Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Typing The Characters ¡ and ¿

¡ and ¿
Many Spanish students opt to configure their keyboards so that they can type the characters unique to Spanish. However, this is not always appropriate  when using someone else's computer. I learned that the hard way doing work in the business center of a B & B in Okoboji, IA.

The code to type the ¡  is Alt key + 0191

The code to type the ¿ is Alt key+ 0161

At first, the code may look random and easy to forget. But look again and you'll see the obvious connection.

The zero is your head sitting down at the computer. 
The 1s represent the keyboard.
... and the 9 looks like the upside down exclamation mark and the 6 looks like the upside down question mark

See what I mean: 12345 ¿78¡ 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Practice The Subjunctive With Gael García Bernal

I Want You To Want Me    is an old song from the late 70s that happens to be a good way to practice one of the more challenging tenses in Spanish.

Every line of the chorus is in the Subjunctive tense.

I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.
I'd love you to love me.
I'm beggin' you to beg me.
I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.
I'd love you to love me.

Luckily there is a Spanish version of this song Quiero Que Me Quieras

Here are the lyrics so you can sing along with dishy Gael Garcia Bernal

Quiero que me quieras 
quiero que me adores 
quiero que me sientas 
que urge que me ames 

Words in bold are in the subjunctive tense.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Spanish Conditional Tense/ Conjugate

Conjugating the Spanish Conditional

Add the following endings to the end of the infinative

yo ía
tú  ías
usted ía
nosotros íamos
ustedes ían
 Use a bucket full of ís and as.  It looks like a bunch of popcorn which works nicely because  the conditional tense is frequently spoken  in  a movie theater  setting.

Would you like to see a movie?
We should see a horror movie.
Would you prefer to see a comedy?
Would you eat popcorn?
Could we arrive on time?
You should sit down.
Would you be quite.
Would you like to fight?

The Spanish Conditional is a lot nicer than saying "shut the fuck up"

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Future Tense/ Irregular Verbs

 Here are 12 Spanish verbs that have an irregular stem in the Spanish future tense. That means the stem is weird but the ending is the same as the normal future tense verbs.
This is an easy way to remember the list. If you can count to 12 and rhyme, you're bright enough to remember which verb is irregular.


Rhymes With

Makes You Think Of…

 Reminds You of This Verb

 Changes It’s Stem To This In The Future Tense
to know a ton
To do or to make
The fee…to cost
Part of a whore’s job is to come
Jive talking, to say
If someone is being a dick everyone wants to leave
I got nothing for this one….so I just think Kevin will be there
A mate should be a good fit
To set the table
To want or like something
A Chevron is a kind of decoration that some uniforms have
Twelve noon
To be able to carry a tune


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Future Tense

The Spanish future  tense is the easiest verb tense to conjugate- Just like the future in real life. Which is to say that the future brings ease and automation. The Spanish tense is almost that simple

If you can remember the verb in its original form, you're half way there. Because all you do is add an ending to the verb in it's infinitive state.

And also like the future, the endings are predictable

hablaré ( I will speak-informal )

hablarás ( You will speak-formal ) )

hablará ( You will speak )

hablarémos ( We will speak )

hablarán ( You will speak- plural)

Each ending starts with an A except for Yo and Nosotros which begins with an E.

So I think to myself that everyone (Tú, Usted, and  Ustedes )   may be getting As but  I and us ( Yo and Nosotros ) are getting Es for excellence!

Also, take note that all the endings have an accent mark. Which, for memorization purposes looks like a solar panel. Which hopefully we will all have in the FUTURE.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Hace...Que With Past Tense Verbs

Hace... que with a present tense verb says how long you have been doing something that you are still jacking with now.

Hace...que with a past tense verb says how long AGO you did something.

For example, use Hace +Time Frame + Que + Present Tense Verb to say how long you have been smoking. Hace quince años que fumo. ( It  has been 15 years that I have been smoking).

When you quit smoking, and you want to say how long AGO  you quit, use the same formula above but use a past tense verb.

