Let's talk about the passive voice in Spanish!
Let's start by understanding the concept of voz (voice) in a sentence- in English or Spanish. This refers to the relationship between a sentence's subject and verb. A sentence's voice can be active or passive. But what's the difference?
In the active voice, the subject performs a verb's action onto an object and is thus considered the sentence's actor or agent (the person or thing that carries out the action). Let's see some examples:
Pedro come galletas.
"Pedro come galletas" [Pedro eats cookies].Play Caption
In this caption, Pedro is the subject/agent who executes the action of "eating" the object (the cookies).
eh... pintábamos muchísimos fondos oscuros
um... we painted a ton of dark backgrounds
Caption 99, María Marí Su pasión por su arte - Part 1Play Caption
In this example, "we" is the subject/agent who carried out the action of "painting" the object, "a ton of dark backgrounds."
Gabriel García Márquez escribió muchos libros.
Gabriel García Márquez wrote a lot of books.Play Caption
And finally, here, Gabriel García Márquez is the subject, and agent, who performed the action of "writing" the object (a lot of books).
The Passive Voice
In the passive voice, on the other hand, what was previously the object in the active voice actually becomes the subject, but, this time, receives the action of the verb. At the same time, the previous subject becomes a "passive agent" who may or may not be mentioned at the end of the sentence. That said, before finding out how to convey sentences in the passive voice in Spanish, let's convert our previous English examples of the active voice to the passive voice:
Active: Pedro eats cookies
Passive: Cookies are eaten by Pedro
um... we painted a ton of dark backgrounds
um... a ton of dark backgrounds were painted by us
Active: Gabriel García Márquez wrote a lot of books.
Passive: A lot of books were written by Gabriel García Márquez.
Now that we have a better concept of the passive voice, how do we express it in Spanish? Let's learn two different formulas for doing so.
In this first formula, the verb ser (to be) is conjugated in accordance with the subject of the sentence and followed by a past participle (you may wish to consult this lesson that covers conjugating the past participle). In this construction, the participle (the equivalent of English words like "spoken," "eaten," "gone," etc.) must agree with the subject in terms of number and gender. Subsequently, por plus an agent may be optionally added to explain who or what completed the action. Let's take a look at some examples of this formula in Spanish:
y es escrito por mí personalmente.
and is personally written by me.
Caption 46, Los Tiempos de Pablo Escobar Capítulo 1 - Part 7Play Caption
En el Siglo dieciocho, las costas de San José en Almería eran asaltadas frecuentemente por piratas
In the eighteenth century, the coasts of San José in Almería were assaulted frequently by pirates
Captions 32-33, Club de las ideas Batería de breves - Part 1Play Caption
Las tarjetas fueron usadas
The cards were usedPlay Caption
Note that in accordance with las tarjetas, the third person plural of ser, fueron, is used along with the feminine plural participle usadas. However, in contrast to the other two examples where por is used to identify the person or people who carried out the action, here, the agent is unknown and thus unmentioned. Let's move on to our second formula.
This construction is formed with se and a verb in third person singular or plural, depending upon whether what is being spoken about (the subject) is singular or plural. Let's see a few examples:
Este vino se hace con una de las uvas más populares
This wine is made with one of the most popular grapes
Caption 21, Amaya Cata de vinosPlay Caption
las corridas se celebraban en la Plaza Mayor.
bullfights were held in the Plaza Mayor.
Caption 5, El Trip MadridPlay Caption
"Garr", no entiendo para qué se hicieron esos uniformes.
Garr, I don't understand why those uniforms were made.
Caption 53, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 2Play Caption
In the first caption, the verb hacer is conjugated in the third person singular to agree with el vino, while celebrar and hacer in the second and third examples are plural in agreement with las corridas and los uniformes. Notice that there is no mention of the entity who performed the action in any of these sentences since this second formula rarely mentions the action's agent.
The passive voice is more commonly encountered in the media or literature or when the agent that carried out the action is unknown or considered less relevant. It can only be used with transitive verbs, or verbs that are capable of transmitting some action onto a direct object. In terms of tenses, you may have noticed that our examples have included the present, imperfect, and preterite. While the passive voice formulas contain particular grammatical specifications, there is no mention of any of the specific Spanish verb tenses because active Spanish sentences in any verb tense can be converted to the passive voice. With this in mind, let's conclude this lesson with a present perfect tense example of the verb descubrir (to discover) in the active as well as both formats of the passive voice:
Científicos han descubierto que cuando un abrazo dura más de veinte segundos se produce un efecto terapéutico
Scientists have discovered that when a hug lasts more than twenty seconds, a therapeutic effect is produced
Captions 5-7, Aprendiendo con Silvia El abrazoPlay Caption
Ya que ellos, pues, han sido descubiertos en Inglaterra
Since they, well, have been discovered in England
Caption 40, Hugo Rodríguez Duendes artesanalesPlay Caption
porque se han descubierto muchas virtudes
because many virtues have been discovered
Caption 9, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 1Play Caption
That's all for today. For more information on the passive voice in Spanish, check out this four-part video series on La voz pasiva as well as this lesson on the passive vs. impersonal se constructions. And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
Let's talk about cumpleaños (birthdays) in Spanish!
To kick off our lesson on birthdays in Spanish, let's first recall that the way to say that you are a certain edad (age) in Spanish is tener años (literally "to have years"). So, if you wanted to ask someone how old they were in Spanish, you could say:
¿Cuántos años tienes?
How old are you?
Caption 11, El Aula Azul Los tutti fruttiPlay Caption
(or ¿Cuántos años tiene? when addressing someone as the more formal usted). And if someone asks you how old you are, you could say tengo (insert a number) años, as we see here:
Tengo dieciséis años.
I'm sixteen years old.
Caption 7, Cleer Entrevista a LilaPlay Caption
Like in English, if you wanted to say just "I'm sixteen" without the "years old," you could omit the word años and say simply, "Tengo dieciséis." And, as you could say, "What's your age?" in English, in Spanish, you could say:
¿Tú qué edad tienes? ¿Yo? Veinticuatro.
How old are you? Me? Twenty-four.
Captions 6-7, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 8Play Caption
(This question could be translated as "How old are you?" as well). If you need a refresher on the numbers in Spanish, we invite you to read this lesson on The Numbers from One to One Hundred in Spanish.
Finally, if you wish to speak more generally about age in Spanish, you might use adjectives like jóven (young), viejo/a (old),
adolescente (teenage/adolescent), de edad media (middle-aged), or anciano/a (elderly), although you shouldn't forget that la edad es solo un número (age is just a number)!
The Spanish word for birthday, (el) cumpleaños, comes from the verb cumplir años, which means "to have a birthday." Its literal meaning is something like "to complete" or "accomplish years," which makes sense since getting to the next age sometimes feels like an accomplishment! So, to ask someone when his or her birthday is, you might say:
¿Cuándo cumple(s) (años)?
When's your birthday?
Cumple is, of course, the usted (formal "you") form, while cumples is the less formal version with tú. And the word años (years) is in parentheses because including it is optional, as you will see in the following clip that includes both versions (notice that the second instance of cumplir is conjugated with vos, or the informal "you" in certain regions):
¡No lo puedo creer! -¡Yo cumplo mañana! ¿Mañana cumplís años? -¡Sí, mañana! -¡Llegué pa' la fiesta!
I can't believe it! -My birthday is tomorrow! Tomorrow is your birthday? -Yes, tomorrow! -I arrived [just in time] for the party!
Captions 89-90, Muñeca Brava 3 Nueva Casa - Part 8Play Caption
We also see the first person conjugation with yo (I), which will come in handy when you want to tell someone when your birthday is:
Cumplo el dos de abril.
My birthday is April second.
Note that when this verb is used with a certain number, it means "to turn (a certain number of) years old."
Yo hoy cumplo treinta y seis años;
Today I turn thirty-six;
Caption 46, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 1Play Caption
And to say you "just turned" a certain age, you might say:
Tengo nueve años recién cumplidos. [Paula y Ester]
I just turned nine years old. [Paula and Ester]
Caption 3, Paula y Ester Los objetos de PaulaPlay Caption
To conclude this section, let's take a look at slightly more literal options for asking someone when his or her birthday is and saying when yours is, noting that tu and su are the less and more formal ways to say "your," respectively:
¿Cuándo es tu/su cumpleaños? -Mi cumpleaños es el dos de abril
When is your birthday? -My birthday is April second.
Or, you could use the more colloquial, abbreviated form and say merely: "¿Cuándo es tu/su cumple?"
Another, more formal way to ask someone when they "were born" is with the verb nacer, with a question like: "¿Cuándo naciste (tú)?" or "¿Cuándo nació (usted)?" Now, let's see how to say "I was born":
Nací el catorce de enero de mil novecientos ochenta y siete.
I was born on January fourteenth, nineteen eighty-seven.
Caption 18, Raquel Poner una denunciaPlay Caption
As this question might evoke a more detailed response involving your birth month/year, if you need to review how to say these things in Spanish, check out these lessons on How to Write and Say the Months in Spanish and Saying Years in Spanish. And remember that, like in English, Spanish has a different word for "birthdate" (as opposed to "birthday"), which is fecha de nacimiento.
Now that you know how to talk about age and birthdays in Spanish, let's learn some vocabulary to festejar or celebrar (both mean "to celebrate") a feliz cumpleaños (happy birthday).
Perhaps you want to plan a fiesta de cumpleaños (birthday party). The verbs for having, or throwing a party in Spanish include hacer (to make/do), preparar (to prepare), or organizar (to organize) una fiesta (a party):
Karla, sabes, me gustaría hacer una fiesta
Karla, you know, I'd like to have a party
Caption 10, Karla e Isabel Preparar una fiestaPlay Caption
First, you'd better send out some invitaciones (invitations) to the lista de invitados (guest list).
Ya he enviado las invitaciones a todos mis amigos
I have already sent the invitations to all my friends
Caption 3, Marta Vocabulario de CumpleañosPlay Caption
When the guests arrive, they just might come bearing regalos (gifts). The verb for giving a gift is regalar. They might also give you a tarjeta de cumpleaños, which can also be called a tarjeta de felicitación (literally a "congratulations card"). In fact, in addition to telling you "Feliz cumpleaños" on your birthday, Spanish speakers might say "Felicitaciones" (Congratulations) or "Te/le felicito" (I congratulate you).
In terms of the decoraciones (decorations), you've got to have balloons! While globo is probably the most common word for "balloon" in Spanish, different countries have different words like balón, vejiga (which also means bladder!), chimbomba, or just bomba.
O una bomba de papel metalizado.
Or a silver paper balloon.
Caption 1, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 6Play Caption
And don't forget the cake! Words for "cake," which also vary from country to country, include la tarta, el pastel, la torta, and el bizcocho. Let's hear a couple of these in action:
Mirad, aquí está la tarta. Cumplo treinta y seis.
Look, here's the cake. I'm turning thirty-six.
Caption 11, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 1Play Caption
Un rol protagónico lo tiene el pastel de la quinceañera
The birthday girl's cake plays a leading role
Caption 33, Venezuela La tradición de los quince añosPlay Caption
In the second example, quinceañera refers to the birthday girl at a special, coming-of-age celebration for girls' fifteenth birthday that is celebrated in many Latin American countries (this word can also refer to the party itself). The video La tradición de los quince elaborates on this custom.
And finally, let's talk about las velas (candles) that go on a birthday cake. The verb for "blowing" them (out) is soplar, during which the cumpleañero/a (birthday boy/girl) should pedir deseos (make wishes):
Y yo que soy la cumpleañera, pido un deseo y soplo las velas.
And I, as I'm the birthday girl, make a wish and blow out the candles.
Captions 13-14, Marta Vocabulario de CumpleañosPlay Caption
And we mustn't forget the "Happy Birthday" song, which shares the same tune in English and Spanish. Let's listen to a couple of different versions in Spanish:
Cumpleaños feliz Cumpleaños feliz Cumpleaños felices Te deseamos a ti
Happy Birthday Happy Birthday Happy Birthdays We wish to youPlay Caption
Que los cumplas feliz.
Happy birthday to you.
Caption 10, Marta Vocabulario de CumpleañosPlay Caption
That's all for today. To hear many of these Spanish birthday vocabulary words in action and learn some more, you might watch Marta- Vocabulario de cumpleaños. In the meantime, we hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and... don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments!
Like in English, the Spanish pluperfect tense describes something that happened before something else, for example, something that "had" already happened at a certain point in time or before another past action. Let's find out how to conjugate the Spanish pluperfect tense and hear several examples in action.
