Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 21 – Spanish Relative Pronouns

magnifying-glassSpanish Relative Pronouns.
Here is a very interesting podcast that really gets into the meat of what are Spanish Relative Pronouns and how you can use them in your spoken and written Spanish.
Of course, before you can use any aspect of Spanish grammar correctly, you must firstly understand how it works. And so, this has been our objective during the ten minutes that we consider this topic. In tandem with the podcast, we have also produced a comprehensive set of helpsheets that lay everything out clearly and concisely for you.

So, What are Spanish Relative Pronouns?

These are the words that relate one thing to another. Examples of them are THAT, WHICH and WHO.
For example, we say:

“The person who lives next to us.”


“The car in which we drive to work.” or more commonly, “The car which we drive to work in.”


“The lady with whom I speak on Wednesdays.” or more commonly, “The lady who I speak with on Wednesdays.”

Have you noticed that many of these sentences sound “high brow” and “posh”? In fact, if you go back through them you will probably notice that most times we could replace the words with “THAT”.

Exactly the same thing occurs with the Spanish Relative Pronouns. Most times, and certainly in spoken speech the more straightforward word QUE or THAT is used.

More often than not, it is in written language or when someone wants to make an impression or sound “culto” that the pronouns are used.

That doesn’t mean to say that people don’t use them. They certainly do. What we are saying is that Spanish Relative Pronouns tend to appear in more formal language situations. That said, not all are reserved for special occasions and as you will hear in the Podcast, some are used to be more exacting when we speak, or they help us to include, or exclude certain things from our sentences.

If they are not so commonly used, should I bother with them?

Absolutely! As we have said, although they are not so common in spoken, day to day Spanish, they do appear very widely in every other medium of communication. What is more, as a student of Spanish you are sure to find yourself in more formal situations, whether that be in an examination at school, college or university, in a job interview, or simply listening to a discourse or presentation by someone really ‘brainy’. hehe.

As we stated earlier, the helpsheets will help to clarify what the podcast doesn’t and we have designed it with yourselves in mind.

Buena suerte, Gordon y Cynthia.

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Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 22 – The Weather in Spanish Present and Past

blinds resizedThe Weather in Spanish.

The weather in Spanish is an interesting subject to learn. That’s not to say that Spanish speakers are as obsessed about it as the English, for example. It is, however, a very nice conversation piece to use when you want to instigate a chat or just pass the time of day with someone.

In fact, it’s pretty much an international language in itself. No matter who you are with, or where you are, being able to pull out a few little expressions about the weather can ingratiate you with most folk.

The issue is, of course, that the weather in Spanish is not spoken about in the same way as English. Or at least, not all the time.

The use of HACE,

It has to be said that Spanish speakers do use the verb HACER a lot, in many aspects of their spoken and written Spanish. And none more than when they are talking about the weather in Spanish.

Rather than saying “It’s sunny.”, they say, “It makes sun.” and when it’s hot, for them, “It makes heat.”

Ceratinly, in my experience as a Spanish teacher, I have noticed that talking about the weather in Spanish has a tremendous amount of pitfalls.  There are two verbs that seem to catch so many people out.

The first is LLOVER = TO RAIN

Firstly, this is irregular and the O becomes UE. To add insult to injury, students have to learn the noun, “LA LLUVIA” = THE RAIN, the indicative, “LLUEVE”= IT RAINS/IT’S RAINING and the present continuous, “ESTÁ LLOVIENDO” = IT’S RAINING (RIGHT NOW).

No wonder things get mixed up!

The second confusing verb is NEVAR = TO SNOW

This, too, is irregular and the E becomes IE. This also has the noun, “LA NIEVE” = THE SNOW, the indicative, “NIEVA” = IT SNOWS/ IT’S SNOWING and the present continuous, “ESTÁ NEVANDO” = IT’S SNOWING (RIGHT NOW)

Take that mix of options and then try to talk about the weather in the past and you find it getting wrapped around your neck like a winter scarf. lol.

It’s not all bad.

Fear not, however, talking about the weather in Spanish isn’t so bad once you have understood the main structure of how they make their sentences.  Practice makes perfect, too, and we recommend that you watch this video a number of times to really grasp the structures. The helpsheets are also  filled with great help and advice as well as tests to help you to get it right first time.

And, of course, if you make a point of going to countries in which it’s sunny all the time, you can save yourself a lot of trouble and only have to learn:

Hoy hace calor y sol, ayer hizo sol y calor y mañana va a hacer sol y calor. jeje


Buena suerte,

Gordon y Cynthia 🙂


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Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 23 – Saying Morning in Spanish and other Time Markers.

morning earl inter 23Morning in Spanish.

Knowing how to say morning in Spanish is absolutely vital for any student of the Spanish language along with all of the other words that allow you to mark time within your sentences.

The reason that it’s so important has been brought home to me loudly and clearly during the English classes that I teach here in the UK.

What I have noticed is that, for beginners and intermediate learners, being able to be quite specific about time frames is vital if they want to be understood.

You see, if you are a beginner or an intermediate speaker, there’s a high chance that when you speak Spanish you get your tenses a little mixed up. Perhaps you think you are talking about an event in the past when in fact you are using the present tense.

And, of course, the same thing could apply when you are talking in the present or the future and you inadvertently use a past tense conjugation.

What saves your bacon every time is if you use the correct time marker in your sentence.

