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Gerald Erichsen

Don't Stop Learning About Parar

By September 3, 2013

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Although the word ALTO, related to the English word "halt," is commonly seen on stop signs in the Spanish-speaking world, sometimes you'll see PARE instead. It's an imperative form of the verb parar. The verb nearly always means "to stop," but some of the words related to it, such as parado, have meanings you might not easily guess. Learn more in our newest lesson, on using the verb parar.


September 3, 2013 at 7:47 am
(1) Tandem Madrid says:

Thank Ypu very much for the information.
It´s true that the verb parar isn´t easy to understand bucause it has a lot of meanings

September 3, 2013 at 11:44 am
(2) sfree says:

Some tidbits. I hope these helps.

This appears to be a loanword from English penalty.

Casarse de penalti is colloquial for a shotgun wedding forced upon a man who impregnated a woman.

— A Student

September 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm
(3) sfree says:

RE: My comment (#2)

A word is missing!

“This” should read “This penalti” .

Apologies! I’ve never learned to think and type well simultaneously.

— A Student

September 4, 2013 at 3:15 pm
(4) ikamoj says:

¿Te paraste a pensar que debería? Did you stop to think what you should do?

Should use deberías since sentence uses tú form.

Thanks for all the great examples.

September 4, 2013 at 11:12 pm
(5) Ely says:

Actually, TWO mistakes.

«¿Te paraste a pensar QUÉ deberías?».

It has an accent because it is acting as a direct complement by substitution, i.e. it shortens a sentence by replacing a lengthy turn of speech.


«¿Te paraste a pensar qué deberías?».

Instead of:

«¿Te paraste a pensar lo que deberías?».

Just a short note before I go:

Given a translation, «¿te paraste a pensar qué debería?», is incorrect, as ikamoj noted, given that the English translation gave away that the intended subject of «deber» was «you».

However, in and of itself, «¿te paraste a pensar qué debería?», is not wrong in Spanish.

It can either mean:

«Did you stop to think what I should do?»


«Did you stop to think what he should do?»

Yeah, Spanish is tricky.

September 5, 2013 at 7:17 pm
(6) sfree says:

RE: ¿Te paraste a pensar que debería? Did you stop to think what you should do?

Gentle People,

I’m not taking sides.

Has anyone considered that the English sentence is where the issue is, perhaps?

What que is is what qué isn’t.

Ely, I agree that debería (without its corresponding substantive is ambiguous. I for one, is a proponent of naming a subject to obviate the ambiguity.

As to que (or qué), Warren (in A Spanish Grammar) noted that in an interrogative where que appears before the verb, to have an accent is prudent.. From my perspective, the question is asked by ‘parar’. The ‘deber’ clause is the indicative mood. Now, because it is in the indicative, ‘que’ is equivalent to ‘el cual’ or shortened ‘lo que’ — but only if there is a substantive that ‘que’ is referring to. In this construction, ‘que …” is the substantive.

I believe, and I can be wrong, that the paucity of context here has engendered this teeny tiny disagreement. Let me add that we may like take into consideration that ‘te paraste’ is a reflexive construction to fill in (I hope) some void in the context.

Thanks again.

I remain,

—A Student seeking light

September 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm
(7) Ely says:

No, sfree, you are complicating the issue. That contraction, «que» instead of «la/el», only occurs in conjunctions, NOT as a direct compliment. When «lo que» works as a direct compliment, «qué» substitutes for it.


«La puerta por la que entraste».


«La puerta por que entraste».

[As an aside, I don't like it, ut people do it, and it *is* grammatical].

As direct compliment:

«No, es muy diferente lo que quiero decir».

«No, es muy diferente qué quiero decir».

It’s not the same.

«¿Te paraste a pensar qué deberías?», you are correct by stating that «parar» is the question.

Perhaps if you think of it from English?

«Did you stop to think WHAT he should do?».

«What» is the direct compliment there.

Hope this helps!

