Spanish4Lawyers- How do you ask “Can you show them to me?”

This is a blog to help attorneys better communicate with their Spanish speaking clients.  In the last few entries, we have been learning sentences for the initial interview in a personal injury or workers’ compensation case.  In the last post, we learned the question, “Do you have the discharge papers from the hospital?”  When your client says “Si”, you  have to follow this up with the obvious next question- “Can you show them to me, please?”

In Spanish:  “Me los puede mostrar por favor?”

This question is interesting because it shows you how direct and indirect pronouns are used in Spanish  In this question, the first word is “me” which is used to indicate that you want your client to show the paperwork “to me.”  The next word is “los” which is the pronoun “them”, indicating the discharge papers.  In Spanish, we can put these pronouns at the front of the sentence and get them out of the way quickly.

The next word is “puede” which means “you/he/she can”, or in our question “can you?”   The root word is “poder” which means “can” or “to be able to”.  “Mostrar” means “to show”.  Remember that, in Spanish, a verb is generally left in the infinitive if it immediately follows a conjugated verb.  “Por favor” means “please’.

Let’s listen to Lucy Pardo deliver this corollary question:

Can you show them?

Copyright, 2012, Jeff Scholnick, Esq, and Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Scholnick, P.A.  All rights reserved.

If anyone offers you their paperwork in either of the following circumstances, I recommend that you politely decline.


Spanish4Lawyers- Can you count the change you receive?

This is a blog to help attorneys speak with their Spanish speaking clients.  In the last half dozen posts, we have been reviewing questions that a Social Security Judge might ask at a hearing  Another such question is:
“Can you count out the change you receive in a store?”

In Spanish: “Puede contar el cambio que de le devuelven en la tienda?

Let’s dissect this question.  “Puede” means “can you” or “you/he/she can” & comes from the root “poder”.  “Contar” means “to count” (it is in the infinitive because it follows the conjugated verb, here “puede”.)

“El cambio” is “the change”. “Que de le devuelvan” is “that is given back”.  “En la tienda” is “in the store”.

Lucy, please ask the question of the day:

Counting change

Below are a couple of funny shopping related photos.

Copyright, 2012, Jeff Scholnick, Esq, and Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Scholnick, P.A.   All rights reserved.


Spanish4Lawyers- Can you count out money?

This is a blog to help attorneys communicate better with their Spanish speaking clients.  In the last few entries, we have been studying questions that Social Security Judges ask in Disability hearings.  Some Judges like to know if my clients can go to the store and handle financial transactions.  Apparently, this is a sign of financial independence and an indication that my client can work at a toll booth or as a greeter/cashier at a Target.

The question that Judges ask is “If you buy something in the store, can you count the correct amount of money for your purchase?”

In Spanish: “Si usted compra algo en la tienda, puede contar la cantidad de dinero para su compra?”

Let’s break this down.  “Si” is “if”.  “Usted” is “you”.  “Compra” means “buy” for he/she or you. (The root is “comprar”.)  “Algo” is “something”.  “En” is “in”.  “La tienda” is “the store”.  “Puede” is “can you” or you/he/she “can”.  (The root is “poder”.)  “Contar” means “to count”; because it follows the conjugated verb, we leave “contar” as an infinitive.  “La cantidad” is “the amount”.  “Para” is “for” or “to”.   “Su” is the pronoun “your”.  “Compra”, which earlier in the question was a  verb, is a noun “purchase”.

Here is how Lucy Pardo asks this question:

Counting $

Below are two cartoon characters counting their money.  My question is, if Batman shorts you, as a cashier, a dime or even a quarter, do you call him on it?

Copyright, 2012, Jeff Scholnick, Esq., and Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Scholnick, P.A.  All rights reserved.


Spanish4Lawyers- Why can’t you work in a sit down job?

This is a blog dedicated to helping attorneys communicate with their Spanish speaking clients.  In the last few posts, we have been reviewing questions that a Social Security Judge might ask your client at a hearing.  Another question that the Judge might ask is “Why can’t you work in a job where you sit all day?”

In Spanish: “Por qué no puede trabajar en un trabajo en el cuál se sienta todo el día?”

Let’s break this question down.  “Por qué” is “why”, although  “porque” (sounding the same) means “because”.  To pronounce “por qué” think of saying the number 4, with a “P” replacing the “f”.  The “qué” is pronounced like the letter “k”.

“No puede” means “cannot”.  “Trabajar” means “to work”. (As mentioned in a couple of previous posts, because this verb follows a conjugated verb, here “puede”, you leave the “trabajar” in the infinitive root).   “Un trabajo” is “a job”.  (Note the difference- the verb  “to work” is “trabajar”, ending in the “ar”, while the noun “job” ends in the “o”.) “En” is “in”.   “Cuál” is “which”.

“Se sienta” means sit down, referring to you/he/she.   This comes from the verb “sentarse’ which means “to sit down” or “seat oneself”. “Todo el dia” means “all day”  (“todo” is “all”).

Now we can listen to Lucy ask the question in Spanish:

Can U do sit down work?

Below are a couple of unusual sit down jobs.  I always knew that there was a man inside an ATM machine, but I always figured him to be smaller.  I did not know that there was a woman inside my washing machine- how come I can’t get her to clean out that lint?

Copyright, 2012, Jeff Scholnick, Esq, and Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Scholnick, P.A.  All rights reserved.


Spanish4Lawyers- How much can you lift?

This is a blog dedicated to helping attorneys speak with their Spanish speaking clients.  As an attorney who represents clients in Social Security disability cases, I hear Judges ask certain questions in every case.  One of those questions is “How much can you lift?”  Therefore, we should know how to ask this question as we prepare our clients for a hearing.

In Spanish the question is asked as follows: “Cuánto puede levantar?”

Let’s break down this question.  “Cuánto” is “how much”.  “Puede” means “can” you/he/she and comes from the root “poder”.  “Levantar” means “lift” or “raise” (think “levitate.”)

Here is how Lucy Pardo asks the questions:

How much can you lift?

Below are a couple of photos of unusual weight lifters.

Copyright, 2012, Jeff Scholnick, Esq and Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Scholnick, P.A.  All rights reserved.


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