Today, the United States sees impressive growth in the population of Spanish speakers in the nation. So much so that it is now the country with the second-largest amount of Spanish speakers in the world! This poses a new challenge for police officers working in the US who must also serve citizens who speak little to no English.
Pulling someone over or interviewing a witness would be impossible to do without the ability to understand one another. Can you imagine being a police officer in a situation like that? Language barriers can be frustrating. While the percentage of US inhabitants who can’t speak English is rapidly decreasing, understanding Spanish is still an invaluable asset to any police officer.
Overcome the Barrier
If you’re a police officer who wants to make your job easier by learning Spanish words and phrases that will help you out in the field, you’re in the right place. Today’s vocabulary will be a great addition to your toolbelt, making your duty to protect and serve a little bit smoother.
Know Your Numbers
Learning plenty of useful vocabulary is sure to make your job a lot easier. Reduce your language barriers even more by learning Spanish numbers, especially since speed limits vary from one street to the next.
On-the-Job Spanish Phrases
In the meantime, let’s look at common phrases that will prove useful in the field!
|Get out of the vehicle||Bájese del auto|
|Your license and registration, please||Su licencia y registro, por favor|
|Put your hands up!||Manos arriba!|
|I can escort you home||Yo lo puedo escoltar a casa|
|Is there a problem?||¿Hay algún problema?|
|How can I help you?||¿Cómo puedo ayudarle?|
|Where are you headed?||¿A dónde se dirige?|
|We got a noise complaint, could you turn it down?||Recibimos una queja por ruido. ¿Podrían bajar el volumen?|
|Please wait here||Por favor espere aquí|
|Can I get your contact info?||¿Me podría dar su información de contacto?|
Don’t Forget Formalities
Another important aspect of police work is politeness or formality. Did you know Spanish has three levels of formality when addressing someone? Read about how to use pronouns correctly to avoid simple mistakes.
Spanish-Speaking Police Officers
Being a police officer is hard work. Protecting the public requires a quick-witted and honorable character. Expanding our knowledge in hopes of becoming better is a sign of wisdom, a trait that is indispensable regardless of your craft. If you’re more of a “hands-on” learner, why not take a free class with our Spanish experts at HSA? With help from our local Spanish experts, communicating is made easy!
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- Spanish Weather Words for Your Preschooler
How’s the weather today where you live? I bet you have an opinion or two about how much you like or dislike the current climate in your area. In our lesson about the weather, you will involve your child in talking about the conditions outside. Teaching your little one to describe the weather and make observations about weather patterns is one of their first introductions to science. Combining Spanish with the basics of scientific observation about weather creates plenty of exciting lessons! ¿Qué tiempo hace hoy?
When discussing the weather in Spanish, there are three main ways to describe it using appropriate verbs:
- What the weather does (hacer)
- What the weather is (estar)
- What weather “there is” (haber/hay)
Download our exclusive Homeschool Spanish Academy Spanish Weather Words flashcards here:
Download Weather Words for Preschool
What the weather does (hacer)…
How the weather is (estar)…
What weather is there?
More Important Vocabulary
The Four Seasons
There are many fantastic weather activities that you and your child can enjoy during your Spanish lessons! Here are some ideas:
Wind Art: gather up a piece of paper, a straw, some paint, and newspaper or something else to protect your surface from paint spills. Squeeze a pile of paint in the middle of the paper and have your child blow it around using the straw while they pretend to be a light breeze or a strong wind. Words of advice: tell your child not to suck in or to touch the straw to the paint.
Read Lluvia (Haga El Tiempo Que Haga) by Carol Thompson and explore wind, snow, rain, and sunny weather with the five senses.
Read El Día Ventoso by Tracey Stanley and use a portable handheld fan to blow things around like the wind in the book. Things you can set up to let your child blow around: craft feathers, dry leaves, cotton balls, ribbons, thin craft paper, etc.
Make Snow Playdoh: You will need a bowl, spoon, cookie cutters, a rolling pin, and any other playdoh accessories you want to include. The recipe needs 2 cups of cornstarch, 1 ¼ cup unscented white hand lotion, and 2-3 drops of peppermint extract. Let your child measure the ingredients and mix them all together in a bowl. A soft and pliable snowball will begin to form. Use the snowball to extend the lesson with cookie cutters, legos, or other toys for imprinting.
Palo de Lluvia (Rainstick): Create the sound of falling rain with a palo de lluvia! For full instructions on how to design this craft, click here.
Make Weather Mobiles: Get your child’s hands busy with crafts that last throughout your weather lesson. Make individual mobiles of weather conditions and nouns, such as rainbow, clouds with rain, and bright sun. Check out these fun instructions!
Wonderful World of Weather
We hope this guide helps you to bring the weather to life for you and your child in your Spanish preschool lessons. Inspire your little one to talk about the weather with a native Spanish speaker in a free online class. Have them ask the teacher about the weather in Guatemala!
