Monthly Archives: November 2021

How do you properly write á, ñ, ¿, ¡ etc with a pen and paper?

Specifically (1) do you write the accent first or the letter first?

and, (2) do you write the accent top-right to bottom-left or bottom-left to top-right?

Also a guide to writing the upside down punctuation would be helpful. Not sure if I should treat it literally like an upside down exclamation mark or just write it like a lower-case i which it looks like.

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Present Perfect Subjunctive vs. Imperfect Subjunctive

I'll cut right to the chase. I cannot for the life of my figure out why this sentence, translated, should be in the present perfect subjunctive and not the imperfect subjunctive:

"I hope that you slept well".

The supposed correct translation is: "Espero que hayas dormido bien"

I understand that, like basically all subjunctive moods/tenses, it can be used to express uncertainty, since you don't know whether they slept well or not. Great.

But why can't I use the imperfect subjunctive and translate it as:

"Espero que durmieras bien."

In all of the examples explaining the present perfect subjunctive, they are always translating sentences that follow the same construction in English, for example: "I hope you have enjoyed the day". In which case it seems more obvious. Saying "have enjoyed" may be similar to simply "enjoyed" but it's not the same.

Maybe the answer is that either are fine, in which case that would be a huge relief for me. May using Google translate isn't a good source, but confusingly, Google will translate some things in this identical construction with the Present Perfect Subjunctive and some with the Imperfect Subjunctive.

As far as I can tell, the only difference is that it will choose the imperfect subjunctive when a reflexive verb is used.

For example, if you translate "I hope that you stopped," it chooses to use the verb detenerse and uses the imperfect subjunctive like so:

"Espero que te detuvieras"

The arbitrary nature of this makes me think that both are acceptable and I'm overthinking it. Maybe it would just be too clunky with reflexive verbs and chooses not to through haber into the mix. Although I'd argue it's clunky even without a reflexive verb…

Anyway, if someone has any answers, I'd love to hear them. I've done a bit of Googling on the matter and the results I've found have been frustratingly unhelpful.

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Prefixes: Where Spanish and English Go Hand in Hand (Part 1)

Image courtesy of

If there is an aspect where Spanish and English truly match, it is the fact that both languages make extensive use of affixes to change the meaning of established words in a logical way.

Specifically in the case of prefixes, the long-standing influence of Latin and Greek has left a notable mark in our modern languages, so much so that—with a few exceptions and small spelling differences—Spanish and English would essentially be using the same set of prefixes in pretty much the same way.

In this new series of blogs, I will be compiling those extremely useful particles for you to check and learn.



Used to create another word bearing the opposite meaning. It becomes “an” when before a vowel, a feature in both languages.

Examples: asimétrico, English “asymmetric”; anaeróbico, “anaerobic”.



Used to describe something that works against the idea expressed by the original word. The only difference in usage could be summarized in that fact that there is generally a hyphen added in English.

Examples: anticorrupción, English “anti-corruption”; antiaéreo, “anti-aircraft”.



Used to indicate the fact that an object or living being does something by itself. As with “anti-”, it may be used alongside a hyphen

Examples: automóvil, English “automobile”; autógrafo, “autograph”; autoimmune, “autoimmune”



Used to show a setback, a negation or a difference with respect to the modified word. There are many cases where there is alternation between dis- and des-, but in any case, there are no uses of this prefix followed by a hyphen In English.

Examples: discordancia, English “discord”; desaparecer, “disappear”; desacuerdo, “disagreement”; discapacidad, “disability”



Used to add the idea of “beyond” what the modified word describes. Not to be confused with the adjective “extra”, which in both languages means “additional” or “exceedingly, intensely” as an adjective or an adverb (extra innings, extra fast…).

Examples: extraordinario/a, English “extraordinary”, as in “beyond ordinary”; extraterrestre, “extraterrestrial”; extrajudicial, “extrajudicial”; extracelular, “extracellular”



Used to express the idea of “beyond measure, exceedingly” to the modified word, be it a noun or an adjective.

