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So I saw this tweet on Twitter:

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Which for me raises the question of formality and dialect uses of "tu mujer" vs. "tu esposa". Is one more formal than the other? I ask because I know that "tu mujer" translates literally to "your woman" (though it does seem to be linguistically correct to use it as "your wife"). Is there a difference in Spanish dialects (e.g. Latin American Spanish) as to how "tu mujer" is interpreted vs. "tu esposa"?

  • I'm new in this site, I can write here always in Spanish or there are some rules about this? – Adrian Cid Almaguer Dec 4 '15 at 22:41
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    @AdrianCidAlmaguer you can write in Spanish as long as the question is relative, I'm just not good enough with Spanish to try to put the whole post in Spanish without sounding all sorts of wrong haha. Hopefully that will change soon. – salad_bar_breath Dec 4 '15 at 22:47
  • So, if the question is only in spanish I can post my answer only in spanish? – Adrian Cid Almaguer Dec 4 '15 at 22:49
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    @AdrianCidAlmaguer You can check out the help center for more info on that: How to Answer – salad_bar_breath Dec 4 '15 at 22:57
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    And, it's not necesarily your wife, it can be your girlfriend or your crush or even a girl who you are very close to, even if you are gay!, but in those cases can even sound a little bit ironic, more like saying you are almost a couple but you aren't. – Jaime Dec 7 '15 at 23:03
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You can use "tu mujer" when refers to your wife, but "tu esposa" is more formal. By example when I go to present my wife to another person I never say "Les presento a mi mujer" I say "Les presento a mi esposa".

"Tu mujer" is not the same as "Tú, mujer", in this case "Tu mujer" is "Your wife" and "Tú, mujer" is "You, woman", because in this case you are making reference to a specific woman when you say "Tú".

Remember that in Spanish an accent can change the signification of the word.

So in this case "Tu mujer es un mono" is "Your wife is a monkey", and really this phrase is bizarre!

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  • It is a bizarre phrase lol, but there's many of those on Duolingo! It definitely took me a while to get the hang of the difference between "Tú" and "Tu" when I first learned "Tu" and "Su" but yes accents do make a difference! Another example of that is "papa" and "papá". Big difference between those! Thank you for the formality explanation! – salad_bar_breath Dec 4 '15 at 22:51
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"Mi mujer" is preferred pretty much exclusively in Castillian Spanish. Almost no one in Spain would say "esposa": it would feel like listening to a poet.

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    @fedorqui: There was no need to edit the question. – profmartinez Dec 7 '15 at 21:44
  • Apart from the semi colon, there was a typo: "esposa,". spanish.stackexchange.com/posts/15486/revisions – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Dec 7 '15 at 22:00
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    @Douglas_Symb Correct! – profmartinez Dec 7 '15 at 22:48
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    Prof.JoséF.Martínez to the debate you are having with @fedorqui your punctuation marks would be outside of the quotes because they are used to structure a sentence outside of the quotations marks. You are only using the quotation marks to quote "esposa", so his edit was correct. To the original topic, I was considering keeping "dialect" as a tag in this post, but I edited it because it didn't seem like a dialect issue but now it seems it might be if you are saying that "Mi Mujer" is used often in Spain. Now I want to know if it is used in Latin Spanish like that. – salad_bar_breath Dec 7 '15 at 23:16
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    @Douglas_Symb: No idea about Latin American usage of "mi mujer." Commas and periods always inside quotes in the US: "Periods and commas precede closing quotation marks, whether double or single" - Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010. – profmartinez Dec 8 '15 at 0:48

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