Do you want a guaranteed way to learn Spanish while enjoying yourself completely? It’s through music! Ten long years ago, I started learning Spanish from scratch and my constant companions were clear and catchy Spanish songs. I spent at least an hour daily listening to my favorite songs, hoping to get them to stick in my head (they always did). This method has worked wonders for me in French, as well, where I spent thousands of hours of my teenage years listening to French pop, polishing my accent, and increasing my fluency. While you’re not here to learn French, you will be happy to know that this trick works for any language! With regular auditory exposure to Spanish music such as the songs I share below, you will build your vocabulary, practice your accent, learn some useful phrases, and pick up a thing or two about the cultures that produced them. So, grab your favorite headphones, curl up in a comfy spot, and let’s get to listening. ¡Escuchemos música!
10 Spanish Songs to Study
To make the most of out of each song here (and others you may add to your playlist), be sure to study them one by one. Start with one song and listen to it while you read the lyrics. Jot down some words or phrases that are confusing to you. Use a dictionary to translate the meaning and create a picture of what’s happening in the song. And most importantly—sing along! By singing the songs, you get all the benefits of becoming more familiar with Spanish, like an increase in your pace of speech, refined pronunciation, and a boost in fluency.
How does this work? Each song has a Youtube link to follow. Start listening while you come back to this blog post and try to hear the lyrics in bold. The verbs, words, and phrases precede the lyric and give you a chance to use them on your own. Let’s get to it!
Julieta Venegas, from Mexico
Song: “Limón y Sal”
Album: Limón y Sal
Tener que – to have to (tengo que confesar = I have to confess)
Desaparecer – to disappear (tu me desapareces = you disappear on me)
Ponerse – to become/get (te pones de un humor extraño = you get in a weird mood)
Volver a + verb – again (vuelvo a empezar = I start again)
tal y como – just/such as (yo te quiero tal y como estás = I love/want you just as you are)
hacer falta – to lack/to be necessary (no hace falta cambiarte nada = there is no need to change anything about you)
Los Amigos Invisibles, from Venezuela
Una mentira – a lie (esas son puras mentiras = those are pure lies)
Andar – to walk/hang around (esa noche yo no andaba allí = that night I wasn’t hanging around there)
Contar – to tell (te cuentan que me vieron paseando en la ciudad = they tell you that they saw me taking a walk in the city)
Portarse – to behave (cuando no estás conmigo, yo me porto bien = when you’re not with me, I behave well)
Contento – happy, distraido – distracted (yo estaba muy contento y como distraido = I was really happy and as distracted)
Ricardo Arjona featuring Gaby Moreno, both from Guatemala
Song: “Fuiste Tu”
Album: Independiente + demos
Ser – to be (Fuiste tú = it was you)
la melancolía – melancholy (Lo tuyo fue la intermitencia y la melancolía = yours was intermittence and melancholy)
un chantaje – blackmail (Jamás te dije una mentira o te inventé un chantaje = I never told you a lie or blackmailed you)
el motor de arranque – the starter motor (cuando los besos fueron el motor de arranque que encendió la luz = when the kisses were the starter that ignited the light)
disfrazarse – to disguise/dress up (Así se disfraza el amor para su conveniencia = that’s how love is disguised for convenience)
Juanes, from Colombia
Song: “La camisa negra”
Album: Mi Sangre
De luto – in mourning (hoy mi amor está de luto = today my love is in mourning)
Herir – to hurt/wound (Y eso es lo que más me hiere = and that’s what hurts me most)
Quedarse – to stay/to be left (mal parece que solo me quedé = it seems bad that I was left alone)
Con disimulo – surreptitiously/furtively (Te digo con disimulo = I tell you furtively)
Amargo – bitter (Respiré de ese humo amargo de tu adiós = I breathed the bitter smoke of your good-bye)
Mostrar – to show (Ni siquiera muestras señas = you don’t even show signs)
Bomba Estereo, from Colombia
Song: “Somos dos”
Llenar – to fill up (tus ojos me están llenando solo con verlos = your eyes are filling me up just by seeing them)
Abrazarte – to hug you (no necesito si no abrazarte para sentirlo = I need only to hug you to feel it)
Emoción – feeling/excitement (que emoción = how exciting)
Ser parte de – to be a part of (ser parte de tu sonrisa y de tu alegría = to be a part of your smile and your happiness)
Callarse – to hush/be quiet (cuando el silencio se calle la boca y no pide perdón = when silence hushes the mouth and doesn’t ask for forgiveness)
Mientras – while, meanwhile (mientras los mundos se juntan = while the worlds come closer together)
Song: “Te Voy a Amar”
Album: Un Nuevo Sol
Poco – little/not much (Es poco decir = it’s not enough to say)
Alcanzar – to reach/catch (no me alcanzan las palabras = I can’t find the words)
Volverse – to become (Lo blanco y negro se vuelve color = black and white become color)
Medir – to measure (Porque me das tu amor sin medir = because you give your love without measure)
Junto – (quiero vivir la vida entera junto a ti = I want to live my whole life next to you)