Hace + Time Frame+ Que + Past Tense Verb = AGO

 Hace dos minutos que dejé de fumar. ( I quit smoking two minutes ago)

The convoluted way I remember that hace...que with a past tense verb means ago goes something like this:

Ago sounds a lot like Ago-go - as in Go-Go boots. Go-Go boots are a fashion from the past. I picture the hace...que formula but this time the Verb part of it is wearing said boots from the past. This indicates that the statement is referring to how long AGO something happened.

To jolt my memory, this is what I see in my mind's eye or scribbled on a discrete portion of my forearm.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Talking About Time Using Hace...Que/ present tense verbs

If you want to say how long it as has been that you ( or anyone else) have/ has been doing something, here  is the  four-part formula:

Hace + Length of time  that it HAS BEEN since the action of time has been going on + Que + The Verb (in present tense)

or if you want to shrink this down so it can fit in your head or on the palm of your hand...

Hace 10 años que como una dieta vegetariana.
Hace 10 años que  hago ejercicio cada dia.
Hace 10 años que soy sin amigos.

It has been 10 years that I have been eating a vegetarian diet.

It has been 10 years that I have been exercising every day.

It has been 10 years that I have been without friends.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Past Participle Irregulars

Imagine two friends talking in their own shorthand about some poor bastard's inappropriate behavior, 
When they mean to say, " Him?? Definitely a pervert!" they might say "Him?? Def a prrv!" Which is a handy mnemonic for 10 common verbs that are irregular in the Past Participle

Hacer ( hecho)
Imprimir (impreso)                                  HIM
Morir (Muerto)

Decir ( dicho)
Escribir ( escrito)                                      DEF                            
Freír (frito)

Abrir (abierto)                                            A

Poner ( puesto)
Romper ( roto)
Resolver (resuelto)                                  PRRV
Volver ( Vuelto)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Spanish Past Participle

A past participle is a verb that is used as an adjective.


Take the verb To Fuck.  If you were to say I'm Fucked, you have used a  verb (to fuck)  that has been reassigned as an adjective. In other words, it is a past participle

Many past participles in English are formed by adding ed at the of the verb.

The Spanish past participle is almost as easy.

Step 1

  cut off the ar er or ir ending

Step 2
Either add ada or ida depending on what kind of verb ending it has.
(ar verbs get ada. ir and er verbs get ida)

 I've likened  Past participle  to a gender reassignment surgery so that it will be harder to forget.

First step is to  cut a few particles off  the verb.


Second step  is to attach the new particles that will make it a past participle
You have to admit that the new ending looks a lot like "bells on a pole" which ties in nicely with my idea that forming the Past Participle is akin to a gender reassignment surgery.

FYI, Joder means to fuck.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Irregular Verbs For The Tú Positive Command

There are 8 irregular verbs in the Spanish Tú positive command.
If you can remember the following mnemonic, then you can remember these 8 crazy bastards of the tú positive command.
Translated ( Sal Se Ve Haz Ten Pon... Di Ven !)
Sal (Salir)
Sé (Ser)
Ve (Ir)
Haz (Hacer)
Ten ( Tener)
Pon (Poner)
Di (Decir)
Ven (Venir)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Spanish Commands

Conjugating Spanish commands is so similar to conjugating  the Spanish subjunctive that the two verb tenses look a lot like twins and in most cases, the they are.

The family relationship between the Spanish Subjunctive and Spanish Commands breaks down like this:

The Identical  Quadruplets:
The Spanish Subjunctive
The Usted Command ( both positive and negative)
The Ustedes Command ( both positive and negative)
The Tú Command ( Negative only)

These guys all are conjugated the same way ( put in yo form. Chop off the O. Add the ER present tense ending if it is an AR verb or add the AR  present tense ending if it is an ER or IR verb)
These guys all have the same irregular verbs which are Dar, Ir, Estar, Saber, and Ser.
These guy all follow the CAR GAR ZAR spelling changes.

The Fraternal Twin
The Nosotros/as commands are just like the above with the exception of one strange quirk. The positive  command for the verb  Ir is VAMOS and the negative IR command is NO VAYAMOS.

