días

The plural form todos los días ("all the days"), on the other hand, means "every day":

 

Además, la vemos todos los días.

Besides, we see it every day.

Caption 11, Guillermina y Candelario Una aventura extrema - Part 2

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4. Sobre todo

Like it sounds, the Spanish phrase sobre todo can indeed mean "above all" or "above everything." Additional, frequent translations include "mostly," "mainly," and "especially":

 

Primero, sobre todo si es tu primera tarjeta de crédito, eh... es recomendable que el... que el límite no sea mayor a tus ingresos. 

First, especially if it is your first credit card, um... it is recommendable for the... for the limit not to be greater than your income.

Captions 51-52, Cuentas claras Sobreviviendo enero - Part 3

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5. En todo caso 

Even though the literal meaning of en todo caso is "in all case," it is the Spanish equivalent of the English expression "in any case":
 

En todo caso, espero que a partir de hoy, se sientan más cómodos usando las redes sociales en español.

In any case, I hope that starting from today, you feel more comfortable using social networks in Spanish.

Captions 53-54, Carlos explica Internet y lenguaje digital: Redes sociales

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6. Por todos lados 

Por todos lados might seem to mean "around all sides," but it really means "everywhere": 

 

Mili, ¿Dónde estabas? Te estuve buscando por todos lados.

Mili, where were you? I was looking for you everywhere.

Caption 16, Muñeca Brava 45 El secreto - Part 10

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7. De todas formas

De todas formas in Spanish means not "of all shapes," but is rather a manner of saying "anyway":

 

Bueno, de todas formas, mire, el tipo se está haciendo pasar por Pierre Bernard.

Well, anyway, look, the guy is posing as Pierre Bernard.

Caption 7, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 8

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The similar Spanish expressions de todas maneras and de todos modos also mean "anyway," "anyhow," or "in any case." 

 

8. De todo

The phrase de todo ("of everything") is another way to say "everything" in Spanish:

 

Aquí tiene de todo, perro, oveja...

Here, they have everything: [a] dog, sheep...

Caption 1, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 6

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9. Del todo

Del todo ("of the whole"), on the other hand, means "completely" or "entirely"':

 

Quizás l'... la relación más equilibrada que yo he buscado no ha pasado del todo y ahora me siento un poquito sola

Maybe th'... the more balanced relationship that I've looked for hasn't completely happened, and now I feel a little bit lonely

Captions 19-20, El reencuentro Las amigas hablan del trabajo y el amor.

 Play Caption

 

For additional examples of this expression and more, we recommend the lesson En absoluto, de ninguna manera, del todo.

 

10. Todo recto

And finally, if you want to tell someone to go "straight ahead," todo recto (literally "all straight") is the way to go in Spanish:

 

Tiene que ir todo recto. -Sí.

You have to go straight ahead. -Yes.

Caption 17, Curso de español ¿Hay una escuela por aquí?

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These are just a smattering of the many Spanish expressions that incorporate forms of todo that can be heard in everyday Spanish. ¡Sería imposible nombrarlos todos (It would be imposible to name them all)! That said:

 

Eso es todo por hoy, amigos. 

That's all for today, friends.

Caption 56, Ana Carolina Símbolos de Navidad

 Play Caption
 

For additional information on expressions that include the Spanish word todo, we recommend the additional lesson When Nada (Nothing) is Todo (Everything). In the meantime, gracias por todo (thanks for everything), and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.

 

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The Seasons in Spanish

Do you know how to say "winter" or "summer'" in Spanish? Do you know how to pronounce the seasons in Spanish? Let's review the four seasons of the year in the language of Cervantes.

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The seasons in Spanish and English

Let's start this lesson with a quick overview of the Spanish seasons:

 

Las cuatro estaciones del año | The four seasons of the year

 

invierno | winter

primavera | spring

verano | summer

otoño | autumn or fall

 

Things to keep in mind

 

1. How do you say "season" in Spanish? The answer is "estación." Its plural form is "estaciones" (seasons).

 

2. All seasons except "primavera" are masculine nouns. Also, keep in mind that you usually need definite articles next to the seasons. Let's take a look at the singular and plural forms of the Spanish seasons:

 

el invierno | los inviernos

la primavera | las primaveras

el verano | los veranos

el otoño | los otoños 

 

3. Lots of countries through the Americas don't have four seasons. Instead, they may have rainy and dry seasons. In this case, you may hear the word "temporada" instead of "estación":

 

...si ya entramos en la temporada de lluvias.

