A Google tip to help you see Spanish words in context


Here is a Google tip to help you use the internet in your Spanish learning. When I was studying Spanish back in England, I did not have a language exchange partner so I found it difficult to put new words into context. A dictionary will tell you the strict meaning, but not how that word is used in many varied ways in differing circumstances. Try using this Google search trick to get a list of examples of your chosen word or phrase in context.

Pick an online news resource which you know has good grammar and spelling. I use the El Pais newspaper website. The website address is http://elpais.com/. Using the Google search operator site: we can search only the El Pais news website for our chosen word or phrase. So lets say we want to see examples of the word “jugar” in context, type the following into Google; site:elpais.com “jugar”. The quotes tell Google that we just want to see the exact word and not any related words such as juega or juegan.

We now have a list of search results, all containing the word jugar, all in different contexts. Open up any that look interesting to read the whole story. One of my results in this example mentions “jugar al golf”. If we want to go a bit deeper on this particular verb and preposition combination, just search again, but this time for site:elpais.com “jugar al”, and quickly we have a new list of examples using the phrase “jugar al”, all grammatically trustworthy as far as is possible.

The fact that we have searched a news website will mean that there are examples from all sorts of different areas of life. If we had chosen a specialised site then although the grammar may have been perfect, the variety of contexts would be a bit limited.

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