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a ( ) entiendo ( ) el comportamiento del ni˜ o ( ) su modo de hablar
n
b Este chaval / jovencito (M) ( ) tiene ( ) para cubrirse
c ( ) he visto ( ) igual en la vida
d ( ) yo tampoco
e ¿( ) le puedes prestar ( ) de ropa?
f Pero ( ) acepta ( ) ayuda ( ) sugerencia
g ( ) acabo de entender por que se comporta as´ ±
h ( ) dejes de decirle que es un mal educado por ( ) cubrirse
i ( ) he podido ( ) hacerle entrar en raz´ n bajo ( ) motivo
o
j ¿( ) ser´a posible llamar a un polic´a?
± ±
k S´, pero el polic´a dir´a que “( ) es nada, y el chaval / jovencito (M) ( ) sabe ( )
± ± ±
de ( )”
l Entonces en una democracia, ¿Las autoridades admiten tal conducta como si ( )?
m Pero, hay que decirle al ni˜ o “¡( ) de tonter´as!”
n ±
n Yo que t´ , dir´a que ( ) ( ) permitir´a eso
u ± ±

iii Actividad en parejas
Objetivo “ Usar la estructura ni . . . ni
M´ todo “ A le ofrece a B un verbo y dos nombres (diez frases en total). B usa un verbo
e
al que siguen dos nombres separados por ni . . . ni
Ejemplos
A: Comer carne queso
B: No como ni carne ni queso
A: Ver arboles ¬‚ores
´
B: No veo ni arboles ni ¬‚ores
´
Despu´ s se re´ ne toda la clase, y el profesor recaba todos los ejemplos
e u




245
Unit 27 (Unidad 27)
Numbers and measurements. Time
´
and dimensions (Los numeros y las
medidas. El tiempo [duracion = la
´
hora] y las dimensiones)


Level 1
´
1.1 Cardinal numbers (Numeros cardinales)
´ ´
1.2 Telephone numbers (Numeros de telefono)
´
1.3 Ordinal numbers (Numeros ordinales)
˜
1.4 Days, weeks, months and seasons (D´as, semanas, meses y estaciones del ano)
±
1.5 Time and the clock (La hora y el reloj)

1.1 Cardinal numbers
(Note the ¬gures/letters in bold.)
i

Un(o), una veinte
1 20
dos veinti´ n/uno/una
u
2 21
´
tres veintidos
3 22
cuatro veintitr´ s
4 e 23
cinco veinticuatro
5 24
seis veinticinco
6 25
siete veintis´ is
7 e 26
ocho veintisiete
8 27
nueve veintiocho
9 28
diez veintinueve
10 29
once treinta
11 30
doce treinta y un/uno/una
12 31
trece cuarenta
13 40
catorce cuarenta y un/uno/una
14 41
quince cincuenta
15 50
diecis´ is sesenta
e 16 60
diecisiete setenta
17 70
dieciocho ochenta
18 80
diecinueve noventa
19 90

246
27 Numbers, measurements, time, dimensions



cien/ciento dos mil
100 2.000
ciento un/uno/una ochenta mil
101 80.000
ciento dos ciento sesenta mil
102 160.000
doscientos/as un mill´n
o
200 1.000.000
trescientos/as *un bill´n (americano)
o
300 1.000.000.000
cuatrocientos/as un bill´n
o
400 1.000.000.000.000
quinientos/as 500
seiscientos/as 600
setecientos/as 700
ochocientos/as 800
novecientos/as 900
mil 1000
mil cincuenta 1050
mil quinientos veinte 1520
*This ¬gure may be recorded as mil millones
Notes. Thousands are separated by periods / full stops. Decimals are separated by a
comma: Corre los cien metros en nueve coma nueve = 9,9 (He runs . . .). Millions are written in
letters: 50 millones / 500 millones / 500.000 millones, to avoid a confusing series of zeros
ii Mexico uses the Anglo-American system of commas for thousands: 10,000 = diez mil.
Furthermore, and still consistent with the Anglo-American practice, a Mexican would
´
use periods / full stops for decimals: Corre los doscientos metros en veintitres punto
tres = She runs the two hundred meters in . . .
Once, from diecis´ is to veintinueve, the numbers were frequently written thus: diez
e
y seis > veinte y nueve but this practice has recently faded.
Tengo un coche = I have a car
Uno becomes un before a masculine noun
Tengo una casa = I have a house
Uno becomes una before a feminine noun
iii The cardinal numbers are all invariable except for uno (see above) and ciento.
Ciento drops the ¬nal to when it comes before a masculine or feminine noun:
Examples
Veo treinta y tres arboles
´ I can see thirty-three trees
Acuden cien mujeres/hombres One hundred women/men come
Tengo quinientos euros I have ¬ve hundred euros
Llegan seiscientos espectadores Six hundred spectators arrive
Hay mil soldados There are a thousand soldiers
Veo a dos mil soldados I see two thousand soldiers
Hay cien mil en el estadio There™s one hundred thousand in the
stadium
iv Note also the way of rendering percentages:
Sube la in¬‚aci´n en un diez por ciento In¬‚ation goes up by ten percent
o
v When uno follows a noun it retains its full form:

“¿Cu´ ntos libros tienes?” “S´lo uno”
a o “How many books have you got?” “Only
one”
En cuanto a chicas, hay cuarenta y una As far as girls are concerned, there are
forty-one

247
A STUDENT GRAMMAR OF SPANISH




vi Millon and billon are considered as nouns:
´ ´

Hay un mill´n de kil´metros desde aqu´ hasta . . .
o o ± There are a million kilometers from here
to . . .
Hay millones de mosquitos There are millions of mosquitos
Nuestro d´¬cit es de dos billones de d´lares (Note
e o Our de¬cit is two million dollars
the de here)


1.2 Telephone numbers
With respect to telephone numbers and in writing, if there is an uneven number of digits,
the ¬rst set (see below in bold) for the local number consists of three digits and the
remainder of a series of two digits. For example, in Spain, a Madrid number could read
from abroad: (00 34) 91 754 92 81. There are various ways of reading these ¬gures out
aloud, but by far the simplest, and certainly one of the most common ways, is merely
to treat each digit individually. The ¬gure above would therefore read: cero cero tres
cuatro nueve uno siete cinco cuatro nueve dos ocho uno. An alternative could
be to read off the ¬rst three local numbers 754 as setecientos cincuenta y cuatro
and the rest as noventa y dos ochenta y uno. A number for Mexico City from outside
the country would read: (00 52) 55 57 68 53, and the likelihood in Mexico would be to
read the ¬gures off in twos, apart from the initial cero cero.


