Copyright © 2018-2020 Spectrum Monkey |  monkey@spectrummonkey.com



 BLOG ZONE
¡EMPECEMOS!
 02 AUG 2018 | WELCOME | POST #1
 1 MIN | by Spectrum Monkey

Welcome to the Spectrum Monkey Blog Zone. Let's begin our journey!

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PROGRESS UPDATE
 06 AUG 2018 | SITE UPDATE | POST #2
 2 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

A short progress report of site development to date.

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LEARN YOUR ABCs
 08 AUG 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #3
 20 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Pronunciation - Let's not run before we can "talk".

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ACCENTS AND ACCENTS
 14 AUG 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #4
 10 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Following on from our ABCs. Why accents are important, both kinds!

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ADJECTIVES QUIZ
 17 AUG 2018 | LEARNING TOOL | POST #5
 3 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

How to get the most from the Adjectives Quiz.

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DECONSTRUCTING 10
SPANISH PHRASES

 23 AUG 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #6
 15 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Let's looks at 10 simple Spanish phrases and really understand their sentence construction.

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NUMBERS, TIMES, DATES & GENDER AGREEMENT
 28 AUG 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #7
 20 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Exploring different types of numbers in Spanish and how they are affected by gender agreement.

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DAYS AND MONTHS CONTINUED
 30 AUG 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #8
 20 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Continuing on from the previous post. Let's expand our vocabulary beyond just numbers.

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ASKING QUESTIONS
 05 SEP 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #9
 10 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Examining how questions are formed in Spanish, using statement phrases and question words.

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SALUTATIONS
 14 SEP 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #10
 15 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Exploring common ways to say Hello and Goodbye in various situation.

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ADVERBS
 24 SEP 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #11
 7 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Introducing more concepts of Spanish grammar.

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THE RAIN IN SPAIN STAYS MAINLY ON THE PLANE
 27 SEP 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #12
 10 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

¡El tiempo! - Looking at different ways to describe the weather.

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5 SPANISH WORDS THAT DON'T EXIST IN ENGLISH
 3 OCT 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #13
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Let’s look at five different words that have no direct English translation and see what we can learn.

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NOUNS
 10 OCT 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #14
 12 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

A beginner's guide to nouns, and why we have gender agreement.

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ARTICLES
 15 OCT 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #15
 8 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Following our recent lesson on Nouns. Let's explore the articles that accompany them.

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ANTONYMS: BECAUSE OPPOSITES ATTRACT!
 17 OCT 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #16
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Learning words with their opposites in pairs.

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AN INTRODUCTION TO VERBS
 30 OCT 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #17
 12 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Scratching the surface of "doing" words.

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VERB PARADIGMS AND PATTERNS
 08 NOV 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #18
 20 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Continuing to explore verb forms. Learning by patterns.

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DIMINUTIVES
 13 NOV 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #19
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Words that are not only reserved for small cute things.

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AY, HAY, AHÍ OR ALLÍ?
 19 NOV 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #20
 4 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Demystifying some common words that are phonetically similar.

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MORE PAST TENSES AND AUXILIARY VERBS
 29 NOV 2018 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #21
 15 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Learning more verb tenses, and how to use the auxiliary verb haber.

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MOODS AND MORE SIMPLE FORM VERB TENSES
 10 DEC 2018 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #22
 15 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Expressing commands, ideas, feelings and opinions with the subjunctive and imperative tenses.

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¡FELIZ NAVIDAD A TODOS!
 17 DEC 2018 | BEGINNER | POST #23
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Seasons greetings! A festive look at some Spanish Christmas phrases.

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YET MORE SIMPLE FORM VERB TENSES
 30 DEC 2018 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #24
 10 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Finishing our look at simple form verb tenses: The conditional and imperfect subjunctive.

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IRREGULAR VERBS
 10 JAN 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #25
 15 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Let's talk about verbs that don't follow the rules.

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SPANISH OMELETTE | TORTILLA DE PATATAS
 15 JAN 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #26
 10 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Indulging our inner foodie with this Spanish classic.

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5 CANARIAN WORDS
 19 JAN 2019 | BEGINNER | POST #27
 3 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Five interesting yet completely different Spanish words that originate from the Canary Islands.

