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Fuerza, ley, programa

Let’s learn several new abstract nouns in Spanish, including the words for “force”, “silence”, “program”, and “law”.

Full Podcast Episode


¡Que lo pases bien!

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 several new abstract nouns, including the words for “silence”, “program”, and “law”.

Let’s begin with the word for “force” or “strength”, which is fuerza, spelled f-u-e-r-z-a. For example:

Doing that took a lot of strength.

Hacer eso tomó mucha fuerza.

Their force was too much for us.

Su fuerza era demasiado para nosotros.

Next we have the nouns for “silence” and “calm”, which are silencio and calma. For example:

We sat in silence for an hour.

Nos sentamos en silencio por una hora.

I want a few days of calm before the next party.

Quiero unos días de calma antes de la próxima fiesta.

Our next word is modo, which means “mode” or “way”. For example:

This is the only mode of doing it.

Este es el único modo de hacerlo.

Now, in English, we rarely talk about a “mode” of doing something; more often we just say “way”. So this word, modo, is basically a synonym for both forma and manera. In our quizzing, for now, to help you predict modo in the Spanish, we’ll use the word “mode” in our English translations, even though that makes for some weird English phrasing.

Let’s practice fuerza, calma, silencio, and modo.

I just want calm and silence.

Solo quiero calma y silencio.

In this mode you can have more calm.

De este modo puedes tener más calma.

(Formal) Please tell the story now that everything is in silence.

Por favor, cuente la historia ahora que todo está en silencio.

If you do it in this mode, you’ll need less strength.

Si lo haces de este modo, necesitarás menos fuerza.

With your strength you can put those sixty-nine things there.

Con tu fuerza puedes poner esas sesenta y nueve cosas ahí.

Our next word is peligro, which means “danger”. For example:

I think they must be in danger.

Creo que deben estar en peligro.

The word “danger” tends to be a mass noun rather than a countable noun. But note that peligro is also sometimes translated as “hazard”, in which case it’s a countable noun. For example:

Don’t put that there, it might be a hazard.

No pongas eso ahí, puede ser un peligro.

Next, the word for “freedom” is libertad, which is clearly related to the word libre as well as the English word “liberty”. For example:

The people would do anything for their liberty.

El pueblo haría cualquier cosa por su libertad.

Let’s get some practice with all the nouns we’ve learned in this episode.

He doesn’t have the strength to ask for his freedom.

No tiene la fuerza para pedir su libertad.

She is very calm because she’s seventy-six years old.

Tiene mucha calma porque tiene setenta y seis años.

It’s a hazard to have sixty-one people here.

Es un peligro tener sesenta y una personas aquí.

The danger is that we could lose our freedom.

El peligro es que podríamos perder nuestra libertad.

He counted them and there were about 12 people there.

Los contó y había como doce personas ahí.

In this mode, we can have silence in the house.

De este modo, podemos tener silencio en la casa.

Our next two words are “program” and “system”, and the words are programa, spelled like the English word but with an A at the end, and sistema, spelled s-i-s-t-e-m-a. Sistema. Now this may seem strange, but both of these nouns are masculine, even though they end with A. So for example:

This program isn’t in the system.

Este programa no está en el sistema.

Both of these words have a lot of different meanings in Spanish as in English. Un programa can be a computer program, an educational program, a television show, or a program of an evening of music. And un sistema can be really any kind of system.

Next we have the word servicio, which means “service”, also in a wide variety of ways. Here are some examples:

He did it as a service.

Lo hizo como un servicio.

It’s not in service yet.

No está en servicio aún.

Do you realize this service is worth 80 dollars?

¿Te das cuenta de que este servicio vale 80 dólares?

Let’s practice programa, sistema, and servicio.

I don’t understand this program.

No entiendo este programa.

Do you have a system for this?

¿Tienes un sistema para esto?

I like this service, it has a good system.

Me gusta este servicio, tiene un buen sistema.

The service for this program is good.

El servicio para este programa es bueno.

Next, the word for “law” is ley, spelled l-e-y. This is a feminine noun. So for example:

That’s not what the law says.

Eso no es lo que dice la ley.

That’s against the law!

¡Eso es contra la ley!

And the word for a legal “right” is derecho, which is clearly similar to the word derecha, which means “right” in terms of right versus left. But this word is derecho, and it’s masculine. So for example:

I have a right to work here.

Tengo derecho a trabajar aquí.