1.3 Ordinal numbers
Considerable uncertainty exists over ordinal numbers, since once you go over ten, and
reach, say, twelve, these become unmanageable and end up in quiz shows. For all normal
purposes, cardinal numbers are used instead of the ordinal numbers when you reach
twelve. Ordinal numbers are:
primero/a duod´cimo
e
¬rst twelfth
segundo/a decimotercero
second thirteenth
tercero/a decimocuarto
third fourteenth
cuarto (etc.) decimoquinto
fourth ¬fteenth
quinto decimosexto
¬fth sixteenth
sexto decimos´(p)timo
e
sixth seventeenth
s´(p)timo
e decimoctavo
seventh eighteenth
octavo decimonoveno
eighth nineteenth
noveno vig´simo
e
ninth twentieth
d´cimo
e cent´simo
e
tenth hundredth
und´cimo
e mil´simo
e
eleventh thousandth
ultimo
´ last


Note that all the above are really adjectives and all the ordinal numbers agree in num-
ber and gender. They therefore all have four forms, in principle, although it would be
exceedingly rare for segundo, tercero, cuarto, etc., to be put in the plural. Primero
´
and ultimo are logically the only ordinal numbers to be used regularly in the four forms.
Primero and tercero lose the o before a masculine noun.

248
27 Numbers, measurements, time, dimensions



Note that s´ ptimo and decimos´ ptimo may be written and pronounced without the
e e
p, but this is not the case in Mexico. In the “decimos,” the teens, there are two spoken
tonic accents, one on the e in decimo and one on the penultimate syllable, except for
decimos´ ptimo which has a written accent on the antepenultimate syllable.
e

Examples
el primer libro the ¬rst book
la primera p´ gina
a the ¬rst page
los primeros coches the ¬rst cars
las primeras casas the ¬rst houses
Soy el primero / la primera I am the ¬rst
por primera vez for the ¬rst time
el primer ni˜ o
n the ¬rst child
el tercer chico the third boy
la tercera palabra the third word
la ni˜ a trece
n the thirteenth girl
la ni˜ a catorce
n the fourteenth girl
la ni˜ a veinte/vig´sima
n e the twentieth girl
la ni˜ a treinta y una
n the thirty-¬rst girl
la ni˜ a cuarenta
n the fortieth girl
la cent´sima ni˜ a
e n the hundredth girl
el cent´simo ni˜ o
e n the hundredth boy
la mil´sima mujer
e the thousandth woman
el mil´simo espectador
e the thousandth spectator
la ultima plaza
´ the last place
el ultimo cuchillo
´ the last knife
las ultimas chamacas (M)
´ the last girls
los ultimos chamacos (M)
´ the last boys/kids
por ultima vez
´ for the last time
Note also: por la en´sima vez
e for the nth time

It is not uncommon to see certain ordinal numbers come after the noun. This is especially
so in literary writings.
cap´tulo primero
± ¬rst chapter
cap´tulo tercero
± third chapter


1.4 Days, weeks, months and seasons
i Days of the week
In civil life, the week starts on Monday, but from the religious and traditional point of
view, it starts on Sunday. All days of the week are masculine and are written in lower
case:
lunes Monday
martes Tuesday
mi´rcoles
e Wednesday
jueves Thursday

249
A STUDENT GRAMMAR OF SPANISH




viernes Friday
s´ bado
a Saturday/Sabbath
domingo Sunday
When you are referring to a speci¬c day near to you “ say, “this Thursday” “ the singular
de¬nite article is used with no preposition:
el jueves (pr´ximo)
o (next) Thursday
When you are referring to Thursdays in general, the plural de¬nite article is used:
Los viernes voy al teatro On Fridays I go to the theater

ii Months of the year
These are all masculine and are written in lower case:
enero julio
January July
febrero agosto
February August
marzo se(p)tiembre
March September
abril octubre
April October
mayo noviembre
May November
junio diciembre
June December
Note. You have noticed that se(p)tiembre has two spellings. Certainly, many speakers
from Spain do not pronounce the “p.” This is not the case in Mexico, however, where
the omission of “p” is odd.

iii Seasons of the year
Seasons are all masculine, save the ¬rst, and are written in lower case:
primavera f. Spring
verano m. Summer
oto˜ o m.
n Fall/Autumn
invierno m. Winter
En is used for in with reference to months and seasons:
En enero cae mucha lluvia It rains a lot in January
Las cig¨ e˜ as vuelven a Espa˜ a en primavera
un n The storks come back to Spain in Spring



1.5 Time and the clock

a las diez de la noche at ten o™clock at night
Acaban de dar las siete It has just struck seven o™clock
al cuarto para las cinco (M) at a quarter to ¬ve
al veinte para las diez (M) at twenty to ten
El tiempo pasa despacio Time passes slowly
El tiempo pasa lentamente Time passes slowly
El tiempo pasa r´ pidamente
a Time goes quickly
Son las cinco de la tarde It is ¬ve o™clock in the afternoon
Es la una de la tarde It™s one o™clock in the afternoon

