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Mastering Spanish & Obtaining Fluency

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My Dog “Just” Pooped on the Carpet – in Spanish.

Some things are just plain tricky in Spanish. But once you learn the trick and practice it often, it tends to “stick”, just like learning a new word. Here’s are some examples of how we can use the the English adverb “just” in Spanish:

just — justo, sólo, solamente.

Note: Just so you know, sólo is an adverb meaning “only,” “solely” or “just”– the same as solamente. As a matter of fact, sólo and solamente can be used interchangeably. A speaker can decide which sounds better in any their sentence. On the contrary, solo without an accent mark is an adjective meaning “alone” or “on one’s own”.

I’m just sitting here. That’s all.
Sólo estoy sentado aquí. Es todo.

It’s located just down the street.
Está ubicado justo al final de la calle.

Just do it!
¡Sólo hazlo!

The runner completed the marathon in just three hours.
El corredor terminó la maratón en sólo tres horas.

to just have done something/to have just finished doing something — acabar de hacer algo

In Spanish, we use the properly conjugated present tense form of acabar + de + the infinitive form of the verb (-ar, -er, -ir). This is expressed in English in the past tense. It may take some getting used to, but this phrasal formula is very useful in daily Spanish.

My dad just took a bath.
Mi papá acaba de bañarse.

My dog just pooped on the carpet. Gross.
Mi perro acaba de cagarse en la alfombra. Qué asco.

The Korean lady has just finished making some tasty soup.
La señora coreana acaba de preparar una sopa deliciosa.

I was in Quito, Ecuador for a week. I just got back yesterday.
Estuve en Quito, Ecuador durante una semana. Acabo de regresar ayer.

This enjoyable Spanish stuff is from the upcoming book, Real Life Spanish Phrases.


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Ser & Estar Book: FREE. June 1 – June 5

Beginning Thursday, June 1, 2017, my book Ripping Apart The Spanish Language: Ser & Estar will be free… for five days.

Grab yourself a copy. Share it with your buddies. Leave a review, or not. Either way, you can get it here:


Why do I need this book?

You may be asking yourself this question. Like the rest of us, you may have seen a couple of books floating around out there that deal with the subject of Ser versus Estar. But I have not seen many books that explain Ser and Estar in sufficient detail, that squash all doubts about their usage, and instill such a sense of confidence in the reader that by the time they complete the book he or she can proudly say, “Hey, I really get it now!”

Therefore, it is my mission to change this.

It has been my purpose to write a book that gives you exactly what you need and ends the quest for that missing information in your Spanish learning journey.

This book will take you through many uses of Ser and Estar individually, explaining just how it works, using lots of examples and providing lots of exercises to “make it stick”.

By the end of this book, I am confident that you will have mastered the usages of Ser and Estar and will be ready to go out and speak like you know what you’re doing.

Uses of Ser

Some of the uses of Ser that we’ll be covering in this section
are as follows:

● Nationality And Place Of Origin
● Race
● Profession/Occupation
● Physical Traits
● Personal Characteristics
● Religious Affiliation
● Shapes
● Size
● Materials Things Are Made Of
● Possession
● Ser With The Infinitive
● Time & Date
● Relationships Between People
● Location of Events
● Gender
● Prices of Things Using Ser
● Impersonal Expressions
● Political Affiliation
● Amounts and Numbers
● Predicate Nominatives
● Commands Using Ser

Uses of Estar

Some of the uses of Estar that we’ll cover in this section are
the following, to name a few:

● Greetings
● Location and Position (but not Events)
● Present Progressive
● Conditions
● Civil Status
● Results of an Action
● Commands
● Expressions

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Next Book: Short Stories in English/El Siguiente Libro: Cuentos en Inglés Americano


I’ve been busy on my latest project, and am having lots of fun at it, of course.

Lo que sigue es un extracto del capítulo uno del cuento El mejor café! de mi nuevo libro Cuentos Breves en Ingés. El texto en el libro será centrado en la página para que los estudiantes de inglés puedan seguir el texto un poco más fácil. Al final de cada breve capítulo, habrá una lista de vocabulario inglés y español de las palabras seleccionadas y frases utilizadas en el texto.

The following is an excerpt from chapter one of the short story The Best Coffee!  from the Cuentos Breves en Ingés. The text in the book will be centered so that English learners can follow the text a little easier. At the end of each short chapter, there will be an English-Spanish vocabulary list of select words and phrases used in the text.


It was just another day in the town of Misty Forge.

Phil Griggs threw on his brown golf cap and slammed the door behind him.

He hurried out the door to grab the wet newspaper on the lawn.

The metal ribs of his umbrella swooshed open and he trotted up the street towards his little café.

The air smelled really sweet today.

The clean, crisp smell of the autumn rain filled Mr. Griggs’ nose.

The crash of thunder to the east behind him reminded him of the day he opened the East Coast Brewing Company.

This was the same kind of day.

He had always thought that the loud sound of the rain plinking on the the asphalt around him was comforting.

Mr. Griggs wiped his leather boots on the the welcome mat before going into the coffee shoppe.

Jack Snide was already there.

His head whipped around when he heard the tinkle-tinkle of the bell above the door as Mr. Griggs stumbled in.

Jack! You’re already here!

That’s what I like about you, young man.

You’re always ready to go get ‘em.”

Jack managed a quiet laugh.

Is there any other way to do it, Mr. Griggs?”

He had only worked at the East Coast since August, but was proving to be a great barista.

According to Jack, preparing and serving different types of coffee was in his blood.

He had worked at his Uncle Matt’s “The Roasted Bean” further up the street for several years until their fallout over his new girlfriend Susan.

That was to be expected, of course, seeing that Susan constantly expressed her opinion that Mr. Matt Snide was a grumpy old miser, only thinking about how he could benefit himself and his bank account.


Golf cap

Gorra de golfista

To slam

Cerrar de un golpe

To grab


The metal ribs

Las costillas metálicas

His umbrella

Su paraguas

To swoosh open

Abrirse con un zumbido

To trot

Caminar en trote, trotar

The crisp smell

El fresco aroma

The crash of thunder

El sonido fuerte de los truenos

To remind


To plink

El sonido de la lluvia pegando la tierra

The asphalt

El asfalto

To be comforting

Ser reconfortante, reconfortar

To wipe


The welcome mat

El tapete de bienvenida

To whip around

Voltear la cabeza rápidamente


El sonido de una campana

To stumble in

Tropezar al entrar

To be ready to go get ‘em

Estar listo para trabajar

To manage a quiet laugh

Lograr reírse en silencio

To prove to be


To be in one’s blood

Ser una característica heredada

The fallout

El problema entre dos personas, el asunto

That was to be expected

Se esperaba que pasara eso

Seeing that

Ya que

A grumpy old miser

Un viejo avaro

To benefit oneself

Beneficiarse a sí mismo

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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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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.