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SPANISH LANGUAGE

Monkeys and good uncles: The many ways to call someone hot in Spanish

Spaniards use all manner of words and expressions to describe someone they find attractive or sexy, from the naughty to the bizarre. 

Monkeys and good uncles: The many ways to call someone hot in Spanish
Spaniards don't mince their words when it comes to expressing their attraction for someone. (Photo by JOSEPH EID / AFP)

To be cute – Ser mono/a

If you find someone cute you refer to them as mono if it’s a guy, or mona if it’s a girl. 

Mono is also the word for monkey/ape or overalls/jumpsuit, but as an adjective it refers to something that’s pretty, adorable or beautiful, or if you’re talking about a person, it means you find them cute. 

Example: Jaime es muy mono pero a mí me gustan los chicos malos. 

Jaime is very cute but I like bad boys.

To be handsome or beautiful – Ser guapo/a

Guapo is a word beginner Spanish learners are quick to learn, and the good news is that it works just as well for guys or girls – guapo if it’s a man, guapa if it’s woman – as opposed to in English where attractive men are usually described as handsome and women as beautiful. 

If you want to say someone is very attractive, the superlative is guapísimo/a

In a more colloquial way, you can call someone guapetón or guapete (male), or guapetona (female). 

Example: Sara es guapísima pero también es un poco creída.

Sara is very beautiful but she’s also a bit vain. 

Guapo or guapa is the ‘safest’ way to refer to someone you find attractive in Spanish. Photo: Freepik

To be hot – Estar bueno/a

If you want to comment on how hot someone is in the physical sense, a common way to express this in Spain is saying that ‘they’re good’. It’s important to remember that there’s a big difference between saying ser bueno and estar bueno. Ser and estar are both the verb ‘to be’ in Spanish (they’re used differently, however), but ser bueno means ‘to be good’ whereas estar bueno means ‘to be hot’. Careful with this, otherwise you may end up referring to your friend’s pet or child as ‘hot’.

This even applies to the expression ser más bueno que el pan (as good as gold, but in the literal sense meaning ‘better than bread’); if the verb is swapped to estar (estar más bueno que el pan) it means to be super hot/sexy.

You can also just call them buenorro or buenorra, although it’s quite a forward way or referring to someone as sexually attractive.

Example: ¡Está buenísimo! Parece un modelo.

He’s so hot! He looks like a model.

Hot guy/hot chick – Tío bueno/tía buena

On the same note, calling someone a ‘good uncle’ or ‘good auntie’ in Spanish means that you find them attractive. Let us explain before you get the wrong idea.

Tío/tía is also a very commonly used informal way to refer to a man or woman, similar to saying ‘a bloke’ or ‘dude’ in English if it’s a guy, or ‘chick’ or ‘bird’ if it’s a woman. 

That, with the bueno to refer to someone as hot, has morphed into a very common way to refer to a hot guy or girl. If you actually wanted to say someone is a good uncle or auntie in the conventional sense, you can say ‘buen tío’ or ‘buena tía’, which can also mean ‘a good guy or girl’, as in ‘he’s a good guy’.

Example: Menuda tía buena acaba de entrar al bar.

An absolute hottie has just walked into the bar.

So yummy I could eat him/her up – Estar para comérselo

Not a lot to explain here, if you find someone so dishy you could put them on a plate and eat them up in one sitting, that’s exactly what Spaniards say. 

Example: Mario está para comérselo en ese traje.

Mario looks so yummy in that suit I could eat him up. 

If Spaniards find someone very attractive, they express their desire to eat them. (Photo by JAIME REINA / AFP)

He/she turns me on – Me da morbo 

Morbo is a great Spanish word that refers to all manner of things ‘of unwholesome interest’ according to the Spanish dictionary. 

So logically, if you say someone me da morbo, it means they turn you on in the sexual sense. 

There’s a forbidden fruit element to this expression, almost like saying that you can’t help being attracted to someone that you shouldn’t be.

Example: No lo puedo resistir, con esa cadena de oro y pelo en el pecho me da mucho morbo.

I can’t help myself, with that golden chain and hairy chest he turns me on.

He/she makes me horny – me pone cachondo/a

Me pone, which can loosely be translated as ‘he/she turns me’, alludes to sexual attraction too. 

Sometime it’s completed with me pone a cien (he/she turns me on 100 percent), me pone como una moto (he/she turns me on like a motorbike), or in the case of turned-on men, me la pone dura (he/she makes me hard).

Then there’s saying me pone cachondo/a, this being an adjective meaning horny or sexually aroused. 

Example: Es que me pone, la veo con ese pedazo de escote y aunque estemos hablando de trabajo me pone cachondo.

She turns me on, I see her with that incredible cleavage and, even if we’re talking about work, she makes me horny.

Unless you’re sure it’s going to be reciprocal, you shouldn’t tell someone you’ve just met that they make you cachondo/a (horny). (Photo by JAIME REINA / AFP)

As sexy as cheese, a train or cannon – Estar como un queso, un tren, cañon

English speakers may not consider cheese or trains to be sexually appealing (for the most part), but in Spanish these metaphorical comparisons are used to emphasize that someone is extremely attractive.

Example: Serena está como un tren, maldito el hombre que se case con ella.

Serena is as hot as hell, damned be the man who marries her.

Hottie – Pibón or pibonazo

Here are two nouns with exactly the same meaning, used to refer to a very hot person, although more often than not it’s used to talk about women. 

Example: Monica Bellucci es un pibón por muy mayor que se haga.

Monica Bellucci is such a hottie regardless of how old she gets.

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SPANISH LANGUAGE

Ten Spanish mistakes even Spaniards make

Frustrated with your Spanish? Don't sweat it: Even native speakers sometimes make mistakes. Here we list some of the most common ones - all in the name of making you feel better about yourself of course.

Ten Spanish mistakes even Spaniards make

It turns out English speakers don’t have a monopoly on mangling their language. Spanish speakers pepper their speech and writing with errors too.

A book published by Spain’s Cervantes Institute – Las 500 dudas más frecuentes del español – tackles the 500 thorniest issues faced by native speakers of Spanish.

From spellings, kiosco or quiosco? (you’ll see both) – to accents – porque or porqué? (the second is a noun meaning ‘reason’ or ‘motive’) – this article will help you clear up your doubts about the language.

But basta (or should that be vasta?) with all the small talk. Let’s get on with it.

¿Te escucho mal o te oigo mal?

I’m listening to you badly (‘te escucho mal‘) may sound horribly wrong in English but in Spanish, it’s become so widely used most Spaniards won’t even pick up on this bizarre mistake. The right answer is ‘te oigo mal‘ (I can’t hear you).

Te oigo mal. Photo: Robin Higgins / Pixabay
 

¿Ahí, hay o ay? 

Ouch! Wasn’t Spanish meant to be an easy language phonetically speaking? These three words are almost pronounced the same but may cause some Spaniards a headache when putting pen to paper. Hay (there is/are), ‘ahí‘ (over there) and ‘ay‘ is what flamenco ‘cantaores‘ (singers) scream or what you shout out if you’re in pain.

Ay, I’m being bitten by ants. Photo: Hans / Pixabay
 

Andé o anduve? 

The past simple form of the verb ‘to walk’ (andar) in Spanish trips up many native speakers who assume it to be regular. Right answer is anduve, anduviste, anduvo, anduvimos, anduvisteis, anduvieron.

What is the past simple form of the verb ‘to walk’ (andar)? Photo: 👀 Mabel Amber, who will one day / Pixabay

¿He freído o he frito? 

Brain frazzled yet? Well, not to worry because Spaniards often mix up the past participle of to fry (‘freído’) with the adjective fried (‘frito’). Food for thought.

Freído or Frito? Photo: Andrew Ridley / Unsplash

Subir para arriba, entrar para adentro, salir para afuera

In English, this would equate with ‘go up up’, ‘to go inside inside’ and ‘to go out’. It seems redundant, it’s grammatically wrong but the vast majority of Spaniards have used these forms more than once.

Subir para arriba? Photo: Bruno Nascimento / Unsplash
 

El agua, el arma, el hambre

Sometimes the gender (‘el’ or ‘la’) of nouns in Spanish is a bitch, pardon our French. It’s hard enough already for English speakers to label everything as either masculine or feminine, so when you get nouns that end with an ‘a’ but have a masculine pronoun it all gets very confusing. Still, many Spanish mistakenly say ‘este agua‘ or ‘este arma‘ when they should use ‘esta‘. 

El agua instead of La agua. Photo: rony michaud / Pixabay

¿Sólo o solo?

If you haven’t got your head around Spanish accents, rest assured many Spaniards aren’t clear on the rules either. Even the Royal Spanish Academy (the world’s chief body on the Spanish language) can’t make its mind up on whether to include an accent on ‘sólo‘ (only) or just leave it like solo (alone). Feel like you need a ‘café solo‘ (black coffee) now?

Do you need an accent with your café solo? Photo: David Schwarzenberg / Pixabay

Adding an unnecessary ‘s’ to second person past simple forms (‘fuistes’, ‘hicistes’, ‘llamastes’ and so on)

The letter ‘s’ at the end of words may be a relatively unheard sound in southern Spain, but in the rest of the Iberian peninsula, they’re rather fond of it. So much so that many Spaniards add it to verbs where it doesn’t even exist. By the way, it should be ‘fuiste’, ‘hiciste’ and ‘llamaste’.

Some Spanish people an extra ‘s’ onto words. Photo: Muhammad Haseeb Muhammad Suleman / Pixabay

¿Conducí o conduje? ¿Traducí o Traduje? 

Common verbs like ‘to drive’ and ‘to translate’ manage to catch out many Spaniards because of their unexpected irregular form in the past simple. The correct form for both verbs ends in -je, -jiste, -jo, -jimos, -jisteis and -jeron

Do you know how to say ‘I drove’ in Spanish? Photo: Pexels / Pixabay

Han solo

“What on earth is that choice of picture about?” you may ask. Well, this slide is only about one word- Han, solo. Terrible jokes aside, ‘there have been’ is not ‘han habido‘ in Spanish. The correct form is always ‘ha habido‘ but many Spaniards join the dark side. 

Han Solo. Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP
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