The Spanish pluperfect tense, which is sometimes referred to as the past perfect tense, is pretty easy to conjugate! It is very similar to the Spanish present perfect tense (the verb haber in the present tense + the participle) except that haber will be conjugated in the Spanish imperfect tense. So, the formula for the pluperfect tense in Spanish would be:
haber in the imperfect tense + the participle
Let's first take a look at the imperfect conjugation of haber:
|Personal Pronoun:||Conjugation of Haber:|
Now we need a Spanish participle. These correspond to English participles (which often but not always end in -ed or -en). Examples include regular -ar verbs like hablado (talked/spoken) and mirado (looked), regular -er verbs like comido (eaten) and aprendido (learned), regular -ir verbs like recibido (received) and dormido (slept), and irregular verbs like abierto (opened), visto (seen), and dicho (said). For a list of more irregular Spanish participles as well as a detailed explanation of how to conjugate participles in Spanish, we invite you to consult this lesson on the present perfect tense in Spanish.
Whereas the verb haber in the present tense can be translated as "have" in the context of the present perfect in examples like Yo he comido (I have eaten), Tú has comenzado (You have begun), or Nosotros/as hemos hablado (We have talked/spoken), the translation for the imperfect conjugation of haber within the pluperfect tense is "had." That said, let's look at those same verbs conjugated in the pluperfect, noting their translations:
Yo había comido: I had eaten
Tú habías comenzado: You had begun
Nosotros/as habíamos hablado: We had talked/spoken
Now that we know how to conjugate the Spanish pluperfect and how to translate it, let's view a few examples. You will note from the translations that the Spanish pluperfect is used in very similar situations as the pluperfect in English.
Cuando Cenicienta quiso dar las gracias, el hada ya había desaparecido.
When Cinderella tried to say thank you, the fairy had already disappeared.
Caption 1, Cuentos de hadas Cenicienta - Part 2Play Caption
Here, the pluperfect is used to indicate that the fairy "had disappeared" prior to the moment that Cinderella "tried" to say goodbye (as described by the preterite verb quiso). Let's see another one:
Pero es que nunca había visto una anguila.
But the thing is that I had never seen an eel.Play Caption
In this example, rather than expressing that "he'd" never "seen" an eel before some other past action, the speaker employs the pluperfect to explain that, at the moment in the past that he is describing, he "hadn't seen" an eel ever in his life. Let's look at one more:
decidieron regresar al lugar de donde habían venido.
they decided to return to the place where they had come from.Play Caption
In this final example, the preterite verb decidieron lets us know that in that moment in the past, "they decided" to go back to the location where they "had come from" (at some other moment in time prior to deciding to go back, of course!).
That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand how the Spanish pluperfect tense is conjugated and used... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
What would you do if you won the lottery? Spanish uses a type of conditional sentence known as the segunda condicional (second conditional) to describe these types of scenarios, which is formed with a simple formula that we will cover today.
There are many different types of Spanish conditionals, or conditional sentences. These are sentences that describe the result "if" a certain condition were in place. They are formed with a conditional si, or "if" clause, plus a main clause, and are classified according to the likelihood of the hypothetical situation. The second conditional typically focuses on scenarios that are unlikely or hypothetical, but can also be used to make an utterance extra polite.
Let's take a look at the formula for the second conditional in Spanish:
Si + imperfect subjunctive verb + conditional verb
If you need to learn or review these tenses or how to conjugate them, we recommend these lessons on the Spanish imperfect subjunctive tense, which describes the unlikely or hypothetical action, and the Spanish conditional tense which conveys the action(s) that "would" happen if some other condition "were" in place.
Let's take a look at several examples of the Spanish second conditional and some situations in which it could be employed. We'll start with some sentences that describe very unlikely situations:
Si me tocara la lotería, viajaría por todo el mundo, y me alojaría en los hoteles más lujosos.
If I won the lottery, I'd travel around the whole world, and I'd stay at the most luxurious hotels.
Captions 26-27, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: La segunda condicionalPlay Caption
Si tuvieras que morir, no podrías dejarme aquí
If you had to die, you couldn't leave me here
Caption 8, La Gusana Ciega No Me TientesPlay Caption
Si pudiera bajarte una estrella del cielo Lo haría sin pensarlo dos veces
If I could lower you down a star from the sky I'd do it without thinking twice
Captions 5-6, Enrique Iglesias Cuando me enamoroPlay Caption
Y si tuvieras hijos, ¿te gustaría que practicaran el surf también?
And if you had kids, would you like them to surf as well?
Captions 63-64, El Aula Azul Un día de surfPlay Caption
Si tuviera que definirla en una sola palabra, sería amor.
If I had to define her in just one word, it would be love.
Caption 22, Fermín y los gatos Mi gata PoeskaPlay Caption
Bueno, si yo fuera tú, hablaría con él.
Well, if I were you, I would speak with him.Play Caption
And finally, let's see an example where the second conditional is used in a likely scenario for the sake of politeness:
Pues, si pudiera venir a la oficina mañana a las nueve, la ubicaríamos en su puesto enseguida.
Well, if you could come to the office tomorrow at nine, we would get you acquainted with your position right away.
Captions 28-29, Negocios Empezar en un nuevo trabajo - Part 1Play Caption
Note that while the first conditional si puede venir a la oficina mañana a las nueve, la ubicaremos en su puesto enseguida (if you can come to the office tomorrow at nine, we will get you acquainted with your position right away) could also have been used in this situation, the second conditional in Spanish is sometimes chosen to infuse a sentence with extra formality.
In some cases, the order of the imperfect subjunctive and the conditional verbs can be flipped. Let's take a look at a couple of examples:
Pero, por eso, estamos imaginando qué pasaría si nos tocara la lotería,
But that's why we're imagining what would happen if we won the lottery,
Captions 34-35, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 2Play Caption
¿Qué harías si te encontraras un sobre con cincuenta mil euros?
What would you do if you found an envelope with fifty thousand euros?Play Caption
That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped you to understand a very common formula for talking about hypothetical situations in Spanish. For further information on this topic, we recommend this entertaining video entitled La Doctora Consejos: La segunda condicional (Doctor Advice: The Second Conditional) by El Aula Azul, or this more in-depth lesson called La Segunda Condicional by Clase El Aula Azul. And as always... don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
How do you say "you" in Spanish? In contrast to English, where "you" just say "you," there are a plethora of different ways to say this in Spanish, which we'll explore today.
Subject pronouns in Spanish (e.g. yo (I), tú (you), él/ella (he/she), etc.) are the most basic way to say "you." While in English, "you" is the only second person subject pronoun, in Spanish, there are five different ones, and the one you choose will depend on such factors as whether you are addressing one or more than one person, if the situation is more or less formal, and what region you are in. Let's take a closer look.
Simply put, tú means "you" for speaking to just one person in less formal situations, such as speaking to someone you already know. This is the most common familiar second person subject pronoun in most Spanish-speaking countries.
Tú hablas obviamente muy bien el español, pero
You obviously speak Spanish very well, butPlay Caption
Vos is used in a similar fashion as tú in certain countries/regions. It is heard predominantly in Argentina and Uruguay but also in certain areas of Paraguay, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Mexico, and Venezuela.
¿Y vos hablás de mí?
And you talk about me?
Caption 51, Muñeca Brava 18 - La Apuesta - Part 11Play Caption
Usted is used to address just one person in more formal situations. Examples might be when you don't know someone and wish to be polite or, perhaps, when addressing an elder.
¿Usted habla del ganso ese? -Sí.
Are you talking about that goose? -Yes.
Caption 54, Muñeca Brava 1 Piloto - Part 10Play Caption
Vosotros and vosotras are employed to address more than one person informally and are thus the plural equivalent of tú. Vosotros is used for a group of all males or a mixed male-female group, while vosotras is used for more than one person when everyone is female. Vosotros and vosotras are only used in Spain.
You [plural] speak.
Caption 11, Fundamentos del Español 7 - Ser y EstarPlay Caption
Ustedes is used in all Spanish-speaking countries except Spain as the only plural form of saying "you," regardless of formality. However, in Spain, it is used more formally as the plural equivalent of usted (to distinguish it with the less formal vosotros/as).
Y es que hay muchas diferencias entre la forma en que ustedes hablan el español
And it's just that there are a lot of differences between the way in which you guys speak Spanish
Captions 44-45, Carlos y Xavi Part 2 Ustedes y VosotrosPlay Caption
All of the aforementioned subject pronouns in these clips have been translated as "you" with the exception of the last one, which was translated with the informal "you guys" to emphasize that it is directed to more than one person. However, it would be perfectly acceptable to translate ustedes as merely "you" since English often employs this pronoun to address multiple people.
For an abundance of additional information on these five subject pronouns for "you" in Spanish, we recommend Carlos' five-part video series on the Tuteo, ustedeo y voseo.
As you may have noticed in the examples above, all of which contain the simple present form of the verb hablar (to speak), the form of "you" utilized affects the verb conjugation. Although this happens in every verb tense in Spanish, let's start by taking a look at the simple present tense conjugations of three common Spanish verbs with their various "you" forms highlighted.
You will note that the verb conjugations for all of the five forms of "you" in Spanish differ from one another. Additionally, the conjugation for usted is the same as the conjugation for the third person singular él/ella (he/she) while the conjugation for ustedes is the same as the third person plural conjugation for ellos/ellas (they). Additionally, the conjugations for vos and vosotros/as are the same for -ir verbs.
Remember that in Spanish, you don't necessarily need to explicitly say the subject pronoun in order to know which one is in use because the verb tenses themselves make that clear. That said, let's examine a few examples with different forms of "you" and the verb saber (to know).
¿Sabéis qué es un volcán?
Do you know what a volcano is?
Caption 18, Aprendiendo con Silvia Los volcanesPlay Caption
Ay, ¿sabes qué?
Oh, you know what?
Caption 21, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 1Play Caption
¿Sabe que no me parece suficiente?
Do you know that it doesn't seem like enough to me?Play Caption
Despite the absence of subject pronouns, you can tell from the verbs' conjugation that the first example refers to vosotros, the second example refers to tú, and the third example refers to usted, and for this reason, all three have been translated with "you know." While the third example could technically refer to él or ella as well since the conjugations for all three are the same, the context (one person speaking directly to another rather than talking about anyone else) alerts you that the speaker is addressing the other person as usted.
Subject pronouns are not the only way to represent the word "you" in Spanish. Other types of Spanish pronouns (direct object, indirect object, and prepositional) also mean "you." Let's see which of each of these types of pronouns correspond with which "you" subject pronouns:
|Subject Pronoun||Direct Object Pronoun||Indirect Object Pronoun||Prepositional Pronoun|
While we won't delve too deeply into these topics, we will provide a brief summary of each of them and give you some examples.
Direct object pronouns take the place of the direct object (the recipient of an action) in a sentence and answer the question of "what" or "who." Let's see a couple of examples:
Vale, no... no os veo... no os veo con mucha...
OK, I don't... I don't see you... I don't see you with a lot...Play Caption
Los veo en el próximo video.
See you in the next video.
Caption 44, Manos a la obra Postres de MinecraftPlay Caption
In both examples, the translation of the direct object pronoun is "you." In the first, os takes the place of vosotros, and in the second, los takes the place of ustedes.
Indirect object pronouns answer the question "to who/whom" or "for who/whom" an action is carried out. Let's take a look:
De verdad, yo le doy la plata que tengo ahí;
Seriously, I'll give you the money I have there;Play Caption
Otra recomendación que les puedo hacer es que traigan zapatos para el agua,
Another recommendation that I can give you is to bring water shoes,
Captions 35-36, Alan x el mundo Mi playa favorita de México! - Part 2Play Caption
In the first example, le lets you know that the speaker will give the money "to" usted, while in the second, the recommendation is being given "to" ustedes. While the indirect object pronouns in these two captions have been translated with simply "you," the translator might also have opted for "I'll give the money I have there to you" and/or "Another recommendation that I can give to you is to bring water shoes."
To learn more about indirect and direct object pronouns, check out this two-part lesson on How to Use Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns.
Prepositional pronouns are pronouns that follow a preposition (words like para (for), de (of, about), en (in, about), etc.) in a sentence.
Este libro es para ti. Este libro es para vos.
This book is for you. This book is for you.
Captions 47-48, Carlos y Cyndy Uso del Voseo en ArgentinaPlay Caption
y hoy, he preparado para ustedes estos objetos
and today, I've prepared these objects for youPlay Caption
Interestingly, ti is the only prepositional pronoun meaning "you" that differs in form from its corresponding subject pronoun.
We hope that this lesson has made clear the many different ways that Spanish expresses the concept of "you." That's all for today... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
Now that you've learned how to introduce yourself in Spanish, let's go over some basic questions and answers when telling others about ourselves or asking about them.
Asking someone where they are from might be a common introductory question when getting to know someone. Let's take a look at both the tú (informal "you") and usted (formal "you") forms of this question:
O, ¿de dónde eres? ¿De dónde es?
Or, where are you from? [with "tú"]. Where are you from? [with "usted"].
Captions 13-14, Karla e Isabel Tú y UstedPlay Caption
And, what if someone asks you this question? You might use the construction Yo soy de (I'm from) to say the city, country, etc. you come from. Let's see some examples:
Yo soy de San Fernando, Cádiz.
I am from San Fernando, Cádiz.
