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Answers to translations and explanations:

No doubt you all romped through the translations that you had to do for homework, but just so you can prove to yourselves that you were right, here are the answers:

1. Mi marido lee el periódico todos los días.

My husband reads the newspaper every day.

2. Mi hijo sale los sábados por la noche.

My son goes out on Saturday nights.

3. ¿A qué hora coméis normalmente?

What time do you usually have lunch?  (More than one of you)

4. Los chicos cocinan cuando están en el campo.

The young people cook when they are in the countryside.

5. No oigo mi móvil.

I can’t hear my mobile phone.

6. ¿Escribes en español y en inglés?

Do you write in Spanish and English?

7. No hago las camas siempre.

I don’t always make the beds.

8. Aprendo poco a poco.

I learn little by little.

9. Abrimos la tienda a las 9 de la mañana.

We open the shop at 9am.

10. ¿Dónde vivís?

Where do you live? (More than one of you)

I like these kinds of translations because they bring up all sorts of issues and help correct those little mistakes that we tend to make.  The main point, of course, is to practise our verbs in different forms in the present tense.  They are all standard verbs, as we have been studying and there are examples of first, second and third persons singular and plural endings of the three different groups (-ar, -er and -ir)

Here are some of the other things you might also have questioned as you’ve done them, or read my answers:

In number 1, it is also possible to express every day, or each day, as cada día, although todos los días is a little more common.

In number 2, notice that when we combine a day and time of day in Spanish we do this with the word por, whilst ‘on’ is replaced by the definite article ‘the’; in this case los.

Number 3 might have caught out one or two of you and yes, you are quite right, comer does mean to eat, but it is also used to mean ‘to have lunch’.  In this sentence which is clearly enquiring about someone’s daily routine, ‘to have lunch’ is the more logical translation.

In number 4 the word chicos could have various translations.  We don’t know if it refers to males only as it could also refer to a mixture of males and females.  We could also perhaps say ‘lads’, ‘kids’, or ‘boys’.  This is where the discretion of the translator comes into play.

Number 5 is interesting – in Spanish we say the equivalent of ‘I don’t hear’, whereas in English we would always say ‘I can’t hear’, hence the translation offers what we would normally say in English.

Number 6 is the only one I can’t think of anything particular to say about (how unusual!), except (!) please notice that, unlike in English, the languages español and inglés do not have capital letters, as with all nationalities.

Number 7 – this isn’t me by the way.

Number 8 is a good phrase to say while you are out and about trying out your Spanish.

Number 9 gives us a variation on our usual por la mañana and por la tarde.  When we say a specific time in the morning we use de instead of por as in a las seis de a tarde.  There is no point in asking why this is; it just is and believe me English is just as complicated where these little words are concerned.

Number 10 is a standard sort of sentence that can be said to people you are chatting to when there’s more than one of them.  Don’t forget that the accent goes on the second ‘Í’ and that is the part of the verb that is emphasized.

My goodness me, I’ve used the whole article up on the homework.  I sincerely hope it has been useful and also encouraging.  Next month’s article will be about root-changing verbs.

Jane Cronin’s “Step by Step Spanish” articles are available as e-books at www.janecronin.eu where you can also obtain Jane’s “Step by Step Internet Spanish” course.