Planning a Birthday Party in Spanish: Phrases and Listening Practice

Hola y bienvenido a una nueva lección de escucha. Today’s lesson will introduce some common uses of the verb TENER in Spanish and will relate this really important verb with common phrases for planning a birthday party in Spanish. Moreover, we have included two listening activities using both the grammar and vocabulary covered throughout the lesson. Comencemos…

Common verbs and phrases for Planning a birthday party in Spanish
Feliz cumpleaños – Happy birthday

Grammar Introduction: How to use the verb TENER in Spanish

As you may already know, TENER has different conjugations for most pronouns. Thus, TENER is an irregular verb, so the only way to remember some of its forms is by memorizing them. One of the ways to use TENER in Spanish is for talking about the things that belong to us or other people. A clear example of this would be “(Yo) tengo un auto” (I have a car).

Second, we always use TENER when talking about people’s age, instead of using the verb SER as the literal translation would suggest. Basically, it is correct to say “Ella tiene 30 años”, but not “Ella es 30 años”. This is a very common mistake foreigners make when they speak Spanish. Make sure to use the right conjugation of the verb too.

Third, we also use TENER in Spanish in the form “Tener que…” to talk about our obligations, the same way you would use “Have to…” in English. For instance, in order to say “I have to do my homework”, you could say “(Yo) tengo que hacer mi tarea”. With that said, let’s see if you are able to recognize some of the ways to use TENER in Spanish in the first listening activity.

Listening Activity No.1: Talking about my family in Spanish

Listen to a man talking about his family in Spanish, the things they have, their ages and more. Then, use the information in the recording to solve the quiz.

Read audio script: Talking about my family in Spanish
¡Hola! Me llamo Mario. Yo soy ingeniero. Vivo en Colombia. Yo tengo 27 años de edad. Mi cumpleaños es el 24 de enero. Tengo dos hermanos y tres sobrinos. Mi hermano tiene 30 años y su esposa tiene 32. Ellos tienen dos niños, a quienes adoro. Siempre que vienen a visitarme, la pasamos muy bien. Lidia, la menor, tiene tres años, pero es muy inteligente y está aprendiendo a hablar inglés. Cristian, el mayor, tiene cinco años y le gusta jugar futbol y coleccionar cartas de jugadores. Nosotros estamos planeando una fiesta de cumpleaños para Cristian. Él está emocionado por su cumpleaños. Seguro la pasaremos muy bien.

Planning a birthday party in Spanish: verbs and phrases

For planning a birthday party in Spanish, you need to know a few common verbs and  phrases, apart from the ones needed to wish the “cumpleañero” a happy birthday in Spanish.  Here are a few of them:
PLANEAR – This verb means “to plan” and it is a regular verb. It will be normally used in infinitive after “Tener que” as in the sentence “Tengo que planear una fiesta”. It can placed before “IR A” for the future tense as in “Voy a planear mi cumpleaños” too.
CELEBRAR – Perhaps the most important verb would be “Celebrar”, e.g. “Hoy estamos celebrando mi cumpleaños número 100
ORGANIZAR – “Organizar” is used almost the same way as “Planear”
NECESITAR– This verb will be used to say what we need for the birthday party in Spanish, e.g. “Necesito comprar un pastel”. It is a regular verb too, and one to remember due to its multiple uses in the language.
REVENTAR UNA PIÑATA – Piñata is a word used to refer to an object made of clay, wrapped up with colorful paper, and filled with candies. People will try to hit them while dancing with their eyes covered until all the candies inside the “Piñata” have fallen. The verb “Reventar” means “to hit/to crush”, e.g. “Vamos a reventar una piñata”.
DECORAR – This verb means “to decorate” and will be used with other words such as “Adornos” (ornaments), “Globos” (baloons), “Flores” (flowers) and more, e.g. “Decoremos las mesas con flores”
TE INVITO A MI FIESTA DE CUMPLEAÑOS – You can use this phrase to invite others to your party in Spanish.
YA QUEREMOS PASTEL, AUNQUE SEA UN PEDACITO… – This is part of the lyrics for the happy birthday song in Spanish. It literally means “We want to eat cake, even if it is just a little piece…”

Listening Activity No.2: Planning a birthday party in Spanish

Listen to two friends who are discussing and planning a birthday party in Spanish. They will use the verb TENER as well as some of the verbs and phrases presented in the lesson. Take notes and then solve the interactive quiz related to the conversation.

Key questions and phrases in the lesson:

  • ¿Tienes bastante tiempo esperándome?” means “Have you been waiting for a long time? ”
  • Yo tengo que planear” means “I have to plan…”
  • ¡El tiempo vuela!” means “Time flies!”
Conversation script: Planning a birthday party in Spanish
Alex: Ey… te estaba esperando…
Mercedes: Hola Alex. ¿Tienes bastante tiempo esperándome?
Alex: No mucho. Es que hoy es la fiesta de cumpleaños de Mario, entonces necesito tu ayuda para organizar algunas cosas.
Mercedes: Está bien. Por eso traes todas esas bolsas.
Alex: Sí. Los chicos ya tienen la piñata lista. Yo tengo que planear algunos juegos, tú sabes…
Mercedes: Bien, te ayudaré. ¿Qué tienes ahí?
Alex: ¿En esta bolsa? Ehmm… Tengo escarcha, papel de colores y algunas fotos impresas. También tengo otras cosas que podemos usar para decorar…
Mercedes: Creo que mi hermana tiene tijeras y algunos materiales que podemos usar.
Alex: Excelente. Entonces es mejor comenzar desde ya porque el tiempo vuela.
Mercedes: Eso sí, me tienes que dar un buen pedazo de pastel.

Related Spanish Worksheet:

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