Home page / Página principal
[ENGLISH] Are there any errors or do you want to add more information to these pages?
You can contact me at the bottom of the home page.
[ESPAÑOL] ¿Hay errores o tiene información adicional?
Puede mandarme un mensaje al final de la página principal

Confusing differences/synonyms

Aquí / acá ... ahí / allí / allá
Aún / Aun
Alquilar / el alquiler - a verb and noun
¿Cómodo o confortable?
¿Durar o tardar?
¿Fin o final?
Everybody - todos or todo el mundo?
Hair - pelo or cabello?
Language: idioma / lenguaje / lengua / dialecto / habla / jerga / argot?
Leaving, salir or irse?
lo que vs. qué, do they mean the same thing as 'what'?
To love - querer/adorar/amar
Ojalá - The subtleties of it's meaning
A slice of ? Many words translate this
To enjoy: disfrutar/gozar/divertirse
Respond/answer - Responder/contestar
Ya - numerous definitions 

aquí / acá ... ahí / allí / allá - here or there

Meaning Adverb
here aquí / acá
there ahí (just there) / allí / acá
Ahí means there, when is something is close by you. Use allí when it is further away.
Ahí can be used like this:
¿Podría usted ponerlo ahí abajo / arriba / dentro / encima? = Would you put it down / up / in / on there?
ahí (or ya) viene el tren = there's the train

The words allá and acá are not used as much in Spain than other countries (acá is is used instead of aquí in many other countries) but both words are always used after más (including Spain):
más allá = further on
más allá de = beyond (this is a preposition)

So in Spain, use:
here = aquí
there (closer) = ahí
there (further) = allí

Aún / aun

Aún (pronounced a-un) means the same as todavía meaning 'yet' or 'still' and can be used in the same way.
Aun (pronounced awn) means the same as 'even' as in "even she wouldn't want it" but 'incluso' is used more often in Spain (people in Latin America use a slightly different word to the word incluso)

Alquilar / El alquiler

Alquilar is a regular VERB which means to rent (used in Spain).
El alquiler is a NOUN and means letting or hiring.

Contestar / Responder

Contestar (regular verb) means "reply / answer (back)"
To answer...
{ la carta
el mensaje
el teléfono
} the letter
the message
the telephone
Contestar a todas las preguntas - to reply to all the questions
¿Qué le contestó? = What did he reply to you?
Dejé la carta sin contestación - I left the letter unanswered
NOTE: use "abrir la puerta" for "to answer the door"
and "in answer to your letter", use "contestando" or "en contestación" followed by "a su carta"

Responder (regular verb) means to reply / respond / answer / take responsibility
...a su pregunta por correo electrónico - to respond to his question by email
...a su carta - to her letter
...al tratamiento - to respond to treatment

Respondí que habíamos llegado - I replied that we had arrived (You use habíamos because it occured further back in time and you can't remove the "que" and use the infinitive because subjects are the same because they are in different tenses)
Also: Responder de / por = to answer for
Responder de = to vouch for (something)
Responder por = to vouch for (someone)

So in my opinion, you can say:
Contesté la carta = I answered the letter
Contesté / Respondí a la carta = I replied / responded to the letter


Cómodo means comfortable and is used with people or things.
Confortable also means comfortable but it is used with things only (e.g. a room). Am I right? Contact me if I'm wrong

To Enjoy - Disfrutar / Divertirse and Gozar

Disfrutar (regular verb) - To enjoy / to enjoy onself
Disfrutar de = to enjoy / possess (used with a noun e.g. good health, a game etc.)
Disfrutar + gerund: Ella disfruta cantando - She enjoys (herself) singing (the gerund is used because it's two simultaneous actions)
Disfruta con...(to take delight in) - Disfruto con la música - I enjoy listening to music
Disfrutamos mucho en la fiesta - We enjoyed ourselves a lot at the party
¡Que disfrute! - Enjoy yourself! (note there isn't an accent on que)
¡Que disfrute esquiando! - Enjoy yourself skiing! (the gerund is used because it's two simultaneous actions)
¿Le gustaría disfrutar de una partida de ajedrez? - Would you enjoy a game of chess?

Divertirse (conjugates like the verb "sentir") means "to have a good time / to amuse oneself"
Divertir means "to amuse / entertain"
Nos divertimos muchísimo = We had a great time
Me divertí esquiando - I enjoyed myself skiing (the gerund is used because it's two simultaneous actions)
Se divierte tocando la guitarra = He amuses himself playing the guitar (the gerund is used because it's two simultaneous actions)
Nos divirtió con sus vídeos... he entertained us with his videos
La película no me divirtió para nada - the film didn't entertain me at all
pero ella la encontró muy divertida - but she found it very entertaining (divertido is used here as an adjective and is made feminine because "la película" is feminine)

Gozar (regular sounding verb) this is close to the meaning of disfrutar
Gozar de - to enjoy / possess (something e.g. good health etc.)
Gozamos mucho en la fiesta - We enjoyed ourselves a lot at the party
Gozar con... to take delight in
NOTE: This isn't used as often in Spain, but can be used in certain set phrases and can mean something like the children are playing noisily OR it can be used in a sexual sense or a state of complete happiness and satisafation (ecstasy or rapture.) I would use disfrutar and other words.
Does anyone know if you can use it with the gerund?

