Posted by: janecronin | February 23, 2013

Absolutely, undeniably, necessarily so

It is becoming increasingly common in English to put adverbs at the beginnings of sentences and this is not always regarded as good style.  We can start our phrases with “fortunately” or “unsurprisingly” followed by a comma, but some people take this further and begin sentences with words like “outrageously” “bizarrely” “unquestionably”.  The Spanish are not quite as keen on this method of opening their sentences, although they are inclined to pepper them with some wonderfully complex adverbs.  Here are a few normal ones: efectivamente (indeed); indudablemente (undoubtedly); lógicamente; and here are some truly outrageous ones: “cinemáticamente”; “medioambientalmente”; “futbolísticamente”.  Depending on the context, these would have to translate as: “from the point of view of the cinema (or film industry)” “from an environmental point of view”; “from a footballing point of view”.   Sometimes they are followed by the word “hablando”, as in “futbólisticamente hablando” (speaking from the point of view of football).  If you put these two words into Google you’ll find that I am not talking complete rubbish.  I’ve just done that and found this quotation:  “Messi es un asesino, futbólisticamente hablando”, spoken by a fellow Barcelona player.  Now try putting that phrase into sensible English, something better than “Messi is a killer – footballistically speaking.”


  1. Hola, Jane,

    I am sitting on front of my TV set in the UK waiting for the start of coverage of the Classico and they have done a feature on adjectives to describe Messi, coming up with :


    I don’t know if you saw this or have come across it, but it caught my eye after receiving your latest email.

    I love getting all your language missives and can’t wait until one day I may be in El Mojón ( where we spend wonderful snatched weeks whenever we can) long enough to be able to get on one of your courses.


    Cath Duhig

    • Hi Cath,

      I like the idea of inmessionante – only problem was he didn’t quite live up to it this time!! I think he could do with a rest.

      Thanks for your comments!


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