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More Essential Spanish Adverbs

Let’s learn more essential Spanish adverbs, including peor, rápido, and primero. We’ll also get lots of practice using these adverbs in real-life sentence contexts.

Full Podcast Episode


Let’s quickly talk about some new adverbs.

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 our new verbs, Dejar and Esperar, and we’ll also learn several new adverbs in a few different categories.

Our first adverbs are related to time. So remember that in Episode 83, we learned that antes means “beforehand”, but it can also sometimes be translated as “first”. For example:

We’ll go to your house, but first we’ll go to mine.

Iremos a tu casa, pero antes iremos a la mía.

Well, you’ll specifically use the word antes when you’re specifying that something happens before something else, when in English we say “first” but really mean “beforehand”. But there is a different word for “first”, meaning specifically “first of all” or “before anything else”, and that word is primero. It’s related to the English word “primary”. Here’s an example:

First we’re going to see what we have to do.

Primero vamos a ver qué tenemos que hacer.

Our next word is pronto, which means “soon”. For example:

They’re going to do it very soon.

Lo van a hacer muy pronto.

And our last adverb related to time is jamás. This is a strange word, spelled j-a-m-a-s, with an accent over the second A. This word means “never”, and it’s essentially a synonym for nunca. However, jamás often tends to be associated with more emphasis or more negative meanings. In fact, a common way to use this is in the phrase nunca jamás, which is obviously redundant, but it’s like saying “never ever” in English. For example:

I’ll never ever go there again.

Nunca jamás iré allí de vuelta.

Let’s practice primero, pronto, and jamás.

I never wait for her more than an hour.

Jamás la espero más de una hora.

Can you stop doing that? First we have to do this.

¿Puedes dejar de hacer eso? Primero tenemos que hacer esto.

I’m sure that we’re going to do it soon.

Estoy seguro de que lo vamos a hacer pronto.

First, you have to stop talking like that.

Primero, tienes que dejar de hablar así.

Are you going to be there soon? They are never here on time.

¿Vas a estar ahí pronto? Jamás están aquí a tiempo.

Next, let’s learn some words that are used to modify the degree to which something is or isn’t true, words like muy. This type of adverb can be used in the following sentence template:

This place is very safe.

Este lugar es muy seguro.

We’ve already learned quite a few of these adverbs: besides muy, we have más, menos, tan, and demasiado. Here is how that sentence would be modified using any of these.

This place is more safe.

Este lugar es más seguro.

This place is less safe.

Este lugar es menos seguro.

This place is so safe.

Este lugar es tan seguro.

This place is way too safe.

Este lugar es demasiado seguro.

Another commonly used adverb in this category is the word medio. We already learned this as a noun to refer to the “middle” of something, but when it’s used as an adverb, it means something like “kind of”. For example:

This place is kind of safe.

Este lugar es medio seguro.

A similar word is bastante. We already learned this as an adjective to mean something like “quite a bit of”. As an adverb, it means basically “quite” or “fairly”. Check out this example:

This place is pretty safe.

Este lugar es bastante seguro.

So when you say that something is “pretty safe”, you’re not quite saying it’s “very safe”, but you’re saying something stronger than “kind of safe”. So the adverb bastante lies somewhere between medio and muy on this spectrum.

To go to the opposite end of the spectrum, to say that something is “not at all safe”, you can actually use the word nada as an adverb. For example:

This place isn’t at all safe.

Este lugar no es nada seguro.

Of course, we’ve already learned that to say “not at all”, you could just throw the idiom para nada at the end. But nada is also often used as a negative adverb in this same category of words.

Let’s practice the adverbs medio, bastante, and nada.

Your house is kind of close, so we can go.

Tu casa está medio cerca, así que podemos ir.

The place is pretty big.

El lugar es bastante grande.

Your brother isn’t at all serious, you should talk with him.

Tu hermano no es nada serio, deberías hablar con él.

It might be that those places are kind of safe.

Puede que esos lugares sean medio seguros.

