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Color, tamaño, posición

Let’s learn several new abstract nouns in Spanish, including the words for “color”, “size”, “position”, and “example”. We’ll get lots of spoken practice with these common nouns in real sentence contexts.

Full Podcast Episode


No tengo ganas de pelear.

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 of our essential abstract nouns for fluency. We’re going to focus on words for parts, amounts, or aspects of things, such as “color”, “size”, and “position”, as well as words that will help us convey information in abstract ways, including the words for “example” and “doubt”.

To begin with, let’s revisit the word estado, which we already know as the participle of Estar. For example, “I have been here” is he estado aquí. But the word estado can also be a noun that means “state”, as in a condition that someone or something might be in. So for example:

What was the state of the room when you left?

¿Cuál era el estado de la habitación cuando te fuiste?

Notice that we use cuál, literally “which”, even though what we’re asking about is a description of something. Try it yourself in this next example:

What is the state of her health?

¿Cuál es el estado de su salud?

So we use the word estado when we’re talking about the state of being of someone or something. It can relate to their location or to how they feel, but not to essential aspects of what they are. The noun for that is ser, which is the noun for “being”. So now we have noun versions of both Ser and Estar, although one is based on the infinitive and one is based on the participle.

Now let’s talk about some of the different aspects or states that something might be in. A state that’s associated with Estar is posición, which means “position”. So for example:

Why did you put it in that position?

¿Por qué lo pusiste en esa posición?

Now, we already learned the word puesto for “position”, and this word, posición, is often a synonym; sometimes either word would work. But you’re more likely to use puesto for something a little more established, such as someone’s job title or the place that they’re permanently posted in their job, whereas posición is more likely to be used for positions of opinion or where something happens to be located temporarily. Here are a couple of examples:

We don't know the position of the enemy.

No sabemos la posición del enemigo.

I don’t know what his position is on that.

No sé cuál es su posición sobre eso.

Next let’s learn two words that refer to qualities of things that are more essential to what they are: Color and size. The word for “color” is color, spelled c-o-l-o-r. Color. And “size” is tamaño, spelled t-a-m-a-ñ-o. Tamaño. So for example:

I don’t know what it’s called, but I know its size and color.

No sé cómo se llama, pero sé su tamaño y color.

Let’s practice estado, posición, color, and tamaño.

They fear his size.

Temen su tamaño.

That isn’t a good color for that size.

Ese no es un buen color para ese tamaño.

He fears that that color is too lively.

Él teme que ese color sea demasiado vivo.

That needs to be in a better position.

Eso tiene que estar en una mejor posición.

I don’t think he fears being in that state.

No creo que él tema estar en ese estado.

His position in the race was five hundred and forty-two.

Su posición en la carrera fue quinientos cuarenta y dos.

This is the state I’m in now: sad.

Este es el estado en el que estoy ahora: triste.

Our next word is mayoría, which means “majority”. For example:

 The majority of our friends don’t agree.

La mayoría de nuestros amigos no están de acuerdo.

Note that la mayoría is basically a synonym for la mayor parte. Sometimes the English word “most” is translated as la mayoría. In our quizzing, we’ll try to make it easy for you by translating “most” as la mayor parte and “the majority” as la mayoría.

Next we have the word pareja, which means “couple”. Here’s an example:

I didn’t realize that they were a couple.

No me di cuenta de que eran pareja.

So this word refers specifically to a “couple”, as in “two people”, rather than the word “couple” as in approximately two. Whenever we say things like “a couple of days ago” or “a couple of boxes” in English, we’ll use par in Spanish. Pareja really refers to a relationship between two people.

It’s also interesting to note that this word can refer to “partner”, as in romantic partner, as opposed to both people. For example:

Sofía was at the party with her partner.

Sofía estuvo en la fiesta con su pareja.

Our next word is base, a feminine noun that means something like “base” or “basis”. This references a foundational aspect of something, either physical or abstract. So for example:

There’s a problem with the base of the house.

Hay un problema con la base de la casa.

His story has very little basis in reality.

Su historia tiene muy poca base en la realidad.

A common idiom using this word is en base a, which means “based on”. So for example:

Based on what he said, I think we should stay.

En base a lo que dijo, creo que deberíamos quedarnos.

Let’s practice mayoría, pareja, and base.

Juan and his partner went to her house together.

