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Disculpe vs. Perdón

FredH8

FredH8

I am very early on in these lessons, but two words have been introduced that seem to mean the same yet also seem applicable to different circumstances.  Disculpe means excuse me but then so does perdón. So what's the difference between the two?  The word I remember learning many many years ago was perdóname, if I'm remembering correctly, so seeing perdón by itself and especially the word disculpe surprised me. 

Scott_C

Scott_C

I believe any Spanish speaker would accept them as interchangeable, especially from a non-native speaker.

 

I have seen that it can be regional with some regions saying disculpe is more formal but they are the same.

 

I have also seen disculpe is more literally excuse me, as in I need to interrupt or I need to pass while perdón means more pardon me, as in you did something which requires a mild apology, like you bumped into someone.  If you bumped someone hard enough to knock them over, then lo siento is an even stronger apology.

 

Looking forward to see what the official answer will be.

 

Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

¡Hola FredH8 y Scott_C!

This is a great discussion! I'll chime in and add a bit more to Scott_C's answer.

The main difference between disculpe and perdón are that they are different parts of speech: disculpe is actually an usted “you (formal)" form of the verb disculpar “to excuse / to forgive” (making it literally a formal command meaning “Excuse" or “Forgive”), while perdón is a noun that literally means “pardon / forgiveness.” 

As Scott_C has said, you can use either one to mean “excuse me.” Both would actually be perfectly acceptable if you accidentally bumped into a stranger in public or needed to squeeze by someone, although you may find regional preferences for one or the other in given situations.

Perdóname, on the other hand, is a command using a “you (informal)” form of the verb perdonar “to forgive / to pardon,” and it means “Forgive me.” It sounds much more apologetic than disculpe or perdón, and you would use it when apologizing more sincerely to someone you already know well. (Note that you can use perdón with someone you know well if you'd like, but disculpe should only be used with someone you are on usted terms with.)

I hope that this helps to clear everything up, FredH8! Let me know if you still have any questions.

Saludos,

Liss

FredH8

FredH8

Why thank you!  That clarifies things considerably.  Disculpe is 3rd person singular verb while perdón is merely a noun. (I’m fighting autocorrect right now. It wants the word “disciple” where “disculpe” needs to appear.)  Since I don’t know even one person who lives in Latin America, I will arm myself with the word disculpe for a future trip to Mexico.  :-) 

FredH8

FredH8

And, Scott_C, I forgot to thank you for your explanation. It was really all I needed to know.  

Scott_C

Scott_C

Happy to help! And thanks to Liss for an excellent explanation.

FredH8

FredH8

Liss, I just noticed that in your response you are tagged as a “tutor.”  With Rocket Spanish? I am nearly at the end of Section 1.11 but already have begun to feel a little overwhelmed at times.  Too many words too fast. Conjugated verbs are introduced without any prior  allusion to or explanation of the rules of regular conjugation in present tense. (Past tense? Past perfect? Future? No freaking clue.) I have a feeling that in the future I would benefit from someone who can personalize these lessons by, at the very least, answering questions. I took some Spanish courses in the very distant past (~1970), but remember very little of it. Some words (like perdóname) do come back. 

So assuming you do tutor for Rocket Spanish, how would I go about availing myself of your services? You write so very well in English, I'm sure your Spanish must be of an equally stellar quality. :-)  

Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor

¡Hola de nuevo Scott_C y FredH8!

I'm glad to hear you both found the explanation useful! :)

FredH8, I am indeed a tutor with Rocket Spanish. That means that I keep an eye on the forum here and pop in to answer any questions or make any clarifications as required. So if you'd like to ask a question of me (and/or of your fellow Spanish learners), all you have to do is come onto the forum and start a thread, just as you did for your disculpe vs. perdón question. We'll be here to help you out! You may also find it helpful to look through some of the older threads here on the forum, since learners often have the same questions and the older threads have already been answered. 

As for the overwhelmed feeling you're having at the end of Module 1, don't worry: that's normal! Module 1 is all about picking up the very basic rules and sounds of Spanish, so many of the words are going to be brand new and a lot of the sentences are going to be difficult to understand. But now that you've got those basic intro topics out of the way, you'll start to learn about conjugation (for instance, conjugating ser “to be” in Lesson 1.12 and conjugating regular verbs in the present in Lesson 2.8), vocabulary will start to be repeated, and things will start to make a lot more sense! 

The courses are designed so that people with different learning strategies can all find what they need and what suits them best. It sounds like you would probably prefer to start with grammar explanations and an understanding of how the language works, so I'd recommend concentrating on the Language & Culture lessons for now (and maybe adding in some Survival Kit lessons as you go for extra vocabulary). Note that you don't have to take the lessons in order: if you feel like you'd like to jump straight to verb conjugations before you do anything else, feel free to do so! Just be aware that the lessons are designed to build up your knowledge bit by bit, so they will build on each other as they go along. 

I hope that you find this helpful! If you've got any more questions, just let me know!

Saludos,

Liss
 

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