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In Sickness and in Health... in Spanish!

Like in English, wedding vows in Spanish mention loving a person en la salud y en la enfermedad (literally "in health and in sickness"), both of which it would behoove us to learn to converse about. 

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Asking Someone How They Feel

In order to ask someone how he or she feels, you might use the verb sentirse (to feel). Let's take a look:

 

¿Cómo te sientes, mi amor?

How are you feeling, my love?

Caption 18, Confidencial: Asesino al Volante Capítulo 3 - Part 6

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While this is the version with(the informal "you"), the one with usted (the formal "you") would be: ¿Cómo se siente? Some different ways of asking how someone is/how they are feeling with both tú and usted include:

 

¿Cómo te encuentras/se encuentra? (How are you feeling?/How do you feel?)

 

¿Cómo estás/está? (How are you?)

 

Conveying How You Feel

If you feel "fine" or "good" or "well," you might answer with Estoy bien (I'm well/fine), Me siento bien (I feel well/fine), or Me encuentro bien (I feel/am well/fine). But, what if you don't feel well? You might start with the negative versions of these utterances, such as No estoy bien (I'm not well), etc. Let's take a look:

 

porque no me encuentro bien

because I don't feel well.

Caption 10, Ariana Cita médica

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No me siento muy bienestoy un poco enferma

I'm not feeling too wellI'm a bit sick.

Caption 14, Disputas La Extraña Dama - Part 12

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Notice that the word for "sick" is enfermo/a. An alternative way to say you're sick in some countries is: Estoy malo/a (literally "I'm bad").

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¿Qué te pasa?

If someone says they aren't feeling well, you might ask that person: ¿Qué te pasa (a ti)? or ¿Qué le pasa (a usted )? (which might be translated as "What's wrong (with you)?" or "What's going on (with you)?) or the similar-meaning ¿Qué tiene(s)? (literally "What do you have?"). 

 

One way to answer this question might be to say what "hurts" (you), which is expressed with the verb doler (to hurt) plus an indirect object pronoun. Note that this verb falls into the category of verbs like gustar (to like), where there is a reversal in the traditional roles of the subject and object. Let's see a couple of examples:

 

Me duele la garganta,

My throat hurts,

Caption 11, Ariana Cita médica

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y ahora me duele mucho la cabeza.

and now my head hurts a lot.

Caption 31, Clara explica El cuerpo

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Another way to talk about pain in your head or some other body part (if you need to review the parts of the body in Spanish, check out this lesson on Body Parts in Spanish from Head to Toe or the video Clara explica- El cuerpowould be with the noun el dolor (the ache/pain), as in the following caption:

 

y otro tipo de dolor de cabeza que es el que explicábamos como migraña,

and another kind of headache which is the one that we were explaining as a migraine,

Caption 16, Los médicos explican Las migrañas

 Play Caption

 

And, if you want to talk about injuring those body parts in a more specific way, the following reflexive verbs might come in handy:

 

lastimarse: to hurt get hurt/injured or  hurt/ injure oneself

romperse: to break 

torcerse: to twist/sprain 

esguinzarse: to sprain

hacerse un esguince: to sprain

lesionarse: to get wounded/injured

 

Let's take a look at some examples in context:

 

Es... también me lastimé una rodilla, este... desgraciadamente. 

The thing is that I also hurt my knee, um... unfortunately.

Captions 29-30, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Manuel Orozco Sánchez - Part 1

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y me caí y me rompí la pierna.

and I fell and broke my leg.

Caption 19, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 16

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Las enfermedades

Although the noun la enfermedad can mean "disease" in the sense of a more serious issue, it can also refer to less serious maladies. Let's take a look at the Spanish names for a few of these:

 

La tos puede ser el resultado de un resfriado, una gripe,

The cough could be the result of a cold, a flu,

Caption 10, Cita médica La cita médica de Cleer - Part 2

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Although one way to say you "have a cold" is Estoy resfriado, the verb tener is typically used to say you "have" such sicknesses, as in the following captions: 

 

Tengo un resfriado.

