Imperative mood in Spanish

The imperative mood is one of the more peculiar forms in Spanish. As a distinctive conjugation it exists only in the familiar and polite forms of the second person: tú/vosotros, usted/ustedes. It has different conjugations between affirmative and negative forms.

Imperative is not only for commands! Lets see:

  1. Giving commands:
    ¡Come pronto que llegas tarde!
  2. Giving permission:
    – ¿Puedo pasar?
    Sí, claro. Pase, pase.
  3. Offering something:
    Toma, aquí tienes unas galletas, son muy buenas.
  4. Giving advice:
    Toma leche de avena por las mañanas.
  5. Suggesting something:
    Hablemos de todo menos de política.

    J. L. Borges, Ilustración de Fernando Vicente http://www.fernandovicente.es/
    Borges by Fernando Vicente

    El verbo leer, como el verbo amar y el verbo soñar, no soporta el modo imperativo. (J. L. Borges)

     

    
    

     

    Imperative in Spanish has only four forms:

    imperativo_formas

    Affirmative imperative:

    tu_formas_imperativo


    For the familiar form of the second person “tú”, imperative is formed simply by dropping the final letter -s of the Present Indicative form:

    estudias ➡estudia        comes ➡come         cierras ➡cierra

     

    Attention! Some of the irregular verbs don’t follow this rule:

    poner ➡ pon         salir ➡ sal         hacer ➡ haz        tener ➡ ten         venir ➡ ven         decir ➡ di

     

    vosotros:as_formas_imperativo
    For the familiar form of the second person in plural, “vosotros/as”, imperative is formed simply by changing the final letter -r of the infinitive to a -d:

    estudiar ➡estudiad        comer ➡comed         cerrar ➡cerrad

    For the polite forms “usted” and “ustedes”, imperative is formed simply by changing the final letter a or e of the present indicative forms, to an e or a, and viceversa.

    usted_ustedes_formas-imperativo
    estudia ➡ estudie           estudian ➡ estudien

    come ➡ coma           comen ➡ coman

    cierra ➡ cierre           cierran ➡ cierren

     

    Verbs SER and IR have special forms in imperative mood:

    ser_ir_imperativo

    Negative imperative

    tu_formas_imperativo

     

    For -ar verbs (1st conjugation), negative imperative is formed by changing the final letter a of the Present Indicative forms by an e.

    Hablar (infinitive)… Tú hablas (present indicative) = No hables (imperative)

    Dejar (infinitive)… Tú dejas (present indicative) = No dejes (imperative)

    Olvidar(infinitive)… Tú olvidas (present indicative)  No olvides (imperative)

     

    • For the -er/-ir verbs (2nd and 3rd conjugation), negative imperative is formed by changing the final letter e of the Present Indicative forms by an a.

    Comer (infinitive)… Tú comes (present indicative) = No comas (imperative)

    Perder (infinitive)… Tú pierdes (present indicative) = No pierdas (Imperative)

    Seguir (infinitive)… Tu sigues (present indicative) = No sigas (Imperative)

     

    For the moment we see a general vision of the Imperative mode. Inside we have exceptions in some forms, irregular forms as well that we will go deeper in the future. For the negative imperative we only study the second person “tú”. We will see “vosotros”, “usted” and “ustedes” in future posts. That was only an introduction to the Imperative in Spanish! 🙂

     

    The illustration above is Borges drawing by the artist Fernando Vicente. Borges’ quote says we can not force anyone to do things like read, love or dream. Those are verbs that don’t accept imperative forms because they cannot be commands!
    To see more illustrations by Fernando Vicente you can check his website.

    Read this article in Spanish: IMPERATIVO EN ESPAÑOL

 

Using verbs like GUSTAR in Spanish

Today post is about how we express what things we like and do not like and other verbs like gustar in Spanish. From the very first lessons in your Spanish learning you study the verb GUSTAR, but why is so special that we dedicate a whole post? Well, Spanish verb GUSTAR is conjugated differently than other regular -ar verbs. It is not conjugated in relation with the direct object, that works as a subject in the sentence. (Don’t panic!) 🙂 That means in Spanish the verb GUSTAR depends on “what you like” and not on the person who likes.