Note:also "to Enjoy oneself" can be translated by "pasarlo bien" - "to pass it well"

Durar / Tardar

This is related to duration. It can refer to how long something lasts (including clothing). Some examples:
¿Cuánto dura el espectáculo? = How long does the show last? (present tense)
El espectáculo duraba dos horas = The show lasted two hours (imperfect tense)
Duró un año como fontanero = He lasted one year as a plumber (fontanero is used in Spain)
¿Cuánto durarán las pilas? = How long will the batteries last? (future tense)
Estas pilas te durará una hora = These batteries will last you an hour

Tardar (tardar en + infinitive = to take time to do)
This is related to being 'tardy' or late. It refers to taking a long time or delaying - some examples:
Tarda tres horas = It takes three hours
Tardarán semanas en encontrarlos a todos, si es que pueden encontrarlos
¡No tardes! = Don't be late! (but ¡No tardes más! = Don't delay any longer!)
No tardes en venir = Come soon
Tardó cinco días en contestar = She took five days to reply - this is implying a delay
Tardó en contestar = She took a long time to reply
el pavo tarda cuatro horas en hacerse = The turkey takes four hours to cook (present tense)
¿Tarda mucho el tren? = Does the train take long?
El tren se tarda media hora = The train takes half an hour
No tardé nada en ducharme = I showered in no time
¿Cuánto va a tardar? = How long are you going to be?

So the phrase 'it won't take long' can be translated using either verb:
Durará poco
No tardará mucho tiempo

Everybody - todos or todo el mundo?

They are practically interchangable with very little difference but there are some distinct cases:
"A todo el mundo le gusta el chocolate"
This is a genenral statement about people

"A todos les gusta el chocolate"
You're referring to a specific group of people

Some more uses:
A todos les gusta = Everybody loves it
Todos los alumnos aprobaron = All the students passed the exam

"Necesito que todos guarden silencio" (ustedes / ellos)
"Necesito que todo el mundo guarde silencio"
Con vosotros sería:
"Necesito que todos guardeis silencio" (vosotros)

Note that 'todo el mundo' is more common than 'todos'

Fin / Final

This is a noun meaning 'end' with a feeling of an objective or intention. It can literally refer to the end of something (and nothing beyond it).

A fin de cuentas... = To make a long story short... / At the end of the day (not literally, this is a cliché used in England)
El fin del cuento es educar a los niños - 'fin' here signifies intention
El fin de año = New year's eve (the end of the year) - or Nochevieja
En fin, puedo comprar otra taza = Oh well, I can buy another cup (also ¡En fin! = Oh well!)
Este fin de semana = This weekend (or 'este finde' means the same thing but it's colloquial)
En fin = in short
Éste es el fin de nuestra amistad = this is the end of our friendship
esto es el fin = this is the end (although this sounds a bit sharp)
fin de la historia = end of story
Poner fin a la situación = To put an end to the situation
al fin = finally (al fin conseguí que se lo diciera)
por fin = finally / at last
sin fin = endlessly (or 'sin parar' = without stopping)

This can be a noun or adjective meaning 'ending', 'final', 'ultimate', 'finale' or 'conclusion'. It can be used with a period of time e.g. el final de futbol dura 2 horas. You can use it when talking about the ending of something.

'A finales' is used  when you refer to "the late..." or 'fin de una época' e.g. "A finales de los 60" - "In the late 60's"
a finales de junio = at the end of June
alrededor de finales de año = around the end of the year
al final = In the end e.g. al final tuvimos dejar de jugar al tenis = In the end, we had to stop playing tennis
al final del año = at the end of the year
al final de la calle = at the end of the street
Los buenos ganan siempre al final de la película = The good guys always win at the end of the movie
el final de la historia = the end of the story
El final de cuento fue bueno = The end of the story was good
Me gusta mucho el final de esta canción = I like the way this song ends


Pelo is on the body of an animal or person and is colloquially (and commonly) refers to the hair on a human head.
Cabello is the correct word for the hair on the head but it's formal (so is used on products) but in the spoken language, pelo is used more often.
Vello is for body hair (especially of a woman) and this word is used in Spain (and other countries) but facial hair uses different words.

