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How to Conjugate Verbs in the Present Subjunctive in Spanish

The present subjunctive in Spanish is one of the many verb tenses in the Spanish subjunctive mood. The subjunctive mood is one of three moods in Spanish (the indicative, the imperative, and the subjunctive) that indicates the presence of doubt, emotion, or subjectivity, in contrast to the indicative, which states facts. The focus of today's lesson will be the conjugation of the Spanish present subjunctive tense. 

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An Example of the Present Subjunctive in Spanish: 

Before going on to conjugation, let's see an example of the present subjunctive in Spanish, which typically appears after the present indicative in dependent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction such as que (that). As a simple example, if you say, "I hope [that] you practice at home" with ustedes (plural you) in Spanish, the correct manner of doing so would be: 

 

espero que practiquen en su casa

I hope you guys practice at home

Caption 60, Lecciones de guitarra Con Cristhian - Part 3

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Rather than espero que practican en su casa because the verb tense changes from the indicative (practican) to the subjunctive (practiquen) due to the "hope" regarding whether the action will take place. In another lesson, we will explore the many scenarios in which the Spanish subjunctive mood comes into play. 

 

Conjugating Verbs in the Present Subjunctive in Spanish

The first step in conjugating most verbs in the present subjunctive is to recall the present indicative yo (I) form of the verb. We then remove the -o in order to get the stem and add the corresponding endings for -ar and -er/-ir verbs, which we can think of as the "opposite" of the endings for each verb class in the present indicative. 

 

Let's use the aforementioned formula to get the stems for three of the most common regular verbs:

 

Verb Yo Form Stem
hablar (to speak) hablo habl-
comer (to eat) como com-
subir (to go up) subo sub-

 

 

 

 

Now, let's look at the present subjunctive endings for -ar vs. -er/-ir verbs: 

 

Personal Pronoun: -ar Verbs: -er/-ir Verbs:
yo -e -a
-es -as
él/ella/usted -e -a
nosotros/as -emos -amos
vosotros/as -éis -áis
ellos/ellas/ustedes -en -an

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armed with this information, we can easily conjugate these verbs in the present subjunctive in Spanish. You will note that in the present subjunctive, the yo form and the él/ella/usted form are exactly the same.

 

Personal Pronoun: hablar: comer: subir:
yo hable coma suba
hables comas subas
él/ella/usted hable coma suba
nosotros/as hablemos comamos subamos
vosotros/as habléis comåis subáis
ellos/ellas/ustedes hablen coman suban

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, let's see these Spanish present subjunctive verbs in action:

 

Porque quiero que hablemos de negocios.

Because I want us to talk about business.

Caption 3, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 6

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¿'tas listo? -¿Qué querés que yo coma lo mismo?

You ready? -What, do you want me to eat the same thing?

Caption 43, Factor Fobia Cucarachas - Part 1

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Dígale que no suba.

Tell him not to come up.

Caption 43, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 6

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Verbs with Spelling Changes in the Indicative Yo Form 

Note that the in the vast majority of cases, even verbs with spelling changes in the yo form will follow this very same formula for obtaining their stems/conjugations. Let's see several examples:

 

Verb Yo Form  Stem
caber quepo quep-
coger cojo coj-
conocer conozco conozc-
decir digo dig-
hacer hago hag-
poner pongo pong-
salir salgo salg-
tener tengo teng-
traer traigo traig-
ver veo ve-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Present Subjunctive Conjugations:

caber (to fit): quepa, quepas, quepa, quepamos, quepáis, quepan

coger (to take): coja, cojas, coja, cojamos, cojáis, cojan

conocer (to know): conozca, conozcas, conozca, conozcamos, conozcáis, conozcan

decir (to say): diga, digas, diga, digamos, digáis, digan

hacer (to make/do): haga, hagas, haga, hagamos, hagáis, hagan

poner (to put): ponga, pongas, ponga, pongamos, pongáis, pongan

salir (to go out): salga, salgas, salga, salgamos, salgáis, salgan

tener (to have): tenga, tengas, tenga, tengamos, tengáis, tengan

traer (to bring): traiga, traigas, traiga, traigamos, traigáis, traigan

ver (to see): vea, veas, vea, veamos, veáis, vean

 

We will now hear a couple of these in context:

 

Lo mejor es que tengan sala de estudio

The best thing is for them to have a study room

Caption 45, Club de las ideas La biblioteca

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Bueno, te invito ahora a que conozcas el teatro.

