All Questions

2
votes
2answers
12k views

Translating “I'm sorry for your loss”

What is the most natural way in Spanish to say "I'm sorry for your loss," as in what you would say to someone grieving over a departed relative or friend (or even the loss of a job)?
7
votes
1answer
303 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.
4
votes
4answers
5k views

Different words for “beer”

In Mexico, besides "cerveza" we call beer the following: cheve chela pisto (anything with alcohol) bironga helada fría These are used informally. Are there any other words used to address beer in ...
3
votes
4answers
812 views

Why “camarada” means friend?

It is common in Mexico to use the word camarada as a way to call informally a friend. For example: Tengo un camarada que es piloto. Ayer fuimos a la fiesta un camarada y yo. RAE defines camarada ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

When would one use the subjunctive form of a verb?

I'm trying to recall some high school spanish and having difficulties as its been several years. Under what conditions would one use the subjunctive form of a verb? Why would you want to use it to ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Other spanish synonyms to “Banana”

I remember reading in high school that the word la banana is actually a different word in several different countries. Is this true? If so what are the other similar/equivalent Spanish words for la ...
2
votes
1answer
104 views

Best English translation of “conmoción”

I was told the Spanish word conmoción refers to a strong feeling of shock or emotion shared by a group of people rather than an individual. It seems like English doesn't have a single word or phrase ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Translating “for the rest of the day”

What is the best way to translate the phrase "for the rest of the day" into Spanish, as in the following examples: I'm tired, I think I want to stay home for the rest of the day. Do you think it ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

When does sólo have an accent?

When does the word solo have an accent (tilde) on the first o (sólo)? When does it not?
2
votes
1answer
1k views

reserva vs. reservación

What is the difference between reserva and reservación (as in a reservation that you would make at a restaurant)? Do the two words mean the same thing? Which is used in what parts of the ...
3
votes
2answers
145 views

What do the Latin American language academies do?

The Real Academia Española is the main, official language academy of the Spanish language. But there are also country-specific language academies in most Spanish-speaking countries. What do these ...
3
votes
3answers
170 views

Jumping between pronunciations of “y” in Spanish songs

I've heard a few songs (off the top of my head, A Dios Le Pido) where they pronounce "y" both with a y-sound and an English j-sound at times. In some songs, the different pronunciations occur when ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Translating “a sí mismo, por sí mismo”

The phrase is: un escritor hecho a sí mismo, por sí mismo Searching around, both a sí mismo and por sí mismo were translated as "for himself, by himself". I figure in this context it means: ...
0
votes
1answer
205 views

caja vs. cajón vs. estuche

"Box" in English can be translated into Spanish as caja, cajón, or estuche. What exactly is the difference between these three words? What types of boxes are translated as each? Which would best ...
4
votes
1answer
259 views

Airport baggage vocabulary

On a recent trip to a Spanish-speaking country, I realized I don't know most of the terms involved in the process of retrieving luggage at a destination airport. I thought it would make sense to ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

When to use “tratar de” and when to use “intentar” for “to try to”?

Spanish has three words that can translate to English to try. Probar is easy to remember because it's used for sample or taste, like: Have you ever tried tacos el pastor? But I never know when ...
7
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
6k views

Most common translation of “Happy New Year!”

Is "Happy New Year!" more commonly translated as "¡Feliz Año Nuevo!" or "¡Próspero Año Nuevo!"? Are the two basically synonyms, or is there a difference between the two?
2
votes
2answers
446 views

Plurals of numbers

Is there an easy way to translate the plurals of numbers? Some seem pretty straight forward. For instance two sixes → dos seises. But what about when the number is already plural, or when ...
4
votes
2answers
652 views

Origin of “vos” pronoun

How did the vos personal pronoun come to be? Is it etymologically related to vosotros in any way? Did it develop before or after the other personal pronouns used today (tú, usted, vosotros, etc)? Was ...
3
votes
1answer
778 views

se pronoun in “no fault constructions”

One page I recently ran across discusses the concept of "no fault constructions" or verbs that use se in such a way to describe an action as taking place apart from the person who caused the action. ...
3
votes
2answers
550 views

What exactly are the “passive se” and “impersonal se”?

Many materials for learning Spanish, discuss the "impersonal se" (e.g. ¿Se puede tocar esto?) and "passive se" (e.g. Se habla español.). What exactly are these forms grammatically? Is the se in both ...
2
votes
2answers
8k views

Equivalent of “To whom it may concern:”

When writing formal letters in English where there is no named recipient (for example, a job application sent to a Human Resources department, or a letter sent to an organization in general as opposed ...
2
votes
3answers
643 views

Translating “Thanks in advance”

In letters or emails, I often end by saying "Thanks in advance," thanking the recipient in advance for whatever I am requesting. Is there an equivalent phrase in Spanish that is used in the same way?
6
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the symbol “&” called in Spanish?

The symbol & is a representation of the Latin word et (see DPD, Appendix 4). Wikipedia claims that the symbol itself is called et; however, the DRAE's entry for et doesn't list the symbol as a ...
2
votes
2answers
567 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
439 views

What is the difference between “a partir de” y “desde”?

