September 2015 Monthly Quick Grammar Review

This month’s quick grammar review is about the placement of adjectives.

Descriptive adjectives usually follow a noun.  They emphasize, distinguish, or differentiate the noun from others of its class

Rodrigo es un muchacho inteligente. (descriptive adjective)     Rodrigo is an intelligent boy.

Non-descriptive adjectives usually precede a noun.

Estas manzanas son grandes. (demonstrative adjective)     These apples are big

Mis padres están aquí. (possesive adjective)     My parents are here.

Quiero dos plátanos. (numeral)     I want two bananas.

Vinieron algunas mujeres a la fiesta. (indefinite adjective)     Some women came to the party.

Hay muchos libros en la biblioteca. (quantitative adjective)     There are many books in the library.                                                                                                                                         

When an adjective is stressed, it usually comes after the noun.

Mis amigos ricos están aquí. (Not all of my friends are rich.)     My rich friends are here.

When the noun is stressed, the adjective comes before the noun.

Ayer me compré una caliente chaqueta en vez de un sombrero. (Focus is on the jacket)

Yesterday I bought a warm jacket instead of a hat.

Bueno and malo can be placed before or after a noun.

Es un buen amigo.     Es un amigo bueno.     He is a good friend.

When a descriptive adjective denotes an inherent or logical characteristic of the noun, the adjective precedes the noun.

La blanca nieve cubre la montaña.     The white snow covers the  mountain.                                                               

Some adjectives have different meanings depending on whether they precede or follow the noun.

un pobre muchacho       an unfortunate boy              

un muchacho pobre        a penniless boy

When an adjective is used to express the subjective judgement of the speaker, it is placed before the noun.

Hay bellas flores in la colina.     There are beautiful flowers on the hill.

(Another person may not think that these flowers are beautiful.)

Adjective placement in Spanish can be confusing.  I hope this quick grammar review makes this topic a little less confusing!

El Huerto – My Spanish Word of the Day 9/17/2015

Michelle Obama created el huerto de la Casa Blanca (the white House vegetable garden) in 2009. It is supervised by internationally renown Spanish chef José Andrés.   This week, King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain have been visiting the United States.  Queen Letizia spent her 43rd birthday (September 15) as a guest of  the Obamas at the White House.  During the visit, the First Lady showed el huerto ecológico to the Queen.  Both women have a passionate interest in nutrition and healthy eating.

Michelle Obama and Queen Letizia of Spain visit the White House vegetable garden (el huerto de La Casa Blanca).

Andrés is an incredibly successful immigrant from Spain.  The Asturias-born chef became a United States citizen in 2013.  He co-owns the ThinkFoodGroup restaurant empire, which encompasses restaurants, food trucks, cook books, and television shows.  Interestingly, he just backed out of a deal to open a flagship restaurant in the forthcoming Trump International hotel in Washington due to Donald Trump’s recent derrogatory statements about immigrants.  

Jose Andres Puerta 2012 Shankbone.JPG
José Andrés se encarga personalmente del huerto de La Casa Blanca.

In 2012, Andrés was named one of the 100 most influential people by Time Magazine.

La Consciencia Plena – My Spanish Word of the Day 9/11/2015

Thich Nhat Hahn practices and teaches la consciencia plena.

Thich Nhat Hahn is a Zen Master known for his teachings and writings on la consciencia plena (mindfulness) (thoughtful awareness).  He teaches that through la consciencia plena we can learn to live happily in the present moment, and that this is the way to truly develop peace, both in oneself and throughout the world.

Recently, Thich Nhat Hahn suffered a stroke.  He is receiving treatment in California.  Due to his illness, he can barely speak or move right now.  Yet he still practices la consciencia plena.  Also, he is able to remind his caretakers to stay present and practice la consciencia plena with small movements of his fingers.

La plena consciencia is a practice that allows you to experience life deeply and to be free wherever you are.

To read about Thich Nhat Hahn and la consciencia plena in Spanish, click here, and to read about Hahn and his teachings in English, click here.


El Museo – My Spanish Word of the Day 9/6/2015

Eye On Spain has an interesting article that lists and describes Spain’s Top 10 Museos.  Included in the list, of course, is The Prado Museum, or El Museo Nacional del Prado, located in Madrid.

El Museo Nacional del Prado

El Museo Nacional del Prado es uno de los museos mas importantes del mundo.

To read about Spain’s top 10 Museums click here.

Estrenar – My Spanish Word of the Day 9/5/2015

I love to discover Spanish words that do not have an English translation.  The Huffington Post Tumblr Blog presents Spanish words that have no English translation.  The first is estrenar which means to wear or use for the first time.  There is no single English word to say wear for the first time.

Fashionistas like myself love to watch Queen Letizia of Spain.  A photo and article from  shows the queen wearing a dress by Hugo Boss for the first time.  She is attending a function at the Prado Museum.

             Doña Letizia estrena un vestido de Hugo Boss al Museo de Prado.

Estrenar is a verb used to express wearing something or doing something for the first time.  When a theater company performs a new play you can say  La compañía de teatro estrena una nueva obra.

Estrenar does not have a single word English equivalent.  But the noun estreno does.  Estreno means premiere.

Estreno is used to talk about movie premieres.  The website Estrenos de Cine shows all of the latest film premieres.  September 4, 2015 is the date of the premiere of the film 5 Flights Up.   El 4 de septiembre de 2015 es la fecha del estreno de la película Ático sin acensor(Interestingly, the Spanish title for the Diane Keaton/Morgan Freeman film 5 Flights Up is literally attic without an elevator).

To learn more Spanish words without English equivalents, go to The Huffington Post Tumblr Blog.  Click here.

La Alcancía – My Spanish Word of the Day 9/3/2015

Alcancía (piggy bank) or (money box) is my Spanish word for today.  Katy Jacoby at the Bogotá Post has written an article which gives you all the Spanish words and phrases you need to know to open a bank account.  Click here to read the article.  It is entitled Language Bank.

                                                    la alcancía