Learn Spanish How To http://www.learnspanishhowto.com How To Learn Spanish - Online Program/Course Reviews - Free Spanish Lessons Fri, 19 Apr 2013 20:41:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 Mellowing Out Your Requests in Spanish: /mellowing-out-your-requests-in-spanish-469.php /mellowing-out-your-requests-in-spanish-469.php#comments Fri, 27 Jul 2012 23:29:58 +0000 Spanish-Teacher-Marlys /?p=469 How to Say Things in Spanish… Politely

Just as in English, in Spanish there are ways to mellow out your requests. Of course, intonation and body language are important when you want to appear friendly and amable (amiable). In addition, certain ways of speaking can help you to say things in Spanish that are really requests or commands, but at the same time show that you are muy amable (very nice).

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Lets begin with querer (to want). You may have learned the present tense conjugation:

(yo) quiero — (I) want
(tú) quieres — (you) want (familiar)
el, ella, usted quiere — he, she wants and you want (formal)
nosotros queremos — we want
ellos, ellas, ustedes quieren — they want and you [plural] want

In a restaurant you might say:

Quiero una limonada. — I want a glass of lemonade.

If a friend asks if she can offer you something, you might say:

Quisiera un vaso de agua. — I might like a glass of water.

[quisiera is a past subjunctive form: quisiera, quisieras, quisiera, quisiéramos, quisieran]

If what you want is not a thing, but for the other person to do something, a similar strategy may be used by putting the request in question form:

¿Quieres pasarme (alcanzarme) la salsa (por favor)? — Will you pass (reach me) the salsa, please?
¿Quieres acompañarme al cine? — Will you go with me to a movie?

To be even mellower, use the conditional form of querer [conjugation: quería, querías, quería, queríamos, querían]:

¿Querías pasarme la salsa? — Would you like to pass me the salsa?
¿Querías acompañarme al cine? — Would you mind going to a movie with me?

Another way to soften a request is with a lead-in:

A ver si... — Let's see if...
Hágame el favor de... — Do me the favor of...
Favor de... — Please...

Try these Spanish sentences:

A ver si me traes una cerveza. — Let's see if you could bring me a beer.
Hágame el favor de cerrar la ventana. — Do me the favor of closing the window.
Favor de pagar la cuenta en la caja. — Please pay the bill at the cash register.

And here’s how to say things in Spanish even to a complete stranger:

Disculpe la molestia pero... — Forgive the bother, but...

More Spanish sentences:

Disculpe la molestia, pero creo que este es mi asiento asignado. — Pardon me, but I think this is my assigned seat.
Disculpe la molestia, pero quiero ir a la Plaza Central. — Pardon me, but I want to go the Central Plaza [and I don't know how to get there - implied].

A third way to say things in Spanish with amabilidad (kindness) is to tack something on the end, such as ¿no?, ¿eh?, ¿se puede? (can it be done?), ¿puedes? (do you want to?):

Vamos a tomar un cafecito, ¿se puede? — Let's get a cup of coffee, okay?
Préstame tu diccionario, ¿puedes? — Lend me your dictionary, will you?
Manejas, ¿no? — You're going to drive, okay?
No grites, ¿eh? — Don't shout, okay?

Finally, remember that the diminutive suffix on nouns doesn’t just convey smallness, but possibly also endearment or softening of a request for something. For example, all over the Spanish speaking world, people are being asked to wait with this utterance:

¡Espere un momentito! — [Please] wait just a moment!
¡Compre estas galletitas riquísimas! — Buy these extraordinarily delicious cookies!

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¡Hasta lueguito!

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How Do You Say “Hello” in Spanish? /how-do-you-say-hello-in-spanish-461.php /how-do-you-say-hello-in-spanish-461.php#comments Sun, 06 May 2012 00:08:13 +0000 Alex Learns Spanish /?p=461 Hola

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How do you say “hello” in Spanish? It depends; if it’s an informal greeting, such as, saying “hi” to a friend, you would say:

Hola — Hello or, Hi


Qué tal? — What's up?

However, if you want to make a good impression to a new friend’s parents — whom you have not yet met — for example, you would say:

In the morning…

Buenos días — Good morning

In the afternoon…

Buenas tardes — Good afternoon

In the evening…

Buenas noches — Good evening

Note the spelling of “good” in Spanish; día is masculine, tarde and noche are feminine. So, use the correct gender of bueno.

If you want to meet someone and need a little more to go on that just “hola,” you must be thinking “how to introduce myself in Spanish?” — an interesting “scenario” article.

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Spanish Prepositions: Possession and Properties /spanish-prepositions-possession-and-properties-452.php /spanish-prepositions-possession-and-properties-452.php#comments Wed, 01 Sep 2010 01:42:15 +0000 Spanish-Teacher-Marlys /?p=452 In other words: whose is it and what is it made of?

Spanish, like English, has a limited number of prepositions conveying information of the sort “from, of, to, at, for, with, toward” and so on. The problem for the learner is that these terms do not have a one-to-one correspondence from one language to the other. Today’s topic is the preposition de in two of its uses.

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De has many functions. First, we’ll show how to use it to indicate possession. In English, when something belongs to someone, the owner is indicated by adding ‘s. (Of course no sound is signaled by the written apostrophe, which is a large literacy problem!)

  • Lulu’s doll
  • the boy’s bike
  • Mr. Smith’s job

This even works for inanimate possessors:

  • the item’s price
  • the book’s cover

In English, if the possessor is something inanimate, the full prepositional phrase tends to be used for it unless the possessor is being emphasized. For example, you would probably say:

The color of the paint is too dark for this room.

But you might say:

The paint’s color clashes with the sofa’s color.

