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? – Expressing Destination and Future Actions

Ir + a + infinitive is used to describe actions or events in the near future

Van a llegar esta noche. – They’re going to arrive tonight.

Voy a ir de compras esta tarde. – I’m going to go shopping this afternoon.

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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Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Prepositions

Prepositions express relationships in time and space. Some common prepositions include a, con, de, en, para, and por. Here are some prepositions that express time relationships:

antes de – before

después de – after

durante – during

hasta – until

The infinitive is the only verb form that can follow a preposition in Spanish.

¿Adónde vas después de estudiar? Where … [ Read more ]

Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Subject Pronouns

The plural of usted is ustedes. In Latin America, as well as in the United States, ustedes also serves as the plural of . In Spain (and other parts of the Spanish-speaking world), however, there are two different plural forms for you: ustedes and vosotros/vosotras. Ustedes is used when speaking with two or more persons whom you address individually as usted. Vosotros/vosotras is used when … [ Read more ]

Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Los números 100 y más

Continúe la secuencia: noventa y nueve, cien, ciento uno, …; mil, dos mil, …; un millón, dos millones, …
100 – cien, ciento
101 – ciento uno/una
200 – doscientos/as
300 – trescientos/as
400 – cuatrocientos/as
500 – quinient os/as
600 – seiscientos/as
700 – setecientos/as
800 – ochocientos/as
900 – noveciento s/as
1.000 – mil
2.000 – dos mil
1.000.000 – un millón … [ Read more ]

Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Infinitives and Personal Endings

  • The infinitive (el infinitivo) of a verb indicates the action or state of being, with no reference to who or what performs the action or when it is done (present, past, future) – In English the infinitive is indicated by t-ar, -er, or -ir.
  • To conjugate (conjugar) a verb means to give the various forms of the verb with their corresponding subjects: I speak,

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Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Expressing Actions

  • When used with an infinitive, empezar (to begin) is followed by a.
  • Uds. empiezan a hablar muy bien el español. – You’re beginning to speak Spanish very well.

  • When used with an infinitive, volver (to return) is also followed by a. The phrase then means to do (something) again.
  • ¿Cuando vuelves a jugar al tenis? – When are you going

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Notes from ¿Qué tal? – English Equivalents for the Present Tense

In both English and Spanish, conjugated verb forms also indicate the time or tense (el tiempo) of the action: I speak (present), I spoke (past).

The present tense forms of Spanish verbs correspond to three English equivalents.

Hablo: I speak (simple present tense); I am speaking (present progressive to indicate an action in progress); I will speak (near future action)

Note that another … [ Read more ]

Notes from ¿Qué tal? – Weather/Seasons

¿Qué tiempo hace hoy?

Here are some colorful expressions for commenting on the weather.

  • Llueve a cãntaros. It’s raining cats and dogs (lit., raining jugfuls).
  • Estoy calado/a hasta los huesos. I’m soaking wet (lit., soaked to the bones).
  • Hace un frio/calor de morirse. It’s extremely cold/hot (lit., so cold/hot you could die).
  • Hace un frio/calor espantoso. It’s awfully (frightfully) cold/hot.


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