Determining the best possible word to express a concept among several choices.

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9
votes
3answers
468 views

“De donde fue” instead of “De donde estaba”

In Nicaragua, addresses are usually given as directions from a landmark, for example: From the stadium, go 5 blocks south, then 3 blocks east Sometimes the landmark is a place that used to be ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Words for “East” and “West” in Spanish?

The words I learned when beginning Spanish for east and west are este and oeste, which are basically cognates of their English equivalents. But I've been told that there are other words to denote ...
9
votes
2answers
497 views

Acordar or recordar? What's the correct use? ¿Cuál es el uso correcto?

Español Comunmente escucho gente decir "¿oye, te acuerdas de esa película?", así como también escucho "¿oye, recuerdas esa película?." Siempre he creído que la acción de un recuerdo viene del verbo ...
9
votes
3answers
191 views

idioma, lengua and lenguaje

The words idioma, lengua and lenguaje can all be translated as "language". Are they interchangeable? If not, what are the differences among them? When to use which?
9
votes
1answer
166 views

Usage of “llevar a trabajar” vs “llevar al trabajo”

I have found this example (which is counterintuitive, in my opinion) in "Uso de la gramática española. Elemental", Francisca Castro, Edelsa 2000: Yo no llevo el coche a trabajar normalmente. Why ...
8
votes
6answers
8k views

How might you say a child is “cute” in Spanish?

Suppose you see a mother with a laughing little 2-year-old. In English, we might exclaim, "how cute!" I've had trouble saying this in Spanish. The word "cute" means something like "beautiful", but it ...
8
votes
5answers
943 views

Difference Between “Computadora” and “Ordenador”

Español Ví un cartel fuera de una tienda que decía: "Computadoras y ordenadores" en un cuadro "cubano" fuera de New York City, En un principio, creo que ambas palabras significan "computer". Pero, ...
8
votes
12answers
8k views

How would you translate the word “badass” to Spanish?

I was thinking maybe of "cabrón" or "chingon" ; however I think those two sound too Mexican specific. Does anybody know a better and less region specific equivalent?
8
votes
3answers
256 views

How does one chain noun adjuncts in Spanish?

A noun adjunct is a noun that modifies another noun. For example, the word "baby" in the phrase "baby food" is a noun adjunct. In this simple case, you can translate it into Spanish as "comida de ...
8
votes
3answers
23k views

Difference between “mas” and “más”

What's the difference between mas and más? What rules should I follow to know which one to use? Could you provide examples showing their uses?
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Waterfall: cascada vs. catarata

What is the difference between cascada and catarata as translations for the English "waterfall"? Are they synonyms, or is there a difference?
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the difference between 'hallar' and 'encontrar'?

If I find something I lost, should I use 'hallar'? For example, I found missing keys and said to my wife '¡Hallé las llaves!' she replied '¿Las encontraste?' Then a discussion about Hallar vs ...
8
votes
5answers
760 views

What is the diminutive of “pan” (meaning bread)?

Is it: pansito panesito panito panecino panecillo (Although this one has most of the time another meaning...) Why? I know short question, but seemingly difficult for me. Is there a definitive ...
8
votes
5answers
541 views

Is “tobogán” an acceptable word for “slide” throughout the Spanish speaking world?

English I'm trying to learn words to talk to my baby at the playground in Spanish. WordReference.com gives the following as part of its definition for "slide." slide 2 sustantivo 1. (in ...
8
votes
2answers
422 views

Differences between “aun”, “hasta”, and “incluso” to indicate extremes?

When referring to an extreme example for comparison, English seems to have just one word, even: Even an idiot could do it. But Spanish seems to have three: aun hasta incluso I had always ...
8
votes
6answers
5k views

Is there a trick to remembering 'llevar' and 'traer'?