I have a cold.

Caption 24, Extr@: Extra en español Ep. 2: Sam va de compras - Part 1

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Tengo fiebre.

I have a fever.

Caption 12, Raquel Visitar al Médico

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cuando te duele la cabeza, tenés unas náuseas que te da asco todo.

when your head hurts, you have nausea that makes everything disgusting to you.

Caption 73, Muñeca Brava 43 La reunión - Part 5

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Additional things that you might "have" would be vómitos (vomiting), mareos (dizziness), or diarrea (diarrhea).

 

Sentirse mejor (Feeling better)

In order to help you sentirte mejor (feel better), the doctor might prescribe you some medicine. The verb for "to prescribe" is recetar, while the noun la receta means "the prescription" (it also means "recipe"). 

 

De mi parte, le voy a recetar Complejo B

As for me, I'm going to prescribe to you Complex B

Caption 77, Los médicos explican Diagnóstico: nervios y estrés

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Now, let's look at a few different ways to talk about "medicine":

 

te tomás tu remedio y te espero abajo.

take your medicine and I'll wait for you downstairs.

Caption 44, Muñeca Brava 48 - Soluciones - Part 1

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La medicina puede ayudar, puede colaborar,

Medicine can help, can contribute,

Caption 51, Muñeca Brava 8 Trampas - Part 9

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Adrián, deberías tomar las pastillas que te di. 

Adrian, you should take the pills that I gave you.

Caption 40, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos: Subjuntivo y condicional

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También le recetaré un jarabe.

I will also prescribe you a syrup.

Caption 26, Cita médica La cita médica de Cleer - Part 2

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However, the best medicine of all might be good old-fashioned rest:

 

Adicional, lo que yo le voy a recomendar es a descansar.

Additionally, what I am going to recommend to you is to rest.

Caption 73, Los médicos explican Diagnóstico: nervios y estrés

 Play Caption

 

We hope that this lesson has provided a good introduction to talking about how you feel, some various ailments, and some remedies for them, and we urge you to check out our supplemental materials such as the videos Visitar al médico (Visiting the Doctor) and La cita médica de Cleer (Cleer's Medical Appointment) as well as our series Los médicos explican (The Doctors Explain). And don't forget to leave us your suggestions and comments

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Vocabulary

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A Few Outstanding Differences between Castilian and Latin American Spanish

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. 

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Pronunciation

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:

 

Muchas gracias.

Thank you very much.

Caption 88, Ana Teresa Canales energéticos

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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 comedor

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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

 

Vosotros/as vs. Ustedes

Spanish speakers from both Spain and Latin America tend to address a single person formally with the pronoun usted and use (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 5

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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 8

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Although the teacher in this video, who is from Mexico, refers to his individual students with the informal prounoun , 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.

 

Use of Present Perfect vs. Preterite 

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 suerte

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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 5

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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). 

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Vocabulary

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. 

 

1. Car: El coche vs. el carro/auto 

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 coche

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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.

Caption 54, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 4

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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 lugar

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2. To Drive: Conducir vs. manejar

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 2

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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 2

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3. To Take: Coger vs. tomar

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 Transporte

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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 1

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4. Computer: El ordenador vs. la computadora

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 2

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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 2

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5. Juice: El zumo vs. el jugo

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 Presentaciones

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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 Lida

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6. Peach: El melocotón vs. el durazno

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 Tortilla

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Me volvió a gustar la compota de durazno 

I started liking peach baby food again,

Caption 4, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 7 - Part 1

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7. Apartment: El piso vs. el departamento/apartamento

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 1

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Tienes un lindo departamento, realmente. -Gracias.

You have a nice apartment, really. -Thank you.

Caption 27, Yago 10 Enfrentamientos - Part 3

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8. Cell phone: El móvil vs. el celular 

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 1

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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?

Caption 55, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 1: No tengo mi teléfono.

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9. Glasses: Las gafas vs. los lentes

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 1

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También tienes unos lentes.

You also have some glasses.

