cómo se dice / cómo dices

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by IryanhaI, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. IryanhaI

    IryanhaI Member

    Los Ángeles
    English - American
    Hola a todos.
    I know that decirse has a slightly different meaning than decir. However, my question is what is the difference between the phrase "cómo se dice" and "cómo dices". "Cómo se dice" can be translated into "how does one say" or simply, "how do you say". Would "cómo dices" mean "how do you say" as well? Or does it convey a different meaning? Please, I only want native Spanish speakers to answer this question. Gracias.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  2. mooRee___* Member

    Spanish - Spain
    I will try to explain what are the differences between "¿cómo se dice...?" and "¿cómo dices?".

    "¿Cómo se dice...?", could be translated into "how do you say...?". For example:
    -¿Cómo se dice
    "flor" en inglés? "Flower".
    How do you say
    "flower" in Spanish? "Flor".

    We use "¿Cómo dices?" when we didn't understand what the other person have just said. We have more expressions for that, like: "¿Qué dices?" (this one is very colloquial), "¿Perdone?" (this is more formal), "¿Perdona?", "¿Perdón?", "¿Qué has dicho?", etc...
    This one could be translated into "What did you say?", "What did you just say?" or "What do you say?". For example:

    -¿Cómo dices?//¿Qué has dicho?//¿Perdón?
    -Digo que.../Estoy diciendo que...//Te dije que...//Estaba diciendo que...

    -What do you say?//What did you just say?//What did you say?
    -I say that.../I'm telling you that...//I told you that.../I've said that...//I was telling you that...

    I hope this could help!
    If you've got any question let me know.
    Kind regards!:)
  3. Daniel G H New Member

    "cómo se dice" means "how is it said", like in a question or using passive voice.
    To be a little more precise, "COMO SE DICE gato en inglés?" = "HOW IS cat SAID in english", that would be a straightforward translation.
    Yes, "como se dice", means exactly "how does one say" and "how do you say", and it is the usual way to ask for some word you don´t know, but note, you are asking someone for a word, and it is a passive expression.

    "cómo dices" means "how do you say", but it is quite an active expression, and you are asking somebody something from him/herself, so:

    Cómo se dice gato en inglés? -> How is cat said in english?
    Cómo dices gato en inglés? -> How do you say cat in english?

    One last thing, "Cómo dices?" is a short question used to ask someone to say again something said just before (in the past, despite the tense of "decir" being present) cause you couldn´t listen or to admonish. It´s like spanish for "you said what?", "what did you just said?"

    And the other thing after the last thing is that ¿Cual es la diferencia entre "cómo se dice" y "cómo dices"? is more correct.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  4. Ushuaia

    Ushuaia Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    castellano rioplatense
    Hi, IryanhaI. Welcome to the forum!

    "How do you say?" in English may be either a general question or one posed to a specific person. There's no "impersonal/general you" in Spanish; if we were to ask a general question we would say "cómo se dice" and never "cómo dices". The phrase, then, would be translated differently depending on the intention of the speaker in English. :)

  5. IryanhaI

    IryanhaI Member

    Los Ángeles
    English - American
    You guys are wonderful. Gracias a todos por su amabilidad y por su ayuda.
  6. dennis5pia

    dennis5pia Senior Member

    el auxiliar DID traduce el tiempo pasado, el infinitivo va en presente. a mi me pasa a veces tambien.

    answering to the post. like have been said, both phrases could be similar and quite diferent:

    similar meaning: "how do you say...?" that is to say, the way a word or phrase is said in other language, etc. so, "¿Cómo dices...?" indicate that you are referring directly to the person you are talking with, and ¿Cómo se dice...?" indicate you are not reffering directly to anyone. but even when you are reffering directly to the person you are talking with, it is more common and suitable to use, "¿Cómo se dice...? instead of "¿Cómo dices...?

    different meanings:
    "¿Cómo dices? just these two words, mean "What do you say?, meaning you are asking for the last words or phrase that the person you are talking with said. it is commonly used "¿Qué dices?" too.

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