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The 60s and 70s

Let’s learn how to count to 79 in Spanish! We’ll also learn some new ways to use numbers, including how to say “the sixties” and “the seventies” in Spanish.

Full Podcast Episode


Hay como sesenta o setenta.

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re working on more numbers, and let’s begin by learning the word for “sixty”, which is sesenta. So let’s compare the words for “six” and “sixty”. Seis is an interesting word because it stresses the bent vowel sound “ei”. Seis. But the word for “sixty” doesn’t have any bent sounds; all the vowels are short and crisp, and the stressed syllable sounds like “sent”. Sesenta. Here’s an example:

There were fifty or sixty people.

Había cincuenta o sesenta personas.

And then the word for “seventy” is setenta. This stresses “tent”. Setenta. So for example:

There are seventy houses in the village.

Hay setenta casas en el pueblo.

To talk about numbers like sixty-one, sixty-two, and seventy-three, you do the same thing that we’ve done with all the numbers from thirty-one to fifty-nine. So for example:

There are seventy-one girls and sixty-three guys.

Hay setenta y una chicas y sesenta y tres chicos.

Try it yourself in this next example:

Seventy-one men, seventy-two women, and seventy-three places.

Setenta y un hombres, setenta y dos mujeres y setenta y tres lugares.

Let’s practice using our numbers from sixty-one to seventy-nine.

The seventy-three people are telling that story.

Las setenta y tres personas están contando esa historia.

I’m sixty-six and he’s seventy-nine.

Yo tengo sesenta y seis y él tiene setenta y nueve.

I have sixty-four dollars in cash, do you need them?

Tengo sesenta y cuatro dólares en efectivo, ¿los necesitas?

I did that when I was seventy-one and when he was seventy-five.

Hice eso cuando tenía setenta y uno y cuando él tenía setenta y cinco.

There are between seventy-six and seventy-eight seats in this place.

Hay entre setenta y seis y setenta y ocho asientos en este lugar.

I want to tell him that in the year sixty-two we found gold.

Quiero contarle que en el año sesenta y dos encontramos oro.

There are seventy-one women who have arrived on time.

Hay setenta y una mujeres que han llegado a tiempo.

I’m seventy-seven. I can’t believe it, you’re also seventy-seven?

Tengo setenta y siete. No lo puedo creer, ¿tú también tienes setenta y siete?

I want to tell you what happened to me when I was seventy-one years old.

Quiero contarte lo que me pasó cuando tenía setenta y un años.

Now let’s talk about a couple of other idiomatic things we can do with our numbers. To talk about approximate numbers, it’s pretty common in modern English to say something like this:

There were like sixty extra chairs.

This use of the word “like” is pretty informal, but it’s interesting that this happens in Spanish too, using the word como. So here’s the Spanish version of that sentence.

Había como sesenta sillas de más.

Try it yourself in this next example:

How many? I don’t know, like seventy or seventy-one.

¿Cuántos? No lo sé, como setenta o setenta y uno.

Next, check out this sentence in English.

Those things used to happen in the sixties.

So in English, when we say “in the sixties”, what we mean is “in the decade from 1960 to 1969”. Now, we don’t have the word “decade” yet, but we actually do have enough vocabulary in Spanish to say things like “the sixties” or “the seventies”: You simply say los años and then the number that starts the decade. For example:

Esas cosas pasaban en los años sesenta.

This is literally “those things used to happen in the years sixty”, but in Spanish it’s clear that what’s meant is “in the sixties”. Try it yourself in this next one:

This clothing is from the seventies?

¿Esta ropa es de los años setenta?

It’s also common to omit the word años. So for example:

This house is from the twenties?

¿Esta casa es de los veinte?

Let’s get some practice with these idiomatic uses of años and como.

Those things weren’t worth anything in the forties.

Esas cosas no valían nada en los años cuarenta.

There were like sixty-one men at the party.

Había como sesenta y un hombres en la fiesta.

I have like seventy-seven pesos in change.

Tengo como setenta y siete pesos en cambio.

Tell what happened in the seventies when you were living there.

Cuenta lo que pasó en los setenta cuando vivías ahí.

