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All About the Subjunctive Spanish Mood

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Do you know the names of all the verbal moods and tenses in English (or in your native language)? You might know a few, you might know all of them, or you might not even be familiar with any of them. Knowing the names isn’t so important, unless you’re a huge fan of grammar or you study something related to linguistics. But, even if you don’t know all these names, you know how to use them, don’t you? Otherwise you wouldn’t make much sense in your native language.

We’re going to teach you everything you need to know about the subjunctive Spanish mood and all its tenses, which is going to be incredibly helpful for your Spanish. 

This is what’s important: not what we call them—even though it’s still helpful when learning them—but knowing how to use them and understanding the differences between the different moods and tenses. In real life, no one is going to ask you the difference between infinitive and subjunctive, but you must learn them in order to be fluent! Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. What is a Grammatical Mood?
  2. Infinitive vs. Subjunctive
  3. Subjunctive Spanish Tenses
  4. Uses of Subjunctive
  5. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

1. What is a Grammatical Mood?

Just like we explained in our article on conjugations, verb conjugations are divided into different groups that we call moods, or modos in Spanish.

Even though there are a few more grammatical moods than the ones we’ll cover today, in Spanish, there are three main verbal moods: infinitivo (“infinitive”), subjuntivo (“subjunctive”), and imperativo (“imperative”). 

The third one, imperativo, is the easiest to explain because it’s not divided into several tenses like the other two moods. Instead, it only refers to very specific forms, which are the ones we use to give orders to someone. For example, if you want to make someone sing, you’ll say: ¡Canta! or ¡Cantad! (“Sing!”), depending on whether you’re telling one person (the first example) or more than one (the second example).

Man Studying

The other two moods, infinitive and subjunctive, are the ones we use every time we speak. Whether we want to use the present tense, past tense, or future tense, it will always be a part of one of these two moods. We’ll need to use one or the other depending on what we mean to say.

In today’s article, we’ll be focusing on the Spanish subjunctive mood, but before we do that, we need to explain some of the differences between subjunctive and infinitive, so that you can understand it more easily.

2. Infinitive vs. Subjunctive

Let’s start with the indicative mood. In Spanish, indicative essentially refers to facts, as well as beliefs. Here’s an example: 

  • El agua se congela a 0 ºC.
    “Water freezes at 0 ºC.”

This is definitely a fact, which means it can’t be argued against, so we use the indicative mood.

Man Climbing Ice

As opposed to indicative, subjunctive Spanish marks anything that isn’t a fact. Among others, this includes hypothetical statements or something you wish had or hadn’t happened. For example: 

  • No quiero que te hagas daño.
    “I don’t want you to get hurt.”

In the example above, it’s not something that has happened, so it’s not a fact. Instead, this mood has been used to refer to something you wish wouldn’t happen. We hope this doesn’t sound too confusing. If it does, don’t worry, we’ll fix it.

You might not know this, but the subjunctive mood actually exists in English as well. It’s not as widely used as it is in Spanish, and when it is used, it’s not as obvious. Let’s look at the following examples:

  • “If I were you, I would go to the doctor.”
  • “I wish you were here.”

In the first example, we don’t say “I was,” but “I were.” This is because it’s in the subjunctive mood! In the second example, it shouldn’t surprise us that we use the form “were,” because that’s the form we use for the second person “you.” But it might surprise us that it’s in the past, instead of the present, as in “I wish you are here.” That doesn’t make sense, right? Well, that’s because we need the subjunctive mood, just like in Spanish. So, of course, when translated into Spanish, these two sentences also use the subjunctive mood.

  • Si fuese tú, iría al médico.
    “If I were you, I would go to the doctor.”
  • Ojalá estuvieras aquí. 
    “I wish you were here.”

3. Subjunctive Spanish Tenses

The subjunctive mood, as we’ve already mentioned, is divided into several tenses. Do you remember our previous article on conjugations? In that article, we had examples of the subjunctive conjugations of a few different verbs. Here, because we don’t want to repeat ourselves, we’re only going to show you one verb, specifically the verb cantar (“to sing”). But you can always check that article again if you need to look at the subjunctive tables.

In Spanish, the “present” (presente) and “past tenses” (pretéritos) of the subjunctive are used quite often, but the two future tenses (futuro simple and futuro compuesto) are never used. They’re included in the following subjunctive Spanish tenses chart so you’re aware that they exist, but there’s no need to learn them. If you ever ask a native Spanish-speaker about them, they wouldn’t even know how to use them!

Note that these tenses don’t have a direct translation in English, but we’ll use them in the examples we’ll give you below.

Simple tenses

SubjectPresentePretérito imperfectoFuturo simple
Yocantecantara or cantasecantare 
cantescantaras or cantasescantares 
Él/Ellacantecantara or cantasecantare
Nosotros/ascantemoscantáramos or cantásemoscantáremos
Vosotros/ascantéiscantarais or cantaseiscantareis
Ellos/ascantencantaran or cantasencantaren

Compound tenses

SubjectPretérito perfecto compuestoPretérito pluscuamperfectoFuturo compuesto
Yohaya cantadohubiera or hubiese cantadohubiere cantado
hayas cantadohubieras or hubieses cantadohubieres cantado
Él/Ellahaya cantadohubiera or hubiese cantadohubiere cantado
Nosotros/ashayamos cantadohubiéramos or hubiésemos cantadohubiéremos cantado
Vosotros/ashayáis cantadohubierais or hubieseis  cantadohubiereis cantado
Ellos/ashayan cantadohubieran or hubiesen cantadohubieren cantado

Singer on Stage

4. Uses of Subjunctive

When do you use subjunctive Spanish? As we’ve said before, the subjunctive mood is generally used in sentences that are not facts. We think you’ll find it useful to take a look at the following list of specific uses:

a) Expressing Emotions

You can use the Spanish subjunctive to express feelings or emotions. Anytime you want to say that some action makes you sad, or happy, or angry, you’ll need to use the subjunctive mood.

  • Me entristece que te vayas a vivir tan lejos.
    “It saddens me that you’re going to live so far away.”
  • Me alegró que se hubieran decidido a adoptar un bebé. 
    “It made me happy that they decided to adopt a baby.”
Women with Baby

b) Wishes 

As we’ve said before, the subjunctive is often used to express wishes. But before we get into that, we’ll have to tell you about a more basic kind of wish. When all you want to say is something you want, we just use the infinitive form of the verb, as we explained in our previous article about Spanish sentence patterns

  • Quiero comer galletas. 
    “I want to eat cookies.”

However, sometimes we need to express a wish related to a different subject than the main subject of the sentence. For that, we might use a full sentence, such as in the following examples:

  • Espero que te recuperes pronto. 
    “I hope you get better soon.”
  • Mi madre quería que estudiara Arquitectura
    “My mother wanted me to study Architecture.”

Or instead of using a full sentence, we might do something similar to the next example. This sentence uses the word ojalá, which can’t be translated literally into English, but can be understood as “hopefully.” This word can only be used with the subjunctive mood.

  • Ojalá hayas aprobado
    “Hopefully you have passed.”

Some other verbs we use to express wishes are gustar (“to like”), preferir (“to prefer”), desear (“to wish”), and apetecer (“to feel like”).

c) Requests or Commands

We always use the subjunctive mood when we need to request or command something (unless we use the imperative!). In this case, we’re giving you two very similar examples, but in different verb tenses.

  • Me ha pedido que vaya a ver a la abuela
    “She has asked me to go see grandma.”
  • Me pidió que fuera a ver a la abuela. 
    “She asked me to go see grandma.”
Grandma and Grandchildren

Other verbs you might use as well as pedir (“to ask”) are ordenar (“to command”) and prohibir (“to forbid”).

d) Doubts

As you might remember, we said that sometimes the subjunctive is used when something isn’t a fact. When someone expresses a fact, but you’re not sure it’s true, you can express doubt by using the subjunctive mood.

  • No creo que sea verdad. 
    “I don’t think it’s true.”
  • Dudó de que estuviéramos diciendo la verdad. 
    “She doubted we were telling the truth.”

In the case of doubts, we won’t always use verbs, and there are some expressions that will help you: tal vez / quizá (both mean “maybe”) and seguramente / probablemente (both mean “probably”). In the case of these words, we can use both the indicative and the subjunctive, but we’ll use the subjunctive when our doubt is greater.

  • Seguramente está en casa
    “She’s probably home.” (Indicative)
  • Seguramente esté en casa
    “She’s probably home.” (Subjunctive)

e) Opinions

When expressing your opinion, notice that we use the indicative in positive sentences, like in the following example: 

  • Creo que se lo está pasando bien. 
    “I think he’s having a good time.”

Subjunctive, however, is used in negative sentences: 

  • No creo que se lo esté pasando bien. 
    “I don’t think he’s having a good time.”

To express an opinion, other verbs we can use besides creer (“to believe”) are pensar, opinar, considerar… They’re all different synonyms for the verbs “to think” and “to believe.”

5. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

We know the subjunctive isn’t the easiest (or most fun) subject to learn, but it’s necessary if you really want to learn Spanish. But grammar isn’t the only thing you can learn with us. At SpanishPod101.com, you’ll learn everything you need to become fluent in Spanish.

Did we answer all your questions about this topic? If not, feel free to reach out in the comments and we’ll do our best to help you out! 

If you felt like this was a bit too hard for you right now, remember that we have material for all levels, from absolute beginner to advanced. With us, you can learn grammar, vocabulary, and conversation skills—and you’ll be speaking Spanish in no time!

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Learn How to Say Goodbye in Spanish!

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You’ve already learned how to say hello in Spanish, so now it’s time to start saying goodbye.

Like in any language, there are many different ways you can say goodbye in Spanish depending on the context. In this article, we’ll teach you common Spanish goodbye phrases for any situation, from formal encounters to leaving a group of friends or ending a phone call. By the end, you’ll be able to recognize many different Spanish goodbyes when you hear them, and understand how to use them yourself to sound more like a native speaker!

    → In addition to this guide, we have a series of activities on SpanishPod101.com for you, so you can put all of this new knowledge into practice.
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Spanish Goodbye Phrases for Formal and Informal Situations
  2. When to Use Nos vemos (“See you soon”)
  3. Common Ways to Say Goodbye Before a Long Trip
  4. How to Say Goodbye When You’re in a Hurry
  5. Have a Nice Day
  6. Keep in Touch
  7. Saying Goodbye from a Distance
  8. Other Cool Ways to Say Goodbye in Spanish
  9. Goodbye Idioms in Spanish
  10. In Conclusion…

1. Spanish Goodbye Phrases for Formal and Informal Situations

A Woman Saying Goodbye with a Hand

The most common word to say “goodbye” in Spanish is adiós, but there are several other options depending on the situation. In particular, the way we say goodbye tends to vary based on how formal or informal the context is.

In English, saying “goodbye” is less formal than wishing someone “farewell,” and the same thing happens in Spanish. While you might say adiós to your friends or acquaintances, this would likely be frowned upon in the context of a formal meeting or job interview.

So what would a more proper Spanish goodbye sound like? 

A- Formal Farewells

  • Hasta luego. / “See you later.”

This is a more cordial and respectful way to say goodbye to strangers, people in authority, or coworkers you don’t know very well.

  • Que esté(s) muy bien. / Literally: “That you will be very well.”

This is a respectful, but slightly more intimate, way to say goodbye to neighbors, acquaintances, friends, colleagues, and strangers. Additionally, you can use this goodbye phrase in both formal and informal contexts.

  • Que tengas un buen día. / “Have a good day.”

This phrase is typically used in the morning, specifically when you don’t plan on speaking to the other party for the rest of the day. It’s a cordial but familiar way to say goodbye when ending a conversation with family or friends, or when leaving a(n):

  • Office
  • Bank
  • Supermarket
  • Store

B- Informal Farewells 

There are two very common Spanish goodbye words that you can use with close friends and family members.

  • Adiós. / “Bye.”

You can say this to friends, family, or close coworkers at any time of day. It’s used both in Spain and in Latin America. 

  • Chao. / “Bye bye.”

As you probably know, this one comes from the Italian word ciao. It’s used in a lot of places in Europe and in Latin America.

2. When to Use Nos vemos (“See you soon”)

Before we go any further, let’s talk about the various ways of saying nos vemos (“see you soon”) in different situations.

Saying Goodbye to a Group of Friends

This is a very common phrase in Spanish, and it’s used informally with friends and family to indicate that you’ll be seeing each other again.

Examples:

  • Hasta luego. / “See you soon.”

This is a more casual and polite way to say goodbye. It’s used to indicate that you’ll meet at a certain time: In the afternoon, tomorrow, next week, another day, etc. In the capital of Spain, Madrid, it’s common to say Hasta luego instead of Adiós, even if you’re not going to see each other again anytime soon.

  • Nos vemos. / “See you.”

This one is very similar to Hasta luego, only more informal and reserved for close friends and acquaintances. It’s an open farewell because it doesn’t specify when you’ll see each other again. 

  • Hasta la vista. / “So long.”

This one is even more informal, and it’s only used between really close friends when they’re unsure of when their next meeting will be.

  • Hasta la próxima. / “Until next time.”

This one is similar to “see you,” but it’s a little more polite. You can say it to friends, acquaintances, or strangers. It’s used to indicate that you’ll see each other another time: tomorrow, in a few weeks, in another casual meeting, next month, etc. 

3. Common Ways to Say Goodbye Before a Long Trip

Most Common Goodbyes

That moment when you or a loved one is about to board a plane, train, or bus can be very emotional. Travel often leads to more loving and meaningful goodbyes, regardless of how far away that person is going or how long they’ll be gone. And for each unique situation, there are several ways you could tell your loved one goodbye.

Below are just a few examples of how you can wish a loved one goodbye during those emotional last moments before they leave.

  • Adiós. / “Goodbye.”

This is the most popular way to say goodbye in the Spanish language, and the most informal.

  • Cuídate mucho. / “Take it easy.”

