Va (Bah!) Spanish for Beginners. The verb IR : To go

Author’s note: I’m so excited to have been able to add audio files to this article.

Read on and  listen below to how real Spanish people speak  real Spanish!


The white lace curtains are twitching in ‘suburbia’.


White lace curtains…Photo Credit

We’re all wanting to know where’s she going? With whom? For how long? When will she be back?

And so on, and so on…

Would not that be great to be able to say in Spanish?

Maybe not. You’re not a gossip peeking out from behind those lace curtains.

But you really MIGHT  need to talk about where someone goes or where they are going in Spanish at some time soon.


¿A dónde VA?  Where IS SHE GOING? Photo Credit

To revise the verb  IR : TO GO, take a quick look at a previous post of the First Person Singular of IR : ‘VOY’ : Spanish for Beginners (I go / I’m going)

Also Spanish for Beginners: ¿A dónde vas? can help with an overview of the Second Person Singular of IR : VAS (You go / you’re going)

Moving on now to the Third Person Singular of IR : VA 

(Pronunciation note: The ‘V‘ sound in Spanish is more like a soft ‘B’ sound in English, so VA is pronounced almost like the exclamation in English ‘BAH!

We’ve seen a few times now how Spanish can double up many times for several meanings in English and that’s what makes it so simple!

The single word VA can have several meanings which should make things simple, but it could be confusing, if you know what I mean?

Let’s look at this great word VA,


  • IT GOES  (like a dog a cat, a car, a train, an aeroplane etc.)= VA
  • IT’S GOING  (like a dog a cat, a car, a train, an aeroplane etc.)= VA

Is that not amazing??

Remember: IN CONTEXT it will probably be very clear WHO is being referred to to…

but if in doubt you can always add SHE = ELLA or HE = ÉL to your sentence. but Spanish people rely on context and often don’t bother with the HE or SHE words!

VA  even can be used instead of VAS which we saw above, to mean

  • YOU GO

but this use is limited to very polite or formal situations.

(I’ll talk about this issue ‘polite‘ and ‘formal‘ forms of the Spanish verb in a future post.)

So it’s all very clear now how extremely useful this little unassuming word is…

Let’s have some fun making sentences with  VA

Listen to a native Spanish speaker, my daughter Araceli, pronounce each phrase.  Repeat what she says and then listen to the phrase again.

  • Listen to each recording…repeat the phrase in the space provided and then wait to hear the phrase again. How close were you?

Note: Remember “to the…. shop” = A LA…TIENDA (for feminine nouns with ‘ la)

  • Va a la tienda  

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going …to the shop

  • Va a la clase de español

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the Spanish class

  • Va a la peluquería

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the hairdresser’s

  • Va a  casa de Jane

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the house of Jane (Jane’s house)

  • Va a la estación

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the station

  • Va a la plaza

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the Square

Remember “to the…work” = AL…TRABAJO (for masculine nouns with ‘el‘)

  • Va al trabajo

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to (the) work

  • Va al colegio

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to (the) school

  • Va al bar

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the bar

  • Va al mercado

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the market

For more on A LA and AL , see previous post How to say ‘To The’ in Spanish: A la or Al ?

I’m so excited to have been able to add audio files to this article.

Does it really help to listen to a native speaker  carefully and repeat what (and HOW) they speak?

Please let me know in the comments below if you would be interested in listening to more native Spanish speakers in my posts.

I really hope this helps…


How to be negative in Spanish: There isn’t / There aren’t,: NO HAY!

Third instalment of the Spanish term HAY.

But don’t be so negative!

Before you start out you can look back on previous  two posts on this topic for beginners in Spanish, “There’s” a really useful word  and  “There are” so many words in Spanish!

In those post  we saw how both’THERE IS’  and ‘THERE ARE’ are rendered by the same word in Spanish: HAY. 

How cool is that?

Take a quick look back at those two posts to refresh the old memory neurons.

Don’t be so negative!

This post is a simple article showing, as always, how easy it is to express the NEGATIVE in Spanish and the negative of HAY, fortunately, is no exception.


So this is post is teaching:  THERE ISN’T …..or ……THERE AREN’T……


THERE IS = HAY               THERE ISN’T = NO HAY



HAY una mesa = There’s a table


A lovely table, but imagine it was just a dream……and it disappeared! Photo Credit

NO HAY  mesa = There isn’t a table                OOOPS IT’S GONE!







