4
votes
1answer
996 views

What's the best way to say “perífrasis verbal” in English?

"Perífrasis verbal" seems to be used pretty consistently at least in some references to refer to grammatical constructions like ir a. But I'm not sure if it's a set grammatical or linguistic term, ...
2
votes
1answer
251 views

Are there other “feminine only” adjectives in Spanish besides “embarazada”?

In most if not all Spanish dictionaries I've checked, embarazada is only ever listed in its feminine form unlike all other adjectives I can think of. Is this semantic because it's considered that ...
13
votes
1answer
507 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
166 views

Translation of 'I was the one who did it'

What's the correct way to translate 'I was the one who did it'? By a literal translation it would be: Yo fui el que lo hizo. However, I know in Spanish the verb is often made to agree with the ...
5
votes
3answers
254 views

“Habría” or “Hubiera”

Given the following sentence: Si lo hubieran anotado, después no les hubiera (habría) costado tanto recordarlo. we see that the first use of hubieran is well used, but the second one is ...
6
votes
2answers
237 views

Why is a comma used before a “y” in some cases?

I was taught that a comma must be used this way. One (of many other uses) is when you want to enumerate a list of items you have to use the comma and before the last element of the list the comma ...
6
votes
1answer
90 views

Referring to a specific “bisabuelo(a)”

When talking about grandparents, you can add "materno(a)/paterno(a)" to refer to a specific one. Example: abuelo paterno. Is there a way to refer to a particular "bisabuelo(a)" (great-grandparent)?
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Spanish abbreviation for the United States of America

What is (or are?) the suggested abbreviation(s) for the United States of America in Spanish? I've seen: E.E.U.U. EE.UU. EEUU EUA USA (And only the last two actually makes any sense to me!)
4
votes
1answer
979 views

Spanish phrasal verbs

The most difficult feature of English language (at least for myself) are "Phrasal verbs". Today I stumbled upon one sentence from a newspaper that made think about Phrasal verbs in Spanish. If we ...
5
votes
1answer
785 views

Translating medicine names to Spanish

I have sometimes run into cases where I want to translate the name of a medication into Spanish, but can't find the specific medicine name in a dictionary (e.g. amoxicillin, acetaminophen). This is ...
11
votes
3answers
386 views

adjectives for “same thing” vs. “same kind of thing”

In German, das gleiche refers to We both read the same (das gleiche) book (everyone has its own, but they look exactly the same) while das selbe refers to We both read the same book ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Is “¿Qué hora es?” or “¿Qué horas son?” preferred?

Admittedly, it has been a very long time since I've studied Spanish, but I distinctly recall that we always used "¿Que hora es?" for "what time is it?". However, on a trip to the Dominican Republic, ...
5
votes
2answers
171 views

Counterpart of “John Doe, Joe Public”?

In English these names are used as a substitute for the average guy. Or as a specimen when filling out a passport form. What names/expressions are used in Spanish for this purpose?
4
votes
5answers
2k 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
654 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
1answer
684 views

Cuál es el uso correcto de “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
397 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
642 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
1k 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
348 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
175 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
201 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
3k 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
2k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
325 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 => ...
5
votes
5answers
451 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
471 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
343 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
1k 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
198 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
521 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
467 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
159 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
237 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
155 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
152 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: ...
7
votes
2answers
9k 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
521 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
10k 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
263 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
310 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
218 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
926 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
442 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)?
9
votes
2answers
721 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
838 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
3k 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
412 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 ...

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