All Questions

3
votes
4answers
493 views

voiceless vs voiced consonants / consonantes sordas vs sonoras

its about unaspirated voiceless consonant and voiced consonant.for example pa .pe.pi.po.pu' y . ba.be.bi.bo.bu' .. ta.te.ti.to.tu y da.de.di.do.du.. ca.co.cu y ga.go.gu. you know their pronuncation ...
15
votes
5answers
910 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 ...
42
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
776 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 "today" always temporary in that it is constantly changing to the next day? If so, why don't we use ...
34
votes
3answers
938 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 ...
23
votes
11answers
4k views

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

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 regions and ...
24
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
15
votes
8answers
8k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
903 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: ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

“Está hecho de…” why not “es hecho de”?

I've seen "Está hecho de ..." used to mean "It's made of ...". Why is the verb estar and not ser? Isn't this an adjective that's permanent and not going to change? I can understand phrases like "la ...
7
votes
1answer
667 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
568 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
4answers
747 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.
8
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

List of most commonly used Spanish words [closed]

When learning vocabulary in a new language, it is useful to focus on very commonly used words first. Are there any resources online (or in print) that give a list of the most frequently occurring ...
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
30k 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?
6
votes
1answer
357 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?
5
votes
5answers
296 views

Uses of “se”: “se rompió” o “rompió”

He leído las siguientes oraciones. Mi hermano menor se rompió la mayoría de vasos. Mi hermano menor rompió la mayoría de vasos. Dice que la segunda frase es correcta. ¿Pero por qué? Su ...
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"?
10
votes
3answers
570 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) ...
9
votes
2answers
13k views

What does “que lo que” means?

Whenever I talk to a friend (Dominican I believe) via chat like Gtalk, he always starts the conversation with: klk I did some research about that and found that, in fact, it comes from the ...
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 ...
8
votes
7answers
835 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
2answers
1k views

“Vegetable”: verdura vs. vegetal

What is the difference between verduras and vegetales? In what situations can one be used as a translation for "vegetables" and the other cannot?
4
votes
5answers
1k views

When is the indirect object pronoun required in sentences with an indirect object?

Spanish ¿Cuándo son necesarios en una frase los pronombres indirectos y cuándo son opcionales? Creo que aprendí en el colegio que se requieren siempre (por ejemplo, "le dije a ella que..." es ...
4
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
437 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

¿Por qué es la palabra «mano» femenina?

En español, tenemos una regla en la cual, generalmente, se puede tener fé. Si una palabra termina con -o, es masculina. Sin embargo, palabras que terminan en -e o -a también pueden ser palabras ...
14
votes
4answers
366 views

Does using “tío” imply a negative opinion?

I've seen the word tío used to mean "guy" or "bloke", but can't recall (in my admittedly limited experience) having seen it used to imply a positive opinion of someone. If I refer to someone as "Ese ...
10
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

¿Cuál es la diferencia entre «también» y «tampoco»?

Yo sé que se debe usar también cuando una persona se pone en acuerdo con una otra (en inglés, "You like movies? Me too!" será, "¿Te gustan las películas? ¡A mi también!") pero no se las reglas de usar ...
6
votes
2answers
604 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?
5
votes
4answers
2k views

“s” final en tiempo pretérito indefinido: -aste(s), -iste(s)

Español La segunda persona singular del pretérito indefinido generalmente termina en "-aste" o "-iste". En muchos lugares, la gente agrega una "s" final a estas palabras (por ejemplo, hablastes en ...
4
votes
2answers
297 views

usted and its usage

I understand that usted is used for formal usage. When conjugating a verb is there a rule for its use? Must it always be used in conjunction with a conjugated verb? Or are there any instances where ...
3
votes
3answers
400 views

Translating “to wind up (doing something)”

In informal English, we use the phrase "to wind up" to describe the final state of a situation, after all is said and done. For example: How did you wind up moving to Kansas after growing up in ...
2
votes
4answers
234 views

nuevos zapatos por/para España?

I am learning Spanish and want to post a picture of my new running shoes that I will be using in the Madrid marathon. Which is correct? nuevos zapatos por España or nuevos zapatos para ...
2
votes
1answer
571 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
161 views

How should I pronounce the Spanish consonant 'd'?

I was taught Spanish d has two pronounciations, when at the beginning of the word it is a hard d and when between vowels, it is pronounced /ð/ much like th in English the. Please look at this ...
1
vote
2answers
565 views

me/te/nos hace falta / passive form

So after reading this question I came up with a really bad doubt. In the past I was using quite often "(no) se hace falta" to say for instance, that "it is (not) necessary to", but I've by then been ...
0
votes
2answers
175 views

why i always bite my tongue when speaking spanish 'd' in the sentence

I could correctly pronounce 'da' 'de' pairs of letters,as many native speakers told me.just put the tip of your tongue between the upper and lower teeth and aginst the back of front teeth. after ...
17
votes
3answers
411 views

How do I know whether to attach a direct object pronoun to the infinitive?

I often struggle to decide what sounds right when I need to use direct object pronouns. Lessons on these pronouns have not been much help because they teach that when using a direct object pronoun it ...
19
votes
5answers
401 views

What does “lo” in “(no) lo es” refer to?

English: In this sentence, for example: El dinero no lo es todo en la vida. What does this "lo" refer to? Can it be omitted ("El dinero no es todo")? Español: En esta frase, por ejemplo: ...
9
votes
1answer
371 views

¿Por qué cuando digo “Él no va a ningún lado” siento que está mal dicho?

En muchas, muchas, muchas ocasiones he usado este término. Y lo he escuchado de muchas personas también, la pregunta no es si está bien dicho, sino porque siento que carece de lógica y que significa ...
25
votes
10answers
6k views

How should I ask someone to repeat something they've said?

When I learned Spanish in school, I was taught to never say ¿Qué? when I needed someone to repeat something they just said. Rather I was taught to say ¿Cómo? Later, my wife taught me to say ¿Mande? ...
19
votes
4answers
571 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 ...
10
votes
9answers
3k views

What is the most idiomatic translation of “no way!”

The phrase "no way" is similar to this question about the expression "you wish!" but is perhaps more of an expression of disbelief or rejection of what the other speaker says (short for There is no ...
7
votes
1answer
305 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.
18
votes
6answers
10k views

When to use ya and todavía

What are the rules for when to use ya and todavía? (Or ya no and todavía no)? In many contexts, ya translates to yet or already, and todavía translates to still, but this simple understanding has ...
9
votes
2answers
618 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.

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