2
votes
2answers
606 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
3k 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
387 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
3k 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, ...
12
votes
4answers
7k 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
1k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
2k 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
4k 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
279 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
571 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
155 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
592 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
232 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
158 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
916 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
2answers
323 views

How would you express giving a command to yourself in Spanish?

As there is no singular first person imperative form for Spanish verbs (as far as I know), I was wondering whether there is an equivalent to the, possibly idiomatic, English expression of a person ...
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 ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

“Maje” (or “mae”) in Nicaraguan Spanish

What does the word "maje" (pronounced "mae") mean in Nicaraguan Spanish? Could the word be considered offensive, and, if so, in what contexts is it appropriate to use?
6
votes
2answers
664 views

Enumeración: Mil millón vs. Billón

En inglés, se dice "one billion" para la cantidad 10^9 (1,000,000,000). Pero en español, he oído la cantidad "mil millones" para la misma cantidad (hasta en los periódicos). Casi nunca he oído la ...
6
votes
3answers
448 views

“Empanada”, “Emparedado”, and their genders

Lately, I've started noticing how some Spanish nouns are merely past-participles of verbs (with the addition of a "-ado/-ada" suffix), and that those verbs are sometimes derived from other nouns by ...
6
votes
3answers
656 views

¿Cuál es la definición de albur? Could you define “albur”?

Todos los que alguna vez hayan estado en México —y quizá en otros paises donde se practique el albur— saben que la definición que da RAE para la palabra "albur" es paupérrima: m. Méx. y R. Dom. ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

How do I say “You're making me hungry?”

A friend was describing some food she's making. I wanted to say "You're making me hungry" or "That makes me hungry." What's the proper way to say this? My first thought was to say something like: ...
6
votes
1answer
289 views

How are words with “ps” or “pt” pronounced?

Here are a few examples: psicología ptosis Ptolomeo Interestingly is that "sicología" is also found in the RAE but most of the time I've seen it written as "psicología". How are they ...
6
votes
3answers
16k views

What is the difference between “De nada” and “No hay de qué”?

I am learning Spanish and ran across "De nada" and "No hay de qué". Both mean "You're welcome" . What's the difference?
6
votes
2answers
99 views

Convention for group-recited, gender-specific, self-referencing pronouns

What convention (or conventions) exist for words that are recited by a group of people, but refer to oneself using gender-specific pronouns? The most common context is probably group worship in a ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the meaning of “que” and “cual” without an accent mark?

What does "que" and "cual" mean without an accent mark? How do they compare when to each other? How do they compare to their accent-marked form?
6
votes
3answers
174 views

Why is 'estoy' used when saying “I'm related to”

I understand I'm related to David, he's my grandad. translates as Estoy relacionado con David, él es mi abuelo. Why is estoy used and not soy? It seems to me that the relationship is ...
6
votes
2answers
642 views

Article usage before country names

I have heard several countries expressed in Spanish with a definite article before the country name (e.g. los Estados Unidos, la Argentina, la India). Is there a rule for when this occurs and when it ...
6
votes
3answers
377 views

Regional use of “genial”

What parts of the Spanish-speaking world regularly use the word genial? Is it only encountered in Spain, or is it common in other regions as well? Edit: It seems like it's more widespread than I ...
5
votes
3answers
342 views

¿“Ahí” y “allí” son distinguibles cuando usadas en países donde se usa mayormente el yeísmo?

La pronunciación me parece muy similar, y me pregunto se en la conversación normal se las pueden distinguir o si hay artificios o sinónimos que se usan para llegar a los mismos objetivos.
5
votes
2answers
171 views

Counterpart of “John Doe, Joe Public”?

In English these names are used as a substitute for the average guy. Or as a specimen when filling out a passport form. What names/expressions are used in Spanish for this purpose?
5
votes
1answer
159 views

Usage of “donde la espalda cambia de nombre”

In this answer to this previous question of mine, the answerer used the phrase Antonio se hirió donde la espalda cambia de nombre. as an example of a milder version of Antonio se hirió en ...
5
votes
1answer
865 views

When should you use the preterite or the imperfect to express past time?

