Where on earth are you going? Spanish for Beginners: ¿A dónde vas?

Are you an inquisitive person?

Are you always asking where people have been and where they’re going?

atalante_1_lepautre_louvre_mr_1804

Where on earth is she going?

Do you just LOVE knowing what’s going on with everybody?

PERHAPS NOT…

but even so…you really may need to ask someone this question in Spanish occasionally.

 

 

In a previous post, ‘VOY’ : Spanish for Beginners, we saw the way to use the ‘First Person’ of the verb IR (to go) so it would be really useful to look back at that post to refresh the use of VOY and its two meanings.

DÓNDE = WHERE      A= TO 

‘A DÓNDE`IS USED WHEN ASKING SOMEONE ‘TO WHERE’  THEY ARE GOING

(It’s a funny old world, isn’t it…but that’s what makes languages so interesting!)

We saw in the previous post VOY  had two meanings in English:

VOY = I GO  and  I’M GOING

so in the same way VAS has two meanings in English:

VAS = YOU GO and YOU’RE GOING

(Pronunciation VAS = like BASS in English)

We saw how AMAZINGLY EASY it is to turn any verb form into a question in Spanish and this is a perfect opportunity to learn by heart an extremely common pattern in Spanish conversation.

 

¿A dónde VAS?    VOY a la tienda

¿A dónde VAS?   VOY al bar

 

                                A BASIC CONVERSATION PATTERN

A basic common pattern in any language could be;

Question :  “Where are you going ?”    Answer: ” I’m going to the shop”

 

If you feel you might need to know this conversational exchange, then read on…

because it’s so easy.

 

VAS = YOU GO or YOU ARE GOING

 

To make a question out of this verb form VAS, all we have to do is add a ‘question voice’ when speaking, or up-side-down question marks when writing. SO EASY

 

¿A dónde VAS?    VOY a la tienda      Where are you going? I’m going to the shop.

¿A dónde VAS?   VOY al bar               Where are you going? I’m going to the bar.

 

A different style of question which you can easily use in the early days of learning Spanish would be……

Are you going to the ………..?  Yes, I’m going to the……….

(REMEMBER; A LA = TO THE … using a feminine noun)

¿ VAS A LA TIENDA ?                                           Are you going to the shop?

¿VAS A LA CLASE DE ESPAÑOL?                 Are you going to the Spanish class?

¿VAS A LA PELUQUERÍA?                           Are you going to the hairdresser’s?

¿VAS A LA CASA DE JANE?                       Are you going to the house of Jane ? (Jane’s house)

¿VAS A LA ESTACIÓN?                              Are you going to the station?

¿VAS A LA PLAZA?                                     Are you going to the square?

 

REMEMBER: AL = TO THE   when using a masculine noun

¿VAS AL TRABAJO?                                 Are you going to (the) work?

¿VAS AL COLEGIO?                             Are you  going to the school?

¿VAS AL BAR?                                        Are you going to the bar?

¿VAS AL MERCADO?                            Are you going to the market?

Now it’s time for a real conversation:

vosotros2

Great conversations!

Using feminine noun place-names:

  • ¿ VAS A LA TIENDA ?                             Sí, VOY a la tienda.

Are you going to the shop?                   Yes, I’m going to the shop.

  • ¿VAS A LA CLASE DE ESPAÑOL?        SÍ, VOY  a la clase de español.

Are you going to the Spanish lesson?   Yes, I’m going to the Spanish lesson.

  • ¿VAS A LA PELUQUERÍA?                     Sí, VOY a la peluquería

Are you going to the hairdresser’s?   Yes, I’m going to the hairdresser’s

  • ¿VAS A LA CASA DE JANE?                   Sí, VOY a la casa de Jane.

Are you going to the house of Jane (Jane’s house)?   Yes, I’m going to Jane’s house.

  • ¿VAS A LA ESTACIÓN?                           Sí, VOY a la estación.

Are you going to the station?               Yes, I’m going to the station.

  • ¿VAS A LA PLAZA?                                 Sí, VOY a la plaza.

Are you going to the square?              Yes, I’m going to the square.

