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Ayuda, camino, pregunta

Let’s learn some abstract nouns in Spanish, including the words for “question”, “help”, and “opportunity”.

Full Podcast Episode


How about a chance to make some questions in Spanish.

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 a few easy abstract nouns, and we’ll use them to continue practicing the verb Decir and our new adverbs that describe time.

Let’s begin with the word ayuda, which means “help”. Here’s a simple sentence example:

I want the help of a friend.

Quiero la ayuda de un amigo.

See if you can predict the Spanish of this one, using a formal voice:

Thanks for your(formal) help!

¡Gracias por su ayuda!

Our next word is the word for “opportunity”, and it’s oportunidad. Note that this word sounds a whole lot like the English word, but with the stress on dad at the end; this is actually true of a lot of abstract nouns in Spanish, and this is the most common one.

Here’s an example:

She meant to do it, but she didn’t have the opportunity.

Quiso hacerlo, pero no tuvo la oportunidad.

The word oportunidad is also sometimes translated as “chance”, specifically when “chance” means the same thing as “opportunity” (not when it means anything related to random chance, which is a totally different meaning). In those cases, you often use the preposition de after oportunidad, followed by an infinitive. Here’s an example.

Did he have a chance to do that?

¿Tuvo la oportunidad de hacer eso?

Let’s practice oportunidad and ayuda, as well as several of our conjugations of Decir and our new time-related adverbs.

It’s late, but I want his help.

Es tarde, pero quiero su ayuda.

Yesterday we had the chance to go.

Ayer tuvimos la oportunidad de ir.

We say that he still has the opportunity.

Decimos que todavía tiene la oportunidad.

You have to tell me if you want the help of my friend.

Tienes que decirme si quieres la ayuda de mi amigo.

Our next word is camino, which means “way”, specifically when you’re describing a path or route from one place to another. Here’s a simple example:

I don’t know the way to that place.

No sé el camino a ese lugar.

This can also be used idiomatically to describe the things that you might encounter “on” the way to somewhere, or to mention that something is in your way. Here is an easy example:

No, you’re in my way.

No, estás en mi camino.

To describe doing something “on the way”, you typically say de camino, literally “of way”. For example:

I did something else on the way.

Hice algo más de camino.

Our next word is manera, which is used to describe the “manner” or “way” that something is done. For example:

What was her manner of saying that?

¿Cuál fue su manera de decir eso?

Now, in English, we rarely talk about someone’s “manner” of doing something; we typically just talk about their “way” of doing it. And we already learned that the typical way of translating “way” like this is forma rather than manera. This can lead to some confusion in our quizzing. So what we’ll do for now is in our quizzing, we’ll use “manner” to mean manera, even in situations where in English we would normally use “way”. For example:

I don’t like your manner of doing that.

No I like tu manera de hacer eso.

No me gusta tu manera de hacer eso.

Let’s practice manera and camino, along with Decir and our time adverbs.

I want him to tell us if this is the path.

Quiero que nos diga si este es el camino.

We have been on this path beforehand.

Hemos estado en este camino antes.

You can’t go along that path in that manner.

No puedes ir por ese camino de esa manera.

I have to tell you that I don’t have the manner to do it yet.

Tengo que decirte que aún no tengo la manera de hacerlo.

Next, let’s learn some nouns that tend to be used along with the verb Hacer. And the first one is a bit of a surprise — the word pregunta, which means “question”. Here’s a sentence example:

Afterwards, I asked her a question.

Después, le hice una pregunta.

So what this sentence literally means is “I made her a question”. In Spanish, questions aren’t “asked”, they’re “made”. Here’s another example:

I want to ask a question.

Quiero hacer una pregunta.

Our next word is caso, which most simply means “case”. Here’s a sentence template that uses our conditional forms of verbs:

In that case, they wouldn’t be here.

En ese caso, no estarían aquí.

In that case, we would do something else.

En ese caso, haríamos otra cosa.

But this word is very often used in an idiom that involves Hacer to mean “pay attention” or “obey”. Here’s a sentence example:

You have to obey your parents.

Les tienes que hacer caso a tus padres.

OK, that’s a bit of a mouthful! In simple terms, the idiom is hacerle caso a alguien, which literally means “make case to someone”. But it’s a common way to say “obey” or “pay attention”. Here’s another example:

He didn’t pay attention to me.

No me hizo caso.

So this is literally “he didn’t make me case”, but “making case” to someone is how you pay attention to them in Spanish.

Here’s one more example, and this one uses a redundant indirect object. See if you can predict the Spanish.

I want to obey the mister.

Le quiero hacer caso al señor.

Let’s practice caso and pregunta.

You have to obey your parents today.

Les tienes que hacer caso a tus padres hoy.

In that case, I want to ask you a question.

En ese caso, quiero hacerte una pregunta.

He says I don’t pay him attention while he talks.

Dice que no le hago caso mientras he talks.