This phrase expresses your care for the other person, and asks them to take care while they’re away. On many occasions, adiós will be accompanied by cuídate mucho.

  • Que te vaya bien. / “Good luck.”

There’s no direct translation for this phrase, but in English, it would be like “Have a good time.” It’s a more familiar way to wish someone well on their trip.

  • Mucha suerte. / “Good luck.”

This is similar to que te vaya bien. It’s a cordial way of wishing friends, family, colleagues, or acquaintances the best on their trip. 

  • Pórtate bien. / “Be nice.”

This is the literal translation of “Behave well.” Native Spanish-speakers often say this to children who are going on a trip.

  • Te echaré de menos. / “I will miss you.”

You can use this to say goodbye to your loved ones: parents, children, brothers, partners, best friends. It’s usually accompanied by a strong hug.

  • Nos vemos pronto. / “See you soon.”

This is an informal and close way to say goodbye to family, friends, or colleagues to indicate that you’ll see each other again in the near future.

  • Buen viaje. / “Good trip.”

Like in English, this is a cordial way to say goodbye to anyone and wish them success on their trip.

 4. How to Say Goodbye When You’re in a Hurry

Running Over

In this section, I’ll show you how to say goodbye in Spanish when you need to leave in a hurry. You may notice while reading that some of the expressions, when translated, are similar to those you would use in English. By the time you finish reading through these, you should have little problem leaving a party, dinner, or meeting before everyone else! 

A- Informal 

  • Adiós, tengo prisa. / “Bye, I’m in a hurry.”

You can use this phrase with friends and family when you need to leave quickly. 

  • Estoy de afán. Or: Tengo prisa. / “I’m in a hurry.”

Tengo afán is the same as Tengo prisa. The only difference is that the first one is used in Latin American countries and the second one in Spain. It’s an informal phrase you can use when speaking to people you’re close to. 

  • Tengo que correr. Or: Tengo que volar. / “I have to run.” Or: “I have to fly.” (Literal translation)

This is a colloquial way to say goodbye when you’re in a hurry and can’t stay any longer. Tengo que volar is very common in countries like Colombia.

  • Me tengo que ir. / “I have to go.”

You can use this informal expression with friends and family, much like how you would use it in English.

  • ¡Es tarde, tengo que irme! / “It’s late, I’d better get / be going!”

This phrase goes a step farther by explaining why you need to leave: it’s late. 

  • Me voy. / “I’m off.” Or “I’m leaving.”

This is another informal way to say that you’re leaving. You can soften it a bit by explaining your motives first. For example: Bueno, me voy, tengo un día ocupado mañana. In English, this would be: “Anyway, I’m off: I have a busy day tomorrow.” 

B- Formal

  • Encantado/Encantada de verle de nuevo, espero que otro día podamos hablar con más tiempo!
    “It was nice to see you again, hope to catch up soon!”

Just like in English, this is a cordial way to say goodbye to someone in more formal situations. It indicates that it was pleasant to see him/her and that you hope to meet with them again.

  • Adiós, espero verte pronto. / “I hope to see you soon. Bye.”

This is a close and warm way to say goodbye to someone whose presence you enjoy, indicating that it would be nice to see him/her again.

5. Have a Nice Day

“Have a nice day!” 

I’m betting you say this to someone just about every day. Like in English, this cordial way to say goodbye is also used in Spanish after a short chat with a neighbor, a friend, or even a stranger.

Greeting to Neighbors

Here are some examples of when or how you might use this phrase:

  • In the morning

Imagine you have a short conversation with your neighbor early in the morning. To end the conversation, you may want to wish them a nice rest of their day. 

  • When greeting someone for the first time

If you run into a friend or coworker early in the morning, they’ll definitely appreciate it if you wish them a nice day.

  • When you’re with strangers or colleagues

If you’ve started talking with someone at the store, bank, or library, wishing them a nice day is a polite way to end the conversation. 

  • “Have a good day.” / Que te vaya bien

This phrase literally translates as “May it go well to you.” This is a good way to wish friends or family well in their upcoming activities for the day. 

In countries like Colombia or in Barcelona, Spain, people may say: Que vaya bien. It literally means: “May it go well to.” It’s always appropriate to respond with gracias (“thank you”), and to return the wish, you can also say igualmente (“likewise”).

6. Keep in Touch

Here are some Spanish goodbye phrases you can use to let the other person know you want to keep in touch! 

  • Te veo al rato. Or: Te veo luego. / “I’ll see you in a bit.”
  • Te veo después. / “Catch you later.” Or: “See you later.”
  • Te veo pronto. / “See you soon.” (nearby)
  • Seguimos en contacto. / “Keep in touch.” (formal)
  • Hasta la próxima. / “Until next time.”
  • Hasta pronto. / “See you soon.” (formal)

Note: In Spain, you may also hear the phrase hasta ahora which literally means “until now.” This expression is very typical of the country and is said to anyone, regardless of whether they’ll see each other again or not.

7. Saying Goodbye from a Distance

Our communication revolves around the internet and social networks, both of which have also changed the way in which we talk to each other. For example, thanks to emoticons and emojis, language is much more universal and less limited.

It’s fun, right? 

But it’s cooler to be able to express yourself with confidence and sound like a native. That’s why I’m going to leave you with some of the most commonly used expressions for saying goodbye in Spanish from a distance.

A- Over the Phone

  • Adiós. / “Bye.”
  • Besos. / “Kisses.” Or: Un beso. / “A kiss.”
  • Hablamos. / Translated literally, it means “We talk,” but it really means “Keep in touch.”

B- By Mail

i. Formal 

Here are some phrases you can use if the message is work-related or otherwise formal in nature.

  • Espero su respuesta.
    “I look forward to hearing from you.”
  • Cualquier duda, no dude en contactarme.
    “If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.”
  • Saludos cordiales.
    “Best regards.”
  • Seguimos en contacto.
    “Keep in touch.”

ii. Informal 

And here are phrases to use if you’re contacting someone about a personal topic, such as to give an announcement or to wish then congratulations. 

  • Mis mejores deseos.
    “Best wishes.”
  • Saludos.
    “Cheers.”

C- Text Messages

  • Adiós.
    “Bye.”
  • Hablamos luego.
    “Let’s talk later.”

D- Chat

This is the most popular way to communicate with people. Although it’s more common to use with relatives, there are some cases where you might be chatting with a stranger. Here are some good expressions you can use:

  • Nos vemos.
    “See you later.”
  • Adiós.
    “Bye.”
  • Besos.
    “Kisses.”
  • Cuídate.
    “Take care.”
  • Chao.
    “Bye.”

If the context is a bit more formal:

  • Feliz día. / Feliz noche.
    “Have a good day.” / “Have a good night.”
  • Seguimos en contacto.
    “Keep in touch.”

8. Other Cool Ways to Say Goodbye in Spanish

Some countries use very cultural expressions to say thank you and goodbye, especially in work-related environments:

  • Gracias por trabajar duro. / “Thanks for working hard.”

This phrase is popular in Asian countries to acknowledge someone’s hard work.

  • Buen viento y buena mar. / “Good wind and good sea.”

This one is popular in Latin America. It’s used to say goodbye when someone will be changing jobs soon or leaving the company.

9. Goodbye Idioms in Spanish

In Spain, although the official language is Spanish, there are different regions that use their own dialect. For example, they speak Gallego in Galicia and Catalonian in Catalan. Each country has particular ways of saying goodbye that you can only understand if you’re immersed in the culture. Let’s look at some of the most common examples:

  • Hasta luego Lucas.

This is a fun way to say goodbye in Spanish. It’s used informally and usually among friends.

  • Me piro. / Me abro.

The expression “Bueno, ¡me piro!” is widely used in Spain in very familiar environments and never with strangers. Me abro is the same, but it’s used more in countries like Colombia.

A Young Man
  • Ahí te quedas.

This literally translates to: “That is where you stay.” It indicates that you’re leaving the other person at the moment so you can go about doing other things. It’s used in the area of ​​Malaga in Spain and in some countries of Latin America, like Colombia.

  • Adéu.

This is a Catalan expression that’s normally used by the natives of Barcelona to say goodbye. It can be used with friends or strangers.

  • Ciao.

This is the official way to say goodbye in Italian, though many other languages ​​have adopted this phrase.

  • Ahueco el ala.

This one is a very colloquial way of saying goodbye or telling someone to leave. Its literal English translation is: “I cup the wing,” which, as it turns out, doesn’t make much sense. But in the local language, it really means something like “I’m off.”

Ahueco el ala is used in Spain, Colombia, and Mexico. Keep in mind that it should only be used with people you know well, and never with strangers.

10. In Conclusion…

In this guide, you’ve learned the most common ways to say goodbye in Spanish, from casual expressions to more formal ones. In addition, you saw several idioms from a variety of Spanish-speaking countries; this will certainly help you immerse yourself in the culture! 

Do you feel ready to continue your journey of language exploration? Remember that at SpanishPod101.com, you’ll find many more lessons like this one to keep your vocabulary fresh and your grammar knowledge on-point!

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Is Spanish Hard to Learn, and Should You Start Learning?

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There are many reasons why you should learn Spanish, and truth be told, everyone who’s looking to learn has their own special reason. Some learners might want to move to a Spanish-speaking country, while others might have a Spanish-speaking significant other. Some learners might just like the language, while others think that it’s a useful language to learn. And it is! In fact, Spanish is one of the most useful languages to learn in the world. 

But is Spanish hard to learn, as well? 

Well, it has the second-largest number of native speakers (after Mandarin Chinese) and it’s the fourth most-spoken language overall. Anyone who’s able to speak at least two of the most-spoken languages in the world already has a huge advantage compared to millions and millions of people. Have we convinced you yet?

Any reason you have for wanting to learn Spanish, or any other language you might be interested in, are valid. Once you start, we’re all in this together. But before you do, we’re sure you still want us to answer a few more questions about why Spanish is hard for some learners (and what things about it aren’t so bad). 

Here we go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Spanish Table of Contents
  1. So, is it Hard to Learn Spanish?
  2. What are the Hardest and Easiest Parts of Learning Spanish?
  3. I Want to Learn Spanish. Where Should I Start?
  4. What Advice Would You Give to a New Spanish Learner?
  5. Why is SpanishPod101.com Great for Learning Spanish?

1. So, is it Hard to Learn Spanish?

This is a question you’ve probably asked before while deciding whether to start learning Spanish. Maybe you’ve asked someone you know who’s learned the language, or a native Spanish-speaker, or even the Internet. In fact, that’s probably how you got to this article! It’s not an easy question to answer, because there are some factors you need to consider here. Let’s take a look at the main factor.

If you already speak another Romance language, such as French or Italian, you’ll already be familiar with the structures of the language and a lot of the vocabulary, which will make things much easier for you. This doesn’t mean that someone whose native language is Portuguese, for instance, will be able to learn Spanish immediately. But it will definitely be easier than it would be for someone who has never been around languages that are so close to Spanish.

For example, the word casa (“house”) in Spanish is also casa in both Portuguese and Italian. This is a phenomenon you’ll find going on with many other words, too! However, even though French is also a Romance language, it actually uses a very different word (maison) for “house.” Other words, nevertheless, will be the same or very similar. So there’s a bit of everything, really! 

But if your native language isn’t a Romance language, there’s no need to worry, because Spanish is still not counted among the most difficult languages. Just take a quick look at this article titled “The 20 Most Difficult Languages in the World to Learn.” You’ll notice that Spanish is not on it. That’s good news, isn’t it?

In conclusion, to answer the question we originally asked: No, it’s not hard to learn Spanish. Just like everything else in life, it will have some difficulties. But overall, it’s not that hard and anyone can learn it, no matter their native language, age, or any other factor that you’ve been told might affect your ability to learn a second language. Yay!

Happy Girl Surrounded by Money

2. What are the Hardest and Easiest Parts of Learning Spanish?

The answer to this question depends on who you ask and what your mother tongue is, but we’re pretty sure we can give you the type of answer you’re looking for. Here, we’ll cover what makes Spanish hard to learn as well as things that aren’t so bad for most students! 

A- Verbs

Every language, like it or not, has some hard parts. In this case, we believe that the hardest part of learning Spanish is the verbs, unless your native tongue is another Romance language with a similar number of conjugations. Spanish verbs are more complicated than verbs in English, because English doesn’t have as many conjugations.

The topic of ser and estar, two of the main Spanish verbs, is a particularly tough one. But lucky for you, we have the perfect article for that, as well as articles for many other difficult topics! This isn’t something you’ll have to worry about at the beginning of your Spanish learning, but it’s good to keep in mind for future reference.

Kid Struggling with Homework

B- Pronunciation

There are many easy aspects of learning Spanish, we think. For example, pronunciation, though it might seem tricky at first, is easy once you understand all the sounds. If you follow the rules, you know there aren’t going to be any surprises. We pronounce everything the way it’s spelled, with a couple of rare exceptions, such as not pronouncing the letter u in the combinations que, qui, gue, and gui (like in the English word “guitar”).

Spanish has a total of five vowel sounds, which is heavenly compared to the ridiculous number of vowel sounds in English. In this sense, Spanish likes to keep it simple. 

C- Vocabulary

Even though English isn’t a Romance language, there are thousands of words that sound very similar and that you’ll be able to identify immediately. Here are some examples:

  • Example: elefante
  • Translation: “elephant”
  • Example: invitación
  • Translation: “invitation”
  • Example: memoria 
  • Translation: “memory”

As you can see, despite the slight differences in spelling, you can immediately understand the meaning of these words in Spanish. There are also words that are spelled identically in both languages (idea, hotel, festival…). In most cases, the pronunciation won’t be exactly the same, but it sure does make the learning process a little smoother! 

D- False Friends

Be careful about false friends, though! False friends are words that also sound very similar, but have different meanings. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

  • Example: constipado
  • Translation: “to have a cold”

But you might have thought of a different word:

  • Example: estreñido
  • Translation: “constipated”

And now let’s look at a different pair from the opposite perspective. You might want to be careful whenever you say you’re embarrassed by something:

  • Example: embarazada
  • Translation: “pregnant”

The word you actually want to use is: 

  • Example: avergonzado/a
  • Translation: “embarrassed”

Keep in mind that most false friends won’t be as surprising as these! We selected the most shocking ones, but they’re exceptions. 

