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“Right” in Spanish: Correcto, derecha, derecho

How do you say “right” in Spanish? Is it “derecha”, “derecho”, or “correcto”? Today we’ll explore a bunch of important adjectives in Spanish, and we’ll get lots of practice choosing the right one.

Full Podcast Episode


Quiero hacer lo correcto.

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to keep practicing the verbs Sentir and Sentar, and we’ll also learn some new adjectives. Specifically, we’re going to focus on adjectives that help specify which of something you’re talking about.

Here’s an example, using an adjective you already know:

This is the same house.

Esta es la misma casa.

So here we’re using the word misma to emphasize which house we’re talking about: The same house. Here’s a similar example:

It was the only place like that.

Era el único lugar así.

So the adjectives mismo and único are both typically used right before a noun, and they’re both very often used to emphasize which of something you’re talking about.

A similar adjective is último, which means “last”. It’s related to the English word for “ultimate”, and it’s spelled u-l-t-i-m-o, but with an accent on the first letter: último. Here’s an example:

I’m talking about the last guy.

Estoy hablando del último chico.

So último is used just like mismo, único, and primero. You can talk about la misma casa, la única casa, la primera casa, or la última casa.

Our next word is correcto, which means “correct” or “right”. This word is a bit different because it tends to be used after the noun. Check this out:

The last house is the right house.

La última casa es la casa correcta.

So in this way, the word correcto is similar to the word pasado for “past” or “last”. Here’s another example:

Last week we were at the correct place.

La semana pasada estuvimos en el lugar correcto.

Try it yourself in this next one:

These aren’t the correct places.

Estos no son los lugares correctos.

Note that this could also be “the right places”, where “right” is a synonym for “correct” in English.

The adjective correcto is also often used without a noun in the phrase lo correcto to mean “the correct thing” or “the right thing”. For example:

I want to do the right thing.

Quiero hacer lo correcto.

Let’s get some practice with último and correcto, remembering to use último before nouns and correcto either after nouns or without a noun.

It was the first week we were here.

Fue la primera semana que estuvimos aquí.

The last car is the correct one.

El último auto es el correcto.

He is the last person that knew that.

Es la última persona que supo eso.

He did the right thing, even if he was the last one.

Hizo lo correcto, aunque fuera el último.

This isn’t the right house, I wasn’t here last week.

Esta no es la casa correcta, no estuve aquí la semana pasada.

So in Spanish, there are a lot of adjectives that are used to describe which of something you’re talking about, and they have a way of preferring to go either before or after a noun. We’re going to learn a few more that tend to go after a noun. We’ll start with a pretty simple one, real, which has the same spelling as the English word “real” and means roughly the same thing. For example:

This is the real reason.

Esta es la razón real.

Now, these adjectives don’t always have to be directly attached to a noun. So for example:

We didn’t know that those things were real.

No sabíamos que esas cosas eran reales.

Our next word is the word for “general”, as in “the general problem”. This word is general, spelled exactly like the English word. So for example:

This last thing has to do with the general problem.

Esto último tiene que ver con el problema general.

And then we also have a fun word, secreto, which means “secret”. For example:

Either they aren’t real or they’re in secret places.

O no son reales o están en lugares secretos.

Let’s practice real, general, and secreto.

It’s because it isn’t real.

Es porque no es real.

I have a secret room and it’s real.

Tengo un cuarto secreto y es real.

The general idea is not to have secret places.

La idea general es no tener lugares secretos.

That’s the general reason why they were here.

Esa es la razón general por la que estaban aquí.

Our next word is futuro, which is the opposite of pasado. For example:

We’ll do it again at some future moment.

La haremos otra vez en algún momento futuro.

Now, this word is sometimes used after a noun and sometimes before. You’ll typically use it before a noun if you’re describing something you expect to be yours in the future, such as your “future house” or your “future husband”. Here’s a sentence that uses this adjective both ways:

You’ll see my future wife at some future moment.

Verás a mi futura esposa en algún momento futuro.

Now let’s learn the words for “left” and “right”. The word for “right” is derecha. For example:

I can only do it with my right hand.

Sólo lo puedo hacer con mi mano derecha.

(Remember that the word for “hand”, mano, is feminine.)

And then the word for “left” is izquierda, which is a tricky word to learn; it’s spelled i-z-q-u-i-e-r-d-a. Izquierda. For example:

You can do those things with your left hand?

¿Puedes hacer esas cosas con tu mano izquierda?

Notice that derecha and izquierda are going right after the noun. These two adjectives are used right after the noun mano all the time. So let’s take a few minutes just to practice mano izquierda and mano derecha, along with using futuro both before and after nouns.

Now, or at a future moment?

¿Ahora, o en un momento futuro?

It was the left hand instead of the right hand.

Era la mano izquierda en vez de la mano derecha.

We’ll see each other on a future day.

Nos veremos en un día futuro.

Sit down and let me see your left hand.

Siéntate y déjame ver tu mano izquierda.

She feels happy when she thinks about her future city.

Se siente feliz cuando piensa en su futura ciudad.

