Learn how to use “usted” in Spanish using the award-winning Rosetta Stone app.
Usted in Spanish
Usted translates to “you” in English, and so does tú. Spanish speakers use both, so the tricky part can be deciding which one to use. Essentially, you choose based on the formality of the relationship. In general, usted signifies a more respectful way of talking to someone, such as a new acquaintance, an older person, or someone you consider to be of higher rank. On the other hand, you would use tú when you’re talking to someone of the same age, the same rank, or the same educational level. Here are some examples. You’ll see that the context of the sentence can help you determine which word to use.
¿Cómo se llama usted? / What is your name?
Usted tiene una casa muy bella / You have a very beautiful house
¿Cómo va usted a cambiar su imagen? / How are you going to change your image?
¿Vas tú con Juan en el auto rojo? / Are you going with Juan in the red car?
¿Tu amigo todavía vive en Londres? / Does your friend still live in London?
Tu perro es malo y no obedece. / Your dog is naughty and doesn’t obey.
Getting a handle on some basic vocabulary usually isn’t too tricky for early learners—especially if you’ve had some exposure to the basics of Spanish or if you already speak another Latin-based language (like Italian or French). Because these languages originated from a shared source, they have thousands of words in common and many grammatical similarities. Even English, though technically a Germanic language, has been heavily influenced by Latin. This is also why you’ll find English words like “fabulous” that sound remarkably similar in French (fabuleux), Italian (favoloso), and Spanish (fabuloso).
Aside from the considerable overlap in vocabulary, Spanish has a particularly consistent system of pronunciation. While languages like French and English often have spelling or pronunciation rules that seem arbitrary, Spanish has only a few irregularities. The Spanish alphabet is also virtually the same as other Western European languages, with only 3 extra letters: ch (chay), ll (elle), and ñ (eñe).
Rosetta Stone’s Dynamic Immersion® methodology teaches you the language, not just the words. What makes is so effective is that we prepare you to use the language in your everyday life. So, it’s not just about the features, but what you’re able to do because of them. That way, you’ll be ready to handle any and all situations with ease and confidence.
Learn Spanish Words and Phrases
Many people embark on learning Spanish because they find that they frequently encounter the language in their everyday life. After all, Spanish is spoken throughout the U.S., and is featured prominently in movies, music, TV, and restaurant fare. Other people choose to learn Spanish due to plans to vacation, volunteer, or do business in any of the 20 countries worldwide for which Spanish is the official language. So regardless of your reason for learning Spanish, you’ll be off to a strong start by first familiarizing yourself with pronouncing the very basic Spanish words and phrases. This approach will help you understand how the language is used in everyday situations by the approximate 437 million Spanish speakers around the globe.
Many times, new Spanish learners get sidetracked by attempting to memorize long lists of words and phrases. Then, they are frustrated when they can’t understand or speak in everyday, real-world Spanish conversations. That’s why it’s key that you learn to understand and pronounce commonly used Spanish words. Doing so will allow you to develop the confidence to comfortably engage and talk with locals.
It’s worth noting, Spanish does have some characteristics that can make proper pronunciation of some words a bit challenging for new learners. As one example, the letter r is pronounced differently and takes some practice for most new learners. This distinct sound is formed by tapping the tip of the tongue on the roof of the mouth, about a third of the way back in the mouth. Some Spanish-language experts counsel new learners to practice making the “tt” sound, as it sounds in the English word butter.
Refining your Spanish pronunciation requires that you get specific and immediate feedback. Rosetta Stone helps you dial in your pronunciation with our TruAccent™ speech engine. TruAccent compares your voice to native and non-native speakers—in real-time—so you get the feedback you need for the most accurate pronunciation. It’s also adjustable, which allows you to tweak your accent as needed. TruAccent is a powerful tool for helping you learn and speak the Spanish language.
Once you have acquired basic words, short phrases, and their proper pronunciation, you will find it to be a natural transition to longer phrases that make up much of everyday Spanish conversation. Rosetta Stone’s 10-minute lessons are designed to help you learn in exactly this way, because they teach the basics first, then move onto longer phrases. Each lesson consistently emphasizes proper pronunciation, to help you acquire the skills to comfortably understand and confidently speak Spanish.
Try Our Award-Winning App
Surround yourself with Spanish (Latin America) whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app.
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation.
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.