Don’t Get Cornered
Let’s deal with the nouns first. As indicated above, the word corner in English and its counterparts in Spanish refer to a point in two or three dimensions where various lines converge, forming an angle. The solutions in Spanish depend on whether that angle is an inside angle, like the corner of a room. In that case, the words rincón and ángulo may be used.
Los poetas estaban reunidos en un rincón del restaurante (The poets were meeting in a corner of the restaurant).
Del salón en un ángulo oscuro… (In a dark corner of the room…) – line from a famous poem by Bécquer.
If one is speaking of an outside corner where one sidewalk meets another at an intersection – which is what makes that two-dimensional space on the ground an outside corner, the word is esquina. This is also the word for the external corner of a building or some other (usually large) object.
Me van a esperar en la esquina de Palma y Revolución (They are going to wait for me at the corner of Palma and Revolution).
When you are not speaking about the corner of a sidewalk but rather about the intersection itself, the word is bocacalle – the place where two or more roads meet.
Siempre hay un embudo de tráfico en esa bocacalle durante las horas pico (There is always a traffic jam at that intersection at rush hour).
While on the subject of streets, corners and intersections, note that there are two common words for a city block. In Spain, the word is manzana (yes, the same word as the word for apple!). In Latin America, the word is cuadra. While bloque will be heard among some Spanish speakers who have lived in the US for a long time, it is not correct – using bloque is a good example of linguistic contamination!
Finally, there is the English verb to corner. Yes, Spanish has a verb for that, logically: arrinconar.
Los detectives lograron arrinconar al delincuente en un edificio abandonado (The detectives managed to corner the crook in an abandoned building).
This post is part of the series: Spanish Usage
The articles in this series deal with various questions about the right choice of word or phrase when English may have one or two structures but Spanish has more. They often deal with prepositional issues.
- Spanish Usage Questions: “Above”
- Using “Actual” and “Actually” in Spanish
- A Problem Preposition: The Ways “About” is Expressed in Spanish
- The Many Spanish Faces of the English Verb “to Agree”
- Spanish Usage Questions: Ways to say “Again”
- Expressing the Many Meanings of After
- Spanish Usage Questions: How to Say “Ahead”
- Spanish Usage Questions: “Anyone” and “Anybody”
- Using “Anyway…” in Spanish
- Let’s Learn About How to Talk About Appointments & Dating
- What Do You Use for “Around” in Spanish
- The Spanish Verbs Meaning “to Ask” are Many!
- Beware of False Cognates! How to Express “Attend,” “Assist,” and “Help”
- Are You “Cool” or “Cold”? Explore the Nuances in Spanish
- The Difference Between “Why” and “Because” in Spanish
- The Temporal and Spacial Meanings of “Before”: How to Get it Right in Spanish
- Don’t Be Left in the Dust! Learn to Express the Meanings of “Behind” in Spanish
- Get the Low Down on the Preposition “Below” and Say it Right in Spanish!
- Understand Saying “Help” in Spanish
- Translating “Beside” & “Besides” into Spanish: Interesting Solutions!
- Not all Meanings of “But” Are Equal!
- Expressing the Various Meanings of the Preposition “By” in Spanish
- What Can the English Word “Can” Mean and How to Get it Right in Spanish
- Spanish Usage Questions: “Corner”
- The Word “Country” in Spanish
- The Various Meanings of “Outweigh” in English and How to Express Them in Spanish
- Expressing the Idea of “Ownership” in Spanish
- How to Express “Time & Distance” in Spanish
- Treat, Try, Attempt, Deal with… In Spanish, You Probably Need “Tratar”
- Spanish Usage Questions: “Having Fun”
- Even a Word Like “Even” Has Many Counterparts in Spanish
- Don’t Go Wrong When You Look for Ways to Express “to fail”
- Do You Mean “Fair” Weather, a “Fair” Game or a “Fair” Complexion? Learn How to Say Them in Spanish!
- Love, Desire and Wanting – Spanish Style!
- Discover the Right Spanish Verbs for Taking, Holding, Grabbing… and More
- You Have Nothing to Fear Except Not Knowing How to Say “Fear” in Spanish!
- Spanish Equivalents of the Common English Word “Find”
- Discover the Various Meanings of “Middle” and How to Say Them in Spanish
- Not All Spanish Words Meaning “Worker” Are Created Equal