That place is pretty new and there’s a need to wait a lot of time.

Ese lugar es bastante nuevo y hay que esperar mucho tiempo.

Now let’s start learning a variety of other adverbs that are used in various different ways. A pretty versatile one is the adverb peor, spelled p-e-o-r. Peor. This means “worse”, and it’s the opposite of mejor. Compare these two sentences:

We did it better than they.

Lo hicimos mejor que ellos.

We did it worse than they.

Lo hicimos peor que ellos.

This word can also be used as an adjective to mean either “worse” or “worst”. For example:

It’s the worst house around here.

Es la peor casa por aquí.

Next let’s learn the adverb justo. This one is odd. It means something like “just”, but only in very specific circumstances. Check out this example:

We came here just before 2.

Vinimos aquí justo antes de las 2.

But the English adverb “just” doesn’t always translate as the Spanish adverb justo. In fact, most of the time, when we say “just” in English, that translates into Spanish as solo. For example:

I just want to be at peace.

Solo quiero estar en paz.

And that’s because in this situation, when we say “just”, what we actually mean is “only”, as in “I only want to be at peace”. And most of the time, when we say “just” in English, what we mean is “only”, or solo.

However, check out this sentence example:

My house was just after his.

Mi casa estaba justo después de la suya.

In situations like this, when we say “just before” or “just after”, we wouldn’t say “only before” or “only after”. But one other way we could say this is “right before” or “right after”. That’s how you know that you’ll use justo in Spanish.

Here’s another example:

My friend(f) was just behind the door.

Mi amiga estaba justo atrás de la puerta.

So this word, justo, is used to talk about something being “just next to”, or “just before”, or “just after”, when you’re putting one thing very close to another thing, either in time or in space. This word typically occurs right before another adverb or a preposition.

Let’s practice both peor and justo. I’m going to throw in one or two instances of solo to help you practice choosing between justo and solo.

What you want is just behind the door.

Lo que quieres está justo atrás de la puerta.

My friend did something much worse.

Mi amigo hizo algo mucho peor.

I just want to talk with you.

Solo quiero hablar contigo.

We leave those things right on the table.

Dejamos esas cosas justo sobre la mesa.

What they did is worse… I just want to see you.

Lo que hicieron es peor… solo quiero verte.

We did it just before she was here.

Lo hicimos justo antes de que ella estuviera aquí.

We do it just after they stop talking.

Lo hacemos justo después de que ellos dejan de hablar.

Now let’s learn a few general-purpose adverbs that can be used to describe how something is done. Let’s imagine that you are listening in on a young child who is learning to talk. This kid is playing with her toys, and you’re listening as she babbles to herself. To describe this situation, you could say:

The kid(f) was talking.

La niña hablaba.

Now, that’s a very bland statement by itself. But we can dress it up with some adverbs. For example, we can say:

The kid(f) was talking very well.

La niña hablaba muy bien.

The kid(f) was talking badly.

La niña hablaba mal.

The kid(f) was talking like this.

La niña hablaba así.

Another very common adverb you might use in this situation is rápido, which means “fast”. So:

The kid(f) was talking fast.

La niña hablaba rápido.

Or let’s say you want to talk about how loudly or quietly the kid was talking. The word for “loudly” is alto, and the word for “quietly” is bajo. So we have:

The kid(f) was talking loudly.

La niña hablaba alto.

The kid(f) was talking quietly.

La niña hablaba bajo.

Let’s practice alto, bajo, and rápido.

I only know they speak fast and quietly.

Sólo sé que hablan rápido y bajo.

(you all) Wait! He’s going to do it fast.

¡Esperen! Él lo va a hacer rápido.

They should speak louder because they always speak quietly.

Deberían hablar más alto porque siempre hablan bajo.

Leave me! I don’t want to be with you if you’re going to talk loudly.

¡Déjame! No quiero estar contigo si vas a hablar alto.

(formal) Wait! You know he didn’t do it at all fast.

¡Espere! Usted sabe que él no lo hizo nada rápido.

