Hacer Falta – My Spanish Phrase Of The Day 10/30/2015

Hello Spanish Lovers!

My Spanish verb phrase of the day is hacer falta.

Hacer falta means to need; to be necessary; to miss.

Here is an example:

Me hace falta un suetér caliente para este clima. (I need a warm sweater in this climate.)

Me hace falta un suéter caliente.

The sentence structure required by hacer falta is quite different than what you may be used to.  You may need to take a deep breath and center yourself before you read on.  If you are a native English speaker, things are going to get a little challenging.

The Spanish do not say: I need a warm sweater in this climate.  What they do say is: A warm sweater is necessary for me in this climate.  It sounds so awkward in English, doesn’t it?  The passive voice is being used here.  If we wanted to use the passive voice in English, we might say: A good sweater is necessary for me to stay warm in this climate.  Way too complicated, don’t you think?

But, let’s look at the English translation of this particular sentence: A warm sweater is necessary for me.

Subject = a warm sweater

Verb ( in the passive voice) = is necessary

Indirect Object = (for) me

Notice that this indirect object occurs in a prepositional phrase = (for me)

Now, let’s break down the grammatical components of this sentence in Spanish: Me hace falta un suéter caliente.

The first thing that you have to know is that the verb hacer in the grammatical construction hacer falta is used in the third person.  In this case, it is the third person singular, which is hace.

The second thing that you need to know is that hacer falta absolutely requires an indirect object pronoun. Very often, with this verb phrase, the sentence will start with the indirect object pronoun.

Indirect object pronoun = me (for me)

Verb Phrase =  hace falta (is necessary)

Subject = un suéter caliente (a warm sweater)

The literal translation is: For me is necessary a warm sweater.

You may also see this sentence in a slightly different form.  Instead of: Me hace falta un suéter caliente, you might see: A mí me hace falta un suéter caliente.  A mí signifies to me or for me.  It adds emphasis to the sentence, that is to say, it uses the words for me to put stress on the word me.  A mí is a prepositional phrase that adds emphasis to the indirect object which is me.

and me both mean me in English.  Let’s not stress ourselves out right now by focusing on why these two words, which both mean me, are used together, one right after the other, in the same sentence.  If you think about it too much, you might get a headache!

A prepositional phrase can also be added for clarity as well as emphasis.  For example, I may need a warm sweater in this climate, but my friend, Germán, may need a warm coat instead.

A mí me hace falta un suéter caliente.  Literal Translation – For me is necessary a warm sweater.  Actual Meaning – I need a warm sweater.

A él le hace falta un abrigo caliente.  Literal Translation – For him is necessary a warm coat.  Actual meaning – He needs a warm coat.  Notice that le (him) is the indirect object pronoun, and that the prepositional phrase is a él (for him)

Or, you might say:

A  Germán le hace falta un abrigo caliente.  Literal Translation – For Germán him is necessary a warm coat.  Actual Meaning – Germán needs a warm coat. (emphasis on Germán)

If you did not choose to use the prepositional phrase, you could say:

Le hace falta un abrigo caliente.  Literal Translation – For him is necessary a warm coat.  (for him is used without the stress or emphasis)  Actual Meaning – He needs a warm coat.

But, if you wanted to use Germán’s name in the sentence, you would have to add back in the preposition a and make a prepositional phrase.

A  Germán le hace falta un abrigo caliente.  

This verb structure can so confusing to English speakers!!!  Let’s get a little more confused! Shall we?

The nouns sweater and coat are singular nouns.  But what if we wanted to use plural nouns?  Here is what the sentences would look like:

Me hacen falta unos sombreros calientes.  (I need some warm hats.) (For me is necessary some warm hats.)

A Germán le hacen falta unos calcetines calientes.  (Germán needs some warm socks.) (For German is necessary some warm socks.)

The verb hacer has been changed from the third person singular (hace) to the third person plural (hacen).

Well, I hope that this blog post about the structure and use of hacer falta has helped you have a clearer understanding of this topic.  I sincerely hope that you are not in need of taking an aspirin due to this confusing and headache producing subject!

Are you an advanced Spanish student?  If so, try this sentence out for size.

No les ha hecho falta ni nada ni nadie más para darse el ‘sí, quiero’ y convertirse en marido y mujer.  Now there is a complicated sentence for you!

This sentence comes from an article in El Mundo La Otra Crónica about the private wedding of television presenter, Cristina Pedroche, and Spanish 5 star Michelin chef, David Muñoz.  They were recently married in their home. The only people who attended the wedding were their parents and the notary public.  Now that’s a private celebrity wedding!

An approximate literal translation of the above sentence may be: For them they have not needed anything more or anybody else to say ‘Yes, I love you’, and become man and wife.

I think that the actual translation might be:  They have needed nothing more (than a simple ceremony), with no one else (other than their parents and the notary public present), in order to say their vows and the become man and wife.  I am not completely sure about this, but I think that the reason the auxillary verb haber (ha) and the past participle of hacer (hecho) is used because of a cause and effect situation.  The past perfect can be used to talk about past actions that cause present situations or consequences.  The cause is in the past.  The effect/consequence/is in the present.  They have not needed anything more or anybody else (on the day they got married – the past) in order to become the man and wife that they are (in the present).  If anyone would like to comment on this and make things clearer, please do!

Cristina Pedroche y David Muñoz, inseparables
“Cristina Pedroche and David Muñoz son pioneros en celebrar una boda en su propio domicilio, sin más invitados que sus padres y ante un notario. No les ha hecho falta nada ni nadie más para darse ‘sí, yo quiero’, y convertirse en marido y mujer.”  (El Mundo La Otra Crónica) Photo: Pinterest/Hola.com USA

I hope I have helped a little bit with your understanding of the verb phrase hacer falta.  It’s a tricky one!

