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Mastering Spanish & Obtaining Fluency

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Aprende Inglés Leyendo: “Eat Live, Eat Die”


Lo siguiente es un extracto del cuento “Eat Live, Eat Die” (del capítulo dos) de mi próximo libro “Cuentos Breves en Inglés“, que contará con cuentos en “inglés americano real”.


These were the kinds of things that Rudy remembered.

It was difficult to believe that 30 years had already passed by since that day with his buddies.

Rudy had grown up surviving on sugar and bacon grease.

Each day he had with his mom was a day with yummy goodies and plenty of them.

His favorite days were Fridays, when he would come home from school and find his mom in the hot kitchen pulling out a batch of homemade cookies.

Boy, those cookies were good, too!

Chocolate chip, sugar cookies, pumpkin cookies, you name it.

But his favorite… Ah, those were the ones…

The peanut butter cookies. They were the best.

Rudy remembered getting his hand slapped when he tried to sneak a taste of the cookies as his mom placed the dark-coated pan on the top of the stove.

Didn’t matter.

Rudy tried anyway.

The cookies were steaming hot, but that’s why he had his fork ready.

All he needed was a piece.

Just a little piece.

As soon as Mom turned around, it was on!

He attacked the cookie as though he was killing a snake with a shovel.


By the time Mom turned back around, there was half a cookie missing and Rudy was taking a drink of his freshly poured milk.

“Thanks Mom!”

Yes, indeed. Mom was the best.

And before she released the peanut butter cookies, they sat down to eat their dinner.

Fried chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers and…

…and the tacos. The homemade tacos.

These weren’t your typical crispy shells bought in the store, filled with ground beef, drained and seasoned with a packet of “Taco Seasoning”.

Nope. Not these.

His mom would get a corn tortilla, cover half of it with ground beef and fry it, fold it in half after about 10 seconds of it floating in the hot, spattering, vegetable oil.

Nothing like homemade yummy goodness!


Buddies Compañeros
To survive Sobrevivir
Bacon grease Grasa de tocino
Yummy goodies Manjares culinarios, comidas deliciosas
Plenty of them En abundancia
To pull out Sacar
A batch of homemade cookies Una hornada de galletas caseras
Boy! ¡Caray!
Chocolate chip cookies Galletas con (chispas de) chocolate
Sugar cookies Galletas de azúcar
Pumpkin cookies Galletas de calabaza
You name it Por mencionar algunos
Getting his hand slapped Que le golpeó la mano
Tried to sneak a taste Intentaba probar (sin que su mamá supiera)
Didn’t matter No importaba
Steaming hot Muy caliente (le sale vapor)
Fork El tenedor
It was on! !Ya empezó la lucha!
To attack Atacar
A snake Una serpiente
A shovel Una pala
To chop Picar
There was half a cookie missing Le faltaba la mitad de la galleta
Freshly Recién
Indeed De hecho
To release Soltar
Fried chicken Pollo frito
The homemade tacos Los tacos caseros
Typical Típico
Crispy shells Tortillas fritas crujientes/crocantes
Filled with Rellenos con
Ground beef Carne de res molida
Drained Escurrido
Seasoned Sazonado
Taco seasoning Sazonador para tacos
Corn Maíz, elote
To fry Freír
Spattering Salpicando
Vegetable oil Aceite vegetal

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Using Impersonal Expressions in Spanish

(The following is an excerpt from “Ripping Apart the Spanish Language: Ser & Estar.)

Impersonal expressions are sentences or phrases that do not have a specific subject when speaking about something that is taking place. In Spanish, we use Ser for these types of expressions.


For example, in English we say:

It is easier to go to the store early in the morning.

In this sentence, the verb is “is” and the subject is “it”, but there is no specific subject that “it” refers to. Just “it”. What is “it”? It’s just a place holder in English, a pronoun for a non-existent subject, if you will. And in Spanish, we would say the sentence like this:

Es más fácil ir a la tienda por la mañana temprano.
It is easier to go to the store early in the morning.