...if we already entered the rainy season.

Caption 58, Natalia de Ecuador - Vocabulario de prendas de vestir

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How to pronounce the seasons in Spanish

Let's start with the following clip where you can listen to our friend Clara saying the four seasons in Spanish:

 

Un año tiene cuatro estaciones:

A year has four seasons:

primavera, verano, otoño e invierno.

spring, summer, fall and winter.

Captions 11-12, Clara explica - El tiempo

 Play Caption

  

Let's practice a little bit more with the following examples for every single season.

 

Winter in Spanish

 

En diciembre, empieza el invierno.

In December, the winter starts.

Caption 25, El Aula Azul - Estaciones y Meses

 Play Caption

 

Spring in Spanish

 

...en esta época que tenemos... que es primavera.

...during this season that we have... which is spring.

Caption 22, Azotea Del Círculo de Bellas Artes - Andrés nos enseña una nueva perspectiva

 Play Caption

 

By the way, we also have a lesson about spring vocabulary that you'll want to read.

 

Autumn in Spanish

 

Estaba precioso, en otoño con las hojas en el suelo.

It was beautiful in the fall with the leaves on the ground.

Caption 24, El Aula Azul - Conversación: Vacaciones recientes

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Summer in Spanish

 

Un día dijimos, es verano, no hacemos nada,

One day we said, "It's summer, we're not doing anything,

vamos, cogemos el coche y nos vamos.

come on, let's take the car and go."

Captions 26-27, Blanca y Mariona - Proyectos para el verano

 Play Caption

 

Also, make sure to check our lesson about summer vocabulary.

 

That's it for today. What's your favorite season? What about your favorite months of the year? Please, let us know, and don't forget to send us your questions and comments.

 

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The Preposition en in Spanish

Are you familiar with prepositions in Spanish? In this lesson, we will talk about the preposition en, which is one of the most commonly used prepositions in the Spanish language. In fact, this preposition works like the English prepositions “in,” “on” and “at.” Let's take a look. 

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How to use the preposition en in Spanish

 

We use the preposition en when we want to state that something ocurred in a particular year or when we want to make a reference to a particular season or month of the year. In other words, we use the preposition en when talking about time.

 

Esa institución dejó de existir en mil novecientos noventa y nueve.

That institution ceased to exist in nineteen ninety-nine.

Caption 60, Carlos comenta - Los Años Maravillosos - Costumbres alimenticias y conflicto

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Y en invierno suele hacer mucho frío.

And in winter it tends to be very cold.

Caption 15, Clara explica - El tiempo

 Play Caption

 

En abril, llueve mucho.

In April, it rains a lot.

Caption 17, El Aula Azul - Estaciones y Meses

 Play Caption

 

When it comes to time, we also use the preposition en when we want to express a particular amount of time:

 

En veinte minutos se va a servir la cena.

In twenty minutes dinner is going to be served.

Caption 3, Muñeca Brava - 36 La pesquisa

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The preposition en in Spanish is also used when we want to indicate the location of a person or object.

 

Estoy en la escuela, El Aula Azul.

I am at the school, The Blue Classroom.

Caption 4, El Aula Azul - Ser y Estar

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El perro de Ana duerme en el horno.

Ana's dog sleeps in the oven.

Caption 5, Extr@: Extra en español - Ep. 1 - La llegada de Sam

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One of the most common uses of the preposition en is when we use it to talk about means of transportation.

 

Me fui a Bélgica con mi novio en avión.

I went to Belgium with my boyfriend on a plane.

Caption 2, Blanca y Mariona - Proyectos para el verano

 Play Caption

 

The preposition en is also used to express the value of something.

 

Y las cabañas sin baño están en ochenta mil pesos.

And the cabins without a bathroom go for eighty thousand pesos.

Caption 35, Cleer y Lida - Reservando una habitación

 Play Caption

 

Finally, the preposition en is also used to indicate how something is carried out.

 

En silencio pensaré tan sólo en ti

In silence I will think only of you

Caption 34, La Oreja de Van Gogh - Deseos De Cosas Imposibles

 Play Caption

 

In this example, notice how we can use the preposition en along with the verb pensar (to think) when we want to express "thinking of" someone or something.