Examples: hiperactivo, “hyperactive”; hipertensión, “hypertension”; hiperbólico/a, “hyperbolic”



Used to add the idea of being “between, among many” of the same modified word—understood as a plural.

Examples: internacional, “international”, that is, among many nations; intergubernamental, “intergovernmental”; intercultural, “intercultural”



Used to express the idea of “many” of the same set of things, generally a countable noun.

Examples: multinacional, “multinational”—pertaining to more than two nations; multicolor, “multicolored”; multiétnico, “multiethnic”


Next time, I will bring you many more prefixes that are prominently used in the same way by Spanish speakers and English speakers.


The post Prefixes: Where Spanish and English Go Hand in Hand (Part 1) first appeared on Spanish Language Blog.

Where to put "siquiera" and "ni siquiera" in a sentence

I've been acquiring these 2 terms and I'm having difficulty with the placement these words have in a sentence as well as the freedom of word order. If I wanted to say something like "I can't even run" would it be:
1. Ni siquiera puedo correr
2. Puedo ni siquiera correr

I ask because (although I know it's sometimes unreliable) Google translate seems to say that both translate to the same meaning. If not, what is the exact rule that states where these words go in the sentence?

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Un Viaje Virtual a Ecuador (Parte Dos)

Ecuador es un país increíble para visitar. Puedes visitar ciudades, montañas, playas, bosques, islas y mucho más. Ya visitamos la ciudad capital, Quito, y hoy exploraremos más del país (Ecuador is an incredible country to visit. You can visit cities, mountains, beaches, forests, islands, and much more. We already visited the capital city, Quito, and today we’ll explore more of the country). Click here for Part One in case you missed it.

Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

Las Regiones Geográficas del Ecuador

First up, let’s learn about the different regions of the country. Ecuador tiene cuatro regiones geográficas principales (Ecuador has four main geographic regions):

  • El Oriente (la selva amazónica) al este (the Oriente (the Amazon rainforest) to the east)
  • La Sierra (cordillera andina) en el centro (the Sierra (Andean mountain range) in the center)
  • La Costa (costa pacífica) al oeste (the Coast (Pacific coast) to the west)
  • La Insular, donde están las Islas Galápagos (the Insular, where the Galapagos Islands are)

For a relatively small country, Ecuador sure packs a punch when it comes to the diversity of its landscapes! It’s possible to visit all of these different regions even on a short trip. I wish I could say we visited them all in our month there, but we only made it to two (La Sierra y La Insular).

Como somos nómadas digitales, tuvimos que pasar mucho tiempo trabajando (Because we’re digital nomads, we had to spend a lot of time working). ¡La próxima vez! (Next time!).

To learn more about the different regions of Ecuador, and for a good listening/reading exercise, check out this clip from the animated show “Tino y Sus Amigos:”

Los Parques Nacionales

Hay once parques nacionales en Ecuador (There are eleven national parks in Ecuador). We were fortunate enough to visit two of them on our trip – Cotopaxi and the Galapagos Islands. Here’s a little virtual tour of each of these amazing national parks.

Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.


Es fácil visitar este parque nacional en una excursión de un día desde Quito (It’s easy to visit this national park on a day-trip from Quito). It’s about an hour and a half drive from the city to the park, whose name means “smooth neck of the moon” in Quechua.

The park gets its name from the Cotopaxi Volcano that lies within its boundaries. Este es uno de los volcanes activos más altos del mundo (This is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world). It’s the 2nd highest peak in Ecuador, clocking in at an elevation of 5,897 m (19,347 ft).

Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

Hay muchas actividades divertidas aquí, como senderismo, montañismo, ciclismo y acampada (There are many fun activities here, such as hiking, mountain climbing, biking, and camping). If you really want to reach the summit of Cotopaxi, the best way to do it is on a 2-day tour.

