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Quick answer
"Este" is a noun which is often translated as "east", and "a" is a preposition which is often translated as "to". Learn more about the difference between "este" and "a" below.
este(
ehs
-
teh
)
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
1. (compass point)
a. east
La "E" en la brújula significa "este".The "E" on the compass means "east."
2. (direction)
a. east
La ventana de nuestra habitación daba hacia el este.Our bedroom window opened to the east.
3. (region)
a. east
Los que viven en el este de la ciudad tienen un acento diferente a los demás.The people who live in the city's east have a different accent compared to the rest.
4. (wind)
a. east wind
El este trajo una plaga de langostas.The east wind brought with it a plague of locusts.
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
5. (in or from the east)
a. eastern
La zona este de la ciudad tiene unos restaurantes excelentes.The eastern part of the city has some excellent restaurants.
b. east
El lado este de la bahía es el lugar perfecto para nadar.The east side of the bay is the perfect place for swimming.
c. easterly
Es mejor ir en dirección este si quieres evitar el bosque.It's better to go in an easterly direction if you want to stay clear of the forest.
6. (demonstrative)
a. this
Este año acabo la universidad.I finish university this year.
Esta libreta no es mía.This notebook isn't mine.
A pronoun is a word that stands in for a noun (e.g. she).
7. (demonstrative)
a. this
Este no es el plato que pedí.This is not the meal I ordered.
Esta no es la camisa que quería.This is not the shirt I wanted.
b. this one
Me voy a llevar este; el gorro chico no me queda.I'm going to take this one; the small hat doesn't fit me.
¿Qué falda te gusta más? - Esta es muy bonita.Which skirt do you like better? - This one is really pretty.
An interjection is a short utterance that expresses emotion, hesitation, or protest (e.g. Wow!).
8. (conversational filler)
a. um
¿A qué hora llega tu jefe? - Este, no estoy segura.What time does your boss arrive? - Um, I'm not sure.
b. er
¿Te gusta mi nuevo corte de cabello? - Este, claro que sí.Do you like my new haircut? - Er, of course.
Este
A proper noun refers to the name of a person, place, or thing.
proper noun
9. (region of the world)
a. East
Comerciantes medievales viajaban hacia el Este en búsqueda de especies y sedas.Medieval merchants traveled to the East in search of spices and silks.
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a(
ah
)
A preposition is a word that indicates the relationship between a noun and another word (e.g. He ran through the door.).
1. (used to indicate direction)
a. to
Ve a tu habitación.Go to your room.
2. (used to indicate position)
a. to
A la izquierda puedes ver el parque.To your left you can see the park.
3. (used to indicate an exact moment)
a. at
Saldremos al amanecer.We will leave at dawn.
4. (used to indicate mode)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Podía respirar a duras penas.He was hardly able to breathe.
5. (the personal "a")
a. to
No te olvides de escribir a tus abuelos.Don't forget to write to your grandparents.
6. (used to give orders)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
¡A fregar los platos!Go do the dishes!
¡A la cama!Off to bed!
7. (used with quantities)
a.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Me encantaría ganar dinero a espuertas.I would love to earn lots of money.
Llovía a cántaros.It was pouring.
8. (used to express purpose)
a. to
Vino a saludar.He came to say hello.
9. (used to express frequency)
a. per
Trabajo ocho horas al día.I work eight hours per day.
A feminine noun is almost always used with feminine articles and adjectives (e.g. la mujer bonita, la luna llena).
10. (letter)
a. a
Ese adjetivo debe terminar con una a.That adjective should end in an a.
11. (music)
a. A
El pianista tocó una A.The pianist played an A.
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