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AN INTRODUCTION TO PRONOUNS
 22 JAN 2019 | BEGINNER | POST #28
 15 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Taking our first look at one of the most fiddly aspects of Spanish grammar.

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VERB CONJUGATION TOOL
 24 JAN 2019 | LEARNING TOOL | POST #29
 1 MIN | by Spectrum Monkey

Introducing the Spectrum Monkey verb conjugation tool.

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¿SER O ESTAR?
 31 JAN 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #30
 12 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

“To be, or not to be, what is the difference?”

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NI
 08 FEB 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #31
 3 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Exploring a tiny little word that deserves a proper explanation.

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EL DÍA DE SAN VALENTÍN
 12 FEB 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #32
 10 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Dissecting six “romantic” phrases in time for St. Valentine’s Day.

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RELATIVE PRONOUNS
 19 FEB 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #33
 15 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Continuing our look at fiddly Spanish grammar with relative pronouns.

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CONJUNCTIONS
 26 FEB 2019 | BEGINNER | POST #34
 8 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

A brief look at linking words with some interesting alternative forms.

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SPANISH FITNESS AND EXERCISE CLASSES
 07 MAR 2019 | BEGINNER | POST #35
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

How keeping fit in groups can improve our Spanish.

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OBJECT PRONOUNS


 14 MAR 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #36
 20 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Furthering our look at Spanish pronouns with direct and indirect object pronouns.

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Today we’re going to look at, what is in my opinion, one of the most difficult aspects of Spanish grammar: object pronouns. So, without further ado, let’s see if we can make this somewhat tricky subject seem a little more manageable.

There are two types of object pronoun: direct object and indirect object.

Before we look at each type in more detail. Let’s briefly explain what direct and indirect objects are in relation to a sentence construction.

Previously, we have learnt that the subject of a sentence is the person or thing that is doing something.

By contrast: the object of a sentence is the person or thing being acted upon by the subject.

So, the subject is the person or thing doing something, and the object is having the said thing done to it.

As mentioned, there are two types of object: Direct and indirect.

Direct objects are the things that the subject acts upon. Whereas indirect objects are the recipients of the action.

Let’s look at an example construction in English:

David gave the book to María

In this sentence, David is the subject as he is doing the action of giving. The book is the direct object as it is being given (and thus being acted upon), and María is the indirect object as she is the recipient.

By using pronouns, we can replace all the nouns in the sentence:

He gave it to her

So far so good, right?

Let’s look at in a little more detail direct and indirect object pronouns found within Spanish, so we can begin to see how to use them in combination with verbs.

Direct Object Pronouns
Returning to the six-form paradigm that verbs and subject pronouns observe. We may also group object pronouns accordingly:

Direct object pronouns
Singular Plural
1st Person me (me) nos (us)
2nd Person te (you) os (you all)
3rd Person lo, la (it, him, her, you formal) los, las (them, you all formal)

Notice that in the third-person, we have masculine and feminine versions of the pronoun, which of course, must agree with the object.

Let’s see some example constructions where we will replace the direct object with a suitable pronoun.

Original statement Meaning Using pronouns Meaning
David tiene el mapa David has the map David lo tiene David has it
Compraremos seis cervezas We will buy six beers Las compraremos We will buy them
María mira a David María looks at David María lo mira María looks at him
¡Llama a David y María! Call David and María ¡Llámalos! Call them!

It’s worth noting at this point: When referring to direct objects in the 1st or 2nd person. We almost always use pronouns. For instance, we can make statements like “He’s calling you and I tomorrow”, but that is a strange construction, when we’d normally use an object pronoun: “He’s calling us tomorrow”.

In English, direct object pronoun placement is fairly straightforward, as we simply swap out the noun for the appropriate pronoun. So “David has the keys” becomes “David has them

In Spanish though, we have to work a little harder. The use of object pronouns usually require us to rearrange the word order a little. Typically meaning the pronoun precedes the verb. So, “David tiene las llaves” becomes “David las tiene”.

However, in cases where two verbs are used together, we have two options on pronoun placement. The pronoun may precede the first verb, or alternatively be appended to the end of the second verb when it is a gerund or an infinitive.

