4
votes
5answers
3k 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
825 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
194 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
140 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
2k 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
906 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
218 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
479 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
173 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
523 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
371 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

bastante: enough or too much?

I have seen bastante translated as enough, plenty, or even too much. What range of meanings does bastante have? How can you determine whether it means just enough or too much?
6
votes
2answers
716 views

Why does the preterite of “traducir” transform into “tradujo”?

As you will see below the preterite suffers from an odd transformation. Even native speakers make the mistake of conjugating the preterite of traducir wrong. For instance instead of traduje they ...
7
votes
1answer
579 views

What's the origin of the word “chido”?

What's the origin of the word "chido"? When did it become popular in Mexico? Examples: Qué chido esta tu carro. Estaría bien chido si ganara la lotería. RAE: chido, da. adj. ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Dash and hyphen usage in Spanish

English uses at least two types of dashes (en dash and em dash) along with hyphens, and there are (fairly complex, in my opinion) rules on when and how each should be used. What types of dashes or ...
4
votes
1answer
917 views

Quotation mark usage in Spanish

In English, we have double quotation marks (") and single quotation marks ('). Spanish adds angular quotation marks (« »). What is the official rule for which type of mark should be used when in ...
5
votes
2answers
510 views

Usage of “ver(se)” for “to seem/look” (te ves, se te ve, te veo, etc.)

The verb ver can be used in a few different constructions to convey how something looks or seems: Te ves bonita. Se te ve mal. Te veo bien. For the reflexive constructions, the WordReference entry ...
5
votes
1answer
102 views

What is an expression in parentheses in the middle of a phrase called?

While I was reading the newspaper today I stumbled against something that is quite common and a bit obscure in writing in spanish. It comes from this opinion column. (The opinion and debate exposed ...
4
votes
3answers
824 views

Proper response to ¿Qué onda?

In parts of the Spanish-speaking world, "¿Qué onda?" is used to ask something along the lines of "What's up?". What are the possible responses to this question? Should it be answered with a bien/mal, ...
8
votes
1answer
182 views

Is it acceptable to leave out the inverted punctuation marks?

Is it acceptable to leave out inverted question marks and exclamation points (¿ ¡) from questions and exclamatory sentences? I ask this because some computers and other devices I use won't let me add ...
14
votes
3answers
5k views

Why isn't “good morning” “buenas mañanas”?

"Good afternoon" is "buenas tardes", and "Good night/evening" is "buenas noches". Then why isn't "good morning" "buenas mañanas" instead of "buenos días"?
8
votes
2answers
46k views

When is it appropriate to say “buenos días”?

It looks like "buenos días" is most commonly translated as "good morning," although apparently it can mean "good day" as well (like a literal translation would suggest). Is it appropriate to greet ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a Spanish equivalent to Ms.?

As far as I can tell, the honorifics to address a woman are: Señora (Sra.) which is equivalent to "Mrs." and is used to address a married woman; Señorita (Srta.) which is equivalent to "Miss" and is ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there a difference between “español” and “castellano”?

English I always thought the two could be used interchangeably (meaning "the Spanish language"). But I recently got into an argument with someone where they insisted there was a difference (although ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Translating “How long does it take to get from <here> to <there>?”

What is the most natural and common way to ask how much time it takes to get from one location to another? For example: How long does it take to get from Guadalajara to Mexico City? How long does it ...
4
votes
1answer
347 views

Cannot use adverbs + possessives: “delante de ti” v/s “delante tuyo”

In Spanish there are some adverbs followed by de: Delante de, atrás de, en frente de, etc... When these adverbs are followed in a sentence by a declined pronoun, they are often "contracted" ...
4
votes
1answer
78 views

What's the meaning of “hasta” in the following sentences?

What's the meaning of "hasta" in the following sentences? Hasta que te dignes a hacerme caso. Los resultados del examen se publicarán hasta febrero. Those have different meanings than the "hasta" ...
7
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
406 views

What suffixes are used to indicate jobs?

What suffixes are used to indicate jobs? Please provide examples.
4
votes
1answer
817 views

What's the meaning of the -azo suffix?

What's the meaning of the (noun)-azo? How the nouns are transformed into their -azo noun? In which cases should be used? Examples: zapatazo golpazo
9
votes
4answers
6k views

Use of AM/PM in time

Aside from using 'military time' (19:00 for 7:00 PM), is there another approach to delineate between AM/PM time in Spanish?
6
votes
3answers
480 views

Usage of “mueco” vs. “mellado” for “toothless”

The RAE does not have an entry for mueco or mueca, a term commonly used in Colombia to describe a toothless person. However, the expression hacer muecas is understood in the traditional sense as a ...
11
votes
1answer
171 views

Translation of the C++ “move constructor” language element

The C++ programming language has several types of constructors (functions invoked when an object is being created): Default constructor: constructor por defecto. Copy constructor: constructor de ...
7
votes
1answer
981 views

Difference between “tener que …” and “necesitar …”?

If I have to say something like I gotta leave in Spanish, I'd use a phrase like: Tengo que irme But I realize that I could also say: Necesito irme What is the difference? You would ...
8
votes
2answers
521 views

Differences between “aun”, “hasta”, and “incluso” to indicate extremes?

When referring to an extreme example for comparison, English seems to have just one word, even: Even an idiot could do it. But Spanish seems to have three: aun hasta incluso I had always ...
5
votes
1answer
492 views

Origin of the phrase “la quinta …” to denote an undesirable or faraway place

The Colombian phrase la quinta porra denotes an undesirable or faraway place. For example, ¡Váyase a la quinta porra! conveys the same meaning as Go to hell! The earliest use I could find ...
3
votes
2answers
379 views

Is there a connection between “cuchillo” and “cuchara”?

Do these two words have any common root? I looked up in the RAE, and didn't find there any connection between these words. According to the RAE, cuchillo comes from Latin "cultellus", and cuchara ...
5
votes
2answers
795 views

Difference between 'trabajar para' and 'trabajar por'

I know the difference between por and para, but I'm confused by these particular usages. I've seen both of them in various places. 'Trabajar para' seems to mean to work for, whereas 'trabajar por' ...
5
votes
5answers
775 views

Computer science, software engineer/developer, and programmer

When visiting Spanish-speaking countries, I've been told various ways to translate these terms: Computer Science (as in a university degree program) Software Engineer Software Developer Programmer ...
9
votes
6answers
10k views

Are there any differences between “de nada” and “por nada”?

Most of the time in all the Spanish speaking countries I've been in I've heard de nada as the reply to gracias or the equivalent of English you're welcome etc. But after a while I became conscious ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

I forgot how to say “I forgot”

Okay, so I didn't really forget how to say it... I just wanted a clever question title. In my Spanish class I was taught that olvidarse is reflexive: Me olvidé (de la cita). Me olvidé (las ...
4
votes
2answers
254 views

Translation of “Under Pressure” — Queen song title

Today I heard Under Pressure by Queen on the radio. After the song, the DJ announced the song as Alta Presión. That sounds more to me like "High Pressure" than "Under Pressure." I would have ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

When to use 'o' and 'ó'

I've seen the conjunction o both with and without an accent mark. What are the rules for when the accent ought to be used?
5
votes
1answer
240 views

Tanto X como Y - ¿importa el orden?

Estoy traduciendo una frase de inglés: Instructions are available in both English and Spanish. La estructura que me parece más natural para este uso de both es tanto ... como ...: Las ...

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