In this lesson you will learn 3 different ways to say I have a cold in Spanish. I will also tell you a funny little story that will help you learn Dominican Spanish. Let’s begin today’s lesson.

I am always learning or being reminded that Spanish speakers from different countries use different Spanish words to express the same thought. Today, while speaking on the phone to a Dominican friend who lives in Spain, I told her that I am sick with a cold and I said:

Tengo la gripa

And she corrected me and asked “Tienes la gripe?” And she emphasized the word GRIPE.

Well, in Colombia people call the common cold “la gripa.” I have never heard the word “gripe” in Colombia. Only “gripa.” By the way, when preparing this lesson, I did a little research online and found out that Mexicans also use the word “gripa,” and that in formal writing the word “gripe” should always be used. I guess that explains why I cannot find the word “gripa” in my Spanish dictionary.

In some parts of the Spanish speaking world you will find that people use “gripa” and in other parts you will find that they use “gripe.”

But “the flu” is actually a closer translation to the word “gripe.”

Maybe if I didn’t want my Dominican friend to try to correct my Spanish I should have said:

Tengo un resfriado — which is the “textbook” Spanish way to say “I have a cold.”

By the way, my Dominican friend who lives in Spain has also corrected me when I said “frijoles.” Both Dominican and Puerto Ricans use the word “habichuelas” for the English word “beans.” And she also always attempts to correct me when I use the word “plata.” Here in Colombia, they use “plata” instead of “dinero” to say the English word “money.”


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