Do you know how to say “but” in Spanish? If you are wondering why we need a lesson to answer such a simple question, there’s a reason for that. In fact, we have three options to express the conjunction “but” in Spanish: pero, sino and sino que. Let’s look at each one:
As a conjunction, the Spanish word pero works like the English conjunction “but.” Let’s look at some examples:
Pues, fue muy estresante y agotador pero a la vez divertido porque…
Well, it was really stressful and exhausting but at the same time fun because…
Caption 62, Cleer - Entrevista a LilaPlay Caption
llegó al país de los Muiscas una bella pero mala mujer llamada Huitaca,
a beautiful but evil woman named Huitaca arrived in the country of the Muiscas,Play Caption
We use pero in Spanish to create contrast between two statements. This contrast helps us to expand the information provided by the first statement. While most of the time the first statement is a positive one, there are some cases in which that statement can be negative:
No podemos ver, pero podemos escuchar.
We can’t see, but we can listen.
In this case, you could also replace pero with sin embargo (however):
No podemos ver. Sin embargo, podemos escuchar.
We can’t see. However, we can listen.
We use the conjunction sino to create a contrast between two statements where the first one is ALWAYS a negative one. Let’s take a look:
lo importante no es ganar, sino competir.
the important thing isn't winning, but competing.
Caption 41, Club 10 - Capítulo 1 - Part 5Play Caption
Que no es una chica, sino un chico. -Oh...
That's it's not a girl, but rather a boy. -Oh…Play Caption
You can think of sino as something that we could replace with por el contrario (on the contrary). Also, keep in mind that when you have a verb after sino, you need to use its infinitive form.
We use sino que exactly the same way as the conjunction sino. The difference is that we use sino que when both statements contain a conjugated verb. Let’s take a look:
En general, la... la gente no es sólo respetuosa, sino que es súper amable con nosotros.
In general, the... the people are not only respectful but are super kind to us.
Captions 41-42, El Instituto Cervantes - Jefa de bibliotecaPlay Caption
O sea que no solamente era una cosa, sino que eran varias.
I mean that it was not only one thing, but rather there were many.
Caption 27, María Marí - Su pasión por su arte - Part 2Play Caption
Considering the fact that you have three options, you might not always know which option to choose in order to say “but” in Spanish. Luckily, there are some simple rules that will help you to figure out whether you need to use pero, sino or sino que. Let’s have a look:
- If the first statement is positive you need to use pero.
- If the first statement is negative, you need to use either sino or sino que.
- If the first statement is negative and you have a conjugated verb in both statements you need to use sino que.
- If you can replace “but” with “however” (sin embargo), you need to use pero.
- If you can replace “but” with “on the contrary,” (por el contrario) you need to use sino.
That's all for now. Now that you know how to say “but” in Spanish, try to write 5 sentences with pero, 5 sentences with sino and 5 sentences with sino que. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s talk about prepositions in Spanish! Today, we will discuss the very often used and common preposition de. This preposition has lots of uses in Spanish and because of that, we can use it like the following English prepositions: from, of, in, and even than. Let’s have a look.
There are several ways we can use the preposition de in Spanish. For example, we use the preposition de when we want to indicate the nationality or origin of someone or something:
¿De dónde eres? -Soy de Alemania
Where are you from? -I am from Germany.
Captions 36-37, Curso de español - ¿De dónde eres?Play Caption
We also use the preposition de when we want to indicate the material that something is made of.
El lápiz está hecho de madera,
The pencil is made of wood,Play Caption
Similarly, we use the preposition de when we want to describe the features or characteristics of someone or something, in other words, when we want to describe a noun with another noun.
Se toma mucho el jugo de naranja que tiene mucha vitamina C.
Orange juice is consumed a lot as it has a lot of vitamin C.Play Caption
Eh, sobre todo aquí tenemos libros de historia de, eh…
Um, most of all, here we have history books about, um…
Caption 60, El Instituto Cervantes - Jefa de bibliotecaPlay Caption
un profesor de español,
a Spanish teacher,Play Caption
One of the most common uses of the preposition de is when we use it to talk about possession. Let’s look at an example.
Es una empresa de tradición familiar, de mis abuelos,
It's a company with a family tradition from my grandparents,
Caption 50, Europa Abierta - Carne ecológica y seguraPlay Caption
In the example above, you can see that the first de is used to describe the company, while the second de is used to indicate possession (the company belongs to the grandparents). We can also use the preposition de in terms of “possession” when we want to indicate the relation that connects people.
El novio de Claudia es un tipo muy pinta.
Claudia's boyfriend is a very "pinta" [handsome] guy.Play Caption
The preposition de also helps us to indicate a cause when it is placed after an adjective and before a verb.
Estoy ya cansado de estar endeudado
I am tired of being in debt (I’m tired because I’m always in debt)
Caption 3, Bacilos - Mi Primer MillónPlay Caption
We can also use the preposition de when we want to express something using a comparison or a point of reference with the expressions más de (more than) or menos de (less than):
Sí, un poquito menos de quinientos mil habitantes.
Yes, a little less than five hundred thousand inhabitants.
Caption 47, Buenos Aires - Heladería CumelenPlay Caption
Besides the uses we mentioned above, we also use the preposition de when talking about expressions of time. Let’s see how:
Supongamos que son las cinco de la tarde
Let's suppose that it's five in the eveningPlay Caption
And finally, we use the preposition de along with the preposition a to indicate a particular range or period. Like in the following example:
El horario es de lunes a viernes
The schedule is from Monday to Friday
Caption 69, Negocios - La solicitud de empleo - Part 2Play Caption
To summarize, the following are the most common uses of the preposition de in Spanish:
- To indicate nationality or origin
- To indicate the material that something is made of
- To describe the features or characteristics of someone or something (to describe a noun with another noun)
- To indicate possession
- To indicate a cause (after an adjective and before a verb)
- To express a comparison or point of reference (with más de or menos de)
- To talk about expressions of time
- To indicate a particular range (with the preposition a)
When the preposition de goes before the definite article el, you need to combine the two words using the contraction del (de + el). Just as it happens with the contraction al (a + el), when you have the preposition de next to the article el, the contraction del is mandatory!
