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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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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El Aula – Spanish Pronouns – Getting the Order Right

stairs scale el aula pronounsSpanish Pronouns.

Once you enter into the world of Spanish pronouns, your Spanish will never be the same again. What we aim to do with this blog and video is to make sure that it’s for the better and not for the worst.

The idea of Spanish pronouns is to make your sentence CLEAR and EFFICIENT.

Unfortunately, because of the apparent complexity, often they do EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE.

What to Expect.

There are two things to realise when you begin to use Spanish pronouns. The first is that you can expect your spoken Spanish to slow down dramatically. This is completely normal and it should be welcomed. If you skim the learning process you will only find yourself totally confusing your listener as you mix and match (incorrectly) the entire range pronouns at your disposal.

The second thing to be aware of is that, no matter how much you might fight against it,  you simply CANNOT avoid them. Direct and Indirect pronouns are everywhere. in the Spanish language.

The Good News.

The good news is that Spanish pronouns are not so difficult to use as you might imagine. Firstly, however, before you can really get full benefit from this video you must understand what the Indirect and Direct Spanish pronouns are. To do that, we already have some podcasts on this subject.

If you need to bring yourself up to speed or refresh your thinking check out these two podcasts:

Double Pronouns

Direct and Indirect

The Big Issue.

The biggest issue that people have when trying to incorporate Spanish pronouns into their spoken Spanish is getting the order right, as well as getting the person right.

In this video I give you a foolproof and step by step system that will always produce the correct sentence. All you need to do is to learn the system and apply it.

What puts many people off, however, is that like any learning, it’s a slow and clumsy process at first. (Remember learning to drive and how you were at the beginning.) The other issue is that whilst you are mechanically going through your internal questions and getting the order right, your listener is stifling a yawn and losing the will to live. lol.

The fact is, it will always be like this until you have practised it enough to get a flow going. Just make sure you only talk to kind, understanding people. 🙂

So, watch the video as many times as you need to get it right. Take notes, write test sentences, practice with your study group, do as much as you can to really get the structure into your head and your Spanish can do nothing else but vastly improve.

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The Present Spanish Subjunctive 2 – Hopes and Maybes

maybe scaleSubjunctive and Indicative.

For us to study the Spanish Subjunctive, we must also understand the way we refer to the present tense. It’s called the “indicative”, which is purely the present tense, the one that we learn when we first begin to study Spanish.

Most times, when talking about this subject we ask: “Subjunctive or not subjunctive?” when really a better question would be: “Subjunctive or indicative?”

The Triggers.

Now that we have gotten into the meat of this subject, we can start looking at the real triggers that signal the need for the present Spanish subjunctive.

Probably, the most common element in 90% of all subjunctive sentences is the word QUE. As I explain in the video, QUE is I heavily worked word in Spanish and often causes confusion with students as they see it appearing “por todos lados” in their studies.

If you want to refresh your understanding of QUE, then why not take a look at our video blog on this subject.

What you must be cautious of, however, when working with the Spanish subjunctive, is not to imagine that it’s QUE  is the only word that triggers it off.

Rather, it is the appearance of QUE with other sentence structures that normally creates a need to use the subjunctive.

A frequent confusion.

Many students get a little confused about where to place the subjunctive verb once the trigger has been fired off. I explain in the video blog that normally the subjunctive is placed in the verb that FOLLOWS the trigger. Sometimes I have heard students placing the subjunctive on the trigger verb. This is not correct.


Here’s an example of how it works most times :

Espero que (trigger) mañana venga (following verb) temprano.


Tal vez (trigger) no quiera (following verb) decírnoslo.

So, as you can note, the Spanish subjunctive appears in the verb that follows the trigger and not in the trigger itself.

Also, typically, once the following verb has been used in the subjunctive, that’s everything done and you don’t need to continue adding each verb in the subjunctive.


Él espera que ( trigger) yo le llame (following verb) cada día porque se siente (normal indicative) muy solo.


Two or more in a row.

Of course, the exception to this suggestion is when there is a continuation of the “hope” across more than one verb.


Mi amiga espera que (trigger) vaya (following verb) a su fiesta y que (continued trigger) traiga (following verb) comida y bebida, también.

Here, you can see that although there isn’t a new trigger verb, by adding QUE, the trigger is extended and thus requires another subjunctive verb to follow it.

With this in mind, now it’s time to look at the video and start adding these handy triggers to your spoken Spanish.


Buena suerte.

Gordon 🙂

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