Today we’re going to learn some fun new nouns for physical items, including the words for “chair”, “box”, “cash”, and “salt”. We’ll also get some spoken practice quizzing with these new words in lots of different contexts.
Pueden tomar asiento.
Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.
Let’s learn some fun new nouns for physical items, such as “box”, “cash”, and “salt”.
We’ll begin with three different words for something you sit on. So the noun for “seat” is asiento. This is a masculine noun. So for example:
Are they in their seats?
¿Están en sus asientos?
This noun is often paired with the verb Tomar, as in “take a seat”. For example, if you’re talking to a group of people:
You(plural) can take a seat.
Pueden tomar asiento.
For some reason, in this idiom, it’s normal not to use an article; you wouldn’t say tomar un asiento, just tomar asiento.
Next, the word for “chair” is silla. For example:
Does he sit in the red chair or in the green one?
¿Se sienta en la silla roja o en la verde?
And then the word for “bench” is banco. For example:
Are you really comfortable on that bench?
¿De veras estás a gusto en ese banco?
Let’s practice asiento, silla, and banco.
There is a chair there.
Hay una silla allí.
I asked him if I could take a seat.
Le pregunté si podía tomar asiento.
Do you have a chair? I want to sit down.
¿Tienes una silla? Me quiero sentar.
It’s true that this is the bench, not the other one.
Es cierto que este es el banco, no el otro.
That’s my seat, so please let me sit down.
Ese es mi asiento, así que por favor déjame sentarme.
She wants to ask me if she can sit on that bench.
Me quiere preguntar si puede sentarse en ese banco.
Next, let’s learn a few new nouns related to money. We’ve already learned dinero, which is a general-purpose word for “money”, and dólar, which is a unit of currency in some countries. In other countries, the unit of currency is the peso. The word peso literally means “weight”. So for example:
Why did they ask you your weight?
¿Por qué te preguntaron tu peso?
But here’s an example where the “weights” that we’re talking about are units of currency:
In this country, one dollar equals twenty-five pesos.
En este país un dólar es igual a veinticinco pesos.
The word for “cash” is efectivo. This sounds a lot like the English word “effective”. Maybe think about how effective it is to negotiate by showing someone cash instead of offering to pay by card. So for example:
I have fifty dollars in cash.
Tengo cincuenta dólares en efectivo.
Why are you carrying so much money in cash?
¿Por qué llevas tanto dinero en efectivo?
Incidentally, the phrase dinero en efectivo is often used to be very clear that you’re talking about “cash money”; that’s for clarity because the word efectivo does have other uses in Spanish. But we’ll focus on its meaning as “cash” for now.
Our next word is vuelto, which means “change”, as in the amount of money returned to you when you purchase something. So for example:
I don’t need the change, thank you.
No necesito el vuelto, gracias.
As you can probably tell, this word is related to the idea of returning something; it’s the same as the participle of the verb Volver, and it’s very similar to the word vuelta, which is the noun for a “return” or a “turn”. So for vuelto, picture the journey of the cash as you give it to someone and then some of it comes back to you.
A very similar word is cambio. This word literally means “change”, and it can be used in the same way as vuelto, but it has a broader meaning. The word vuelto emphasizes something being returned to you, but cambio emphasizes the ways that things change in a more general sense. So for example, if you want to exchange a fifty-dollar bill for a bunch of fives, you could call that cambio, but not vuelto. But also, cambio can be used any time you’re talking about any type of change, not just cash. Here are a couple of examples of this word:
There was a change of plans.
Hubo un cambio de planes.
I felt a very big change.
Sentí un cambio muy grande.
I don’t like these changes at my work.
No me gustan estos cambios en mi trabajo.
Let’s practice peso, efectivo, vuelto, and cambio.
There has been a change in his weight.
Ha habido un cambio en su peso.
It’s twenty-five pesos, but I don’t have change.
Son veinticinco pesos, pero no tengo cambio.
He gave me most of the change in cash.
Me dio la mayor parte del vuelto en efectivo.
Can you give me my change? I gave you fifty pesos in cash.
¿Puedes darme mi vuelto? Te di cincuenta pesos en efectivo.
All right, next let’s learn a few more of the most common mass nouns in Spanish. Mass nouns are things that aren’t measured in simple numbers but in quantities. So for example, we’ve already learned agua and comida as mass nouns. Also, dinero is a mass noun, because you don’t talk about “one money” or “two moneys”, although dólar is not a mass noun but a countable noun (you can talk about “one dollar” or “two dollars”).
Our new mass nouns today are the words for “salt”, “gold”, and “trash”. The word for “salt” is sal. This is a feminine noun. So for example:
I always put a lot of salt on my food.
