Relative pronouns are pronouns that are used to introduce a clause that provides more information about a noun. Thus in the phrase “the man who is singing,” the relative pronoun is “who”; the clause “who is singing” provides further information about the noun “man.” In the Spanish equivalent, el hombre que canta, the relative pronoun is queue.
Que Tops List of Spanish Relative Pronouns
Common relative pronouns in English include “that,” “which,” “who,” “whom” and “whose” (although these words also have other uses). In Spanish, by far the most common relative pronoun is que. As can be seen in the following sentences, it usually means “that,” “which” or “who.”
Los libros que son importantes en nuestra vida son todos aquellos que nos hacen ser mejores, que nos enseñan a superarnos.(The books that are important in our lives are all those that make us be better, which teach us to improve ourselves.)
Compré el coche en que íbamos.(I bought the car in which we rode.)
El politeísmo es la creencia de quehay muchos dioses.(Polytheism is the belief that there are many gods.)
Mi hermano es el hombre que salió. (My brother is the man who left.)
In some cases, que isn’t translated as a relative pronoun in English because the two languages structure the sentence differently:
Necesitamos la firma de la persona que ayuda al paciente.(We need the name of the person helping the patient.)
No conozco a la niña que duerme en la cama. (I don’t know the girl sleeping in the bed.)
Other Relative Pronouns
If you’re a beginning Spanish student, you likely won’t need to use the other relative pronouns of Spanish, but you certainly will come across them in writing and speech. Here they are with examples of their usage:
– quien, quienes — who, whom — A common mistake by English speakers is to use quien when queshould be used. Quien is most commonly used following a preposition, as in the first example below. It can also be used in what grammarians call a nonrestrictive clause, one separated by commas from the noun it describes, as in the second example. In that second example, que also could be used instead of quien.
Es el médico de quien le dije.(He is the doctor whom I told you about.)
Conozco a Sofía, quientiene dos coches.(I know Sophia, who has two cars.)
– el cual, la cual, lo cual, los cuales, las cuales — which, who, whom — This pronoun phrase must match the noun it refers to in both number and gender. It is used in formal writing more often than in speech.
Rebeca es la mujer con la cualvas a viajar. (Rebeca is the woman with whom you are going to travel.)
Conozca los principales riesgos a los cuales se enfrentan las organizaciones en la era digital.(Know the main risks which organizations are facing in the digital age.)
– el que, la que, lo que, los que, las que — which, who, whom — This pronoun phrase must match the noun it refers to in both number and gender. It is often interchangeable with el cual but is somewhat more informal in usage.
Rebeca es la mujer con la quevas a viajar. (Rebeca is the woman with whom you are going to travel.)
Hay un restaurante en los que los meseros son robots.(There is a restaurant in which the waiters are robots.)
– cuyo, cuya, cuyos, cuyas— whose — This pronoun functions something like an adjective and must match the noun it modifies in both number and gender. It is used more in writing than in speech. It normally isn’t used in questions, where de quién is used instead, as in ¿De quién es esta computadora? for “Whose computer is this?”
Es la profesora cuyohijo tiene el coche.(She is the teacher whose son has the car.)
El virus se autodistribuye a los contactos del usuario cuya computadora ha sido infectada.(The virus spreads itself to the contacts of the user whosecomputer has been infected.)
– donde — where — The Spanish and English words as relative pronouns are used in much the same way.
Voy al mercado dondese venden manzanas.(I’m going to the market where apples are sold.)
En la ciudad donde nosotros vivimos existen muchas iglesias.(There are many churches in the city where we live.)
When to use lo in Spanish?. Lo is one of those words that doesn’t always have a clear definition — and it can function in at least three different ways, as a subject pronoun, object pronoun, or definite article. When you run across the word in a sentence and don’t know what it means, you often need to figure out first how it is being used.
Here, in rough order of how common they are, are the ways that lo can be used:
Using Lo as a Masculine Direct-Object Pronoun
As a direct object, lo can be translated as either “him” or “it.” The feminine equivalent is la.
¿Pablo? No lo vi.(Pablo? I didn’t see him.) El coche es muy caro. Quiero comprarlo.(The car is very expensive. I want to buy it.)
Dámelo. (Give it to me.) No creo que lo hayas conocido.(I don’t think you’ve met him.)
Note that in the above sentences where lo means “him,” referring to a person, it would be very common in some areas, particularly in Spain, to use le instead of lo. The use
of le as a direct object pronoun is known as leísmo.
