ELE – B2

Vocabulary of the Senses


As we advance in the journey of learning Spanish and we deepen in the Spanish language, we need resources to express with more and more detail our emotions, our surroundings, our views… These resources for advanced Spanish are at our disposal in books. Literature tends to be very descriptive because the goal is to drag the reader in the story with expressions that he or she can understand and identify with.

Descriptive vocabulary becomes essential to explain in depth, facilitates understanding and to make our audience relate with our words.

The best way to illustrate an emotion, a situation or a feeling is by the means of the senses. So, in this post and video (above) we are going to deal with this topic. How to thoroughly describe a situation or a feeling by resorting to our senses, the sense in our body.

Watch the video to find the vocabulary and resources in Spanish and if you feel so inclined, do the activities suggested in the second half of the video. You can post your answers for correction in our private Facebook group for upper-intermediate and advanced students of Spanish called Compass Spanish – The Experience, just request access and start interacting with us. I correct everything that is posted in the group, pinky promise!

→→→ Download the slides from the video here.

Gerund in Spanish (form and uses)

Gerund. And what’s that?


We make it by replacing the endings “-ar, -er, -ir” of the infinitive with -ando (verbs that ends in -ar) or -iendo for the verbs that end in -er, -ir


Note: if the stem of the verb ends in vowel, ie. caer — ca-er, the ending for the infinitive would be -yendo.


There are some irregular verbs in the gerund form

The verbs ending in -ir with an –e or an –o in the radical change those vowels by -i, or -u.




1. Temporal = while / when

Abriendo la puerta, descubrí al ladrón. (Cuando abrí la puerta)
– When I opened the door, I discovered the thief.

2. Causal = because / since

Viendo que se encontraba incómoda, nos fuimos de la fiesta. (Como se sentía incómoda)
– Seeing she was feeling uncomfortable, we left the party.

3. Conditional = if

Estudiando mucho desde hoy, podremos aprobar el examen (Si estudiamos mucho)
– If we study a lot from now on, we will be able to pass the exam.

4. Concessive (+ aun) = although

Aun lloviendo, iré a correr (Aunque llueva)
–  Even if it rains, I will go for a run.

5. Modal = answer the question “how” and the gerund is equivalent to “this way”

– Los sueños se cumplen trabajando en ellos (¿Cómo se cumplen los sueños? Así = Trabajando)
– The dreams are come true by working on them.

6. Relative = sentence with “that” and works as an adjective.

– La niña hablando con el policía es mi prima. (La niña que habla con el policía)
– The girl speaking with the policeman is my cousin.

Valores del Gerundio

And, if you are an English speaker, this is a very important part of the post.

We don’t use the gerund…

As a subject, in which case we use the infinitive.

Estudiar español es muy fácil.
Studying Spanish is very easy.


Ficha de teoría: Valores_gerundio_teoria


Relative clauses in Spanish 7


In this post I will explain you the relative sentences in Spanish, which are the combination of two sentences that share a common noun, that means that one of the sentences gives more information, modifies or specifies the noun in common. Look at these examples:

– ¿Has visto a esa chica?
– Have you seen that girl?

Esa chica está bailando en medio de la calle.
– That girl is dancing in the street.

¿Has visto a esa chica que está bailando en el medio de la calle?
– Have you seen that girl (that) is dancing in the street?

Here the common noun is “esa chica” and the second sentence specifies what girl I am talking about.

– Ayer me visitó mi vecina con su hijo Manuel.
– Yesterday my neighbor visited me with her son Manuel.

Su hijo es médico.
– Her son is a doctor.

– Ayer me visitó mi vecina con su hijo Manuel, que es médico.
– Yesterday my neighbor visited me with her son who is a doctor.

Here the common noun is “hijo” and the second sentences adds more information about that person.

Relative pronouns

Pronouns are words that refer to a noun. Relative pronouns are called “relative” because they are “related” to a noun that has previously been stated.

  • QUE

The most common relative pronoun, and the one used in the previous two examples is “que“. It can be used to refer to both persons and things, in either the subject or the object position. “Que” can be translated in English by “who”, “whom”, “which” and “that”.

Observe these examples:

– Mi actor favorito, que es muy guapo, se ha casado con una modelo.
– My favorite actor, who is very handsome, has got married with a top model.

In this example the relative is referred to a person and is the subject.

– La película que vi la semana pasada fue malísima.
– The movie that I saw last week was really bad.

And here, the relative pronoun talks about a thing and is the object of the relative clause.

Remember that the relative pronoun is often omitted in English but it is never, ever, omitted in Spanish.

– El libro que estoy leyendo es muy interesante.
– The book (that) I am reading is very interesting.


The relative pronoun “quien” is used only to refer to people. There is no genre distinction but it  has a plural form “quienes” . It’s important to notice that when the relative pronoun refers to a person as the object in the relative clause, you can use either “que” or “quien” and both are correct, but when the relative is followed by a preposition we can only use “quien” and not “que”.

– Mi amiga Pepa, que / quien vive en Australia, viene a visitarme el mes que viene.
– Mi friend Pepa, who lives in Australia, is coming to visit me next month.

– Ese hombre, con quien me viste hablar, es mi jefe.
– That man, with whom you saw me talking, is my boss.

– Pedro a quien entregué el paquete está encargado del proyecto.
– Pedro whom I handed the packet is in charge of the project.


The relative pronoun “el que, la que, los que and las que”  are used to refer to both people and things and are translated in English by “the one who / that”. We can use “el cual, la cual, los cuales and las cuales” instead of “el que…” but those are not used in everyday conversation but for written Spanish or a formal speaking.

– La botella de vino, la que tiene 20 años, está guardada en la bodega.
– The bottle of wine, the one that is 20 years, is kept in the cellar.

