Tuesday, 31 May 2011

More on haber

I have already written a couple of posts about 'tener', whish is the verb for 'to have' in the sense of possessing something. There is another word for 'to have' though - 'haber'.

Haber is used in forming compound tenses in the same way that 'have' is in English.

he hecho = I have done
ha comido = he/she has eaten
han llamado = they have called

Using different tenses of 'haber' allows more complicated expressions

había llegado = I/he/she had arrived
habiamos puesto = we had put
habría dicho = I/he/she would have said
habrán ido = they will have gone

Note that all the phrases above use the past participle of the second verb, both in Spanish and English.

Haber used alone means 'there is' or 'there are'.

hay mucho viento hoy = there is a lot of wind today
hay una buena tienda allí = there is a good shop there
¿hay pan? = is there (any) bread?
hay tres arboles = there are three trees
había una casa = there was a house
había cuatro gatos = there were four cats
habrá dos sillas = there will be two chairs

Finally for today, like 'tener', 'haber' can be used to say 'have to' or 'must'. In this case it is used with 'de' for a specific person and 'que' in an impersonal sense.

haber de = to have to
ha de = he/she has to, he/she must
hay que = one has to, one must (this is much more common than in English)

Monday, 30 May 2011

Conjugation of the Week - 8. Haber - To Have

This week we have the other word for 'to have' in Spanish. The first one was 'tener'. Tomorrow I will talk about when to use which. See previous posts in this series for more about conjugations.

Tener - To have

he = I have
has = you have (sing. fam.)
ha = he/she/it has, you have (sing. pol.)
hemos = we have
habéis = you have (pl. fam.)
han = they have, you have (pl. pol.)

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Most useful verbs

In learning any language there are certain verbs (almost always irregular and difficult ones) that are essential to learn early on. The most important are the words for 'to be', 'to go' and 'to have'. This is because those verbs are used so often both individually, but also because they can be combined with other verbs to make different tenses - past, present or future.

For example, using the verb 'comer' ('to eat') -

I am eating (present, using 'to be') - estoy comiendo
I was eating (past, using 'to be') - estaba comiendo
I am going to eat (future, using ' to go') - voy a comer
I have eaten (past, using 'to have') - he comido

These compound forms are not the only ways to express the past present or future, but they are extremely useful. It is also useful to learn the past participle (e.g eaten/comido) and present participle (e.g. eating/comiendo), but that is something I will cover in another post.

In Spanish there are five verbs to learn, as there are two words for 'to be' and two words for 'to have'.

ir = to go
ser = to be
estar = to be
tener = to have
haber = to have

I have recently covered some of the differences between ser and estar. Over the next few days I will cover some of the differences between haber and tener.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Champions League Final

I have said before that watching the news is a great way to learn Spanish, especially if you have an idea of what is going on in the Spanish speaking world. Well today, the biggest news in Spain is likely to be the UEFA Champions League Final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United. You can find extensive coverage and videos of the build up at http://www.rtve.es/deportes/champions-league/ in Spanish. I won't tell you where to find it in English because you can all use Google. For those with their heads in the sand regarding European football, here is some basic background to make the Spanish easier to follow.

Both teams are on top form form having won their domestic leagues. The match will be played at Wembley, giving United a home advantage although London is a long way from Manchester. Barcelona are being tipped as the favourites, with their star player, Lionel Messi widely regarded as the best player in the world.

The biggest news in Spain outside of sport is the continuing protests in Madrid against the government, the elections and the political system in general. The protesters, under the label 15-M, are mainly young and angry. The economic crisis in Spain is hitting hard, and unemployment is highest amongst the younger generation. Yesterday police charged protesters leading to over 100 injuries.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Useful website - Typically Spanish

Whilst not a Spanish speaking resource as such, the website Typically Spanish is really useful if you plan to learn Spanish from reading the newspaper or watching the television news. Following the news in Spanish, either written or spoken, is much easier if you have an idea of current events in the Spanish speaking world, and of the general political background in the country. This is where it is really useful to have an English language site covering Spanish news.

