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An English speaker’s perspective

Discover Spanish With Us

Me Explico

» by in: Idiomatic

In Spanish (or Mexico at least), you don’t ask a person if they understand you, you ask them if you are making yourself clear. To ask them if they understand is putting the blame on them if they do not. But by asking if you are explaining yourself then you place the blame on yourself for being clear.

A native Mexican will ask “¿me explico?“, while an outsider might ask “¿me entiendes?

This is where culture influences the language. You will see many reflexive verbs used in such a way as to not place blame on anyone in particular. Rather the blame is placed on an inanimate object so as not to offend. For example, “se me olvidó.” Literally translated it means “it forgot me.” As an English speaker we would say “I forgot it,” clearly placing the blame on ourselves and not the object forgotten.

How is this used in your country?


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