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Mastering Spanish & Obtaining Fluency

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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:…

View original post 270 more words

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The Book: Just 99¢ in October



You may be asking yourself this question. Well, 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.

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.

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New Book: Super Short Spanish Stories



This is a new book that I am currently working on, Super Short Spanish Stories. Book 1 will target A1 level Spanish learners (beginners).

Note: If you have any suggestions on what you’d like to see in this book as far as vocabulary, grammar, types of stories, etc., feel free to let me know in the comments!



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Jobs & Professions in Spanish

La Profesión/El Empleo


We all have a profession or occupation. Paid or not. We all
do something. Words that explain what we do all have a name—
and those names, when said in Spanish, use Ser. Sure, we may
switch jobs now and again, but we do not use Estar just because
our jobs or professions changed from last week to this week. This is
the reason I explained at the beginning of my book that we just
cannot trust the acronyms DOCTOR and PLACE 100%. It just
doesn’t work all the time, does it?

The “DOCTOR and PLACE” rule is just not good enough.

Here is something that is taught in the Spanish learning
world that you may have come across:

“The uses of Ser and Estar can be memorized  using the
acronyms DOCTOR and PLACE.”

Don’t get me wrong – acronyms can surely be of some help.
But the problem that I have with these two lists is that they are
incomplete. Here’s what I’m talking about, just in case you haven’t
run into this before:


● Date/Description
● Occupation
● Characteristic
● Time
● Origin
● Relationship


● Position
● Location
● Action
● Condition
● Emotion

Here are some examples of using Ser when talking about
our jobs:

Antonio fue a la universidad muchos años porque siempre
quería ser abogado. Y ahora lo es.
Antonio went to university many years because he wanted to
be a lawyer. And now he is one.

Para ser cocinero, hay que saber mucho sobre la
In order to be a cook, you have to know a lot about food.

Lourdes no quiere que su hija sea recepcionista como ella,
sino que sea psicóloga.
Lourdes doesn’t want her daughter to be a receptionist like
her, but rather that she be a psychologist.

Side Note:  You may have noticed that in Spanish
we don’t always use the indefinite article (un, una) with occupations
in Spanish unless we’re describing it, specifically, for example:

Él es un buen dentista.
He is a good dentist.

But if we are just expressing the idea of what he is without
any additional information, we say:

Él es dentista.
He is a dentist.

Ella será churrera durante toda su vida porque no sabe
hacer nada más.
She will be a churro maker her whole life because she
doesn’t know how to do anything else.

 Side Note:  If someone is in a job temporarily, we
can use this expression with Estar:

Estar de + job.

In the following example, we are talking about the fact that
Adrian normally works as a translator, but he has been working as a
waiter for the last two weeks to make ends meet:

Adrián está de camerero ahora, pero ya sabemos que era
Adrian is working as a a waiter right now, but we know he
was a translator.

By the way, if you would like a free copy of the book “Ripping Apart The Spanish Language: Ser & Estar”, it just so happens that this week I will send you one for free. Just email me at, or sign up for the newsletter on this site (on the right side of this page). All I ask in return is an honest review on the book’s Amazon page, which is right here.