Using Lo as a Neuter Definite Article
The definite articles in Spanish, typically el and la when singular, are the equivalent of the English “the.” Lo can be used as a neuter definite article before an adjective to make an abstract noun. For example, lo importante can be translated as “the important thing,” “that which is important,” or “what is important.”
Lo bueno es que hemos sido más listos.(The good thing is that we have been more clever.) Lo barato sale caro.(What seems cheap ends up expensive.) Lo mejor es que me voy a casa.(The best thing is that I’m going home.) Lo mío es tuyo.(What is mine isyours.) El entrenador se especializa enlo imposible.(The coach specializes in the impossible.)
Lo as a Neuter Direct-Object Pronoun
Lo can be used as an object pronoun to refer to something abstract, to an unnamed activity or situation, or to a previous statement. Used in this way, lo is usually translated as “it,” sometimes as “that”:
No podemos hacerlo.(We can’t do it.) No locomprendo.(I don’t understand that.) Mi religión no lo prohibe, pero cada vez que lo hago, le doy las gracias al animal por darme vida. (My religion doesn’t prohibit it, but every time I do it, I give thanks to the animal for giving me life.)
Using Lo With Ser and Estar
It is common when answering questions to use lo before the verbs for “to be” to refer to a preceding noun or adjective. When used in this way, lo has neither number nor gender.
¿Es nueva tu computadora?. —No lo es.(“Is your computer new?” “It isn’t.”) ¿Estaban felices? —Sí, lo estaban.(“Were they happy?” “Yes, they were.”)
Using Lo Que and Lo Cual
The phrases lo que and lo cualserve as relative pronouns usually meaning “that,” “what”, or “that which”:
La marihuana: Lo que los padres deben saber.(Marijuana: What parents ought to know.) Mis padres me daban todo lo que yo necesitaba.(My parents gave me everything that I needed.) No puedo decidir lo que es mejor. (I can’t decide what is better.) No todo lo que brilla es oro.(Not everything that shines is gold.)
Using Lo De
The phrase lo de can be translated differently depending on the context, butgenerally means something like “the matter concerning”:
Los senadores republicanos fueron informados sobre lode la CIA.(The Republican
senators were informed about the CIA matter.) Lo de que las niñas japonesas se perdieron no era una mentira.(The storyabout the Japanese girls getting lost wasn’t a lie.)
Lo deCastro es todo pretextos y mentiras según sus enemigos.(Castro’s way of doing things is all pretexts and lies, according to his enemies.)
Using Lo in Phrases
Phrases using lo, not necessarily in a way that seems intuitive, include:
a lo largo de, throughout a lo lejos, in the distance a lo loco, like crazy a lo mejor, probably lo sabe todo, he/she knows it all por lo general, generally por lo menos, at least por lo pronto, for now· por lo tanto, as a result por lo visto, apparently
Using Lo as an Indirect Object
In some regions, you may occasionally hear the use oflo as an indirect object instead of le. However, this practice, known as loísmo, is considered substandard and should be avoided by those learning the language.
When to use le in Spanish? Although le is typically used as an indirect object pronoun in Spanish, it doesn’t always seem that way to English speakers: The two languages don’t always treat pronouns alike, so there are some situations where an English verb takes a direct object but the Spanish equivalent uses an indirect object.
In many cases, it doesn’t make a difference whether an object is direct or indirect, because in the first and second persons the two types of pronouns are identical. Me, meaning “me,” for example, can be either a direct or indirect object.
But the difference matters in the third person, where in standard Spanish le (meaning him, her, you, or
less commonly it) is used as the indirect object but lo or la is the direct object. (Be aware that there are regional variations in this usage.)
Verbs of Pleasing and Displeasing
Verbs used to indicate that a thing or action pleases someone frequently take le.
The most common such verb is gustar, which is often used in translating sentences where we use a different word order to indicate liking:
A ella legusta la comida china.(Chinese food pleases her. This is a literal translation. In real life, the translation “she likes Chinese food” would usually be used.)
La verdad es que no les gusta la verdad. (The truth is that the truth doesn’t please them. The truth is they don’t like the truth.)
Descubrieron que lesgustaban las mismas cosas.(They discovered that the same things pleased them. They
discovered they liked the same things.)