Typically Spanish seems to be aimed at English speaking ex-pats living in Spain. It has an extensive and up to date news section in English, which is why I am recommending it here. There is a lot more to the site as well - features on Spain, events, a directory and so on. It claims to be the largest English site about Spain on the web, and it may well be true.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Cup and glass words

Using the correct word for drinking vessels can sometimes be a little tricky, because the English words 'cup' and 'glass' translate to three Spanish words: 'taza', 'vaso' and 'copa'.

una taza = a cup (as in a china or ceramic cup or mug with a handle)
un vaso = a glass (but also a paper cup
una copa = a glass (more like a wine glass)

The difference is down to the shape, not the material. A 'taza' always has a handle but a 'vaso' never does. A 'copa' generally refers to a wine glass type shape with a stem - something more elegant than a 'vaso' which is more straight sided like a tumbler. 'Copa' is also used for 'cup' in the sense of a trophy for sports etc. 'World Cup' = 'Copa del Mundo'.
Image: Meawpong3405 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Book Review - El Arbol de la Ciencia, Pío Baroja

A year or so ago I walked into a Spanish bookshop with no idea what to buy or even who was a well known author in Spain, aside from Cervantes of course. I asked for some advice and told the lady behind the counter I was looking to read something by well known Spanish authors. I ended up walking out with a science fiction book by an author who claims not to like science fiction, a period novel written in 2005 using the Spanish of the 1600s, and this - 'The Tree of Knowledge'.

The book tells the story of the life of a young doctor - Andres Hurtado - from the start of his university studies through a few years of his medical career. It was published in 1911, but set about fifteen years before that. The story takes place partly in Madrid and partly in a small village in the Spanish countryside. I have to say that unlike the last book I reviewed (El Principe de la Niebla) this one is definitely not for beginners to the Spanish language. It is definitely literature, in that is is hard to read and a bit pretentious. Large chunks of the book are devoted to philosophical discussions between the protagonist and his uncle.

I found the book interesting in a historical sense, in that the political divisions that led to the Spanish Civil War are visible (in retrospect) in a book written several decades before it. I also learnt about aspects of Spanish history I was quite ignorant about, like the Spanish American War of 1898.

The story itself though is really hard work due to an almost complete absence of plot (apparently one of Baroja's trademarks). Page after page passes without anything happening in story terms. There are endless detailed descriptions of minor characters who contribute nothing to the story and never reappear later in the book. The aim I think is to give the reader a feeling for what life is like in a relatively poor neighbourhood in nineteenth century Madrid. The author succeeds in this, and produces a work that is unrelentingly bleak and pessimistic in tone.

There are some very favourable reviews of this book on Amazon but for me the lack of plot, and the string of irrelevant characters and the philosophical breaks make for a tedious read. If you want literary writing in Spanish with a heavy dash of philosophy, then Borges, for example,  does it much better to my mind.

Although not for beginners, and not particularly to my taste, this is a well regarded novel and gives a good picture of late 19th century Spain. If you want to read it you can find it on Amazon UK or Amazon US.

Ser / Estar - Exceptions?

As I said yesterday, ser and estar can be really tricky to get to grips with for English speakers, as we use 'to be' for both. I get this wrong plenty of times, as do many much more fluent Spanish speakers. Some examples that really confuse me are where 'estar' is used for pretty permanent situations which I would expect to use 'ser' for, whilst some more transient things use 'ser'.

For example -

Está casado = He is married
Estoy vivo = I am alive

Both of these are generally considered to be pretty long term situations, if not totally permanent. But on the other hand

La comida es muy rica = The food is very good (the chances are it won't be for long though as it will be eaten)

So the rule that 'ser' is for permanent and 'estar' for transient can't be relied on. One final example

Está muerto = He is dead

This is about as permanent as anything gets, but despite this 'estar' is the correct verb to use. I still have no idea why.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Ser / Estar

Using ser and estar correctly is one of the hardest things for an English speaker to get right in Spanish. Even pretty fluent speakers of the language can get it wrong now and again if Spanish is not their first language. Generally, 'ser' is used for permanent or long term things, whilst 'estar' is used for more transient things.

soy alto = I am tall
soy inglés = I am English

because if I am these things today, I was yesterday, will be tomorrow and probably will be in ten years time. On the other hand

estoy cansado = I am tired
estoy feliz = I am happy

Because these are things I am right now, not necessarily at another time.

For saying where someone or something is, 'estar' is always used, even for pretty permanent locations like cities.

Estoy en Londres = I am in London
Londres está en Inglaterra = London is in England


Soy de Manchester = I am from Manchester

So 'ser' is used with 'from a place' and 'estar' with 'in a place'.