In Spanish, it becomes clear what the subject is. The infinitive form of the verb is the subject.

The commonly used construction is simply:

Form of Ser + adjective + the infinitive

Here are some examples of impersonal expressions in Spanish:

Es bueno asistir a la iglesia.
It is good to attend church.

Sería malo pegar a otra persona mientras estés enojado.
It would be bad to hit another person while you are angry.

Es fácil cumplir con las reglas con tal de que seas una buena persona.
It is easy to follow the rules as long as you are a good person.

Va a ser difícil hacer tortillas como las de mi abuela. Sin embargo, lo voy a intentar.
It is going to be difficult to make tortillas like my grandma’s. Nevertheless, I will try.

Impersonal expressions are also seen with the Spanish subjunctive. The construction is different:

Form of Ser + adjective + the subjunctive form of the verb

Es lógico que se comporte así.
It is logical for him to behave like that.

Era imprescindible que lo hicieras como te dije.
It was essential that you did it like I told you.

We also see it with “if” sentences:

Será interesante si el candidato gana la presidencia.
It will be interesting if the candidate wins the presidency.

Sometimes we use a noun instead of an adjective:

Form of Ser + a noun + subjunctive

Es una lástima que ustedes lleguen tarde.
It is a shame that you guys are late.

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Night Before Christmas in Spanglish




noun: Spanglish
  1. a hybrid language combining words and idioms from both Spanish and English, especially Spanish speech that uses many English words and expressions.

Twas the Noche
by María Eugenia Morales

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the casa

Not a creature was stirring, caramba! Qué pasa?

Los niños were tucked away in their camas

Some in vestidos and some in pijamas.

While Mamá worked in her little cocina,

El viejo was down at the corner cantina.

The stockings were hanging with mucho cuidado,

In hopes that Saint Nicholas would feel obligado

To bring all the children both buenos and malos

A nice bunch of dulces and other regalos

Outside in the yard, there arose such a grito

That I jumped to my feet like a frightened cabrito

I ran to the window and looked afuera,

And who in the world do you think that it era?

Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big read sombrero

Came dashing along like a crazy bombero!

And pulling his sleigh, instead of venados,

Were eight little burros approaching volados.

I watched as they came and this quaint little hombre

Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre:

Ay Chato! Ay Pepe! Ay Cuca! Ay Beto!

Ay Pancho! Ay Chopo! Maruca y Nieto!’

Then standing erect with his hand on his pecho,

He flew to the top of our very own techo!

With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea,

He struggled to squeeze down our old chimenea,

Then huffing and puffing, at last in our sala,

With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala;

He filled the stockings with lovely regalos,

For none of the niños had been very malos.

Then chuckling along, seeming very contento,

He turned like a flash and was gone like el viento.

And I heard him exclaim and this is verdad,

‘Merry Christmas to all, Feliz Navidad!’

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The Present Progressive in Spanish


Present Progressive—El Presente Progresivo

The present progressive in English is a verb form that uses a conjugation of “to be” followed by a word ending in –ing (called a present participle). It is used to express that an action is currently in progress, or is being repeated.

I am eating.
We are dancing.
The lady in the drawing is running.
You are reading.

side-note-50Side Note: In Spanish, we call the participle “el gerundio”, not to be confused with the English word gerund, which is a verb used as a noun.

In Spanish, we use a form of Ser, followed by a word ending in -ando or -iendo depending on whether the verb is an -ar, -er, or -ir verb.

Caminar = Alberto está caminando.
To walk = Alberto is walking.
Fallecer = El anciano está falleciendo.
To pass away = The old man is passing away.

Escupir = Flor está escupiendo.
To spit = Flor is spitting.

