Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Estar a mano

I know "Estar a mano" is Spanish for "to be at hand" or "handy" as in to keep something handy. And "estar mano a mano" means"on even terms". Similar yet entirely different.

Is "estar a mano" meaning "on even terms" just a shortened form of "mano a mano"?.




Actually, they are different phrases.

"Estar a mano" has both meanings:
1. To be at hand or handy.
2. To be on even terms.

Let me put it like this: "Mano a mano" means you're going to do something on even terms (since the begining). But "A mano" means you weren't even, but, after something happens you WILL be even. That's the difference!

Here's an example:
Juan: Necesito que lleves a mis hijos a la escuela mientras estoy fuera.
Pedro: Con mucho gusto, y tu llevarás a los míos cuando me toque a mí.
Juan: Perfecto. Así estamos a mano.

John: I need you to take my kids to school while I'm out.
Peter: Sure, and you'll take mine when it's my turn to travel.
John: Perfect. We'll be even then.

We use this phrase a lot in Latin American countries.


- Karin

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