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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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Possessive Adjectives in Spanish: Part 2

In a previous lesson, we talked about short form possessive adjectives in Spanish: words like mi (my), tu (your), and nuestro (our), etc. that are placed in front of a noun to indicate ownership. The focus of this lesson will be long form possessive adjectives in Spanish, which, while similar in meaning, are different in terms of their form and placement. 

 

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What's the Difference Between Short and Long Form Possessive Adjectives in Spanish? 

While short form Spanish possessive adjectives always go before the noun they modify, long form possessive adjectives in Spanish come after the noun they describe. Furthermore, while some of the short form Spanish possessive adjectives remain the same whether a noun is masculine or feminine, long form Spanish possessive adjectives always change form for singular/plural and masculine/feminine in all of their forms. And finally, while short form possessive adjectives in Spanish never go with an article, long form Spanish possessive adjectives are often accompanied by a noun's definite or indefinite article

 

The Long Form Spanish Possessive Adjectives

Let's take a look at the long form Spanish possessive adjectives, their possible meanings, and how they correspond to the personal pronouns in Spanish. You will note that the long form Spanish possessive adjectives for nosotros/as and vosotros/as are the exact same as their short form equivalents.

 

Yomío, mío, míos, mías (my, mine, of mine)

 

tuyo, tuya, tuyos, tuyas (your, yours, of yours)

 

Él/ella/ustedsuyo, suya, suyos, suyas (his, of his, her, hers, of hers, your, yours, of yours, its) 

 

Nosotros/nosotras: nuestro, nuestros, nuestra, nuestras (our, ours, of ours)

 

Vosotros/vosotrasvuestro, vuestros, vuestra, vuestras ((plural informal) your, yours, of yours)

 

Ellos/ellas/ustedessuyo, suya, suyos, suyas (their, theirs, of theirs, (plural) your, yours, of yours)

 

You may have noticed that, in comparison to short form Spanish possessive adjectives, there are more possible translations for long form possessive adjectives in Spanish, which will vary according to their context. 

 

Examples of Long Form Possessive Adjectives in Spanish

Let's take a look at the many translations of long form possessive adjectives in Spanish via a plethora of examples from Yabla's Spanish video library.

 

1. Mío, mío, míos, mías

 

Este sombrero es mío. Estos sombreros son míos.

This hat is mine. These hats are mine.

Captions 10-11, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2

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Esta botella es mía. Estas botellas son mías.

This bottle is mine. These bottles are mine.

Captions 15-16, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2

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We chose these two examples to illustrate that, as we mentioned, long form Spanish possessive adjectives always agree with the nouns they modify in terms of both number and gender. As with short form Spanish possessive adjectives, the number/gender of the person or entity that "owns" is insignificant. Additionally, you will note that the translation for these Spanish possessive adjectives here is "mine." Let's look at an example where their translation is slightly different: 

 

Y han venido unos amigos míos desde Mallorca, aquí hasta Málaga,

And some friends of mine have come here to Malaga from Mallorca

Caption 15, Amaya Voluntarios

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Not only do we see an alternative translation for the long form Spanish possessive adjective míos (of mine), we see that long form Spanish possessive can be accompanied an article, in this case, the indefinite article unos

 

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2. Tuyo, tuya, tuyos, tuyas 

Now, let's look at some translations for the long form Spanish possessive adjective tuyo and its variants:

 

¿Es tuya esta mochila? 

Is this backpack yours?

Caption 6, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 3: ¿De quién es esta mochila?

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Así que, ¿no soy hijo tuyo?

So, I'm not your son?

Caption 68, Muñeca Brava 7 El poema - Part 2

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The interesting thing about this second example is that the long form Spanish possessive adjective tuyo has been translated as "your" instead of "yours" or "of yours," which is identical to the translation for the equivalent short form Spanish possessive adjective (tu). Hence, the same English sentence could have been written with the short form possessive adjective in Spanish, as follows:

 

Así que, ¿no soy tu hijo? 

So, I'm not your son?

 

So, we see that there are cases in which we could choose to use either the long or short form Spanish possessive adjective to express the exact same idea in English, although the long form is, perhaps, the slightly less common/more literary manner of doing so. 

 

3. Suyo, suya, suyos, suyas

As we saw in Part 1 of this lesson about short form Spanish possessive adjectives in regards to su and sus, this particular set of long form possessive adjectives can be confusing because they correspond with a lot of personal pronouns (él, ella, usted, ellos, ellas, and ustedes) and thus have a multitude of different translations, which we listed above. Context should usually help you to determine the meaning of these long form possessive adjectives in Spanish. Let's take a look: 

 

Estos sombreros son suyos.

These hats are hers.

Caption 31, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2

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While this example seems pretty simple at first glance, since the masculine plural form of the Spanish possessive adjective was chosen to agree with the noun it modifies (sombreros) rather than its corresponding personal pronoun (ella), this very same sentence could also mean "These hats are his," "These hats are yours" (one person or multiple people), or "These hats are theirs" (all males, all females, or a mixed group). So, let's hope that the text or conversation has given you some previous clues as to who the hats belong to and/or who is being spoken about (it usually does!). Let's see another example:

 

Efectivamente, era el rostro suyo

Indeed, it was his face

Caption 35, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 3

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What can we discern here? First, because the previous sentences in this flash fiction story by Carlos refer to the maestro de ceremonias, we know that "his" was the correct translation choice for suyo in this context. Second, remember that since the translation for the short form possessive adjective in Spanish su in English can also be "his," the very same idea could also have been conveyed with the sentence: "Efectivamente, era su rostro." Finally, we will reiterate that, although with short form possessive Spanish adjectives, the article is never used (it's simply su rostro), with the long form, they can be, as in the case of el rostro suyo. That said, this is a personal choice, and one might also omit the article and write simply "era rostro suyo" with no change in meaning. Let's look at one more variation of this long form Spanish possessive adjective.

 

Y también me gustó mucho la novela suya, eh, "Amor y pico"; me encantó.

And I also liked your soap opera a lot, um, "Love and Fortune;" I loved it.

Caption 41, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 1

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Here, since the speaker is consistently addressing a female actress with usted (formal "you") and talking to her about a soap opera she did, it is obvious that "your" is the intended meaning of the long form Spanish possessive adjective suya, which agrees in number and gender with the noun it modifies (la novela) and that, furthermore, the speaker chose to include that noun's definite article (la). We bet you're getting the hang of this by now! 

 

4. Nuestro, nuestros, nuestra, nuestras

Let's start off with some very simple examples:

 

Este sombrero es nuestro. Estos sombreros son nuestros. Esta botella es nuestra. Estas botellas son nuestras.

This hat is ours. These hats are ours. This bottle is ours. These bottles are ours.

Captions 35-38, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2

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Now, let's move on to a bit tougher one:

 

Padre nuestro, vamos a bendecir el alimento que vamos a comer.

Father of ours [or "Our Father], let's bless the food that we are going to eat.

Caption 55, Lecciones con Carolina Adjetivos posesivos - Part 1

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Through these clips, we can see not only the number/gender agreement we have been speaking about, but also some different translations for the long form Spanish possessive adjective forms of nuestro

 

5. Vuestro, vuestros, vuestra, vuestras

Let's conclude our lesson by looking at some clips of the long form Spanish possessive adjectives vuestro, etc.: 

 

Esta botella es vuestra. Estas botellas son vuestras.

This bottle is yours [plural]. These bottles are yours [plural].

Captions 41-42, Clase Aula Azul La posesión - Part 2

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¿Y el embutido es vuestro?

And, the sausage is yours?

Caption 57, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 4

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In lieu of this translation, this last sentence might also have been translated as "And is the sausage yours?" or even "And is it your sausage?"

 

We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand long form Spanish possessive adjectives and how they are different from short form possessive adjectives in Spanish. As an additional source for learning about long form possessive adjectives in Spanish, we additionally recommend the lesson Clase Aula Azul- La posesión- Part 2, and no se olviden de dejarnos los comentarios y sugerencias tuyos (don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions).

 

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Possessive Adjectives in Spanish: Part 1

What are possessive adjectives in Spanish? Most simply put, possessive adjectives in Spanish are the Spanish equivalents of words like "my," "your," "his, "mine," etc. that indicate ownership or possession. There are two types of Spanish possessive adjectives: long form and short form. In the first part of this lesson, we will deal with how to use short form possessive adjectives in Spanish. 

 

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Short Form Spanish Possessive Adjectives 

Let's take a look at the short form Spanish possessive adjectives and how they correspond to the personal pronouns in Spanish: 

 

Yo: mi, mis (my)

: tu, tus (your)

Él/ella/usted: su, sus (his, her, its, your) 

Nosotros/nosotras: nuestro, nuestros, nuestra, nuestras (our)

Vosotros/vosotrasvuestro, vuestros, vuestra, vuestras (plural informal "your")

Ellos/ellas/ustedes: su, sus (their/plural "your")

 

What did you notice at first glance? Allow us to point out a couple of our observations: 

 

1. The Spanish possessive adjectives that correspond to nosotros/nosotras (masculine and feminine "we") and vosotros/vosotras (masculine and feminine plural, informal "you") look a bit more complicated because there are more forms, four rather than two. This is because the forms of these Spanish possessive adjectives are affected by the genders of the nouns they modify, whereas the others are not. 