Well, now I invite you to see the theater.

Caption 24, El teatro. Conversación con un doble de acción.

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Stem-Changing Verbs in the Spanish Present Subjunctive

Let's examine several categories of stem-changing verbs that behave slightly differently in the present subjunctive in Spanish:

 

1. -E to -ie in -ar and -er Verbs

An example of this category is querer (to want), for which the yo form is quiero. While the stem for this verb is indeed quier- as usual, the stem change does not take place in the nosotros/as and vosotros/as forms, which use the stem of the infinitive (removing the -ar or -er) as follows: 

 

quiera, quieras, quiera, queramos, queráis, quieran.

 

Additional verbs that fall into this category include: cerrar (to close), entender (to understand), and perder (to lose).

 

2. -O to -ue in -ar and -er Verbs

One example is volver (to return), and the yo form is vuelvo. The stem for this verb is vuelv-, but as with the previous category, there is no stem change in the nosotros/as and vosotros/as forms, which also take the stem from the infinitive:

 

vuelva, vuelvas, vuelva, volvamos, volváis, vuelvan

 

Some other verbs in this category are: poder (to be able), contar (to tell), volver (to return), and encontrar (to find).

 

3. -E to -ie in -ir Verbs

An example would be sentir (to feel). As in the first category, these verbs change stems in all forms except for nosotros/as and vosotros/as. With -ir verbs, however, the -ie changes to an -i, as follows: 

 

sienta, sientas, sienta, sintamos, sintáis, sientan

 

Verbs that work similarly include repetir (to repeat) and preferir (to prefer).

 

4. -O to -ue in -ir Verbs

The verb dormir (to sleep) falls into this category in which verbs change stems in all forms except nosotros/as and vosotros/as, where the -o changes to a -u

 

duerma, duermas, duerma, durmamos, durmáis, duerman

 

The verb morir (to die) also belongs to this class of verbs. 

 

Examples:

Let's listen to a couple of examples of such stem-changing verbs in the present subjunctive in Spanish:

 

lo mejor sería que vuelvas al convento.

the best thing would be for you to return to the convent.

Caption 15, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 7

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Espero que ahora entiendan mejor

I hope that you now understand better

Caption 56, Carlos explica Diminutivos y Aumentativos Cap 2: Definiciones generales

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Spelling Changes in the Spanish Present Subjunctive

To make matters a bit more complicated, some verbs in the Spanish present subjunctive change spelling in order to maintain their pronunciation, and some verbs change both stems and spelling! Let's take a look at these additional verb categories.

 

1. Verbs ending in -ger and -gir

It is worth noting that the g in verbs ending in -ger and -gir changes to ain the Spanish present subjunctive, for example, in the aforementioned verb coger (to get). However, this doesn't really deviate from our formula since the present indicative yo form of coger is cojo. Other verbs that follow this pattern in Spanish include corregir (to correct), elegir (to choose), and recoger (to pick up).

 

corregir: corrija, corrijas, corrija, corrijamos, corrijáis, corrijan

elegir: elija, elijas, elija, elijamos, elijáis, elijan

recoger: recoja, recojas, recoja, recojamos, recojáis, recojan

 

2. Verbs ending in -car, -gar, and -zar

In the Spanish present subjunctive, verbs ending in -car change their final consonant to -qu, verbs ending in -gar change to -gu, and -zar verbs' changes to a c. Let's take a look at verbs in each of these categories:

 

sacar (to take out): saque, saques, saque, saquemos, saquéis, saquen

tocar (to take): toque, toques, toque, toquemos, toquéis, toquen

 

cargar (to charge): cargue, cargues, cargue, carguemos, carguéis, carguen

pagar (to pay): pague, pagues, pague, paguemos, paguéis, paguen

 

lanzar (to throw): lance, lances, lance, lancemos, lancéis, lancen

empezar (to start): empiece, empieces, empiece, empecemos, empecéis, empiecen

 

As you can see, the verb empezar changes both stems (-e to -ie) and its final consonant (z to c) in the Spanish present subjunctive.

 

Examples:

Let's hear some examples of verbs with spelling changes in the Spanish present subjunctive:

 

Es que no necesito que me recojas hoy. 

It's just that I don't need you to pick me up today.

Caption 52, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 9 - Part 6

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Bueno, ¿tú me aconsejas que comience a escribir ya con todas estas inquietudes que tengo?

Well, do you advise me to start writing now with all these concerns that I have?

Captions 68-69, Escribiendo un libro Algunos consejos sobre cómo comenzar - Part 2

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(Totally) Irregular Verbs in the Present Subjunctive in Spanish

Although you have seen that there are a lot of nuances to conjugating verbs in the present subjunctive in Spanish, there are only six verbs that are considered truly irregular. We have provided their conjugations here: 

 

Personal Pronoun: dar estar haber ir ser saber
yo esté haya vaya sea sepa
des estés hayas vayas seas sepas
él/ella/usted esté haya vaya sea sepa
nosotros/as demos estemos hayamos vayamos seamos sepamos
vosotros/as deis estéis hayáis vayáis seáis sepáis
ellos/ellas/ustedes den estén hayan vayan sean sepan

 

Note that the yo and él/ella/usted conjugations of the verb dar, has an accent on the to distinguish it from the preposition de (of/from). 

 

Let's conclude by hearing a couple of these irregular verbs in the Spanish present subjunctive in action: 

 

Espero que sea una bonita sorpresa.

I hope that it's a nice surprise.

Caption 11, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 8

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Dígame algo que no sepa.

Tell me something I don't know.

Caption 3, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 4

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And speaking of learning new things, we hope you've found this lesson on conjugating verbs in the Spanish present subjunctive helpful! To hear a bunch more verbs conjugated in the Spanish present subjunctive, we recommend this video on Subjunctivo y sentimientos (Subjuntive and Feelings), and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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Expressing Emotions in Spanish

How do we talk about our emotions in Spanish? Although there are many different ways, this lesson will focus on three main categories of words that are typically used to express the whole range of emotions in Spanish while covering some of the major emotions in Spanish we might wish to talk about. 

 

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The Three Main Ways of Talking About Emotions in Spanish 

The three main word categories for talking about our emotions in Spanish are adjectives, reflexive verbs, and nouns. Let's take a closer look at some tendencies of each of these three parts of speech when describing emotions in Spanish.

 

1. Adjectives

Remember that adjectives modify, or describe, nouns, and to name a few simple ones in Spanish, we could take contento/a(s) (happy), triste(s) (sad), and enojado/a(s) (angry). As always, such emotional adjectives must agree with the noun they modify in terms of number and gender. You will note that the adjectives that describe emotions in Spanish are commonly used in conjunction with particular verbs, such as estar (to be), sentir (to feel), ponerse (to become/get), or quedarse (to become/get), to name a few. So, "Estoy contento," for example, would mean: "I'm happy."

 

 

2. Reflexive Verbs

Reflexive verbs in Spanish actually convey the action of feeling a certain emotion in and of themselves. As an example, since enojarse means "to get angry," one could say simply "Me enojé" (I got angry) in lieu of using an adjective/verb combination like "Me puse enojado," which conveys the same thing. 

 

 

3. Nouns

As a third option, nouns like tristeza (sadness) are additionally employed to talk about emotions in Spanish. Among others, one common manner of doing so is with the word "Qué..." in fixed expressions like, "¡Qué tristeza!" which literally means, "What sadness!" (but would be more commonly expressed in English with an expression like "How sad!"). Verbs like sentir (to feel) or tener (to have) are also commonly used with such emotional nouns in sentences such as "Siento mucha alegría" ("I feel really happy," or, more literally, "I feel a lot of happiness").

 

Conveying Common Emotions in Spanish

With these categories in mind, let's learn a plethora of ways to express the gamut of common emotions in Spanish. 

 

1. HAPPINESS

 

Adjectives: 

Adjectives that mean "happy" include feliz/felices, contento/a(s), and alegre(s). Let's take a look at some examples of these words in context along with some of the aforementioned verbs:

 

pues, que yo creo que él sí quiere formalizar algo conmigo y yo estoy muy feliz.

well, I think that he does want to formalize something with me, and I'm very happy.

Captions 40-41, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 5 - Part 9

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y, pues, me siento muy contento de que lo... lo pude lograr.

and well, I feel very happy that I... I was able to achieve it.

Caption 27, Rueda de la muerte Parte 1

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Y estoy alegre, alegre de que no sea cierto.

And I'm happy, happy it's not true.

Caption 31, Chus recita poemas Neruda y Pizarnik

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Remember that the verb estar is used to talk about emotions in Spanish rather than the verb ser because emotions tend to be temporary rather than permanent. That said, if someone (or something) permanently embodies a particular emotional attribute (e.g. a "happy person"), the verb ser can be used because this emotion becomes a trait, as in the following example: 

 

La Vela se caracteriza además por ser un pueblo alegre,

La Vela is also characterized as being a happy town,

Captions 16-17, Estado Falcón Locos de la Vela - Part 1

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Reflexive Verbs: 

Moving on to the verb category, a common reflexive verb that expresses the idea of "cheering up" or "getting" or "being happy" or "glad" is alegrarse. Let's see some examples of this verb:

 

Qué bien; me alegro de que estén aquí.

How great; I'm glad you're here.

Caption 42, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 2

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A tal punto que yo me alegré mucho, mucho, cuando supe que ibas a pasar veinticinco años en la cárcel.

To the point that I felt very happy, very, when I found out you were going to spend twenty-five years in prison.

Captions 56-57, Yago 14 La peruana - Part 1

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Nouns:

Lastly, we will deal with the corresponding nouns that mean "happiness" or "joy": (la) alegría and (la) felicidad.

 

Ay, bueno, Don Ramiro, de verdad, qué alegría escuchar eso.

Oh, well, Mister Ramiro, really, what a joy to hear that.

Caption 33, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 10

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While "what a joy" was translated a bit more literally here, it could also be a rough equivalent of "how great" (to hear that) or, of course, "I'm so happy" (to hear that). Let's look at one more example:

 

Hasta el sábado, amiga. ¡Qué felicidad!

See you Saturday, my friend. [I'm] so happy!

Caption 83, Cleer y Lida Conversación telefónica - Part 1

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Again, while "What happiness!" would be the literal translation of "¡Qué felicidad!" in English, you will note that this and many of our other examples of expressions with the word "Qué" plus an emotional noun have been translated slightly differently to reflect what an English speaker might say in a similar situation. 

 

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2. EXCITEMENT

 

Adjectives: 

"Excitement" might be looked upon as an extension of happiness, and adjectives like emocionado/a(s) (excited) or entusiasmado/a(s) (excited/enthusiastic) express this in Spanish:

 

Estoy tan emocionado de volver a verte.

I am so excited to see you again.

Caption 53, Yago 11 Prisión - Part 3

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Ehm... Mi amor, estás muy entusiasmado con todo esto. -Mmm.

Um... My love, you're very enthusiastic about all this. -Mmm.

Caption 7, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 4

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Reflexive Verbs:

As you might have guessed, the verbs for "to be/get excited" are emocionarse and entusiasmarse

 

Ya me emocioné.

I already got excited.

Caption 22, Alan x el mundo Mi playa favorita de México! - Part 1

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¿Por qué no entusiasmarnos más?

Why not get more excited?

Caption 14, Natalia de Ecuador Consejos: haciendo amigos como adultos

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Nouns:

Although the noun (la) emoción can indeed mean "emotion," it can also mean "excitement":

 

Entonces... -¡Qué emoción! Qué emoción, y después... ¡oh!, ¿sí?

So... -How exciting! How exciting, and afterward... oh, really?

Captions 31-32, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 2

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That said, while emocionado/a(s)emocionarse, and "¡Qué emoción!" can also be used to talk about "being moved" with emotion, context should usually let you know the speaker's intention. 

 

 

3. SADNESS

 

Adjectives:

Triste(s) is undoubtedly the most common adjective that means "sad" in Spanish:

 

nos dimos cuenta [de] que mi barco estaba partido. Candelario se puso triste

we realized my boat was split. Candelario got sad.

Captions 43-44, Guillermina y Candelario El Gran Rescate

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Reflexive Verbs:

The reflexive verb entristecerse, on the other hand, means "to get" (or "feel" or "be" or "become," etc.) "sad":

 

La alumna se entristeció mucho al saber que se había fallecido su maestro. 

The student became really sad when she found out that her teacher had passed away. 

 

Nouns:

The noun (la) tristeza literally means "sadness," but is utilized along with "Qué" to say, "How sad":

 

Qué tristeza, ¿no? Terrible.

How sad, right? Terrible.

Caption 5, Tu Voz Estéreo Feliz Navidad - Part 19

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4. ANGER

 

Adjectives:

While there are a lot of adjectives that mean "angry" or "mad" in Spanish, the two most common standard (rather than slang) ones are probably enojado/a(s) and enfadado/a(s). Let's take a look:

 

¿Qué te pasa? ¿Estás enojado conmigo? No, no estoy enojado, estoy cansado. Estoy cansado, ¿OK? 

What's going on with you? Are you mad at me? No, I'm not mad, I'm tired. I'm tired, OK?

Captions 42-43, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 3

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Estamos muy enfadadas. Estoy muy enfadada.

We are very angry. I am very angry.

Captions 30-31, El Aula Azul Estados de ánimo

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Reflexive Verbs:

By extension, verbs that mean "to get mad" or "angry" include enojarse and enfadarse, although there are many more:

 

Se enojó muchísimo con el viejo

She got really angry with my old man

Caption 86, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 6

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No me enfadé con él, ni le insulté,

I didn't get mad at him, nor did I insult him,

Captions 78-79, Cortometraje Beta - Part 1

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Nouns:

There are a lot of nouns that refer to anger in Spanish, and we bet you guessed two of them: (el) enojo and (el) enfado. Others include (la) ira, (la) rabia, and (la) bronca. Although it is not as common to hear these words in expressions with "Qué..." as some of the other nouns we have talked about, we can give you some examples of how a couple of these words are used to express anger in captions from our Yabla Spanish library:

 

Lo que yo sentía en ese momento era algo mucho más profundo que un enfado.

What I felt at that moment was something way deeper than anger.

Caption 81, Cortometraje Beta - Part 1

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porque claro, alguna vez siento mucha rabia y no me gusta sentir tanta rabia

because of course, sometimes I feel a lot of rage and I don't like feeling so much rage

Captions 42-43, Escribiendo un libro Algunos consejos sobre cómo comenzar - Part 1

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For a lot of additional standard and slangy manners of talking about anger, feel free to refer to this lesson on expressing feelings of tiredness or anger in Spanish. 

 

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5. SURPRISE

 

Adjectives:

Let's start with the adjective that means "surprised": sorprendido/a(s).

 

Profesores, la verdad es que me he quedado sorprendida

Professors, the truth is that I have been surprised;

Caption 19, Alumnos extranjeros del Tec de Monterrey

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Reflexive Verbs:

The reflexive verb that means "to be" or "to get surprised" is sorprenderse:

 

Es que... me sorprendí, querida. -¿Por qué?

It's just that... I was surprised, dear. -Why?

Caption 65, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 11

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Nouns:

And finally, the noun (la) sorpresa can be used with "Qué" to say "How surprising" or "What a surprise": 

 

Qué sorpresa. -Qué... Vale, qué lindo verte.

What a surprise. -What... Vale, how nice to see you.

Caption 15, Español para principiantes Saludos y encuentros

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6. DISAPPOINTMENT

 

Adjectives:

The common Spanish adjectives decepcionado/a(s) and desilusionado/s(s) both mean "disappointed":

 

Mi novia está desilusionado conmigo por haberle mentido.

My girlfriend is disappointed in me for having lied to her. 

 

No. Estoy decepcionada. ¿De mí? ¿Y por qué estás decepcionada?

