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

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7
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4answers
8k views

Are there any differences between “de nada” and “por nada”?

Most of the time in all the Spanish speaking countries I've been in I've heard de nada as the reply to gracias or the equivalent of English you're welcome etc. But after a while I became conscious ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

¿Cuál es la diferencia entre honor y honra?

Hace poco me di cuenta de que existen dos palabras en español que equivalen a la palabra "honor" en inglés: honor y honra. ¿Cuál es la diferencia entre estas dos palabras? ¿Cuál es más común?
7
votes
1answer
848 views

“Echar” vs “tirar” vs “lanzar” vs “arrojar” vs “disparar” (to throw)

The basic meaning of them all as I understand it is: To throw Disparar seems to pertain exclusively to shooting or throwing something for the sole purpose of harming (maybe to shoot is the best ...
7
votes
1answer
812 views

Difference between “tener que …” and “necesitar …”?

If I have to say something like I gotta leave in Spanish, I'd use a phrase like: Tengo que irme But I realize that I could also say: Necesito irme What is the difference? You would ...
7
votes
4answers
177 views

Is there a translation for “He thumbed his nose at them”?

In English if you "thumb your nose at someone" you are ignoring their authority.. Is there an expression in Spanish that conveys that same sort of disrespect? Edit: adding example. Many ...
7
votes
3answers
148 views

Translating “should” expressing future desirability

Español Quiero expresar: You should come study with us tomorrow. No con un sentido de probabilidad ("you are likely to") o de obligación ("...or else you won't pass the exam"), sino de deseo ...
6
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there a Spanish equivalent for the French word “voilà”?

A rough English translation for the French word "voilà" might be "there it is." One of my former Spanish teachers (an American, not a native speaker), would use the word "eso" in this context, in ...
6
votes
3answers
404 views

Translation of “Field” (as in, on a form)

The online automated translators tend to use campo (ie. a field, like a soccer field) for this, but I'm not sure if this appropriate. What is the proper translation here to refer to a field on a ...
6
votes
2answers
194 views

What is the difference between requerir and exigir?

I believe that they both mean to "require." But do they refer to different "degrees" (urgencies) or types of requirments? Can they be used interchangeably or is one more suitable in some contexts and ...
6
votes
4answers
6k views

to drink: beber vs. tomar

I have heard beber and tomar used interchangeably as translations for the English "to drink." Is there any difference between the two, or are they exact synonyms when describing drinking a liquid? Are ...
6
votes
2answers
472 views

Origin and use of “echar de menos”

I've always found peculiar that the phrase echar de menos is synonymous of the verb extrañar. For example: Te echaré de menos. is equivalent to: Te extrañaré. Based on TV, its use is most ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Words for strong or weak rain (sprinkling, drizzling, pouring)

This question on English.StackExchange made me wonder about words for rain in Spanish. In English, a light rain can be a drizzle, sprinkle, or mist and a heavy rain can be a deluge, downpour, or ...
6
votes
5answers
925 views

Definition of escuela and colegio

Spanish has two generic words for school: escuela and colegio. I have heard different explanations for what phases of schooling each word refers to. For example, I've been told that colegio refers ...
6
votes
4answers
178 views

Ironic constructions in Spanish

English As part of my masters in linguistics, I am taking a course on the subject of irony. We were given examples of sentences that are most likely ironic, as the English sentence "he is not ...
6
votes
1answer
107 views

Polite terms for excrement

There are many vulgar terms for excrement, but what are the non-vulgar, polite ones (used in medical settings, or with children, or among adults in polite conversation)?
6
votes
1answer
766 views

Difference between “oreja” and “oído”

What is the difference between oreja and oído? Both mean ear, no?
6
votes
3answers
114 views

Por y Para for Recipients

I've heard por and para both being used to indicate recipients: Mi amor es por ti Este regalo es para ti In what situations regarding recipients are por and para usually used?
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votes
3answers
3k views

How do I say “You're making me hungry?”

A friend was describing some food she's making. I wanted to say "You're making me hungry" or "That makes me hungry." What's the proper way to say this? My first thought was to say something like: ...
6
votes
5answers
219 views

What would be a good way to express “You can't get something out of nothing”?

There is a common statement—well, I least I've read quite a few times—that goes like this: You can't get something out of nothing. I would like to know if this sentence has a common translation ...
6
votes
1answer
518 views

“Perdón”, “permiso”, “disculpa”, … ?

I always struggle with the correct usage of the various ways one could say the equivalent of I'm sorry or Excuse me. Of course there are many reasons I would say these things and I was often looking ...
6
votes
3answers
766 views

What is the difference between “ser casado” and “estar casado”?

I have read that both ser and estar can be used with casado to give different connotations to the phrase "to be married." What exactly are the differences, and when would you use each verb?
6
votes
3answers
323 views

What's the difference between “estar ansioso de” and “estar ansioso por”?

I know that both 'estar ansioso de' and 'estar ansioso por' mean to be excited for something or looking forward to it, but how do I decide which one to use? Do the two have slightly different ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Different words for “stop”

In English, we have a fairly generic verb "to stop" that can be used in many different contexts. For example: Stop talking to me! The driver saw the red light and stopped his car. You really need to ...
6
votes
3answers
352 views

feliz vs. alegre vs. dichoso

I recently heard dichoso used to mean feliz. Looking up dichoso in a dictionary shows it means "happy" (or "blessed"). What is the difference between dichoso, feliz, and alegre to mean "happy"? Are ...
6
votes
4answers
443 views

¿Cuándo usar “conseguir” o “lograr”?

Me parece que el sentido es de "to manage to do something", pero ¿hay alguna diferencia? ¿Cuál se usa con más frecuencia? ¿Uno es más formal que el otro?
6
votes
1answer
90 views

What is the preferred used word for “subscripción”?

