Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Natalia: Buenos días, me llamo Natalia.
Carlos: What’s going on? My name is Carlos.
Natalia: “Can I take a message?”
Carlos: Nati, you won’t believe it. Alejandro still hasn’t received an answer.
Natalia: Seriously? By then I’ll be already like suing people. Carlos…
Carlos: No. And he’s still being amazingly calm about things.
Natalia: I don’t think I would be at all.
Carlos: Well, Carina is keeping things formal and trying to help him out.
Natalia: Good, and today we continue our discussion on prepositions. But this time preposition “a”.
Carlos: Let’s get into today’s conversation though.
ALEJANDRO: Señorita, buenos días, se encuentra la doctora.
KARINA : No señor, ella no trabaja hoy.
ALEJANDRO: Pero yo llamé antes y usted me dijo que la podía encontrar hoy.
KARINA: Si gusta, le dejo el mensaje a la doctora que lo llame apenas venga mañana.
ALEJANDRO: Sí, por favor, es muy importante.
ALEJANDRO: Good morning Miss, is the doctor in?
KARINA: No sir, she is not working today.
ALEJANDRO: But I called beforehand and you told me that I would be able to meet with her today.
KARINA: If you'd like, I will leave a message for the doctor to call you as soon as she gets in tomorrow.
ALEJANDRO: Yes please, it's very important.
Natalia: I don't know, man. I don't know.
Carlos: I mean this man has been, what, three lessons now, trying to get answers from his tests.
Natalia: I know, trying to get to the doctor.
Carlos: And he just can't get it.
Natalia: I know.
Carlos: Is this normal in Costa Rica?
Natalia: A little bit, a little bit. It can get a little frustrating, that’s what I'm saying. I said it in the first of these lessons, I said you go to the office and demand.
Carlos: That’s true, that’s true.
Natalia: That’s my advice.
Carlos: That makes sense, that makes sense. Ok, you know what, let’s take a look at the vocabulary for today’s lesson. First we have a pronominal verb.
Natalia: “Encontrarse”.
Carlos: “To encounter”, “to run into”, “to meet by chance.”
Natalia: “En-con-trar-se”, “encontrarse”. Por ejemplo, “me encontré con un pariente lejano”.
Carlos: “I ran into a distant relative.” And now we have a masculine or a feminine noun.
Natalia: “Doctor, doctora”.
Carlos: “Doctor.”
Natalia: “Doc-tor, doc-to-ra”, “doctor, doctora”. Por ejemplo, “él es doctor en física”.
Carlos: “He’s a doctor of physics.” And then a verb.
Natalia: “Trabajar”.
Carlos: “To work.”
Natalia: “Tra-ba-jar”, “trabajar”. Por ejemplo, “ellos trabajan en los Estados Unidos”.
Carlos: “They work in the United States.” And another masculine noun.
Natalia: “Mensaje”.
Carlos: “Message.”
Natalia: “Men-sa-je”, “mensaje”. Por ejemplo, “deje su mensaje después de oír la señal”.
Carlos: “Please leave your message after the tone.” Next up we have an adverb.
Natalia: “Apenas”.
Carlos: “As soon as”, “no sooner than”, “hardly.”
Natalia: “A-pe-nas”, “apenas”. Por ejemplo, “apenas lo conozco”.
Carlos: “I hardly knew him.” And finally an adjective, adverb or conjunction.
Natalia: “Antes”.
Carlos: “Before.”
Natalia: “An-tes”, “antes”. Por ejemplo, “llámame antes de irte. Sí, mamá”.
Carlos: “Call me before you leave. Yes, mom.” Ok, let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Natalia: The first word we'll look at is “encontrarse”.
Carlos: “Encontrarse”. A pronominal verb, right?
Natalia: It means “to encounter”, “to run into” or “to meet by chance”.
Carlos: Right, like in the conversation, “pero yo llamé antes y usted me dijo que la podía encontrar hoy”.
Natalia: “But I just called beforehand and you told me that I would be able to meet with her today.”
Carlos: He still can’t meet the doctor. Man, he must be stressing out.
Natalia: I sure think so.
Carlos: And a sample sentence maybe?
Natalia: “No quiero ir a la fiesta porque me voy a encontrar con mi jefe”.
Carlos: “I don’t want to go to the party because I don’t want to meet my boss.” Nati, our boss is cool.
Natalia: I’ll just avoid that with a related word, “toparse”, “to find” or “to encounter”.
Carlos: And then?
Natalia: A masculine or feminine noun that is another cognate.
Carlos: Which?
Natalia: “Doctor, doctora”.
Carlos: Oh, that is pretty straight forward.
Natalia: Why yes, it is.
Carlos: So I think it’s safe to say “doctor, doctora” means “doctor”.
Natalia: One of the safest bets you could do.
Carlos: And in our conversations?
Natalia: “Señorita, buenos días. ¿Se encuentra la doctora?”
Carlos: “Good morning, miss. Is the doctor in?” But wait, isn’t there another word for “doctor”?
Natalia: Well, you’re thinking “médico o médica”.