September 7, 2013 at 7:57 pm
(8) sfree says:


We are in agreement. That’s exactly what I mean. The whole sequence ‘que …’ is the substantive which is the compliment.

On a different item: querer to mean love according to Coester (p124 in A Spanish Grammar) is special in that its meaning is more intense (I think) for to love than for a simple to wish; hence “quere a” is “to love.”

Back to llama — I’m not sure we’re on the same page. Notwitshstanding the lapse in mood, I meant “tu llamas ….”

Thanks again.

Would you care to comment upon my “blurb” regarding “a?”

— A Student

September 7, 2013 at 8:49 pm
(9) sfree says:

I mean complement, not compliment.

Shame on me!

–A Student

September 8, 2013 at 4:36 am
(10) sfree says:


Please check this link abot “que.” Item 7 specially may help us. The whole thing is very useful.



—A Student

September 9, 2013 at 10:40 pm
(11) Ely says:

sfree, Item 7 it’s different from my examples.


«Es imposible que lo olvide».


«La puerta por la que entraste».

«El hombre por el que vivo».

«Escribiré lo que dirás».

In the first one, it’s introducing the direct compliment. In the second one it acts as an indirect compliment. In the third one «lo» is the direct compliment. Only in the third one, can it be replaced with «qué».

«Lo olvide», instad of «lo que», it’s the direct compliment, thus «que» remains a conjnction.

Besides, dropping «lo» in those cases is ungrammatical [when «que» is a conjunction], despite what native speakers are wont to do when we talk.

Hope this helps!

I don’t understand, what do you mean your blurb, sfree?

September 10, 2013 at 8:41 pm
(12) sfree says:


As I understand it, ‘blurb’ is a slang to mean something said. It connotes something informal, most likely some light conversation.
It is not rigorously academic and more like an opinion. Perhaps one may say chit-chat but a bit more serious.

I hope it helps. I’m not a native English speaker either.

Thanks for asking.

—A Student

September 11, 2013 at 2:32 am
(13) Ely says:

sfree, I understand «blurb». I do not understand what is the blurb you are referring to. I do not know if I’m nor paying enough attention or what to you, but everything else seemed a-okay. Should I have noticed something to do with the «a» in Spanish in any of your posts?

Oh, so your native language is not English. It would be really interesting if it was German or Japanese. Which one is it, if you’d forgive I ask with such boldness?

September 11, 2013 at 2:42 am
(14) Ely says:

sfree, I know what «blurb» means. I don’t know if I’m not paying enough attention to you but I don’t see which thing to do with «a» is a blurb, everything seems a-okay to me.

So English is not your first language. Huh. Interesting. It would be really, really curious if your first language was something like German or Japanese. What is truly your native language, if you’d forgive me for such boldness?

October 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm
(15) sfree says:


First, I am not completely convinced (my apologies), without a preponderance of evidence regarding ‘que’. If you could (or somebody else could) point me to evidences in your favor, it would be a great help for everyone. I myself have not turned up evidence to support or to refute your point.

Second, corollary to the first, the fact that you stated the way ‘que’ is used (or not used) is ungrammatical makes the argument moot, in my opinion.

Third, (this is the personal question you asked) when I was growing up, I spoke three languages; viz, Chinese, Pilipino and English (acquired in the order mentioned. Along the way and in terms of frequency, I have been using these languages in the reverse order of acquisition.

Last, I acquired on my own (self-study) Spanish in the last three years.
In terms of conversing in Spanish, I am a stammering idiot; but if I write, you’d notice that I can hold my own. Herein lies the bane: for example, I would say ‘Por favor, aumentas mi café’ instead of ‘Quiero más café’. Most of the time people will not ‘hear’ aumentar and the message is slowed down. Busco alguien que hable ingles y español con igual fluidez.

Do you see the slight slant by which I construct my sentences?

On a separate note, when I said ‘blurb’ I am self-deprecating because I know that the more I know, the more I know I do not know.

— A Student

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