How did you get on with last week´s article totally in Spanish? I hope you managed to understand most of it and the parts that you didn´t know, you managed to understand in context with the rest of the sentences. It´s always good to push yourself at times to try and move the boundaries and to step out of your comfort zone. Learning a language is about trying new things, reading or listening to unfamiliar words and making the effort to find out what they mean. I always stress that this is not an easy thing to do, and Spanish, as far as I´m concerned is harder to learn than English, at first at least. Once you get to an advanced level, any language becomes more confusing, however Spanish is so different to English from the very beginning that it can become confusing and put a lot of people off. However, if you are reading this then you are at least trying to stick with and improve your Spanish. Remember all my past lessons are available online so if you need any revision or aren´t quite up to this level then you can always go back.
This week we are going back to verbs that have more than one meaning, the verb this week is echar which literally translates as to throw, however as you have guessed it means much more than this. It is a regular verb, therefore I hope you can conjugate it accordingly.
Echar also translates as ´to move from one place to another´ however how we use this verb depends on what we are moving and as such isn´t always a literal translation. Check out these examples to see what I mean: echo los dados en la mesa – I throw the dice on the table, echar una cuchara de azúcar – add a spoonful of sugar, María echo la carta al correo – Maria put the letter in the post, echas el vino en una copa – you poured the wine in a glass, Este dragón es monstruo que echa llamas de fuego por la boca – This dragon is a monster that breathes fire from its mouth, esa maquina echa chispas – that machine gives off sparks.
Due to the verb echar being understood in a variety of ways it is used in many idioms or expressions, for example: echar la culpa which you could try and say literally as to throw blame, but actually just means ´to blame´. Here are some more idioms using the verb, I will start with the ones that I believe are more common, at least they´re the ones I tend to hear (or have heard) most frequently:
Echar un vistazo – to glance at / have a look at, echar de menos – to miss someone, echar la vista atrás – to look back, echar una siesta – to take a nap or siesta, echar una mano – to help out, give a hand, echar la llave – to lock, echar el freno – put the handbrake on, echar abajo – to pull down, echarse un novio/una novia – to get a boyfriend/girlfriend, echarle ganas – to put a lot of effort into something, echarlo a suerte – to make a decision in a random way, like tossing a coin for example, echa el alto – to order someone to stop, echar un ojo – to watch or look at, echar algo en falta to miss something, echar una mirada – to take a look, similar to echar un ojo, echar una película – to show a film, echar leña al fuego – to add fuel to the fire, echar chispas – to let off sparks and also to rant.
Also, the phrase echar a followed by an infinitive often means “to begin,” as in this example: Laura echa a correr detrás del gato – Laura begins to run behind the cat.
Now it´s your turn to translate some phrases from English to Spanish using the above examples:
Keep an eye on Jack because he´s in the street, in order to get this you have to put in a lot of effort, I will pull down the blind, the boys had a nap all afternoon, the police will stop that car, have you locked the door?, I miss you, do you want me to give you a hand?, to climb the mountain you have to make an effort, I´m going to have a look at the food, I don´t want to choose, let´s do it in a random way.
Take your time to check the above and also bear in mind the tenses that are being used. As ever, have a great week and I´ll see you again next time.