Caption 13, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 1: No tengo mi teléfono.

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10. Socks: Los calcetines vs. las medias:

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 viaje

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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 11

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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

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"Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda" in Spanish

The colloquial expression "Woulda, coulda, shoulda" is often used to express regret about something that, in retrospect, one "would have," "could have," or "should have" done differently. As learners of Spanish are often anxious to find manners of expressing these same ideas in Spanish, today, we'll provide some simple formulas for doing so. 

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1. "Would have": Conditional form of haber + past participle 

 

When conjugated in the conditional tense, the auxiliary verb haber means "would have." Let's take a look at this conjugation:

 

Yo habría (I would have)

Tú habrías (You would have)

Él/Ella/Usted habría (He/She/You would have)

Nosotros/Nosotras habríamos (We would have)

Vosotros/Vosotras habríais (You all would have)

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes habrían (They/You all would have)

 

Then, to express what one "would have" done under other circumstances, we use the past participle. Although certain verbs have irregular past participle forms, in the majority of cases, the past participle is formed by replacing the -ar of infinitive -ar verbs with -ado or the -er or -ir of -er and -ir verbs with -ido as follows:

 

Infinitive: comenzar   /   Past participle: comenzado

Infinitive: comer        /    Past participle: comido

Infinitive: subir         /     Past participle: subido

 

Aside from this simple formula for conjugating the past participle of verbs, irregular past participles must be memorized. Some of the most common irregular past participles include: decir: dicho (said), escribir: escrito (written), hacer: hecho (done), poner: puesto (put), romper: roto (broken), morir: muerto (dead), ver: visto (seen), volver: vuelto (returned), cubrir: cubierto (covered). Although it would be impossible to list all of the irregular past participles here, you will find that many of them follow similar patterns that should become increasingly familiar with additional exposure to Spanish. 

 

Now that we know the formula for expressing the idea of "would have" in Spanish, let's take a look at some examples: 

 

Ya habríais ahorrado... -Dos mil euros. 

You would have saved... -Two thousand euros.

Caption 72, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos

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Sólo se trataba de cerrar los ojos y aguantar el dolor,

It was just about closing my eyes and dealing with the pain,

como habría hecho Ricardo Mendoza. 

like Ricardo Mendoza would have done.

Captions 47-48, Los Años Maravillosos - Capítulo 1

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Y si lo hiciera, yo ya me habría dado cuenta. -¿Sí? 

And if he did, I would have realized it by now. -Really?

Caption 33, X6 - 1 - La banda - Part 10

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2. "Could have": Conditional form of poder + haber + past participle

 

The formula for talking about things we "could have" done, but didn't, involves the conditional conjugation of the verb poder (to be able), plus the infinitive haber, plus the past participle. The conditional of the verb poder is as follows:

 

Yo podría (I could)

Tú podrías (You could)

Él/Ella/Usted podría (He/She/You could)

Nosotros/Nosotras podríamos (We could)

Vosotros/Vosotras podríais (You all could)

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes podrían (They/You all could)

 

Note that while the translation of the verb poder in its conditional form is "could," the addition of the infinitive haber creates a structure meaning "could have." For example, while Yo podría ir al circo means "I could go to the circus," Yo podría haber ido al circo (I could have gone to the circus) conveys the idea of an unfulfilled possibility. Let's take a look at some examples of this construction: 

 

¡Pero qué bien! ¡Lo mismo me podría haber contestado un policía! 

But how great! A policeman could have answered me the same way.

Caption 4, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reunión

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Te la podrías haber traído más grande. ¿Cuántas has cogido?

You could have brought a bigger one. How many have you picked?

Caption 118, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa

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Te podrías haber vestido un poco más de...

You could have dressed a little more like...

con... no sé, de señorita, digo.

with... I don't know, like a lady, I mean.

