Yo te hacía

I had lunch with a newish friend the other day, someone with whom I’ve gone out several times with other new friends to drink but hadn’t had much time to talk with one-on-one. The lunch place was self-serve, so we loaded up our plates with churrasco, rice, and salad. Except that I skipped the salad because the lettuce looked sad and wilted, and its uninspired bare-bones nature made it look too much like rabbit food to me. Sitting down and eyeing my saladless plate, my friend said to me:

Yo te hacía más de ensalada.

And I had to ask him to repeat it several times because, for some reason, the words just didn’t register with me. I didn’t know that hacer could be used that way.

What was he saying? I took you for more of a salad kind of girl. I thought you were more of the salad type. I had you pegged as more of a salad person. I figured you for more of a salad girl.

Interesting! I had no idea that you could use hacer that way. Later on, he wrote me a message where he used that structure again:

En el diplomado no te hacía tan charlona ;)

During the diploma program I didn’t take you for such a talker ;)

Heh heh. Well, I’m a little bit of everything. The one constant is that I’m fascinated by Spanish, and I can have somewhat of a one-track mind once a new word gets thrown into the mix.

With this usage, hacer means think, suppose, imagine. You’re saying, in my mind I imagined you as a certain way or doing a certain activity.

Te hacíamos en el Perú.

We thought you were in Peru.

Yo lo hacía de ciudad.

I had him down as being a city type.

Pues no imaginaba yo a un señor catedrático como usted usando Linux, yo lo hacía más de máquina de escribir.

Well, I just didn’t imagine a professor like you using Linux; I would have put you down as more of a typewriter person.

Maybe there’s some connection with this usage of hacer and the construction se me hace, which I should definitely blog about at some point. A salad junkie, a mousy type; and how do you picture your favorite Spanish blogger? Don’t worry; I’ve unconsciously invented lives and personalities for all of you, too. And you’re all speaking beautifully fluent Spanish, naturally!

14 responses to “Yo te hacía

  1. Aunque ya he podido observar que Vocabat es muy perceptiva con estos temas del lenguaje colombiano, no la hacía TAN perceptiva… Fina observación la suya, como todas… Ojalá muchos colombianos tuvieran un amor al lenguaje al menos equivalente al de la bloguera, que hace honor a cada singularidad del habla criolla… Así evitaríamos leer barbaridades de la pluma y la boca de tántos colombianos “ilustres”, que no se fijan en su habla y maltratan nuestro lenguaje a cada minuto…


    • Estimado Bernardo:

      Gracias por tus elogios, espero llegar a merecerlos algún día. Los colombianos tienen fama de hablar un español muy puro y esmerado, por algo será. Lo que yo puedo hacer mejor es infundir un amor al lenguaje español en los que no son hablantes nativos del idioma, una responsabilidad que asumo con todo el gusto del mundo y mucho cuidado.


  2. Did you figure this out in context or did your friend explain it to you? I don’t think I would have. This totally new to me and I had no idea what you were talking about when I first saw “Yo te hacía”.

    As usual, great post!


  3. I’ve never heard of this. I learned Spanish from my parents who came here in the late 70s though so my Spanish and theirs is kind of stuck in time. I wonder if this is a new saying…I don’t even remember hearing it while I was living in Colombia, but then again, I don’t have an ear for that kind of thing. Kind of strange to think how Colombian Spanish…all Spanish really…continues to evolve but mine is in some ways archaic and stuck at the moment my parents left and stopped being part of Colombian society!


    • This touches on so many topics that fascinate me, Jisel! Like, people’s language “freezing” in a certain time/generation when they emigrate, their children then learning that time-specific language, etc. Do your parents ever consciously feel lost language-wise when they visit or talk to people? What about someone who learns Spanish by reading Don Quijote or El Mío Cid? It also reminds me of a friend whose parents are from Boyacá. They used certain regionalisms that he never heard anywhere else, and then he ran into some of those words when he was studying Portuguese. Looking into it, he saw that those “Boyacá-isms” were really just holdouts of classic Spanish (which are found throughout the Romance languages, especially the further back you go) that had died out elsewhere (at least in other parts of Colombia). So, his parents were essentially speaking this Shakespeare-like Spanish (certain words), that is, this pure and very “educated” variant, not backwards and “hillbilly” at all!


  4. Hola. Sólo un comentario. En Perú no se entenderían esas frases.¿Cuántas personas usarán “hacia” de esa forma?


    • Supongo que muchos millones, ya que figura en el DRAE (Creer o suponer. Yo hacía a Juan, o yo lo hacía, de Madrid, en Francia, contigo, estudiando, menos simple No lo hago tan necio) y no hay ninguna acotación para indicar que se trate de un regionalismo.


  5. Just heard this expression in a Venezuela telenovela: mi bella Gorda
    If it hadn’t been for this entry that I had seen a few months ago, the expression would’ve flew over my head

    Yo la hacía a usted en el mercado


  6. Yo también desconocía este uso de hacer, y me llevé un gran susto al buscarlo por Google y dar con esta entrada tan fascinante de tu blog, el cual no deja de resultarme muy interestante y bien hecho. Te sugiero con de corazón que hagas unas entradas que tengan que ver con los verbos impersonales, que tanto nos confunden a los no nativos. Oh, the quirks of Spanish! :)


    • ¿¡Un gran susto!? Pues, espero que haya sido un susto del bueno. Yo sé, uno no espera poner unas palabras tan vagas y generales en Sr. Google y descubrir que existe una chica que dedicó tantas palabras al asunto, pero para eso estoy: elucidar todos los recovecos del español :)

      Dame algunos ejemplos de verbos impersonales para darme una idea de qué te sería útil. De todas formas, veo que tu español es excelente- te felicito! Por lo que veo, los “quirks” no te han impedido para nada.


      • Disculpa la demora en escribir, que por alguna razón recién vi este mensaje tuyo! Gracias por tus lindas palabras :) pero, dado cuanto tiempo que llevo estudiando este idioma, es lo natural que haya alcanzado cierto nivel! Si no, me habría rendido hace mucho, jaja. Hay que ver el progreso, y por suerte vivo en DC, donde hay muchas oportunidad para practicar y asegurarme de estar avanzando en el idioma.
        Pues, a pesar de haber devorado muchos libros de gramática, sigue habiendo muchos “recovecos” del idioma que no me dejan de sorprender todos los días! Hace bastante poco recién aprendí que “haber” podía llevar objectos directos, por ejemplo.
        Aquí van unos ejemplos:
        Constar (que me conste)
        Tener tiempo vs darle tiempo a alguien (no me daba tiempo para hacerlo, no tenía tiempo para hacerlo)
        Convenir (nos conviene que..)

        Y habrá bastantes más!


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