250
27 Numbers, measurements, time, dimensions



Es mediod´a± It™s midday
Es la una y tres minutos It™s three minutes past one
Es la una y media It™s half past one
Es medianoche It™s midnight
Es la una y cuarto It™s a quarter past one
Est´ n dando las cinco
a It™s striking ¬ve o™clock
hora f. exacta exact time
hora f. punta commute/rush hour
hora f. pico (M) commute/rush hour
horario m. schedule, timetable
huso m. horario time zone
llegar a deshora to come unexpectedly
Mi reloj no anda My watch isn™t working
¿Qu´ hora es?
e What™s the time?
reloj m. clock
Son/Es cuarto para las tres (M) It™s a quarter to three
Son las cinco en punto It™s exactly ¬ve o™clock
Son las seis de la tarde It™s six o™clock in the afternoon/evening
Son las ocho y cuarto It™s a quarter past eight
Son las dos de la madrugada It™s two o™clock in the morning
Son las seis de la ma˜ ana
n It™s six o™clock in the morning
Son las cinco menos cuatro minutos It™s four minutes to ¬ve
Son veinte para las nueve (M) It™s twenty to nine
una hora f. ¬ja a ¬xed time

NB Note the difference between M and Spain with respect to times to the hour.
Spanish speakers do not have am and pm for of¬cial times. They use the twenty-four-hour
timetable for traveling purposes, for instance.
El tren sale a las quince horas The train leaves at three o™clock/pm

Spanish speakers differentiate between early morning (madrugada) and later morning
˜
(manana):
Volvemos a las dos de la madrugada We return at two in the morning

˜
Manana could be used here but in the following two examples madrugada could not
˜
replace manana:
Salgo a las once de la ma˜ ana
n I leave at eleven in the morning
Trabajo por la ma˜ ana
n I work in the morning

Conversely, Spanish speakers cannot differentiate, as English speakers can, between
afternoon and evening. Tarde covers them both. It stretches from about afternoon meal
time (two/three/four o™clock) to dusk. But, of course, dusk can vary considerably in
Spain between winter and summer, and Spaniards have the reputation of not keeping
time when it comes to the midday meal, a misnomer in Spain. The actual time stated
eliminates all confusion if por la tarde is not good enough, as in:
¿Nos vemos a las seis de la tarde? We™ll see each other at six this evening?

251
A STUDENT GRAMMAR OF SPANISH




The usual time greetings are:
¡Buenos d´as!
± Good morning/day!
¡Buenas tardes! Good afternoon/evening!
¡Buenas noches! Good evening/night!
¡Buenos d´as! is restricted to the morning, while ¡Buenas noches! applies to both
±
meeting someone and taking leave of him/her.


Exercises Level 1
i Practice your numbers.

Example
5 ni˜ os > cinco ni˜ os
n n
a 3 hombres i 30 bebidas
b 1 clase j 45 arboles
´
c 8 casas k 100 veh´culos
±
d 11 alumnos l 1.000 (1,000 M) espectadores
e 15 carros (M) m 500 tazas
f 21 ideas n 10.000 (10,000 M) pesos
g 11 mesas o 150.000 (150,000 M) libras
h 28 estudiantes p 1.000.000 (1,000,000 M) d´ lares
o

ii How™s your math(s)? Write out the ¬gures in letters and do the calculations.

Examples
2+3=?> dos y tres son cinco
7’3=?> siete menos tres son cuatro
4+5=? 17 ’ 3 = ?
a f
5’3=? 25 + 3 = ?
b g
2+6=? 23 ’ 3 = ?
c h
11 ’ 7 = ? 30 ’ 11 = ?
d i
16 + 4 = ? 29 “ 15 = ?
e j

iii Read out loud the following ¬ctitious telephone numbers:

00 34 943 20 45 32 (Espa˜ a)
n
00 52 80 21 71 93 (M´ xico)
e

iv What are the following days called? Use Sunday as the ¬rst day.

Example
el cuarto d´a de la semana > mi´ rcoles
± e
a el tercer d´a de la semana
±
b el segundo d´a de la semana
±
c el sexto d´a de la semana
±
d el s´ ptimo d´a de la semana
e ±


252
27 Numbers, measurements, time, dimensions



v What day is it? Use Sunday as the ¬rst day.

Example
jueves > el quinto d´a de la semana
±
a viernes b mi´ rcoles
e c s´ bado
a d lunes
vi What month is it?

Example
marzo > el tercer mes del a˜ o
n
a noviembre b diciembre c julio d abril e febrero f septiembre g enero
h mayo
´
vii What time is it? ( ¿Que hora es?) You may use the Mexican system as well.

Examples
3.20 > Son las tres y veinte / 4.45 > Es cuarto para las cinco (M) / Son las cinco menos
cuarto
a 2.15 f 3.45
b 12.10 g 10. 50
c 4.40 h 1.05
d 1.20 i 9. 55
e 11.54 j 6.15

viii Class activity
Objective “ To recognize numbers as words
Method “ Two teams (A and B) are constituted. One member of the class writes a
number on the board. The ¬rst person who calls out the correct number in Spanish
gains a point. The team reaching ten points is the winner

Examples
Class member: 37
Answer: treinta y siete
Class member: 253
Answer: doscientos cincuenta y tres
Class member: 581
Answer: quinientos ochenta y uno

ix Class activity. Exactly the same procedure as above with time and the clock. Use de
˜
la madrugada, de la manana, de la tarde, de la noche. Use also the verb ser. You
may use the Mexican or Spanish way of referring to time “to the hour.”