 

And using masculine noun place-names

¿VAS AL TRABAJO?                                     Sí, VOY  al trabajo.

Are you going to work?                           Yes, I’m going to work

¿VAS AL COLEGIO?                             Sí, VOY al colegio.

Are you going to school?                    Yes, I’m going to school.

¿VAS AL BAR?                                        Sí, VOY al bar.

Are you going to the bar?                  Yes, I’m going to the bar.

  • ¿VAS AL MERCADO?                           Sí, VOY al mercado

Are you going to the market?            Yes, I’m going to the market.

 

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN

Now for thefun!

  • Repeat the sentences aloud in Spanish. Get used to hearing yourself saying the differents words. It really does help fix the patterns in your mind.
  • See a previous post about the benefits of repetition in language learning; Repeat, repeat, repeat…
  • Make up several  sentences, relevant to your OWN life, using ¿VAS ? A LA or AL.

 

IF YOU NEED ANY HELP, OR JUST MORE CLARIFICATION, LEAVE A COMMENT IN THE BOX BELOW.

I really hope this helps. Let me know if it does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to say ‘To The’ in Spanish: A la or Al ?

Hola!

 

In my last post I talked about VOY (I GO or I’M GOING).

In the examples I used there, I chose FEMININE nouns to accompany the verb IR (TO GO).

I did this deliberately because, over the years I have been teaching Spanish, I have seen that FEMININE nouns and adjectives tend to be mentioned as a aside, an add-on, and sometimes not even written out for students to learn effectively.

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Voy A LA plaza (I’m going to the square)

I’m determined to change that, by introducing FEMININE forms in Spanish grammar first!

Australian (AUS) fans in green and gold cheering 2000 Sydney PG

Feminine nouns first!

Some examples from that post nouns considered FEMININE in Spanish grammar…

 

LA CLASE = THE CLASS                A LA CLASE  = TO THE CLASS

VOY ……A LA CLASE DE ESPAÑOL          I go to the Spanish class

VOY …. A LA PELUQUERÍA                       I go to the hairdresser’s

VOY …. A LA TIENDA                                 I’m going to the shop

VOY …. A LA CASA                                      I’m going to the house

VOY …. A LA ESTACIÓN                            I’m going to the station

VOY …. A LA PLAZA                                   I’m going to the square

A LA =TO THE (with FEMININE nouns)

However, there are lots of other places you need to talk about, which are considered MASCULINE in Spanish grammar…

 For MASCULINE nouns: EL = THE  

El trabajo The work

(El trabajo (Pronunciation: trabaHo, with strong emphasis on the H sound)

El colegio          The school

El bar               The bar

El mercado     The market

El pueblo         The town

El museo          The museum

In a sentence where you want to talk about going TO one of those places, things change slightly!  You might think you could say ‘A EL MERCADO’ for TO THE MARKET. 

But  in Spanish it just doesn’t work like that!

The two vowel sounds of ‘A’ and ‘E’ just don’t go together. They’re difficult to pronounce, so Spanish has just contracted them together to get rid of the problem. SIMPLE REALLY!

“A EL” doesn’t exist. “A EL” is contracted into ONE WORD, by dropping the E, and, HEY PRESTO… the A and L become = AL.

Very clever!

A EL TRABAJO = AL MERCADO = TO THE MARKET

AL = TO THE  (with MASCULINE nouns)

intervention_toit_sis_genc3a8ve

Voy al trabajo en un tejado (I go to work …on a roof! Photo Credit

VOY  AL TRABAJO    I go to (the) work

VOY AL COLELGIO    I’m going to the school

VOY AL BAR            I’m going to the bar

VOY AL MERCADO  I go to the market

 

 

VOY AL PUEBLO    I’m going to the town

VOY AL MUSEO    I’m going to the museum

For a review of VOY and its different meanings, see my previous post VOY.

 

Repeat the sentences aloud. Get used to hearing yourself saying the differents words. It really does help fix the patterns in your mind.

See a previous post about the benefits of repetition in language learning

Make up several  sentences, relevant to your OWN life, using VOY and A LA or AL.

IF YOU NEED ANY HELP, OR JUST MORE CLARIFICATION, LEAVE A COMMENT IN THE BOX BELOW.

