Cabo Bob's Amazing


Your OTHER Right

Here’s a cute little multi-level mind-messer students of Spanish run into: what is “right”. (What is wrong is a thornier problem.)

You come to an intersection and you have three choices to go forward. In Mexico, left is izquierda, right is derecha and forward is derecho. Already confusing to those who haven’t gotten past the gender hurdles yet, but it gets worse.

Because in other contexts “right” is derecho. I have a right=Tengo derecho. Human rights=derechos humanos. And so forth.

In the context of la politica it's about the same as in English, with izquierdistas being the "lefties" and la derecha being the conservatives (or conservadores). Derechista for "rightwinger" exists, but is not as frequently heard.

Worse, being “right” rather than wrong, doesn’t use the term at all. There’s correcto, but you will likely hear other contructions. “You’re right” is probably most often, "Tienes razón" = “You have reason, are reasonable.” But “That’s right” will tend to be Es cierto = “It’s certain, or certified”. You wouldn’t say "No tienes razón", by the way, but "No es cierto". Another wrinkle you might run into: Mexican law students don’t study ley or leyes… they study derechos.

And another from the other side of the tracks: you might hear somebody who's told a bar has a cover charge say, "Con derecho?" It means that the cover gives the “right” to one free drink.