HAY una televisión = There’s a television


Una televisión antigua (An antique television)

NO HAY  televisión= There isn’t a television









HAY una silla = There’s a chair              camping-chair

NO HAY silla = There isn’t a chair




HAY mesas = There are some tables

NO HAY mesas = There aren’t any tables


HAY televisiones = There are some televisions

NO HAY televisiones = There aren’t any televisions


HAY  sillas = There are some chairs

NO HAY sillas = There aren’t any  chairs


                                      AMAZING CONCLUSIONS

NO HAY mesa                    There isn’t a table

NO HAY silla                      There isn’t a chair

NO HAY televisión           There isn’t a television

NO HAY mesas                 There aren’t any tables

NO HAY sillas                   There aren’t any chairs

NO HAY televisiones       There aren’t any televisions

Can you see any pattern emerging? Of course you can. They’re ALL the SAME.

There can’t be anything anything easier than this! (Well, maybe)

Repeat all the above sentences out loud, even though people will think you are going bonkers…Your Spanish is more important than what they think of you.

See a previous post, Repeat, repeat, repeat, about the benefits of serious repetition (aloud) in language learning.

                                                         SOMETHING TO DO


Now you have to make this lovely little term your own…

Don’t be lazy using the examples from MY living room…use YOUR OWN living room!

Look around your room, house, office, place where you’re at, and create YOUR OWN TRUE SENTENCES…

A great on-line dictionary to help you is Make your OWN sentences.

I can help you make some of those sentences. Jot down in the comments what you would like to say, using this Spanish term NO HAY , and I can help you make your VERY OWN SENTENCES.

Sentences that make sense to you.

Leave some sentences in the comments below and let me help you…

We haven’t finished with HAY yet! See next post!

More next time…







Hay: “There’s” a really useful Spanish word to learn!

You are battling on with  Spanish and  need to have a quick fix to get your Spanish back on track?

I’ve got the word you need HERE…..IT’S “HAY

round_hay_bale2c_partially_eaten                                                      There’s a lot of HAY here! photo credit

                                ” HAY” = THERE’S

(pronounciation :   “I”, as in “I”  am tired )

(Look back at the title of this post and see if you get the pun?)

So what’s so exciting about this “HAY”?

The great news is it means that HAY is always very, very useful, especially when you’re searching for words you need in Spanish.

Imagine the scenario

There’s… a snake in the garden      Hay…una culebra en el jardín

There’s…a fly on the wall              Hay …una mosca en la pared

There’s…a hole in my bucket        Hay…un agujero en mi cubo

There’s…a beer in the fridge          Hay…una cerveza en la nevera

                                               See how USEFUL…HAY  can be for you?


I’m looking around my home as I’m writing this post, and I could use  HAY to describe what I can see. For example:

Hay una mesa.                                  There’s  a table

Hay una televisión.                         There’s a television

Hay una cocina.                                There’s a kitchen

Hay una silla                                      There’s a chair

Say these sentences out loud, even though others listening think you are mad!

(Remember pronounciation of HAY:   “I”, as in “I”  am tired )

Make up your own sentences, maybe looking back a other articlesI have posted here on Patterns or using




If you need help with making those sentences, leave a comment below and I could help you out


Perhaps you know someone interested in learning Spanish, and about the use of HAY.  You could share this post with them and make them happy!

I really hope this helps….

Have you got a….bicycle?

We all love having things. You have things…your friends and family have things. Now’s the time to really let them know that you know what they’ve got…

It’s time to tell your son: “But you already HAVE a bicycle!”


19th Century bicycle, known as the ‘penny-farthing’ (The big wheel likened to a ‘penny’ and the smaller wheel to a ‘farthing’ = a quarter of a penny)


It’s time to tell your friend she is so lucky because she has a bag: “You HAVE a bag!”

It’s time to tell your daughter that she has a skirt, even if she wants a new one:”You HAVE a skirt.”

It’s time to tell your friend that she indeed has a bag: “You HAVE a bag.”


Grammatically speaking, this is the ‘second person singular’ of the verb: TENER (to have)


Tienes una bicicleta  You have/ You’ve got a bicycle

Tienes una amiga   You have/ You’ve got …a  friend (who is a girl) / one friend

Tienes una casa       You have/ You’ve got…a house / one house

Tienes una flor        You have/ You’ve got…a flower / one flower  

Tienes una falda      You have/ You’ve got…a skirt / one skirt

Tienes una mesa      You have/ You’ve got…a table / one table

Tienes una bolsa       You have/ You’ve got…bag / one bag

Tienes una nieta        You have/ You’ve got…a grand-daughter / one grand-daughter 

Pronunciation, for English speakers: 3 syllables:  TEE-AY-NESS. Once you have mastered   the separate syllables, start rolling them together a bit  faster.

Commit them to memory and then make up your own sentences, imagining you are speaking to a friend or family member.

