One Month Lingo

Asking for directions; exchanging currency

IN THIS LESSON: Señor White arrives in Surlandia and checks into a hotel room.

Study Dialogue:

le to you
gusta (gustar) (it) pleases, is pleasing (to please)
le gusta to you is pleasing
el cuarto the room
Señor White:
me gusta to me is pleasing
quiere (querer) (you) want (to want)
el agua (f) the water
mineral mineral
agua mineral mineral water, soda water
Señor White:
suba (subir) rise, bring up (to go up)
la (f) it
súbamela bring it up to me
después later
necesita (necesitar) (you) need (to need)
algo something
más else, more
algo más anything else
Señor White:
cerca near
cerca de near to
aquí here
lejos far
la avenida the avenue
independencia independence
que that
hay que there is that, it's necessary
tomar to take
el taxi the taxi
Señor White:
el ascensor the elevator
Señor White:
ahora now
mismo same
ahora mismo right now
la caja the box, the cashier
primer (primero) first
el piso the floor
la entrada the entrance
Señor White goes down in the elevator and approaches the cashier: ...
Señor White:
puede (poder) (you) can (to be able)
cambiar to change, exchange
cambiarme to change for me
unos some, a few
el dólar the dollar
unos dólares some dollars
Señor White:
a cómo how, at what
el cambio the change, exchange
el billete the bill (money)
los billetes the bills
el cheque the check
Señor White:
entonces then
lo it (masculine)
Señor White:
la moneda the coin, the change
cuesta (costar) (it) costs (to cost)
el peso the peso
los pesos the pesos
menos less

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Grammar Notes:

A. Gender of singular nouns and adjectives

A Spanish noun can be identified by the fact that it can have endings added to it to change its reference from singular to plural (covered in Lesson 4), and by the fact that it belongs to one of two sub-classes: masculine and feminine. While a noun can change for number, it has only one gender or the other, which is inherent and does not change. The terms masculine and feminine are convenient, but more or less arbitrary grammatical categories and have nothing to do with gender in the real world, except in the case of persons or animals that are clearly either masculine or feminine.

Nouns that have appeared so far include:

el gusto

el cuaderno

el baño

el agua

la caja

el dólar

el lápiz

el español

el hotel

el centro

la avenida

el piso

el cambio

la vez

la silla

el taxi

la entrada

el billete

el libro

la embajada

el cuarto

el ascensor

el cheque

la moneda

la información

You will notice that the word el or la precedes each noun. The words el and la, called definite articles, are usually the equivalents of the English "the"; el is masculine, and la is feminine. The words un and una, called indefinite articles, are usually the equivalent of English "a" or "an". When learning a noun it is a good idea to memorize its gender at the same time. Usually this can be done by memorizing the appropriate form of the definite article with the noun. (El agua is an exception, since it is actually feminine. The el is used solely for pronunciation purposes.)

The articles, and other adjectives which change for gender, must appear in the same gender category as the noun with which they are associated. This is called gender agreement, and the associated adjective is said to agree with the noun. Thus adjectives differ from nouns in having two gender forms in order to agree with nouns.

There are two subclasses of adjectives--those which show a gender change, and those for which distinct gender forms are only potential. In certain circumstances the latter subclass can show a change, but usually they have the same endings for masculine or feminine agreement. Usually the forms which change have a final o for masculine and a for feminine forms, though sometimes the masculine form may end in a consonant, as español-española, inglés, inglesa when used as adjectives.

Other adjectives, like mineral, seis, siete, which end in e or in a consonant do not change. Thus:

mucho gusto

mucha información

menos gusto

menos información

Note that in Spanish adjectives usually follow the noun modified: Embajada Americana, casa blanca, etc. Some adjectives, like the articles el, la etc., always precede: la avenida, dos pesos, etc. These are usually "number" or "limiting" adjectives. Some adjectives, however, may either follow or precede the noun: pluma buena, buena pluma.


Hand me the book.

Páseme el libro.

Give me the pen.

Déme la pluma.

Do you have a pencil?

Tiene un lapiz?

Do you have a pen?

Tiene una pluma?

Much pleasure [Pleased to meet you].

Mucho gusto.

Do you have much water?

Tiene mucha agua?

Este cheque viajero.

This traveler check.

Where is the American Embassy?

Donde esta la Embajada Americana?

Video Illustrations

Video Translation Drill

Additional Audio: