2
votes
4answers
795 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 ...
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: ...
48
votes
4answers
5k 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
9k 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
5answers
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 ...
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.
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 ...
41
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
425 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
6k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
887 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
2k 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
94 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" ...
24
votes
10answers
14k 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 ...
29
votes
2answers
3k 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
937 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
2answers
932 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.
6
votes
2answers
8k 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? ...
15
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
941 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
768 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
17k 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 ...
22
votes
9answers
12k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
275 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 ...
6
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 ...
22
votes
6answers
19k 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 ...
16
votes
9answers
3k views

Difference Between “Computadora” and “Ordenador”

Español Ví 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
41k 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
4answers
5k 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 ...
22
votes
10answers
6k 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
11k 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"?
15
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
633 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?
8
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
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 ...
11
votes
2answers
28k views

Why is “Santiago” the equivalent of “James”?

Most Spanish names are quite similar to the equivalent in English, such as: Juan → John Pedro → Peter Maria → Mary But what's up with this one? Santiago → James What's the connection? How do ...
10
votes
3answers
975 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
25k views

What does “que lo que” mean?

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
1answer
339 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
21k 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
9answers
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 ...
8
votes
5answers
13k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k 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
6answers
327 views

How to handle the ambiguity of the verb “presentar”, when both objects (DO and IO) are present?

Por ejemplo: Te voy a presentar a mi novia. How can one tell whether this should be translated as 'I am going to introduce you to my girlfriend' or 'I am going to introduce my ...
4
votes
5answers
2k 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
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 ...

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