Captions 35-36, Muñeca Brava - 2 Venganza

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3. "Should have": Conditional form of deber + haber + past participle

 

As you can see, this formula is extremely similar to the previous one, except that it employs the conditional form of the verb deber. Although the verb deber frequently involves the idea of obligation, with such translations as "to have to" or the idea that one "must" do something, in its conditional form, it takes on the meaning "should." Let's take a look at its conditional conjugation:

 

Yo debería (I should)

Tú deberías (You should)

Él/Ella/Usted debería (He/She/You should)

Nosotros/Nosotras deberíamos (We should)

Vosotros/Vosotras deberíais (You all should)

Ellos/Ellas/Ustedes deberían (They/You all should)

 

As with our previous formula, the addition of the infinitive haber changes the meaning from "should" to "should have." Using the same example of the circus, while Yo  debería ir al circo means "I should go to the circus," Yo debería haber ido al circo (I should have gone to the circus) expresses regret about not having gone. Let's take a look at some additional examples: 

 

Le debería haber dado un trompazo en la boca nada más.

I should have punched her in the mouth and that's it.

Caption 16, Muñeca Brava - 30 Revelaciones

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Digo, debería haber confiado y...

I mean, I should have trusted and...

y se me ha escapado.

and it has escaped me.

Captions 46-47, Club de las ideas - Intuición

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Of course, just as one might have the feeling that he, she, or someone else should have done something differently in the past, we can also find fault with things that we or others shouldn't have done:

 

No deberías haber salido de casa.

You shouldn't have left the house.

Caption 45, Muñeca Brava - 46 Recuperación

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We hope that these simple formulas help you to speak about what you "would have," "could have," or "should have" done in Spanish, and don't forget to leave us your questions and comments

 

Making Comparisons in Spanish - Part 1

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

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

 

Comparisons of Inequality

 

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

 

1. más/menos + adjective + que

 

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

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

Caption 64, Tecnópolis - Sierra de las nieves

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Este libro es menos interesante que el otro.

This book is less interesting than the other one.

Caption 72, Karla e Isabel - Comparativos

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

 

2. más/menos + adverb + que 

 

Les inyectaba hormonas para que crecieran más rápido.

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

Caption 45, Kikirikí - Animales

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

 

3. más/menos + noun  + que

 

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

 

Ten en cuenta que los productos en tamaño familiar,

Take into account that family-sized products,

sean de lo que sean,

whatever they are,

generan menos residuos por unidad de producto.

generate less waste per product unit.

Captions 51-53, 3R - Campaña de reciclaje

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

 

Yo tengo un año menos que tú.

I am a year younger than you.

Caption 12, Clara y Cristina - Saludar

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

 

Intensifying or Mitigating Difference

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Captions 14-15, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos

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No es tanto más grande que yo.

She's not that much older than me.

Caption 31, Muñeca Brava - 7 El poema

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De Los Cabos sí queda un poquito más lejitos,

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

un poquito más de dos horas.

a little bit over two hours.

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

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Parallel Comparative Structure 

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 81, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa

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Irregular Adjectives/Adverbs

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Es más malo que el diablo.

He is more evil than the devil.

 

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

 

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

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

 

María canta mejor que su hermana.     

María sings better than her sister.

 

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

 

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

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

Caption 61, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reunión

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Mal. Peor que la semana pasada.

Bad. Worse than last week.

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

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

Expressing Disgust in Spanish

By definition, nobody likes to feel disgusted, and yet disgust is sadly a very common sentiment. Let's learn a few ways in which Spanish speakers express their disgust.
 

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Let's start with the most basic. The expression me da asco (literally "it gives me disgust") has many different translations, depending on the context:

 

Me da asco, la verdad, mire, señor...

You make me sick, truthfully, look, sir...

Caption 23, Muñeca Brava - 18 - La Apuesta

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Cuando te duele la cabeza, tenés unas náuseas que

When your head hurts, you have nausea that

te da asco todo.

makes everything disgusting to you.

