Dealing With Spanish Adverbs

If Spanish adverbs are being used to qualify a verb, then it is customary to place it immediately after the verb. On the other hand, if an adverb is being used to qualify an adjective or another adverb then it is customary to place it immediately before the adjective or the adverb in question. These two rules apply to English sentences and their Spanish translations.

Exceptions

However, there are several exceptions to both the above-mentioned rules, one of them being that adverbs that consist of two or more words should be placed at the end of the sentence. This rule, too, has its own exception, because two juxtaposed adverbs may be placed at the beginning of a sentence for the sake of emphasis. Once again, these exceptions are as valid in the case of English sentences as in the case of their Spanish translations.

We shall now examine an instance where the English word order is reversed in the Spanish translation. This happens when only a ‘no´ and an adverb are used to form an English sentence. Thus, the English ‘not yet´ will be translated into Spanish as ‘todavía no´. Similarly, the Spanish translation of the English ‘not tomorrow´ will read as ‘mañana no´.

Spanish adverbs, unlike English adverbs, never separate the two parts of a compound tense. The correct Spanish translation of ‘I have always liked to travel´ will, therefore, be ‘Siempre me ha gustado viajar´. The Spanish translators should also keep in mind that an adverb is required after a verb in English while it would be customary to replace the adverb with an adjective in the Spanish translation. 

Both English and Spanish adverbs can be compared like English and Spanish adjectives. Spanish adverbs are compared by placing ‘más´ or ‘menos´ before the adverb. Only four Spanish adverbs have irregular comparative forms.

Example of Problems with Spanish Adverbs

The following are some of the challenges that might confront the translator while carrying out the Spanish translation of English adverbs of comparison:

  • The Spanish translation for the English comparison of equality, namely, ‘as + adverb + as´ is ‘tan + adverb + como´. For example, ‘she doesn´t speak as clearly as he´ will be translated as ‘ella no habla tan claramente como el´.
  • Without fail, the Spanish translation of the English adverbial phrase ‘as much as´ is ‘tanto como´.
  • Translators can render the English ‘than´ as ‘que´ in Spanish whenever it is used in the comparison of two things, persons or actions; however, if used before numbers, ‘than´ is translated into ‘de´ and not ‘que´. For example, ‘this semester we are studying more than before´ will be translated as ‘este semestre estudiamos más que antes´.
  • When, instead of two things, entire ideas are compared, the correct Spanish translation of ‘than´ would be ‘de lo que´. For example, ‘this gentleman works more than you think´ will be translated as ‘este señor trabaja más de lo que ustedes piensan´.
  • An English expression using a superlative form of adverbial comparison may be translated into Spanish as the neuter article ‘lo´ + ‘más´ (or ‘menos) + adverb + ‘possible´.






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