Mixing up tenses.

Consider this sentence, which is very commonly heard pouring from the mouth of many a beginner in any language.

Yesterday morning I am going to the town centre. = Ayer, por la mañana, voy al centro.

Now, we know that this doesn’t really make a lot of sense. The key is, however, that because the sentence mentions yesterday morning, then as a listener we can make the appropriate tense adjustments in our head.


I went to the town centre = fui al centro

If the speaker got the time marker wrong, however, or left it out, we as a listener would have absolutely no idea whether the speaker was going to go or had already gone to the town centre.

And that’s why it’s important to be able to say morning in Spanish, as well as afternoon, evening, tomorrow, yesterday, next week, last week and so on and so forth.

By having this vocabulary, which isn’t at all difficult, you can worry far less about your tenses and still let people know whether you are talking about the future or the past.

The truth is, if you are not confident about any tense other than present, you can still talk in the past. Many people do! (Believe me.)

How to get round weak conjugation.

Look at these examples:

Mañana por la tarde estoy en la casa de mi madre. = Tomorrow afternoon I’m in my mum’s house.

Ayer por la mañana estoy en el trabajo. = Yesterday morning I’m in work.

Now, there are better ways of saying this but because of the time markers, we as readers and listeners know when these things happened or are going to happen.

In this podcast we talk you through the most important ways of identifying time frames in your conversation. Join us and start taking your Spanish to new levels of clarity and understanding.

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Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 24 – Making Comparisons in Spanish

planets earl inter 24 comparisonsComparisons in Spanish.

The good news is that making comparisons in Spanish is very similar to English.  In fact, it’s almost identical!

What is important, however, is understanding what we are doing when we make comparisons in Spanish and English. To do that we should look at the structure of the sentences we use without normally thinking about what we are doing.

There are two main families of comparisons. These are:




We use comparatives when we say things like: “I’m as happy as a dog with three tails.”, or “I’m as sick as a parrot.”

You may have noticed that in the above sentences the word AS is repeated.

AS big AS,  AS little AS. In between the AS’s is an adjective, like happy, sad, big, small.


We have another family of comparisons that use AS MUCH AS like this:

“I don’t have as  much as you.” or “You have as much as he does.”

And then, there are the sentences with AS MANY:

“He has as many as I do.” or  I don’t have as many cars as he does.”

Notice in the last two sentences that you can use AS MANY AS on its own and you can also insert a NOUN to make the phrase more specific.

As many friends as…

The next group of comparisons are called:



These are what we use when we say things like: ” I like you more than ever.” or ” You mean more to me than a lottery win.”

How you can spot them is by noticing the words that always appear in these sentences:



“She has more than me.” or “I have less than her.”

Of course, like with the Comparatives,  you can add a NOUN to make the phrase more specific:

“I have more houses than you do.” or “They have less time than we do.”


So how does this help me?

Now that you have refreshed your understanding of what we call comparatives and superlatives, you can watch or listen to our podcast and you will be able to understand far more easily what we talk about and the structures of the sentences we make.


Clearly, all our podcasts are backed up by comprehensive helpsheets that take you, step by step, through each part of the grammar and give you tests to check your understanding.


Gordon y Cynthia 🙂

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Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 25 – No Sólo, Sino in Spanish and Se Me Da Bien

translate scale earl inter solo sinoSino in Spanish

Some years ago there was a T.V. programme here in the U.K. called,  “Not only but also.” which when it came out in Spanish was called, “No sólo, sino.”

It’s this expression that we hear used such a lot when Spanish speakers want to describe something that has more than one effect.


Not only do you bring joy to my life, but you also make me feel valued.

The temptation for many students of Spanish when confronted with a sentence with this structure is to use the word “BUT”, which is “PERO”.

However, this is the BIG mistake. Whenever you find yourself saying “not only”, you must use SINO in Spanish.

In this podcast we give you various examples of how to use this particular structure in real-life conversation, and not only do we talk about this particular structure, but also about the use of SINO in other ways.

The interesting thing is that it doesn’t just work with “no sólo”, but rather, on its own.

We´ll not tell you what that is here, but rather suggest that you listen in to the podcast to discover the other way that  SINO in Spanish works.

Se Me Da Bien.

I recall (Gordon) many years ago struggling to work out how to say, “I’m good at it.” in Spanish. I tried various formats from, “Soy muy bueno en ello.”, a rather strained direct translation that really doesn’t work that well. I wondered if I could say, ” Lo hago muy bien.” , literally, “I do it well.”

Like most expressions, however, there really isn’t always a good way to directly translate them and any attempts to make direct translations of the many idiomatic expressions we have in English can get you into a right sticky fix. (That’s one, by the way.)

A student once said to me, “…desde el culo de mi corazón.” Now he wanted to say, “…from the bottom of my heart” but only managed to say, “…from my heart’s bum.”

This is the danger of trying to translate expressions literally. lol

So, the way a Spanish speaker would say, “I’m good at it.” is to say, “Se me da bien.” which, like many expressions, translates woefully from one language to another.  The translation would be something like, “It gives itself to me well.” which, if you said that to an English speaker, would mean very little.

Listen in to our podcast to see and hear how we put that into conversation and how we can apply it to others, also.

All of our podcasts come with a comprehensive Helpsheet designed to take you through a step by step understanding of these subjects and then test your understanding. We hope they will be of value to you.


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