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Próximo vs Siguiente

What’s the difference in Spanish between próximo and siguiente? Let’s learn a bunch of new Spanish adjectives, including the words for “next”, “different”, and “normal”.

Full Podcast Episode


Escucha bien lo siguiente.

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 9 new adjectives, most of which can be used to specify which of something we’re talking about.

We’ve already learned a bunch of adjectives in this category. Here are some examples that use some of the “which” adjectives that we already know:

Es la misma casa.

Es la primera casa.

Es la única cosa aquí.

Fue la semana pasada.

Ese era el problema general.

Es o la mano derecha o la mano izquierda.

So a lot of these words are used before a noun, such as mismo and único, but a lot are used after a noun, such as general and izquierda. We’re going to learn more of each type today.

Let’s start with some words that are very similar to pasado. To say “last week”, we say la semana pasada. But to say “next week”, we say la próxima semana. The word próximo is spelled p-r-o-x-i-m-o, with an accent over the O in the first syllable. Próximo. For some reason, this one tends to be used before a noun, even though pasado is used after a noun. Here’s a full sentence example:

I’ll do it better next time.

Lo haré mejor la próxima vez.

So próximo means “next”, and it tends to be used right before a noun. In English, we sometimes use the word “following” as basically a synonym for this. For example, instead of “the next day”, sometimes we say “the following day”. The word for this in Spanish is siguiente. As you can probably tell, this is related to the word sigue, meaning “it follows”. But the adjective siguiente is a particularly complex word with a lot of vowels: s-i-g-u-i-e-n-t-e. Siguiente.

Here’s an example:

We did it again the following day.

Lo hicimos otra vez el día siguiente.

Hmm, so in this case, siguiente went AFTER the noun día. So even though the word for “next” tends to go before a noun, the word for “following” tends to go after a noun.

Here’s another example, where the noun casa is implied.

We passed from this house to the following one.

Pasamos de esta casa a la siguiente.

And actually, siguiente is very often used without a noun. This is actually quite similar to something we do in English. Here’s an example:

Listen carefully to the following.

Escucha bien lo siguiente.

So the English phrase “the following” is typically translated into Spanish as lo siguiente, which uses lo because there’s no specific noun implied.

Let’s practice próximo and siguiente.

The next train will be here soon.

El próximo tren estará aquí pronto.

I had a test the following morning.

Tuve una prueba la mañana siguiente.

The following day I have an appointment.

El día siguiente tengo una cita.

I’m going to ask you for a favor next week.

Voy a pedirte un favor la próxima semana.

I won’t go next week, rather the following one.

No iré la próxima semana, más bien la siguiente.

Our next word is propio, which means “own”, as an adjective. Here’s a simple example:

She went back to her own house.

Ella volvió a su propia casa.

So just like the word “own” in English, we use this word to emphasize or clarify that we’re talking about someone’s own thing. Here’s another example:

I don’t want to hurt my own brother!

¡No quiero hacerle daño a mi propio hermano!

Next, the word trasero means “back” or “rear”. For example:

It’s behind the back door.

Está detrás de la puerta trasera.

So this one is typically used after a noun.

Next, we have the word oficial, which means “official”. It’s spelled just like the English word, except with only one F. Oficial. And it can be used to specify that you’re talking about the official version of something. For example:

The official story says that nobody saw it.

La historia oficial dice que nadie lo vio.

But this word can also be used simply as a description, to say that something is or seems official. For example:

It's official! We're going to go out on a date.

¡Es oficial! Vamos a salir en una cita.

Let’s practice propio, trasero, and oficial.

He is asking for the official book.

Está pidiendo el libro oficial.

In the future she hopes to have her own house.

En el futuro espera tener su propia casa.

The rear part of the building has an official place.

La parte trasera del edificio tiene un lugar oficial.

You can have your own game, but please go to the back door.

Puedes tener tu propio juego, pero por favor ve a la puerta trasera.

He doesn’t have his own phone and he was asking me about mine.

No tiene su propio teléfono y me estaba preguntando sobre el mío.

Our next three words are very easy to learn because they’re super similar to English words. The word for “different” is diferente, spelled a lot like the English word but with only one F and with an E at the end. Diferente. And then the words for “normal” and “personal” are normal and personal, which are both spelled exactly the same as the English words. Here are some examples of these three words.

That’s something different.

Eso es algo diferente.

It seems to me like a normal house.

Me parece una casa normal.

These are my personal things.

Estas son mis cosas personales.

So in all of these examples, the adjective came after the noun, which is a typical way to use these words. But let’s talk about some different ways you can use diferente. Check out this sentence:

This house is very different from mine.

Esta casa es muy diferente de la mía.

So in Spanish, after diferente, you’ll often use the preposition de. But you also might use the preposition a. It’s kind of like saying that something is different “to” something else. Here’s how that would sound:

This house is very different to mine.

Esta casa es muy diferente a la mía.

So, in English, depending on where you’re from, you might typically say “different from”, “different than”, or “different to”. In Spanish, it’s idiomatic to say either diferente de or diferente a.

Let’s practice diferente, normal, and personal.

She asks me for a different favor.

Me pide un favor diferente.

He doesn’t want me to ask him anything personal.

No quiere que le pregunte nada personal.

His house is different, but it’s also normal.

Su casa es diferente, pero también es normal.

The reason is clear, but she doesn’t think it’s normal.

El porqué está claro, pero ella no cree que sea normal.

I have a personal phone and it’s different from the one I have for work.

Tengo un teléfono personal y es diferente del que tengo para el trabajo.

Our last word for today is verdadero, which means something like “true”. Here’s an example:

A true friend(f) wouldn’t do that.

Una verdadera amiga no haría eso.

So just like many of the other adjectives we’ve talked about in this episode, verdadero is used to specify that you’re talking about one thing versus another thing. And we’re specifying that this thing is true as opposed to fake. Here’s another example:

That’s not his real name.

Ese no es su verdadero nombre.

So here we translated it as “real”. Why didn’t we use the adjective real? Well, it’s because we’re not really talking about whether or not something is real. You might use real in situations where it’s not clear whether or not something exists. But verdadero is used specifically when you’re talking about which of something is the true one, or the genuine one. Here’s another example:

He’s not her real father.

Él no es su verdadero padre.

So basically, verdadero means “genuine”, but it’s often translated into English as “true” or “real”, when you’re specifying which of something you’re talking about. Be careful about using it to mean “true” meaning that a or statement is or isn’t true. For example:

What he said wasn’t true.

So in this example, we can’t say lo que dijo no era verdadero. That just doesn’t make sense in Spanish. In situations like this, we might instead say lo que dijo no era la verdad, literally “what he said wasn’t the truth”. But there’s actually another thing we can say:

Lo que dijo no era cierto.

Wait a minute. Doesn’t this mean “what he said wasn’t certain”? We’ve learned cierto to mean “certain”, as in “it’s certain that they won’t arrive on time”, or es cierto que no llegarán a tiempo. But cierto can also mean “true”, specifically when you’re emphasizing whether or not some fact is true. In English, when we say that something “isn’t certain”, we aren’t saying that it’s untrue, we’re just saying that we’re not sure. But in Spanish, no es cierto typically does mean that it isn’t true.

Here’s another example:

They say those things, but are they true?

Dicen esas cosas, pero ¿son ciertas?

Let’s use a quiz to practice choosing between verdadero, cierto, and real.

He didn’t give me his real phone number.

No me dio su número de teléfono verdadero.

If he asks her, she will tell him something that isn’t true.

Si le pregunta, ella le dirá algo que no es cierto.

I want you to ask him if he’s a real police officer.

Quiero que le preguntes si es un policía verdadero.

That wasn’t true and this isn’t her real name.

Eso no era cierto y este no es su nombre verdadero.

Do you think demons are real?

¿Crees que los demonios son reales?

To wrap up this episode, let’s learn a new idiom. Check out this sentence:

I didn’t see most of my friends.

No vi a la mayor parte de mis amigos.

