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Spanish adjectives: Feliz, mismo, seguro

Today we’ll learn some Spanish adjectives, including feliz, mismo, seguro, and claro. These are very frequent adjectives that you’ll encounter in just about every Spanish conversation.

Full Podcast Episode


Feliz, mismo, y solo… ¡de una vez por todas!

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 essential adjectives that are used all the time in Spanish.

We’ll start with the word mismo. Like most adjectives, this word changes based on whether you’re describing something that’s masculine or feminine, so it can be either mismo or misma.

This word roughly means “same”, but it has a wider variety of uses than the English word. Here’s a simple use where misma clearly means “same”:

They were all in the same house.

Todos estaban en la misma casa.

But mismo is also often used to reference something’s self, emphasizing what it itself is. For example, check out this English sentence:

He himself has to be there.

What does “himself” mean in this sentence? By default, you might think about reflexive pronouns, words like se and nos, which we learned mean things like “himself”, “herself”, and “ourselves”. But those words have to be used right before a verb, when someone is doing something to themself. In this sentence, “he himself has to be there”, he’s not doing anything to himself. Instead, the word “himself” is being used to emphasize that we’re talking about him, and only him, nobody else.

In Spanish, in these situations, instead of using a reflexive pronoun, you use the word mismo. So here’s that sentence in Spanish:

Él mismo tiene que estar ahí.

Here’s another example, where the people described are feminine.

They(f) did it themselves.

Ellas mismas lo hicieron.

Let’s practice these two uses of mismo with a few sentence examples.

She herself has to go.

Ella misma tiene que ir.

You have to be careful, because we did it ourselves.

Tienes que tener cuidado, porque nosotros mismos lo hicimos.

We went to the same place, the same year.

Fuimos al mismo lugar, el mismo año.

This is the same thing that he can do.

Esta es la misma cosa que él puede hacer.

If he did the same thing, it would be good.

Si hiciera la misma cosa, sería bueno.

The word mismo is also very often used without a noun. A version of this even happens in English; for example, sometimes we say “she did the same thing”, but sometimes we just say “she did the same”. In Spanish, the two versions are ella hizo la misma cosa versus ella hizo lo mismo. In fact, lo mismo is so natural in Spanish that you’ll almost never encounter the phrase la misma cosa at all.

Let’s also learn an idiom that uses this word. The idiom is ya mismo, literally “anymore same”, but it’s used to emphasize a very specific moment, such as “right now” or “this instant”. For example:

Do it this instant!

¡Hazlo ya mismo!

Next, let’s learn a few adjectives that tend to be used along with the verb Estar. Remember that the verb Ser is used to describe what something is or who someone is, but Estar is used to describe where someone is or how someone is doing. Let’s start with adjectives that describe how someone is doing, including the words for “happy” and “lonely”.

The word for “happy” is feliz, spelled f-e-l-i-z. For example:

When she got there I was happy.

Cuando ella estuvo ahí yo estuve feliz.

The plural version of this word is felices, spelled f-e-l-i-c-e-s. For example:

We have all been happy here.

Todos hemos estado felices aquí.

The word for “lonely” is solo or sola. For example:

She has been very lonely.

Ella ha estado muy sola.

And then the word for “sure” is seguro. For example:

I’m not sure(m).

No estoy seguro.

To describe being sure about something, you use the preposition de after the word seguro. For example:

She’s sure about that.

Ella está segura de eso.

They(f) weren’t very sure about this.

Ellas no estaban muy seguras de esto.

What if you want to say that you’re sure about some sort of fact? For example, “I’m sure that she is here.” We would start with estoy seguro de, but then what we want to express is a whole sentence, “she is here”. So in this case, after de, we need to use a que phrase.

Estoy seguro de que está aquí.

Here’s another example:

You’re sure(f) that there’s nobody in the house?

¿Estás segura de que no hay nadie en la casa?

Our last adjective that uses Estar is the word claro, which means “clear”. When you describe something as being clear, using Estar, what this means is that something is clearly true. For example:

It’s clear that we have to be there.

Está claro que tenemos que estar ahí.

Let’s practice these new adjectives with a few examples.

He had to be sure about that.

Tenía que estar seguro de eso.