Use an on-line  dictionary to find more vocabulary of items that make sense in your sentences. (I love as it is free and easy to use.)

But what if you want to ASK if your friend or family member has something? In English we have to do all sorts of acrobatics and turn stuff around in our heads just to ask a simple question.

How easy in Spanish, when all you have to do is put on a little bit of a questioning voice???

So when speaking, there is absolutely no difference between the affirmation (saying it affirmatively, positively and a question (or interrogative). Just a questioning lilt is required. In written Spanish, however, you can’t hear the questioning tone, so a clue is given so the reader knows there’s a question coming up. ¿ . An up-side-down question mark! It looks a bit weird, right ¿ . You’ll have to get used to it because it pops up (or down) a lot of the time.  72px-vraagteken-svg72px-vraagteken-svg

¿Tienes una bicicleta?  Do you have/ have you got …a bicycle?

¿Tienes una amiga?   ..Do you have/ have you got ….a  friend (who is a girl) / one friend?

¿Tienes una casa?     .Do you have/ have you got …..a house / one house?

¿Tienes una flor?       .Do you have/ have you got ….a flower / one flower?  

¿Tienes una falda?      …Do you have/ have you got …a skirt / one skirt?

¿Tienes una mesa?      .Do you have/ have you got …..a table / one table?

¿Tienes una bolsa?      .Do you have/ have you got …..bag / one bag?

¿Tienes una nieta?        Do you have/ have you got ……a grand-daughter / one grand-                                                                                                                                             daughter?


Ask  aloud all the questions. Commit them to memory and then make up your own questions, imagining you are asking a friend or family member.

Use an on-line  dictionary to find more vocabulary of items that make sense in your questions.



We spend our lives trying to be more positive, but there area few occasions when we have to succoumb to a bit of negativity!

No tienes una bicicleta   You don’t have/ You haven’t got …a bicycle

No tienes una amiga     You don’t have/ You haven’t got…a  friend (a girl) / one friend

No tienes una casa        You don’t have/ You haven’t got…a house / one house

No tienes una flor        You don’t have/ You haven’t got…a flower / one flower  

No tienes una falda      You don’t have/ You haven’t got…a skirt / one skirt

No tienes una mesa      You don’t have/ You haven’t got…a table / one table

No tienes una bolsa       You don’t have/ You haven’t got..bag / one bag

No tienes una nieta    You don’t have/ You haven’t got..a grand-daughter /one grand-                                                                                                                                                 daughter 

Now you are equipped with a great set of sentences, questions and answers, positive or negative!  Commit them to memory and then make up your own questions, imagining you are talking to a friend or family member.


Asking and answering lots of questions about life!

Now you can invent your own conversations. For example:                                                       Conversation 1:  Have you got a skirt? Yes, I ‘ve got a skirt.                                                     Conversation 2:  Have you got a skirt? No, I haven’t got a skirt, but I’ve got a bicycle.

You can replace words in italics with your own vocabulary to make a conversation.

Use an on-line  dictionary to find more vocabulary of items that make sense in your conversations.

I hope this helps…

Please ask me about any doubts you have about Spanish grammar in comments below.

More next time…


Las Uvas de la suerte or Midnight Grapes.


Photo by jacinta Lluch 

I love Spanish traditions, and one of my favourites is eating UVAS at MEDIANOCHE  on NOCHE VIEJA  (GRAPES at MIDNIGHT on NEW YEAR’S EVE. )

I’m so excited.

Tonight I’ll be going to the PLAZA together with most of the people of my town to hear the town clock (RELOJ) strike twelve midnight (MEDIANOCHE). On each CAMPANADA (stroke of the bell) everybody in the PLAZA (town square) will pop an UVA (grape) into their BOCA (mouth) with such seriousness and ceremony that it is hilarious! 

 By the time there have been five or six CAMPANADAS (strokes of the bell), everyones BOCA (mouth) is brimming with UVAS (grapes), but the idea is to continue stuffing until all twelve UVAS (grapes) are eaten, synchronising with the CAMPANADAS  (strokes of the bell). Only then will you have BUENA SUERTE  (Good Luck) for the New Year (AÑO NUEVO) [Pronunciation: ANYO NOOAYBO]

I’ll be meeting up with lots of AMIGOS (friends) and people we know, we’ll open some ‘cava’ (Spanish sparkling wine typically used in celebrations and enjoy a toast (BRINDIS)  for AÑO NUEVO (New Year). 

 Then there will be fireworks  (FUEGOS ARTIFICIALES) [literally : fires artificials]  and a FIESTA (party) with MÚSICA (music) for everyone. 

I know it will be great fun, as I have been following this tradition for many years now!