Caption 27, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 21Play Caption
Yo soy de Argentina, de la provincia de Córdoba, eh... exactamente de un pueblito que se llama Río Ceballos,
I'm from Argentina, from the province of Córdoba, um... precisely from a little town called Río Ceballos;
Captions 8-9, Luana y Fede ViajesPlay Caption
Alternatively, you might say your nationality, particularly when talking about yourself in a foreign country:
Yo soy argentina.
Caption 53, Carlos y Cyndy Uso del Voseo en ArgentinaPlay Caption
Caption 2, Madrid Un recorrido por la capital de EspañaPlay Caption
To learn more about how to talk about nationalities in Spanish, check out this lesson on Adjectives of Nationality in Spanish. Let's explore some additional common questions/answers when getting acquainted with someone in Spanish.
Another is common question you might ask or get asked is, "What do you do (for a living)"? Let's explore a few ways to ask this question:
Bueno, perdón. ¿Tú a qué te dedicas?
Well, sorry. What do you do?Play Caption
¿En qué trabajas tú, Inmaculada?
In what [field] do you work, Inmaculada?
Caption 31, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 12Play Caption
The usted versions would be "¿Usted a qué se dedica?" and "¿En qué trabaja usted?" Another possible way to ask this question is:
¿Cuál es tu/su trabajo?
What's your job?
Now, let's look at some possible responses.
Me dedico a vender la leche.
I sell milk for a living.
Caption 2, Milkman Milk Seller, NicaraguaPlay Caption
Yo trabajo en una tienda de ropa de segunda mano... -Ah...
I work at a second hand clothing store... -Oh...
Caption 69, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 14Play Caption
No, yo soy azafata.
No, I'm a flight attendant.Play Caption
Note that when talking about your profession in Spanish, the appropriate verb is ser ("to be" for fixed characteristics) rather than estar ("to be" for more temporary states) and that, in Spanish, unlike English, you don't include the article. For that reason, the aforementioned example reads soy azafata rather than soy una azafata.
The ways to say "How old are you?" in Spanish are "¿Cuántos años tienes?" when using tú and "¿Cuántos años tiene?" with addressing someone with usted. Let's hear the tú version in action:
¿Tú cuántos años tienes, Mariano?
How old are you, Mariano?
Caption 69, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 6Play Caption
To answer this question, we use the verb tener años, which literally means "to have years," inserting the correct number of years between these two words. This is the Spanish equivalent of "being (a certain number) of years old." Let's take a look:
Tengo dieciséis años.
I'm sixteen years old.
Caption 7, Cleer Entrevista a LilaPlay Caption
If you'd like to learn or refresh your Spanish numbers, check out the lesson The Numbers from One to One Hundred in Spanish.
In this caption, you will hear both the question and answer to this question.
¿Y eres casado o soltero? Estoy casado con una mujer italiana de Nápoles.
And are you married or single? I'm married to an Italian woman from Naples.
Captions 8-9, Carlos y Xavi Part 2 Ustedes y VosotrosPlay Caption
You might notice that in the example above, the first speaker uses the verb ser, saying "¿Y eres casado...?" instead of "¿Y estás casado?" while the second speaker uses the verb estar to answer. Although the adjective casado/a (married) is traditionally used with the verb estar, you might hear it used with ser in some Spanish-speaking regions. For more on the nuances of these two verbs, check out Ser vs. Estar- Yo Soy and Ser vs. Estar- Yo Estoy.
We ask both of these questions with the Spanish verb tener (to have), which is conjugated as tiene with usted and tienes with tú. Let's hear how to ask these two questions with tú:
¿Tienes hijos? -No.
Do you have children? -No.
Caption 87, Adícora, Venezuela El tatuaje de RosanaPlay Caption
¿Tienes hermanos o hermanas?
Do you have brothers or sisters?
Caption 5, Carlos y Xavi Part 2 Ustedes y VosotrosPlay Caption
It is worth noting that, as the plural masculine noun los hermanos could refer to either just "brothers" or to both "brothers and sisters" or "siblings," you could simply say "¿Tienes hermanos?" when asking if someone has brothers and/or sisters. Similarly, los hijos could specifically mean "sons" or include both male and female "children." The singular and plural feminine nouns la(s) hermana(s) and la(s) hijas, on the other hand, refer to specifically female "sister(s)" and "daughter(s)." With that in mind, let's look at some potential answers to these questions:
Yo tengo dos hijos pequeños y...
I have two small children, and...
Caption 66, El Aula Azul Un día de surfPlay Caption
Y, bueno, eh... tengo una hija de ocho años, ya sabéis.
And, well, um... I have an eight-year-old daughter, you already know.
Caption 26, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 1Play Caption
Sí, tengo una hermana más pequeña que tiene tres años menos.
Yes, I have a younger sister who is three years younger.
Caption 6, Carlos y Xavi Part 2 Ustedes y VosotrosPlay Caption
Let's move on to our last common question when getting to know someone in Spanish.
Here are some possible ways to broach the topic of what people like to do when they aren't working.
¿qué te gusta hacer?
what do you like to do?
Caption 24, Cleer Entrevista a LilaPlay Caption
¿Qué cosas te gusta hacer en tu tiempo libre?
What do you like to do in your free time?Play Caption
Or, you could simply say: "¿Qué te gusta hacer en tu tiempo libre?" A good formula for answering what you like to do is to say (a mí) me gusta (I like) or (a mí) me encanta (I love) plus a verb in the infinitive. Let's see some examples:
Me gusta salir a rumbear...
I like to go out dancing...
Caption 15, Zoraida Lo que gusta hacerPlay Caption
Pues, me gusta escuchar música, eh... pintar, y me gusta viajar mucho.
Well, I like to listen to music, um... paint, and I like to travel a lot.
Captions 25-26, Cleer Entrevista a LilaPlay Caption
y me encanta ir a la playa con mis amigos.
and I love going to the beach with my friends.
Caption 39, Clara y Cristina SaludarPlay Caption
We hope that this lesson has helped you learn some basic questions/answers for getting to know someone and telling them about yourself. Can you think of any other preliminary question you would like to learn to ask or answer in Spanish? Feel free to let us know with your suggestions and comments.
Let's learn some common expressions to talk about being hungry or thirsty in Spanish (or to say we're not)!
The most common way to talk about "being hungry" in Spanish is with an idiomatic expression with the verb tener, which is tener hambre (literally "to have hunger"). So, if you wanted to say "I'm hungry," in Spanish, you'd say "Tengo hambre."
Fede, tengo hambre. Tengo hambre, Fede.
Fede, I'm hungry. I'm hungry, Fede.
Captions 34-35, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 1 - Part 7Play Caption
Now, let's listen to this verb in question form, conjugated with tú (the single familiar "you"):
Are you hungry?Play Caption
An alternative way to talk about hunger in Spanish is with the verb estar (to be) plus the adjective hambriento/a(s). Remember that in the case of adjectives, they must agree in terms of both gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural) with the subject in question. Let's take a look at an example with a single, female speaker:
Y yo estoy hambrienta.
And I am hungry.
Caption 7, Cata y Cleer En el restaurantePlay Caption
Now, let's look at some more dramatic ways to say "I'm hungry" in Spanish (something more akin to "I'm starving").
Sí, ¿y viene la comida o no? Pues yo estoy muerto de hambre.
Yes, and is the food coming or not? I am dying of hunger.
Caption 35, Muñeca Brava 44 El encuentro - Part 6Play Caption
The adjective muerto/a(s) literally means "dead," of course, but the expression estar muerto/a(s) de hambre is roughly equivalent to the English "dying of hunger." Let's see a couple more:
¿por qué no me invita a desayunar algo que estoy que me muero de hambre?
why don't you serve me something for breakfast since I'm dying of hunger?
Captions 37-38, Tu Voz Estéreo Embalsamado - Part 5Play Caption
¿Pero será que podemos comer ya, por favor, que me estoy desmayando de hambre?
But could we please start eating since I'm passing out from hunger?
Caption 45, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 12 - Part 3Play Caption
Tener sed (literally "to have thirst") is probably the most common way to say "I'm thirsty" in Spanish. In the first person this would be: "Tengo sed" (I'm thirsty). Now, let's look at an example with tú:
Es muy útil si tienes sed y necesitas beber agua.
It's very useful if you're thirsty and need to drink water.
Caption 29, El Aula Azul Adivina qué es - Part 1Play Caption
And, in the same way you could say you are "dying with hunger," you could also use estar muerto/a(s) de sed to say you are "dying of thirst":
¡Estabas muerta de sed!
You were dying of thirst!
Caption 1, Muñeca Brava 47 Esperanzas - Part 5Play Caption
Another way to say "to be thirsty" in Spanish is estar sediento/a(s):
y yo... yo estoy muy, muy sedienta.
and I... I'm very, very thirsty.
Caption 42, Kikirikí Agua - Part 3Play Caption
To ask you if you're thirsty, someone might say "¿Tiene(s) sed?" (Are you thirsty?) or simply ask:
¿Quieres tomar algo, Pablo?
Do you want something to drink, Pablo?Play Caption
Although this might initially sound like "Do you want to take something?" to a non-native speaker, remember that the verb tomar additionally means "to drink" in Spanish. The common expression "¿Quiere(s) tomar algo?" is thus used to ask someone in Spanish if he or she would "like something to drink."
So, what if you want to say you're not hungry in Spanish? You can simply use the verb tener hambre with the word "no" in front of it:
Pero igual no tengo hambre.
But anyway, I'm not hungry.
Caption 58, Muñeca Brava 3 Nueva Casa - Part 6Play Caption
Another option would be the verb llenarse (to be full). So, if someone asks you if you're hungry, you might use this verb in the preterite (simple past) tense to say:
No, gracias. Ya me llené.
No, thank you. I'm full (literally: "I already got full").
Now let's listen to this verb in the present:
Se infla, como que se llena,
You get bloated, like, you get full,Play Caption
An additional way to say you are full in Spanish is with the verb estar (to be) plus an adjective. Although you might hear satisfecho/a(s) (literally "satisfied") or, in some regions, repleto/a(s), lleno/a(s) is the most common adjective that means "full" in Spanish, as we see in the following example:
Estoy lleno. No puedo comer más.
I'm full. I can't eat any more.
This adjective might also be used with the verb sentirse (to feel):
y para mantenerte y sentirte lleno.
and to stay and feel full.
Caption 29, Natalia de Ecuador Alimentos para el desayunoPlay Caption
This brings us to a popular Spanish saying that is reminiscent of the English idiom "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach":
Barriga llena, corazón contento.
Full belly, happy heart.
Caption 36, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 2 - Part 1Play Caption
To learn a lot more fun Spanish phrases, check out this lesson on Yabla's Top 10 Spanish Idioms and Their (Very Different!) English equivalents.
We hope that this lesson has helped you to learn several ways to talk about hunger and thirst in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
Do you know how to introduce yourself in Spanish? With just a few key words and phrases, you can feel comfortable doing so in no time!
We can break up introducing yourself in Spanish into a few key categories that correspond to how we would introduce ourselves in English. Let's take a look:
Like in English, you would often begin introducing yourself in Spanish by saying hello to the person:
Caption 66, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 16Play Caption
This might stand alone or go with some other very common greetings in Spanish:
Caption 2, Amaya La historia de LukasPlay Caption
Note that in some countries, like Argentina, it is more common to hear the singular version, Buen día. If it's later in the day (from about noon to sunset), you'd more likely hear Buenas tardes (Good afternoon/evening):
Caption 31, Cita médica La cita médica de Cleer - Part 1Play Caption
And later than that, you might hear Buenas noches (literally "good night"). Note that in contrast to "Good night" in English, Buenas noches can be used as a greeting rather than just to send someone off to bed or say goodbye. That said, "Good evening" might be a more appropriate translation in that context.
Muy buenas noches, bienvenida. -Hola, buenas noches.
Good evening, welcome. -Hello, good evening.Play Caption
Again as in English, when introducing yourself in Spanish, it is common to ask the person with whom you are speaking how they are. As there are many ways to do this, we'll give you a just a few options.
¿Cómo está usted?
How are you?
Caption 25, Cleer y Lida Saludar en españolPlay Captio
Of course, because there are several ways to say "you" in Spanish (usted is the singular, more formal form), this phrase might be adjusted to "¿Cómo estás tú?" or "¿Cómo estás vos?" to address one person informally. And while there are additional ways to say "you" to more than one person in Spanish, for the purposes of today's lesson, we will stick to the singular forms. Let's see another way to say "How are you?"
¿Y cómo te va?
And how are you?
Caption 38, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 1Play Caption
The more formal alternative with usted would be: "¿Y cómo le va (a usted)?" However, regardless of the formality of the situation or to how many people you are speaking, you can always use the following simple phrase:
Hola, ¿qué tal?
Hello, how are you?
Caption 1, Amaya Apertura del refugioPlay Caption
As the person to whom you are speaking will most likely respond by asking you how you are, we should give you some common answers to the aforementioned questions. Let's start with an answer to "¿Cómo está(s)?"