3. I Want to Learn Spanish. Where Should I Start?

We know that the first stages of learning a language can be overwhelming. There are many different ways to go about starting your language-learning journey, and it’s important to find the best one for you. We recommend starting with the basics. Before trying to learn too much at once, learn how to say “hello” and a few more basic words and phrases.

Beginning of a Race

Usually, one of the first lessons when you learn a new language is how to introduce yourself and how to ask another person to introduce themselves. You normally don’t start learning complicated grammar rules straight away. Instead, the idea is to build your skills up slowly.

4. What Advice Would You Give to a New Spanish Learner?

If you’ve just decided to start learning Spanish, welcome! You’re in for a treat. 

It won’t always be an easy ride, and some days you might find yourself getting stuck in a particular aspect of the language, but don’t give up! If there’s something you’re struggling with, ask us questions, do more research, or maybe move on to a different aspect for a while. Sometimes, a break is all you need to see things more clearly.

And remember: You won’t get anywhere without practicing! We’re sorry, we also wish we could learn it just like that, but any language requires practice to become fluent! There are many ways you can practice Spanish online, but if you can, we would recommend that you visit Spain and make some local friends.

Group of People Talking

5. Why is SpanishPod101.com Great for Learning Spanish?

At SpanishPod101.com, you’ll find everything you need to learn Spanish, from beginner lessons to more advanced ones. We have tons of free content for you to use, and we have so much more to offer if you upgrade your account to one of our Premium plans

If you upgrade your plan, you’ll have access to hundreds of useful lessons, videos, quizzes, and all of the vocabulary and grammar tools you need to become fluent in Spanish. In our most complete plan, Premium PLUS, you’ll even have access to a teacher who will be there just for you, so your program will be completely personalized. This means that if you ever have doubts or questions, you’ll be able to get help whenever you need it. 

Speaking of questions, feel free to drop us a comment with any questions or concerns you have about learning Spanish. We’ll be glad to help you out!

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The 9 Most Common Mistakes in Spanish for Learners

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We know that learning Spanish can be a bit frustrating, especially for native English-speakers. Trying to understand the language’s structure is intimidating to many—but calm down! No matter how many mistakes in Spanish you make along the way, the most important thing is to enjoy the process and learn step-by-step.

Knowing what to look out for will help you improve your Spanish language skills a lot more quickly. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the nine most common mistakes when learning Spanish. We’ll review a list of common mistakes of English speakers in Spanish, from pronunciation and vocabulary, to gender agreement and false friends. At the end, we’ll also cover some funny errors in Spanish that you should avoid at all costs! This guide will help you recognize many of the most common Spanish mistakes, and give you a better idea of how to correct them. 

In addition to this guide, we have a number of activities on SpanishPod101.com that you can use to practice everything you learn in this lesson.

Let’s get started!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Pronunciation Mistakes
  2. False Friends and Similar-Sounding Words
  3. Gender and Number
  4. Using Unnecessary Pronouns: You & I
  5. Prepositions
  6. Grammatical Mistakes
  7. Word Order Mistakes
  8. Politeness Level
  9. The Most Common Embarrassing Mistakes
  10. To Sum Up…

Man Studying

1. Pronunciation Mistakes

Spanish pronunciation mistakes are some of the most common errors plaguing foreign learners. There are words and letters that require more forceful vocalization than English speakers are used to, and other words that contain silent letters that Spanish-learners don’t know what to do with.

In this section, we’ll show you some typical Spanish pronunciation mistakes and how to avoid them! 

    → We recommend that you review the Spanish alphabet before jumping into this section.

1 – Use of R, Ñ, J, and H

In Spanish, the sounds for letters like R, Ñ, J, and H have very special characteristics.

For example, a big mistake that many Spanish students make is to not trill the R. When native speakers hear this incorrect pronunciation, it may confuse them. 

Note that we trill the R at the beginning of a word, or the RR when it’s between two vowels. Otherwise, the sound needs to be weak.

Examples:

RROne R at the beginning of a word(Strong sound)One R(Weak sound)
Carro (“Trolley”)Río (“River”)Barato (“Cheap”)
Borrar (“Delete”)Rodilla (“Knee”)Parada (“Stop”)
Perro (“Dog”)Roca (“Rock”)Pera (“Pear”)
Tierra (“Earth”)Remo (“Rowing”)Caricia (“Caress”)

And now a quick note on the other letters:

  • H

    The H in Spanish is usually silent. We’ll talk more about this soon!
  • Ñ

    This letter has a very particular sound that many English-speakers struggle with. It sounds similar to the underlined sound in the words “canyon” and “onion.”
  • J

    The sound of the J is the same as that of the letter G, when the latter is followed by the letters e or i. In Latin American countries, the sound is the same and is very similar to the sound of H in English. But in countries like Spain, there’s a marked difference; for them, the sound of the G tends to occur in the back of the throat.

Teacher Pronunciation

Words with similar sounds:

Words with GWords with J
Geografía (“Geography”)Cerrajería (“Locksmith”)
Religión (“Religion”)Jarra (“Jug”)
Origen (“Origin”)Jirafa (“Giraffe”)
Genio (“Genius”)Caja (“Box”)

2 – How to Pronounce H

You should know that the H in Spanish never makes the English H sound. Here are the basics: 

  • If you see an H accompanied by a C (CH), it will have a sound similar to the CH in “church,” “chocolate,” or “change.”
  • If you see an H without a C, then it’s silent. 

Examples:      

CHH
Cuchillo (“Knife”)Helado (“Ice cream”)
Chino (“Chinese”)Hamburguesa (“Burger”)
Coche (“Car”)Hielo (“Ice”)
Mucho (“A lot”)Cohete (“Rocket”)
Chocolate (“Chocolate”)Cacahuete (“Peanut”)

3 – Pronouncing S and Z in Spain vs. Latin America

The S, C, and  Z

In Spanish from Spain, the C and Z sometimes have the same sound. The rule is simple: when C is accompanied by the letters e or i, and Z with a, o, or u, the pronunciation is done with the tongue in front of the teeth. That is, it emits a slightly more marked sound than that of the S.

Let’s see some examples:

  • Cena (“Dinner”)
  • Zorro (“Fox”)
  • Cielo (“Sky”)

On the other hand, in Latin American Spanish, S, C, and Z have identical pronunciations.

The best way to prevent making a mistake in Spanish here is to familiarize yourself with words that are spelled similarly but have different meanings. In addition, we recommend that you listen to the pronunciation of Spanish from Spain, so that you’ll avoid falling into translation and context errors. 

Similar wordsEnglish translation
Casa / Caza“House” /  “Hunting”
Basar / Bazar“Base on” / “Bazaar”
Abrasar / Abrazar“Burn” / “Hug”

2. False Friends and Similar-Sounding Words

Confused Woman

Several of the common mistakes Spanish-learners make have to do with writing, spelling, and pronunciation. False friends, intonation, and homonymous words frequently trip up new learners, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with these mistakes and their solutions! 

1 – False Friends

The word “Anglicism” may sound familiar to you. This basically refers to the influence that English has had on other languages, including Spanish.

Although this can be a great help to English-speakers, you must be careful! If not, you’ll fall into the trap of false friends.

These are words that look or sound similar to words in English, but have different meanings. Believe it or not, some of the most common mistakes in Spanish are the result of taking false friends at face value.

For example, did you know that the word recordar in Spanish means “remember,” not “record?” Here are some more false friends to look out for:

  • Enviar 
    • “Envy” X
    • “Send” O
  • Éxito 
    • “Exit” X
    • “Success” O 
  • Parada 
    • “Parade” X
    • “Bus stop” O
  • Vaso
    • “Vase” X
    • “Glass” O
  • Suceso 
    • “Success” X
    • “Event” O

2 – Accent and Tones

Accents in Spanish are graphic signs that are written over a letter to indicate the intensity with which that letter should be stressed. During your Spanish studies, you’ll find that several words—even if they’re spelled the same otherwise—take on different meanings depending on whether the accent mark is present or not. 

That said, it’s best to learn how to recognize them in order to avoid embarrassing situations like calling your father “potato” instead of “dad.”

Let’s look at some of the most common Spanish words, with accents and without, with their respective meanings:

SpanishEnglish
Él / El“He” / “The”
Papá / Papa“Father” / “Potato”
¿Por qué? / Porque“Why?” / “Because”
Práctico / Practico“Practical” / “I practice”
Bebé / Bebe“Baby” / “(S)he drinks”
De / Dé“Of” / “Give”
Sí / Si“Yes” / “If”
Esté / Este“Is” / “This”
Está / Esta“I am” (present subjunctive) / “This”
Bañó / Baño“(S)he bathed” / “Bathroom”

3 – Spanish Homonymous Words

More typical Spanish mistakes have to do with homonymous words. The name may sound very technical, but these are simply words that have identical or similar pronunciations, but different meanings. In this case, there are no accent marks to distinguish between them. 

In this category, there are homographs and homophones.

Example:

  • María buscó diferentes citas de autor para su tesis doctoral.
    “María looked for different authors’ quotes for her doctoral thesis.”
  • Tengo una cita romántica esta noche.
    “I have a romantic date tonight.”

Both Spanish sentences use the word cita, but the context is completely different. This can also happen with the following words:

  • Alce
    “Moose”
    OR
    Conjugation of the verb “to pick up”
  • Capital
    The capital of a city
    OR
    Money one has collected over the years

4 – Homophones 

These are words that sound the same, but are spelled differently and have different meanings. You can usually determine which spelling is appropriate based on the context. 

Examples:

  • asta (“stick”) vs. hasta (“still”)
  • grabe (“record”) vs. grave (“serious”)

As we explained previously, Latin Americans and some Spaniards pronounce the letters Z, C, and S exactly the same way. For this reason, the following words are also homophones in those particular regions. In standard Iberian Spanish, however, these words are not homophones.

  • abrasar (“burn”) vs. abrazar (“hug”)
  • Asia (“Asia”) vs. hacia (“towards”)

Question Mark

3. Gender and Number

Other typical Spanish language mistakes that foreign students make involve gender and number. In fact, native Spanish-speakers can easily identify non-native speakers, because these kinds of mistakes are very obvious and Spanish-learners make them all the time.

In Spanish, gender refers to whether a noun is masculine or feminine. For example, una mesa (“a table”) is feminine, while un vaso (“a glass”) is masculine.

Number refers to whether a noun is singular or plural; keep in mind that you must use the appropriate articles based on the number! For example, las mesas (“the tables”) is plural, while la mesa (“the table”) is singular.

How can you know what gender and number a noun is?

In terms of gender, feminine nouns generally end in -a or -e: puerta (“door”) / llave (“key”). On the other hand, masculine nouns generally end with -o: vaso (“glass”) / suelo (“floor”) / baño (“bathroom”). 

A noun’s article will give information on both its gender and number, in most cases. We’ll talk more about this in the following sections. 

1 – Plural vs. Singular (Is vs. Are)

Many students get confused about singular vs. plural nouns and their articles. In particular, the use of es and son (“is” and “are”) trips up new learners. 

To help you avoid Spanish mistakes like this, you should know the difference between a phrase in the plural and another in the singular. 

If a noun has an -S at the end and is also accompanied by son (“are”), it’s plural. On the other hand, if the noun does not carry an -S and is accompanied by es (“is”), it’s singular.

  • Las iglesias son grandes. (“The churches are big.”) O
    Las iglesias es grandes. (“The churches is big.”) X
  • Los edificios son altos. (“The buildings are tall.”) – Plural
  • El edificio es alto. (“The building is tall.”) – Singular

2 – Gender: Masculine vs. Feminine 

Remember: Nouns and their articles are always going to be masculine or feminine. Here’s a chart to help you differentiate between the articles and what they mean:

Singular M.Plural M.Singular F.Plural F.
El / “The”Los / “The”La / “The”Las / “The”
Un / “A”Unos / “Some”Una / “A”Unas / “Some”

Examples: 

  • La chica es muy inteligente. (“The girl is very intelligent.”) O
  • Una chica es muy inteligente. (“A girl is very intelligent.”) X
  •  Mi hermana compró un gran libro. (“My sister bought a great book.”) O
  • Mi hermana compró el gran libro. (“My sister bought the great book.”) X

Now let’s see the difference between singular masculine and feminine articles: 

  • El árbol está floreciendo. NOT La árbol está floreciendo.
    “The tree is flowered.”
  • La puerta está abierta. NOT El puerta está abierto.
    “The door is open.”

Word Exchange

4. Using Unnecessary Pronouns: You & I 

As a general rule, pronouns in English are indispensable. But this is not the case in Spanish. This is largely an advantage for foreign students, as it makes sentences much easier to write and speak.

For example:

  • (Tú) Comes mucho.
    “You eat a lot.”

However, many English-speakers, out of habit, construct their Spanish sentences using pronouns where they’re not needed. 

Of course, this mistake isn’t too serious. The worst that will happen is that native speakers may joke that you speak like a robot or, in more colloquial words, “speak as an Indian.”

Just try to remember that pronouns are generally irrelevant when speaking, since the verbs should already be conjugated to portray who you’re talking about.

  • Yo voy sacar el perro a pasear. (“I’m going to take the dog for a walk.”)
    = Voy a sacar el perro a pasear. (“[I’m] going to take the dog for a walk.”)
  • Tú necesitas descansar más. (“You need to rest more.”)
    = Necesitas descansar más. (“You need to rest more.”)

5. Prepositions 

“I go to your house by dinner with you.” 

Sounds weird, right? 

Maybe you’ve noticed similar mistakes when listening to native Spanish-speakers converse in English. But did you know that the reverse is also true? Many English-speakers use incorrect prepositions when speaking Spanish! 