So there is only two possible conjugations for gustar when we talk about things we like: singular o plural. Examples:

– Me gusta el verano.

– Me gustan las playas.

playas-sorolla
This is a painting of Sorolla, one of the best Impressionist painters in Spain.

Instead of thinking in GUSTAR as “I like this or that…” we have to get it more like “something is pleasing to me”. So “el verano” and “las playas” which are apparently direct objects in the sentence, are in fact the subjects. To here everything is easy, right?

Lets go for the next step. What is “ME” in those sentences? Well, me is an indirect object pronoun referred to myself (in this case “me” is first person in Spanish). In sentences with Gustar and other verbs that works like it, people who apparently are the subjects are in fact the Indirect object. Again understanding verb GUSTAR as “something is pleasing to someone”. Lets see a box that help us to understand this point:

indirect-object-pronouns

Please do not mix up these Indirect Object Pronouns with the Reflexive Pronouns like “ella se levanta” (she wakes up).

An example of short dialogues:

– A mí me gustan las playas del norte de España. ¿Y a ti?
– A mí también, ¡me encanta el verano!

– A nosotros nos gusta la montaña. ¿Y a vosotros?
Nos gustan los Pirineos y las playas del sur. 

As we see in these dialogues, first column of the box it is only used when we want to emphasise the Indirect Objects. But with the pronouns is enough. 🙂

When the thing liked is not a thing but an action we use always singular:

Me gusta comer en España.

Nos gusta estudiar idiomas.

Other verbs that works like “gustar”

As you can see in the box, there are many verbs that works like verb GUSTAR:

Encantar: To love something
¡Me encanta el verano!
Interesar:  To be interested in something
Me interesan los deportes.
Parecer interesante: To find something interesting
Me parece interesante la acupuntura. 

We like July and summer is for languages! If you like this post subscribe to our mailing list scrolling down the HOME page where you can find a simple subscribe box. Are you reading this lying in a hammock of your bungalow? 🙂 Don’t miss the opportunity to learn Spanish everywhere… even during your holidays! 🙂

Happy summer to everyone.

¡Feliz verano!

SIELE: the new Spanish exam

Last week Spain’s Cervantes Institute, University of Mexico and University of Salamanca jointly launched the new SIELE exam (International Service for Evaluation of the Spanish Language).

Students of Spanish as a foreign language have now a new globally recognized test to certify their level of fluency in Spanish: SIELE, electronic and only exam. It will be similar to American TOEFL or British IETLS. There will be four sections (Reading, Speaking, Writing and Listening) and students may choose whether to take the complete exam or to break it up by sections.

The only Spanish language proficiency certificate will be available for the whole planet, but effort is going to be focused on Brazil, China and United States, as they have the largest number of Spanish students in the world.

Changes from DELE exams
  1. SIELE is an electronic and online test. Applicants will be able to take the exam from anywhere on the planet. Results will be ready three weeks after taking the examination.
  2. Applicants may choose whether to take the complete exam or by sections.
  3. Listening and reading comprehension will have the results automatically online. The other two: speaking and writing will be evaluated by accredited experts.
  4. SIELE is not a test that you fail or pass. You get a score within a scale from 0 to 1000, equivalent to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
  5. Applicants will get a two years expiration date certificate.
  6. SIELE has a pan-Hispanic approach, attending all the distinct linguistic varieties of Spanish.

This is not about if we like the new Spanish exam SIELE or not, it is about it will be the new Spanish language certificate and we have to adapt to it both, teachers and students.

Any further information you need about SIELE you can ask me here. You can also ask me about actual Spanish examination: DELE.

See you soon amigos!

Read this article in Spanish here!

Spanish verb TENER: an introduction

Today’s lesson is about learning some basic uses of the Spanish verb TENER. Always from a useful way to learn, we try to give you some tips to start using this verb today… Practice is the best teacher! 🙂

This is one of the most common irregular verbs in Spanish. We saw one of its uses a few weeks before when we studied How To Introduce Ourselves in Spanish. We used it to say how old we are. But this is only one of the very first and basic uses.