Muy bien, ¿y tú?
Very well, and you?
Caption 17, Español para principiantes Saludos y encuentrosPlay Caption
If you are addressing one another with usted, you would instead say "¿y usted?"
In contrast, if someone asks you '¿Cómo te/le va?" you might answer: "Bien, ¿y a ti?" or "Bien, ¿y a usted?"
Although bien (well) or muy bien (very well) are by far the most common ways to answer the question of how you are, particularly when meeting someone for the first time, if you are interested in learning more about ways to say you are just OK, we recommend this lesson entitled ¿Qué tal? Ni bien ni mal (How Are You? Neither Good Nor Bad).
Now that we have gotten some formalities out of the way, it's time to say your name! Here are three common ways to do so:
Yo me llamo Lida.
My name is Lida.
Caption 12, Cleer y Lida Saludar en españolPlay Caption
Mi nombre es Diego Velázquez.
My name is Diego Velázquez.
Caption 9, Adícora, Venezuela Los fisioterapeutasPlay Caption
Hola, yo soy Cleer.
Hello, I'm Cleer.
Caption 1, Recetas de cocina Arepas colombianasPlay Caption
And now, the moment has arrived to ask the other person their name:
¿Y cómo te llamas tú?
And, what's your name?
Caption 11, Cleer y Lida Saludar en españolPlay Caption
¿Cómo se llama usted?
What is your name?
Caption 97, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 10Play Caption
¿Cuál es tu nombre?
What's your name?
Caption 10, Cleer y Lida Llegando a una nueva ciudadPlay Caption
The usted form is: "¿Cuál es su nombre?"
When introducing yourself in Spanish, as in English, you should probably say something along the lines of "Nice to meet you." Here are several options:
Mucho gusto, Samuel.
Nice to meet you, Samuel.Play Caption
Un placer, Mónica,
A pleasure, Monica,Play Caption
Hola, guapa. -Hola. -Encantada. -Encantada de conocerte.
Hello, beautiful. -Hello. -[A] pleasure. -[A] pleasure to meet you.
Caption 8, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 2Play Caption
And, if someone says one of those things to you, you might respond by saying "Igualmente" or "Yo también" (Me too).
Hola Cristóbal, encantada. -Igualmente.
Hello, Cristobal. Pleased [to meet you]. -Me too.
Caption 35, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 2Play Caption
If you'd like to hear many of these phrases in the context of both informal and formal conversations, we recommend the video Saludar en español (Greeting in Spanish). We hope you have enjoyed this lesson on how to introduce yourself in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
Last year, we chose the word pandemia (pandemic) as the Spanish Word of the Year. This year, our choice was a bit predictable. In fact, after reading our lesson about The Spanish Word of the Year 2020, one of our users sent us a message with a very accurate prediction. The following are his words:
"Dear friends from Yabla,
The Spanish Word of the Year 2020 is pandemia. And the Spanish Word for the Year 2021 will be vacuna!
Thanks for all the work, take care and stay safe."
And yes! He was totally right! The Word of the Year 2021 is vacuna (vaccine). Let's hear how that word sounds in Spanish:
Espero que pronto puedan conseguir una vacuna y dar fin a esta situación.
I hope they can get a vaccine soon and end this situation.
Captions 17-18, El coronavirus La cuarentena en Coro, Venezuela - Part 2Play Caption
The Spanish word vacuna comes from the English word "vaccine," which in turn comes from the Latin word "vaccīnus," meaning "of or from a cow." In fact, there was a cow involved in the first ever vaccine: the smallpox vaccine developed by British scientist Edward Jenner.
Vacuna, however, wasn't the only trendy word this year. Just like last year, most of the runner-up words were related to the coronavirus pandemic, this year, some of our runners-up are linked to the word vacuna. Let's take a look at some of the other terms that defined 2021.
BY THE WAY, HAVE YOU SEEN OUR SPECIAL SERIES ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS? CHECK IT OUT!
y también a disminuir las dosis necesarias de insulina
and also to reduce the necessary doses of insulin
Caption 55, Los médicos explican Beneficios del ozonoPlay Caption
Keep in mind that because the word dosis is a paroxytone noun ending in "s," it has the same form in singular and plural:
la dosis (the dose)
las dosis (the doses)
For more about this topic, please check out our lesson about the rules for forming the plurals of nouns in Spanish.
La verdad es que no tiene, pues, ningún síntoma, pues, por ejemplo que tenga poco apetito,
The truth is that he doesn't have, well, any symptoms, well, for example if he has lack of appetite,Play Caption
As in the Delta or Omnicron variants.
Just recently, The Economist stated this: "it is time to face the world’s predictable unpredictability." It seem like impredecible is going to stay trendy for a little while. In the meantime, let's see how to say it:
Llueve, hace frío... frío, hace frío, llueve, todo... ah... aquí... es impredecible.
It rains, it's cold... cold, it's cold, it rains, everything... uh... Here... it's unpredictable.
Caption 27, Peluquería La Percha FélixPlay Caption
If you have been following the conversation about how people are working nowadays, you know why this word is on this list. While some workers have gone back to the office, there are millions of people around the world whose work model is now a hybrid one that mixes on-site and off-site work. Along those lines, another trendy word is teletrabajo (telecommuting):
Por ejemplo, las compañías han tenido que acudir al teletrabajo para seguir con sus actividades productivas
For example, companies have had to resort to telecommuting to continue with their production activities,
Captions 35-36, El coronavirus Efectos y consecuenciasPlay Caption
And that wraps up Yabla's Spanish Word of the Year for 2021. Do you agree with our choice? Can you think of any other pertinent term(s) that we didn't mention? What is your prediction for next year's Word of the Year? Please feel free to share with us your comments and suggestions, and here's to hoping that 2022 is a better year!
Have you thought about your resoluciones de Año Nuevo (New Year's resolutions) yet? Let's go over ten of the most common propósitos de Año Nuevo (another Spanish term for "New Year's resolutions") and find out how to talk about them in Spanish.
After a season of comer de más (overeating), a lot of us feel we have put on a few libras (pounds) or kilos (kilograms, since much of the Spanish-speaking world uses the metric system) and wish to adelgazar (lose weight) in the New Year.
Entonces, en un sentido es, quiero bajar de peso,
So, in one sense it's, I want to lose weight,
Caption 22, Cuentas claras Sobreviviendo enero - Part 1Play Caption
Another way to say "to lose weight" in Spanish is perder peso.
Related to losing weight and ponerse en forma (getting in shape) or volver a estar en forma (getting back in shape) is exercising. Let's see how to say this in Spanish:
quiero hacer ejercicio,
I want to exercise,
Caption 23, Cuentas claras Sobreviviendo enero - Part 1Play Caption
One way to get in more physical activity might be to take up some new exercise-related hobby like el yoga (yoga), la natación (swimming), or pole dancing, to name a few, and, in fact, empezar un pasatiempo nuevo (starting a new hobby) is another common New Year's resolution.
Claro. Es muy importante romper con la rutina diaria y hacer cosas diferentes. Te hará sentirte mejor y desconectar del estrés.
Of course. It's very important to break the daily routine and do different things. It will make you feel better and disconnect from stress.
Captions 14-18, Karla e Isabel Nuestros hobbiesPlay Caption
Of course, hobbies range from physical activities to more cerebral pursuits, and for a plethora of hobby ideas and how to say them in Spanish, check out this lesson on Yabla's Top 40 Hobbies in Spanish.
Also related to such fitness/health metas (goals) are quitting smoking and drinking (either permanently or for a while):
Dejar de fumar, dejar de tomar alcohol. Por eso voy a dejar de tomar.
Give up smoking, give up drinking alcohol. That's why I am going to stop drinking.
Captions 52-53, Los médicos explican La hipertensiónPlay Caption
Another common resolution is to get in shape financieramente (fiscally) rather than físicamente (physically):
y en el lado financiero, quiero salir de deudas, quiero comenzar a ahorrar, quiero hacer un presupuesto.
and on the financial side, I want to get out of debt, I want to start to save, I want to create a budget.
Captions 25-26, Cuentas claras Sobreviviendo enero - Part 1Play Caption
Pasar tiempo (spending time) with our seres queridos (loved ones) might not seem like something we have to vow to do more of, but we all too often neglect it due to being ocupados (busy), estresados (stressed), or enfocados en nuestro trabajo (focused on our jobs). And, the pandemic has definitely made us value our ability to spend time with people more than ever before.
Eh... Tengo muchísimas ganas porque hace mucho tiempo que no veo a la familia y a los amigos.
Um... I really want to because it's been a long time since I've seen my family and friends.
Captions 8-9, El Aula Azul Conversación: Planes de fin de semanaPlay Caption
Having taken away our ability to travel for a time, the pandemic has also made many of us long to do so even more. A travel-related resolution might be hacer más viajes (to take more trips) generally or perhaps to finally take that special trip one has long been planning:
Quiero viajar a Japón este año.
I want to travel to Japan this year.
Caption 63, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 1Play Caption
Carlos puts it very simply:
Lea más libros.
"Lea más libros" [Read more books].Play Caption
Although the aforementioned stressors might make us feel like we don't have time for la lectura (reading), many set this as a resolution because they know it can enrich their vocabulary and/or language abilities while simultaneously providing a valuable escape.
Organizarse (getting organized) might entail cleaning up our clutter or picking up after ourselves more regularly:
Ahora sí, mi dormitorio está en orden.
At last, my bedroom is organized.
Caption 43, Ana Carolina Arreglando el dormitorioPlay Caption
Another aspect of organization might be writing things down to avoid forgetting them or overbooking:
Pues yo, Montse, me lo apunto en la agenda, ¿eh?
Well, I, Montse, am writing it down in my planner, huh?
Caption 78, Amaya Teatro romanoPlay Caption
This is a more general resolution that could include having el coraje (the courage) to tackle some or many of the previous resolutions we have mentioned, as well as simply learning to vivir y valorar el momento (live and appreciate the moment). It is the notion of making the most out of each day and doing things to work towards inner paz (peace), alegría (happiness), and equilibrio (balance), while not perder oportunidades (missing out on opportunities), the specifics of which are, of course, different for each person. Let's take a look at some clips that reflect this sentiment:
y que vivan una experiencia, que vivan realmente el momento,
and that they live an experience, that they really live the moment
Captions 25-26, Melany de Guatemala Su Método de ActuaciónPlay Caption
No tengas miedo. Debes ser fuerte y arriesgarte.
Don't be afraid. You should be strong and take risks.
Captions 44-45, De consumidor a persona Short Film - Part 1Play Caption
Entonces, vale la pena aprovechar la oportunidad.
So, it is worth it to take advantage of the opportunity.
Caption 29, Outward Bound FabrizioPlay Caption
Now that we have established them, ¿cómo cumplir con los propósitos de Año Nuevo (how do we keep our New Year's resolutions)? With a lot of enfoque (focus), disciplina (discipline), and determinación (determination), and by setting objetivos realistas (realistic goals) and working on them poco a poco (bit by bit). That said, les deseamos mucha suerte (we wish you a lot of luck) following through with your New Year's resolutions a largo plazo (in the long term)... and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments!
What are some differences between Castilian Spanish from Spain and Latin American Spanish? As with North American and British English, there are many more similarities than differences, and Spanish speakers from all countries can usually understand one another in spite of differences between continents, countries, and even regions. That said, this lesson will point out a few key differences between Castilian and Latin American Spanish that might aid your understanding of and/or communication with different Spanish speakers.
You may have noticed that the letters "c" and "z" are pronounced with a "th" sound in Castilian Spanish in order to distinguish them from the letter "s." Let's take a look:
Thank you very much.
Caption 88, Ana Teresa Canales energéticosPlay Caption
Although it sounds like Ana Teresa from Spain says "grathias," you will note that there is no difference in the pronunciation of the "c" and the "s" in Latin American Spanish. To confirm this, let's hear Ana Carolina from Ecuador pronounce this same word:
Muchas gracias por acompañarnos hoy;
Thank you very much for joining us today;
Caption 37, Ana Carolina El comedorPlay Caption
Yabla's Carlos and Xavi provide a lot more examples of this pronunciation difference in this video about the difference in pronunciation between Spain and Colombia.
Spanish speakers from both Spain and Latin America tend to address a single person formally with the pronoun usted and use tú (or vos in certain Latin American countries and/or regions) in more familiar circumstances. However, Castilian Spanish additionally makes this distinction for the second person plural forms: they formally address more than one person as ustedes and employ vosotros/as, along with its unique verb conjugations, in less formal ones. Let's look at an example with this unique-to-Spain pronoun.
Practicáis un poco vosotros ahora.
You guys practice a bit now.
Caption 105, Clase Aula Azul El verbo gustar - Part 5Play Caption
Most Latin American speakers, on the other hand, do not use vosotros/as and instead use ustedes to address more than one person, regardless of whether the situation is formal or informal.