Finally for today, the choice of which verb is used can change the meaning of the adjective it is used with.

Estoy aburrido = I am bored
Soy aburrido = I am boring
Está listo = He is ready
Es listo = He is smart/clever

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Conjugation Of The Week - 7. Estar - To Be

Last week we had one of the 'to be' verbs in Spanish (ser). This week we have the other 'to be' verb - 'estar'. Tomorrow I will run through when to use which one. See previous posts in this series for more about conjugations.

Estar - to be

estoy = I am
estás = you are (sing. fam.)
está = he/she/it is, you are (sing. pol.)
estamos = we are
estáis = you are (pl. fam.)
están = they are, you are (pl. pol.)

Confusing verbs

Two verbs I tend to confuse in Spanish are amanecer (to dawn) and amenazar (to threaten). This is something that my Spanish friends can find highly amusing of course, but I have heard of many people having similar problems with certain pairs of words. Everyone has their own mental blocks when learning a language, and you will find your own problem words as you go along.

For me, the solution is to identify the problem words and come up with a way to remember or distinguish them. With my example above, I think of the verb 'to menace' as being similar to 'to threaten', and look for 'menace' with an 'a' in front becoming 'amenazar'.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Cooking Empanadas

I have just got to give a mention to the website Empanadas Criollas. I had decided to do an empanada dinner party, and invited a few guests, assuming it would be easy enough to find plenty of empanada recipes online. For those that haven't tried them, empanadas are small pasties or pies with a variety of fillings which are a common snack throughout South America. The most common fillings are based on minced beef (carne picada) but there are many different options - chicken, fish. vegetable, cheese, and even a few sweet versions as well. My intitial recipe research on Google last night produced page after page of recipes for minced beef empanadas but no alternatives. I really wanted to have five or six different recipes, including a couple of vegetarian options. Eventually I stumbled on the site I mentioned above which has absolutely loads of different empanada recipes - sweet and savoury, meat, fish or veggie. It is all in Spanish, so it is a good opportunity to practice. Unless you are really fluent you will have to look up a few words for ingredients or cooking techniques, but that just helps with the learning.

Have fun cooking

Whales and Wales

I have been asked a few times how to say 'Wales', the country, Spanish. The answer is 'Gales', or 'el país de Gales' (the country of the Welsh) but I am always tempted to say 'ballenas' meaning 'whales', the marine mammals. A childish pun I know, but I have been on the recieving end of plenty of similar ones before.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Pronunciation matters

How you pronounce words in Spanish can matter a lot. Speaking as if you are speaking English can make it difficult to be understood, and putting the stress on the wrong sylable can totally change the meaning of a word. The rules of Spanish pronunciation are consistent, so once you have learned them you can pronounce any word. I am not going to go into too much detail here, but I will throw in a few more pronunciation tips in future posts.

To start with, the stress in a word comes on the last sylable, unless it ends in 'n', 's', or a vowel, when it falls on the second last sylable. Words that do not follow this rule always have an accent over the stressed sylable.

For example -

inglés = English (stress on the 'é')
ingles = groins (stress on the 'i')
esta = this (femenine, stress on the 'e')
está = he/she/it is, you are (stress on the 'á')

So as you can see, putting the stress on the wrong part of a word can drastically change its meaning.

Watching the news - RTVE website

Watching the TV news is a good way to hone your Spanish listening skills. A great place to do this in manageable chunks is RTVE's Telediario en 4' (Daily news in 4 minutes). For one thing, four minutes is a good length - long enough to learn something but short enough to keep concentrating. There is also a good written summary of the report which really helps with understanding it. The newsreaders do speak pretty fast, so the extra help is welcome. There is a good mix of national and international news, sport and weather so it is a good way to keep up with what is happening in the Spanish world, whilst the big international stories will probably be familiar from news in English making them easier to follow. It is free to watch as well, so there is no excuse not to give it a go.

Monday, 16 May 2011

More on 'ser

Yesterday's conjugation of 'ser' ('to be') was only half the story. You don't have to study Spanish for long before you realise that there are two words for 'to be' in Spanish, and figuring out which one to use in a given situation can be pretty tricky for an English speaker. The other verb for 'to be' is 'estar' which we will cover in more detail next week. In general, 'ser' is used for more pernanent things and characteristics whilst 'estar' is used for more transient things, as well as for locations.

