It's not easy to distinguish between the two b/v sounds. Generally both b and v sound like the English b, except when between two vowels. Then the sound is sort of a cross between an English b and and English v, maybe like trying to say "b" with the lips very slightly parted. In Mexico at least, it's quite common for some Mexicans to make a spelling error - writing a "b" when it should be a "v", for example, "las bendedoras" for "las vendedoras" - the salesladies. So it's not always easy for native speakers to distinguish the two sounds either.
The fact that in Spain b and v are pronounced the same (as b) provokes common spelling mistakes. Also, local languages usually take v when Spanish takes b and viceversa making it more prone to mistakes: (estava instead of estaba and tons of others).
I can think of just one word using b and v together: obvio (and obviamente). The sound is not different from "obio" (perhaps a longer 'b'?)
Going down toward the last comments about beber (which is the name of the verb - the infinitive), Spanish uses yo bebo (I drink); tú bebes (you - a child or someone you know - drink); él bebe (he drinks), ella bebe (she drinks), usted bebe (you - someone you don't know well - drink)/ nosotros bebemos (we drink); ellos beben (they - all males or a mixed group of males and females) drink, ellas beben (they - all females) drink, ustedes beben (you-all drink). I have left out the vosotros form which is used in Spain. If you look at the English translations, you will see that the verb endings change, eg, I drink, she drinks - I drinks milk or she drink milk would be incorrect. This is a left-over from when English verb endings changed way more than they do now; Spanish - on the other hand - retains the changing verb endings - the language comes largely from Latin and that's what that language did. The cool thing is that in Spanish you can often leave the subject pronouns out altogether because the verb ending tells you who's the subject of the action.
So yo bebo means the same as bebo; and nosotros bebemos means the same as bebemos.
An additional note (since I seem to be writing a book here): the verb, beber, is a regular "er" verb - that is one whose infinitive ending is "er" which means that its conjugation endings (o, es, es emos, en) are the same as all other "er" verbs which are regular, that follow the same pattern. Thus, "como", "comes", "come", etc. Once you learn the endings for the regular verbs, you're good.
Why are the words beben and bebe different but they mean the same thing. I was thinking it is slang or is it that beben is used more formaly for more mature actions such as drinking wine witch is for older people/mature. Or is it that beben is a over time forgotton word that us now bebe. Please help me
I wish it was only that... the problem is that grown-ups are expected to have learnt the difference when writing, and unfortunately in Spain it is not the case...=S Also, inner languages like catalan have similar words to Spanish but switching b and v and viceversa 95% of the time. That does not help at all.
No that's not quite right. Ellos/Ellas both mean "they", the only difference is that "ellos" is used with groups that are all men or a mixed gender group, while "ellas" is only used when everyone in the group is female.
"She drinks wine" would be "ella bebe vino".
Ella=She, Él=He, Ellos=They (males/mixed gender), Ellas=They (all females)
It's ok, it takes time to learn the Spanish conjugations. bebo=I drink, bebes=you drink, bebe=you (formal)/he/she drinks, bebemos=we drink, beben=you (plural)/they drink
Here are some links that might help you learn about Spanish conjugations: http://www.studyspanish.com/verbs/lessons/pireg.htm http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/regverb1.htm http://www.spanishdict.com/topics/show/36
They both translate to "they" in English. However, "ellas" is only used when the group you're referring to consists entirely of females, if there is even one male in the group, then you would use "ellos". It's the same with "nosotros/nosotras" ("we"). Nosotras is used when the group only has females, nosotros is used when there are males in the group.
No, there's no easy way to tell. There are some ways for example a word that ends in "a" commonly is feminine and a word that ends in "o" is commonly masculine, but there are always exceptions. The only way to know really is to memorize. You can also look up the word in a Spanish dictionary and they'll usually indicate whether the word is masculine or feminine. Here's a good Spanish dictionary: http://www.spanishdict.com/