O sea menos que los... -No, ustedes tienen que hacer dos acompañamientos
I mean less than the... -No, you guys have to make two side dishes
Caption 68, Misión Chef 2 - Pruebas - Part 8Play Caption
Although the teacher in this video, who is from Mexico, refers to his individual students with the informal prounoun tú, as a group, he refers to them as ustedes. For more information about the pronouns vosotros/as and ustedes, we recommend Carlos' video Ustedes y vosotros.
Another difference you might notice when speaking to someone from Spain is the more prevalent use of the present perfect tense (e.g. "I have spoken," "we have gone," etc.) to describe things that happened in the recent past in cases in which both Latin Americans and English speakers would more likely use the simple past/preterite. Let's first take a look at a clip from Spain:
Oye, ¿ya sabes lo que le ha pasado a Anastasia? No, ¿qué le ha pasado?
Hey, do you know what has happened to Anastasia? No, what has happened to her?
Captions 4-5, El Aula Azul Conversación: Un día de mala suertePlay Caption
Now, let's look at one from Argentina:
¿Pero qué le pasó?
But what happened to her?
Caption 92, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 5Play Caption
While the speakers in both videos use the same verb, pasar (to happen), to describe events that took place that same day, note that the speaker from Spain chooses the present perfect ha pasado (has happened), which would be less common in both Latin American Spanish and English, while the Argentinean speaker opts for the preterite pasó (happened).
There are many terms that are said one way in Spain and a totally different way in Latin America (with a lot of variation between countries, of course!). Although there are too many to name, Yabla has put together our top ten list of English nouns and verbs whose translations differ in Spain and Latin America.
Spanish speakers from Spain tend to use the word coche for "car":
Hoy vamos a repasar cómo alquilar un coche.
Today we are going to go over how to rent a car.
Caption 2, Raquel Alquiler de cochePlay Caption
Although the word carro would instead refer to a "cart" or "carriage" to Spaniards, this is the word most commonly used to say "car" in many countries in Latin America:
Recójalas allí en la puerta y tenga el carro listo, hermano.
Pick them up there at the door and have the car ready, brother.Play Caption
Auto is another common Latin American word for "car":
El auto amarillo está junto al dinosaurio.
The yellow car is next to the dinosaur.
Caption 18, Ana Carolina Preposiciones de lugarPlay Caption
And speaking of cars, while the verb conducir is the most typical way to say "to drive" in Spain, Latin Americans are more likely to utter manejar. Let's compare a clip from Spain to one from Colombia:
Ahora os vamos a dar algunos consejos que nos ayudarán a conocer mejor nuestro coche y a conducirlo.
Now we are going to give you some advice that will help us get to better know our car and how to drive it.
Captions 2-4, Raquel y Marisa Aprender a conducir - Part 2Play Caption
Usted sabe que para mí manejar de noche es muy difícil por mi problema de la vista.
You know that for me, driving at night is very difficult because of my vision problem.
Captions 50-51, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 3 - Part 2Play Caption
When listening to someone from Spain speak about "taking" or "grabbing" something, from the bus to an everyday object, you are likely to hear the verb coger:
Puedes coger el autobús.
You can take the bus.
Caption 6, Marta Los Modos de TransportePlay Caption
While you may occasionally hear coger in this context in some Latin American countries, it is less common and, in fact, even considered vulgar in some places. Hence the more common way to say this throughout Latin America is tomar.
Te vas a ir a tomar un taxi
You are going to go take a taxi
Caption 7, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 1Play Caption
Let's check out some captions from Spain to find out the word for "computer" there:
Puede hacer uso del ordenador con el nombre de usuario y la contraseña que he creado para usted.
You can make use of the computer with the username and the password that I have created for you.
Captions 23-24, Negocios Empezar en un nuevo trabajo - Part 2Play Caption
And now, let's see a video from Mexico to hear the most prevalent term for "computer" throughout Latin America:
El uso de las computadoras y el internet forman parte de la educación de los estudiantes
The use of computers and the internet are part of the students' education
Captions 38-39, Aprendiendo con Karen Útiles escolares - Part 2Play Caption
Not only can we hear the Castilian Spanish word for "juice" in this clip, but also the aforementioned "th" pronunciation of the "z":
Sí, un zumo de naranja.
Yes, an orange juice.
Caption 26, Raquel PresentacionesPlay Caption
Latin Americans, in contrast, usually call juice jugo:
Y jugo de naranja y jugo de manzana.
And orange juice and apple juice.
Caption 23, Cleer y Lida El regreso de LidaPlay Caption
Many fruits and vegetables have different names in different countries, and one such example is peaches, which are called melocotones in Spain and duraznos in Latin America. Let's hear these words in action in videos from Spain and Colombia:
Macedonia de frutas. -Sí. Por ejemplo con melocotón.
Fruit salad. -Yes. For example, with peach.
Captions 52-53, Recetas TortillaPlay Caption
Me volvió a gustar la compota de durazno
I started liking peach baby food again,
Caption 4, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 1Play Caption
Another set of words that differ significantly are the words for "apartment": piso in Spain and departamento or apartamento in Latin America, as we can see below in these videos from Spain and Argentina:
Vender un piso se ha puesto muy difícil,
Selling an apartment has become very difficult,
Caption 39, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 1Play Caption
Tienes un lindo departamento, realmente. -Gracias.
You have a nice apartment, really. -Thank you.
Caption 27, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 3Play Caption
In Spain, you'll hear people talking about their moviles, or cell phones:
mi móvil funciona, normalmente.
my cell phone works, usually.
Caption 22, Clase Aula Azul Se involuntario - Part 1Play Caption
As we can hear in the following clip, Mexicans and other Latin Americans instead say celular:
¡Eh! ¿Tienes tu celular?
Hey! Do you have your cell phone?Play Caption
Many articles of clothing are called different things in different countries, and "glasses" are no exception, as we see via examples from Spain and Mexico:
Tiene el pelo gris y lleva gafas.
He has gray hair and wears glasses.
Caption 30, El Aula Azul Adivina personajes famosos - Part 1Play Caption
También tienes unos lentes.
You also have some glasses.Play Caption
Let's conclude with the words for "socks" in Spain vs. Latin America, with videos from Spain and Venezuela:
Una chaqueta y unos calcetines también... calientes.
A jacket and some socks, too... warm ones.
Caption 25, Un Viaje a Mallorca Planificando el viajePlay Caption
Además, esos animales huelen peor que mis medias después de una patinata.
Besides, those animals smell worse than my socks after a skating spree.
Captions 10-11, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 11Play Caption
To hear even more examples of vocabulary that differs from Spain to Latin America, we recommend Carlos and Xavi's video on some differences in vocabulary between Spain and Colombia. We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
Let's take a look at some holiday-themed videos to get in a festive mood! We'll also point out some similarities and differences between the ways in which this December//January época de fiestas (holiday season) is celebrated in the United States versus various Spanish-speaking countries.
As much of Spain and Latin America is Catholic or Protestant, most of the Spanish-speaking world celebrates la Navidad (Christmas):
Al fin y al cabo, la Navidad es una época en que los sueños se hacen realidad,
After all, Christmas is a time when dreams come true,
Caption 32, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 2Play Caption
That said, different Spanish-speaking countries have different ways of kicking off the Christmas season. In Colombia, it starts quite early:
Pero oficialmente celebramos la Navidad el siete de diciembre que es El día de las velitas o del alumbrado.
But we officially celebrate Christmas on December seventh, which is the Day of the Little Candles or Lighting [Day].
Captions 20-21, Cleer y Lida La Navidad en ColombiaPlay Caption
This clip is from the video La Navidad en Colombia (Christmas in Colombia), which we recommend you tune into to learn more about Colombian Christmas traditions. Las novenas is another festivity celebrated during this season in Colombia and other countries, and it marks the kickoff of Ecuador's Christmas celebrations:
Novena significa "nueve", de "nueve días". Por eso se le ora y se le canta del dieciésis de diciembre al veinticuatro.
"Novena" means "nine," from "nine days." That's why it's prayed and sung to on December sixteenth to the twenty-fourth.
Captions 29-31, Cleer y Lida La Navidad en ColombiaPlay Caption
In this clip, Cleer and Lida describe the tradition of praying to a pesebre (Nativity scene), which Ana Carolina explains more in detail in her video Símbolos de Navidad (Symbols of Christmas). Let's now move on to the Basque Country in Spain, where the La Feria de Santo Tomás inaugurates the Christmas season:
Esta feria es la que marca el inicio de la Navidad en varias ciudades del País Vasco,
This fair is the one that marks the beginning of Christmas in several cities in the Basque Country,
Captions 8-9, Viajando con Fermín La Feria de Santo TomásPlay Caption
Although people from the United States tend to celebrate el 25 de diciembre (December 25th), or Christmas, as the season's main day, el 24 de diciembre (December 24th), or la Nochebuena (Christmas Eve), is the most important day in many Latin American countries, and often the day when los regalos se intercambian (presents are exchanged):
Solo un día y sería Nochebuena. Y siempre había que hacer una compra de última hora.
Just one more day and it would be Christmas Eve. And there was always a last-minute purchase to make.
Captions 40-41, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 10 - Part 5Play Caption
On the topic of presents, many people receive presents from their families, of course, but also from other popular characters that differ from country to country. One such character is Papá Noel (Santa Claus), who is also known as Viejito Pasquero in countries like Chile. And speaking of Santa, we invite you to see this video on a jolly Santa from Venezuela:
ho ho ho, los quiero muchísimo.
ho, ho, ho, I love you guys very much.
Caption 42, Víctor en Caracas Santa ClausPlay Caption
In Colombia, it is El Niño Dios or El Niño Jesús (Baby Jesus) who leaves presents under the tree for children, whereas Spanish children receive most of their gifts after Christmas on a holiday called el Día de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day) on el seis de enero (January sixth).
Y... ¿qué les vas a pedir a los Reyes Magos después de Navidad?
And.... what are you going to ask the Three Wise Men for after Christmas?
Caption 56, El Aula Azul Ester y PaulaPlay Caption
Many costumbres navideñas (Christmas traditions) and símbolos (symbols) overlap in the United States and Spanish-speaking countries. These include, of course, los árboles de Navidad (Christmas trees)!
Este es mi árbol de Navidad, el símbolo más popular alrededor del mundo de esta festividad.
This is my Christmas tree, the most popular symbol of this celebration around the world.
Captions 21-22, Ana Carolina Símbolos de NavidadPlay Caption
These also include la nieve (snow)... even in the tropics (which is probably because Santa lives at el Polo Norte (the North Pole)!
Sin embargo, la nieve y los muñecos de nieve se han convertido en uno de los temas principales con los que festejamos la Navidad,
However, snow and snowmen have become one of the main themes with which we celebrate Christmas,
Captions 38-40, Ana Carolina Símbolos de NavidadPlay Caption
Charitable activities are also popular during Christmas in both North and Latin America and Spain, as Diana Quintana tells us in her video En Navidad regalamos una sonrisa (At Christmas, We Give the Gift of A Smile).
Of course, food is part of the Christmas celebration everywhere, although what is eaten varies from country to country. While many North Americans eat a meal very similar to the Thanksgiving feast for Christmas, each country gives la cena de Navidad (Christmas dinner) its own unique twist.
The same is true of traditional holiday fare, and to get a few ideas, we invite you to watch Ana Carolina make her version of eggnog, el ponche navideño (Christmas Punch), while Luis is eager to show you Venezuela's traditional Christmas pan de jamón (ham bread). You can also learn to make buñuelos, a popular Colombian holiday dessert, which Lida and Cleer prepare while singing a villancico (Christmas carol).
And, on the topic of Christmas carols, Yabla has quite a few for you, including the Spanish versions of Jingle Bells, Silent Night, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town (by none other than Luis Miguel!), as well as A la Nanita Nana and Campana sobre campana (Bell Over Bell). You might also want to check out Christmas pop hits like Estoy buscando a Santa Claus (I'm Looking for Santa Claus) and the classic Feliz Navidad (Merry Christmas) by La Oreja de Van Gogh.
While traditions like food and carols overlap, other traditions are more specific to the Spanish-speaking world, and to learn more about them, we invite you to read this lesson on Christmas Vocabulary in Spanish.
Of course, a significant portion of the Spanish-speaking world is Jewish and thus celebrates Hanukkah rather than Christmas, a holiday that shares the gift-giving tradition as well:
Y aunque no es la versión hebrea de la Navidad, los niños reciben regalos, y la comunidad celebra en hermandad.
And, although it's not the Jewish version of Christmas, the children receive gifts, and the community celebrates in brotherhood.
Captions 5-7, Días festivos HanukkahPlay Caption
To learn more about this celebration, Yabla recommends this video on the meaning behind Hanukkah.
In closing, whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or anything else, we'll leave you with the following:
¡Feliz Navidad, Felices Fiestas, Feliz Año!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year!
Caption 68, Ana Carolina Símbolos de NavidadPlay Caption
And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
How do you translate expressions with words like "whatever," "whenever," and "however" to Spanish? Today, we will explore some simple manners of doing so using the Spanish subjunctive along with certain key words and/or phrases.