Examples
Class member: 5.30 am
Answer: Son las cinco y media de la ma˜ ana
n
Class member: 2.40 pm
Answer: Son las tres menos veinte de la tarde
Son cuarenta para las tres (M) de la tarde

253
A STUDENT GRAMMAR OF SPANISH




Level 2
2.1 Dar and the clock (Dar y el reloj)
´
2.2 Division of time (Division del tiempo)
2.3 Expressing dimensions (Expresando dimensiones)
2.4 Age (Edad)
´
2.5 Collective numbers (Numeros colectivos)
2.6 Fractions (Fracciones)
´
2.7 Mathematical expressions and signs (Expresiones matematicas y signos)



2.1 Dar and the clock
The verb dar is used when speaking of the striking of the hour:
Dieron las tres It struck three o™clock
Han dado las cinco It has struck ¬ve o™clock



2.2 Division of time
i The division of time in the immediate future is expressed by proximo and que viene.
´
The present time is represented by actual (which does not mean actual), presente or
corriente, while the past is referred to as pasado. Thus:

el siglo pasado el mes que viene
the last century next month
el a˜ o pasado
n el viernes que viene
last year next Friday
el mes pasado el jueves pr´ximo
o
last month next Thursday
el a˜ o pr´ximo
no el lunes de la semana que
next year Monday of next
la semana pr´xima
o viene
next week week
la pr´xima vez
o next time

Ejemplos
La reuni´n se celebrar´ a ¬nales del mes corriente
o a The meeting will take place at the end of the
current month
El cinco de diciembre del corriente se producir´ el
a On the ¬fth of December of the current
pr´ximo eclipse
o year the next eclipse will appear

ii Proximo can come before the noun with no difference in meaning “
´
la pr´xima semana, el pr´ximo mes.
o o

iii Quince d´as / quincena are used for a fortnight. There seems little logic in this for, as
±
in French and Italian, one day is counted twice. Spanish speakers do, however, insist
that the system is logical. Choose yourself. A similar mathematical but confusing
operation takes place for a week which, of course, is una semana, but also ocho d´as,±
again as in French and Italian:

de hoy en quince d´as
± a fortnight from today / in a fortnight™s time
de hoy en ocho d´as
± a week from today / in a week™s time


254
27 Numbers, measurements, time, dimensions



de ma˜ ana en ocho d´as
n ± a week from tomorrow
Llegar´ dentro de ocho d´as
a ± She™ll arrive in a week™s time

iv Expressions for the beginning, middle and end of any inde¬nite period of time are
the following:

a primeros / mediados / ¬nales/´ ltimos de mes/
u at the beginning/middle/end of the
a˜ o
n month/year

v Nouns expressing time in its various aspects
Tiempo is time in its widest and most general sense, but not with speci¬c reference to
the clock. It is used in philosophy and science:
Este trabajo me llevar´ poco tiempo
a This work won™t take me long
Todav´a tengo tiempo de arreglarme
± I™ve still got time to get ready
No llegar´ a tiempo
a She™ll not arrive in time
Ha llegado ya el tiempo de la cosecha The time for harvest has now arrived
Seg´ n los cient´¬cos el tiempo es in¬nito
u ± According to scientists time is in¬nite

NB Be careful not to mix up tiempo for time and tiempo for weather. If you ever
´
need to separate the two phenomena, you could say tiempo duracion (time) and el
tiempo que hace (weather).
Plazo is a period of time generally agreed upon or appointed:
Hay que d´ rmelo dentro de un plazo de tres d´as
a ± You have to give it to me within three days
el plazo de entrega the delivery time
acortar/alargar el plazo to shorten/lengthen the period
a corto/largo plazo in the short/long term
comprar a plazos to buy in installments

Rato is an undetermined, generally short space of time, equivalent to the English while:
al cabo de un rato after a while
despu´s de un buen rato
e after a good while
Pas´ un rato ideal all´
e ± I had a splendid time there
Lo esperamos un rato We waited for him for a while
Cuando tenga un rato te llamo When I™m free I™ll call you

´
Note that epoca is used much more than than epoch:
en la ´poca de los Reyes Cat´licos
e o during the period of the Catholic Monarchs
Fue una ´poca de grandes convulsiones
e It was a period of great upheaval

Vez is a point of time considered as one of a series:
Esta vez te perdono This time I™ll forgive you
Es muy simp´ tica pero, a veces, dice unas bobadas
a She™s very nice but, sometimes, she says the
incre´bles
± dumbest of things
Es la primera vez que te veo aqu´± It™s the ¬rst time I™ve seen you here

Note the present tense in the last example. Similarly, the imperfect with fue:
Fue la primera vez que la ve´a all´
± ± It was the ¬rst time I™d seen her there


255
A STUDENT GRAMMAR OF SPANISH




2.3 Expressing dimensions
i Manner of expressing dimensions
The principal nouns and adjectives used are as follows:
Nouns Adjectives
la altura “ height alto “ high/tall
la longitud/largura “ length largo “ long
la anchura “ width/breadth ancho “ wide/broad
la profundidad “ depth profundo “ deep
el espesor “ thickness grueso “ thick
The adjective espeso exists but it is less used than grueso when referring to thickness
of materials, walls, wood, etc. It is largely used for liquids, shrubs or a wooded area.
The nouns and adjectives are used in the following way:
Esta fachada mide treinta metros de altura This facade is thirty meters / one hundred
feet high
Esta fachada mide treinta metros de alto This facade is thirty meters / one hundred
feet high
El muro mide veinte metros de longitud The wall is twenty meters / sixty feet long
El muro mide veinte metros de largo The wall is twenty meters / sixty feet long
La calle tiene diez metros de anchura The street is ten meters / thirty feet wide
La calle tiene diez metros de ancho The street is ten meters / thirty feet wide
El pozo tiene veinticinco metros de profundidad The well is twenty-¬ve meters / eighty feet
deep
A meter is just over three feet. Thus, the last example could be translated as “approxi-
mately eighty feet deep.”
ii Another way of expressing measurements is as follows:

una torre de cincuenta metros de altura 
a tower ¬fty meters / one hundred and ¬fty
una torre de cincuenta metros de alto
 feet high
una torre alta de cincuenta metros

un muro de trescientos metros de longitud 
a wall three hundred meters / nine hundred
un muro de trescientos metros de largo
 feet long
un muro largo de trescientos metros
un foso de tres metros de anchura a ditch three meters / nine feet wide
un foso de tres metros de ancho a ditch three meters / nine feet wide
un pozo de veinticinco metros de profundidad a well twenty-¬ve meters / eighty feet deep
un pozo profundo de veinticinco metros a well twenty-¬ve meters / eighty feet deep
un muro de un metro de espesor a wall a meter / three feet thick
un muro grueso de un metro a wall a meter / three feet thick
iii After the verb ser, numerals denoting dimensions, weights and prices are preceded
by the preposition de:

