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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 ...
pablodf76's user avatar
  • 39.5k
28 votes
16 answers
3k 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 ...
86 votes
6 answers
28k 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 ...
David Grajal's user avatar
  • 1,019
22 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
Charlie's user avatar
  • 77.5k
18 votes
8 answers
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 (...
floatingfrisbee's user avatar
21 votes
2 answers
12k 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 ...
jrdioko's user avatar
  • 17.7k
41 votes
15 answers
24k 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 ...
Alan C's user avatar
  • 915
23 votes
1 answer
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 ...
ltcomdata's user avatar
  • 507
8 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 2,037
75 votes
5 answers
16k 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 ...
dusan's user avatar
  • 3,742
31 votes
2 answers
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: ...
Flimzy's user avatar
  • 12.9k
28 votes
8 answers
142k 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 ...
Diego's user avatar
  • 48.1k
2 votes
1 answer
118 views

Difficulty translating Spanish text from an entry for 1930 in Civil Guard records

I have this Spanish Civil Guard document that I am slowly working through for my Great Grandfather. Here is one little section I am trying to transcribe: So far, with some help, I have come up with: ...
Andrew Truckle's user avatar
19 votes
3 answers
4k 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.
Alfredo Osorio's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
4k 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 ...
jrdioko's user avatar
  • 17.7k
10 votes
1 answer
4k 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. ...
Brian's user avatar
  • 1,574
1 vote
1 answer
78 views

Transcribing the various Assignments that my Great Grandfather had (as listed on his Civil Guard records)

My work continues in trying to transcribe my Great Grandfathers Civil Guard record (from Spain). My queries below relate to page two of the document where it details in a list the various assignments ...
Andrew Truckle's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
76 views

Difficulty translating Spanish text from an entry for 1906 in Civil Guard records

This is my ongoing efforts (with grateful assistance) at transcribing, translating and understanding my Great Grandfathers Civil Guard records. Background We already know from this answer about page 2 ...
Andrew Truckle's user avatar
51 votes
11 answers
56k 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 ...
Orion's user avatar
  • 1,722
21 votes
6 answers
6k 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 ...
Gordon Gustafson's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
3k 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 ...
John Powell's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
102k 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, ...
Braiam's user avatar
  • 311
9 votes
5 answers
6k 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 ...
Charlie's user avatar
  • 77.5k
5 votes
1 answer
203 views

Transcribing Spanish text (Title) of Civil Guard document and deciphering Job Title

I am looking at page 1 of this Civil Guard record (Spanish) and most of it is clear because it is typed text. But I have two questions concerning this page. They might warrent distinct questions? ...
Andrew Truckle's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
28 views

Difficulty translating Spanish text from an entry for 1906/1907 in Civil Guard records

I want to confirm the remaining 1906 / 1907 entries in these Civil Guard notes for my Great Grandfather before I go back to discuss the 194 notes. 1906 (continued) The handwriting has now changed ...
Andrew Truckle's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
101 views

Difficulty translating Spanish text from an entry for 1905 in Civil Guard records

Work continues on transcribing and translating some notes from 1904, 1905 and 1906 in my Great Grandfathers Civil Guard records. I am now starting to see some common phrases to look out for. And in ...
Andrew Truckle's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
58 views

Difficulty translating Spanish text for remaining 1904 entries in Civil Guard records

There are four remaining entries for the year 1904 in the notes for my Great Grandfathers Civil Guard records. 8 Abril 1904 I have so far: En el extracto de revista del corriente mes se le reclaman ...
Andrew Truckle's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
fedorqui's user avatar
  • 34k
8 votes
2 answers
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 ...
Flimzy's user avatar
  • 12.9k
6 votes
6 answers
3k 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 ...
bruce's user avatar
  • 85
45 votes
2 answers
25k 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"?
Alfredo Osorio's user avatar
36 votes
4 answers
3k 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 ...
Sergio Cinos's user avatar
  • 1,577
24 votes
3 answers
10k 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?...
David G's user avatar
  • 1,133
19 votes
6 answers
39k 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 ...
David Pashley's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
4k 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 ...
Axel A. García's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
9k views

When does sólo have an accent? / ¿Cuándo debe llevar tilde la palabra "solo"?

When does the word solo have an accent (tilde) on the first o (sólo)? When does it not? ¿Cuándo debe llevar tilde la palabra solo?
jrdioko's user avatar
  • 17.7k
8 votes
5 answers
6k 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 ...
jrdioko's user avatar
  • 17.7k
6 votes
3 answers
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 ...
jrdioko's user avatar
  • 17.7k
40 votes
4 answers
4k 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.)...
Alan C's user avatar
  • 915
34 votes
8 answers
12k 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 ...
Gordon Gustafson's user avatar
21 votes
3 answers
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 ...
Juan A. Navarro's user avatar
21 votes
8 answers
37k 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 ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 2,199
20 votes
3 answers
5k 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 ...
alpha-mouse's user avatar
19 votes
5 answers
78k 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 ...
Lschk's user avatar
  • 191
17 votes
6 answers
76k 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 ...
Cecilia Trevino's user avatar
17 votes
5 answers
10k 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?
jrdioko's user avatar
  • 17.7k
16 votes
3 answers
14k views

¿Por qué "yegua" y no "caballa"?

Según el Diccionario de la Lengua Española, tenemos: Caballo Del lat. caballus 'caballo de carga'. m. Mamífero solípedo del orden de los perisodáctilos, de tamaño grande y extremidades ...
user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
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 ...
Orion's user avatar
  • 1,722
14 votes
1 answer
6k 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 ...
Charlie's user avatar
  • 77.5k
13 votes
5 answers
2k 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 ...
fedorqui's user avatar
  • 34k

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