Spanish Grammar Using the Ten Commandments, Part 6

Its Spanish grammar time again! I have been speaking Spanish for so long, and I studied it in school, and when I do Spanish grammar, it is almost like explaining the ABC’s. through the years, often, when I was learning another language, I kept wanting to go back to Spanish because I studied it in school, and it clicked for me, and I continued after school. I actually got the award for Spanish in my high school, and I have always felt like Spanish was a fun game that I play. I know lots of people in America had Spanish in school, and I hope they feel the same way about Spanish. Today, we are going to do verses 11 and 12 of Exodus 20.

Hizo Dios los cielos la tierra, y el mar en seis dias y todos que hay en ellos. (God made the heavens, the earth, and the sea, and everything that is in them.)Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Verse 11: Porque en seis dias hizo Jehova’ los cielos y la tierra, el mar, y todas las cosas que en ellos hay, y reposo’ en el septimo dia; por tanto Jehova’ bendijo el dia de reposo y lo sanctifico’.

Porque en seis dias hizo Jehova‘ – “Because Jehovah made in six days.” “Porque” is “because” and not “why” because it is all one world. If it were “why,” it would be ” por que.” “En seis dias” means “in six days.” Because “seis” means six, “dias” must be plural, so it needs an “s” on the end. “Hizo Jehova’ ” means “Jehovah made.” Yes, often, the subject comes after the verb in Spanish instead of before the verb in English. When it does, it is because the author of the sentence considered the verb more important than the subject. In this case, the translator considered the making of the earth more important than who did it. In English, we know grammar from word order, and usually, the direct object comes right after the verb unless we have an indirect object, and it comes between the verb and the direct object. Nothing else can go there. However, in Spanish, if “Jehova’ ” had been the direct object, it would have had and “a” in front of it, so it is the subject. “Hizo” comes from “hacer.” It is third person, singular, simple past tense. That “third” person means that the subject must be “he, she, it, or a respectful you.” In this case, “Jehova’ ” is the subject, so it matches because “Jehova’ ” is that “he.”

Dios hizo el cielo y la tierra. (God made the sky and the land.)Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

los cielos y la tierra – “the heavens and the earth.” This is the direct object. It doesn’t have the “a” in front of it because “a” is only put in front of people who are the direct object, not things. “Los” means “the,” and it is plural and masculine because “cielos” is plural and masculine. Y= and. “La tierra” means “the earth,” and both words are singular and feminine. If a word ends in “a,” it is feminine, and if it ends in “o,” it is masculine. There are exceptions, but those are the general rules.

Dios hizo los pezes en el mar. (God made the fish in the sea.)Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

el mar, y todas las cosas – “the sea, and all the thing.” This is continuing the direct object. There is a list of thing actually used as the direct object, and in Spanish, they list just like we do. They put a comma after each item in the list, and before the last item, they put “y” meaning “and.” “el mar” is masculine and singular. “Mar” is used as a noncount noun, and even in English, non count nouns are treated as singular. “Cosas” is plural and feminine, so “las,” meaning “the” must also be plural and femine as well as “todas” meaning “all” because it is referring to “cosas.”

que en ellos hay – “that there are in them.” This is a relative clause referring to the things on the list, “los cielos, la tierra, el mar, y todas las cosas.” “Que,” meaning “that” is a relative pronoun that begins the relative clause. “Hay” means “there are,” or “there is.” In English, this would come before “en ellos,” and not after like here. However, like I said before, the person speaking, and in this case, the translator, must have considered something being there more important than the fact that they were there, so the translator put “en ellos” before “hay.” “En ellos” means “in them.” “Ellos” is plural and masculine. If there is a group, in Spanish, if everything there is feminine, it would be “ellas,” but since everything in this group are masculine and feminine mixed, then you must use the masculine “ellos.”

‘El reposo’. (He rested.)Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

y reposo’ en el septimo dia – “and he rested on the seventh day.” y = and. “reposo’ ” = “he rested.” It is third person singular, past tense. “reposo’ ” comes from “reposar” which means “to have a rest.” The “ar” has been taken off, and the “o ‘ ” has been added to conjugate it. That “o” must have that accent mark because without it, just “reposo” would mean “I rest” which is first person singular simple present tense. “En” here means “on.” Sometimes “en” means “in,” but not here. “El septimo dia” looks like it is breaking the rules because “el” is a masculine “the” and “septimo” (seventh) is also masculine, but “dia” ends with an “a,” so you would think it is feminine, but it isn’t. It is an exception. “Dia” is masculine.

por tanto – this is an expression that means “therefore.”

Jehova’ bendijo’ el dia de reposo – “Jehovah blessed the day of rest.” In this clause, the word order is the same as English. That means the translator thought it was most important that it was God who did the blessing, so he put “Jehova’ ” first. If he had thought it was more important that the day was blessed than the fact that God did it, he would have put “Jehova’ ” after “bendijo’.” “Bendijo’ ” meaning “he blessed” is third person singular past tense. It, again, has that “o” that needs an accept mark after it to conjugate it. “El dia” is masculine, and it means “the day.” “De” = of. At times, “de” also can mean “for,” but here, it means “of.” “Reposo” is a noun meaning “rest.” There is no mark after it, so it can’t be third person singular past tense. It is the object of the preposition, “de.”

Y lo sanctifico’ – “and he sanctified it, or make it holy, or set it apart.” Y= and. “lo” = it. This “lo” is a direct object pronoun. Direct object pronouns come before the verb in Spanish. “Lo” is masculine because of that “o.” It is referring to “dia,” a masculine noun. If it were referring to a feminine noun, “la” would have been used instead of “lo.” “Sanctifico’ ” comes from “sanctificar” which means “to sanctify” or “to make holy” or “to set apart.” “Sanctifico’ ,” again, has that third person singular past tense conjugation of taking the “ar” off and adding “o’ .”

Honra a tu padre y a tu madre. (Honor your father and mother.)//Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Verse 12: Honra a tu padre y a tu madre, para que tus dias se alarguen en la tierra que Jehova’ tu Dios te da.

Honra – This is a request to “honor.” It looks like third person singular present tense, but it isn’t. This form is used, not just for third person singular present tense, but also to tell someone to do something, the command or request form.

a tu padre y a tu madre = “your father and your mother.” This is a compound direct object. You can tell because ” tu padre” and ” tu madre” both have that “a” in front of them. Remember, the direct object is a noun that receives the direct action of the verb. “Tu padre” and “tu madre” are receiving that honor. “Tu” before both “padre” and “madre” means “your.” It has no accent mark, and it is before a noun. Those are the clues that help you make a different between “tu” and “tu’.” “Tu'” means “you,” and “tu” means “your.” When you have “and” in English, what is on one side of “and” is just as important as what is on the other side of “and,” and it is the same in Spanish. “Y” means that “tu padre” and “tu madre” are of equal importance.

Si honoraste a tu padre y a tu madre, puedes vivir muchos anos. (If you honored your father and mother, you can live a lot of years.)//Photo by Thgusstavo Santana on Pexels.com

para que tus dias se enlarguen – “so that your days will lengthen.” “Para” can mean “for,” but in English, it would be slightly strange to put “for” there. It means there is a conclusion coming, so I used “so.” “que tus dias se enlarguen” is a relative clause. “Que” is the relative pronoun translated to English here as “that.” “Tus dias” means “your days.” “Dias” is plural, so it needs “tus” and not “tu” because the grammar always has to match in gender and in number. “Se enlarguen” comes from “alargar” which means “to lengthen” or “alargarse” which means “to lengthen oneself.” That “se” is a reflexive pronoun, and “alargarse” is a reflexive verb. We don’t have reflexive verbs in English, but we have reflexive pronouns like “myself,” “yourself,” “himself,” “herself,” etc. That “se” can mean all kinds of things in English. Here is a bit of a list that “se” could mean: himself, herself, themselves, yourself, yourselves, itself, themselves, oneself. I hope I didn’t miss an important one, but you can see the trend that “se” takes in English. If you use the infinitive form, “enlargar,” you can leave “se” on the end of the verb, but if you want to conjugate that verb, “se” should be places before the verb. “Enlargen” is conjugated. The “ar” has been taken off the end, and “en” has been added. That “en” makes it third person, plural, simple present tense. That means “enlargen” = they lengthen, and “se enlargen”= they lengthen themselves. This “they” and “themselves” refer to your days, “tus dias.”

en la tierra – “on the earth.” “En” can mean “in” or “on,” and in this case, it is “on.” “La tierra” is feminine and singular. You can tell because they both end in “a.” This is a prepositional phrase. The preposition is “en” and the object of the preposition is “el tierra.”

que Jehova’ tu Dios te da – “that Jehovah, your God, gives you.” Again, this is a relatrive clause that describes “tus dias.” “Que” means “that,” and is a relative pronoun. Jehova’ is the subject. “Tu Dios” modifies the subject. It is like saying, “Charlie, your brother.” “Your brother” in this case, is considered an apostrophe that renames the subject. It is the same with “Jehovah, your God.” “Your God” is the apostrophe that renames the subject. In English, I was taught to put commas around the apostrophe, but in Spanish, there are not commas around “Jehova’ tu Dios,” but they are doing the same thing we do in English, renaming the subject. Again “tu” means “your,” and not “you” because there is no accent mark above it.

“Te da” means “gives you.” “Te” is the direct object pronoun, so it comes before the verb. It means “you” as the direct object. If you want to put it after the verb like we do in English, you would have to say “a ti” because “a” means “to,” and also it comes before the direct object after the verb in Spanish. If you put the direct object pronoun after the verb in Spanish, you must put “ti,” but if you use it before the verb, you use “te.” “a ti” = te. When you first start speaking Spanish, it is a bit strange because we never put a direct object before the verb in English, but after you have listened to them saying it and copied what they say for a while, it will roll off your tongue and sound very natural to you. “Da” comes from “dar” which means “to give.” “Da” is the third person singular simple present tense form of “dar.” This means that “he” is imbedded in it, and simple present tense means “everyday.”

Te doy un dar, y espero que te gusta el dar. (I give you a gift, and I hope you like the gift.)//Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

Well, that was fun! I enjoy grammar, and I enjoy Spanish. I hope these blogs don’t get too dry and boring for you, but I actually like to think. Matthew Arnold, a Victorian age British poet and essayist said, “The mind can be the source of much please.” When I read it, I grasped a hold of it and never forgot because that is how I feel. Once you learn to flex that muscle in your brain, it feels very good. The reason a lot of people never learned to like studying or school is because they never immersed themselves in thinking. I am lucky because I learned the joy. I hope you have that joy too. Here you have all the grammar from Exodus 20: 11 and 12 explained. Next time, we will do verses 13 & 14, and each day, keep going until we do all 17 verses.

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