Sunday, November 17, 2013

I wanna blog! / ¡Quiero bloguear!

I wanna blog!

At least so I thought back on July 2008 when I first started this blog.  Now, more than five years later... it has only been 11 posts!  Not sure what happened.  Or actually, I do know what happened... life happened and keeping up with my blog kept being postponed over and over again.

In any case, I am still teaching Spanish, I am still eager to share my experiences with those interested in reading.  So I am resuming this blog.  This time I promise I will be more consistent.

A few changes right off the bat.  I renamed the blog to "Keeping Spanish Simple" (previously, The Diary of a Spanish Teacher) to match its domain. Also, it will be linked to my school’s website ( index page.

So, if you have any questions about the Spanish language or would like me to comment on any specifics of the language, or about learning Spanish or anything related, just drop me a line at

Muchas gracias,


Sunday, September 30, 2012

¿Cómo se dice “any” en español?


So it has been almost two years since I last posted something in this blog.  I sure hope somebody missed me ;-)  So just in case, I will post something now. I will try to be more consistent with my postings this time.  Ya veremos (We’ll see).

Today, I will talk about “any.”  This word and its uses are confusing for many Spanish students.  I will try to illustrate the different options we have in Spanish for “any” along with when we would use each.  

If you would like exercises for “any," feel free to contact me via our Facebook page ( with the subject: Leí su blog sobre “any” y quisiera me enviara ejercicios (I read your blog about any and would like you to send me exercises).

I have listed a total of 12 instances that deal with “any,” “any of,” “anybody” or “anyone,” and “anything.” 

1) “Any” will be cualquier when acting as an adjective (preceding a noun) in an affirmative statement. Por ejemplo: 
  • Podemos reunirnos cualquier día. (We can meet any day.)

2) “Any” will be ningún, ninguna or nada de when acting as an adjective (preceding the noun) in a negative statement or question. Ningún and ninguna will be used with countable nouns (and always in singular) and nada de for uncountable nouns. Por ejemplo:
  • No tengo ningún problema. (I don’t have any problems.)
  • No hay nada de aire. (There isn’t any air.)

3) “Any” will be algún, alguna or algo de when describing a noun in an affirmative question. Algún (for masculine) and alguna (for feminine) will be used with countable nouns and algo de for uncountable nouns. Por ejemplo:
  • ¿Has visto alguna película últimamente? (Have you seen any movies lately?)
  • ¿Han comido algo de comida? (Have you guys eaten any food?)

Any of
4) “Any of” will be cualquiera de when referring to a noun in an affirmative statement.  Por ejemplo:
  • Cualquiera de mis amigos nos puede ayudar. (Any of my friends can help us.)

5) “Any of” will be ninguno de, ninguna de or nada de in a negative statement or question. Ninguno de and ninguna de will be used with countable nouns and nada de for uncountable nouns. Por ejemplo:
  • No he visto a ninguno de tus amigos. (I haven’t seen any of your friends.)

6) “Any of” will be alguno de, alguna de or algo de in an affirmative question. Alguno de and alguna de will be used with countable nouns and algo de for uncountable nouns. Por ejemplo:
  • No he visto a ninguno de tus amigos.  (I haven’t seen any of your friends.)

Anybody, anyone
7) “Anybody” or “anyone” will be cualquiera in an affirmative statement. For example: 
  • Cualquiera puede aprender español.  (Anybody can learn Spanish.)

8) “Anybody” or “anyone” will be nadie (nobody) in a negative statement or question.  Por ejemplo:
  • No hemos visto a nadie. (We haven’t seen anybody.)

9) “Anybody” or “anyone” will be alguien (somebody) when used in an affirmative question.
  • ¿Has visto a alguien? (Have you seen anybody?)

10) “Anything”is cualquier cosa in an affirmative statement. For example:
  • Voy a comer cualquier cosa.  (I’m going to eat anything.)

11) “Anything” is algo (something) when used in an affirmative question. Por ejemplo:
  • ¿Hay algo nuevo? (Is there anything new?)

12) “Anything” is nada (nothing) when used in a negative question or statement. Por ejemplo:
  • ¿No has hecho nada? (Haven’t you done anything?)

If you still have any questions, do contact me via and I will forward some exercises.

