5
votes
1answer
145 views

What is the etymology of the “diéresis” or “crema”?

This entry of the Diccionario panhispánico de dudas explains the uses of the diéresis or crema (the ¨ mark) in Spanish (it is mandatory over a u to indicate that this vowel must be pronounced in the ...
4
votes
1answer
253 views

What is the origin of word endings like -ducir, -vocar, -locar, -ludir, -mitir?

The word-endings -ducir, -locar, -vocar, -ludir, -mitir are quite common, each can take a lot of common prefixes to form real words, for example: conducir, producir, introducir, aducir, inducir, ...
2
votes
2answers
735 views

Proper response to “con permiso”

When someone says con permiso, for example when squeezing through a crowd, what is the appropriate response? For example, in English we might say something like "sorry" or "go ahead."
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Translation of “to talk behind someone's back”

What is the typical Spanish translation of the English idiom "to talk behind someone's back" (as in saying something bad about another person to others instead of to them directly)?
5
votes
1answer
155 views

What adjective ending to use with “algo masculino y/o algo femenino”

When you're using y/o with options of different genders, what's the correct ending to use for an adjective that modifies both? Specifically, I was writing: Si entras un usuario y/o contraseña ...
5
votes
4answers
636 views

How regional or widespread are the colloquial “pa” / “pa'” in place of “para”?

In Mexico I sometimes heard or saw the colloquial variant pa' or pa used for para. But is this just a Mexicanism, also used in Central America, all Latin America, or even in Spain?
2
votes
1answer
118 views

Why is “buena” in different places depending on its use? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Significance of adjective placement In these phrases below, why is the word "buena" in different places? Are there good things? => ¿Hay cosas buenas? Are there ...
4
votes
2answers
131 views

Are nonsensical lyrics common in Spanish lyrics?

Based on the answer given to my other question, I'd like to know if it's common to have completely nonsensical lyrics in Spanish music. I know English music has some ridiculous lyrics, but generally ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
227 views

Using “qué” or “quién” when talking about people

Imagine for a moment you know who stole your car (some thiefs for example): Sabemos qué personas lo hicieron. The above sentence is the same as saying: Sabemos quiénes lo hicieron. (Persons ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

When should the subjunctive be used after 'cuando'?

I thought that any statement after 'cuando' should be in the subjunctive tense if it implied anything other than habitual events or was used in a question, but wasn't sure if this is actually the case....
3
votes
2answers
158 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
225 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
350 views

How important is 'proper' pronunciation in Spanish and is it incorrect to 'make up' a dialect?

All languages have dialects, but there tend to be "major" dialects (e.g. For English, Canadian/American, a few of the British accents could be considered as the main dialects to consider learning (...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the difference between “debe de” y “debe”?

Is there any difference? What's their usage? When should one be used instead of the other one? Examples: El niño debe de hacer su tarea. El niño debe hacer su tarea.
7
votes
1answer
769 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
307 views

How can I tell someone what I'm reading about?

I was reading a book, and someone asked me, "¿Qué estás leyendo?" I answered, "Estoy leyendo sobre ..." The person looked at me funny, but seemed to understand what I said. Looking back, it makes ...
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
526 views

What is the plural of 'Cuba Libre' (the beverage)?

For example, how would one say 'More Cuba Libres' in Spanish?
3
votes
1answer
190 views

Is there a consistent rule for constructing reflexive verbs?

Is there a consistent rule to create reflexive verbs? When utilizing reflexive verbs are all verbs able to become reflexive verbs by adding, se at the end of the infinitive verb? I.E.: "lavarse", "...
2
votes
3answers
240 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 almost-...
15
votes
4answers
383 views

What's the correct way to say printed?

What's the preferred past participle of imprimir, imprimido or impreso? For example: Tengo imprimido el email que me enviaste. Tengo impreso el email que me enviaste.
5
votes
4answers
11k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
13k 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?
3
votes
2answers
162 views

Why is “por” prefered to “para” in the example within?

From Shakira's Suerte: Yo puedo escalar los Andes solo Por ir a contar tus lunares Why is por preferable to para in this case. If one translation of para is roughly "for the purpose of", ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Difference between usage of “por favor” and “please”

I heard that Spanish puts much less value on "por favor" than English does on "please". If this is true, could someone elaborate? Are there any situations where in English 'please' is expected, but in ...
2
votes
1answer
146 views

Difference between some verbs and pronomial forms of the verb with the same translation

SpanishDict translates some verbs and their pronomial forms (+de, +a, etc.) as the same thing. Off the top of my head: Escapar - to escape Escaparse de - to escape Olvidar - to forget ...
9
votes
3answers
7k 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!)
2
votes
2answers
34k 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)?
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Literal and metaphorical translation of “duende”

I have read that duende can mean both a mythical creature or, metaphorically, a kind of magical sensation to something. What exactly does duende refer to in both senses? How would both of these senses ...
6
votes
3answers
642 views

Do compounds exist in Spanish which are not nouns or are nouns other than than of the form (3ps verb + pl noun)?

In Romance languages, compound words are much rarer than in Germanic language such as English, but they do exist. My favourite kind of word formation in Spanish is the one that results in words such ...
2
votes
1answer
138 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
2k 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 Spanish-...
4
votes
1answer
155 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
371 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
35k 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
790 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
1k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
2k 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?
3
votes
1answer
1k 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. ...
2
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
247 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
419 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
3k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
1k 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?
4
votes
1answer
606 views

What suffixes are used to indicate jobs?

What suffixes are used to indicate jobs? Please provide examples.
2
votes
3answers
412 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
443 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 ...

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