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HI... I am pretty new to this, as I have only been studying spanish for 2 months. I am using Rosettta Stone software, which is pretty great, actually, but since it is total immersion, sometimes I don't get all the nuances of the language.

I have seen the phrase "que es esto" most commonly, which I understand to mean "what is that (thing)," but I have also seen "que es eso" and I can't tell the difference between the two phrases. Does it have anything to do with whether the object is male or female? And, of course, how would you know the gender if you don't know what the thing is.

Or, are these phrases simply interchangeable? Any help would be appreciated.

  • Posted Mar 8, 2008
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With the demonstrative adjectives and pronouns such as esta, este, esto, esa, ese, eso and the plural forms there is a rule to help you to remember the difference,
If it has a t it is this or these [esta, este, esto (plus plural forms)]
if it doesnt have a t it is that or those>.[ esa. ese. eso (plus plural forms)]

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what is this? esto
what is that? eso

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i must say that i do like this rule. simple isn't it, when you know.

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Yes, these are helpful. All these new words (even simple ones) are a bit overwhelming at first, but I find when I look back at previous lessons, after I've done some new learning, the old stuff is much clearer in retrospect. I think this simple rule will be the same.


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I hope it will help you to keep it straight. I know that it always worked for me.smile

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i like these. in england, a lot of people get confused with its and it's ie (it is). i have small rhyme
when the dog has gots ITS bone, leave the apotrophe alone
when you can see that IT'S me, you must use the apotrophe.
silly but it works.

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I have one for stalagmites & stalactites, and you know how much they come up in conversation.
When the mites go up, the tites come down.

Cuando los ácaros subirían, los pantelones bajarían..

I chose the conditional tense, what do you think?

However, it doesn't have the same effect.

  • stala"g"mites are on the "g"round - eljefeman May 15, 2011 flag
  • stala"c"tites are on the "c"eiling - eljefeman May 15, 2011 flag
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by tites, i assume you mean tights. that's the problem with these horrendous pieces of clothing. stockings were always alot easier, especially if you got mites. by easier, i meant on the eye, particularly for men.

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Cherry, what a great rule! I just did some grammar lessons where I got a chance to practice usage of esta, ests, estos, etc. and it worked perfectly! Thanks again!

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You are welcome. I'm glad that I could help you.

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With the word tight I remember which is which. Stalactite have to hold on tight not to fall down.

To add to the confusion, there is another 'that' or 'those', but further than eso, ese, etc.
With examples, here they are;

that book = aquel libro
those books = aquellos libros
that house = aquella casa
those houses = aquellas casas

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