The only instance where the pronoun MUST be appended to the end of a verb is when we are using an affirmative imperative conjugation or the infinitive as a command.

Let’s see some examples of direct object pronoun placement:

Spanish English
¿La llamó David? Did David call her?
David quiere llámarte David wants to call you
David te quiere llamar David wants to call you
David lo está llamando Dave is calling him
David está llamándolo Dave is calling him
¡Llámame! Call me!

Furthermore, for many newcomers to Spanish, realising that words like “lo”, “la”, “los” and “las” can function to mean “he”, “she”, “it” or “them” and not just “the” can take a bit of getting used to. Confusing pronouns with articles can cause us all sorts of problems until we get used to seeing object pronouns in combination with verbs.

Some verbs require a direct object and others not. Verbs that do require a direct object are called transitive verbs.

Examples of transitive verbs are: dar (to give), comprar (to buy), llamar (to call) and so on.

For instance, if you said: “Compré” (I bought). Whilst it makes a very basic sentence, it doesn’t really feel complete, and begs the question “Compraste qué?” (you bought what?). Once we add a direct object, it feels more complete. Thus: “Las compré” (I bought them).

Indirect Object Pronouns

As we have mentioned already: an indirect object is considered the recipient of the action. Therefore, when we see sentences containing constructions like “to him”, “for them”, “to you”, “for us” and so on, we should be thinking of indirect objects.

We've already seen how we can use direct object pronouns to replace direct object nouns in a sentence. However, with indirect object pronouns we have to think a little differently.

Before we see why, let's take a look at the indirect object pronouns found in Spanish. As usual, grouping them into the six-form paradigm.

Indirect object pronouns
Singular Plural
1st Person me (to/for me) nos (to/for us)
2nd Person te (to/for you) os (to/for you all)
3rd Person le (to/for it, him, her, you formal) les (to/for them, you all formal)

The first thing we should notice about indirect object pronouns is that they are very similar in form to direct object pronouns. The forms in the first and second persons are exactly the same. Only the third-person forms differ in “le” and “les”; making all indirect object pronoun forms gender common.

Now, let’s consider the following sentence:

“David gave the flowers to María

We can see that the indirect object is María, as she is the recipient of the action of giving flowers. In English, we can replace the indirect object noun with a pronoun, giving us:

“David gave the flowers to her

Now let’s see the original statement again, but in Spanish.

“David le dio las flores a María (David gave the flowers to María)

From our table of pronouns, we know we should be able to replace our indirect object “María” with “le”.

However, we can see that “le” already appears in this sentence. So, we appear to have an indirect object appearing twice in the same sentence. Why?

To be grammatically correct, Spanish makes use of redundant object pronouns to indicate whom we are referring to. This is different to English, where we must either use a pronouns or the specific noun; but never both.

So in Spanish, even when you have clearly identified the person by name (in this case María), you must still use an indirect object pronoun.

If we remove the reference to María, we are left with:
“David le dio las flores" (David gave the flowers to her)

However, “David dio las flores a María” is NOT correct. We still must use a redundant object pronoun, even though María is named.

Let's see some more examples of constructions using indirect object pronouns, so we can understand how indirect objects should appear in Spanish:

Spanish Meaning
David le escribió a María David wrote to María
Les compramos un regalo a los niños We bought the kids a gift
Él me compró flores para mí He bought flowers for me
Dame algo de comer Give me something to eat
David nos muestra su coche a nosotros David shows us his car
David nos muestra su coche David shows us his car
¿Por qué no les hablas? Why don't you speak to them

Rule of thumb: If there is an indirect object in the sentence, then there should be an indirect object pronoun.

The inclusion of prepositional phrases like “a María” or “para mí” are there for emphasis or clarification, thus can be optional. Remember, in Spanish it is allowed and often necessary to have both the pronoun and the named indirect object in the same sentence.

The placement of indirect object pronouns follow a similar rule to direct ones. Whereby they usually precede the verb or can be appended to the end of compound verb constructions using a gerund or an infinitive. However, we will look at pronoun placement in more detail shortly and see how direct and indirect objects pronouns function together.

