The Verb Sentire

The verb sentire can be quite confusing due to its wide variety of meanings.

1. sentire literally means ‘to sense’, and is used to describe four of the five senses: l’udito (hearing), il tatto (touch), il gusto (taste), and l’olfatto (smell). When used to describe perceptions its definition is contextual, as can be seen in the examples below:
ho sentito un rumore = I heard a noise;
senti com’è morbida questa stoffa = feel how soft this fabric is;
fammi sentire quel formaggio = let me taste that cheese;
si sente il profumo del gelsomino entrare dalla finestra = you can smell the scent of the jasmine coming in through the window.


“si sente il profumo del gelsomino entrare dalla finestra” Photo: Geoff Chamberlain 2013©

However, hearing is the sense most commonly described by the verb sentire even though udire (to hear) is more technically correct:
pronto, mi senti? = hello, can you hear me?
non sento molto bene = I can’t hear very well
sentiamo cosa ha da dire = let’s hear what he has got to say
ci sentiamo domani = we’ll get in touch tomorrow (literally: we’ll hear from each other tomorrow)

sentire, with the meaning of ‘to feel’,  is also used to describe physical sensations:
sento freddo = I’m feeling cold
non senti caldo con quel maglione? = don’t you feel hot with that jumper on?
sento un languorino allo stomaco = I feel a bit peckish (literally: I feel a little emptiness to the stomach)
sentiamo la stanchezza del viaggio = we’re feeling tired from the journey (literally: we feel the tiredness from the journey)

Then there’s sentirsi, reflexive form of sentire:

2. sentirsi also describes how we feel. However, whereas sentire puts the emphasis on an external stimulus and is normally constructed with a direct object (sento la stanchezza = I feel the tiredness), sentirsi describes the action of listening to your own body or emotions and tends to be built with adjectives or adverbs (mi sento stanca = I feel tired). Here are some more examples of its use:
stamattina mi sento bene = this morning I feel well
Lucia non è venuta perché si sentiva stanca = Lucia didn’t come because she was feeling tired
Ciao, come ti senti oggi? = Hi, how are you feeling today?
mi sento proprio un idiota = I feel like a total idiot


Finally we have sentirsela and sentirselo, which belong to a group of verbs called ‘verbi pronominali’ in which one or more pronouns attach themselves to the verb giving it a new meaning:

3. sentirsela is a colloquial form of sentirsi meaning ‘to feel like it’, ‘to feel up to it’. Here, the pronoun ‘la’ becomes part of the verb and doesn’t have any real meaning:
te la senti di andare a fare due passi? = do you feel like going for a stroll?
non me la sono sentita di parlargli = I didn’t feel like talking to him
Giorgio non se la sente di venire = Giorgio doesn’t feel up to coming

4. sentirselo, constructed with ‘lo’ instead of ‘la’, means ‘to have a premonition’:
me lo sentivo che avrei vinto = I knew I would win (literally: I had the premonition I would win)
Gianna se lo sentiva che non avrebbe passato l’esame = Gianna knew she wouldn’t pass the test
andrà tutto bene, me lo sento! = everything will be fine, I know it!


Sayings + Expressions 4 – The Master and Cloud 7

Today it is all about the bright blue above us: the sky! Even though the saying and the expression do not have much in common in meaning. Let’s start with the saying!


Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen

No master has fallen from heaven yet (practice makes perfect)

This saying means that a beginner cannot just do his job professionally, because he lacks the experience. He has not mastered it yet. Its origin seems to lie in the Mittelalter (Middle Ages), when for example blacksmiths would say this to their apprentices. The use of heaven can probably be attributed to the piousness of that time.


It is normally used when a beginner makes a mistake, but it can be attributed to his inexperience. Example:

Der Azubi hat vergessen die Hefe an den Brotteig hinzu zu fügen. Der Teig ist nicht hoch gekommen. Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen!

The apprentice forgot to add yeast to the bread dough. The dough has not risen. Practice makes perfect!


