Tag Archives: study Spanish

16 Sentence Starters in Spanish

Let’s take a dive into some of the most useful sentence starters in Spanish that will make your conversations and writings sparkle with diversity.

Get ready to jazz up your Spanish with these kick-off phrases we’re about to explore!

Sentence Starters in Spanish to Give Your Opinion

These phrases are your toolkit for expressing opinions, setting the tone of your dialogue, and connecting more authentically with your audience.

Mira

  • Translation: Look
  • Usage: To grab attention or highlight a point. It’s like saying, “Hey, check this out” or “Look at it this way.” It can be used both in casual conversations and more formal discussions to draw the listener’s focus to what you’re about to say next.

Desde mi punto de vista,

  • Translation: From my point of view,
  • Usage: When you’re about to share your personal opinion or perspective on a matter. It’s a respectful way to introduce your thoughts, acknowledging that it’s your viewpoint.

Yo creo que

  • Translation: Personally, I believe that
  • Usage: Similar to “Desde mi punto de vista,” but with a slight emphasis on belief. It’s used when you’re expressing an opinion that’s closely held or based on your beliefs. It’s perfect for debates or discussions where you want to state your position clearly.

Bueno,

  • Translation: Well,
  • Usage: A versatile starter that can signal agreement, hesitation, or the introduction of a new thought. It’s like saying, “Well, let’s see,” or “Well, you know.” It’s casual and can smoothly transition the conversation or introduce a slight change in topic.

La verdad es que

  • Translation: The truth is that
  • Usage: When you’re about to lay down a fact or get real about a situation. It’s a precursor to an honest, sometimes blunt, statement. It sets the stage for a revelation or a heartfelt opinion.

Disagreeing and Contrasting

Pues yo creo que no (Well, I don’t think so)

This starter is your go-to when you want to softly but firmly introduce your disagreement. It’s a polite way to start expressing a divergent opinion, indicating that what follows is a personal belief that contrasts with what was previously mentioned.

Por otro lado (On the other hand)

“Por otro lado” is perfect for adding depth to a discussion by presenting an alternative viewpoint. It’s like saying, “Let’s consider this from another angle,” which can enrich a conversation or argument by exploring it from diverse perspectives.

Sin embargo (However)

“Sin embargo” is the bridge between two conflicting ideas, showing that despite the validity of the previous point, there’s another aspect worth considering. It’s a classic and elegant way to introduce a counterargument or an exception to a rule.

Pero (But)

The most common and versatile way to introduce a contrast, “pero” is the Spanish equivalent of “but.” It directly opposes what has been said, paving the way for the speaker to present a different opinion, fact, or perspective.

Spanish Sentence Starters for For Expressing Consequences or Results

By mastering these connectors, you’ll be able to guide your listeners or readers through a thought process, leading them from premise to conclusion with clarity and persuasion. Let’s explore these vital connectors:

Por lo tanto, (Therefore,)

“Por lo tanto” is your go-to when you want to draw a direct conclusion from the information previously mentioned. It’s like saying, “Given all that, here’s the bottom line.” This phrase helps you wrap up your argument neatly, showing that what comes next is the logical outcome of the discussion.

  • Example: Hemos perdido mucho tiempo en discusiones inútiles. Por lo tanto, debemos concentrarnos en encontrar soluciones.

Como resultado, (As a result,)

“Como resultado” highlights the outcome of a specific action or event, emphasizing the cause-and-effect relationship. It’s perfect for instances where you want to underline the impact of certain actions or decisions.

  • Example: La empresa decidió invertir más en tecnología. Como resultado, mejoró su eficiencia operativa.

Esto significa que (This means that)

“Esto significa que” is used to explain or interpret the implications of something. It’s your ally when you want to make the consequences or significance of an event crystal clear to your audience.

  • Example: El gobierno ha reducido los impuestos para pequeñas empresas. Esto significa que más emprendedores tendrán la oportunidad de crecer.

Spanish Sentence Starters to Answer Questions

Pues,

Usage: “Pues” is a versatile word often used to start answers, especially when you’re thinking about what to say or need a moment to organize your thoughts. It’s akin to saying “well” in English.

Example: “¿Vas a asistir a la reunión mañana? Pues, aún no estoy seguro. Depende de cómo termine el trabajo hoy.”

Es que,

Usage: This phrase is commonly used to explain or justify something. It’s similar to saying “it’s just that” or “the thing is” in English, providing a soft introduction to your reason or explanation.

Example: “¿Por qué no viniste ayer? Es que me sentía un poco enfermo y decidí quedarme en casa.”

A ver,

Usage: “A ver” is used to signal that you’re about to consider the question or think about your response. It can be translated as “let’s see.” It’s a way to buy time while also showing that you’re actively engaging with the question.

Example: “¿Cuánto tiempo te llevará terminar el proyecto? A ver, si todo va bien, espero terminarlo en dos semanas.”

Do you want to know more? Check the article 65 Spanish Phrases to Use in an Essay

8 Best Software and Apps to Learn Spanish

Learning Spanish takes dedication and practice. It also requires you to put in a lot of time to become fluent and sound like a native speaker. As you know, Spanish is a complex language, and mastering can seem like an impossible task. But, picking the right tools can shorten the process and set you up for success!

That’s why it’s so important to find useful apps and resources that can help you reach your goals. The good news is that there are many Spanish program options. The bad news is that not all of them work! 

So, to make it easier for you, I have compiled the eight best software and apps to learn Spanish:

*This post does not have affiliate links, and it is not based in any commercial relationship.

1. DuoLingo

Duolingo is arguably the most famous app when it comes to learning a new language. It is rated as one of the best apps to learn Spanish in both the AppStore and the Google Play Store.

The platform uses short lessons with a gaming-like approach that is very effective for teaching grammar and vocabulary. Plus, it is very easy to use.

However, DuoLingo does have some flaws. When compared to other apps, the platform is not as comprehensive. Therefore, if you are already an intermediate or advanced Spanish speaker, this might not be the best app for you. 

Price: FREE

2. Memrise 

Memrise is a great new app that focuses on helping slow learners memorize words in Spanish. It is an excellent app for children and beginners as one lesson can help you learn up to 15 new words! 

Memrise does an excellent job of gamifying language practice and making it fun and exciting to learn Spanish. It uses flashcard exercises, recordings, and quizzes. 

Plus, each module is filled with lessons divided into categories ranging from history, geography, ad science to math, sports, and fashion. 

Price:

The app offers a FREE version and a “Pro” version for $5.00 per month. The pro version includes exercises that focus on conversation and statics that display your progress report.

3. Yabla Spanish 

Yabla Spanish is a video-based language learning software. It is perfect for beginners and intermediate learners as videos include real native speakers. As a result, you can quickly develop the listening, comprehension, and vocabulary skills needed to master the language like a pro. 

The platform includes 1833 videos on various topics ranging from documentaries, news, and short films to music videos, cartoons, and soap opera episodes.​ 

With Yabla, modules will feel more of a break than an actual lesson. Thus, if you are not into the whole “studying” component of learning Spanish, this app might do the trick! 

Price:

Yabla offers three payment options: $9.95 per month, $54.95 for six months, or $99.95 per year. 

4. FluentU

FluentU is designed to get you acquainted with everyday Spanish through the complete immersion method using native-level conversations.

The app includes videos with interactive transcripts to help you learn new words and understand the context in which each word is used. 

Plus, if you come across an interesting term you didn’t know, you can add it to a vocabulary list. FluentU also keeps track of the vocabulary you learned and gives you extra practice exercises for difficult words. 

Additionally, the app sets periodical reminders to review what you’ve learned — allowing for a personalized experience.

Price: FluentU costs $30 per month or $240 if you decide to make an annual payment.

5. Glossika

Glossika is a program that teaches beginner, intermediate, and advanced Spanish learners how to use the foreign language. It goes above and beyond helping you learn grammar and vocabulary. 

Its functions are similar to a language learning gym. It includes successive training sessions, which will require you to “work out” speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills.

Glossika is an excellent program if you’re looking for a practical way to improve your ability to create correct sentences and naturally speak Spanish without breaking the bank.

Price:

The monthly subscription costs $30 a month or $24.99 a year. 

6. MosaLingua

MosaLingua is an innovative software that teaches Spanish through SRS. This technology calculates review dates based on your learning practice and difficulty while focusing on ingraining words into your long-term memory. How? Simple! 

At first, the app focuses on spaced repetition through 3000 everyday words and phrases. Once you get the hang of it, it introduces more complex lessons with dialogues, quizzes, and flashcards to help you achieve fluency. 

MosaLingua has more than 14 categories, 100 subcategories, and 3000 flashcards that are very well organized and easy to use. Consequently, millions of users worldwide use this app to learn Spanish, rating it with an average of 4.5/5 stars. 

Price:

MosaLingua offers three different packages: 

  • Premium: $65 
  • Premium + MosaWeb: $90 
  • Deluxe + MosaWeb: $165 

7. Pimsleur 

Pimsleur is arguably one of the best apps for good listeners and autodidacts. The app focuses on conversation and is an entirely audio-based software. 

It uses a unique question and response technique to get you thinking in Spanish — allowing you to sound like a real native speaker. For me, it’s one of the best software when it comes to preparing you for real-life Spanish conversations.

Price:

Pimsleur offers five levels of learning at $150 each. 

8. Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone is one of the oldest language-learning apps out there. As a result, it is also one of the most popular Spanish learning software. It is an extensive program that teaches the language as if you were a kid focusing on the theoretical aspects of learning Spanish and the practical (e.g., greetings, phrases, and expressions.)

With Rosetta Stone, you learn more than textbook Spanish. The app encourages you to sound like a native by offering valuable expressions and conversational Spanish lessons.

Furthermore, the program has units specifically designed for the visual, listener, and kinesthetic learner. Hence, based on your learning style, you can customize your curriculum for better results. 

Price:

For one level, the software costs $179. Two levels cost $279, three levels cost $379, and if you want the full five-level set, the software costs $479. 

Now that you understand what each of these programs can offer, you can make an educated decision as to which one will work best for you! 

After all, learning a language varies from person to person. What might work for one person does not necessarily mean it will work for you. Thus, before embarking on your Spanish-learning adventure, consider each app’s price, objectives, and teaching method. 

No in Spanish – Everything you need to know

No in Spanish is the word they use to make negative sentences. It equals to No and Not in English.

According to the Cambridge dictionary website, in English “no” goes before a noun phrase and not with any other phrase or clause.

No in Spanish is even easier, because you cannot use a negative particular before a noun, so you should never have the doubt.

Let’s see examples:

In English you would say “There are no apples in the fridge” but in Spanish you have to change the order and the No will be always before the verb: “No hay manzanas en el frigorífico”.

Even when you want to use the imperative, no in Spanish goes before a verb. For example:

“No dogs allowed” would be “No se admiten perros”.

No in Spanish with Nada and ninguna

No in Spanish also work for sentences that in English would use any, and there are slightly differences.

In English, “He paid no attention to the teacher” is stronger than “He didn’t pay any attention to the teacher.”

One could say that Any in Spanish es ninguno or ninguna. However, when you use them, the negative is stronger. Like this:

“No ha prestado ninguna atención al profesor” is stronger than “No ha prestado atención al profesor”.

This is because while when speaking in English you make emphasis in the No, in Spanish you make it in the Ninguna.

So “He paid NO attention to the teacher” equals to “No ha prestado NINGUNA atención al profesor”.

There is still one more thing to know. Keep in mind that when using ningún and ninguna, when you start the sentence with them, you cannot use No in Spanish. For example:

  • Ninguno de esos coches es rojo.
  • No hay ningún coche rojo.
  • Ningún coche rojo ha venido.
  • No ha venido ningún coche rojo

But never try to add the no in Spanish after a sentence that starts with ningún or ninguno/a.

The same happens with Nada:

  • Nada es perfecto.
  • No hay nada perfecto

So this is it. All you need to know about no in Spanish.

Do you have any doubt? Leave a comment!

If you need help to proofread a Spanish text, contact me!

7 Effective Memory Methods & Techniques for Spanish Learners

Over 572 million people speak Spanish worldwide, making it the second-most spoken language in the world (after Mandarin). Furthermore, according to recent data, only in the U.S, there are 40+ million native Spanish speakers and over 15 million people with some degree of knowledge of Spanish. If you scale that statistic worldwide, it is safe to say that Spanish seems like the right choice when choosing to learn a second language.

However, learning a new language is no easy task — especially as an adult. It requires a lot of effort and commitment on your part. But, do not be discouraged! There are plenty of effective memory methods that can help you along the way.

Below I will share seven of the top methods and techniques for Spanish learners:

Understand How to Use Words

The key to learning Spanish (and any other language) is to know when and how to use words. Meaning that you need to understand where it is appropriate to use specific words or expressions. In certain scenarios, it might be acceptable to use jargon that could be otherwise frown upon in formal instances.

For example, in Spain, you may hear someone say, “¡Esto es la hostia!”. And I can assure you, he/she is talking about anything but a communion wafer. Or you might come across ordinary words that can have a different connotation depending on the country you are in — even if there are all Spanish-speaking countries.

Thus, as you progress in your studies, you will inevitably notice that you are learning different words through use and context. Please take note of those words and expressions to ensure they stick in your memory.

Learn Cognates

Cognates refer to words that have a similar/exact spelling or the same meaning in two languages. In other words, cognates are expressions that are identical or very close in different languages. Spanish and English share many of these words, including:
• Accident / Accidente
• Banana / Banana
• Camera / Cámara
• Disaster / Desastre
• Idea / Idea
• Map / Mapa
• Object / Objeto
• Radio / Radio
• Traffic / Tráfico

As a result, cognates are the easiest of Spanish words to learn. Nonetheless, be aware of the so-called “false friends.” A false friend is an expression that appears to be a cognate but has an entirely different meaning. For example, ‘carpet’ and ‘carpeta’ or ‘éxito’ and ‘exit.’

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!

It comes as no surprise that repetition is one of the best techniques for memorization. Thus, when trying to grasp a new language, practice definitely makes perfect! By repeating and regularly using words/phrases, you are forcing your brain to remember new concepts.

Additionally, repetition helps perfect pronunciation and intonation. Hence, you can use voice recordings to mimic what native speakers are saying or employ repetition by repeatedly writing words and sentences.

More so, studies show that this type of memorization technique allows students to get ready for tests, and it works similarly to help us retain new languages.

Entertain Your Senses

Many scientific studies have shown that we retain information better when learning through games or fun activities. Plus, millions of creative works, including books and movies, have traversed language barriers by being subtitled or translated in different languages.

Therefore, translated works are not only a way of expanding entertainment throughout different cultures but also a scientifically proven technique for enabling the memorization of foreign words.

There are plenty of things you can do to help you improve or learn Spanish, including:
• Reading a book, you have already read
• Listen to songs and jotting down the lyrics
• Watch a movie or television series without subtitles
• Playing a game through apps such as Duolingo, Busuu or Babbel that are specifically designed for language learning

Use Mnemonic Devices

Another old but handy technique is to employ mnemonic devices to help you remember words, meanings, and even expressions. Mnemonic devices come in many forms, from keyword relations and storylines to songs and visualizations. However, the best methods for language learning are generally keyword relations and visualizations.

The secret behind keyword memorization is to look for a word in your native language that can be related to a new concept in Spanish to create a mental connection. For example, if you want to learn the Spanish word for ‘cat,’ which is ‘gato,’ you may relate the word gate. To make it even more apparent, every time you hear the word ‘gato’ imagine a cat sitting on top of a gate.

Here, you are not only using keywords but also pictographic visualizations to create cognitive anchors. If you think this is a technique that you can exploit, there are plenty of online resources to help you develop these types of connections.

Develop Flash Cards/Lists

Flashcards are another practical method when learning a new language or trying to memorize foreign terms. Although it may seem dumb, it is incredibly helpful!

Think back to those preschool years where teachers used pictures with words underneath to teach you to read or to help you understand the meaning of certain things. In adults, this technique is proven to be equally helpful.

Therefore, if you are having trouble remembering or learning specific terms, try writing them down on colorful cards. And whenever you have time or are merely bored, go over them. Sooner than later, you will start to understand and remember those terms faster.

Get Immersed

Last but not least, if you have the chance, the best way of becoming fluent in a new language is by immersion. Visiting a Spanish-speaking country or location can go a long way!

Furthermore, the immersion technique is genuinely effective due to its sense of urgency. If you are visiting a place where no one speaks your language, there is a sense of urgency because you must find a way of communicating with those around you.

Additionally, interacting with Spanish-speaking natives serves as a way of learning specific inflections or other nuances of the language that differ from their ‘textbook’ version.

Want to Study in Spain?

Going Abroad? Looking to study abroad somewhere exciting next semester? Or perhaps you’re searching for the perfect internship? Are you looking for something that will help you stand out in a large pool of applicants for your dream job?

You should consider Spain. No, really. With its vibrant culture, beautiful architecture, and unlimited opportunities to improve your Spanish, Spain is the perfect place for you to create a career, and a lifetime of goals. Just make sure you keep in mind a few things before you head out.

  1. Resumes

While the concept of what a resume actually doesn’t change, in Spain, you’re more likely than not to use a CV than a resume. CV stands for curriculum vitae, and it’s meant to highlight your accomplishments in work, and more specifically academics. The format is really all about creating itself to suite your accomplishments, versus a resume, which creates itself to fit the job position. These are typically accompanied with a cover letter.

However, you should keep in mind that when using a CV to apply for a job, you should still structure it to fit the job. You want interviewers to know that you understand the position! Short answer: a CV is more detailed about what you have accomplished, and a resume is all about telling an employer why they should hire you. Since the CV is mostly common in Europe, Euro Pass has a handy online form that will help you fill out a CV! Visit it here for help getting your own CV started.

And don’t forget to send your resumes, cover letters, and CVs to a Spanish corrector before submitting! It doesn’t hurt to have a second opinion, especially if writing in Spanish is new or still a bit unfamiliar to you.

Interview Etiquette

Not much changes from the United States to Spain in terms of interview etiquette. Always be a little bit early. Anywhere from five to ten minutes is acceptable. Be prepared! No interviewer wants to spend time with a candidate that has no idea what is going on.

If Spanish isn’t your first language, then it will help you out even more if you come prepared. You’ll know exactly what to do when an interviewer mentions a complex topic or asks you a question that requires a bit more thought. You’ll spend less time thinking about your response (and even the best non-native Spanish speakers still struggle with processing new vocabulary at a rapid, immediate pace, so understand practice is important) and more time impressing your interviewer!

In Spain, it’s standard to greet females with the kiss on each cheek greeting, but you shouldn’t do this in an interview. Keep it professional and stick with a firm handshake. Eye contact and confidence is also key! It’s also important to note the Spanish use of the tú versus usted. In Spain, it is more common to use tú than usted, but again, keep it professional. It’s better to be safe than sorry! Some interviewers will let you know if they prefer you to use tu over the usted form, but just in case, memorize your usted verb endings.

Vocabulary and Key Phrases

Not every job will have the same vocabulary and key phrases. An engineer’s vocabulary is going to be different than a designer’s vocabulary.

Whatever field you are going into (or studying), make sure you brush up on those vocabulary words before the application process and especially before interviewing. It’s difficult enough to interview for a job or academic program – you put all your hard work out on the line and have to deal with the agony of waiting to hear back for days on end, sometimes even weeks! – don’t make it any harder on yourself by not knowing your industry vocabulary.

Sure, you know how to say jefe and empresa, but do you know how to explain the key concepts in your field? Can you detail what excites you about your career path? You’ll definitely want to know how to talk about those things. Start by translating the vocabulary and/or phrases, and then put to use the Spanish you already know! If you can memorize the key words of your industry, half the battle is already over.

Degree Requirements

Before you can even think about interviewing, you have to submit a CV and cover letter, and before you do that, you have to make sure you’re qualified to apply. Job qualifications vary from country to country.

Each field will have its own special set of rules and regulations, so it’s important to be well versed in what your field requires of applicants and prospect employees before you even begin searching for your perfect fir(whether that be a job, internship, academic program, or study abroad program.).

For example, the healthcare system is set up in the United States differently than it is in Spain and the rest of the European Union (EU), so that will affect how hospitals, clinics, and healthcare offices are run.

When practicing law, know that Spain is a part of the European Union, which affects many laws, regulations, and ultimately professional certifications. Whatever field you are entering, or are already a part of, make sure you are prepared and well-versed on requirements before you start applying.

Visas and Permits

This is the most important thing to remember when studying or working abroad, as you cannot do your studies or your job without it!

While Spain doesn’t require visas to enter the country for American citizens on short-term trips (up to three months) you will need one if you are going to be staying a semester or two and if you will be earning wages.

Typically, summer programs don’t require visas, as they are shorter terms than three months. Some employers will even sponsor visas and help with the process of obtaining one. However, there are a few different types of visas, and each situation is unique, so be sure to research your specific job or academic situation to find out correct and up to date information. Again, this is the most important thing you can remember to do! You can’t do your job without it!

Spanish Words With Different Meanings

Learning Spanish might seem easy, but even as a native speaker we can face some confusing and curious words when talking to other Spanish-speakers around the world.

As you may know, it is the first language for 74 countries. Thus, it is only natural that we find some discrepancies. The same words can have multiple meanings when shifting from one region to another. In some cases, this has to do with the so-called “idioms” or country’s slang; but in other cases, the meaning changes entirely.

Therefore, I thought, what better way to practice our Spanish than by acknowledging a list of unique words, that depending on where you stand or with whom you are talking to can mean one thing or another.

• Torta

This one is a hack! When ordering a ‘torta’ in Venezuela, Colombia or Panamá, you are asking for delicious chocolate, vanilla or coffee cake. A little bit further up, in Mexico, if you ask for a ‘torta,’ you will encounter a traditional fried sandwich with ham or meat filling. But ‘torta’ does not only have a wide array of culinary meanings, in Spain this word is informally used to describe when someone falls or gets smack.

• Mono/Mona:

If you look for the meaning of ‘mono’ in the dictionary, you will see it stands for monkey. Nonetheless, several different purposes are found around Spanish speaking countries. In Colombia, for example, ‘mona’ stands for a blonde girl. Meanwhile, in Cuba, you will find that a cute little baby will be called ‘mono.’ In Spain referring to something as ‘mono’ also means lovely or sweet. However, in Venezuela, ‘mono’ can be a sweat pant – or in some cases, it is also used as a pejorative term to describe someone who is low-class or skanky.

• Pajita:

This word is a very tricky one. In countries like Argentina, Chile, and Spain it may be used to describe a straw. In Venezuela, a straw is a ‘pitillo,’ and a ‘pitillo’ in Spain is a cigarette. Confusing right? Well, it gets even more complicated. If you are traveling to Central America (Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua), you don’t want to shout out ‘pajita.’ In these countries’ pajita’ means to masturbate quickly. So, you must be very careful when using this particular word around America.

• Fresa:

Usually, ‘fresa’ only means one thing: a juicy strawberry. However, in Argentina, strawberries are called ‘frutillas.’ In Mexico, they use ‘fresa’ in an ordinary sense to describe someone who acts preppy, egocentric or superficial.

• Rubia:

In most Spanish-speaking countries a ‘rubia’ is a blonde girl/woman. But in a few countries, such as Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina a ‘rubia’ refers to an icy and refreshing beer! Presumably because of the beer’s color.

• Buzo:

This is also a very particular word. It is typically a synonym of diver. But in Costa Rica and Chile they will use ‘buzo’ when referencing sweatpants. In Argentina, a ‘buzo’ is commonly used to describe a sweatshirt, not pants. Also, in Venezuela, it is ‘slang’ for a man that stares sassily at women.

• Guagua:

In some countries like Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba the ‘guagua’ is a bus, but if you go down to Ecuador, Peru or Chile you will find that ‘guagua’ stands for baby. So basically, you could ride the ‘guagua’ with your ‘guagua’ if you were to use these words with different meanings.

• Coche:

In most countries, ‘coche’ is simply put a car. Spain, Mexico, and Uruguay use it as such, but in Chile, Venezuela, Colombia, and Peru you will use ‘coche’ to describe a baby stroller. Meanwhile, in Guatemala, ‘coche’ is the informal term for pig.

• Chucho:

This is a personal favorite! In Central America, ‘chucho’ means cheap and might also be used to describe an unreliable person. In some other countries, you will find that it is slang for joint. Panamanians used it as a warm term for people named Jesús or to refer to God’s son. However, Chucho in Chile means jail and in Argentina is an adjective used to describe ‘cold weather.’ Moreover, in Mexico, the term is used for someone who is a very skilled person. In Spain it is used for dogs in a despective way.

Its female counterpart ‘Chucha,’ can have different meanings as well. In Argentina it means vagina. In Colombia, it is used to describe odors or rancid smells. In Chile, it will be used when something that is very far – e.g. ‘Queda en la chucha.’

• Bocadillo:

Is a widespread word in the Spanish language, but with different meanings; in Spain is a sandwich, in Cuba, you will use ‘bocadillo’ for a sweet coconut treat, as well as in Colombia you will use it to describe a sweet guava treat. Uruguayans use ‘bocadillo’ for a particular intervention in a theater play when an actor in a non-main role says only a few words.

• Pana:

In most countries, ‘pana’ refers to the material that is commonly used for making shirts, pants or skirts. However, in Colombia and Venezuela it is a way to refer to a very close friend or relative.

As you can see, one word can have multiple meanings among Spanish-speaking countries. Proving, that Spanish is not only one of the most used languages in the world, but it is also one of the richest. Especially if you keep in mind that we are talking about countries that, in some cases, are only a step away from one another.

Today we learned a very important lesson. We need to be aware of the meanings of the words we learn to be able to use them accordingly when traveling, interviewing for a job, or even when making friends at a bar. Also note, that some of these words can become very offensive or inappropriate depending on the place you use them.

I hope this article can help you better understand the language and its vast vocabulary.

Sources:

Learn Spanish with flashcards

Learning a new language is always hard. Even though you might find a way to ace the grammar, everybody knows that vocabulary is really the one that makes the difference. The more words you know, the better you can communicate in Spanish, and the more you can immerse yourself in the language, and culture. This is why, today I have decided to teach you a new way of learning vocabulary: with flashcards.

It is said that you have to “meet” with a word 80 times in order to remember it, and never forget it. Just imagine how many different words you have just read. Now imagine just repeating them 80 times. It would be quite tiring. For this reason, flashcards are a great tool to use.

First of all, let me tell you what flashcards are. They are basically some pieces of paper which has a word on one side in one language, and then translated in a second language on the other side. They are practically a really compressed version of a dictionary that helps you learn words quickly.

Let’s say for example that today you want to learn some vocabulary related to fruits. You make a list of all the fruits that you want to learn, and then you start making flashcards for each fruit. Then, you start reading them a couple of times until you think that you have memorized them. After that, it is time to test yourself. You take out random cards from the deck, and try to say the fruit in the language on the back. If you are right, you take out the card. If not you repeat until there are no more cards.

You do not have to use this type of flashcards only for vocabulary. They are also a great tool for learning verbs. A great way that you can do so is to create a set of cards for each verb. On one side, you can write for example ser- presente de indicativo vosotros, and on the other, put the right answer. You can make it even more complicated by writing the verb, the verbal tense, and the person in English. It all depends on how you want to make them.

There are, of course, many other ways in which you can learn words by using flashcards. You can even learn a family of words. You can a word like ‘happy’ (alegre), and make various cards. For example, one can be happy-verb (alegrarse), happy-noun (alegría). The best part is that the options are limitless.

One more fun thing that you can do is to strategically place them around the objects in the cards. For example, if you are trying to learn words related to food, you can place them in the kitchen, or if you want to learn words related to clothes, you can put them next to your wardrobe. This way, it will be even easier for you to identify the word in the cards, and it will make learning new words more fun. All that you have left to do is to try it.

Tools and tricks to help you read in Spanish

Reading in Spanish might be hard at first, as there are many new words, and phrases that you are not familiar with. However, this does not mean that you have to panic, because practice makes things perfect. Just remember what kinds of texts you used to read as a kid. Think about all of the progress that you have made until now. You are able to read specialty texts without finding any difficulties on the way. I bet that you can do the same thing with Spanish too. You will just need a bit of effort, and a bit of time.

Today, I have decided to show you some tips and tricks that are great for improving your reading skills in Spanish. I bet that you have already used some of these. Without keeping the suspense any longer, below are some of them.

  1. Use a dictionary

Probably the most common tool used when reading in a foreign language is a dictionary. You are reading, and reading, and suddenly you are stuck. There is one word that you simply do not understand. What do you do? You simply look it up in the dictionary. If you are using a paperback dictionary, you also have the advantage of stumbling upon more words while trying to find your word. The inconvenience is that it takes more time to find your word.

  1. Start with easy texts

When we were kids, we started by reading picture books. Then we slowly evolved into reading chapter books. Now, we are able to read novels, and even technical texts. Depending on the level of Spanish that you have, you can start with easy texts, and as soon as you develop your vocabulary, you can read harder texts, and your language skills will also evolve.

  1. Use a Kindle or an ebook reader

The Kindle, and even some other ebook readers have dictionaries incorporated in them. This means that you do not have to interrupt your reading every time in order to look for a word. You simply put your finger on it, and the ebook reader will give you the translation or the definition of it. The best part is that some ebook readers, like the Kindle even have an option that memorizes the new words for you. You can see them all gathered in a place. The bad news is that when you switch to reading on paper, you will find yourself putting a finger on a word, and nothing comes out.

  1. Use the frame option

This is an excellent tool when you are reading in a new language. What do you have to do? You need to make a frame out of a piece of paper, and put it around the page that you are reading. What is the idea behind this? Whenever you find an unknown word, you can simply write it on the frame, with the translation. After that, you will find yourself with a frame full of new words.

  1. Try to understand the context

Sometimes you do not need to understand each and every word in a text. You just need to understand the context, and you will remember the new word from the context that you have found it in.

  1. Write down the main ideas

In order to see if you have really understood the text, you need to extract the main ideas. You will see that it is hard at first, but soon it becomes easier and easier. After that, you can even try to make a short summary of the text that you have read. This helps because you can also develop your writing skills. I would advise you at first to also rely on a Spanish proofreader to help you correct your errors.

  1. Try to do some tests

DELE tests are the Spanish international language certifications. Their exercises are an excellent way of testing your reading skills. You will see how much you have understood of what you are reading with every test. You will even learn some tips and tricks, such as looking for key words, or skimming the text.

  1. Read out loud

This is more of a pronunciation exercise then it is a text comprehension one. However, it really pays off. You can start off by reading some short texts, then moving on to larger ones. The best audience that you can have is your dog. He will most definitely listen to you no matter what. The best part is that he will not laugh at you, nor will he know when you make a mistake.

  1. Try reading with different accents

This is a fun way to read in Spanish. It is also a great way to improve your accent. You can start by reading with a normal accent, and then trying some more exotic ones, such as those in Latin America or the South of Spain. It might be challenging at first, but you will definitely have a laugh.

Wanna have a reading Spanish class? Contact me!

As you can see, there are many tips and tricks that will help you read in Spanish. I guess that technology has now evolved to a point in which you can find an app for about everything possible, but more about that later, so just keep on refreshing the site, because you never know when the article pops up.

I hope that the tips and tricks from above are helpful. Do you have any other tips and tricks that if you would like to share with us? If yes, you can write them in a comment down below. Who knows? We can all benefit from sharing knowledge.  Also, if you try them, please let me know which of them works better for you and why. So, good luck reading, and improving your vocabulary.

Time expressions in Spanish with “hacer”

Hacer is one of the essential verbs in the Spanish language. It is one of the first verbs that you learn in Spanish. There are many different ways in which this verb is used, a lot of expressions. However, I do not want to scare you today. What I want to do is to show you the time expressions with hacer.

Remember hacer conjugation

Straight forward to the structures

Now, lets’ take a look at how we conjugate the verb in some of the different tenses, as a short recap.

Present- Indicative

  • Yo hago,
  • tú haces,
  • él hace,
  • nosotros hacemos,
  • vosotros hacéis,
  • ellos hacen

Present Perfect

  • Yo he hecho,
  • tú has hecho,
  • él ha hecho,
  • nosotros hemos hecho,
  • vosotros habéis hecho,
  • ellos han hecho

Past simple

  • Yo hice,
  • tú hiciste,
  • él hizo,
  • nosotros hicimos,
  • vosotros hicisteis,
  • ellos hicieron

Future

  • Yo haré,
  • tú harás,
  • él hará,
  • nosotros haremos,
  • vosotros haréis,
  • ellos harán

Subjuntivo

QUE…

  • yo haga,
  • tú hagas,
  • él haga,
  • nosotros hagamos,
  • vosotros hagáis,
  • ellos hagan

Now that we have made a small recap of the verb hacer, lets’ take a look at those time expressions.

