Do you ever get confused as to which Spanish word, este or esa, means this or that? Then today’s episode is for you! :) And due to the hectic nature that this past week has been, the cultural tip will focus on three fun Spanish sayings.
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***My apologies! I need to make a correction. In this episode, I incorrectly attributed the first two phrases from the cultural tip section to "Gramática para la composición" by M. Stanley Whitley and Luis González [Affiliate link to Amazon]. This book was used as a reference for writing the episode. The book that the phrases actually come from is "The Street-Wise Spanish Survival Guide: A Dictionary of Over 3,000 Slang Expressions, Proverbs, Idioms, and Other Tricky English and Spanish Words and Phrases Translated and Explained" by Eleanor Hamer and Fernando Díez de Urdanivia [Affiliate link to Amazon]. So this episode actually has 2 affiliate links. I have updated the blog and show notes accordingly.***
This, that, these, and those are what you call demonstrative adjectives, or adjetivos demostrativos. In Spanish, they use them in a similar way, but with a few exceptions.
This = Este or Esta
In Spanish, este or esta is what you use when you want to refer to something very close to you (either you are holding it or it is right next to you, or if you are referring to a location, it is where you are at, generally). Remember, since they are adjectives, los demostrativos must agree with the subject in quantity and gender. So you use este for all singular, masculine nouns and esta for all singular, feminine nouns. We’ll discuss the plural in a little bit.
Examples of este and esta:
This cheeseburger is delicious! ¡Esta hamburguesa con queso es deliciosa! (singular, feminine)
This room is too small. Este cuarto es demasiado pequeño. (singular, masculine)
Does this dress come in blue? ¿Este vestido viene en azul? (singular, masculine)
Where did you buy this shirt? ¿Dónde compraste esta camisa? (singular, feminine)
*One thing to note with esta: the stress - or emphasis - is on the first syllable, rather than the second, as it is with está (third person singular - he, she, or Usted - for the verb estar). Can you hear that difference? Ella está en el aula. Esta hamburguesa es deliciosa.
That = Ese or Esa
In Spanish, ese or esa is what you use when you want to refer to something farther away from you (for something nearish, but you aren't holding it. You have to point a little bit to mark it. Or if someone else is holding it, or it's lying away from you. Things like that.).
Examples of ese and esa:
That cheeseburger looks gross! ¡Esa hamburguesa con queso parece asquerosa! (singular, feminine)
That room is much bigger. Ese cuarto es mucho más grande. (singular, masculine)
Does that dress come in blue? ¿Ese vestido viene en azul? (singular, masculine)
Where did she buy that shirt? ¿Dónde compró esa camisa? (singular, feminine)
Do you struggle to remember which Spanish word means which demonstrative? I did, so I came up with a mental trick. In English, this only has 1 "t" (1 in this, 2 in that), and in Spanish, este has only 1 “t” (1 in este and 0 in ese). They both line up, as it were. ;) This and este both only have 1 "t" in them! I hope that helps. ^_~
Unique to Spanish - Aquel/Aquella
Something cool about Spanish is that it actually linguistically distinguishes between things that are sort of far away from the speaker and things that are really far away. for things kind of far, you use ese/esa; for things really far, you use aquel/aquella. In English, you have to use intonation: I want that apple vs. No, I want thaaat (really pointing) apple.
Examples of aquel and aquella:
That cheeseburger (way over there) looks gross! ¡Aquella hamburguesa con queso parece asquerosa! (singular, feminine)
That (far away) room is much bigger. Aquel cuarto es mucho más grande. (singular, masculine)
Does that dress (hanging up waaay over there) come in blue? ¿Aquel vestido viene en azul? (singular, masculine)
Where did she buy that shirt (the one hanging up across the hallway)? ¿Dónde compró aquella camisa? (singular, feminine)
Plural - These and Those
The plural is really easy. To make esta, esa, and aquella plural, just add an “s”!
These cheeseburgers are delicious! ¡Estas hamburguesas con queso son deliciosas!
Where did she buy those shirts? ¿Dónde compró esas camisas?
Those cheeseburgers (way over there) look gross! ¡Aquellas hamburguesas con queso parecen asquerosas!
To make este and ese plural, delete the last "e" and add an "os" (estos and esos).
These rooms are too small. Estos cuartos son demasiado pequeños.
Do those dresses come in blue? ¿Esos vestidos vienen en azul?
To make aquel plural, just add "los" (aquellos).