Estudiar = Las chicas están estudiando.
To study = The girls are studying.

side-note-50Side Note: In English, we use the progressive tense to explain what is happening at the moment, is in progress, or is repeating itself. …And in English, we commonly use the present progressive to say that something will happen in the future, as in this sentence:

Juliana is cooking chicken and rice tomorrow night. (This will happen in the future.)

In Spanish, this is NOT the case. We only use the progressive tense to describe what’s going on right now, right this second, right this moment, right at a specific moment in time, with an action that is progressive, or with an action that is being repeated.

In Spanish, we say the same sentence like this:

Juliana va a cocinar pollo con arroz mañana por la noche.
Juliana is going to cook chicken with rice tomorrow night.


Juliana cocinará pollo con arroz mañana por la noche.
Juliana will cook chicken and rice tomorrow night.

If we are expressing that Juliana is cooking right now, we say:
Juliana está cocinando pollo con arroz (en este momento).
Juliana is cooking chicken and rice (right now).


1. Yo __________ ahora mismo.
I am studying right now.

2. Si te __________, hay que irte ya.
If you are getting angry, you need to leave now.

3. Noemí __________ pantalones azules hoy.
Noemí is wearing blue pants today.

4. Raquel __________ al lado del niño para que aprenda.
Raquel is painting alongside the boy so that he can learn.

5. Más vale que te __________ para salir. Vamos a llegar tarde.
You’d better be getting ready to leave. We’re going to be late.

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X-MAS Gift for Spanish Nerds – Updated Ser & Estar Book


Ripping Apart the Spanish Language: Ser & Estar has been updated. In addition to some tweaks in the text, it includes a new book cover. If you have purchased the Kindle version and are not able to get the updated version, let me know and I can send you the PDF version (free, of course). Message me on Facebook, and I’ll hook you up!

(If you want to purchase a new Kindle version copy for $2.99, click the cover on the left to get it on Amazon.)


The print version is currently on sale for $9.99 on (normally $13.99). Click on the cover below for the paperback version.






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Ser & Estar Book Free Next 5 Days

Starting Sunday, December 4 and continuing through Thursday, December 8, you can download my book “Ripping Apart the Spanish Language: Ser & Estar” for free. (It is normally $2.99, so go ahead and take advantage of it.)

…And I’d be tickled silly if you would leave an honest comment and rating for me on Amazon!

The book, in case you haven’t seen it, deals with all the ins and outs of using the Spanish verbs Ser and Estar. Many Spanish language learners get confused about which word to use to convey “to be”, but after reading and studying this book, you’ll have no more doubts about which verb you’ll need to use. It is laid out in a very simple and easy to follow format that will not bore you to death.

Click below and get it free. Enjoy!!     ….or click here.



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Interview on German Website, In Spanish!

samuel-arredondo-original-1024x576Recently, I was interviewed by Christine Konstantinidis on her website Erfolgreiches Sprachenlernen (Successful Language Learning), which can be found here:

Christine Konstantinidis is  a linguist who has been working in the language field for decades. She has written a book on language learning in German called Sprachen lernen – Tolle Tipps und Tricks: Kreative Methoden für Motivation und maximalen Erfolg which in English means Learning languages – Great tips and tricks: Creative methods for motivation and maximum success. If you can read in German, you may want to grab yourself a copy for some good information. It can be found here on Amazon.

christines-bookThe interview in the link above is on Christine’s website, which is in German. The interview itself is in Spanish. She has also translated the entire interview into German for her German speaking fans. Translation is not always an easy feat, but Christine does an excellent job.

If you interested in checking out the German version of the interview, you can find it here.



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Past Simple and Present Perfect

This is a great explanation and comparison of the past simple and present perfect tenses.

Languages. Motivation. Education. Travelling

In this article we are going to speak about some grammar tenses in English – Past Simple and Present Perfect. Here I have a table for you, so you can see how and when we can use these two grammar tenses.

past tenses

Past Simple

auxiliary verb – did. We use it to create the negative form and question.