 

2. The words su and sus in Spanish correspond to a lot of personal pronouns (él, ella, usted, ellos, ellas, and ustedes) and can thus mean a lot of different things ("his," "her," "its," singular and plural "your," and "their"). We'll help you to learn to distinguish their meanings in context.

 

3. Regardless of whether a personal pronoun is singular (e.g. yo, tú, etc.) or plural (e.g. ellosustedes, etc.), they all have singular and plural possessive adjective forms. This is because, whether a Spanish possessive adjective is singular or plural or masculine or feminine has nothing to do with the number or gender of the personal pronoun it is associated with and everything to do with the number and gender of the noun it modifies. 

 

Keeping these points in mind, let's take a closer look at each of the possessive adjectives in Spanish, as well as some examples from our Yabla Spanish video library.

 

1. Mi and mis

Generally speaking, Spanish adjectives agree with the noun they modify in terms of number and gender. That said, the "good news" about the Spanish possessive adjectives for "my," mi and mis, is that they remain the same regardless of a noun's gender. For both masculine and feminine nouns, then, the singular form mi should be used for singular nouns, while the plural form mis should accompany plural nouns. Let's look:

 

A mi lado, tengo a mi amigo, Xavi,

Beside me, I have my friend, Xavi,

Caption 3, Carlos y Xavi Diferencia de pronunciación entre España y Colombia - Part 1

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nos encontramos con mi amiga, la rana.

we ran into my friend, the frog.

Caption 18, Guillermina y Candelario Una Amiga muy Presumida - Part 1

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Hoy os voy a hablar de mis amigos felinos, que también son mis vecinos.

Today, I'm going to talk to you about my feline friends who are also my neighbors.

Captions 3-4, Fermín y los gatos Mis gatas vecinas

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Los viernes, juego al fútbol con mis amigas.

On Fridays, I play soccer with my friends.

Caption 21, Ariana Mi Semana

 Play Caption

 

As you can see, the singular Spanish possessive adjective mi is used for both the masculine and feminine forms of the noun amigo/a, while the plural Spanish possessive adjective mis is used for the plural masculine and feminine nouns, amigos and amigas. Pretty simple, right? 

 

2. Tu and tus

The short form Spanish possessive adjectives tu and tus, which mean "your" when addressing someone informally, are similarly simplistic: tu is utilized for singular nouns, while tus is used for plural nouns, regardless of gender. Let's see some examples with tu and tus:

 

¿Qué es lo que más te gusta de tu casa?

What is it that you like the most about your house?

Caption 48, Cleer y Lida Juego de preguntas y respuestas - Part 1

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Déjame saber en tus comentarios

Let me know in your comments

Caption 59, Ana Carolina Conjugaciones verbales

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Although the noun casa is feminine, the same Spanish possessive adjective, tu, would also be used for masculine singular nouns (tu coche = your car, etc.). In turn, while the word tus appears with the masculine plural noun comentarios in this example, the very same possessive adjective would be used for feminine plural nouns, e.g. tus manzanas (your apples). 

 

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3. Nuestro, nuestros, nuestra, and nuestras

In contrast to mi/s and tu/s, the Spanish possessive adjectives for "our" do change in accordance with both a noun's number and gender. Let's take a look at the masculine/feminine and singular/plural forms of the nouns hijo (boy), hija (girl), etc. with their corresponding forms of the Spanish possessive adjective nuestro:

 

Nuestro hijo (our son)

Nuestros hijos (our sons)

Nuestra hija (our daughter)

Nuestras hijas (our daughters)

 

As you can see, this Spanish possessive adjective takes the ending -o for masculine singular nouns, -os for masculine plural nouns, -a for feminine singular nouns, and -as for feminine plural nouns. Let's view a couple of examples from Yabla's video library:

 

Para nuestro primer experimento utilizaremos algo que jamás creíamos que podría faltar en nuestros hogares:

For our first experiment, we'll use something we never thought could be lacking in our homes:

Captions 11-13, Ana Carolina Gérmenes

 Play Caption

 

¿Qué había sucedido con nuestra amistad, mmm? ¿Desde cuándo la mujer empezó a gobernar nuestras vidas?

What had happened to our friendship, hmm? Since when did women start to govern our lives?

Captions 17-18, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 3

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We can see in these examples all four versions of the Spanish possessive adjective for "we," all of which agree with the nouns they modify in terms of both number and gender. 

 

4. Vuestro, vuestros, vuestra, and vuestras

If you take the Spanish possessive adjectives for "we" (nosotros, etc.) and replace the "n" with a "v," you have the possessive adjectives in Spanish that mean "your" when addressing more than one person in a less formal situation. This form corresponds to the Spanish personal pronouns vosotros/as, which are primarily used in Spain. Let's take a look:

 

Vuestro hijo (your son)

Vuestros hijos (your sons)

Vuestra hija (your daughter)

Vuestras hijas (your daughters)

 

Let's examine a couple of video excerpts:

 

y además podéis aprovechar para dar vuestra opinión

and you can also take the opportunity to give your opinion

Caption 36, La cocina de María Tortilla de patatas

 Play Caption
 
 

Pero antes vamos a ver a vuestros amigos,

But beforehand we're going to see your friends,

Caption 63, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Microchip para Nacahué - Part 2

 Play Caption
 
You will note that, like the Spanish possessive adjectives for nosotros, vosotros' Spanish possessive adjectives are affected by gender as well as number. 
 

5. Su and sus

The "good news," once again, about su in Spanish and sus in Spanish is that there are only two forms, singular and plural, that modify both masculine and feminine nouns. The "bad news," though, at least in terms of their initial challenge for native English speakers, is that these possessive adjectives in Spanish can mean many different things depending on their contexts. Having said that, let's take a look at su in Spanish and sus in Spanish, which can mean either "his," "her," "its," "your" (in the case of either one or more than one person), or "their."

 

His:

Es su coche (It's his car). 

Son sus coches. (They are his cars). 

Es su motocicleta (It's his motorcycle).

Son sus motocicletas. (They are his motorcycles).

 

Her:

Es su coche (It's her car). 

Son sus coches (They are her cars). 

Es su motocicleta (It's her motorcycle). 

Son sus motocicletas (They are her motorcycles).

 

Your (formal, one person):

Es su coche (It's your car). 

Es su motocicleta​ (It's your motorcycle).

Son sus coches (They are your cars).

Son sus motocicleta​s (They are your motorcycles). 

 

Your (more than one person):

Es su coche (It's your (guys') car). 

Es su motocicleta (It's your (guys') motorcycle).

Son sus coches (They are your (guys') cars).

Son sus motocicletas (They are your (guys') motorcycles). 

 

Their:

Es su coche (It's their car). 

Es su motocicleta (It's their motorcycle).

Son sus coches (They are their cars).

Son sus motocicletas (They are their motorcycles). 

 

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Wait, what?! You might notice that the four sentences under each English possessive adjective category are all the same! And yet, their translations are totally different. So, how would we decipher the intended meaning of su in Spanish or sus in Spanish when these two possessives in Spanish can mean so many things? As always, context is key! Let's take a look at some examples to illuminate this:

 

El artista más importante es Gaudí. Hoy voy a visitar una de sus obras más conocidas, la Sagrada Familia.

The most important artist is Gaudi. Today I'm going to visit one of his most well-known works, the Sagrada Familia [Sacred Family].

Captions 45-47, Ariana España

 Play Caption

 

Since the previous sentence mentions the artist Gaudi, it is pretty obvious that sus in this context means "his," referring to "his works." And, just to reiterate, the plural form sus must be used here since obras is a plural noun, in spite of the fact that Gaudi is just one person since one person can own more than one thing, while more than one person can own just one thing (think nuestra casa). Let's take a look at a couple of additional examples of su/s in Spanish:

 

por ejemplo, para que usted practique con su novia, Cata.

for example for you to practice with your girlfriend, Cata.

Caption 17, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 2 - Part 6

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Here, the word usted tips us off that the speaker means "your girlfriend," as su in Spanish can mean "your" in the formal style of address. And, even in the absence of that explicit word, were someone to generally address you with the usted form, you would take for granted that they meant "you" when utilizing su in Spanish or sus in Spanish. Let's see one more:

 

Desde sus inicios, el Centro Hispano de Todos los Santos se ha dedicado a sembrar esperanza.

Since its beginnings, the Centro Hispano de Todos los Santos [All Saints Hispanic Center] has been dedicated to sowing hope.

Captions 1-2, Transformación Estética

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In this example, sus in Spanish has been translated as "its" since the inicios "belong to" an inanimate object: the All Saints Hispanic Center. 

 

Although context can usually provide us with good clues about the meaning of su in Spanish or sus in Spanish, there are ambiguous cases that may require clarification. In a story or conversation involving both males and females, for example, a reference to su casa might cause confusion as to whose house it actually is. In such cases, it might be preferable to, in lieu of a Spanish possessive adjective, employ the preposition de ("of" or "belonging to") plus a personal pronoun (ella, usted, etc.) for the sake of clarity, as in the following example:

 

no es un problema de la gente de la ciudad, es un problema personal de usted conmigo.

it's not a problem of the people of the city, it's your personal problem with me.

Caption 15, Yago 7 Encuentros - Part 1

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Since, had the speaker said su problema personal, that could theoretically refer to either la gente de la ciudad (and thus be translated as "their personal problem with me") or the person to whom he is speaking, it was a safer bet to go with de usted.