Auf Wolke 7 schweben (also: im siebten Himmel sein) 

Die beiden sind auf Wolke 7! (Image by Ali Nishan on

Floating on cloud 7 (also: to be in seventh heaven)

In Germany, cloud 7 is the equivalent of cloud 9 - a euphoric mood! Why cloud 9 emerged, is hard to explain. Wolke 7 has probably emerged from Aristotle’s philosophy that the heaven was divided in seven spheres. The last sphere, the seventh, represents the invisible world of the soul, of fantasies, dreams and wishes. And that is the world in which you live. You are euphoric, because a wish, a dream, or a fantasy came true! This siebter Himmel is also used sometimes. But what about the cloud? In the Jewish Talmud, then, the seventh heaven is called Araboth (clouds), which promises similar euphoria as Aristotle’s seventh sphere. And there we go: Wolke 7. 


It is used when somebody is in a euphoric mood, especially if someone is verliebt (in love) or in a state of pure Freude (pure bliss). Example:

Alexandra sagte ihm wie sehr sie ihn mag. Jetzt schwebt er auf Wolke 7.

Alexandra told him how much she likes him. Now he is in seventh heaven.



Advanced Spanish Review Lesson 7 Los complementos de objeto directo e indirecto

¡Hola! ¿Qué tal?

Hoy vamos a practicar los complementos de objeto directo e indirecto.

Al final de este post encontraréis las respuestas a todas las preguntas de esta lección y podéis seguir el enlace de este post para ver el vídeo teórico original sobre el mismo tema.

To go back and watch the original video lesson please follow this link:

Advanced theory video lesson 7

Click here to view the embedded video.

1. Vamos a practicar primero la duplicación del complemento indirecto. Voy a darte una frase en inglés y tienes que traducirla al español poniendo el pronombre de complemento indirecto.

I have told Sonia to come.
I bought a present for my parents.
I asked my brother for money.
I am going to give my old coat to my cousin.
I am going to write to my friend Sara.

2. Ahora traduce las siguientes frases del inglés al español usando pronombres de complemento directo.

I have seen them.
I am going to buy them.
I am going to call you.
I will call her.
They have invited us to a party.

3. ¿Puedes traducir las siguientes frases de español a inglés?

Se me ha olvidado comprar agua.
Se nos ha enfriado la comida.
Se me perdieron las llaves.
Se me ha caído la chaqueta.

4. Para terminar, voy a decir frases y tienes que sustituir el complemento directo o indirecto por un pronombre. Por ejemplo, si digo “Tengo un libro”, tienes que decir “Lo tengo”.

Voy a escribir una carta.
Tengo las revistas que quieres.
Antonio ha comprado ese coche.
María ha visitado a su hermana.
Susana le va a decir a María que estudie más.

Bueno, pues esto es todo por hoy.

Espero que con esta clase práctica tengáis más claro cómo usar los pronombres de objeto directo e indirecto.

Nos vemos pronto con más prácticas de español.


I hope you are enjoying my weekly interactive Spanish lessons. Follow this link for many more great resources to help you learn and practice Spanish.


Le he dicho a Sonia que venga.
Les compré un regalo a mis padres.
Le he pedido dinero a mi hermano.
Le voy a dar mi abrigo viejo a mi prima.
Le voy a escribir a mi amiga Sara.

Los he visto.
Las voy a comprar.
Te voy a llamar.
La llamaré.
Nos han invitado a una fiesta.

I forgot to buy water.
Our food got cold.
I forgot my keys.
I dropped my jacket.

La voy a escribir.
Las tengo.
Antonio lo ha comprado.
María la ha visitado.
Susana se lo va a decir a María.


How would you respond when you are not sure in Japanese?

Have you had a situation where you are having a conversation with someone in a foreign language, and you hear something you are not sure or don’t understand? How would you say, “please say it again”, or  “I don’t understand.” in Japanese?  or perhaps you were in Japan one day when you weren’t too comfortable with Japanese language, and a store staff started to talk to you in Japanese assuming that you spoke Japanese? How would you say “Sorry, I don’t speak Japanese.” ? Well, Let me show you various expressions that you can use for a situation like this.


photo from Jennifer 真泥佛 on

What?, Huh?  - E?え?

This expression might sound a bit rude depending on how you use this, just like it might sound rude in English.

What was that?  - imano nani? いまのなに?