Estos son los números del uno al cien.
These are the numbers from one to a hundred.
Caption 44, El Aula Azul - Los Números del 1-100Play Caption
In this example, we can see both contractions (del and al) in action. Also, in this sentence, the speaker is using the preposition de and the preposition a together because she is indicating a range. Remember that it would be wrong to say that sentence in the following way: Estos son los números de el uno a el cien.
That's all for now. If you feel like it, try writing sentences with all the different uses we have mentioned for the preposition de. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.
Let’s talk about verbs. As we mentioned before, in Spanish language, all regular verbs belong to one of the following groups: verbs ending in ‘-ar’, verbs ending in ‘-er’ and verbs ending in ‘-ir’. Today, we will take a look at those verbs ending in ‘-er’.
Before that, however, let’s keep in mind that regular verbs are formed using the following formula: verb stem + infinitive ending. Let’s look at some of the most common regular ‘ER’ verbs in Spanish:
A verb is considered regular when the verb stem doesn’t change from the infinitive form to the conjugated form of the verb. Let’s take the regular verb aprender (to learn) and see its conjugation in the simple present. Notice how the stem stays the same but the endings vary:
Aquí aprenden a diseñar y confeccionar decorados,
Here they learn to design and make decorations,Play Caption
Now, let’s take the regular verb comer (to eat) and see how the conjugation works in the simple past:
Fuimos a pasear, comimos un helado,
We went for a walk, we ate an ice cream,
Caption 29, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos - El pasadoPlay Caption
Let’s use a different verb to see the conjugation of a regular ‘er’ verb in the simple future. Let’s take the verb vender (to sell):
Mañana venderé mi casa.
Tomorrow, I will sell my house.
Let’s finish this lesson by learning more verbs with these 5 sentences using er verbs in Spanish:
1. Beber (to drink)
Yo bebo agua.
I drink water.Play Caption
2. Comprender (to comprehend / understand)
Ahora comprendo mejor la operación de mi padre
Now I understand my father's operation better
Caption 65, Club de las ideas - Lego Fest en SevillaPlay Caption
3. Correr (to run)
Corrió hacia la puerta y cuando el príncipe trató de seguirla,
She ran to the door and when the prince tried to follow her,
Caption 16, Cuentos de hadas - La Cenicienta - Part 2Play Caption
4. Prometer (to promise)
Ayer os prometí que estudiaríamos hoy "aconsejar,"
Yesterday I promised you that today we would learn "to advise,"
Caption 1, Escuela Don Quijote - En el aul - Part 1Play Caption
5. Temer (to fear / be afraid of)
Pero ellos no le temen a nada.
But they are not afraid of anything.
Caption 23, Salvando el planeta Palabra - Llegada - Part 8Play Caption
That’s it for this lesson. Now, a final challenge: Take one of the sentences we just mentioned and try to change it using a different person and a different verb tense. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.
These days, it feels like football or soccer (as it is known in the US) is everywhere! Are you enjoying the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France? What about the exciting Copa América? Are you following the Total Africa Cup of Nations? If you like the game and want to expand your Spanish vocabulary of football terms, this lesson introduces some of the most common football/soccer vocabulary words in Spanish.
First things first. The Spanish word for football or soccer is fútbol, a word whose stress goes on the second-to-last syllable:
Y este... y juego al fútbol también a veces.
And well... I also play soccer sometimes.
Caption 11, Bajofondo Tango Club - Mar Dulce - Part 1Play Caption
However, in Mexico and other places across Central America people usually say futbol, with the stress on the last syllable:
Antes también jugué al futbol.
Before, I also played football.Play Caption
By the way, if you are American and you are wondering how to say “football” in Spanish, the answer to that is fútbol americano.
From the word fútbol, we got the word futbolista (football player / soccer player). We can also use the term jugador as an alternative to futbolista. As a general rule, un equipo de fútbol (a soccer team) has eleven players (futbolistas / jugadores) on the field. Let’s see the names of the different kinds of players that you see in a typical partido de fútbol (soccer game / soccer match):
Portero, arquero, guardameta (goalkeeper)
Mediocampista, centrocampista, volante (midfielder)
Delantero, atacante (forward)
You can also find various and more specific names for the different players in the field. For instance, in the defense you can hear names like the following:
Defensa central (central defender)
Lateral derecho (right back)
Lateral izquierdo (left back)
By the way, you can use the terms campo de juego, cancha de fútbol or terreno de juego to refer to the playing field.
Mirá a Carlitos. La ves en la cancha de fútbol y no te imaginás.
Look at Carlitos. You see her on the soccer field and you can't imagine.
Caption 27, Muñeca Brava - 8 Trampas - Part 10Play Caption
In terms of other people that are involved in the game, we also have the following:
Juez de línea (assistant referee)
Suplente (substitute player)
El capitán del equipo (the captain of the team)
Keep in mind that substitute players sit on the banca or banquillo (bench). And let’s not forget about the fans who sit in the estadio (stadium). You can call them hinchas or aficionados or you can also use the corresponding collective nouns hinchada or afición (a group of fans).
If you want to say soccer ball in Spanish, you can either use balón de fútbol or pelota de fútbol. Or simply, pelota or balón. Some people call the soccer ball esférico.
And what about that magical moment when the ball enters the goal (the netted structure behind the goalkeeper)? Of course, we are talking about the goal, which in Spanish is called gol… or as many Latin sportscasters would very loudly say: ¡GOOOOOOOOOOOOOL! Another option you may hear for the term goal is the word tanto.
