Many people have asked me if there was a search engine or software or app or something that would give you contextual examples of any Spanish word you wanted being used, like if you just learned a new word and you’d like to see some actual examples (written/spoken by native speakers) of it being used so you can see how to do so properly.
Well, here is that thing: 123TeachMe’s Spanish Sentence Maker.
Just follow the above link (it’s also on their homepage), enter whatever word or phrase you’d like to see used, and it’ll provide any examples it has.
Native speakers read each sentence out loud!
A very nice additional feature is that they also provide a recording of a native speaker saying the sentence in question (just click the little speaker icon next to each sentence) for many of the more common words (they don’t do this for all of them).
How big is their database? In other words, what are the odds they’ll have the word I’m interested in?
Pretty good. I tested several words and found that while they typically wouldn’t have any examples of slang (e.g. “bacano” and “carajo”), they had every other word I searched for including several that I would consider to be only semi-common, e.g. “pila” (which means “pile”) and “hoguera” (which means “bonfire”, not exactly a word you hear every day but they had tons of examples for it).
Any downsides or criticisms?
Regrettably, as best I can tell these are not examples from media (newspapers, books, etc.) which is something I’d really like to see (if anyone knows of such a thing please post it in the comments) – if they are they’re not providing their source.
So either they’re not getting these from actual real-life context – they’re just making them up – or they are and they’re not giving the sources. If they are making them up I’m betting they’ve got native speakers doing the making-up, or they’re at least checking them to make sure they sound right, since they’ve got native speakers saying them for you in the voice recordings for a lot of them, so there is that.
I think that’ll just about do it, not too much to say on this one other than it’s a very useful tool that I think a lot of people have been wanting for a while (I know this is the case because I keep getting asked if there is such a thing). Oh! One more thing…
If you’re at all interested in using things like Spanish-language music videos, TV shows, movies, books, and more to learn Spanish from, be sure to check out The Telenovela Method, it’s a book I wrote that that will show you how to do precisely that (it’s over 200 pages long and includes over 7 hours of me demonstrating all the techniques I teach)!