My future family doesn’t understand these things.

Mi futura familia no entiende estas cosas.

I did it with my right hand instead of with my left hand.

Lo hice con mi mano derecha en vez de con mi mano izquierda.

All right, now there are a few more things to learn about the words izquierda and derecha. First of all, as you might expect, they CAN be used after nouns other than mano; for example:

It’s over there, on the left side.

Está por allá, del lado izquierdo.

But actually the pairings mano izquierda and mano derecha are so frequent and so natural that it’s actually not that often that you’ll use a masculine version of these words at all. According to the frequency list, izquierda is over 3 times as common as izquierdo. And part of the reason is that these words are actually often used as feminine nouns. Check out this example:

She went to the left, but he went to the right.

Ella fue hacia la izquierda, pero él fue hacia la derecha.

So here we’re using la izquierda and la derecha. And when it comes to direction, we tend to use hacia right before the noun. Try it yourself in this next one:

Did you go to the right? I went to the left.

¿Fuiste hacia la derecha? Yo fui hacia la izquierda.

And then there’s one more complicated thing to learn about derecho: The version with an O at the end has a second meaning, specifically as an adverb. And this adverb doesn’t refer to the right at all; instead, it means “straight” or “directly”. For example:

Afterwards she went straight to his house.

Después fue derecho a su casa.

This can be a bit confusing, because now derecho can mean two different directions: To the right or straight ahead. But to be fair, something similar happens in English. Check out this example:

She went to the left and then went right home.

Fue a la izquierda y después fue derecho a casa.

So here she turned to the “left”, not to the right, but then she went “right” home. It’s clear from context that she didn’t turn to the right; instead here the word “right” means “directly” — and so does the word derecho.

Let’s get some practice with this and also continue practicing izquierda and derecha.

The house is on the right side of the street.

La casa está en el lado derecho de la calle.

You have to go to the right and I’ll go to the left.

Tienes que ir hacia la derecha y yo iré hacia la izquierda.

I don’t feel well, so I should go straight home.

No me siento bien, entonces debería ir derecho a casa.

If you go to the left side and go straight, you’ll be at the right place.

Si vas al lado izquierdo y vas derecho, estarás en el lugar correcto.

In this next one, to say “the path on the right”, you’ll say el camino de la derecha. This is going to be a long and tricky sentence, but try predicting the Spanish.

They feel like the path on the right is better than the one on the left.

Sienten que el camino de la derecha es mejor que el de la izquierda.

For more practice with any of this, feel free to dig deeper at LCSPodcast.com/148. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

You never sit down to the left.

Nunca te sientas a la izquierda.

I felt like fifteen weren’t enough.

Sentí que quince no eran suficientes.

He is seated to the left, but the correct side is the right.

Está sentado a la izquierda, pero el lado correcto es la derecha.

We felt the love of our family.

Sentimos el amor de nuestra familia.

The right path is the one on the left.

El camino correcto es el de la izquierda.

 Can you feel this on my right hand?

¿Puedes sentir esto en mi mano derecha?

I haven’t felt what you’re feeling.

No he sentido lo que estás sintiendo.

You feel like you need thirteen, but twelve is enough.

Sientes que necesitas trece, pero doce son suficientes.

I’m not in need of anything.

No me hace falta nada.

He feels like the general idea is not real.

Siente que la idea general no es real.

He has sat on the bed, because he had a secret dream.

Se ha sentado en la cama, porque tuvo un sueño secreto.

You felt sad yesterday because your future family was sad.

Te sentiste triste ayer porque tu futura familia estaba triste.

I don’t want to sit down in the last car.

No me quiero sentar en el último auto.

At a future moment you can go straight home.

En un momento futuro puedes ir derecho a casa.

I wasn’t feeling like the last one(m) was real.

No sentía que el último era real.

Do you feel like you want to sit down?

¿Sientes que te quieres sentar?

She always sits down to the left.

Siempre se sienta a la izquierda.

(Formal) Please, sit down; you have eleven people in front of you.

Por favor, siéntese, tiene once personas adelante de usted.

They feel like the right side is worse now.

Sienten que el lado derecho es peor ahora.

They always seat their children on the right.

Siempre sientan a sus hijos a la derecha.

(Formal) Please, sit down, I know you are sleepy.

Por favor, siéntese, sé que tiene sueño.

You have to go directly to that place and sit down.

Tienes que ir derecho a ese lugar y sentarte.

She was feeling like the general lack of food was bad.

Sentía que la falta general de comida era mala.

I have fourteen secret cars.

Tengo catorce autos secretos.

We feel like you should sit down.

Sentimos que deberías sentarte.

He seats his son in the car.

Sienta a su hijo en el auto.

He felt like the order wasn’t fair.

Sintió que la orden no era justa.

She doesn’t want me to feel like this.

No quiere que me sienta así.

I’m sorry, I don’t want you to feel sad.

Lo siento, no quiero que te sientas triste.

I feel like I have a curse.

Siento que tengo una maldición.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/148.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn some new nouns to describe people.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Ximena Lama-Rondón. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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