So notice this phrasing: We use Tener, and then the word derecho without an article, and then the word a. Try it yourself in this next one:

Did they have a right to be there?

¿Tenían derecho a estar allí?

Let’s practice ley and derecho.

You don’t have the right to do this.

No tienes derecho a hacer esto.

If you tell them your problem, they will help you with the law.

Si les cuentas tu problema, te ayudarán con la ley.

Even if she counts on me, I don’t have any rights.

Aunque cuente conmigo, no tengo ningún derecho.

Before we go on to today’s final quiz, let’s talk about something new we can do with subjunctives. Check out this English sentence:

May all your Christmases be white.

So this is a sentence structure where we start the phrase with “may”, and then we express a wish. It’s kind of like saying “I want all of your Christmases to be white”. If that were the sentence, we would know to put the verb Querer at the beginning, then que, and then the phrase “your Christmases be white” would be tus Navidades sean blancas. But in this sentence, “may all your Christmases be white”, there’s no verb at the beginning — no “want”, or “hope”, or “intend”. So what do we do here?

Here’s the Spanish translation:

Que todas tus Navidades sean blancas.

So this is interesting because we simply started the entire sentence with que. It’s almost like there’s an implied hope or want at the beginning, but just like in the English, we don’t have any verb for that.

And this is the proper translation for any phrase that starts with “may” in English to express a wish. Here’s another example:

May God be with you(plural).

Que Dios esté con ustedes.

Of course, this is rarely done in everyday speech in English, but it’s actually quite common in Spanish. Here are a couple of examples that you’ll probably hear pretty often:

May it go well for you!

¡Que te vaya bien!

May you(plural) have a good time!

¡Que lo pasen bien!

And then of course here’s a fun one:

May the force be with you.

Que la fuerza esté contigo.

Let’s practice this just a bit.

May you have a nice day!

¡Que tengas un buen día!

May it go well for you(formal)!

¡Que le vaya bien!

May you have a good time at the party!

¡Que lo pases bien en la fiesta!

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/194. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

May you all have a good week!

¡Que tengan una buena semana!

My grandfather was seventy-seven in the seventies.

Mi abuelo tenía setenta y siete años en los años setenta.

Tell me what happened with the program.

Cuéntame qué pasó con el programa.

He wants me to count to number seventy.

Quiere que yo cuente hasta el número setenta.

She counts on me, even though I’m sixty-four years old.

Ella cuenta conmigo, aunque tengo sesenta y cuatro años.

May you have a good weekend!

¡Que tengas un buen fin de semana!

The mode in this system is different.

El modo en este sistema es diferente.

I don’t think this is worth my rights.

No creo que esto valga mis derechos.

These things are worth a lot, I’ve been counting them.

Estas cosas valen mucho, las he estado contando.

I don’t have the strength for this, it’s not worth it.

No tengo fuerza para esto, no vale la pena.

I count on my seventy-six-year-old grandmother.

Cuento con mi abuela de setenta y seis años.

I counted sixty-eight people there.

Conté sesenta y ocho personas ahí.

This system was worth a lot.

Este sistema valía mucho.

They don’t tell the story; there is only silence here.

No cuentan la historia, solo hay silencio aquí.

I have to tell you the story of this program.

Tengo que contarte la historia de este programa.

I have counted sixty-one cars until now.

He contado sesenta y un autos hasta ahora.

This right is worth a lot.

Este derecho vale mucho.

I will tell you the story of our freedom.

Te contaré la historia de nuestra libertad.

Can you count how many modes there are?

¿Puedes contar cuántos modos hay?

I wanted to tell him that we didn’t have freedom in the sixties.

Quería contarle que no teníamos libertad en los años sesenta.

Count to seventy-five!

¡Cuenta hasta setenta y cinco!

It’s important to have good service, it’s the law!

¡Es importante tener buen servicio, es la ley!

Silence and calm are good things, but I like danger.

El silencio y la calma son cosas buenas, pero a mí me gusta el peligro.

You counted about sixty people there.

Contaste como sesenta personas ahí.

They don’t have good service.

No tienen buen servicio.

He has a lot of strength for a seventy-two-year-old person.

Tiene mucha fuerza para una persona de setenta y dos años.

Sure, you can have seventy-three instead of sixty-seven.

Vale, puedes tener setenta y tres en vez de sesenta y siete.

It’s a hazard and it’s against the law.

Es un peligro y es contra la ley.

Have calm, we only have seventy-one.

Ten calma, solo tenemos setenta y uno.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/194, 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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