Thursday, March 9, 2017

Fall in Love With Ceviche

Ceviche (pronounced: seh-vee-chay), the absolutely delicious dish made of fresh raw fish and tart citrus juices, has slowly become a staple on the menus of restaurants around the globe. Once a dish centralized to the coastal regions of Latin America, its unique tangy flavors has received widespread acclaim from chefs in every major city.

Its origin, though, is often disputed. According to a number of historic accounts from Peru, ceviche was created by the Moche, a civilization founded on the cast almost two thousand years ago. Using the fermented juice from local passionfruit, they pickled the raw fish and ate it without garnishes. However, more recent reports have uncovered that throughout the Incan empire, raw fish was marinated with chicha, a fermented beverage local to the Andes. Served with salt and ají (a spicy sauce made with tomatoes, cilantro, pepper, and water), ceviche was never served garnished with citrus juices until the Spanish colonist arrived to South America. Interestingly, it is also possible that the dish originated in Ecuador or even the Polynesian islands in the South Pacific.

Today, ceviche has spread across South and Latin America and each culture has created its own style of the iconic dish. In Peru, ceviche sticks to its roots and is served in a minimalistic style with just red onions and cilantro to garnish. In Ecuador, ceviche is served with tomatoes and instead of raw fish, fresh shrimp is used as the main ingredient. In Mexico, ceviche is served alongside tostadas or salted crackers. Perhaps the most different variation on the traditional recipe, Salvadorian and Nicaraguan chefs make black clam ceviche. Black clam ceviche is prepared with onion, mint, lime juice, tomato, and Worcester sauce.

Want to make your own version of the world renowned ceviche? Click here to check out an amazing recipe from the New York.

How to Be SpanishDict’s Favorite Person (¡en el mundo!)

¡Hola amigo!

Thank you for using SpanishDict! We really appreciate your effort to learn Spanish and would like to keep helping you improve your skills.

You may not know this, but SpanishDict is free and ad-supported, like many sites on the internet. Without ads, we wouldn’t be able to keep the site going. We noticed - not trying to be creepy here - that you have an ad-blocker enabled.

With this message, we hope we can get 20 seconds of your time to change that and keep the site free. It’s super simple!

If you’re using two of the popular ad-blocking softwares, here’s how to enable ads on (you can keep them off for other sites, if you prefer):

On Ad Block Plus

Click the Ad Block Plus icon on your browser window.
Click “Enabled on this site” to disable ad blocking for the current site.
Reload the page.

On AdBlock

Click the Ad Block icon on your browser window.
Click “Don’t run on pages on this domain”.
Reload the page.

There you go! We keep helping you with our amazing Spanish dictionary, assist you with verb conjugations like hacer, write helpful grammar articles on por v. para, share tricks to type Spanish accents, and keep the free Spanish translators online.

You get to know that you’re doing your part to keep the site free and support the great people working to bring you more helpful features.

Seems fair, right?

Let us know if you have any questions or feedback.

¡Gracias mil!

The Team at SpanishDict

Monday, March 6, 2017

6 Tips to Tackle Ser vs. Estar

Most Spanish language learners want to pull their hair out when deciding whether to use ser or estar. Like por and para, ser and estar can be very tricky for learners. Ser and estar both mean "to be" and are used frequently in daily Spanish communication. While it can be confusing, we have some tricks from ser and estar experts – aka Spanish teachers – that will alleviate the headache and make you more confident when differentiating between the two.

If you need a refresher on the specific differences between ser and estar, check out this article.

The Tips
1. Use ser for permanence and estar for transience.

This first tip is the guiding rule for figuring out when to use ser and estar. As you may already know, the main difference between ser and estar is that ser refers to more permanent traits of someone or something, while estar refers to transient conditions.

Example: María es alta, delgada y rubia. (Maria is tall, thin, and blonde.)
Explanation: Physical traits that should not, under normal circumstances, change.

