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Tag Archives: top 100 most common words in Spanish

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.

ir

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 verbix.com 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

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 www.verbix.com, 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! 

o

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.