25
votes
7answers
24k views

¿Cuál es la diferencia entre tú, usted y vos?

He oído las palabras "tú", "usted", y "vos", pero la traducción de todas esas palabras al inglés es la misma: "you". ¿Cuándo es mejor usar "tú" o "vos" en vez de "usted", o viceversa?
17
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 ...
13
votes
2answers
490 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
697 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
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 ...
10
votes
7answers
19k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
2k 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?
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 ...
9
votes
6answers
802 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
1answer
918 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
2answers
463 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
4k 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
2answers
409 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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
2answers
809 views

Historical pronunciation of letters “b” and “v”

In another question, a Wikipedia article was quoted saying: The letters ⟨b⟩ and ⟨v⟩ were originally simply known as be and ve. However, there is no longer any distinction between the sounds of ...
6
votes
5answers
6k 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
2answers
862 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
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
5answers
13k 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
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 ...
11
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
11
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
246 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
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
3k 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
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 ...
8
votes
6answers
4k 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
4answers
1k 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
3answers
285 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
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 ...
7
votes
4answers
4k 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
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
167 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
6answers
476 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
2answers
5k 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
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 ...
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
2answers
16k 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
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! ...
6
votes
2answers
488 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
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
246 views

¿Por qué los españoles usan la palabra “vosotros” pero los latinoamericanos no?

Soy un estudiante de español en los Estados Unidos de America. En mi clase, mi maestra enseñó que los españoles usan la palabra "vosotros" para situaciones informales, pero los latinoamericanos ...
5
votes
2answers
495 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
239 views

¿Cómo se dice “play” en el contexto de música o un DVD?

En inglés usamos la palabra "play" para significar la acción de ver una película o de escuchar música. La usamos así: Can you play the movie? What song is playing? Pregunté un amigo latino ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

¿Por qué “había” lleva tilde? ¿Acaso no se pronunciaría de la misma forma si no la tuviese?

Según lo que he leído "había" lleva tilde para romper el diptongo pero en caso de que la palabra no tuviese tilde, no se sobreentiende que si no lleva tilde en la "a" se prenunciara igual a que si ...
4
votes
1answer
207 views

How to hispanizise (rather unknown) German toponyms with umlaut?

If one is interested in proper names in German, like München or Zürich, one easily knows the Spanish translation, and if not, one goes to Wikipedia and finds the translation. But what to do with ...
4
votes
5answers
339 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
230 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 ...

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