In this section, we’ll pay special attention to two of the most commonly used prepositions in Spanish: por and para.

When to Use Them

Por is used to explain causation or motivation, while para is used to refer to the purpose of an action.

Many English-speakers struggle to differentiate between these two prepositions, and as a result, create very confusing sentences. 

For example, it’s not correct to say: Voy a tu casa por cenar contigo. Instead, you should say: Voy a tu casa para cenar contigo. (“I go to your house for dinner with you.”) In this case, you’re explaining that you’re going to the house for a specific reason, which is to have dinner.

Examples with por:

  • Vine a Madrid por mi trabajo.
    “I came to Madrid for my work.”
  • Voy de viaje por unos días.
    “I’m going on a trip for a few days.”

Examples with para:

  • Utilizo mi coche para ir a trabajar.
    “I use my car to go to work.”
  • Este regalo es para ti.
    “This gift is for you.”
  • El doctor recetó antibióticos para la infección.
    “The doctor prescribed antibiotics for the infection.”

6. Grammatical Mistakes

Many English-speakers struggle with Spanish grammar. 

To help you avoid making too many grammatical errors, we’re going to leave you some of the most common examples. By internalizing them, you’ll greatly boost your Spanish fluency!

Thinking Girl

Confusing Spanish Verbs: SER vs. ESTAR

If you’ve studied even a little Spanish, you probably know already that there are some aspects of Spanish grammar that are complicated for English-speakers because they don’t exist in English. 

One of them is the difference between ser and estar. In many cases, it can be easy to know which one to use. But there are certain situations where distinguishing between them is more difficult. 

With time and practice, you’ll see yourself making more and more progress, and better understanding these concepts.

Using ser:

Ser is used to describe permanent or long-lasting characteristics/states of being. 

For example:

  • El hombre es alto. (“The man is tall.”)

Using estar:

Estar is used to talk about location or temporary characteristics/states of being. 

For example:

  • Paris está en Francia. (“Paris is in France.”)

More examples:

Incorrect XCorrect OEnglish Sentence
Ella es dormida.                   Ella está dormida.“She is asleep.”        
Mi vecino está amable.  Mi vecino es amable.“My neighbor is kind.”     
La mujer está delgada.   La mujer es delgada. “The woman is thin.”        

“To like” vs. Gustar 

New learners often make mistakes in Spanish when using the verb gustar

Often, when translating the verb gustar into English, we give it the meaning “to like.” However, note that there are marked differences between the English “to like” and the Spanish gustar.

Take this sentence for example: 

  • Me gusta mucho la paella.
    “I like paella very much.”

Here, me gusta really means something along the lines of “it gives me pleasure.” In the example sentence, the paella gives the speaker pleasure, making the speaker the object of the sentence.

The mistake that some learners make is to use the Spanish pronoun yo (“I”) and treat themselves as the subject or doer. So they normally say:

Yo me gusto la paella mucho, which is incorrect. 

If you want to say that you like the paella, you have to omit the pronoun yo and only say: Me gusta la paella.

7. Word Order Mistakes 

English-speakers often make word order mistakes when learning Spanish. This usually happens for two reasons:

1) They directly translate English phrases into Spanish, word for word.

2) They believe that the first noun they hear is always the subject of the sentence.

Let’s see some examples.

  • Adjectives 

By now, you should know that in Spanish, the adjectives usually go after the subject: 

English Sentence       Incorrect Translation         Correct Translation
“That’s a red car.”Ese es un rojo coche.Ese es un coche rojo.
“The white door”La blanca puertaLa puerta blanca
“A large stadium”Un grande estadioUn estadio grande

  • The Effect of Word Order on the Sentence’s Meaning

In Spanish, the meaning of a sentence can be the same even if the word order is changed.

Example: 

  • Sarah le cantó una canción a Marco.
  • A  Marco le cantó una canción Sarah.  

In both sentences, Sarah sang the song. It doesn’t matter that Marco’s name came first in the second sentence.

8. Politeness Level

First things first, let’s talk about what this means in Spain vs. Latin America: In Spain, courtesy is less common than in Latin American countries.

Here’s an example of things you would hear in Spain:

  • ¿Me pone una caña, cuando pueda? (“Can I have a beer when you can?”)
  • ¿Tiene usted la hora? (“Do you have the time?”)

In Latin America, they use more formalities when speaking:

  • Hola, ¿me das una cerveza, por favor? (“Hello, can you give me a beer, please?”)
  • ¿Buenas tardes, me podría indicar esta dirección? (“Good afternoon, could you give me this address?”)

Tú vs. Usted

is used more with family and friends, while usted is used with people who are older than you and strangers. 

  • Speaking to Strangers / Older People

¿Me podría ayudar con esta dirección, please? (“Could you help me with this address, please?”)

  • Speaking to Family / Friends

¿Me dices la dirección? / ¿Dime la dirección? (“Can you tell me this address, please?”)


People Talking

9. The Most Common Embarrassing Mistakes

To end on a lighter note, here are some mistakes often made by Spanish-learners when they mis-speak a phrase. Pay close attention to avoid the potential embarrassment yourself! 

What you think you’re saying:What you’re saying in Spanish (Incorrect form)What you’re really saying:What you should say(Correct form)
“I’m hot.”Estoy caliente.“I have heat.”Tengo calor.
“I’m embarrassed.”Estoy embarazado (a).“I’m pregnant.”Tengo vergüenza.
“I’m excited.”Estoy excitado.“I’m horny.”Estoy emocionado (a).
“I’m 25 years old.”Tengo 25 anos.“I have 25 anuses.”Tengo 25 años.

10. To Sum Up…

In this article, you learned the nine most common Spanish mistakes. There are many others, but this list is a good place to start; by avoiding these issues, you’ll soon be able to speak with confidence. Believe me, you’ll feel great!

On SpanishPod101.com, you can also find lots of video and audio lessons related to this topic. We have everything you need to further your studies and to keep learning Spanish in a fresh and clear manner.

Before you go, let us know in the comments which common Spanish mistakes you’ve made before. Has our article helped clear up any confusion? We look forward to hearing from you!

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A Traditional Christmas Countdown: Las Posadas in Mexico

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Can you believe it’s almost Christmas? It’s the time of year when the cold of winter culminates to a time of warmth, joy, and compassion. 

Did you know that in Mexico, there’s an entire nine-night festival leading up to Christmas? 

In this article, you’ll learn about the Las Posadas holiday, how it got started, and more fun Las Posadas facts.

Are you ready?

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1. What is Las Posadas?

A Silhouette of Mary and Joseph’s Journey

Each year, Mexicans observe the Las Posadas festival from December 16 to December 24. For these nueve noches (“nine nights”), Mexicans commemorate the journey of Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus. 

This long holiday, leading up to Navidad (“Christmas”), first came to Mexico in the year 1586. Prior to this, the indigenous people celebrated a pagan holiday for the winter solstice. According to their beliefs, one of their major deities—Huitzilopochtli—was celebrated in the month of December. 

Once Christmas celebrations took root in Mexico, they integrated quite well into the Mexican culture. In fact, Spanish missionaries took advantage of the similarities between the holidays to give the Mexicans a Christian holiday that melded with the traditional Mexican beliefs.  


2. How is Las Posadas Celebrated?

A Procession for Las Posadas

There are several Las Posadas holiday traditions, the most important of which is the procesión (“procession”) depicting Mary and Joseph’s journey. This procession takes place each of the nine nights during the festival, and generally takes one of two forms. 

In one form, two people will act out the roles of Mary and Joseph. They walk around a house or garden, led by a small procession carrying candles. Upon knocking on the door of the house, a song is sung and the two are allowed to enter the home (along with their procession).

In the other form, one half of the group acts as the procession while the other half acts as the innkeepers. Those in the procession, rather than dressing up in costumes, will carry images of Mary and Joseph with them as they walk around the house. The “innkeepers” will be waiting inside the house and let the procession inside once the song is sung. 

Upon entering the posada (“lodging”), the group will first pray and engage in other religious activities. Afterwards, the real party begins! There’s a lot of great food and drinks to be enjoyed, as well as Las Posadas songs to be sung. 

Popular Las Posadas foods include tamales, pambazos, and the favorite holiday drinks atole and a hot punch with a touch of alcohol. Of course, one can expect to find an array of treats, including churros, Christmas cookies, and hot chocolate. Children look forward to each night of Las Posadas just as much as the adults! Every night, they break open a piñata (“piñata”) and get to indulge in lots of caramelo (“candy”) and other sweets. 

People may also sing villancicos (“Christmas carols”) and put on a Christmas obra (“play”), considering the festival’s close proximity to Christmas. 

    → See our vocabulary list of popular Mexican Foods to learn the names of other dishes you might encounter on Las Posadas!

3. Come in, Holy Pilgrims…

Several Christmas Decorations and Sheet Music for Christmas

The singing of the holiday song Pidiendo Posada during the procession is one of the most iconic Las Posadas traditions. Do you know what the lyrics are?

Well, there are many stanzas to the song, but the most important is:

“…I am a carpenter by the name Joseph…my wife is Maria…and of the Divine Word she is going to be a mother.”

Once the door opens, the innkeepers say:

“Come in holy pilgrims, pilgrims, and receive this little corner. For although poor the abode, poor the abode, I give it to you with my heart.”

4. Essential Vocabulary for Las Posadas

Some Mint Candies against a White Background

Let’s review some of the vocabulary words from this article!

  • Caramelo – “Candy” [noun, masculine]
  • Navidad  – “Christmas” [proper noun, feminine]
  • Cantar – “Sing” [verb]
  • Piñata – “Piñata” [noun, feminine]
  • Posada – “Lodging” [noun, feminine]
  • Nueve noches – “Nine nights”
  • Villancico – “Christmas carol” [noun, masculine]
  • Procesión – “Procession” [noun, feminine]
  • Obra – “Play” [noun, feminine]
  • Tradición – “Tradition” [noun, feminine]

Remember that you can hear the pronunciation of each word on our Las Posadas vocabulary list.

Final Thoughts

Las Posadas is a fun traditional holiday that characterizes both the religious nature of many Mexicans and the pagan traditions of times past. Infuse these characteristics with the joys of Christmas, family, and Mexican food, and you have a festive season not to be missed!

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about Mexican culture or the Spanish language, SpanishPod101.com has several blog posts we think you’ll like:

Have you been loving our blog? Then you’ll definitely enjoy going through our vast library of Spanish lessons. All you have to do is create your free lifetime account to get started! This will give you access to fun and accessible lessons on a variety of topics, taught by native Spanish speakers. What are you waiting for?

Good luck with your Spanish, and Happy Las Posadas!

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Top 10 Questions in Spanish and How to Answer Them

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Can you ask questions in Spanish yet? 

We’re sure you’re aware that to master any language, you can’t rely solely on affirmative sentences. You need to know how to ask questions, though some questions are more important than others. This is especially true for non-native speakers who are just starting out. Knowing the right questions can help you survive self-introductions, and others can get you out of sticky situations.  

The first thing you need to learn, if you haven’t yet, are Spanish question words. Knowing these words, as well as the most common questions in Spanish, you can start asking your own questions! You can find a list of Spanish question words in our article about pronouns.

Now, onto our list of Spanish questions and answers for beginners!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. ¿Cómo te llamas? – “What’s your name?”
  2. ¿De dónde eres? – “Where are you from?”
  3. ¿Hablas español? – “Do you speak Spanish?”
  4. ¿Cuánto tiempo llevas estudiando español? – “How long have you been studying Spanish?”
  5. ¿Alguna vez has estado en España? – “Have you ever been in Spain?”
  6. ¿Cómo es…? – “How is…?”
  7. ¿Te gusta la comida española? – “Do you like Spanish food?”
  8. ¿Qué estás haciendo? – “What are you doing?”
  9. ¿Qué te pasa? – “What’s wrong?”
  10. ¿Cuánto cuesta? – “How much is it?”
  11. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

1. ¿Cómo te llamas? – “What’s your name?”

Our first question is one that you’ve probably heard before. The literal translation of this question would be something like “How are you called?” But while that might sound weird, you probably realize that this is just the classic question we ask to learn someone’s name. This question is very important, and usually one of the first ones you learn when you start studying Spanish.

First Encounter

Other Ways of Asking this Question

There’s another way to ask the same question, though it’s not as popular as the one above:

¿Cuál es tu nombre? 

This one doesn’t have a strange literal translation. Instead, it just means “Which is your name?” which makes it easier to explain, doesn’t it? Because it’s a near-literal translation of the English question, you might be tempted to use this one instead of ¿Cómo te llamas? But remember that the first one we showed you is more common, so you’ll sound more natural if you use that one.

How to Answer this Question

There are a few different ways of answering this question, and even though some are longer than others, they’re all equally valid. In this case, there’s no one answer that’s most common, except for maybe the last one, which is also the easiest. It’s your lucky day!

Example: Me llamo Francisco. 
Translation: “My name is Francisco.”

Example: Soy Ana.
Translation: “I’m Ana.”

Example: Juan.
Translation: “Juan.”

Something else you might find useful is how to follow your answer after someone has asked you your name. You can add ¿Y tú? (“And you?”) at the end if you would also like to know their name. 

If you’re curious about Spanish names, here’s an article from late 2018 that lists some common names in Spain

2. ¿De dónde eres? – “Where are you from?”

Here’s another one of the most basic Spanish questions that we commonly use when meeting someone for the first time.

Other Ways of Asking this Question

There’s another common way of asking this question, which we use in English as well.

Example: ¿De dónde vienes?
Translation: “Where do you come from?”

How to Answer this Question
Once again, there are different, equally valid answers we can give to a question like this. You can refer to your nationality or to your home country.

Example: Soy húngaro. 
Translation: “I am Hungarian.”

Example: Soy de Hungría.
Translation: “I am from Hungary.”

Example: Vengo de Hungría.
Translation: “I come from Hungary.”

3. ¿Hablas español? – “Do you speak Spanish?”

