¡Con razón! 0001

This episode is the first of my new q&a series Con razón. sPod listeners will recognize the format; it’s basically a continuation of the old Pa’ que sepas show. My cohost is the lovely Nahyeli.

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Thanks as always to the generous support of Tito of thsounds.com, who graciously provides the production music.

In this episode: What’s the proper response when someone wishes you a good weekend? How can you magnify an adjective? What’s the difference between “el mejor” and “lo mejor?” What are some colloquial ways to ask someone how they’re doing? All that, plus a quick reference guide for “por” and “para.”

Special thanks to Roddy Jo, Caz, Holly, Russell, Rachael, Grover, Blanca, Jill, Sam, Stevestrv, Russito, Everett, Jenny, and Mónica who all wrote questions.  If we didn’t get to your question this time, don’t worry, you might hear them in a future show.

Just to be clear, the questions Nahyeli and I choose to answer are the ones where the answer will (hopefully) help people in their Spanish language learning.  Now, some of you all are asking questions even though you know the answers… I get questions from a professor of Spanish linguistics, from native speakers, and from other experts in the field… and if I don’t get to them, it’s because I know you know the answers, and you’re just trying to see if we have the chops to answer them.  My answer:  yes, we have the chops, but using podcast time to answer the “challenge” questions probably won’t help anyone learn.  So sorry, we’re not answering “challenge” questions from the experts… this podcast is for the learners.  On the other hand, I absolutely do appreciate when you experts have something to add, clarify,  or–God forbid–correct… so please do by all means stick around and participate!

Finally, I just want to remind some people that some questions are outside the scope of the format of this podcast.  For example:

Please explain the subjunctive mood.

Haha, it takes WEEKS of study in a classroom to just get through the subjunctive mood… if not months.  I’m pretty sure that I can’t even begin to address that in a 15 minute Q & A podcast.

What’s the difference between ser and estar?

Ok, in a 15 minute Q & A podcast, I can give you some tricks on how to conceptualize the difference, or some memory tricks, or even how to approach the issue (like I did in this episode’s por  and para segment) but honestly, my office mate in graduate school wrote her doctoral dissertation on the difference between ser and estar.

Someday, I might dream up a mini-series of podcasts for big topics like those, but that would be a lot of work for topics for which people have a bad taste in their mouth even before they start.  Honestly, would you listen to a mini-series on the subjunctive?  Can you see yourself going “Oh boy, I just can’t wait for episode nine of “ser” vs. “estar!””

Well, maybe some of you would enjoy that, what do I know.  In any case, let me know what you think of this one, and we’ll go from there.

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15 thoughts on “¡Con razón! 0001

    • Thanks Vikia! I loved Studio Fiesta too… you know that these new podcasts are coming from my new studio… Studio Siesta, haha… it’s my guest room, so if people come to stay, I have to put all the equipment away!


  1. Nice job JP! Interesting podcast and great to hear the Mexican touch. I’m going to try out “mega rico” and “rei que te rico” for sure. I’m sad to say it, but I would probably listen to a podcast about the subjunctive. Si lo pusieran lo escucharia 😉

    Buen trabajo!


    • Dude, thanks for your kind words, and for listening at all! I’m not sure how either of those will play to the Spanish-speaker in you’re life… you’ll have to let us know!

      (aussie translation:)

      Cheers, mate!


  2. Muy bien hecho JP. Eres chingon con los podcasts.

    Nahyeli, you rock too. Love your voice and your insights into Mexican Spanish. I hope to hear more from you guys soon.


  3. Hey JP. Found your blog from a comment over at SpanishPod. I can’t even tell you how valuable SPod has been to me…it’s the best language-learning aid I’ve ever used and my listening comprehension has skyrocketed. The single biggest reason I’m such a fan is because I totally trust the authenticity of the language. Plus there are times when it’s just pretty hilarious. Anyway, really enjoyed this podcast of yours, too…I would definitely listen to any future episodes you cook up! If you’re still taking questions, when to use and when to omit definite articles is kind of a problem for me :). Anyway, cheers. Happy belated birthday!


    • Sarah, thanks for the great comment! I won’t take all the credit; we were a great team!

      I’m hoping to start a new project soon! As far as when to use or omit a definite article… that’s a complicated issue, not sure if I do it right all the time. If you give me the context that you’re thinking of, I can probably figure out what’s going on 🙂

      Thanks again for your kind comment!


      • You know, I think it’s French that’s messing me up on it. My French is super-rusty, but it was ingrained in me to always use definite articles, so my inclination is to always want to use them in Spanish as well, but that’s obviously the wrong approach. I asked this question on a SPod lesson about gardening, but no one offered an answer… In the lesson, someone’s in the garden “regando LAS plantas”, and later the daughter is going to help her “quitar LAS malas hierbas”, but at one point they say “ha comprado semillas para plantar flores”, no articles for semillas or flores. If you were to translate that into French the articles would have to be there, right? (Even though if you translated that French sentence into English you wouldn’t necessarily use “the” in front of seeds or flowers, just like they didn’t in Spanish.) My question is becoming long and annoying, and maybe more of a translation issue, sorry about that.

        So, sometimes they’re there and sometimes they’re not. I get that you’d put them in whenever you’d use the word “the” in English, but other times it seems random. I also realize that it’s not something you can probably answer in a few bullet points, so don’t sweat it. After a while maybe you just get the feel of it. I hope so, because even though people understand bad grammar I’d still prefer to get it right.

        Just something to chew on. Thanks, JP. I will not make it a pattern to harass you with long-winded questions about your past podcasts, don’t worry. 🙂


  4. Pingback: What do you want to know? « you don't have to read v2.0

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