8
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the correct order of object pronouns?

I know that there are (at least) three types of personal pronouns in Spanish (well, and English): direct, indirect, and reflexive. In cases where all three (or at least two) are present, what is the ...
28
votes
9answers
2k views

Any difference between aquí and acá

I've been taught that aquí and acá are completely interchangable. From personal observation, acá seems to be used more often than aquí in the context of "I live down this road." Example: Vivo ...
14
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
350 views

What is the history of the “personal a”?

What is the historical origin of the "personal a" in Spanish? Examples of the personal a: George sees Mary. -> Jorge ve a María. I see the waitress. -> Veo a la mesera. But with the exact ...
10
votes
1answer
962 views

When is “Te quiero” used to mean “I love you?”"

I can come up with three phrases to express affection: Te adoro. Te amo. Te quiero. The first two are fairly clear in intention. However, I have heard "Te quiero", which literally translates as "I ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

¿Cómo se dice “cheers” en español?

¿Qué dicen los españoles cuando juntos levantan la copa de vino solemnemente? ¿Cómo se dice "cheers" en español?
8
votes
2answers
252 views

Difference between “el comer” and “comer” when used as noun

What is the difference between, for example, "el comer" and just "comer" when used as a noun? The case I'm thinking of would use a gerund in English. For example, El comer chuches antes de cenar ...
7
votes
2answers
581 views

Why “a ti” and not just “ti”

I am very much a beginner when it comes to learning Spanish. I have turned my language settings for Facebook from English to Spanish so that I see the language regularly and I have noticed that the ...
5
votes
2answers
217 views

What is the difference between using “de” and “que” for the English word “to”?

Here are two examples where de and que are meant to translate to to in English: ¿Dónde tengo que dejar los documentos? = Where do I have to leave the documents? Es imposible de saber = It is ...
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
212 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. ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the most common way to answer the phone?

What is the most universally-used greeting when answering the phone (i.e. way to say, "Hello?")? Are there any circumstances where the greeting would be different (for example, when answering a phone ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the accentuation rules in Spanish?

Many native Spanish speakers have trouble determining when accent marks (tildes) should be used and where. What are the rules for accent placement in Spanish? How do you determine whether the vowel on ...
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
3answers
1k views

¿Qué significa 'va' en “Nos vemos después, ¿va?”

Hoy, por chat, una amiga (de México) dijo: Nos vemos depués, ¿va? Entiendo "Nos vemos después", pero qué significa "va" en este contexto?
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
251 views

Two nouns in a row, or, is it OK to omit “de”?

Two or more nouns are sometimes used consecutively, with the second modifying the first. For instance, I recently received a mail whose subject was "Honorarios migración." This is, I suppose, ...
8
votes
3answers
6k views

Is “me gustas” ever right?

We have been taught that gustar is an unusual verb and that you only ever use gusta or gustan depending on whether you like singular or plural things. Would you use "me gustas" to say "I like you"?
8
votes
1answer
162 views

Is it acceptable to leave out the inverted punctuation marks?

Is it acceptable to leave out inverted question marks and exclamation points (¿ ¡) from questions and exclamatory sentences? I ask this because some computers and other devices I use won't let me add ...
8
votes
2answers
641 views

Appropriate way to answer a negative yes/no question

When the question is not a negative question the response for the given question should be: Q: ¿Tienes carro? "Sí, tengo." for a positive answer or "No tengo." for a negative one. No, what if ...
7
votes
1answer
147 views

“Haber de” y futuridad

La entrada de "haber" en lo "Diccionario panhispánico de dudas" incluye este trozo: a) haber de + infinitivo. En el español general, esta perífrasis denota obligación, conveniencia o necesidad ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

What's the meaning of the expression “nada que ver”?

What's the meaning of the expression "nada que ver"? In which countries is used? Here are some examples: Lo que dices no tiene nada que ver con lo que estamos discutiendo. Conversation between ...
7
votes
4answers
525 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
4answers
258 views

What is the role of the “le” in the sentence “Miguel le dio a su novia un anillo.”?

