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Fácil, difícil

Let’s learn some new adjectives in Spanish, including the words for “easy”, “difficult”, and “strong”.

Full Podcast Episode


Puede ser medio difícil.

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 some new adjectives, including the words for “easy”, “difficult”, “possible”, “small”, and “long”.

Let’s start with the words for “second”, “third”, and “fourth”. We already know the word for “first”, which is primero, and the corresponding word for “second” is segundo. For example:

The first house was better than the second.

La primera casa era mejor que la segunda.

So in that sentence, we used the feminine versions of these words, and we used the word segunda without the noun mentioned; the noun casa was implied. Here’s a very similar example, but in reversed order.

I liked the second house more than the first.

Me gustó más la segunda casa que la primera.

Also remember that the word primero gets shortened right before a singular masculine noun, although this doesn’t happen with the word segundo. Here’s a fairly long example that demonstrates this:

On the second day, we saw what they had done on the first day.

El segundo día, vimos lo que habían hecho el primer día.

Let’s go ahead and get some practice with primero and segundo.

In this first one, the word vez has disappeared from the end of the sentence in Spanish because it’s clearly implied by the phrase la segunda. See if you can predict the Spanish.

I didn’t listen the first time, but I did it the second (time).

No escuché la primera vez, pero lo hice la segunda.

This is the first place I’ve been in a week.

Este es el primer lugar en el que he estado en una semana.

I don’t want them to hear the second one (f).

No quiero que oigan la segunda.

The second car was bigger than the first one.

El segundo auto era más grande que el primero.

The word for “third” is tercero. For example:

You’re going to like the third house.

Te va a gustar la tercera casa.

Now, this word DOES do the same thing that primero does right before a masculine noun. For example:

The third day was the best.

El tercer día fue el mejor.

And then the word for “fourth” is cuarto. Yes, this has the same spelling and pronunciation as our word for “bedroom”, although of course this one changes in gender depending on what it’s modifying. For example:

He was the fourth person here.

Él era la cuarta persona aquí.

Let’s practice tercero and cuarto, along with segundo and primero.

This is the third car that I have.

Este es el tercer auto que tengo.

Listen! If you go to the third house, I’ll go to the second one.

¡Escucha! Si vas a la tercera casa, yo iré a la segunda.

He is the third and not the first.

Él es el tercero y no el primero.

My first friend was nicer than the fourth.

Mi primer amigo era más bueno que el cuarto.

I don’t hear the first thing.

No oigo la primera cosa.

(Plural) Listen! This is the fourth time that this has happened this week.

¡Oigan! Esta es la cuarta vez que esto ha pasado esta semana.

Now let’s learn a few adjectives that refer to size or comparisons. First of all, remember that the word mejor means “better” or “best”. The word mayor is similar; it means something like “greater” or “greatest”. This is spelled m-a-y-o-r (just like the English word “mayor”).

This word doesn’t have a perfect translation into English. It means something similar to “bigger”, but not perfectly. It tends to refer to “greater” in a figurative way, sometimes in terms of age or status.

So first of all, here’s a simple example where it does mean “bigger”.

The fourth house is bigger than the third.

La cuarta casa es mayor que la tercera.

But in sentences like this, you could also simply say más grande. The word mayor implies something between bigger, better, and older. And actually, it’s the most common way to compare two people’s ages. So for example:

He is older than me by 10 years.

Él es mayor que yo por 10 años.

And very often, mayor means “older” or “elderly”. For example:

It was an elderly person.

Era una persona mayor.

Let’s go ahead and get some practice with this word.

He is my older brother.

Él es mi hermano mayor.

The problems are bigger now.

Los problemas son mayores ahora.

My older sister has the control.

Mi hermana mayor tiene el control.

I haven’t heard about the elderly person.

No he oído de la persona mayor.

In this next example, to say “South America”, use the phrase América del Sur, literally “America of the South”.

Brazil and Argentina are the biggest countries in South America.

Brasil y Argentina son los mayores países de América del Sur.

Our next word is pequeño, which means “small”. This is spelled with an eñe, the N with a squiggly line that goes “ñ”. So we have p-e-q-u-e-ñ-o. Pequeño. Here’s an example:

It’s a very small house, but it has some of everything.

Es una casa muy pequeña, pero tiene de todo.

The word pequeño can go either before or after a noun. For example:

These little things really do matter.

Estas pequeñas cosas realmente importan.

Next, the word largo means “long”, either in time or in physical size. So for example:

There is a very long wait.

Hay una espera muy larga.

It’s a long path.

Es un largo camino.

Let’s practice largo and pequeño.

The path was long and the house was small.

El camino era largo y la casa era pequeña.

(Plural) Listen! These books are too small.

¡Escuchen! Estos libros son demasiado pequeños.

I’ve been working for a long hour.

He estado trabajando por una hora larga.

Those things are long and the car is too small.

Esas cosas son largas y el auto es demasiado pequeño.

Next let’s learn some words that have to do with the difficulty of something. The word for “difficult” is difícil, spelled d-i-f-i-c-i-l, with an accent mark over the middle I. Difícil. So example:

I didn’t know it was going to be so difficult.

