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Blanco y negro

How do you say “free” in Spanish? Is it “libre” or “gratis”? Today we’ll explore a bunch of new adjectives in Spanish, including the words for “free”, “incredible”, “white”, and “black”.

Full Podcast Episode


Cuando terminemos, será increíble.

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 new adjectives, including our first colors.

To begin with, let’s learn how to say “free”. There are actually two words for this: libre and gratis. Libre means “free” as in “at liberty”. But gratis is used to mean that something is free of charge. Gratis tends to be used with Ser. Here’s an example:

The food here is free.

La comida aquí es gratis.

Meanwhile, libre can be used with either Ser or Estar. When it’s used with Estar, it tends to refer to having free time. For example:

I’m not free until three o’clock.

No estoy libre hasta las tres en punto.

But when libre is used with Ser, it refers to personal liberty, or the freedom to make choices. For example:

At last he was free to do what he wanted.

Por fin era libre de hacer lo que quisiera.

Note the use of de after libre in this context: libre de hacer. Try it yourself in this next example:

Of course, he’s free to do those things.

Por supuesto, es libre de hacer esas cosas.

Note that libre will change to libres for a plural noun, but gratis doesn’t change.

Let’s go ahead and get some practice translating “free” as either libre or gratis. While we do, we’ll also throw in some uses of our new verbs, Seguir and Terminar. Try to predict the Spanish.

I’ll continue being free.

Seguiré siendo libre.

I don’t want them to continue unless it’s free (of charge).

No quiero que sigan a menos que sea gratis.

The food in the city center is free today.

La comida en el centro de la ciudad es gratis hoy.

I haven’t finished, so I’m not free yet.

No he terminado, así que no estoy libre aún.

If you’re free now, we can go and drink free coffee.

Si estás libre ahora, podemos ir y tomar café gratis.

Our next word is tonto, which means “silly”, “foolish”, or “dumb”. For example:

That was a silly story.

Esa fue una historia tonta.

Note that this use of the word “silly” means “foolish” as opposed to “humorous”; if it were a humorous story, it would be una historia graciosa.

Here’s another example of tonto:

How dumb that the food gets here four hours late.

Qué tonto que la comida llegue cuatro horas tarde.

As you can see, this uses the sentence template that we’ve practiced before to express emotion, with qué with an accent at the beginning, then an emotion, then a que phrase with a subjunctive. Previously we’ve used this for phrases like qué bueno and qué extraño. Qué tonto also fits this format.

Another word that fits really well into this format is increíble, which means “incredible” or “amazing”. This is spelled i-n-c-r-e-i-b-l-e, basically like the English word “incredible” without the D, but also the I near the end has an accent mark. Increíble. Here’s an example that uses the sentence template we’ve just been using:

How incredible that he does it without their help!

¡Qué increíble que lo haga sin su ayuda!

Here’s another, much more simple use.

That movie was incredible.

Esa película fue increíble.

Let’s get some practice with tonto and increíble.

In this first example, to say “she is almost done”, you’ll literally say “she almost finishes”.

Don’t be silly(m), she is almost done.

No seas tonto, ya casi termina.

My idea is not dumb.

Mi idea no es tonta.

How incredible that you two are friends!

¡Qué increíble que ustedes dos sean amigos!

These stories are incredible and silly.

Estas historias son increíbles y tontas.

It’s incredible that you are still in the west.

Es increíble que aún estés en el oeste.

How silly that you don’t want to continue!

¡Qué tonto que no quieras seguir!

Now let’s learn the words for “black” and “white”. “White” is blanco. So you might think of a blank piece of paper. Here’s a fun example:

If I were president, I would live in the white house.

Si yo fuera presidente, viviría en la casa blanca.

And then “black” is negro. For example:

I’m going to put on something black.

Voy a ponerme algo negro.

Another easy adjective to learn is especial, which means “special”. It’s spelled just like the English word except with an extra letter E at the beginning, and it’s used basically exactly the same way as the English word “special”, except that it tends to go after nouns. For example:

We threw a special party for his daughter.

Hicimos una fiesta especial para su hija.

Let’s practice blanco, negro, and especial.

Look at that white dog!

¡Mira a ese perro blanco!

You have continued going in your black car.

Has seguido yendo en tu auto negro.

I finished my work in the white house.

Terminé mi trabajo en la casa blanca.

I don’t think those houses are white.

No creo que esas casas sean blancas.

He wants me to continue with the special party.

Quiere que yo siga con la fiesta especial.

Did you see the black things?

¿Viste las cosas negras?

Those black dogs are very special.

Esos perros negros son muy especiales.

He will finish the job and it will be special.

Terminará el trabajo y será especial.

Our last word for today is duro, which means “hard” or “tough”. It can mean this either literally or figuratively, just like the words “hard” and “tough” in English. Here’s a literal example:

I don’t want that food, it’s very tough.

No quiero esa comida, es muy dura.

And then here’s a figurative example that translates best into English as “rough”.

What he told me was very rough.

Lo que me dijo fue muy duro.

Let’s get a nice variety of practice with the word duro.

I don’t want to do those tough things.

No quiero hacer esas cosas duras.

Those problems were tough, but this one is tougher.

Esos problemas eran duros, pero este es más duro.

We always finish our job, even if it’s hard.

Siempre terminamos nuestro trabajo, aunque sea duro.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/168. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

If I finish today, it will be special.

Si termino hoy, será especial.

She will continue being free.

Seguirá siendo libre.

She’s been following him because he is special.

Lo ha estado siguiendo porque él es especial.

We continue working with the white car.

Seguimos trabajando con el auto blanco.

I don’t want the group to finish, I want them to continue.

No quiero que el grupo termine, quiero que ellos sigan.

I didn’t tell them my age online, I’m not dumb(f).

No les dije mi edad en línea, no soy tonta.

They continue in front of the house and it’s tough.

Siguen al frente de la casa y es duro.

I continue going north, but it’s silly.

Sigo yendo hacia el norte, pero es tonto.

You didn’t finish, so you have to go back to the queue.

No terminaste, así que tienes que volver a la fila.

She wants me to finish so that we continue talking.

Quiere que yo termine para que sigamos hablando.

When you finish, the position will be yours.

Cuando termines, el puesto será tuyo.

When we finish, it will be incredible.

Cuando terminemos, será increíble.

Keep going until you get to the white house in the corner.

Sigue hasta que llegues a la casa blanca en la esquina.

(Formal) Keep working and you’ll be free soon.

Siga trabajando y estará libre pronto.

Are you still working? Finish now!

¿Sigues trabajando? ¡Termina ahora!

This is special because it was free.

Esto es especial porque fue gratis.

It’s not silly if you want to finish now.

No es tonto si quieres terminar ahora.

We finished and now we’re free, it’s incredible.

Terminamos y ahora estamos libres, es increíble.

The work is hard, but incredible.

El trabajo es duro, pero increíble.

The black phone is free.

El teléfono negro es gratis.

Keep going until you see the black car around the corner.

Sigue hasta que veas el auto negro a la vuelta de la esquina.

The white dog and I continued being friends.

El perro blanco y yo seguimos siendo amigos.

I’ll go to the south and you’ll go to the east.

Yo iré al sur y tú irás al este.

The black car isn’t free, I know that’s tough.

El auto negro no es gratis, sé que eso es duro.

Don’t finish that line! She already finished it.

¡No termines esa línea! Ella ya la terminó.

I want you (formal) to continue talking.

Quiero que usted siga hablando.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/168.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn some new nouns for people, including the words for “girlfriend”, “uncle”, and “grandparents”.

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.

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