21
votes
5answers
7k views

What's the difference between “dentro” and “adentro”?

English: How can I tell whether I should be using Dentro vs. Adentro? I've read that they both mean 'inside' and looked at some examples, but I still can't always figure out which one to use. Are ...
19
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I ask someone not to call me “usted”?

Suppose you're in a situation where you have a formal/business relationship with someone, but the relationship has become more familiar over time. The other person continues to call you usted. How ...
15
votes
3answers
6k 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!
8
votes
1answer
352 views

Free online resources for beginner course [closed]

Along with this question, what are good, free online resources to learn Spanish? Important areas such as grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation should be covered.
7
votes
2answers
710 views

What is the “dativo ético”?

In this comment, the grammatical term dativo ético is mentioned: With comer, dativo ético is often used, quite rare to use comer without it (at least in Spain). For example, instead of "Él comió ...
7
votes
3answers
71k views

What does it mean when a girl says “te quiero” in this context?

I've been... seeing this girl for about half a year. We're not officially together, but we're pretty playful and there's a lot of flirting. We like each other.. She speaks fluent english but is a ...
6
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

When to use definite article? Like “la” and “el”

This is one of those differences between English and Spanish. Although for the most part where is definite article is not used in English, it is probably not used in Spanish, due to my lack of reading,...
18
votes
7answers
3k views

Why is 'estar muerto' used instead of 'ser muerto'?

I know it is rather rude to think of it this way and I don't want to offend anyone religiously, but being dead is usually thought of as a very permanent condition in the United States. So why does ...
14
votes
1answer
746 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

Why do Spanish words have gender?

English: What is the origin of gender in Spanish words? (la mesa, el perro) I come from another language (English) that doesn't have gender for nouns, except maybe a few things like ships, planes, ...
6
votes
5answers
7k 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
4answers
4k views

Identifying masculine and feminine words

Are there any tips to quickly identify words in Spanish as 'male' or 'female'? I am a new learner and have trouble with this.
2
votes
1answer
160 views

When to use or not use “a” after a verb? E.g. “voy a comer” and “quiero comer”

In English we think of the infinitive as being "to" + action. E.g. "to eat". There are cases where we use a verb followed directly by the infinitive. E.g. "quiero comer" quiero = I want comer = to ...
13
votes
8answers
22k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
529 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
2k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
3k 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?
9
votes
1answer
1k views

How to pluralize “sexy”?

The anglicism sexy is accepted in Spanish, as you know. When it's an adjective, how is its plural supposed to be build? X persona tiene ojos sexy(s). I'm slightly inclined to think that it ...
9
votes
4answers
6k 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?
9
votes
6answers
862 views

Why does Latin America not lisp consonants, having learned from Spain?

I am referring to the sounds of "z" and the soft "c". Latin America learned Spanish from Spain. So why do they not lisp consonants, having learned from Spanish people? Did Latin America somehow ...
9
votes
2answers
499 views

When to use the article “el” with infinitives in Spanish?

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 ...
8
votes
2answers
481 views

How come the subject is omitted in Spanish?

You can find hundreds of sources where they say that the subject can be dropped if it doesn't add any additional information. As "voy" is the 1st person singular conjugation of "ir", you know that the ...
8
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
3k 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
7k views

When to add prepositions before an infinitive verb (por/para/a/de)?

With the infinitive form of a verb in English, (e.g. to speak), the word 'to' seems to convey a specific meaning where, in Spanish, an additional preposition is used in some cases. Examples: I ...
6
votes
8answers
2k views

¿Cuál es el verbo para “party” en español?

¿Cómo se dice "I want to party tonight"? Yo sé que se puede decir "Quiero ir a una fiesta esta noche", pero estoy buscando un verbo que tenga el mismo efecto.
5
votes
2answers
978 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 ...
18
votes
6answers
1k views

“vaso de agua” or “vaso con agua”? Which is correct?

English What's the correct way to express that something "serves as a container for something else"? Example: ¿Quieres un vaso de/con agua? Should we use de or con? Are both correct? Why? If ...
16
votes
4answers
5k views

“Está hecho de…” why not “es hecho de”?

I've seen "Está hecho de ..." used to mean "It's made of ...". Why is the verb estar and not ser? Isn't this an adjective that's permanent and not going to change? I can understand phrases like "la ...
13
votes
8answers
4k 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
5answers
18k 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
1k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
253 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

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 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
5k 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
6answers
8k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

What's the meaning of the Mexican expression “se te va el avión”?

Example: Te lo dije tres veces y de todos modos no lo hiciste. A ti ya se te va el avión. ¿No te acordaste de tu cumpleaños? La verdad es que a ti ya se te va el avión. What does it mean? ...
8
votes
1answer
174 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
1answer
1k 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 ...
7
votes
7answers
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 ...
7
votes
6answers
508 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
7k views

estuve vs estaba

when do I use imperfect versus preterite for estar? I heard there are special rules here. Cuando estuve en Nueva York yo vi la Estatua de la Libertad Cuando estaba en Nueva York yo tomaba el metro ...
7
votes
2answers
7k 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?
7
votes
4answers
1k 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! ...

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