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19
votes
4answers
437 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Why don't Spanish words start with “sp”?

I've noticed that there aren't any words in Spanish that start with sp. Latin words are altered to include an e in front of the sp. Even loan words are often modified to esp...: spaghetti => ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there a difference between “español” and “castellano”?

English I always thought the two could be used interchangeably (meaning "the Spanish language"). But I recently got into an argument with someone where they insisted there was a difference (although ...
12
votes
4answers
593 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
5answers
802 views

¿Cómo se pueden identificar palabras árabes en español?

Español Yo sé que los musulmanes, cuando conquistaron España, impactaron en gran medida al idioma. Hay palabras en español que son prestadas (y ahora son una parte del idioma). ¿Hay un método con ...
12
votes
4answers
48k views

Bonita, linda, hermosa, bella, and guapa: what's the difference?

I've seen all of these used to mean 'pretty', although 'hermosa' seems to mean beautiful and 'guapa' seems to mean handsome. Are there any subtle differences them? For instance, in English being ...
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
201 views

Duda entre “sino” y “si no”

Hace poco he leído un libro donde se empleaba el sino. Al principio pensaba que era un error de ortografía, pero me resulta un poco extraño que se equivocaron en poner sino y no separado si no. ...
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

¿Cuál es el origen de los nombres de los números?

¿De dónde vienen las palabras para nombrar a los números? En especial estoy interesado en el origen de las palabras 'once', 'doce', 'trece', 'catorce' y 'quince'. Usamos un sistema numérico de base ...
10
votes
1answer
289 views

Plural form of compound words

The plural form of compound words in Spanish is not an easy matter. If the compound word already has its final element in plural form, then the plural form is the same as the singular one: for ...
9
votes
1answer
906 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
282 views

Is “versus” a Spanish word?

RAE says no, wordreference says yes. Is it used or understood by the Spanish speakers?
9
votes
1answer
857 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 ...
8
votes
7answers
684 views

Are there any words that have opposite regional meanings?

Following in the footsteps of EL&U, are there any words that have opposite meanings in different Spanish-speaking regions? We are looking for words that are the same, but have different meanings ...
8
votes
3answers
302 views

Basque words in Spanish vocabulary

Which are the words, parts of words and structures coming from Basque to Spanish language? And possibly in which periods did they become part of spoken Spanish and official Spanish (Castellano)?
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
521 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
448 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
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
5answers
360 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 ...
8
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
754 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
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 ...
7
votes
6answers
6k 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
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
3answers
1k views

How can I distinguish between “girlfriend,” “fiancée” and “bride”, which are all “novia”?

I am a native Portuguese speaker, where noiva means "bride" or "fiancée." So I was very confused when someone asked me if a girl was my novia, since she didn't have an engagement ring (thank goodness ...
7
votes
4answers
501 views

Shorter/alternate version of refrigerator

English Is there a shorter or more common word for refrigeradora in Mexico and the southern parts of the US? I find it a cumbersome and difficult word to say in Spanish. Español Hay otra manera ...
7
votes
2answers
643 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
3answers
1k 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
5answers
2k 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
316 views

Is there a Spanish equivalent to Ms.?

As far as I can tell, the honorifics to address a woman are: Señora (Sra.) which is equivalent to "Mrs." and is used to address a married woman; Señorita (Srta.) which is equivalent to "Miss" and is ...
6
votes
2answers
140 views

What is the intended meaning of “maría” in this news article?

While reading an article in El País, I saw this in the last sentence in the 4th paragraph (emphasis mine): “La Religión, según esos acuerdos, no puede ser considerada una maría, y debe tener el ...
6
votes
4answers
11k views

Comparing number of words in Spanish and English

In thinking about the expressiveness of Spanish vs. English, I was wondering: About how many Spanish words exist (in total) About how many English words exist (in total) About how many Spanish words ...
6
votes
2answers
180 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
3answers
975 views

What is the symbol “&” called in Spanish?

The symbol & is a representation of the Latin word et (see DPD, Appendix 4). Wikipedia claims that the symbol itself is called et; however, the DRAE's entry for et doesn't list the symbol as a ...
6
votes
4answers
5k 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
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
1answer
104 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
4answers
226 views

Learn basic vocabulary

I am learning Spanish (Castellano) and want to expand my vocabulary. There are many vocabulary trainers out there. But some do not come with predefined words and others contain them all. I want to ...
6
votes
2answers
851 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
2answers
125 views

How do you say “billing rate”?

I've searched for how to translate "billing rate" and "hourly billing rate" into Spanish, but I'm not finding much. One I saw was "tarifa de facturación." Is that good? Are there more or better ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Determining gender of words ending in “e”

When learning Spanish, there are basic rules taught about word gender: words ending in o are usually masculine, words ending in a are usually feminine. What about words ending in e? Are there any ...
6
votes
1answer
66 views

Uso de “heme aquí”

Lo he visto en alguna ocasión en literatura o alguna interpretación de español antiguo, pero no es muy común, supongo que de alguna forma su uso está obsoleto. Ahora las dudas: ¿Cual verbo es el ...
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 ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

List of most commonly used Spanish words [closed]

When learning vocabulary in a new language, it is useful to focus on very commonly used words first. Are there any resources online (or in print) that give a list of the most frequently occurring ...
5
votes
2answers
301 views

What's the meaning of “carne mechada”?

My friend and I were discussing 'carne mechada' - I've only ever heard the word in conversation and I thought it meant 'mixed' but according to our google searching it's a little more specific. Can ...
5
votes
4answers
5k 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
929 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?