Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 26 – Spanish Greetings Sending Your Regards

Spanish Greetings.faces scale earl inter 26

It may seem like a small part of a vast language, but Spanish greetings could well be one of the most important parts of your Spanish speaking skill.

Given that the majority of us are going to be visiting Spanish speaking countries, or intermittently seeing people, we really should have our Spanish greetings up to par.

In our own language there’s never any problem and we instinctively know, from years of practice, how to greet someone correctly, how to send our regards to another and how to say goodbye in the right way.

In another language, of course, things just aren’t as simple. To get it right, as we are discovering, we cannot simply translate what we say in our own language into Spanish.

What are you up to?

For example, we often ask others, “What are you up to?” an expression impossible to translate directly. Rather, it’s common to say in Spain, “¿Qué te cuentas?” which translates as, “What are you telling yourself?”

Saying goodbye also has its challenges.

In English we often say, “See you later.” whereas in Spanish, they tend to say, “Hasta luego.” which translates as, “Until then.” or “Nos vemos” which means, “We´ll see each other.”

Getting it Right.

The point is with these Spanish greetings and farewells that unless you know them, there’s no way you can get them right.

The same applies to the act of sending your regards.  There’s a very specific way of doing so and not only that, but when someone sends their regards, there’s a very specific way that you should reply.

What are they? Well, the way to find out is to watch or listen to the podcast and listen to how we use these important Spanish greetings in conversation which is often the best way to learn them. After all, that’s how we learnt our own language.

We can Help You.

All of our podcasts are backed up with a full and clear helpsheet that is designed to help you get the maximum learning from this lesson. Although all of the lessons are free and can be downloaded to listen to over and over again, we do ask a small amount for our helpsheets which go toward funding our future lessons to help you take your Spanish to LightSpeed.

Gracias a todos por vuestra atención. Suerte con vuestros estudios.


Gordon y Cynthia 🙂

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Early Intermediate Spanish Podcast 27 – To Ask in Spanish. Pedir and Preguntar

pizza scale earl inter 27To ask in Spanish.

This may seem like a fairly straight forward subject for the more advanced student of the Spanish language, yet it should not be underestimated.

There are a number of issues that come along with these two verbs and because of that, we often hear our students committing errors when they formulate sentences with them.

Firstly, perhaps many of you know that PEDIR means TO ASK FOR. Whilst PREGUNTAR  simply means TO ASK in Spanish.


So when we want to make a sentence like:

I want to ask for a map. = Yo quiero pedir un mapa.

It’s very easy for us to choose PEDIR.


And when we want to say:

I’m going to ask. = Yo voy a preguntar.

It’s obvious that we should choose PREGUNTAR.


Test your Spanish.

But what about when we want to ask in Spanish the following question. Which verb should we use?

I wonder, should I ask the gentleman over in the corner with the brown jacket and black trousers for directions to the town centre?

Now, which verb should we use, PREGUNTAR or PEDIR?

Decide now before reading on.

Sometimes it’s not so clear due to the way we  structure our sentence. We are listening for a clear “ASK” or “ASK FOR”  and so we can be tricked into thinking that we should use PREGUNTAR when we really should be using PEDIR.

If you chose PEDIR…muy bien hecho.

If you chose PREGUNTAR, look at the sentence again.

I wonder if I should ask the gentleman over in the corner with the brown jacket and black trousers for directions to the town centre.

So, as you can see, sometimes the words “ask for” are separated by other information and yet we must be aware of them.


And then the redundant pronouns…

To add a little confusion into the pot, when we use these verbs we have to be concious of the need to use the pronouns in third person EVEN IF YOU MENTION THE PERSONS NAME.

Now, before you go cross eyed and close this page down, don’t worry too much about this. It sounds complicated but it really isn’t so difficult. We have already covered this in our previous podcasts.

If you are not sure about what we are talking about, take a look at these two podcasts: (Unfortunately they are in Spanish only)

Podcast 15 Adv Inter

Podcast 14 Adv Inter

Our best advice is to listen in to the podcast and take from it what you can get. There’s something for every level. Remember, Spanish is learnt through a process of little steps and not with one big leap. Some things you hear this time may not fit into the puzzle until much later. That’s very normal.

Pues, buena suerte chicos. Esperamos que os guste y que os valga.


Gordon y Cynthia 🙂

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Early Intermediate Podcast 28 – Haber in Spanish and its Uses

The Verb Haber in Spanish.scrabblescale

This verb is probably one of the most important verbs in the Spanish language! Why? Because, it has a specific job to do in just about every tense that exists in Spanish.

Firstly, you will have seen this verb mentioned in all of your textbooks in which they call it the “auxiliary verb”. This simply means that this verb is a “helper” verb. It works with other verbs to create sentences like, “I have eaten today”. The word, “HAVE” is the auxiliary part, which is from HABER in Spanish, and “EATEN” is the past participle of the verb TO EAT.

As you will see in the podcast, we explain that Haber in Spanish appears in multiple types of conversation. The very famous word “HAY” comes directly from the verb HABER. This word means “there is/there are” and you probably would agree that it is something that we use in most conversation.

HAY is a strange word because it can relate to one thing or to multiple things and yet it’s structure doesn’t change. For example, one of the confusions that many students have is when they use this word in the past.  For example, when they want to say, “There was” they use, “HABÍA”.

However, the confusion sets in when they want to say “There were”. The temptation is to say, “HABÍAN”. However, this isn’t correct because, just as the word, “HAY” refers to one or multiple things, the same applies to this word when it is in the past. Therefore “HABÍA” means “there was/there were”.

Crazy names.

If you think that the names that are given to the normal tenses are difficult to understand or remember, then when we get to the verb HABER in Spanish, we realise that the linguists had just been warming up. Some of the names that have been given to what are known as, “the perfect tenses”, border on the incredulous.

For example, if you wanted to say, “I had spoken to him.”, which in Spanish is, “Yo habia hablado con él.”, you have to use the “Pluscuamperfecto de indicativo”. How about that for a mouthful. Far better to have called it the “Had Eaten” tense, ¿verdad?

Or, worse still, once you find yourself in the world of subjunctive and want to say something like: ”

I would have eaten it if I had been hungry. = Me lo habría comido si hubiera tenido hambre.

You are then obliged to whip out of your box of grammatical tools the: ” Pluscuamperfecto de subjuntivo.”

How can I remember these names?

Our advice is that you don’t sweat the names. After all, you use all of these tenses in your own mother tongue without ever having to know the names. The same applies in Spanish!

Enjoy the podcast. We hope that it is of value to you in your learning journey.

Remember that all of our podcasts are backed up by in depth helpsheets that explain everything for you and test your understanding.


Gordon y Cynthia 🙂

Here is a link to a blog that breaks down Haber in every way possible. Thanks Suzie! Click Here.

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Early Intermediate Podcast 29 – Either Or in Spanish and Much More

Either Or in Spanish. = O Oknight nicescale

Maybe you’ve seen these words used before in your travels through your learning journey. They are strange because they appear as the same word and yet translate into English as different words.

This is often what happens when we try to translate things literally from our own language into Spanish. Sometimes it works beautifully and other times it’s “un desastre”.

So, when you use the “O O” in Spanish, which means either or in Spanish, you are simply presenting options or choices.

For example: -Mira, dime o “que sí” o “que no”.- = Look, tell me either y “yes” or “no”.

Just as an aside, many times when Spanish speakers say yes or no, with emphasis, they often put the word QUE in front.


¡Te digo que sí! = I’m telling you, yes.

What they are really doing is shortening a longer sentence which would go something like this:

I’m telling you that, yes, I’m going to do it…that, yes, I want to go…that, yes, I’m happy etc.


NI NI = Neither Nor

Just as there exists either or in Spanish, another of these double words that doesn’t translate directly was made famous by the Monty Python team in their famous film, “The Knights of the Round Table.” In that film, there were the ‘Knights of Ni’. They would go around shouting “Ni, Ni!” (I don’t think that they really thought they were using Spanish! Still, it’s a nice way of remembering it.)

So, this expression is used with negative sentences such as the following:

No quiero ni agua ni zumo. = I want neither water nor juice.

We don’t really talk like that in English any more and the ‘Either Or’ option is normally what we use in all cases of spoken language. However, In Spanish, when your sentence is in the negative, you must use the Ni…Ni version.


We do the same by the way.

If you are asking yourself how Spanish speakers can use the same word when we have different ones, then it’s worth noting that we do the same.

Take, for example, when we say “AS big AS a house.”

Spanish speakers say this with two different words.

TAN grande COMO una casa.”


So, listen in as we show how these expressions work in Spanish in conversation. Everything that we present in our podcasts is backed up with comprehensive helpsheets that help you look more in depth at what we talk about and then test your understanding with an exercise.

As always, we hope that this will be of value to you in your learning journey.



Gordon y Cynthia. 🙂

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Early Intermediate Podcast 30 – Spanish Test of Your Listening Skills

Spanish Test.highland-cow scale_1280

We are calling this podcast a Spanish test because it brings together much of what we have covered up to now in the 30 previous podcasts of this level.

If you have been paying attention (which we know you have, jeje) you should be able to follow along with us as we talk about our recent trip up to Scotland and the adventures we got ourselves into.

Personally, however, I (Gordon) would be more than happy for you to NOT hear the last part of the tale that Cynthia tells about when we arrived back from Scotland, cold and weary. It doesn’t make for pretty listening and makes me blush every time!

Some Important Advice.

As you listen to this Spanish test of your listening skills, you may well say to yourself:

I can understand  all of that, and yet, I could never say it like that!

And, of course, you are right. However, you must understand that this is NOT bad news. It doesn’t mean that your Spanish is in ‘problemas’ or that you haven’t been working hard enough.

In fact, you can be happy to know that it’s completely normal. It happens to EVERYONE.

Perhaps you’ve heard us talk about the PARETO rule that can be applied to your Spanish learning.

The rule is that you should be able to understand about 80% of your level and say about 20% of what you can understand.

Compare yourself to a baby.

You can see this 80/20 rule in children all the time. Little toddlers understand much of what you are saying to them. (If they are anything like Sebastián, our two year old son, then many times they choose to completely ignore it!)

Yet, they are not able to say the same words themselves. They say part words, they mispronounce, they point, they scream. In fact, they do anything they can to communicate even when they don’t have the words.

The self same thing applies to you. You are only a short way through your learning journey and so you are like a child that always has better listening abilities than speaking ones.

That doesn’t mean it will always be like that. ¡Qué va! As time progresses, so will your spoken Spanish and the gap will close on your speaking  compared to your understanding.

Let me tell you one thing, however, when I listen in English to a very intelligent speaker, I can understand everything he says, yet I couldn’t speak like he can (nor would I want to sometimes).

Language is like that.

So, enjoy your Spanish test and check to see if I’m right about the 80/20 rule!


Gordon 🙂

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