28 September 2009

First is worst!

My blogger friend Benjamín of "El Bable" came up with an interesting phrase in Spanish that his mother liked to use. The phrase is "En alguien debe caber la prudencia". It means "It must fall to somebody to have some sense". This is what you say when two people are arguing or when someone is arguing with you and you stop because "someone has to have some sense". This phrase "En alguien debe caber la prudencia" would be a good phrase for students of Spanish to learn because there are many opportunities to inject it into daily conversation. For example someone might be talking about how the Palestinians in Gaza are sending rockets into Israel and Israel keeps on building new settlements on the West Bank and the fight goes on and on. You might interject, "Pues..."En alguien debe caber la prudencia". Your friend might then say something like "¡Exactamente!"

My Ma had a similar phrase that she used to say in English but it was a little more blunt. When two of us kids were bickering she would say, "The smart one always steps aside for the stupid one". We would then both shut up and make faces at each other behind her back and point at each other to indicate that we were the smart one and the other party was the stupid one. When my Ma was giving out prizes to all the kids at a birthday party the kids would invariably push and shove to be the first in line. My Ma would say, "Remember children, first is worst and last is best". We would all then shift places to see who could be the"last is best" by being the last in line because absolutely nobody wanted to be the"first is worst". Poor Ma, she could never win.

4 comments:

1st Mate said...

What a great expression! I'm going to practice it all day and look for an opportunity to use it. When I looked up caber, I found another one I liked to: "no caber en si do gozo" means to be beside oneself with joy, according to Ultralingua. Or maybe more specific would be "overflowing with joy."

Bob Mrotek said...

Bliss,
Pardon me but I think you have a typo in your phrase. I think it should be "No caber en sí DE gozo". Let me know if I am wrong partner :)

Amanda said...

I love it Bob, as I was reading your post I thought of many times I wish Id known something like this. I will commit it to memory and Im sure it wont take long to need it. ;)

YayaOrchid said...

Bob, I would have really liked your Mom. She had a wonderful way of keeping her little ones in line, :)

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.