Tag Archives: Online Spanish tuition


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!

LO is the twentieth most common word in the Spanish language.

Grammatically this word is very versatile. It is described in the dictionary as a definite article, and a personal pronoun.

Whilst the dictionary has many different meanings for this flimsy one syllable word, I will keep the meanings here to the more straight forward definitions. It can be variously translated as him, or you, or what with lots of other subtle shades of meaning that only a good read of the dictionary can reveal.

Read the dictionary! I hear you cry. Well, yes. One of the best ways to really get to grips with language learning is to read the dictionary. How sad, I hear you cry again. Well no. It is not sad ! Serious language learners do it regularly – it is a most useful practice for it opens the pathways of the minds to all sorts of possibilities, and almost subconciously, new phrases and shades of meaning seep into the mental recesses, only to pop out at the most unexpected times.

Here are a few examples of the use of LO

Lo mejor de aprender un idioma es ….. the best thing about learning a language is….

Lo que más me gusta es …. what I like the most is……

Lo conozco – I know him (or you depending on context).

To sum up, then. LO is the twentieth most common word in the Spanish language. A useful to know – there is no doubt about it!

Language and language laerning is a very personal thing. What techniques, tips do you use to remember vocabulary or phrases? Why not fill in your tip below.


IR is the twenty-ninth most common word in the Spanish language.

And, oh boy, this irregular verb is a “biggy”. It is a must know, a no brainer a simple got to know …I think you get the gist!

This little, seemingly innocuous, one syllable word which hardly bothers the eye and flips off the tongue in the battering of an eyelid (caution! – metaphor mixing) is an essential building block and step in the Spanish language learning process.

IR, with a pleasant little trill on the end of the verb (or rolling r), a sound which is not easy for the maternal tongue English speaker (with perhaps the exception of the Scots), means “to go”.

This little monosyllable certainly packs some linguistic punch. My Collins English-Spanish dictionary has a whole maze of meanings and subtleties attached to it. Again, this is where reading the dictionary can again come into its own (click on the tag below, reading the dictionary for other posts where I have talked about this particular topic).

But, to cut to the chase, and to keep it simple, the basic meaning of IR is “to go”.

Key parts of the verb are:

VOY – I go / I am going

IBA – I used to go / I was going

FUI – I went

HE IDO – I have gone

I have deliberately only used the first person ( I ) in the different key tenses. Note that each part of the verb does not bear any real resemblance to the infinitive IR. And, come to that, notice how the English is also, apparently,  “all over the place”. (go, went, gone) – but that is another story for another website / blog. If however, you would like to follow this up, I would suggest that is a very good place to start.

Here are a couple of examples of the use of IR and its various parts.

Voy a ir a España – I am going to go to Spain.

Fui a Argentina – I went to Argentina

He ido a Francia – I have been to France

Iba a Bolivia – I used to go to Bolivia.

Well there it is – the muscly, mighty, powerful one syllable with the trill, IR. It is the twenty ninth most common word in Spanish.

For those competitive types amongst you, I am offering a free half an hour online Spanish lesson for the first person to respond to the question below. ¡Vamos!

Este is the twenty eighth most common word in the Spanish language.

Este is a demonstrable adjective. It is the masculine form. Esta is the feminine form (note no accent on the a.) Está, with an accent, means “is”.

Este means this i.e. this when the thing being referred to is close to the speaker. Este contrasts with ese (that i.e when the thing being referred to is a little further way from the speaker). Spanish also the word aquel (and its various parts) which means that, “over there” i.e. a lot further away.

Este is also a masculine noun. It means east.

Here are two examples of the use of este

Este chico es inteligente – This boy is intelligent

Barcelona está en el este de España – Barcelona is in the east of Spain.

Et voilà, este meaning this or east is the twenty eighth most common word in the Spanish language.


DECIR is the twenty-seventh most common word in the Spanish language.

This two-syllable irregular verb is, like its predecessor at number 26 in the top one hundred Spanish words, HACER, an absolute must-learn. It could be argued that this word is like a cornerstone of your language learning. It is a sturdy buttress to the foundations of your language learning that will ensure a solid base. Again, as a top language learning tip, ensure that you know this absolute blockbuster (apologies in advance for mixing my building metaphors.

DECIR means to say or to tell.

DECIR is an irregular verb which has a dozen or so different shades of meaning according to my trusty Collins English-Spanish dictionary.

It is important for language learners to know the key parts of the verb and in the post I am going to set out what I consider to be the essential parts of this verb. I am deliberately concentrating on the “I” form (known grammatically as the first person).

1. Digo – I say or I am saying / I tell or I am telling

2. Dije – I said or I told

3. Diré – I will say or I will tell

These do not follow any pattern or formulaic rules (I think that might be why I am slightly attracted to them!)

Here are some quick examples of use of this essential key verb.

¡Digo la verdad, DECIR es un verbo importante! – I am telling the truth, DECIR is an important verb.

Dije que no lo conozco – I said that I do not know him.

There it is then the twenty-seventh most common word in the Spanish language. Know it and know it well!


PODER is the twenty sixth most common word in the Spanish language.

This really is a powerful word (sorry for those in the know the pun was intended). A real “must know”, a “sine qua non”; knowing this word, an irregular verb, is the real meat and drink of language learning.

Perhaps you can sense my fervour for this word through the prose, or my voice if you are listening to the podcast of this post. Once you start getting to grips with irregular verbs such as PODER and all its irregular parts in the different tenses, then you are beginning to make real progress.

As a top learning tip, I would make sure that you know all of the first persons (the I form) of this verb in all its various tenses and various irregular forms. If you need to help on then, then why not head over to, a fantastic website that can help you out with all sorts of verb related bits and pieces.

