Spanish connecting words can be tricky, but we’ll get lots of practice with them in today’s episode! Let’s work on the words aunque, cual, pues, mientras, and several others, and quiz them in lots of spoken practice.
Yo diré que sabemos mucho.
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 learn the last few pronouns and conjunctions that we need for fluency. Our first pronoun is a bit of a technicality, because it’s kind of a word you already know — the word mucho, which means “much” or “a lot”.
The thing is, we’ve officially learned this as an adjective to describe a noun, in situations like this one:
We know many things.
Sabemos muchas cosas.
But it can also be used by itself, without a noun, to represent “a lot” of anything. For example:
I’m very well. I have a lot!
Estoy muy bien. ¡Tengo mucho!
In fact, you can even use this word to refer to a lot of people. For example:
Many say that there’s nothing there.
Muchos dicen que no hay nada ahí.
In fact, this word is very much like todo; remember that a lot of the time, todo means “everything”, but todos means “everybody”. Similarly, mucho by itself often refers to “a lot” of some sort of stuff, but muchos typically refers to a lot of people.
These pronouns, mucho and muchos, can also be feminine when it’s clear that you’re referring to a feminine noun. For example:
Where are those people? Many are at the party.
¿Dónde están esas personas? Muchas están en la fiesta.
Let’s practice using this.
I won’t give it to you because you have a lot.
No te lo daré porque tienes mucho.
Look at those people! There are a lot here!
¡Look at esa gente! ¡Hay mucha aquí!
¡Mira a esa gente! ¡Hay mucha aquí!
I already have one, but you have to give me many.
Ya tengo uno, pero tienes que darme muchos.
Do you want one empanada(f)? We have many.
¿Quieres una empanada? Tenemos muchas.
Now, speaking of pronouns that can be singular or plural, compare these two sentences:
Who was at the party?
¿Quién estaba en la fiesta?
Who(plural) was at the party?
¿Quiénes estaban en la fiesta?
So these two Spanish sentences are different. In the first case, when we asked “who” using the word quién, we were only asking for one person. But in the second case, we’re asking for an answer that involves multiple people. So we used quiénes, which is spelled q-u-i-e-n-e-s, with an accent mark over the first E. Quiénes. This is not a word that we have in English, because we always just say “who”, but in Spanish, you’ll specifically use quiénes when you expect the answer to include multiple people.
Here’s another, more complex example, where “who” is plural:
Who(plural) are these things for?
¿Para quiénes son estas cosas?
Let’s practice this.
Who are they and why do you have to give it to them?
¿Quiénes son ellos y por qué se lo tienes que dar?
Who (plural) are you making this for?
¿Para quiénes estás haciendo esto?
Whose are these things?
¿De quiénes son estas cosas?
Our last pronoun is similar. Check out this example:
What are your reasons for doing that?
¿Cuáles son tus razones para hacer eso?
So we’ve taken our word for “which”, which is cuál, and we’ve made it plural: ¿cuáles?
See if you can predict this next one:
What were their names?
¿Cuáles eran sus nombres?
What were their stories?
¿Cuáles fueron sus historias?
Next we’re going to learn a handful of connecting words, and the first few will be somewhat familiar. Check out this example:
I gave it to the girl that said that.
Se lo di a la chica que dijo eso.
Now we’re going to change this slightly. Instead of “the girl that said that”, we’re going to say “the girl who said that”. Check out what happens to the Spanish.
I gave it to the girl who said that.
Se lo di a la chica quien dijo eso.
So this is the word, quien, but without an accent mark. It’s not being used in a question; instead, we’re using it as what we technically call a relative pronoun. It functions as a connector, very much like the word que.
See if you can predict the next one:
It was my brother who went to that place.
Fue mi hermano quien fue a ese lugar.
Now in general, when you use a connector, even for a person, you’ll usually say que rather than quien. Just watch for some cases where we connect two phrases with “who” rather than “that”, and you’ll know to predict quien.
We’re especially going to use quien when a preposition goes with it. For example:
It’s my friend(f), for whom I did that.
Es mi amiga, para quien hice eso.
See if you can work out how to say this one (you’ll have to move the preposition to before quien):
It was the same man who the little boy was with.
Era el mismo hombre con quien estaba el niño.
Another new connector that works a lot like this is cual, which is a lot like the word that we’ve learned to ask “which”, but it’s spelled without an accent mark. So it’s just c-u-a-l. You’d use this in sentences like this:
I was at her house, which was very big.
Estaba en su casa, la cual era muy grande.
Hmm. You might have expected this to just be estaba en su casa, cual era muy grande. But in Spanish, when you use “which” as a connector, it doesn’t tend to work like that; you’ll actually typically use an article right before it, matching the gender and number of the thing that you’re describing. Here’s another example that’s also a bit surprising:
I went with her mother, which was a very nice person.
Fui con su madre, la cual era una persona muy buena.
This sentence is very strange to English speakers; we rarely use the word “which” to talk about people. But it happens a bit more frequently in Spanish than it does in English. See if you can predict this next one.
