Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Expressing Negation: Indefinite and Negative Words

Here is a list of the most common indefinite and negative words in Spanish.

algo – something, anything
alguien – someone, anyone
algún (alguno/a/os/as) – some, any
siempre – always
también – also
nada – nothing, not anything
nadie – no one, nobody, not anybody
nunca, jamás – never
ningún (ninguno/a) – no, none, not any
tampoco – neither, not either

Pay particular … [ Read more ]

Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Saber and Conocer

Two Spanish verbs express to know: saber and conocer.

  • Saber means to know facts or pieces of information. When followed by an infinitive, saber means to know how to do something (or to be able to do something).
  • No sabemos el telefono de Alejandro. ¿Saben Uds. dónde vive Alejandro? ¿Saben llegar alli? – We don’t know Alejandros phone number Do

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Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Direct Objects and Personal a

In English and in Spanish, the direct object (el complemento directo) of a sentence is the first recipient of the action of the verb.

I see the car; but I don’t see the dog.
George is preparing dinner for the family

In Spanish, the word a immediately precedes the direct object of a sentence when the direct object refers to a specific person … [ Read more ]

Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Indirect Object Pronouns

me – to/for me
te – to/for you (fam. sing.)
le – to/for you (form. sing.), him, her it
nos – to/for us
os – to/for you (fam. pl.)
les – to/for you (form. pl.), them

  • Indirect object nouns and pronouns are the second recipient of the action of the verb. They usually answer the questions to whom? or for whom? in relation

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Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Expressing Likes and Dislikes: gustar

–¿Que les parece este restaurante? ¿Les gusta?
— ¡A mí me gusta mucho!
–Y a mí me gustan los postres que sirven.
–Bueno, ¿quién va a pagar hoy?
–¿Nadie contesta?
–Bueno, nos gusta mucho el restaurante… no nos gustan nada las cuentas,

You have been using the verb gustar to express likes and dislikes. However, gustar does not literally mean to like, but to … [ Read more ]

Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Miscellaneous

  • To suggest activities to a friend: ¿Qué tal si nosotros verb form?
  • Descriptive adjectives are frequently used by Spanish speakers with ¡Qué ___!, to express English how + adjective.
  • ¿El bebé? ¡Que mono!
    ¿Michael Jordan? ¡Qué alto! ¡Y qué bárbaro!

  • Beginning with 31, Spanish numbers are not written in a combined form: treinta y uno, cuarenta y dos, sesenta y tres,

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Notes from ¿Qué tal? – ¿Por or Para?

Just as there are two Spanish verbs that mean to be (ser and estar), there are two Spanish words that often express English for: por and para. These prepositions (words that express the relationship between other words) have other English equivalents as well.

In the following questions, you will use por in one of its most important meanings: in, during.

  • Estudio por la

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Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Tener Idioms

  • tener miedo (de) – to be afraid of
  • tener prisa – to be in a hurry
  • tener razon – to be right
  • tener ganas de – to feel like
  • tener que – to have to
  • tener (mucho) calor – to be (very) warm
  • tener (mucho) frio – to be (very) cold
    These expressions are used to describe people or animals only.

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Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Forms of this/these

The demonstrative adjective this/these has four forms in Spanish. Learn to recognize them when you see them.

este coche – this car

estos coches – these cars

esta casa – this house

estas casas – these houses

You have already seen the neuter demonstrative esto. It refers to something that is as yet unidentified: ¿Que es esto?

Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Demonstrative Adjectives

this – este libro
that – ese libro, aquel libro alli
these – estos libros
those – esos libros, aquellos libros alli

Demonstrative adjectives (los adjetivos demostrativos) are used to point out or indicate a specific noun or nouns. In Spanish, demonstrative adjectives precede the nouns they modify. They also agree in number and gender with the nouns.

  • There are two ways to

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Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Cognates

You already know that cognates are words that are similar in form and meaning from one language to another: for example, English poet and Spanish poeta. The endings of many Spanish words correspond to English word endings according to fixed patterns. Learning to recognize these patterns will increase the number of close and not-so-close cognates that you can recognize.

-dad ⇒ -ly

-mente ⇒ … [ Read more ]

Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Talking About the Past (the Preterite Verb Tense)

To talk about all aspects of the past in Spanish, you need to know how to use two simple tenses (tenses formed without an auxiliary or “helping” verb): the preterite and the imperfect.

The preterite (el pretérito) has several equivalents in English. For example, hablé can mean I spoke or I did speak. The preterite is used to report finished, completed actions or states … [ Read more ]

Notes from ¿Qué tal? – r and rr

Spanish has two r sounds, one of which is called a flap, the other a trill. The rapid pronunciation of tt and dd in the English words Betty and ladder produces a sound similar to the Spanish flap r: the tongue touches the alveolar ridge (behind the upper teeth) once. Although English has no trill, when people imitate a motor, they often produce the Spanish … [ Read more ]

Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Estar with Adjectives

Estar is used with adjectives to express temporary conditions or observations that are true at a given moment but that do not describe inherent qualities of the noun. The following adjectives are generally used with estar. Some of them are cognates.

abierto/a – open

aburrido/a – bored

cansado/a – tired

cerrado/a – closed

contento/a – happy

desordenado/a – messy

enfermo/a – sick, ill

furioso/a … [ Read more ]

Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Summary of the Uses of Ser

  • To identify people and things. (Ella es doctora.)
  • To express nationality; with de to express origin. (Son cubanos. Son de la Habana.)
  • With de to tell of what material something is made. (El suéter es de lana.)
  • With para to tell for whom something is intended. (El regalo es para Sara.)
  • To tell time. (Son las once. Es Ia una y media.)
  • With de

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Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Summary of the Uses of Estar

  • To tell location. (El libro está en la mesa.)
  • To describe health. (Estoy muy bien, gracias.)
  • With adjectives that describe conditions. (Estoy muy ocupada.)
  • In a number of fixed expressions. ((No) Estoy de acuerdo. Está bien.)

Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Basic Rules

Use ¿qué? to mean what? when you are asking for a definition or an explanation. Use ¿cual? To mean what? in all other circumstances.

Que without an accent mark means that or which.

Nouns that refer to male beings and most nouns that end in -o are masculine (masculino) in gender: hombre, libro.
Nouns that refer to female beings and most nouns that … [ Read more ]

Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Stress and Written Accent Marks

Although all Spanish words of more than one syllable have a stressed vowel, most words do not have a written accent mark. Most words have the spoken stress exactly where native speakers of Spanish would predict it. These two simple rules tell you which syllable is accented when a word does not have a written accent.

  • Words that end in a vowel, -n,

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