Using direct and indirect object pronouns together
We’ve already seen how both direct and indirect object pronouns can either sit directly in front of a verb or how they get appended to the end of an infinitive or compound construction using a gerund. But what happens if we have both a direct and an indirect object pronoun together?

To answer this, let’s look at a very simple construction which allows us the chance to replace all the objects with pronouns:

“David me dio las flores a mí” (David gave me the flowers)

Let’s remove the optional prepositional phrase (a mí), and replace the flowers with a direct object pronoun:

“David me las dio” (David gave them to me)

The indirect object pronoun always appears before the direct object pronoun. This is also true when the pronouns get appended to the end of the verb; the indirect object always appears first.

To illustrate this better, lets see a few variations on the above construction, so we can see how the pronouns get placed.

Spanish Meaning
David me las dio David gave them to me
¿Me las estás dando? Are you giving them to me?
¿Estás dándomelas? Are you giving them to me?
¿Me las puedes dar? Can you give them to me?
¿Puedes dármelas? Can you give them to me?
¡Dámelas! Give them to me!

One additional yet extremely important rule we need to be aware of when dealing with object pronouns is as follows:

If both direct and indirect object pronouns appear together and both begin with the letter L. Then we must change the indirect pronoun from either “le” or “les” to become “se”.

This means, it is never correct to see constructions with “le las”, “les lo” or any other combination of pronouns both beginning with L.

Let’s see some examples:

Incorrect  Correct  Meaning
Le lo he dado a ella Se lo he dado a ella I've given it to her
Les lo quiero decir Se lo quiero decir I want to tell them it
Quiero decírleslo Quiero decírselo I want to tell them it
¡Dáleslo a ellos! ¡Dáselo a ellos! Give it to them!

Conclusion | En conclusión
I’m sure you’ll agree, we’ve covered an enormous amount of ground today, in what I personally consider to be one of the hardest areas of the Spanish language.

In the interest of keeping things as straightforward as possible, we’ve omitted to mention situations where direct objects and indirect objects seemingly get used in error, also known as leísmo. But that’s a subject for another day!

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REFLEXIVE VERBS
 20 MAR 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #37
 10 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Actions where we act upon ourselves

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¿POR O PARA?
 26 MAR 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #38
 15 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Explaining two easily confused prepositions.

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YA
 30 MAR 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #39
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

A word every newcomer should know "already".

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O SEA
 03 APR 2019 | BEGINNER | POST #40
 2 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

An expression not only reserved for young people.

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THE FUTURE SUBJUNCTIVE TENSE
 05 APR 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #41
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Ideas for the future that have been left in the past.

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THE PERSONAL “A”
 09 APR 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #42
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Explaining a very Spanish preposition.

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COMPOUND VERB TENSES
 18 APR 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #43
 10 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Describing actions completed and on-going.

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THE PASSIVE VOICE
 26 APR 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #44
 8 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Focusing on the action rather than the subject.

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NEGATIVES
 29 APR 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #45
 7 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Learning how to form negative sentences.

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SPANISH CAFÉ CULTURE
 09 MAY 2019 | BEGINNER | POST #46
 10 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Beyond just ordering a coffee.

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¿ESTE O ESTO?
 12 MAY 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #47
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Is it really this one?

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“ACABAR DE...”
 21 MAY 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #48
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

How to express having just done something.

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FILLER WORDS | MULETILLAS
 25 MAY 2019 | BEGINNER | POST #49
 9 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Muletillas: words that offer us a little support through conversations.

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“AL + INFINITIVE” CONSTRUCTIONS
 05 JUN 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #50
 4 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

An alternative way to describe when things are occurring.

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HABER
 13 JUN 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #51
 7 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Expressing existence.

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FALSE FRIENDS
 23 JUN 2019 | BEGINNER | POST #52
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Words that aren't what they seem.

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5 TIPS THAT WILL IMPROVE YOUR SPANISH
 01 JUL 2019 | BEGINNER | POST #53
 9 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Some simple tips that will help us remain on the right path.

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ADJECTIVES: PART 1
 10 JUL 2019 | BEGINNER | POST #54
 12 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Taking a closer look at describing words.