Caption 73, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reunión - Part 5

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This expression is also very interesting because of the idiomatic use of the verb dar (to give), which is used a lot in Spanish to express a wide variety of feelings, from me da miedo (it frightens me), to me da pena (I feel ashamed) and me da gusto (it pleases me). In order to learn it and remember it, we suggest you recall an expression in English that uses the same verb in the same way: "it gives me the creeps," which in Spanish could translate as me da asco or me da escalofríos (it makes me shrivel), or something else, depending on the context. Our friends from Calle 13 use dar repelo (repelo is a coloquial word for "disgust"):
 

Oye jibarita si te doy repelillo,

Listen, peasant girl, if I give you the creeps,

Residente te quita el frenillo

Residente will take away your stutter

Caption 44, Calle 13 - Tango del pecado

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Other phrases that can also be used in Spanish are me enferma (it makes me sick), and me da náuseas (it makes me feel nauseous). Check out this example:
 

Verla me da náuseas.

Seeing her makes me sick.

Caption 22, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reunión - Part 1

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Now let's learn some single words that you can use to express your dislikes. The interjection guácala (sometimes written huácala) is used in Mexico, Colombia, Honduras, el Salvador, República Dominicana, and many other Latin American countries. By the way, this word has nothing to do with guacamole (from Nahuatl ahuacatl "avocado" + molli "sauce"), which is delicious. 
 

¡Ay guácala!

Oh, gross!

No, no se puede. ¡Huele a muerto!

No, it's not possible. It smells like a corpse!

Captions 4-5, Kikirikí - Agua

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A similar word is fúchila, which you could also find shortened as fuchi. This word is also used in many Latin American countries, Venezuela, for example:
 

¡Fuchi! Mejor no respires, pero cálmate, ¿sí?

Ew! Better you don't breathe, but calm down, OK?

Caption 51, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso

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In Spain people use the interjections puajpuah, or aj:
 
¡Puaj, este pescado está podrido!
Yuck, this fish is rotten!

Now, in Spanish the antonyms of the verb gustar (to like) and the noun gusto (like) are disgustar (dislike) and disgusto (dislike). However, you should pay attention to the context to learn how to use them. Take, for example, the expression estar a disgusto (to be uncomfortable or unhappy):
 

Yo ya estaba muy a disgusto en México.

I was already unhappy in Mexico.

Caption 42, Arturo Vega - Entrevista

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If you want to use the verb disgustar to express your dislike about something, you have to remember to always use it with a reflexive pronoun:

Me disgustan las achoas.
I dislike anchovies.

However, it's more common to simply say:

No me gustan las achoas.
I don't like anchovies.

Notice that when you use the verb disgustar (to dislike) the verb is conjugated in the third-person plural (in agreement with las anchoas) and not the first-person singular (yo). If you ever were to say something like me disgusto, which is possible but as common as me enojo (I get angry or upset), that would mean something different:

Me disgusto con Antonio siempre que llega tarde.
I get angry with Antonio whenever he's late.

The noun disgusto, on the other hand, is used as the noun asco (disgust), that is, with the verb dar (to give). The expression dar un disgusto means "to cause displeasure," or "to make someone angry, sad, or upset"). 

Mi hijo me dio un disgusto muy grande al abandonar la escuela.
My son made me so upset when he quit school.

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Finally, the expression matar de disgusto (literally, "to kill someone by means of upsetting him or her") is a common expression that overly dramatic people really like to use:

 

Esta hija mía me va a matar de un disgusto.

This daughter of mine is going to kill me with disappointment.

Caption 42, Muñeca Brava - 3 Nueva Casa

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¡Cómo puedes preguntar eso?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Qué grandísimo músico.

What a great musician.

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

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

¡Pero qué inteligente!

But how smart!

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

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Bueno, qué grande la tienda, ¿eh?

Well, how big the store is, huh?

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

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

Para que te cuenten cuán grande es mi dolor

So they tell you how big my pain is

Caption 10, Chico Trujillo - Quémame los ojos

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

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

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

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

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

¡Cuántos frijoles hubiéramos hecho!

How many beans we would have produced!

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

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

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

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

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

How dare you!?

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

Vocabulary

¿Cuánto vale? Add it up!

