Para or Por?

This is one of the tricky areas of Spanish grammar which confuses most people! The reason being is that both can mean “for”, however they can mean different things in different contexts. I will outline below the key uses of “para” and “por” with examples to help you remember when to use each one: Continue reading

How long does it take to become fluent in Spanish?

I am often asked this by new learners and it is always very difficult to answer as it varies person to person and also depends on many different factors. For some people it may take a few months, for others one to three years or even five years or more for some people. This article looks at ways to become fluent more quickly in Spanish or any language for that matter: Continue reading

Native v Non-native tutors: Pros & Cons

At Viva Language Services we have both native and non-native language tutors available. Some people prefer to learn with a native tutor whereas other learners prefer to have lessons with a non-native tutor. It all depends on your learning objectives and how you, as an individual, learn best. Here are some tips on what you will gain from learning with either a native and non-native language tutor: Continue reading

The differences between Argentinian Spanish and Castilian Spanish

When I went to Buenos Aires, Argentina I noticed that there were quite a few differences between Castilian Spanish spoken in Spain and the Spanish spoken in Argentina. This involved the accent and pronunciation as well as the grammar and certain words and phrases. The different accent took a bit of getting used to. Although the “porteños” understood my “Spanish” accent (from Spain), the difficulty arose in my understanding of them. Read on to discover the differences to watch out for. Continue reading

My trip to Buenos Aires: March-May 2011

17-lane Avenida 9 de Julio, Centre of Buenos Aires
After throwing myself into my business of teaching Spanish for 2 years and helping many people prepare to move or travel abroad, I decided it was time to take a break, do some travelling and practise the language I love. I chose to visit Buenos Aires, Argentina as I had always wanted to travel to South America and it sounded a fantastic city to visit! Here is my account of what to expect from a trip to Argentina.

Popular Spanish Sayings (II)

In collaboration with a native Spanish person, we have come up with some common sayings (refranes) that are used today in Spain:

Estar entre la espada y la pared. (Lit. To be between the spade and the wall.) Between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Se venden como pan bendito. (Lit. They are sold like holy bread.) They are selling like hot cakes.

Sentar como un guante. To fit like a glove. Continue reading


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