Example: Sandra está confundida porque no sabe cómo llegar al restaurante. (Sandra is confused because she doesn't know how to get to the restaurant.)
Explanation: Sandra is confused right now while finding her way to the restaurant, but she won't be confused tomorrow.

2. Ser and estar have the power to change a word’s meaning.

There are some words whose meaning is radically affected by choosing ser or estar.

"When we use ser, we separate the meaning from anything to do with time and duration. We could imagine it as a simple "=" sign. Estar establishes the possession of an attribute for a period of time." Using estar implies that something could stop or change, over time. reference

Example: La nieve es blanca. (The snow is white.) reference
Explanation: Here, the speaker is equating whiteness with snow.

Example: La nieve está blanca. (The snow is white.) reference
Explanation: While the speaker still emphasizes the snow is white, he/she focuses on the possibility of change, such as the snow becoming dirty.

Some other common examples:
Yo soy aburrido. (I am a boring person.) vs. Yo estoy aburrido. (I am bored.)
Daniel es nervioso. (Daniel is a nervous person.) vs. Daniel está nervioso. (Daniel is nervous.)
Ella es muy guapa. (In general, she’s a very good looking person.) vs. Ella está muy guapa. (She’s looking very attractive right now / today.)

3. Use estar for location; use ser when speaking about events.

Estar is usually used to describe where a person or thing is physically located. Although an event takes place at a physical location, when speaking about events occurring at a point in time, you should use ser. If the meaning of the verb is “to be held” or “to take place,” use ser.

Example: El examen será en la biblioteca del colegio. (The exam will be held in the school library.)
Explanation: Use ser because the event location is considered to be a characteristic, or descriptor, of the event.

Example: El examen estará en mi escritorio. (The exam paper will be on my desk.)
Explanation: Use estar because you’re describing the location of the physical exam, not the event.

4. Use ser for an action; use estar for a current condition.

Use ser when you’re talking about the action taken on something or someone. Use estar when you’re talking about someone or something’s state.

Example: La sopa fue cocinada por la familia Sánchez. (The soup was cooked by the Sanchez family.)
Explanation: The focus here is on the actual action of the family cooking the soup.

Example: La sopa está cocinada y lista para comer. (The soup is cooked and ready for consumption.)
Explanation: The focus here is on the resulting state of the soup – that it has been cooked and is ready to be eaten.

5. Use estar to describe how food tastes.

Although ser is usually used for permanent and descriptive characteristics, use estar to describe how food tastes.

Example: El menú es delicioso. (The menu is delicious.)
Explanation: This is referring to the the things on the menu that, in general, don’t change.

Example: Este churro está delicioso. (This churro is delicious.)
Explanation: This is referring to the particular churro that will only exist at this point in time, until it is eaten.

6. Don’t worry – sometimes you can use ser or estar interchangeably!

There are times when it’s okay to user either ser or estar. In these cases, it is grammatically correct to use either verb, although one verb may feel more natural or accurate. These cases include:

Words indicating marital status.
Example: Sale con una chica que está / es divorciada. (He’s going out with a girl who is divorced.)

With adjectives describing social manner when “to be” = “to behave.”
Example: Elena está / es cariñosa. (Elena is affectionate.)

With adjectives referring to weather, when applied to día and tiempo.
Example: El día es / está bueno. (The weather is nice today.)

We hope that these tips will help you feel more confident when using ser or estar. And remember, it’s okay to make mistakes! The more you practice, the easier it will be for you to choose the right verb.

10 Slang Words to Know Before Traveling to Chile

Planning a trip to Chile? As you pack your bags and prepare to take in the sights, people, and culture of this amazing country, be sure to consult this list of common slang words and phrases! You’ll be partying with the locals in no time!

1. ¿Cachai? = You know?

You'll probably hear this at the end of every other sentence. It's used informally to engage in conversation, in the same way that you know is used in English.