¿Cuánto vale? literally means “How much is it worth?” but you will find that it can be used interchangeably with ¿Cuánto cuesta? which literally means “How much does it cost?” Patrons of Casa Panchos in Burgos, Spain, often use this phrase when deciding on a fine wine:
 

Cillar de Silos. Muy bueno. -¿Cuánto vale?

Cillar de Silos. Very good. -How much is it?

Captions 65-66, Casa Pancho - vinos y pinchos - Part 2

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But be careful if you hear the impersonal expression se vale. This has nothing to do with worthiness; rather it is used to express that something is just or fair. The land dwellers in Atenco use the phrase in the negative form:
 

Todo lo hicieron por debajo del agua, ¿eh? Y eso no está bien. No se vale eso.

They did everything under the table, eh? And that's not right. That's not fair.

Captions 23-24, ¡Tierra, Sí! Atenco - Part 3

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BANNER PLACEHOLDER

La cuenta, as anyone who’s ever ventured to a Spanish speaking country can tell you, is “the check” or bill you get at the end your meal. Hacer la cuenta is to prepare the check for the customer. However, replace la with de and we obtain a totally different meaning. Hacer de cuenta has nothing to do with invoicing a customer, but rather means “to pretend.” 

 

Haz de cuenta de que ya yo no existo, no te resisto.

Pretend I no longer exist, I can't stand you any longer.

Caption 48, Dante Spinetta - Donde

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The verb sumar means “to add.” The adjective sumo means “high” or “great”, for example sumo sacerdote gives us “high priest.” A lo sumo is a common saying that means “at most.” You may have heard it in our popular telenovela Muñeca Brava, uttered by Rocky, the chauffeur, when he explains that he's done his best not to gossip.

 

A lo sumo se me escapó lo de la hija de Ramón.

What I disclosed, at most, was the issue about Ramon's daughter.

Caption 59, Muñeca Brava - 44 El encuentro - Part 3

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The adverb sumamente means “extremely,” as we hear from Andrea, Ivo’s fiance, also in Muñeca Brava:

 

Oh, sumamente inteligente, ¿verdad? -Lo sé. Lo sé.

Oh, extremely intelligent, right? -I know. I know.

Captions 28-30, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reunión - Part 5

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We hope you’ve found this sumamente interesting! For comments or questions email us at support@yabla.com
 
Further reading from past lessons:
Valer la pena and probar
Contar: Counting and Recounting

 

Vocabulary

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Trato: Deal

Tengo un trato, lo mío pa' mi saco...

I have a deal, what's mine is mine...

Caption 3, La Mala Rodriguez - Entrevista

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BANNER PLACEHOLDER

In her rap, María Rodríguez tells us Tengo un trato, "I have a deal," and lo mío pa' mi saco, which literally means "mine for my bag," but which is a figurative way to say "what's mine is mine."

 

Por eso te quiero ofrecer un trato.

That's why I want to offer you a deal.

Caption 31, Muñeca Brava - 43 La reunión - Part 5

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¡Es un trato hecho! Te paso a buscar a las ocho.
It´s a done deal! I'll pick you up at eight.

Hagamos un trato: tú vas a la reunión y yo cuido a los chicos.
Let´s make a deal: you'll go to the meeting and I'll look after the children.


As in English, a deal, un trato, is related to but not exactly the same as un contrato, a contract, which usually implies a more formal, legal agreement, usually written.

We can informally make a deal, un trato, but whenever we are talking about more serious and legal matters, we´ll use
contrato, contract.

 

Algunos clientes bajo contrato, le pre-maduramos la fruta para que llegue apta para comer.

[For] some customers under contract, we pre-ripen the fruit so that it arrives ready to eat.

Captions 99-100, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa - Part 18

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BANNER PLACEHOLDER

El abogado está redactando el contrato de mantenimiento.
The lawyer is drawing up the maintenance contract.

El contrato que firmé me obliga a trabajar dos sábados al mes.
The contract that I signed requires me to work two saturdays a month.

Vocabulary

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