We didn’t have the time, gear, or motivation to attempt to summit the volcano. It was also quite chilly and cloudy that day, so we couldn’t even really see the peak of the volcano…

Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

Instead, we just enjoyed a scenic drive and a short hike with our hosts from Quito. We would love to go back someday and try to get to the peak!

Las Islas Galápagos

El Parque Nacional Galápagos fue el primer parque nacional en Ecuador (Galapagos National Park was the first national park in Ecuador). The official name is actually el Archipiélago de Colón (the Archipelago of Colombus).

Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

El archipiélago lo forman 13 grandes islas volcánicas, 6 islas más pequeñas y 107 rocas e islotes (The archipelago is made up of 13 large volcanic islands, 6 smaller islands and 107 rocks and islets).

Solo cuatro de las islas están habitadas (Only four of the islands are inhabited). The island with the largest population is Santa Cruz, with around 15,000 inhabitants. Next is San Cristóbal with 8,000 and Isabella with around 2,000.

Join us on a video tour of Santa Cruz – the most populated island in the Galaapgos.

Las Islas Galápagos son conocidas por sus numerosas especies endémicas (The Galapagos Islands are known for their many endemic species). These were studied by Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution based on natural selection was formed as a result of his visit to the islands.

Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

Here are some of the many fascinating species that call the Galapagos Islands home:

  • piqueros de patas azules (blue-footed boobies)
  • piqueros de patas rojas (red-footed boobies)
  • piqueros de Nazca (Nazca boobies)
  • tortugas gigantes (giant tortoises)
  • iguanas marinas (marine iguanas)
  • iguanas terrestres (land iguanas)
  • lobos marinos peleteros (fur seals)
  • lobos marinos de Galápagos (Galapagos sea lions)
  • tiburones martillo (hammerhead sharks)
  • delfines (dolphins)
  • pingüinos (penguins)
  • cormoranes no voladores (flightless coromorants)
  • pinzones (finches)

Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.


Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.


Photo taken and used with permission from Sasha Savinov.

If you’re really interested in learning more about the wildlife and the islands in general, check out the Charles Darwin Foundation. For another fun listening and reading exercise, watch this clip from Plaza Sésamo (Sesame Street) where Lola visits the famous islands:


I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of the different regions of Ecuador and a few of its amazing national parks. In Parte Tres, we’ll visit the adventure capital of Baños along with the beautiful colonial city of Cuenca.


The post Un Viaje Virtual a Ecuador (Parte Dos) first appeared on Spanish Language Blog.

INDIRECT OBJECT – Why does le remain in the sentence despite the presence of the object later on in the sentence. Surely it´s redundant?

Hey team

Can someone please explain again under what circumstances does one keep the INDIRECT OBJECT PRONOUN at the beginning of the sentence despite the fact that the OBJECT is present later on in the sentence?

E.g. No le tengo miedo a la melancolía

E.g. No le quiero a mi hermano

P.S. A source of information to read over this topic would be much appreciated also. Thank you.

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English Spanish Parallel Texts – Using Regular Spanish Verbs in Present Tense (Part 2)

In this lesson of our English Spanish Parallel Texts course and we are going to practice more using Regular Spanish Verbs in Present Tense. Start by reading the text in Spanish below. The English translation is provided later but please try not to look at it until you have read the Spanish version various times and tried your best to understand it.

There may be some words and phrases in the text that you are unfamiliar with, but you should be aiming to capture the main essence of what is happening. There will always be words and phrases popping up in real-life situations that you have never heard before, so it is important never to get too distracted by details.

If you want to investigate some of the words you don’t know with a dictionary that would be great, please do, but do this after trying your best to understand with what you already have in your head.