El tama˜ o de este hombre es de dos metros
n The size of this man is two meters / six feet
six

256
27 Numbers, measurements, time, dimensions



La distancia es de treinta kil´metros
o The distance is thirty kilometers / twenty
miles
El precio de este coche es de cuarenta mil d´lares
o The price of this car is forty thousand dollars

iv Other common statements of measurement:

¿Cu´ nto mides?
a How tall are you?
¿Qu´ n´ mero calzas?
eu What size shoe do you take?
Mi talla es la treinta y cinco My size is thirty-¬ve


2.4 Age
i Age is expressed with the verb tener + cardinal number + anos:
˜

¿Cu´ ntos a˜ os tienes?
a n How old are you?
Tengo quince a˜ os
n I am ¬fteen years old
Note also the very common use of cumplir:
Ha cumplido diez a˜ os
n He is / has reached ten (years of age)

ii Tiempo is also used of very small children, but not in Mexico, when their age is
measured in months, weeks or days:

¿Cu´ nto tiempo tiene el ni˜ o / el beb´?
a n e How old is the child/baby?

iii Not only is a birthday celebrated in Spanish-speaking countries but also the day of
the saint after whom the person is named, although this practice has faded recently,
´
and is only applied to the names of very important saints, as with San Jose or San
Ignacio in the Basque country. This could lead, of course, to two sets of presents
¡Que alegna! (O joy!), as with the celebration of Christmas Day and the sixth of
´ ´
January, the Reyes Magos = Epiphany (i.e. the Three Kings):

¡Feliz cumplea˜ os!
n Happy birthday!
Hoy es mi cumplea˜ os
n Today is my birthday
El tres de marzo es el santo de Jos´
e Jos´ ™s Saint™s day is the third of March
e


2.5 Collective numbers
i There are a number of nouns in Spanish which correspond to the English about:

una decena una treintena
about ten about thirty
una quincena una cuarentena
about ¬fteen about forty days
una veintena una centena
about twenty about a hundred
un millar un centenar
about a thousand about a hundred

ii These collective nouns are not greatly used between thirty and a hundred, although
cincuentena exists, for example. Docena = dozen is less used than decena but survives
in la docena del fraile = baker™s dozen, i.e. thirteen.


257
A STUDENT GRAMMAR OF SPANISH




Considerable uncertainty exists over the use of a singular or plural verb with these
collective nouns. There are many examples for both forms of the verb but usage seems
to outweigh grammatical logic. In other words, veintena, while yet a singular noun, is
more easily followed by the plural:
Apenas si quedaban una veintena de personas Hardly twenty people remained
Es la primera vez que se re´ ne(n) un n´ mero de
u u It™s the ¬rst time that a number of specialists
especialistas have gathered
(See unit 3, level 2.4, for more information on this point.)



2.6 Fractions
i Increasingly abandoned in the interests of percentages, fractions appear as follows:
la mitad (half ), el tercio / la tercera parte (third), el cuarto / la cuarta parte (quarter), la quinta parte
(¬fth), la sexta parte (sixth), la d´cima parte (tenth), la cent´sima parte (hundredth), los dos tercios /
e e
las dos terceras partes (two thirds), los tres cuartos / las tres cuartas partes (three quarters), las dos
quintas partes (two ¬fths), las tres s´ptimas partes (three sevenths), las dos cent´simas partes (two
e e
hundredths), las nueve mil´simas partes (nine thousandths)
e
ii The same uncertainty as above (level 2.5.ii) exists with la mitad, etc., with respect to
plural and singular verbs.

Ejemplos
Un tercio de los hombres dijeron / dijo que no A third of the men said no
La mitad de los habitantes se opusieron/opuso al Half the inhabitants opposed the plan
proyecto



2.7 Mathematical expressions and signs
Here are the basic mathematical expressions and signs:
+ m´ s
a dividido por/entre
:
’ —
menos (multiplicado) por
2
al cuadrado por ciento
%
Note the division sign is different from the Anglo-American ·.
Note also the following terms:
la adici´n
o Sobran cinco
the addition There™s ¬ve left over
Quedan diez Suma y sigue
The remainder is ten Add and carry
la resta sumar
the subtraction to add
restar to subtract

Examples
3+2=5
Tres m´ s dos son cinco
a
9:3=3
Nueve dividido por tres son tres
4 — 6 = 24
Cuatro multiplicado por seis son veinticuatro


258
27 Numbers, measurements, time, dimensions



16 = 42
Diecis´is son cuatro al cuadrado
e
La tasa es del cinco por ciento The rate is 5%

Exercises Level 2
i Mas problemas de matematicas. Calcula los siguientes problemas y escribe tus
´ ´
respuestas con todas sus letras.

Ejemplo
80 “ 30 > ochenta menos treinta son cincuenta
30 + 50 = 20 — 30 =
a j
45 + 45 = 27 — 40 =
b k
32 + 58 = 50 — 60 =
c l
77 + 23 = 73 — 41 =
d m
100 “ 40 = 45 : 15 =
e n
99 “ 59 = 60 : 20 =
f o
84 “ 34 = 200 : 5 =
g p
78 “ 36 = 1.000 : 25 =
h q
88 “ 28 = 10.000 : 1.000 =
i r

ii Llena (M) / rellena los blancos con expresiones de tiempo y de dimension.
´

Fui a Cuernavaca la semana ( ), y la ( ) voy a Guanajuato. A ( ) a˜ o pasar´ quince d´as en las
n e ±
Barrancas del Cobre, y el a˜ o que ( ) me gustar´a ir al Gran Ca˜ on. Quisiera pasar ah´ ( ) ya que
n ± n´ ±
ocho d´as no son su¬cientes. La mejor ( ) del a˜ o para visitar estos dos ca˜ ones es junio.
± n n
Me gustar´a mucho visitar el Gran Ca˜ on porque tiene casi dos mil metros de ( ) y muchos
± n´
kil´ metros de ( ). Desde abajo, tiene dos mil metros ( ). Lo m´ s impresionante es que es tan ( )
o a
que cubre centenares de kil´ metros.
o
Yo quisiera visitar nuevamente las Barrancas del Cobre ( ) unos meses. Este ca˜ on es tan ( ),

