Vocabulary

Spanish word of the day / Spanish expression of the day / Spanish idioms / Spanish proverbs


“Echar”: 7 meanings + 7 common expressions

“Echar” is a very tricky but I’m here to help! 🙂

If you look for the meanings of “echar” in the RAE (Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary) you will find about 48 meanings and as many expressions that use this verb.

But despite all this abundance of meanings, the idea of “echar” implies movement from inside to outside or put away. Some of the meanings are ‘to throw’, ‘to expel, fire’, ‘to pour’, amongst many others…

Let’s see with detail some of the most used and useful meanings of “echar”

MEANINGS

1. ‘To throw, throw away’ – ‘Hacer que algo vaya a parar a alguna parte, dándole impulso’ (rae) ( to put (something) in a particular place in a careless or forceful way, to cause to move suddenly or forcefully to or away from a particular place) (merriam-webster).

– No deberíamos echar desperdicios al mar.
– We shouldn’t throw waste into the sea.

– ¡Échalo a la basura ahora mismo!
– Throw it away right now!

2. ”To throw out, to fire, to expel’ – ‘Hacer salir a alguien de algún lugar, apartarle con violencia, por desprecio, castigo, etc. // Deponer a alguien de su empleo o dignidad, impidiéndole el ejercicio de ella’ (rae). ‘To remove from a place, office, or employment usually in a sudden or unexpected manner (merriam-webster).

– La profesora me ha echado de clase esta mañana.
– The teacher threw me out of class this morning.

– Tengo que aceptar todos los proyectos que me dan si no quiero que me echen del trabajo.
– I have to take on all the projects they give me if I don’t want to get fired.

3. ‘To move, to lean, to push’ – ‘Inclinar, reclinar o recostar’ (rae). ‘To incline, deviate, or bend from a vertical position’ (merriam-webster).

– Puedes echar la cabeza a un lado que no veo bien?
– Can you tilt the head because I can’t see properly?
4. ‘To post, to give’ – ‘Dar o repartir’ (rae) ‘To post a letter // to give’ (merriam-webster)
– He echado la carta al buzón. Llegará en tres días.
– I post the letter. It will arrive in three days.
– Mamá pato echa de comer a los patitos.
– Mum duck feed the ducklings.
5. ‘To reckon, to count, to estimate’ – ‘Hacer cálculos, cuentas. Suponer o conjeturar el precio, distancia, edad, etc., que nos son desconocidos’. ‘To think or suppose, to believe that something is true or possible. To calculate or guess (an amount, number, value, etc.). To have or form a general idea about something’ (merriam-webster).
– ¿Qué edad le echas?
– How old do you reckon he is?
6. ‘To take time, to spend time’ – ‘Invertir o gastar en algo el tiempo que se expresa’. ‘To allow (time) to pass in a particular place or while doing a particular activity’ (merriam-webster).
– ¿Cuánto tardarás en llegar? – Échale dos horas.

– How long will it take you to arrive? -Let’s say two hours.

7. ‘To show‘ – ‘Representar o ejecutar comedias u otros espectáculos’ (rae). ‘To give a theatrical performance, to be staged or presented’ (merriam-webster).

– Echan una peli de Julia Roberts en la tele esta noche. No me la pierdo.
– There’s a Julia Roberts movie on TV tonight. I won’t miss it.

EXPRESSIONSechar_expressions

• echar a perder: ‘to spoil, to go off’.

– Con este calor la carne se echa a perder enseguida.
– With this heat, the meat goes off immediately.

• echar de menos: ‘to miss someone’.

– Juan está tan triste porque echa de menos a su amiga Marta que está de viaje.
– Juan is so sad because he misses his friend Marta who is traveling.

• echarse atrás: ‘to cry off’.

– Estaba todo organizado para la compra del piso pero se echaron atrás en el último minuto.
– It was all organized for the purchase of the house but they cried off at the last minute.

• echar un cable: ‘give a hand’.

– No te preocupes, te echaré un cable hasta que encuentres otro trabajo.
– Don’t worry, I’ll give you a hand until you find another job.

• echarse encima de alguien: ‘pounce on’.

– Los alumnos se me echaron encima cuando les mandé más tarea para el lunes.
– The students pounced on me when I gave them more homework for Monday.

• echar un vistazo: ‘have a look, take a look, take a glance’.

– He echado un vistazo al examen y no parece difícil.
– I have taken a look at the exam and it doesn’t seem difficult.

• echar en cara: ‘throw something is someone’s face’.

– No aguanto más que Pedro me eche cosas en cara constantemente. 
– I can’t stand anymore Pedro throwing things at my face constantly.


Uneven couples in Spanish

As you all know, all nouns in Spanish have a genre, they are masculine or feminine. The main trait to distinguish if a word is masculine or female is by the ending. If the word ends by -o is masculine and if it ends by -a is feminine, although there are quite a few exceptions to this rule and other possible endings.

