Latin American Spanish Lesson on Learning Spanish Grammar and Vocabulary Words


Today’s conversational Latin American Spanish lesson covers learning Spanish grammar and vocabulary words. Specifically, we’re going to study different ways of expressing obligation in Spanish.

The first and most obviuos choice is the verb “deber”. When used in this way, “deber” is frequently similar in meaning to the English “must”, “should” or “ought”:

Debes estudiar mucho en el colegio.
(You ought to study a lot at school)

Alguien debería hablar de todo esto.
(Someone should have to talk about all this)

No debe dormirse después de comer.
(He shouldn’t go to sleep after eating)

The tone of “deber” to express obligation is quite strong and can be softened by using the conditional form instead of the present tense, to make it more polite:

¿Por qué debería comprar un lavaplatos?
(Why should I have to buy a dishwasher?)

Deberíamos salir.
(We should to get going.)

El gobierno debería concentrar su atención en los desempleados.
(The government should focus its attention on the unemployed.)

It is possible that you will hear native speakers using “deber de”. However, this use of “deber” is considered substandard by some grammarians and is probably best avoided by those who are learning the language.

The verb “tener que” is another common for to express obligation. “Tener que” and “deber” are usually comprare levitra online sicuro interchangeable. However, “tener que” usually expresses
a stronger sense of obligation. Note that “tener” is conjugated irregularly. “Deber”, however, is conjugated regularly.

Tengo que ayudar en las reparaciones. Debo ayudar en las reparaciones.
(I have to help with the repairs.)

Tenemos que estudiar la historia de Estados Unidos.
Debemos estudiar la historia de Estados Unidos.
(We must study U.S. history.)

Tuvo que irse a trabajar. Debió irse a trabajar.
(She had to go to work.)

The phrase “no tener más remedio que” is one of the most common ways of expressing extremely strong obligation, and you may find it very useful:

No tiene más remedio que decir la verdad.
(He absolutely has to tell the truth.)

No me dejas otra alternativa y no tengo más
remedio que aceptar.
(You leave me no other choice, and I must accept.)

A general sense of obligation is often expressed impersonally. Where English says “you should”,” one ought to”, etc., Spanish would typically use an expression with “se”. Study these examples:

Se debe seguir las instrucciones con cuidado”.
(One should follow directions carefully)

Se necesita tener experiencia.
(You ought to have experience)

Finally, “Hay que” is a common way to express external obligation, both formally and informally. It can be used in all tenses, and is always followed by the infinitive, so it’s one of the easiest structures:

Hay que saber qué pasa en el mundo.
(One should know what happens in the world)

Había que atravesar la región a pie.
(You had to go across the region on foot)

Now, for more practice, translate the following
examples into Spanish:

1) Which car should I buy?
2) One will have to wait until tomorrow.
3) One ought to keep history in mind.
4) One (you) shouldn’t step on the grass.
5) I have to wait until the bank opens.
6) We must speak clearly about this subject.
7) Today I have to work until late.
8) You should go to the doctor as soon as possible.

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