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Andar, Part 1

Let’s start learning Andar, a very tricky Spanish verb with lots of different meanings. We’ll learn the present-tense conjugations and all the most common uses, and we’ll practice in a variety of sentence contexts.

Full Podcast Episode


¿Cómo andas?

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to start working on the verb Andar, which is a very idiomatic verb with a bunch of different meanings.

In the dictionary, the first definition that you’ll see is “to walk”. So for example:

I want to walk more; I sit a lot.

Quiero andar más, me siento mucho.

But you’ll just as often see it being used to mean something that clearly isn’t walking. For example:

I always go by train to work.

Siempre ando en tren al trabajo.

So here, the person is going by train, not walking with their feet. Andar is often followed by en and then a mode of transportation that isn’t walking. In these contexts, the verb Andar is used basically as a synonym for Ir, but we often choose Andar when we’re emphasizing what mode of transport we’re using. Here’s another example:

Most of my family goes by car, but I ride the train.

La mayor parte de mi familia anda en coche, pero yo ando en tren.

Andar without en after it often means that you’re walking by foot, but if we want to be very specific that that’s what we mean, we need the word for “foot”, which is pie, spelled like the English word “pie”. Pie. Here’s how you’d use it.

I walk by foot when I can.

Ando a pie cuando puedo.

Notice that we say a pie. Most of the other forms of transportation are en, such as en tren or en auto. But being “afoot”, when you’re walking, is a pie. Incidentally, you’ll also use the word pie when you want to describe someone as standing, although in that case you’ll use de pie. So for example:

She was sitting but now she’s standing.

Estaba sentada pero ahora está de pie.

Let’s get some practice with these uses of Andar and pie. For now we’ll stick with Andar’s present tense and unconjugated forms.

We walk a lot in the army.

Andamos mucho en el ejército.

They go by car whenever they can.

Andan en auto cuando pueden.

I walk by foot and I carry a lot of bags.

Ando a pie y llevo muchas bolsas.

Anyone can go by train.

Cualquiera puede andar en tren.

He has been walking by foot for three hours.

Ha estado andando a pie por tres horas.

She goes by train, but you go by car.

Ella anda en tren, pero tú andas en auto.

You are walking toward that place so that you can eat meat.

Estás andando hacia ese lugar para que puedas comer carne.

So as you’ve probably gathered by now, Andar is basically a synonym for Ir in many cases. To make it even more complicated, it’s also very often a synonym for Estar. Here’s a very common example:

How are you doing?

¿Cómo andas?

This seems very strange to English speakers, but it’s idiomatic in Spanish. Think of Andar as basically the act of going along, whether going along on a journey or just going along in life. Asking “how are you getting along?” is natural in Spanish.

And actually, you can use Andar in pretty much any way that you could use Estar, although it feels a little bit different. Here’s another example:

María is with Juan.

María anda con Juan.

So the specific sense here is not just that she’s next to him at a particular moment, but rather that they’re currently doing things together, or maybe that they’re dating.

But all of this makes our quizzing pretty difficult, because how are you going to know to translate “go” as Ir versus Andar? And how will you know to translate “to be” as Estar versus Andar? In real life, there’s often no way to know; in many cases, either option would work. But in our quizzing, what I’ll do is I’ll generally translate Andar as “to go along” or “to get along”, even though that’s not literally what it means.

Let’s go ahead and practice this now with a quiz.

We go along together.

Andamos juntos.

They both can go along by train.

Ambos pueden andar en tren.

She has gotten along fine with her new lifestyle.

Ha andado bien con su nuevo estilo de vida.

Are you going along with your friends?

¿Andas con tus amigos?

They get along fine, but I’m not getting along fine.

Ellos andan bien, pero yo no ando bien.

How is she getting along? Does she like her new sword?

¿Cómo anda? ¿Le gusta su nueva espada?

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/201. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

The rest of the people don’t have the letter.

Las demás personas no tienen la carta.

Every person has to get along fine.

Toda persona tiene que andar bien.

We go by car and we’ll be there soon.

Andamos en auto y estaremos ahí pronto.

We have gotten along fine.

Hemos andado bien.

The government gave me this paper.

El gobierno me dio este papel.

You walk by foot and I ride the train.

Andas a pie y yo ando en tren.

The camera doesn’t have that style.

La cámara no tiene ese estilo.

You’re in it for the money, so you have to walk.

Estás en ello por el dinero, así que tienes que andar.

I don’t know anything about it, I have only gone by train.

No sé nada de ello, solo he andado en tren.

Both women have cards and they are walking by foot.

Ambas mujeres tienen tarjetas y están andando a pie.

How is he getting along? Has he seen everyone else?

¿Cómo anda? ¿Ha visto a los demás?

We’re walking to the hospital to give her a gift.

Andamos al hospital para darle un regalo.

I came to eat and they are getting on fine.

Vine a comer y ellos andan bien.

I go along to the school, but I want company.

Ando a la escuela, pero quiero compañía.

Have you seen my phone? You are going along with it (the phone).

¿Has visto mi teléfono? Andas con él.

They walk 2 hours every day.

Andan dos horas todos los días.

How are things getting along?

¿Cómo andan las cosas?

He never goes by car.

Nunca anda en auto.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/201.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll cover the rest of the conjugations of this complicated verb.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Michael Agudelo. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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