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Mastering Spanish & Obtaining Fluency

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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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Updated Spanish Book (Ser & Estar)

Thanks to those who pointed out some typos in my book, “Ripping Apart the Spanish Language: Ser & Estar”. (That’s what I get for doing my own editing.) There is now an updated version on Amazon some corrections (and a new book cover). If you obtained the book on Amazon, you should have received an email from them explaining how to get the update from you “Manage Your Content and Devices” page. If you don’t already have the book, you can get it here:


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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.