There are two ways to express simple past time actions and conditions in Spanish. One is the preterite, Comí tacos. (I ate tacos.) Besé a una chica. (I kissed a girl.) and the other is the ...
5
votes
4answers
642 views

Names of letters “b” and “v”

The letters b and v have several possible names in Spanish. Is there an official, language academy-sponsored name for these letters? If not, what are the most common and standard names?
5
votes
2answers
262 views

Proper spelling of “beisbol”

I had the privilege of attending the 2011 Panamerican Games last month, and went to the brand new baseball stadium in Lagos de Moreno. The stadium said in big letters: Estadio de Beisbol My ...
4
votes
4answers
123 views

¿En qué paises aplica la acepción anatómica de “pito”?

En el DRAE: Pito m. coloq. pene. Esta acepción es conocida en Argentina, pero por lo que me dijeron, no es universal, ni siquiera en Sudamérica. ¿Alguien sabe a qué países aplica y a ...
4
votes
1answer
153 views

Why is there an interrogative pronoun in this sentence which is not a question?

I've seen the use of interrogative pronouns in ordinary statements, not just questions. For example, from the book "Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal": "Los Dursley se estremecían al pensar qué ...
4
votes
3answers
267 views

¿Cuál es la regla para asignar el género a cantidades numéricas?

Hace unos días pregunté sobre el caso de Millonas. Sé que es un dísparate por decirlo del alguna manera. ¿Cómo lo sé? Por intuición, no sabría explicarlo mas que me suena a un dísparate. En ...
4
votes
1answer
125 views

Millones y Millonas

Viendo un video de Nicolas Maduro presidente de Venezuela el dice: Millones y millonas de Bolivar. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrXQkPOvI7A en 0:42 ¿Es correcto decir millonas o es un modismo ...
4
votes
5answers
812 views

Translation of “guilt trip”

How can I translate the concept of a "guilt trip" into Spanish? The Free Dictionary provides this definition: guilt trip n. Informal A usually prolonged feeling of guilt or culpability. ...
4
votes
2answers
138 views

“no” + verb + “nada”

Español ¿Por qué "say nothing" en inglés se traduce como "no habla nada" en español? ¿Por qué hay una extra "no"? Otro ejemplo: "I know nothing" en inglés se traduce "Yo no sé nada" en español. ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Las palabras definidas como genero ambiguo como “internet” ¿se deben utilizar con artículo femenino o masculino?

Para el caso de la palabra "internet", tenía un profesor en preparatoria que comentaba que debería ser "la internet" puesto que "internet" es "la red de redes". Sin embargo aquí en México cuando ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

¿Cuál es la diferencia entre “por lo tanto” y “por tanto”?

Según la RAE: por lo ~. loc. adv. Por consiguiente, por lo que antes se ha dicho, por el motivo o las razones de que acaba de hablarse. U. t. c. loc. conjunt. por tanto. loc. adv. Por lo que, ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

How formal is cuán? What are the informal alternatives?

How formal is the Spanish word cuán? When is it appropriate to use, and when does it seem out of place? How are sentences using cuán normally expressed in informal speech?
4
votes
2answers
372 views

Understanding “desde ya”

I have heard the phrase "desde ya" used to mean "in advance." Literally, it means "since already." How is it understood to mean "in advance," or is it simply an idiom with a nonsense literal meaning? ...
4
votes
1answer
978 views

Spanish phrasal verbs

The most difficult feature of English language (at least for myself) are "Phrasal verbs". Today I stumbled upon one sentence from a newspaper that made think about Phrasal verbs in Spanish. If we ...
4
votes
5answers
551 views

Translation of “should have”

What are the possible translations of "should have", as in "I should have told you earlier"? What are the differences between "debería (de)", "debí (de)", "debiera (de)", "debía (de)", etc.?
3
votes
2answers
131 views

Subject - Verb Agreement: Repitiendo…, y determinando, ilustra

Repitiendo este proceso muchas veces, y determinando la proporción de éxitos para cada muestra, ilustra la idea de la variabilidad de muestra a muestra en la proporción muestral. Should ilustra or ...
3
votes
11answers
1k views

Exception to the Phonetic Rule

As we all know that Spanish is a Phonetic Language, i.e. the way it's written is the way it's pronounced. I am just curious to know if there are any exceptions to this phonetic rule. I mean, when we ...

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