21
votes
2answers
1k views

Significance of adjective placement

In Spanish, adjectives typically come after the noun they modify. However, there are some cases when the adjective comes before the noun, and usually (always?) with a change in meaning. Example: ...
49
votes
4answers
7k views

Why is “agua” masculine in singular form and feminine in plural? “El agua” / “Las aguas”

English Is there any rule that says that feminine nouns that start with "A" are converted to masculine or is it just done for phonetic (ie beauty) reasons? Does this happen in all Spanish speaking ...
27
votes
11answers
10k views

How to pronounce the consonants “y” and “ll”?

ENGLISH I have heard y/ll pronounced in two different ways: [j] (like 'y' in "yellow") [ʒ] (like 's' in "measure") Do native speakers use both interchangeably? Or is it pronounced [j] in some ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

When should I use the word 'yo' in a sentence where the verb conjugation already shows that I am the subject?

Early on while I was learning Spanish, my teachers would always make us use the pronoun 'yo' even if it was redundant: Yo pienso que... Yo quiero... Yo hablo... etc. However, a more ...
3
votes
2answers
839 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do we say “Qué hora es” instead of “Qué hora está”?

I was taught that está is used in certain contexts meaning a temporary state (like emotion). Isn't "time" always temporary in that it is constantly changing? If so, why don't we use está instead of es?...
2
votes
2answers
214 views

When and why is a “determiner” necessary for a subject?

This answer mentions that: In Spanish, for a number of reasons ... , a subject must have some sort of determiner attached to it. For cena that could be an article like una or la; a quantifier like ...
45
votes
5answers
2k views

Origin and usage of “¿” and “¡”

English I was wondering what the reason is that the inverted exclamation mark ¡ and the inverted question mark ¿ were introduced into the Spanish language and not into most other languages. Any ...
3
votes
4answers
880 views

voiceless vs voiced consonants / consonantes sordas vs sonoras

About unaspirated voiceless consonant and voiced consonants. For example, in pa .pe.pi.po.pu and ba.be.bi.bo.bu, ta.te.ti.to.tu and da.de.di.do.du, ca.co.cu and ga.go.gu, their pronunciation are too ...
9
votes
1answer
506 views

Difference between -iera and -iese ending of the imperfect subjunctive

There are two forms of the imperfect subjunctve in use, for example, pudiera, pudieras, pudiera, pudiéramos, pudierais, pudieran and pudiese, pudieses, pudiese, pudiésemos, pudieseis, pudiesen I ...
9
votes
1answer
377 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
7k views

How is the letter 's' (or the /s/ sound) pronounced in Spain?

I've heard varying things regarding the pronunciation of the 's' sound in Spain. However, no one was willing/able to explain this to me. How is the 's' sound pronounced in Spain compared to its ...
8
votes
2answers
937 views

When is “al” not interchangeable with “a el”?

This is a clear case where "al" cannot be replaced with "a el": Al mirarlo, sonrió. Are there any other cases?
7
votes
4answers
3k views

How formal is “cuán”? What are the informal alternatives?

How formal is the Spanish word cuán? When is it appropriate to use, and when does it seem out of place? How are sentences using cuán normally expressed in informal speech?
4
votes
3answers
112 views

What are the more complex meanings of “de”?

So, I already know basic forms of this word (of, from, etc.), but I keep seeing it used in places that I don't understand. For example, I sometimes see "antes de que", or just "de que". Why does "de" ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

Difference between “por” and “para”

Even after taking 4 years of college Spanish and living abroad, I still don't have a very firm control of when to use por or para. What are the basic rules on when to use either.
30
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is the “X” in México and Texas pronunced as the letter “J”?

English Even as a native speaker I don't know the reason of this. Another example would be Xavier. Español Aunque el español es mi primera lengua, no sé por qué razón sucede esto. Otro ejemplo ...
29
votes
4answers
1k views

Question words: “qué” versus “cuál”

English Often "qué" is translated to English as "what" and "cuál" is translated as "which." However, I know that this is not always the case. Here are some examples. (Please correct me if I am wrong.)...
25
votes
10answers
15k 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 ...
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
2answers
926 views

Historical pronunciation of letters “b” and “v”

In another question, a Wikipedia article was quoted saying: The letters ⟨b⟩ and ⟨v⟩ were originally simply known as be and ve. However, there is no longer any distinction between the sounds of ...
6
votes
2answers
10k views

¿Cuándo quitaron los acentos de las palabras como “fué”?

He leído que hace años la RAE cambiaron las reglas para quitar las tildes de las palabras como fué, dió, etc. ¿Cuándo pasó eso? ¿Por qué hizo este cambio la RAE? ¿Cuáles fueron las palabras afectadas?
10
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
754 views

Etymology of “usted”

What is the etymology of the pronoun "usted"? What formal pronouns existed before, and when did the current "usted" come into existence?
12
votes
5answers
14k views

Is “me gustas” ever right?