By the way, there are many words you can use in Spanish to talk about the goal (the netted structure). You can refer to as la portería, el arco or la valla. Each one of the two vertical goal posts is called palo or poste while the horizontal crossbar is called travesaño or larguero. Also, the small area that the goalkeeper guards (the goal area) is known in Spanish as área chica or área de meta. The bigger area (the penalty area) is known as área de penal.
There are many more things that are connected to the game. Let’s learn some more words:
El pito (the whistle)
Las botas de fútbol, los guayos, los botines de fútbol (soccer shoes)
Los tacos (the studs)
Las canilleras or las espinilleras (shin guards)
La camiseta (the t-shirt)
La copa (the cup)
El Mundial (the World Cup)
Campeonato europeo de fútbol, Mundial en Sudáfrica
the European soccer championship, the World Cup in South Africa
Caption 26, Marta - Se presentaPlay Caption
Tarjeta amarilla (yellow card)
Tarjeta roja (red card)
El césped (the pitch / the grass)
Mediocampo or media cancha (midfield)
Los vestidores, los camerinos (locker rooms)
Now, when it comes to playing the game, there are many calls and moves that are part of a standard game. Let’s learn some of those football/soccer vocabulary words in Spanish:
Saque inicial (kickoff)
Saque lateral (throw-in)
Saque de meta (goal kick)
La asistencia (the assistance)
Un pase (a pass)
Un pase largo (a long pass)
Un cabezazo (a header)
Córner or tiro de esquina (corner)
Fuera de lugar or fuera de juego (offside)
Fútbol de toque (a passing game)
La jugada (the move)
La lesión (the injury)
El marcador (the score)
El medio tiempo or el descanso (halftime)
La ocasión (the chance)
La prórroga (the extra time)
El tiro or el disparo (the shot)
Tiro libre (free throw)
Un error (a mistake)
Una remontada (a comeback)
Now, it is time to review some of those verbs you can easily hear if you watch a soccer/football game in Spanish.
Aprovechar (take advantage)
Arbitrar (to referee)
Atacar (to attack)
Buscar (to look for)
Caer (to fall)
Calentar (to warm up)
El entrenador nos ordena calentar antes de cada partido de fútbol.
The coach orders us to warm up before each soccer match.Play Caption
Clasificar (to classify)
Correr (to run)
Defender (to defend)
Derrotar (to defeat)
Disputar (to play, to fight for)
Eliminar (to eliminate)
Empatar (to tie)
Ganar (to win)
Igualar (to even)
Imponerse (to prevail)
Intentar (to try)
Jugar (to play)
Marcar (to score or to defend)
Pelear (to fight)
Perder (to lose)
Recuperar (to recover)
Reponerse (to recover)
Romper (to break)
Seguir (to follow)
Sudar (to sweat)
En el campo de fútbol, empecé a sudar.
On the soccer field, I started to sweat.
Caption 11, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 2 - Part 7Play Caption
Toparse (to run/bump into)
Tirar, chutar (to shoot)
That's it for this lesson. We hope you enjoy this brief guide to some of the most common football/soccer vocabulary words in Spanish. Are there any words/terms that we didn’t mention? Please, let us know and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.
Let’s talk about adverbs. Adverbs are very important in Spanish grammar and many of them are closely connected to adjectives. In fact, there are a good number of adverbs that can be easily formed if we are familiar with adjectives. In this lesson, we will see how to use adjectives in order to form Spanish adverbs with the suffix mente.
Let’s take a look at these very used adverbs in Spanish.
...pero principalmente cubanos que llegaron a este país hace cuarenta años.
...but mainly Cubans who arrived to this country forty years ago.
Caption 6, La Calle 8 - Un recorrido fascinantePlay Caption
Además, este año hay una zona dedicada especialmente a la gastronomía.
Additionally, this year there is an area dedicated especially to gastronomy.
Caption 28, Fuengirola - Feria Internacional de los PueblosPlay Caption
nos criamos completamente ciegos, sordos, mudos con respecto al dinero
we grew up completely blind, deaf, dumb with respect to money
Caption 70, Cuentas claras - Sobreviviendo enero - Part 4Play Caption
As you can see, the suffix mente corresponds to the English suffix ‘ly’. But how do you form Spanish adverbs with mente? Let’s take a look.
In order to build Spanish adverbs with mente, you just have to follow this very simple formula:
Feminine form of the adjective + mente
For example, if we want to form an adverb with the adjective último (last), we just need to take the feminine form of that adjective (última) and add the suffix mente, like this:
última + mente = últimamente (lastly).
Let’s look at some more examples:
Claro (clear): clara + mente = claramente (clearly)
Lento (slow): lenta + mente = lentamente (slowly)
Honesto (honest): honesta + mente = honestamente (honestly)
However, if an adjective doesn’t end in ‘o’, it means that it has one form that is used for both masculine and feminine. In that case, you just need to add the suffix mente to the adjective in order to get the adverb. Let’s see some examples:
Alegre (happy): alegre + mente = alegremente (happily)
Triste (sad): triste + mente = tristemente (sadly)
Frecuente (frequent): frecuente + mente = frecuentemente (frequently)
Normal (normal): normal + mente = normalmente (normally)
It is also important to mention that if you have a sentence with two adverbs in a series, only the last one will have the suffix mente at the end. The first one will keep the feminime form of the adjective:
Él camina rápida y alegremente
He walks quickly and happily
Ellos hablaron clara y concisamente
They spoke clearly and concisely
Finally, something important to keep in mind: If the original adjective has a graphic accent on it (tilde), the adverb will also have that accent. Some examples:
Creo que mi mamá comprendió su equivocación rápidamente.
I think that my mom understood her mistake quickly.
Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 2 - Part 7Play Caption
Con un poco de práctica, podremos aprender estas reglas muy fácilmente.
With a bit of practice, we will be able to learn these rules very easily.Play Caption
That's it for this lesson. Now, here is your homework: Take 10 adjectives and try to form the corresponding adverbs using the suffix mente. Can you write some sentences too? Have fun and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.
Spanish may seem quite different from English and that could be very intimidating for people learning the language of Cervantes. However, if you are an English speaker, there are many words in Spanish that you already know! In this lesson, we will discover 100 words that are identical in Spanish and English.
In English, many words ending in ‘or’ are exactly the same in Spanish. Let’s start with the first one:
con el actor Fred Savage.
with the actor Fred Savage.Play Caption
In the example above, the spelling of the word “actor” is the same in English and Spanish. While the pronunciation is different, it is worth noting that the stress of the Spanish word goes on the last syllable while its English equivalent has the stress on the second-to-last syllable. Let’s see some words that follow the same pattern:
eh... para mí como un honor y también un... un reto poder hacer,
um... for me, like an honor and also a... a challenge to be able to make,Play Caption
Y ¿prefieren habitación exterior o interior?
And do you prefer an interior room or an exterior room?
Caption 15, Raquel - Reservación de HotelPlay Caption
We know that some words like color and favor are spelled differently in some English speaking countries (colour, favour) but if you remove the ‘u’ you will find the same words in Spanish.
Now, let’s see some words that end in ‘al,’ which share the same spelling in both English and Spanish:
El estanque artificial es la primera imagen
The artificial pond is the first image
Caption 46, Marisa en Madrid - Parque de El RetiroPlay Caption
Esta ciudad se caracteriza por su arquitectura colonial.
This city is characterized by its colonial architecture.
Caption 7, Mérida y sus alrededores - Ciudad de MéridaPlay Caption
Luego tenemos proyectos de cooperación cultural,
Then we have cultural cooperation projects,
Caption 54, En el hub - MadridPlay Caption
y una crema hidratante facial es netamente para tu rostro.
and a moisturizing facial lotion is purely for your face.
Caption 34, Los médicos explican - Consejos para la pielPlay Caption
El hospital da hacia el mar.
The hospital faces the sea.
Caption 20, Lecciones con Carolina - Verbo - darPlay Caption
Todo este material servirá para decorar los puestos y las calles de Olivares,
All this material will serve to decorate the stands and streets of OlivaresPlay Caption
Yo tengo una familia que es una familia normal.
I have a family that is a normal family.
Caption 1, El Aula Azul - Mi familiaPlay Caption
llegaréis a la terminal nueva.
you will arrive at the new terminal.
Caption 23, Blanca - Cómo moverse en BarcelonaPlay Caption
Finally, there are many English words that end in ‘ble’ that are identical in Spanish. Let’s see some of them:
porque él también es muy sociable, le encanta estar con la gente...
because he also is very sociable, he loves to be with people...
Caption 11, El Aula Azul - Mis AmigosPlay Caption
In English, most of these words are stressed on the third-to-last syllable. On the contrary, in Spanish these words are stressed on the second-to-last syllable.
That's it for this lesson. Isn’t it nice to see that you already know so many Spanish words without even trying? In fact, there are many more words ending in ‘or,’ ‘al’ and ‘ble’ that have the same meaning and spelling in English and Spanish. Can you find more words to add to these 100? Give it a try and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.
As with any other language, Spanish can be tricky sometimes. Do you know how to use the word entorno? What about the expression en torno? Which one would you use in the following sentence:
Fuengirola es un importante punto turístico. Su economía gira ________ a este sector.
Fuengirola is an important touristic spot. Its economy revolves around this sector.
Captions 12-13, Fuengirola - MercadoPlay Caption
What about this sentence:
encontró en su _________ un atractivo natural para los amantes del ecoturismo
found in its environment a natural beauty for the lovers of ecotourism
Caption 94, Tecnópolis - El CoronilPlay Caption
Let’s find out what the answer is.
To begin with, entorno is a noun and the meaning of this word is environment or surroundings. However, it is important to say that entorno encompasses the same broad meaning of the English word “environment,” meaning “the circumstances, objects, or conditions by which one is surrounded.” Let’s take a look at some examples:
... las calles, la gente... lo que es el entorno urbano.
... the streets, the people... what the urban environment is.
Captions 39-40, Leif - El Arquitecto Español y su Arte - Part 1Play Caption
para modificar el entorno, desarrolló herramientas, ¿no?
in order to modify the environment, he developed tools, right?
Caption 50, Lo que no sabías - Arte electrónico - Part 2Play Caption
Regarding the last example, the word entorno is very common in information and computer science, especially when talking about the features that define the execution and placement of a particular application.
As far as the expression en torno goes, we can use it to mean about, around or approximately. Let’s take a look:
que hay en torno a cincuenta millones, eh, hispanohablantes en Estados Unidos.
that there there are about fifty million, um, Spanish speakers in the United States.
Captions 42-43, El Instituto Cervantes - Director del InstitutoPlay Caption
Puede andar en torno a los dos mil seiscientos...
It could be around two thousand six hundred...
Caption 50, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 13Play Caption
Finally, keep in mind that en torno is either followed by the preposition a or the preposition de:
That's it for this lesson. Now that you know the difference between entorno and en torno, you can answer the questions we posed at the beginning, right? And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.
Let’s talk about articles. Today, we will review this basic but very important ingredient of the Spanish language. We'll begin this lesson by discussing what an article is, and then look at the two main groups of articles we have in Spanish.
An article is a word that we use in Spanish to specify the gender and number of a noun. Articles also tell us how specific a noun is and that’s why they can be definite or indefinite. Finally, we always put articles before a noun.