It is fitting that the Spanish subjunctive is employed to express the notion of "whatever" because, in contrast to the more objective indicative, this mood describes things that are subjective, vague, or unknown. That said, the third person singular of the present subjunctive form of the verb ser (to be) appears in the Spanish equivalent of "whatever," lo que sea, which literally means "what it may be." With this in mind, we can use the formula lo que plus a subjunctive verb to convey the idea of "whatever" one may do, think, etc., when what that is not specifically known by the speaker. Let's look at some examples:
Tú puedes hacer lo que tú quieras porque es tu libro,
You can do whatever you want because it's your book,Play Caption
Had this speaker said "Tú puedes hacer lo que tú quieres" ("You can do what you want"), in the indicative, he would probably be referring to something specific that this author wanted to do. However, the subjunctive form quieras makes it clear that her possibilities are endless. This is particularly interesting because the English equivalents of these Spanish sentences ("you can do what you want" vs. "whatever you want") do not necessarily make this distinction. Let's see another example:
haré lo que usted me diga.
I'll do whatever you tell me to.
Caption 83, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 3Play Caption
Similarly, had this gentleman said, haré lo que usted me dices, the idea would be "I'll do what you're telling me (specifically) to do" rather than "I'll do absolutely any (perhaps crazy!) thing you might tell me."
The idea of "whenever" in Spanish is very similar, and the words cuando (when) and siempre que ("as long as" or literally "always that") can be paired with verbs in the Spanish subjunctive to say "whenever" as in the following caption:
y con eso ya puedes mudarte cuando quieras.
and with that you can then move in whenever you want.
Caption 43, Ricardo La compañera de casa - Part 2Play Caption
Again, had the speaker said to his perspective tenant "puedes mudarte cuando quieres" (you can move in when you want), he would most likely be referring to a specific date, perhaps one that she had previously mentioned. However, the subjunctive form cuando quieras lets her know that whatever date she might choose will work fine. Here is one more example:
Estos ejercicios los puedes realizar en la mañana, tarde o noche, siempre que necesites mover tu cuerpo.
You can do these exercises in the morning, afternoon, or night, whenever you need to move your body.
Captions 7-8, Bienestar con Elizabeth Activar las articulacionesPlay Caption
Literally meaning "always that you need," siempre que necesites means "whenever you need" or "whenever you might need to move your body," rather than at any specific moment.
You might have guessed by now that the word donde (where) plus a verb in the Spanish subjunctive can mean "wherever." Let's take a look:
Tú dejas las cosas, donde sea, da igual.
You leave your things, wherever, it's all the same.
Caption 5, Arume BarcelonaPlay Caption
Here, we can see that donde sea is a popular way of saying simply "wherever," although the literal translation would be "wherever it might be." Let's check out an example with a different verb:
en el restaurante, en el punto de información o donde estés.
at the restaurant, at the information point or wherever you are.
Caption 26, Natalia de Ecuador Palabras de uso básicoPlay Caption
Like the other expressions we have examined in this lesson, the speaker's intention in this caption is to explain that she would like to help people with basic expressions they might use, not in any specific place, but anywhere at all.
To say "whichever," we can use formulas such as a noun plus que plus a verb in the Spanish subjunctive or a relative pronoun (e.g. el que, la que, los que, or las que, which mean "the one(s)") plus que plus a verb in the Spanish subjunctive. Let's take a look:
Podéis utilizar el verbo que queráis.
You can use whichever verb you want.
Caption 58, Clase Aula Azul Pedir deseos - Part 2Play Caption
No pasa nada. Vamos a hacer los que tengamos,
No problem. Let's do whichever ones we have,Play Caption
In the first example, the teacher uses the formula to emphasize the students choice among all of the available verbs, while the second caption communicates that they can practice with any of the possible examples they might have gotten, even if they differ from student to student.
By "however," we don't mean sin embargo as in the conjunctive adverb, but rather "in whichever way" as in English expressions like "Do it however you see fit." For this purpose, Let's look at some examples in Spanish:
El destino hay que aceptarlo como venga. -¿Qué?
One has to accept destiny however it comes. -What?
Caption 56, Club 10 Capítulo 2 - Part 5Play Caption
Of course, we never know "how" destiny will unfold, so it is apt to use the subjunctive to talk about it! Another possible translation for this sentence could be "however it may come." Let's see one more example of this formula:
lo que tienen que hacer es aguantar como puedan las... los golpes de los de la red,
what they have to do is to withstand however they can, the... the hits from the ones by the net,
Caption 46, Escuela de Pádel Albacete Hablamos con José LuisPlay Caption
Once again, as the ways they might withstand the hits from the players by the net are innumerable, the Spanish subjunctive comes into play.
We bet you're getting the hang of this by now, but we'd better show you some examples of how to say "whoever" and "whomever" in Spanish:
No sé, pero quien sea la tiene difícil
I don't know, but whoever it is has got it rough
Captions 7-8, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 8 - Part 2Play Caption
An alternative translation could be "whoever it may be."
Nosotras les hacemos la sugerencia a las personas que escuchen el programa
We make the suggestion to whomever listens to the program
Caption 19, Protección ambiental Ni una bolsa másPlay Caption
These examples demonstrate that the formulas quien(es) or la(s) persona(s) plus que plus a subjunctive verb are the Spanish equivalents of expressions with "whoever" and/or "whomever," which are frequently confused in English ("whoever" is a subject pronoun, while "whomever" is an object pronoun). That said, the manner in which those formulas are translated will depend upon which function they fulfill within the grammatical context.
Sometimes, repetition of the Spanish subjunctive verb is used to emphasize this idea of non-specificity, which we can see in many popular Spanish expressions. You will note that the repetition is not translated, and that another possible translation for such cases is "no matter":
pase lo que pase, yo siempre voy a estar contigo,
no matter what happens, I'm always going to be with you,
Captions 30-31, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 1 - Part 13Play Caption
An alternative translation here could be: "Whatever happens, I'm always going to be with you."
Haga lo que haga este tipo, este delincuente, aquí en el país es responsabilidad mía...
Whatever this guy might do, this criminal, here in the country it's my responsibility...
Captions 26-27, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 10Play Caption
Here, one might also say "No matter what this guy does." Let's conclude today's lesson with an excerpt from a song by our friend Luis Guitarra, which includes a plethora of similar cases:
Vivan como vivan Hagan lo que hagan Sueñen con quien sueñen Sean como sean Vayan donde vayan Cuenten o no cuenten Digan lo que digan Salgan con quien salgan Piensen como piensen
No matter how they live No matter what they do No matter who they dream of No matter how they are No matter where they go No matter whether they tell No matter what they say No matter who they go out with No matter how they think
Captions 63-71, Luis Guitarra Somos transparentesPlay Caption
We hope you've enjoyed this lesson on how to say things like "whatever," "however," "whichever," etc. in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
What is the imperfect subjunctive tense in Spanish? It is basically the past version of the Spanish present subjunctive! That said, let's begin this lesson with a bit of background on the subjunctive, which is one of the three Spanish moods.
Most simply put, Spanish uses different verb tenses to distinguish between objective states and actions and subjective, uncertain, or emotional ones, for example, things we merely "hope" will happen. So, while there's no difference in verb form between "you come" and "I hope you come" in English, in the equivalent statement in Spanish, (usted) viene (you come) changes to the present subjunctive venga as we see here:
Espero que venga a ver nuestros productos,
I hope you come see our products,
Caption 70, Otavalo ArtesanosPlay Caption
To get a tad more technical, as we see in the example above, in Spanish sentences with a subjunctive verb, we often (but not always) see the following structure:
1. An independent clause with a verb in the indicative that "triggers" the use of the subjunctive (we'll learn more about these later!)
2. A conjunction, or connecting word, like que
3. A dependent clause with a subjunctive verb
And while a "triggering" present tense verb provokes the present subjunctive, a "triggering" verb in some form of the past tense (e.g. preterite, imperfect, or past perfect) will be followed by a verb in the Spanish imperfect subjunctive, as we see here:
La verdad esperaba que usted viniera con su apoderada.
Truthfully I was hoping that you'd come with your client.Play Caption
Now that you know a little bit about the Spanish imperfect subjunctive, let's learn how to conjugate it. If you know how to conjugate the third person plural of the preterite in Spanish, conjugating the imperfect subjunctive is relatively easy. You simply remove the -ron ending to get the imperfect subjunctive stem, then add one of two sets of endings (there are two distinct forms of the imperfect subjunctive in Spanish that are used interchangeably). Let's first take a look at these two ending sets:
|Subject Pronoun:||Ending 1:||Ending 2:|
Now, let's remove the -ron endings to come up with the imperfect stems for several common Spanish verbs:
|Verb||3rd Person Plural Preterite||Stem|
Now that we have the stems, let's add the endings to come up with the two versions of the Spanish imperfect subjunctive for all of these verbs, noting the addition of the accent in the nosotros/as (we) forms to maintain pronunciation. Although the first ending set is more commonly heard, while the second is the more "classic" form, there is no difference in meaning whatsoever.
And the good news is... there are no irregular verbs in the Spanish imperfect subjunctive!
So, what are some examples of Spanish verbs that trigger the subjunctive? The acronym W.E.I.R.D.O., which stands for Wishes, Emotions, Impersonal Expressions, Recommendations, Doubt/Denial, and Ojalá, can help you to remember many of them. Keep in mind that because today's lesson focuses on the imperfect subjunctive, all of said verbs will appear in one of the Spanish past tenses.
As you read the English translations, you might notice that while all of the Spanish sentences meet our aforementioned criteria for using the imperfect subjunctive, there is no "one size fits all" formula for translating this verb tense because it is used in a variety of different circumstances that call for varying verb tenses in English.
Verbs that describe our wishes, hopes, or desires call for the Spanish subjunctive and include desear (to want/wish/desire), esperar (to hope), exigir (to demand/require), insistir (to insist), mandar (to order), necesitar (to need), ordenar (to order), pedir (to ask), preferir (to prefer), and querer (to want). Let's take a look at two examples where said verbs in the Spanish imperfect tense prompt the use of the Spanish imperfect subjunctive:
que lo único que esperaba era que su madre pudiera acompañarlo a una presentación del colegio.
as the only thing he was hoping for was for his mother to be able to go with him to a school performance.
Captions 2-3, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 2 - Part 11Play Caption
Pero dijo que quería que fueran amigos.
But she said she wanted you guys to be friends.
Caption 55, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 11 - Part 4Play Caption
In these two examples, the English infinitives "to be" and "to be able" were used to translate the Spanish imperfect subjunctive because in English, we often say that we what we hoped was for something "to happen." However, in the first example "the only thing he was hoping for was that his mother could accompany him to a school performance" could be another viable/equivalent translation.
Emotional verbs like alegrarse (to be happy/glad), enojarse (to be/get angry), encantar (to delight), lamentar (to regret/be sorry), molestar (to bother), sentir (to be sorry), and sorprender (to surprise) also provoke the subjunctive. Let's see two examples of the imperfect subjunctive sparked by the imperfect and preterite tenses:
¿Y por eso te preocupaba tanto que él viniera a verme, que me contara algo?
And that's why it worried you so much that he'd come to see me, that he'd tell me something?
Caption 54, Yago 12 Fianza - Part 2Play Caption
No, me encantó que me llamaras, escucháme, eh...
No, I loved it that you called me; listen to me, um...
Caption 63, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 3Play Caption
The first example describes one's past worry about what might happen (whether or not it did), and since in English, we often say we were worried about what "would happen," it was translated in this fashion. The second example, on the other hand, describes an action that actually took place: "you called". And yet, despite the necessary differences in the English translations, we see that in both cases, the use of an "emotional" verb in the first clause triggered the use of the Spanish imperfect subjunctive in the second.
Impersonal expressions are constructions that don't involve any particular person and typically begin with the third person singular of some form of ser (to be) plus almost any adjective. Examples include bueno (good), curioso (interesting), dudoso (doubtful), extraño (strange), importante (important), necesario (necessary), probable (probable), raro (strange), urgente (urgent), and many more (the exception being adjectives that indicate certainty, such as cierto (certain) or seguro (sure). Let's see some examples of impersonal expressions in the imperfect tense that call for an imperfect subjunctive verb in the second clause:
Es que era muy raro que no abrieran la puerta.
It's just that it was very strange that they weren't opening the door.
Caption 20, Tu Voz Estéreo Embalsamado - Part 10Play Caption
Y para mí era bien importante que el grupo tuviera letras...
And it was really important to me that the band had lyrics...
Caption 61, La Gusana Ciega Entrevista - Part 1Play Caption
Again, the first caption describes an action that was actually happening (they weren't opening the door), while the second describes someone's past preference (which may or may not have come to fruition). Regardless, an impersonal expression in the imperfect tense triggered the use of the imperfect subjunctive. Note that an alternative translation for the second example might be: "And it was really important to me for the band to have lyrics."
