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Ojo - Keep an Eye on This Lesson

Tired? No way! In our latest installment of Muñeca Brava, we hear:


Ahora tengo los ojos como el dos de oro. No voy a poder pegar un ojo.

Now I'm wide awake. I won't be able to sleep a wink.

Captions 29-30, Muñeca Brava - 18 - La Apuesta

 Play Caption



Word for word, "el dos de oro" is "the two of gold [coins]." But we didn't subtitle our new video clip with this literal translation, because it makes little sense without an explanation. So here's our explanation: In a Spanish deck of cards ("una baraja española"), the four suits include "Oros," which are depicted with gold coins. The "2" card has two round coins, which rather resemble two wide open eyes. So the image sent us to the English expression, "wide awake."

If you're wide awake while reading this, you might note that Spanish uses a definite article before "eyes" that you wouldn't hear in English. In phrases like this one, describing a part of the body, the definite article is often used when a condition is not permanent (Mili's eyes are not always wide and round like two gold coins), but dropped when the condition is permanent.

Tienes los ojos cansados. [Not permanent.]

"You have tired eyes." (Your eyes look tired.)

Tiene ojos azules. [Permanent]

 "He has blue eyes."


Here's another thing you will notice when listening to native Spanish speakers: They usually do not use possessive pronouns to describe parts of the body. In cases where in English we find a possessive pronoun (e.g. my, your, his, her), a definite article is used in the Spanish equivalent.

Abre los ojos.

"Open your eyes."

Me corté el dedo.

"I cut my finger."

Le duele la pierna.

"His leg hurts."



Looking back at the dialogue from Muñeca Brava (above), note that there's another colloquial expression that deserves a closer look: pegar [un] ojo. In your dictionaries, you might find the verb pegar translated as "to stick," "to lean against" or "to hit." But no pegar ojo is best translated as "not sleeping a wink" -- i.e., not shutting those peepers at all.


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