Mi hermana tiene el pelo/cabello rubio.
The term 'pelo' is what we must use when we refer to the hair of an animal or to body hair
Mi perro tiene el pelo muy suave.
Al oír esa noticia se me puso el pelo/vello de punta
Hay que mantener el cabello recortado y peinado. Se debe mantener recortados y arreglados los bigotes y barbas
= Hair must be neatly trimmed and combed. Facial hair must be neatly trimmed and groomed (moustaches and beards)

Language - idioma / lenguaje / lengua / dialecto / habla / jerga / argot

There are many words that translate the word language but Spanish has different meanings to them:

El idioma
This refers to a foreign language of a people, nation or country. It is more of a specific reference than a general one, for example:
Me gusta el idioma francés = I like the French language
Quiero aprender otro idioma = I want to learn another language
El idioma español = The Spanish language
El idioma oficial de Francia es el francés = The official language of France is French
Aprender un idioma = to learn a language

In Perú, Spanish, Quechua and other native languages are called "idiomas" because according to their constitution they are official languages. In the other hand, English is not an "idioma" there, it is just a "lengua" that some people speak (it's not a requirement).

El lenguaje
This is a broader, general term for language and it may sound a little formal. It refers to something that people use to express what they think and feel. It refers to general communication. It's a question of "language" vs. "a language."

Some examples:
el lenguaje de los ordenadores = The computer languages
el lenguaje matemático = The mathematical language
lenguaje corporal = body language

It's possible to use lenguaje with the same sense as lengua, but it's rarer and sounds academic.
El lenguaje can also be used to talk about the language of animals (whales etc.)

La lengua
Lengua is used more for expressions such as 'Mother Tongue' or 'Lengua Española', but it doesn't translate very well, the sense of language. It means 'tongue' and you could say it means the same as 'idioma' although that has more of a significance of an official language or the dominant language of a people or nation.

la lengua española
Español como segunda lengua
lengua materna = mother tongue
Después de vivir varios años allí, llegó a dominar la lengua del país = After living many years there, I managed to become fluent in the language of the country

El habla - (feminine noun!)
Remember to use 'el' even though it's a feminine noun to make it easier to say (the same reason for saying 'el agua').
El habla refers to speech or dialect. You can use it to say things like:
El habla de los médicos es muy técnica = the language (speech) of doctors is very technical
El habla que usan los científicos es muy técnica = the speech that the scientists use is very technical

In a linguistic system 'habla' refers to the speech of a community, characterized by particular traits or differences
El habla de la zona norte de esta región es distinta del habla de la zona sur = The speech of the north zone of this region is distinct from the speech of the south zone

El dialecto
This is a variety of a language that is adopted in a geographical zone.

La jerga / el argot
Argot means 'slang' and jerga means 'slang' or 'jargon'. They mean the same thing.
It is a variety of a language that is used between people belonging to the same professional or social group for example:
La jerga médica es difícil de entender si no eres médico = The medical jargon  is difficult to understand if you're not a doctor

To leave a place, salir or irse?

Salir has numerous meaning but when talking about leaving, it is used when you want to leave a place, usually a building or enclosed place. That's why the word for 'exit' is 'salida'. Salir can mean 'exit' or 'leave' and can be used when you're undertaking a trip or a walk.
Irse is the reflexive use of 'ir' which is another verb that has many meanings. It can be used when someone is moving from place to place. Using it may imply that you're not coming back

Miguel salió de clases a las dos. (Las clases terminaron a las dos)
= Miguel left the classes at 2 o'clock (the classes ended at 2 o'clock)
Salgo de viaje dentro de una hora. (Dejé de estar en la ciudad/en el país porque empiezo mi viaje)
= I leave within an hour (I stopped being in the city / country because I'm starting my journey within the hour)
Los pollitos salieron del cascarón. (Estaban dentro y ahora están afuera)
= The chicks left their shells (they were inside and now they are outside)
María salió a su mamá. (Resultó ser como su mamá, se parece a su mamá)
= María looks like her mum (she's like her mum or she resembles her mum)
El tren sale a las ocho
= The train leaves at 8 o'clock
Salir de viaje / paseo = to go out on a trip / to walk (or salir a pasear - to go for a walk)

¿Cómo te va? = How are you / things?
¿por dónde se va al museo? = which way is the museum? (or ¿me puede dirigir al museo? = can you direct me to the museum?)
Vamos al cine. (Nos dirigimos al cine)
= We're going to the cinema (we're directing ourselves towards the cinema)
Elena se fue muy enfadada de la fiesta. (Abandonó la fiesta)
= Elena left very angry at the party (she abandoned the party)
José se fue de su casa. (Dejó su casa)
= José left his house (he abandoned his house)
ya se habrá ido = she must have already gone
acaban de irse = they have just gone
todo el mundo se fue = everyone left
Note: ¡vete a saber! = who knows! / your guess is as good as mine!

