Questions and Answers about the Spanish Language

Preguntas y Respuestas sobre el Idioma español

Requirements Requisitos
  • Videos must be 1-3 minutes in length.
  • Begin each video by introducing yourself and reading the question aloud.
  • Include a variety of examples in your answer, and provide counter-examples if applicable.
  • After answering the question, remind students they can book private video sessions with you.
What's the difference between "tú" and "usted"?

Hello, my name is Alejandra and the question I'll be answering now is: What's the difference between "tú" and "usted"? Choosing between "tú" and "usted" depends on the person with whom we are talking. In English we might add words like "Sir", "Madam", or expressions like "Excuse me", to address someone in a formal way. In Spanish, we don't necessarily require these words or phrases to make our speech more formal, because we have a specific pronoun for that. Some languages have this way of formal speaking, where we have two ways of saying the singular pronoun "you", as a way to show respect to people who are older than us or in positions of authority (not necessarily older than us). An easy to remember formula would be: When speaking to people our age or younger we use the pronoun "tú". When speaking to people in positions of authority we use "usted". When speaking to people who are older than us, but not necessarily in a position of authority, choosing between "tú" and "usted" will depend on the level of trust between you and the person. Here are a few examples: 1. First day of university. Classmates are all your age. You use the pronoun "tú" when talking to them, but you use the pronoun "usted" to talk to your professor. 2. Now, imagine the same context. First day of university. But you have a classmate who is 45 years old. You address him or her with "usted", just as you address your professor. And you use "tú" for everyone else, provided that everyone else is your age. 3. Imagine you are 45 years old, returning to college to get your degree. Most of your classmates are 20 years old or younger. But there is another person among them who looks your age. You will address all of your classmates with "tú". But you will address your professor with "usted" regardless of how old he or she is. I hope this cleared your doubts. Remember private sessions are also available and you can message me if you'd like me to be your teacher. See you around and have a nice day!

Related Lessons
Lecciones relacionadas
Why do people say both "¿qué hora son?" and "¿qué hora es?" to ask what time it is?

"¿Qué hora es?" and "¿qué hora son?" both mean the same thing (what time is it), but "¿qué hora es?" is the more polite way and is recommended. "¿Qué hora son?" is somewhat colloquial and used in some countries more than others, and in any case isn't very polite. To answer, you can use both the singular and plural. If it's one o'clock, this answer is always in singular, "es la 1 de la tarde" or "es la 1 de la mañana". In other cases, your answer must be in plural, for example, "son las 3 de la tarde".

Related Lessons
Lecciones relacionadas
What's the difference between telling someone "te quiero" and "te amo"? Don't they both mean "I love you"?

In Spanish to say "I love you", we say both "te quiero" and "te amo", but we use them according to the level of our feelings. Both phrases are used to express the love that you have for the other person but “te amo” is a very special phrase. You cannot say “te amo” to everybody. It's only used when you have a deep feeling for someone, and it is not recommended to say "te amo" to your significant other at the beginning of a relationship because you must be sure about your feelings. Also, you can use both phrases when you want to express love to your family.

Related Lessons
Lecciones relacionadas
What's the difference between "malo" and "mal"?

Hi, mi name is Alejandra, but you can call me Ale. The question is: What's the difference between "malo" and "mal"? MALO is an adjective, MAL is an adverb. BAD. people, things, situations: bad quality, or bad for your health or well-being. So, here are a few examples: ¿Qué tal estuvo la película? Muy mala. How was the movie? Really bad. BAD quality. Fumar es malo para tu salud. Smoking is bad for your health. THE VERB SMOKING IS USED AS A NOUN HERE, SO WE USE MALO. WRONG. You use the word mal to describe an action that is being executed in an unsatisfactory way. Here are a few examples: Mirna coció mal el arroz. Mirna cooked the rice wrong. Luis contestó mal el examen. Luis answered the test wrong. We never use the verb SER with MAL. We use the verb ESTAR. If we want to say: Victor is wrong, we don't say: Víctor es mal we say: Víctor ESTÁ mal. WATCH OUT. 1. Malo changes to mal when it comes before a masculine noun, but it remains an adjective. José is a bad dancer. José es un mal bailarín. MAL is still describing José as a dancer, but we remove the O for phonetic reasons.