Alex Ubago, from Spain
Song: “Mil Horas”
Preguntarse – to wonder (Yo me pregunto para qué sirven las guerras = I wonder what wars are for)
Alrededor – around (como la nieve a mi alrededor = like the snow all around me)
Hace (impersonal verb) – it has been (hace tiempo que estoy sentado sobre esta piedra = it’s been awhile that I’ve been sitting on this rock)
Esperar – to wait (La otra noche te esperé bajo la lluvia dos horas = the other night I waited for you in the rain for two hours)
Malu Trevejo, from Cuba
Song: “Una Vez Más”
Una vez – one time (una vez más = one more time)
Seguir – to follow (Que si tú te vas al cielo te sigo = if you go to heaven, I’ll follow you)
Alejarse – to go away (Quieres que me aleje = you want me to go away)
Cualquiera – ordinary/any (Sé que no soy cualquiera = I know I’m not ordinary)
Decir – to say (El corazón dirá más = the heart will say more)
Venir – to come (Dime que por mí vendrás = tell me you will come for me)
CNCO, boy band formed from the show La Banda
Song: “De Cero”
Album: Que Quiénes Somos
Sufrir – to suffer (dicen que estás sufriendo = they say you are suffering)
Entregarse – to surrender (Sin mente yo me entregaré = without thinking, I will surrender)
Empezar – to start (de cero empezamos = we start from zero)
Dejar – to leave/abandon/forget (Mejor dejamos la estupidez = we better leave behind the nonsense)
El tuyo – yours (Yo soy lo tuyo y tu eres la mia = I’m yours and you’re mine)
Un regalo – gift (La vida es corta y tu eres un regalo = life is short and you’re a gift)
Jesse y Joy, brother and sister duo from Mexico
Descifrar – to decipher/to figure out (Tú dices que soy imposible de descifrar = you say that I’m impossible to figure out)
Tanto – so much (Te amo tanto = I love you so much)
Tonta/tonto – silly (Tanto que me siento tonta = so much that I feel silly)
Sumar – to add (Cuenta todas las estrellas y súmale una más = count all the stars and add one more)
Soler – to tend to (me suele incomodar = it tends to make me uncomfortable)
Bulk Up Your Playlist
Seeking out more songs is so much fun. Once you finish absorbing the material from the 10 songs above, you can start adding your own! Here is a set of criteria to use while searching for the most effective songs for Spanish learning:
- Clarity – Make sure that endings of words and complete syllables aren’t chopped off, that the pronunciation of words is as accurate as possible and that the speed is understandable.
- Simple – Choose songs with fairly easy lyrics that don’t complicate the message.
- Catchy – Find songs you like! With a nice beat and fun rhythm, the lyrics you’re learning are more likely to stick in your head.
- Repetition – Gravitate toward songs with plenty of repetitive parts that encourage you to practice over and over.
Practice with a Native Speaker
After you spend some time learning new words and phrases, you will feel really motivated to use them in speech. Sign up for a free online class with a native Spanish-speaking teacher from Guatemala, and let them know all about your favorite Spanish songs!Read More
Do you like learning about make-up or trying different types of nail polish? All the colorful and curious items that women use to enhance their appearance or fragrance is defined as cosméticos or cosmetics. This vibrant and varied world can be overwhelming to explore, even in your native language. With this introductory guide to cosmetics in Spanish, you will learn how to discuss your favorite types of make-up and cosmetic accessories in another language. ¡Hablemos de cosméticos!
Here is a list of some of the most popular types of cosmetics with a downloadable set of flashcards for practicing! While these words are understood in all Spanish-speaking countries, it’s important to note that the vocabulary varies by region. For example, in some countries, people say blush instead of colorete, or rímel instead of máscara de pestañas. Lastly, don’t forget to practice rolling your r’s for words like corrector and rizador (check out this video for a refresher).
Download your flashcards here: Spanish Cosmetics
Body Parts in Spanish
Although cosmetics are used in different parts of the body, the grand majority of products are designed to improve the face’s appearance. Let’s take a look at some of these words so you can talk about makeup with your Spanish-speaking friends. You will also learn how to explain that you’re applying a product on a particular part of your face using maquillarse or aplicarse.
Verbs and Example Sentences
Here are some very useful verbs to use while discussing cosmetics or your makeup routine. Check out the following list with examples on how to use them in a sentence:
Maquillarse (to put on makeup) is a reflexive verb:
Yo me maquillo todos los días. – I put on makeup every day.
Me gusta maquillarme. – I like to put on makeup.
Desmaquillarse (to take off makeup) is a reflexive verb:
Ella se desmaquilla con agua y jabón. – She takes off makeup with water and soap.
Yo me desmaquillo antes de dormir. – I take off my makeup before going to sleep.
Aplicar (to apply, to put on):
¿Cómo te aplicas la sombra de ojos? – How do you apply eyeshadow?
Yo me aplico la máscara de pestañas después de usar un rizador de pestañas. – I put on mascara after using an eyelash curler.
Yo me aplico mucho perfume. – I put on a lot of perfume.
