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26
votes
1answer
3k views

All about datives, or: What's that funny “le” or “me” doing in there?

This is a canonical question / Esta es una pregunta canónica This is a canonical question and answer about dative uses of le, les, me, nos, se, te and os that often confuse and confound the Spanish ...
24
votes
15answers
2k views

Resources for learning Spanish / Recursos para aprender español

This is a canonical question / Esta es una pregunta canónica This is a specifically created Community Wiki which gathers resources for learning Spanish and it has been approved by the Community ...
83
votes
6answers
23k views

Why is “agua” masculine in singular form and feminine in plural? “El agua” / “Las aguas” ¿Por qué decimos “el agua” si es una palabra femenina?

This is a canonical question / Esta es una pregunta canónica English Is there any rule that says that feminine nouns that start with "A" are converted to masculine or is it just done for ...
20
votes
1answer
930 views

What are the differences between “ser” and “estar”? When to use each? // ¿Cuáles son las diferencias entre “ser” y “estar”? ¿Cuándo se usa cada uno?

This is a canonical question / Esta es una pregunta canónica This is a canonical question about the differences and usage of ser and estar. Feel free to collaborate both in the question as in the ...
23
votes
1answer
1k views

Revisions of Spanish orthography / ¿Qué revisiones ha tenido la ortografía española?

This is a canonical question / Esta es una pregunta canónica Recent repeals of long-standing orthographic rules in Spanish have gotten me curious. I know of the latest revision, dated 2010. I know ...
41
votes
15answers
21k 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 ...
15
votes
8answers
2k views

What is the role of the “le” in the sentence “Miguel le dio a su novia un anillo.”?

The sentence: Miguel le dio a su novia un anillo. Translates into: Miguel gave a ring to his girlfriend. I would think that there would be no need for the "le", since the direct object (his ...
32
votes
2answers
3k views

Significance of adjective placement

In Spanish, adjectives typically come after the noun they modify. However, there are some cases where the adjective comes before the noun, and usually (always?) with a change in meaning. Example: ...
7
votes
2answers
748 views

Redundant indirect object pronoun: is “le” redundant in “preguntémosle al estúpido / a él”?

This is a canonical question / Esta es una pregunta canónica In a movie scene from "Revenge" ("La Venganza", 1990, with Kevin Costner) the character Tiburón Méndez was discussing ...
69
votes
5answers
13k views

Origin and usage of “¿” and “¡”

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 explanations ...
19
votes
2answers
11k views

What are the accent placement rules in Spanish?

This is a canonical question / Esta es una pregunta canónica Some people have trouble determining when accent marks (tildes) should be used and where. What are the rules for accent placement in ...
26
votes
8answers
113k views

¿En qué países la palabra “coger” tiene connotaciones sexuales?

En algunos países hispanoparlantes la palabra coger tiene connotaciones sexuales. La RAE indica "Realizar el acto sexual", pero el problema es que es una expresión malsonante, marcada fuertemente como ...
19
votes
3answers
3k 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.
12
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
46
votes
11answers
50k views

Is there a difference between “español” and “castellano”? // ¿Hay alguna diferencia entre “español” y “castellano”?

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 I didn't ...
20
votes
6answers
4k 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 advanced ...
17
votes
1answer
2k 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
5answers
5k views

Palabra más polivalente del español

Tras leer la pregunta de fedorqui sobre picarse, me sorprendió ver que el verbo picar tiene 57 acepciones aceptadas. Así que me pregunto: ¿cuál es la palabra más polivalente (con más acepciones) del ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

When should you use the preterite or the imperfect to express past time?

This is a canonical question / Esta es una pregunta canónica There are two ways to express simple past time actions and conditions in Spanish. One is the preterite, Comí tacos. I ate tacos. ...
7
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Voiceless vs voiced stops / Plosivas 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 pronunciations are too ...
15
votes
1answer
89k views

¿Existe una regla para el uso de mayúsculas en títulos?

Cuando escribo títulos en español, lo hago normalmente usando las reglas de Oxford, pero algunas características solo se aplican al inglés. ¿Existe una guía para escribir títulos de artículos, ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

¿Por qué el color “marrón” no tiene femenino “marrona”? En general, ¿por qué tan pocos colores tienen género femenino diferenciado?

Dentro del precioso proceso de aprendizaje del idioma, mi hija de tres años ya ha cogido bastante soltura. Ello se ve con la facilidad que deduce palabras en función de las reglas que poco a poco va ...
45
votes
2answers
20k views

Why is the “x” in “México” or “Texas” pronounced as the letter “j”?

