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Episode 90: Verbs with Built-In Prepositions

Have you ever noticed that some Spanish verbs don't need to be followed by a preposition, like they do in English? That's because the "preposition", if you will, is built into the verb's meaning. It's implied. For example, you don't say buscar para or buscar por. You just say buscar. Today we will look at 5 such verbs! Not to mention our Cultural Tip on Honduras, focusing on the country's national holidays. Let's begin!


Once again, I would like to apologize for being late. I honestly got my weeks mixed up and the kiddos weren't feeling good. Not sure how that happened, but this episode is pretty late. The last episode was pretty long, at least for how long these episodes normally go, so I'm going to try to keep this one shorter. And to make up for my mixed-up schedule, I'll also try to release another episode next week as well. That should get us back on track! [The audio is also a little off in this episode, so my apologies!]

Verbs with Implied Prepositions

If you're a native English speaker, sometimes Spanish verbs can trip you up. There are some where our use of a preposition is actually built into (or implied) by the verb's overall meaning. Let's look at five such verbs, starting with the one we already mentioned at the opening, buscar.

1. Buscar (to look for)

While in English we must add the preposition "for" after the verb "to look", this is implied in the Spanish verb. It would be very redundant to say, "Estoy buscando para/por mi chaqueta." You just say, "Estoy buscando mi chaqueta."

2. Escuchar (to listen to)

In English, you always add a "to" when you're using the verb "to listen". "I listened to some awesome country music yesterday!" "They listen to mystery podcasts." In Spanish, however, the "to" is implied with the verb. So you never say, "Estoy escuchando a mi música favorita.", but rather, "Estoy escuchando mi música favorita." Now, of course, you still have to use the personal a, so if you are talking about listening to someone, then you will include the a. For example, "Escucha a tu profesora."

3. Esperar (to wait for)

This is another verb that makes life just a little simpler in Spanish than in English. Instead of adding the preposition "for", such as "They waited for the bus" or "Why are you waiting for them in the rain?", this preposition is implied in the verb esperar. "Esperaron el autobús" or "¿Por qué los esperas bajo la lluvia?"

Notice how there is no need to attach por to this verb.

4. Pedir (to ask for)

Just as with esperar, the verb pedir has the understanding of the preposition "for" built into it. You don't say "Pedí para/por una almohada." Instead, just, "Pedí una almohada." (If you're wondering what the difference is between pedir and preguntar, check out Episode 3! (You can also see the reallllly old YouTube video here.)

5. Pagar (to pay for)

I just realized that a lot of my examples involve the preposition "for", but I assure you not all of these types of Spanish verbs deal with that preposition. In English, we often have to add a "for" after the verb "to pay" (note that I didn't say always, because there are plenty of times where you could just say "pay", such as "Did you pay the ticket?". It adds a bit of nuance. If you say "Did you pay the ticket?", it most likely means you're asking your friend if he paid his speeding ticket. But if you say, "Did you pay for the ticket?", now you're probably asking if he bought the ticket to the movie himself. These are the things I consider just for you guys ;) ). In Spanish, though, this preposition is inherent to the verb's meaning. So you would say, "Él pagó el boleto", not "Él pagó por el boleto."

That being said, there are shades of nuance in Spanish if you decide to include por or para after the verb pagar. If you are paying for something, such as paying someone for their work or buying them dinner, you can use por. For example, "Él pagó nuestra cena." But in Spanish, this por is optional, whereas in English it is not. It is not optional, however, if you follow pagar with another verb. "Te pago por escribir mi libro." (I pay you to write my book.) And if you want to play with even some more nuance, swap the por for a para to get the meaning of "in order to". "Te pago para escribir mi libro." (I pay you in order to write my book.) Real Fast Spanish has a great 3-minute video on the verb pagar, and I recommend you check it out!

I love finding verbs like these 5 examples! If you think about it, these verbs with "built in" prepositions actually make a lot of sense. If you are escuchando, of course you are "listening to" something! If you are buscando algo, then of course you are "looking for something"! There's not really any other meaning that would work. So, at least for these examples, Spanish has made things a lot more straightforward and simpler! :D

What about you? Are there other such verbs that often trip you up or that tickle your ears? Please share at!

In next week's episode, we'll talk about more verbs that use prepositions differently than we would expect as English speakers, such as Casarse, which uses the preposition con instead of a (since in English we use a, or "at"; to get married to somebody vs. casarse con algiuen.).

See you - hopefully - next week!

Remember, learning a language is a lifelong journey.

¡Aprovéchalo, Disfrútalo y Compártelo!


Cultural Tip: Honduras

Global National Holidays

Today's cultural tip highlights the national holidays of Honduras! To save on time, and to avoid extreme repetitiveness, here is a quick list of holidays that many other countries also celebrate and/or which we have covered in previous episodes, so I won't get into too much detail for these ones.

  • New Year's Day (01/01a)*

  • Father's Day (03/19) (Celebrated on Día de San José, or St. Joseh's Day, every March 19th. Technically, it's not an official national holiday)

  • Holy Week (04/03-04/09, which culminates with Easter Sunday. Monday through Wednesday are government holidays. Apparently public workers are given the entire week off to "encourage domestic tourism", or at least that's what OfficeHolidays claims. One interesting thing to note, on Good Friday (04/07) people will create alfombras, which are Christian-themed images and designs created from colorful sawdust. They are created in the morning, with the intent of being later destroyed by a religious procession. You can read more about it and see some photos of the cool artwork here and here.)

  • Labour Day (05/01a, also known as International Workers' Day)

  • Mother's Day (05/14) (The second Sunday in May. Technically, it's not an official national holiday)

  • Christmas Day (12/25a, La Navidad)

*The "a" means that it is always celebrated on this day.

Unique National Holidays

So let's talk about the 6 unique holidays that Hondurans celebrate!

1. Pan America Day (04/14, although sometimes it is officially celebrated on other days)

Honduras is a part of the Organization of American States (OAS), which has 35 member countries (including Colombia, Costa Rica, the United States, Venezuela, Mexico, etc.). It is the oldest regional organization in the world, having been formed on April 14, 1890 as the International Union of American Republics. This organization designated April 14th as Pan America Day back in 1930, yet Honduras is the only member country who celebrates it as a national holiday.

If you want to learn more about the OAS, check out their website here.

2. Independence Day (09/15a, Día de la Independencia)

Unlike most independence days, the Honduran national holiday is not just a celebration of the country's own individual declaration of independence, but that of many Central American countries from Spanish rule. Back in 1524, Hernán Cortés arrived in Central America and began the Triunfo de la Cruz settlement. Eventually, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Chiapas (a state of Mexico) were put into one Kingdom of Guatemala. Then there was the Peninsular War across the sea in Europe, with Napoleon setting up King Joseph as ruler of Spain (and so king of its New World territories), and then after Napoleon's fall King Ferdinand became king of Spain. Now the Province of Guatemala, on September 15, 1821, declared its independence through the Act of Independence of Central America.

To celebrate this day, Honduras has parades, dancing, special food, etc. At the end of the day, they'll lower the flag while people sing the national anthem. It was hard to find good videos of what a parade would look like in Honduras, so the closest thing I could find is here, by a gal whose YouTube account is called Amber Abroad. It is a bit long, but you definitely get an idea of what it would be like. She apparently has other videos highlighting her trip to Honduras. I haven't watched them, but if you are curious about life in Honduras, they might be a good place to start?

3. Semana Morazánica (10/2-10/5)

This is given for public workers only, so that they get the entire week off. For everyone else, the holiday begins at 12 pm on Wednesday. This long holiday break is, again, according to, supposed to encourage tourism, which is probably why it is now celebrated the first week of October.

The following three holidays are a part of this week, Semana Morazánica.

4. Discovery of America Day (10/04)

This holiday commemorates Christopher Columbus arriving in the New World. While the international day is October 12th, Honduras moved the celebration to this week in 2014. The whole week of celebrations was then moved to its current time in 2015.

5. Francisco Morazán's Birthday (10/05)

The only Honduran to have a national holiday, he was the president of the Federal Republic of Central America from 1830-1839. He was born in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa on October 3, 1792, when it was still a part of Spain's empire. When much of Central America gained independence in 1821, he joined politics. In 1823, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua declared their independence from Mexico and united together as the Federal Republic of Central America.

Morazán was an interesting rebel. His uncle was elected as head of state for Honduras in 1824 and led the country more liberally than the then President of the republic, Jose Manuel Arce. Arce sent troops to fix the situation, and while Morazán led a defense, he was defeated. He eventually escaped and led a revolt in 1827. He defeated the conservative forces in 1829 and then was elected as president of the united provinces in 1830. (How that happens, I have no idea!) Because he instigated many liberal reforms, there were several conservative revolts. The first successful one was an uprising in Guatemala led by Rafael Carrera in 1837, and by 1839 many states had seceded. Carrera defeated Morazán and exiled him to Colombia.

He then tried to restore things in 1842 and defeated the Costa Rican dictator Braulio Carillo. Yet soon after this his army was routed, he was captured, and then executed via firing squad.

(Note: When talking about liberal and conservative for this time period in this part of the world, it does NOT mean the same thing as what we refer to in modern American politics. So please do not take your current understanding of those terms and apply them retroactively to this time period, because it won't work.)

6. Army Day (10/06)

This holiday used to be celebrated on October 21st, but it got moved as well back in 2014. The day celebrates the role the Honduran army has in protecting the country, but it also commemorates the first time the military intervened in politics for the sake of the people rather than for the government. In 1954, then President Juan Manuel Gálvez was seeking medical help outside of the country and his Vice President, Julio Lozano Díaz took over presidential responsibilities. That December, he made himself the chief of state and began acting as president. The military stopped him, forcing his resignation in 1956. He then won an election, but the military junta claimed it was illegitimate, annulled it, and kicked him out of power on October 21, 1956.



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Intro and Closing Music by Master_Service from Fiverr

Cultural Tip Transition Music edited from song by JuliusH from Pixabay

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