Spanish Subjunctive Help 8 Using it with SI

Spanish Subjunctive Help.possible

This is the last in the 8 podcast series on the Spanish Present Subjunctive. In this podcast we deal with the very strange way that Spanish behaves when faced with the word SI=IF.

Everything that Glitters.

This word IF is a classic example of how you can’t just use the idea that the subjunctive is all about uncertain futures. Were that the case than to start a sentence with if would be a dead certainty to have subjunctive in it.

And yet that’s not the case!

The SI non-subjunctive and the Si Imperfect Subjunctive.

Firstly, let us be absolutely clear what we are dealing with here. We must keep the kind of sentence we are focussing on separate from the other kind that also starts with IF and yet needs the imperfect subjunctive.

Here is an example of each one:

1, If you want we can eat in the dining room. (Non-subjunctive)

Si quieres podemos comer en el comedor.

2, If you wanted we could eat in the dining room. (Imperfect Subjunctive)

Si quisieras podríamos comer en el comedor.

How to easily identify them.

Despite what it may seem, these two sentences are easy to identify. All you have to do is to notice the verb that follows SI/IF.

Look at the examples. In number 1, the word is WANT which is present tense indicative In English, when you make your sentence and the verb that follows the IF is in present tense, then you DO NOT need to use anything except the present in Spanish.

In number two, the verb is in the past (Wanted) which is strange because if you think about it we are actually talking about a possible future event. This is your alarm bell that helps you realise that this is actually the English Imperfect Subjunctive.  When you see  this happen you must use the Spanish Imperfect Subjunctive.

Test your skills.

Look at the following sentences and see if you can tell if they need the Imp Subjunctive or just normal present tense.

1, If they come at six we’ll be finished by nine.

2, If you could come a little earlier we would be done by nine.

3, They would look better if they were in the hall.

4, If you tell me the name I’ll look for it on Google.

5, If I gave you a pound what would you do with it?

6, If they don’t call, what will you do?


The answers are just below.

So, now you should be able to identify the two kinds of IF statements in Spanish and English. It’s important to follow up this podcast with the next one which covers the use of the Imperfect Subjunctive and offers more Spanish Subjunctive Help.

Don’t worry, if you’ve learnt the Present Subjunctive you already know 90 percent of the Imperfect Subjunctive.

Also, you can check out our podcast where we force, unnaturally, a lot of Present Subjunctive into our conversation. jeje

Hasta la próxima vez,

Gordon 🙂

1, PT  2, IS  3, IS  4, PT  5, IS  6, PT

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How to make a Spanish Omelette / Tortilla Española

Spanish Omelette / Tortilla Españolaeggsscaleagriculture-scale






The tortilla española stands alongside la paella as one of the most traditional and talked about Spanish  dishes that exists to date.

Also known as Spanish omelette, it is a dish made from  the base of potatoes, onions and eggs with additional ingredients added according to preference.

¡A que está rica!

The most unusual thing about the Spanish omelette, in my opinion, (Gordon) is the taste. What I mean by that is that despite the very simple ingredients and the short preparation time, it is absolutely delicious.

Now, you must understand, before we go any further forward, that I don’t mean delicious in the Spanish sense of the word. The Spanish, as great food fanatics, do tend to refer to everything as delicioso, riquísimo, divino, para morirse (to die for) etc.

As a Brit, I cannot bring myself to exude to such an excessive degree about food. (as it’s just not the done thing…stiff upper lip and all that.) However, when it comes to a freshly prepared, still warm Spanish omelette, I go slightly weak at the knees.

Hot or Cold?

Here we have another interesting question. Do you eat the tortilla hot or cold? The answer is: Whatever way you like!

Mainly, in Spain however, it’s eaten cold. In fact, steaming hot food isn’t in great demand in Spain. They seem to prefer their food to be cold or if it is a hot dish, to be templado/tepid.

Thus, the Spanish omelette is most times served cold. If you go into any Spanish bar worth its salt, you will find a tortilla waiting to be served to the customers. It’s a fundamental part of “la cocina española” and is a must to try for anyone visiting Spain.

Sauces…¿dónde están?

Sauces are not very popular in Spain and most times, the tortilla is eaten on its own or as they say, “a palo seco”.  Also, another very popular way of enjoying the great flavour is to squash a generous slice of Spanish omelette inside a baguette. It’s called, as you might imagine, “un bocadillo de tortilla” and it is delicious. (If a little dry without some additional sauce or accompanied by whopping cup of tea.)

The nicest sauce in my opinion to slather on top of a tortilla is mayonnaise. It seems to be a match, as I see it, made in heaven. Especially if the tortilla is still warm.

And, now I’m really hungry after talking about the wonderful Spanish omelette. Watch Mercedes make it on the video and then have a go yourself. You really can’t go wrong. And you’re sure to love it!


Buen provecho.

Gordon 🙂

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Easy Spanish with Subtitles Christmas in Madrid, Spain

Is Christmas in Spain so different?three wise men scale

The truth of the matter is that, yes, Christmas is very different in Spain. We can suppose that every country and even region has its own special way of celebrating the principal festivals. Madrid is no exception.

In this video clip, we have made it more accessible by adding subtitles and making it into what you might call easy Spanish. Of course, for anyone who has spent any time learning Spanish they will know that there is no such thing as easy Spanish. Perhaps it would be better to say ‘easier Spanish’. Lol. However, using great self control Cynthia speaks incredibly slowly in this video, so really we could say it was easy Spanish, although we´ll let you be the judges of that.

Torrejón de Ardóz.

Cynthia’s home town is un pueblo called Torrejón de Ardóz. It’s about thirty minutes from the centre of Madrid and is in what is describe as ‘las afueras’ or the outskirts.
Despite being a smallish town, when Christmas rolls around, suddenly biggish things start to happen.

One year, for the entire duration of the Christmas period, there was a big marquee erected that ran shows for the kids and then for the adults every night of the week. Most were free.
In the town centre in ‘la plaza’ there were rides and stalls along with all kinds of Christmassy things.

La Cabalgata.

Apart from having a far longer period for the Christmas celebrations, which are from the 24th of December until the 7th of January, the culmination of the holidays happens on the 5th of January when an enormous parade of floats (called carrozas) make their way through the town centre and into the plaza. There, they deliver the Three Wise Men (los Tres Reyes Magos) so they can begin their work of delivering all of the presents which the children will open the following morning.

Bring an umbrella.

If you go to a Cabalgata with a child, be sure to take an umbrella. Not for the rain, of course. It’s for the thousands of sweeties and chocolates that get thrown into the crowd by the people on the floats. Many parents bring an umbrella and hold it upside down to increase their sweety catching ability.

Las Carrozas y Disfraces.

One of the most impressive parts of the whole event are the themed floats filled with people in fancy dress. These costumes and floats aren’t just thrown together. They have been prepared across many weeks leading up to Christmas and are very impressive.

Disney is always a popular theme and it’s not uncommon to see the plaza filled with Mickey and Minnie mouses after everything is over.

Another interesting theme tends to be men in women’s costumes. Throughout Spain, in virtually every parade you will find men dressed up as women, still sporting the odd beard or full moustache.

Be sure to experience at least one Christmas there.

It’s really worth the effort to arrange to spend one Christmas in Spain. The bigger the city, the more extravagant the celebration. However, even the smaller towns always have something interesting to see.

In our village here in the UK, we have one man dressed as Santa Claus on a trailer who throws sweeties to the kids on Christmas Eve…

Really, we’ve got much to learn from the Spanish on how to celebrate ‘a lo grande’.

Gordon y Cynthia.

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Present Spanish Subjunctive Examples Possibilities 7

Spanish Subjunctive Examples questions scalenumber 7.


It’s all getting a bit blurry.

As I state in the podcast, there comes a time when studying the Spanish Subjunctive when the lines begin to get blurred. It becomes difficult to keep rigid lines around the little families of triggers.


This is because, as you really begin to understand the Spanish subjunctive, you will find that there really is no great difference between one category and another.

The shocking news is that the Subjunctive is really the same thing every time.

In this podcast we talk about possibilities and about expressions like:

It’s possible that… Es posible que…

It’s probable that… Es probable que…

I don’t think that… No creo que…

Just as an aside, when English speakers make the above sentence about thinking, they generally choose the verb PENSAR.

However, many Spanish speakers would choose CREER over PENSAR. Why?

Well, the simplest answer is that it’s quicker! It’s easier to say “Creo que.” than it is to say “Pienso que”. And that’s probably the only reason.

Is a pattern emerging?

Perhaps you are beginning to notice as you look at all of the Spanish subjunctive examples that there are two things that seem to bind many of the triggers together.

These are:

1, Uncertainty.

