Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Cuento

Today's WOTD is: "cuento" = story


1. In Spanish, “cuento” is a masculine noun of Latin origin, the main meaning of which is story/ tale, as in:
  • El cuento de Caperucita Roja (the story/tale of Little Red Riding Hood);
  • El cuento de Blancanieves (the story/tale of Snow White);


2. The noun “cuento” is also used often to refer to a sham or a lie, as in:
  • Déjate de cuentos y dime la verdad (go straight to the point and tell me the truth);


3. A related word is the action word/ verb “contar”. This verb is often used in different contexts as follows:
  • Meaning to count, as in:
    • Hay que contar hasta diez, ¿no? (a count to ten is needed, isn't it);
  • Meaning to tell/ to narrate/ to relate, as in:
    • De pequeño, siempre me contaban un cuento* antes de dormir (as a child, I was always told a story/ tale before going to sleep);
  • Followed by “con”, meaning to have, as in:
    • El apartamento cuento con tres dormitorios (the apartment has three bedrooms);
    • Contamos con fondos suficientes para el viaje (we have sufficient funds for the trip);
  • Followed by “con”, meaning to count on, as in:
    • No cuentes con Pedro (don't count on Pedro);
*NB Please note that the word “cuenta” is very similar to “cuento”, but has a very different meaning (bill/ account) -see more details about “cuenta”.



4. Some expressions in Spanish with the word “cuento” are:
  • Colorín colorado, este cuento se ha acabado* (that's all folks);
  • Cuéntame un cuento (tell me a story);
  • Cuento chino (a lie/ a fib/ a sham);
    • Que no vienes porque tienes mucho que hacer es un cuento chino (that you are not coming because you have lots of things to do is a fib/ I don't believe it);
  • Cuento de hadas (fairy tale);
  • El cuento de nunca acabar (a never ending story);
    • Hoy seguimos igual que ayer, esto es el cuento de nunca acabar (today we are the same as yesterday, this is a never ending story);
  • Cuento de viejas (old wives' tales);
  • Cuento infantil (children's tale/ story);
  • Dejarse de cuentos (to go straight to the point);
    • Déjate de cuentos y dime la verdad (go straight to the point and tell me the truth);
  • El mismo cuento de siempre (the same old story);
  • Eso es como el cuento de la lechera (that is like counting your chickens before they hatch/ that is wishful thinking);
  • Luego te** cuento (I'll tell you later);
  • Mañana te** cuento (I'll tell you tomorrow);
  • Puro cuento (complete myth);
    • Que no vienes porque tienes mucho que hacer es puro cuento (that you are not coming because you have lots of things to do is a fib/ I don't believe it);
  • Te cuento que (let me tell you);
    • Te cuento que te veo muy bien (let me tell you that you look great);
  • Tener mas cuento que Calleja (to have the gift of the gab -mainly Spain);
    • Pedro tiene más cuento que Calleja (Pedro has the gift of the gab);
  • Tener mas cuento que siete viejas (to have the gift of the gab);
    • Pedro tiene más cuento que siete viejas (Pedro has the gift of the gab);
  • Viene a cuento algo (something is relevant/ is proper to mention);
    • Viene a cuento que cuando el accidente ocurrió era de noche (it is proper to mention that it was night time when the accident occurred);
    • No viene a cuento que cuando el accidente ocurrió era de noche (it is not relevant that it was night time when the accident occurred);
  • Vivir del cuento (to live on one's wit's);

*NB Traditional ending to children's stories/ tales.
**NB You can replace “te” with “le”, “os” or “les” to alter the meaning accordingly.

Love-Spanish.com loves the word "cuento" in the YouTube clip: SergioContreras - Princesa de mi cuento

For more on the word "cuento", visit: Wordreference.com/es/en/ Cuento

*NB 'Click' on the speaker icon next to the word “cuento” in the link to hear the word pronounced.

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