 

Common expressions that use the preposition en in Spanish

Apart from the uses we have mentioned above, the preposition en can be found in various expressions that are quite common in Spanish. Let's look at some of them:

 

¿Es en serio?

Seriously?

Caption 50, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

 Play Caption

 

Acuérdate que tenemos muchos amigos en común.

Remember that we have a lot of friends in common.

Caption 14, Los casos de Yabla - Problemas de convivencia

 Play Caption

 

En realidad, sólo con la práctica podemos entender mejor.

Actually, only with practice can we better understand.

Caption 64, Carlos explica - Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo: Conjugación

 Play Caption

 

To summarize, the following are the most common uses of the preposition en in Spanish:

 

- When talking about time (years, month, seasons or amount of time)

- To indicate the location of a person or an object

- To indicate the means of transportation

- To express the value of something

- To indicate how something is carried out.

- In some very common expressions

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That's it for today. Now that you know how to use the preposition en in Spanish, try to write some sentences with all the different uses we mentioned throughout this lesson. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.

100 Hard Spanish Words to Say Correctly

Are you ready to learn some hard Spanish words? Don’t worry! We don’t want to scare you but rather we would like to highlight some of the issues that transform even simple words into difficult ones. Let’s review the following list featuring 100 of the most difficult Spanish words for English speakers

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Hard Spanish words to pronounce

 

Pronunciation is definitely the issue to keep in mind when we talk about hard Spanish words. In fact, if you are a native English speaker, there are several sounds that are quite challenging. Let’s start with some of the most difficult words to pronounce in Spanish for English speakers. We have divided these words in groups according to the pronunciation challenge they represent.

 

That J sound

 

For many foreigners, words with the letter “j” are some of the most difficult Spanish words to say. If you are an English speaker, you can try to say the “j” in Spanish as a very strong “h” in English. Think of how you pronounce the letter “h” in the word ham. Let’s take a look: 

 

1. Ají (chili or bell pepper)

¿Ají?

"Ají" [chili pepper]?

Caption 37, Ricardo - La compañera de casa

 Play Caption

 

2. Bajo (short)

Es bajo, es gordo.

He's short, he's fat.

Caption 33, El Aula Azul - Mis Primos

 Play Caption

 

3. Caja (box)

...y ellos también mandaron una caja grandísima.

...and they also sent a huge box.

Caption 25, Diana Quintana - En Navidad regalemos una sonrisa

 Play Caption

 

4. Anaranjado (orange)

Adentro, son de color anaranjado.

Inside, they are orange-colored.

Caption 13, Otavalo - Conozcamos el Mundo de las Frutas con Julia

 Play Caption

 

5. Empujar (to push)

 

6. Equipaje (luggage)

¿Puedo dejar aquí mi equipaje?

Can I leave my luggage here?

Caption 59, Cleer y Lida - Recepción de hotel

 Play Caption

 

7. Espantapájaros (scarecrow)

8. Cojear (to limp)

9. Injusticia (injustice)

 

10. Jamón (ham)

Fíjate: jamón, Javier.

Check it out: ham, Javier.

Caption 27, Fundamentos del Español - 10 - La Pronunciación

 Play Caption

 

11. Jirafa (giraffe)

12. Jornada (day)

13. Jota (J - the sound of the letter J in Spanish)

 

14. Jugar (to play)

También podemos jugar a las cartas.

We can also play cards.

Caption 12, Clara y Cristina - Hablan de actividades

 Play Caption

 

15. Junio (June)

16. Lujoso (luxurious)

 

17. Lejano (far, far away)

Érase una vez en un lejano reino, ahí vivía una joven niña.

Once upon a time in a faraway kingdom, there lived a young girl.

Caption 2, Cuentos de hadas - La Cenicienta

 Play Caption

 

18. Majo (nice)

19. Mojado (wet)

20. Pájaro (bird)

21. Sonrojar (to blush)

22. Tajada (slice)

 

That G sound

 

Just as it happens with the letter “j,”, there are several tricky words in Spanish with the letter “g”. What’s hard about this consonant is that there is a soft and a hard way to pronounce it. For example, you have a soft “g” in the word gato (cat). Think about the pronunciation of the syllable “ga” in the word gather. On the other hand, you have a hard “g” in the word gente (people), which is kind of similar to how you pronounce the “h” in the word helmet. Let’s see some tough Spanish words with the letter “g”:

 

23. Acogedor (cozy, welcoming)

Perfecto, porque es un barco muy marinero, muy acogedor para la gente.

