January Q and A Video Number 2

Welcome to the second of our two January 2019 Q and A videos! (The first one is here).

Below you will find all of the language notes and links for the video…

Question from James:

Como se dice “I’m getting rusty in something” in Spanish?


Mi español está un poco oxidado – My Spanish is a bit rusty
Estoy un poco oxidado con la guitarra – I’m getting a bit rusty on the guitar

Question from Steve:

How do you train yourself to think in Spanish? I have lived in Madrid for over four years, and I still find myself translating at times, and this really slows me down. So when I am at a dinner party with lots of people shouting at the same time, I can never keep up and feel totally unable to join in the conversation. Thanks in advance for any advice you may have!


It took Ben about 5 years to get over this hurdle and to be able to participate actively at loud dinner parties.

Actively try to think in Spanish and keep immersing yourself  in Spanish listening, via films, tv, podcasts, radio etc – fill your life with more Spanish than English.

Question from Ann:

I work in a school with a few English language learners whose first language is Spanish. I know there is another colloquial way to say “it’s your turn” besides “Es su turno.” It’s something like “le toca a ti” but is that grammatically correct?


Te toca a ti (informal) / le toca a usted (formal, usted form in Spain) – but in a class the first would be more natural, in Spain at least.

Question part 2:

And, incidentally, do you have any suggested children’s songs that would be well known to Spanish-speaking children.


For small kids… Al corro de la patata, Susanita tiene un ratón, El barquito chiquitito, Debajo de un botón. Or search in Youtube for “canciones de niños”.

Question from Anthea:

I have a question about the different ways of saying: I’d like to do this – tengo ganas de hacer esto – me gustaría hacer esto, I’d be pleased to do this – me alegra, me apetece, me encanta, estaría feliz … I know all these phrases exist but I don’t have much sense of the nuance of each, and sometimes wonder if I sound too eager, too formal … I wonder if you could put these various phrases in some order of intensity, or order of politeness, so I could use the right ones in the right context.


First of all, the word nuance – in Spanish we say “matiz”, a lovely word.

“Me alegra” doesn’t work in this context, it’s more when you are happy about something, e.g. Me alegra mucho que te hayan dado el trabajo – I’m really happy they’ve given you the job.

Tengo ganas de ir al cine – I feel like going to the cinema
Me gustaría ir al cine – I’d like to go to the cinema
Me apetece ir al cine – I feel like going to the cinema

Estaría feliz de ir al cine – I wouldn’t mind going to the cinema, that would be OK

Me encanta ir al cine – I love going to the cinema (in general)
Me encantaría ir al cine – I’d love to go to the cinema

Question part 2:

Finally what’s the best way to say I’m looking forward to this?


See our video on “Expressing enthusiasm and excitement in Spanish

Question from Gill from New Zealand:

Can you suggest some good phrases for talking about your health, please. In English we have phrases like ‘under the weather’, ‘feeling lousy’, ‘a box of birds’ for feeling great (this might be a New Zealandism, I’m not sure.) Are there some great Spanish phrases you can suggest?


Feeling bad…

Estoy pachucho/a – I feel a bit under the weather (not too ill)
No estoy muy católico/a – I’m not feeling great
Estoy hecho un trapo/estoy fatal – I’m felling really terrible

Feeling good…

Estoy pletórico – I’m really full of energy (Origin: Plétora, which means: ‘Exceso de sangre en el cuerpo’, or an abundance of something –  like plethora in English).
Estoy en plena forma – I’m feeling on top of the world
Estoy a tope – I’m really energetic, very active, doing lots of things at the moment

Thank you again to everyone that sent in questions! Make sure you listen to our Real Spanish podcasts and pick up the accompanying Spanish-boosting worksheets in our store!

10 thoughts on “January Q and A Video Number 2

  1. Raquel

    Muchas gracias, estos son los únicos “newsletter” que me alegra recibir. Estupendo trabajo.
    Un cordial saludo.

  2. Ian Bennett

    Hola Ben y Marina,

    Gracias por sus podcasts los que empecé escuchar hace seis años y sigo escuchando que me encantan.
    Yo veo muchas series en español con subtítulos en español. No estoy seguro que sea una buena idea porque me encuentro leer los subtítulos y es demasiado difícil sin subtítulos. Creéis con este método que todavía estoy mejorándome el nivel de escuchar o me recomendáis algo diferente.

    1. Ben Post author

      Hola Ian, Seguro que te está ayudando, pero la verdad es que leer (en este caso subtítulos) y escuchar, son dos habilidades diferentes, y a lo mejor si estás leyendo, pues no escuchas tanto a la vez. Creo que estaría bien probar de vez en cuando sin subtítulos, o ver un capitulo con subtítulos, y luego volver a verlo, el mismo, sin los subtítulos, a ver que tal.

      Mucha suerte,

      Un abrazo.

  3. Steve Saper

    Thanks for the latest question and answer video. I’ve got one comment regarding the following from your discussion where you talk about ‘feeling bad’. I believe both ‘pachucho/a’ and católico/o’ require the proper male/female form for whom the statement is about.



    1. Ben Post author

      Hi Steve,
      You are quite right. I’d put them both in the feminine form, as Marina had said them in the video. I’ve changed them in the post above now so it’s clearer, as you say, that they can end in – o/a. Thanks for helping me improve the post.

  4. Paul Sheen

    Hola Ben y Marina
    Muchas gracias, me gusta mucho tus podcasts y boletines. I moved to Spain 18 months ago and started learning Spanish from scratch out of necessity about 12 months ago when I met my partner. She is from Cadiz and does not speak English. We have spent a lot of time using Google Translate. But now I’m improving daily as I study and learn new words and phrases from tv, radio, newspapers, internet etc. and I’m feeling reasonably confident when reading and writing Spanish. However I’m struggling understanding spoken Spanish and speaking with my partner and her family and friends. It’s proving very difficult especially with their Andalucian way of shortening words and phrases. I am feeling embarrassed to keep asking them “can you repeat that and speak slowly please”. Any tips or suggestions please?

    1. Ben Post author

      Hi Paul,

      I’m afraid the advice is simply, keep at it! If you really put your heart into it, then things can make sudden jumps of improvement, usually when things seem at their worst! So keep listening to Spanish any way you can – radio, podcasts, film, TV etc, listen hard when with your partners family and friends – I’m sure you do all this already so just persevere and you’ll get there!

      Saludos from Madrid,


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