The Family Bastard
 The Tú positive command is a bastard in two important ways. First, it has a conjugation that defies logic ( conjugate by using whatever the  present usted  form  of the verb is). Then, it has 8 crazy irregular verbs.
Spanish Subjunctive/Spanish Command Family Tree
Spanish Commands
The Bastard  of the Family
Tú commands

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Irregular Spanish Subjunctive (Verbs With CAR GAR ZAR Endings)

You may remember when studying the past tense that verbs ending in CAR GAR or ZAR had spelling changes in the YO form.
In the Spanish subjunctive, those same spelling changes happen only in ALL the verb forms.

For verbs ending in CAR like buscar, the C changes to a QU.

busque          busquemos
busque          busquen

for verbs ending in GAR like pagar, the G changes to GU.

pague          paguemos      
Pague          paguen

For verbs ending in ZAR like cruzar, the Z changes to a C

cruce           crucemos
cruce           crucen

Just like in the preterite, imagine a ZCAR in  a  CAR screaming "GARrrrr" but instead of driving through only the YO forms, he is completely out of control ( so is the subjunctive in my opinion) and he is driving through all verbs forms.

Spelling changes in the Spanish Subjunctive CAR GAR ZAR

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Irregular Spanish Subjunctive Verbs

If you would rather die than have to learn more irregular verbs,  today is your lucky day. The first letter of the  irregular verbs of the Spanish Subjunctive happens to spell  DIES.

You will have to add an extra S to make this mnemonic work.

D ar
I r
E star
S aber
S er

Haber is also irregular in the Subjunctive but I couldn't make it fit into the death theme that I became so attached to. Besides,  you should probably know by know that haber is always doing something crazy. Just assume it is irregular unless notified otherwise.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

How To Conjugate The Spanish Subjuctive

To conjugate the Spanish Subjunctive, you only need to follow 3 simple steps:

1.Put the verb in the Yo form of the present tense.
2.Chop of the O at the end.
3.Add the opposite ending ( If it is an AR verb, use the same  ER ending that is used  for the Spanish present tense. If it is an ER or IR verb, use the same ending that you would if it was an AR verb in the present tense.)

This is what it looks like in action:

1. Hablo.... (YO)
2. Habl.... ( NO O)
3. Hable ...( Opposite)

This all becomes unforgettable because we are constantly reminded that the Spanish Subjunctive is less verb and more MOOD. Mood has enough Os to represent the 3 steps to forming this freaky verb.
Conjugate the Subjunctive in 3 easy steps

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Spanish Subjunctive

 The Spanish Subjunctive is  more of a mood than a verb. If that sounds mind-expanding, good, because the word that can help you remember when to use the Subjunctive is related to mind expansion.
The word is WEAD [pronounced weed].
Use the Spanish Subjunctive to express:
Weed and the Spanish Subjunctive
Wish: I hope that there is music.
Emotion: I am happy that the universe is infinite.
Attitude: It is good that you live in peace.
Desire: I want you to have time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Spanish Irregular Past Imperfect Verbs

There are only 3 irregular verbs in the Spanish Imperfect.
 Those 3 verbs are Ir, Ver and Ser. If that is not easy enough for you, the start of each verb spells IVS. As in those fluid-filled bags that terminate in a needle into your rubbery arm vein. You will never get a transfusion again without thinking of  this grammar rule.
The Spanish Irregular Past Imperfect Verbs
Something very irregular and imperfect is going on.Hopefully it is in your past.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Short Cut To Learning The Irregular Preterite Spanish Verbs

Remembering all of the irregular Spanish verbs in the preterite tense is not so bad if  you break it up into four steps.

Step One: the verbs that are weird all the way through ( Ser, Ir, Hacer, and Dar)

Step Two: the verbs that are only weird in the yo form ( verbs ending in car,gar or zar) and verbs that end in  a vowel after you chop of the verb ending as in Leer and Traer. Most of these guys are weird in the usted(es) form except for Traer which is weird through and through.

Step Three: The IR verbs that get weird only in the usted(es) form (Depedir, Vestire, Pedir etc.)

