what's the meaning of...? / What's .... mean?

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by Xiulo, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. Xiulo New Member

    Català-Mallorquí,Español-España
    Buenas, que diferencia hay entre "what's the meaning of it?" y "what does it mean?". Creo que sólo uno se puede usar para preguntar el significado de una palabra pero no sé cual es el correcto.

    Gracias.

    PS: Sé que es una pregunta un poco chorra pero lo encutrno por ningun lado.
     
  2. i heart queso Senior Member

    San Francisco, California
    English, Canada
    Para preguntar qué significa algo, siempre usaría "what does ______ mean?"

    "What's the meaning of _______?" se usa más para preguntas estilo... "What is the meaning of life?"
     
  3. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    I agree with i heart queso.
    In writing, "What's ..... mean?" is incorrect, because "What's" is a contraction of "What is", not of "What does". "What's .... mean?" is heard in rapid or not-very-careful speech, however.
     
  4. Xiulo New Member

    Català-Mallorquí,Español-España
    Ok, muchas gracias. Duda resuelta.
     
  5. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo Mod, I say, Moderator

    Arizona
    American English
    I disagree. "What's" can be an abbreviation of "what is" or "what does" or "what has", depending on the context.

    What's that mean? (what does)
    What's the answer? (what is)
    What's got/gotten into you? (what has)

    Estoy de acuerdo con i heart queso acerca del uso de "what is the meaning of x", porque sí se suele utilizar más con preguntas abstractas que con la pregunta "¿qué es el significado de x?" Sin embargo, también se puede utilizar en este contexto, y literalmente, la frase es sinónima con "what does x mean?"
     
  6. Otacon Senior Member

    Español (México)
    It seems like both are used in American English, according to what fenixpollo said. I would like to know the opinion of a British native though, just to know which one is more common according to different styles of English.

    I've always heard "What's the meaning of..." in abstract questions, as aforementioned, and when a person is outraged, as in:

    - What's the meaning of this? (He found his wife with another man)

    I've always heard "What does X mean?" when you want to know either the meaning of a word in another language or the meaning of the word according to an English dictionary. I very often hear English students (beginners) say:

    - What's the meaning of (X word)?

    How correct does that sound to native ears? Specially, as I said, British. Could anyone tell me? I make the question here so as not to open another thread. Thank you.
     
  7. gotitadeleche Senior Member

    Texas, U.S.A.
    U.S.A. English
    As an American English speaker, what you said sounds right to me.
     
  8. Otacon Senior Member

    Español (México)
    Thanks for answering gotitadeleche, so both are interchangeable when referring to the meaning of a word? As in:

    - What's the meaning of "Judiciary"? (He wants to know the meaning either in english or spanish of that word)

    - What does "Judiciary" means? (The same, he wants to know the meaning either in English or Spanish, specially the latter)
     
  9. gotitadeleche Senior Member

    Texas, U.S.A.
    U.S.A. English
    One small correction: No 's' on mean.

    What does "Judiciary" mean?

    You would probably have to specify that you want the answer in Spanish, because I might assume you are asking for an explanation in English. If you are asking for the translation of the word, it would be more common to say "How do you say judiciary in Spanish?" or "What's the word for judiciary in Spanish?"
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015 at 10:35 PM
  10. Otacon Senior Member

    Español (México)
    Muchas gracias gotitadeleche :) me gustó tu explicación. Y gracias por la corrección. Sé que "mean" no lleva la "s" si ya tenemos "does" pero no sé por qué se me escapó hahaha. Creo que ya está claro, entonces cuando pedimos la traducción:

    - "How do you say judiciary in Spanish?" or "What't the word for judiciary in Spanish?"

    Cuando pedimos el significado en inglés:

    - What does X mean?

    - What's the meaning of X (más abstracto y pudiendonos referir tambien a cuando alguien está enojado o indignado)

    Right? :)
     
  11. gotitadeleche Senior Member

    Texas, U.S.A.
    U.S.A. English
    Yes, you've got it! :thumbsup: (But notice that I changed my typo from "what't" to "what's" :oops:)
     
  12. Otacon Senior Member

    Español (México)
    Don't worry gotitadeleche, typos happen :) Los dedazos/erratas pasan hehe. Muchas gracias por tu respuesta! Ya está todo claro. Saludos y buen dia! :D
     

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