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

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12
votes
4answers
681 views

Difference between “por” and “para”

Even after taking 4 years of college Spanish and living abroad, I still don't have a very firm control of when to use por or para. What are the basic rules on when to use either.
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
374 views

Why do we say “Qué hora es” instead of “Qué hora está”?

I was taught that está is used in certain contexts meaning a temporary state (like emotion). Isn't "today" always temporary in that it is constantly changing to the next? If so, why don't we use está ...
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?
14
votes
4answers
2k views

“Está hecho de…” why not “es hecho de”?

I've seen "Está hecho de ..." used to mean "It's made of ...". Why is the verb estar and not ser? Isn't this an adjective that's permanent and not going to change? I can understand phrases like "la ...
7
votes
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

“Vegetable”: verdura vs. vegetal

What is the difference between verduras and vegetales? In what situations can one be used as a translation for "vegetables" and the other cannot?
3
votes
2answers
337 views

Translating “to wind up (doing something)”

In informal English, we use the phrase "to wind up" to describe the final state of a situation, after all is said and done. For example: How did you wind up moving to Kansas after growing up in ...
25
votes
10answers
5k views

How should I ask someone to repeat something they've said?

When I learned Spanish in school, I was taught to never say ¿Qué? when I needed someone to repeat something they just said. Rather I was taught to say ¿Cómo? Later, my wife taught me to say ¿Mande? ...
19
votes
4answers
494 views

Question words: “qué” versus “cuál”

English Often "qué" is translated to English as "what" and "cuál" is translated as "which." However, I know that this is not always the case. Here are some examples. (Please correct me if I am ...
18
votes
6answers
9k views

When to use ya and todavía

What are the rules for when to use ya and todavía? (Or ya no and todavía no)? In many contexts, ya translates to yet or already, and todavía translates to still, but this simple understanding has ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

“ir a «infinitive»” vs. future tense

There are two ways to indicate a future action, ir a «infinitive» and the future tense. How do I decide which to use when? Is one form more common when spoken or in writing? Is there a regional ...
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 ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

When to use “igual” and “lo mismo”?

English I often get corrected when using either the word igual or mismo, and haven't really figured out when to use which yet. What are the rules for when and how to use igual, and when and how to ...
19
votes
6answers
6k views

¿Cuál es la diferencia entre tú, usted, y vos?

Ya he oido las palabras tú, usted, y vos, pero la traducción de todas esas palabras a Inglés es la misma: you. ¿Cuándo es mejor usar tú o vos en vez de usted, o viceversa?
14
votes
4answers
2k views

I forgot how to say “I forgot”

Okay, so I didn't really forget how to say it... I just wanted a clever question title. In my Spanish class I was taught that olvidarse is reflexive: Me olvidé (de la cita). Me olvidé (las ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

How to translate 'to become?' (hacerse, ponerse, convertirse en, etc.)

I've heard several different words used for 'to become' in Spanish. Obviously sometimes there are specific verbs to use, like 'enfadarse' means to become angry, but often you need to use a verb that ...
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 ...
7
votes
4answers
504 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! ...
6
votes
5answers
928 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
239 views

“Fall in love with” (non-romantic)

English: In English, you can use the phrase "to fall in love with" with people who you aren't literally in love with. For example, when talking about children, you might say: You just fall in ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

How should “have been” be translated?

I often use the phrase "have been" (or "has been") in English in sentences like: It has been raining a lot recently. I have been thinking about the exam all week. It's been a long time since I've ...
0
votes
4answers
278 views

What is the best way to refer to those of Spanish descent or language?

In English there are several ways to refer to people who speak Spanish or are from a Spanish-speaking country: Hispanic, Latin, Latino, Chicano, Spanish-speaking, etc. What equivalent terms exist in ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Is “¿Qué hora es?” or “¿Qué horas son?” preferred?

Admittedly, it has been a very long time since I've studied Spanish, but I distinctly recall that we always used "¿Que hora es?" for "what time is it?". However, on a trip to the Dominican Republic, ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Bueno as hello or greeting?

In the US State I live in, I sometimes hear Spanish speakers greet one another by simply staying "Bueno". I didn't hear this when I was recently in Mexico, although I realize I may just have not ...
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 ...
6
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: ...
5
votes
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
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?
4
votes
2answers
671 views

¿Cuál es la diferencia entre “por lo tanto” y “por tanto”?

Según la RAE: por lo ~. loc. adv. Por consiguiente, por lo que antes se ha dicho, por el motivo o las razones de que acaba de hablarse. U. t. c. loc. conjunt. por tanto. loc. adv. Por lo que, ...
4
votes
2answers
318 views

Understanding “desde ya”

I have heard the phrase "desde ya" used to mean "in advance." Literally, it means "since already." How is it understood to mean "in advance," or is it simply an idiom with a nonsense literal meaning? ...
4
votes
5answers
458 views

Translation of “should have”

What are the possible translations of "should have", as in "I should have told you earlier"? What are the differences between "debería (de)", "debí (de)", "debiera (de)", "debía (de)", etc.?
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Difference between “está” and “esta” or “esté” and “este”?

How do I know if I have to use the one with accent and not the one without accent? Could you provide examples?
3
votes
1answer
342 views

Words for “to encourage”: alentar, animar, fomentar

In English, "to encourage" seems to have at least two uses: to suggest that someone should do something (e.g. "He encouraged me to find a new guitar teacher.") to give confidence or hope to someone ...
3
votes
4answers
41k views

congratulations: felicidades vs. felicitaciones

English I have heard both ¡Felicidades! and ¡Felicitaciones! as translations of the interjection, "Congratulations!" What is the difference between the two, and when is each used? Español He ...
2
votes
1answer
95 views

Is the country México or Méjico?

Is the name of the country south of the United States spelled México or Méjico? Which is the official name of the country in English and Spanish? When is each version used?
1
vote
1answer
762 views

Speakers' location in determining venir vs. ir

In English, we use the word "come" very loosely (at least in day-to-day spoken English): Want to come over to my place later? Can I come over to your house for New Years'? Can you come meet me at ...