This is a question that you might be asked, or that you might ask, someday. Of course, you can change it to ask about any other language. For example, if you’re in Spain and you’re talking to someone in Spanish, but you’re not feeling too comfortable yet, you could ask them: ¿Hablas inglés? (“Do you speak English?”) and hope they say yes!

How to Answer this Question

There are a few different answers you could give someone who asks you this question.

There are the simple answers, which you probably already know:

Example: Sí.
Translation: “Yes.”

Example: No.
Translation: “No.”

There’s another simple alternative to “yes” or “no” in case you didn’t understand the question in the first place (which we could say is really another way of telling them you’re not too fluent yet):

Example: ¿Qué?
Translation: “What?”

And a few more elaborate answers:

Example: Un poco. / Un poquito.
Translation: “A bit.” / “A little bit.”

Example: Hablo [un poco] de español.
Translation: “I speak [a bit of] Spanish.”

4. ¿Cuánto tiempo llevas estudiando español? – “How long have you been studying Spanish?”

When you meet someone from Spain and tell them you study Spanish, they might ask how long you’ve been doing that for. 

How to Answer this Question

The answer you give (or that you’re given) will obviously vary, but you have two simple options. One is to just say the short answer:

Example: Un año.
Translation: “One year.”

While this will work just fine, we do have a slightly longer (no panicking, it’s just one extra word!) reply:

Example: Llevo tres meses.
Translation: “[I have been] for three months.”

Girl Studying

Notice that both the question and the “long” answer use the verb llevar. This verb usually means “to bring,” but it’s also used to talk about the amount of time you’ve been doing something for. Another example using this verb would be: Llevo dos años viviendo en Barcelona. (“I’ve been living in Barcelona for two years.”)

5. ¿Alguna vez has estado en España? – “Have you ever been in Spain?”

Following are some useful questions and answers for Spanish-learners who are traveling to a Spanish-speaking country or chatting with someone who’s familiar with Spain.

Other Ways of Asking this Question

Example: ¿Has ido alguna vez a España?
Translation: “Have you ever gone to Spain?”

Example: ¿Has estado en España?
Translation: “Have you been in Spain?”

Example: ¿Alguna vez has visitado España?
Translation: “Have you ever visited Spain?”

Or, a slight variation:

Example: ¿Es la primera vez que vienes a España?
Translation: “Is this the first time you’ve come to Spain?”

How to Answer this Question

This is another yes-or-no question, so we have a couple of obvious answers. However, there are a few more options, including longer answers, that you might like to use if you’re feeling confident enough.

Example: No, nunca he estado.
Translation: “No, I’ve never been there.”

Example: He estado en España dos veces.
Translation: “I’ve been in Spain twice.”

Introducing Yourself

6. ¿Cómo es…? – “How is…?”

This is a more open-ended question that you can alter based on your inquiry; it’s used to ask someone to describe something. In English, the translation will sometimes be something more like: “What’s ___ like?” Here are some examples:

Example: ¿Cómo es Granada en invierno?
Translation: “How is Granada in the winter?”

Example: ¿Cómo es el interior de una pelota?
Translation: “What is the inside of a ball like?”

How to Answer this Question

Because there are so many different questions one could ask, there are even more answers one could give. An example would be to use an adjective, but other times, the question might require a longer explanation.

Example: ¡Es maravilloso!
Translation: “It’s wonderful!”

7. ¿Te gusta la comida española? – “Do you like Spanish food?”

Spaniards are very, very proud of their cuisine. That means that if you’re visiting Spain (or have visited in the past), and you meet someone Spanish, it’s quite likely that they’ll ask you this. In case you’re wondering, they’re expecting you to tell them you love it.

Other Ways of Asking this Question

Here’s another common way to ask this question:

Example: ¿Qué te parece la comida española?
Translation: “What do you think about Spanish food?”

Spanish Omelette

How to Answer this Question

Example: ¡Me encanta! 
Translation: “I love it!”

Example: Me gusta mucho.
Translation: “I like it very much.”

We hope you never use it to answer this question, but we thought we should probably teach you how to say you don’t like it.

Example: No me gusta [nada].
Translation: “I don’t like it [at all].”

8. ¿Qué estás haciendo? – “What are you doing?”

This question is pretty clear, we think! It can be asked in different contexts and with different intentions, but in any case, we understand it.

Other Ways of Asking this Question

We have another similar way of asking this question:

Example: ¿Qué haces?
Translation: “What do you do?”

This is the literal translation, but it may also refer to what one is doing at the moment of asking the question.

How to Answer this Question

Obviously, there are many ways of answering this question, because there are many things you could be doing.

Example: Estoy limpiando mi habitación.
Translation: “I’m cleaning up my room.”

We don’t want to say anything, but in case you ever need it, we thought we’d give you the following example:

Example: No es lo que parece.
Translation: “It’s not what it looks like.”

9. ¿Qué te pasa? – “What’s wrong?”

Sometimes you might feel like someone is down or struggling. You need to know the right question to ask in order to help them out.

Other Ways of Asking this Question

While this version of the question doesn’t have exactly the same meaning, you could still ask it in a similar situation:

Example: ¿Estás bien?
Translation: “Are you okay?”

How to Answer this Question

You never know what reply you’re going to get, but there are a few answers you’re likely to hear. It’s also possible that the person you ask won’t want to give you a direct answer:

Example: Nada
Translation: “Nothing.”

Or maybe they’ll reply with an adjective, by telling you an emotion they’re feeling.

Example: Estoy enfadado/a. 
Translation: “I’m angry.”

Example: Estoy triste.
Translation: “I’m sad.”

Sad Girl with Friend

Perhaps they’ll really explain the reason something’s wrong:

Example: Mi hermana está muy enferma.
Translation: “My sister is very sick.”

10. ¿Cuánto cuesta? – “How much is it?”

If you want to go shopping in a Spanish-speaking country, but you can’t find the price tag, it will be useful to know these simple Spanish questions and answers.

Other Ways of Asking this Question

Example: ¿Cuánto es? 
Translation: “How much is it?”

How to Answer this Question

Example: Cuesta 400 €.
Translation: “It costs 400 €.”

Example: Son 3 €. 
Translation: “It’s 3 €.”

Paying on Card

11. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

We hope you found these common Spanish questions and answers useful, and that they inspire you to ask more questions and learn more in order to become fluent in Spanish. 

Are there any questions we missed? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help you out! 

Remember there’s a lot more that you can learn at SpanishPod101.com. Check out our great variety of lessons, our free vocabulary lists, and much more.

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How to Pass the DELE Spanish Proficiency Test

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At some point in your Spanish-learning journey, you’ll probably want to test your mettle and see how far you’ve come. Few things are as motivating as tangible progress, after all! And depending on your reasons for learning Spanish, becoming certified in your Spanish proficiency may be necessary to achieve your goals.

That’s where the DELE Spanish test comes in. 

In this article, we’ll explain everything about the DELE, one of the official Spanish language exams: what it is, how to sign up, and why you should care. You’ll also learn all the details about the six possible DELE Spanish exam levels and how to identify yours. 

Women Doubting

For those of you who don’t know much about DELE, this article will inform you about everything you need to know. For those of you who have decided to take the exam, this article is also designed to help you prepare for the big day. In particular, we’ll give you an in-depth look at each of the four sections of the exam and offer you some tips and techniques to succeed!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Study Strategies in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. What is the Spanish DELE Exam?
  2. Introduction to the DELE Exam
  3. DELE A1
  4. DELE A2
  5. DELE B1
  6. DELE B2
  7. DELE C1
  8. DELE C2
  9. Tips on Preparing for DELE
  10. Conclusion

1. What is the Spanish DELE Exam?

DELE stands for Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera, or in English, “Spanish as a Foreign Language Diploma.”

This is an official diploma that certifies various levels of proficiency in Spanish.

This certificate is issued by the Instituto Cervantes, the official representative of the Ministerio de Educación y Formación Profesional de España. El Instituto Cervantes is an official Spanish institution recognized worldwide, which makes the DELE the best choice for validating your Spanish proficiency. 

This exam is designed by following the Common European Framework of References for Languages. So, it’s made and designed by the standards of the European Union.

Flag of Europen Union

1- Why Should You Take the DELE Exam?

There are many possible reasons why you would want to pass a DELE:

  • If you’re considering entering into a Spanish university
  • If you’re planning to apply for a Spanish permit
  • If you want to find a job in Spain or any other Spanish-speaking country
  • If you want to request a Spanish citizenship

Whatever your reasons, it’s good to know that the DELE is:

  • Valid for a lifetime (it does not have an expiration date)
  • Internationally recognized 
  • In accordance with the CEFR Common European Framework, for levels A1 through C2 

Yes! The Spanish DELE certificates cover all the levels, from A1 to C2. It’s a highly recommended certificate if you want to access the professional and academic world of a Spanish-speaking country.

In Spain, DELE certificates are recognized by institutions and national organizations such as the Ministry of Justice of Spain, Ministry of Health of Spain, and some general State Administration and public bodies.

Generally, it’s recommended that a Spanish student aims to pass the DELE Spanish exam at the B2 level. This shows that the student can interact with natives, have a clear argument, and understand the gist of what they read and hear. Further, many universities and official institutions in Spanish-speaking countries ask that candidates attain the B2 certification. 

With the basics out of the way, let’s move on to our section on DELE preparation and what to expect.

A Man Taking a Spanish Exam

2- What Do the DELE Exams Look Like?

The DELE exam consists of four distinct sections

1. Reading (Compresión de lectura)

2. Writing (Expresión e interacción escrita)

3. Listening (Comprensión auditiva)

4. Speaking (Expresión e interacción oral)

Depending on which level you’re testing for, you may be allotted a different amount of time per section. 

Keep reading to learn more about each section! 

3- Additional DELE Information

Before we move forward, we’re going to cover a few key points that you should know before you start preparing! 

A- Subjects

The DELE exams tend to cover four key subjects:

  • Personal
  • Public
  • Education
  • Professional

Thus, many of the questions, texts, and listening materials will have something to do with one of those key areas. The idea is to test your Spanish proficiency in a variety of contexts, depending on your goals and which level you’re testing for.

B- Who Can Take DELE?

You may be glad to hear that there are no restrictions concerning who can take the exam! All of the age and nationality restrictions that were previously in place have been taken down. 

On a side note, if you’re younger than sixteen years old, you’ll need to have a parent or guardian help you register.

You can find some more information about who can take the test on this official web page.

C- Where Can You Sign Up & Take the Exam?

There are testing centers for the DELE exam all over the globe. To find your nearest testing center, you can check on the official web page and reach out to the location to register.

If you’re in Spain, you can register from the Instituto Cervantes web page directly. But if you’re testing elsewhere, you must register with your nearest location. 

2. Introduction to the DELE Exam

In order to prepare for the DELE, you need to know which level you’re at and what level you’re aiming for. 

Why?

Well, the level you decide to test for will determine a number of factors concerning how you should prepare. For example, different DELE levels may give test-takers different amounts of time per section or cover specific topics not included in other levels.

Be reasonable with your goals, though. It would be very difficult to push yourself from the A1 level (beginner) to the C1 level (advanced), unless you give yourself six months or more to study. Anything can be achieved if you study hard, though we do recommend you keep your goals doable for you and your lifestyle! 

Now we’ll provide all the information and details you need to pass the Spanish DELE exam.

LevelDescriptionYou should:
A1

DELE A1
A1 – for young learners (candidates eleven to seventeen years old)
BeginnerUnderstand and use familiar everyday Spanish expressions as well as simple statements about practical needs
Introduce yourself to someone in Spanish
Ask someone questions in Spanish
Answer similar types of questions
Have very basic conversations if the other person is talking slowly and deliberately articulating
A2

DELE A2
Lower-intermediateUnderstand and be able to use daily Spanish  expressions relevant to your surroundings, like personal information, shopping phrases, or interesting locations
Address questions about your immediate needs
You should be able to communicate about usual or known aspects of your past or your environment
B1

DELE B1

A2/B1 for young learners (candidates eleven to seventeen years old) The candidates who pass will receive one of the two certificates, depending on their results.
IntermediateUnderstand main topics like studies, work, or daily life when you’re listening to or reading texts
Be prepared to handle situations that take place in these familiar contexts
Write simple but coherent texts on familiar topics like experiences, plans, wishes, or opinions
B2

DELE B2
Upper-intermediateUnderstand abstract or technical situations, whether written or spoken, as well as accents and variations of the Spanish language 
Speak in Spanish fluently and naturally without hesitation 
Debate when you write about several topics and be capable of defending your opinion
C1

DELE C1
AdvancedUnderstand variations of the Spanish language, and recognize variations, intentions, and meanings
Express yourself fluently, spontaneously, and without any apparent effort
Always find the adequate expression for every situation and context
Write very difficult texts effortlessly and be able to build high-quality texts with a coherent structure
C2

DELE C2
ProficientHandle any situation and understand everything, written or spoken, regardless of how complex, abstract, or unfamiliar it is, or what variety of Spanish is used
Express yourself spontaneously, fluently, and with exceptional semantic and grammatical precision in every context 

The content of your DELE exam depends on your level, so it’s important that you become familiar with each of the four exam sections based on level. They all follow the structure given above, but the time allotments and exercises may change. 

Head Full of Questions

Tip: Remember to do the sections you’re good at first, and focus on the more difficult ones last so you can spend more time on those sections. That way, you don’t lose your score!

3. DELE A1

Reading test

For your reading test, you should be able to understand common Spanish words and names, as well as easy phrases such as those on street signs or in catalogues.

  • Duration: 45 min
  • Sections: 4
  • Exercises: 25

Listening test

You should be able to recognize basic Spanish words and expressions that are used in everyday interactions and in contexts that are familiar to you.

  • Duration: 20 min
  • Sections: 4
  • Exercises: 25

Speaking test

You should be able to use easy Spanish expressions and sentences to describe where you live and the people you know.

  • Duration: 15 min
  • Sections: 4

Writing test

For the writing portion, you should be able to write simple phrases and sentences, such as birthday wishes or a postcard.

