Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Direct Object Pronouns

These are the uses of the different direct object pronouns.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

¡Feliz Navidad!

Here's a great poem I found to celebrate today...¡disfrute!

Spanish Night Before Christmas
’Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the casa,
Not a creature was stirring
- ¡Caramba! ¿Qué pasa?

Los niños were tucked
away in their camas,
Some in long underwear,
some in pijamas,

While hanging the stockings
with mucho cuidado
In hopes that old Santa
would feel obligado

To bring all children,
both buenos and malos,
A nice batch of dulces
and other regalos.

Outside in the yard
there arose such a grito
That I jumped to my feet
like a fightened cabrito.

I ran to the window
and looked out afuera,
And who in the world
do you think that it era*?

Saint Nick in a sleigh
and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along
like a crazy bombero.

And pulling his sleigh
instead of venados
Were eight little burros
approaching volados.

I watched as they came
and this quaint little hombre
Was shouting and whistling
and calling by nombre:

"Ay Pancho, ay Pepe,
ay Cuco, ay Beto,
Ay Chato, ay Chopo,
Macuco, y Nieto!"

Then standing erect
with his hands on his pecho
He flew to the top
of our very own techo.

With his round little belly
like a bowl of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze
down our old chiminea,

Then huffing and puffing
at last in our sala,
With soot smeared
all over his red suit de gala,

He filled all the stockings
with lovely regalos -
For none of the niños
had been very malos.

Then chuckling aloud,
seeming very contento,
He turned like a flash
and was gone like the viento.

And I heard him exclaim,
and this is verdad,
Merry Christmas to all, 

y ¡Feliz Navidad! 

*from the verb ser 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Simple Stem Changes and Examples

Click to zoom.  This is from a lesson I had today on explaining simple verb conjugations.  Questions? Send me an email, or chat with me live on the right hand sidebar!

Commands in Spanish

Above is a chart that will help you distinguish between basic commands in Spanish. Click on the image to zoom in. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

¿Qué? v. ¿Cuál?

The words qué and cuál both mean "what" or "which", but aren't interchangeable. The main rule of thumb is that qué is used to ask about an object directly, and is followed by a noun almost always:

¿Qué cosa quieres hacer? What(which) thing do you want to do?

¿Qué estación es? What(which) station is it?

The word cuál is used any time that there is a selection or something from which to choose, or there is no noun following:

¿Cuál es la fecha de hoy? What(which) is today's date?

¿Cuál es su clase favorita? What(which) is your favorite class?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How to Form the Subjunctive

Lots of students get lost in the conjugations of the many different verb tenses in Spanish; and if that wasn't enough, Spanish also introduces the subjunctive mood which requires its own conjugation all together. Here is my basic, 3-step plan to conjugating verbs in the subjunctive:

1)take the yo form of the verb in its present tense

2)drop the suffix -o

3)add the opposite vowel endings. For an -ar verb, the opposite vowel ending is -e, so for the verb hablar you'd get yo hable, tú hables, etc. For -er/-ir verbs, the opposite vowel ending is going to be -a, so for pedir you'd get yo pida, tú pidas, etc.

Hope that helps!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

¡Ojo! Watch Out! Cansado v. Casado

One of my students brought to my attention this funny, similarly sounding participle:

"I always used to think I was saying I was old and tired.  But word choice is important; turns out, I was saying "I was old and married"(Soy viejo y casado) instead of "I was old and tired"(Soy viejo y cansado). - Nathan Bohlar, Irving TX.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Michael Vick quiere conseguir un perrito

El superstar de la NFL quiere adquirir un cachorro! El quarterback de los Philadelphia Eagles, que fue condenado y se había encarcelado a causa de los cargos federales antiluchaperros, pasó dos años en la cárcel. Ahora mismo, ha proclamado que le encantaría tener un perro. "Me encantaría tener otro perro en el futuro. Creo que sería un gran paso para mí en el proceso de rehabilitación ..

¿Qué piensas tú?

The NFL quarterback wants to get a puppy! The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, who was convicted on Federal dog fighting charges and sentenced to a couple of years in the slammer, has now proclaimed that he would love to get a dog. "I would love to get another dog in the future. I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process.."

Thanks to the SI Vault for the use of this photograph.

The Uses for Mismo

Mismo is one of those words in Spanish that is seen frequently, but seldom understood in a specific sense. We know to use it when referring to the "same":

el mismo carro the same car

la misma página the same page

los mismos teléfonos the same phones

las mismas sillas the same chairs

Sometimes, "mismo" comes after the noun when we want to validate whatever the noun is. This is seen in English when we use the reflexive terminology himself, herself, or even itself.

El rey mismo apareció en el umbral. The king himself appeared on the threshold.

La revista misma se le quedó en casa. The magazine itself was left at home.

You'll notice in all cases that being an adjective, mismo agrees in number and gender with the noun modified.

However, mismo doesn't have to be an adjective; we also use mismo to say phrases like así mismo(like this, exactly like this) and ahora mismo(right now, exactly right now). Both express a more urgent overtone in the sentence.

Can you think of any other instances of mismo used in the Spanish language? Let me know! Respond to this post.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

CA Hospital Sued over Recent English-Only Flap

Apparently, in August 2006 several Filipino hospital workers at the Delano Regional Medical Center in Los Angeles were told in a special meeting not to speak Tagalog (their native language)in official business, and were also told surveillance cameras were going to be installed in order to monitor them.

Since the installment of the surveillance cameras, according to the plaintiffs, their co-workers have been increasingly insisting that they speak only English, even during their breaks.

"I felt like people were always watching us," said tearful 56-year-old Elnora Cayme, who worked for the hospital from 1980 to 2008. "Even when we spoke English ... people would come and approach us and tell us, 'English only.'"

This is the latest incident that the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) has seen due to an increase in complaints alleging discrimination based on national origin amid a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment, said Anna Park, a regional attorney for the EEOC. That's especially the case in California's central valley, where a greater share of the complaints the agency receives relate to such issues than in the nation as a whole.

In this case, the current and former hospital workers filed a separate complaint under state law in part because monetary damages are capped by federal law, said Julie Su, litigation director for the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, which represents the plaintiffs. They want the English-only policy to be changed and for hospital staff to be aware of the regulations.

However, California law dictates that English may be required by private employers who require a need for spoken and written English.