This expression is also something you might want to use between close friends. You don’t want to say this too much to someone older, or who is at higher social status.

Excuse me but I didn’t quite get that.  - Sumimasen. Yoku kikitoremasendeshita. すみません。よく聞き取れませんでした。(よく、ききとれませんでした。)

This is a polite way of letting him/her know that you didn’t understand.

Can you speak more slowly?

- Mo-sukoshi yukkuri ohanasi itadakemasuka? もう少しゆっくりお話しいただけませんか?(もうすこしゆっくり おはなしいただけませんか?)

Can you speak a little louder, please?

-Mo-sukoshi ookinakoede onegaishimasu. もう少し、大きな声でお願いします。(もうすこし、おおきなこえでおねがいします。)

I beg your pardon? , Would you say that again?

-Mouichido itte itadakemasuka? もう一度、言っていただけますか?(もういちど、いっていただけますか?)

If you are new to Japanese, you might want to memorize this sentence!

Could you explain that again?

-Mouichido setsumeishite itadaite iidesuka? もう一度、説明していただいていいですか?(もういちど、せつめいしていただいていいですか?)

Excuse me but I don’t understand Japanese. 

-Moushiwakearimasen. Nihongo wa wakaranaindesu. 申し訳ありません。日本語は分からないんです。(もうしわけありません。にほんごはわからないんです。)

Sorry but I don’t speak Japanese.

-Gomennasai. Watashiwa nihongo o hanashimasen. ごめんなさい。私は、日本語を話しません。(ごめんなさい。わたしは、にほんごをはなしません。)

 I am not very familiar with ~.

-~nitsuite amari shirimasen.  ~についてあまり知りません。(~についてあまりしりません。)

Can you give me some examples? 

-Gutairei o agete itadakemasuka? 具体例を挙げていただけますか?(ぐたいれいをあげていただけますか?)

I am sorry. I can’t understand at all.

-Sumimasen. Mattaku wakarimasen. すみません、全く分かりません。(すみません。まったくわかりません。)

I have collected some of the useful expressions above. Hope you found this lesson helpful. Let me know if you have any questions!


Le Fromage: The World of French Cheese (Part 5)

Image by jenny downing on Flickr

Image by jenny downing on Flickr

This is the last installment in our series on French cheese. I hoped you have learned a few facts you may not have known before and, most of all, I hope you will take the time to seek out some of these cheeses and experience them for yourself. You should be able to find them in specialty stores around your area.

Let’s turn the cheese tray to sink our teeth into two more cheeses, one of which you may already be eating.


Boursin is the newest member in the family of cheeses we’ve discovered so far. Created by François Boursin in 1963 in the Normandy region of France, Boursin has become one of the most popular French cheeses across the world. Go into any grocery store in the United States and you are likely to find some variation of Boursin. And that is one of the virtues of Boursin. It comes in many different flavors that appeal to a wide audience.

Made with cow’s milk, Boursin is unique in that it contains herbs, de l’ail, du persil et du poivre (garlic, parsley and pepper). It may also contains shallots, chives and even red chili pepper depending on the variety. As a testament to its versatility, besides its usual pairing with bread, Boursin can be added to dishes made with meat, soup, légumes et fruits de mer (vegetables and seafood).

Unlike many other French cheeses, Boursin isn’t strong and has a very creamy texture that makes it easy to spread on bread or crackers. Boursin’s mild flavor explains its popularity among American audiences who may be averse to the much stronger French cheeses. Boursin has even earned its very own website where you can learn about the different varieties and try recipes containing the cheese.

The original slogan “Du pain, du vin, et du Boursin” (Bread, wine and Boursin) really says it all.


Hailing from Normandy, just like Boursin, Pont-l’Évêque was created dans une abbaye (in an abbey) in Normandie somewhere around the 12th or 13th century. Originally named d’Angelot, the cheese took on the name of the village of Pont l’Évêque where it was produced around the 16th or 17th century.

A rich and creamy cheese made from either pasteurized or unpasteurized cow’s milk, Pont-l’Évêque has a light orange rind and is always shaped into un carré (a square). A full-bodied red wine can be paired with Pont-l’Évêque and the cheese is often melted to create a delicious, albeit rich, fondue.