8
votes
6answers
13k 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
268 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
5answers
9k 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
6answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
6k 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
2k views

Uso invertido de palabras cariñosas e insultos

En mi tierra es bastante normal, en el uso coloquial, encontrar invertido el uso de las palabras cariñosas y los insultos: "Mira, cariño, una cosa te voy a decir..." -dicho a una persona con la que ...
7
votes
1answer
157 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
2answers
3k 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!
7
votes
2answers
12k views

“xq” in Internet slang/abbreviations

In informal chat conversations online, I have seen Spanish speakers write the abbreviation "xq." What does this stand for, and why?
7
votes
4answers
854 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! ...
7
votes
3answers
577 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
454 views

Why to add “la” after “viajar”?

I'm now using Rosetta Stone to learn Spanish, and today I found the following sentences: Estoy viajando a Italia para visitar unas ruinas antiguas. Estoy viajando a la India para visitar este ...
6
votes
5answers
817 views

¿En qué países la palabra “coger” tiene connotaciones sexuales?

En algunos países hispanoparlantes la palabra coger tiene connotaciones sexuales. La RAE indica "Realizar el acto sexual", pero el problema es que es una expresión malsonante, marcada fuertemente como ...
6
votes
4answers
352 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
3k 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?
6
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
349 views

¿Cuál es el análisis gramatical de “¿Cómo me le va?”?

Vivo en Colombia y con cierta frecuencia escucho la pregunta "¿Cómo me le va?" pero nadie me puede explicar por qué usa "me" en este caso. ¿Esta frase tiene aluna explicación gramatical? ¿Por qué no ...
5
votes
1answer
772 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
286 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
2answers
209 views

“Home” in a non-literal sense

I know home translates as casa or, in some contexts, hogar. But both these terms refer to a more literal idea than I'd like to use at times. They both seem to refer to the actual house. Let's imagine ...
3
votes
1answer
430 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
42k views

¿Es correcto abreviar “visto bueno ” como “VoBo.”?

Muchas veces he visto que lo abrevian así por ejemplo dentro de la compañía donde trabajo, sin embargo no sé si realmente es correcto. Actualización: Lo que me parece extraño de la abreviación es ...
2
votes
1answer
114 views

“No es culpa mía (de) que …”

On spanish.about.com they explain that you would use "que" if you can replace the English "that" with "which" and it would still make sense. So, it's a pronoun. El plan que quiere es caro. (The ...
2
votes
2answers
766 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
73 views

Doubt over using “como” or “cómo”

From the lyrics of a song: y lo que más me gusta de ti es como tú pronuncias mi nombre Which is correct here, "como" with or without accent?
1
vote
7answers
249 views

Where else 'Se' in comerse will be used

Objective Clarify the grammar and the objective of se in comerse/beberse Clarify which other verbs can take se for the same objective Related article El uso de "comerse" ...
1
vote
1answer
4k 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
2answers
109 views

What are the differences between “tener” and “haber”?

Both verbs tener and haber both are translated as to have. What are the rules that distinguish their uses of one verb over the other?
0
votes
4answers
539 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
4k 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
8k 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
4answers
3k 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
2answers
710 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 ...
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
6k 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
309 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
1answer
162 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
875 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
260 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
186 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
5answers
22k 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?
7
votes
1answer
993 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
392 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
3k 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
5k 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
1k 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
533 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
1k 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
2answers
2k views

¿Cuál es la diferencia entre comer y comerse?

¿Cuál es la diferencia entre el verbo normal comer y su forma reflexiva comerse? Si los significados son iguales, ¿cuál es la diferencia de connotación? Y, ¿se usa el reflexivo de la misma manera en ...

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