To love

Querer means to love and is used with any person or animals.
Adorar means to adore/love and is used with any person (even parents or children) and with objects (e.g. adoro las novelas). It also means "to worship".
Amar means to love but with a more deeply romantic meaning with lovers (also used in poems etc.) and a more emphatic feeling when you use it for a country e.g.¡Cúanto amamos a nuestra patria!.
You can also use gustar for activities.
Encantar can be used to translate "to love" but it really means "to enchant" and it is colloquial "me encanta hacer deporte" - I love doing sports (doing sports enchants me)
Other words for 'love':
Apasionarse por = to be passionate about e.g. se apasiona por la música = he's passionate about music
Desvivirse por = to be fond of (implying that you'd do your best for someone e.g. se desvive por sus chicos)
Encariñarse con = to grow fond of e.g. se ha encariñado mucho con el gato / bebé
Idolatrar = to idolize e.g. idolatra a sus profesoras

Ojalá que...

Ojalá means something like "if only" or "I hope so" or "let's hope..." but it has subtle meanings if you use certain tenses after it.
Notice that it follows the implications that Conditional sentences follow:
Ojalá + present subjunctive (the a↔e change) expresses a hope for something that may happen
e.g. I hope you can come with me- Ojalá que pueda venir conmigo.
Ojalá + imperfect subjunctive (the -ron → -ra/-se change) expresses a hope for something that is likely not to happen
e.g. I wish that I could - Ojalá pudiera (no que here because the subjects are the same).
Ojalá + Past perfect subjunctive (hubiera + personal endings) expresses an impossible wish
e.g. I wish that you had seen him - Ojalá que lo hubiéra visto

To summarize:
Ojalá + a verb in the is used with
Present subjunctive (a↔e) a hope for something that may happen
Imperfect subjunctive (-ron → -ra/-se) a hope for something that is likely not to happen
Past Perfect subjunctive (hubiera + personal endings) an impossible wish

A Slice

Referring to... Which word to use (in Spain)
Meat / cheese la loncha = la lonja (lonja also means 'rasher')
una loncha de queso
raja (I don't think this is used very much - some Spanish people haven't come across this word)
For beef, lamb use tajada
Vegetables / fruit la rodaja ("una rodaja de limón")
Cake el trozo (also it means 'bit' e.g. Vi la película a trozos = I saw bits of the film)
Bread la rebanada
Pizza Una porción de pizza
If you are using the adjective "sliced" then you can use rebanado/a or 'en rebanadas' but for lemon, use 'en rodajas'.

What - lo que vs. qué

Translating 'what' can be difficult. This is fully explained in another article but here I will explain the main differences between 'lo que' and qué when you encounter them in the middle of a sentence. Be aware that some people incorrectly miss accents off words when writing on the internet.
Lo que means 'what' or 'the thing that' and refers to something that may or may not exist. It means 'la cosa que' = 'the thing that'. It does not imply a question or an indirect question for example ¡Haz lo que te digo! = Do what I tell you! or "te compraré lo que quieras" = "I bought you what you want".
'Lo' is ambiguous because it is a genderless word in this particular use. It is used also for saying things like "lea lo siguiente" = "read the following" - you are not referring to something here that is masculine or feminine, so you use 'lo' and not el, la etc. Incidentally, you can use 'el que' or 'las que' etc. when you are referring to something.
Qué means 'what' and can be used in direct questions or indirect ones. This does NOT mean the same as 'que'.
If you said "no sé lo que quieres" then this means "I don't know what you want" which shows that you fail to recognize what it is whilst referring to an object that may or may not exist.
If you said "no sé qué quieres" then you still fail to recognize what it is but you imply the question "¿qué quieres?" = "what do you want?"

You see these words in front of sentences. Since 'lo que' does not refer to any thing in particular, you can say:
Lo que es importante es ... = what (or 'the thing that') is important is ... (or you can say 'lo importante es ...')
¿Qué es aquello que veo? = What is that I see? - here you are clearly asking a question. It would be incorrect to use 'lo que' here.

Ya and it's uses

Ya means a number of things depending on the tense:
In the past where it means "already"
In the present (and in commands) where it means "right now"
In the positive future where it means "for sure/soon"
In a negative sentence (present or future) where it means "not...anymore" e.g. ya no viene - he's not coming anymore.

To summarize:
Tense ya means:
Past already
Present right now
Positive future for sure / soon
Negative sentence (present or future) not... anymore

[ENGLISH] Are there any errors or do you want to add more information to these pages?
You can contact me at the bottom of the home page.

[ESPAÑOL] ¿Hay errores o tiene información adicional?
Puede mandarme un mensaje al final de la página principal

Home page / Página principal