  • Duration: 25 min
  • Sections: 2
  • This reading part of the DELE exams takes the 25 %

4. DELE A2

Reading test

If you’re planning to take the DELE A2, you should be capable of reading and understanding short and easy Spanish texts. 

  • Duration: 60 min
  • Sections: 5
  • Exercises: 30

Listening test

For the listening test, you should understand Spanish sentences and Spanish vocabulary about everyday topics. 

  • Duration: 35 min
  • Sections: 5
  • Exercises: 30

Speaking test

You should be able to communicate in a simple fashion about daily things and activities. You should be able to have short social conversations in Spanish.

  • Duration: 15 min
  • Sections: 4

Writing test

You should be able to write basic Spanish notes and messages that relate to your immediate needs.

  • Duration: 50 min
  • Exercises: 30
Language Skills

5. DELE B1

Reading test

You should be able to understand ideas and concepts used in everyday life, such as words and phrases in Spanish TV shows. 

  • Duration: 40 min
  • Sections: 5
  • Exercises: 30

Listening test

If you’re taking the DELE B2, you should understand texts written in everyday Spanish language. You should also be able to grasp the description of events, feelings, and wishes in personal letters.

  • Duration: 70 min
  • Sections: 5
  • Exercises: 30

Speaking test

You should be able to handle almost all situations when traveling to a Spanish-speaking country. In addition, you should be able to spontaneously take part in conversations about familiar and daily topics. 

  • Duration: 15 min
  • Sections: 4

Writing test

You should be able to write easy and well-connected Spanish texts about familiar topics and personal interests. You should also be able to write personal letters describing any of your experiences and impressions.

  • Duration: 60 min
  • Sections: 2

6. DELE B2

Reading test

For the DELE B2 reading test, you should be capable of understanding articles on current issues as well as contemporary literature in Spanish.

  • Duration: 70 min
  • Sections: 4
  • Exercises: 36

Listening test

You should be able to understand speeches or conferences, including complex chains of thought. In addition, you should be able to follow TV news and understand most movies in standard Spanish.

  • Duration: 40 min
  • Sections: 5
  • Exercises: 30

Writing test

For the writing test, you should be able to write clear Spanish texts about a variety of topics and elaborate on a specific point of view. 

  • Duration: 80 min
  • Sections: 2

Speaking test

For the speaking test in Spanish, you should be fluent and spontaneous when having a conversation with natives. 

Oh, yes! This level is quite a lot harder! 

You should also be able to elaborate and defend your point of view in debates. 

  • Duration: 80 min
  • Sections: 2

7. DELE C1

Reading test

For the DELE C1 reading test, you should be able to read long and complex Spanish texts with different literary styles, as well as technical instructions. 

  • Duration: 90 min
  • Sections: 5
  • Exercises: 40

Listening test

For the listening portion, you should be able to understand speech, including dialogue in TV shows and movies, without effort. So, try some Netflix in Spanish and see if this DELE exam is for you.

  • Duration: 50 min
  • Sections: 4
  • Exercises: 30

Writing test

For the writing test, you should be able to write clear Spanish, especially for things such as informative reports or essays for a Spanish university.

  • Duration: 80 min
  • Sections: 2

Speaking test

If you know how to write an essay in Spanish, the speaking test should be pretty easy for you.

You should be able to express yourself fluently and without looking for the right expression. We recommend that if you’re at this level, you visit a Spanish-speaking country to practice before taking your DELE exam!

  • Duration: 20 min
  • Sections: 3

8. DELE C2

This test is for masters, but if your Spanish is great and you need to take the DELE, this is the level for you.

Combined Skills: Reading + Listening Test

You should be able to read all forms of written Spanish with ease, even when the topics are abstract and complex (such as manuals or Spanish literature).

  • Duration: 105 min
  • Sections: 6
  • Exercises: 52

Combined Skills: Listening + Writing + Reading Test

You should be able to read all forms of written Spanish, including literature.

  • Duration: 150 min
  • Sections: 3

Combined Skills: Speaking + Reading Test

For this section of the test, you should be able to read all forms of written Spanish. In addition, you should be able to introduce yourself, have a conversation about any subject,and talk about things like newspaper headlines.

  • Duration: 20 min
  • Sections: 3

Good luck!

9. Tips on Preparing for DELE

Here, we’ll share some useful tips on how to prepare for and pass your Spanish exam.

1- Book the exams first.

We recommend that you book the exam first and give yourself enough time to prepare. That way, you don’t procrastinate; you know you have to study, so you’ll set yourself to it.

If you just study for the sake of it and leave the rest for when you feel prepared, believe me, you will never feel prepared. 

To prepare, do as many practice tests as you can. Time yourself, do the parts you’re good at first, and do them fast so you can spend more time on the parts you’re not as good at. You can find mock exams on the Instituto Cervantes web page.

2- Work on your weaker areas.

Let’s say that while you’re preparing for your exam, you discover that your reading skills aren’t that good, but your listening skills are great. Well, work more on your reading. By spending more time on your weaker areas to begin with, you’re allowing yourself to study and improve while you still have the focus and motivation to do so! You can always brush up on your stronger areas afterward. 

Writing in a Notebook

3- Practice managing your time.

Have you ever done poorly on a test that you studied hard for? You knew the information and had the skills, but you failed to complete the test on time… 

You can avoid this situation by learning how to manage your test-taking time now. A great way to do this is by timing yourself while taking mock tests, and figuring out how to improve your times. 

10. Conclusion

You were lucky enough to have found SpanishPod101.com, the best place online to learn Spanish vocabulary and grammar, get expert tips, and practice everything you’re learning.

If you’re a beginner, there are a few blog posts you may want to check out: How to Say Hello in Spanish, How to Say Thank You in Spanish, and How to Say I Love You in Spanish.These articles will provide you with basic phrases for some of life’s most common interactions and situations! 

Is your Spanish a bit more advanced? Then see our article about Spanish Travel Phrases to prepare for your trip to a Spanish-speaking country. It can also help you get a great score on your DELE Spanish exam.

Of course, if you’re a master of the Spanish language, then you should check out this post and share it now on social media in perfect Spanish. (And while you’re at it, share how much you’re going to kill it on your DELE exam!)

Before you go, let us know in the comments if you have any more questions about the DELE exam that we didn’t cover here. We’ll do our best to help you out! 

Happy Spanish learning!

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Learn the Top 10 Spanish Sentence Patterns

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Often, when you start learning a new language, you’re not really sure how to begin. Random words? Grammar? Basic sentences, maybe? While perhaps memorizing sentences isn’t what you’re looking for when you decide to begin studying, the truth is that these basic Spanish sentence patterns will actually prove very useful. When you’re completely lost at the beginning of your language-learning journey, knowing them will help you have a precise idea of how to have a basic yet meaningful conversation.

If you memorize these ten most basic and useful Spanish sentence structures, you’ll be able to generate hundreds of natural sentences and converse with ease and confidence. We promise that you’ll use most of these sentence patterns every time you have a conversation in Spanish!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Spanish Table of Contents
  1. Linking Nouns
  2. Using Adjectives to Describe Things
  3. Expressing “Want”
  4. Expressing “Need”
  5. Expressing “Like”
  6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something
  7. Asking for Permission
  8. Asking for Information About Something
  9. Asking About Time
  10. Asking About Location or Position
  11. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

1. Linking Nouns

We thought that showing you how to link nouns would be a good way to start. This is a really basic pattern that we use all the time. In Spanish, we always use the verb ser (“to be”) for this pattern:

Example: Juan es mi hermano.
Translation: “Juan is my brother.”

Example: Mi hermano es taxista.
Translation: “My brother is a taxi driver.”

Example: Ese reloj fue un regalo de mi mujer.
Translation: “That watch was a present from my wife.”

Man Pointing at Watch

2. Using Adjectives to Describe Things

In English, to create a basic sentence using adjectives, you only need one verb: the verb “to be.” Of course, there are other verbs you could use to make complex sentences, but because we’re only looking at easy patterns, we’ll ignore them for now. 

Just like we’ve mentioned in other articles and lessons at SpanishPod101.com, in Spanish, there are two different verbs that are equivalent to the verb “to be” in English. These are ser and estar. When using adjectives, it’s really important to know the difference between these two, so we’ll quickly remind you of their specific meanings. Let’s look at the following examples:

Example: Eres preciosa.
Translation: “You’re gorgeous.”

Example: Estás preciosa.
Translation: “You look gorgeous.”

The sentences look very similar in Spanish, but look at the English translations! Ser and estar are both irregular verbs, so you might be a little bit confused about which verb is which. But we’re sure you can already start to see the difference between them. 

In the first example, Eres preciosa, we use the verb ser, which refers to something permanent or something that’s true for a very long period of time. Whoever uses this sentence is telling a girl that she is gorgeous, but not just in that moment. It doesn’t mean she’s wearing, for example, a nice dress (even though she might be)! It means that she is always gorgeous. 

However, you might have noticed that we translated the second example, Estás preciosa, as “You look gorgeous.” Even though estar, which is the verb we used, also means “to be,” it takes away the sense of permanence that we saw in the previous example. So when someone uses this sentence in Spanish, they’re implying that the girl looks good in the clothes or makeup she’s wearing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that she doesn’t look good at other times; in this case, it might just mean that she’s exceptionally beautiful in that moment. 

Example: Está buenísimo.
Translation: “It’s amazing.”

Example: La película que vimos anoche era divertidísima.
Translation: “The movie we watched last night was hilarious.”

Couple Watching a Comedy

3. Expressing “Want”

Another important Spanish sentence for beginners is that which lets you tell someone you want something (or want to do something). The verb we use in Spanish is querer, which means both “to want” and “to love.” 

The structure is quite simple, and it’s similar to English. Let’s look at a few examples:

Example: Quiero esto.
Translation: “I want this.”

In this first example, the object of the sentence—the thing that is wanted—is the pronoun “this,” so it’s a noun phrase. This sentence doesn’t specify what we’re talking about, but we assume that whoever uses this sentence is pointing at something. In any case, neither Spanish nor English require a preposition, or any other kind of particle, before the thing that is wanted.

The following examples, however, use a verb phrase instead:

Example: Quiero preguntarte algo.
Translation: “I want to ask you something.”

Example: Quiero ser una buena persona.
Translation: “I want to be a good person.”

As you might have noticed in these sentences, while English does need the preposition “to,” Spanish doesn’t require anything between the verb querer and the next verb. Something you must always remember, however, is that the second verb always needs to be in its infinitive form, which, as you might remember from our previous article on conjugations, is the one we find in a dictionary.

Sentence Patterns

4. Expressing “Need”

There are two basic ways of expressing “need” in Spanish, and they both have equivalents in English, so they are pretty easy to translate. The verb necesitar means “to need (to)” and the verb phrase tener que is equivalent to “to have to” in English. 

In Spanish, just like in English, we can use necesitar (“to need [to]”) whenever we need something, or need to do something. But in the case of tener que (“to have to”) it only works when we need to do something; in other words, there has to be a verb right after. This verb, just like we explained happens when expressing “want,” needs to be in its infinitive form.

First of all, we’ll look at a simple example:

Example: Necesito un bolígrafo.
Translation: “I need a pen.”

That’s simple, right? It’s the same structure as in English: “I need” + article + noun. Let’s keep going.

Example: Necesito comprar pan.
Translation: “I need to buy bread.”

Example: Tengo que practicar.
Translation: “I have to practice.”

Example: Me tengo que ir.
Translation: “I have to go.”

Example: Tengo que ir al baño.
Translation: “I have to go to the bathroom.”

There are only a few things you need to remember. We’ve already mentioned a couple of them: when we can use each of these verbs and that the next verb always needs to be in its infinitive form. 

Something else you need to remember is that when we use the verb necesitar, we can simply add the next verb afterwards. But when using the other verb, tener que, always use the conjunction que before the next verb. 

Sentence Components

5. Expressing “Like”

We’re sure you saw this coming. Expressing whether you like something or not is quite common in basic conversations, so it’s a pattern that you should definitely learn. It’s not hard to learn at all, but compared to other Spanish sentence patterns, it is a bit strange. You’ll need to remember that it always requires a personal pronoun in front of the verb. Our article about pronouns might help you refresh your memory.

This pronoun isn’t the subject of the sentence, but when translated into English, it does become the subject. That sounds weird, right? Well, this is because this structure can be considered an equivalent of a passive sentence. Gustar doesn’t exactly mean “to like.” It actually means something along the lines of “to be liked.”

If you’re familiar with Spanish conjugations, you might notice that the verb in the first example below, gustas, isn’t in the first person, but in the second person. This is because the person that is liked is “you,” so “you” is the real subject in this sentence. 

Example: Me gustas.
Translation: “I like you.”

In the second example, however, we changed the person who is liked to a third-person subject: Carla. Even though, in English, both the subject and the verb stay the same as in the first example (“I like”), the verb in Spanish changes to me gusta, because now the subject is Carla.

Example: Me gusta Carla.
Translation: “I like Carla.”

Example: Me gusta cocinar.
Translation: “I like cooking.”

In the third example we just saw, the verb is in the third person, and in this case, the subject is not a person, but an action. The literal translation would be “Cooking is liked by me.”

Example: Me gusta ver el atardecer en la playa.
Translation: “I like watching the sunset at the beach.”

Sunset at the Beach

Example: No me gustan los plátanos.
Translation: “I don’t like bananas.”

Finally, the last two examples were mostly for you to see a couple more sentences that use the same structure. The last one is just another example of how los plátanos is the actual subject in the sentence, because, just like the verb, it’s in the plural.

6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something

It might be useful to learn how to ask people to do things politely. To begin with, you might like to know the word for “please” in Spanish. We actually use two words for this: por favor. Just like in English, por favor can be either at the beginning or at the end of the sentence.

Example: Por favor, siéntate.
Translation: “Please, sit down.”

Example: Escúchame, por favor.
Translation: “Listen to me, please.”

Example: Por favor, ponte en la cola.
Translation: “Please, get in line.”

