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Calle, pueblo, ciudad, mundo

Let’s learn Spanish nouns for locations, including the words for “street”, “town”, “city”, and “world”.

Full Podcast Episode


¡Todo el mundo quiere que estés ahí!

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 keep practicing Deber and our location adverbs from yesterday, and we’ll also learn some new location nouns, such as the words for “city”, “street”, and “world”.

Let’s begin with the word for “country”, which is the masculine noun país, spelled p-a-i-s but with an accent on the I. País. (This word specifically means “country” as in which country you’re from, not the countryside.)

For example:

No, he’s in another country.

No, está en otro país.

The word for “city” is ciudad, spelled c-i-u-d-a-d. Ciudad. This is a feminine noun, so for example:

Are they still in the city?

¿Todavía están en la ciudad?

You would use the word ciudad for a large or small city, or maybe for a large town, but for a smaller town you’ll use the word pueblo. You might particularly use this word to talk about someone’s hometown. So for example:

I haven’t been in my hometown in a while.

No he estado en mi pueblo en un tiempo.

The word pueblo can also refer to “people”, but specifically in the sense of a group of people with a common background or identity — typically people from the same region or from the same ethnicity. For example:

I want to be with my people.

Quiero estar con mi pueblo.

Let’s practice the terms país, ciudad, and pueblo.

This town is in the middle of the country.

Este pueblo está en el medio del país.

You should have been[deber imperfect] in the biggest city of that country.

Debías estar en la ciudad más grande de ese país.

The people of Venezuela want to be more safe.

El pueblo de Venezuela quiere ser más seguro.

I must be inside the city and not underneath.

Debo estar dentro de la ciudad y no abajo.

Now let’s learn the names of a couple of places in a city that you might talk about. The word for “hospital” is hospital, spelled exactly like the English word. This is a masculine noun. For example:

Luckily she isn’t in the hospital anymore.

Por suerte ya no está en el hospital.

Notice that we kept the word el before “hospital”; in some English dialects we might say “in hospital”, but in Spanish you’ll typically keep the article. In general, in Spanish, institutions, such as church, government, or school, keep an article before them.

Let’s go ahead and look at one of the Spanish words for “school”, which is escuela, spelled e-s-c-u-e-l-a. When you talk about being “in school” or “at school”, you typically say en la escuela, not en escuela. For example:

No, she can’t talk, she’s at school today.

No, no puede hablar, está en la escuela hoy.

And then the word for “hotel” is hotel, spelled just like the English word. This one is masculine. For example:

We spent three nights in a hotel outside the city.

Pasamos tres noches en un hotel fuera de la ciudad.

Let’s practice hospital, escuela, and hotel.

You should be at the hospital and not in a hotel.

Deberías estar en el hospital y no en un hotel.

That place is outside the school.

Ese lugar está fuera de la escuela.

The hospital and the school are in the same city.

El hospital y la escuela están en la misma ciudad.

I had[deber imperfect] to be at the hotel on time.

Debía estar en el hotel a tiempo.

Now let’s zoom in a little and look at some of the pieces that make up a city or town or building. The word for “street” is calle, and the word for “door” is puerta. These are both feminine nouns. For example:

We were going along the street and saw a big door.

Estábamos yendo por la calle y vimos una puerta grande.

Incidentally, a common term for “the back door” is actually la puerta de atrás, using one of our adverbs from yesterday. For example:

We passed through the back door.

Pasamos por la puerta de atrás.

And then the word cuarto means “room”, typically referring to a place someone might sleep, such as a bedroom or a guest’s room in a hotel. Here’s an example:

He’s in his room.

Está en su cuarto.

Let’s practice calle, puerta, and cuarto.

You have to go to the end of the street and you’ll see the door.

Tienes que ir al final de la calle y verás la puerta.

We should be in our rooms.

Deberíamos estar en nuestros cuartos.

My room’s door is big.

La puerta de mi cuarto es grande.

No, it’s not in front, you should go to the back door.

No, no está adelante, deberías ir a la puerta de atrás.

