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Dot the i's and cross the t's

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Eustache, Jan 19, 2005.

  1. Eustache

    Eustache Senior Member

    Costa Rica
    Costa Rica
    que significa: "Dot the i's and cross the t's":(
     
  2. Eddie

    Eddie Senior Member

    Nassau County, NY
    USA - English
    PONER LOS PUNTOS SOBRE LAS ÍES

    (to dot one’s i’s and cross one’s t’s)

    Durante el transcurso del siglo XVI, fueron introducidos los caracteres góticos en la escritura común. Entonces, los copistas -importantísima profesión en esa época- adoptaron la práctica de poner un pequeño tilde sobre la i minúscula, para evitar que la presencia de dos de estas letras seguidas fuese confundida con una "u" (como si hoy tuviéramos que escribir a mano y en letra cursiva el término compuesto antiinflacionario).

    Por supuesto, esta innovación no fue bien recibida por todos los escribas y por algunas de las personas letradas, de manera que comenzaron a discrepar con la medida; tanto fue así, que para muchos, la acción de poner los puntos sobre las íes no pasaba de ser una prolijidad ociosa, propia de personas excesivamente meticulosas y maniáticas del esmero.

    Con el correr del tiempo, este concepto fue desplazado por el que tiene la frase en la actualidad, es decir, ejecutar todo muy detalladamente, sobre todo lo que normalmente se hacía de manera imprecisa, aunque entre nosotros suele aplicarse a la persona que siente la necesidad de aclarar determinada situación porque prefiere las cosas transparentes.

    [​IMG] [size=+2]Ed[/size]
     
  3. Edher

    Edher Senior Member

    USA
    Cd. de México, Spanish & English
    Saludos Ed,

    That was quite a helpful and detailed explanation. I enjoy knowing the origin of things so that I can use them more effectively. I guess you can say that I like to dot the i's and cross the t's.

    Edher
     
  4. Eddie

    Eddie Senior Member

    Nassau County, NY
    USA - English
    Saludos, Edher!

    Thank you. I see you have a sense of humor.

    Ed
     
  5. belén

    belén Ex-Moderator

    Spain
    Spanish, Spain, Catalan, Mallorca
    I loved the story Ed, thanks for sharing it :)
    Be
     
  6. Eustache

    Eustache Senior Member

    Costa Rica
    Costa Rica
    thanks Ed I never thought to get a huge explanation like this! :)
     
  7. Lancearoni Senior Member

    Dallas, Texas
    USA - English
    I realize it's a response two years after the original post, but I wanted to add something that other readers may find useful at some point.

    when you use this expression, it can also mean that you just need to put the finishing touches on something, or that whatever you're working on is almost completed.

    "I'm almost finished with my thesis. All of the research is done, now I just need to cross the t's and dot the i's"

    (meaning it just needs revised a little more before being complete)
     
  8. bx2 Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Catalan and Spanish
    ... and three years after Lancearoni's contribution (that's five years after the thread was open) here's mine for the benefit of future readers:

    The best expression I can find in Spanish following Lancearoni's definition, is: dar los últimos retoques.

    I assume that the sense varies depending on the context, of course.
     
  9. cicha Junior Member

    Poland
    Polish
    Now my turn to refresh this thread: Is a sentence like this "Luego hemos plantado verde musgo como los últimos retoques"? Or maybe it sounds better to say somthing like "Hemos puesto los puntos sobre las ies plantado verde musgo"? I still have a problem with this idiom, both in English and in Spanish
     
  10. bx2 Senior Member

    Barcelona, Spain
    Catalan and Spanish
    "Luego, como último retoque, hemos plantado musgo verde" sounds good to me (by the way, always try to avoid putting the adjective before the noun in Spanish, unless you are using the sentence in a literary context. That said, "musgo" tends to be green in general, so it might sound slightly redundant, but this is another matter).

    The second sentence sounds extremely weird. "Poner los puntos sobre las íes" means clarifying things by being very specific. See here below:

    http://www.wikilengua.org/index.php/poner_los_puntos_sobre_las_íes
     

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