People Standing in Line

You must know that being polite isn’t all about using the word “please.” “Thank you” is another expression that might come in handy, so why not take a look at our article on how to say “thank you” in Spanish

7. Asking for Permission

The last few patterns we’re going to see today are all going to be different kinds of questions in Spanish. The first question pattern is how to ask for permission. In Spanish, the verb you need to know to ask for permission is poder (“can”), which we learned in our previous article about verbs. You might be glad to know that we don’t have different verbs for “can” and “may,” so you don’t need to worry about using the right verb.

All you need to know is that, whenever you need to start a question with “Can I…?” or “May I…?” you can start it with ¿Puedo…? followed by a verb in its infinitive form, and anything else you might need. And if you need to ask someone if they can do something for you, you can ask them: ¿Me puedes…? Once again, this will always be followed by a verb in its infinitive form.

Example: ¿Puedo pasar?
Translation: “May I come in?”

Example: ¿Me puedes dar tu número de móvil?
Translation: “Can you give me your phone number?”

Example: Por favor, ¿me puedes pasar la sal?
Translation: “Please, can you pass me the salt?”

Example: ¿Le puedes dar esto a tu hermana?
Translation: “Can you give this to your sister?”

We decided to include the last question, which is actually asking for a favor for someone else. Instead of using the pronoun me, like in the previous two sentences, we use the pronoun le, which in this case means “to her,” because it’s referring to this person’s sister.

8. Asking for Information About Something

We’re sure you agree with us about the importance of being able to ask for information about things. There are so many things we could ask about, but we chose to give you only three examples. 

The first example is something that we all have to ask sometimes. You’ll probably need it when you visit a Spanish-speaking country for the first time, encounter something new (such as food, or even objects), or don’t understand what someone said during a conversation in Spanish. This is a question with many uses that we’re sure you’ll appreciate.

Example: ¿Qué es eso?
Translation: “What is that?”

There’s no doubt that you’ll also find the following question very useful.

Example: ¿Cómo te llamas?
Translation: “What is your name?”

And finally, we’ve included a more complicated question so that you see how a longer sentence is built. Because we’re only learning basic patterns, don’t worry too much about it for now! All you need to know for now is the structure of the sentence, which is actually the exact same structure as the sentence in English.

Example: ¿Cuál es el plato que comimos la última vez?
Translation: “Which is the dish we ate the last time?”

9. Asking About Time

Don’t give up yet, we’re almost done here! The next question patterns we’ll learn are those related to time. Here, there’s one interrogative pronoun you should always remember, which is cuándo, and it means “when.”

Example: ¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños?
Translation: “When is your birthday?”

Example: ¿Cuándo es la reunión?
Translation: “When is the meeting?”

Example: ¿A qué hora llega tu vuelo?
Translation: “What time does your flight arrive?”

Flight Arrivals Board

Cuándo will always be helpful when you need to know when something is. However, sometimes you might need to be a little bit more specific, like in the last example we just saw. When you need to know what time something is, use the expression ¿A qué hora…? Notice that we always need the preposition a in this expression, but when we want to ask what year or what day something is, we don’t need any preposition. Instead, it will be something like this:

Example: ¿Qué día es el examen?
Translation: “What day is the exam?”

10. Asking About Location or Position

Finally, our last question pattern is for asking about location. There’s one word you must remember, which is dónde, the word for “where.”

Whenever you need to ask where something or someone is, you can just ask ¿Dónde está…? (“Where is…?”). Let’s see a couple of examples:

Example: ¿Dónde está el baño?
Translation: “Where is the bathroom?”

Example: ¿Dónde está el ascensor?
Translation: “Where is the elevator?”

That’s pretty easy to remember, isn’t it? Well, it does get a little bit harder when we want to ask something else, because we might need to add prepositions to this word, just like what happened in the previous section.

Example: ¿De dónde eres?
Translation: “Where are you from?”

11. How SpanishPod101.com Can Help You Master Spanish

With these basic Spanish sentence patterns, you’ll be able to have all sorts of basic conversations about different topics. Of course, this won’t magically make you fluent in Spanish, but it will help you get there. Luckily, at SpanishPod101.com, we have everything you’ll ever need to learn Spanish. For example, our lesson on how to greet people correctly

Learn a new word every day with our Free Word of the Day, or all the vocabulary you might need in our vocabulary lists.

In the meantime, let us know in the comments if you learned anything new today. Are there any sentence patterns we didn’t cover that you need to know? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Getting in the Spirit of Things: Day of the Dead in Mexico


The way you think about and react to death has a lot to do with how you were raised. Your cultural background, religious beliefs, life experiences, and many other factors can all play a role in your perception of death. 

The Día de Muertos (“Day of the Dead”) in Mexico is a festival steeped in the beliefs of many cultures, and it focuses on the joyous occasion of the living and dead reuniting. In this article, you’ll learn all about the Day of the Dead, from its history to how it’s celebrated today. 

Let’s get started!

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1. What is the Day of the Dead?


Skull Decorations for Day of the Dead

The Day of the Dead festival is an annual three-day celebration in Mexico, beginning on October 31 and ending on November 2. Each of these three days has its own meaning and traditions, though the overarching theme is that of reuniting with loved ones who have passed. 

Day of the Dead History

Day of the Dead originated from the beliefs and traditions of the Aztecs and other nearby cultural groups of the time. The Aztecs believed that death was a natural part of one’s existence and should not be viewed solely as a sad event. Rather, death was the beginning of another journey, consisting of nine levels that would lead the deceased person to The Land of the Dead (Chicunamictlán) upon completion. The Aztecs celebrated a month-long holiday each year, dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl, during which they offered necessities like food and beverages to their deceased loved ones.

Interestingly, ancient European and Spanish cultures held similar pagan celebrations. Today, the Day of the Dead festival is a colorful culmination of celebrations from the Aztecs, Europeans, and Spaniards, combining pagan traditions with a more religious mindset (influenced by the introduction of Católico [“Catholic”] beliefs in the country). 

    →Check out our Religion vocabulary list to learn the names of different religions in Spanish. 

2. Day of the Dead Traditions & Celebrations


A Day of the Dead Offering

As mentioned, each of the three days of the Day of the Dead festival has its own meaning and traditions. These are as follows:

  • October 31 – It’s thought that at midnight, the real world and the spirit world become one, allowing the dead to visit the living.
  • November 1 – This day is called Día de los Inocentes, which means Day of the Innocents. This is when children who have passed are able to visit their families for twenty-four hours. 
  • November 2 – This is what most people think of when they hear “Day of the Dead.” This is when adults who have passed may visit their family, friends, and loved ones. 

October 31 is also Halloween in some countries, and people often confuse Day of the Dead with Halloween. But they’re really two separate holidays! If you’re looking forward to this spooky holiday in your own country, check out our vocabulary list of The Scariest Must-Know Words for Halloween

Traditions for the Festival

The Day of the Dead in Mexico is a colorful and joyous occasion. 

Beginning on or around October 31, children and their families begin celebrations by making and decorating an altar (“altar”) for their deceased loved one. Common Day of the Dead decorations include orange marigolds and painted skulls. The marigolds are believed to help the deceased person’s espíritu (“spirit”) find their way to the celebration, due to their bright color and strong scent. The skulls are lovingly crafted to reflect the personality of the deceased person.

They may also prepare an ofrenda (“offering”) of the person’s favorite foods. Popular Day of the Dead foods include tamales, mole, pulque, and a traditional Mexican drink called atole. There’s also a special bread made for the festival, called pan de muerto (“bread of the dead”), which is normally a round piece of bread that’s covered in sugar. On Day of the Innocents, the families of deceased children offer gifts of candies, chocolate, honey, and even toys, on the child’s altar and tumba (“grave”).

Many Mexicans travel to their hometowns for the festival, which allows them to reconnect with their living family and join them in reuniting with their deceased. Family members may partake in many of the same foods they’re offering to the deceased, and it’s not uncommon for friends of the family or other people of the community to gather together in celebration and feast. Further, Mexicans will visit the gravesites of their deceased and present offerings and prayers there, as well.

You’re probably familiar with Day of the Dead costumes. In light of the celebrations and festivities, many Mexicans dress up in colorful skeleton costumes, often based on La Calavera Catrina (“Dapper Skeleton”). This is a character created by José Guadalupe Posada to depict the average upper-class women of the time, many of whom had chosen to follow European traditions over those of the indigenous people. Many people also wear masks or makeup to give their face a dark and skeletal appearance. 


3. Catholic Influence on Day of the Dead


A Woman Holding Rosary Beads

Earlier, we mentioned that Day of the Dead consists of traditions and beliefs from different cultures. This is reflected in how the three festival days correspond with three Christian holidays. Do you know which ones?

  • October 31 corresponds to Noche de Todos los Santos (“All Saints’ Eve”)
  • November 1 corresponds to Día de Todos los Santos (“All Saints’ Day”)
  • November 2 corresponds to Día de Todas las Almas (“All Souls’ Day”)

You can also see Catholic influence in the prayers offered for the deceased, as well as the use of rosary beads and other religious symbols in the observations.

4. Essential Day of the Dead Vocabulary 


La Calavera Catrina

Let’s review some of the vocabulary words from this article so you can start talking about the Day of the Dead in Spanish!

  • Noviembre (“November”)
  • Católico (“Catholic”)
  • Espíritu (“Spirit”)
  • Santo (“Saint”)
  • Ofrenda (“Offering”)
  • Altar (“Altar”)
  • Tumba (“Grave”)
  • Día de Todos los Santos (“All Saints’ Day”)
  • Día de Muertos (“Day of the Dead”)
  • La Calavera Catrina (“Dapper Skeleton”)

Remember that you can find each of these words and their pronunciation on our Day of the Dead vocabulary list.

Final Thoughts 

The Day of the Dead is a fascinating culmination of different cultural perspectives, yet maintains its status as a defining Mexican tradition. We hope you learned something new about this popular holiday, and that you’re inspired to keep learning about Mexican culture and the Spanish language.

For more useful information, see the following pages on SpanishPod101.com:

And there’s a lot more where that came from! If you’re serious about becoming fluent in Spanish, sign up for your free lifetime account today. You’ll be speaking Spanish in minutes and fluent before you know it! 

Before you go, let us know in the comments how your culture perceives death. How do you perceive it as an individual? We look forward to hearing what you have to say.

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Move to the Next Level with 100 Spanish Adverbs

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Can you spot adverbs in a novel? If your answer is no, don’t be embarrassed. We sometimes forget what adverbs do in a sentence—you may not even remember what “adverb” actually means.  

When learning a second language, it’s normal to forget this type of information. 

Spanish adverbs aren’t that different from those in English, but there are a few tricks about how to identify them and where to put them in a sentence. In this article, we’ll teach you all about Spanish adverbs, and we’ll also provide an excellent list of 100 Spanish adverbs and their meanings.

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  1. What are Spanish Adverbs?
  2. How Do You Form an Adverb in Spanish?
  3. The 100 Most Useful Spanish Adverbs
  4. Conclusion

1. What are Spanish Adverbs?

Top Verbs

Spanish adverbs are a very important part of your Spanish learning. They help you make a point clear, explain when something happened, and show how something was done, which are crucial elements when communicating in any language. 

Unlike Spanish nouns, Spanish adverbs have no gender, number, or person. But, occasionally, you can add a diminutive with a suffix.

  • Pronto >> Prontito >> “Very soon”
  • Poco >> Poquito >> “A little bit”
  • Cerca >> Cerquita >> “Very close”
  • Despacio >> Despacito  >> “Very slowly”

You can also add augmentative suffixes, such as:

  • Lejos >> Lejísimos  >> “Extremely far”
  • Despacio >> Despacísimo >> “Extremely slowly”

The main characteristic of Spanish adverbs is that they complement the point you’re trying to make. They represent the circumstances of time, place, and mode in which an action occurs. Let’s see how.

2. How Do You Form an Adverb in Spanish?

Spanish adverbs modify or go with:

  • Verbs: Corre rápidamente. (“Run quickly.”)
  • Adjectives: Más lento. (“Slower.”) You can spot these easily because they go before the adjective.
  • Other adverbs: Bastante lejos. (“Pretty far.”)

You can get a Spanish adverb from an adjective by adding the ending -mente. Here are a few examples of Spanish adverbs ending in -mente, and how they’re formed:

  • General (“General”) >> Generalmente (“Generally”)
  • Ocasional (“Occasional”) >> Ocasionalmente (“Occasionally”)
  • Frecuente (“Frequent”) >> Frecuentemente (“Frequently”)
  • Suave (“Soft”) >> Suavemente (“Softly”)
  • Rápido (“Quick”) >> Rápidamente (“Quickly”)

This is very common, and it’s very easy to understand Spanish adverbs. There’s a general rule attached to this kind of adverb, and you can see that the same rule applies to the English language, where you just add the suffix “-ly” to the adjectives. 

One more thing you need to keep in mind is that if you want to use two adverbs with the suffix -mente in the same sentence, the first one will be used as an adjective and the second one will have the -mente suffix. 

For example:

  • Hice el Camino de Santiago lenta y tranquilamente.
    “I did the Camino de Santiago slowly and calmly.”
  • Me dijo que me callara dulce y suavemente.
    “She told me to shut up sweetly and softly.”

3. The 100 Most Useful Spanish Adverbs

More Essential Verbs

In the following sections, you can find all of the most common Spanish adverbs for describing time, place, manner, degree, and more! 


1- Spanish Adverbs of Time

Woman Checking Her Watch

Spanish adverbs of time will help you provide information about when, how often, or for how long something happens. Here’s a short Spanish adverbs list, with examples of how each one is used.

  • Antes (“Before”)

Antes de comer aceitunas prefiero patatas fritas.
“Before eating olives, I’d prefer chips.”

  • Después (“After”)

Después de las cinco no suelo comer nada.
“After five p.m., I don’t usually eat.”

  • Hoy (“Today”)

Hoy es el día de la madre.
“Today is Mother’s Day.”