Verbs that either recommend or don't recommend other actions, such as aconsejar (to advise), decir (to tell), dejar (to allow), exigir (to demand), hacer (to make/force), insistir (to insist), mandar (to order), ordenar (to order), prohibir (to forbid), proponer (to suggest), recomendar (to recommend), rogar (to beg), sugerir (to suggest), and suplicar (to beg) call for the subjunctive mood. Let's look at some examples in the preterite:
Le propuse que hiciéramos un pequeño taller de artesanía,
I suggested to him that we open a small craft studio,
Caption 40, Playa Adícora Francisco - Part 2Play Caption
Yo sé que les dijimos que no vinieran por acá pero
I know we told them not to come here, butPlay Caption
Although we might find out later whether or not someone's advice was actually taken, in the moment it was given, the aforementioned "advising" verbs always trigger the Spanish imperfect subjunctive.
When conjugated in some form of the past, doubt verbs like dudar (to doubt), no creer (to not believe) or no poder creer (to not be able to believe), no parecer (to not seem), no pensar (to not think), and no suponer (to not suppose) call for the imperfect subjunctive:
Bueno, por un instante llegué a dudar de que estuvieras.
Well, for a moment, I even began to doubt that you would be [here].
Caption 41, Yago 4 El secreto - Part 11Play Caption
Yo no podía creer que me pasara que una chica así se me acercara
I couldn't believe this was happening to me that such a girl would approach me
Captions 7-8, Enanitos Verdes Cuánto PoderPlay Caption
In these examples, past "doubt" causes the Spanish imperfect subjunctive, regardless of whether the situations were actually unfolding. The second example is interesting because it has been translated with both the past progressive "was happening" and the conditional "would approach" in English to represent that the speaker still can't believe such a situation "would happen" to him, even as it was.
Although ojalá and ojalá que aren't technically verbs but rather conjunctions, they are roughly equivalent to such English expressions as "I hope," "let's hope," or "God willing" and require the subjunctive. When used with the imperfect subjunctive, these expressions are often to describe hypothetical situations that one wishes "were" true (interestingly, the change from "was" to "were" to represent a hypothetical situation is the only time we see a verb change in the subjunctive mood in English). Let's look at some examples:
No es crucial. Ojalá todos los problemas fueran estos.
It's not crucial. If only all problems were [like] these.
Caption 19, Cómetelo Crema de brócoli - Part 9Play Caption
Y ojalá todo el mundo estuviera lo suficientemente entusiasmado.
And I wish everyone were excited enough.
Caption 8, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 1Play Caption
We hope that these examples have helped you to understand how to conjugate the Spanish imperfect subjunctive tense, some scenarios in which to use it, and some of the many ways in which it might be translated to English. In future lessons, we hope to focus on some additional, common uses of this tense, but in the meantime... don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
The present subjunctive in Spanish is one of the many verb tenses in the Spanish subjunctive mood. The subjunctive mood is one of three moods in Spanish (the indicative, the imperative, and the subjunctive) that indicates the presence of doubt, emotion, or subjectivity, in contrast to the indicative, which states facts. The focus of today's lesson will be the conjugation of the Spanish present subjunctive tense.
Before going on to conjugation, let's see an example of the present subjunctive in Spanish, which typically appears after the present indicative in dependent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction such as que (that). As a simple example, if you say, "I hope [that] you practice at home" with ustedes (plural you) in Spanish, the correct manner of doing so would be:
espero que practiquen en su casa
I hope you guys practice at home
Caption 60, Lecciones de guitarra Con Cristhian - Part 3Play Caption
Rather than espero que practican en su casa because the verb tense changes from the indicative (practican) to the subjunctive (practiquen) due to the "hope" regarding whether the action will take place. In another lesson, we will explore the many scenarios in which the Spanish subjunctive mood comes into play.
The first step in conjugating most verbs in the present subjunctive is to recall the present indicative yo (I) form of the verb. We then remove the -o in order to get the stem and add the corresponding endings for -ar and -er/-ir verbs, which we can think of as the "opposite" of the endings for each verb class in the present indicative.
Let's use the aforementioned formula to get the stems for three of the most common regular verbs:
|hablar (to speak)||hablo||habl-|
|comer (to eat)||como||com-|
|subir (to go up)||subo||sub-|
Now, let's look at the present subjunctive endings for -ar vs. -er/-ir verbs:
|Personal Pronoun:||-ar Verbs:||-er/-ir Verbs:|
Armed with this information, we can easily conjugate these verbs in the present subjunctive in Spanish. You will note that in the present subjunctive, the yo form and the él/ella/usted form are exactly the same.
Now, let's see these Spanish present subjunctive verbs in action:
Porque quiero que hablemos de negocios.
Because I want us to talk about business.
Caption 3, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 6Play Caption
¿'tas listo? -¿Qué querés que yo coma lo mismo?
You ready? -What, do you want me to eat the same thing?
Caption 43, Factor Fobia Cucarachas - Part 1Play Caption
Dígale que no suba.
Tell him not to come up.
Caption 43, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 6Play Caption
Note that the in the vast majority of cases, even verbs with spelling changes in the yo form will follow this very same formula for obtaining their stems/conjugations. Let's see several examples:
Present Subjunctive Conjugations:
caber (to fit): quepa, quepas, quepa, quepamos, quepáis, quepan
coger (to take): coja, cojas, coja, cojamos, cojáis, cojan
conocer (to know): conozca, conozcas, conozca, conozcamos, conozcáis, conozcan
decir (to say): diga, digas, diga, digamos, digáis, digan
hacer (to make/do): haga, hagas, haga, hagamos, hagáis, hagan
poner (to put): ponga, pongas, ponga, pongamos, pongáis, pongan
salir (to go out): salga, salgas, salga, salgamos, salgáis, salgan
tener (to have): tenga, tengas, tenga, tengamos, tengáis, tengan
traer (to bring): traiga, traigas, traiga, traigamos, traigáis, traigan
ver (to see): vea, veas, vea, veamos, veáis, vean
We will now hear a couple of these in context:
Lo mejor es que tengan sala de estudio
The best thing is for them to have a study room
Caption 45, Club de las ideas La bibliotecaPlay Caption
Bueno, te invito ahora a que conozcas el teatro.
Well, now I invite you to see the theater.
Caption 24, El teatro. Conversación con un doble de acción.Play Caption
Let's examine several categories of stem-changing verbs that behave slightly differently in the present subjunctive in Spanish:
An example of this category is querer (to want), for which the yo form is quiero. While the stem for this verb is indeed quier- as usual, the stem change does not take place in the nosotros/as and vosotros/as forms, which use the stem of the infinitive (removing the -ar or -er) as follows:
quiera, quieras, quiera, queramos, queráis, quieran.
Additional verbs that fall into this category include: cerrar (to close), entender (to understand), and perder (to lose).
One example is volver (to return), and the yo form is vuelvo. The stem for this verb is vuelv-, but as with the previous category, there is no stem change in the nosotros/as and vosotros/as forms, which also take the stem from the infinitive:
vuelva, vuelvas, vuelva, volvamos, volváis, vuelvan
Some other verbs in this category are: poder (to be able), contar (to tell), volver (to return), and encontrar (to find).
An example would be sentir (to feel). As in the first category, these verbs change stems in all forms except for nosotros/as and vosotros/as. With -ir verbs, however, the -ie changes to an -i, as follows:
sienta, sientas, sienta, sintamos, sintáis, sientan
Verbs that work similarly include repetir (to repeat) and preferir (to prefer).
The verb dormir (to sleep) falls into this category in which verbs change stems in all forms except nosotros/as and vosotros/as, where the -o changes to a -u:
duerma, duermas, duerma, durmamos, durmáis, duerman
The verb morir (to die) also belongs to this class of verbs.
Let's listen to a couple of examples of such stem-changing verbs in the present subjunctive in Spanish:
lo mejor sería que vuelvas al convento.
the best thing would be for you to return to the convent.
Caption 15, Muñeca Brava 33 El partido - Part 7Play Caption
Espero que ahora entiendan mejor
I hope that you now understand betterPlay Caption
To make matters a bit more complicated, some verbs in the Spanish present subjunctive change spelling in order to maintain their pronunciation, and some verbs change both stems and spelling! Let's take a look at these additional verb categories.
It is worth noting that the g in verbs ending in -ger and -gir changes to a j in the Spanish present subjunctive, for example, in the aforementioned verb coger (to get). However, this doesn't really deviate from our formula since the present indicative yo form of coger is cojo. Other verbs that follow this pattern in Spanish include corregir (to correct), elegir (to choose), and recoger (to pick up).
corregir: corrija, corrijas, corrija, corrijamos, corrijáis, corrijan
elegir: elija, elijas, elija, elijamos, elijáis, elijan
recoger: recoja, recojas, recoja, recojamos, recojáis, recojan
In the Spanish present subjunctive, verbs ending in -car change their final consonant to -qu, verbs ending in -gar change to -gu, and -zar verbs' z changes to a c. Let's take a look at verbs in each of these categories:
sacar (to take out): saque, saques, saque, saquemos, saquéis, saquen
tocar (to take): toque, toques, toque, toquemos, toquéis, toquen
cargar (to charge): cargue, cargues, cargue, carguemos, carguéis, carguen
pagar (to pay): pague, pagues, pague, paguemos, paguéis, paguen
lanzar (to throw): lance, lances, lance, lancemos, lancéis, lancen
empezar (to start): empiece, empieces, empiece, empecemos, empecéis, empiecen
Let's hear some examples of verbs with spelling changes in the Spanish present subjunctive:
Es que no necesito que me recojas hoy.
It's just that I don't need you to pick me up today.
Caption 52, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 9 - Part 6Play Caption
Bueno, ¿tú me aconsejas que comience a escribir ya con todas estas inquietudes que tengo?
Well, do you advise me to start writing now with all these concerns that I have?Play Caption
Although you have seen that there are a lot of nuances to conjugating verbs in the present subjunctive in Spanish, there are only six verbs that are considered truly irregular. We have provided their conjugations here:
Note that the yo and él/ella/usted conjugations of the verb dar, dé, has an accent on the e to distinguish it from the preposition de (of/from).
Let's conclude by hearing a couple of these irregular verbs in the Spanish present subjunctive in action:
Espero que sea una bonita sorpresa.
I hope that it's a nice surprise.
Caption 11, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 8Play Caption
Dígame algo que no sepa.
Tell me something I don't know.
Caption 3, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 4Play Caption
And speaking of learning new things, we hope you've found this lesson on conjugating verbs in the Spanish present subjunctive helpful! To hear a bunch more verbs conjugated in the Spanish present subjunctive, we recommend this video on Subjunctivo y sentimientos (Subjuntive and Feelings), and don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
In preparation for El Día de San Valentín (Valentine's Day), let's listen to several pertinent clips from the Yabla Spanish video library... and learn some vocabulary in the process!
Aunque no crean, existe el amor a primera vista.
Believe it or not, love at first sight does exist.
Cupido vuelve a apuntar con su flecha
Cupid aims with his arrow again
Caption 5, Tito El Bambino Llueve el amor
Mande a pedir un ramo de doce rosas rojas,
Order a bouquet of twelve red roses,
Caption 45, Programación de oficina El dictado del jefe
Chocolate Perfección: el chocolate para enamorados.
"Chocolate Perfección": the chocolate for lovers.
Captions 43-44, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 5: Ha nacido una estrella - Part 2
The captions above include some common themes and traditions of Valentine's Day in North America, which is meant to festejar el amor (celebrate love) for romantic partners and family members, and, increasingly, to show appreciation for friends. Typical ways of doing so include intercambiar regalos (exchanging gifts) and tarjetas de San Valentín (valentines), mandar flores (sending flowers), most typically rosas rojas (red roses), giving cajas de chocolate en forma de corazón (heart-shaped boxes of chocolate), and planning special citas (dates), such as salir a cenar (going out to dinner). Valentine's Day in North America is celebrated on el catorce de febrero (February fourteenth).
Valentine's Day is celebrated in a similar fashion on the same day in many Spanish speaking countries, with varying degrees of popularity. In addition to El Día de San Valentín, many countries refer to this holiday as El Día del Amor y la Amistad (Love and Friendship Day) or El Día de los Enamorados (Lovers' Day), while some use these terms interchangeably. And Guatemala has a unique name: El Día del Cariño (Affection Day).
Many Valentine's costumbres (traditions) in the Spanish-speaking world overlap with North American ones:
La floristería. ¿Sí? Es una tienda donde la gente compra flores, plantas, ¿sí? Por ejemplo, para cumpleaños, o para... en... en primavera, o para el Día de los Enamorados, por ejemplo.
The florist. Right? It's a store where people buy flowers, plants, right? For example, for birthdays, or for... in... in spring, or for Valentine's Day, for example.Play Caption
However, there are some differences. In Chile, las orquídeas (orchids) are the flowers of love rather than roses. And some countries, like the Dominican Republic, have the tradition of a game called Amigo secreto (Secret Friend) or Angelito (Little Angel) among friends or colleagues, which is similar to the idea of Secret Santa.