Carlos: So those are synonyms for doctor.
Natalia: Exactly, you could use either.
Carlos: So I could say “la cita con el doctor es muy cara”. “The appointment with the doctor is very expensive.”
Natalia: Or “la cita con el médico es muy cara”. “The appointment with the doctor is very expensive.”
Carlos: Well, thank you for clearing that up.
Natalia: Ah, you did a good work, Carlos. I'm so proud of you.
Carlos: I smell a verb, “trabajar”.
Natalia: “Trabajar” that’s next. That’s a good guess, you know in our conversation the secretary explains “no, señor, ella no trabaja hoy”.
Carlos: “No, sir, she doesn’t work today.”
Natalia: “Trabajar” is a very common verb that refers to work, but there is another verb that we went through a long time ago in the Costa Rican series.
Carlos: What was that?
Natalia: Come one, you can remember. If I'm not mistaken, it was lesson number 3.
Carlos: You know how I remember that one? Because you talked about [inaudible 00:04:37]. I remember that really well. Ok, reaching back. “Bretear”.
Natalia: Right, “bretear”, “to work”, and “brete” for “job”.
Carlos: For “trabajo”.
Natalia: Exactly.
Carlos: Well, now when I hear someone ask “¿dónde trabajas?”, I know they’re asking the very classic boring question of where do I work.
Natalia: How boring…
Carlos: Nati, no one would ever accuse you of being a traditionalist.
Natalia: Note they wouldn’t, but let’s focus on our next word. They say a masculine noun.
Carlos: “Mensaje”.
Natalia: “Mensaje”, “message”.
Carlos: And in our conversation?
Natalia: “Le dejó el mensaje a la doctora que lo llame apenas venga mañana”.
Carlos: “I will leave a message for the doctor to call you as soon as she gets in tomorrow.” You know how I learned “mensaje”?
Natalia: How?
Carlos: I learned it to use when I got my cellphone in Costa Rica. “Usted tiene un mensaje nuevo. Para escuchar sus mensajes marque el número 1”. Who records that stuff?
Natalia: Well, think of that unexpected example. I don't know, I don’t have a clue.
Carlos: I think I should try to record that, I think I’d be good for a cellphone voice.
Natalia: In Spanish?
Carlos: Yeah, why not?
Natalia: Ok, ok. Carlos?
Carlos: What’s up? Oh, you want me to [inaudible 00:05:37]. You want me to get some related words.
Natalia: Ah, yes. Tell me another word for “mensaje” could be…?
Carlos: “Recado”?
Natalia: “Recado”. Like if I said “dele un recado a su amiga, por favor”.
Carlos: Give a message to your friend, please.
Natalia: Now an adverb. “Apenas”.
Carlos: “Apenas”. “As soon as”, “no shorter than” and “hardly”.
Natalia: Ok, this is another verb that can be used to express a kind of urgency.
Carlos: Right, like ASAP, as soon as possible.
Natalia: Kind of. I mean you can imagine what Alejandro is going through. I mean there were four lessons and he hasn’t gotten an answer to his request for his test results.
Carlos: Which is why it is understandable when Carina tries to make him feel better by saying “si gusta le dejo el mensaje a la doctora que lo llame apenas venga mañana”.
Natalia: “If you like I will leave a message for the doctor to call you as soon as she gets in tomorrow.” Do you think she’s dismissing him?
Carlos: Oh, I really hope not. I don’t think so though, but she must get a lot of frustrated callers. I mean can you think about any related words?
Natalia: Well, I can think about a related phrase.
Carlos: Which is?
Natalia: “A tiempo”.
Carlos: “On time”, “as soon as”, “on time.” That’s a little loose but I can see that.
Natalia: Good, because last but not least we have an adjective, adverb or a conjunction.
Carlos: “Antes”.
Natalia: “Antes”.
Carlos: “Antes” is one of those words that you have to remember as a pair.
Natalia: What do you mean?
Carlos: I mean like when I was learning I coupled basic words like “before” and “after”.
Natalia: Ok…
Carlos: Now, I knew that “antes” meant “before” and “después” meant “after”.
Natalia: How do you remember them?
Carlos: Opposites.
Natalia: What?
Carlos: Well, see, the thing is I knew that “antes” either meant “before” or “after” and so I always tried to remember that it wasn’t my first guess. “Antes” and “after” both begin with A, so I just thought “antes” is the opposite of what I would think off of the top of my head.
Natalia: Ah, that’s a good think.
Carlos: You know, they come in handy every now and then. Now, how was “antes” used in our conversation today?
Natalia: That’s when Alejandro says “pero yo llamé antes y usted me dijo que la podía encontrar hoy”.
Carlos: “But I called beforehand and you told me that I would be able to meet with her today.”
Natalia: Since you know “antes” already can you come up with a sample sentence?
Carlos: Sure, “llegué antes que él”, “I arrived before him.”
Natalia: Good, and we already know the related word.
Carlos: That’s right. “Antes”, “before”, and “después”, “after”.
Natalia: Ok, Carlos, we have to continue our discussion of prepositions.
Carlos: Which one did we cover last time again?
Natalia: Remember last time we covered seven uses of preposition “de”.
Carlos: Right, it’s all coming back to me now.
Natalia: And today we’re… isn’t that a song?
Carlos: I just thought the same thing.

Lesson focus

Natalia: Today we have another preposition that needs a little attention.
Carlos: And which one is that?
Natalia: The preposition “a”.
Carlos: “A”.
Natalia: “A”.
Carlos: Yeah, that one letter could really use some clarification. I mean, doesn’t it kind of translate to “to”?
Natalia: Well, that’s true most of the time but, trust me, there’s a lot more to it. I mean it could also be translated as “on”, “at”, “from”, “by” or “in”, or not translated at all.
Carlos: Well, that doesn’t make me feel comfortable.
Natalia: Carlos, no se preocupe, that’s why I'm here. Listen, the first preposition “a” can be used to indicate motion. Almost any verb indicating motion, and even nouns, can be followed by “a” before the destination.
Carlos: Ok, like do you mean “¿llegamos a Palmares?”, “we arrived at Palmares?” Which, audience, if you don’t know is the absolute best part in Costa Rica if you don’t get a tick.
Natalia: Carlos, write about it in the forum. Focus, focus, focus!
Carlos: How can I focus when I find a tick on my leg and it’s from the horses?
Natalia: Carlos, well at least you don’t call me crying. That’s ok…
Carlos: I did call her crying, I was like…
Natalia: It’s freaking out.
Carlos: And she said, “That’s what you get for playing cowboy in Palmares”.
Natalia: Ok, ok, ok, ok. Carlos?
Carlos: Yes.
Natalia: Back to the lesson.
Carlos: Sorry.
Natalia: Give me another sentence while you’re thinking of your tick.
Carlos: “Me siento a la mesa”, “I sit at the table.” See? Another destination, which would be the table.
Natalia: Yes, good. But another use. It can be used to connect the verb with the following infinitive.
Carlos: Well, now you’re getting technical.
Natalia: Not as technical as you think.
Carlos: Ok…
Natalia: So here’s an example. “He venido a enseñar”, “I’ve come to teach, grasshopper.”
Carlos: Where’s “grasshopper” in that sentence?
Natalia: It’s not, I just put it in there, but you see what I mean about linking the verb with the following infinitive?
Carlos: Yeah, like you like the verb “venir”, “to come”, with the infinitive “enseñar”, “to teach”.
Natalia: Ok, now that I did, you try it out.
Carlos: Ok, let me think.
Natalia: Ok. Du du du du.
Carlos: Ok, let me think. I know. “Voy a cantar”, “I'm going to sing.”
Natalia: Ok, thanks for the example, leave the singing for another lesson or just leave it altogether, Carlos.
Carlos: I have a good voice [inaudible 00:10:05].
Natalia: Ok. “A” can be used to indicate a manner or method followed by a noun to indicate how something is done.
Carlos: Ok.
Natalia: A phrase starting with “a” functions as an adverb and [inaudible 00:10:17] can sometimes be translated as one.
Carlos: I’ll keep that in mind.
Natalia: Like “llegamos a tiempo”, “we arrived on time” or…
Carlos: “Llegamos a pie”, “we are going on foot”.
Natalia: Exactly. I say we move on. “A” can also be used to introduce a direct object.
Carlos: A direct object, got it.
Natalia: No you don’t, Carlos, cause I wasn’t done. “A” can introduce a direct object that is a person or is treated as a person.
Carlos: Wait, I’ve heard this before.
Natalia: Yeah, it’s a called a personal “a”.
Carlos: Ok, like “conozco a Paco”, “I know Paco”.
Natalia: Or “hablaré a Dylan”, “I will speak to Dylan”. One thing to remember is that in this usage the preposition is usually not translated.
Carlos: I see what you mean.
Natalia: We have two more uses of the preposition “a”.
Carlos: I'm still here. What about you, audience?
Natalia: “A”, well, “a” can also be used to introduce an indirect object.
Carlos: Well, that is the use from our conversation today when Carina says “si gusta le dejo el mensaje a la doctora que lo llame apenas venga mañana”. “If you’d like I will leave a message for the doctor to call you as soon as she gets in tomorrow.”
Natalia: Carlos worked really hard on Spanish, but because you can't even be a receptionist.
Carlos: You’re fired.
Natalia: Alright, stop playing boss cause I get mine, listen, or “le pongo la camisa a Michael”, “I'm putting the shirt on Michael”.
Carlos: And what’s our last usage?
Natalia: The preposition “a” can be used to express various expressions of time. Por ejemplo, “salimos a las 10”. “We’re out at 10”.
Carlos: For one letter, the preposition “a” does have a lot of uses.
Natalia: I told you but it sounds like a lot more than it is. Give it some time and practice, it will come in naturally.
Carlos: Not alone with a trip to the grammar back.
Natalia: As always, Carlos.


Carlos: Well, you know what, Pod101 world? That just about does it for today. Ok, nos vemos.
Natalia: Chao!

Dialog - Bilingual