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

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23
votes
10answers
4k 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
4k 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
434 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
8k 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
3answers
956 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
657 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
5answers
1k 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 ...
16
votes
8answers
757 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
484 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
4answers
1k 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, ...
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
216 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.
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
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
189 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
233 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 ...
13
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 ...
12
votes
4answers
586 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 ...
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
616 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
1k 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
3answers
344 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
3answers
131 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
320 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
3answers
195 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
4answers
8k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
1k 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
2k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
154 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
596 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 ...
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
12k 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
1k 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
298 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.
9
votes
3answers
801 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. ...
9
votes
4answers
581 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
1answer
897 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
2answers
963 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?
9
votes
3answers
432 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
847 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
436 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
170 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
158 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
3answers
760 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?
8
votes
5answers
792 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
3answers
243 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
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
2answers
518 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 ...