Thanks to Yahoo! News and the AP.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Vocabulario - Las Cosas en la Recámara (Things in the Bedroom)

la lámpara
the lamp
la cama
the bed
la almohada
the pillow
el espejo
the mirror
la pared
the wall
el espejo
the mirror
la silla
the chair
el armario
the closet
las ventanas
the windows
las cortinas
the curtains
el ventilador
the fan
el estante
the bookcase
el cuadro
the painting

Monday, December 6, 2010

An Interview with Salvador

Here's an interview with Salvador, a friend of mine from Mexico who graciously agreed to talk with me to show how easy it is to practice your Spanish-speaking skills:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Is Speaking Spanish Anti-American?

Barack Obama's famous howler

During his campaign for the Presidency, Obama said this, in response to the English-only ballot measures circulating:

“I don’t understand when people are going around worrying about, we need to have English only. They want to pass a law, we just, we want English only. Now, I agree that immigrants should learn English, I agree with that. But understand this, instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English, they’ll learn English, you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish.”
Si Ud. quiere escuchar esta información en español, marque el 2.

Has that question ever been posed to you while placing a customer service-related call to your Cable Company, or God forbid, the Bank? What was your reaction? Were you indifferent? Did your blood boil? Were you tempted to send another soon-to-be-unanswered letter to your Congressperson reflecting your displeasure? Or did you have a little fun and press 2?

Americans are increasingly choosing sides on the official-language-of-this-country debate. Should English be considered the only language with which to do business in this country, or is there room for other tongues in our society? I mean, besides Spanish, people in this country also speak French, Portuguese, German, Arab, Swahili, Urdu, Farsi, various Indian dialects, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, and Thai. However, these never seem to be included on the chopping block of languages an increasing number of Americans wish to banish.
Why do you suppose this is? Is it because these cable companies, banks, cell phone stores, and customer service centers are trying to stick-it to English-only Americans? Or are these companies leading the charge as good Capitalist Americans and reaching out to serve another segment of their market?

I bank on the latter, and so do these companies with a Spanish-speaking presence in their customer service departments. After all, as of 1998, the United States has the fifth largest Hispanic population in the world, which amounts to about 30 million people (the exact number depending on how Hispanics are counted). Of them, two-thirds trace their roots to Mexico, and 86 percent say Spanish is their first language.

Of course, the telephone option to speak Spanish is to serve the Spanish-speaking clientele, not promote a political Philosophy. And last I checked, Apple iPhones and Hewlett-Packard laptops aren’t only sold in the United States; some schlemiel in Buenos Aires might be getting his hands on an iPad right this very second; or, he might be calling his broker to enroll in a mutual fund issued by Bank of America or Wells Fargo; he might even be trying to find out the status of his mail-in rebate from that MP3 player he bought at the local Wal-Mart in Buenos Aires.
Even though we aren’t in Argentina, we still live in the U.S. where a large contingent of the population is Spanish-speaking; and let’s face it; sooner or later you might need to call Apple’s customer service because of a functionality problem in your iPhone. The need for product satisfaction seems to transcend international borders; this country just seems to be a large trade zone serving as an end-point for these disgruntled customers/immigrants. If anybody should be to blame for pressing #2, it should be HP or Samsung, not the Spanish-speakers themselves. God Bless Multi-National Corporations.

Where does that leave us when it comes to DMV publications, or other government-issued documents? It doesn’t leave us anywhere; US Government publications are actually printed in nearly a hundred different languages. This isn’t just for homeland purposes, though; we have embassies and territories all over the world. Thus, there is a real need for us to have documents transcribed in other languages in order to assist allies, ambassadors, government employees abroad as well as expatriated Americans all around the globe.

As for my state of California, it simply makes sense to include Spanish-language documents, publications, and televised gubernatorial debates. California alone has 5.5 million people who speak Spanish at home. Other states with high Spanish-speaking populations include Texas (3.4 million), New York (1.8 million), and Florida (1.5 million).

Things that make no sense in the English-Only movement

People are under the impression that the United States' official language is English; and as such, English should be the only language spoken in official government communique. Voting instructions, street signs, and toll-free customer service support centers should all be English-only. However, if you took the time to research the demographics and factoids about our nation, you will soon discover that there is no official language. Because the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, and the little tablet that the Statue of Liberty is holding is written in English doesn't propel this language into the realm of default language mandate.

Why the sudden push for English-only, anyway? Could it be an environment of fear promoted by the Age of Terror? Where anything not red, white and blue and smelling like apple pie and Chevy is equated to being foreign and dangerous, simply because of cultural misunderstandings? Who sets the standard for what is our “culture”, anyway? I know several folks of Mexican ancestry who can trace their family back to before the Bear Flag days; before California became annexed by the Manifest Destiny of James Monroe in 1848 they can trace actual family members who were living here under land-grant status from Spain. And, to all of you out there who are studying International law, you know that when area is ceded through annexation to another sovereign nation, than that sovereign nation has the duty to judicially enforce all land grants and contracts in existence in the annexed nation. Hence, California TO THIS DAY is still enforcing Mexican land-grants.
I can’t trace my own family back to Poland before 1924.

So, what’s everyone’s problem, anyway?

According to the mindset of a certain segment of Americans, learning Spanish is akin to siding with illegal immigration and/or south-of-the-border drug cartels. However, I am here to tell you that enriching your life and mind by learning the second-most spoken language in the US, and the 4th most spoken worldwide, is in no way related to political issues and anti-American sentiments. Whether or not Spanish is the language spoken by the Juárez or Sinaloa Cartels is another topic; what we have there is an interstate commerce issue with the Federal government once again injecting its meaty paws into business transactions in order to “protect” us.

“I don’t understand when people are going around worrying about, we need to have English only. They want to pass a law, we just, we want English only. Now, I agree that immigrants should learn English, I agree with that. But understand this, instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English, they’ll learn English, you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish.”
I couldn’t believe how much flak the guy took. Radio shows, talking heads, and alphabet channels alike chorused a show of disdain for his speech. But what, exactly, was the outrage?

Does your partisan belief interfere with your opinion? Lamentably, the truth is many of us have certain ideological allegiances which are manifested in our present-day Republican/Democrat political landscape. But whether or not we are Republican, Democrat, Tea-Bagger, or Independent exhibits little or no weight to this discussion about whether or not you can speak Spanish.

The only real problem in this English-only movement is not the fact that it is a discussion of talking points and partisan bickering and wrought with endless political boredom. It is the fact that millions of Americans are actively trying to curtail the use of another language. Political philosophy notwithstanding, why limit yourself to enrichment and profit? Millions of people are here, in this country, and they are not going anywhere. Do business with them! About 5.8 percent of the people who use the Internet speak Spanish, making it the 4th most-spoken language in the Internet community, following English (51.3 percent), Japanese (8.1 percent), and German (5.9 percent). Close behind is Chinese, with 5.4 percent, followed by French with 3.9 percent.