I really hope this helps. Let me know if it does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

HOW CAN YOU USE “HAY” IN EVERYDAY SPANISH CONVERSATION?

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 SpanishDict.com

TASK:

LOOK AROUND YOUR HOME AND TELL ME WHAT “THERE IS”

 

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….

Is it easy to learn to speak Spanish?

Is it easy to learn to speak  Spanish??

playa_parac3adso2c_villajoyosa2c_espac3b1a2c_2014-07-032c_dd_01-02_pan

source                               It will be very EASY to speak Spanish here

It’s always been a difficult question to answer, because it depends; and nobody likes to hear a fluffy answer like  “It depends”!

Learning to speak Spanish depends on several factors and so if it’s going to be easy or not also depends on several factors.

 

These factors include:

  • Goals:

    What do you want or need to know in Spanish? This can go between a few simple words, basic Spanish conversation for social means, basic Spanish for business purposes, advanced Spanish for social means, advanced spanish for business purposes and even higher.

 

 

  • Motivation:  How motivated and driven you are to learn the language.

  • Time available:

    How much free time, outside work constraints and family commitments are you prepared devote to learning? (This could encompass time for lessons, on-line courses  or contacts, travel abroad to practise with native speakers, etc. )

     

  • Finance:

    How much money you are prepared to invest; on lessons, on-line courses, travel abroad, etc. ?
  • Feedback:

    We all need some positive feedback or indication that we are progressing and improving in our language skills. Without this feedback, language learning flounders and drowns fast!

 

                    DO YOU REALLY WANT TO LEARN SPANISH?

Basing your answers on the above, let’s have a bit of fun to assess if you are going to find it easy to learn Spanish:

MOTIVATION: Where are you really on “Motivation”? WHY do you want or need to speak this language?

TIME AVAILABLE: Realistically how much time are you willing to invest? (The language-learning process for adults  can take time, all this depending on a) motivation, b)time available, c) finance and d) feedback.

time_on_the_beach

Time on the beach! source

FINANCE: How much finance are you willing to invest? The whole language-learning process can be accomplished absolutely free. Free on-line resources, living in a country where your chosen language is spoken, these are all valid options.

However, if you can’t find the suitable on-line course, or friendly neighbour who happens to speak the language you want to speak, then it may be necessary to invest some finance into your mission.

FEEDBACK: You need your feedback. You need to know how you’re doing, because chances are you will feel you are doing badly. It’s a strange thing about new language learners but in my experience they don’t seem to credit themselves on their language progression and they generally feel they are not progressing enough or even at all. So get feedback from your on-line community, take some basic Spanish tests that can be found easily on-line. This will help the ……

Goals to lead to the Motivation to lead to the Time Availability to the Finance to the Feedback to the Goals…….

If you have any questions or thoughts about language learning or learning Spanish, please leave a comment below.

I can help you. …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spanish: Ser (To be) SOMOS

                                     Australian (AUS) fans in green and gold cheering 2000 Sydney PG                                                                                                   source

                                       Oooh,  I’m so excited!

It’s time to take SER a bit further and see what else is lurking under that cute, innocent-looking word!

Revision of SOY (I am)

Revision of ERES (you are)

Revision of ES (she is or he is)

Those three previous posts were dealing with the SINGULAR form of the verb .                                                      I am / YOU are  / SHE is or HE is.

If you don’t need to check out those posts then we’ll get straight into the next verb form for SER and when to use it.

                                    It’s all about US

 

So we humans are gregarious beings. (Well some of us, anyway).

We love to talk abut ourselves, make plans with our friends, tell others about what we are like, etc.

That’s what SOMOS is for. 

                                       SOMOS = We are /  we’re 

 

high_five2121

Photo credit

                                         DO YOU AGREE?

 

In previous posts we saw some describing words which worked because they were in singular form .

But now, because ‘WE’ is a plural word in grammar, we have to change the desribing words, or adjectives into the plural form so that they ‘agree’.  The adjective has to ‘agree’ with the person it is describing. Singular with singular and plural with plural.

I hope you agree!