Let’s go back to the situation where you’ve been listening in on a little kid playing with her toys. Another adverb you might use in this situation refers to what she’s talking about. The Spanish adverb acerca is a bit unusual, because it’s almost always used with de right after it; it doesn’t really mean anything by itself without de after it. So here’s an example:

The kid(f) was talking about her parents.

La niña hablaba acerca de sus padres.

Of course, there are other ways that this sentence could be translated; you could say la niña hablaba sobre sus padres, or you could even simply say la niña hablaba de sus padres. All three of these mean basically the same thing. For the purposes of today’s quizzing, you can predict acerca de when we’re referring to talking about something. Beyond that, it’s sort of a matter of personal choice, so any of the options would be correct.

Our last adverb is one you already partly know, the adverb igual. We’ve already learned how to use it in contexts like this:

Still, she wants me to be there.

Igual, quiere que yo esté allí.

Another meaning of this word is “the same” or “in the same way”. For example:

Everybody does it the same.

Todo el mundo lo hace igual.

In this situation, you can tell that the English phrase “the same” would not translate as lo mismo, because lo mismo only behaves as a noun, whereas here we’re using it as an adverb.

A more common way that this adverb is used is to say that someone does something in the same way as someone else. In such cases, you’ll use the phrasing igual que. For example:

She does everything the same as me.

Ella hace todo igual que yo.

Let’s practice igual and acerca de.

They are sisters and they talk the same.

Son hermanas y hablan igual.

My mother hopes that I talk about that.

Mi madre espera que yo hable acerca de eso.

Stop doing everything the same as me!

¡Deja de hacer todo igual que yo!

We want to talk about what’s going on with you.

Queremos hablar acerca de lo que pasa contigo.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/113. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

How much time do you wait for her?

¿Cuánto tiempo la esperas?

They're pretty near the house and they’re going to talk about that.

Están bastante cerca de la casa y van a hablar acerca de eso.

If you stop doing that, they will do it worse.

Si dejas de hacer eso, ellos lo harán peor.

I waited for him every day at the same time.

Lo esperaba todos los días a la misma hora.

We’re waiting for him because we left our things in his house.

Lo esperamos porque dejamos nuestras cosas en su casa.

Wait! Don’t leave your things in any place.

¡Espera! No dejes tus cosas en cualquier lado.

I hope she does it the same or worse than me!

¡Espero que lo haga igual o peor que yo!

We will be there soon because they are never there on time.

Estaremos ahí pronto porque ellos jamás están ahí a tiempo.

You have to speak quietly if you want to talk first.

Tienes que hablar bajo si quieres hablar primero.

I stopped talking loud because I spoke the same as he.

Dejé de hablar alto porque hablaba igual que él.

They’re waiting now in order to see what she says.

La esperan ahora para ver qué dice.

We did it fast, just before they were able to see it.

Lo hicimos rápido, justo antes de que ellos lo pudieran ver.

They’re waiting for him to do what she stopped doing.

Están esperando que él haga lo que ella dejó de hacer.

That person isn’t at all serious and never tells the truth.

Esa persona no es nada seria y jamás dice la verdad.

I was waiting for him every day in the same place.

Lo esperaba todos los días en el mismo lugar.

He has stopped talking loudly just after seeing her.

Ha dejado de hablar alto justo después de verla.

(formal) Stop doing that! Those people will be here soon.

¡Deje de hacer eso! Esas personas estarán aquí pronto.

He isn’t at all happy, don’t you see that he speaks very quietly?

No está nada feliz, ¿no ves que habla muy bajo?

The place is kind of safe. Nothing is going to happen if we do it fast.

El lugar es medio seguro. No va a pasar nada si lo hacemos rápido.

First we have to talk about him because he’s pretty lonely.

Primero tenemos que hablar acerca de él porque está bastante solo.

She lets me go because it’s kind of near.

Me deja ir porque está medio cerca.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/113.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn some handy new nouns, including the words for “reality”, “safety”, and “game”.

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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