However, in Spanish, the possessor is always expressed by de + noun phrase.

la muñeca de Lulu — Lulu's doll
la bicicleta del niño — the boy's bicycle
el trabajo del señor Smith — Mr. Smith's job
el precio del artículo — the item's price
el forro del libro — the book's cover

Note that del is a contraction of de + el “of the”. De la remain separate words used if the owner is a feminine gender noun.

el color de la pintura — the paint's color
la manga de la chaqueta — the jacket's sleeve.

Another use of de, which may be useful to the Spanish learner who is going shopping or traveling, is to express the name of the material from which something is made.

el suéter de lana — the wool sweater
una pulsera de oro — a gold bracelet
unos aretes de plata — some silver earrings
las ollas de barro — the clay pots
una chaqueta de cuero — a leather jacket

Note that in this use of de, corresponding to “of”, there is no article before the noun specifying the material of which something is made.

Now that you can answer the questions:

¿De quién es? — Whose is it?
¿De qué está hecho? — Of what is it made?

…let’s try some mini-dialogues:

Q: ¿De quién es esta chaqueta? — Whose is this jacket?
A: La chaqueta de cuero es de Juan. La de lana es de Antonio. — The leather jacket is Juan's. The wool one is Antonio's.

Q: ¿Qué clase de joyería desea ver, señorita? — What sort of jewelry would you like to see, Miss?
A: Quisiera ver las pulseras y los aretes de plata por favor. — I would like to see the silver bracelets and earrings, please.

Q: ¿Estos platos son de barro o de porcelana, señor? — Are these earthenware or porcelain plates, sir?
A: Los platos son de porcelana y los plateles son de barro muy fino. — The plates are of porcelain and the platters are of very fine earthenware.

Q: ¿De qué son las canastas? — What are the baskets (made) of?
A: Algunas son de totora y otras son de mimbre. — Some are of reed and others are of wicker.

Espero que todo esto es…¡de utilidad!

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How To Introduce Yourself in Spanish /how-to-introduce-yourself-in-spanish-449.php /how-to-introduce-yourself-in-spanish-449.php#comments Thu, 12 Aug 2010 16:24:55 +0000 Alex Learns Spanish /?p=449 ¡Saludos!

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One of the first things I did when I began learning Spanish–after vowel and consonant pronunciation practice–is to learn how to introduce myself in Spanish. And, more importantly, how to listen and respond to other people’s introductions.

So, here’s the scenario: you’re on a surfing trip in Perú, and while sipping a cerveza fría at the bar after a good session, a beautiful local woman comes up to you and says:


You should say: “Hola.”

She then asks: “¿Cómo te llamas?”

You respond: “Me llamo [insert your name here].”

She asks you: “¿De dónde eres?”

You say: “Soy de los Estados Unidos.”

Now, you like her and want to get to know her, so you’ll want to ask her name:

“Y tú, ¿cómo te llamas?”

She responds: “Me llamo María.”

Now you can say: “Mucho gusto, María.”

Hopefully, she’ll say: “Encantada.”

You can then possibly say something like:

¿Vienes acá mucho?

Here’s how the encounter went, in English:

“Hello.” María said as she offered you her hand.

“Hello.” You said

“What is your name?” María asked with a twinkle in her eye.

“My name is [insert your name here]” (if you can remember it!)

“Where are you from?” María asked, because she noticed your foreign accent.

You answered, “I’m from the United States.” (if that’s where you’re from).

“And you, what is your name?” You asked, because you really wanted to know.

“My name is María.” She said with a smile.

To impress her (and to help with remembering her name), you said: “My pleasure, María.”

She responded (hopefully): “Delighted.”

You then said: “Do you come here a lot?” 1

1 Okay, so maybe you’re dreaming this, and this line is obviously dated…we’ll need to get you some more involved Spanish lessons so you can come up with a better line than that!

Click Here for More Involved, and Free, Spanish Lessons

To introduce yourself, simply reverse the roles. And don’t forget to listen carefully to the other person’s responses.

¡Hasta luego!

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How To Make Spanish Nouns Plural /how-to-make-spanish-nouns-plural-440.php /how-to-make-spanish-nouns-plural-440.php#comments Tue, 03 Aug 2010 20:05:37 +0000 Alex Learns Spanish /?p=440 Click Here for In-Depth Online Spanish Lessons, for Free

The plural form of nouns in Spanish is relatively easy to learn. There are really only three rules to follow.

1. Nouns ending in a vowel; add s:

mano — hand
manos — hands
señora — lady
señoras — ladies

2. Nouns ending in a consonant; add es:

lección — lesson
lecciones — lessons
profesor — professor
profesores — professors

3. Nouns ending in z; change z to c and add es:

luz — light
luces — lights
nariz — nose
narices — noses

Notice that under rule 2 above, the example also showed a change in written (and spoken) accentuation:

lección becomes lecciones

That is because adding es actually adds another syllable to the word and so a different accent rule applies. You may want to review the lesson on accents in Spanish.

In a nutshell, when words ending in n, s, or a vowel have a spoken stress, the accent mark is used. The word lecciones keeps its spoken stress on the -on syllable, but in the plural form of the word, with -es added, -on is no longer the final syllable and the word conforms to the unmarked configuration.

Okay, that was la parte más fácil. Now you have to know how to add “the” definite article. You see, in Spanish the article, noun and adjective must agree in number and gender. Think of it as a homogeneous noun phrase.

For example, if “the lady” is la señora, then “the ladies” is:

las señoras

That is, la becomes las, for the feminine gender. The masculine el becomes los in the plural form:

el hombre fuerte — the strong man


los hombres fuertes — the strong men

Do you see that the article, the noun, and the adjective all become plural?

To anticipate your next question, and offer some help with it, visit: When are Spanish Nouns Feminine or Masculine?

Espero que encuentre las lecciones en este sitio informativos y divertidos.

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