Dice que no le hago caso mientras habla.

I told him I had a question.

Le dije que tenía una pregunta.

I’m going to ask you a question afterwards.

Te voy a hacer una pregunta después.

He wants us to tell them to pay attention to him.

Quiere que les digamos que le hagan caso.

In that case, we have to be there before that day.

En ese caso, tenemos que estar ahí antes de ese día.

Our last word is vuelta, spelled v-u-e-l-t-a. Vuelta. This word is very frequently used, and it roughly means “turn” or “return”, but it’s hard to translate into English because it’s used very idiomatically. One of the most common ways to use it is to say something about “taking a walk”. In Spanish, you don’t “take a walk”; you instead “give a turn”. So here’s a sentence example:

In a moment we’ll take a walk.

En un momento we’ll give una vuelta.

En un momento daremos una vuelta.

Next week we’ll learn the verb for “give”, so you’ll be able to say things like this entirely in Spanish; for now, just remember to use the term “give” instead of “take”. Here’s another example:

He’s not at home, he’s taking a walk.

No está en casa, está giving una vuelta.

No está en casa, está dando una vuelta.

But there’s an even more common way to use this word — in the idiom de vuelta, literally “of turn”. This often means “again”. For example:

Seriously, you’re going to do it again?

¿En serio lo vas a hacer de vuelta?

Now hold on, we’ve already learned that to say “again” we can say otra vez, literally “another time”. But this phrase, de vuelta, is almost as common.

And it gets worse — Spanish actually has a multitude of very common ways to say “again”. Another one is de nuevo, literally “of new”. It’s kind of related to the antiquated English phrase “anew”. For example:

I want to do this anew.

Quiero hacer esto de nuevo.

Now of course, nobody says “anew” anymore in English. But just to make our quizzing easier, for today I’ll try to make it clear which of these three to choose, even though they’re all normally translated as “again” in English. For today’s quiz, if I say “another time”, you’ll choose otra vez; if I say “again”, choose de vuelta; and if I say “anew”, choose de nuevo.

Let’s try this.

We can take a walk anew.

Podemos give una vuelta de nuevo.

Podemos dar una vuelta de nuevo.

I want you to tell it to me again after the party.

Quiero que me lo digas de vuelta después de la fiesta.

We’ll do it another time later.

Lo haremos otra vez luego.

I’m telling you that tomorrow we’ll do it anew.

Te digo que mañana lo haremos de nuevo.

I’m not going to tell it to you again.

No te lo diré de vuelta.

Before we go on to today’s final quiz, let’s learn just one more idiom using one of yesterday’s words. We just learned that entonces can mean “then” as an adverb. A common pairing of words is para entonces to mean “by then”. For example:

Yes, I’ll be there by then.

Sí, estaré ahí para entonces.

Try it yourself with this sentence:

By that time she will have gone there.

Para entonces habrá ido ahí.

Let’s practice this, and everything else that we learned today, using our final quiz.

She told me that I had to pay her attention.

Me dijo que le tenía que hacer caso.

I was telling you that I had that chance.

Te decía que tuve esa oportunidad.

By then I am going to have to say it.

Para entonces lo voy a tener que decir.

Tell him that he has to pay attention to me!

¡Dile que me tiene que hacer caso!

We said we were going to do it in that manner.

Dijimos que lo íbamos a hacer de esa manera.

Tell me if you want my help.

Dime si quieres mi ayuda.

Take a walk around the street!

¡Give una vuelta por the street!

¡Da una vuelta por la calle!

We want your help with this case.

Queremos tu ayuda con este caso.

By then, she will have said it anew.

Para entonces, lo habrá dicho de nuevo.

If that’s your question, then we’re not going to do it.

Si esa es tu pregunta, entonces no lo vamos a hacer.

We have to find another manner of doing it.

Tenemos que encontrar otra manera de hacerlo.

Did you have the chance to ask him the question?

¿Tuviste la oportunidad de hacerle la pregunta?

I don’t want them to tell it to me again.

No quiero que me lo digan de vuelta.

They say that she took a walk.

Dicen que she gave una vuelta.

Dicen que dio una vuelta.

What do you want me to tell him? Tell him that!

¿Qué quieres que le diga? ¡Dile eso!

I’m telling you that she is present again.

Te estoy diciendo que ella está de vuelta.

I was saying that by then it would be late.

Decía que para entonces sería tarde.

You have to tell him the truth or she will tell him it.

Tienes que decirle la verdad o ella se la dirá.

Are you saying this isn’t the way to the party?

¿Dices que este no es el camino a la fiesta?

In that case, what you said wasn’t right.

En ese caso, lo que dijiste no estuvo bien.

They said they went along that path again.

Dijeron que fueron por ese camino de vuelta.

We don’t have to do it anew.

No tenemos que hacerlo de nuevo.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/84, or tune in tomorrow for this week’s final quiz.

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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