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ADJECTIVES: PART 2
 18 JUL 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #55
 17 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Continuing our look at describing words.

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DO YOU LIKE IT OR DOES IT PLEASE YOU?
 23 JUL 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #56
 8 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Demystifying so-called back to front verbs.

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SORRY / FORGIVE ME / EXCUSE ME
 26 JUL 2019 | BEGINNER | POST #57
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Looking at different ways to apologise in Spanish.

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WHEN TO USE ARTICLES
 10 AUG 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #58
 8 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Mastering when to include or omit articles in Spanish.

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“POR LO…” EXPRESSIONS
 11 AUG 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #59
 8 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Dissecting six useful constructions that use por and lo.

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5 IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS USING DAR
 22 AUG 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #60
 7 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Continuing our look at some more idiomatic expressions.

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WHAT
 26 AUG 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #61
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Distinguishing between the different ways to express what in Spanish.

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WHEN TO USE THE PERFECT TENSE
 03 SEP 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #62
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Describing recently completed actions.

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SWEARING IN SPANISH
 07 SEP 2019 | BEGINNER | NSFW | POST #63
 7 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

How to curse using a few choice Spanish words.

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COGNATES
 14 SEP 2019 | BEGINNER | POST #64
 8 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Words that are the same or similar in both English and Spanish.

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THE PRESENT PROGRESSIVE TENSE
 25 SEP 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #65
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Describing on-going actions that are happening right now.

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VERBS OF CHANGE
 07 OCT 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #66
 12 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Looking at different ways to express becoming.

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5 WAYS TO USE “ACUERDO”
 15 OCT 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #67
 10 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Exploring different ways to use an essential word based around agreement.

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DECONSTRUCTING 5
SPANISH PROVERBS

 18 OCT 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #68
 7 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Comparing a few wise words across both English and Spanish.

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PORQUE, POR QUÉ, PORQUÉ O POR QUE
 25 OCT 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #69
 6 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Four similar constructions with somewhat different meanings.

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WHEN SÍ DOESN'T MEAN YES
 05 NOV 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #70
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Explaining a meaning of sí that can go unnoticed by “itself”

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5 DIFFERENT WAYS TO EXPRESS “LET'S”
 13 NOV 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #71
 6 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Allowing ourselves and making suggestions.

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“A PARTIR DE”
 22 NOV 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #72
 4 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Beginning to expand our knowledge of idiomatic phrases.

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“ECHAR DE MENOS”
 30 NOV 2019 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #73
 4 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

How to say "I miss you" in Spanish.

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“MUY, PERO QUE MUY”
 11 DEC 2019 | BEGINNER | POST #74
 3 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Emphasising and intensifying a statement.

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“PERO BUENO”
 18 DEC 2019 | BEGINNER | POST #75
 2 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Expressing incredulity, surprise and acceptance.

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PREPOSITIONS
 26 DEC 2019 | BEGINNER | POST #76
 20 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

How people or things relate to others.

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ARROBA
 29 DEC 2019 | BEGINNER | POST #77
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Using @ (the at symbol).

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QUEDAR
 09 JAN 2020 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #78
 8 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Expanding our knowledge of this essential Spanish verb.

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TENER QUE / HABER DE
 13 JAN 2020 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #79
 3 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Alternative ways of expressing obligation or need.

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SPANISH IDIOMS AND PROVERBS
 25 JAN 2020 | BEGINNER | POST #80
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Learning a few catchy phrases that are almost identical across both English and Spanish.

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“ME DA” + NOUN VS
“ME PONE” + ADJECTIVE

 30 JAN 2020 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #81
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Two different constructions that help us describe how we feel.

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3 SPANISH NOUNS WITH AMBIGUOUS GENDER
 12 FEB 2020 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #82
 5 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Nouns that can be both male and female.

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5 SIMPLE PHRASES STARTING WITH "EN..."
 19 FEB 2020 | INTERMEDIATE | POST #83
 7 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Expanding our knowledge with these useful phrases.

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¿TRANQUILO O TRANQUILA?"
 20 FEB 2020 | BEGINNER | POST #84
 3 MINS | by Spectrum Monkey

Two commonly used interjections that offer reassurance.

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