 

We hope that this lesson has helped you to better understand how to use possessive adjectives in Spanish in their short form. For more information on short form possessive adjectives in Spanish, be sure to check out Adjetivos posesivos- Part 2 from the series Lecciones con Carolina, which deals with agreement, as well as this useful lesson from El Aula Azul entitled La posesión- Part 1. And, as always, no se olviden de dejarnos sus sugerencias y comentarios (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

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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

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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

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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

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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

 Play Caption

 

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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Muy vs. Mucho in Spanish

Should you use mucho or muyDo you know how to say the Spanish words muy and mucho in English? What is the difference between muy vs. mucho in Spanish? 

 

Definitions of Muy vs. Mucho

Simply put, muy in English would be "very" or "really," while mucho in English means "many," "much," or "a lot." However, as these words can wear muchos sombreros (a lot of hats), muy vs. mucho can be un concepto muy difícil (a very difficult concept) for many English speakers. 

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Muy + Adjective

When muy is accompanied by an adjective, the adjective that modifies the noun must agree with that noun in terms of gender and number. The "good news," however, is that the word muy itself always stays the same, regardless of whether the noun it modifies is singular or plural or masculine or feminine. Let's take a look:

 

es un artista plástico español muy reconocido.

is a very famous fine art artist.

Caption 14, Amaya Vínculo: un mural muy especial

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¡estos plátanos son muy pequeños!

these bananas are very small!

Caption 30, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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Es una ciudad muy linda que tiene un cri'... clima primaveral.

It's a very beautiful city that has a spri'... spring-like climate.

Caption 47, Cleer Entrevista con Jacky

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Las ranas son definitivamente las mejores maestras en salto.muhy Pero son muy vanidosas.

Frogs are definitely the best jumping masters. But they're very full of themselves.

Captions 22-23, Guillermina y Candelario Una Amiga muy Presumida - Part 1

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Just to reiterate, although the adjectives are singular or plural and masculine or feminine, in agreement with their corresponding nouns, the word muy always remains the same. 

 

Muy + Adverb

The word muy in Spanish also remains the same when accompanying an adverb, which modifies a verb, as in the following examples:

 

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.

Caption 55, Carlos explica Acentuación Cap. 3: La división en sílabas - Part 1

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Kristen, por ejemplo, tú has dicho, muy rápidamente,

Kristen, for example, you've said, very quickly,

Caption 11, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 4

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When constructing or understanding sentences with muy in Spanish, how will you know whether you are contending with an adjective or an adverb? When you see a word that ends with the suffix -mente (equivalent to -ly in English), as in the examples above, you can be sure you have an adverb. However, as not all adverbs take this form and some words can function as either adjectives or adverbs, depending upon the context, it can sometimes be tough to tell the difference. Let's take a look at an example with the word rápido, which may be used as an adverb in lieu of rápidamente:

 

porque lo hacen muy rápido

because they do it very quickly.

Caption 46, Animales en familia Señales de calma y cosquillas en los perros

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Like the English word "fast," rápido can function as an adjective when describing a noun (e.g. un carro rápido/a fast car) or an adverb when describing an action (el carro va rápido/the car goes fast) to talk about something that happens "fast" or "quickly." The tricky aspect of this is that, while rápido would need to agree in terms of gender and number when employed as an adjective (e.g. unos carros rápidos), as an adverb, it remains the same (in its masculine singular form) regardless of the number of people or objects performing the action. Let's see one more example:

 

Vamos a trabajar muy fuerte.

We're going to work very hard.

Caption 29, Documental de Alejandro Fernandez Viento A Favor - Part 2

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Note that as always, the word muy is unchanging, and because fuerte (strong, hard, etc.) works as an adverb here, it remains unchanged, in its singular form, as well. Were it an adjective, on the other hand, gender and number would need to be taken into account, as in the example "Somos muy fuertes" (We are very strong). 

 

Mucho as an Adjective: Mucho + Noun

Moving on to the word mucho in Spanish, taking into account what we have learned thus far regarding adjectives and adverbs, let's examine how this word can function as either of these parts of speech. To start, when mucho functions as an adjective, it must agree in terms of number and gender with the noun it modifies. Let's look:

 

¿Sí? No tengo mucho tiempo libre ahora. 

Right? I don't have a lot of free time now.

Caption 20, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 2

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La verdad es que yo he tenido muchos perros,

The truth is that I've had many dogs,

Caption 50, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 11

 Play Caption
 

En Málaga, hay mucha gente con tus mismos síntomas. 

In Malaga, there are a lot of people with your same symptoms.

Caption 20, Ariana Cita médica

 Play Caption

 

muchas personas les gusta ir de vacaciones allí 

A lot of people like to go on vacation there

Caption 22, El Aula Azul Adivina el país - Part 1

 Play Caption
 

As you can see in these examples that employ masculine singular/plural and feminine singular/plural nouns, the form mucho takes (mucho, muchos, mucha, or muchas) changes in accordance with the noun it modifies. 

 

Mucho as an Adverb: Mucho + Verb

In contrast, when mucho functions as an adverb, modifying a verb, it is always mucho in the singular/masculine form, and the gender/quantity of the noun or verb has no effect on it. Let's look at some examples:

 

¿Se utiliza mucho el ajo en los platos peruanos?

Is garlic used a lot in Peruvian dishes?

Caption 19, Recetas de cocina Papa a la Huancaína

 Play Caption

 

Estos ejercicios ayudan mucho

These exercises really help

Caption 59, Bienestar con Elizabeth Relajación

 Play Caption

 

Me gusta mucho este parque.

I really like this park.

Caption 9, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

Sí, me gustan mucho las uvas.

Yes, I like grapes a lot.

Caption 21, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

Mucho/os/a/as as a Pronoun

To conclude our discussion on muy vs. mucho, note that the word mucho and its corresponding feminine/plural alternatives can be used as pronouns to replace nouns that have been mentioned or implied. Notice that the pronoun forms of mucho must agree in gender and number with the nouns they replace, as follows:

 

¿Se encuentran aquí buenas cositas o no, buenas gangas? -Sí, sí, sí. -¿Sí? -Muchas

Can you find good stuff here or not, good bargains? -Yes, yes, yes. -Yes? -Many.

Captions 102-103, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 14

 Play Caption
 
 

Sí. -¿Que mucha más gente viene ahora? Sí, mucha. -Yo tengo un niño pequeño entonces...

Yes. -That a lot more people come now? Yes, a lot. -I have a small child so...

Captions 43-44, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 16

 Play Caption
 

Puedes ver que no tenemos muchos porque hemos vendido últimamente bastantes.

You can see that we don't have many because we have sold quite a few lately.

Captions 46-47, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 11

 Play Caption
 

While you can clearly see in the first two examples that the word mucho changes forms (to mucha and muchas) to agree with the feminine singular and plural nouns it replaces (cositas/gangas and gente), the third example is notable because the noun being replaced by the masculine plural form muchos is not immediately apparent. However, since the conversation in question, which began several captions earlier, involves cars (the masculine plural noun, los coches), the masculine plural form muchos must be utilized to express the idea of "many" in this context. 

 

We hope that this lesson has helped to clarify the difference between muy vs. mucho in Spanish since sus muchos usos y matices pueden resultar muy difíciles (their many uses and nuances can be very difficult) for English speakers. We welcome any insight you might have on mucho vs. muy in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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Making Comparisons in Spanish - Part 2

In the first part of our lesson on comparative structures, we covered comparisons of inequality. However, what if we would like to talk about similarity? Part two of this lesson will deal with comparisons of equality as well as superlatives, and considering that 2020 has been uno de los años más difíciles para muchos (one of the hardest years for many people), superlative structures could definitely come in handy. 

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Comparisons of Equality

 

1. tan + adjective/adverb + como 

 

Let's start by using the Spanish equivalent of as ___ as (as good as, as fast as, etc.). We can use this structure with both adjectives and adverbs.

 

Oye, no, no es tan fácil como tú lo ves, ¿eh? 

Hey, no, it's not as easy as you see it, huh?

Caption 21, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 17

Play Caption

 

tampoco saliste con una mina tan finoli como ella. 

you haven't dated a woman as elegant as her either.

Caption 18, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 9

 Play Caption

 

Notice that we use tan rather than tanto before the adjective or adverb. Thus, in the previous examples, it would be a mistake to say tanto fácil or tanto finoli. We can, however, say tanto más or tanto menos fácil (as explained in part one of this lesson). 

 

On the other hand, the similar structure tanto como is the Spanish equivalent of "as much as." In the following example, note that because tanto is an adverb, it is unmarked for gender and number. 

 

Espero que hayáis disfrutado al menos tanto como yo disfruto estando todos los días con vosotros. 

I hope that you have enjoyed at least as much as I enjoy being here every day with you guys.

Captions 76-78, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 11

 Play Caption

 

2. tanto + noun + como

 

Unlike the examples with adjectives and adverbs above, tanto must be marked for gender when used with nouns. We will therefore use tanto/s before masculine nouns and tanta/s before feminine nouns as follows:

 

Tiene tanto dinero como su hijo. 

She has as much money as her son does. 

 

Tiene tanta paciencia como tú.

She has as much patience as you do. 

 

Tienes tantas hermanas como yo.

You have as many sisters as I do. 