Lets see first how we conjugate the present of verb TENER:

verbo-tener-presente

 

Basic uses of Spanish verb TENER:
Usos básicos del verbo TENER

1.  TELL THE AGE:
DECIR LA EDAD

– ¿Cuántos años tienes?
How old are you?
– Tengo 27 años, ¿y tú?
I’m 27 years old, and you?

2.  POSSESSIONS OR RELATIVES
HABLAR DE POSESIONES O PARENTESCOS

¿Tienes algún hermano?
Do you have any brothers or sisters?

Tengo una casa bastante grande.
I have a very big house.

Tengo una cita con el médico el miércoles.
I have a medical appointment on Wednesday.

3. TO EXPRESS PHYSICAL SENSATIONS AND FEELINGS*
EXPRESAR ESTADOS FÍSICOS O SENSACIONES

En esta casa siempre tengo frío. (yo)
I’m always cold in this house.

Por la noche siempre tiene sed. (él o ella)
He is always thirsty at night.

¿No tienes hambre todavía? (tú)
Aren’t you hungry yet?

4. DESCRIBING PLACES, THINGS OR PEOPLE
DESCRIBIR LUGARES, COSAS O PERSONAS

El Museo del Prado tiene cuadros muy famosos.
Prado Museum has very famous paintings.

Madrid tiene barrios muy bonitos.
Madrid has really nice boroughs.

Este edificio tiene por lo menos 20 pisos.
This building has 20 floors at least.

Las islas Canarias tienen buen tiempo todo el año.
Canary Island have a good weather the whole year.

¿Tu ciudad tiene carril bici?
Does your city have bicycle path?

El piso tiene tres habitaciones y dos baños. Tiene mucha luz por el día.
It is a three bedroom flat with two toilets. It is very luminous during the day.

*BONUS TRACK FOR YOUNG WILD BOARS!!!
Más información, ¡sólo para jabatos! 

If you read till here that means you are now an expert with the Spanish verb TENER basic uses! So now get ready to learn more expressions about useful Spanish. As we see in the third point, there are a lot of idiomatic expressions with verb TENER. An idiomatic expression is something that cannot be literally translated into other language. For example in English to be “on the go” if we translate it literally into Spanish doesn’t have the same meaning. Same in Spanish! Lets see an example:

Idiomatic expression: Tengo frío.
Literally: I have cold.
True Meaning: I’m cold.

Many other idiomatic expressions in Spanish to express physical sensations:

Tener sed   To be thirsty
Tener calor o frío   To be hot or cold
Tener hambre   To be hungry
Tener sueño  To be sleepy
Tener dolor   To hurt

Also many other to express psychological sensations:

Tener miedo   To be afraid
Tener cuidado   To be careful
Tener confianza   To be confident
Tener prisa   To be in a hurry
Tener vergüenza   To be ashamed
Tener razón   To be right
Tener éxito   To be successful
Tener la culpa   To be guilty
Tener suerte   To be lucky
Tener ganas de… To feel like

Do you think you were a beginner? Not at all! Start using these expressions today and your Spanish will sound natural!

We will see more uses of the verb TENER in future posts!

Asking for permission in Spanish

pedir permiso en español - asking for permission in spanish

The verb PODER in Spanish is an irregular modal verb. It is one of the most used, you can use it for everyday situations and you can start practicing now! Mostly when you travel… keep reading! 
verbo-poder-pedir-permiso

verbo PODER + infinitivo

Poder is a modal verb in Spanish. Its English version is “can” or “could”. Poder works as an auxiliary verb and in Spanish it is always followed by an infinitive.

We use this construction poder+ infinitivo to ask for permission in Spanish. Keep it in mind because it is a very common expression when you travel. You ask for permission almost for everything! Lets see some of these situations in real contexts:

• Particular situations in which you ask for permission to do something specific (PERSONAL):

¿Puedo pasar?
Can I go in?

¿Puedo fumar?
Can I smoke?

¿Puedo pagar con tarjeta de crédito?
Can I pay with credit card?

¿Puede traer la cuenta por favor?
Can I have the bill?

¿Puedo entrar con el perro?
Can I enter with the dog?

¿Me puede dejar un bolígrafo y un papel?
Can I have a pen and a paper?

