15
votes
3answers
5k 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!
15
votes
2answers
1k views

Why are certain words ending in “a” masculine?

English: I'm referring to words like "el tema" or "el lema". Most words ending in "a" are feminine. This is actually the opposite of a similar question, ¿Por qué es la palabra ...
15
votes
5answers
607 views

Why is “Enrique” pronunced as though it has a double “r”?

Why is "Enrique", even though its 'r' position is at the middle of a word, pronounced as a double "r"? What are the orthographic rules you need to know to determine if an "r" must be pronounced as a ...
14
votes
9answers
11k views

How to translate “I can't wait…”

A literal translation always falls flat, and confuses people (I've learned this the hard way). I can't wait [to see the movie] => No puedo esperar [a ver la pelicula] This always leaves the ...
14
votes
8answers
1k views

¿Se usa 'guácala' fuera de México?

En español mexicano, cuando uno siente algo repugnante es típico usar una palabra onomatopeica: 'guácala' (imita el sonido de vomitar). Es equivalente a decir 'yuck' en inglés. ¿Qué tan común es ...
14
votes
4answers
452 views

Does using “tío” imply a negative opinion?

I've seen the word tío used to mean "guy" or "bloke", but can't recall (in my admittedly limited experience) having seen it used to imply a positive opinion of someone. If I refer to someone as "Ese ...
14
votes
4answers
7k views

When is uppercase used in English but lowercase in Spanish?

There are many cases where English uses capital letters (e.g. January) but Spanish uses lowercase (e.g. enero). Grammar or orthography books have long lists of all the cases where capital letters are ...
14
votes
3answers
488 views

Does an accent mark change the pronunciation of single-syllable words?

I know that some single-syllable words (most pronouns, for example) come in two varieties, with and without an accent mark on the vowel. "Él" has a different meaning than "el", but is it pronounced ...
14
votes
3answers
2k 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 "time" always temporary in that it is constantly changing? If so, why don't we use está instead of ...
14
votes
1answer
685 views

How to avoid the lexical redundancy in the literal Spanish translation of “to ask a question”?

In English we have different words for the verb to ask and the noun question. But in Spanish to ask is preguntar and question is pregunta. This always causes me to stumble when speaking Spanish and ...
14
votes
3answers
225 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?
14
votes
2answers
317 views

“Todo lo demás son tonterías”

Hoy me topé con un anuncio de una gran cadena de tiendas de aparatos electrodomésticos, cuyo lema (entre otros) es : Todo lo demás son tonterías ¿Es gramaticalmente correcto en este caso tener ...
14
votes
6answers
604 views

No supo la respuesta

Why do people say things like: Se lo pregunté, pero no supo la respuesta Sabía seems more natural to me, and I've been told that either is fine, but I'm still a bit fuzzy on why somebody would ...
14
votes
1answer
123 views

Is “al” a relatively new word?

I am curious about the history of the word "al". For example, was there a time when "a el" was the proper usage and "al" came later (presumably because of the slurring of speech)?
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Approximant vs. fricative realization of /b/, /d/, /g/

According to the Wikipedia article on Spanish phonology, the phonemes /b/, /d/, and /g/ are realized as approximants or fricatives instead of plosives in all but certain contexts (after a pause, nasal ...
13
votes
10answers
4k views

Use of “Veni”? Is it a real word?

I was teaching a high school Spanish class, and a student (who was raised in Texas, but has Mexican relatives) told me that he has heard "veni" instead of "viene". I'd like to know if this is ...
13
votes
9answers
3k 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

How big are the regional differences in the Spanish spoken in different countries?

As a non-native speaker, I have no more difficulty conversing with a Mexican than a Spaniard or Venezuelan or Colombian or vice versa. I realize there are regional variations and differences in ...
13
votes
2answers
17k views

¿Cómo se pronuncia un número de siglo?

Cuando leo artículos de Wikipedia, o libros historicales, es muy común encontrar una frase como siglo [numeración romana]. Por ejemplo, Aljedrez, tal como se conoce actualmente, surgió en Europa ...
13
votes
3answers
693 views

Internet Chat laughter in Spanish

In English we tend to use: lol = laughing out loud; rofl = rolling on the floor laughing; lmao = laughing my a** off; roflmao = rolling on the floor laughing my a** off. These are just some of the ...
13
votes
4answers
28k views

¿Se debe decir jefe o jefa al referirse a una persona de sexo femenino?

