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Languages & Cultures

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Using the Gender-Free Spanish Article Lo

The Spanish article lo (loh) is neuter, meaning it has no gender. So you don’t want to use it to indicate the gender of a subject as you would with its definite and indefinite article counterparts. Here’s [more…]

Conjugating the Spanish Verb Invitar (to Invite)

Spanish verbs fall into different groups, and each group is conjugated a little differently. If you’re going to master Spanish verbs like invitar, you need to be able to identify which group a verb belongs [more…]

Identifying and Using Common Spanish Prepositions

Prepositions are useful tools for joining different words, clauses, or phrases. In Spanish, they can connect nouns to nouns, verbs to verbs, or verbs to nouns/pronouns. Spanish has dozens of commonly used [more…]

Creating Compound Verb Tenses in Spanish

Each simple tense of a Spanish verb has a corresponding compound tense — seven simple tenses, seven compound tenses. The compound tenses make actions perfect or complete. The compound tenses are: [more…]

Traveling by Train: Passports and Customs Forms in Spanish

Having a Spanish-speaking train employee check your passport and Customs form can be confusing, but the following steps give you the Spanish you need to chug through the passport and Customs-form process [more…]

Spanish Vocabulary for the Workplace

From San Francisco to San Salvador to San Juan, conversations about jobs, workplaces, and offices don’t differ much from one place to another. Here are some Spanish words and phrases that will help you [more…]

Speculating with the Present Perfect Subjunctive in Spanish

The present perfect subjunctive is a compound verb tense that describes actions that may have happened. For example, you may have studied Spanish if your high school had offered it. That [more…]

Calling for Help in Spanish

You don’t want to think about worst-case scenarios when planning a vacation to a Spanish-speaking country, but you never know when you might find yourself in a situation where calling for help in Spanish [more…]

Checking into a Hotel in Spanish

If you're traveling abroad, knowing a few Spanish hotel words and phrases can help you find good hotel accommodations in a Spanish-speaking area. The following dialogue shows what could be a common dialogue [more…]

Identifying a Noun’s Gender in Spanish

The gender of nouns is always a stumbling point for people learning Spanish. In Spanish, nouns always take on a specific gender. This gender role is in addition to the traditional role nouns take on as [more…]

Common Driving Concerns in Spanish-Speaking Countries

Driving in a foreign country can be disconcerting. Addressing common driving concerns (like driver’s licenses and road signs) when planning your trip to a Spanish-speaking country is invaluable. That way [more…]

Conjugating the Spanish Verb Ayudar (to Help)

Spanish verbs fall into different groups, and each group is conjugated a little differently. If you’re going to master Spanish verbs like ayudar, you need to be able to identify which group a verb belongs [more…]

Using the Spanish Subjunctive with Adverbs and Adjectival Clauses

Though the Spanish subjunctive mood expresses doubt, voices impersonal opinions, and sets up conditional actions, that’s not all it’s good for. You also use the subjunctive with some adjectival clauses [more…]

Conjugating the Spanish Verb Cambiar (to Change)

Spanish verbs fall into different groups, and each group is conjugated a little differently. If you’re going to master Spanish verbs like cambiar, you need to be able to identify which group a verb belongs [more…]

Deciding between the Preterit and Imperfect Verb Tenses in Spanish

When you use past tense verbs in Spanish, you need to pick between the preterit and the imperfect tenses. Choosing the right verb tense is key for making your meaning clear. For example, when talking about [more…]

Identifying Reverse-Gender Nouns in Spanish

Although the gender of most Spanish nouns is fairly obvious (nouns that end in -o often are masculine, and nouns that end in -a often are feminine), some Spanish nouns reverse their gender. These reverse-gender [more…]

Positioning Spanish Adverbs Properly

Adding adverbs to your Spanish vocabulary can bring precision to your sentences — but not if you don’t know where to position them. Spanish adverbs should be used only to describe a verb, another adverb [more…]

Making the Future Perfect Tense in Spanish

With the future perfect verb tense, you combine the future tense of the Spanish verb haber (to have) with the past participle of the main verb to express actions that [more…]

Pitting Present Subjunctive against Present Perfect Subjunctive in Spanish

When you’re trying to wrap your head around Spanish grammar, the subtle distinctions among verb tenses can make deciding which tense to use tough. Distinguishing between the present subjunctive and the [more…]

Giving Hazy Details in Spanish with the Imperfect Verb Tense

Nothing’s perfect in Spanish, not even verb tenses. The imperfect tense is vague and imprecise. That’s why it’s called imperfect. It describes continuous, ongoing, or habitual past action. [more…]

Getting to Know Spanish Indefinite Articles

If you’re a fan of indefinite articles, then you’re in luck: Spanish gives you a range of ways to say a, an,one, and some. Believe it or not, indefinite articles in Spanish also indicate both the number [more…]

Using the Spanish Preposition Hasta Correctly

The Spanish preposition hasta(ahs-tah) can mean either until or to, depending on the context of a sentence. Although still considered a common Spanish preposition, [more…]

Wishing about the Past with the Spanish Pluperfect Subjunctive

Spanish uses the pluperfect subjunctive more than English does. If you’ve ever hoped or expected that something had happened, you probably hoped or expected in this verb tense and probably didn’t even [more…]

When Superlatives Fail: Exaggerating in Spanish

Spanish speakers love to exaggerate. What to non-Spanish speakers may seem an excessive way to talk to the Spanish-speaking mind simply adds a bit more emphasis. Not only can you compare things, but you [more…]

Knowing You Better: Vosotros and Ustedes

The pronoun vosotros(bvoh-soh-trohs) (plural you) is used in spoken Spanish in Spain only. Spaniards use vosotrosto informally address a group of people. In all other Spanish-speaking countries, [more…]

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