4
votes
5answers
1k views

“¿Qué te interesa?” or “¿Qué te interesan?”

To ask somebody about their interests in Spanish I understand you should say: ¿Qué te interesa? Would it ever be appropriate to say: ¿Qué te interesan? As if I was to ask such a general ...
5
votes
1answer
524 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
516 views

“Perdón”, “permiso”, “disculpa”, … ?

I always struggle with the correct usage of the various ways one could say the equivalent of I'm sorry or Excuse me. Of course there are many reasons I would say these things and I was often looking ...
3
votes
1answer
342 views

Debuccalization of /s/ to [h]

What is meant in Spanish phonology by the debuccalization of /s/ to [h]? What dialects does this phenomenon primarily occur in? In those dialects, does it take place in all cases or only in some ...
6
votes
2answers
493 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
845 views

Why is Usted sometimes abbreviated as Vd. instead of Ud.? Is there any difference in usage between the two?

I've noticed that the word Usted can be abbreviated at least 2 ways, the most common of which being Ud. and Vd. to my knowledge. I see how Ud. makes perfect sense, but why is a V used instead of a U ...
5
votes
2answers
294 views

What are leísmo, loísmo, and laísmo?

What are leísmo, loísmo, and laísmo? How common are they, and where are they primarily encountered?
2
votes
1answer
165 views

Different words for “sign”

Spanish has several words that could be translated "sign" in English: letrero rótulo señal indicio cartel pancarta seña What are the differences between these words? In what situations can each be ...
5
votes
2answers
179 views

Different words for “hole”

Spanish has several words that could be translated "hole" in English: hoyo agujero hueco bache boquete brecha madriguera What are the differences between these words? In what situations can each ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Words for strong or weak rain (sprinkling, drizzling, pouring)

This question on English.StackExchange made me wonder about words for rain in Spanish. In English, a light rain can be a drizzle, sprinkle, or mist and a heavy rain can be a deluge, downpour, or ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the accentuation rules in Spanish?

Many native Spanish speakers have trouble determining when accent marks (tildes) should be used and where. What are the rules for accent placement in Spanish? How do you determine whether the vowel on ...
6
votes
2answers
260 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Why don't Spanish words start with “sp”?

I've noticed that there aren't any words in Spanish that start with sp. Latin words are altered to include an e in front of the sp. Even loan words are often modified to esp...: spaghetti => ...
4
votes
5answers
337 views

Is there a colloquial Spanish equivalent for “to get it” in the sense of grasping a concept?

I was just writing in our chat room that I didn't "get" what one of the other questions was trying to ask. But I was writing in the chat room in Spanish and realized I didn't know how to say "get" in ...
15
votes
5answers
435 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
308 views

Plural form of compound words

The plural form of compound words in Spanish is not an easy matter. If the compound word already has its final element in plural form, then the plural form is the same as the singular one: for ...
11
votes
2answers
741 views

“Aún” vs. “todavía”, what's the difference?

Somebody just asked me to correct something, and I found that I changed one of their instances of todavía to aún. I didn't do this because todavía wouldn't have worked in the sentence, but rather ...
5
votes
2answers
176 views

How would you build the spanish counterpart of “truthiness”?

I stumbled upon the English term Truthiness "truth" that a person claims to know intuitively "from the gut" in that it "feels right" without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or ...
7
votes
3answers
464 views

Idiomatic translation of “Dame tu luz”?

In the song Pequeño Amor by the Chiquitas, there is the following chorus: Pequeño amor, por siempre tú pequeño amor, dame tu luz The song is a duet, and the above is sung by members of the ...
12
votes
3answers
421 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
153 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
191 views

idioma, lengua and lenguaje

The words idioma, lengua and lenguaje can all be translated as "language". Are they interchangeable? If not, what are the differences among them? When to use which?
8
votes
1answer
141 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
151 views

Greetings for presents and cards

What phrases and greetings can you use for christmas presents / cards? Are there "general purpose" phrases which can be used for presents which are used the whole year, like an iPod? For example: ...
8
votes
2answers
7k 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?
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Translating “be right back” (or “brb”)

In informal spoken English, if we need to interrupt a conversation or meeting to take care of something else and then return, we might use expressions such as: I'll be right back. I'll be ...
5
votes
3answers
416 views

Translating “I'm bad with [remembering] something”

In English, you can say: I'm horrible with names. I'm bad with faces. I'm really bad with directions. What is the most natural way in Spanish of expressing that you are bad at remembering ...
3
votes
3answers
8k views

Responding to an apology (no problem, don't worry about it, etc.)