  • Mañana (“Tomorrow”)

Mañana tengo clase de ballet.
“I have ballet class tomorrow.”

  • Anoche (“Last night”)

Anoche soñé con mi padre.
“I dreamed about my father last night.”

  • Anteanoche (“The night before yesterday”)

Antenoche no pude dormir.
“I could not sleep the night before yesterday.”

  • Ayer (“Yesterday”)

Ayer fue el cumpleaños de mi hermano.
“It was my brother’s birthday yesterday.”

  • Anteayer (“The day before yesterday”)

Anteayer comí pasta.
“I had pasta the day before yesterday.”

  • Ya (“Already”)

Ya llegaron los pedidos pendientes.
“The pending orders have already arrived.”

  • Siempre (“Always”)

Siempre suelo quedarme dormida viendo la tele.
“I always fall asleep watching TV.”

  • Todavía (“Yet”)

Todavía no me han llegado los pedidos.
“My orders haven’t arrived yet.”

  • Ahora (“Now”)

Ahora voy al gimnasio.
“I am going to the gym now.”

  • Tarde (“Late”)

Maite siempre llega media hora tarde cuando quedamos.
“Maite always arrives half an hour late when we meet.”

  • Luego (“Later”)

¿Nos vemos luego?
“Will I see you later?”

  • Mientras (“While”)

Corrió hacia su coche mientras llovía.
“He ran toward his car while it was raining.”

  • Recién (“Freshly”)

¡No pases! El suelo está recién fregado.
“Do not pass over here! The floor is freshly scrubbed.”

Although in English, adverbs of frequency and adverbs of time are considered separate categories, in Spanish, they fall under the same category. 

The following Spanish adverbs of frequency will help you describe how frequently you do something. Whether you go to the gym very often (Voy a gimnasio a menudo) or everyday (Voy al gimnasio todos los días), you can tell people about it using these adverbs.

Once you’re through with this list, tell us how often you usually check up on our blog! 

A Man and Woman Working Out at the Gym
  • Semanalmente (“Weekly”)

Suelo ir a la piscina semanalmente.
“I usually go to the pool weekly.”

  • Siempre (“Always”)

Siempre voy al gimnasio los lunes.
“I always go to the gym on Mondays.”

  • Mucho (“A lot”)

Yo voy mucho al gimnasio.
“I go to the gym a lot.”

  • Actualmente (“Currently”)

Actualmente vivo del alquiler de mi casa.
“Currently, I live renting my house.”

  • Frecuentemente (“Frequently”)

Mi perro se pierde frecuentemente.
“My dog gets lost frequently.”

  • Recientemente (“Recently”)

He perdido a mi perro recientemente.
“I have lost my dog recently.”

  • Diariamente (“Daily”)

Suelo meditar diariamente.
“I meditate daily.”

  • Nunca (“Never”)

Nunca me llegan las cosas a tiempo.
“I never get my things on time.”

  • Raramente (“Rarely”)

Raramente me cuestiono sobre la vida.
“I rarely ask myself about life.”

  •  Usualmente (“Usually”)

Usualmente no bebo alcohol.
“I do not usually drink alcohol.”

  • Normalmente (“Normally”)

Normalmente mi padre tiene pan en casa.
“Normally, my dad has bread at home.”

  • Todo el tiempo (“All the time”)

Mi pareja suele quejarse todo el tiempo cuando ve la tele.
“My partner complains all the time while he watches TV.”

  • De vez en cuando (“From time to time”)

Suelo ir a jugar baloncesto de vez en cuando con mis amigas.
“I play basketball from time to time with my girlfriends.”

  • Anualmente (“Annually”)

Mi gato tiene sus vacunas anualmente.
“My cat has his vaccines annually.”

  • A veces (“Sometimes”)

A veces salgo a patinar por el paseo marítimo.
“Sometimes I go roller skating along the seaside.”

  • Poco (“A little”)

Salgo muy poco de fiesta.
“I go out very little.”

  • Apenas (“Hardly”)

Apenas puedo ir al teatro.
“I hardly ever go to the theater.”

  • Jamás (“Never”)

Jamás llego tarde a mis clases de ballet.
“I am never late to my ballet lessons.”

2- Spanish Adverbs of Place

A Lovely Scene with Water and Trees

Where is your phone? Is it here? Did you lose your glasses? Are they close or far away? These useful Spanish adverbs will help you answer questions about where things are. You should learn them because they’re very common and are used in everyday Spanish

  • Aquí (“Here”)

Aquí en España hay muchos extranjeros.
“Here in Spain, there are many foreigners.”

  • Allí (“There”)

Allí donde está Luis estudiando hay cursos para ti también.
“There, where Luis is studying, there are courses for you as well.”

  • Cerca (“Near”)

La biblioteca está cerca de mi casa.
“The library is near my place.”

  • Delante (“In front of”)

Hay un banco delante del gimnasio.
“There is a bank in front of my gym.”

  • Acá (“Here”)

Vamos a comer acá en mi casa.
“We are going to eat here at home.”

  • Allá (“There,” “Over there”)

El supermercado está allá.
“The supermarket is over there.”

  • Lejos (“Far”)

Vivo lejos de la estación de bus.
“I live far from the bus station.”

  • Detrás (“Behind”)

Hay una panadería detrás de mi casa.
“There is a bakery behind my place.”

  • Encima (“Above”)

Juan vive encima de la casa de su padre.
“Juan lives above his father’s house.”

  • Dentro (“Inside”)

Dentro del gimnasio hay aparcamiento disponible.
“There is parking available inside the gym.”

  • Arriba (“Upstairs”)

Esta casa es inusual porque la cocina está arriba.
“This house is unusual because the kitchen is upstairs.”

  • Adentro (“Inside”)

Adentro de la nevera están las cervezas.
“There are beers inside the fridge.”

  • Debajo (“Below”)

Debajo de los libros está mi agenda.
“My diary is below the books.”

  • Fuera (“Outside”)

Fuera del centro comercial hay una farmacia.
“Outside the shopping center, there is a pharmacy.”

  • Atrás (“At the back”)

Atrás de la farmacia hay un hotel.
“At the back of the hotel, there is a pharmacy.”

  • Abajo (“Down”)

Abajo tienes a Carmen esperándote.
“You have Carmen waiting for you down there.”

  • Al lado (“Next to”)

Encontrarás las instrucciones al lado de la caja.
“You’ll find the manual next to the box.”

3- Spanish Adverbs of Manner

Here, you’ll learn how to use adverbs in Spanish to answer questions about how something is being done. Check out this Spanish adverbs list:

  • Bien (“Well”)

Juan Luis canta bien.
“Juan Luis sings well.”

  • Mejor (“Better”)

Jose canta mejor que Luisa.
“Jose sings better than Luisa.”

  • Cuidadosamente (“Carefully”)

Susana siempre camina cuidadosamente.
“Susana always walks carefully.”

  • Rápido (“Quickly”)

En avión llegas más rápido.
“By plane, you arrive more quickly.”

  • Claramente (“Clearly”)

Santiago habla claramente.
“Santiago speaks clearly.”

  • Mal (“Bad”)

Esta comida puede oler mal.
“This food may smell bad.”

  • Peor (“Worse”)

Si no estudias para el examen será peor.
“If you don’t study for the exam, it will be worse.”

  • Despacio (“Slowly”)

Trata de conducir despacio.
“Try to drive slowly.”

  • Inteligentemente (“Intelligently”)

Habla con tu jefe inteligentemente.
“You have to speak to your boss intelligently.”

  • Voluntariamente (“Voluntarily”)

Jesús ha dejado la empresa voluntariamente.
“Jesús has left the company voluntarily.”

  • Fácilmente (“Easily”)

Mike ha pasado su examen práctico fácilmente.
“Mike has passed his practice exam easily.”

  • Dulcemente (“Sweetly”)

María cantó dulcemente.
“Maria sang sweetly.”

  • Seriamente (“Seriously”)

Debes tomarte tus estudios seriamente.
“You should take your studies seriously.”

  • Así (“This way”)

Es así como tienes que hacer los ejercicios.
“You should do the exercises this way.”

4- Spanish Adverbs of Degree

These Spanish adverbs of degree (also called Spanish adverbs of quantity), will help you answer questions about how much or to what degree something is done. They also add information to adjectives as well. 

Let’s show you how with this Spanish adverbs list.

  • Muy (“Very”)

La clase de ciclismo es muy temprano para mi.
“Cycling class is very early for me.”

  • Mucho (“Very much”)

Me gusta mucho el cine.
“I like the cinema very much.”

  • Demasiado (“Too much”)

Me gusta demasiado el chocolate.
“I like chocolate too much.”

Woman Biting into a Chocolate Bar
  • Un poco (“A little”)

Me gusta la comida picante un poco.
“I like spicy food a little.”

  • Mucho más (“A lot more”)

Me gusta mucho más la comida tailandesa.
“I like Thai food a lot more.”

  • Bastante (“Quite”)

Mi hermano canta bastante bien.
“My brother sings quite well.”

  • Nada (“At all”)

No me gusta nada la música clásica.
“I don’t like classical music at all.”

  • Menos (“Less”)

Las manzanas cuestan menos en el otro supermercado.
“Apples cost less in the other supermarket.”

  • Tanto (“So long,” “So much”)

No puedo esperar tanto por mi licencia de conducir.
“I can’t wait so much for my driver’s license.”

  • Algo; Un poco (“Some”)

Tatiana sabe un poco de Francés.
“Tatiana knows some French.”

5- Spanish Adverbs of Affirmation

Spanish adverbs of affirmation reinforce a statement. These Spanish adverbs also indicate that the action of the verb is fulfilled, or is intended to be fulfilled.

  • (“Yes”)

Sí, nos vemos a las siete.
“Yes, we’ll meet at seven.”

  • Seguramente (“Probably”)

Seguramente fue Juan el que más corrió.
“Juan was probably the one who ran the most.”

  • Obviamente (“Obviously”)

Obviamente tendrá repercusiones en su vida laboral.
“Obviously, there will be consequences in his working life.”

  • Exacto (“Correct,” “Right”)

Exacto, seremos 20 personas para la reserva.
“Correct, we will be 20 people for the reservation.”

  • Claro (“Right”)

Claro, tienes que estudiar una carrera antes de hacer un máster.
“Right, you have to study for a Bachelor’s Degree before you take a Master’s Degree.”

  • Cierto (“Certainly”)

Ciertamente, los resultados de este mes han sido muy exitosos.
“Certainly, this month’s results have been very successful.”

  • Efectivamente (“Indeed,” “Effectively”)

Efectivamente, fue un gran día.
“It was a great day indeed.”

6- Spanish Adverbs of Negation

We all know the adverbs of negation. It’s said that one of the first words that a baby learns is “no,” because people use it all the time. 

  • No (“No”)

No tengo ya la casa del campo.
“No, I don’t have the country house yet.”

  • En absoluto (“Not at all”)

He aparcado bien, así que no estoy en absoluto preocupada por el coche.
“I parked well, so I’m not at all worried about my car.”

  • Jamás (“Ever”)

Jamás soporté a tu hermano.
“I could never stand your brother.”

  • Nunca (“Never”)

Nunca olvidaré nuestro primer beso.
“I’ll never forget our first kiss.”

  • Tampoco (“Either,” “Neither”)

Nosotros tampoco sabemos la fecha del vuelo.
“We don’t know the flight’s date either.”

7- Spanish Adverbs of Doubt

These basic Spanish adverbs denote insecurity or uncertainty, so you can use them when you’re not sure about something. 

  • A lo mejor (“Perhaps,” “Maybe”)

A lo mejor comemos en casa de mis padres el domingo.
“Maybe we will have lunch at my parents’ house on Sunday.”

  • Quizá (“Perhaps,” “Maybe”)

Quizá se equivocaron al hacer la cuenta.
“Maybe they were wrong when they prepared the bill.”

  • Tal vez (“Perhaps,” “Maybe”)

Espero que tal vez muy pronto podamos cambiar el futuro.
“I hope that maybe soon, we can change the future.”

  • Posiblemente (“Possibly”)

Sobrepasan posiblemente el número de alumnos disponibles.
“They possibly exceed the available number of students.”

8- Spanish Exclamatory and Interrogative Adverbs 

As you likely guessed, Spanish interrogative adverbs are used to ask questions, and exclamatory adverbs are used in exclamatory sentences. These are very special and common, used at the beginning of a sentence. 

Keep in mind that you have to distinguish these from the relative adverbs. How can you do that? If a word has the accent mark, it’s interrogative or exclamatory; if not, it’s a relative adverb. 

  • Cuándo (“When”)

¿Cuándo nació tu hijo?
“When was your son born?”

  • Dónde (“Where?”)

¿Dónde está la cafetera?
“Where is the coffee maker?”

  • Cómo (“How”)

¡Cómo está de rica esta tarta!
“How good is this cake!”

  • Por qué (“Why”)

¿Por qué tienes sueño?
“Why are you sleepy?”

  • Cuánto (“How much,” “How many”)

¿Cuántos coches tienes?
“How many cars do you have?”

  • A dónde (“Where”)

¿A dónde fuiste con Paula?
“Where did you go with Paula?”

9- Spanish Relative Adverbs

Spanish relative adverbs are one of the most important types on our Spanish adverb list. These are almost the same as some of the words in the previous section, but they don’t have the accent marks. They add circumstantial information to the verb, and they can talk about time, manner, or place. 

For example:

  • Donde (“Where”)

Este es el chalet donde vivo.
“This is the house where I live.”

  • Cuando (“When”)

Haré los deberes cuando deje de llover.
“I’ll do my homework when it stops raining.”

  • Como (“As”)

Como tú mandes.
“As you wish.”

4. Conclusion

What do you think about our list? Was it useful? If you liked it, don’t miss our 100 Spanish nouns list! 

This article has provided you with 100 Spanish adverbs and plenty of information on how and when to use them. Do you remember what Spanish adverbs are now? Are you ready to impress your Spanish-speaking friends?

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