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

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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
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?
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 ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

What's the difference between “dentro” and “adentro”?

English: How can I tell whether I should be using Dentro vs. Adentro? I've read that they both mean 'inside' and looked at some examples, but I still can't always figure out which one to use. Are ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Ser and estar for location

The edge-cases of ser and estar still seem to get me. My understanding is that when speaking of a location, I should use estar. La biblioteca está aquí. However, a student I am tutoring had a ...
17
votes
6answers
719 views

“vaso de agua” or “vaso con agua”? Which is correct?

English What's the correct way to express that something "serves as a container for something else"? Example: ¿Quieres un vaso de/con agua? Should we use de or con? Are both correct? Why? If ...
17
votes
8answers
823 views

How should I translate “table” (as in a data table)?

What should be the correct word in Spanish to translate "table" (as in an arrangement of text or data in rows and columns)? Somewhere I've read that "cuadro" should be preferred to "tabla", but which ...
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, ...
15
votes
2answers
588 views

What is the difference between: “aquel” and “aquél”

I see both "aquel" and "aquél" used in similar context and was wondering if there is any difference in meaning of those two words.
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is 'estar muerto' used instead of 'ser muerto'?

I know it is rather rude to think of it this way and I don't want to offend anyone religiously, but being dead is usually thought of as a very permanent condition in the United States. So why does ...
15
votes
4answers
239 views

What's the correct way to say printed?

What's the preferred past participle of imprimir, imprimido or impreso? For example: Tengo imprimido el email que me enviaste. Tengo impreso el email que me enviaste.
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
13
votes
4answers
715 views

Translation of “bug” to Spanish

What is the best way to translate "bug", as in a misfeature of a computer program or device? Google translate offers a few options, none of which quite seem to fit, except the term itself: bug ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

When to use “que” and “de que”

Español En ciertas oraciones no sé si es más correcto usar que o de que. ¿Cuáles son las reglas para utilizar que/de que? Ejemplos: Estoy seguro que me fue bien. Estoy seguro de que me ...
13
votes
3answers
197 views

Is the use of @ instead of 'a' or 'o' in order to refer to both masculine and femenine accepted?

I have seen several times the use of @ instead of 'a' or 'o' for refering masculine and femenine words at the same time. For example: Hola a tod@s. Is this an accepted use?
13
votes
3answers
244 views

“My kind of ___” in Spanish

Español He estado buscando una manera de decir "My kind of _" en español. O una frase equivalente (que creo que es más adecuado y preferible). Como la manera que un estadounidense diría: "this is my ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the difference between “personas” and “gente”?

I was translating a sentence for school en Español and I came across the word "people." I looked it up on Google Translate and it gave me "personas" and also "gente." What is the difference between ...
12
votes
4answers
680 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.
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 ...
11
votes
4answers
10k views

How do you differentiate between walnuts and pecans in Spanish?

It recently occurred to me that the Spanish nuez can be translated to English as both "walnut" and "pecan." Is the same word really used for both types of nuts? How would you specify which nut you're ...
11
votes
3answers
430 views

Quizás or quizá, which one is preferred?

RAE redirects the definition of quizás to quizá but I wonder if there's any implicit, secret rule that I am not aware of as to whether quizás is preferred over quizá. I've seen both forms used ...
11
votes
4answers
152 views

Is there any subtle difference between the two forms of the imperfect subjuntive?

The imperfect subjuntive has two forms. For example: Ojalá viniera. Ojalá viniese. I think both has the same meaning. However, is there any subtle difference?
11
votes
3answers
348 views

adjectives for “same thing” vs. “same kind of thing”

In German, das gleiche refers to We both read the same (das gleiche) book (everyone has its own, but they look exactly the same) while das selbe refers to We both read the same book ...
11
votes
2answers
162 views

Traer and llevar - what is the reference point?

I always have problems concerning traer and llevar. I think I understand the general meaning: Llevar means "to take", such as when an object is being taken (generally by you) to a place other than ...
11
votes
2answers
746 views

“Aún” vs. “todavía”, what's the difference?

Somebody just asked me to correct something, and I found that I changed one of their instances of todavía to aún. I didn't do this because todavía wouldn't have worked in the sentence, but rather ...
11
votes
3answers
199 views

Is there a Spanish equivalent for “OP”?