Gracias y hasta la próxima vez.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The usage of the verbs venir (to come) and traer (to bring) are a little different in Spanish (I am told that it is the same as in British English). The main difference comes with the destination of venir and traer.

In Spanish, venir means to come, but only if the destination is HERE, not elsewhere. Anywhere else, you go with ir.

The same goes with traer which means the same as llevar (to take something or someone from one place to another). The difference is that the destination of traer is ONLY HERE. If the destination is elsewhere, you have to use llevar.

For example in English, if you were speaking with a coworker at the office you may say:

“There is going to be a party in my house in the suburbs. You may come and bring your wife too.”

So obviously the party is not here, so (in Spanish) you cannot come or bring, but have to go (ir) and take (llevar). In Spanish we would say:

“Va a haber una fiesta en mi casa en los suburbios. Puedes ir y llevar a tu esposa también.”

Saturday, October 10, 2009

must vs. should

Hola Bloguers,

Now, when do we "must" versus "should"? To me, must sounds more like an obligation and should like a recommendation.

Much has been, is and will be said about the matter, but I like to abbreviate as follows:
  • Deber (in present tense*) + infinitive verb = must + infinitive verb
Por ejemplo: Debo aprender español (I must learn Spanish)
  • Deber (in conditional tense**) + infinitive verb = should + infinitive verb
Por ejemplo: Debería aprender español (I should learn Spanish)
*Present tense: debo, debes, debe, debemos, deben
**Conditional tense: debería, deberías, debería, deberíamos, deberían

Be aware that sometimes we use "deber de + infinitive." The truth is that it does not matter if you use de or not.

Buena suerte y hasta pronto,

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What's the deal with "there to be"?

I find that none of my students seem to understand the concept of there to be. However, everybody does seem to know how to use it -- in English, that is. I will now address this matter in a concise manner.

Fact 1: The action there to be DOES exist and is not the same as to be.

Fact 2: There to be is haber, and to be can either be estar or ser.

I will now list the common uses of haber (there to be) to indicate “existence”:

  1. hay - there is, there are
  2. hubo - there was, there were (used with events)
  3. había - there was, there were (used with everything other than events), there used to be
  4. habrá - there will be
  5. habría - there would be
  6. quizás haya - there might be (pres. subj.)
  7. aunque hubiera/hubiese - even if there were (imp. subj.)
  8. ha habido - there has been, there have been
  9. había habido - there had been
  10. habrá habido - there will have been
  11. habría habido - there would have been
  12. quizás haya habido - there might have been (pres. subj.)
  13. aunque hubiera/hubiese habido - even if there had been (imp. subj.)

Other important and common uses of there to be:

  1. va a haber - there is/are going to be
  2. tiene que haber - there has/have been
  3. puede haber - there can be
  4. debe haber - there must be
  5. debería haber - there should be
  6. necesita haber - there needs to be

Hope this was helpful.

Hasta pronto,


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why “EE.UU.” and not “E.U.” for “Estados Unidos”?

This is a common question I get. The answer is very simple.

In Spanish, when we want a word to be “initialized” (for the sake of this explanation we are going to assume that “to initialize” means “to write the initials of a word”), we have to use double letter if the word is in plural. See the examples below:

  • Estados Unidos EE. UU.
  • Naciones Unidas NN. UU.
  • Relaciones Públicas RR. PP.
  • Recursos Humanos RR. HH.
  • Servicios Higiénicos SS. HH.

That was a short and easy explanation to give.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Let's "try"

In Spanish, we can "try" with either "tratar," "intentar," or "probar." It all depends on what you are "trying" to do. To the point:

  1. "To try" will be "tratar de" or "intentar" if you mean "to attempt." Therefore you can say something like "Voy a tratar de estudiar más los fines de semana" or "Intentaré ser más organizado."
  2. "To try" will be "probar" if you mean "to sample" or "to taste." For example, "Quiero probar ese carro antes de comprarlo" or "Tienes que probar la comida peruana."
Yesterday, my student was confused because he thought that "to taste" was "probar." The truth is that "to taste" will ONLY be "probar" if it ALSO means "to try." So if you say something like "This food tastes like.... " it will not work. "To taste like" is "saber a," therefore "to taste" - when not meaning "to try" - is "saber." For example "¿A qué sabe esa comida?"

¿Entienden? Espero que sí.