If that sounds too complicated, let’s see how the Cambridge Dictionary defines the word article: “Any of the English words "a," "an," and "the," or words in other languages that are used in a similar way as these.” With that being said, let’s take a look at definite and indefinite articles in Spanish.
Definite articles in English are easy. In fact, we only have one definite article: the. To the contrary, in Spanish we have four different definite articles: el, la, los, las. Let’s see that in action:
Keep in mind, however, that if you are referring to a group where you have both male and female elements, we need to use the masculine article ‘los’. In fact, in those cases we need to use the plural form of the masculine noun:
Hoy tengo clase con los alumnos principiantes de español.
Today I have class with the beginner Spanish students.
Caption 5, Español para principiantes - La horaPlay Caption
In the example above, we use the article los with the word alumnos (students) but the speaker is very likely referring to a group of both male and female students.
We also have the neuter definite article lo but if you want a further explanation about this very particular article, please check the lesson about this topic HERE.
In English, we have the indefinite articles “a” and “an.” In Spanish, we have four indefinite articles that we use to specify the gender and number of the noun they precede. These articles are un, una, unos and unas:
Let’s look at a couple of examples:
Compré un regalo para unos amigos.
I bought a gift for some friends.Play Caption
In this sentence, we use the article unos with the noun amigos (friends). However, just as it happens with the definite article los, we use the indefinite article unos when referring to groups that may include both male and female elements. In this case, some friends could easily include both male and female friends.
¿Unas entradas para ver un musical?
Some tickets to see a musical?
Caption 35, Blanca y Mariona - Planificación de cenaPlay Caption
In this example, both nouns are indefinite so the girls use the corresponding indefinite articles. If the girls had known some specific information about the tickets and the musical, they would have used definite articles:
That's it for now. If you are aware of the gender and number variables that nouns have in Spanish, you will be on your way to using articles like a pro. We hope you find this lesson useful and don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.
In this lesson we’ll talk about Spanish words that have the accent on the second-to last syllable. We call these words palabras graves. In a previous lesson, we talked about palabras agudas, which are words with the accent on the last syllable.
Before we talk about palabras graves, let’s briefly discuss the meaning of the word “accent” in Spanish.
When we pronounce words in Spanish, the accent is the emphasis we give to a particular syllable of a word. We create that emphasis by giving the syllable a greater intensity, a longer duration, or a higher pitch. With that in mind, let’s review the way we categorize words in Spanish, according to their accent:
Now we can focus on palabras graves, which are also known as palabras llanas. Let’s look at a couple of words:
Palabras como "lápiz" o "cereza" son palabras graves.
Words like "lápiz" [pencil] or "cereza" [cherry] are paroxytone words.Play Caption
The word lápiz has two syllables (lá | piz) and the accent goes on the second-to-last syllable “lá.” Similarly, the word cereza has three syllables (ce | re | za) and the accent also goes on the second-to-last syllable “re.”
We note that the word lápiz has a graphic accent (tilde) on the “á,” while the “e” in the second-to-last syllable of cereza doesn’t have that accent.
Why not? It’s because paroxytone words need that graphic accent ONLY if they DO NOT end with “n,” “s,” or a vowel: Cereza ends in a vowel, so we don’t need the tilde.
y luego pasa en botella, donde se añade azúcar y eh... levadura.
and then goes into the bottle, where sugar is added and um... yeast.Play Caption
The word azúcar has three syllables (a | zú | car) and the accent goes on the second-to-last syllable “zú”. Since this word doesn’t end in “n,” “s” or a vowel, we need to put a tilde on the vowel of the second-to-last syllable.
La vida de músico es muy difícil, Kevin, es muy sacrificada.
The musician's life is very difficult, Kevin, it's very demanding.
Caption 16, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 3 - Part 8Play Caption
Likewise, the word difícil (di | fí | cil) has the accent on the second-to-last syllable “fí” and we need to put the graphic accent on the “í” since this word ends in a consonant (“l”), which is neither an “n,” an “s” nor a vowel.
There are, however, many palabras graves in Spanish that don’t need a graphic accent. Let’s take a look:
El lunes, por ejemplo, fui a trabajar.
On Monday for example, I went to work.
Caption 6, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos - El pasadoPlay Caption
Both lunes ( lu | nes) and ejemplo (e | jem | plo) have the accent on the second-to-last syllable. However, since lunes ends in “s” and ejemplo ends in a vowel, neither word needs the tilde.
One last thing: There are many words that are agudas in the singular and graves in the plural. Take a look at the following list (stressed syllable are in boldface):
That's it for now. If you feel like practicing a little bit more, take one of our videos and try to find all the paroxytone words with and without a tilde. And of course, don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.
Today, we will discuss a very common and useful preposition. Just like most prepositions, the preposition a in Spanish can be used in various different ways. While we usually think of the preposition a as the English equivalent of to, this preposition can also work as in, on, from, by and at. Let’s take a look.
To begin with, we use the preposition a to indicate motion to a particular place:
Por ejemplo, yo quiero viajar a Noruega la próxima semana…
For example, I want to travel to Norway next week…
Caption 10, Escuela Don Quijote - En el aula - Part 1Play Caption
Llegué a Londres hace tres meses.
I arrived in London three months ago.Play Caption
We also use the preposition a when we want to connect a main verb with a verb in the infinitive. For example, when we are referring to the moment a particular action started:
En poco tiempo, la gente comenzó a hacer el mal.
After a short period of time, people began to do evil.Play Caption
In this context, however, one of the most common uses of the preposition a is when we want to express a future action using the following formula: ir (to go) + a (to) + infinitive verb:
Entonces el día de hoy, a petición de Chuy, vamos a hacer una carne asada.
So today, at Chuy's request, we're going to make grilled meat.Play Caption
We also use the preposition a in Spanish when we want to indicate the end of a particular period of time:
El horario es de lunes a viernes
The schedule is from Monday to Friday
Caption 69, Negocios - La solicitud de empleo - Part 2Play Caption
Another very common use of this preposition is when we want to indicate a particular point in a scale (time, distance, speed, temperature, etc.):
Estamos situados a cuarenta kilómetros de Barcelona
We are located forty kilometers from BarcelonaPlay Caption
Me levanto todas las mañanas a las siete
I get up every morning at seven o'clock
Caption 28, Club de las ideas - Pasión por el golf - Part 1Play Caption
Finally, we use the preposition a before a direct object when that object is a person. Similarly, we also use this preposition when we want to introduce an indirect object:
A mi hermana le gusta el color rojo.
My sister likes the color red.
Caption 7, Español para principiantes - Los coloresPlay Caption
Entonces, nosotros les compramos a las personas para que...
So, we buy from people so that...Play Caption
When the preposition a goes before the definite article el, you need to combine the two words using the contraction al (a + el):
No quiero viajar al mundo espacial
I don't want to travel to the space world
Caption 20, La Gusana Ciega - Invasión EstelarPlay Caption
pero sí os recomiendo que vengáis aquí al parque
but I do recommend that you come here to the park
Caption 80, Animales en familia - Un día en Bioparc: LémuresPlay Caption
Please keep in mind that when you have the preposition a next to the article el, the contraction al is mandatory! For this reason, and considering the examples we just mentioned, it would have been wrong to say the following:
No quiero viajar a el mundo
… que vengáis aquí a el parque
In both cases, you need to use the contraction al.
That's all for now. Try writing sentences with all the different uses we have mentioned for the preposition a in Spanish. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.
Let’s start this lesson with a short quiz. Imagine that you want to say the following sentence in Spanish:
“There were many books in that apartment.” You have two options:
a. Había muchos libros en ese apartamento
b. Habían muchos libros en ese apartamento
Which one is the correct form? Había in singular or habían in plural?
To answer our question, we need to say that había and habían belong to the imperfect tense of the Spanish verb haber. Let’s take a look at that conjugation:
Now, very often, we use the verb haber as the auxiliary verb “to have”:
...todas las cosas que había estado buscando, ¿no?
...all the things that I had been looking for, right?
Caption 5, Belanova - Entrevista - Part 2Play Caption
However, in the sentence we are discussing here, we are not using haber as the auxiliary verb “to have,” but rather as an element that allows us to make a reference to the existence of many books in a particular place (the apartment). In other words, we are using haber as the equivalent of there is / there are in English.
When we use haber with that intention, we ALWAYS have to use its singular form even if what comes after it is a plural noun! Because of that, the correct answer to our opening question is the following:
a. Había muchos libros en ese apartamento
Now that we understand that we need to use the singular había and not the plural form habían, let’s look at a couple of examples of how to properly use había when talking about the presence or existence of things or people in a particular place:
Aquí había unas comidas para llevar.
There were some takeout places here.
Caption 8, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 10Play Caption
porque había diferentes explicaciones de…
because there were different explanations of…
Caption 31, El Aula Azul - Dos historiasPlay Caption
porque había muchos obstáculos para ese encuentro.
because there were many obstacles for that meeting.
Caption 34, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 4Play Caption
y había muchos seres extraños
and there were many strange beings.
Caption 43, Salvando el planeta Palabra - Llegada - Part 3Play Caption
no había máquinas de estas,
there were no machines like these,Play Caption
By the way, it is worth saying that many Spanish speakers make the mistake of using habían instead of había in the context we just discussed. In fact, many people think that what comes after the verb haber is the subject of the sentence, which is not the case.
That’s it for now. We hope this lesson will help you to avoid making this very common mistake in Spanish. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.
Likewise, each infinitive verb is formed using the following formula: verb stem + infinitive ending. Let’s look at some of the most common regular ‘AR’ verbs in Spanish:
A verb is considered regular when the verb stem doesn’t change from the infinitive form to the conjugated form of the verb. Let’s take the regular verb hablar (to speak) and see its conjugation in the simple present. Notice how the stem stays the same but the endings vary:
... o cuando mis alumnos hablan español.
... or when my students speak Spanish.Play Caption
Now, let’s take the regular verb comprar (to buy) and see how the conjugation works in the simple past:
¿Recuerdas el regalo que compré? -Mm-hm.
Do you remember the gift that I bought? -Mm-hm.
Caption 17, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos - El pasadoPlay Caption
Let’s use a different verb to see the conjugation of a regular ‘AR’ verb in the simple future. Let’s take the verb estudiar (to study):
La Comisaría de Pesca dice que estudiará la forma de pagar esa indemnización.
The Fisheries Commissioner says that she will evaluate the way to pay that compensation.
Caption 50, Europa Abierta - Aguas en discordiaPlay Caption
Take a look at the following list featuring some of the most used 'AR' verbs in Spanish:
Now, a final challenge: take one of the verbs we just mentioned and try conjugating it in simple present, past and future. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions.
We use idiomatic expressions all the time in our conversations. However, learning to use idiomatic expressions in a foreign language is something that most students find particularly challenging. Let’s find out how to say “a piece of cake,” “raining buckets,” “get away with it,” and “feel like” in Spanish.
In English, when something is extremely easy to do we say that it"s “a piece of cake.” In Spanish, the equivalent expression is pan comido (eaten bread):
porque componer para mí es pan comido.
because for me composing is a piece of cake.
Caption 80, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso - Part 9Play Caption
In English, there’re several expressions that can be used to express that it’s raining heavily, for example “to rain buckets” or “to rain cats and dogs.” If we want to express the same idea in Spanish we must use the expression llover a cántaros [literally "to rain jugs"]:
Sí, llueve a cántaros.
