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?

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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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‘VOY’ : Spanish for Beginners

Sometimes I just can’t believe how cool Spanish is.

Here’s another amazing Spanish word that doubles up for two words in English.

VOY

 

 

 

(The other great word was in a previous post was  Hay: “There’s”  )

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I’m going …to the shop now! ¡VOY a la tienda ahora!  Photo Credit

VOY is so useful because it ‘doubles up’ for two concepts in English. That has to be useful, right?

NOTE on pronounciation: VOY ….The ‘V’ letter in Spanish is pronounced as a soft ‘B’ making the Spanish word ‘VOY’ sound more like ‘BOY’ in English!

VOY can mean two things in English:

VOY   = I GO … as in “I go” to Spanish classes on Mondays.

VOY = I’M GOING ...as in “I’m going” to the shop now.

Tell me that this is not going to be one of the most useful words you can learn in Spanish!

It is so worth committing to memory right now!

 

The word VOY in grammar is ‘First Person Singular of the verb’ IR =  “TO GO“.

This verb IR is considered an IRREGULAR VERB , which might sound a bit scary but it’s okay…  it’s so easy to use that it’s a great idea just to learn it as it stands.

You have to trust me on this one!

 

IT MUST LOOK REALLY FUNNY!

IR

(Pronounciation: IR as in the English word EAR, with a strong emphasis on ‘e’  and a bit of a roll on the final ‘r’ as in EEarrr)

There are a few IRREGULAR VERBS in Spanish and IR is one of them.

I would like to give you MY OWN personal definition of what the term “IRREGULAR VERB” means exactly.

‘Irregular verb’ :  a grammatical term denoting the fact that no one, not even the native speakers of the language,  have any  idea how to explain this to anybody because it makes no sense, NOT EVEN TO THEM,  so don’t try to work any pattern or logic into it.

JUST ACCEPT IT!

(More about irregular verbs in a previous post: Tener- TENGO: I’ve got…)

I can imagine it’s hard to get your head around the idea that a verb (an ‘infinitive’ ) is IR morph into VOY, but then our own lovely verb TO GO is quite irregular in the PAST TENSE, when it  changes to ‘WENT’ . 

‘WENT’ bears very little relationship to “TO GO” when you think about it!

HOW WE CAN USE THIS TO OUR GREAT ADVANTAGE IN SPANISH

One way of using this great (albeit irregular) verb (IR) is to talk about something that you do on a habitual, frequent basis:

  • VOY a la clase de español los lunes.     I GO to Spanish classes on Mondays.
  • VOY a la peluquería cada semana.      I GO to the hairdresser’s every week.

Another of using this same  VOY would be when expressing where you are going NOW…..

  • VOY a la tienda                                   I’M GOING to the shop
  • VOY a la casa de Jane                         I’M GOING to the house of Jane (Jane’s house)

 

OR

when you want to talk about somewhere you are going to in the future, e.g.,  tomorrow: (MAÑANA)

  •  VOY a la estación mañana.             I’M GOING to the station tomorrow.
  •  VOY a la plaza mañana.                   I’M GOING to the square tomorrow

NOTE: pronounciation: mañana = manyana

(More about irregular verbs in a previous post: Tener- TENGO: I’ve got…)

                              CALL TO ACTION  (THIS MEANS HOMEWORK!)

Read aloud these few basic sentences for a day or two, then invent your own sentences that are real in your life.

Research now is saying that the more language connections we make to our own private lives, the stronger the connections will be.

GET A LIFE…YOUR OWN LIFE!

Find the words you need to create your own true-to-your-life  sentences.

 

You can use a great on-line resource like SpanishDict.com

or

you can jot down some sentences you would like to speak using this construction in the comments box below and I could help you out with that.

If you know anyone who might be interested in learning how to use VOY, you could share it using the button below.

I really do hope this helps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAY: “There are” so many words in Spanish!

If you’re a beginner starting out to learn Spanish, then you might  have felt sometime that there are so many more words in Spanish than in English.

The famous novel by Cervantes, Don Quijote, boasts exactly 327,360 words!

quijote page

                                Don’t worry, you don’t need o learn that many!

Actually  experts consider that English has double the amount of words compared to Spanish! If you are interested in reading more about this, here is an interesting article Does Spanish have more words than English? to find out exactly what the experts say.

 

 Let’s get back to this lovely little word :  HAY

In my previous post : Hay: “There’s” a really useful Spanish word about HAY (pronounciation : AYE, as in “Aye Aye Captain”), we saw it can mean There’s… as in the examples below…

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

 

Today’s post is about ANOTHER use of HAY , which shows how cool, how useful this word is.       

                      HAY also means THERE ARE !

IMPORTANT NOTE: Very often,  simply adding ‘s’ to a singular noun converts that noun into a plural form ….That’s easy !

Hay  mesas.                                                         There are  tables

Hay  gafas.                                                            There are  reading glasses

Hay niñas.   (Pron: NINYAS)                            There are girls

Hay  sillas    (Pron: SEEYAS)                             There are chairs

Your task here will be to repeat these sentences out loud, even though other people think you are going mad…

 

Then invent some of your own, which are relevant in your own life (vida). You can look around your living room (salón) or the whole house (casa) and make a few sentences (frases)  about what you can see. Write these down. Say them, learn them, shout them, whisper them…whatever it takes…

A good online dictionary (diccionario) to find the words you need is Spanish.Dict.com

If you need help ayuda to make up your own sentences (frases), let me know in the comments below what you need .