No. I'm disappointed. In me? And why are you disappointed?

Captions 61-63, Muñeca Brava 41 La Fiesta - Part 6

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Reflexive Verbs:

Naturally, the verbs decepcionarse and desilusionarse mean "to get" or "be disappointed." Let's take a look at them in context:

 

Me decepcioné mucho cuando suspendí el examen. 

I was really disappointed when I failed the test. 

 

Nada. Tengo qué sé yo, miedo a desilusionarme, va.

Nothing. I have, I don't know, a fear of being disappointed, well.

Caption 38, Muñeca Brava 39 Verdades - Part 5

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Nouns:

So, of course, "Qué desilusión" or "Qué decepción" would be "How disappointing" or "What a disappointment":

 

Qué decepción.

What a disappointment.

Caption 82, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 3

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Digo, personalmente no, no, no fue una desilusión porque viste, que cuando sos chico las pérdidas son diferentes. 

I mean, personally it wasn't a disappointment because you know, when you are a kid, losses are different.

Captions 48-49, Biografía Natalia Oreiro - Part 2

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Note that "No fue una desilusiónmight also have been translated as "I wasn't disappointed" in this context. 
 

 

7. WORRY/ANXIETY/STRESS

Let's conclude today's lesson by talking about some more of what might be considered sentimientos negativos (negative feelings) in Spanish: worry, anxiety, and stress.

 

Adjectives:

Adjectives like preocupado/a(s)(worried), estresado/a(s) ("stressed" or "stressed out"), ansioso/a(s) (anxious), or nervioso/a(s), which often means "restless," "anxious," etc. in addition to "nervous," can be used to describe those unpleasant sensations in Spanish. Let's look at some examples:

 

Entonces, cuando usted sufra una infección fuerte o esté preocupado o estresado

So, when you get a strong infection or are worried or stressed,

Captions 35-36, Los médicos explican Consulta con el médico: herpes

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Le noto un poco nervioso, ¿le pasa algo? -No, no, no...

I notice you're a bit on edge, is something wrong with you? -No, no, no...

Caption 9, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 6

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¿Hay algún pensamiento o algo que le mantenga a usted ansioso o desde cuándo... o algo que haya desencadenado todos estos problemas?

Is there some thought or something that keeps you anxious or from which... or something that has triggered all these problems?

Captions 32-33, Los médicos explican Diagnóstico: nervios y estrés

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Reflexive Verbs:

The reflexive verb preocuparse means "to worry," while estresarse means "to stress" or "get stressed out," etc.:

 

¿De verdad se preocupa por mi seguridad? Claro que sí me preocupo.

Do you really worry about my safety? Of course I worry.

Captions 36-37, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 3

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un día tengo que pagar uno, otro día otro, y eso, la... la gente se estresa.

one day I have to pay one, another day another one, and that... people get stressed out.

Caption 67, Cuentas claras Sobreviviendo enero - Part 2

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Nouns:

The corresponding nouns for the verbs and adjectives we have talked about are: (la) preocupación (worry), (el) estrés (stress), (los) nervios (nerves), and (la) ansiedad (anxiety), which can be used in sentences in infinite ways to describe these nerve-wracking sensations. For example, we might say "¡Qué nervios!" or "¡Qué estrés!" to say something like "I'm so nervous/anxious!" or "How stressful!"/"I'm so stressed out!" Let's look at some additional examples of these nouns with the verbs tener (to have) and sentir (to feel):

 

Últimamente tengo mucho estrés y estar un poco en la naturaleza es muy bueno.

Lately, I've been really stressed out, and it's great to be in nature a bit.

Captions 68-69, Cleer y Lida Picnic

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Siento ansiedad, la necesidad de contar quién soy

I feel anxiety, the need to tell who I am

Caption 2, Monsieur Periné Mi libertad

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You will note that while the literal translation of the first example would be "I have a lot of stress," "I've been really stressed out" may be the more likely equivalent for English speakers in this context. On the other hand, while the translator opted for the more literal "I feel anxiety" in the second example, "I feel anxious" would also be a viable option in English. For additional insight into how to discuss anxiety and stress in Spanish, we recommend the video Diagnóstico: nervios y estrés (Diagnosis: Nerves and Stress) from our series Los médicos explican (The Doctors Explain).

