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Explaining Spanish Grammar Using the Love Chapter, Part 6

Let’s give a quick recap of what we have done with the 13 chapter of 1 Corinthians, the love chapter. It is hard for me to tell you all the grammar, but when we see it again, I will tell you. As for the contents of the chapter, we began by reading very poetic verses written by the Apostle Paul, the apostle who wrote 1 Corinthians. After he was so poetic about how important love is, he began explaining to us the kinds of things we do or should do when we have love. Basically, he was writing to the people in Corinth to teach them how to get along. He says love is patient, kind, not selfish, etc.

La gente esteban discutiendo. (The people were arguing.) Photo by Vera Arsic on Pexels.com

The purpose of 1 Corinthians, it seems, from the first chapter of the book was because they were dividing themselves up into groups, and the Apostle Paul said it was wrong. In chapter 12, the proceeding chapter of the love chapter, they were fighting over who had the most important spiritual gift. At the end of chapter 12, he says he is going to show them a much better way than the miraculous gifts they were so proud of having. As we get on in chapter 12, he refers to those gifts, the gifts of miraculous prophecies, miraculous knowledge, and the miraculous ability to speak in other languages.

Amor es mas importante. (Love is the most important.)Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

After that, he said those gifts were all going to come to an end. The verses after that, he said when they actually learned to love one another, those gifts would go away and no longer be important at all. We have understood all these things by studying the Spanish grammar in this chapter. Now, we are ready for verses 11 & 12.

Ninos pensaron como ninos. (Children think like children.) Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Verse 11: Cuando yo era nino, hablaba como nino, pensaba como nino, juzgaba como nino, mas cuando ya fui hombre, deje’ lo que era de nino.

Cuando yo era nino – “When I was a child.” “Cuando” (When) is easy enough of a word, you may remember it from high school Spanish just as you may remember “yo” (I), the first person singular pronoun. The verb here is “era.” “Era” comes from “ser,” the Spanish state of being verb that identifies. “Era” could be either first person (I) or third person (he, she, it, or respectful “you.”) The sentence has already told us which one of those pronouns this “era” carries: “I.” “Era” is in a kind of past tense called
“imperfect indicative.” The imperfect indicative tense is used to describe past habitual actions. “Nino” means “child,” but in Spanish, we see more than just “child.” We see that “o” meaning a male child. Paul was talking about himself. If I were writing “nino” instead of typing it, that second “n” would have a mark over it that looks like a sideways “s.” The second “n” is not really “n,” but the letter is pronounced “enyay.”

hablaba como nino – “I was speaking like a child.” “Hablaba” comes from “hablar” which means “to speak.” “Hablaba” is in a kind of past tense called “imperfect.” “Imperfect tense” describes past habitual actions and is like English past progressive. “Como” can mean more than one thing in Spanish, according to the context. If it is a question word, it is “how,” but this is not a question word here. It is used as “like” or “as,” so this is a simile. He is comparing how he was talking to how a child talks. Again, we have the word “nino” which means “child” and has an “o” on the end meaning it is masculine.

pensaba como nino – “I was thinking like a chilid.” “Pensaba” comes from “pensar,” “to think.” “Pensaba” is, like “hablaba” in imperfect tense, a kind of past tense that describes an habitual action that was ongoing, a tense similar to the English past progressive tense. I have already explained the grammar in “como nino” above. “like a child,” a similie.

juzgaba como nino – “I was judging like a child.” “Juzgaba” comes from “juzgar” meaning “to judge.” “Juzgaba” is the same tense as “hablaba” and “pensabab,” a past tense called “imperfect” that is like the English past progressive tense. “Imperfect” tense describes on going actions in the past that were habitual. “Juzgaba” is in first person singular just as “hablaba” and “pensaba” are, so “juzgaba” means “I was judging.”

Podemos seguir estudiando e ir mas alla’ de nuestros maestros. (We can continue studying and go beyond our teachers.)Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I learned this form in high school, but my teacher was using it as simple past tense. It is not simple past tense because I have studied beyond what she taught me. I figured out several years ago that it is like past progressive. I was confused because I was in a Spanish conversation class at church, and students who had studied more Spanish than I had were teaching me what form to use for simple past tense, and since it was different, I thought I should figure out the difference between simple past tense and this “hablaba” form my teacher had taught me to use as simple past tense. Simple past tense for “I spoke” = hable’, for “I thought” = pense’, and for “I judged” = juzge’.Imperfect or past progressive: “I was speaking” – hablaba, “I was thinking” = pensaba, “I was judging” = juzgaba.