When we talk about a specific time when an action happened, a certain amount of time in the past, we use one of the two golden formulas, as to say so:

Formula 1

Hace+ (amount of time)+ que+ past simple

Example: Hace tres años que terminé el colegio. (=It’s been three years since I finished highschool)

Formula 2

past simple+ hace+ amount of time

Example: Fui al médico hace una semana. (=I went to the doctor a week ago)

When we want to talk about some actions that started in the past, and still continue into the future, we can use the following two formulas to express it:

Formula 1

Hace+ amount of time + que+ no +verb (present tense)

Example: Hace mucho tiempo que no nos vemos. (= It has been a long time since we have seen each other).

Formula 2

Verb in the present+ desde + hace + amount of time

Example: Trabajo en esa empresa desde hace cuatro meses. (=I have been working in this company for for months.)

There is also an option to express an action in the past that got interrupted by another action. For this, you can use the following three formulas:

Formula 1

Hacía+ amount of time+ que+no+ verb in the imperfect

Example: Hacía un mes que no hablaba con su padre, cuando lo vió por la calle. (= A month had passed since he did not speak with his father, when he saw him on the street)

Formula 2

Verb in the imperfect+ hacía+ amount of time

Example: Llovía hacia una semana, cuando de repente salió el sol. (=It had been raining for a week, when the sun rose.)

Formula 3

Verb in the imperfect+ desde+ hacía+ amount of time

Example: Salía a corer desde hacía dos semanas, cuando se cayó. (= She used to run since two weeks ago, when she fell.)

These are some formulas that will come in handy when you want to amp up your Spanish game. If you need more help from a Spanish tutor, or a Spanish content writer, do not hesitate to contact me.

Verbs with prepositions in Spanish

Verbs are essential elements if we talk about forming sentences. Basically, without them, we would not be able to speak.

It is true that in Spanish, verbs are quite complicated. Well, I am talking about all of those different tenses and the long list of irregular verbs. So, do you remember how Spaniards like to overcomplicate things? I guess that it is time to make things a bit harder. How? By adding prepositions in the mix.

These are the Spanish prepositions:

a
ante
bajo
cabe
con
contra
de
desde
en
entre
hacia
hasta
para
por
según
sin
so
sobre
tras

Spanish verbs with prepositions are the equivalent of English phrasal verbs. Let’s take a look.

There are many verbs that require a preposition. We are going to talk about the most common ones. First, let’s take a look at the 5 prepositions that you should know:

  1. En (= in)
  2. Con (= with)
  3. A (= to)
  4. Por (= for)
  5. De (= of/from)

Verbs with en

The Spanish verbs with prepositions that use the preposition en can be followed either objects or infinitives. Let’s take a look at the 3 most common verbs that are followed by this preposition.

1. Confiar en (= to trust to/ to rely on)

When followed by an infinitive, confiar en means “to be confindent in”. When it is followed by an object, it means “to trust”.

  1. Dudar en (=to hesitate to)

It is followed by an infinitive.

  1. hacer bien en (= to be right to/ in doing something)

It can either be followed by an infinitive or an object.

When followed by an infinitive, it means “you are doing the right thing”. When followed by an object, it means “you are doing good in/for”.

Verbs with con

1.contar con (= to count on something)

It is usually followed by an object.

  1. Soñar con (= to dream about)

This structure is usually followed by either an infinitive or an object. It means to dream of or to dream about. However, when followed by an infinitive, it can also be translated as “to hope to”.

  1. comenzar con (= to begin by/ with)

It is usually followed by an object.

Verbs with a

The verbs that are followed by the preposition a, are a special type of verbs. Why? Because in Spanish, this grammar rule is known as the personal a. This means that the preposition a is placed before the object.

1.acercarse a (= to approach)

  1. ayudar a (= to help)
  2. resistirse a (=to resist)

Verbs with por

1.esforzarse por (= to struggle to/ to do your best)

This structure is usually followed by an infinitive.

  1. comenzar por (= to begin with)

This structure is usually followed by either an infinitive or an object.

  1. estar por (= to be in favor of)

This structure is usually followed by either an infinitive or an object. With an infinitive, this structure means to consider doing something. When it is followed by an object, it is used to show preferences.

Verbs with de

  1. Acordarse de (=to remember to)

This structure is usually followed by an infinitive, however, you can also use it with objects too. The meaning stays the same.

  1. Preocuparse de (= to be worried about)

This structure is usually followed by either an infinitive or an object.

  1. Dejar de (=to give up/ to stop)

This structure is usually followed by an infinitive.

Now that you now these things, your Spanish language skills have already improved.