I think that person is like sixty-six years old.

Creo que esa persona tiene como sesenta y seis años.

Do you think those chairs are from the fifties or from the sixties?

¿Crees que esas sillas son de los años cincuenta o de los sesenta?

Now let’s work on some comprehension so that we can practice hearing the differences between sesenta, setenta, and other numbers that can be tricky. See if you can understand the meaning of each sentence, including understanding the correct number or numbers.

¿Tienes setenta y siete? Creía que tenías setenta.

You’re seventy-seven? I thought you were seventy.

No me dieron vuelto, así que solo tengo sesenta pesos.

They didn’t give me any change, so I only have sixty pesos.

En los años cuarenta ellos tenían veintisiete años.

In the forties they were twenty-seven years old.

Cuéntame lo que pasó en el año sesenta y seis.

Tell me what happened in the year sixty-six.

No escuché bien, pero creo que tiene como veintiséis años.

I didn't hear right, but I think she’s like twenty-six years old.

Dejamos la basura afuera hace como diecisiete horas.

We left the trash outside like seventeen hours ago.

Cuando era niña, en los años setenta, mi familia tenía una perra.

When I was a kid(f), in the seventies, my family had a dog(f).

Tenemos que llevar las dieciséis cajas a la casa número sesenta y siete.

We have to take the sixteen boxes to house number sixty-seven.

Quiero que ella nos cuente qué va a hacer cuando tenga setenta y seis.

I want her to tell us what she’s going to do when she’s seventy-six.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/193. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

This first example includes the phrase “I saw like sixty people”. Since the direct object is people, we have to use the personal a, and that’s actually going to come after the word como but before the word sesenta. Try to predict the Spanish.

I think I saw like sixty people there.

Creo que vi como a sesenta personas ahí.

Why don’t you tell us the story of the twenty-seven kids?

¿Por qué no nos cuentas la historia de los veintisiete chicos?

There are sixteen teachers and seventy-eight kids.

Hay dieciséis maestros y setenta y ocho chicos.

It's not worth it to wait in order to sit on that bench.

No vale la pena esperar para sentarse en ese banco.

Sure, we’ll be seventy-four people.

Vale, seremos setenta y cuatro personas.

I’m telling you there will be sixty-three people at the party.

Te digo que habrá sesenta y tres personas en la fiesta.

He wants me to tell you, because he’s not going to tell it to you.

Quiere que te cuente porque él no te lo va a contar.

(formal) Tell the story she always tells.

Cuente la historia que ella siempre cuenta.

What I told you was a secret, why did you tell it to her?

Lo que te conté era un secreto, ¿por qué se lo contaste?

My mother is sixty-one and my father sixty-five.

Mi madre tiene sesenta y uno y mi padre, sesenta y cinco.

I don’t think this is worth sixty-nine dollars.

No creo que esto valga sesenta y nueve dólares.

They’re telling me what they did when they were twenty-six years old.

Me cuentan lo que hicieron cuando tenían veintiséis años.

I thought you were seventy-two years old, not seventy.

Creí que tenías setenta y dos años, no setenta.

This is worth seventy-one dollars, not seventy-six.

Esto vale setenta y un dólares, no setenta y seis.

Have they told you what happened in the thirties?

¿Te han contado lo que pasó en los años treinta?

I need to eat with less salt because of my weight.

Necesito comer con menos sal por mi peso.

You can count on me, I have sixty-one things and I’m going to help you.

Puedes contar conmigo, tengo sesenta y una cosas y voy a ayudarte.

That was worth sixty-seven dollars in the twenties.

Eso valía sesenta y siete dólares en los años veinte.

He didn’t tell you what happened in the year sixty-seven, but I’ll tell you it.

No te contó lo que pasó en el año sesenta y siete, pero yo te lo contaré.

Did he tell you what we did seventeen years ago?

¿Te contó lo que hicimos hace diecisiete años?

There are like seventy-six men here and they are all wearing suits.

Hay como setenta y seis hombres aquí y todos llevan traje.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/193.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn some new important nouns, including the words for “force”, “silence”, “program”, and “law”.

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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