Curious About Cosmetics
Anyone can learn about cosmetics in Spanish! Being curious about both familiar and new things while learning a foreign language will always be beneficial. We hope you enjoyed this Spanish guide to cosmetics and how to use them. If you have any questions or would like to discuss what you’ve learned, sign up for a free online class with a native Spanish speaker. Here at Homeschool Spanish Academy, our teachers enjoy talking about all sorts of topics!Read More
Learning about animals is a very exciting time for your preschooler. Suddenly, the world opens up with fascinating creatures who live in magical places like the jungle or forest. While teaching Spanish to your young learner, you most likely already plan to teach them about animals, but it’s a great opportunity to talk about habitat, too! In our Spanish Animals guide, you can explore sets of animal vocabulary as you introduce five different hábitats: farm, jungle, forest, ocean, and home.
Our master list features 31 different animals with a pronunciation guide. You may choose to teach them all at once or divide them by their habitat and expand your child’s context of understanding. Sharing the sounds that animals make is also super fun, which you can find in this article about Spanish onomatopoeia.
Download our exclusive Homeschool Spanish Academy Animals Flashcards to use for your lessons and activities below!
Download Spanish Animals for Preschool
Introducing the idea of different habitats for specific groups of animals will facilitate your child’s ability to mentally organize and memorize new vocabulary. The 5 main habitats for this animal guide are:
1. La granja (farm)
2. La selva (jungle)
3. El bosque (woods/forest)
4. El océano (ocean)
5. La casa (house)
What can you do to teach the habitats for each animal set?
Sorting is an essential activity for preschoolers. It is a pre-math skill that allows children to make sense of their world through organization. While teaching your child where the animals live, you can use our exclusive Homeschool Spanish Academy Animal Sorts to inspire hands-on sorting. Laminate the pages for durability, then cut out the individual animals. Lay out the habitat pages and figure out together where each animal lives!
This simple question and answer game “Where does it live?” in Spanish will teach the question word ¿Dónde? and how to use the 3rd person singular* conjugation of vivir:
Parent: ¿Dónde vive el elefante? (Where does the elephant live?)
Child: El elefante vive en la selva. (The elephant lives in the jungle)
Parent: ¿Dónde vive el gato? (Where does the cat live?)
Child: El gato vive en la casa. (The cat lives in the house)
*You can extend this lesson to include plurals by asking, “¿Dónde viven los elefantes?” (Los elefantes viven en la selva.)
Get creative with lots of hands-on crafts, animal-related Spanish stories, and visits to see real animals! You can incorporate many other skills into your child’s Spanish animal lessons, such as math, reading, and grammar. Expand their lesson with additional themes like opposite words and color awareness.
- Read the books Cositas del Monito by Rebecca Bielawski, ¿Dónde quieres vivir? by Arnhilda Badia, Vamos al Zoológico by Gladys Rosa-Mendoza, and Selvas by Richard C. Vogt
- Make Paper Plate Animal Masks – using paper plates, paints, and other materials listed here, make animal masks and role-play how these animals act.
- Make Paper Bag Animal Puppets – use rectangular brown paper bags that you turn upside down to create animal puppets who interact with each other. Find craft templates here.
- Shadow Drawings – you will need to buy small to large animal figurines for this activity. Using sunlight or a lamp, position one animal figurine on a piece of white paper so that its shadow is cast over most of the paper. Have your little one trace the shadow and finish drawing the animal as they see it.
- Farm or Zoo visit! Take a road trip to a nearby farm or petting zoo. Ask your child, “¿Qué tipo de animal es esto?” (What kind of animal is this?) as they reply, “Es una oveja” or “Es una vaca.”
- Play Charades – Using the Animal Flashcards, have your child pick a card and then act out what the animal does. Your child can ask you, “Qué tipo de animal soy yo?” (What kind of animal am I?) and you say, “Eres un pájaro!” (You’re a bird!)
Adventures with Animals
By using this animal guide, you now have plenty of fun and exciting ideas for teaching your little one about animals in Spanish. As we always say – sign up for a free online class so your child can practice their new skills with a native Spanish speaker! They can talk about which kinds of animals live in Guatemala, where the teacher lives.
Brrrr! The temperatures are freezing and heavy snowfall has convinced your family to stay indoors (until it’s time to make a snowman, of course). Christmas songs and hot chocolate breaks have made their way into your daily routine. Invierno (winter) is here and in full swing. Looks like it’s time to start learning some Spanish winter words! With the flurry of excitement that your preschooler feels for the holidays, you can channel it into activities and lessons that teach enjoyable nouns, verbs, and useful phrases. ¡Disfrutemos el invierno!
This versatile theme gives you the perfect excuse to teach different categories of words, such as singular and plural nouns as well as verbs and verb phrases. Here is our list of the most common and useful winter words in Spanish with a helpful pronunciation guide:
An excellent way to help your little one learn new words is by using them in a story. When the words come to life in a creative way, it builds context and memorable associations that enhance your child’s ability to retain new vocabulary. Implementing any number of reading strategies or activities to accompany your story will increase the effectiveness and add lots of extra fun.
Flashcards are the simplest way to teach new vocabulary. Enjoy our exclusive Homeschool Spanish Academy Winter Theme Flashcards as a must-have learning tool! Be sure to laminate them for durability. See what else you can do with flashcards here.