Step Four: The 7 stem-changers

For step one, picture the twins (Ser/Ir), the flip-flopper (Dar), and Hacer going on a vaction....
Dar: di,diste,dio,dimos,dieron
Hacer: hice,hiciste,hizo,hicimos,hiceron
For step two, They catch a ride in a car with  a zcar, who is  saying, "Garrr." and asking for someone to bring him something to read.  
Buscar: busqué (yo form)
Pagar: pagué (yo form)
Almorzar: almorcé ( yo form)
Leer: leyó/leyeron (usted and ustedes form)
Traer: traje, trajiste, trajo, trajimos, trajeron

Step Three, they all end up in a hotel called IR because this only involves verbs with IR endings. All the verbs in this category can be done in a hotel.
With this group, either an e becomes an i or u changes to an o.
Pedir: pidió/pidieron (usted and ustedes form)
Dormir: durmió/durmieron (usted and ustedes form)
Finally, and for no reason, they climb seven stairs to find the stem-changing verbs and one of the weirdos says, "Seven poo poos is cutie." Which sounds kind of random until you realize that it is a mnemonic  for saber, venir, poder, poner, estar, querer and tener...the seven stem-changing Spanish preterit verbs.
sup vin pud pus estuv quis tuve
Stem-changes for this group of freaks
Saber: sup
Venir: vin
Poder: pud
Poner: pus
Estar: estuv
Querer: quis
Tener: tuv

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

When To Use The Spanish Past Imperfect

Use  the Spanish Past Imperfect when you need a verb to talk about ongoing continuous action.

People who like to front load their stories use this type of verb. You know the kind of person who when asked, "how was your weekend?" goes into all the background information to set the scene. ("Oh my weekend, glad you asked... the sun was shining. The wind was blowing. the air was floating.")
At times this background information is relevant,  but to my ears all it sound like is BLA BLA BLA. This is helpful because bla bla bla kind of looks like the ending to the Spanish Past Imperfect endings for the AR verbs.

AR endings aba abas aba abamos aban
IR and ER endings ía ías ía íamos ían

The endings of the Ir and Er verbs sound more like (EEEEE Ya) which is the noise I am tempted to make while a run away from these big mouths.
Spanish Past Imperfect

Friday, March 13, 2015

When To Use The Spanish Preterite

Use the Spanish preterit tense when the verb is ...

  1. moving the action forward                         (Forward)
  2. an action limited in time                             (Rate)
  3. an act that begins or ends in the past          (Ends)
  4. an emotional, physical, or mental change  (Emotional)
To remember the above, I just think of the word FREE because that is what I feel when I think of past (preterit) boyfriends.

Key Word
What It Means
Example English
Example Spanish
Moves the action forward
He lost his job. He wrecked his car. He yelled at my cat
 Él perdió su trabajo. Él destrozó su coche. Él le gritó a mi gato.
An action limited in time or a rate
He called me 1,000 times.
Me llamó mil veces.
An act that ends or begins in the past
I began to see his weaknesses.
Yo comencé a ver sus debilidades.
An emotional, physical, or mental change
Upon seeing his behavior, I became annoyed.
Al ver su comportamiento, me enojé.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Preterite AR Verbs

To conjugate the preterite ( that means past ) AR Spanish verbs you chop off the AR part of the verb and then add the correct ending
here are the endings for the AR verbs:

Yo... é
Tú... aste
Usted... ó

Nosotros... amos

The preterite is the past which makes me think of cemeteries because everyone who is buried there has lives that are in the PAST.

I imagine a grave yard with ghosts making all of these sounds to remind me of the preterite Spanish AR verb endings
Spanish Preterit Conjugation
Just say this to yourself 100 times, "eee Nasty ooo  amos aron" That should keep it in your head until the day you become a ghost.
 The preterit verb endings for the ER and IR verbs follow a similar pattern:

ER  verbs                                                           Ir verb
yo..í                                                              Yo...í
Tú...iste                                                         Tú...iste
Usted...ió                                                       Usted...ió

Nosotros...imos                                            Nosotros...imos
Ustedes...ieron                                              Ustedes...ieron

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


In the last post we went over this and that ( esto y eso ).

This post is about that over there (aquello)

Think of this (esto ) as being closer to you and That (eso) as a little further away. Aquello is the furthest away because it means that over there.

Aquello is the gender neutral version of the entire options that are used based on number and gender.