Friend: Es un hombre muy ocupado, ¿cachai? (He's a very busy man, you know?)
You: Supongo que sí. Me parece que no tiene ni un minuto libre. (I guess so. It seems like he doesn't even have a free minute.)

2. Bacán= Cool/Awesome

Because every country has a different way to say cool, right? You’ll hear this word over and over again!

You: ¡Hay helado gratis ahora en el parque! (There's free ice cream right now in the park!)
Friend: ¡Bacán! ¡Vámonos! (Awesome! Let's go!)

3. Al tiro = Right away

Literally meaning at the shot, this phrase means that something is happening or is going to happen NOW.

You: ¡Me voy al tiro! (I'm going right away!)
Friend: ¡Apúrate! (Hurry!)

4. Flaite = Sketchy

This word can be used to describe dark alleys, abandoned houses, strange people at the bar - you get the picture! Just don't use it around anyone’s grandmother.

You: Este hombre nos ha seguido por dos cuadros. (That man has followed us for two blocks.)
Friend: Estamos en un lugar muy flaite... debemos correr. (We’re in a really sketchy place... we should run.)

5. Carretear/Carrete = to Party/Party

As opposed to fiesta, carrete typically implies alcohol. You can go de carrete, which means to go out, or you can go to a carrete, which implies that you’re only going to one place to party.

Friend: Vamos a salir de carrete esta noche, ¿cachai? (We're going to party tonight, you know?)
You: Por supuesto. No tengo que trabajar mañana. (Of course. I don't have to work tomorrow.)

6. ¡Sí, po! = Yeah, of course!

Po is an expression that comes from the word pues, meaning well (as in, well, of course!). You'll hear po (like ¡sí, po! or ¡no, po!) just as much as you'll hear cachai.

Friend: ¿Quieres ir a cenar con Celia esta noche? (Do you want to go have dinner with Celia tonight?)
You: ¡Sí, po! No la he visto por mucho tiempo. (Yeah, of course! I haven't seen her in a long time.)

7. ¡Qué lata! = How boring!

This phrase is used to describe something lame, boring, or dreadful. You can say it to a friend when s/he can’t go out, or maybe you’ll hear children say it when their parents make them pose for yet another photo.

Friend: Mañana tengo un examen en la clase de matemáticas. (Tomorrow I have a math test.)
You: ¡Qué lata! Iba a preguntarte si querías venir al cine conmigo esta noche. (How lame! I was going to ask you if you wanted to come to the movies with me tonight.)

8. Buena onda = Good vibe

Though this phrase literally means good wave, it’s used to describe people that you like. You can say that someone is buena onda, implying that s/he is likeable, or you can say that you have a buena onda with someone. Good vibes, good people… Why would you ever leave Chile?

You: ¿Conoces a Mario? Es muy buena onda. (Do you know Mario? He's really nice/cool.)
Friend: Sí, lo conozco del colegio. Es muy bacán. (Yes, I know him from school. He's really cool.)

9. Fome = Boring

This word is a casual way to say boring, used among friends and family. You don't ever want to be someone/somewhere/something fome.

Friend: Me voy al parque para jugar al fútbol. ¿Quieres venir conmigo? (I'm going to the park to play soccer. Want to come with me?)
You: No, no me gusta al fútbol. (No, I don't like soccer.)
Friend: ¡No seas fome! (Don't be boring!)

10. ¿Te tinca? = You think?

Tinca actually comes from the English word think, and this phrase is used to ask someone's opinion about something.

You: Quiero llevar este vestido negro al carrete. ¿Te tinca? (I want to wear this black dress to the party. What do you think?)
Friend: ¡Es perfecto! (It's perfect!)

Now you're ready to book your travels to Santiago or Valparaíso. Remember to take this list with you on your journey. Safe travels!