Siempre le pongo mucha sal a la comida.
Literally “I always put a lot of salt to the food.”
Next, the word for “gold” is oro. This is a masculine noun. For example:
Look! The sky looks like gold! How gorgeous!
¡Mira! ¡El cielo parece oro! ¡Qué hermoso!
And the word for “trash” is basura. If you find this word hard to remember, maybe think of a sewer behind someone’s house; basura stresses sur. So for example:
I found it in the trash.
Lo encontré en la basura.
Let’s practice these.
There’s gold in the trash!
¡Hay oro en la basura!
I don’t like food with a lot of salt.
No me gusta la comida con mucha sal.
I was asking him if he had gold.
Yo le preguntaba si tenía oro.
Ask him if he has the trash.
Pregúntale si él tiene la basura.
She’s going to ask you if you want salt on your food.
Va a preguntarte si quieres sal en tu comida.
All right, let’s learn just three more words. The word for “box” is caja. This is a feminine noun. So for example:
It’s just a box of trash.
Es solo una caja de basura.
Next we have the word traje, which basically means “outfit”. So we’ve already learned ropa as a mass noun to mean “clothing”. But un traje is a single thing you might wear. This word actually has many meanings; it can be a suit, a dress, or a costume. Here are a couple of examples:
What a strange outfit!
¡Qué traje tan extraño!
His suit was very lovely.
Su traje era muy bonito.
And then our last word today is the word perra, which means “dog”, but as a feminine noun. So in general, a dog is going to be a perro if you don’t know the gender. But if you do know the gender, it might be a perro or a perra.
And in general, this is often going to be the case with animals in Spanish: There’s typically a default gender for a specific animal, either masculine or feminine, but the gender of the noun can change if you know the sex of the individual specimen and want to reference it in a more personal way. So for example:
She has two girl dogs and one boy dog.
Tiene dos perras y un perro.
Let’s practice caja, traje, and perra.
I don’t like that outfit.
No me gusta ese traje.
My dog(f) is my best friend.
Mi perra es mi mejor amiga.
She’s wearing a dress from her country.
Lleva un traje de su país.
She is asking me if I have a girl dog or a boy dog.
Me está preguntando si tengo una perra o un perro.
They have to give me the following box, it has a suit inside.
Tienen que darme la siguiente caja, tiene un traje adentro.
You always ask where you put that box, go to the back door.
Siempre preguntas dónde pones esa caja, ve a la puerta trasera.
For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/189. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.
I asked for a different outfit.
Pedí un traje diferente.
She always asks about my dog(f).
Siempre pregunta por mi perra.
That suit has gold.
Ese traje tiene oro.
We ordered a lot of gold for the future.
Pedimos mucho oro para el futuro.
You can’t order that again, you already ordered it.
No puedes volver a pedir eso, ya lo pediste.
He has asked me for money.
Me ha pedido dinero.
I want to ask him how much is the change from pesos to dollars.
Quiero preguntarle cuánto es el cambio de pesos a dólares.
He has to put his own trash out.
Tiene que poner su propia basura afuera.
Ask her if she has cash for the next train.
Pregúntale si tiene efectivo para el próximo tren.
He asked me if I knew what happened with the trash.
Me preguntó si yo sabía qué pasó con la basura.
There’s a normal bench in that place, you can sit there.
Hay un banco normal en ese lugar, te puedes sentar ahí.
I wanted to ask you a personal favor, do you have cash?
Quería pedirte un favor personal, ¿tienes efectivo?
This is the official chair for this game.
Esta es la silla oficial para este juego.
She’s asking me if you put(past) salt on this.
Me está preguntando si le pusiste sal a esto.
If you order it now, it comes in a box.
Si lo pides ahora, viene en una caja.
We want our change for this seat, that’s all we are asking for.
Queremos nuestro vuelto por este asiento, eso es todo lo que pedimos.
He’s asking for the same thing she asked last week.
Él está pidiendo lo mismo que ella pidió la semana pasada.
There’s a box on the bench.
Hay una caja en el banco.
If I ask her for the change, it might be that she gives me dollars instead of pesos.
Si le pido el vuelto, puede que me dé dólares en vez de pesos.
I was wondering if this had salt.
Me preguntaba si esto tenía sal.
If he asks for a chair, give him this one.
Si pide una silla, dale esta.
Change is not good for your dog(f).
El cambio no es bueno para tu perra.
I have to ask him for more pesos.
Tengo que pedirle más pesos.
This isn’t his real name, that’s why I’m asking.
Este no es su verdadero nombre, por eso pregunto.
I wonder what’s happening here.
Me pregunto qué pasa aquí.
For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/189, 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 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.