What I am going to focus in this post is about the regular pair of words that end in “o” and “a”, and the big change that “o” and an “a” make in terms of meaning.

Foco ≠ FocaUneven Couples I

El foco” is a ‘spotlight’ or a ‘torch’ which has nothing to do with “la foca“, that cute marine mammal, a ‘seal’.

Cigarra ≠ Cigarro

La cigarra” is the lazy insect of the Aesop fable called ‘cicada’, whereas “el cigarro” is a cigarette.

Cartera ≠ CarteroUneven Couples II

La cartera” is a wallet and “el cartero” is the profession of that man that always calls twice, the postman.

Puerta ≠ Puerto

La puerta” means the ‘door’, whereas que “el puerto” is a ‘port’, a ‘harbour’.

Caña ≠ Caño

La caña” has multiple meanings, from a ‘cane’, to a ‘rod’ (caña de pescar) and the very important ‘small draft beer’ that this teacher loves so much: “¡Una caña, por favor!“. These meanings have no connection whatsoever with “el caño“, that means a ‘pipe’, or ‘waterpipe’.

Tinta ≠ TintoUneven Couples III

Ok, here both are liquids but not of the same kind. “La tinta” means ‘ink’ and “el tinto” is that wonderful red beverage, red wine, that is.

Marca ≠ Marco

La marca” means a ‘brand’, whereas “el marco” is a ‘frame’.

Palo ≠ PalaUneven Couples IV

El palo” is a stick and “la pala” is a ‘shovel’.

Bala ≠ Bolo

“La bala” is a ‘bullet’ whereas que “el bolo” is a ‘bowling pin’.

There are other “uneven couple” of Spanish words that means completely different things depending on whether they are masculine or feminine. So, don’t forget to check out the gender!

 


Humor, movies, songs and lots of Spanish: “Mucha Guasa”

Last week, a friend and I launched Mucha Guasa (‘Much Banter’) an educational page intending to teach Spanish in a fun way.

A daily video of my friend singing or performing a line from a song or a movie translated into Spanish, which you, my dear Spanish lovers / learners can try to guess which movie or song he is performing.

Accompanying those highly entertaining videos, and contributing to the educational side, it’s me explaining some grammar point or idiom appearing in the translation.

Fun? Lots. Here is just an example of him singing.

Learning? Of course! So far, we have seen the use of the intensifier “demasiado / demasiada”, the “future simple”, the use of “ya” and “ya no” and the use of “como” as an adverb of manner, and we only launched last Wednesday!

Like us and start having fun while learning Spanish for free every day.


False Friends (I): “to realize” in Spanish

In this short post you will learn how to translate the verb “to realize” in Spanish. This is a false friend in Spanish, because we have the verb “realizar” but it’s nothing alike “to realize”.

falsefriends1

To realize ➠ ‘darse cuenta’

Realizar ➠ ‘to make, accomplish’

See? Not the same.

Now, look at this sentence:

– I didn’t realize Elisa was in the party.

How would you translate it into Spanish?

– No realicé que Elisa estaba en la fiesta. ——> Wrong! 🙁
– No me di cuenta que Elisa estaba en la fiesta. ——> Right! 🙂

So, remember:

“To realize” in English means “darse cuenta de algo” in Spanish. Whereas “realizar” means “to make”.


Suggest, accept and refuse plans

Suggest plans

How useful is it to find the ways to propose, accept and refuse plans? In this post you will learn how to do exactly that.

There are several ways of suggesting plans. Here I’ll show you few:

– ¿Porqué no vamos a la playa mañana?
– Why don’t we go to the beach tomorrow?

– ¿Te apetece ir al cine?
– Do you fancy going to the cinema?

– ¿Quieres visitar el Museo del Prado esta mañana?
– Do you want to visit Museo del Prado this morning?

– ¿Y si vamos a cenar a este restaurante esta noche?
– What if we go to that restaurant tonight?

Podemos ir a casa de Pedro.
– We can go to Pedro’s place.

– Oye, ¿quedamos mañana para jugar al tenis?
– Hey, do we meet to play tennis 
tomorrow?

– ¿Nos vemos luego?
– See you later?

– ¿Qué tal si vamos a casa de Pedro?
– What about going to Pedro’s house?

– ¿Qué te parece si nos quedamos en casa hoy?
– What about staying at home tonight?

As you can see, it’s important to know the conjugation of the verb “poder” (‘can’), “apetecer” (‘feel like + -ing’ / ‘fancy’) and “querer” (‘want’) and “quedar” (‘arrange to meet someone’ remember “quedarse” and “quedar” are not the same, as I explained in this post).