The English abbreviation OP for the term Original Poster is widely used over the internet. Do the abbreviation and/or the term have widely used equivalents in Spanish?
10
votes
3answers
327 views

How to say “My old teacher”

If you say "Mi profesor viejo," your indicating your teacher old age-wise. I was wondering how you indicate that your talking about a past teacher.
10
votes
3answers
1k views

“Antier” para expresar el día anterior a ayer

Hace unos días mientras me encontraba cambiando de canal en la televisión por cable, escuche una conversación de una pelicula americana doblada al español. Dos personas estaban en un bar conversando. ...
10
votes
3answers
373 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

¿Cuándo usar “excusa” o “pretexto”?

Aparentemente, "excusa" y "pretexto" significan lo mismo. ¿Cuándo usar uno o el otro? Por ejemplo, comparando estas 2 frases: Buscó una excusa para no venir. Buscó un pretexto para no venir. ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

Cuándo usar “usar” o “utilizar”

Español Ambos términos tienen un significado muy parecido. Según la RAE, el único uso de 'utilizar' es "Aprovecharse de algo" y el significado que me interesa de 'usar' es "Hacer servir una cosa para ...
9
votes
3answers
975 views

Difference between “broma” and “chiste”

Both words broma and chiste translate to the English word joke. What's the difference between these two Spanish words, and how do I know when to use each one?
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Spanish abbreviation for the United States of America

What is (or are?) the suggested abbreviation(s) for the United States of America in Spanish? I've seen: E.E.U.U. EE.UU. EEUU EUA USA (And only the last two actually makes any sense to me!)
9
votes
5answers
17k views

Is there a difference between “claro” and “por supuesto”?

Both "claro" (or "claro que sí") and "por supuesto" appear to be used to say 'of course' in one way or another. Are there any differences in how they are used? Is one formal and the other informal? ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

When is it written with and without accent: porqué/porque/por qué?

Can anybody explain to me when each of this variations of "porque" should be used?
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
851 views

Why is Usted sometimes abbreviated as Vd. instead of Ud.? Is there any difference in usage between the two?

I've noticed that the word Usted can be abbreviated at least 2 ways, the most common of which being Ud. and Vd. to my knowledge. I see how Ud. makes perfect sense, but why is a V used instead of a U ...
9
votes
4answers
716 views

How to decide between “ahora” and “ya” for the sense “now”?

I know that ya has additional meanings besides simply now, such as already. But considering just the sense of ya which does mean now, when should I use it and when should I use ahora, which only has ...
9
votes
2answers
619 views

What is the spanish translation for “Account” when referring to a user account on a website?

The English > Spanish translation of account on Google Translate comes up with various forms of the word cuenta. However, the Spanish > English translation of cuenta returns words relating to ...
9
votes
7answers
9k views

Is there a difference between cilantro and culantro in Spanish?

I've seen the American English "cilantro" (British English "coriander") translated into Spanish as both cilantro and culantro. What is the difference? Are they synonyms used interchangeably, or is the ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

How should I discuss my wife's due date?

How do I tell people when my wife's due date is? I usually say something like "el bebé se debe nacer el cuatro de junio" but I don't know if that's the correct way to say it.
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Translating “looking forward to”

In English, we often used the phrase looking forward to when we are excited about something in the future: I'm looking forward to seeing you next week! I'm really looking forward to finals ...
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
7k views

Understanding ya vs. todavía vs. aún

English speakers learning Spanish have a hard time understanding the similarities and differences between ya, todavía, and aún (or aun). They don't perfectly match up with the similar English words ...
9
votes
5answers
401 views

Best way to translate 'uneducated', meaning lacking formal schooling

Generally the Spanish word maleducado more often means rude, rather than unschooled. In light of this, how would one describe someone who is polite and intelligent, but has never been formally ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

What's the difference between rezar and orar? Are there any other ways to say 'to pray'?

My teacher told me that different religions tend to use different words for "to pray", usually choosing between rezar and orar. Which words are preferred by what religions & in which areas? Are ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is it 'Santo' Tomás/Domingo, not 'san'?

As far as I know, those two are the only exceptions. Is there a particular reason for this?