Perfect, because it's a very seaworthy boat, very welcoming for the people.

Caption 16, La Gala - El bote de Dalí

 Play Caption

 

24. Agente (agent)

25. Agitar (shake)

26. Aguja (needle)

 

27. Agujero (hole)

Tiene un cuerpo con un agujero en el centro.

It has a body with a hole in the center.

Caption 45, Karla e Isabel - Instrumentos musicales

 Play Caption

 

28. Apagar (to turn off)

 

29. Coger (to take, to get)

El segundo paso es coger la cebolla.

The second step is to get the onion.

Caption 25, Clara cocina - Una tortilla española

 Play Caption

 

30. Garganta (throat)

Me duele la garganta.

My throat hurts.

Caption 11, Ariana - Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

31. General (general)

En general, los nombres acabados en "a" son femeninos.

In general, nouns ending in "a" are feminine.

Caption 10, Fundamentos del Español - 2 - Nombres y Género

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32. Geneaología (genealogy)

33. Geología (geology)

 

34. Gigante (giant, gigantic)

Una de las piezas más llamativas es este ajedrez gigante.

One of the most appealing pieces is this gigantic chess board.

Caption 35, Europa Abierta - Taller de escenografía en Olivares

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35. Ginecólogo (gynecologist)

36. Girasol (sunflower)

37. Guapo (handsome)

38. Juguetón (playful)

39. Tangible (tangible)

40. Tigre (tiger)

41. Zoológico (zoo)

 

That double RR sound

 

There are plenty of tricky words in Spanish with the strong sound of the double “rr”. The following are some of them: 

 

42. Aburrido (bored)

Ah, esto está muy aburrido, ni siquiera se entiende.

Oh, this is very boring, you can't even understand it.

Caption 24, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 2

 Play Caption

 

43. Carrera (career)

El presidente empezó su carrera política...

The president began his political career...

Caption 29, Lecciones con Carolina - El gerundio

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44. Carretera (road)

 

45. Carro (car)

¿Ha venido en carro?

Have you come in a car?

Caption 64, Cleer y Lida - Recepción de hotel

 Play Caption

 

46. Correr (to run)

 

47. Desarrollar (Develop)

Pero el reto era desarrollar proyectos de biomedicina.

But the challenge was to develop biomedical projects.

Caption 10, Club de las ideas - Lego Fest en Sevilla

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48. Error (mistake)

Esto es un error.

This is a mistake.

Caption 21, Lecciones con Carolina - Errores comunes

 Play Caption

 

49. Ferrocarril (railroad, train)

...en un carrito tipo ferrocarril tirado por un caballo.

...in a little train-like car pulled by a horse.

Caption 8, Mérida y sus alrededores - Haciendas de Cuzamá

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50. Garrote (club)

 

51. Guerra (war)

La palabra más fea es guerra.

The ugliest word is war.

Caption 61, Karla e Isabel - Palabras

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52. Guitarra (guitar)

53. Herradura (horseshoe)

54. Irresponsable (irresponsible)

55. Morral (backpack)

56. Ornitorrinco (platypus)

 

57. Perro (dog)

Se escucha un perro.

You can hear a dog.

Caption 43, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

 Play Caption

 

58. Puertorriqueño (Puerto Rican)

 

That TR sound

 

Without any doubt, words that have a syllable where the consonant “t” is followed by the consonant “r,” are some of the most difficult words for English speakers to pronounce in Spanish. If you want to improve this sound, please listen carefully to some of the audio clips we have included for the next set of words.

 

59. Abstracto (abstract)

60. Astronomía (astronomy)

 

61. Astrología (astrology)

...y voy a entender lo que es la astrología.

...and I am going to understand what astrology is.

Caption 60, Conversaciones con Luis - Astrología

 Play Caption

 

62. Atracción (atraction)

Porque es en el centro... el sitio donde hay mayor atracción.

Because it's at the center... the place where there are more attractions.

Caption 21, Yabla en Lima - Miraflores

 Play Caption

 

63. Cuatro (four)

Número cuatro: microscopio.

Number four: microscope.