PODER then is an irregular verb and, according to my dictionary, (the Collins English-Spanish dictionary) has some 15 or so shades of meaning. The best translation is “to can” (I know that “to can” sounds strange to English ears but it is the best way to remember it) or the more formal “to be able”.

PODER is also a noun. El poder (a masculine noun) means power.

So. let’s cut to the chase and look at straight forward use of this noun and verb.

No puedo venir – I cannot come (puedo is the first person singular present tense)

And now as a noun

el pueblo al poder – power to the people

Well that just about wraps up this post on the twenty sixth most frequent word in the Spanish language. PODER is very powerful and will give real power to your language learning elbow if you become intimate and up and personal with it! 


25 done – 75 to go!

This is also a bit of a milestone in this series of posts and podcasts – one quarter of a century completed, and three quarters of a century to go. The reference to a century is prompted by my love of cricket. For the initiated, you will know what I am talking about. For the unitiated, don’t worry!

Producing these podcasts and writing the posts is, I suppose, a lot like like learning a language. Lots of baby footsteps, consisitently completed over a series of time. Slowly, but surely, building onwards and upwards. As I am sure a Chinese philosopher once said – each journey starts with one step. Each of these high frequency words in Spanish is just a simple baby step. One, after one, after one. But learning a language is not a race, but something to be savoured and enjoyed over time. Indeed, it is an ongoing task – perhaps the task of a whole life time to really become imbued with the subtleties and human frivolity of language.

And, life is full of surprises, some big, some little. Here is one that has just happened. I use the iPad app Wordfoto to produce the, erm, word photos at the beginning of each post. The one I have just created can be read as “or” on the background but also “oro”. And, of course, “oro” means gold in Spanish. ¡Qué suerte! (what luck).

…and now, back to the script!

O is the twenty fifth most common word in the Spanish Language.

What a lovely rounded word! This is really a one syllable cracker of a word. Short, simple and to the point and entirely appropriate its meaning, and, come to that, its purpose in life.

O is a conjunction.

means “or”. It can also be an abbreviation for “west” (oeste in Spanish).

O can be used in exactly the same way as in English.

Here are some examples of its use:-

Tiene 7 o 8 años – he is 7 or eight years old.

There it is then – short post entirely befitting a short word – o the twenty fifth most common word in the Spanish language.

hacer - to do, to make

 HACER is the twenty-fourth most common word in the Spanish Language.

And, oh boy, this two-syllable irregular verb and all of its parts is an absolute must learn for all students of the Spanish language. There is no way of getting around this one – my best advice is to know it and know it well. The dictionary will reveal all of the delights and shades in meaning of this ubiquitous two syllable verb.

A quick count in my dictionary gives well over thirty possibilities of translation of HACER. My aim, though, in these posts is to give a simple overview of the most frequent words in the Spanish language and their meanings and usage and not to compete with the dictionaries (who can anyway?). My favourite dictionary is the Collins English-Spanish dictionary. I have both the hard bound book version and the app on the iPad. Both are superb, but I am now a real fan of the iPad app because it is so quick and easy to use.

HACER, then, in simple terms is best translated into English as “to do” or “to make”.

¿Qué haces? – what are you doing / making?

I am going to leave you with just this one example today.

My best advice and, as a top language learning tip, is to become very aware of this particular verb and note down its various uses as and when you come across it. Its irregularity can be seen as a problem – to me its irregularity and lack of pattern is part of its charm and stems from the bashing about it has received from human tongues (and minds come to that).

So, HACER is the twenty-fourth most common word in the Spanish language. It is a verb which will repay getting to know intimately.



Más is the twenty-third most common word in the Spanish Language.

Más is a comparative adverb and helps form the comparative (e.g. bigger in English) and the superlative (the biggest). In essence, the word can be translated as “more” in English.

Mas without the accent on the a is a conjunction and means “but”. The use of mas tends to be more literary. Pero is the more common word for but (see Spanish high frequency word number 22 – pero the twenty second most common word in the Spanish language).

You may well ask, what is all this about with and without an accent. Well, I would not worry too much. Increasingly, the Spaniards themselves are becoming relaxed about the use of accents – but the grammar pendants (and, on occasion, I have been known to be a bit of a grammar pedant myself) would still prefer for accents to be used (especially when the accent changes the meaning of a word) accurately and appropriately.

Here are some examples of the use of más

España es más barata que Inglaterra – Spain is cheaper than England (literally more cheap)

Juan es más grande que Roberto. – Juan is taller than Roberto (literally more tall)

Juan es más inteligente que Juanita – Juan is more intelligent than Juanita.

There we are – mas (but) without the accent and más (more) with the accent – the twenty third most common word in the Spanish language.

Do you have any thoughts about the use of accents in Spanish? Why not comment below?


Pero is the twenty-second most common word in the Spanish language.

Pero is a conjunction and a noun.

Pero means “but” and can also mean, as a noun, a snag or a defect.

But, by far and away, the most common use of pero is but.

But, pero should not be confused with perro. For those with sharp eyes (the ones reading this post) and sharp ears (the ones listening to this podcast), you can see and hear the difference. To Spanish ears pero means “but” and perro means “dog”. The trilled r, as it is known, a sound which is alien to most English native tongue speakers makes the difference. Not that there is really much chance of confusing the two, but it is a nice linguistic point.

Below is an example of the use of the word pero.

Me gusta el perro, pero es un poco grande – I like the dog but it is a bit big.

So the twenty-second most common word in the Spanish language is a tale of non trilled R’s. Having just written that I am now seeing possibilities playing with Toys R us, but I am going to resist it.

Pero, then, is a two syllable conjunction, that, quite simply put, all serious learners of the Spanish language have to know.

As a native English speaker, or come to that, non Spanish native speaker, how do you produce the trilled r sound. Why give share your top language tip on the contact form below?