 Accept plans (Aceptar)

To accept a plan that has been suggested to us, we can say:

Vale. (Ok)

De acuerdo. (Alright)

Bien. (Fine)

Refuse plans (Rechazar)

Whereas to refuse the plan we have been suggested, we can say:

No, lo siento, no me apetece. (No, I’m sorry, I don’t feel like it.)

No puedo. (No, I can’t.)


“Ser bueno” and “Estar bueno”: not the same thing? 1

“Ser” and “estar” are not the same thing, as the Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz tells us is his song “No es lo mismo” (here you can have a look at the lyrics in Spanish and its translation into English)

 

In a previous post, I wrote about the differences between “bien, bueno/a” and when to use one or the other. In another previous blog post I wrote about the million dollar question, the differences between “ser” and “estar”. In this one, I am going to combine both questions and shed some light on them. Don’t need to thank me now, guys, I’m here to help… 😉

Ok, here we go!

SER BUENO vs. ESTAR BUENO

– Ser bueno:

1. Talking about a person: ‘virtuous, upright

– Mi hijo es muy bueno, siempre se porta muy bien.
– My son is very upright, he always behaves.

2. Talking about a thing: ‘of good quality’, ‘beneficial

– Mi cazadora de cuero es buena, me costó carísima.
– My leather jacket is of good quality, it was very expensive.

– Hacer deporte es bueno.
– Sport is good for you.

– Estar bueno:

1. Talking about a person: ‘being healthy or very handsome

– Juan Diego Botto está muy bueno.
– Juan Diego Botto is very handsome.

2. Talking about food: ‘having a good taste

– Esta sopa está muy buena.
– This soup is very tasty.

SER MALO vs. ESTAR MALO

– Ser malo:

1. Referred to a person: ‘being evil, wicked

– Norman Bates es malo, malísmo.
– Norman Bates is evil, very evil.

2. Talking about a thing or an action: ‘of bad quality’ or ‘ harmful

– Este libro es muy malo, no pude terminar de leerlo.
– This book is very bad, I couldn’t even finishing reading it.

– Fumar es malo para la salud.
– Smoking is bad for you.

– Estar malo:

1. Talking about a person: ‘being sick, ill

– Hoy no voy a trabajar porque estoy malo.
– I am not going to work today because I am sick.

2. Referred to a food: ‘rotten‘.

– Esta manzana está mala, dáme otra.
– This apple is rotten, give me another one.

A VERY USEFUL LIST

Now, there are many other adjectives that change meaning depending on if they are with “ser” or “estar. Let’s see some of them and learn some new vocabulary and expressions.

+ SER + ESTAR 
aburrido'boring'
- Este libro es muy aburrido .
- This book is very boring.
aburrido'bored'
- Estoy aburrida hoy, la clase es un tostón.
- I am bored, today's class is a drag.
atento'thoughtful, courteous'
- Mi novio es muy atento, siempre me trae flores por mi cumpleaños.
- My boyfriend is very courteous, he always brings me flowers for my birthday.
atento'attentive'
- Tengo que estar más atenta en clase.
- I need to be more attentive in class.
despierto'bright, sharp'
- Es un niño muy despierto.
- He is a very sharp boy'
despierto'not sleep'
- Estoy despierta desde las 7 am.
- I am awake since 7 am.
verde'green color', 'sexual'
- El vestido es verde.
- The dress is green.
- Es un chiste un poco verde.
- It's a blue joke.
verde'unripe, immature, not ready'
- La manzana está verde
- The apple is green.
- Aún estoy muy verde para presentarme al examen.
- I am not ready yet to do the exam.
negro'black color'
- No me gusta el negro.
- I don't like black.
black'being angry'
- Estoy negra, se me ha roto el coche dos veces en una semana.
- I'm furious, my car broke twice in a week.
orgulloso'arrogant'
- Sofía es demasiado orgullosa, no me gusta.
- Sofia is too arrogant, I don't like her.
orgulloso'pleased'
- Estoy muy contenta con el resultado.
- I'm very pleased with the outcome.
listo'smart, intelligent'
- Este chico es muy listo, llegará lejos.
- This boy is very smart, he will go a long way.
listo'ready'
- ¡Espérame, no estoy lista!
- Wait, I'm not ready!
claro'light, pale'
- No me gustan los colores tan claros.
- I don't like such light colors.
claro'obvious, clear'
- Está claro que no es el culpable.
- It's obvious he's not guilty.
abierto'extroverted'
- Ella es muy abierta, habla con todo el mundo.
- She is very outgoing, she talks with every body.
abierto'open'
- La puerta está abierta.
- The door is open.

 

Note: 

Much of the above type and style of clarifications, grammar, and other tricky elements are now covered in Compass Spanish (a new course comprised of daily mini-lessons delivered straight to your inbox). If you struggle to find the time or have a busy schedule, try out a free week (no strings attached and no credit card required!).