Caption 19, Aprendiendo con Karen - Útiles escolares

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64. Entretener (to entertain)

65. Entretenido (entertaining)

66. Patrón (patron)

67. Patrulla (patrol)

68. Petróleo (oil)

69. Poltrona (easy chair)

70. Potro (colt)

 

71. Tradicion (tradition)

Uno de los mitos más conocidos de la tradición indígena colombiana.

One of the best known myths of the indigenous Colombian tradition.

Caption 13, Aprendiendo con Carlos - América precolombina - Mitos y leyendas Muiscas

 Play Caption

 

72. Traicionar (to betray)

 

73. Trampa (trap)

No, no, me tendió una trampa y yo caí.

No, no, she set a trap for me and I fell into it.

Caption 29, Muñeca Brava - 44 El encuentro

 Play Caption

 

74. Treinta y tres (thirty-three)

Treinta y tres

Thirty-three

Caption 49, Español para principiantes - Los números del 1 al 100

 Play Caption

 

75. Tres (three)

76. Trilogía (trilogy)

 

77. Triste

Estoy triste.

I am sad.

Caption 10, El Aula Azul - Estados de ánimo

 Play Caption

 

78. Tronco (trunk)

 

All those vowels

 

Unlike English, Spanish vowels are very clearly defined. Five vowels equals five sounds, period. While that may sound simple, the problem is that English speakers are used to pronouncing vowels in many more different ways. Here are some hard Spanish words that highlight this challenge.

 

79. Aguacate (avocado)

Este es guacamole hecho con aguacate...

This is guacamole made ​​with avocado...

Caption 33, Tacos Emmanuel - Cómo hacer tacos de pescado

 Play Caption

 

80. Estadounidense (American)

Paul es estadounidense, de los Estados Unidos.

Paul is American, from the United States.

Caption 16, Carlos explica - Geografía y gentilicios

 Play Caption

 

81. Eucalipto (eucalyptus)

82. Euforia (euphoria)

83. Idiosincrasia (idiosyncrasy)

84. Licuadora (blender)

 

85. Paraguas (umbrella)

Voy a coger un paraguas, por si acaso.

I am going to grab an umbrella, just in case.

Caption 42, Clara explica - El tiempo - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

86. Triángulo (triangle)

Después pones este triángulo con la base hacia abajo.

Afterwards you put this triangle with the base toward the bottom.

Caption 42, Manos a la obra - Separadores de libros: Charmander

 Play Caption

 

87. Vergüenza (shame)

 

Longest Spanish words

 

There is a ‘cute’ joke in Spanish that goes like this: 

 

- Do you know what the longest word in Spanish is?

- No. What is it?

- Arroz (rice)! 

- Arroz? That’s a very short word.

- No, arroz is the longest word in Spanish because it starts with ‘a’ and ends with ‘z’!

 

Of course, that’s only a joke! Arroz is one of the easiest words in Spanish. However, the following are some of the most challenging and longest Spanish words:

 

88. Electroencefalograma (electroencephalogram)

89. Esternocleidomastoideo (sternocleidomastoid)

90. Contrarrevolucionario (counter-revolutionary)

91. Constitucionalidad (constitutionality)

92. Internacionalización (internalization)

93. Otorrinolaringólogo (otolaryngologist)

 

Apart from these very complicated words, all those adverbs that end in -mente are also some of the longest Spanish words. Let’s look at a few:

 

94. Constitucionalmente (constitutionally)

 

95. Desafortunadamente (unfortunately)

Cuando tú creces, desafortunadamente te das cuenta que.

When you grow up, unfortunately, you realize that.

Caption 23, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 9

 Play Caption

 

96. Desconsoladamente (inconsolably)

97. Fuertemente (heavily)

 

 

98. Tradicionalmente (traditionally)

Y nos dedicamos al cultivo del champiñón tradicionalmente.

And we are dedicated to the cultivation of the mushroom traditionally.

Caption 4, La Champiñonera - El cultivo de champiñón

 Play Caption

 

99. Tristemente (sadly)

 

And finally, can you think of any Spanish word that has all the vowels on it? We have a long word for you, which is actually quite short in English:

 

100. Murciélago (bat)

La palabra más larga es murciélago.

The longest word is bat.

