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How To Count to Twenty in Spanish

Time for more Spanish numbers! Let’s learn the Spanish words for sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, and twenty. We’ll lots of practice using and comprehending these numbers in real-life contexts.

Full Podcast Episode


Dieciocho, diecinueve, veinte.

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 focus on numbers. We already know how to count to fifteen in Spanish, and in this episode we’re going to make it all the way to twenty.

By way of review, let’s start by counting all the way from one to fifteen. We’ll go slowly, with about 3 seconds between numbers, so that you can try to predict the Spanish number before we say it.

…Uno… dos… tres… cuatro… cinco… seis… siete… ocho… nueve… diez… once… doce… trece… catorce… quince.

All right, the next number is dieciséis. Literally this sounds like “ten and six”, or diez y seis. But it’s actually spelled as all one word, and the Z in diez turns into a C. There’s also an accent mark on the E in seis at the end. Dieciséis. For example:

There were fifteen or sixteen people.

Había quince o dieciséis personas.

The rest of the teen numbers follow the same pattern; each one is one long word that starts with d-i-e-c-i, followed by the original number. So seventeen is diecisiete, eighteen is dieciocho, and nineteen is diecinueve. For example:

Nineteen minus two is seventeen.

Diecinueve menos dos son diecisiete.

It’s interesting to compare how these teen numbers are different from English teen numbers. So in English, after ten, our numbers are “eleven” and “twelve”, which sound nothing like the original “one” and “two”. But then we have “thirteen”, “fourteen”, “fifteen”, and so on, all the way to “nineteen”. In this pattern, the first half of the word is clearly based on “three”, “four”, and so on, but always with “teen” at the end.

In Spanish, the pattern is different. The first five numbers, from 11 to 15, have a ce at the end. And then the next four, from 16 to 19, have what sounds like “ten and”, or diez y, at the beginning. So listen for that pattern as you hear us count all the way from 1 to 19:

Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez, once, doce, trece, catorce, quince, dieciséis, diecisiete, dieciocho, diecinueve.

Let’s go ahead and practice these new numbers.

The lady was eighteen years old.

La dama tenía dieciocho años.

We always arrive at eight, but today we arrived at seven.

Siempre llegamos a las ocho, pero hoy llegamos a las siete.

Seventeen minus one is sixteen.

Diecisiete menos uno son dieciséis.

I want him to get home because he’s only nineteen years old.

Quiero que llegue a casa porque solo tiene diecinueve años.

He has had the car again and now he has six.

Ha vuelto a tener el auto y ahora tiene seis.

She gave me sixteen dollars so that I get home early.

Me dio dieciséis dólares para que yo llegue a casa temprano.

Eighteen plus one equals nineteen.

Dieciocho más uno es igual a diecinueve.

It’s nine o’clock, so he must be about to arrive.

Son las nueve en punto, así que debe estar por llegar.

He was with me until he was seventeen.

Estuvo conmigo hasta que tenía diecisiete años.

Our last number for today is veinte, which means “twenty”. This is spelled v-e-i-n-t-e. So for example:

I need ten or twenty more.

Necesito diez o veinte más.

Try it yourself in this next example:

They’re in twenty places at once.

Están en veinte lugares a la vez.

Let’s get some practice with all of our new numbers.

Eighteen… nineteen… twenty.

Dieciocho… diecinueve… veinte.

She had twenty friends, but now she has nineteen.

Tenía veinte amigos, pero ahora tiene diecinueve.

Come back! I am still in need of eighteen dollars.

¡Vuelve! Aún me hacen falta dieciocho dólares.

I saw sixteen saints, but the best is yet to come.

Vi dieciséis santos, pero lo mejor está por venir.

You have to look for seventeen dollars.

Tienes que buscar diecisiete dólares.

Last year I was sixteen, but now I’m seventeen.

El año pasado tenía dieciséis años, pero ahora tengo diecisiete.