¡Hasta Pronto!

Nomofobia – My Spanish Word Of The Day 10/29/2015

Nomofobia es la adicción al teléfono móvil.

Nomofobia (nomophobia) is the fear or anxiety of being without your cell phone.  According to E. Villar at LA RAZÓN.es, nomofobia is: “el miedo a estar Sin teléfono” and “es para muchos, la enfermedad del siglo XXI”.  It is an irrational fear of  not having your cell phone with you wherever you go.  It is interesting to note that people who are addicted to their cell phones can be completely unaware of their dependency.

To read more about nomofobia in Spanish, click here.

To read about nomophobia in English, click here.

Here is a video in Spanish about Nomofobia.


Regañar – My Spanish Word Of The Day 10/28/2015

Spanish via Skype has published a SlideShare lesson about how to use the imperative form of the verb in Spanish.  It is describes how to tell someone off, regañar,  as well as how to give orders.   Regañar means to scold, to reprimand, to yell at someone.  In other words, it means to tell someone off.  Below is:  Fómulas Para Regañar y Ordenar from Spanish via Skype at SlideShare.

Me Siento A Gusto Aquí. My Spanish Phrase of the Day 10/26/2015

animals, sleeping, tired:
Me siento a gusto aquí.

Fluent U has published a blog post of 25 colloquial phrases for intermediate Spanish students.  My favorite is: I’m so comfortable here.  The literal translation is: Me siento muy cómodo aquí.  The colloquial translation is: Me siento a gusto aquí.  To read the entire blog post from Fluent U, click here.

October, 2015 Monthly Quick Grammar Review – The Verb Ser

Bernardo es de españa.  Es español.  Es músico.  Ser has many uses, three of which are to express origin, nationality, and occupation. 

The Spanish language has 2 different verbs for the English verb to be.  They are ser and estar.  These verbs are never used interchangeably as they each have separate uses. Today, let’s look at the uses of ser.

Ser is used to express:

place of origin – Bernardo es de España.

nationality – Bernardo es español.

relationship of one person to another – Celia es mi hermana.

occupation – Cristóbal y Rodolfo son médicos.

religious or political affiliation – Ricardo es budista.

the material that something is made of – Este vestido es de seda.

possession – Esta casa es de mi suegro.

inherent characteristics such as size, shape, color, personal qualities – La casa es alta.     La alfombra es redonda.     La hierba es verde.     Miguel es inteligente.

to express where an event is taking place – La fiesta es en la casa de Anselmo.

to express the hour, day and dateEs la una menos cinco.     Es jueves.     Es el veintidós de octubre.

Ser is used with impersonal expressionsEs lástima.

Adjectives that require ser are: joven, viejo, rico, and pobre. – Mauro es joven.     Mi abuelo es viejo.      Nosotros no somos ricos sino pobres.

Ser must be used to form the true passive tense. – El libro fue escrito por María Dueñas.

El libro fue escrito por María Dueñas.

I have written a booklet that provides review and practice with the verb ser.  It is available at Teachers Pay Teachers.  Here is a sample of the booklet.

Engancharse – My Spanish Word of the Day 10/11/2015

Seis Hermanas – Spanish Television Series On RTVE.

Engancharse is my Spanish word of the day because I am absolutely hooked on the Spanish television series Seis Hermanas.  I watch the show online at RTVE.  The home page for the series has a slide show entitled, ¿Por Qué Nos Hemos Enganchado A La Serie?  Why are we hooked on Seis Hermanas?  The slide show presents details about the characters in the story.  Six sisters, who live in Madrid in 1913, are defying the cultural norms to create their lives on their own terms as well as to save their father’s failing textile business.  I love how the women bravely confront the obstacles put before them by 1913 society.  I am also charmed by the romantic aspects of the time period.  So far, 120 episodes are available.  I am up to number 59.  I am just loving this show!

Sacar Partido – My Spanish Word of the Day – 10/7/2015

Sacar partido de algo means to take advantage of or to make the most of something. SpanishPodcast.net has just posted episode 135, which is all about how to  takke advantage of 5 minutes of your free time.  Sacar partido  significa obtener beneficio  de algo.  It lists 90 things that you can do in 5 minutes.  The  podcast is entitled  Cosas que Pueden Hacer En 5 Minutos.  My favorite is number 9 – tumbarse sobre la hierba y mirar las nubes (lie down on the grass and  look up at the clouds).

Clouds #4 by LA-Robinson
                                            Las Nubes

Click Here to go to SpanishPodcast.net and listen to 90 things that you can do in 5 minutes.

Optar – My Spanish Word of the Day 10/1/2015

La Reina Sofía, former queen of Spain, is a possible nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. Queen Sofía and King Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014 in favor of their son and his wife, current King Felipe and Queen Letizia.

A university in the United States has put forward, as a possible candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, the name of the former Queen of Spain, La Reina Sofía.  The university considers her tireless work on behalf of Alzheimer’s Disease worthy of consideration for this honor.

The headline in El Mundo La Otra Crónica about the queen being considered as a possible nominee reads: La Reina Sofía reaperece tras conocerse que podría optar a Nobel de la Paz.  (Queen Sofía reappears in public after learning that she might be considered as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize).  Former Queen Sofía had spent the summer out of the public eye, but in late September, she resumed her public duties.

Optar is an interesting verb.  It’s meaning changes depending on whether or not it is followed by a preposition and depending on which preposition follows the verb.

optar a – to compete for

poder optar a – to have the right to apply for or go in for; to be entitled to

optar por algo – to choose something

optar por hacer algo – to choose to do something

optar entre – to choose between, to decide, to opt for

optar – to choose, to opt, to select

Thank-You for reading today’s blog post!