 

3. parecido(s)/parecida(s)           

 

When talking about things (cosas) that are similar, we can employ this term as an adjective (marked for number and gender) to say that they are parecidas. On the other hand, to express that something is done in a similar way, we use the unmarked adverb: parecidoas in Juana y su hermana hablan parecido. And to top it all off, parecido is also a noun that indicates resemblance.  

 

La [cultura] gitana es muy parecida a la cultura árabe. 

Gypsy [culture] is very similar to Arab culture.

Caption 37, Europa Abierta Jassin Daudi - Con arte

 Play Caption

 

Notice the use of the preposition a following the adjective parecida to indicate "to."

 

Now, let's look at parecido as a noun as it appears in this caption from Clase Aula Azul, which explains the use of the verb parecer:

 

Hablamos de parecidos físicos, ¿sí? Se parece es como decir, es parecido, es similar, ¿mmm?

We're talking about physical similarities, right? "Se parece" [It looks like] is like saying, it's alike, it's similar, hmm?

Captions 37-38, Clase Aula Azul El verbo parecer - Part 6

 Play Caption

 

4. idéntico/igual/mismo 

 

While we can use parecido or similar to describe similarities, what if the items being compared are exactly the same? When items are virtually indistinguishable, idéntico, igual, or mismo are suitable terms. Remeber that these are adjectives and are therefore marked for number and gender, except for igual, which is gender neutral. It is worth mentioning that only el/la mismo/a or los/las mismos/as can come before the noun. Thus, if one has the same t-shirt someone is wearing, he or she might say the following:

 

Tengo la misma remera (I have the same t-shirt).

Tengo una remera igual (I have a t-shirt shirt just like that).

Tengo una remera idéntica (I have an identical t-shirt). 

 

Let's take a look at some additional examples: 

 

Porque uno idéntico a este embarcó en el Titanic en mil novecientos doce. 

Because one identical to this one embarked on the Titanic in nineteen twelve.

Captions 24-25, Málaga Museo del automóvil

 Play Caption

 

Si hay diez personas trabajando con los mismos medios y las mismas herramientas,

If there are ten people working with the same media and the same tools,

Caption 73, Lo que no sabías Arte electrónico - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

As a side note, the interesting expressions me da igual or me da lo mismo mean "it's all the same to me" or "I don´t really care":

 

Ya lo que digan me da igual 

What people say doesn't matter to me anymore

Caption 22, Alejandro Fernandez Eres

 Play Caption

 

5. Como 

 

Another keyword when it comes to making comparisons is como (like). 

 

Juli, vas a quedar como una cobarde, como si te diera miedo. 

Juli, you're going to look like a coward, as if it scared you.

Captions 44-45, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

And you will definitely remember this comparative structure after listening to the Calle 13 song in this clip:

 

No hay nadie como tú

There is no one like you

Caption 29, Calle 13 No hay nadie como tú

 Play Caption

 

Superlative Structures

 

Finally, we have the superlative forms with the following structures: el/los/la/las/lo + más + adjective:

 

La prueba de sonido es lo más importante quizás porque es la preparación, ¿no?

The sound check is the most important thing, maybe because it's the staging, right?

Caption 6, David Bisbal Haciendo Premonición Live - Part 2

 Play Caption

 

Este es el aguacate más caro que hay en el mercado. 

This is the most expensive avocado that there is on the market.

Caption 38, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Note that there are a few irregular superlatives:

 

el mejor   (the best)

el peor      (the worst)

el mayor    (the oldest) 

 

For "the oldest," el más grande can also be used. While this is very common in some regions and can also mean "the largest," "the greatest," or "the biggest," it is important to remember that, as is the case with all irregular superlatives, mayor cannot be used in conjunction with más. Thus the sentence "Paul is the oldest in his class" can be translated as Paul es el más grande de su clase or Paul es el mayor de su clase but NOT Paul es el más mayor. 

 

We hope that you have enjoyed our newsletter, y lo que es más importante (what matters most) is that you have learned a lot! Don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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Making Comparisons in Spanish - Part 1

Despite the old saying that "Las comparaciones son odiosas" (Comparisons are odious), the truth is that they are often necessary. Whether you need to decide on a vacation destination, select a present for a loved one, or weigh the pros and cons of any situation, comparisons will be a part of your decision-making process. That said, let's learn some useful language for that purpose. 

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Unlike English, Spanish does not modify adjectives with the addition of suffixes (e.g. the English -er and -est) for comparative purposes. Instead, adjectives are accompanied by comparative structures to indicate equality, inequality, or difference in degree between one or more people, ideas, or things. Since there is plenty to learn on this topic, this lesson will deal with inequality, while part two will cover comparisons of equality and superlatives

 

Comparisons of Inequality

 

For comparisons of inequality, the word that specifies what the comparison is about will be preceded by más (more) or menos (less). One might compare qualities (adjectives), ways of doing something (adverbs), or even nouns as in the sentence: La canasta roja tiene más manzanas que la verde (The red basket has more apples than the green one). Let's take a look at some common comparative structures involving adjectives, adverbs, and nouns, and some examples of each:

 

1. más/menos + adjective + que

 

La vida a esta altitud se hace más difícil que en el frondoso pinsapar.

Life at this altitude becomes more difficult than in the dense Spanish fir forest.

Caption 64, Tecnópolis - Sierra de las nieves

 Play Caption

 

Este libro es menos interesante que el otro.

This book is less interesting than the other one.

Caption 72, Karla e Isabel - Comparativos

 Play Caption

 

As you may have inferred from these examples, the comparative particle que is the equivalent of than in English. In addition, the video in our second example above introduces several comparative structures with examples and is thus worth viewing in conjunction with this lesson. 

 

2. más/menos + adverb + que 

 

Les inyectaba hormonas para que crecieran más rápido.

She would inject them with hormones so that they would grow faster.

Caption 45, Kikirikí - Animales

 Play Caption

 

Note that, in this case, the comparative particle que is not present since the second term of the comparison is not mentioned. In addition, remember that, although the adverb rápidamente does exist, we often use rápido as an adverb as well as an adjective in the same way as the English word fast, depending upon whether it modifies a noun or a verb in a sentence. 

 

3. más/menos + noun  + que

 

As we saw in the introduction, this structure can also be used with nouns. In this case, it is worth mentioning that while, according to traditional English usage rules, "fewer" should be used for countable objects while "less" should be employed with singular mass nouns (i.e. salt), this distinction does not exist in Spanish. That said, menos will be used for both countable and uncountable nouns in Spanish. 

 

Ten en cuenta que los productos en tamaño familiar,

Take into account that family-sized products,

sean de lo que sean,

whatever they are,

generan menos residuos por unidad de producto.

generate less waste per product unit.

Captions 51-53, 3R - Campaña de reciclaje

 Play Caption

 

Since the Spanish verb tener años (literally "to have years") is used to express the idea of someone being a certain age, the expression Tengo más años que mi hermana (literally "I have more years than my sister") is equivalent to saying "I am older than my sister." The following example is similar:

 

Yo tengo un año menos que tú.

I am a year younger than you.

Caption 12, Clara y Cristina - Saludar

 Play Caption

 

Although the position of the noun in these examples is different, they demonstrate the additional point that prepositional object pronouns like and ti cannot be used in comparatives as the second object of comparison (immediately after que). For example, while in English, one can say either "My sister is younger than I am" or "My sister is younger than me," Mi hermana es más joven que mí is unacceptable in Spanish, while Mi hermana es más joven que yo is the correct way to express this. 

 

Intensifying or Mitigating Difference

 

Sometimes, the difference between the objects, people, or ideas being compared is so big or so small that formulas that include intensifiers such as mucho/muchísimo/tanto + más/menos or mitigators like un poco/poquito + más/menos can help to express this. 

 

Y eso también lo habéis comprado más barato de lo normal.

And that also you have bought cheaper than what's normal.

Pero muchísimo más barato, ochenta por ciento más barato, una cosa así.

But way cheaper, eighty percent cheaper, something like that.

Captions 14-15, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos

 Play Caption

 

No es tanto más grande que yo.

She's not that much older than me.

Caption 31, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema

 Play Caption

 

De Los Cabos sí queda un poquito más lejitos,

From Los Cabos, it's a little bit further,

un poquito más de dos horas.

a little bit over two hours.

Captions 73-74, Alan x el mundo - Mi playa favorita de México!

 Play Caption

 

Parallel Comparative Structure 

 

The parallel comparative structure, cuanto más + adjective/adverb, más/menos, is also useful in Spanish. The common English expression, "The sooner, the better," for example, translates as: Cuanto antes, mejor.  

 

Cuanto más sucia, menos le[s] pagáis. -Claro.

The dirtier it is, the less you pay them. -Of course.

Caption 81, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa

 Play Caption

 

Irregular Adjectives/Adverbs

 

A few adjectives and adverbs have irregular comparative forms and don't fall into the typical patterns using más/menos + adjective/adverb + que:

 

Adjective: buen/a (good)      Comparative: mejor (better) 

Adjective: mal/a (bad)          Comparative: peor (worse)

 

Es una buena cantante (She's a good singer).

Es mejor cantante que Mariana (She is a better singer than Mariana).

 

Es un mal alumno (He is a bad student).

Es peor alumno que Juan (He is a worse student than Juan).

 

Interestingly, when the adjectives mejor/peor describe how good or bad one is at something, their forms are irregular. However, when referring to good and evil, their regular comparative forms come into play:

 

Es más malo que el diablo.

He is more evil than the devil.

 

The following adverbs, however, have only an irregular comparative:

 

Adverb: bien (well)           Comparative: mejor (better) 

Adverb: mal (badly)          Comparative: peor (worse)

 

María canta mejor que su hermana.     

María sings better than her sister.

 

Let's conclude with some additional examples of regular and irregular comparatives from our Yabla video library:

 

Tres aspirinas. -Bueno, tomá algo más fuerte que te haga mejor.

Three aspirins. -Well, take something stronger that makes you better.

Caption 61, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reunión

 Play Caption

 

Mal. Peor que la semana pasada.

Bad. Worse than last week.

Caption 7, El Aula Azul - La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

 Play Caption

 

That's all for this first part of our lesson on comparatives. We hope it has been clear, and don't forget to send us your questions, comments, and suggestions¡Hasta la próxima!

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Demonstrative Adjectives in Spanish

Do you know how to say "those" or "that" in Spanish? Let's explore Spanish demonstrative adjectives. However, before doing that, let's start this lesson with an important definition.

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What Is a Demonstrative Adjective?

Adjectives describe and modify nouns. We use demonstrative adjectives to determine which person or object, for example, we are referring to, taking its distance with respect to the speaker and/or listener into account. Let's first review our options in English:

 

- Near the speaker: "this" and "these."

- Near the listener OR far from both the speaker and the listener: "that" and "those."

 

The Gender Factor and Greater Number of Demonstrative Adjectives in Spanish

While there are only four demonstrative adjectives in English, you will notice that there are many more in Spanish (twelve to be exact!). Why is that? One reason is that, because nouns in Spanish have a gender, demonstrative adjectives in Spanish are not only singular and plural but masculine and feminine as well.

 

In addition, Spanish has two different sets of demonstrative adjectives to differentiate between nouns that are close to the listener vs. nouns that are far from both the speaker and listener (roughly corresponding to the English concept of "over there" rather than just "there"). 

 

Let's take a closer look at the demonstrative adjectives in Spanish, using M to indicate "masculine" and F to indicate "feminine":

 

- Near the speaker: "this" (M: este, F: esta) and "these" (M: estos, F: estas).

- Near the listener: "that" (M: ese, F: esa) and "those" (M: esos, F: esas).

- Far from both the speaker and the listener: "that" (over there) (M: aquel, F: aquella) and "those" (over there) (M: aquellos, F: aquellas).

 

It is worth noting that, in addition to indicating further physical distance, aquel/aquella/aquellos/aquellas can also refer to metaphorical distance such as dates or events in the future or past. 

 

How to Pronounce Demonstrative Adjectives in Spanish

Now that we know the demonstrative adjectives in Spanish, it's time to look at some examples. Let's watch and listen to the following clips:

 

Near the speaker: este, esta, estos, estas

 

Me gusta mucho este parque.

I really like this park.

Caption 9, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 5: Me gusta mucho este parque.

 Play Caption

 

Esta mochila es de Lucas.

This backpack is Lucas'.

Caption 59, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 3: ¿De quién es esta mochila?

 Play Caption

 

En la noche, utilizaremos estos vasos bajos para servir licor.

At night, we'll use these short glasses to serve liquor.

Caption 20, Ana Carolina - El comedor

 Play Caption

 

Estas cintas son las que estamos sacando recientemente;

These ribbons are the ones that we are coming out with recently;

son nuevos diseños.

they are new designs.

Caption 19, Comercio - Camisas tradicionales

 Play Caption

 

Near the listener: ese, esa, esos, esas

 

Oiga y ese carro, esa belleza ¿de dónde la sacó, hermano, ah?

Hey and that car, that beauty, where did you get it, brother, huh?

Caption 43, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 1

 Play Caption

 

¿Y esos otros tatuajes que tienes aquí, de qué son?

And those other tattoos you have here, what are they of?

Caption 67, Adícora, Venezuela - El tatuaje de Rosana

 Play Caption

 

Mire, Rubio, yo necesito que usted

Look, Rubio, I need you

le ponga vigilancia inmediata a esas dos mujeres, hermano.

to put those two women under immediate surveillance, brother.

Caption 52, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa - Capítulo 4

 Play Caption

 

Far from both the speaker and the listener: aquel, aquella, aquellos, aquellas

 

La terminación del piso sería, en el futuro, de roca...

The last part of the floor would be, in the future, made out of rock...

de roca rústrica [sic] a propósito traída de aquel cerro que está allá.

out of rustic rock brought specifically from that hill over there.

Captions 22-23, Edificio en Construcción - Hablando con los trabajadores

 Play Caption

 

Esas cifras ya nos dicen

Those numbers tell us

que aquellas civilizaciones prehistóricas

that those prehistoric civilizations

ya sabían mucho de cálculo. 

already knew a lot about calculus.

Captions 27-29, Rosa - Los dólmenes de Antequera

 Play Caption
 

Sería, "Aquellos coches son de mi padre"

Would be, "Those cars are my father's"

o "Aquellas casas son de mi madre".

or "Those houses are my mother's."

Captions 35-36, Lecciones con Carolina - Adjetivos demostrativos

 Play Caption

 

Keep in mind, however, that in less formal Spanish, we tend to use ese, esa, esos, and esas much more than aquel, aquella, aquellos, aquellas.

 

That's all for today. Although there are many more demonstrative adjectives in Spanish than in English, learning to use them is relatively simple. We hope you enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions. ¡Hasta la próxima!

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How to Write and Say The Colors in Spanish

Do you know how to say "yellow" or "purple" in Spanish? Get ready to learn how to write and say the names of the colors in Spanish.

 

The primary colors in Spanish

Let's take a look at this list of the primary colors in Spanish.

 

Amarillo (Yellow)

Azul (Blue)

Rojo (Red)

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Spanish colors in alphabetical order

Even though there are millions of colors out there, most of the time we use only a limited number of colors in our daily life. The following list features the names of the most frequently used colors in Spanish and English.

 

- amarillo (yellow)

- anaranjado or naranja (orange)

- añil or índigo (indigo)

- azul (blue)

- blanco (white)

- dorado (golden)

- escarlata (scarlet)

- fucsia (fuchsia)

- gris (gray)

- marrón or café (brown)

- morado (purple)

- negro (black)

- plateado (silver)

- rojo (red)

- rosa or rosado (pink)

- violeta (violet)

 

The pronunciation of the most important colors in Spanish

Now, it's time to learn how to say the colors in Spanish.

 

How do you say "yellow" in Spanish?

amarillo

 

Recorta un cuadro de papel amarillo de cinco centímetros.

Cut out a five centimeter yellow square from yellow paper.

Caption 70, Manos a la obra - Separadores de libros: Charmander

 Play Caption

 

How do you say the color "orange" in Spanish?

anaranjado or naranja

 

Adentro, son de color anaranjado.

Inside, they are orange-colored.

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

 Play Caption

 

By the way, do you know how to say "orange" (the fruit) in Spanish? The answer is "naranja"!

 

How do you say "blue" in Spanish?

azul

 

Ay, me encanta tu camiseta azul.

Oh, I love your blue shirt.

Caption 3, Español para principiantes - Los colores

 Play Caption

 

How do you say "white" in Spanish?

blanco

 

Mi perro pequeño es blanco.

My small dog is white.

Caption 52, Conversaciones en el parque - Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

 Play Caption

 

How do you say "black" in Spanish?

negro

 

...y el negro, donde se tira lo orgánico.

...and the black one, where the organic [waste] is thrown away.

Caption 7, Rosa - Reciclar

 Play Caption

 

How do you say "green" in Spanish?

verde

 

El verde, donde va el vidrio.

The green one, where the glass goes.

Caption 5, Rosa - Reciclar

 Play Caption

 

How do you say "brown" in Spanish?

marrón

 

Mi cocina es de madera de color marrón.

My kitchen is (made) of brown-colored wood.

Caption 23, Ariana - Mi Casa

 Play Caption

 

Keep in mind that some people prefer to use to word "café" instead of "marrón" when referring to the color "brown."

 

How do you say "purple" in Spanish?

morado

 

Predominan los colores verde, morado.

The colors green, purple, predominate.

Caption 46, Viajando con Fermín - Dunas de Marbella

 Play Caption

 

It is also quite common to use the adjective "púrpura" when talking about the color purple.

 

How do you say "red" in Spanish?

rojo

 

El rojo carmesí, que es un rojo frío.

The Crimson Red, which is a cool red.

Caption 30, Leonardo Rodriguez Sirtori - Una vida como pintor

 Play Caption

 

The colors of the rainbow in Spanish 

Let's finish this lesson with a little quiz. Can you provide the English word for each one of the seven colors of the rainbow in Spanish? Try it out!

 

1. rojo = ???

2. naranja or anaranjado = ??? 

3. amarillo = ???

4. verde = ???

5. azul = ???

6. añil = ???

7. violeta = ???

 

Did you get them all? If you didn't, you can always go back and check out the list we provided at the beginning of this lesson with the Spanish colors in alphabetical order.

 

That's it for today. We hope you enjoyed this lesson and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

 

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Is Agua Masculine or Feminine?

Let's talk about gender. If you have been studying Spanish, you probably know that nouns in Spanish have a gender. For example, the word libro (book) is a masculine noun. On the contrary, the noun pelota (ball) is feminine. If you want to use those nouns with their corresponding definite articles, you will say el libro (the book) and la pelota (the ball). Now, what about the noun agua (water)? Is agua masculine or feminine? Do you say el agua or la agua?

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Let's take a look at some clips:

 

Cuando uno tiene sed

When one is thirsty

Pero el agua no está cerca

But the water's not close by

Captions 17-18, Jarabe de Palo - Agua

 Play Caption

 

Y como para completar la historia, desperdiciaban el agua todo el tiempo.

And, as if to make matters worse, they wasted water all the time.

Caption 15, Salvando el planeta Palabra - Llegada

 Play Caption

 

Y apenas sus pies tocaron el agua,

And as soon as their feet touched the water,

se convirtieron en dos grandes serpientes.

they turned into two big snakes.

Captions 51-52, Aprendiendo con Carlos - América precolombina - El mito de Bachué

 Play Caption

 

Can you now answer our question? According to the above clips, is agua masculine or feminine? In all the previous clips, the word agua is placed right after the masculine definite article "el" so the noun agua must be masculine, right? Not so fast! Let's take a look at the following clips:

 

Limonadas, refrescos o simplemente agua fresca.

Lemonades, sodas or just cold water.

Caption 42, Aprendiendo con Karen - Utensilios de cocina

 Play Caption

 

Las formas de presentación incluyen el agua ozonizada y el aceite ozonizado.

The formulations include ozonized water and ozonized oil.

Caption 35, Los médicos explican - Beneficios del ozono

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Un día, los vientos del páramo agitaron las aguas de la laguna.

One day, the winds from the tundra shook up the waters of the lake.

Caption 26, Aprendiendo con Carlos - América precolombina - El mito de Bachué

 Play Caption

 

Did you see that? If you look at the first two clips, you can see that the adjectives that go after the noun agua are feminine adjectives that end with the vowel "a" (fresca and ionizada). Also, in the third clip, you can see that the term aguas (plural form of agua) is preceded by the feminine definite article "las". So, is agua masculine or feminine?

 

The answer is very simple: the noun agua is always feminine. However, if you are wondering why we say "el agua" and not "la agua" there is a simple rule you need to keep in mind: If a feminine noun starts with a stressed "a", you need to use the masculine definite article "el". Let's see more feminine nouns that start with a stressed "a":

 

el águila (the eagle)

el alma (the soul)

 

Nevertheless, it is important to say that for plural feminine nouns, you need to use the plural feminine definitive article "las":

 

las aguas (the waters)

las águilas (the eagles)

las almas (the souls)

 

Finally, keep in mind that if the noun is feminine the adjective needs to be feminine too. For example, let's say that we want to say "the water is dirty." Since water is feminine in Spanish, you need to use the feminine version of the adjective (sucia):

 

RIGHT - El agua está sucia

WRONG - El agua está sucio

 

So, there you have it. We hope you learned something useful today and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

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¡Hasta la próxima!

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The Meaning of Bravo in Spanish

Bravo/brava is an adjective with various meanings in Spanish. We use it when we want to say someone is brave or courageous. In some Spanish-speaking countries, however, bravo/brava is also used as a synonym for angry, mad or upset. This adjective can also help us describe the world around us by meaning rough or fierce. Finally, we also use bravo when we want to acknowledge someone's work in a positive way

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Using bravo/brava to describe someone

 

As mentioned above, bravo is synonym for brave or courageous. Let's take a look at the following sentence:

 

Siendo el más bravo de todos, Miguel fue el primero que saltó del trampolín.

Being the bravest of all, Miguel was the first to jump off the diving board.

 

In some countries such as, for example, Colombia, bravo/brava is used when we want to say that someone is angry or upset:

 

Kevin, su novia está muy brava. Deb'...

Kevin, your girlfriend is very mad. You nee'...

En este contexto, "brava" es sinónimo de enojada o enfadada.

In this context, "brava," is a synonym of mad or angry.

Captions 17-18, Carlos comenta - Los Años Maravillosos - Forma de hablar

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Bravo for describing the world around us

 

Bravo is also a very useful word for describing nature. For instance, bravo is a very common adjective when talking about a rough or choppy sea or river. Similarly, when talking about animals, bravo/brava can describe an animal that is fierce

 

El agua estaba muy brava, y soplaba un viento muy fuerte.

The water was very choppy, and a very strong wind was blowing.

Captions 30-31, Guillermina y Candelario - Capitan Candelario

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¡Bravo! Well done!

 

Have you ever been in a theater where people shout "bravo" at the end of a play? Well, in Spanish we also use bravo the same way. However, we also say bravo/brava when we want to tell to someone they did something good, or did a good job. In other words, we use bravo/brava to say "well done" or "good for you."

 

Apart from that, we also use bravo/brava in various specific situations. For example, when you have to do something you don't want to do, you can say you did it "a la brava" (by force). We also use brava/bravo to express a very strong desire:

 

¡Oiga, que sed tan brava!

Hey, what a strong thirst!

Caption 52, Kikirikí - Agua - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

Bravo/brava is also used in the context of sports:

- Barra brava or barrabrava (a group of hooligans in football/soccer)

- "Hacer barra" (to cheer up someone or a team)

 

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That's all for today. We hope this lesson helped you to expand your vocabulary. And don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

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Spanish Adverbs with -Mente

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 the original adjective. In this lesson, we will see how to use adjectives in order to form Spanish adverbs with the suffix mente.

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Some examples of Spanish adverbs with 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 fascinante

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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 Pueblos

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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

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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.

 

How to form Spanish adverbs with mente

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

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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.

Caption 54, Carlos explica - Acentuación Cap. 3: La división en sílabas

 Play Caption

 

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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.

 

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Gentilicios: Adjectives of Nationality in Spanish

Let's talk about gentilicios (demonyms)! Gentilicios are words that we use as adjectives when we want to say the place where someone or something comes from. In other words, they are adjectives of nationality in Spanish! Some examples of demonyms are words like “Brazilian,” “African” or “Chinese.”
 

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Unlike English, we don’t capitalize demonyms in Spanish:

 

Mejor dicho, esas que son una mezcla entre peruana y colombiano.

In other words, those that are a mix between a Peruvian girl and a Colombian guy.

Caption 35, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 1

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We form demonyms using suffixes, which most of the time need to be consistent with the gender and the number of the noun they are describing. Let’s take the suffix ano:
 

Roberto es mexicano | Roberto is Mexican (singular masculine)
Claudia es mexicana | Claudia is Mexican (singular feminine)
Roberto y Claudia son mexicanos | Roberto and Claudia are Mexicans (plural masculine)
Claudia y Daniela son mexicanas | Claudia and Daniela are Mexicans (plural feminine)

 

cuando realmente veo otros mexicanos, otros latinos,

when I see other Mexicans, other Latin people,

Caption 13, Arturo Vega - Entrevista - Part 5

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Other suffixes that are very often used to form gentilicios are és (singular masculine) and esa(singular feminine) as well as co (singular masculine) and ca (singular feminine):
 

De padre austriaco y madre francesa, es casi políglota de nacimiento.

From an Austrian father and French mother, he's pretty much multilingual from birth.

Caption 12, Europa Abierta - Alejandro Hermann - El arte de pintar

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We also have the suffix eño (singular masculine) as in limeño (from Lima, the capital of Peru), and the suffix í as in the demonym iraní (from Iran). The latter is used for both masculine and feminine and only changes in its plural form (iraní becomes either iranís or iraníes, both forms are correct):

 

madrileñomadrileña, de Madrid, la capital de España.

or "madrileño," "madrileña," [from Madrid], from Madrid, the capital of Spain.

Caption 34, Carlos explica - Geografía y gentilicios

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Just like iraní, the demonym estadounidense (from the United States) is the same for the masculine and feminine forms. Some people use americano or americana when referring to someone from the US. However, if you are travelling across Latin America try to use estadounidense instead. Most people in Latin America treat the word América as a continent and not a country so using that demonym when referring to the US will certainly leave a nice impression across the Americas.
 

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That's all for now. We would like to leave you with the following exercise: Choose 20 countries from the world and try to write the gentilicios for each one. And don’t forget to send your feedback and suggestions to newsletter@yabla.com.

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Good and Cold and Handsome and Hot

We have a gem and we want to share it with you. It's a little slip of the tongue that Rosie, one of the girls in the NPS series, makes while being introduced to a handsome new sports instructor:
 

Ay, a mí me encanta el deporte y más si el "teacher" está así de bueno.

Oh, I love sports and even more if the teacher is so good-looking.

 

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Rosie's subconscious betrayed her for a moment there, because that's apparently not what she wanted to say, as she immediately corrects her blunder:

 

Ah, ay, digo, digo si es tan bueno.

Uh, oh, I mean, I mean if he's so good.


The difference between estar bueno (to be good-looking*) vs ser bueno (to be good) is the classic example used to explain the proper way to combine the verbs estar and ser (both meaning "to be") with adjectives, and to understand the sometimes not-so-subtle difference in meaning that results from it: if you use ser, the adjective is a fundamental characteristic of the person or thing you are describing, whereas if you use estar, it's a description of a mood or appearance, something less intrinsic or something not permanent. Having the chance to learn this rule with a pun is priceless, don't you think?
 
There are many interesting examples of adjectives that change meaning when they are combined with the Spanish verbs ser and estar to describe people. For example, the adjective frío, which means "cold."
 
You can use this adjective with the verb ser to describe a fundamental characteristic of a person or group of persons:
 

Lo siento. Pero acá la gente es fría y distante, es una... -¡Mentira!

Sorry. But here the people are cold and distant, it's a... -Lie!

Caption 73, Yago - 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 3

 Play Caption

 
But if you say that someone está frío, that can only mean that the person('s body) is actually cold. Here is a grim example:
 

Está en la cama, muerto. Está frío y azul.
He's on the bed, dead. He’s cold and blue.


 That's why, in fact, the combination of the verb estar with the adjective frío is much more commonly used to describe objects, concepts, and beings regarded as inanimate: la noche está fría (the night is cold), la champaña está fría (the champagne is cold), etc. But careful: that doesn't mean that you can't use ser + an adjective to describe such things. You can, especially with concepts and abstract ideas. For example:
 

...si la temperatura exterior es más fría que la interior

...or if the temperature outside is colder than the inside [temperature]

Captions 58-59, Tecnópolis - El Coronil

 Play Caption

 

En Buenos Aires las noches están frías.
In Buenos Aires nights are cold.

 
Yet that doesn't mean that you can't say en Buenos Aires las noches están frías. It's just definitely less common and actually incorrect if what you mean is that all nights in Buenos Aires are generally cold. So, if you ever find or hear such an assertion using the verb estar instead of ser, it would probably be accompanied by certain implicit or explicit clues that would tell you that the adjective frías (cold) is being used to describe a temporary situation. For example:

En Buenos Aires las noches están frías, por ahora.
In Buenos Aires nights are cold, for now.
 
No salgas, está frío afuera.
Don't go out, it's cold outside.

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 So, you may be wondering: how do I say in Spanish that someone is cold, meaning that the person feels cold? Well, you have to use a different verb instead: tener (to have). Have you ever heard a Spanish native speaker say "I have cold" by mistake? That's why.

 

...y yo nada más tengo frío y hambre y no sé qué hacer.

...and I'm just cold and I'm hungry and I don't know what to do.

Caption 23, Yago - 6 Mentiras - Part 1

 Play Caption

 

So, unless you are a zombie or another kind of undead creature, don't ever say estoy frío.

-----------------

*Just so you know, the adjective bueno in estar bueno is actually closer to "yummy" or "hot" than to "good-looking."

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Bien vs Bueno/Ser vs Estar/Adjectives vs Adverbs

The proper use of the words bien (well) and bueno (good) seems to be specially challenging for English speakers. From a grammatical point of view the difference between these words is quite simple: bueno (good) is an adjective, and bien (well) an adverb. But that doesn’t help much, does it? Especially if you don't have a clear understanding of the function of adjectives and adverbs themselves. And even if you do, people who are really fluent don't usually go around wondering if a word is an adverb or an adjective in order to use it properly.

Is not that grammar isn't helpful, it's just that very often people try to use it as a rigid template that you can superimpose on any given portion of speech to determine its correctness. But trying to grammatically deconstruct a sentence in Spanish, or any language, can be a tricky and confusing exercise, one more suited to linguists than to language learners. Indeed, from a learner's perspective, grammar is more useful if you learn to see it as a set of very basic structures (think of Legos), that you learn how to combine and then use to build basic structures that may eventually be used to build more complex structures and so on. Imagine a foreign language is some kind of alien technology that you want to replicate and master. Would you prefer if you are given the blue print and some of its basic components, or would you rather try to do reverse engineering on it?

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For example, "adjectives modify nouns and only nouns" is a much simpler grammar "Lego piece" than "adverbs modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs." Right? So maybe we can start with that. The word bueno(good) is an adjective, like bonito (pretty), flaco (skinny), and malo (bad). Add another basic Lego piece such as "in Spanish, adjectives must agree in gender and number with the nouns they modify," and you can build:

El perro bonito /The pretty dog and  Los perros bonitos /The pretty dogs
El gato flaco / The skinny cat and Los gatos flacos / The skinny cats
El lobo malo / The bad wolf and Los lobos malos / The bad wolves
La niña buena / The good girl and Las niñas buenas / The good girls

A classic example of the proper use of bueno is the expression buenos días:
 

¡Hola, buenos días! -Joaquín.

Hi, good morning! -Joaquín.

Caption 7, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 16

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Now, what about bien (well)? Bien is an adverb, like rápidamente (fast) or mal (badly). Adverbs in Spanish are invariable, which means they have only one form and do not change according to gender or number. The main function of adverbs is to modify verbs:

Yo corro rápidamente /I ran fast
Ella baila mal / She dances badly
Yo lo hago bien / I do it well

Adverbs also modify other adverbs:

Yo corro bastante rápidamente / I ran quite fast
Ella baila muy mal / She dances very badly
Yo lo hago bien temprano / I do it very early (yes, bien can also mean "very")

Adverbs also modify adjectives:

El perro muy bonito /The very pretty dog 
El gato bastante flaco / The quite skinny cat
El lobo terriblemente malo / The terribly bad wolf
La niña tan buena / The so very good girl

So, if the adjective bueno can only be used to modify a noun, and bien can only be used to modify a verb, an adjective or another adverb, how can Spanish speakers say things like La sopa está buena (the soup is good) or Yo soy bueno (I'm good) all the time? Aren't estar and ser verbs? They are, but here we have to step up our game and remember that these two verbs are very special in Spanish—they are special Lego pieces with special rules. 

You use the verb ser with an adjective to describe something or someone by stating their characteristics as essential qualities that are an intrinsic part of who they are. In a way, you could say that this use of the verb ser +an adjective is redundant because, whether you use ser or not, you are essentially expressing the same thing about the object or person (noun) you are talking about. Another way to put it is that when you use the verb ser (to be) with an adjective you are just talking about a characteristic as if it were an action, in a verbal form. Compare our first set of examples:

El perro bonito / The pretty dog =  El perro es bonito /The dog is pretty
El gato flaco / The skinny cat = El gato es flaco / The cat is skinny
El lobo malo / The bad wolf = El lobo es malo / The wolf is bad
Las niñas buenas / The good girls = Las niñas son buenas / The girls are good

But if you use the verb estar (to be) with an adjective you are not talking about a characteristic as if it were an essential trait, you are talking about a characteristic of someone or something but not seeing it as intrinsically related to that someone or something. It may be a trait only present for the moment, for example. English doesn't usually makes this subtle distinction, so we have added some extra information to the translations so you can better grasp the difference of using estar instead or ser:

El perro es bonito / The dog is pretty ≠ El perro está bonito / The dog is pretty (right now but maybe not tomorrow). 
El gato es flaco / The cat is skinny  ≠ El gato está flaco / The cat is skinny (today, but it could get fat if we feed him). 

Now, since estar is not used to express an intrinsic quality, the following examples using estar can't be referring to moral or spiritual qualities (intrinsic by nature) such as being good or being bad, so malo (bad) and bueno (good) here can only refer to something different: 

El lobo es malo / The wolf is bad ≠ El lobo está malo / The wolf is sick (or tastes badly). 
Las niñas son buenas / The girls are good ≠ Las niñas están buenas / The girls are tasty (Something the Big Bad Wolf could say, for example (think buenas = sabrosas = tasty). As "tasty" in English buenas can also mean "good looking," which is a rather vulgar expression, by the way). 

That covers the use of ser and estar plus an adjective like bueno (good). Let's see what happens if you combine these verbs with an adverb, like bien (well). The first good news is that you never use the verb ser with and adverb. So you can never user bien (well) with the verb ser. Never. The following are all incorrect expressions: 

Yo soy bien
Nosotros somos tan bien
El carro es bien


You must use instead an adjective combined with the verb ser if you want to talk about ethical or intrinsic qualities:

Yo soy bueno / am good
Nosotros somos tan buenos / We are so good 
El carro es bueno / The car is good (maybe it's a good brand, or a good model, or just a good one for some other reason)

If you want to talk about non-essential, non-intrinsic, non-ethical qualities, you need to use an adjective combined with the verb estar:

Yo estoy bueno / am tasty (If a good meal could talk, it could say something like that. The expression can also mean " I'm good looking" by extension, see above).  
Nosotros estamos tan buenos / We are so tasty (or "good looking," see above).  
El carro está bueno / The car is in good condition.

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Or, finally, an adverb with the verb estar:

Yo estoy bien / am well
Nosotros estamos tan bien / We are so well
El carro está bien / The car is Ok (is doing well)

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Spanish Adjectives

Over the last few weeks you have seen a few video lessons about adjectives as part of our series Lecciones con Carolina. So you probably know by now that one of the most challenging aspects of Spanish adjectives is that they must agree in gender and number with the noun they modify. Having this in mind, we have prepared for you a brief review on how adjectives are built in Spanish.

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In Spanish, adjectives that end in -o have four forms. We have singular masculine adjectives ending in -o, and singular feminine ending in -a:

 

Es un gasto económico muy alto para la fundación.

Is a very high economic expense for the foundation.

Caption 28, Animales en familia - Adopta a Pino

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¡Qué casa más bonita tienen tus abuelos! ¿eh?

What a beautiful house your grandparents have! huh?