• When you ask if something is allowed or not (IMPERSONAL): In general situations we use the pronoun “se” when we don’t want the questions sound personal. It still has the same meaning though, it is just another way to ask for permission:

¿Se puede fumar? (IMPERSONAL)

¿Se puede pagar con tarjeta? (IMPERSONAL)

Other forms of courtesy when asking for permission in Spanish:

• Don’t you mind if…

¿Te/Le importa/molesta si + presente de indicativo?
Ejemplo:
¿Le importa si fumo?
Don’t you mind if I smoke?

• May I…

¿Me permite/permites + infinitivo?
Ejemplo:
¿Me permites fumar?
May I smoke?

 

Other uses of the verb PODER are:

• Abilities:

¿Puedes tocar la guitarra?
Can you play the guitar?

• Petitions:

¿Podrías tocar la guitarra, por favor?
Could you please play the guitar?

• To be able to:

No puedo ir al cine, estoy ocupado.
I cannot go to the cinema, I’m very busy.

• To suggest something:

¡Podemos ir a la fiesta juntos!
We can go to the party together!

Keep learning Spanish any time any where!

¡En esta web se puede aprender español!

Adjetivos posesivos en español

Los adjetivos posesivos se utilizan para indicar la propiedad de algo o alguien (en el caso de los parentescos, por ejemplo). En total hay cinco adjetivos posesivos en español: mi, tu, su, nuestro, vuestro. En los tres primeros casos tienen formas en singular y plural, dependiendo del nombre que modifican (mi libro / mis libros), es decir, el singular o plural depende de lo poseído, no del poseedor. Estos tres no tienen formas masculinas o femeninas, se escriben igual independientemente del género de los nombres que modifican (mis amigas / mis amigos).

Possessive adjectives are used to show ownership. There are five in total: mi, tu, su, nuestro, vuestro. First three adjectives (mi, tu, su) they have both singular and plural forms, agree with the noun they modify (they agree with the thing possessed, not the possessor). So: mi libro / mis libros. This three stay the same, regardless of the possessor’s gender. They don’t have masculine or feminine forms (mis amigas / mis amigos).
adjetivos-posesivos

mi / mis mean me
tu / tus mean your
su / sus have four meanings: his, her, their, your (formal)

Los otros dos adjetivos, nuestro y vuestro, tienen cuatro formas dependiendo de los poseedores y de los objetos poseídos. Por ejemplo:

Nuestro padre (our dad)

Nuestros padres (our parents)

Nuestra escuela (our school)

Nuestras vacaciones (our holidays)


nuestro / nuestra, nuestros / nuestras mean our
vuestro / vuestra, vuestros / vuestras mean your (familiar, plural)

Leer más … Pronombres posesivos
Read more … Possessive Pronouns

Los verbos en español: estructura

 

Para comprender cómo funcionan los verbos en español, presentamos este gráfico con la estructura básica. Aquí podrás ver qué es la persona, el modo, las formas no personales, los tiempos simples y compuestos, etc.
Iremos profundizando en cada uno de ellos en futuras entradas.

This drawing will help you to understand Spanish verbs’ basic structure. Here you can find what is a person, a mode, a non personal form, etc. We will go deeply in future posts.

estructura-verbos-espanol

Conjunción Ni

Podemos decir que la conjunción “ni” en español equivale al “nor” en inglés, sin embargo en español se utiliza también en otros casos como podéis ver en la explicación.
We could say that the Spanish conjunction ni is the equivalent of the English “nor”, but it is used in different ways than the English word as you can see below:

Cuando equivale al “nor” en inglés.
As the equivalent of “nor”.

En estos casos la conjunción “ni” se utiliza después de un verbo en negativo u otra expresión para negar como nunca o jamás.
In these cases it is always following a verb that is preceded by no or another negation (nunca /never, jamás /ever)

    • No quiere estudiar ni trabajar.
      She doesn’t want to study nor work.
    • No puedo encontrar la película ni descargarla.
      I can’t find the movie nor download it.
    • No compres pan ni refrescos.
      Don’t buy bread nor soft drinks.