Even as a native speaker I don't know the reason for this: why is the "x" in México, Texas or Xavier pronounced as the letter "j"?
36
votes
4answers
2k views

Are there other words in Spanish that can't be written? (like sal-le)

Recently, I learned that there is at least one Spanish word that can be pronounced but not written. It is the imperative form of 'salirle'. It is pronounced as 'sal-le' and the written form should ...
22
votes
3answers
8k 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?...
13
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
40
votes
4answers
3k 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.)...
33
votes
8answers
8k views

Why is 'estar muerto' used instead of 'ser muerto'?

I know it is rather rude to think of it this way and I don't want to offend anyone religiously, but being dead is usually thought of as a very permanent condition in the United States. So why does ...
17
votes
6answers
33k views

Is “me gustas” ever correct, e.g. to say “I like you”?

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 ...
15
votes
5answers
55k 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is “Usted” grammatically a third person?

In English polite form of address is "You" which is second person singular and plural. In Russian it is "Вы" which is plural second person. In Spanish (and probably French and Italian) polite address ...
19
votes
8answers
30k views

In what ways is the letter “s” (or the /s/ sound) pronounced in Spain?

I’ve heard varying things regarding the varying pronunciations of the “s” sound in Spain. However, no one was willing (or at least, able) to explain these variations to me. How is the “s” sound ...
17
votes
6answers
72k views

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

La pronunciación en el centro y el norte de España, como sabemos, pronuncia la "ce" y la "zeta" en forma diferente a la "ese" que es el único sonido que se utiliza para estas tres letras en ...
15
votes
4answers
6k views

What is the etymology of the pronoun “usted”? What formal pronouns existed before?

What is the etymology of the pronoun "usted"? What formal pronouns existed before, and when did the current "usted" come into existence?
9
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
6k views

How should I pronounce the Spanish consonant 'd'?

I was taught that Spanish d has two pronunciations: at the beginning of the word it is a hard d; between vowels, it is pronounced /ð/, much like th in English the. Please look at this sentence: ...
5
votes
3answers
13k 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

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 ...
14
votes
1answer
5k views

¿Cómo se deben escribir en español las palabras que se escriben acortadas para simular el habla?

Aquí en Andalucía somos muy de comernos la mitad de las palabras, con ejemplos como "y to pa na" (y todo para nada). Sin embargo, siempre he tenido la duda de cómo reflejar esto en la expresión ...
12
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

¿Es correcto mantener “de” y “el” separados en algún caso?

Estoy leyendo "El maestro y Margarita", de Mijaíl Bulgákov (¡los nombres transcritos de otros alfabetos se acentúan!). En él hay una construcción que me ha parecido incorrecta: Naturalmente, los ...
9
votes
4answers
9k views

¿Se pueden usar adjetivos como adverbios?

Hay algo que me ha molestado desde que empecé a aprender español. He notado que a veces los adjetivos pueden usarse como adverbios. El ejemplo más prominente de este fenómeno es el uso de “junto” en ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

¿“Países miembro” o “países miembros”?

Estoy leyendo un documento en el que se habla tanto de países miembro como de estados miembros. Ejemplo al respecto de la Agencia Espacial Europea: "Este organismo internacional es un consorcio [......
7
votes
1answer
1k views

¿Cómo elige la RAE las palabras que son “válidas”?

Últimamente le he estado dando vueltas a cuán talibán debe ser uno a la hora de usar palabras no aceptadas por la RAE. Todo empezó cuando Diego puso el foco preguntando Cuál es la mejor traducción ...
7
votes
1answer
4k views

¿Llevan tilde los adverbios terminados en -mente?

Tengo cierta confusión sobre si deben escribirse con o sin tilde los adverbios terminados en -mente: ¿efectivamente o efectívamente? Al añadírsele el sufijo -mente, todas ellas pasan a ser esdrújulas,...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

No possessive pronoun for body parts

"My head hurts" translates as "me duele la cabeza" and not "mi cabeza duele." I was taught that possessive pronouns are redundant and hence dropped when speaking of body parts. Does this rule apply to ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What's the difference between “Va a un bar” and “Se va a un bar”?

I'm taking lessons on Memrise.com. Memrise indicates that both can mean, "she's going to a bar": - Va a un bar - Se va a un bar Why the difference in Spanish?
20
votes
3answers
9k views

When is it written with and without accent: porqué/porque/por qué? / ¿Cuál es la diferencia entre “porque”, “porqué”, “por que” y “por qué”?

This is a canonical question / Esta es una pregunta canónica Can anybody explain to me when each of this variations of "porque" should be used? ¿Puede alguien explicar cuáles son las diferencias ...

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