We have been taught that gustar is an unusual verb and that you only ever use gusta or gustan depending on whether you like singular or plural things. Would you use "me gustas" to say "I like you"?
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Rules applied to the separation of syllables

As a native speaker it's natural for me to know how a word is separated in its constituent syllables. But I want to know if there are any established rules to know how a word is separated into its ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

When is “se” used before a verb?

I'm confused about when "se" should be used. I thought it would always go before a like here: Ella se mejora a su coche but I see here that it is not being used. Él observa a su hija My ...
7
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
6k views

Origin of “Te echo de menos.”

I learned Spanish in Mexico, where "I miss you" is "Te extraño." However, I've recently been traveling around Europe, and I learned the Spanish phrase for the same is Te echo de menos. What is ...
1
vote
2answers
97 views

How to use “gustar”?

Today I presented to my teacher a sentence I wrote for my homework: Juan es el solo uno en nuestra clase a que gusta el helado. (John is the only one in our class who likes ice cream.) But my ...
25
votes
10answers
15k views

Can I learn to roll my R's?

Whenever I try to say words like perro or arroyo, I sound like I'm telling a pirate joke. I can identify the sound I'm supposed to make and I've been told how my tongue is supposed to move, but I can'...
11
votes
6answers
22k views

What is the difference between allí and ahí (“there”)?

English What is the difference between allí and ahí? Is there any difference in pronunciation between the two? Are there any contexts where one is correct and one is wrong, or are they completely ...
9
votes
4answers
6k views

“ir a «infinitive»” vs. future tense

There are two ways to indicate a future action, ir a «infinitive» and the future tense. How do I decide which to use when? Is one form more common when spoken or in writing? Is there a regional ...
7
votes
1answer
326 views

Editions of Spanish Orthographies?

Recent repeals of long-standing orthographic rules in Spanish has gotten me curious. I know of the 2010, the latest, revisions. I know of the 1999 revisions. I have seen references to a 1959 set of ...
27
votes
8answers
30k views

¿Cuál es la diferencia entre tú, usted y vos?

He oído las palabras "tú", "usted", y "vos", pero la traducción de todas esas palabras al inglés es la misma: "you". ¿Cuándo es mejor usar "tú" o "vos" en vez de "usted", o viceversa?
16
votes
9answers
4k views

Difference between “computadora” and “ordenador”

Español Vi un cartel fuera de una tienda que decía: "Computadoras y ordenadores" en un cuadro "cubano" fuera de New York City, En un principio, creo que ambas palabras significan "computer". Pero, ¿...
9
votes
3answers
43k views

Difference between “mas” and “más”

What's the difference between mas and más? What rules should I follow to know which one to use? Could you provide examples showing their uses?
9
votes
5answers
7k views

Why is the 'b' and 'v' pronunciation inconsistent?

I've learnt that the v sound in Spanish is pronounced as a "b", however why are some words such as "por favor" and "Revolucion" pronounced as a "v"? Also, is this type of pronunciation Spanish (spoken ...
4
votes
3answers
8k views

A la mañana / De la mañana / En la mañana / Por la mañana

Objective Clarification on the differences among A la mañana / De la mañana / En la mañana / Por la mañana. This is more of a memo of what I learned but also I appreciate for suggestions and ...
22
votes
10answers
7k views

Are there native-born Spanish speakers that can't trill their R's?

ENGLISH It seems that one of the greatest difficulties some native-English speakers have is learning to trill their R's. Some, it seems, are completely incapable of performing this task. Is this ...
15
votes
3answers
5k views

When to use “que” and “de que”

Español En ciertas oraciones no sé si es más correcto usar que o de que. ¿Cuáles son las reglas para utilizar que/de que? Ejemplos: Estoy seguro que me fue bien. Estoy seguro de que me ...
14
votes
3answers
777 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

How does one say “It's not nothing.”

In English, we can express the idea that something is not negative, such as: A: What's in the box? B: Oh, nothing. A: It's not nothing! In English, the double negative (not and nothing) ...
10
votes
10answers
1k views

Are there any words that have opposite regional meanings?

Following in the footsteps of EL&U, are there any words that have opposite meanings in different Spanish-speaking regions? We are looking for words that are the same, but have different meanings ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Does indirect speech in Spanish require changes in tense, mood, etc?

In German you have to use different moods, in English different tenses for verbs to mark indirect speech (speech where you are saying what was said or expressed): He said that he had painted the ...
18
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
25k 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
18k views

¿Por qué la diferencia entre s y z/c solo se da en España?

La pronunciacion en el centro y el norte de España, como sabemos, proncuncia la "ce" y la "zeta" en forma difrente a la "ese" que es el unico sonido que se utliza para estas tres letras en ...
8
votes
3answers
291 views

Two nouns in a row, or, is it OK to omit “de”?

Two or more nouns are sometimes used consecutively, with the second modifying the first. For instance, I recently received a mail whose subject was "Honorarios migración." This is, I suppose, ...
7
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the most universal way to say “keep the change”?

Español He escuchado unas pocas opiniones distintas para decir "quédate con el cambio" (es decir, lo que le dices a alguien a quien acabas de pagar cuando cuando quieres que se quede la diferencia ...

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