No sabía que iba a ser tan difícil.

The opposite is fácil, which means “easy”. This is spelled f-a-c-i-l, with an accent mark over the A. Fácil. Here’s an example:

This is more easy than I expected.

Esto es más fácil de lo que esperaba.

Whoa. Where did all those tiny words come from? This is a bit tricky, so let’s break it down step by step.

First of all, sometimes the word de is used in comparisons. So far on this podcast, we’ve been taught that “than”, in comparisons, is translated as que. But sometimes it’s translated as de, particularly when what you’re comparing are numerical amounts. For example:

There are more than ten people here.

Hay más de diez personas aquí.

So normally we say más que, but when we’re comparing to a number, we say más de and then the number.

Try it yourself in this next example:

There were fewer than 9 people at the party.

Había menos de 9 personas en la fiesta.

All right, now for the next layer of complexity: When you’re connecting two clauses together to compare them, you’ll often use de and then lo que. Compare these two sentences:

I worked more than he.

Trabajé más que él.

I worked more than he knows.

Trabajé más de lo que él sabe.

So in the first case, we simply use que as a comparative word, as we’ve always done. And after that is just a simple noun, “he”. But in the second case, in the English version, after “than”, we have an entire clause, with a conjugated verb. “I worked more than he knows.” In these cases, we always have to use de lo que in between. This is literally “than what”. “I worked more than what he knows.” Trabajé más de lo que él sabe.

Try it yourself with this example:

I did more than you saw.

Hice más de lo que viste.

OK, let’s practice this, along with the words fácil and difícil.

This is more difficult than it seems.

Esto es más difícil de lo que parece.

I want to do the easy things.

Quiero hacer las cosas fáciles.

That was more difficult than I wanted it to be.

Eso fue más difícil de lo que quería que fuera.

We have just two more adjectives to learn. The word for “possible” in Spanish is posible. For example:

Yes, it’s possible.

Sí, es posible.

This word is often used in the same sentence template we learned along with the word importante. So compare these two sentences:

It’s important that they be ready on time.

Es importante que estén listos a tiempo.

It’s possible that they will be ready on time.

Es posible que estén listos a tiempo.

Now note that in both cases, in the Spanish, we use a subjunctive. In the English, in the second sentence we actually used the future tense, “they will be ready”. But Spanish simply uses the subjunctive for this sentence template in general.

Our last word is fuerte, which means “strong”. Here’s a simple example:

The house will be fine, it’s very strong.

La casa estará bien, es muy fuerte.

This word is used in a broader sense than the word “strong” in English. It’s used in pretty much any way you could possibly use “strong” or “sturdy”, ranging from a “strong flavor” to a “strong punch”, or even a “loud” noise.

Let’s practice the words fuerte and posible.

That is not possible.

Eso no es posible.

(Formal) Listen! You have to be strong.

¡Escuche! Tiene que ser fuerte.

It’s possible for them to be strong.

Es posible que sean fuertes.

I was, indeed, strong.

Fui, de hecho, fuerte.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/138. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

Listen to me! They don’t look alike.

¡Escúchame! No se parecen.

He heard we made a deal.

Oyó que hicimos un trato.

(Formal) Listen! Those are more than ten.

¡Oiga! Esos son más de diez.

You never hear me, so it’s not possible.

Nunca me oyes, así que no es posible.

The third man was very strong.

El tercer hombre era muy fuerte.

I didn’t hear, which was the older?

No oí, ¿cuál era el mayor?

We have to talk about the fact that she has more than two, is it possible?

Tenemos que hablar del hecho de que tiene más de dos, ¿es posible?.

She hears it when it’s long.

Lo oye cuando es largo.

I don’t want her to listen to this until she’s older.

No quiero que escuche esto hasta que sea mayor.

That was the longest path.

Ese era el camino más largo.

Work! This isn’t more than what you can do.

¡Trabaja! Esto no es más de lo que puedes hacer.

Hey! He is too small to work.

¡Oye! Él es demasiado pequeño para trabajar.

That occurence wasn’t smaller than what you wanted.

Ese hecho no era más pequeño de lo que querías.

I was working while I was in waiting.

Trabajaba mientras estaba a la espera.

It’s not easier than I thought.

No es más fácil de lo que pensaba.

The third and the fourth were the most difficult.

El tercero y el cuarto fueron los más difíciles.

In fact, I only work when it’s easy.

De hecho, solo trabajo cuando es fácil.

He was working with the second and the fourth person.

Trabajaba con la segunda y la cuarta persona.

Listen! The wait is always difficult.

¡Oye! La espera siempre es difícil.

That was a bad treatment because you couldn’t listen.

Fue un mal trato porque no pudiste escuchar.

You only work the second week of the month.

Solo trabajas la segunda semana del mes.

I want him to hear this, it’s very loud.

Quiero que oiga esto, es muy fuerte.

He doesn’t listen to me, you and he are alike.

No me escucha, tú y él se parecen.

If she works with them, they might listen to her.

Si trabaja con ellos, puede que la escuchen.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/138.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn some fun nouns, including the Spanish words for “train”, “boat”, and “movie”.

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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