I will give a few examples here, and a few more with next week's post to help give you the idea.

soy inglés = I am English
es rubia = she is blonde
es alto = he is tall
las montañas son altas = the mountains are tall
somos profesores = we are teachers
eres muy inteligente = you are very clever

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Conjugation of the Week - 6. Ser - To be

This week another essential and very irregular verb - 'ser', meaning 'to be'. Ser is actually one of two verbs in Spanish for 'to be' and the choice of which one to use can be quite subtle. More on that in future posts. See previous posts in this series for more about conjugations.

Ser - to be 

soy = I am
eres = you are (sing. fam.)
es = he/she/it is, you are (sing. pol.)
somos = we are
sois = you are (pl. fam.)
son = they are, you are (pl. pol.)

Talk to people

The only way to get really good at speaking Spanish is to speak it. Lessons, books, TV, the Internet and so on are all great for learning words, phrases, comprehension and grammar, but the only way to speak fluidly is to speak a lot. 

If you are in a region of Spain or Latin America where there are a lot of English speaking visitors it can be hard to speak Spanish to the locals, as they all speak English and want to speak it - either to practice or because they theink they are being helpful. Sometimes the best thing is to just persevere. If you keep speaking Spanish they might figure out that you want to practice and go along with it. Sometimes it feels like a battle of wills - a competition to see who will drop back into their own language first. Sometimes it is worth explaining that you want to learn Spanish and ask the other person if they mind speaking Spanish even if it makes the conversation slower. Only one person has ever complained to me that they wanted to speak English instead, because they wanted to practice it.

It is also worth seeking out Spanish speakers, rather than hanging out with the English all the time in a new place. Many people are happy to help out with learning their language, and will appreciate a little help in learning English in exchange.

I think the best advice it to treat every Spanish conversation, or exchange as an opportunity rather than a hurdle, and learn what you can from it.

Friday, 13 May 2011

El Príncipe de la Niebla - Book Review

I am starting my series of book reviews with the debut novel from one of my favourite authors - Carlos Ruiz Zafón. He is probably best known for 'La Sombra del Viento' ('The Shadow of the Wind), which was his first book for Adults and his first to be translated into English. Before that though, he wrote four books for younger readers, by which I guess I mean older children and teenagers.

The title of the book means 'The Prince of Mist' although I think it sounds better in Spanish. Like most of his books there is a supernatural theme, but unlike his later books it is set in England in 1943 rather than in his native Barcelona. The story is about Max, and the events following his family's move to the coast to escape the city and the war. Max, his sister Alicia and local boy Roland gradually begin to uncover dark secrets in the seaside village where they find themselves. The book is easy to read if you have a reasonable level of reading Spanish, and the pace is quick enough to keep it interesting. It is a little odd as an English reader to be reading a Spanish book set in England, but I quickly got used to that. Plot wise, I found myself gradually being drawn into a supernatural world. It feels a bit like a children's version of a Stephen King novel. Several of Ruiz Zafón's trademarks from his later books are already there, such as the many flashbacks gradually filling in the missing pieces.

This is not the author's most accomplished book but it is still an excellent read, and it is the easiest of his books to read for a student of Spanish.

If you want to buy the book, you can find it here (in Spanish) on Amazon (UK) or here on Amazon (US).

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Reading to Learn

Reading is a great way to learn Spanish, but it can be hard to find suitable books to get started. One approach is to find books you are already familiar with in English. That way you have a good idea of the level of difficulty, and of the general plot of the book which makes it easier. I always felt that I wanted to read real Spanish books, rather than translations, but I have to say that to begin with it is easier to stick to familar authors. Popular choices are favourite children's books, especially those like Harry Potter which appeal to adults as well. The advantage of these is that they are written in easier language and are often shorter (not the later Harry Potter books though). When you start to read in Spanish it will be a slow process, so a shorter book makes it easier to stay motivated until the end.

That said, there is a wealth of Spanish literature out there, some of it very good. I find it an incredibly rewarding experience to read a Spanish novel in its original language. Starting tomorrow I plan to write an occasional series of reviews of Spanish novels to help pick out some good ones for Spanish learners of different levels.

