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

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