Download Winter Words Flashcards
Extended Lesson Ideas
By using Winter as your central theme, you can build on it with endless sub-topics to include grammar instruction and practice of previously learned skills. Examples, such as single and plural nouns, the gender of nouns, new verbs and how to conjugate them, and question words like ¿dónde? and ¿cuántos? can easily be incorporated into this theme. For extra practice of previous lessons, add some color activities, counting games, and use opposite words to describe your new collection of wonderful wintry words.
Here are some examples that you can continue to enhance with your own ideas:
El suéter azul – the blue sweater
El gorro verde – the green hat
¿Qué color es el trineo? – What color is the sled?
El trineo es rojo. – The sled is red.
Una manopla – one mitten
Cuatro renos – four reindeer
¿Cuántos guantes tienes? – how many gloves do you have?
Tengo dos guantes. – I have two gloves.
Las botas secas / las botas mojadas – dry boots / wet boots
Chocolate caliente / chocolate frio – hot chocolate / cold chocolate
El muñeco de nieve delgado / el muñeco de nieve gordo – skinny snowman / fat snowman
¿Dónde está el árbol de navidad? – Where is the Christmas tree?
El árbol de navidad está cerca. / El árbol de navidad está lejos. – The Christmas tree is nearby / The Christmas tree is far away.
More Examples to Consider:
Wonder of Winter
Take advantage of the heightened spirits and joyous mood that the holidays bring and teach your child useful winter words in Spanish. We hope that with this guide, you will be able to enjoy the cold weather even more and expand your Spanish lessons with plenty of other fun activities and creative plans for instruction. If you would like to encourage your child to speak with a native Spanish teacher from Guatemala, sign up for a free online class with us! Your child is guaranteed to speak Spanish after the first class!Read More
Spanish classes are great. They teach you general vocabulary, pronunciation, and conversational skills. The more you advance in your classes, the more in-depth conversations you’ll be able to have. However, there are some situations that most Spanish classes just don’t prepare you for at all. One of those situations is going to the hair salon!
During my first year in Guatemala, I needed to have my hair cut. Thinking I could easily handle the conversation, I went with no preparation, confident in my Spanish abilities. I quickly learned, though, that I was totally unprepared to ask for layers in my hair, using the word niveles (levels/floors) instead of capas. The hairdresser asked me more questions about style preferences, and I was completely lost. Since my hair routine only involves washing, drying, and brushing, I never had a need or interest to learn more detailed vocabulary about hairstyles. Nevertheless, there are some key vocabulary words and phrases that everyone (guys and girls!) needs to know if they plan to stay an extended period of time in a Spanish-speaking area. If you aren’t properly prepared, you may end up with the opposite haircut than what you wanted! Thankfully for me, the hairdresser understood what I meant by niveles and gave me exactly the cut I wanted. Now, I have the word capas forever seared into my brain to avoid further embarrassment in hair salons. I want to help you avoid that kind of embarrassment, so I’ve put together a list of words and phrases you might need when getting your hair cut or styled. Let’s check them out!
Alright. Now that you’ve looked at this list, I want to discuss a couple of these words and phrases. Firstly, it is important to note that many vocabulary words have one or more translations in Spanish. Since Spanish is such widespread language, each country – and even region! – has its own way of saying certain things. If you are in a Spanish-speaking country, try using one of the options for a particular word. If you are corrected, then use the word most common in that region. For example, to say “split ends” I use flores because that is the only way I have ever heard it talked about. That is not a technical term, however, and you won’t find in translated as “split ends” in any dictionary or translator. While it is good to know the technical terms for things, be flexible and open to learning how the local people refer to different things!
Tricky Hair Salon Verbs
You might have noticed that to say “I want to get a haircut” we say Quiero cortarme el pelo. This pronominal verb makes it seem that we are going to be the ones cutting our own hair because of the -me at the end of cortar. However, this is an idiomatic pronominal verb and does not actually mean that you will be doing the cutting yourself. For this type of phrase, you need to remember that you cannot translate literally. The phrase literally translated from English would be yo quiero conseguir un corte de pelo. That is a mouthful! Instead, it is the short quiero cortarme el pelo. Additionally, remember that we say el pelo and not mi pelo. This is the same for phrases like me duele la cabeza (my head hurts). For body parts we use the regular article (el/la/los/las) beforehand and not the possessive pronoun (mi(s)/tu(s)/su(s)/nuestro(s)).
Afeitarse + Rasurarse
Both of these words mean ‘to shave.’ This is a perfect example of how multiple words can have the same translation in English. These words are both understood, but each one is more common in different areas. If you look at our chart above, you will see that these verbs do not have the pronominal ending -se. These verbs are only pronominal when the subject is doing this action on itself. For example:
Yo me rasuro.
Él se afeita.
Yo quiero rasurarme.
In these examples, the subject is (or wants to) shave him/herself. You may remember from previous blogs that this is a reflexive verb because the subject is doing something to itself. The accompanying pronouns reflect this. Why don’t they have the -se ending in the chart, then?
If you are going to the hair salon, someone else is cutting your hair or shaving your head. Someone else is doing the action to you. That means that it is no longer a reflexive action, and therefore we do not need the reflexive pronouns.