I sent a message to my friend 5 minutes ago. (here we use SENT – past simple form from TO SEND)

He didn’t send a message to his friend. (here we use the infinitive)

Did they send a message? (here we also use the infinitive)

Present Perfect

auxiliary verb – have/has. After we use the past participle of a verb.

I have done all my exercises.

He hasn’t been to New York.

Have you ever seen this film?

To understand better

past simpleSome time markers that we can use in Past Simple:…

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Something’s On The Roof


Below is an an excerpt from Chapter 2 of Something’s On The Roof, which is part of my soon-to-be released Cuentos Breves En Inglés book. This book features not-so-common English words to expand the vocabulary of the Spanish-speaking English learner. A vocabulary list will be at the end of each chapter, as seen below this one…

El siguiente extracto viene del Capítulo 2 de Something’s On The Roof, el cual es un pasaje de mi próximo libro Cuentos Breves En Inglés. Este libro presenta palabras que no son muy comunes que ayudarán al estudiante de Inglés a ampliar su vocabulario. Habrá una lista de palabras al final de cada cápitulo…


You guys hungry? You look hungry.”

Chimi and Changa always look at me as though they understand.

Here’s your favorite:

Moisty Chunks dog food.

I opened the packet and poured it into their bowl.

Of course they didn’t eat it.

And I could just imagine their thoughts:

We don’t want that crap! Why don’t you eat it?

They decided instead to sit and stare at me

while I ate my cereal and toast.

The day was long, and I felt like a zombie from lack of sleep.

I went to work, which is about 30 feet away from my dining room table.

I sat there in my office, staring at the computer screen.

I’ve been writing for a long time now,

but I started doing it full-time about a year ago,

after I retired from the tire shop.

I sat there in my faux-leather chair trying to write my story

the one about aliens that land in a dry river bed

and slowly take over a small town,

terrorizing people and animals alike.

As I sat there, I couldn’t help thinking about the night before.

What were the dogs barking at?

A coyote? Each other?

I went to the bedroom and sat my high-powered air rifle

in the corner of the room, right next to my bed.

My 9mm Glock 17 was still in the closet if I needed it, but if there is an animal coming into the back patio at night, the BB gun will be enough to scare it away.

I have become more sentimental towards animals in general

since getting Chimi and Changa two and a half years ago,

so killing the little critter would be something I would try to avoid.

I sat down at my HP laptop again and started to write.

This time, a little less worried than before.

The alien spaceship landed in the riverbed with almost no sound at all. The hatch slowly opened and pressed against the river rocks below, scaring away the

group of young cotton tails that had sat there

blinded by the bright lights of the huge machine…”


(Are) You guys hungry? ¿Tienen/Tenéis hambre?
To pour Verter, echar
I could just imagine Podría imaginar
Their thoughts Sus pensamientos
That crap Esa mierda
The lack of sleep La falta de sueño
The dining room El comedor
The computer screen La pantalla de la computadora/el ordenador
I’ve been writing for a long time now Llevo mucho tiempo escribiendo ya
Full-time A tiempo completo
The tire shop El taller de reparación de llantas/neumáticos
Faux-leather chair Silla de cuero de imitación
Aliens Extraterrestres
To land Aterrizar
A dry river bed Un lecho seco
To take over Tomar control de
To terrorize Aterrorizar
The night before La noche anterior
High-powered air rifle Rifle/carabina de aire comprimido
The closet El armario
The BB gun (ball bullet) Rifle de balines
To scare away Ahuyentar
To avoid Evitar
Laptop Ordenador/computadora portátil
Less worried than before Menos preocupado que antes
The spaceship La nave espacial
With no sound En silencio
The hatch La escotilla
Pressed against the river rocks below Presionó contra las piedras del río abajo
The cotton tails Los conejos de cola blanca
Blinded by the bright lights Enceguecidos por las luces brillantes
The huge machine La enorme maquinaria