mas cuando ya fui hombre – “but when I was already a man” or “moreover when I was a man.” “Mas,” it seems, can mean several things. It can mean “more,” “moreover,” or “but.” Just “more” doesn’t fit in the grammatical context, but either of the other two translations of the word can. Again, “cuando” means “when.” “Ya” means “already.” “Fui” comes from “ser,” a state of being verb meaning “to be,” and it describes. This verb could also get mixed up with “fui” coming from “ir” meaning “to go,” but from the context, we know it must be from “ser” and not “ir.” In my English translation, “already” and adverb of time would come either between the state of being verb, “was” and “a man” (and adjective compliment) the or at the end of the clause. However, “ya” comes before “fui” in Spanish. If the translator had decided to use the subject (yo) to emphasize it, “ya” in that case would have come between the verb (fui) and the subject (yo).

Hay una diferecia entre un nino pequeno y un hombre.//Photo by Hannah Nelson on Pexels.com

deje’ lo que era de nino -“I left that which was of a child.” “deje’ ” comes from “dejar” which means “to leave.” “Deje'” is simple past tense of “dejar” which means it happened at one time in the past, and it is finished. “Lo” is a masculine direct object pronoun that can mean “him,” “it,” or “that.” “Lo” is the direct object of “deje’ ” (I left). What did he leave? He left “that.” Que ‘el dejo’? ‘El dejo’ “lo.” “Que era de nino” is a relative clause. Relative clauses are used as adjective clauses. This adjectival relative clause describes “lo” (that). “Que” can either mean “what,” “that,” or “which.” It can’t mean “what” in this context because we need a relative pronoun here, and “what” is an interrogative pronoun. “That” and “which” can both be used as relative pronouns. We already decided to translate “lo” as “that,” so not to repeat ourselves, we should call “que” “which.” “Era,” again, means “was.” However, above, in the first part of this verse, I said it means “I was,” and it does, but “era” is not just first person singular imperfect indicative (a kind of past tense that is like simple past tense and describes a habitual action), but it is also third person singular of the same kind of past tense (imperfect indicative), so “era” in this context, means “it was.” Next “de” could mean “from” or “of,” and “nino,” again, means “masculine child,” “boy.”

If we put everything we have talked about from this verse together, we have: When I was a child, I was speaking like a child, I was thinking like a child, I was judging like a child, but when I was already a man, I left that which was of a child.”

As I read this verse, I actually ask myself, “What was ‘of a child’ ?” and “What was ‘of a man’ ?” I have to think back to the verse before it to keep it in context and understand that he is explaining the verses before. The verses before say that the miraculous knowledge, the miraculous languages, and the miraculous prophecies that they were arguing about will come to an end when perfection comes, when they learn to love one another. Here the Apostle Paul is talking about maturity, a kind of perfection. Adults understand so much more than children. Children only know “in part,” and adults have a much better knowledge. I actually think the Apostle Paul was giving them the example of himself as a child because he thought their fighting over who had the best spiritual gift was childish, but he was having love, being kind, and being very diplomatic like a parent who loves their children. He isn’t wanting to offend them, but he is trying to teach them, and he is teaching us. Which among us thinks they are special in God’s sight above the others? When we grow up as Christians, we realize that we are all the same, and it doesn’t matter who is the smartest. God loves us all the same, so there is no reason to fight about who is the better Christian, and people actually do this.

Si hay luz, y podemos ver claramente nuestra cara en el espejo. sabemos como nos vemos. (If there is a light and we can clearly see our face in the mirror, we know whgt we look like.) Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Verse 12: Ahora vemos por espejo, oscuramente; mas entonces veremos cara a cara. Ahora, conozco en parte, pero entonces concocere’ como fui conocido.

Ahora vemos por espejo – “Now, we see in a mirror.” “Ahora” means “now.” “Vemos” comes from “ver” which means “to see.” “Vemos” is first person plural simple present tense. “Simple present tense” means it happens all the time. “First person plural” means “we” is embedded into “vemos.” “Por” is a strange word. It can mean so many different things. I used to think it meant “for,” and it can, but the meaning is so much larger. If you say “por la manana,” it means “in the morning.” In that case, “por: means “in.” “Por” can also mean “by” or “because of.” However, in English, word that describes best what we do when we look at a mirror is “in.” We see or look “in” a mirror. “Espejo” means “mirror.” This verse in English, makes a lot of people confused because it is not translated “mirror” into English, but “glass.” At one time in history, in English, a mirror was called a glass, so they are saying the same thing, but just with older terminology in English.

oscuramente – “darkly.” Any time you see “mente” on the end of a Spanish word, it is “ly” in English. Any word in Spanish ending in “mente,” and any word in English ending in “ly” means it is an adverb. An adverb tells about a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. “Oscuridad” means “darkness,” and putting that “mente” makes it an adverb describing how he is seeing in the mirror (como ‘el vede por el espejo.)

mas entonces veremos- “But, then, we will see.” “Mas” can mean “more,” “moreover,” or “but.” In this case, because it comes before “then” which means there is a conclusion, it is probably “but.” “Entonces,” as I said, means “then.” “Then” points to a time in the future. “Veremos” comes from “ver” (to see). Veremos is future tense, third person plural. Third person plural means the pronoun is “we.” Future tense means “will see.”