I want to take a bit of time to explain this wonderful word which is not quite as simple as it seems. As a noun (sustantivo), peinado means ‘hairdo.’ Imagine you are sitting at the hair salon or barbershop, flipping through a book of hairstyle options. Each one that you see is called a peinado, including the more extravagant ones for special events. Easy, right?
As an adjective, peinado becomes one of those interesting Spanish words that doesn’t translate well into English. Again, this is not something that was taught to me in class, but an idea I had to learn through several (slightly embarrassing) experiences. I was an English teacher for several years and my younger students would often comment that I always looked despeinada. I was confused, at first, thinking about the verb peinar (to comb).
My hair is a bit unruly, with a mind of its own, but I always had it in some style for class. A lot of hair just always escapes and, to be honest, I like it that way. However, that look is not necessarily considered a good one where I live. Whenever they asked me why I was despeinada, I would argue that yes, I swear I did comb my hair and yes, I do like when it looks like this. I slowly began to realize that the standard to be bien peinado is to have every hair in place, slicked into a nice hairdo with gel or water.
Do you think you understand what peinado means now? To be peinado means to have a nice hairstyle/hairdo or to be well put together with every hair in place. Despeinado is the opposite of that – to have your hair wild or unruly. Since I have too much hair to handle, I have accepted I will always be despeinada even if I did do style my hair! Remember that in Spanish it is estar despeinado not tener pelo peinado.
Put It Into Practice!
It’s time for you to practice what you’ve learned! If there isn’t a peluquería near you that speaks Spanish, you can practice with your friends, classmates, or Spanish teacher at Homeschool Spanish Academy! I hope you have learned from my embarrassing experiences what not to say when getting a haircut. If you have any questions or want more practice, schedule a FREE class with the Spanish Academy! Happy learning!Read More
On Part 1 of the Spanish subjuntivo series, we learned what the subjuntivo is. As you already know, the subjunctive is a mood that allows us to express ideas, thoughts, desires, possibilities, and doubts. Because it is a mood and not a tense, we can use it in both the present tense to refer to a current action – see Part 2 of the subjuntivo series – or in the imperfect tense to refer to actions or events that don’t occur in a specific point in time.
Today, we’ll explore the conjugation of the subjunctive in the imperfect!
Imperfect Subjunctive Conjugation
The conjugation of regular verbs in the subjunctive mood is just as simple in the imperfect as it is in the present tense! Have a look at the table below, and take a note of your observations!
These are some rules that will help you learn the conjugation of verbs in the imperfect subjunctive even faster:
- We always use a tilde – accent – on the first person plural, nosotros. In the case of the -ar ending, the tilde goes on the a before the r. In the case of the -er and -ir endings, the tilde goes on the e after the i:
- In the case of -ar endings, you add the conjugation after the infinitive -ar ending. This is similar to the ending of the simple future tense but without the tilde of the future tense – yo is an exception and you replace the ‘é’ with an ‘a’.
- The conjugations of –er and -ir verbs use the same endings, which are added to the stem after removing the ending -er and -ir:
-iera, -ieras, -iera, -iéramos, -ieran, -ieranExamples: tuviera, comieras, hubiera, saliéramos, bebieran
As with the present tense, the imperfect subjunctive has irregular verbs. Below you’ll find a list of some of the commonly used irregular verbs. Keep in mind that while the endings remain the same, the stem changes!
Uses of the Imperfect Subjunctive
We use the imperfect subjunctive in two different ways:
- In dependent clauses and adjective clauses introduced by the relative pronoun que when the previous clause uses a past tense verb. We always need to make sure our tenses match!
Example: Me gustó que trajeras postre. – I like that you brought dessert.
- In conditional clauses – si (if) clauses.
Example: Si fuera lunes, iría al mercado. – If it were Monday, I would go to the market.
To read a detailed explanation on how to use the subjunctive in both present and imperfect tenses, follow this link!
Test yourself by conjugating the verbs in parenthesis! Remember that Spanish doesn’t require you to use personal pronouns like you do in English, so use the English translations to make sure you conjugate the verb in the correct form!
- Ella me dijo que _____ (venir) mañana.
She told me to come tomorrow.
- No pensamos que _____ (ser) una buena idea.
We didn’t think it was a good idea.
- Su mamá le dijo que se _____ (poner) un suéter.
Her mom told her to put on a sweater.
- Nosotros le dijimos que ______ (ver) una película.
We told her to watch a movie.
- Ellos necesitaban que _____ (traer) un pastel.
They needed us to bring a cake.
The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll feel using the subjunctive in everyday conversation, so book a free class with us and let’s practice together everything we’ve learned on the subjuntivo series!
- viniera (me – I – yo viniera)
- fuera (it – la idea – ella fuera)
- pusiera (her – she – ella pusiera)
- viera (her -she – ella viera)
- trajéramos (us – we – nosotros trajéramos)
Want More on the Subjunctivo Series? Check these out!
Part 3: Spanish Subjunctive – How to Conjugate the Imperfect Tense (you are here)Read More
It’s moving day guys! How many times have you moved? In the first 3 months of our marriage, my husband and I moved 4 times, and we are constantly traveling to visit family. Suffice it to say, I have a lot of experience packing and moving – and I don’t particularly like it! It can be such a stressful experience, especially if you’re doing it in a foreign country. With all this experience of moving around a Spanish-speaking country, though, I have picked up some key vocabulary in Spanish that will hopefully help make your next move go smoothly.