 

We have covered a multitude of emotions in Spanish, and videos like this one from our Curso de español  [Spanish Course] series about Expresiones de sentimientos [Expressions of Feelings] and this one on Estados de Ánimo [Moods] by El Aula Azul can help you to express many more. And while most of the feelings we have talked about are pretty clearly negative or positive, the video Ni bien ni mal [Neither Good nor Bad] can help us to talk about some of those so-so emotions in Spanish. Are there any other feelings or emotions you'd like to learn to speak about in Spanish? Don't forget to let us know in your suggestions and comments

 

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Caption 81, 79, 78
Adv-Intermediate
Caption 53, 43, 42
Adv-Intermediate

¡Cómo puedes preguntar eso?

Many languages, Spanish and English included, use the same words for both questions and exclamations. Words like qué (what), cómo (how), and cuánto (how many) may primarily be interrogative words, but they are also exclamatory words that are used to simply state an idea or opinion with surprise or amazement. Frequently, phrases containing these words use exclamation marks (don't forget Spanish uses an additional initial upside down exclamation mark), but sometimes that's not even necessary, because the meaning of these expressions can be easily inferred from the context. Let's do a quick review.

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Cómo (how) is used exactly the same way in Spanish and English. In one of our new videos, Sor Angelica expresses how much she missed the bakery goods served at the convent:
 

Mmm... Ay, Padre Manuel, cómo extrañaba este pancito casero.

Mmm... Oh, Father Manuel, how I missed this homemade bread.

Caption 1, Muñeca Brava - 33 El partido - Part 6

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Qué (what) is also used as an exclamatory word in both languages. One important difference between Spanish and English here is that Spanish never uses an article between the word qué and the noun or adjetive it modifies:
 

Qué grandísimo músico.

What a great musician.

Caption 49, David Bisbal - Haciendo Premonición Live - Part 5

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Another difference is that Spanish allows the use of qué in many more cases than English, which must resort to the use of "how" instead, as you can see in the following examples: 
 

¡Pero qué inteligente!

But how smart!

Caption 6, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reunión - Part 5

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Bueno, qué grande la tienda, ¿eh?

Well, how big the store is, huh?

Caption 81, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 14

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When used as an exclamatory word, qué can be replaced by a fancy word: cuán (how). This, however, is less common than qué, and it's mostly used in literary works. So, in the previous examples you can also use: cuán grandísimo músico, cuán inteligente,cuán grande, etc. Here is an example of cuán in one of our videos. Speaking of grandísimos músicos, here is an example of cuán in the lyrics of a song interpreted by the famous Chilean singer Chico Trujillo:
 

Para que te cuenten cuán grande es mi dolor

So they tell you how big my pain is

Caption 10, Chico Trujillo - Quémame los ojos

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Cuánto (how much) can be used in front of nouns and verbs to express surprise at an amount of something. To modify a verb, one must always use the singular masculine form: cuánto.
 

¡Ay, señora Angélica, cuánto hacía que no bajaba por aquí!

Ah, Madame Angelica, it's been so long since you last came down here!

Caption 54, Muñeca Brava - 44 El encuentro - Part 2

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To modify a noun, cuánto must match the noun in gender and number:
 

¡Cuántos frijoles hubiéramos hecho!

How many beans we would have produced!

Caption 28, Con ánimo de lucro - Cortometraje - Part 3

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¡Cuántas penurias pasamos el año pasado!
How many scarcities we had last year!

¡Cuánto dolor te he causado!
How much pain I've inflicted upon you!

To end this lesson we want to share something that may be new to you. In Spanish you can combine the use of exclamation and interrogation marks when an expression is both a question and an exclamation. According to the Real Academia Española, there are three possible ways to do it correctly. See below. Bet you didn't know the first two were even possible!

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¡Cómo te atreves? 
¿Cómo te atreves!
¿¡Cómo te atreves!?

How dare you!?

¡Cuánto hemos aprendido hoy, verdad? (How much we learned today, right?!) 

Vocabulary

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