It’s important to notice that when the relative pronoun refers to an abstract idea, we have to use “lo que“.

Lo que quieres de él es imposible, es un insensible.
– What you want from him is impossible, he is an insensitive guy.

– No entiendo lo que está escrito en la pizarra.
– I don’t understand what is written in the blackboard.


This relative adjective relates the owner to that which is owned, is the equivalent of “whose” in English. There are four forms according to singular and plural, masculine and feminine.

– El perro cuyo dueño está en ese banco es una monada.
– The dog whose owner is sitting on that bench is a cutie.

– Estéban, cuyas ex novias están en la fiesta, está muy incómodo.
– Estéban, whose ex girlfriends are in the party, is very ill at ease.

Bear in mind that this relative adjective agrees in number and gender with the thing being owned and not with the owner.

– El perro cuyo dueño está en ese banco es una monada.

– Pedro, cuya hermana es muy guapa, es mi amigo.

– Estéban, cuyas ex novias están en la fiesta, está muy incómodo.

– Los estudiantes cuyos exámenes están suspendidos deben pasar por el despacho del director.


First of all, we have to distinguish two types of relative clauses:

  • Explicativas (explanatory): always between commas, are the ones that add information.

– Los estudiantes, cuyos exámenes están suspendidos, deben pasar por el despacho del director.
– The students, whose exams are failed, must visit the the Principal’s office. (All of them failed in the exam so all must visit the principal office)

  • Especificativas (defining): not between commas, specify which group.

–  Los estudiantes cuyos exámenes están suspendidos deben pasar por el despacho del director.
– The students whose exams are failed must visit the the Principal’s office.  (Only the ones that have failed must visit the principal office)


The explanatory clauses, “explicativas”, goes always with indicative.

– Mi novia, que es muy alta, nunca lleva tacones.
– Mi girlfriend, who is very tall, never wears high heels.

The defining clauses, “especificativas”, goes with indicative or subjunctive depending on the antecedent word the clause refers to.

For instance, if the antecedent exist or we know it, we use indicative:

– Los estudiantes que han hecho los deberes todos los días no tendrán que hacer el examen.
– The students who have done the homework every day, won’t need to do the exam.

In this example, I know that some of the students have done the homework every day, so only those ones won’t need to do the exam.

But if we don’t know if the antecedent exists or we don’t know it, we use subjunctive

The students que hayan hecho los deberes todos los días no tendrás que hacer el examen.
– The students who have done the homework every day, won’t need to do the exam.

Here, in this example, I don’t know yet what students have done the homework every day or if there are even students who have done the homework every day, but only those ones won’t need to do the exam.

The Conditional tense and how to make hypothesis


The conditional tense is frequently used to express the probability, possibility, wonder or conjecture and is usually translated as would, could, must have or probably.


1. The stem is the same as for the future tense, that is, the infinitive form of the verb.

2. The endings are: ía, ías, ía, íamos, íais, ían. Same endings for the 3 conjugations. Look at the example:







The same verbs that are irregular in the future tense are also irregular in the conditional tense. The endings don’t change, but the stem change in the same way it change in the future tense. Check this article for the irregularities.


There are several ways in which the conditional is used in Spanish:

1. To express the future from the perspective of the past.

Estaba seguro de que vendrían.
I was sure they would come.

2. To express conjecture or probability in the past.

Estamos buscando piso. La semana pasada visitaríamos más de 15 apartamentos.
We are looking for a flat. Last week we must have visited more than 15 apartments.

3. For polite use, to indicate softening of a statement or request.

Perdone, ¿podría acercarme este libro de la estantería de arriba? Yo no alcanzo.
Excuse me, could you give that book from the top shelf? I can’t reach it.

4. To express hypothetical actions or events (in present or future times).

Iría a Chile a visitarte si tuviera tiempo, pero tengo que trabajar en la empresa.
I’d go to visit you if I had time, but I have to work in the enterprise.



The conditional perfect tense is formed with the conditional of the verb “haber” and the past participle.









It is used mainly to express something hypothetical or unreal in the past.

Te habría acompañado al dentista, pero no me avisaste que ibas.
I would have accompanied you to the dentist but you didn’t let me know you were going.


There are 3 types: real, potential or possible, and irreal.

The usual link is “si”, although there are others.


Express facts or actions which may actually come about or, at least, are viewed as a possibility. The conditional clause goes in indicative (never future) and the main clause goes in indicative (present, future).

Si practicas mucho mejorarás.
If you practice a lot you’ll improve.

Si has practicado mucho mejorarás.
If you have practiced a lot you will improve.

Si practicas, mejoras.
If you practice, you improve.


Shows the facts as unreal in the present or very unlikely in the future. The conditional clause goes in “pretérito imperfecto de subjuntivo” and the main clause in conditional.

Si practicaras más a menudo mejorarías.
If you practiced more often you would improve.


Shows unreal / impossible facts in the past. The conditional clause goes in “pretérito pluscuamperfecto de subjuntivo” and the main clause in conditional perfect.

Si hubieras practicado más habrías mejorado.
If you had practiced more you would have improved.








Comentar una fotografía – Online Spanish Tutor – Intermediate (Podcast 9)



Comentar una fotografía – 9



In this podcast I will show you how to describe and analyze a photo with one image of my favorite photographer, Henry Cartier-Bresson. You will learn very useful vocabulary about photography and how to express an opinion in Spanish about any kind of artistic expression.

If you want to exploit at most this audio, get the worksheet available where you’ll find the grammar point, vocabulary and expressions that appear in this audio and some exercises to practice your Spanish. You will learn how to tell a story and a couple of very interesting grammar tips. In the latter pages you will find some exercises to practice what you learn.

You can download the podcast here.