I only picked the number eight to shorten the title, but this question is for any scenario where you are explaining to someone what something means in another language. I've heard this said both ways, in one case it was on sesame street. The character said (sang),

"No me gusta. (In Spanish that means, 'I don't like')"

The above seems wrong to me, but I would think an educational show would be sure to use the correct version. Off the top of my head I can't think where I heard the other way, I think it was on an episode of "The X-Files". It was something along the lines of...

"Scully, 'blah blah blah' means Alien in English."

I wasn't sure how to tag this question.

  • 2
    "Ocho means eight in Spanish". You're already speaking in English so there's no need to mention it, and the hearer will recognize which word ('ocho') is not English, so the foreign language needs to be specified.
    – Mitch
    May 27 '14 at 17:46
  • Sorry, I need to fix my question title.
    – MVCylon
    May 27 '14 at 17:54

As for your title, I think "Ocho means eight in Spanish" is correct.

I think this because:

This sentence is correct:

"Ocho" is the Spanish word for "eight." (or "Ocho is Spanish for eight")

But this:

"Ocho" is English for "eight."

is of course incorrect.

If you reword that sentence to include the word "means," I think it should follow the same pattern.

"Ocho" means "eight" in Spanish.

  • Sorry, I reread my title and I had incorrectly ordered the words in a way that didn't match my question. I've updated the title.
    – MVCylon
    May 27 '14 at 17:56

Consider saying instead:

"Ocho is (the) Spanish for eight."

  • 1
    "the Spanish"? Shouldn't that just be "Spanish"?
    – Bart
    May 27 '14 at 17:50
  • @Bart Indeed. "The" Spanish. What's "the" English for "ocho?"
    – Elian
    May 27 '14 at 17:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.