20 Popular Spanish Expressions

Sometimes people speak to us in Spanish and we're like: 

Whether it was today in class, last week, or ten years ago, we've all been there. Here are 20 of the most popular Spanish words and phrases to help you fake it 'til you make it. With some practice, you'll be having great conversations in Spanish in no time!

1. ¿Cómo estás? = How are you?

It'll roll right off your tongue after hola.

Friend: Hola, ¿cómo estás? (Hi, how are you?) 
You: Bien, gracias, ¿y tú? (Good, thanks, and you?) 

2. Buenos días = Good morning

This greeting is always a great way to start off the day!

Friend: ¡Buenos días! ¿Quieres venir conmigo a la playa hoy? (Good morning! Do you want to come to the beach with me today?) 
You: ¡Buenos días! Sí, pero primero tengo que hacer mi tarea. (Good morning! Yes, but I have to do my homework first.) 

3. Buenas tardes = Good afternoon / evening

You can say buenas tardes any time in the afternoon or evening!

Ice Cream Man: ¡Buenas tardes! ¿Puedo ayudarles con algo? (Good afternoon! Can I help you with something?) 
You: Sí, queremos dos helados de chocolate por favor. (Yes, we want two chocolate ice creams please.) 

4. Buenas noches = Good night

This phrase is a farewell instead of a greeting, so only say it when you're calling it a night!

Friend: Hoy fue muy divertido. Debemos ir a la playa y comer helado más a menudo. (Today was really fun. We should go to the beach and eat ice cream more often.) 
You: Sí, estoy de acuerdo. Pero ahora tengo que regresar a casa – ¡buenas noches! (Yes, I agree. But now I have to return home – good night!) 

5. Hasta pronto = See you soon

Also a farewell, hasta pronto is often used in casual settings.

Friend: Me voy a Miami. ¡Hasta pronto! (I'm going to Miami. See you soon!) 
You: ¡Ciao! (Bye!) 

6. Hasta luego = See you later

Similar to hasta pronto, hasta luego is also a common way to bid farewell. The slight difference is that hasta luego tends to be used in situations where you're not sure when you'll next see each other.

Shopkeeper: Gracias por tu visita. ¡Regresa pronto! (Thanks for your visit. Come back soon!) 
You: ¡Por supuesto! ¡Hasta luego! (Of course! See you later!) 

7. Me llamo... = My name is...

You always gotta know how to introduce yourself.

Stranger: Hola, soy María. ¿Vienes aquí a menudo? No te he visto antes. (Hi, I'm Maria. Do you come here often? I haven't seen you before.) 
You: Hola, me llamo Raúl. La verdad es que es mi primera vez aquí en este café. ¿Tienes recomendaciones para bebidas? (Hi, my name is Raúl. The truth is that it's my first time here in this cafe. Do you have any drink recommendations?) 

8. Gracias = Thank you

If nothing else, know this word. Politeness is key!

Friend: Gracias por toda tu ayuda. No hubiera podido escalar esa montaña sin ti. (Thanks for all your help. I couldn't have climbed that mountain without you.) 
You: ¡No, gracias a ti! No hubiera podido escalarla sin la distracción de tus canciones chistosas. (No, thank you! I couldn't have climbed it without the distraction of your funny songs.) 

9. De nada = You're welcome

After thank you, comes you're welcome!

Friend: Gracias por venir conmigo al supermercado. Es muy aburrido cuando voy solo, pero contigo fue divertido. (Thanks for coming with me to the supermarket. It's really boring when I go alone, but with you it was fun) 
You: De nada. ¡Sí, corriendo por la tienda con el carrito fue muy divertido! (You're welcome! Yeah, it was really fun running through the store with the cart!) 

10. Perdón = Excuse me

Don't be a bother – excuse yourself.

Stranger: Perdón, ¿hay una estación de tren por aquí? (Excuse me, is there a train station around here?) 
You: Sí, hay una al lado del supermercado en la próxima esquina. (Yes, there's one by the supermarket on the next corner.)