I was with the gentleman, which was a very nice man.
Yo estaba con el señor, el cual era un hombre muy bueno.
This word, cual, can also be plural. For example:
They were in many places, which were very safe.
Estaban en muchos lugares, los cuales eran muy seguros.
Let’s practice using quien, cual, and cuales as connecting words.
The first example here is a bit confusing in Spanish, because we’re talking about giving something to someone, even though it’s someone else’s. At the end, to say “which is his”, you could theoretically say la cual es suya, but to make it clear that you’re saying it belongs to him and not to her, we go more specific and say la cual es de él.
We are giving her this thing, which is his.
Le damos esta cosa, la cual es de él.
He is the person who I was with.
Él es la persona con quien yo estaba.
You aren’t giving him the book(m), which is on top of the table.
No le das the book, el cual está sobre the table.
No le das el libro, el cual está sobre la mesa.
She was the girl who told me.
Ella fue la chica quien me dijo.
You have to have these things, which are very big.
Tienes que tener estas cosas, las cuales son muy grandes.
These are the gentlemen, which I had mentioned.
Estos son los señores, los cuales había mentioned.
Estos son los señores, los cuales había mencionado.
There’s another way that these words are commonly used. Check out this sentence:
The house to which we went was very safe.
La casa a la cual fuimos era muy segura.
So this sentence example is a lot like one that we learned earlier, where we used a preposition before el que or la que. For example:
That is the reason for which we left.
Esa es la razón por la que nos fuimos.
This same sentence can also be translated like this:
That is the reason for which we left.
Esa es la razón por la cual nos fuimos.
In general, when you hear the word “which”, and it’s not being used in a question, you can expect it to be this version of cual with an article right before it.
Let’s get some more practice with this.
This is the house from which we left.
Esta es la casa de la cual nos fuimos.
We gave him a phone(m) with which he called us.
Le dimos a phone con el cual nos he called.
Le dimos un teléfono con el cual nos llamó.
These are the people for which we do it.
Estas son las personas para las cuales lo hacemos.
Here’s a very tricky one.
I have three kids, two of which I’m giving more things to.
Tengo tres hijos, a dos de los cuales les estoy dando más cosas.
We have just a few more conjunctions to learn and practice. We’ll start with the word pues, spelled p-u-e-s. This word roughly means “for”, when “for” is used in a slightly formal context as a connector. As an example:
I don’t want it, for I already have one.
No lo quiero, pues ya tengo uno.
This use of “for” as a connector sounds super formal in English, but pues is used a bit more often in Spanish than this. In fact, in addition to meaning “for”, it can also mean something a lot like entonces. Check out this example:
Are you unwell? Then go home.
¿Estás mal? Pues ve a casa.
In cases like this, pues is basically a synonym for entonces. This can lead to some difficulties in predicting the Spanish from the English. So in general, in our quizzing, when you hear the word “then” in logical statements like this, you can expect entonces. We’ll specifically use pues to mean “for”. Here’s another example; try to predict the Spanish yourself.
I am very happy, for I now have a house.
Estoy muy feliz, pues ya tengo una casa.
Our next word is mientras, which means “while”. We’ve already learned this word to mean “meanwhile” as an adverb; here’s an example of that version of the word:
Meanwhile, I don’t know what to do.
Mientras, no sé qué hacer.
But mientras can also be used as a connector, and in such cases it’s considered a conjunction. For example:
I’ll be here while you do that.
Estaré aquí mientras haces eso.
Try to predict the Spanish for this one:
She went home while I was at the party.
Ella fue a casa mientras yo estaba en la fiesta.
The word mientras sometimes also gets a subjunctive after it, and in such cases it can be translated as “as long as”. For example:
As long as they’re here, I’m not going to leave.
Mientras estén aquí, no me iré.
Our next conjunction is aunque, which means “although”, “even though”, or “even if”.
For English speakers, this word is kind of difficult to spell and to pronounce, but it’s basically like a combination of the adverb aún and the conjunction que. So it’s spelled a-u-n-q-u-e. Aunque.
Here’s an example:
I’m leaving even though nobody else is leaving.
Me voy aunque nadie más se va.
So by default, this word means “even though” or “although”. Typically, after you say “even though” or “although”, you describe something that you know is or isn’t true. Here’s another example.
Although she isn’t my friend, she was there.
Aunque ella no es mi amiga, ella estaba ahí.
But this word can also mean “even if”, where you’re describing something that may or may not be the case. Check out this example:
I’ll be at the party even if she isn’t there.
Estaré en la fiesta aunque ella no esté ahí.
So in this case, we don’t know if she will or won’t be at the party; we aren’t saying “even though she won’t be there”, we’re saying “even if she isn’t there”. In these cases, we use a subjunctive after aunque. Here’s another example:
He’ll never be happy, even if he has it all.
Nunca estará feliz, aunque lo tenga todo.
Let’s practice aunque, mientras, and pues.