Check out these video lessons with information relevant to this topic:

Spanish verbs in Present Tense (Part 1)

Spanish verbs in Present Tense (Part 2)

Using Regular Spanish Verbs in Present Tense (Part 2)

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay


Spanish Text


María: ¿Cómo te apellidas Juan?
Juan: Fernández Silva.
María: Eso es. Conozco a tu madre y a tu padre. También a tu hermana Silvia.
Juan: ¿Conoces a mi hermana Sara?
María: ¿Sara es más joven o más mayor que Silvia?
Juan: Un poco más mayor.
María: Igual no. Soy de la edad de Silvia. Recuerdo a Silvia del colegio.
Juan: Y tú María, ¿cómo te apellidas?
María: Pérez Ruiz.
Juan: Sí, yo conozco a tu familia. Vivís en el barrio Lavapiés, ¿verdad?
María: Exactamente.
Juan: Sois una familia grande también, ¿no?
María: Sí, bastante grande. Somos diez en casa. Y tenemos más tíos y tías por Madrid.
Juan: ¡Diez en casa!
María: Trabajamos juntos también. Menos mi abuelo y mi abuela. Todos mis hermanos, yo y mi madre trabajamos en la fábrica de mi padre.
Juan: ¿Coméis juntos?
María: Sí, el desayuno, la comida y la cena, todos los días.
Juan: ¿Y cómo lo lleváis?
María: Muy bien, la verdad. Necesitamos uno o dos baños más y hacemos mucho ruido pero hay mucho amor en la casa. Hablamos mucho. ¡Gritamos mucho también!
Juan: Hay mucho ruido en nuestra casa también. Hay menos personas pero nos gusta mucho la música y escuchamos música todo rato. El problema es que a todos nos gusta música diferente. Escuchamos música heavy, clásica, jazz, tecno y flamenco al mismo tiempo. ¡Es horrible!



English Text


María: What are your surnames Juan?
Juan: Fernández Silva.
María: That’s right. I know your mother and your father. Also your sister Silvia.
Juan: Do you know my sister Sara?
María: Is Sara younger or older than Silvia?
Juan: A little older.
María: Probably not. I am Silvia’s age. I remember Silvia from school.
Juan: And you María, what are your surnames?
María: Pérez Ruiz.
Juan: Yes, I know your family. You live in the Lavapiés neighborhood, right?
Maria: Exactly.
Juan: You are a big family too, right?
María: Yes, quite big. There are ten of us at home. And we have more aunts and uncles in Madrid.
Juan: Ten at home!
María: We work together as well. Except my grandfather and my grandmother. All my brothers, me and my mother work in my father’s factory.
Juan: Do you eat together?
María: Yes, breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day.
Juan: And how do you find this?
Maria: Very good, really. We need one or two more bathrooms and we make a lot of noise, but there is a lot of love in the house. We talk a lot. We shout a lot too!
Juan: There is a lot of noise in our house too. There are fewer people but we like music very much and listen to music all the time. The problem is that we all like different music. We listen to heavy metal, classical music, jazz, techno and flamenco music all at the same time. It’s awful!


So, how did you get on? How much did you understand of the original text before checking the translation? Please let me know in the comments section below…

Don’t worry if you didn’t understand that much, practice makes perfect! Be patient and keep reading, hearing, writing, and speaking Spanish. See you next time!

The post English Spanish Parallel Texts – Using Regular Spanish Verbs in Present Tense (Part 2) first appeared on Spanish Language Blog.

How do natives pronounce ‘r’ following a word ending in ‘s’?

There are some very common phrases such as "más rápido" which seem to be impossible for me to say.

I cannot move my tongue fast enough from the 's' position to the start of the 'rr' position so I always have to pause between the consonants, or I end up putting a vowel between them and saying "más a rápido".

I aiming to speak with a standard Castillian accent, so I don't want to aspirate the preceding s to a [h].

I have seen [one source]( say that it is pronounced as what I think is with the tongue in the same place as for a rr but as a fricative instead of a trill ( [ʐ] ).

Would you say this is accurate? Are there other ways people say it?

Thanks a lot!

Edit: I just realised (from trying to say "muy rápido") that I also find it impossible to say the 'rr' sound following the 'i' or 'y' sound (another example: "Rey y Reina") so any help on that would be appreciated too

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