Si podemos entender quienes somos, podemos crecer. (If we understand who we are, we can grow up.)Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

cara a cara – “face to face.” This is a literal translation, and a literal translation makes a lot of sense in English. If you are seeing “face to face” in a mirror, you are looking at yourself and actually seeing who you are and what you look like. Right now, these people who are squabbling and only understand part can’t see who they are very well, they are “looking into a mirror darkly,” but in the future, they will grow up, know more, love more, and look at themselves for who they are.

Conozco en parte. (I know in part.)Photo by meo on Pexels.com

Ahora, conozco en parte – “Now, I know in part.” Again, “ahora” means “now.” “Conozco” comes from “conocer” which means “to know something.” “Conozco” is simple present tense meaning it happens everyday, all the time. Conozco is also first person singular which means the pronoun “Yo” (I) is embedded in it. The Apostle Paul is still using himself as an example. He is explaining what we need to know, and what the people in Corinth needed to know as a kind father. “En” means “in.” “En” (in) is a preposition. “Parte” means “part.” “Parte” (part) is a noun and the object of the preposition. “En parte” (in part) is a prepositional phrase. A prepositional phrase begins with a preposition and ends with an object of the preposition that is a noun or pronoun, and in this case, it is a noun.

pero entonces – “But then.” He is talking about the future again.

Si’ vemos cara en cara, podemos entender quienes somos. (If we look face to face, we can understand who we are.)Photo by Hiển Nguyễn on Pexels.com

conocere’ como fui conocido – “I will know like I was known.” “Conocere’ ” comes from “conocer” which means “to know.” “Conocere’ ” is the conjugation that is future tense, first person singular. Future tense means “will know.” First person singular means the pronoun “yo” (I) is embedded into “conocere’ .” “Como,” as I said before, could mean several things, but here it means “as” or “like.” “Like” or “as” signal there is a simile, a comparison. The Apostle Paul is comparing how he “will know” (conocere’) to how we was known “fui conocido.” “Fui” comes from “ser” which means “to be,” and it identifies. “Fui” in this case, is first person singular simple past tense. First person singular means that “yo” (I) is embedded into “fui.” Simple past tense of “to be” is “was” in this case. “Conocido” is a past participle of the verb “conocer.” Among other things, the past participle can be used as an adjective. If it comes after a state of being verb like “ser,” it is called the adjective compliment, and it is referring back to “yo” (I), the subject pronoun embedded into “fui.”

Let’s put this verse all together in English now: “Now, we see in a mirror, darkly, but then, we will see face to face. Now, I know in part, but then I will know how I was known.”

El Apostol Pablo quiere detener la lucha. (the Apostle Paul wants to stop the fighting.) Photo by Vera Arsic on Pexels.com

The Apostle Paul is still trying to get the people in Corinth to understand what they are like, that they don’t understand everything they should understand about Christianity, and that is why they are fighting about who has the best spiritual gift. He wants them to grow up and learn to get along, to love one another. He is explaining that if they try looking at themselves, they will only see part, but if they actually understand love, then they will look in that mirror and see exactly who they are. They will understand that fighting over who has the best spiritual gift is childish; they will understand that it doesn’t matter who is the smartest; and they will understand they don’t need miracles. Hey, even Jesus called his generation “wicked” because they were always asking for a miracle so he could prove that he was the son of God (Matthew 12:39). He wanted them to have faith, to have trust in him, and to love him, not to be asking him to perform for them to get their belief.

Jesus dijo’ que la gente que busca para miracoles son malvado. (Jesus said the people who look for a miracle are wicked.)Photo by Juhasz Imre on Pexels.com

Okay, we only have one verse left in the love chapter, but I have only been doing two verses a day, and I am not going to add a third one tonight because it has been a long day, and I am tired. I enjoy writing these blogs, and I am glad you guys like to read them. Our lives are rather topsy turvey right now because we will be moving into our house on Saturday, and we are making preparations. It keeps me busy and makes me tired, but it is okay because we will no longer be in an apartment, but in a house that is ours, and I love the blogging I am doing.


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