In the first installment of Tu Voz Estéreo, our brand new series from Colombia, we hear a conversation between two not very pleasant characters who are planning to steal a guide dog (ಠ_ಠ!) from his blind owner:
Ay, pero ¿cómo y de cuándo acá nos gustan tanto los perros?
Oh, but how and since when do we like dogs so much?
Caption 9, Tu Voz Estéreo - Laura - Part 1Play Caption
The idiom de cuándo acá (since when) is a rhetorical question. In Spanish, asking ¿Desde cuándo te gustan los perros? is not the same as saying ¿De cuándo acá te gustan los perros? The first one is a simple question, while the second one is asked in order to create a dramatic effect of surprise, outrage, disbelief, or disapproval:
¿Y de cuándo acá eres mi juez?
And since when are you my judge?
Órale, ¿de cuándo acá tan bien vestidos? ¿Dónde es la fiesta?
Wow, since when you dress so well? Where's the party?
There are different ways to translate the English expression "how come?" into Spanish. As a standalone expression, you can use questions such as ¿cómo es eso? (literally "how is that"), ¿cómo así? (literally "how this way"), ¿cómo? (how), or ¿por qué? (why). It's important to add a special emphasis to the way you pronounce these questions:
No había nada interesante que hacer. ¿Cómo?
There was nothing interesting to do. - How come?
Captions 38-39, Guillermina y Candelario - Una aventura extrema - Part 1Play Caption
But when the expression is part of a sentence (for example, "How come you don't know that?") you can use the idiom cómo que (literally "how that") or cómo es que (how is that):
¿Cómo es que no sabes eso!
How come you don't know that?!
¿Cómo que no trajiste nada de dinero?
How come you didn't bring any money?
You could say that by using this phrase cómo que we're simply omitting the verb decir (to say), as shown in this example:
¿Cómo (dices) que te echaron?
How come (you say) they fired you?
Caption 8, Verano Eterno - Fiesta Grande - Part 5Play Caption
In Colombia and other Latin American countries, some people add the word así after que:
¿Cómo así que chucho?
How come it's the chucho?
Caption 33, Festivaliando - Mono Núñez - Part 4Play Caption
Thank you for reading!
Let's continue our lesson about the most common ways to say “I'm sorry” in Spanish. Thank you to everybody who sent us feedback and suggestions about this lesson!
We discussed the expression lo siento (I'm sorry) in our previous lesson. Let's now focus on the use and meaning of perdóna[me] and discúlpa[me]. As we mentioned before, these two words have a clear and very distinctive apologetic nature and both translate as "I'm sorry," given the appropriate context.
Ay... ¡perdón! ¡Perdón!
Oh... sorry! Sorry!
Caption 21, Amigos D.F. - Consejos para la callePlay Caption
Te recuerdo, no me digas así porque no lo soporto. Ay, disculpa.
I remind you, don't call me that because I can't deal with it. Oh, sorry.
Captions 30-31, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso - Part 3Play Caption
Remember that perdón and disculpa are also nouns that mean "forgiveness" and "excuse" respectively. So you can say te pido perdón (I ask your forgiveness) or te pido disculpas (literally "I ask you to excuse me"):
Y si he fallado en algo, te pido perdón
And if I have failed in something, I ask your forgiveness
Caption 11, Enrique Iglesias - MentirosoPlay Caption
¿Ya, contento? Te pido disculpas.
Happy now? I beg your forgiveness.
Captions 67-68, Yago - 3 La foto - Part 8Play Caption
But by simply saying perdón or disculpa you are actually using these words as verbs in the imperative form, just like "forgive me" and "excuse me" in English. That's made more evident when you attach the personal pronoun me as a suffix to either perdón or disculpa, which is very common (and adds a personal touch to the expression):
¡Qué mala onda, perdóname!
Jeez, forgive me!
Caption 2, Verano Eterno - Fiesta Grande - Part 5Play Caption
Pero, discúlpame, amiga.
But, sorry, friend.
Caption 15, Sofy y Caro - Entrevistar para un trabajoPlay Caption
You may want to know that even though both perdóname and discúlpame can be translated as "I'm sorry," there are subtle differences between them. In general, perdón is seen as a more heartfelt apology, and more personal. So, thoughtful people who really value precision reserve it for occasions in which they made an actual mistake, personally hurt somebody, etc. Saying disculpa or discúlpame is seen as more casual. Perhaps that's why disculpa is preferred as a simple polite expression equivalent to "excuse me" or "pardon me," phrases that don't necessarily imply you've made a mistake. Remember that, depending on your personal preference and the context, you may want to address people politely by saying (usted) disculpe or discúlpeme:
Disculpe, ¿y usted quién es?
Excuse me, and who are you?
Caption 39, NPS No puede ser - 1 - El concurso - Part 4Play Caption