In addition, various verbs similar in usage and meaning to gustaror the opposite are used with le or les. Some examples:
agradar:En su niñez, una de las cosas que más le agradaban era disfrazarse.(In your childhood, one of the things you liked the most was dressing up in costumes.)
apasionar:Le apasionaba ser actriz. (She loved being an actress.)
complacer:Le complacerá ayudarte.(She will like helping you.)
desagradar:Le desagradaba irse a su cuarto.(He hated going to his room.)
disgustar:Le disgustó mucho la película y se retiró a los 10 minutos.(He hated the film and left after 10 minutes.)
encantar:A mi hija le encanta la música reggae. (My daughter adores reggae music.)
placer:Sé que mis comentarios no le placen a mucha gente.(I know my comments don’t please many people.)
Verbs Using Le When the Object is a Person
A few verbs commonly use le when its object is a person but not when the object is a thing or concept. For example, with creer, “No lo creo” means “I don’t believe it,” but “No le creo” can mean “I don’t believe him” or “I don’t believe her.”
In this cases, you can think of what a person believes (or not) as being the direct object, but the person being affected by that belief (or lack) being the indirect object. But in a simple sentence such as “No le creo” the direct object isn’t stated.
The same goes for entender (to understand): Lo entiendo. (I understand it.)Le entiendo.(I understand him/her.)
Enseñar(to teach) works in a similar way. The subject being taught is represented by a direct object:
Lo enseñé en la escuela católica. (I taught it in the Catholic school.)
But the person taught is the indirect object: Le enseñé en la escuela católica.(Itaught him/her in the Catholic school.)
Similarly for obedecer (to obey):
¿La ley? La obedezco.(The law? I obey it.)
But: Le obedezco a mi madre. (I obey my mother.)
A few other verbs use le for reasons that aren’t immediately apparent:
Importar(to matter, to be important):A los internautas les importa la seguridad.(Security is important to Internet users.)
Interesar(to interest): No les interesaba acumular ni tener propiedades.(They weren’t interested in accumulating nor
Preocupar(to worry a person):La futura le preocupa.(The future worries him/her.)
Recordar(when it means “to remind,” but not when it means “to remember”):
Voy a recordarla. (I am going to remember her.)
Voy a recordarlo. (I am going to remember him.)
Voy a recordarle. (I am going to remind him/her.)
– Le and lesare the indirect object pronouns of Spanish, but they are sometimes used in situations where English uses direct objects.
– Verbs used to indicate that something gives pleasure or displeasure often use le.
– Several verbs use lewhen the object of a verb is a person but lo or lawhen the object is a thing.
When to use el and la in Spanish?. Elis the singular, masculine definite article, meaning “the,” in Spanish and is used to define masculine nouns, while la is the feminine version. But there are a few instances where el is used with feminine nouns.
Gender in Words
An interesting thing about Spanish is the fact that words have gender. A word is considered male or female, depending on what the word refers to and how it ends. A general rule of thumb is if a word ends in -o, it is most likely masculine, and if a word ends in -a, it is most likely feminine. If the word is describing a female person, then the word is feminine and vice versa.
Definite Articles for Nouns
In most cases, elis used for masculine nouns and la is used for feminine nouns. Another rule supersedes this, and that is when the feminine noun is singular and starts with a stressed a- or ha- sound, like the words agua, meaning
water, or hambre, meaning hunger. The reason the definite article becomesel is mostly a matter of how it sounds to say la gua and la hambreand the clunkiness of the “double-a” sounds repeating. It sounds more definitive to say el agua and el hambre.
There is a similar grammar rule in English about the use of the “an” versus”a.” An English speaker would say, “an apple” instead of ” a apple.” The two repeating “double-a” sounds are too close to each other and sound too repetitive. The English rule states that “an,” which is an indefinite article modifying the noun, comes before nouns that have a vowel sound at the beginning of the word and “a” comes before consonant-starting nouns.
Feminine Words that Use the Masculine Article
Notice the substitution of el for la takes place when it comes immediately before words starting with an “a” sound.
Feminine Nouns – English Translation
el agua –the water
el ama de
casa –the housewife
el asma –asthma
el arca –the ark
el hambre –hunger
el hampa –the underworld
el arpa –the harp
el águila –the eagle
If the feminine noun is modified by adjectives that follow the noun in the sentence, the feminine noun retains the masculine article.
Feminine Nouns – English Translation
el agua purificada –purified water
el arpa paraguaya –the Paraguayan harp
el hambre excesiva –excessive hunger
Reverting Back to the Feminine Article
The thing to remember is that words that are feminine remain feminine. The reason why this matters is if the word becomes plural, the word goes back to using the feminine definite article.
In this case, the definite article becomes las. It sounds fine to say las arcas since the “s” in las breaks up the “double a” sound.