He was alone, but he was able to be happy.

Estaba solo, pero podía estar feliz.

She is sure that they can be happy.

Está segura de que ellos pueden estar felices.

He’s sure that I would be able to do it in that way.

Está seguro de que yo podría hacerlo de esa forma.

It’s clear that he has to go with them(f).

Está claro que él tiene que ir con ellas.

She is sure about the situation.

Está segura de the situation.

Está segura de la situación.

Now let’s talk about an adjective that is used with Ser, to describe what something is or who someone is. And surprise — the adjective is the word seguro! So this is something that happens quite a bit in Spanish: An adjective has one meaning when it’s used with Estar, but it has a completely different meaning when it’s used with Ser.

When the word seguro is used along with Ser, to describe what something is, the most common meaning is “secure” or “safe”. This is something you might often use to describe a place. For example:

This place is very secure.

Este lugar es muy seguro.

In that sentence, it would be very strange to use está instead of es, because you would be describing the place as being “very sure” about something. This is another example where it’s important to know whether to use Ser or Estar.

So compare these two sentences, which use basically the same template and both use the word segura, but they mean totally different things because one uses Ser and the other uses Estar.

The house isn’t very safe.

La casa no es muy segura.

The girl isn’t very sure.

La chica no está muy segura.

Also note that the adjective seguro doesn’t mean “safe” in reference to a person being safe, as in out of harm’s way; there are other terms for that, which we’ll learn in upcoming episodes.

Let’s practice using seguro with the verb Ser to mean “safe”, as well as practicing it a bit more with the verb Estar to mean “sure”.

That place is very safe.

Ese lugar es muy seguro.

Which one do you want? I’m not sure.

¿Cuál do you want? Yo no estoy seguro.

¿Cuál quieres? Yo no estoy seguro.

There are always people, and for that reason the place is safe.

Siempre hay people, y por esa razón el lugar es seguro.

Siempre hay gente y por esa razón el lugar es seguro.

She is sure about her decision.

Está segura de su decision.

Está segura de su decisión. 

Before we wrap up this episode, let’s learn a few new idioms. To begin, let’s learn two different ways to say “at the same time”. We now know the word for “same”, so it’s now easy to use the most literal translation of “at the same time”, which is al mismo tiempo (literally “to the same time”). For example:

We were there at the same time.

Estábamos ahí al mismo tiempo.

But there’s another way to translate this phrase: a la vez. That’s a lot shorter and easier to say, so it’s actually quite frequent, even though it’s very hard to translate literally. In our quizzing, to make this easy for you, I’m going to say “at the same time” when you’re supposed to guess al mismo tiempo, but I’ll say “at once” to indicate a la vez. Let’s practice with a few examples.

We can do it all at once, but carefully.

Podemos hacerlo todo a la vez, pero con cuidado.

I would be happy if we were able to be there at the same time.

Estaría feliz si pudiéramos estar ahí al mismo tiempo.

Please, don’t do all those things at once.

Por favor, no hagas todas esas cosas a la vez.

They might be at her house at the same time.

Pueden estar en su casa al mismo tiempo.

The word vez actually features in a LOT of idioms that relate to time, so let’s learn a few more.

First of all, we’ve been using the preposition a to indicate when something happens. In English, we use the word “sometimes” to describe something that happens not at one specific time, but at a bunch of different times, or on occasion. In Spanish, you can use the idiom a veces, literally “at times”. For example:

Yeah, she does this sometimes.

Sí, ella hace esto a veces.

We’ve already learned that you can also use the phrase una vez to mean “once”. For example:

He did this once.

Él hizo esto una vez.

In English, we also sometimes use the phrase “once” when what we mean is “after this thing happens”. Check out this sentence:

I did it once I was sure.

Notice that there are two entire sentences here: “I did it” and “I was sure”. So how do we translate “once” here? Well, we do actually use una vez, but then we add que before the second sentence. So here’s the whole example:

Lo hice una vez que estuve seguro.

Here’s another example, and in this one, we’re referring to the future:

We will do it once he is here.

Lo haremos una vez que él esté aquí.

We used the subjunctive because of this same thing that’s been happening with cuando and hasta que: In English, we’re using the present tense to refer to an indefinite time in the future, “once he is here”. In those cases in Spanish, we use the subjunctive.

Let’s practice with a few examples.

It’s not a problem; we’ll do it once they are here.

No es un problema, lo haremos una vez que estén aquí.

Once we did it, everything was fine.

Una vez que lo hicimos, todo estuvo bien.

She’ll go once you can go with her.

Ella irá una vez que puedas ir con ella.

Another common idiom that uses the word vez also involves cuando. In English, we often say that something happens “once in a while”. This is an idiom that means that something happens not frequently or regularly, but on occasion. The Spanish idiom for this is de vez en cuando, which doesn’t translate literally (that would be something like “of time in when”). But here’s an example:

We used to do it once in a while.

Lo hacíamos de vez en cuando.

Our last idiom is de una vez por todas, literally “of one time for all times”. This is a statement of finality, and it’s how you say “once and for all” in Spanish. For example:

I’m going to do it once and for all.

Lo voy a hacer de una vez por todas.

Let’s practice these new idioms.

I want her to be able to go once in a while.

I want que pueda ir de vez en cuando.

Quiero que pueda ir de vez en cuando.

It might be that we’re there at the same time.

Puede que estemos ahí al mismo tiempo.

Once we are there, we’ll do everything at once.

Una vez que estemos ahí, haremos todo a la vez.

Sometimes we’re in agreement.

A veces estamos de acuerdo.

We would be able to have it once and for all.

Podríamos tenerlo de una vez por todas.

Once in a while we’re there during the evenings.

De vez en cuando estamos ahí por las noches.

We have to do this once and for all.

Tenemos que hacer esto de una vez por todas.

If you need more practice with any of today’s new adjectives or idioms, feel free to dig into anything specific at LCSpodcast.com/68. Otherwise, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

We were happy when we finished our work.

Estábamos felices cuando we finished nuestro trabajo.

Estábamos felices cuando terminamos nuestro trabajo.

He wasn’t able to be there once and for all.

No pudo estar ahí de una vez por todas.

The place will be able to be safe.

El lugar podrá ser seguro.

At the same time, we had an agreement.

Al mismo tiempo, teníamos un acuerdo.

We ourselves can do it.

Nosotros mismos podemos hacerlo.

I’m not sure we can do it this instant.

No estoy seguro de que podamos hacerlo ya mismo.

Sometimes you have an idea that you wouldn’t be able to do.

A veces tienes una idea que no podrías hacer.

I am lonely(m) once in a while.

Estoy solo de vez en cuando.

Sometimes I do it myself.

A veces yo mismo lo hago.

It’s clear that we’ll be happy once we do it.

Está claro que estaremos felices una vez que lo hagamos.

I was able to be sure once in a while.

Podía estar seguro de vez en cuando.

It would be better if I did it once and for all.

Sería mejor si lo hiciera de una vez por todas.

They would be able to be the same thing.

Podrían ser la misma cosa.

He will be able to do the same once he does it carefully.

Él podrá hacer lo mismo una vez que lo haga con cuidado.

It’s clear that this is a safe place.

Está claro que este es un lugar seguro.

I wanted her to be able to do everything at once.

I wanted que ella pudiera hacer todo a la vez.

Quería que ella pudiera hacer todo a la vez.

You were able to do it, but you aren’t able anymore.

Podías hacerlo, pero ya no puedes.

My friend was able to do it at once.

Mi amigo pudo hacerlo a la vez.

You’re right, I can do it at the same time.

Tienes razón, puedo hacerlo al mismo tiempo.

They can go this instant.

Pueden ir ya mismo.

I hope they can do what I was able to do that day.

I hope que puedan hacer lo que yo pude hacer ese día.

Espero que puedan hacer lo que yo pude hacer ese día.

No, I won’t be able to go.

No, no podré ir.

When they were kids, they were able to eat a lot.

Cuando eran kids, podían to eat mucho.

Cuando eran niños, podían comer mucho.

She has been able to be alone with the one(f) that she had.

Ha podido estar sola con la que tenía.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/68.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll get more practice with all of this, plus we’ll learn a few nouns related to time, such as the words for “morning”, “moment”, “minute”, “hour”, and “week”.

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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