Juan y su pareja fueron a su casa juntos.

I’m afraid we don’t have a basis for that.

Me temo que no tenemos base para eso.

The majority of our friends think that you are a couple.

La mayoría de nuestros amigos piensan que ustedes son pareja.

The basis for this is silly, so they shouldn’t be fighting.

La base para esto es tonta, así que no deberían estar peleando.

Six hundred and sixty-one people said it, that’s the majority.

Seiscientas sesenta y una personas lo dijeron, esa es la mayoría.

Next let’s learn some words for things you might hear. The word for “sound” is sonido. So for example:

That was a very strange sound.

Ese fue un sonido muy extraño.

And then the word for “noise” is ruido, spelled r-u-i-d-o. Ruido. For example:

We can’t eat there, there’s too much noise.

No podemos comer allí, hay demasiado ruido.

So just like in English, the difference between sonido and ruido is basically related to how you feel about it. You’re more likely to use sonido when you have a positive or neutral feeling about the sound, but ruido tends to have a negative connotation.

Our next word is conversación, which means “conversation”. So for example:

Yes! We had a lovely conversation at the event.

¡Sí! Tuvimos una bonita conversación en el evento.

Let’s practice conversación, sonido, and ruido.

What’s that sound?

¿Qué es ese sonido?

That thing is making a lot of noise.

Esa cosa está haciendo mucho ruido.

That sound that you hear is their conversation.

Ese sonido que escuchas es su conversación.

Do you fear that the conversation isn’t good?

¿Temes que la conversación no sea buena?

I think you're making too much noise.

Creo que estás haciendo demasiado ruido.

All right, while we’re talking about conversations, let’s cover a few more nouns that relate to communication. First we have the word for “theme” or “topic”, which is tema. This is actually a masculine noun, even though it ends with A, kind of like el problema, el programa, and el sistema. So for example:

This is a very difficult topic.

Este es un tema muy difícil.

Next, the word for “English” is inglés, spelled i-n-g-l-e-s, with an accent mark on the E. Inglés. This is a masculine noun. Here are a couple of examples:

He spoke about that topic in English.

Habló sobre ese tema en inglés.

My mom’s English isn’t the best.

El inglés de mi mamá no es el mejor.

The word for “example” is ejemplo, spelled with a J. And the phrase for “for example”, is por ejemplo, literally “by example”. So for example:

Sometimes I can’t sleep, for example when there’s a lot of noise.

A veces no puedo dormir, por ejemplo cuando hay mucho ruido.

And next we have the word duda, which means something like “doubt”. Let’s start with a simple example:

I was sure yesterday, but now I have doubts.

Ayer estaba segura, pero ahora tengo dudas.

Now, this word, duda, is much more frequent in Spanish than the word “doubt” in English, because it’s expanded to mean uncertainty in general. As a very common example, if someone is explaining something to you, maybe a lesson or some instructions, and then they want to make sure you understand, they might ask:

Is everything clear, or do you have any doubt?

¿Está todo claro o tienes alguna duda?

So this is not idiomatic in English; we’d be much more likely to ask “do you have any questions”. But in situations like this, in Spanish it’s more common to ask to resolve “doubts” rather than questions.

Let’s practice inglés, ejemplo, tema, and duda.

She wants you to shut up about this topic.

Quiere que te calles sobre este tema.

He was speaking in English, so I have doubts.

Estaba hablando en inglés, entonces tengo dudas.

If she shuts up, we can do example number one hundred.

Si se calla, podemos hacer el ejemplo número cien.

Example one hundred and ninety-seven was in English.

El ejemplo ciento noventa y siete estaba en inglés.

I have doubts about this topic, can you give me an example?

Tengo dudas sobre este tema, ¿me puedes dar un ejemplo?

All right, our last few words are kind of miscellaneous, but they’re all pretty common and quite handy. Let’s start with the word ganas, which means something like “desire” or “willingness”. This is a feminine noun, and it’s almost always used as a plural noun, ganas. Here’s a typical example of how ganas is used.

He wanted to eat there, but I didn’t feel like it.

Él quería comer allí, pero yo no tenía ganas.

So in general, “feeling like” something, or having a particular hankering or eagerness to do it, is very often translated as tener ganas in Spanish. Try it yourself with this one:

Do you feel like going to the party with me?