See the real value here? Take politics out of the equation, and bon voyage.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ponerle a algo - Using the Verb Poner in Interesting Ways

You can use the verb poner to indicate that an object, and not a person, is a recipient of an action.

Look at this example. We have a person as the recipient of an action:

Ella se puso un vestido rojo. She put on (herself) a red dress.

In this example, the recipient of the red dress is a woman. Notice these sentences, though:

Les pusieron una cerca a los perros. They put up a fence around the dogs.

¿Le pones azúcar al café? Do you put sugar in your coffee?

Tengo que ponerle seguridad a mi correo electrónico. I have to put security on my email account.

Notice that in all cases, the object is being indirectly referred to. Thus, we use the indirect object pronoun in the third person form.

El Día de Gracias

Saludo a Todos Mis Estudiantes-

Hello to all of my students! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, and you didn't eat too much turkey. In my case, the Honeybaked Ham was a real doomsday device, gastronomically speaking.

Talk to you all later this week!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Practicing Basic Sentences with Estar and Ser

You can really start adding some confidence to your speaking with just utilizing some basic verb phrases. The trick to learning a foreign language is to not overwhelm yourself; it is a daunting task, the daunt of which drastically reduces the learner's confidence upon the realization that to learn Spanish it will take a lifelong commitment.

Start off easy! It's better in the long run and you will learn the tricks of successful communication.

Try to implement ser and estar in your dialogue, with some prepositions and descriptive words:

Manuel está detrás de la casa. Manuel is behind the house.

El libro está arriba de la mesa. The book is on top of the table.

Use ser to describe something:

El árbol es muy verde. The tree is very green.

Las cerezas son rojas. The cherries are red.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"We are eating Ham. Turkey sucks." - Joel Banaszak, commenting on someone's Facebook post re: culinary choices on Thanksgiving.

Irregular Future Tense Verbs

Here is a list of future tense verbs that display irregularities. Note that a brand new root will be formed, upon which you will add the same suffixes to form the correct conjugations of the future tense. This new root form should be retained in memory, as it will also be the new root to form the conditional tense.

Irregular Verb
New Root


Yo sabré las respuestas para mañana. I will know the answers by tomorrow.

tendrás que repasar. You will have to review.

Rebecca vendrá a la clase. Rebecca will come to the class.

Nosotros podremos hablar con la profesora. We will be able to talk to the professor.

Vosotros os pondréis las chaquetas. You (all) will put on your jackets.

Ellos saldrán en dos minutos. They will leave in 2 minutes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Scheduling and the Holiday Season

Howdy folks. Just a reminder: we are in the middle of the busy season for my Spanish school. What that means is I have a large volume of students, new and continuing, who are "cramming" for upcoming finals or midterms or other forms of tests.

I just wanted to let you all know that I cannot be "nice" or "chill" regarding my cancellation policy on existing, confirmed appointments. I used to be lax about it, but I have way too many students who need an appointment these days and I don't have time to rearrange my schedule at last-moment's notice because of poor planning on the part of the student.

Everybody is required to sign my contract before matriculation in the school, and I will be enforcing it heavily in the coming weeks. If you have to cancel a confirmed appointment, you are REQUIRED to notify me 12 hours in advance. If you are sick or have a last-minute unavoidable change of plans on your end, then the lesson will still go on as planned; I will just merely upload material to the Skype window along with a homework assignment(for those of you with the textbook). You still MUST inform me that you won't be attending the session.

If you have a class at a college or University, then you don't expect the professor to make up the class due to your absence, right?

Of course, I do appreciate your business, because where would I be without you? Have a great Thanksgiving!



Thursday, November 18, 2010

What's News

Hey there, estudiantes:

I am just writing a quick post to keep my site updated and fresh. LOL!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Some Uses of Formal Commands

A lot of students wonder exactly how the polite forms of commands work. The Ud./Uds. commands are the form used when avoiding harsh commands or offensive dialect.

As you might recall, the Ud. and Uds. commands are the third-person singular and plural subjunctive forms, respectively. The vast majority of the time, the subject pronouns Ud. and Uds. are also added to the command:

Por favor, traiga Ud. un pastel. Please, bring a cake.

Uds. abran sus libros. Open your books.

Using the Ud. and Uds. commands in this way, they are the English equivalents of adding an extra "Would you mind......" or "If it's not too much of a bother...."

Another common way to soften the harshness of direct commands is by using the conditional, or simply the third-person indicative:

¿Podría Ud. pasarme las papas? Could you pass me the potatoes please?

¿Me enseña este capítulo Profesor Martinez? Could you teach me this chapter, Profesor Martinez?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Preterit of Ser/Ir

The verbs ser and ir both share the same preterit conjugations. It is up to the speaker to lend context to the sentence in order to avoid confusion and/or ambiguity.

ser, ir
to be, to go
yo fui
nosotros fuimos
tú fuiste
vosotros fuisteis
él, ella, Ud. fue
ellos, ellas, Uds. fueron

Ellos fueron al aeropuerto. They went to the airport.

Nosotros fuimos alumnos en la UNAM desde 2004 hasta 2006. We were students at UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma Mexicana) from 2004-2006.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Auxiliary Verb Haber in its Transitive Form

The verb haber exists in the Spanish language in two separate and distinct formats: as a transitive verb (there is, there are), and as an auxiliary verb (to have + participle).

In its transitive sense, the verb haber only is visible in its third person singular conjugation, despite whether or not the direct object is plural or singular. Observe:

Hay muchos carros en el taller. There are a lot of cars in the shop.

En la Avenida Chapo hay un accidente terrible. On Chapo Avenue there is a terrible accident.

You can also express anything in the past tense using haber:

Hubo un terremoto grande en San Francisco en 1989. There was a large earthquake in San Francisco in 1989.

Lo que había en la caja era muy extraño. Whatever there was in the box was very strange.

Or, the future tense can be implemented:

Habrá una fiesta en mi casa esta noche. There will be a party at my house tonight.

You can even migrate over to the subjunctive mood using haber in its transitive sense:

Es importante que haya un consejero disponible. It's important that there is a counselor available.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Preterit Tense: Reír and Sonreír

The verbs reír(to laugh) and sonreír(to smile) are verbs in which an accent from the infinitive follows the conjugated form except on the third-person plural. This unusual pattern is fairly exclusive to a limited set of verbs like reír and sonreír, such as sofreír(to sauté), desleír(to dissolve), and engreír(to cause jealousy):

to laugh
yo reí
nosotros reímos
tú reíste
vosotros reísteis
él, ella, Ud. rió
ellos, ellas, Uds. rieron

to smile
yo sonreí
nosotros sonreímos
tú sonreíste
vosotros sonreísteis
él, ella, Ud. sonrió
ellos, ellas, Uds. sonrieron

Miguel y yo sonreímos cuando descubrimos nuestras notas. Miguel and I smiled when we found out our grades.

Ellos sonrieron al ver la ciudad de Madrid. They smiled upon seeing the city of Madrid.

to dissolve
yo desleí
nosotros desleímos
tú desleíste
vosotros desleísteis
él, ella, Ud. deslió
ellos, ellas, Uds. deslieron

El jabón se deslió porque se había dejado demasiado tiempo en la agua. The soap dissolved because it had been left too long in the water.

to sauté
yo sofreí
nosotros sofreímos
tú sofreíste
vosotros sofreísteis
él, ella, Ud. sofrió
ellos, ellas, Uds. sofrieron

El cocinero sofrió las cebollas en la sartén. The chef sauteed the onions in the frying pan.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Exercise 1C

Pinto la pared en el verano. Afuera hace mucho calor. Yo _________ (tener) mucha sed y ________ (decir) a mi padre que yo ___________ (necesitar) algo de ________ (tomar). Mi padre ___________ (gritar) que

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Letter from Professor Joel

To my students, gracious and few,

I wanted to say that you all are doing great! I am really impressed that some of you are starting to take advantage of the many ways in which you can put yourself in contact with me; via Skype, email, or simply text messages. I know with that kind of attitude and commitment you can go far!

¡Nos vemos!


Exercise 1B

What do the following people do for a living? Form complete sentences, in the present tenses, from the following subject pronouns and verbs.

1. Uds. / trabajar en una oficina
2. nosotros / conducir un taxi
3. David / cocinar en un restaurante
4. yo / limpiar carpetas
5. Bob y Karl / leer libros
6. tú / patinar sobre el hielo
7. las mujeres / charlar
8. el mecánico / arreglar los coches

Monday, November 8, 2010

Exercise 1A

*Note - I am going to try to implement a structured exercise series so that you can practice along.

Write out complete Spanish sentences so that the subject matches the correct verb conjugation.

1. Jorge / hablar muy bien
2. nosotros / abrir el libro
3. tú / necesitar un lápiz
4. las chicas / gritar
5. Ud. / manejar un Dodge
6. yo / tomar una bebida
7. Maribel y Ud. / mirar el reloj
8. vosotros / escribir un ensayo

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Other Common Irregular Verbs - Saber and Caber

The verbs saber(to know) and caber(to fit) are irregular in the yo form:

to know
yo sé
nosotros sabemos
tú sabes
vosotros sabéis
él, ella, Ud. sabe
ellos, ellas, Uds. saben

to fit
yo quepo
nosotros cabemos
tú cabes
vosotros cabéis
él, ella, Ud. cabe
ellos, ellas, Uds. caben

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Common Irregular Verbs - The "(C-ZC)" Change

Look at the verb conjugation table for conocer(to know):

to know
yo conozco
nosotros conocemos
tú conoces
vosotros conocéis
él, ella, Ud. conoce
ellos, ellas, Uds. conocen

The one thing you'll notice if you are paying attention to the conjugation pattern is that the yo form has a slight spelling change: the "c" changed to a "zc". Other than this irregularity in the yo form, the rest of the conjugation follows a regular pattern.

Other verbs that pattern like conocer are permanecer(to remain), pertenecer(to belong to), agradecer(to appreciate, to thank), and merecer(to deserve). Basically, any verb infinitive ending in -cer (with the exception of nacer(to be born) and hacer(to make, to do) are going to exhibit this irregularity.

Verbs that end in -cir like conducir(to drive) and producir(to produce) share this irregularity in the yo form as well. Look at the verb traducir:

to translate
yo traduzco
nosotros traducimos
tú traduces
vosotros traducís
él, ella, Ud. traduce
ellos, ellas, Uds. traducen

As you will see for the rest of the verb after the yo form, the conjugation pattern is regular in its entirety.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Some Common -ir Verbs (Regular)

Below is a list of common -ir verbs that are regularly patterned.

to open
to add
to attend
to describe
to discuss
to write
to interrupt
to happen
to receive
to go up, to ascend
to suffer
to live

Monday, November 1, 2010

Some Common -er Verbs (Regular)

Here are some common -er verbs. They conjugate like temer(to fear).

to learn
to drink
to eat
to understand
to run
to read
to insert
to break
to sell

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Some Common -ar Verbs(Regular)

The following is a list of common -ar verbs that you can practice conjugating. They are regularly conjugated, so they will follow the same pattern as verbs like hablar and pagar:

to advise
to save
to rent
to turn off
to arrange
to help
to dance
to look for
to walk
to cook
to answer
to let, leave
to enter
to hand in
to listen to
to wait for
to study
to sign
to speak
to call
to carry, wear
to drive
to need
to pay for
to spend time, to pass
to practice
to prepare
to take out
to finish
to play an instrument, to touch
to take, to drink
to work

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Verb Ir and its Uses

The verb ir(to go) is a highly irregular verb, but it is conjugated like a regular -ar verb. It is possibly one of the most common verbs in the Spanish language. The yo form ends quite odd as well; it ends with an -oy ending.

Here is the conjugation for the verb ir:

to go
yo voy
nosotros vamos
tú vas
vosotros vais
él, ella, Ud. va
ellos, ellas, Uds. van

The verb phrase formula ir + a + infinitive is used to denote an action that will take place in the future, and is the English equivalent of to be going to. For example, check out the following sentences:

Daniel va a ver a su abuela en Nueva Jersey. Daniel is going to see his grandma in New Jersey.

Nosotros vamos a escribir un ensayo. We are going to write an essay.

Yo voy a poner mi mochila en la esquina. I'm going to put my backpack in the corner.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Common Irregular Verbs- The "(G)" Change

In the yo form of several verbs, there is a "g" that is inserted in the suffix of the conjugation.

The following verbs have an irregular "g" in the yo form:

yo caigo*, I fall
yo hago, I make
yo pongo, I put
yo salgo, I leave
yo traigo*, I bring
yo valgo, I am worth

*The verbs caer, traer and verbs similar to them such as extraer(to extract) have an additional "i" before the g is placed.

These verbs are regular for the rest of the conjugation. Verbs that share these base roots exhibit the same conjugation pattern: componer(to compose), imponer(to impose), and deshacer(to undo) are just some examples.

There is yet another group of quite common "g"-changing verbs that also have further stem changes:

to say, to tell
yo digo
nosotros decimos
tú dices
vosotros decís
Ud. dice
ellos dicen

to have
yo tengo
nosotros tenemos
tú tienes
vosotros tenéis
Ud. tiene
ellos tienen

to come
yo vengo
nosotros venimos
tú vienes
vosotros venís
Ud. viene
ellos vienen

The verb ir(to go), is conjugated very irregularly:

to go
yo voy
nosotros vamos
tú vas
vosotros vais
Ud. va
ellos van

The verb ir is used to express the action of going, or to start an expression that is equivalent to is going to in English:

Marcos va a trabajar en esa tienda. Marcos is going to work at that store.

Ellos van a venir a nuestra fiesta. They are going to come to our party.

Yo voy a llevar unas cervezas. I am going to bring some beer.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Uses of the Present Tense

The present tense is the first tense anybody really learns in practically any language. This is because it is naturally the entry point for trying to communicate in another language, since we're more likely to be talking about what is happening at that very moment than rather what happened months ago, or something that might happen in the future.

The present tense of a Spanish verb can describe the general action of the verb, such as

Juan enseña el inglés los fines de semana. Juan teaches English on the weekends.

or it can even depict what is occurring at the very moment:

Mi madre hornea un pastel. My mom is baking a cake.

If used with a specific time in the future, the present tense can be used to depict some action that will occur:

Los pasajeros llegan en treinta minutos. The passengers will arrive in thirty minutes.

The present tense is also used to offer a question:

¿Me llevas la cuenta? Will you bring me the bill?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Demonstrative Adjectives and their Pronouns

There are three demonstrative adjectives in Spanish: este (this), ese (that), and aquel (that over there). Each exhibits four forms to encompass the noun's gender as well as whether or not it is singular or plural. This shouldn't be a surprise to learners of Spanish; most every adjective will be modified to fit the corresponding noun.

Este contains the following forms:


Este pupitre está sucio. Límpiamelo, por favor. This desk is filthy. Clean it for me, please.

Esta taza de café está tan caliente. This cup of coffee is too hot.

Estos libros son antiguos. These books are old.

Estas tiendas contienen de una variedad de verduras. These stores contain a variety of produce.

The demonstrative ese refers to "that", usually near the person you are talking to. It carries with it a sense of tangibility or physicality.


Me gusta ese suéter que llevas. ¿Donde lo compraste? I like that sweater you're wearing. Where did you buy it?

¿Me dejarías ver esas fotos? Would you let me see those photos?

Aquel is meant to point out an object that is removed from both the speaker and the listener; it is also the demonstrative for metaphysical or non-tangible objects or ideas.


Aquel amor que se sintía de ella era profundo. That love he felt for her was profound.

¿Te acuerdas de aquellas casas que vimos en Beverly Hills? Eran grandes y maravillosas. Do you remember those houses that we saw in Beverly Hills? They were big and marvelous.

Without exception, demonstrative adjectives can also act as pronouns by simply dropping the noun associated with it. Careful; this can only occur when the noun is understood or clarified. An accent (sometimes omitted) is placed on the second-to-last syllable to emphasize the sounding of the demonstrative pronoun:

¿Qué camisa te gusta...ésta o ésa? Which tee shirt do you like...this one or that one?

Me encantan las verduras naturales. No me gustan éstas porque están heladas. I like fresh vegetables. I don't like these because they are frozen.

There are also three demonstratives that are considered neutral: esto, eso and aquello. These usually point out an abstract notion or non-physical noun, such as an idea or concept:

Esto es tan malo. ¿Qué vamos a hacer? This is really bad. What are we going to do?

Eso me molesta increíblemente. That bothers me incredibly.

¿Te acuerdas del viaje que hicimos a Europa? Aquello ocurrió hace muchos años. Do you remember the trip that we did to Europe? That happened along time ago.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Negative Commands

A little more difficult it is to form a negative command. You'll notice that the negative command is the same as the present tense subjunctive form of the second person.

No toques el oso. Don't touch the bear.

No pongas los codos sobre la mesa. Don't put elbows on the table.

No hables tan rápido. Don't talk so fast.

If you must place a pronoun anywhere, unlike its affirmative command cousin you mustn't affix the pronoun to the end of the command verb. Instead it precedes it:

No te pongas ese sombrero. Don't put on that hat.

No me des esas miradas. Don't give me those glances!

No lo abras hasta la Navidad. Don't open it until Christmas.

Double object pronouns follow the same hierarchical rule, whereas the indirect object pronouns come before the direct object pronouns:

¡Mentiras! No me las digas... Lies! Don't tell them to me.

No se los presentes a tus padres todavía. Espera un rato. Don't present them to your parents just yet. Wait for awhile.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Students! Por Favor, Lean (Read)

Just wanted to give you all a brief on what I find happens a lot in our lessons. I notice a lot of you tend to ask me questions regarding other topics when I am in the middle of a thought or making a grammar point, that our discussion kind of tangents off into some other inter-planetary extreme. Now, while I champion you all getting excited in the lessons, and getting so enthralled to be learning the great language of Spanish, it kind of makes it difficult for me to get back to the lesson plan. I really do customize a lot of our lessons and tailor them to your individual needs, so I would really like to stay focused on the the main lesson point. Now , you figure that we will only be dedicating 45 minutes to grammar, so that leaves 15 minutes for you to ask questions. We'll call it the Ask Anything...uh, 15 minutes.

Also, the homework. Our foe. Yes, you need to do the assignment and present it for the next lesson. If I don't specifically assign a page or exercise in the book, then at the very least READ about the grammar point covered that day. If you haven't done so, and you are committed to learning, go and buy the Spanish textbook offered. I assure you, it is the only supplement worth having for a semi-fast learning approach. It's only like 15 bucks after delivery, or you can buy it for the same price at a Bookstore. The title is The Ultimate Spanish Review and Practice by Gordon and Stillman. I form pretty much my entire curriculum around that book.

Last thing: payment. I do appreciate your business, surely I do. But when your lessons are expired and you want to renew your purchase, make sure it is done before the next round of lessons begin. We need to make sure we keep things on an even keel here, and that the bookkeeping works in nobody's favor extraordinarily.

Thanks for bearing with me, y sigan estudiando..


Some Administrative Stuff

Hope everybody is well. I thought I would every now again try to communicate important goings-on on our Spanish blog here, rather than relay them to you via email individually.

The main thing I wanted to mention is that due to the ever-burgeoning Spam requests on Skype, if you request me as a Contact, your Request will only be good for 1 Hour. So, if you are interested, please include the following: Your name, where you live or your GMT Time Zone, and the best time to contact you. It will be within one hour that I contact you and accept your request.

Thanks, y ¡muchas gracias!


Friday, October 15, 2010

Noun Gender and their Articles

Spanish nouns are unlike their English counterparts in that they are inherently associated with a certain gender. English nouns are all neutral. Spanish nouns are either masculine or feminine. This doesn't necessarily mean the noun exhibits either of these qualities; but rather, these nouns are linked with certain articles.

The Spanish articles, much like English, are either indefinite or definite. The indefinite articles are either un, una, unos, or unas and are the English equivalents of "a", "an", or "some". Notice that there are four forms in Spanish, and they are respectively associated with nouns that are singular-masculine, singular-feminine, plural-masculine, or plural-feminine. Look at the following examples:

un dependiente
a store clerk
una manzana
an apple
unos libros
some books
unas bufundas
some scarves

On the other hand, the definite article only has one English use, namely "the". Again, there are four forms to match the possible gender and number combination of the given noun. They are el, la, los, and las. Here are some more examples:

el mostrador
the counter
la taza de café
the coffee cup
los relojes
the watches
las lámparas
the lamps

Although it will take awhile for you to solidify your understanding of noun gender in the Spanish language, you will start seeing patterns take shape, and it will allow you to use pronouns with more efficiency as you advance in your knowledge acquisition of the Spanish language.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vocabulario - La Ropa (Clothes and Clothing)

Below is a vocabulary list of very common articles of clothing in their Spanish equivalents. Remember to not only learn the word for the article of clothing, but also the definite article of the word, as that will be useful when referring to these objects in their pronoun forms.

el abrigo
coat, overcoat
la blusa
las botas
la bufunda
los calcetines, las medias
socks, stockings
la camisa
la camiseta
tee shirt
el cinturón
la corbata
la chaqueta
el gorro
los guantes
el impermeable
los jeans, los bluejeans
blue jeans, Levi's
los pantalones
los pantalones cortos
el saco
las sandalias
el sombrero
el suéter
el traje
el traje de baño
bathing suit
el vestido
los zapatos
los zapatos de tacón alto
high heeled shoes
los zapatos de tenis
tennis shoes

A great way to practice this vocabulary is by using the reflexive verb ponerse, which when used in conjunction with an article of clothing means "to put on oneself". Observe the following examples:

Me pongo los zapatos. I'm putting on my shoes.

Pónte el traje de baño antes de nadar en la piscina. Put on your swimsuit before swimming in the pool.

Mamá quiere que nos pongamos la chaqueta porque hace mucho frío afuera. Mom wants us to put on our jackets because it is very cold outside.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Saber v. Conocer

Both the verbs saber and conocer mean to know, but they are not interchangeable in the Spanish language.

Saber is used to mean to know information, facts, or how to do something. It is conjugated as follows, and is pretty regular with the exception of the first person singular (the yo form):

to know
nosotros sabemos
vosotros sabéis
él, ella, Ud. sabe
ellos, ellas, Uds. saben

¿Sabes que España ganó la Copa Mundial? Do you know that Spain won the World Cup?

Muriel sabe que la leche viene de las vacas. Muriel knows that milk comes from cows.

tocar la guitarra muy bien. I know how to play the guitar very well.

In the preterit, saber means to find out:

Mis padres supieron que ya nos casamos. My parents found out that we already got married.

The verb conocer means to know as in a person, place, or thing. It takes on the significance of "being familiar" with someone or something. The conjugation is regular with the exception of the yo form.

to know
yo conozco
nosotros conocemos
vosotros conocéis
él, ella, Ud. conoce
ellos, ellas, Uds. conocen

A lot of times, the verb conocer is accompanied by a personal "a":

Miguel conoce a Adriana. Miguel knows Adriana.

Nosotros conocemos la ciudad de Bogotá muy bien. We know(are familiar with) the city of Bogotá very well.

Like saber, the verb conocer means something a little different in the preterit tense. It signifies "to meet":

Yo conocí a Maribel el año pasado. I met Maribel last year.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Double Object Pronouns

You can actually place a direct object pronoun with an indirect object pronoun in the same sentence. The indirect object pronoun comes before the direct object pronoun, and as you recall, means "to or for someone or something" and are translated into the Spanish pronouns le or les.

Necesito el libro que lees. ¿Me lo prestas? I need the book that you're reading. Will you loan it to me?

Te lo presto mañana. Me lo necesito a mi hoy. I will loan it to you tomorrow. I need it for myself today.

If the indirect object is in the third person ("to/for him", "to/for her", or "to/for them"), then the pronoun becomes converted to se.

Tengo en la mano unos chicharrones para mi perro. Se los voy a dar luego. I have in my hand some pork rinds for my dog. I will give them to him later.

When there is a reflexive verb, whatver direct object is associated with the reflexive action can turn into a pronoun as well, as long as it is understood. For example, we know ponerse + article of clothing means to put on said article of clothing; however, we can convert the noun(article of clothing) into a pronoun as long as the listener and speaker are in accordance with the meaning:

¿Los zapatos? Ya me los puse. The shoes? I already put them on.

¿You know where the Bob Marley tee shirt is? David put it on and left for Jamaica. ¿Sabes en donde está la camiseta de Bob Marley? David se la puso y se fue para Jamaica.

Sometimes, you'll need to clarify the meaning of the sentence when there is a "se" replacing the "le" or "les" to lessen confusion over the sentence and avoid ambiguity. This can be done with the introduction of a prepositional phrase including the agent "a", as in a mi, a mi madre, and so on.

¿Las zapatos? Yo se las puse a mi hija. A ella no se las pone porque se equivoca los pies. The shoes? I put them on my daughter. She doesn't put them on herself because she gets them on the wrong feet.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

La Pronunciación - Fun with Phonetics

It's great if you are really getting the handle on grammar; your confidence in learning Spanish is soaring. But guess what? If you don't know how to pronounce some words you are going to get some really impatient Spanish-speakers out there, listening to you slurring slovenly in Spanish.

Basically, the default rule when sounding out a word is to stress what's called the penultimate syllable. This means second-to-last syllable for the layperson. Let's look at the following examples. I've included some approximate phonetic representations of the words. Also, the stressed syllable is in ALL CAPS:

Spanish Word
Approximate Phonetic Representation

You'll notice that in each word above, the second-to-last syllable is pronounced with a more stressful tone. Hence, the penultimate syllable.

Now, there are exceptions to practically every rule in Spanish, and phonetic ones are no different. The LAST syllable is stressed when the word ends in a hard consonant, such as d, t, r, or z. The ones ending in r should be no surprise to you, since every infinitive verb ends in an r, and you've been stressing the last syllable there. Observe:

Spanish Word
Approximate Phonetic Representation
tolerar (v.,to tolerate)

Still other words incorporate the diacritical(accent) mark to override the previous 2 rules. In these cases, the accent is either part of the word itself, or is necessary to be added when another syllable is added to the end of the word, which usually happens when pluralizing. For example, joven doesn't contain an accent, but when another syllable is added to it, the stress of the singular word follows the modification. Therefore, el joven(sing.) becomes los jóvenes. Here are some other words that contain accent marks:

Spanish Word
Approximate Phonetic Representation

Reversing the example dealing with joven--->jóvenes, we also see that when we pluralize canción, we can drop the accent this time because the stress will be placed on the penultimate syllable already: las canciones. The new phonetic representation will be kahn-SYOHN-ehs.

One must remember that Spanish is indeed a very phonetics-based language. Omitting, or adding unnecessarily, an accent mark can drastically destroy the meaning of what you are trying to convey. For example, a verb conjugated in the preterit has accent marks on the last part of the verb in the yo and él forms. Adding an accent forces the speaker to stress the last syllable, which naturally tells your listener that something happened in the preterit tense:

Hablo la verdad. I speak the truth.

There is a grand difference between the meaning of that sentence and one with an accent on the verb:

Habló la verdad. He/she/it spoke the truth.

I recommend the book Say It Right In Spanish: The Easy Way to Pronounce Correctly (Say It Right! Series). It is a great book to have in your library, and contains very simply explained examples.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

More About Forming Nouns from Verbs

Some nouns can also be formed with the addition of either the suffix -ancia or -encia to the roots of several verbs. Try to guess what the following verbs and nouns mean:

Newly Formed Noun
la coincidencia
la preferencia
la tolerancia
la vigilancia

Another common way for nouns to be formed out of verbs is by the addition of the suffixes ción and sión; the newly formed noun has a feminine gender, so they will begin with la. These nouns are counterparts to English words ending in "-tion".

Newly Formed Noun
la formación
la dominación
la preparación
la obligación
la complicación
la conversación
la participación

One other way to form a noun out of a verb is to add the suffix -miento. Check the following examples out. For these, we'll use the verbs agotar and entender, respectively:

A causa de él acaba de correr, tiene mucho agotamiento. Because he just finished running, he has a lot of exhaustion.

Los estudiantes tiene un buen entendimiento del sujeto. The students have a good understanding of the subject.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Infinitive

A verb that is not conjugated is, quite simply, infinitive. Infinitive verbs are verbs that either end in -ar, -er, or -ir. There is no use trying to locate an infinitive verb in a sentence that ends in another way. And yes, the only other way this form of the verb will end in a different suffix is when that infinitive verb ends in a pronoun, such as se, le, or lo.

Some examples of verbs, and including a couple with a root change diagram:

detener to stop

volver(o--->ue) to return, to go back

afeitarse to shave(*oneself)

*Notice the reflexive se in the infinitive of the verb above.

These are just one of a myriad ways the infinitive form of the verb exists in the Spanish language. Now, the infinitive is used in a couple of ways. First, it either follows a conjugated verb, or follows a verb phrase requiring an infinitive:

Ella quiere escribir un ensayo breve. She wants to write a brief essay.

Paco y yo tenemos que preparar unas enchiladas. Paco and I have to prepare some enchiladas.

The infinitive also expresses future occurrence using the ir + a + infinitive expression:

Ella va a caminar al mercado. She is going to walk to the market.

Plus, the infinitive has a unique way of showing up on signs, portraying rules or otherwise, when a subject of a sentence is not important to the meaning of it. This is similar to how we use "-ing" endings in the English language. These kinds of signs usually are in all CAPS:



The infinitive can also be used to express a noun in its most vague form; when using infinitives like this, you sometimes need to put the singular masculine definite article. In English we tend to omit that. Notice the parentheses around the:

(El) Pasar por acá es prohibido. (The) Passing through here is prohibited.

(El) Hablar en la biblioteca no es común. Speaking in the library isn't common.

You can also use the infinitive with the conjunction a + el (el because the infinitive defaults to the singular masculine) to be the equivalent of the English "upon..." Notice the following:

Al ver el cadaver, la muchacha gritó. Upon seeing the dead body, the girl shouted.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Adding Diacritical Marks (Accents and Other Marks) to a Document

Accents are added to computerized documents via the ALT code combination. The ALT code is usually implemented with the numeric keypad found on standard desktop keyboards. To utilize the numeric keypad to create ALT code combinations, the Num Lock key must be activated. You can tell the Num Lock key is activated by the appearance of a light somewhere on the keyboard; if you can't find it, then check your computer manual for an indication that the Num Lock key has been set.

Most laptops have nuances which you'll have to research before you can use their version of the numeric keypad, due to the portable nature of the laptop.

To perform an ALT code operation, hold down your keyboard's ALT key and type in a certain numeric code. Then, release the ALT key. In Spanish document creation, forming accented letters can be done by using the following codes:

Lower Case Letters

ALT 0225
ALT 0233
ALT 0237
ALT 0243
ALT 0250
ALT 0241
ALT 0246

Upper Case Letters

ALT 0193
ALT 0201
ALT 0205
ALT 0211
ALT 0218
ALT 0209
ALT 0214

Other Useful Marks

ALT 0161
ALT 0191
ALT 0171
ALT 0187
ALT 0139
ALT 0155

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Personal "A"

Usually in Spanish, a noun that acts as a direct object is joined directly to the modifying verb; however, this is only when the direct object is a thing. When the direct object is a person, or people, then we put an a between the verb and the noun. This is known as the personal a.

There is no English equivalent to this grammar oddity. Notice the following examples with a personal a underlined:

No veo a Juan. I don't see Juan.

Tengo que llevar a mi hermano a la escuela. I have to take my brother to the school.

Some verbs that you might find a person acting as a direct object are esperar (to wait for, to expect), parecerse (to look like), and buscar (to look for), as in the following sentences:

Espero a David en la sala de espera. I'm waiting for David in the waiting room.

Jaime se parece a George W. Bush. Jaime looks like George W. Bush.

Nosotros buscamos a la muchacha que vende faldas. We're looking for the gal that sells skirts.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Present Subjunctive of Haber

The present subjunctive of haber is basically used in the same grammatical context as the indicative version, but is substituted for it when a dependent clause is present.

Here's the conjugation for haber in the present subjunctive:

to be(aux.)
yo haya
nosotros hayamos
tú hayas
vosotros hayáis
él, ella, Ud. haya
ellos, ellas, Uds. hayan

Use these conjugations the same time you would use the present tense of haber. Remember that this is an AUXILIARY verb, so you MUST include a participle with the verb. Here are some examples to illustrate this:

Yo espero que el correo haya llegado. I hope that the mail has arrived.

Ojalá que los estudiantes de español hayan hecho su tarea. Hopefully the Spanish students have done their homework.

You'll notice that each of the above uses of haber are in the subjunctive since they are subordinate clauses. You should be used to the subjunctive by now, and this is merely a new way of using it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Idioms with Por

An idiom is a phrase or sentence fragment of a language that is not readily translatable word-for-word; what that means is, it shouldn't be taken literally. An example of an English idiom is "hit the lights"; this idiom means to either turn on or turn off the lights, not literally "hit" them.

Included as part of several idioms is the preposition por. Below is a table of some very commonly used idioms including the aforementioned preposition:

por aquí/acá/allí/allá
over here/here/there/there
por ahora
for now
por casualidad
by chance, out of chance
por cierto
por lo común
por lo demás
por lo tanto
por mi parte
as far as I'm concerned
por dentro y fuera
inside and out
por desgracia
por ejemplo
for example
por eso
because of that, that's why
por favor
por fin
por lo general
in general
por lo menos
at least
por primera vez
for the first time
por si acaso
just in case
por supuesto
of course
por último
por un lado
on the one hand

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Por v. Para

Both of the Spanish words por and para mean "for", usually; however, they are not interchangeable. They are only utilizable in certain occurrences. Here is a synapsis of when to use por or para:

Use para when:

Notating a destination, goal, deadline, or recipient

Tomé el tren para San Francisco. I took the train for/to San Francisco.

Estoy leyendo el libro para aprenderlo. I am reading the book (in order)to learn it.

Tengo que estar en la oficina para las 2. I have to be in the office by 2.

Esta camisa es para Rebecca. This shirt is for Rebecca.

Use por when:

1)Symbolizing the English equivalent of "through", "over", "around", or "by"

Sal por esa puerta. Leave through that door.

Estuve por allá ayer. I was around there yesterday.

El libro famoso es escrito por Miguel de Cervantes. The famous book is written by Miguel de Cervantes.

2)Denoting the cost of an item

Compré esta computadora por $850. I bought this computer for $850.

If you want to thank somebody for something, then we would use por after gracias, followed by an infinitive:

Gracias por la computadora nueva. Thanks for the new computer.

Gracias por el libro. Thanks for the book.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Commands in the Nosotros Form (With Pronouns)

Now, we learn how to formulate a command in the nosotros form using pronouns. These can either be reflexive, direct object, or indirect object pronouns. Let's look at the verb levantarse, which you may or may not know means, in its reflexive sense, "to get up(out of bed)". This infinitive verb contains a reflexive pronoun.

To make this a command, we formulate the verb in the normal sense by applying the opposite vowel to levantar, which for -ar verbs, is e. Therefore, the nosotros command for this verb is levantemos.

Now, an interesting thing occurs here. To make this a straight nosotros command using the reflexive pronoun, we need to do 2 things: 1)we need to add an accent to the second-to-last syllable (penultimate) on the command root, and 2)we have to remove the -s from the original command word. So, we're left with

Levantémonos. Let's get up(out of bed).

Notice above that the diacritical mark(accent) is placed on the opposite vowel, which is always the case when a pronoun is affixed to the command. For your visual delight, it is underlined.

For -er/-ir verbs that are regular, the opposite vowel is a. For example, the reflexive infinitve verb divertirse (to enjoy oneself), correctly implemented as a command, follows:

¡Divertámonos! Let's enjoy ourselves!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Commands in the Nosotros Form (Without Pronouns)

In the nosotros form, commands take on the understanding of "Let's..." To formulate the nosotros command, you will use the opposite vowel suffix. If you are unsure what the opposite vowel suffix is, then you should probably review that concept before proceeding with this one.

For the simple, regular -ar verbs, the opposite vowel is "e". We will need to change the nosotros suffix to -emos. Note the following examples, with the opposite vowel underlined and implemented:

Hablemos. Let's talk.

Llamemos a mamá. Let's call Mom.

Manejemos al centro. Let's drive downtown.

For -er/-ir verbs, the opposite vowel suffix is going to be just the opposite, -amos. Note these following examples with the opposite vowel "a" underlined as well:

Entendamos exactamente lo que dice la profesora. Let's understand exactly what the professor is saying.

How, then, do we negate, or make negative, a nosotros command? Easy. We put no in front of the command! Check out the following:

No manejemos al centro. Let's not drive downtown.

No entendamos la tarea. Let's not understand the homework.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Las Abreviaturas - Abbreviations

You know in English there are several abbreviations that we know and use, and usually, we take them for granted. Likewise, Spanish-speakers have their own sets of abbreviations of which they take for granted, and to you learning the Spanish language, you will come across them and not know exactly what they mean. Below I've compiled a list of commonly used abbreviations to help you out some.

Abbreviations of People

Spanish Word
Spanish Abbreviation
Ud., Uds.
D., Dña.
Señor, Señora, Señorita
Sr., Sra., Srta.
Doctor, doctora
Dr., Dra.
Señor, Señora, Señorita
Sr., Sra., Srta.

Units of Measurement (There are no periods!)

Spanish Word
Spanish Abbreviation


Spanish Word
Spanish Abbreviation
derecha (right)
izquierda (left)
izq., izqda.
código postal

Business/Miscellaneous Abbreviations

Spanish Word
Spanish Abbreviation
Sociedad Anónima (Inc.)
Cuenta corriente (checking account)
Cuenta de ahorros (savings account)
Por ejemplo
p. ej.

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