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La diferencia entre bien, bueno y buen en español

Spanish bien, bueno, buen

Today we’ll be looking at three words in Spanish which look similar and students often use incorrectly. Particularly if you’re a native English speaker, you might have struggled with “bien, bueno and buen”.

 Bien

It’s an adverb, so it never changes its form. It can modify a verb (after it), an adjective (before it), or another adverb (before it). It’s mostly used in these four situations:

  • To mean something is done correctly or properly: Este profesor explica muy bien matemáticas. –> This teacher explains mathematics very well.
  • To talk about health: ¿Cómo está tu madre? Está bien, gracias. –> How’s your mother? She’s fine, thanks.
  • To show agreement or approval: Voy a enviarle el contrato el jueves. De acuerdo, bien, gracias. –> I Will be sending you the contract on Thursday. Ok, good, thank you.
  • To react to good news: ¡El Barça ha ganado el partido! – ¡Bien! –> Barça won the game – “yes!”

Less frequent uses:

  • Bien (+adjective) = muy. Este restaurante es bien caro, no volveremos. –> This restaurant is so expensive, we won’t come back.
  • (verb+) bien = mucho. Esta noche ha llovido bien, está todo mojado. –> It rained a lot last night, it’s all wet.
  • (Colloquial) It’s an adjective and it means something is very exclusive/high class/posh: Este es un barrio bien, mira las casas . –> This is an exclusive/high-class neighborhood, look at the houses.

Bueno

It’s an adjective. It modifies a noun, so it needs to match its gender and number (bueno, buena, buenos, buenas). It comes after the noun or the verb.

Of actions/things:

  • (ser): have a positive effect. Beber mucha agua es bueno para la salud. Drinking a lot of water is Good for your health.
  • (ser) Of good quality: Este reloj es bueno, es suizo. This is a good watch, it’s Swiss.
  • (estar) tasty: ¡La paella estaba muy buena! The paella was very good (delicious).

Of people/animals:

  • (+ser) Kind-hearted: Ana es muy buena, siempre me ayuda. Ana is so kind-hearted, she always helps me.
  • (+ser+gerund) skilled, good at: Pedro es muy bueno cocinando. Pedro is really good at cooking.
  • *(+estar) sexy/hot: Mi vecino está bueno. The guy next door is hot.

As an interjection:

  • Well, so: Bueno, ¿quién quiere patatas bravas? So, who wants patatas bravas?
  • “Agreement”: ¿Pedimos una pizza? – Bueno, vale. How about ordering a pizza? – yes, ok. (not a big yes, but affirmative).

Buen

“Bueno” is one of the few adjectives that can also appear before the noun. In that position, “bueno” shortens to “buen” (buena, buenos, buenas stay the same) and it means “of good quality/abilities”. It appears mostly in the structure “ser un/a/os/as buen/a/os/as + noun” –> to be a good ~.

Of people/animals/things:

  • Alicia es una buena presidenta.
  • Es caro, pero es un buen restaurante.
  • Rex es un buen perro.

We hope this post was useful, let us know in the comments!

 

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