Related Lessons
Lecciones relacionadas
How do you ask when someone's birthday is in Spanish?

You could use two questions and they mean the same. ¿Cuándo cumples años? ¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños? The answer for both questions is: Mi cumpleaños es el ____

Related Lessons
Lecciones relacionadas
How long does it take to learn Spanish?

Hello! My name is Alejandra, and the question I'm gonna answer today is: How long does it take to learn Spanish? This depends on many factors: the person's ability to learn languages, the quality of the teachings, the time and energy invested for practice, whether or not you spend time in a Spanish-speaking country, whether or not your first language and Spanish come from the same language family, which, as we know, is not the case for English and Spanish, among other factors. For English speakers it could be a bit difficult to learn Spanish due in part to the conjugation of verbs, or the declensions used for nouns, pronouns, adjectives, articles, grammar structure, among other things that are very different in English. You also want to ask yourself HOW proficient you want to be in Spanish. Do you want to know the basics to survive abroad? Do you want to be able to read in Spanish? Do you want to be able to have a conversation with native speakers? Or do you want to be super fluent? Having said all this, I think, if you really apply yourself, one year would be a good answer. My suggestion is to: Take formal lessons, about 5 hours a week at least. Do your assignments with a dictionary, preferably a spanish to spanish dictionary, to get the gears in your brain working, which in turn will help you become better and better at understanding everything, and your intuition for Spanish will also develop. Watch TV and movies in spanish, with spanish captions. Read in Spanish and have a dictionary and a notepad next to you, so that you can write down the words you learn and study them later, so you can start using them in daily practice. Complete Polly Lingual lessons. Exhaust your resources. We have many nowadays. And finally, seriously consider spending at least a couple of months abroad, in México, or Spain, or any spanish speaking country of your choice, while continuing to take Spanish lessons during your stay. This is so that you can practice and perfect your Spanish in real life, while still working on the foundations. I hope this helped. Stay motivated, make learning fun, and you'll be proficient in no time. Remember you can book private sessions with me if you'd like. I'll be happy to be your teacher. Have a nice day!

Related Lessons
Lecciones relacionadas
What's the difference between "disculpa", "disculpe", "perdón" "permiso"?

Permiso means: Excuse me, may I come in. It is used when you come to a place or when you try to get through a crowd of people. It also means excuse me when you try to reach something. For example: “permiso, puedo pasar”, “permiso, por favor” “permiso, voy a agarrar este libro” In some countries you can say “con permiso” Disculpe, Disculpa, perdón mean: I'm sorry. It depends on the context. It’s very common when you need to ask for something, or to say “sorry to bother you” For example: "Disculpa, ¿puedes decirme la hora?" “Disculpe ¿puede prestarme su lápiz? Perdón is used when you are very sorry about a mistake, this is the perfect word to apologize, it is more sentimental when you feel very bad for something. “perdón, cometí un error”, “perdón no volverá a ocurrir”. “Perdoname por haberte fallado” “perdóname” The word “perdon” can be used to ask for something and it is very polite: "Perdón, ¿puede decirme la hora?"

Related Lessons
Lecciones relacionadas
How do you say "have a good day" in Spanish?

Hello! My name is Alejandra, and the question I'm gonna answer today is: How do you say "have a good day" in Spanish? In Spanish, when we want to wish someone a good day, we say: "que tengas buen día" for the pronoun TÚ "que tenga buen día" for the pronoun USTED; or "que tengan buen día" for the pronoun USTEDES. Another way of saying it is "que tengas bonito día". Bonito means PRETTY, but when used in this context, it translates as NICE. That's why we say "está bonito el día" which means "it's nice outside." Generally speaking, we say "que tengas buen día" in any of its forms when we are saying goodbye to someone that we greeted briefly. For example, if we are the cashier at a store, or the receptionist at an office, after we provide someone a service, we say something like this: "¡Gracias por su compra, que tenga buen día!" (Thanks for your purchase, have a nice day!) or "Hasta luego, buen día." (See you later, good day.) It's usually the person behind the counter who wishes the other person a good day, and the usual response to this is "gracias, igualmente!" which means, "thank you, likewise!" When we want to wish a good day to our spouse, our mother, our roommate, or whomever is leaving our house to go somewhere, we usually say "que te vaya bien" which roughly translates to: "may things go well for you". But saying "que tengas buen día" is also okay. Okay, I hope this answers your question. Remember you can book private sessions with me to practice or perfect your Spanish. Que tengas bonito día!