Mi jefe en el trabajo es una mujer. ¿Cómo es la forma correcta de referirse a un jefe que es mujer? ¿jefe o jefa? Algunos compañeros de trabajo le dicen jefa, yo le digo por su nombre sin embargo ...
13
votes
5answers
24k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
545 views

Why is búho written with an acute accent?

Spanish ¿Hay alguna razón porque la que la palabra "búho" lleve acento agudo? ¿Hay alguna regla ortográfica que lo determine? Estoy acostumbrado a los acentos sobre la e, pero me sorprendió bastante ...
13
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
192 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?
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Proper placement of inverted question mark

What is the proper placement of the inverted question mark in sentences that are not completely questions? A common example: Hello, how are you? (¿)Hola, (¿)cómo estás? Or: That's ...
13
votes
1answer
370 views

¿Cuál palabra es “ouo”?

Leyendo una edición antigua de Las Sergas de Esplandian, me encontré una palabra que no pude entender. Aquí lo muestro con imagen: Transcrito al alfabeto moderno, se lee: Sabed que ala diestra ...
13
votes
3answers
323 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
3answers
4k views

“Desde luego” meaning and etymology

Español Esta pregunta me recuerda a una frase similar, "desde luego", que no es eso literalmente, sino que significa "por supuesto" (según el DRAE): luego. [...] desde ~. loc. adv. ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

¿Cuál es la etimología de “al fin y al cabo”?

La expresión fijada "al fin y al cabo" en Inglés sería algo como "at the end of the day, in the end, after all". Pero quería saber, ¿se conoce la etimología? En la entrada "al fin y al cabo" en ...
13
votes
2answers
487 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
12k 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"?
12
votes
7answers
3k views

¿Cómo se dice “bootstrap” en castellano?

En el mundo de la informática se utiliza mucho el término bootstrap (últimamente para referirse a Twitter bootstrap). Veo que la traducción más directa es el de "lengüeta de zapatos", es decir, la ...
12
votes
3answers
474 views

¿Por qué “cirugía” y “quirúrgico”, teniendo la misma raíz, se pronuncian diferente?

Leo en la RAE el origen etimológico de las palabras quirúrgico y cirugía y veo que son el mismo: quirúrgico, ca. (Del lat. chirurgĭcus, y este del gr. χειρουργικός). cirugía. (Del ...
12
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
1k 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
3answers
324 views

“Guion” vs “Guión” - Are there other words which could be written in multiple ways?

My dictionary uses guión while Wikipedia writes guion. I tried Google ngram and was nearly convinced that Wikipedia was wrong because nobody else seems to use that spelling today. I was really ...
12
votes
9answers
4k views

How do you say “I got you!” in Spanish?

If I threw a snowball (or dodgeball) at someone and it hit them, how would I say : I got you! in Spanish?
12
votes
3answers
3k 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. ...
12
votes
8answers
6k views

How is the letter 's' (or the /s/ sound) pronounced in Spain?

I've heard varying things regarding the pronunciation of the 's' sound in Spain. However, no one was willing/able to explain this to me. How is the 's' sound pronounced in Spain compared to its ...
12
votes
3answers
5k views

¿Como se contestan preguntas que llevan un “no” al inicio?

El español es mi idioma nativo, pero siempre he tenido esta duda, por ejemplo, si yo le pregunto a alguien: ¿Tienes frío? Esta persona podría contestar Sí. No. Sí, si tengo frío. No, no tengo ...
12
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Usage of “oso” to express embarrassment

I have heard the expression: ¡Que oso! It is used to express embarrassment by a former acquaintance from Colombia, but I have never met another Spanish speaker who uses this expression. My ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

What are the main differences between Spanish in Spain and Spanish in Latin America? [closed]

A good analogy is that the difference is like those in British and American English, but what are those differences exactly? Is Spanish in Latin America a branch from that in Spain?
12
votes
5answers
16k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
12
votes
7answers
5k views

How can I say “colmo” properly in English?

There is an expression in Spanish to denote something that is absurd or unexpected. Usually it can be the maximum expression of expertise and talent. I wondered about this mainly because in Spanish ...
12
votes
4answers
10k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
209 views

How can I know if a word or phrase should be avoided due to regional variations?

Say that I want to write some blog posts or news articles in Spanish. Are there any useful resources (e.g. books, websites or guidelines) that one could use in order to write “neutral” Spanish, that ...

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