Even though you don’t want to do it, you have to do it.
Aunque no quieres hacerlo, tienes que hacerlo.
I’m here, for we are friends.
Estoy aquí, pues somos amigos.
I gave him something while we were doing that.
Le di algo mientras hacíamos eso.
We can go for a walk, even if it’s raining.
Podemos dar una vuelta aunque esté raining.
Podemos dar una vuelta aunque esté lloviendo.
Today I’m not happy for we are going home.
Hoy no estoy feliz pues vamos a casa.
You have to give him the house, even though he already has one.
Tienes que darle la casa, aunque ya tiene una.
Before we go on to today’s final quiz, let’s learn one more thing we can do with conjunctions, specifically with the little connecting words y and o. Check out this sentence:
I want to go home and do that.
Quiero ir a casa y hacer eso.
So the word quiero is being used to apply to both ir a casa and hacer eso. We’ve used the conjunction y to list both of the things that the speaker wants to do.
But what if we wanted to switch these around to say “I want to do that and go home?” We would end up with something like quiero hacer eso y ir a casa. If you say this at a natural speed, the word y simply disappears: quiero hacer eso (y)ir a casa. So in Spanish, something actually changes. Check this out:
Quiero hacer eso e ir a casa.
So the word y has changed to e, spelled simply as the letter E. E. This is the exact same word as y, but it is spelled and pronounced differently specifically when it’s used right before a word that starts with the “i” sound. Here’s another example:
Yes, and I was going to do that.
Sí, e iba a hacer eso.
Something similar also happens with o, our word for “or”. Check out this example:
I’ll have either this thing or another thing.
Tendré o esta cosa u otra cosa.
So by default, you might expect this to be o otra cosa, but when o occurs right before a word that starts with O, it changes to u.
Let’s practice with a few examples.
Juan and Isabel are going home.
Juan e Isabel van a casa.
Is it time to leave or time to do something else?
¿Es hora de irse u hora de hacer algo más?
Father and son did it without her.
Padre e hijo lo hicieron sin ella.
I’m giving him a house or another thing.
Le doy una casa u otra cosa.
Remember that you can dive deeper into any of this at LCSPodcast.com/88. Or if you feel ready, let’s get some more practice with all these new pronouns and conjunctions using today’s final quiz.
Which are the best things that she has given you?
¿Cuáles son las mejores cosas que te ha dado?
We have two kids, which are good.
Tenemos dos hijos, los cuales son buenos.
We were watching TV while you were eating.
Estábamos watching TV mientras tú were eating.
Estábamos viendo tv mientras tú comías.
It was a good day, even though he didn’t give me what I wanted.
Fue un buen día, aunque no me dio lo que quería.
Who are the ones that were at your party?
¿Quiénes son los que estaban en tu fiesta?
I want Andrés or Omar to give you that.
Quiero que Andrés u Omar te den eso.
They gave me a cup of tea for we were at their house.
Me dieron a cup de tea, pues estábamos en su casa.
Me dieron una taza de té, pues estábamos en su casa.
I don’t want him to give you his things back.
No quiero que te dé sus cosas de vuelta.
Give some of those things!
¡Da unas de esas cosas!
He is giving it to his sister, for he has to leave.
Se lo da a su hermana, pues se tiene que ir.
Do you have a book(m)? He will give you many.
¿Tienes un book? Él te dará muchos.
¿Tienes un libro? Él te dará muchos.
Mother and daughter give something to the family.
Madre e hija le dan algo a la familia.
I want you to give them what you always give them.
Quiero que les des lo que siempre les das.
He went there and was going to go home too.
Fue ahí e iba a ir a casa también.
Give me the name of the person who was with you.
Dame el nombre de la persona quien estaba contigo.
We have one opportunity, but he wants us to give him many.
Tenemos una oportunidad, pero él quiere que le demos muchas.
The person who I was with is going to give you the thing.
La persona con quien yo estaba va a darte la cosa.
We have many things, which aren’t good.
Tenemos muchas cosas, las cuales no son buenas.
I know you have a lot of time, but I don’t have much.
Sé que tienes mucho tiempo, pero yo no tengo mucho.
Which stories do you want? It’s all the same to me.
¿Cuáles historias quieres? Me da lo mismo.
He wants me to give him that thing, which was not big.
Quiere que yo le dé esa cosa, la cual no era grande.
You gave me work or opportunity, but not both.
Me diste trabajo u oportunidad, pero no los dos.
Give him the chance, even though he doesn’t want it.
Dale la oportunidad, aunque no la quiere.
Who are those girls?
¿Quiénes son esas chicas?
Many say that it is not good to exercise while you eat.
Muchos dicen que no es bueno to exercise mientras you eat.
Muchos dicen que no es bueno hacer ejercicio mientras comes.
That person, which was with you, didn’t mean to go.
Esa persona, la cual estaba contigo, no quiso ir.
For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/88
In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn the words for some body parts, such as “heart”, “mind”, and “hands”.
This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Ximena Lama-Rondón. 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.