tan ( ) y tan ( ) como el Gran Ca˜ on. El a˜ o ( ), baj´ hasta el fondo de las Barrancas del Cobre
n´ n e
con una ( ) de cuates (M) / amigos. La mitad de ellos, o sea diez, se quedaron / qued´ en el
o
fondo, y los otros, o sea una ( ), volvieron a subir. Hay trayectos del r´o que est´ en el fondo hasta
± a
con diez metros ( ), cincuenta ( ), y varios kil´ metros ( ).
o
Planeamos pasar ( ) d´as en el fondo de las Barrancas. Estando abajo, el tiempo apremiaba, y
±
pensamos que nos ( ) poco tiempo. Salimos r´ pidamente del ca˜ on, y arriba, nos dimos cuenta
a n´
de que hab´amos calculado muy mal y que nos ( ) cuatro d´as. ¿Qu´ har´amos con estos cuatro
± ± e ±
d´as?
±

iii Actividad en comun
´
Objetivo “ Practicar el c´ lculo de n´ meros en todas sus letras
a u
M´ todo “ Un miembro de la clase escribe diez problemas matem´ ticos en el pizarr´ n
e a o
(M). Escribe en cifras. La clase, ya dividida en dos equipos, calcula la soluci´ n. El primer
o
equipo en facilitar la soluci´ n en palabras gana el punto. El primero en alcanzar diez
o
puntos gana el partido.

Ejemplos
25 + 73 = ?
Miembro de la clase:
Clase: noventa y ocho
199 + 241 = ?
Miembro de la clase:


259
A STUDENT GRAMMAR OF SPANISH




Clase: cuatrocientos cuarenta
15 — 20 = ?
Miembro de la clase:
Clase: trescientos
No olvidar usar las seis operaciones que aparecen en 2.7. Si es listo, el miembro que
puede escribir en el pizarr´ n hace preguntas relacionadas con el porcentaje.
o




260
Unit 28 (Unidad 28)
Comparatives and superlatives
(Los comparativos y superlativos)


Level 1
´
1.1 Comparison of adjectives indicating inequality and equality (Comparacion de
adjetivos indicando desigualdad e igualdad)
´
1.2 Comparison of adverbs indicating equality and inequality (Comparacion de
adverbios indicando igualdad y desigualdad)
1.3 Superlatives + adjectives (Superlativos + adjetivos)
1.4 Other features (Otros detalles)


1.1 Comparison of adjectives indicating inequality
and equality
i The comparison of adjectives is formed by using mas (more) and menos (less) before
´
the adjective. Que (than) is used after the adjective.

Examples
Carlos es m´ s r´ pido que t´
aa u Carlos is faster than you
Este chico es m´ s listo que su hermano
a This boy is smarter than his brother
Son menos ruidosos que las muchachas They are less noisy than the girls
Es un hotel menos tranquilo que el otro It™s a less quiet hotel than the other one
negro / m´ s negro / menos negro
a black / blacker / less black
capaz / m´ s capaz / menos capaz
a capable / more capable / less capable
ii Four adjectives, in addition to their regular comparatives, have other, and, in two
cases, preferred, forms:

Positive Comparative
bueno (good) mejor (better)
malo (bad) peor (worse)
grande (big, large) mayor (bigger, larger)
peque˜ o (small)
n menor (littler, smaller)

Examples
Esta novela es mejor que la otra This novel is better than the other one
Isabel es peor estudiante que Mar´a
± Isabel is a worse student than Mar´a±


261
A STUDENT GRAMMAR OF SPANISH




Tu ni˜ a es mayor que la m´a
n ± Your girl (daughter) is bigger than mine
Mi prima es menor que yo My cousin is smaller than me
iii Comparison of adjectives (indicating equality)
Tan (as/so) is used here, followed by como (as):
Es tan abusado (M) / listo como su pap´ (M) /
a He™s as smart as his father
padre
Es tan caro como el caviar It™s as dear as caviar


1.2 Comparison of adverbs indicating equality
and inequality
i Equality. As with adjectives, tan + como is used:

Habla espa˜ ol tan bien como su profesora
n She speaks Spanish as well as her teacher
La ni˜ a escribe tan perfectamente como su hermano
n The little girl writes as perfectly as her
mayor older brother
ii Inequality. Mas (more) and menos (less) are used here, followed by que (than), as
´
with comparisons of adjective:

Corre m´ s r´ pidamente que yo
aa She runs faster than me
Lee m´ s lentamente que su primo
a She reads more slowly than her cousin
Lo arregla menos f´ cilmente que yo
a He sorts it out less easily then me
Trabaja menos seriamente que su hijo She works less seriously than her son


1.3 Superlatives + adjectives
i The superlative is usually expressed by placing the de¬nite article with the
comparative:

Son los m´ s inteligentes
a They are the most intelligent
Este hotel es el m´ s caro de la ciudad
a This hotel is the dearest in town
Este es el peor jugador del equipo This is the worst player in the team
El tiempo que hace es el mejor del a˜ o
n The weather is the best this year
ii De follows a superlative in cases where in English we would have in:

Texas es el estado m´ s extenso de los Estados Unidos
a Texas is the biggest state in the United
States
El Nilo es el r´o m´ s largo del mundo
±a The Nile is the longest river in the world


1.4 Other features
i Frequently, menos is replaced by no + tan + adjective or adverb + como:

No es tan alto como su hermana He™s not so tall as his sister
No trabaja tan seriamente como yo He doesn™t work as seriously as me


262
28 Comparatives and superlatives



ii Mas de and menos de are used before quantities and numbers:
´

Hay m´ s de un mill´n de libros en aquella biblioteca
a o There are more than a million books in
that library
¿Por qu´ compras menos de dos kilos?
e Why do you buy less than two kilos?