Yes, it's raining buckets.Play Caption
In English, when someone manages to do something bad without being punished or criticized for it, we say that he/she “gets away with it.” In Spanish, the phrase used to express the same idea is salirse con la suya:
Yo no pienso dejar que esa sifrina se salga con la suya.
I don't plan to let that snob get away with it.
Caption 79, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso - Part 10Play Caption
Finally, when we want to say that someone has the desire to do something, we use the expression “to feel like.” In Spanish people use the phrase tener ganas de:
Si tienes ganas de más aventuras,
If you feel like more adventures,
Caption 20, Marta - Los Modos de TransportePlay Caption
¿Tienes ganas de practicar más? [Do you feel like practicing more?]. Try finding more idiomatic expressions in our catalog of videos! And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to email@example.com.
Let's talk about pronouns. In English, when we talk with someone we use the second person singular pronoun ‘you’. In Spanish, we have three different options for that same pronoun: tú, usted and vos. Which one we use depends on things like the relation that we have with the person we are talking to or the place where we are. Generally speaking, we use usted when we want to talk in a more respectful way with someone:
¿Usted qué... qué me recomienda, doctor?
What do you... what do you recommend to me, Doctor?Play Caption
However, if you are following the Colombian series Los Años Maravillosos, you have probably noticed that people usually use usted even when talking with family members or close friends. Why? That’s just how people speak in Bogota, Colombia:
¿Y a usted qué le pasa, mi hijito?
And what's going on with you, my little boy?
Caption 35, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1 - Part 4Play Caption
Regardless of its use, there is something quite unique about using usted: we conjugate usted as we would conjugate él (he) or ella (she):
Él trabaja entre las nueve de la mañana
He works between nine in the morning
Caption 48, La casa - De ChusPlay Caption
¿Dónde trabaja usted?
Where do you work?
Caption 9, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 16Play Caption
As you can see in the captions above, the conjugation of the verb trabajar (to work) with él (he) and usted (you) is exactly the same (trabaja), something that doesn’t occur with tú and vos:
Tú trabajas | You work
Vos trabajás | You work
Él/Ella/Usted Trabaja | He/She/You work
To wrap things up, we use usted as a second person singular pronoun. However, we conjugate it as a third person singular pronoun!
And don’t forget that this also occurs with the plural form ustedes (you all), which we conjugate as the third person plural pronoun ellos/ellas (they). Notice how ustedes and ellos share the same conjugation of the verb saber (to know) in the following captions:
Toda la vida he estado en el PAN, como ustedes saben, y he estado muy contento.
All my life I have been in PAN, as you know, and I have been very happy.
Caption 37, Felipe Calderón - Publicidad - Part 2Play Caption
Ellos saben de los sitios que son hábitat de reproducción,
They know about the places that are reproduction habitats,Play Caption
That's it for now. If you want to learn more things about the use of tú, usted and vos make sure to check out our series about Tuteo, Ustedeo y Voseo. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.
Let's talk about prepositions! Today, we will discuss a very useful preposition that also has lots of meanings. Our guest today is the preposition sobre!
We usually use sobre as the equivalent of the English preposition about (with regard to):
Os voy a contar a... cosas sobre uno de los lugares más típicos de Barcelona
I'm going to tell you about... things about one of the most typical places in Barcelona
Caption 24, Blanca - Sobre la ciudad de BarcelonaPlay Caption
Te cité porque quiero escribir un libro sobre meditación,
I called you here because I want to write a book about meditation,Play Caption
The preposition sobre can also be used as the equivalent of the English adverb about (approximately) when we want to indicate an approximate time, quantity or number:
Perfecto. Y, ¿sobre qué hora te vendría bien?
Perfect. And, about what time would be good for you?Play Caption
Very often, the preposition sobre indicates the position of a particular person or object. In this case, sobre acts as the English prepositions over and on:
No quieras caminar sobre el dolor... descalza
Don't wish to walk over the pain... barefoot
Caption 6, Camila - Aléjate de miPlay Caption
Vamos a ponerlas sobre un papel aluminio.
We are going to put them on a piece of aluminum foil.Play Caption
While we usually use sobre as a preposition, this isn’t always the case. For instance, the preposition sobre is often used next to the word todo to form the adverbial phrase sobre todo, which means especially or particularly. You can see how the following sentence uses both sobre (about) and sobre todo (especially):
hay varios artículos sobre esto y sobre todo en dependencia a la edad del niño
there are several articles about this and especially depending on the age of the child,
Caption 85, Cuentas claras - Sobreviviendo enero - Part 4Play Caption
And finally, don’t forget that the word sobre can also be a noun, which means envelope in Spanish:
y que están en este sobre que se mandan a Claridad,
and which are in this envelope that are sent to Claridad
Caption 56, Seva Vive - 2. La coplaPlay Caption
de recoger todos esos sobres que repartió la Mojiganga...
of collecting all those envelopes that the Mojiganga gave out...
Caption 35, Estado Falcón - Locos de la Vela - Part 3Play Caption
That's all for now. Try to write some sentences with all the different uses that we mentioned for the word sobre. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this lesson, we will review some very useful idioms and expressions with the verb tener (to have).
Very often, we use idiomatic expressions with tener in the present so let’s review the conjugation of this verb in the present tense:
Yo tengo | I have
Tú tienes | You have
Él/Ella tiene | He/She has
Nosotros tenemos | We have
Vosotros tenéis | You have
Ellos tienen | They have
There are many idiomatic expressions with the verb tener that Spanish speakers use to express physical sensations. These include expressions like tener frío/calor (to be cold/hot), tener hambre (to be hungry) and tener sueño (to be sleepy):
Bueno, pero tengo frío.
Well, but I'm cold.
Caption 31, Natalia de Ecuador - Palabras de uso básicoPlay Caption
Y más que tenemos hambre ya a esta hora.
And plus, we're already hungry at this hour.
Caption 106, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 5Play Caption
We are sleepy.