So our new idiom is la mayor parte, which literally means “the greater part”, but it’s a very common way to say “most”. Try it yourself in this next example:

My dog ate most of my food.

Mi perro comió la mayor parte de mi comida.

Now, we’re about to start today’s final quiz, but to do this, we’re actually going to need to talk about past tense subjunctives a little bit. The verb Pedir is very often used to refer to asking someone to do something. So for example:

He asks me to do it here.

Me pide que lo haga aquí.

This one used a normal subjunctive form. If we put it in the past, we get this:

He asked me to do it here.

Me pidió que lo hiciera aquí.

So hiciera is the past tense subjunctive of Hacer. But we haven’t yet officially learned how to form the past tense subjunctives of a lot of our verbs that are conjugated like Deber and Hablar. The good news is that it’s not very difficult.

So first of all, all of our verbs that end with ER or IR are going to rhyme with the past tense subjunctives that we already know. Remember that we have fuera, estuviera, hiciera, and so on. So for example:

He asked me to request something.

Me pidió que le pidiera algo.

Try it yourself in this next example:

He asked me to eat that.

Me pidió que comiera eso.

All right, and then all of our regular verbs that end with AR have past tense subjunctives that have A-R-A near the end. So for example:

He asked me to speak with her.

Me pidió que hablara con ella.

So hablara isn’t like any form we’ve learned so far, but it’s pretty easy to do. Try it yourself with this next example:

We asked them to find it.

Les pedimos que lo encontraran.

So of course you can get more practice with any of this at LCSPodcast.com/188. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz, and the first example will use a past tense subjunctive of Dejar.

I asked him to leave it in the rear part of the car.

Le pedí que lo dejara en la parte trasera del auto.

He called his own phone, but didn’t have a signal.

Llamó a su propio teléfono, pero no tenía señal.

(Formal) Ask him if he can be here the following morning.

Pregúntele si puede estar aquí la mañana siguiente.

Next time, he wants me to ask you about your book.

La próxima vez, él quiere que te pregunte sobre tu libro.

If I order food, he might ask me what I want.

Si pido comida, él puede preguntarme qué quiero.

Ask her if she has an answer for what I asked her.

Pregúntale si tiene una respuesta para lo que le pregunté.

I wanted to ask you if you had news about that.

Quería preguntarte si tenías noticias de eso.

I hadn’t ordered that, but I think you ordered it.

Yo no había pedido eso, pero creo que tú lo pediste.

Those things are personal, so please don’t ask me.

Esas cosas son personales, así que por favor no me preguntes.

He has his own car and it’s different from this one.

Tiene su propio auto y es diferente de este.

He was wondering if what she said was true.

Se preguntaba si lo que ella dijo era cierto.

She was asking me if being different is normal.

Me preguntaba si ser diferente es normal.

You can order something different next time.

Puedes pedir algo diferente la próxima vez.

I was asking him if this was official information.

Le preguntaba si esta era información oficial.

Most people don’t have an answer for what you’re asking.

La mayor parte de las personas no tienen respuesta para lo que preguntas.

Can you tell me if your advice is genuine? I need to make a decision.

¿Me puedes decir si tu consejo es verdadero? Necesito tomar una decisión.

I had a call, so I went in the house through the back door.

Tenía una llamada, así que entré en la casa por la puerta trasera.

The official advice from the king is to wait until the following week.

El consejo oficial del rey es esperar hasta la semana siguiente.

That’s not true, he didn’t order that.

Eso no es cierto, él no pidió eso.

I wanted to ask him a personal favor.

Quería pedirle un favor personal.

If he asks you, please tell him this isn’t the real phone.

Si te pregunta, por favor dile que este no es el teléfono verdadero.

I’m wondering if I’ll have a normal birthday.

Me pregunto si tendré un cumpleaños normal.

I’m not asking you this, she already asked you.

No te estoy preguntando esto, ella ya te preguntó.

You can’t ask that to most people, they won’t like it.

No puedes preguntarle eso a la mayor parte de las personas, no les gustará.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/188.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn some fun new physical nouns, including the words for “box”, “cash”, and “chair”.

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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