iii Tanto . . . como, with its three other forms (tanta / tantos / tantas . . . como), as much /
many . . . as, is used with equality of nouns:

No tengo tanto pan como Jorge I haven™t got as much bread as Jorge
No traes tantos discos como Elena You don™t bring as many discs as Elena
Hay tanta mantequilla como en casa There™s as much butter as at home
Tienes tantas cucharas como yo You have as many spoons as me

Exercises Level 1
i Make three separate sentences from the two available. Follow the example
Juan disfruta mucho. Armando disfruta poco > 1. Armando disfruta menos que Juan +
2. Juan disfruta m´ s que Armando + 3. Armando no disfruta tanto como Juan
a
a Alicia se divierte mucho. Rosa se divierte poco
b Los muchachos descansan mucho. Yo descanso poco
c El doctor se cansa mucho. Su hijo se cansa poco
d Los ni˜ os gritan mucho. Juanito grita poco
n
e Me preocupo mucho. T´ te preocupas poco
u
f La se˜ ora trabaja mucho. Marta trabaja poco
n
g Tus amigas platican (M) / hablan mucho. T´ platicas/hablas poco
u
h Teresa gasta mucho. Sus hijos gastan poco
i Ellos comen mucho. Yo como poco
j La ni˜ a se queja mucho. Su hermano se queja poco
n

ii Put the following sentences in the negative. Use tanto/a/os/as.

Example
Escrib´ dos cartas. Juan escribi´ cuatro cartas > No escrib´ tantas cartas como Juan
± o ±
a En mi pa´s hay muchas monta˜ as. En el tuyo hay menos
± n
b Alicia salta tres metros. Lupe salta dos
c En las ciudades hay mucha niebla. En los pueblos hay poca niebla
d Luis toma mucha leche. Alicia toma poca
e Practicamos varios deportes. Luc´a practica pocos
±
f Ech´ a perder mucho papel. Rosa ech´ a perder poco
e o
g Jorge tiene mucho dinero. Nosotros tenemos poco
h En mi coche hay mucho lugar. En el tuyo hay poco
i Elena recibi´ muchos regalos. Tere recibi´ pocos
o o
j Mis sobrinos comieron muchas aceitunas. Los tuyos comieron pocas

iii Paired activity
Objective “ To practice statements of comparison
Method “ A and B ask each other questions using ten expressions such as tan . . . como,
m´ s . . . que, menos . . . que, tantos . . .
a

263
A STUDENT GRAMMAR OF SPANISH




Examples
A: ¿Eres m´ s listo que yo?
a
B: No soy tan listo como t´ u
A: ¿Mi hermana es menos inteligente que yo?
B: Tu hermana no es tan inteligente como t´
u

Level 2
2.1 Como = like or as in English (Como = . . .)
2.2 Que replaced by de lo que (Que reemplazado por . . .)
2.3 Cuanto . . . tanto
2.4 Superlatives of adverbs (Superlativos de adverbios)
2.5 Absolute superlative of adjectives (Superlativo absoluto de adjetivos)
2.6 Absolute superlative of adverbs (Superlativo absoluto de adverbios)


2.1 Como = like or as in English

Corre como un conejo She runs like a rabbit
Lucha como un tigre He ¬ghts like a tiger
Hazlo como lo quieras Do it as you wish


2.2 Que replaced by de lo que
i When each part of the comparison contains a different verb, que is replaced by de lo
que:

Es menos f´ cil de lo que dice
a It™s less easy than he says
El examen fue m´ s dif´cil de lo que hab´amos temido
a± ± The examination was more dif¬cult than
we had feared
Es m´ s tonto de lo que parece
a He™s dumber than he looks
ii This is also true with nouns:

Tiene menos dinero de lo que dice She has less money than she says
Ha cometido m´ s delitos de lo que piensas
a He™s committed more crimes than you
think


2.3 Cuanto . . . tanto
i Cuanto . . . tanto followed by any comparative are used in correlatives to express
ratio, corresponding to the English the . . . the:

Cuanto m´ s viejo es el vino, tanto mejor
a The older the wine, the better it is
Cuanto m´ s largo es el d´a tanto m´ s corta la noche
a ± a The longer the day, the shorter the night
ii Tanto mas/menos . . . cuanto que corresponds to all the more/less . . . because . . . :
´

El delito es tanto m´ s grave cuanto que acaba de
a The crime is all the more serious because
salir de la c´ rcel
a he™s just come out of jail

264
28 Comparatives and superlatives



Estoy tanto menos satisfecho de su conducta cuanto I am all the less satis¬ed with her conduct
que le di dinero because I gave her money


2.4 Superlatives of adverbs
The superlative of adverbs is formed in the same manner as those of adjectives:
Los mejores alumnos son los que hablan menos The best pupils are those who speak least
Esa era la respuesta que menos esperaba o´r
± That was the reply I was least expecting to
hear
Amo el mar cuando m´ s alto suben las olas
a I love the sea when the waves rise up even
more


2.5 Absolute superlative of adjectives
i The absolute superlative of adjectives, when formed regularly, is made by adding
-´simo. It is then varied like any adjective ending in o. This ending has an intensive
±
value, equivalent to the English very or most. As with the common Italian -issimo, and
the occasional -issime in French, this form derives from the Latin.

Ejemplos
El acero es dur´simo
± Steel is very hard/tough
El oro es pur´simo
± Gold is very/most pure
La casa es alt´sima
± The house is very tall
Las ¬‚ores son hermos´simas
± The ¬‚owers are really lovely
Es una construcci´n fe´sima
o± It™s a really ugly building
ii The following distinctions are to be observed in the formation of the absolute
superlative of adjectives:
a If the positive adjective ends in a consonant, it receives -´simo without changing,
±
unless the ¬nal consonant is z, which changes to c before i:
h´ bil/h´ bil´simo
a a± skillful / most skillful
feliz/felic´simo
± happy / very happy
feroz/feroc´simo
± ¬erce / most ¬erce
b A ¬nal vowel or diphthong is omitted before -´simo. When the adjective ends in two
±
vowels, as in io, both are omitted, although it could be maintained that the i remains
but receives a written accent, and therefore a spoken stress.
importante/important´simo
± important / most important
limpio/limp´simo
± clean / very clean
sucio/suc´simo
± dirty / very dirty
amplio/ampl´simo
± wide / widest, full/fullest
pobre/pobr´simo
± poor / very poor

Ejemplos
una rec´ mara (M) ampl´sima
a ± a very spacious bedroom
una mujer pobr´sima
± a very poor woman
Tiene manos limp´simas
± She™s got very clean hands


265
A STUDENT GRAMMAR OF SPANISH




iii If, after dropping the ¬nal a or o, the last remaining letter is c, it is changed to qu,
and similarly g to gu to preserve the hard sound:

blanco/blanqu´simo
± white / very white
rico/riqu´simo
± rich / very rich
fresco/fresqu´simo
± fresh / very fresh
largo/largu´simo
± long / very long

Ejemplos
una piel blanqu´sima
± a very white skin
un r´o largu´simo
± ± a very long river
unas fresas fresqu´simas
± some very fresh strawberries
iv An unresolved issue. In principle, the diphthongs ie and ue revert to their original
vowels e and o since the stress is transferred to the ending:

cierto/cert´simo
± certain / most certain
tierno/tern´simo
± tender / most tender
ferviente/fervent´simo
± fervent / most fervent
bueno/bon´simo
± good / very good
nuevo/nov´simo
± new / very new
fuerte/fort´simo
± strong / very strong
However, there has been a major shift in contemporary practice here. In the author™s
experience, ciert´simo, tiern´simo, buen´simo, nuev´simo and fuert´simo have
± ± ± ± ±
replaced the above, with the result that many Spanish speakers no longer know which
is the correct one, suffering some residual sense that the original form is the correct one
and the new one the wrong one. In any case, the so-called wrong form holds sway. This
topic is another question for the quiz program, in both Spain and Mexico, for there are
many other examples of these doublets (dobletes). It should be added that the author
has never met with any form of the absolute superlative of viejo but viej´simo.
±
This innovation was strenuously resisted by the members of the Real Academia and
more conservative writers but they have lost the battle.

v The following is just a small sample of adjectives (there are many more) reverting to
the original Latin for their entire form:

acre/ac´rrimo
e bitter / very bitter
aspero/asp´rrimo
´ e harsh / very harsh
c´lebre/celeb´rrimo
e e most celebrated
Needless to say, these last three are only in literary use.


2.6 Absolute superlative of adverbs
i These are created by adding -mente to the superlative form of the adjective. They are
not very common. It is felt that you should at least be aware of their function. Here
are two examples:

noblemente/nobil´simente
± nobly / most nobly
ricamente/riqu´simamente
± richly / very richly

266
28 Comparatives and superlatives



ii Since these forms are very cumbersome, they are generally replaced by, for example,
muy, altamente, sumamente, extremamente, en extremo, en gran manera:
Las pruebas resultaron altamente peligrosas The tests turned out to be highly dangerous
El problema es sumamente dif´cil
± The problem is most dif¬cult
Se enoja (M) / enfada en extremo por cualquier cosa She gets angry over the slightest thing
iii Many adjectives do not admit of comparisons. The principal ones are those that
involve the idea of in¬nity and therefore express in themselves the idea of a
superlative degree, or denote origin, material, shape or class. Such adjectives are:
supremo met´ lico
a principal inmortal
italiano circular triangular celestial
Of course, italiano is only one example among hundreds related to adjectives of
countries: mexicano, espa˜ ol, norteamericano, ingl´s, franc´s, and so on
n e e

Exercises
Level 2
i Completa los blancos con una de las siguientes expresiones. Puede haber mas de una
´
respuesta
como, tanto . . . como, m´ s . . . que, menos . . . que, de lo que
a
Ejemplos
Tiene seis a˜ os pero escribe ( ) una persona mayor > Tiene seis a˜ os pero escribe como
n n
una persona mayor
Hay . . . caballos . . . vacas > Hay tantos caballos como vacas
a Trabaja ( ) un loco
Me ba˜ o ( = nado in M) en el mar ( ) veces ( ) t´
b n u
c Recibi´ ( ) regalos ( ) parientes ten´a
o ±
d Env´a ( ) postales ( ) env´a su amigo
± ±
e Coge / Toma (M) ( ) ( ) (dos palabras) puedas
f Coge / Toma (M) ( ) ¬‚ores ( ) puedas
g Estoy ( ) ( ) (dos palabras) ronco que no dej´ de hablar / platicar (M) en toda la
e
noche
h Lleg´ con mucho ( ) retraso ( ) ( ) ( ) (cuatro palabras) sol´a llevar
o ±
i Es ( ) culto ( ) ( ) ( ) (cuatro palabras) yo pensaba
j Tiene ( ) d´ lares ( ) yo, de suerte que me invita a cenar
o
k Le ofrec´ un helado por que ten´a ( ) dinero que yo
± ±
l Hab´a ( ) ( ) (dos palabras) mil espectadores y no cab´an todos
± ±
m Hab´a ( ) ( ) (dos palabras) veinte nadadores en la alberca (M) / piscina y hab´a
± ±
mucho espacio
n Compr´ ( ) peras por que ten´a ( ) dinero ( ) ( ) ( ) (cinco palabras) pensaba
e ±
o Aprob´ todos sus ex´ menes, es ( ) listo ( ) ( ) ( ) (cuatro palabras) pensaba
o a

ii Actividad en clase
Objetivo “ Usar el superlativo de adjetivos
M´ todo “ Se le elige a un miembro de la clase. Se divide la clase en dos equipos. El
e
miembro de la clase escribe un adjetivo en el pizarr´ n (M) / la pizarra. La clase tiene
o
que encontrar el superlativo correspondiente. Huelga decir (Needless to say) que el primer

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