What is the preferred used word for "subscripción", "subscripción" or "suscripción"? Why are there two ways to write the same word? Are there any other words like this one where the "b" can be ...
6
votes
2answers
439 views

What is the correct way to say the days of a month?

People refer to the days of the month as following: 1 de enero = uno de enero o primero de enero. 2 de enero = dos de enero. 3 de enero = tres de enero. ... Example: Hoy es primero de enero. ...
6
votes
1answer
86 views

Reflexive and non-reflexive third person

This English sentence is ambiguous: He ate his food. The word his can refer to the He at the start, or another man. In Spanish: Él comió su comida. Does the ambiguity still remain or does ...
6
votes
2answers
195 views

Regional differences between escuchar and oír

In school I learned that escuchar was for the English "to listen to" and oír was "to hear." In Central America, however, I frequently heard escuchar being used for "to hear" (e.g. No te escucho ...
6
votes
1answer
89 views

Referring to a specific “bisabuelo(a)”

When talking about grandparents, you can add "materno(a)/paterno(a)" to refer to a specific one. Example: abuelo paterno. Is there a way to refer to a particular "bisabuelo(a)" (great-grandparent)?
6
votes
2answers
106 views

Analog to “sustainability”

I asked a question on english synonyms of "sustainability" alrady on ELU. In Spanish, dictionaries and ngrams give out several options: Comparing with the english ngrams chart I conclude la ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What does the “lo” in “pasarlo bien” refer to?

The phrase pasarlo bien means something like "to have a good time" in sentences like, "Lo pasamos muy bien anoche." What does the "lo" in this phrase refer to? Does it replace an actual noun, or is it ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Choosing between 'sobre' and 'acerca de'

Is there a significant difference between "sobre" and "acerca de", when the intent is to describe the topic of something? Where is "acerca de" a better choice than "sobre", and vice-versa?
6
votes
2answers
416 views

How should we translate “everything but the kitchen sink” or “the whole enchilada”?

There is an idiom that is popular (and old) in English that states "everything but the kitchen sink". This is a phrase that means "everything that could be conceived". Som examples: "I realized ...
6
votes
2answers
653 views

What's the meaning of the Mexican expression “se te va el avión”?

Example: Te lo dije tres veces y de todos modos no lo hiciste. A ti ya se te va el avión. ¿No te acordaste de tu cumpleaños? La verdad es que a ti ya se te va el avión. What does it mean? ...
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votes
2answers
2k views

When does sólo have an accent?

When does the word solo have an accent (tilde) on the first o (sólo)? When does it not?
5
votes
3answers
247 views

Correct usage of debieras and deberías

Español ¿Cuándo es correcto usar deberías o debieras? (significado y uso). English When is it correct to use deberías or debieras? (meaning and uses)
5
votes
2answers
417 views

Describing stress in Spanish

In Spanish class, I remember learning that "stress" (as in what someone who is coming up on a deadline feels) isn't commonly spoken of in Spanish-speaking countries for cultural reasons, but it can be ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Translation of “bowl”

I have heard many different translations for bowl (the dish) in different Spanish-speaking countries. What words are normally used to translate "bowl"? Which is most universally understood? What ...
5
votes
4answers
6k views

¿Cuál es la diferencia entre “formación” y “capacitación”?

Estoy escribiendo con mi amiga de Argentina, y ella me habló de su nuevo trabajo. Ella dijo que tenía que tomar un curso de capacitación, pero veo la palabra "formación" en lugar a veces. ¿Cuál es ...
5
votes
2answers
167 views

Counterpart of “John Doe, Joe Public”?

In English these names are used as a substitute for the average guy. Or as a specimen when filling out a passport form. What names/expressions are used in Spanish for this purpose?
5
votes
1answer
44k views

¿Cuál es la palabra correcta, “membresía” o “membrecía”?

Cual es la forma correcta de escribir la siguiente palabra: MEMBRESÍA o MEMBRECÍA, según las normas de la Real Academia de la Lengua Española para el año actual (2013). Por favor incluir referencias ...
5
votes
3answers
219 views

Do mi and mío have different connotations?

I usually use the possessives mi and mío interchangeably. For example: Esta es la casa mía. Esta es mi casa. However, do the two have different connotations? (e.g. is one more formal ...
5
votes
1answer
169 views

What would be a good way of expressing “Es un placer haber sido de utilidad.”?

English How can I translate the phrase "Es un placer haber sido de utilidad."? What ways sound most natural? Thanks. Español Cómo puedo traducir la frase "Es un placer haber sido de utilidad."? ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

forever: por siempre vs. para siempre

I have seen "forever" translated as both por siempre and para siempre. What is the difference? Are there contexts where you must use one or the other?
5
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3answers
11k views

What is the difference between “De nada” and “No hay de qué”?

I am learning Spanish and ran across "De nada" and "No hay de qué". Both mean "You're welcome" . What's the difference?
5
votes
2answers
180 views

Different words for “hole”

Spanish has several words that could be translated "hole" in English: hoyo agujero hueco bache boquete brecha madriguera What are the differences between these words? In what situations can each ...
5
votes
1answer
303 views

“Ella es nuestra madre” - Why is “nuestra” feminine?

Why is nuestra feminine if we do not know the gender of the people the speaker is referring?
5
votes
4answers
504 views

Difference between “volver” and “regresar”

I understand that both "volver" and "regresar" can mean "to return" as in: Tengo que regresar mañana... Tengo que volver mañana... Is there any difference between these two words? If so, ...
5
votes
3answers
170 views

“Earthquake”: When to use “temblor” and “terremoto”

When referring to an earthquake, are temblor and terremoto perfect synonyms? Are there any differences?