Let’s learn 10 common Spanish nouns — including the words for “life”, “truth”, “woman”, and “man”, as well as the idioms for “actually” and “really”.
Let’s talk about life and truth.
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 a few new nouns. There’s obviously a lot of practice we still have to get with the verb Ir, and that’s going to be challenging, but nouns are fun because they’re super easy to learn, and then we can throw them into our complex sentence structures so we’re practicing both the fun stuff and the tricky stuff all at once.
We’ve specifically chosen ten very frequently used nouns that you can use in all kinds of situations, which will make our practice materials a lot more colorful really quickly. Some of these are words for people, such as “man” and “lady”, but first let’s learn a few non-human nouns.
We'll start with the opposite of día, which is noche. We learned día as a masculine noun meaning “day”. Noche is a feminine word, and to remember that, if you want to use our memory palace, you can imagine that opposite a big window to your right, there’s also a tiny window to your left. When you look out the window on the right, it's daytime, but on the left it's nighttime.
Noche can mean either “night” or “evening”, which is one reason it’s such a common noun in Spanish. So, for example:
We’re going to go to that place this night.
Vamos a ir a ese lugar esta noche.
This could also be translated as “we’re going to go to that place this evening”.
Meanwhile, to say “afternoon”, you use the word tarde, which is also feminine. For example,
They’re going to be here this afternoon.
Van a estar aquí esta tarde.
The word for “year” is año, which is a masculine noun like día. There’s a trick to spelling this word: It’s basically a-n-o, but there’s a little squiggly mark over the N, which forms the letter that we call eñe, so instead of being pronounced “ano” it’s pronounced año.
Here’s a sentence example:
We are going to be at that place for a year.
Vamos a estar en ese lugar por un año.
Let’s practice using noche, tarde, and año.
You went to the house that night?
¿Fuiste a la casa esa noche?
They were going to be there for a year.
Iban a estar ahí por un año.
Here’s a really tricky one.
It’s the afternoon, but I want you to leave by this evening.
Es la tarde, pero I want que te vayas para esta noche.
Es la tarde, pero quiero que te vayas para esta noche.
The Spanish word for “life” is vida. For example, a good life would be una buena vida (or maybe una vida buena). As we practice using this word, we need to get in a habit that differentiates English from Spanish. Consider the sentence “life is good”. In Spanish, that’s la vida es buena, literally “the life is good”.
La vida es buena.
Very often, Spanish uses articles where we would just leave them off in English. As another example, to say “that’s life”, you actually phrase it as “that way is the life”, or así es la vida.
Así es la vida.
Our last non-human noun for today is verdad, which means “truth”. For example:
The truth is that I wasn’t going to go.
La verdad es que no iba a ir.
And you might be thinking: Well, that's kind of a handy word, but why is it in the list of the top most important nouns in the Spanish language? The reason is that verdad is used in some idioms. There are some little two-word combinations in Spanish that equate to one word in English.
For example, the word “actually” is translated into Spanish as en verdad, literally “in truth”. Here’s an example:
Actually, they aren’t present.
En verdad, no están.
And then the word “really”, as in “is it really true”, is often translated as de verdad.
Did they really leave?
¿De verdad se fueron?
Both of these idioms, en verdad and de verdad, are very, very common in Spanish.
Let’s practice using the words vida and verdad, including these idioms.
The truth is that it isn’t a good life.
La verdad es que no es una buena vida.
Actually, we were going to be here.
En verdad, íbamos a estar aquí.
I really don’t want them to go.
De verdad no I want que vayan.
De verdad no quiero que vayan.
Now let’s learn some new words for humans, and we’ll start with some very simple ones. The word for “man” is hombre, spelled h-o-m-b-r-e. This word is masculine. And the word for “woman” is mujer, spelled m-u-j-e-r. (Maybe picture the hombre standing to the right, and then the mujer, to the left, has “more hair” than he does; that’s a mnemonic we sometimes use for mujer.)
These two words are very easy to use and are used almost exactly the same way that the English words “man” and “woman” are used. Note that to turn “man” into “men”, you say hombres, and “women” is mujeres, with an E-S at the end.
Now sometimes referring to someone simply as a man or a woman is kind of impersonal and maybe brusque. So there are some more polite words for “man” or “woman”, kind of like “ladies” and “gentlemen” in English. The most common ones in Spanish are señor, which means “Mr.”, señora, which means “Mrs.”, and señorita, which means “miss”.
And actually, “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, and “miss” are only one very literal way to translate these words. Generally, these are used actually fairly widely in Spanish to mean “gentleman” or “lady”. There's a bit of nuance whether to choose señora or señorita, and a lot of this is cultural, so we can't necessarily create universal rules for these words in general. For the purposes of our quizzing today, we're going to translate “woman” as mujer, “lady” as señora, and “miss” as señorita.
Let’s practice hombre, mujer, señor, señora, and señorita.
The lady went to the place with the gentleman.
La señora fue al lugar con el señor.
I will go, but not if the women are present.
Yo iré, pero no si las mujeres están.
Miss, were you(formal) going to be the man’s friend?
Señorita, ¿usted iba a ser la amiga del hombre?
I didn’t go to the house with the woman.
No fui a la casa con la mujer.
To wrap up this lesson, we’re also going to learn a couple of handy idioms that will help us tell stories about these hombres and mujeres.
If someone is about to do something, you actually say that they are “near” doing it, or “by” doing it, specifically using the verb Estar and then the word por. Here’s an example:
The man is about to go to the place.
El hombre está por ir al lugar.
See if you can predict how to say the next two examples:
The women are about to do that.
Las mujeres están por hacer eso.
We were about to go to his house.
Estábamos por ir a su casa.
And another fun thing we can do with por is use it right before the conjunction si. What we end up with is “because of if”. So check out this sentence example:
Estoy aquí por si ella va a estar aquí.
This is literally “I am here because of if she is going to be here”. The way we normally translate this into English is “in case”. If you think about it, when we do something “in case” something else happens, we’re doing it because we think that other thing might happen. So the word por has to do with reason or cause, and si, meaning “if”, has to do with wondering whether something will happen. So go ahead and try to translate this one:
I left in case she was going to be here.
Me fui por si ella iba a estar aquí.
That’s quite a sentence! Literally “I went myself because of if she was going to be here”. Pretty tricky if you’re thinking in English, but by practicing sentences like this more and more, you’ll be thinking in Spanish very soon.
Let’s practice all of our new nouns and idioms, along with a lot of the things we’ve been learning in the several episodes, using today’s final quiz.
The truth is that you saw yourself in the mirror.
La verdad es que te you saw en the mirror.
La verdad es que te viste en el espejo.
They have done it so that the gentleman goes like that.
Lo han hecho para que el señor vaya así.
Actually, they were going to be present at four.
En verdad, iban a estar a four.
En verdad, iban a estar a las 4.
I did it in case someone hurt themselves.
Lo I did por si alguien se hurt.
Lo hice por si alguien se lastimaba.
Really, I was going to do it, but I didn’t have time.
De verdad, lo iba a hacer, pero no I had tiempo.
De verdad, lo iba a hacer, pero no tuve tiempo.
We left the house that night.
Nos fuimos de la casa esa noche.
They want me to leave and have a good life.
They want que me vaya y have una buena vida.
Quieren que me vaya y tenga una buena vida.
The miss wants to be strong like that man.
La señorita wants ser strong como ese hombre.
La señorita quiere ser fuerte como ese hombre.
They already went.
Ellos ya fueron.
We will tell them when we leave.
Les we will tell cuando nos vayamos.
Les diremos cuando nos vayamos.
The lady will go this afternoon.
La señora irá esta tarde.
They are about to go home because they are feeling badly.
Están por ir a casa because they are feeling mal.
Están por ir a casa porque se sienten mal.
I’m not going to be here this year.
No voy a estar aquí este año.
We went with the woman to the place.
Fuimos con la mujer al lugar.
To get more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/47.
This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Ximena Lama-Rondón. Our music was provided 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.