Another example is las amas de casa.
If a word intervenes between the definite article and the noun, la is used.
Feminine Nouns –English Translation
la pura agua –pure water
la insoportable hambre –the unbearable hunger
la feliz ama de casa –the happy housewife
la gran águila –the great eagle
If the accent of the noun is not on the first syllable, the definite article la is used with singular feminine nouns when they begin with a- or ha-.
Feminine Nouns –English Translation
la habilidad –the skill
la audiencia –the audience
la asamblea –the meeting
The substitution of el for la does not occur before adjectives that begin with a stressed a- or ha-, the rule only applies to nouns, despite the “double-a” sound.
Feminine Nouns –English Translation
la alta muchacha –the tall girl
la agria experiencia –the bitter experience
Exceptions to the Rule
There a few exceptions to the rule that el substitutes for la immediately before a noun that begins with a stressed a- or ha-.
Note, the letters of the alphabet, called letras in Spanish, which is a feminine noun, are all feminine.
Feminine Nouns –English Translation
la árabe –the Arabic woman
La Haya –The Hague
la a –the letter A
la hache –the letter H
la haz –uncommon word for face, not to be confused with el haz, meaning shaft or beam
Feminine Words Can Use the Masculine Indefinite Article
Most grammarians consider it correct for feminine words to take the masculine indefinite article un instead
of una under the same conditions where la is changed to el. It is for the same reason la is changed to el, to eliminate the “double-a” sound of the two words together.
Feminine Nouns –English Translation
un águila –an eagle
un ama de casa –a housewife
Although this is widely considered correct grammar, this usage is not universal. In everyday spoken language, this rule is irrelevant, due to elision, which is the omission of sounds, especially as words flow together. In pronunciation, there is no difference between un águila and una águila.
How do you say “I am doing good” in Spanish? ‘I am doing good’ is a phrase used to answer when someone asks you about the condition or state you are in. It is a positive phrase that exposes how good you feel or how good you are doing. This term is the answer to the questions: How are you doing that? and how are you?
I am doing good – lo estoy haciendo bien, estoy bien
How are you doing that? – ¿Cómo lo estás haciendo?
How are you? – ¿Cómo estás?
Conversation 1 :
Lily: Carlos, ¿Cómo estás? | Carlos, how are you?
Carlos: Estoy bien | I am doing good
Conversation 2 :
Lily: Carlos, ¿Cómo lo estás haciendo? | Carlos, how are you doing that?
Carlos: Lo estoy haciendo bien | I am doing good
Creo que estoy bien Estoy bien, gracias Ya casi termino, estoy bien Si, se que estoy bien No te preocupes estoy bien Créeme, estoy bien Eso es lo que hago, lo estoy haciendo bien Perfecto, creo que lo estoy haciendo bien Mami cálmate, estoy bien
I think I am doing good I am doing good, thanks I’m almost done, I am doing good Yes, I know I am doing good Do not worry, I am doing good Trust me, I am doing good That’s what I do, I’m doing it good Perfect, I think I am doing good Mommy calm down, I am doing good
How do you say “good and you” in Spanish?. ‘Good and you’ is used to respond to the state or situation and at the same time to ask the person the same thing or to describe something and suggest it or not.
good and you – bien y tú (to respond to the state or situation and at the same time to ask the person the same thing)
good and you – bueno y tú, buena y tú (to describe something and suggest it or not)
Lily: Carlos, ¿cómo estás? | Carlos, how are you?
Carlos: Estoy bien, ¿y tú?| I am good and you?
Examples with: ‘bien, ¿y tú?’
Estoy bien, ¿y tú? Estamos bien , ¿ y tú? Están bien , ¿ y tú? Ella está bien , ¿ y tú? Pedro está bien , ¿ y tú? Mis amigos están bien , ¿y tú? Todos estamos bien , ¿ y tú?
I am good and you? We are good and you? They are good and you? She is good and you? Pedro is good and you? My friends are good and you? We are all good and you?
Examples with: ‘bueno(a) y tú’
El curso estuvo bueno y tú puedes suscribirte La cena estaba bueno y tú puedes comer El precio está bueno y tú puedes comprar Piden ser bueno y tú debes de trabajar duro Tú dices que no eres bueno y tú lo eres La situación no es buena y tú tampoco ayudas
The course was good and you can subscribe Dinner was good and you can eat The price is good and you can buy They ask to be good and you must work hard You say that you are not good and you are The situation is not good and you do not help either