Give good wishes in Spanish with the expressions: Que tengas un buen día. Ten un buen día Que te vaya bien! When you are talking to a group of people. You say: Que les vaya bien! When you are talking with an older person or when you want to be more polite, you say: Que tenga un buen dia. Que le vaya bien

Related Lessons
Lecciones relacionadas
How do you say "this is cool" in Spanish?

“Esto es genial”, or simply “es genial”, means “this is cool”, but we have many other colloquial ways to say it too. For example, “esto es chévere” or “es chévere”, “esto es chido”, “esto mola”, “esto es bacano”, "esto es rebueno". Most of the time when speaking we don’t mention the demonstrative pronoun “esto”, since it's usually assumed.

Related Lessons
Lecciones relacionadas
What's the difference between "bueno" and "bien" in Spanish?

Hello! My name is Alejandra, and the question I'm gonna answer today is: What's the difference between "bueno" and "bien" in Spanish? I'll start by saying that BUENO is an adjective, and BIEN is an adverb. BUENO is equivalent to GOOD, and BIEN is equivalent to WELL. We use BUENO to describe people, things, or situations. ¿Qué tal está tu libro? Muy BUENO. How's your book? Really GOOD. El ejercicio es BUENO para la salud. Exercise is GOOD for your health. We use BIEN to describe an action or a state of being: Irene maneja (o conduce) muy BIEN. Irene drives really well. El proyecto va bien. The project is going well. We use BIEN with the verb ESTAR, never with the verb SER. If we want to say: Emma is well, we don't say: Emma ES BIEN (NO) we say: Emma ESTÁ BIEN (YES) WATCH OUT. 1. BUENO changes to BUEN when it comes before a masculine noun, but it's still an adjective. Sherlock Holmes is a good detective. Sherlock Holmes es un BUEN detective. BUEN is describing Sherlock Holmes as a detective. We remove the O for phonetic reasons. I hope this cleared all your doubts. Remember you can book private sessions with me if you'd like and I'll be happy to be your teacher. Have a nice day!

Related Lessons
Lecciones relacionadas
Spanish is spoken as it is spelled (phonetically), but what are some good rules for better pronunciation?

Hello, my name is Alejandra and the question I'll be answering now is: Spanish is spoken as it is spelled (phonetically), but what are some good rules for better pronunciation? I’m assuming you know the alphabet. The vowels have pretty straight forward sounds. A E I O U. And they are always pronounced the same. Examples: Andar. Escribir. Interesante. Olvido. Uso. The letter D sounds like the TH in ALTHOUGH. Example: Dedo. Doble. The letter J sounds like a very rough H in HOT. And so does the letter G when paired with E and I. Examples: Jícama. Juan. Geranio. Giro. With the vowels A, O, U , the letter G sounds like the G in Goat. Examples: Gata. Gol. Gusto. And we can give the same sound to the vowels E and I, if we put a U in between. The U in this case, is silent: Examples: Guerra. Guitarra. And if we add two dots above the U, it’s not silent anymore. Examples: Güero. Güisqui. The H in Spanish is silent. But when paired with a C (CH) it sounds like the TCH sound in NOTCH. Examples: Bicho. Noche. Chiste. The letter Ñ is similar to the NY sound in the word CANYON. Example: Niña. Cañón. The letter R has two sounds. As a general rule, when you see a RR, then you have to roll your tongue. You also have to roll your tongue when you see a single R at the beginning of a word. The rest of the time, that is, when the single R is in the middle of a word, it sounds like R. Examples: Perro. Gorro. Cerro. Roberto. Restar. Ridículo. Pera. Esfera. Coro. Finally, when you see this: ´ which is called “tilde” or “acento”, you need to stress that syllable. Examples: Canción. Víbora. Hacía. I hope this cleared your doubts. Remember private sessions are also available if you would like ONE ON ONE learning. Feel free to message me to schedule a session. See you around and have a nice day!

Related Lessons
Lecciones relacionadas
Financials

Currency:

Please note that vouchers and account credit expire 365 days after the date of issue.

Change language Français Español English Deutsch Português