What are the common ways of responding to an apology? In English, if someone says "Sorry I didn't/couldn't do (whatever)" (or simply bumps into you accidentally and says "sorry") we'd say things like: ...
4
votes
5answers
238 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
295 views

Use of “¿A cómo está […]?” to ask for a price

The Diccionario panhispánico de dudas does not offer a suggestion regarding the use of cómo to ask for the price of something (item, service, or currency). I am familiar with the variants ¿a cómo ...
1
vote
0answers
188 views

What is a good, original Spanish childrens novel to help learn grammar and vocab? [closed]

I want to find a Spanish book that I can read to help practice my grammar and vocabulary. I've only done about a year of evening classes for adults, but I can read sites like BBC Mundo and have a ...
10
votes
2answers
745 views

Is it bad to address a young male as “señor”?

I was recently in Mallorca, at a restaurant I address the waiter as "señor". He was probably in his early 30's, he said that I should not use señor, but another word (which I unfortunately don't ...
7
votes
1answer
367 views

When is “mitad” appropriate?

Another thing I'm often corrected on is my apparent overuse of the word medio. What are the proper uses of the words mitad (and la mitad) and medio (and el medio)?
8
votes
2answers
630 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
717 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Origin of the mexican expression “güey/buey”

The common Mexican informal expression "güey/buey" (written as "wey" in text). Where did it come from? Since when did it become a common expression? Examples: A que güey estás. (You are so ...
12
votes
6answers
368 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
215 views

Translating “actually” (as in a change of mind)

There are many times I run into conversations like this: Waitress: Would you like some water? Me: No thanks. She walks away for a second, then comes back Me: Actually, could I get a ...
7
votes
4answers
379 views

Translating “I hear (that)…”

How do you translate the phrase "I hear (that)..." as in: I hear that you just got back from your vacation. I hear that it rained all last week in Seattle. I hear you got an A on your history final. ...
9
votes
3answers
467 views

“De donde fue” instead of “De donde estaba”

In Nicaragua, addresses are usually given as directions from a landmark, for example: From the stadium, go 5 blocks south, then 3 blocks east Sometimes the landmark is a place that used to be ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
335 views

Origin of the name “Jesucristo”

The name Jesus translates simply as Jesús, and Christ as Christo. So why is Jesus Christ translated as Jesucristo rather than Jesús Cristo or Cristo Jesús? Google gives me a plethora of explanations ...
6
votes
2answers
106 views

Analog to “sustainability”

I asked a question on english synonyms of "sustainability" alrady on ELU. In Spanish, dictionaries and ngrams give out several options: Comparing with the english ngrams chart I conclude la ...
25
votes
10answers
5k views

How should I ask someone to repeat something they've said?

When I learned Spanish in school, I was taught to never say ¿Qué? when I needed someone to repeat something they just said. Rather I was taught to say ¿Cómo? Later, my wife taught me to say ¿Mande? ...
18
votes
5answers
353 views

What does “lo” in “(no) lo es” refer to?

English: In this sentence, for example: El dinero no lo es todo en la vida. What does this "lo" refer to? Can it be omitted ("El dinero no es todo")? Español: En esta frase, por ejemplo: ...
32
votes
3answers
5k views

Why “buenas noches” when it's only one night?

Why are buenas noches and buenas tardes said when they refer to only one night/afternoon? ¿Por qué se dice "buenas noches" y "buenas tardes" cuando solo se refieren solo a una noche o tarde?
7
votes
3answers
797 views

Translation of “contact info”

What is the best way to say contact info in Spanish (as in a list of phone numbers, email addresses, postal addresses, etc. of a person or business)?
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Translating “looking forward to”

In English, we often used the phrase looking forward to when we are excited about something in the future: I'm looking forward to seeing you next week! I'm really looking forward to finals ...
3
votes
3answers
292 views

Various translations of “ticket”

The English word ticket (that is, a slip of paper used to grant access to something) can be translated several different ways in Spanish: boleto pasaje billete ticket entrada resguardo What are ...
4
votes
5answers
261 views

Can “los cristales” be translated as “mirrors” or “looking glasses”?

I'm trying to translate another poem by Jorge Luis Borges into English: Mis Libros Mis libros (que no saben que yo existo) son tan parte de mí como este rostro de sienes grises y de grises ...

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