                                 AMAZING CONCLUSION

   THERE’S… (THERE IS…) = HAY

                            THERE ARE ….    =            HAY                    

 

OR  ANOTHER WAY TO EXPRESS THIS  AMAZING POINT IS:

       HAY =      THERE’S…(THERE IS…)

HAY =      THERE ARE…

     One little word HAY in Spanish doubles up for a few words in                                                                     English!

So don’t ignore this great ‘little’ word in Spanish. Try and incorporate this word into your own Spanish learning life and use it as much as you can. It really can help you out in a lot of situations.

Try it and see.

If you need any help making your own relevant sentences, let me know in the  comments below and I will help you.

We’re not quite finished with HAY yet.

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?

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….

Does learning Spanish grammar help you get a sandwich?

I know, I really do know. how it feels when you have to actually use your new language for the first time with native speakers of that language!

It’s a crazy feeling but I’ll never forget the euphoria I felt many years ago when I went into my first ever shop in Spain.

I wanted some ‘pan’ (bread), so logically the shop was  a ‘panadería’ (bread shop). You would have thought that would have been easy, right?

I thought that too, because I was so qualified…or  so I thought!

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The ‘panadería’ was just like this! photo credit

                                            Backstory

I had fallen in love with Spanish at thirteen years old . (See previous post : Falling in love .)

As a young lass from the north of England I had gained an “O-Level” in Spanish at sixteen, then an “A-Level” at eighteen and was in my third year of a four year degree course in Spanish and Politics at the time. This was the year when language students were sent off on a language exchange programme, to practise their new language. I had just arrived in Bilbao in the north of Spain, ready to start a year’s course at the Deusto University in Bilbao.

All exciting stuff in those days for a poor lass from the north-east of England who had never been further south than Doncaster in her life.

This made me twenty years old. (That’s a long time ago now!) And I had been learning Spanish grammar for a long while.

Getting some bread should have been easy, yes?

 

 

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I love my bread basket! photo credit

                                   Petrified

I had lurked around outside the shop, self-consciously, for at least twenty minutes, trying to look nonchalant, inconspicuous, as though I wasn’t really intending to go in; as though I was waiting for someone, perhaps.

‘Nervous’ wasn’t the word. Old Spanish ladies were going in empty-handed and coming out with bread of all shapes and sizes so I knew I was in the right place!

Only one problem: I was petrified.

Would the lady understand me?

Would she think I was stupid?

Would she just laugh at my terrible accent?

What about the other women in the shop?

Would they know I was ‘different’?

What if she said something back to me?

Would I be able to actually get any bread?

 

As the clock ticked on, I  realised closing time was drawing near and I knew I had to either just walk into the shop  and face the embarrassment or go without my sandwich. (I was a big girl in those days and I needed plenty of ‘pan’ to fill me up.)

My hands began to perspire and I could feel my heart palpitating. I can remember, to this day, exactly how bad that all felt.

 

                                       Blank-out

What exactly was I going to say?

The sorts of things you say in a bread shop such as:

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My mind like a lovely, big empty box       photo credit

“Could I have that loaf of bread, please?

 “Do you have any white sliced bread, please?

“Can I just have a small loaf, please?”

I knew what I wanted to say…in English, but where to start with all that in Spanish?

If I had had a piece of paper and a pen, I could easily have written all of those clever sentences out in Spanish, with all the grammar I had learned in my school days.

It is amazing to think I had been learning Spanish for seven years, yet was completely at a blank when presented with a real-life situation.

Hours and hours of homework excercises meant I could WRITE very well in Spanish; alone, with a good dictionary beside me and plenty of time to do it in.

For Goodness’ sake! I had read “Don Quijote” and had done critiques on Spanish poetry of the nineteeth century in the first two years at college. Spanish literature was my best subject at college!

All of that ‘training’ had not prepared me to get a slice of bread! My mind was blank.

                                         Now or never 

The lady came to the door to start closing up. She saw me and politely ignored me.

Before she actually drew the metallic shutter down over the doors,  I uttered the most basic sentence of all sentences; the only words that came to my mind in that mad moment of panic. It was now or never, at least not that day.

                              “Quiero pan” (I want bread).

Nothing could have been more simple, especially after seven years of studying Spanish and Spanish grammar.

                                           Floodgates

The floodgates opened.

She dragged me into the shop beaming, gave me a random bread stick from the back shelf, told me a number that I didn’t quite catch, so I had no choice but to  hand her a one hundred peseta note (a ludicrously large amount for such a small bread stick).

She then proceeded to carefully count out the also ludicrous amount of small change in pesetas. (Thank goodness it was at the end of the day and  I was certainly her last customer.)

I did it! I had it! My little ‘baby’ sentence had worked and I had actually had been able to achieve something great, even though very small.

In language terms, for me there’s nothing more satisfying than to know you have been able to communicate with ‘the other side’ even if it is a simple communication.

Ah yes. Euphoria!

 

dependientas_de_una_panaderia_y_de_una_tienda_de_ultramarinos_281_de_229_-_fondo_car-kutxa_fototeka

(Not the same lady, but exactly how it happened! photo credit)

I’ll never forget the euphoria I felt all those  years ago when I walked out of my first ever shop in Spain.  I had wanted some ‘pan’ (bread), and all that matters is that I got my sandwich in the end.

You would have thought that would have been easy, right…………?


I would love to know if anyone else has  had a similar experience in their language learning history?

Please leave any comments below, or any questions about Spanish grammar or culture that I will answer to the best of my ability.

Regards. Marie.