El blog de Visual Spanish

Aprende los distance adverbs with Bacilos 🎸

grammar music video Dec 07, 2020

¿Allá? ¿Acá? ¿Allí? Or is it aquí? 

Today, we're using the mega popular Latin American band Bacilos to help you master distance adverbs. 

In the chorus of their hit Pasos de gigantes, they sing:

Se fue complicando la situación
Y no hay que olvidarse que al corazón
Le puedes decir de todo menos mentiras
Tu ibas para allá yo iba para acá
Fue tan bonito verte cruzar
Al menos por un ratito por mi camino

Allá y acá or here and there, are two adverbs that express distance. They're similar to allí y aquí, which also express here and there, however, they have some subtle differences:

One variance is that acá y allá denote a location that's less precise than allí y aquí, meaning that it can be used for situations that are more vague.


Allá, a lo lejos.
Translation: Over there, far away.

Acá parece que no va a llover.

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¿How to ask questions in Spanish?

grammar Nov 13, 2020

¿Cómo estás? Since life is full of questions, it's important to know how to ask them. That's why today, we're covering how to pose una pregunta in Spanish.

One way to form a question is to switch the verb and the subject and add a question mark at the end, as well as the ¿ at the front of the sentence. When the subject of the verb is specified, you can change the word order so that the verb comes BEFORE the subject.

Statement: Juan quiere ir al parque.
Question: ¿Quiere Juan ir al parque?

But if you want to ask a yes or no question, you're in luck, because it's even easier -  just keep the word order exactly as it would be in a normal sentence but turn it into a question by making your voice go up at the end.

Statement: Vamos a comer.
Question: ¿Vamos a comer?

¿Not too difficult, right?

 We spent years studying people who became fluent in Español and took everything we learned to create Visual Spanish.

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Learn the Various Meanings of Río in Spanish

grammar vocab Nov 12, 2020

In Spanish, verb to laugh, reírse, can get confusing. Reír is a reflexive verb, meaning its used with a reflexive pronoun. Considering that río, the word for river, is the same as the yo conjugation of reír, it can be easy to misuse the two.

Since its easy to confuse the different forms of rio, it's important to have these conjugations down:

Yo me río
Tu te ríes
El se ríe
Nosotros nos reímos
Vosotros os reís
Ellos se ríen

Keep practicing and know that you know your stuff by using the phrase:

Yo me río por que ella se cayo en el río.

If you want to try a Spanish course that is fun and will keep you laughing - and learning - try Visual Spanish. Speak Conversational Spanish in 5 Weeks.

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Learn the If Clause with Enanitos Verdes

grammar Nov 02, 2020

Today, we're drawing on the popular Argentine rock trio Enanitos Verdes (which translates into green midgets) to help you figure out the Spanish si clause.

Ever think you'd get a Spanish grammar lesson from green midgets? We didn't either, but there's a first for everything  

Si clauses indicate possibilities, or things that may or may not become reality. These conditional sentences have two parts: the condition (the si part) and the main or result clause, which is the part that indicates what will happen if the condition of the si comes true.

In the chorus of Mariposa, the trios famous hit, lead vocalist Marciano Cantero uses the si clause when he sings:

Si te vas no tengo nada
Si te quedas puedo hasta el mundo cambiar
O quizás no habré crecido
Dejando mariposas escapar

If you leave, I don’t have anything
If you stay, I can change even the world
Or maybe I wouldn’t have grown
Letting butterflies...

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Master Your Spanish Grammar with Manu Chao

grammar Nov 02, 2020
The word solo has a couple of different meanings. It's most popular uses include: Just, alone, merely, solely, and on one's own.
All pretty similar, right?
The tricky aspect about the word however, comes when you're writing it:
While you may see solo written with as sólo, don’t worry about putting an accent when you’re writing in Spanish. In 2010, La Real Academia Española (RAE), the big dawg authority when it comes to Spanish grammar, stated that in all cases, solo would be correct if used without an accent - only if used as an adverb could it be written with an accent, but in any other case, it would be wrong if used with un acento.

Luckily for us, our pal Manu Chao can help us out with his song Clandestino.
In the first line of the song, Manu sings:

Solo voy con mi pena - Translation: Alone I go with my sadness
Sola va mi condena - Translation: Alone goes my...
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A Gwen Stefani-Related Spanish Mini-Lesson

grammar Nov 02, 2020

Tener and ser are two essential verbs when it comes to describing people (Gwen Stefani included).

Tener, which means to have, is an irregular verb, and therefore its particularly important to have its conjugation down. Broadly speaking, it's used to describe possession in descriptions of people, possession in descriptions of people and age.

Review it here:
Yo tengo
Tú tienes
Usted/El/Ella tiene
Nosotros/as tenemos
Vosotros/as tenéis
Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas tienen

Some examples:
Yo tengo los ojos verdes
Translation: I have green eyes.
¿Tienes el pelo rubio?
Translation: Do you have blonde hair?
El tiene 24 años.
Translation: He has 24 years - *In Spanish, you say 'to have' years, rather than to be

Ser, on the other hand, means to be and is generally used for the qualities and characteristics of character, size, appearance, as well as nationality and profession.

Yo soy
Tú eres
Usted/El/Ella es
Nosotros/as somos
Vosotros/as sois
Ustedes/Ellos/Ellas son


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Learn Ser vs. Estar with Jack Sparrow

grammar Oct 29, 2020

Ser and Estar are oftentimes tricky to differentiate. After all, they technically both translate into 'to be'

Let's clear up their subtle (but very important) differences:

For starters, ser is used to talk about WHAT something is (in a permanent state), and to describe characteristics that are an essential part of the thing we’re talking about. Estar on the other hand, is used to talk about how something is, so it’s used for conditions, locations, emotions, and actions (temporary states).

Uses of ser:

Place of origin
Example: Es de Nicaragua.
Example: Es ingeniero.
Example: Es estadounidense.
Religious or political affiliation
Example: Es demócrata.
The material something is made out of
Example: Es de madera.
Example: Es mío.
Relationship of one person to another
Example: Es su hermana.
Where an event is taking place
Example: La boda es en la catedral de Barcelona.

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