It breaks down like this:

Aquello ( gender neutral as in, "¿What is that over there?" or in Spanish "¿Qué es aquello?"
Aquel ( singular masculine)
Aquellos ( plural masculine)
Aquella ( singular feminine)
Aquellas (singular feminine)

To identify the aquello adjectives from the esto and eso ones, look at the double LLs that appear in all but one of the aquellos. I imagine the LLs forming a highway to take me to that over there.

Aquello, Aquel, Aquella, Aquellas,, Aquellos

Monday, January 19, 2015

This or That/ Esto or Eso

Esto means This. Eso means That. But there is more...
There are ending changes depending on the gender and number of whatever you are referring to.
Esto can be Esta, Este, Estos or Estas.
Eso can be Esa, Ese, Esos, or Esas.

Esto and Eso are the gender neutral versions of this and that

Esto es emocionante ( This is exciting. We do not know if it is male or female...just exciting. so use the gender neutral esto.)

Eso es inteligente ( That is intelligent. Again, use neutral, because we do not know what is intelligent.)

It is easy to get Esto and Eso mixed up so I find it best to think like this:

Esto means this which is closer to me than that. Esto  has a T in it. T stands for Touch. If  this is close to me I can touch it.

Eso means that- which rhymes with splat. And eso and all of it's variations (plural and gender) look like little splats. See for yourself...
How to remember the difference between eso and esto
easy way to remember esto vs eso

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Spanish Reflexive Verbs

In Spanish,  a  reflexive verb is a verb that you do to yourself. Reflexive verbs are easy to find because of three reasons...
Reason #1:  They have SE tacked on to the end of the verb (bañarse, ducharse, maquillarse)
Reason #2: A lot of the reflexive verbs are done in the bathroom ( bañarse means to bathe oneself. Ducharse means to shower owneself. Maquillarse means to put makeup on oneself.)
Reason# 3: A lot of the reflexive verbs are done in the bedroom ( dormirse means to go to sleep. leventarse means to get out of bed.)

When you conjugate a reflexive verb, the se part changes to its appropriate pronoun (me, te, se, nos, se)

Even though the se part is at the end of the verb, when you conjugate it, you put the  reflexive part in front of the conjugated verb. (me baño means I wash myself)

To keep reflexive verbs lined up, I think like this:
Reflexive Verb should make you think of an RV. Often times RVs have little trailers. So this is what I picture when I think of Reflexive Verbs

An easy way to remember Spanish reflexive verbs
When you conjugate the reflexive verb just imagine stopping the RV,  unloading the trailer and putting  the pronouns in front of the RV. By the way, the driver is saying that he scratches  himself.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Present Progressive

The Present Progressive is the verb tense you use when you want to say what you are doing.
If the verb ends in  ING, it's a fair bet that it is in the Present Progressive Tense.

The Spanish Present Progressive Formula:

Estar ( correctly conjugated to agree with subject)
 The Verb ( with an "ando" or "iendo" added to the end)

Example: Estoy comiendo ( I am eating)

To remember this rule think of two twins Andy and Ion  ( ando and iendo). These two boys are so ADD that they are always doing things.

Examples of the present progressive
Ion is saying: I am moving. We are running
Andy is saying: we are yelling. My knee is bleeding.

iendo ending is for IR verbs/ ando ending is for AR verbs.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Verb SER

The verb ser means to be and it has a conjugation that defies logic as you can see below:

yo         soy                         nosotros    somos
tú         eres  
usted    es                            ustedes     son

Below are my doodles that help me remember this conjugation:
and easier way to remember how to conjugate SER
Add caption

Friday, November 21, 2014

Spanish Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns

 More than half of the Spanish Direct Object Pronouns  look like the Spanish Indirect Object Pronouns

As you can see here:

DO Pronouns: me  te   lo/la   nos   los/las
IO   Pronouns: me  te   le        nos   les

The DO pronouns have a male/female distinction in the third person singular and third person plural.

The IO  pronouns use the gender neutral Le and Les for the third person.

I can make you remember this without a disturbing drawing.

Because the Independent Object is so independent, it uses LESs pronouns
How cool is that?