3
votes
2answers
3k views

Spanish etymology resources [closed]

Many questions on this site have been about the etymology of a particular word or phrase. For English, resources like the Oxford English Dictionary often give researched etymologies full of details ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

bastante: enough or too much?

I have seen bastante translated as enough, plenty, or even too much. What range of meanings does bastante have? How can you determine whether it means just enough or too much?
6
votes
2answers
646 views

Why does the preterite of “traducir” transform into “tradujo”?

As you will see below the preterite suffers from an odd transformation. Even native speakers make the mistake of conjugating the preterite of traducir wrong. For instance instead of traduje they ...
7
votes
1answer
516 views

What's the origin of the word “chido”?

What's the origin of the word "chido"? When did it become popular in Mexico? Examples: Qué chido esta tu carro. Estaría bien chido si ganara la lotería. RAE: chido, da. adj. ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Dash and hyphen usage in Spanish

English uses at least two types of dashes (en dash and em dash) along with hyphens, and there are (fairly complex, in my opinion) rules on when and how each should be used. What types of dashes or ...
4
votes
1answer
761 views

Quotation mark usage in Spanish

In English, we have double quotation marks (") and single quotation marks ('). Spanish adds angular quotation marks (« »). What is the official rule for which type of mark should be used when in ...
5
votes
2answers
413 views

Usage of “ver(se)” for “to seem/look” (te ves, se te ve, te veo, etc.)

The verb ver can be used in a few different constructions to convey how something looks or seems: Te ves bonita. Se te ve mal. Te veo bien. For the reflexive constructions, the WordReference entry ...
5
votes
1answer
100 views

What is an expression in parentheses in the middle of a phrase called?

While I was reading the newspaper today I stumbled against something that is quite common and a bit obscure in writing in spanish. It comes from this opinion column. (The opinion and debate exposed ...
4
votes
3answers
651 views

Proper response to ¿Qué onda?

In parts of the Spanish-speaking world, "¿Qué onda?" is used to ask something along the lines of "What's up?". What are the possible responses to this question? Should it be answered with a bien/mal, ...
8
votes
1answer
165 views

Is it acceptable to leave out the inverted punctuation marks?

Is it acceptable to leave out inverted question marks and exclamation points (¿ ¡) from questions and exclamatory sentences? I ask this because some computers and other devices I use won't let me add ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

Why isn't “good morning” “buenas mañanas”?

"Good afternoon" is "buenas tardes", and "Good night/evening" is "buenas noches". Then why isn't "good morning" "buenas mañanas" instead of "buenos días"?
8
votes
2answers
37k views

When is it appropriate to say “buenos días”?

It looks like "buenos días" is most commonly translated as "good morning," although apparently it can mean "good day" as well (like a literal translation would suggest). Is it appropriate to greet ...
7
votes
1answer
665 views

Is there a Spanish equivalent to Ms.?

As far as I can tell, the honorifics to address a woman are: Señora (Sra.) which is equivalent to "Mrs." and is used to address a married woman; Señorita (Srta.) which is equivalent to "Miss" and is ...
14
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there a difference between “español” and “castellano”?

English I always thought the two could be used interchangeably (meaning "the Spanish language"). But I recently got into an argument with someone where they insisted there was a difference (although ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Translating “How long does it take to get from <here> to <there>?”

What is the most natural and common way to ask how much time it takes to get from one location to another? For example: How long does it take to get from Guadalajara to Mexico City? How long does it ...
4
votes
1answer
312 views

Cannot use adverbs + possessives: “delante de ti” v/s “delante tuyo”

In Spanish there are some adverbs followed by de: Delante de, atrás de, en frente de, etc... When these adverbs are followed in a sentence by a declined pronoun, they are often "contracted" ...
4
votes
1answer
73 views

What's the meaning of “hasta” in the following sentences?

What's the meaning of "hasta" in the following sentences? Hasta que te dignes a hacerme caso. Los resultados del examen se publicarán hasta febrero. Those have different meanings than the "hasta" ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

What's the meaning of the expression “nada que ver”?

What's the meaning of the expression "nada que ver"? In which countries is used? Here are some examples: Lo que dices no tiene nada que ver con lo que estamos discutiendo. Conversation between ...
4
votes
1answer
373 views

What suffixes are used to indicate jobs?

What suffixes are used to indicate jobs? Please provide examples.
4
votes
1answer
711 views

What's the meaning of the -azo suffix?

What's the meaning of the (noun)-azo? How the nouns are transformed into their -azo noun? In which cases should be used? Examples: zapatazo golpazo
9
votes
4answers
4k views

Use of AM/PM in time

Aside from using 'military time' (19:00 for 7:00 PM), is there another approach to delineate between AM/PM time in Spanish?
6
votes
3answers
441 views

Usage of “mueco” vs. “mellado” for “toothless”

The RAE does not have an entry for mueco or mueca, a term commonly used in Colombia to describe a toothless person. However, the expression hacer muecas is understood in the traditional sense as a ...
11
votes
1answer
170 views

Translation of the C++ “move constructor” language element

The C++ programming language has several types of constructors (functions invoked when an object is being created): Default constructor: constructor por defecto. Copy constructor: constructor de ...
7
votes
1answer
843 views

Difference between “tener que …” and “necesitar …”?

If I have to say something like I gotta leave in Spanish, I'd use a phrase like: Tengo que irme But I realize that I could also say: Necesito irme What is the difference? You would ...
8
votes
2answers
459 views

Differences between “aun”, “hasta”, and “incluso” to indicate extremes?