Caption 43, Karla e Isabel - Palabras

 Play Caption

 

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That's it for now. We know that there are many more hard Spanish words that we should include in this list. If you feel like it, please share some additional difficult Spanish words with us, and we’ll be happy to add them to this lesson. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

 

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Phrases with Lo

The Spanish word lo can be used as a subject pronoun, an object pronoun or a definite article. We have several lessons on the topic, which you can read by clicking hereLo is a very useful word, and there're many common phrases that use this particle. Let's study some examples. 

The phrase por lo tanto means "as a result" or "therefore"

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Este puerro, no lo he limpiado previamente, por lo tanto, vamos a limpiarlo.

This leek, I haven't cleaned it previously, therefore, we are going to clean it.

Caption 55, Cómetelo - Crema de brócoli - Part 2

 Play Caption


The phrase por lo pronto means "for now" or "for the time being"
 

...y yo por lo pronto pienso avisarle a toda la familia.

...and I for the time being plan to let the whole family know.

Caption 18, Yago - 9 Recuperación - Part 11

 Play Caption


The phrase por lo visto means "apparently"
 

Por lo visto fue en una perfumería.

Apparently it was in a perfume shop.

Caption 42, Yago - 12 Fianza - Part 6

 Play Caption


The phrase por lo general is equivalent to the adverb generalmente. It means "generally"
 

Pero por lo general encontramos sistemas de alarmas.

But generally we find alarm systems.

Caption 11, Los Reporteros - Crecen los robos en tiendas - Part 3

 Play Caption


The phrase a lo largo de means "throughout"
 

al menos va cambiando a lo largo de las estaciones.

at least is changing throughout the seasons.

Caption 10, Clara explica - El tiempo - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

While a lo lejos means "at a distance" or "in the distance"

 

El cielo está nublado y a lo lejos tú Hablando de lo que te ha pasado.

The sky is cloudy and in the distance you Speaking of what has happened to you.

Captions 5-6, Christhian canta - Hombres G - Temblando

 Play Caption

 

In fact, you can add the phrase a lo to certain adjetives to talk about the way something is being done or someone is doing something. For example, a lo loco means "like crazy." 

 

Yo echo un poco de pintura ahí a lo loco

I put a bit of paint there like crazy [spontaneously]

Captions 92-93, Zoraida en Coro - El pintor Yepez

 Play Caption


Another common example is a lo tonto (like a dumb, in a dumb way, for nothing). 

Hazlo bien. No lo hagas a lo tonto.
Do it right. Don't do it foolishly.

¿Para qué esforzarse a lo tonto?
Why go to all that trouble for nothing?

This phrase always uses the neutral singular form of the adjective. Even if you are talking to a girl or a group of people, you will always use the same. For example:

Lucía siempre se enamora a lo tonto del primer hombre que cruza su camino.
Lucia always falls in love inanely with the first man that crosses her path.

In Mexico, you will also hear the expression al ahí se va (literally, "in a there-it-goes way"). It means to do things without care, plan, or thinking. This is pronounced quite fast, by the way, almost as a single word. Translations vary: 

Completé el examen al ahí se va porque no estudié.
I completed the exam with mediocrity because I didn't study.

Tienen más hijos al ahí se va y sin planear en el futuro.
They have more kids without thinking and planning for the future.

Finally, there's the expression a la buena [voluntad] de dios (leaving it to God's goodwill). You may find it in phrases involving the idea of entrusting what you do to God, but it's more commonly used to express that something is done rather haphazardly, without care, skill, effort and or plan.

El aeropuerto se construyó a la buena de Dios.
The airport was built haphazardly.

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Is there a topic you'd like covered in our lessons? You can send your suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

Spring Vocabulary

La Primavera (springtime) is in the air (or at least it should be). So let's learn a few Spanish words related to Persephone's season. 

Flores means "flowers" and florecer means "to flower" or "to bloom." But there are also other words such as the verb aflorar (to bloom), which is also used figuratively meaning "to pop up," "to emerge" or "to appear." You can even use it say something as un-spring-like as: Su instinto asesino afloró de pronto (His killing instinct suddenly emerged).