¿Tienes ganas de ir a la fiesta conmigo?

Our next word is red, spelled r-e-d. This is a feminine noun, and it means “net” or “network”, in a variety of ways. Here are a couple of different uses.

I don’t have a network signal.

No tengo señal de red.

She has a very large network of friends.

Ella tiene una red muy grande de amigos.

Our next word is política, which can mean either “politics” or “policy”. For example:

This goes against our policy.

Esto va en contra de nuestra política.

Stop talking about politics.

Deja de hablar de política.

Note that in English we pretty much always make the word “politics” plural, but in Spanish it’s typically just política.

Our last word is a strange one: The word embargo. This word literally means “embargo”, as in a legal or political seizure of property, but that’s not the use you’re going to hear every day. Instead, you’re going to hear it in the idiom sin embargo, literally “without embargo”, which means “however” or “nevertheless”. For example:

My dog is crazy. However, I love him a lot.

Mi perro está loco. Sin embargo, lo amo mucho.

Let’s practice ganas, red, política, and sin embargo.

I don’t feel like talking about politics.

No tengo ganas de hablar de política.

(Formal) Shut up! You don’t know anything about this network.

¡Cállese! No sabe nada sobre esta red.

I like it; however, I can’t have it.

Me gusta, sin embargo, no puedo tenerlo.

He doesn’t feel like talking, so he wants me to shut up.

No tiene ganas de hablar, así que quiere que me calle.

Ten percent of our network feels the company is missing something.

El diez por ciento de nuestra red siente que a la compañía le falta algo.

This is our policy; however, we don’t have to do it if everyone doesn’t agree.

Esta es nuestra política, sin embargo, no tenemos que hacerlo si todos no están de acuerdo.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/214. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

His partner has been in that state for a while.

Su pareja ha estado en ese estado por un tiempo.

Hundreds of people were in that conversation.

Cientos de personas estaban en esa conversación.

The sound that you’re hearing is not noise, it’s music.

El sonido que escuchas no es ruido, es música.

I feel like we’ve talked about this topic eight hundred and fifty-nine times.

Siento que hemos hablado de este tema ochocientas cincuenta y nueve veces.

Based on what we know, do you think nine hundred and eighty-eight is enough?

En base a lo que sabemos, ¿crees que novecientos ochenta y ocho son suficientes?

She doesn’t want to talk about that topic with her partner.

No quiere hablar sobre ese tema con su pareja.

I can’t shut up about politics.

No puedo callarme sobre política.

This afternoon I had doubts about that network.

Esta tarde tuve dudas sobre esa red.

The majority of the seven hundred and twenty-three people had doubts.

La mayoría de las setecientas veintitrés personas tenían dudas.

I fear that politics can be a lot of noise.

Temo que la política pueda ser mucho ruido.

Three things are missing to have four hundred and fourteen.

Faltan tres cosas para tener cuatrocientas catorce.

I know English isn’t easy, but you shouldn’t fear speaking it.

Sé que el inglés no es fácil, pero no deberías temer hablarlo.

I don’t like this color for the base of the house.

No me gusta este color para la base de la casa.

His position on this topic isn’t the best.

Su posición en este tema no es la mejor.

Shut up! You don’t know how to say three hundred and thirty-five in English.

¡Cállate! No sabes cómo decir trescientos treinta y cinco en inglés.

She feared you didn’t feel like going to the party.

Ella temía que no tuvieras ganas de ir a la fiesta.

Based on its size, we can use this color.

En base a su tamaño, podemos usar este color.

That sound is bad, however, we can still hear you.

Ese sonido es malo, sin embargo, todavía podemos oírte.

(Plural) Shut up so we can listen to the example!

¡Cállense para que podamos escuchar el ejemplo!

She hasn’t shut up; however, she is giving hundreds of good examples.

No se ha callado, sin embargo, está dando cientos de buenos ejemplos.

The size is ten percent more than before.

El tamaño es diez por ciento más que antes.

She always fights the majority of the conversation.

Siempre pelea la mayoría de la conversación.

Tell him to shut up; I don’t feel like fighting.

Dile que se calle, no tengo ganas de pelear.

I feared being in position two hundred and seventy-six.

Temía estar en la posición doscientos setenta y seis.

You’re fighting because you’re in that state.

Peleas porque estás en ese estado.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/214, 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 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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