When referring to an extreme example for comparison, English seems to have just one word, even: Even an idiot could do it. But Spanish seems to have three: aun hasta incluso I had always ...
5
votes
1answer
446 views

Origin of the phrase “la quinta …” to denote an undesirable or faraway place

The Colombian phrase la quinta porra denotes an undesirable or faraway place. For example, ¡Váyase a la quinta porra! conveys the same meaning as Go to hell! The earliest use I could find ...
3
votes
2answers
348 views

Is there a connection between “cuchillo” and “cuchara”?

Do these two words have any common root? I looked up in the RAE, and didn't find there any connection between these words. According to the RAE, cuchillo comes from Latin "cultellus", and cuchara ...
5
votes
2answers
643 views

Difference between 'trabajar para' and 'trabajar por'

I know the difference between por and para, but I'm confused by these particular usages. I've seen both of them in various places. 'Trabajar para' seems to mean to work for, whereas 'trabajar por' ...
5
votes
5answers
585 views

Computer science, software engineer/developer, and programmer

When visiting Spanish-speaking countries, I've been told various ways to translate these terms: Computer Science (as in a university degree program) Software Engineer Software Developer Programmer ...
7
votes
5answers
9k views

Are there any differences between “de nada” and “por nada”?

Most of the time in all the Spanish speaking countries I've been in I've heard de nada as the reply to gracias or the equivalent of English you're welcome etc. But after a while I became conscious ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

I forgot how to say “I forgot”

Okay, so I didn't really forget how to say it... I just wanted a clever question title. In my Spanish class I was taught that olvidarse is reflexive: Me olvidé (de la cita). Me olvidé (las ...
4
votes
2answers
239 views

Translation of “Under Pressure” — Queen song title

Today I heard Under Pressure by Queen on the radio. After the song, the DJ announced the song as Alta Presión. That sounds more to me like "High Pressure" than "Under Pressure." I would have ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

When to use 'o' and 'ó'

I've seen the conjunction o both with and without an accent mark. What are the rules for when the accent ought to be used?
5
votes
1answer
209 views

Tanto X como Y - ¿importa el orden?

Estoy traduciendo una frase de inglés: Instructions are available in both English and Spanish. La estructura que me parece más natural para este uso de both es tanto ... como ...: Las ...
8
votes
1answer
405 views

Is there a Spanish equivalent for '(sic)'?

In English, when you quote text or speech that you know has nonstandard usage, such as misspellings or nonstandard grammar, it is typical to use '(sic)' to indicate that you know what you're quoting ...
6
votes
2answers
507 views

Origin and use of “echar de menos”

I've always found peculiar that the phrase echar de menos is synonymous of the verb extrañar. For example: Te echaré de menos. is equivalent to: Te extrañaré. Based on TV, its use is most ...
8
votes
2answers
466 views

Why is “Usted” grammatically a third person?

In English polite form of address is "You" which is second person singular and plural. In Russian it is "Вы" which is plural second person. In Spanish (and probably French and Italian) polite address ...
5
votes
3answers
337 views

Do compounds exist in Spanish which are not nouns or are nouns other than than of the form (3ps verb + pl noun)?

In Romance languages, compound words are much rarer than in Germanic language such as English, but they do exist. My favourite kind of word formation in Spanish is the one that results in words such ...
13
votes
4answers
63k views

Bonita, linda, hermosa, bella, and guapa: what's the difference?

I've seen all of these used to mean 'pretty', although 'hermosa' seems to mean beautiful and 'guapa' seems to mean handsome. Are there any subtle differences them? For instance, in English being ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

Translating “young man” and “young woman”

In English, we use the phrases "young man" and "young woman" to refer to a person (usually an adolescent) who is older than a "boy" or "girl" but younger than an "adult." It generally indicates ...
4
votes
2answers
127 views

Backchannels (listener responses) in Spanish

In linguistics, the term backchannel is used to describe the short words or sounds a listener makes during a conversation to acknowledge what the speaker is saying and make known that he is still ...
2
votes
2answers
412 views

What is the most common way to end a phone call?

Similar to my other question, what is the most universal way of ending a phone call in Spanish (the last thing you'd say after ending your conversation before hanging up)? In English, we'd say things ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the most common way to answer the phone?

What is the most universally-used greeting when answering the phone (i.e. way to say, "Hello?")? Are there any circumstances where the greeting would be different (for example, when answering a phone ...
4
votes
2answers
134 views

Usage of “millar” vs “millón”

First the context. There are two similar words that cannot be confused: Millar  →  Conjunto de mil unidades.  →  Set of one thousand elements. Millón ...
7
votes
1answer
556 views

Rules applied to the separation of syllables

As a native speaker it's natural for me to know how a word is separated in its constituent syllables. But I want to know if there are any established rules to know how a word is separated into its ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

“Desde luego” meaning and etymology

Español Esta pregunta me recuerda a una frase similar, "desde luego", que no es eso literalmente, sino que significa "por supuesto" (según el DRAE): luego. [...] desde ~. loc. adv. ...
4
votes
1answer
91 views

Gender illusions?

This is a multiple question about genders. Recently I just wondered about this subject while writing and thought: Why is juez or concejal considered masculine while agente and detective are not? ...
5
votes
3answers
264 views

What is the imperative without pronoun of 'Saber'? Why?

Okay so I suddenly have no idea how to say the imperative of saber. This was my reasoning until arriving to a comical dead end: Ir = Ve Comer = Come Ser = Sé Saber = Se? Sabé? ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

What's the difference between “dentro” and “adentro”?

English: How can I tell whether I should be using Dentro vs. Adentro? I've read that they both mean 'inside' and looked at some examples, but I still can't always figure out which one to use. Are ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is 'estar muerto' used instead of 'ser muerto'?

I know it is rather rude to think of it this way and I don't want to offend anyone religiously, but being dead is usually thought of as a very permanent condition in the United States. So why does ...

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