Which one is correct? A partir de ahora, voy a hablar en español. or Desde ahora, voy a hablar en español. In meaning I think both are close to "from." Are there any specific instances ...
1
vote
3answers
115 views

Ordinary, regular, run-of-the-mill, average, etc

In English, there are a lot of ways to express that someone or something is standard and not particularly special or extraordinary. For example: Ordinary people like you and me can sometimes ...
2
votes
3answers
118 views

Translating “preferences” and “settings”

What is the standard way in Spanish to translate "preferences" (a menu option in computer programs where you can adjust program settings)? What is the standard way to translate "settings" (an ...
2
votes
1answer
629 views

Translating “I don't trust you” (said casually)

I have heard that confiar is a strong word, implying trust and confidence in someone or something. What then is the right way to translate more casual uses of the word "trust"? For example, let's say ...
0
votes
1answer
228 views

Packing material vocabulary

In English, there are quite a few words to describe materials used to pad and insulate packages that are being shipped from one place to another: packing peanuts or foam peanuts are individual ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between “enfrente” and “frente”?

I was writing today and while editing I stumbled with this problem. Both words can be used but then again I didn't know the difference between them. When should I use one over the other and ...
5
votes
3answers
502 views

What's the function of the letter h?

What's the function of the letter h in Spanish? Even though it's not pronounced there must be a reason of its existence. Update: What I mean is the case when the letter h it's not accompanied by the ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

Expressing past belief (creí vs. creía vs. pensé vs. pensaba)

When expressing in Spanish something that you believed or thought in the past, there are four options: Creí que ... Creía que ... Pensé que ... Pensaba que ... I learned that creía que was the ...
1
vote
2answers
802 views

Translating “Me la paso pensándote”

In Wisin y Yandel's "Estoy Enamorado," the chorus contains the following line: Me la paso pensándote, nunca voy a soltarte What does "Me la paso pensándote" mean? Is "me" a reflexive or indirect ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What does the “lo” in “pasarlo bien” refer to?

The phrase pasarlo bien means something like "to have a good time" in sentences like, "Lo pasamos muy bien anoche." What does the "lo" in this phrase refer to? Does it replace an actual noun, or is it ...
3
votes
1answer
5k views

“pensando en ti” vs. “pensando de ti” vs. “pensándote”

When using the verb pensar to describe thinking about a person, there are at least three options: Estoy pensando en ti. Estoy pensando de ti. Estoy pensándote. What are the differences between ...
0
votes
2answers
188 views

Words for “grave”: tumba vs. sepultura

English has several words for burial places, many of which have specific, distinct meanings: grave tomb vault crypt mausoleum sepulcher As far as I know, Spanish has at least two words for ...
2
votes
1answer
136 views

Translating “paying one's (final) respects”

In English, if someone visits a grave or goes to a funeral of someone who has died, we can say he is going "to pay his respects" or "to pay his last respects." While it's hard to explain what this ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Different words for “stop”

In English, we have a fairly generic verb "to stop" that can be used in many different contexts. For example: Stop talking to me! The driver saw the red light and stopped his car. You really need to ...
7
votes
1answer
892 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?
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Choosing between 'sobre' and 'acerca de'

Is there a significant difference between "sobre" and "acerca de", when the intent is to describe the topic of something? Where is "acerca de" a better choice than "sobre", and vice-versa?
2
votes
3answers
206 views

Translating “aquaponics”

In English, aquaponics describes a system combining aquaculture with hydroponics in a symbiotic relationship. I haven't been able to find this word in any Spanish-English dictionary, and the Wikipedia ...
2
votes
1answer
470 views

Indicative vs. subjunctive in “no importa qué dice el destino”

If I'm hearing it correctly, there's a line in Carlos Baute's "Colgando En Tus Manos" that says: No importa qué dice el destino. I thought that sentence should be expressed: No importa qué ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

When is “ello” used?

A long time ago in Spanish class, we were taught that "it" was literally ello but is rarely translated that way. I was thinking about the word recently, and realized I don't know if I've ever (at ...
6
votes
3answers
172 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I distinguish between “girlfriend,” “fiancée” and “bride”, which are all “novia”?

I am a native Portuguese speaker, where noiva means "bride" or "fiancée." So I was very confused when someone asked me if a girl was my novia, since she didn't have an engagement ring (thank goodness ...
4
votes
5answers
497 views

How can I translate the expression “sour grapes” to Spanish?

From the Oxford dictionary: sour grapes used to refer to an attitude in which someone adopts a negative attitude to something because they cannot have it themselves: government officials ...
4
votes
1answer
324 views

Translating “break” (during work)

In the US, it is common for workers to take a half-hour or hour lunch break in the middle of the day, plus two ten or fifteen minute breaks in the morning and afternoon. Spanish has many words that ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Spanish etymology resources [closed]

Many questions on this site have been about the etymology of a particular word or phrase. For English, resources like the Oxford English Dictionary often give researched etymologies full of details ...

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