Would you like to join me?

 We are meeting in the PLAZA at 11.30, so get your UVAS ready and peeled to make it easier to guzzle them all.  ¡BUENA SUERTE!  Good Luck !

Please let me know if you enjoyed reading about my plans like this.

More next time…

Some reminders:

UVA   [Pronunciation: ooba]  Grape 

UVAS    [Pronunciation: oobas] Grapes 


NOCHE VIEJA New Year’s Eve. (Literally: Night Old)

PLAZA  Town Square

RELOJ   Clock

 PLAZA DEL RELOJ  Clock Square  (Literally: Square of the Clock)

CAMPANADA     Stroke of the bell 

BOCA     Mouth


AÑO NUEVO (Pronunciation: ANYO NOOAYBO) New Year

AMIGOS   Friends

BRINDIS   A toast ( e.g. raising a glass of wine in celebration) 

FUEGOS ARTIFICIALES  Fireworks (literally : fires artificial)  




Making it easy!


image copyright Moyan Brenn

You know when you have been waiting and waiting for something but you don’t know what it is exactly? You have been waiting for something that would help you clarify confusion and consolidate true understanding.

You never know, this could be it.

This might be exactly what you’ve been waiting for. This is a short, sharp, quick, summarised version of patterns with SER and ESTAR we have seen so far.

How more exciting could things get?


When to use SER …(SOY / ERES / ES)


Soy / eres/ es        inglesa                   I’m/ you’re / she’s   English

Soy / eres/ es        española               I’m/ you’re / she’s    Spanish

Soy/ eres/ es         inteligente           I’m/ you’re / she’s      intelligent

Soy / eres/ es        tonta                      I’m/ you’re / she’s    silly

Soy/ eres/ es         baja                        I’m/ you’re / she’s    short

Soy/ eres/ es         alta                        I’m/ you’re / she’s      tall

Conclusion: Choose SER (SOY = I’m /ERES = you’re /ES = she’s) if you are going to use adjectives which describe inherent personality traits or characteristics of people or things. i.e. English, Spanish, intelligent, silly, short , tall, etc.


When to use ESTAR  (ESTOY / ESTÁS / ESTÁ )


Estoy / estás / está     cansada                 I’m/ you’re / she’s     tired

Estoy / estás / está     enfadada               I’m/ you’re / she’s    angry

Estoy / estás / está     tranquila              I’m/ you’re / she’s    calm

Estoy/ estás / está      casada                  I’m/ you’re / she’s     married

Estoy / estás / está     divorciada            I’m/ you’re / she’s    divorced

Estoy / estás / está     enferma                I’m/ you’re / she’s    ill

Estoy /estás / está     borracha                I’m/ you’re / she’s   drunk

Conclusion : Choose ESTAR   (ESTOY = I’m / ESTÁS = you’re / ESTÁ =  she’s) if you are going to use adjectives which refer to the temporary state  of people or things. I.e. tired, angry, calm, married, divorced,  ill, drunk, etc…..


SER or ESTAR…Which way to go?


Spanish people must have quick-thinking minds (but then so have you!) First, they think about the describing word (adjective) they are going to use AFTER the verb TO BE when they describe someone or something. Depending on which type of characteristic they are referring to, they choose to use SER; (SOY/ERES/ES) or ESTAR;  (ESTOY /ESTÁS / ESTÁS).

Please let me know if this helps.

More next time…..






Are you tired?

Are you tired of not understanding the difference between SER and ESTAR in Spanish grammar?

For many people this particular grammar point can lead to a bit of confusion.  But trust me…it’s not that bad!

I really hope that I will be able to clarify to some extent when Spanish people use Ser and Estar, and how they come to choose!


In my last post To Be or not To Be… I explained about the difference between SER and ESTAR with examples using the First person singular: i.e. “I am”

These following examples are using the verb ESTAR, because , as we saw in the last post, these sentences are describing a state of a person or a thing, that is a TEMPORARY state, not an inherent characteristic.

The verb we are using this time is ESTAR = TO BE.

(For more information on ‘SER = TO BE’ , To Be or not To Be………… in Spanish

 Estás cansada          You’re tired

Estás enfadada      You’re angry

Estás tranquila        You’re calm

Estás casada            You’re married

Estás divorciada      You’re  divorced

Estás interesada      You’re interested

Estás aburrida          You’re bored

Estás ocupada           You’re busy

Estás enferma          You’re ill

Please note I am using the FEMININE form of the adjective at the moment. This means I am assuming in these cases that the speaker is female. More on masculine adjectives later. They will just have to be patient.

Please, please tell me you can see a pattern emerging!

More next time…