If you ever need to move to a Spanish-speaking country, or if you have Spanish-speaking workers help you move in the States, the following vocabulary and phrases will definitely help you make the moving process go smoothly. Let’s check them out!
One English Word, Two Spanish Words
Did you catch that first word in the chart? To move? It is not mover, as you might have thought, but mudarse! Be very careful with this one, as it is a common mistake for Spanish learners to use mover when talking about moving to a new home. Mover is for every type of movement, except moving to a new house! That is exclusively mudarse. I’m not quite sure why moving to a new home has a separate word in Spanish, but if you think about all the work that goes into packing, relocating, and unpacking, it is a quite different idea from other movements that we do throughout the day. It is a pronominal verb as well, so keep that in mind when talking about where and when you’re moving. Check out these phrases to help you in your conversations:
Nos vamos a mudar a Argentina.
We’re going to move to Argentina.
Me mudé a Guatemala en 2013.
I moved to Guatemala in 2013.
¿Estás pensando en mudarte?
Are you thinking about moving?
Él se muda a España el viernes.
He is moving to Spain on Friday.
Remember that with pronominal verbs, we include a reflexive pronoun. The placement of that pronoun can vary depending on the sentence, as shown in the sentences above. For more information on where to place the reflexive pronoun, click here.
Another English word that has two potential Spanish translations is ‘to live.’ Yes, as you probably guessed, the most common translation in vivir. However, there is another word that translates to live, which is morar. The first time I saw this word, it was in the past participle form he morado (I have lived), and I was thoroughly confused. I have purple? Purple is a verb? While it may look like the word for purple in Spanish (morado), it is not! It is another way to say ‘to live,’ or more formally, ‘to dwell.’ In English, ‘to dwell’ sounds very formal, and so you may tend to reserve the use of morar for equally formal occasions like I have (I’m not sure that I have ever used morar in conversation). However, it does not exclusively mean such a formal idea! It is also a synonym for vivir, and I have heard it used several times in informal conversation. This is just something to keep in mind as you talk to people in Spanish about where you have lived and are living.
What is your role on moving day? Are you the one listening to commands, obediently carrying and packing boxes? Or are you the one giving the commands, making sure everything is in order? Either way, you need to know how to use and understand commands in Spanish! For a more in-depth look at the imperative voice (commands), check out Spanish Commands Part 1 and Part 2.
In English, the verbs don’t change when we give a command:
I put it over there. / You put it over there.
Put it over there!
Can you see how the verb ‘put’ stays the say in general statements and a commanding sentence? Unfortunately, the Spanish command form isn’t quite that simple. There are different conjugations for each person you could give a command to (tú, usted, ustedes). We don’t have a conjugation for all the pronouns in the imperative form because you can’t give a command to yourself or to him or her. While we can’t give commands to ‘us,’ we do have a unique way of encouraging teamwork in both English and Spanish! In English, we would say something like, ‘let’s do this!’ or ‘let’s work together.’ In Spanish, the verb would actually take the subjunctive form to represent that idea of ‘let’s.’ It is often considered part of the command conjugations but is technically the subjunctive form!
In our chart above, there are several commanding sentences. Can you find some? They are all referring to either tú or nosotros. If you want to use those sentences with usted or ustedes, the verb would have to change. Let’s look at how some of them would change so you are completely prepared if you want to give a command to a group of people or someone you respect.
Are you able to see some patterns in how to conjugate the verbs in the imperative? Click here for more help! Poner is probably the most useful verb for moving day, and it is, unfortunately, an irregular verb. However, the imperative tú form is quite simple – pon. If you want to have just one simple phrase to remember for moving day, I would recommend the following: Pon eso allí. Put that there. It will get you through a lot of conversations when moving. Even if you don’t quite understand everything being said, the most important thing is where to put the boxes! With that little sentence, you can survive moving in Spanish!
Are you ready to move? Hopefully, with this blog, you are able to take away some of the stress of moving by having a straightforward list of key phrases for packing and moving in Spanish. If you think of any more words that you need to use for moving day, or if you want to translate a specific command or sentence, talk with one of our teachers! They are all native Spanish speakers, and they would love to help you. You can sign up for a FREE trial class here, or you check out how our classes work here. You don’t want to miss a chance to perfect your Spanish-speaking abilities. Sign up today and happy moving day! ¡Feliz día de mudanza!Read More
The first couple of times I traveled abroad, I got extremely sick. One time I had a nasty parasite, which is considered very common for foreigners, but the second time I got pneumonia, a pretty common infection. The thing is, you can’t guarantee you won’t get sick while you’re abroad. While it may be more common for foreigners to get a parasite, you can also just as easily get the flu, a rash, or an infection. Hopefully, you won’t have any health issues while traveling, but it’s best to be prepared! You don’t want to end up feeling sick and not be able to communicate your symptoms to the doctor (trust me, I’ve been there). To help you avoid that, I have put together a list of common words and phrases you may use at the doctor’s office or hospital. Granted, this is not a comprehensive list – that would make for a never-ending blog! If you are concerned about a particular organ or disease that is not on this list, be sure to look it up before going to the see the doctor.