One last tip - try not to use the dictionary too much when reading - it makes for a slow and frustrating experience. It is not essential to understand every word, as  long as you can get the gist. I only look up a word if it is key to the meaning of a sentence, or if it appears several times.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Bastar - Enough

Following on from yesterday's post on 'bastante', I thought I should mention the related verb 'bastar' - 'to be sufficient' or 'to be enough'. 'Suffice' is probably the closest verb in English, but it is not quite as commonplace.

Some examples are -

¿basta con esto? - is this enough?
basta con cuatro - four are enough
bastan dos cebollas para hacer este plato - two onions are enough to make this dish

My favourite though is when it is used by itself, often shouted, meaning 'Enough!' or 'Stop that!'.

¡Basta! - Enough!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Bastante - quite enough

One of the things I always found a little confusing in Spanish was when meanings overlapped, so that a Spanish word represents two or more English words or vice versa. One example is 'bastante'. This word can be translated as either 'enough' or 'quite'. Basically the meaning depends on the context, but it is worth noting that in English the two meanings are not that different - the biggest difference is that 'quite' goes before a word and 'enough' goes after, e.g. quite good or good enough. Bastante is a word I like to use at times instead of a simple yes or no answer, just to show that I know a little more Spanish than 'sí'and 'no'.

Some examples -

bastante bien = quite well / well enough
es bastante grande = it is quite big / big enough
¿es bastante ancho? = is it wide enough?

Monday, 9 May 2011

More on ir (to go)

Like in English, the verb 'to go' - 'ir' can be used in several ways, so it is important to be familiar with it. It can be used in the sense of 'going somewere', as in a place, or to indicate something happening in the future - 'going to happen'. In both these uses, 'ir' is followed by 'a', meaning 'to'. For example:-

voy a Londres = I go to London (or I am going to London)
va a Madrid = he/she goes to Madrid
van al restaurante = they go to the restaurant (note 'a' + 'el' becomes 'al')

va a nevar = it is going to snow
vamos a hablar = we are going to talk
voy a correr = I am going to run

It can also be used by itself e.g.

 ¿Vamos? = Shall we go?

'Ir' can also be used in the sense of 'to go away', or 'to leave'. In this case it is used reflexively, so I can say 'I go myself', to mean 'I leave'.

me voy = I am leaving
me voy a ir = I am going to leave
se va = he leaves
¡Vayate! = Go away!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Conjugation of the Week - 5. Ir - To go

Take a few minutes each week to learn a verb conjugation and help your grammar improve painlessly. See previous posts in this series for more about conjugations.

This week, an essential and very irregular verb. It isn't the easiest verb but is is important to learn.

Ir - To go

voy - I go
vas - you go (sing. fam.)
va - he/she/it goes, you go (sing. pol.)
vamos - we go
vais - you go (pl. fam.)
van - they go, you go (pl. pol.)

Usted/ustedes - Why third person?

I often wondered why the 'usted' form of a verb is the same as the 'el' or 'ella' form, and likewise for the 'ustedes' and 'ellos' or 'ellas' forms. So the formal version of 'you' is referred to in the third person. This can be confusing to a student of Spanish because the pronoun (el, ella, usted etc.) is usually omitted, so it may be difficult to see who is doing the action. For example -

el habla = he talks
usted habla = you talk (formal, singular)
habla = he/she talks, you talk

ellas corren = they (female) run
ustedes corren = you run
corren = they/you run

This seemed a little strange to me until someone pointed out that 'usted' can be loosely translated as 'your honour'. Admittedly it wouldn't ever be translated that way in reality - the dictionary definition is 'you', but it helps to understand why the third person form is used. Imagine talking to a judge, or anyone else you might call 'your honour', compared to speaking to anyone else -

Your honour is too kind.
You are too kind
He is too kind

Your honour does well
You do well
She does well

Your honour talks
You talk
He talks

Notice that in each example the 'your honour' form is the same as the 'he/she' form, rather than the 'you' form. The 'usted' forms in Spanish work in just the same way.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Regional differences - words for car

There are many differences in vocabulary between different parts of the Spanish speaking world. One word with several regional variations is 'car' (as is 'automobile').

Spain - the car = el coche
Argentina, Chile - the car = el auto
Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America - the car = el carro

The more formal word 'automóvil' would be understood anywhere though. Note that all of these words are masculine nouns so would be preceded by 'el' or 'un'.

Thursday, 5 May 2011


Image: nuchylee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I always think it is a good idea to try to learn or revise a few words each day, usually related ones. Following on from 'desayuno' for 'breakfast' a couple of days ago, here are the rest of the day's meals. Just like in English there are many regional variations on how these words are used.

desayuno = breakfast
almuerzo = lunch / brunch / mid-morning snack (late morning or mid-day)
comida = food / meal / lunch / dinner (mid-day meal in Spain and Mexico, may be evening meal elsewhere in Latin America)
cena = dinner / supper (evening meal)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Recommended website - Notes in Spanish

One of the websites I keep coming back to in my journey towards learning better Spanish is Notes in Spanish. The great thing about this site is that it caters for so many levels, and at the same time keeps the Spanish real. Their aim is to teach Spanish as it is spoken by real people in Spain. There is a wealth of free material on the site - podcasts, videos, blogs, free reports and useful forum. I particularly recommend the podcasts which come in three levels and which are great for listening to in the car.

The site is run by Ben and Marina who also narrate the podcasts, write the worksheets and make the videos. As you listen to the podcasts you start to feel as if you have known them for years. Ben is English but moved to Madrid several years ago where he met and eventually married Marina. This means we get to hear Marina's native Madrid accent as well as Ben's perspective on learning the language.

As well as the free material on the site there is also lots more available to buy and download in the shop section. If you sign up for the newsletter then they will occasionally email you with special offers.

It is hard to come up with any downsides to this site. The Spanish is generally that from Spain, so those wanting to learn Latin American Spanish need to bear in mind that some things may be a little different. Also, the starting point is a little beyond complete beginner, so it is best to learn a little of the very basics elsewhere before tackling the beginner material on this site. Overall this is a fantastic Spanish resource, with lots of material for free and even more to buy at a reasonable price.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Interesting words - (des)ayuno

Image: Paul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I like it when Spanish words are logical, or when they relate to English words in ways that are not immediately obvious. One example is the word for 'breakfast' - 'desayuno' which on the face of it has little in common with the English equivalent. However 'ayuno' is the Spanish word for 'fast' in the not eating sense. So when you fast you 'ayunar' and when you break your fast you 'desayunar', just like in English.

ayuno = fast
ayunar = to fast
desayuno = breakfast
desayunar = to breakfast
estar en ayuno = to be fasting

The phrase 'en ayuno' is sometimes used in a medical appointment letter to mean 'don't eat beforehand'.

Note that ayunar and desayunar are both regular -ar verbs.

Monday, 2 May 2011

More slightly irregular -ar verbs

Yesterday's post looked at the conjugation of cerrar - another -ar verb that is slightly irregular, but in a pattern followed by many other -ar verbs. It is similar to last weeks verb, contar. In Spanish pronunciation, the stress falls on the last sylable, unless it ends in an 'n', an 's' or a vowel, or unless an accent changes the stress. A stressed 'e' or 'o' often does not sound good in Spanish, so these sounds often collapse to 'ie' and 'ue' respectively. This means that verbs with an 'e' in the second last sylable often follow a similar pattern where in the present tense only the 'nosotros' and 'vosotros' forms are regular and the rest add an 'i' before the 'e' in the stressed sylable.

A few verbs which follow this pattern are -

calentar = to heat up / to warm up
confesar = to confess
despertar = to wake
encerrar = to lock / to shut up / to contain
enterrar = to bury
gobernar = to govern / to rule
helar = to freeze
nevar = to snow
pensar = to think
recomendar = to recommend
sentar = to sit
temblar = to shake/to shiver/to tremble

And some examples -

siento aquí = I sit here
piensa demasiado = he/she thinks too much
¿lo recomiendas? = do you recommend it?
le enterramos = we bury him
nieve ahora = it is snowing now

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Conjugation of the Week - 4. Cerrar - To close

This week another slightly irregular -ar verb. This time it is the forms with a stressed 'e' which change to 'ie'. Again this is quite common in Spanish, with many verbs containing an 'e' in the second last sylable transforming in the same way. See previous posts in this series for more about conjugations.

Cerrar = To close

cierro = I close
cierras = you close (sing. fam.)
cierre = he/she/you (sing. pol.) close(s)
cerramos = we close
cerráis = you close (pl. fam.)
cierran = they/you (pl. pol) close