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Spanish also has the poetic adjective florido (full of flowers, flowery):

 

Luz y sonido, grande y florido

Light and sound, big and flowery

Caption 1, Aterciopelados - Al parque

 Play Caption

 

And the participle adjective florecido, also "full of flowers:"

 

Por la senda florecida que atraviesa la llanura

Along the flowered path that crosses the plain

Caption 9, Acercándonos a la Literatura - José Asunción Silva - "Nocturno III"

 Play Caption

 

There is also the verb florear (literally, "to adorn with flowers" or "to make look like a flower") with many, many different uses. For example, florear means "to compliment" or "to say beautiful things." From that come the expressions echar floresdecir flores, tirar flores (literally, to throw or say flowers):

 

Gracias, te agradezco mucho las flores que me estás tirando.

Thanks, I thank you very much for your compliments [literally "the flowers that you are throwing me"].

Caption 18, Muñeca Brava - 45 El secreto

 Play Caption

 

Enough of flores. The verb aparear (to mate or reproduce, literally "to pair") is a pertinent choice:

 

Las ballenas vienen a Gorgona a aparearse y tener sus crías.

The whales come to Gorgona to mate and to have their offspring.

Caption 52, Instinto de conservación - Gorgona - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

Anidar means "to nest," and by extension "to shelter." You can use it figuratively as in: En su corazón anida la amargura (His heart harbors bitterness). The corresponding noun is nido (nest), a word that you can learn, along with many other palabras primaverales (spring words), by watching the trippy song Jardín (Garden) by Liquits:

 

De pronto una cigüeña me lleva de paquete bebé al nido

Suddenly a stork takes me as a baby package to the nest

Captions 14-15, Liquits - Jardín

 Play Caption

 

Now, Spanish doesn't have words as short and cute as rainy, sunny, windy, etc. to describe the weather. Instead, Spanish speakers may describe a sunny day as soleado and a rainy day as lluvioso. These adjectives must be used altogether with the verbs ser/estar (to be). To describe the way the weather is in a place, you use ser (because that's the way the weather typically is most of the time):

 

Es su clima muy... muy húmedo, muy lluvioso también.

Its climate is very... very humid, very rainy too.

Caption 19, Vender Plantas - Juan

 Play Caption

 

To describe the way the weather is at a certain moment, you use estar (because that's the way the weather is at that particular time in that particular context):

 

¡Qué lindo que está afuera! ¿No? El clima está divino.

How nice it is outside! No? The weather is divine.

Caption 15, Muñeca Brava - 1 Piloto - Part 4

 Play Caption

 

Don't get confused, however, if you hear a Spanish speaker using the verb estar to describe a general condition of the weather. It's correct to use estar if you're also giving and indicator that you are talking in a broad sense. In the following case, for example, Clara indicates so by using the verb soler (to tend to):

 

Así que llueve un poco, pero los días suelen estar soleados.

So it rains a bit, but the days tend to be sunny.

Captions 19-20, Clara explica - El tiempo - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

On the other hand, Spanish also combines verbs and nouns to describe the weather. Some expressions use the verb hacer (to make), as in hace sol/frío/calor/viento (literally, "it's making sun/cold/heat/wind"):

 

Hace mucho frío, hace mucho viento.

It's very cold, it's very windy.

Captions 5-6, Clara explica - El tiempo - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Some others use hay, the impersonal form of the verb haber (to have), as in hay sol/nieve/viento/lluvia
(there's sun/snow/wind/rain). And, of course, you can use the verb caer (to fall) for lluvia (rain), nieve (snow), granizo (hail) as in: ayer cayó granizo (yesterday hail fell). Or you can use the verbs llover (to rain), nevar (to snow), and granizar (to hail), which are conjugated in the third person only:

 

En invierno, nieva algunas veces, aunque en España, no nieva mucho.

In winter, it sometimes snows, although in Spain, it doesn't snow much.

Captions 1-2, Clara explica - El tiempo - Part 2

 Play Caption

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To finish this lesson, let's learn a figurative use of the word primavera (spring). Reyli gives us an example in his song Qué nos pasó (What happened to us), where the word primavera, as "springtime" in English, is used to denote the earliest, usually the most attractive, period of the existence of something. In Spanish, by extension, the word is used as a common synonym of "youth," or even "years" in expressions such as hoy ella cumple sus veinte primaveras (she is celebrating her twentieth anniversary). Here's the example from Reyli's song:

 

¿Quién te llenó de primaveras esos ojos que no me saben mentir?

Who filled with springtimes those eyes of yours which don't know how to lie to me?

Captions 12-13, Reyli - Qué nos pasó

 Play Caption

 

Vocabulary

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