After years of living in a Spanish-speaking country, and speaking mostly only Spanish all day, I still struggle with 'llevar' and 'traer'. The rules are clear and all, but it is just very difficult to ...
8
votes
2answers
451 views

Best translation of “just wanted to”

In English, I often use "just wanted to" to soften the force of a question or statement: I just wanted to ask if it was okay with you. I just wanted to make sure you were coming to the meeting ...
8
votes
3answers
632 views

Are there any subtle differences between “de nuevo” and “otra vez”?

There are two very common ways in Spanish to say the equivalent of "again": de nuevo otra vez But I use them pretty randomly because I've never been able to pick up on any differences in how ...
8
votes
1answer
571 views

¿Existe un equivalente en español para “foo”, “bar”, “baz”?

En programación es usual encontrar los términos foobar, foo, bar, baz y qux como variables metasintácticas (placeholders, en inglés) que sirven para referirse a variables, funciones o a comandos cuyo ...
8
votes
3answers
221 views

Complemento vs. Suplemento

Is there any difference between the word "complemento" and "suplemento"? Do they really have the exact same meaning?. RAE (Real Academia Española) defines both as: Cosa o accidente que se añade a ...
8
votes
2answers
166 views

How can I tell someone what I'm reading about?

I was reading a book, and someone asked me, "¿Qué estás leyendo?" I answered, "Estoy leyendo sobre ..." The person looked at me funny, but seemed to understand what I said. Looking back, it makes ...
8
votes
1answer
899 views

Difference between “hay”, “ay” and “ahí”

These are commonly misused when writing, and can be very confusing for someone that is learning Spanish. These three words have a very different meaning and they are used in a very different context. ...
8
votes
1answer
238 views

¿Hay diferentes palabras para el hermano de una esposa, y el esposo de una hermana?

Sé que la traduccion de la frase “brother-in-law“ es “cuñado“. ¿“Cuñado" se refiere al hermano de una esposa, el esposo de una hermana, o los dos?
8
votes
7answers
834 views

¿Qué palabra se usa para describir cuando un pago cubre hasta cierta fecha?

Soy el autor de una aplicación de computadora para administrar Casas de Empeños en Puerto Rico. Cuando un cliente debe tres meses de intereses, podría perder la prenda, pero si solo paga dos meses de ...
8
votes
3answers
952 views

“You look good” versus “You smell good”

It is my understanding that "you look good" translates as, "te ves bien" and that you see well (as in, your vision is good) can be said as "tu ves bien." However, saying you smell good and your ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

What's the difference between “sólo”, “únicamente” and “solamente”?

According to the RAE: solo o sólo. adv. m. Únicamente, solamente. In what situations is preferred to use one over the other? Are they interchangeable? Sólo es una pregunta ...
8
votes
2answers
247 views

¿Quienes son más afectados por el ustedeo?

He encontrado que varias veces, mi empleo del español en conversación es afectado por el llamado "ustedeo". Afecta mis relaciones con gente que acabo de conocer, porque muchas personas piensan que ...
7
votes
6answers
235 views

What is the difference between “herramientas” and “útiles?”

My understanding is that they both mean "tools." But could they be references to different types of tools? ¿Cuál es la differencia entre "herramientas" y "útiles?" Mi entendimiento es que ambos ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

How can we say “I'm sorry” apart from “lo siento”?

So far the only way I know to say "I'm sorry" is "lo siento." However, this gets repetitive rather quickly, and sometimes I'm looking for a stronger form of an apology. What other ways are there to ...
7
votes
3answers
811 views

Translation of “contact info”

What is the best way to say contact info in Spanish (as in a list of phone numbers, email addresses, postal addresses, etc. of a person or business)?
7
votes
3answers
357 views

¿Cómo pedir la opinión de alguien?