2, Future events.

This is what all the possibilities refer to. However, as we have explained earlier in this series. This is not always a good way of identifying the subjunctive. The reason for that is for every example you can find to prove this theory, there exists another that literally flies in the face of it.

This is why it really is worth understanding the physical structure of the triggers rather than spending lots of time trying to grasp the more theoretical premise behind its use.

Going forward.

What we suggest is that as you go on learning and more importantly, USING the subjunctive in your spoken and written Spanish, that you aim to gain an understanding of the feeling and intention behind the Spanish subjunctive.

As has been said before, the Subjunctive is a mood (and a mood is a feeling, right?) and as strange as it sounds, you end up feeling it in your guts rather than understanding it in your head. You literally end up getting a gut feel that in any particular sentence the subjunctive should be used.

Once you become comfortable with it, that gut feel will serve you well most of the time. And, of course, sometimes it will lead you completely astray as it does me (Gordon) sometimes.

At the end of the day, learning is more a process and less an end result. So just keep at it and we’ll keep giving you new ways to understand and improve your Spanish.

Saludos, Gordon y Cynthia.

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El Aula – Todavia, Aun or Aún? – Which to use?

Why is Todavia written into the title incorrectly keyboard scalewithout an accent? / Todavía

Firstly, let us apologise for having the word, todavía, in the title without a tilde or accent. We are well aware that our students must be wondering why we are doing that, especially when we are supposed to be teachers.

Well, it’s all about the search engines. If we want the search engines to pick up the word todavia, (and we do!) we must write it without an accent. Why? Because when people are Googling a word they rarely if ever write it with its correct accent.

So, todavia without an accent get searched for 22,000 times a month whilst todavía with its corresponding accent gets written into Google only 1,900 times a month.

It’s only normal that people who are not used to writing with accents or don’t know how to configure their keyboard would write ” todavia” instead of “todavía”. But, we think that it is important to get used to writing with accents and so, we have decided to offer a little tutorial on how to change your keyboard to Spanish.

Firstly, however, we wanted to tell you what is happening in our new project LightSpeed English.

A distinct lack of accents.

When we are writing our blogs and titles for LightSpeed Engish etc. we use the same analysis to see who is searching for what in the Spanish speaking world. The real shock has been that no matter how bad non-spanish speakers are at NOT putting accents on the words, the Spanish speaking world is 100 times worse!

We have crazy results when we try to write something like: “Conversación en inglés.” Google tells us that a few hundred people have searched for that. ‘Strange’ we think. ‘Surely there must be more Spanish speakers interested in hearing English conversations.’

So, then we put into the analysis: “Conversacion in ingles”  (not an accent in sight!) and 100,000 results appear!

This has happened time and again. It seems that the majority of Spanish speakers simply do not use accents in Google. Is it because they can’t be bothered, they aren’t sure about them or it’s faster? We don’t know, but whatever the reason, it’s wrong!

So, in future blogs, if you see a word that should have an accent and doesn’t, you’ll understand why. However, we will always mention it and have the correct version visible.

Come one, guys! Let’s work to get the accents back on the words. It’s what makes Spanish beautiful and it helps pronunciation no end!

How to add accents.

Go to start button (if you have)

Go to Control Panel

Under Clock Region and Language Choose ‘Add a Language’ Win 8

Choose Clock, Region and Language Win 7 or below

Choose Add a Language Win 8

Choose Region and Language Win 7

Choose Add a language Win 8

Choose on the tabs of the box that appears Keyboards and Languages

Scroll down to Spanish and click the box with Spanish Win 8

Click change Keyboards Win 7

Click the Spanish you want. It’s country specific. A good one is Spanish traditional sort. This will give you an icon on your bottom bar. You just click it to change the language of your keyboard. Win 8

Click add on the box. A long list will appear. Scroll down to Spanish and choose the country you want. A good one is Spain traditional sort. Click the plus sign next to the one you want. Click the plus sign next to keyboard.  Click the box Spanish. That’s it. You will have an icon on the bottom bar of your pc and you click it to change between your own language and Spanish.

On an English keyboard, the tildes can be found where the @ sign is. You hit that key first and then the vowel you want. This puts it on top of the vowel. To discover the rest, you need to play around with each key. Open a word document and start to hit each key to see what it does. Then hit each key with the shift button on and you will find the other important keys, too.

Good luck, and happy accenting! Oh, and enjoy the videoblog, too.

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