 

Cuando se utiliza como “neither… nor”
When we use it as “neither… nor”

En español utilizamos dos veces la conjunción ni cuando queremos utilizarlo en el caso de “neither…nor”
In Spanish we use a pair of ni as the equivalent of “neither… nor”

    • Ni mis amigos ni los tuyos van a la fiesta.
      Neither my friends nor yours are going to the party.
    • No sabemos nada de él. Ni yo ni nadie.
      We have no news from him. Neither I nor anybody.

 venus-boti

“La belleza es ese misterio hermoso que no descifran ni la psicología ni la retórica”
(Cita de J. L. Borges)

Cuando equivale a “neither/nor” en una lista de negaciones.
As the equivalent of “neither/nor” in a series of three or more items
    • Han suspendido la fiesta. Ya no habrá conciertos, ni djs, ni comida gratis, ni baile, ni nada…
      They have cancelled the party. There will be neither concerts, djs, free food, dancing, nor anything…
    • He olvidado la lista de la compra en casa. No he comprado ni pan, ni leche, ni zumos, ni papel higiénico.
      I forgot the shopping list at home. I didn’t buy neither bread, milk, juices, nor toilet paper.

 

Cuando queremos decir “not even” utilizamos la forma ni siquiera*.
When we want to say “not even” we will use ni siquiera.

*Please note that “siquiera” is usually optional. We use it when we want to emphasize.

    • Ni siquiera le conocíamos.
      We didn’t even know him.
    • Ni siquiera se presentó al llegar.
      She didn’t even introduce herself when we arrived.

 

Las horas en español: ¿Qué hora es?

Para decir la hora en español utilizamos el verbo SER, en singular para la 1 y en plural para el resto de horas.
Telling the time in Spanish we use the verb SER in both singular and plural forms:

  • Pregunta informal: ¿Qué hora es?
    – (13:20) Es la una y veinte.
    – (18:30) Son las seis y media.

  • Pregunta informal: ¿Me puede decir la hora por favor?

    Plantilla-relojweb

 

Descripción física de personas

Para la descripción física de personas en español utilizamos los verbos SER, TENER y LLEVAR, dependiendo de qué característica estamos describiendo.
The language for physical descriptions in Spanish is quite specific depending on the physical characteristic you are describing, using the verbs: SER, TENER and LLEVAR.
tener-llevar-ser

VERBO SER para: altura, peso, edad, color de pelo, apariencia
We use verb SER for: height, weight, skin and hair 
color, appearance

alto/a, bajo/a,

delgado/a, gordo/a (o gordito/a), fuerte, grande

joven, mayor (viejo puede ser ofensivo)

rubio, moreno, pelirrojo, castaño…

guapo/a, atractivo/a

VERBO TENER para: características de la cara y del pelo
We use verb TENER for: facial features and other features

ojos grandes, pequeños, azules, verdes, marrones, grandes, pequeños,…

la piel morena, blanca…

barba, perilla

bigote

flequillo

el pelo negro, rubio, castaño, rizado, liso, corto, largo

la boca grande, pequeña

la nariz grande, pequeña

VERBO LLEVAR para: características temporales o peinados
We use verb LLEVAR for: temporally facial features or hair styles

barba, perilla

gafas

bigote

perilla

trenzas

sombrero, boina, gorra

pendientes, collar, …


descripcion-fisica-quien-es-quien-1

Ejemplos
Examples

Para describir a las personas del tablero hablamos en 3ª persona: los verbos están en 3ª persona singular.
We use third-person singular to describe people on the picture above: verbs are in 3th person singular.

Ana es morena y tiene el pelo corto. Lleva pendientes verdes.

Ricardo es calvo y tiene barba.

Clare es pelirroja. Lleva gafas y sombrero.

Carlos es rubio y tiene bigote.

Tomás es calvo y lleva gafas.

Susana tiene el pelo largo y blanco. Tiene la boca grande.

Bernardo tiene la nariz grande y la boca pequeña. Lleva un sombrero rojo.

Guillermo es gordito, pelirrojo y tiene perilla.

¿Puedes describir ahora a Pepe, Paco y Anita? Envíame tu respuesta por email y podré ayudarte con los resultados.