Some countries celebrate their Valentine's Day on a different date, while others commemorate both February 14th and additional love and friendship holidays.
Colombia's El Día del Amor y la Amistad falls on the third Saturday in September, while Argentina's La Semana de la Dulzura (Sweetness Week), where amigos (friends) and amantes (lovers) exchange chocolate and other dulces (sweets), lasts from June 1st through 7th. Argentinians also recognize El Día del Amigo (Friend Day) on July 20th, whereas Mexico has its El Día Internacional de la Amistad (International Friendship Day) on August 30th. Additional romantic holidays include El Día del Estudiante, de la Juventud, de la Primavera, y del Amor (The Day of the Student, Youth, Spring, and Love) on September 21st in Bolivia and El Día de San Jorge (Saint George's Day) in Catalonia on April 23rd, where red roses are traditionally gifted to women and books to men. On El Día de San Dionisio (Saint Dionysius Day) in Valencia on October 9th, the gift of choice is the Spanish sweet mazapán (marzipan) wrapped in a pañuelo (handkerchief).
Now that we know about various international Valentine's-like festivities, let's learn some romantic Spanish vocabulary, starting with some verbs:
abrazar: to hug/embrace
acurrucar: to cuddle
adorar: to adore/love
amar: to love
besar: to kiss
coquetear: to flirt
casarse: to marry/get married
enamorarse: to fall in love
encantar: to [cause] love
gustar: to [cause someone to] like
querer: to like/love
Related to these words are, of course, essential Valentine's Day nouns like el beso (the kiss) and el abrazo (the hug) and adjectives like enamorado/a (in love). Let's hear a few of these words in action:
Me quiero casar con ella. Estoy enamorado, ¿eh?
I want to marry her. I'm in love, huh?
Caption 59, Muñeca Brava 2 Venganza - Part 9Play Caption
¿Y no te alcanza el tiempo para coquetear con cierto chico... rubio, guapo, encantador?
And don't you have enough time to flirt with a certain guy... blond, handsome, charming?
Captions 116-117, NPS No puede ser 1 - El concurso - Part 10Play Caption
Siento que cada día te quiero más
I feel that each day I love you more
Caption 27, Alberto Barros Mano a manoPlay Caption
Since the subtle differences between the different "love" verbs can seem a bit confusing for English speakers, we recommend our lessons on three different ways to express love in Spanish and Amar y Querer. And, since the way that verbs like gustar and encantar work can feel a bit counterintuitive, we recommend this two-part lesson on Querer vs. "To Like": A Difference in Perception.
Let's conclude today's lesson with some ways to refer affectionately to your romantic partner, although you might additionally hear many of them used among friends. While we will provide their literal translations below, many of them can be used similarly to the way that the terms "honey," "dear" or "sweetie" are used in English.
Mi cielo: my sky
Mi rey/reina: my king/queen
Mi vida: my life
Let's hear a few of these in action:
y te mando un beso, corazón.
and I send you a kiss, sweetheart.Play Caption
Dame un beso. -¿De verdad, mi cielo?
Give me a kiss. -Really, my dear?Play Caption
¡Mi reina! Mi amor, cómo te extrañé. -Hola, yo también.
My queen! My love, how I missed you. -Hello, me too.
Captions 1-2, Yago 6 Mentiras - Part 2Play Caption
And remember that while gordo/a literally means "fat" or "fatty," it is also used as a term of endearment in some Latin American countries (although we definitely don't recommend employing it's English equivalent!).
Ay, gordo, muchísimas gracias por haber estado aquí. -A ti por invitarme.
Oh, honey, thank you very much for having been here. -To you for inviting me.
Caption 13, Club 10 Capítulo 2 - Part 4Play Caption
We hope that this lesson rife with Valentine's Day vocabulary has been useful to you, and ¡Feliz Día de San Valentín (Happy Valentine's Day)! And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments.
What is the present perfect tense in Spanish? Despite its name in English, the Spanish present perfect tense is actually one of the past tenses in Spanish, which indicates that one "has done" some action within some specific period of time. This lesson will examine how to conjugate this useful Spanish tense as well as providing examples of when to use it.
The present perfect tense in Spanish is relatively easy to conjugate. To do so, we should remember a simple formula: haber in present tense + participle. Let's first take a look at the present conjugation of the verb haber, which corresponds to the English "has" or "have" in the present perfect:
|Personal Pronoun:||Conjugation of Haber:|
Now, let's examine how to conjugate the participle form of verbs in Spanish, which corresponds to English words with endings like -ed or -en, such as "taken," "looked," "baked," etc.
Conjugating the participle with -ar verbs:
Take the infinitive, remove the -ar, and add the suffix -ado:
hablar: hablado (to talk/speak: talked/spoken)
mirar: mirado (to watch: watched)
comenzar: comenzado (to start/begin: started/begun)
bailar: bailado (to dance: danced)
Conjugating the participle with -er and -ir verbs:
Take the infinitive, remove the -er or -ir, and add the suffix -ido:
comer: comido (to eat: eaten)
aprender: aprendido (to learn: learned)
recibir: recibido (to receive: received)
subir: subido (to rise/go up: risen/gone up)
Ahora que hemos aprendido (Now that we've learned) how to conjugate verbs in the present perfect tense in Spanish, we should think about when to use it. Just like the present perfect in English, we use the Spanish present perfect to describe actions that have been completed within a certain period of time. As previously mentioned, because these actions were completed in the past, however recent, the present perfect is considered a past tense in Spanish, in which it is known as el pretérito perfecto (literally the "past" or "preterite perfect"). With this in mind, let's take a look at some examples:
Ya hemos visto que reciclar contribuye de forma importante,
We have already seen that recycling contributes in an important way,
Caption 23, 3R Campaña de reciclaje - Part 3Play Caption
¿Pero se han preguntado alguna vez cómo se cultivan y se comercializan?
But have you ever wondered how they are grown and sold?
Captions 75-76, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 16Play Caption
Hoy ha llovido todo el día.
"Hoy ha llovido todo el día" [Today it has rained the whole day].Play Caption
Sometimes, Spanish speakers from Spain in particular use the present perfect to talk about actions in the recent past in situations in which English speakers would most likely use the past tense and Latin Americans would probably use the Spanish preterite. Let's look at an example:
Hola, soy Ariana Moreno y he dormido fatal. He pasado una mala noche.
Hello, I'm Ariana Moreno, and I've slept horribly. I've had a bad night.
Captions 1-3, Ariana Cita médicaPlay Caption
Pues nada, que ha empezado el día superbién, se ha levantado a las ocho, ha desayunado en la cafetería al lado de la escuela como siempre, ha venido a clase, hemos tenido la clase como todos los lunes.
Well, she's started the day very well, she's gotten up at eight, she's had breakfast in the cafeteria next to the school as always, she's come to class, we've had the class like every Monday.
Captions 6-10, El Aula Azul Conversación: Un día de mala suertePlay Caption
What are grammatical "moods"? Many definitions of grammatical moods in linguistics explain them as features of verbs that describe "modality." But, what is "modality"?
In a nutshell, "modality" refers to a speaker's attitude toward what he or she is saying, which might entail such concepts as possibility, probability, certainty or doubt. "Moods" are not the same as tenses, which convey when things happen, and each of the sixteen Spanish tenses fall into one of the three mood categories. That said, let's delve deeper into the three grammatical moods in Spanish: the indicative, the subjunctive, and the imperative.
Most simply put, the indicative mood describes facts, things about which the speaker is certain, or "the objective truth." Let's take a look at some examples of sentences with verbs in the indicative mood.
Estoy seguro que voy a poder ayudarla en algo.
I'm sure that I am going to be able to help you with something.
Caption 7, Yago 9 Recuperación - Part 7Play Caption
This speaker says in the Spanish present indicative tense that he's seguro (sure) that he will be able to help the person to whom he's speaking. Such phrases referring to certainty like Estoy seguro que (I'm sure that) or even Yo creo que (I believe that) are tip-offs that the verb(s) that follow(s) will be in the indicative because they indicate conviction. However, many examples of verbs in the indicative mood in Spanish won't be quite so straightforward.
Hablaremos sobre el candombe.
We'll talk about candombe.
Caption 11, Sonido Babel El candombe de UruguayPlay Caption
In this example of the future indicative tense in Spanish, the speaker states (with certainty) what it is he will talk about. Let's take a look at an additional example.
¡Sí! Fuimos a buscar conchas pero no fue fácil encontrarlas.
Yes! We went to look for shells but it wasn't easy to find them.
Caption 13, Guillermina y Candelario El ManglarPlay Caption
In this final example in the Spanish preterite tense, the speaker clearly states the objective truth about what happened in the past: Fuimos a buscar (We went to look for) seashells, and no fue (it wasn't) easy. Although whether or not something is easy is a subjective concept, it is important to remember that it is the speaker's attitude or belief about what he or she is stating that determines the mood.
There are ten verb tenses in the Spanish indicative mood: the present, the imperfect, the preterite, the future, the simple conditional, the present perfect, the pluperfect, the past anterior, the conditional perfect, and the future perfect. For a closer look at each of these tenses with examples, we recommend this lesson on the Spanish indicative tenses.
While the indicative conveys certainty and objectivity, the subjunctive conveys such opposing concepts as subjectivity, doubt, wishful thinking, hypothetical situations, and more. Let's take a look at some examples:
No, no, no. No creo que sea muy peligroso
No, no, no. I don't think he's very dangerous,Play Caption
Just like the expression Creo que (I believe that) lets you know that the following verb will be conjugated in the indicative, the phrase No creo que (I don't believe that) is an indicator for the subjunctive. Although we won't enter into verb conjugation in this lesson, we will say that verbs in the subjunctive mood are conjugated differently than in the indicative: for example, sea is the subjunctive conjugation of ser (to be) in third person singular and is thus used in place of the indicative form es. Let's take a look at another example:
de verdad, esperamos que te hayamos podido devolver la alegría.
we really hope that we've been able to give you back your joy.
Caption 58, Tu Voz Estéreo Laura - Part 17Play Caption
Here, the indicative present perfect form hemos podido (we've been able) has been replaced with the subjunctive present perfect, hayamos podido, because the speaker is expressing a hope that something has happened rather than stating that it actually has. Let's look at another example of the subjunctive mood in Spanish:
Si yo fuera un hombre, yo pensaría que las mujeres son complicadas.
If I were a man, I would think that women are complicated.
Caption 28, Conjugación El verbo 'pensar'Play Caption
This sentence employs a common construction that combines the imperfect subjunctive with the Spanish conditional tense to talk about what "would" happen "were" a hypothetical situation in place.
Learning all of the situations and/or constructions that require the subjunctive mood in Spanish can be quite challenging for native English speakers since verbs in the subjunctive mood in English rarely change. As a guideline, statements in which the second verb in a construction changes to the subjunctive include wishes like deseo que (I wish that...), emotions like me alegro de que (I'm happy that...), impersonal expressions like es importante que (it's important that...), recommendations like sugiero que (I suggest that...), and doubts like dudo que (I doubt that...), just to name a few.
The Spanish subjunctive mood encompasses six tenses: the present subjunctive, the imperfect subjunctive, the future subjunctive, the present perfect subjunctive, the pluperfect subjunctive, and the future perfect subjunctive, which are explained in greater detail in this lesson on the subjunctive tenses in Spanish that also touches on our third and final Spanish mood.
Understanding the speaker's "attitude" in the imperative mood is less nuanced: one is "ordering" or "commanding" someone else to do something:
¡Hazlo todo de nuevo!
Do it all over again!
Caption 32, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 3 - Part 7Play Caption
This is an example of a positive, informal command (with tú, or the singular, informal "you") in Spanish. Let's see another example:
Chicos, no me hagan esta broma tan pesada.
Guys, don't play this very annoying joke on me.
Caption 49, Club 10 Capítulo 1 - Part 1Play Caption
Here, we see the negative command that corresponds to the pronoun ustedes (plural "you"). Let's check out one more:
Empecemos por la forma, luego iremos al contenido.
Let's start with the form, then we'll go on to the content.
Caption 6, Ana Carolina CondicionalesPlay Caption
This "less commanding" sentence reflects the imperative form that goes with nosotros/as, or "we," which you can learn more about in the lesson Let's Learn Spanish Commands with Nosotros/as.
We can group Spanish commands into eight categories: positive commands with tú, negative commands with tú, (positive or negative) commands with usted (formal "you"), (positive or negative) commands with ustedes (plural "you"), positive commands with vos (informal "you" in certain regions), positive commands with vosotros/as (informal plural "you" in Spain), negative commands with vosotros/as, and (positive or negative) commands with nosotros/as (we). For a more in-depth look at the various types of commands in Spanish, we recommend the following four-part series on El modo imperativo.
We hope that this lesson has shed some light on the concept of the three grammatical "moods" in Spanish and would like to conclude it with an imperative sentence: No te olvides de dejarnos tus sugerencias y comentarios (Don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments).