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Tag Archives: high frequency words in Spanish

porque

Porque is the thirty-seventh most common word in the Spanish language.

Porque without an accent means, quite simply, “because” in English.So this is one word in all – not two. This can cause confusion for foreigners writing in Spanish – porque, without an accent and only one word is not to confused with por qué (two separate words and with an accent on the qué) which means “why”. If it helps at all, I remember the por qué as a little translation “for what” i.e. why.

Porque, then, meaning “because” is a conjunction according to my trusty Collins English-Spanish dictionary.

For the sake of completeness, I will add that el porqué (one word, accent on the e) means the reason, that is to say that el porqué is a noun. Looking in the dictionary, I particularly like “no me interesan los porqués” – I am not interested in the whys and wherefores.

Here is an example of the use of porque –

No puedo estudiar porque tengo mucho tabajo en la oficina durante el día – I cannot work because I have too much work during the day.

The thirty-seventh most common word in the Spanish language is therefore a tale of accents and one words or two.

Remember – porque, no accent, one word,means because.

dar

DAR is the thirty-eighth most common word in the Spanish language.

A short, snappy, monosyllabic, top drawer irregular verb.

Why top drawer? – because DAR and all of its irregular parts are one of the keys to learning Spanish and the fact that it crops up so often, being the thirty-eighth most frequently word in the Spanish language, makes learning the verb a “no brainer” (as my students might say).

DAR means to give in English and is linked into the English word donate.

My trusty Collins English-Spanish dictionary has some 25 different meanings and shades of meaning. It previous posts I have talked about the usefulness of learning how to read the dictionary and DAR is a case in point – if you drift through the various and take ,say, one and use it and remember it, slowly but surely the quality and breadth of your language will improve.

Before giving some examples of the use of DAR, I give the key first person irregularities of the verb.

DOY – I give

DI – I gave

These do not follow any real pattern as they are irregular and, as such, simply have to be learned and committed to memory. As a tip, learn them in context or in a phrase that you know you will be wanting to use quite frequently.

Here are two examples of the use of DAR

Voy a dar un bocadillo a Juan – I am going to give a sandwich to Juan

Voy a dar un paseo – I am going for a walk (literally I am going to give a walk..a nice example of an idiomatic phrase.

There it is – DAR, to give in English. An irregular must-know high frequency very common Spanish verb.

ver

VER is the thirty-sixth most common word in the Spanish Language.

It is a frequently used one syllable irregular verb. Yes – beneath its quiet and inoffensive exterior, VER has quite a punch. Yes it is deceptive, and it pays to get to know this verb well.

It means “to see” in simple terms. My Collins English – Spanish dictionary (and this time I have use the iPad app), has a whole myriad and list of shades of meaning, totalling up to some twenty in all.

Non Spanish speakers will be aware of the various irregular parts of the verb through well known films.

“Hasta la vista” for example – vista is noun which comes from the verb meaning sight. So this expression literally means “until the sight” i.e. until I see you again.

Hotel Buenavista – is a hotel with (hopefully) good views – or perhaps it might be a case for the lawyers and the trades descriptions act.

Here are some examples of the use of VER

“Cuánto tiempo sin verte” – how long since I have seen you i.e. I have not seen you for ages. Note that the word for you has been tacked on the end of the verb.

Voy a ver el castillo – I am going to see the castle.

So, there it is – number 36 in the top one hundred Spanish words. Know it, recognise it and get to know some of its irregularities.

SI

Si is thirty third most common word in the Spanish language.

It is also one of the words that most people recognise – even those who have never learned a word of Spanish.

This monosyllabic sibilant has two potential meanings in Spanish.

My Collins Spanish English dictionary gives quite a substantial write-up, with some ten differences of meaning and shades of meaning.

Si (without an accent) means “if”

 (with an accent) means “yes”.

Here are examples of the different uses of Si

Sí, señor – “yes, sir”

Si lo quieres – tómalo – If you like it, take it!

And, here is an example (with potential to confuse).

, sé que si significa “if” en inglés – Yes, I know that si means “if” in English.

What a short, sexy, and sibilant lexical item. Si or weighs in at number 33 in the top 100 Spanish words.

la

La is the thirty-second most common word in the Spanish language.

La is the feminine definite article, i.e. it goes with the feminine nouns. Masculine and feminine nouns can be a difficult concept for a maternal English tongue speaker. My advice if that is you – do not beat yourself up about it! Accept it and do not question it. OK, some words are masculine and some words are feminine – so what! I could go on to the Romans and all that! However, I won’t! Well I will – but not much… in Latin (which the Romans spoke) divided nouns up into masculine and feminine (not forgetting neuter).

But let’s get back to la. My Spanish – English Collins dictionary gives the basic meaning of la as “the”,

La is also a personal pronoun (when it means “her”).

Here are a couple of examples of the use of la

La casa es grande – the house is big

La chica es inteligente – the girl is intelligent.

So there it is – la the thirty-second most common word in the Spanish language.

otro

OTRO is the thirtieth most common word in the Spanish language. OTRA is the singular feminine form, with OTROS and OTRAS being the corresponding masculine and feminine forms in the plural.

OTRO is described in my Collins English-Spanish dictionary as both a noun and a pronoun.

OTRO has a number of shades of meaning, but the key translations are “other” or “another”.

Here are some examples of its use:-

necesito otro diccionario

¡otra! – encore!

This last example is the mongrel language English at its best! I have used a French word (encore – literally meaning again) to translate a Spanish word. English certainly is predatory and collects and assimilates useful words wherever it can find them.

So there we have it – the thirtieth most common word in Spanish. Make sure you know it, can recognise it, and can use it!

 

TODO is the twenty-first most common word in the Spanish language.

I always remember a few years back one of my pupils said “to do” instead of TODO. Such is the imprint  and the power of the maternal tongue.

So, happy Spanish language learners, this word, the twenty-first most common word in the Spanish language is TODO not ” to do”. (If you have been following this series of podcasts and posts the word for “to do” is coming up shortly. I know you cannot wait – it is, in fact, high frequency word number 24. I will say no more – hacer is a cracking and confusing two syllable irregular verb).

TODO is a an adjective, a pronoun and is in particular neat verbal constructions.

TODO can mainly be translated into English as all.

In my previous post (the twentieth most common word in the Spanish language LO I talked about the value of reading the dictionary. I will know give an example of that. The next entry to TODO in my dictionary is todopoderoso. The first that all good linguists do is split a word up into its constituent parts – so, here we have TODO poderoso. So the first part means all, and usually, when there is some context around the word, that helps to give the meaning away. If, therefore you came across the following:-

el Todopoderoso está en el cielo – the Allmighty (all-powerful) is in heaven.

Here are some examples of the use of TODO

todo el mundo – all the world i.e. everybody

todo o nada – all or nothing

todos los coches – all the cars

For those on the other side of the pond (I am writing and podcasting this from the UK), the word coche in Spanish Spanish means car. The word “carro” in Spanish Spanish means “cart”. Such are the difficulties presented by the Atlantic divide. Carro thus potentially is a false friend (un amigo falso) depending on where you are in the world.

There we have it. TODO, the twenty first most common word in the Spanish language. One to know – that’s for sure!

Why not pop details of any Spanish false friends you know in the form below. The more the merrier!

To get us started – actual does not mean actual in Spanish, it is current, present day, as in el gobierno actual – the current government.