Caption 38, El Aula Azul - Estados de ánimoPlay Caption
Apart from physical sensations, we can also use the verb tener to express other more psychological states such as tener miedo (to be afraid), tener ganas (to want/to desire), tener prisa (to be in a hurry) and tener vergüenza (to be ashamed):
¡Tengo miedo, tengo miedo, tengo miedo!
I'm afraid, I'm afraid, I'm afraid!
Caption 42, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reunión - Part 2Play Caption
Siento que te cansaste y tienes ganas
I feel that you got tired and you want
Caption 4, Circo - Velocidades luzPlay Caption
la gente parece que siempre tiene prisa...
people seem to always be in a hurry...
Caption 38, Maestra en Madrid - Nuria y amigoPlay Caption
En este momento duda porque tiene vergüenza de ir a la escuela,
At this moment she hesitates because she's ashamed to go to school,
Caption 49, Con ánimo de lucro - Cortometraje - Part 4Play Caption
And finally, don’t forget that you also need to use an idiomatic expression with the verb tener when you talk about age:
Tengo veintiún años y soy estudiante de negocios internacionales.
I'm twenty-one years old and I'm a student of international business.
Caption 2, Amigos D.F. - Consejos para la callePlay Caption
That's all for now. We challenge you to try finding more idiomatic expressions with the verb tener in our catalog of videos! And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to email@example.com.
Let's talk about stress. In Spanish, all words are stressed on one syllable. Depending on the syllable where that stress falls, words in Spanish are divided into the following four groups:
Palabras agudas (Oxytone words) | Last syllable
Palabras graves (Paroxytone words) | Second-to-last syllable
Palabras esdrújulas (Proparoxytone words) | Third-to-last syllable
Palabras sobresdrújulas (Over-proparoxytone words) | Any syllable before the third-to-last syllable
Today, we will talk about palabras agudas. Let’s look at a couple of words:
Palabras como "corazón" o "tambor" son palabras agudas.
Words like "corazón" [heart] or "tambor" [drum] are oxytone words.Play Caption
The word corazón has three syllables (co | ra | zón) and the stress falls on the last syllable “zón.” Similarly, the word tambor has two syllables (tam | bor) and the stress falls on the last syllable “bor.”
However, the word corazón has an accent mark (tilde) on top of the “ó,” while the “o” in the last syllable of tambor doesn’t have that accent. Why? Because oxytone words need that accent ONLY when they end in “n”, in “s” or in a vowel:
La manera más simple de llegar a Barcelona es con el autobús
The simplest way to get to Barcelona is by bus
Caption 27, Blanca - Cómo moverse en BarcelonaPlay Caption
El coquí es un sapito que tenemos aquí en Puerto Rico.
The coquí is a little frog that we have here in Puerto Rico.
Caption 31, Carli Muñoz - Niñez - Part 1Play Caption
The word autobús has three syllables (au | to | bús) and the stress falls on the last syllable. Since this word ends in “s,” we need to put a tilde on the vowel of the last syllable. Likewise, the word coquí (co | quí) is stressed on the last syllable and we need to put the tilde on the “í” since this word ends in a vowel.
Important! In Spanish the accent mark ( ´ ) can only be placed on top of a vowel.
There are many oxytone words in Spanish. In fact, all verbs in the infinitive are palabras agudas:
¿Quieres tomar algo de beber, Raquel?
Do you want to have something to drink, Raquel?
Caption 22, Raquel - PresentacionesPlay Caption
Both tomar ( to | mar) and beber (be | ber) have two syllables and the stress falls on the last one. However, since they both end in “r,” the accent mark is not needed.
That's it for now. If you feel like practicing a little bit more, take one of our videos and try to find all the oxytone words without a tilde. And of course, don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We all know that irregular verbs are tricky. Very often, however, we can take advantage of those special rules that make the learning process a bit easier. Today, we will explore the past tense of the irregular verbs ser (to be) and ir (to go).
First of all, the good news: the verbs ser and ir share the same simple past conjugation! By simple past, we are referring to what is known in Spanish as pretérito perfecto simple or just pretérito (preterit). Let’s review the simple past conjugation of the verb ser:
Yo fui | I was
Tú fuiste | You were
Él/Ella fue | He/She was
Nosotros fuimos | We were
Vosotros fuisteis | You were
Ellos fueron | They were
Pensar que un día fui la respuesta
To think that one day I was the answer
Caption 15, Belanova - Tal vezPlay Caption
Aprendí que los primeros en hacer cómic fueron los aztecas.
I learned that the first ones to make comics were the Aztecs.
Captions 47-48, Antonio Vargas - Artista - ComicPlay Caption
And now, let’s take a look at the simple past conjugation of the verb ir:
Yo fui | I went
Tú fuiste | You went
Él/Ella fue | He/She went
Nosotros fuimos | We went
Vosotros fuisteis | You went
Ellos fueron | They went
Y sí, definitivamente fuimos a tomar un café, fuimos a cenar.
And yes, we definitely went for a coffee, went to dinner.
Caption 18, Enanitos Verdes - Luz de díaPlay Caption
¿Y te fuiste a vivir con tu novio con cuánto? -Con diecisiete.
And you went to live with your boyfriend when you were how old? -I was seventeen.
Caption 92, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 14Play Caption
We also use the simple past conjugation of the verb ir for the reflexive form irse (to leave):
Yo me fui de la casa cuando tenía nueve años.
I left home when I was nine years old.
Caption 41, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 5Play Caption
Desde aquel día que te fuiste, supe que eras para mí
From that day on which you left, I knew you were for me
Caption 1, Andy Andy - Maldito AmorPlay Caption
That's all for now. But before we leave, a short exercise for you: Write 10 sentences in simple past with the verb ser and 10 sentences with the verb ir. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to email@example.com.