Let’s start with some basic vocabulary to get yourself to the doctor and to explain your symptoms.
Now, doctors often use vocabulary that the beginner Spanish learner might not understand. For example, they won’t say ‘poop and pee,’ but instead heces y urina. The first time I heard heces from a doctor, I had to stop and think about it because I had never used that word in conversation before! Check out these phrases to describe what’s wrong and be sure to write them down. I don’t want you to be in a situation where you can’t properly describe what you are feeling.
When talking about pain, you need to remember two very important things about the structure of Spanish phrases. First of all, you need to include a pronoun with the verb doler. For example, we don’t say duele la cabeza. You must include a reflexive pronoun, like me, before the verb for this to make sense. Me duele la cabeza. It is literally saying that ‘my head hurts me.’ If you look at this sentence, you’ll also notice that the subject comes at the end of the sentence. Cabeza is the subject, not me. This is a great example of how fluid Spanish can be! While we can write this sentence either way, – la cabeza me duele / me duele la cabeza – it is much more common to use the latter form. It may be confusing at first, but if you practice the phrase me duele, it will come easily to you in no time!
The… or My?
You might have also noticed that instead of saying mi cabeza (my head), we say la cabeza (the head). Usually, when we talk about the parts of our body, we use the regular article (el /la /los /las) instead of a possessive article (mi[s] /tu[s] /su[s] /nuestro[s]). This may seem very weird to you if you are new to the Spanish language. Once you start using this form, though, it will become more natural.
Remember, these rules apply to other verbs as well, not just doler. Check out these examples and practice using different body parts!
Me duele la pierna. – My leg hurts.
¿Te duele el estómago? – Does your stomach hurt?
Le arde la garganta. – His/her throat burns.
Me pica la cabeza. – My head itches.
Sentir / Sentirse
Did you notice how some of our handy-dandy phrases used the verb sentir (no reflexive pronoun), while others used the verb sentirse (with a reflexive pronoun)? If not, go back, look at the chart, and identify the sentences that use sentir and sentirse. Both of these verbs translate to ‘feel’ in English, but they are used in different situations in Spanish. Can you identify why some sentences use the reflexive pronoun while others do not? If not, don’t worry! I’ll make it easy for you:
Sentir answers the question ‘what.’
What do you feel? I feel strong pain. Siento un dolor fuerte.
What do you feel? I feel great sadness. Siento una gran tristeza.
Sentirse answers the question ‘how.’
How do you feel? I feel sick. Me siento enfermo.
How do you feel? I feel excited. Me siento emocionado.
In other words, sentirse is followed by an adjective describing the subject. Me siento enfermo. Enfermo describes the (unspoken) subject yo. The verb sentir is followed by a noun or by a phrase starting with que. Siento un dolor fuerte. What do you feel? You feel strong pain.
Let’s look at the examples from our “What’s Wrong?” chart above:
Siento que me voy a desmayar.
Here, we have a phrase starting with que directly after the verb, so we must use sentir.
Siento un hormigueo en los dedos.
This sentence answers the question ‘what do you feel.’ Since it talks about ‘what’ and not ‘how’ we feel, we must use sentir.
Me siento muy mal.
This sentence talks about how you feel, so we must include the reflexive pronoun, or the verb sentirse.
Me siento mareado/a.
Just like the previous sentence, this one answers the question ‘how.’ Because of that, we must use the verb sentirse.
El dolor se siente como un cuchillo.
Se siente como si alguien me estuviera apretando.
These last two sentences seem a little different. While they do answer the question ‘how,’ the verbs are not followed by adjectives that describe the subject. Here, we see examples of the passive voice referring to what an object feels like. Since it is still answering the question ‘how,’ and because the passive voice commonly uses the pronoun se (se vende, se busca), we use the pronominal verb sentirse.
The next time you want to talk about feeling something in Spanish, think about whether you are describing what you feel or how you feel. If the answer is what, use sentir. If the answer is how, use sentirse. Furthermore, keep in mind that if you use a phrase starting with que after the verb, you must use the word sentir.
Write it Down and Study Up
There are a lot of things you need to memorize. To make it easier for yourself, write these phrases down, pin them on the wall, or download the chart and practice them whenever you can. Even if you are just practicing them on yourself, that is better than nothing! Repeat the phrases you see here, and then when you go to make your own sentences in a real conversation, you will remember these sample sentences and use them as a guideline for your new sentences.
How do you feel after studying these words and phrases? ¿Te sientes confundido? ¿Sientes que estás listo para hablar con el doctor en español? I hope this blog helped you expand your vocabulary and prepare you for your next doctor’s visit. If you have questions, want to learn more vocabulary, or would like more practice with some tricky verbs like sentir, doler, and arder, sign up for a FREE class with one of our native Spanish-speaking teachers. They can explain these concepts further, give you more materials to practice with, and help you gain the confidence to use these ideas in conversation. Get started today!Read More