The sentence "Miguel le dio a su novia un anillo." translates into Miguel gave a ring to his girlfriend. I would think that there would be no need for the "le", since the direct object (his ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Differences betwen “ahí”, “allí”, y “allá”

I am confused with the uses of "ahí", "allí" and "allá". It seems they are used according to different situations. Could you please tell me what are the differences and provide some examples? Thanks!
6
votes
5answers
901 views

¿“Septiembre” or “setiembre”?

Setiembre is only used in Peru, AFAIK, but I wonder if there are any other countries where setiembre, as opposed to septiembre, is also valid. RAE links the definition of setiembre to the definition ...
6
votes
5answers
989 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
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
545 views

Latin /f/ to Spanish /h/

Many (most? all?) Spanish words containing the letter h come from corresponding Latin words containing the letter f. Through what process did /f/ get softened to /h/? During what time period did this ...
4
votes
5answers
243 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
286 views

“Ir a” versus future tense when asking a question

I've read that one should use "ir a" when time of completion is certain. If the time is uncertain, one should use the future tense. This choice is not so clear-cut when asking a question. Take for ...
2
votes
2answers
535 views

Spanish names for preterite and imperfect tenses

In school, I learned that the Spanish past tenses were called preterite and imperfect in English, and preterito and imperfecto in Spanish. However, in talking to native speakers I've run across other ...
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
292 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
4answers
6k views

“True” meaning of “por cierto”

I have always thought of the expression of "por cierto" as meaning "certainly" or "surely." It certainly "looks" that way (for certainly). And even Google Translate gives it that meaning, as well as ...
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
905 views

Was “rr” ever considered officially a letter of the Spanish alphabet?

Everybody agrees that the Spanish digraphs "ch" and "ll" used to be officially separate "letters" up to the time the RAE changed the rules of Spanish alphabetization in 1994. But when it comes to the ...
10
votes
5answers
7k views

How prevalent is the phrase “qué padre”?

Here in Mexico, the slang phrase qué padre (or various forms such as muy padre, etc) are quite common, with the meaning "how cool". Is this just Mexican slang, or do other regions use the same ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Are there any nouns with irregular plurals in Spanish?

In English, some nouns have regular plural forms ending in -s or -es and fewer are irregular. Fish in the plural is still fish while child becomes children. In Spanish, nearly all nouns are regular, ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

How to translate the idiomatic expressions “I wish!” and “You wish!”

What's the best way to say "I wish!" as in... A: I hear you're a good dancer. B: Ha! I wish! Or... A: Will you help me move this piano? B: Ha! You wish! What is the best way to ...
8
votes
3answers
260 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
2answers
451 views

Why is “Usted” grammatically a third person?

In English polite form of address is "You" which is second person singular and plural. In Russian it is "Вы" which is plural second person. In Spanish (and probably French and Italian) polite address ...
8
votes
1answer
145 views

Indirect object and “le”

La madre le lava la cara a la niña. In that sentence, why is the word "le" there? The sentence already has a indirect object ("a la niña"), but removing the "le" makes the sentence to sound ...
7
votes
2answers
451 views

Grammar of “¡A comer!”

I was recently staying with a Mexican family, and during lunch, the children (ages 8 and 5) were being rather unruly. The grandmother would command them: ¡A comer! I have never heard a command in ...
7
votes
1answer
202 views

“Soy yo el que vine…” or “soy yo el que vino…”?

What is often heard is "Soy yo el que vine ayer a ... " (I am the one who came yesterday to...) but I think that "Soy yo el que vino ayer a ... " is the correct sentence because the ...
7
votes
2answers
135 views

¿En qué países se utiliza la expresión “colgar el sambenito”?

Como resultado de una pregunta anterior relacionada con el concepto de culpabilidad (guilt trip), surgió la expresión (frecuente en España) "colgar el sambenito", que significa "culpar a alguien ...
7
votes
1answer
841 views

“Te va (a) encantar” - is “a” necessary?

Is the "a" necessary when using "ir a" to convey future meaning? Google gives 17m results for "te va a encantar" but also 1.5m for "te va encantar". Does this rule vary according to formality?
7
votes
3answers
2k views

¡Buenas! greeting in morning

Another question brings up the fact that in many countries, ¡Buenas! is used as a greeting (as an abbreviation of Buenas tardes or Buenas noches). In regions where this is the case, what should be ...

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