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 to play tennis again?

  • When followed directly by an infinitive, pensar (to think) means to intend, plan to.
  • ¿Cuando piensas contestar la carta? – When do you intend to answer the letter?

hacer, poner, salir
Here are some frequent uses of hacer, poner, and salir.

  • hacer
  • ¿Por qué no haces los ejercicios? – Why aren’t you doing the exercises?

    Three common idioms with hacer are hacer un viaje (to take a trip), hacer una pregunta (to ask a question), and hacer ejercicio (to exercise).

    You have already learned to use the third person singular form of hacer, hace, in many weather expressions. Hace + [a period of timel + que is also used to tell how long something has been going on.

    Hace tres horas que miran la tele. – They’ve been watching TV for three hours.
    Hace dos meses que estudio espanol. – I’ve been studying Spanish for two months.

  • poner
  • Siempre pongo leche y mucho azúcar en el café. – I always put milk and a lot of sugar in my coffee:

    Many Spanish speakers use poner with appliances to express to turn on.
    Voy a poner el televisor. – I’m going to turn on the TV

  • salir
  • Salen de clase ahora. – They’re getting out of (leaving) class

    Note that salir is always followed by de to express leaving a place. Salir con can mean to go out with, to date.
    Salgo con Miguel. – I’m going out with (dating) Miguel.

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