 

                           Singular and Plural of Some Adjectives

 

English (nationality )= inglesa (singular) or inglesas (plural)                                               Spanish = española or españolas                                                                                  Intelligent = inteligente (singular) or inteligentes (plural)                                                    Silly = tonta (singular) or tontas (plural)                                                                              Tall = alta (singular) or altas (plural)                                                                                            Short = baja (singular) or bajas (plural)

For the plural forms of the verb  SER we need to use…inglesas, españolas, inteligentes, altas ,  all ending with ‘s’ to show plural form.

  TIME TO MAKE SOME MUSIC SENTENCES!

 

Remembering :  We are /  we’re = SOMOS

SOMOS inglesas = We’re English (for females)

SOMOS inteligentes We’re intelligent

SOMOS  bajas We’re short

 

¿SOMOS inglesas?  Are we English?

¿SOMOS inteligentes o (or)  tontas?  Are we intelligent or silly?

¿SOMOS altas?  Are we tall?

 

     No  SOMOS españolas…somos inglesas. We aren’t Spanish…we’re English.

      No SOMOS tontas…somos inteligentes. We aren’t silly…we’re intelligent.

                   No SOMOS altas…somos bajas .    We aren’t tall…we’re short.

NOW MAKE IT MATTER TO YOU!

I KNOW THIS MAY SOUND STRANGE, BUT DON’T TAKE ANY NOTICE OF THESE SENTENCES ABOVE.

Well not exactly that, but what I want to stress is that you need to make up your OWN sentences…using SOMOS but elaborating a sentence that makes sense in YOUR life. 

Doing this will make the connection in your brain stronger and strong connections will make the memory process much more efficient.

That’s what we’re striving for here.

brain_network

Connections!      source

       I want to help you make those connections!

If you need help inventing your own personal sentences using  SOMOS (or any other) drop me a note and  leave the sentence you require in the comment box below and I will help you out. 

 

I’ve got, you’ve got, she’s got…

Grammar’s always a little daunting at first. But once you get to know her, she’s not that scary really!

And there is no avoiding at least a little bit of grammar if you are going to take your language learning seriously.

Here’s a quick review of the three previous articles  I wrote showing how the verb TENER  (to have) works in the three singular forms of the verb:

A  little note on  English grammar or ‘patterns´’ what will be useful for learning Spanish.

  •  Referred to in Grammar as‘first person singular’

I have got…     Have I got…?  I haven’t got…

  •  Referred to in Grammar as ‘second person singular’                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You have got… Have you got…? You haven’t got…
  • Referred to in Grammar as ‘third person singular’                                                                                                                                                                                                                             She has  got… Has she got…? She hasn’t got…

 

Now let’s see how to use those patterns in Spanish

1. You can have a look back at the first article  here. (I’ve got)

casa_abandonada2c_chelva

Casa abandonada (Abandoned house) source

                                       Tengo una casa        I’ve got a house.

                                      ¿Tengo una casa?     Have I got a house?

                                     No tengo una casa    I haven’t got a house.

2.Once you have refreshed your memory on that, then take a look at the second article here (You’ve got)

bicycle_pink_ventimiglia1

Una bicicleta rosa (A pink bicycle) source

                           Tienes una bicicleta.    You’ve got a bicycle.

                         ¿Tienes una bicicleta?   Have you got a bicycle?

                        No tienes una bicicleta. You haven’t got a bicycle.

3. Then lastly take a look here (She’s got)

shoping_bag_made_of_pla-blend_bio-flex

Una bolsa de plástico (A plastic bag) source

Tiene una bolsa.     She’s got a bag.

¿Tiene una bolsa?   Has she got a bag.

  No tiene una bolsa.  She hasn’t got a bag.

                                     TWO REMINDERS!

Make your OWN sentences. Find the words you need in an online dictionary such as  SpanishDict.com so that your language practice really makes sense to YOU in YOUR life.

Repeat, repeat, repeat your own customised sentences as many times as you can. (Preferably when you are alone!)

Let me know if 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!”

ordinary_bicycle01

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 Spanishdict.com 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.

 

DON’T BE SO NEGATIVE!

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.

vosotros2

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…