3
votes
4answers
562 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 ...
45
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 ...
16
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: ...
15
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
36
votes
4answers
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 ...
24
votes
11answers
5k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
804 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.
26
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 ...
16
votes
8answers
9k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
699 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.
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
730 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
680 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?
3
votes
2answers
623 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
625 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
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 ...
16
votes
8answers
4k 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
33k 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
387 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?
22
votes
10answers
3k views

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

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 ever a ...
15
votes
3answers
6k 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
667 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
16k 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
5answers
12k 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
1answer
205 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 ...
8
votes
7answers
952 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
202 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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

La colocación del adjetivo en “fin de semana”

Cuando yo estaba respondiendo a esta pregunta, quería decir que la forma correcta de hablar del fin de semana que viene es: el próximo fin de semana y no: el fin de semana próximo Y eso, ...
1
vote
2answers
689 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
2k 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
383 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
3k 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
1answer
2k views

What is the meaning of “que” and “cual” without an accent mark?

What does "que" and "cual" mean without an accent mark? How do they compare when to each other? How do they compare to their accent-marked form?
6
votes
2answers
702 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the difference between “ser cierto” and “ser verdad”?

The English "to be true" can be translated to Spanish as either ser cierto or ser verdad. What is the difference between the two? When would you use one instead of the other?
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
714 views

¿Por qué Buenos Aires se abrevia Bs. As. o B.A. y no BB.AA. como debería ser?

Las abreviación de palabras en plural se hace usando dos veces la misma letra, por ejemplo EE.UU. por Estados Unidos o II.BB. por Ingresos Brutos. ¿Por qué no se utiliza la misma regla para Buenos ...
4
votes
2answers
348 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
446 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
3answers
220 views

What is the correct verb for temporary/transient color?

Color, generally, is ascribed with ser. In the mental model I'm assembling as I learn Spanish, this seems to be because it is, generally, a durable characteristic. El cielo es azul - the sky is blue. ...
2
votes
4answers
253 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
659 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Speakers' location in determining venir vs. ir

In English, we use the word "come" very loosely (at least in day-to-day spoken English): Want to come over to my place later? Can I come over to your house for New Years'? Can you come meet me at ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

Tiempos verbales

"Pablo Ruiz Picasso, nacido en Málaga en 1881, comenzó a pintar desde muy temprana edad, mostrando ya una habilidad extraordinaria. Después de trabajar en Barcelona, se trasladó a Paris a ...

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