Caption 47, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos - Part 20

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The corresponding plural adjectives end in -os, for the masculine:

 

En el bulevar de los sueños rotos

On the boulevard of broken dreams

Caption 1, Joaquin Sabina - Por El Boulevar De Los Sueños Rotos

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and in -as, for the feminine:

 

Es una tonta ésa, como todas las tontas que se meten con Ivo.

She's a dumb, that one, like all the dumb ones who get involved with Ivo.

Captions 38-39, Muñeca Brava - 45 El secreto - Part 4

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We also have Spanish adjectives that end in -e. They only have two forms, -e for singular and -es for plural. Here is an example of an adjective ending in -e in the singular form that is used to modify the feminine noun fuerza (strength):

 

...anatómicamente y tienen fuerza física suficiente.

...anatomically when they already have enough physical strength.

Caption 42, Centro de Recuperación de la Fauna Salvaje - Veterinario Jesús López

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And here is an example of an adjective ending in -e in the plural form that is used to modify the masculine nouns vinos (nouns) and paisajes (landscapes), but also the feminine noun cervezas (beers):

 

En España tenemos de todos. Grandes vinos... grandes cervezas y grandes paisajes.

In Spain, we have them all. Great wines... great beers, and great landscapes.

Captions 41-42, Casa Pancho - vinos y pinchos - Part 2

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On the other hand, some Spanish adjectives end in a consonant, like popular (popular),voraz (voracious),  and fácil (easy). These are similar to the ones ending in -e: they only have two forms. The singular form is invariable for feminine and masculine nouns:

La tarea fácil / The easy homework.
El curso fácil  / The easy course.
El actor popular The popular actor.
La actriz popular The popular actress.
El lobo voraz / The voracious (male) wolf.
La loba voraz / The voracious (female) wolf.

And the plural form uses -es for both feminine and masculine nouns. Notice how you may learn to substitute z for c in some cases:

Las tareas fáciles / The easy homeworks.
Los curso fáciles  / The easy courses.
Los actores populares The popular actors.
Las actrices populares The popular actresses.
Los lobos voraces The voracious (male) wolves.
Las lobas voraces / The voracious (female) wolves.

Finally, there is a group of adjectives in Spanish that end in a consonant but don't follow the previous rule exactly. These are adjectives ending in -án-ón, and -or. For these, the feminine adds -a for the singular, and -as for the plural. The masculine uses -es for the plural form. The good news is there are not many adjectives in this group. Some examples are:

El hombre haragán / The lazy man.
La mujer haragana  The lazy woman.
El maestro fanfarrón The boastful (male) teacher.
La maestra fanfarrona The boastful (female) teacher.
El policía abusador The abusive policeman.
La policía abusadora The abusive policewoman.

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Can you figure out the corresponding plural forms? They are as follows:

Los hombres haraganes / The lazy men.
Las mujeres haraganas  The lazy women.
Los maestros fanfarrones The braggart (male) teachers.
La maestra fanfarrona The braggart (female) teachers.
Los policías abusadores The abusive policemen.
Las policías abusadoras The abusive policewomen. 

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Verbs with the prefix a

One of the most common prefixes used in Spanish is a. This prefix is very interesting because when coming from the Latin prefix ab- or abs-, a- denotes separation or privation, but when coming from the Latin prefix ad-, a- denotes approximation or presence. Another interesting and useful aspect of this prefix is that it can be added to certain nouns and adjectives to form verbs.

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Let's compare the different uses of the prefix a-. Take the word ausente (absent). This is a perfect example of the use of the prefix a- to indicate separation. We have a full movie titled El Ausente:  
 

Ya llegó el que andaba ausente y éste no consiente nada...

Now he arrived, the one who was absent and this one does not allow anything...

Captions 9-10, El Ausente - Acto 3 - Part 5

 Play Caption

 

Strikingly enough, the prefix a- can also mean approximation or presence. A good example is the verb asistir  meaning "to attend":
 

Siempre hemos de asistir personalmente a la entidad bancaria.

We should always go personally to the banking entity.

Caption 13, Raquel - Abrir una cuenta bancaria

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Much more practically useful is to know that we can add the prefix a- to other words, like nouns and adjectives, to form verbs. Below is an example from a video published this week. The verb acostumbrar (to get used to) is formed with the prefix a and the noun costumbre (custom, use):
 

Vea, Pepino, hay sitios donde les enseñan a los animales a que se vuelvan a acostumbrar a su hábitat.

Look, Pepino [Cucumber], there are places where they teach animals to become used to their habitat again.

Captions 10-11, Kikirikí - Animales - Part 7

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Now, using the noun tormento (torment) we get the verb atormentar (to torment): 
 

Eso seguro era algo que podía atormentarlos.

That surely was something that could torment them.

Caption 46, La Sub30 - Familias - Part 10

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There are so many! From susto (fright) you get asustar (to scare):
 

¡Ay no, Candelario! No me asustes.

Oh no, Candelario! Don't scare me.

Caption 44, Guillermina y Candelario - La Isla de las Serpientes

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You can also use adjectives. For example, lejos (far) and cerca (close) give us alejar (to put or to go far away), and acercar (to put or to get close):
 

Después me alejaré

Then I will go away

Caption 22, Reyli - Qué nos pasó

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Ella trataba de acercarse a mí.

She tried to get close to me.

Caption 9, Biografía - Pablo Echarri - Part 3

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Here is a list with more examples. Maybe you can find them in our Spanish catalog.

Tonto (fool) - atontar (to fool or become a fool)
Plano (flat) - aplanar (to flatten) 
Grande (big) - agrandar (to make bigger)
Pasión (passion) - apasionar (to become passionate)
Nido (nest) - anidar (to form a nest)
Morado (purple) - amoratar (to get or give bruises)
Francés (French) - afrancesar (to become French-like)
Grieta (crack) - agrietar (to crack)

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Cualquier, Cualquiera, and Cualesquiera

In one of Yabla's videos, Spanish veterinarian, Jesús López, uses two interesting and very similar words:

 

Cualquiera puede traer cualquier animal.

Anyone can bring any animal.

Caption 8, Centro de Recuperación de la Fauna Salvaje - Veterinario Jesús López

 Play Caption

  

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The Spanish words, cualquiera (anyone) and cualquier (any), may look very much alike, but their functions happen to be very different. While cualquiera is an indefinite pronoun, cualquier is an indefinite adjective.

For that reason, whenever the adjective, cualquier, is used, it must be accompanied by a noun, e.g. cualquier animal (any animal). Let's take a look at these examples:

 

En cualquier caso, los datos de España no son nada alentadores.

In any case, the data from Spain is not encouraging at all.

Captions 27-28, 3R - Campaña de reciclaje

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Mira los niños, juegan con globos de cualquier color

Look at the kids, they play with balloons of any color

Caption 9, Café Tacuba - Mediodía

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¿Puede venir cualquier persona aquí? -Sí.

Can any person come here? -Yes.

Caption 5, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos

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On the other hand, the pronoun, cualquiera (anyone), should not be used to accompany a noun, but rather to substitute it, as cualquiera means "anyone." For example, you can use the pronoun, cualquiera, to substitute the phrase, cualquier persona, in the previous example:

¿Puede venir cualquiera aquí? -Sí.
Can anyone come here? -Yes.

Here is another example containing the pronoun, cualquiera:
 

No cualquiera podía ser caballero. O sea...

Not just anyone could be a knight. I mean...

Caption 17, Antonio Vargas - Artista - ilustración

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Now, to further complicate the matter, Spanish has a common plural form for both the adjective, cualquier, and the pronoun, cualquiera, which is cualesquiera. Although the use of this plural form for both the adjective and the pronoun is uncommon in everyday speech, let's go ahead and transform the previous examples into their plural forms as an excercise. You will note that their English translations are identical to their singular equivalents. 

For the adjective, cualquier:

¿Pueden venir cualesquiera personas aquí? -Sí.*
Can any person come here? -Yes.

For the pronoun, cualquiera:

No cualesquiera podían ser caballeros.
Not just anyone could be a knight.

* As a side note, a shorter version for the adjective, cualesquier, also exists, but this is even less common and can generally only be found in old literature.

Finally, and very interestingly, there is one instance in which the word, cualquiera (and its plural, cualesquiera), can be used as a qualitative adjective meaning "insignificant" or "irrelevant." When used in this manner, the adjective always comes after the noun rather than before it. This use is equivalent to the English expression "any old" or "just any."  Let's see an example. 
 

Sólo espera, que hoy no será un día cualquiera

Just wait, because today won't be any old day

Caption 49, Cuarto poder - Aquí no se está jugando

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This adjective is most commonly used in negative phrases:

Este no es un perro cualquiera; es el perro de mi padre. / This is not just any dog. It's my father's dog.
No era un tipo cualquiera; era el jefe de la tribu. / He wasn't just any guy. He was the tribe's chief.

By extension, however unfairly, the expressions, un cualquiera and una cualquiera, can mean "a nobody" and "a prostitute" (or low class or sexually promiscous woman), respectively. You can find an example in our Argentinian telenovela, Muñeca Brava:

 

Pero a mí no me va a ofender porque yo no soy una cualquiera.

But you're not going to disrespect me because I am not a floozy.

Captions 83-84, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reunión

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This is the end of the lesson. Thank you for reading, and don't forget to send us you comments and suggestions.

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