All right, now let’s get some comprehension practice with our new numbers. We’re going to present some sentences in Spanish, and you should try to identify what is being said and predict the English before you hear it.

Veinte menos tres son diecisiete.

Twenty minus three is seventeen.

Había doce muchachos en ese lugar.

There were twelve teenage boys in that place.

Quiere que yo vuelva con once autos.

She wants me to come back with eleven cars.

Diecinueve menos tres son dieciséis.

Nineteen minus three is sixteen.

No quiero que vuelvas a hablar del diablo.

I don’t want you to talk about the devil again.

Él llegó a las nueve, pero ella llegó a las seis.

He arrived at nine, but she arrived at six.

No tienes diecisiete dólares, tienes diecinueve.

You don’t have seventeen dollars, you have nineteen.

¡Vuelva! Son las ocho en punto, no las siete.

(Formal) Come back! It’s eight o’clock, not seven.

La muchacha tiene dieciséis años, y tú solo tienes trece.

The teenage girl is sixteen years old, and you’re only thirteen.

Mi número de teléfono tiene catorce primero y dieciocho al final.

My phone number has fourteen first and eighteen at the end.

En este juego diecinueve es mejor que dieciocho, pero peor que veinte.

In this game nineteen is better than eighteen, but worse than twenty.

Before we go on to today’s final quiz, let’s learn one new idiom that involves the verb Volver. Normally, Volver either means “to return” or to do something again. But when it’s used reflexively, along with the adjective loco, it can mean to “go crazy”. For example:

Afterwards he went crazy.

Después se volvió loco.

This makes no sense when you try to translate it literally, but it’s actually the most common way to talk about “going crazy” in Spanish.

If you’re talking about “going crazy about” something, you’ll use por. For example:

My friends go crazy about those things.

Mis amigos se vuelven locos por esas cosas.

Literally “my friends go crazy because of those things”.

Let’s practice the idiom volverse loco with a few examples:

The teenage girls go crazy about this.

Las muchachas se vuelven locas por esto.

I’m going crazy because of the demons.

Me vuelvo loco por los demonios.

We went crazy last year because of work.

Nos volvimos locos el año pasado por el trabajo.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/153. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

He is seventeen, so he won’t be sixteen again.

Tiene diecisiete años, así que no volverá a tener dieciséis.

I’m looking for nineteen dollars, not eighteen.

Busco diecinueve dólares, no dieciocho.

I’ll go back when you have sixteen friends.

Volveré cuando tengas dieciséis amigos.

Twenty minus one is nineteen.

Veinte menos uno son diecinueve.

She hasn’t arrived, but she is eighteen years old.

No ha llegado, pero tiene dieciocho años.

Don’t come back unless you have twenty games.

No vuelvas a menos que tengas veinte juegos.

She is looking for God and she is talking to him again.

Busca a Dios y vuelve a hablar con él.

When he was twenty, he went crazy.

Cuando tenía veinte años, se volvió loco.

We arrived on time, but she didn’t come back.

Llegamos a tiempo, pero ella no volvió.

I want to be sixteen years old again.

Quiero volver a tener dieciséis años.

Nineteen minus two is seventeen.

Diecinueve menos dos son diecisiete.

The gentleman and his eighteen friends are going to arrive on time.

El caballero y sus dieciocho amigos van a llegar a tiempo.

If he doesn’t arrive soon, I’m going to go crazy.

Si no llega pronto, voy a volverme loco.

Get here at six and look for your sister.

Llega a las seis y busca a tu hermana.

I am looking for the number seventeen.

Estoy buscando el número diecisiete.

You have to let go of it or you’ll go crazy.

Tienes que dejarlo ir o te volverás loco.

I want her to come back on time because I always come back on time.

Quiero que vuelva a tiempo porque yo siempre vuelvo a tiempo.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/153.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn some new abstract nouns, including the words for “half”, “length”, and “the rest”.

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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