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Bridging the Gap Challenge: #003

Bridging the Gap Challenge: #003

Can you 10 mistakes in these sentences?

M1: Hoy no puedo concentrar, porque estoy mucho más cansado que pensaba. Y lo peor es que estoy hasta las narices de trabajo.

M2: No tuve que buscar nada palabra para escribir el frase anterior. Sabia todas.

M3: Lo siento que no tenía tiempo para decírtelo antes, pero próxima vez te dejo saber con más tiempo. Te prometo.

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How to Take Your Spanish to the Next Level: You’re 10,000 Mistakes Away from Fluency

How to Take Your Spanish to the Next Level: You’re 10,000 Mistakes Away from Fluency

You have been studying Spanish for years and you might think you have a pretty good level: you understand most of what you read, you’re pretty familiar with the grammar, and you can conjugate most verbs without too much trouble (you may still slip with ser and estar from time to time, but who doesn’t?).

The problem is that you feel stuck. You know your Spanish isn’t perfect, but you don’t see a clear path to continue improving. You could start re-reading your grammar books, but who’s got time to do that? On the other hand, you worry that if you stop practicing you’ll lose your current level of fluency.

What’s the solution?

In this article, I want to give you a 3-step process to go take your Spanish to the next level: from intermediate to advanced or from advanced to bilingual. To avoid crossing the 6000-word barrier, I’ve decided to break them up into three individual posts:

  • Step 1: Make more mistakes
  • Step 2: Notice your blind spots (coming next Monday, Nov 21)
  • Step 3: Learn deeper (coming two Mondays from now, Nov 28)

Let’s start by talking about mistakes and why you should be making more of them.

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Bridging the Gap Challenge #002

Bridging the Gap Challenge #002

Can you fix these sentences?

M1: Quiero aprender utilizar esta programa porque no puedo creer que es tan dificil.

M2: Me lavo mis dientes todos los días, pero ayer estuve tan cansado que me quedé dormido con el cepillo en mi mano.

M3: Soy loco por saber cuáles músicas van a tocar el concierto de mañana.

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How to Sound Natural When Ordering Food in Spanish

How to Sound Natural When Ordering Food in Spanish

Being able to confidently order food in public can serve as better proof of your Spanish fluency than any official exam. To pass this trial by fire you’ll need to know not only the right words, but also the unspoken cultural norms of the country you’re in. Since most textbooks tend to completely ignore this crucial information, we’ll explore it in depth here.

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Bridging the Gap Challenge #001

Bridging the Gap Challenge #001

M1. —He estado aprendiendo a cocinar desde hace dos meses y todavía está muy difícil.

M2. —Yo creo que lo haces muy bien. Lo que más me gusta es como presentes el plato. No siente como una comida rápida, más como una comida casera. Me recuerda lo que hace mi madre.

M3. —¿Sabes cuál es la problema? Estes días estaba muy ocupado y no tengo tiempo de practicar.

M4. —Sé qué podemos hacer. Si quieres nos quedamos próximo martes y cocinamos juntos.

M5. —Buena idea, pero nunca tengo martes libres. ¿Puede ser miércoles?

M6. —Claro, cuando quieres. Pero usualmente mi horario está un poco lleno por la mañana.

M7. —Entonces, mañana por la tarde, después mi trabajo.

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“Ya” Is Way Less Confusing Than You Think – Spanish Pro Tip

“Ya” Is Way Less Confusing Than You Think – Spanish Pro Tip

The reason why you often see more ya’s in a Spanish dialogue than tears in a hot sauce convention is that ya is an incredibly expressive word.

In most classrooms, it is usually translated as already; but out there in the wild, it has a bunch of other interesting meanings:

—¡No, por favor! Esa peli ya la vi en el cine y todavía estoy esperando a que me devuelvan esas dos horas de mi vida.
“No, please. That movie, I already saw it in the (movie theatre) and I am still waiting (so that) they give me back those two hours of my life.”

Ya verás como la segunda vez te gusta más.
(At some future time) you will see how the second time (you watch it) it pleases you more.”

—Mira, la semana pasada me recomendaste Transformers y casi me suicido, así que ya no cuela.
“Look, (the) last week you recommended Transformers (to me) and I almost (suicide / kill) myself, so (it doesn’t go through the strainer / I don’t believe you) now

Already, at some future time, now. What’s the deal?

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The Secret to Getting Natives to Speak Spanish with You

The Secret to Getting Natives to Speak Spanish with You

Has this ever happened to you?

Liz.—Buenas tardes. ¿Puedo ordenar dos tacos de carnitas, por favor?

“Taco vendor: Here you go. Anything to drink?”

Liz.—No, gracias ಠ_ಠ.

It can be pretty discouraging to speak to someone in your best Spanish and get a response in English. You might even begin to doubt your ability to learn foreign languages or assume that your level of Spanish isn’t good enough for a conversation.

The truth is that how much Spanish you know is not the only factor that determines whether you get an English or a Spanish response—you also have to consider the type of native that you’re talking to.

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Flirting in Spanish like a Pro

Flirting in Spanish like a Pro

One of the benefits you unlock when you start studying Spanish is the privilege of flirting with the natives. If you haven’t done a lot of Spanish flirting so far, now is your chance to get started.

If you’re in a happy relationship and have no interest in flirting, I’ll just tell you now that this whole post is a scam to get you to have more productive conversations with Spanish speakers, irrespective of your ultimate goals. Treat the flirting part as a bonus.

Rachel.—El camarero de detrás de la barra lleva media hora haciéndome ojitos.
Rachel: "The waiter behind the bar (carries / has spent) half (an) hour (making me little eyes / eyeing me up)."

Amiga de Rachel.—Pues acércate a hablar con él, chica.
Rachel’s Friend: "Then (approach yourself / go) to talk with him, girl."

Rachel, listen to your friend.

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How to Get out of Spanish Intermediate Purgatory

How to Get out of Spanish Intermediate Purgatory

I recently came across this question on the Learn Spanish reddit page.

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How do you keep improving your Spanish once you have reached a high level?

I have a pretty good grasp on the language, but I feel that I still have some improving to do. For those of you who have a high level of Spanish, what do you do to keep improving and learning?

In other words, how do I get out of Intermediate Purgatory?

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