Maybe she must go to the street.

Quizás deba ir a la calle.

Our next two words are words that you already know: parte, which roughly means “part”, and lado, which normally means “side”. The thing is, these words behave in an interesting way when you put an indefinite adjective before one of them. For example, check out this sentence:

Debe estar en otra parte.

So this is literally “it must be in another part”, but what we’re likely referring to is actually “another place”. Now let’s try something similar with a different indefinite adjective, cualquier.

You can go to any place.

Puedes ir a cualquier lado.

So literally “you can go to any side”, but lado tends to mean “place” when used with an indefinite adjective. And actually, a phrase like this, cualquier lado or cualquier parte, is often how the word “anywhere” is translated into Spanish. Try it yourself with this next one, using parte:

He can go anywhere.

Puede ir a cualquier parte.

Let’s practice this. In these first two examples, we’ll use parte.

She should have[deber preterite] gone anywhere.

Debió ir a cualquier parte.

Not over there; anywhere.

No allá, en cualquier parte.

In these next two, we’ll use lado.

We should have[deber preterite] gone anywhere.

Debimos ir a cualquier lado.

It can be anywhere, even outside.

Puede estar en cualquier lado, hasta afuera.

We have just two more nouns to learn. The word for “world” is mundo. For example:

This is the best place in the world!

¡Este es el mejor lugar del mundo!

Notice that we said del mundo rather than en el mundo, literally “the best place of the world”. This is actually something that happens a lot in Spanish, using de where in English we use “on” or “in”. That’s because whenever we single one thing out among a group, we use de, not en. Here’s another example:

He is the biggest on the team.

Él es el más grande del equipo.

The word mundo is used in a very common idiom, todo el mundo, which is a common way to say “everybody”. And sure, it literally seems to mean “all the world”, but you’ll use it to refer to “everybody” any time you’re trying to make it clear you’re referencing an entire group. For example:

Everybody wants you to be there!

¡Todo el mundo quiere que estés ahí!

Notice that we said quiere rather than quieren because this takes the singular.

Our last word is sort of a synonym for mundo: it’s tierra, which means “earth”. Just like in English, in Spanish, the words “world” and “earth” mean similar things, but they’re used in slightly different ways. In general in our quizzing, you can expect “world” to translate as mundo and “earth” to translate as tierra. For example:

She wants everything on earth to be hers.

Quiere que todo en la tierra sea suyo.

Let’s practice mundo and tierra.

Everyone over there is happy.

Todo el mundo allá está feliz.

You must be nice(f) with the earth.

Debes ser buena con la tierra.

The world is really big.

El mundo es muy grande.

The world has had to(deber participle) be better.

El mundo ha debido ser mejor.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/109. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

Maybe we must not be in the street.

Quizás no debamos estar en la calle.

Everybody will have to(Deber) go to the back door.

Todo el mundo deberá ir a la puerta de atrás.

We must be in the city that month.

Debemos estar en la ciudad ese mes.

I shouldn’t have(Deber preterite) gone backwards.

No debí ir hacia atrás.

I should be in my room and not in another place.

Debería estar en mi cuarto y no en otro lado.

Maybe you must go to another place.

Quizás debas ir a otra parte.

It might be that she mustn’t leave the country.

Puede que no deba irse del país.

They must have(Deber preterite) been with their people.

Debieron estar con su pueblo.

They should be at the school right now.

Deberían estar en la escuela ahora.

She had to(Deber imperfect) go over there.

Debía ir para allá.

The door to the hospital must be near.

La puerta del hospital debe estar cerca.

They must come over here, to this town.

Deben venir para acá, a este pueblo.

You should have(Deber preterite) been there, far from the world.

Debiste estar ahí, lejos del mundo.

You’ll have to(Deber) do that to the earth.

Deberás hacerle eso a la tierra.

My friend should go there.

Mi amigo debería ir allí.

We should have(Deber imperfect) gone behind the hotel.

Debíamos ir atrás del hotel.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/109, or tune in tomorrow for a big quiz to practice everything we’ve learned this week.

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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