3
votes
4answers
199 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 ...
32
votes
3answers
748 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 ...
22
votes
11answers
3k 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
5answers
632 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 ...
23
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
650 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: ...
6
votes
1answer
490 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
616 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
6answers
4k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
2k 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
2k 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
2k 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
3answers
18k 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
283 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
269 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
3k 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"?
8
votes
7answers
677 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
3answers
6k 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
774 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
2answers
912 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
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
150 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
335 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
936 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
1k 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
4answers
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
437 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?
4
votes
4answers
697 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
293 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
1answer
429 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
391 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
199 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 ...
37
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
338 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: ...
8
votes
1answer
195 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 ...
23
votes
10answers
4k 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
434 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
2k 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 ...
18
votes
6answers
8k 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
477 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.
9
votes
4answers
3k 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
261 views

Free online resources for beginner course

Along with this question, what are good, free online resources to learn Spanish? Important areas such as grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation should be covered.
27
votes
9answers
1k views

Any difference between aquí and acá

I've been taught that aquí and acá are completely interchangable. From personal observation, acá seems to be used more often than aquí in the context of "I live down this road." Example: Vivo ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

When to use “igual” and “lo mismo”?

English I often get corrected when using either the word igual or mismo, and haven't really figured out when to use which yet. What are the rules for when and how to use igual, and when and how to ...
12
votes
2answers
326 views

What is the history of the “personal a”?

What is the historical origin of the "personal a" in Spanish? Examples of the personal a: George sees Mary. -> Jorge ve a María. I see the waitress. -> Veo a la mesera. But with the exact ...
10
votes
1answer
515 views

When is “Te quiero” used to mean “I love you?”"

I can come up with three phrases to express affection: Te adoro. Te amo. Te quiero. The first two are fairly clear in intention. However, I have heard "Te quiero", which literally translates as "I ...
8
votes
2answers
231 views

Difference between “el comer” and “comer” when used as noun

What is the difference between, for example, "el comer" and just "comer" when used as a noun? The case I'm thinking of would use a gerund in English. For example, El comer chuches antes de cenar ...
8
votes
1answer
822 views

¿Cómo se dice “cheers” en español?

¿Qué dicen los españoles cuando juntos levantan la copa de vino solemnemente? ¿Cómo se dice "cheers" en español?
7
votes
2answers
397 views

Why “a ti” and not just “ti”

I am very much a beginner when it comes to learning Spanish. I have turned my language settings for Facebook from English to Spanish so that I see the language regularly and I have noticed that the ...
6
votes
5answers
4k views

Is there a trick to remembering 'llevar' and 'traer'?

After years of living in a Spanish-speaking country, and speaking mostly only Spanish all day, I still struggle with 'llevar' and 'traer'. The rules are clear and all, but it is just very difficult to ...

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