In our lesson we are taught that derecho means straight (ahead) when giving directions. A textbook I have shows that - derecho(a) means -right - as in a la derecha (to the right) or la mano derecha (your right hand). It infers that derecho is the masculine form and thus your left foot would be el pie derecho. Does the same word mean straight and right just depending on context? If someone is giving directions, does derecho ever mean 'right'? I am a little confused here! Thanks!
April 7, 2007
April 9, 2007
Hola schrades. Yes, this can be confusing. Let me first make the easiest point: what you say about "el pie derecho" is incorrect. "El pie derecho" means the right foot. You use *derecho* rather than *derecha* because el pie is a masculine noun. If you want to say "left" (the opposite of "right"), the word you want is "*la izquierda*" (as a noun) and "*izquierda, -o*" as an adjective. "El pie izquierdo" is the left foot. As you've seen, "derecho" has a number of different meanings. If you want to say "straight ahead" (in giving directions), you'd say "derecho." It's used there as an adverb. However, "derecho, -a" can also be an adjective, and then it agrees in gender with the noun it modifies. Thus, "la mana derecha" is the right hand, while "el pie derecho" is the right foot. Derecho can also be a noun meaning law or right, as in los derechos civiles (civil rights). I hope that helps.
April 9, 2007
Sorry - I meant to say your right foot (not left) - thanks for pointing that out first! I really confused the issue there! A Mexican friend also said that you can use recto to mean straight. That will stick in my head better for now. I will try to keep the adverb and adjective forms straight. [No pun intended! :)]