¿Cómo se pide la opinión de alguien sobre un tema o actividad? Por ejemplo, en ingles se dice: What do you think about __________?
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Armpit: sobaco vs. axila

"Armpit" in English can be translated as either sobaco or axila in Spanish. Is each term used in different regions, or are they both used across the Spanish-speaking world? What is the difference, or ...
7
votes
2answers
213 views

Difference between “suave” and “blando”

When would you use one over the other? I see Google Translate says both equate to "soft" in English.
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Usage of fea and rico

I'm learning Spanish with Rosetta Stone. The lesson I am currently on has two examples that I don't completely understand. La leche está fea El pan está rico "Fea" seems to be translated ...
7
votes
4answers
505 views

Why should we use estar over ser for being old or fat?

I can understand why we would use estar for temporary states. But there are conditions that people have that are not temporary, such as being old (or for some people, being fat). ¡qué gordo está! ...
7
votes
4answers
28k views

Where did “pico de gallo” get its name?

Does pico de gallo (the type of salsa) literally translate as "rooster's beak"? If so, where did it get that name, and how does that describe the salsa?
7
votes
1answer
133 views

“Liking” a musician or other artist

The verb gustar, when used with people, conveys a romantic interest (e.g. Ella me gusta. -> I have a crush on her.). How then, can you convey that you like a musician's music or an artist's paintings, ...
7
votes
2answers
154 views

“to feel ashamed for an unknown person” or a cringe-worthy experience

Since the upcoming of talk- and music-casting shows in Ger & US TV in the last two decades, Germans created the compound verb fremdschämen, e.g., when somebody is embarrassing in his actions or ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the most universal way to say “keep the change”?

Español He escuchado unas pocas opiniones distintas para decir "quédate con el cambio" (es decir, lo que le dices a alguien a quien acabas de pagar cuando cuando quieres que se quede la diferencia ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Translation of “by the way”

In Spanish class I learned that the right way to say "by the way" in Spanish was a propósito, but I've recently seen it translated por cierto. How exactly are these two Spanish phrases used, and are ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

“a propósito” vs “de paso” to say “by the way”

How do you say "by the way" in Spanish, as in: By the way, what's your name? By the way, where do you live now? By the way, I met Javier the other day ... Google Translate shows a ...
7
votes
4answers
381 views

What is the difference between “a partir de” y “desde”?

Which one is correct? A partir de ahora, voy a hablar en español. or Desde ahora, voy a hablar en español. In meaning I think both are close to "from." Are there any specific instances ...
7
votes
4answers
381 views

Translating “I hear (that)…”

How do you translate the phrase "I hear (that)..." as in: I hear that you just got back from your vacation. I hear that it rained all last week in Seattle. I hear you got an A on your history final. ...
7
votes
2answers
704 views

What's the plural of “suéter”?

What's the plural of "suéter"? In Mexico, most of the times is called "sueters". Is it "sueters" or "suéteres"?
7
votes
1answer
423 views

¿Cuál es la forma correcta de mencionar un año?(de o del)

Institucionalmente utilizo de para referirme a un año. Ejemplo: 26 de Enero de 2012 Sin embargo, intuitivamente, estoy impulsado a utilizar del en otros contextos. Ejemplo: 26 de Enero del ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

When to use “tratar de” and when to use “intentar” for “to try to”?

Spanish has three words that can translate to English to try. Probar is easy to remember because it's used for sample or taste, like: Have you ever tried tacos el pastor? But I never know when ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Age range of niño, chico, muchacho, joven, etc

Spanish has several words for referring to children: niño/niña chico/chica muchacho/muchacha joven Some dialects add others like chavo or chavalo. What are the approximate age ranges these words ...
7
votes
6answers
3k views

What is the difference between allí and ahí (“there”)?

English What is the difference between allí and ahí? Is there any difference in pronunciation between the two? Are there any contexts where one is correct and one is wrong, or are they completely ...
7
votes
1answer
371 views

When is “mitad” appropriate?

Another thing I'm often corrected on is my apparent overuse of the word medio. What are the proper uses of the words mitad (and la mitad) and medio (and el medio)?
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Choosing between “Mirar” and “Ver”

What is the real difference between "Ver" and "Mirar". They are quite close in meaning but what are the differences between them? What are the rules to know whether we should choose one or the other?