The effort has been made to list each defined phrase under the word that the student was surest to look up, either the most unfamiliar word or the one which he would identify as not having here its familiar sense. When the word which has here an unusual sense (or whose regular English equivalent is not used in translating this phrase) is one which will not be looked up, such as a familiar preposition, its special definition for this occasion is appended in parentheses to the appropriate definition of the other word, which definition it precedes or follows according to the order of the Spanish phrase: thus, under =acabar=, ’end (=por= with)’ means ‘=acabar= end; =acabar por= end with’; under =adelante=, ‘(=mas= further) on’ means ‘=adelante= on; =mas adelante= further on.’ Parentheses in a Spanish phrase inclose words which can be added without affecting the translation except as indicated by parenthesized English words. Other parenthesized words are generally meant as mere explanations, but can sometimes be advantageously taken as supplements to be optionally added to the definition.
The special definition of a phrase does not mean that the words which make up that phrase may not be found together also with their ordinary meanings. Thus, ‘=tener por= regard as’ does not mean that =tener= ‘have’ or ‘hold’ may not also be followed by =por= ‘for’ or ‘by’ in various senses; and the giving of a special definition for the reflexive use of a verb does not mean that its reflexive use may not have also the senses of its active use with the reflexive modifications described under =se=. Nor does a special definition for a participle mean that the participle is not used also in the general sense of the verb.
A rendering found in the vocabulary should not be distrusted because when put into the sentence it results in a bold use of words. Such uses are more or less characteristic of Galdos; and if the translator undertakes to reproduce Galdos’ style in English, which is doubtless the highest ideal of translation, he must not be too timid in his use of English words. And the student should notice that the quality of the Spanish varies according to the person who speaks. Not every character in the book can be taken as a model of good conversational style, cultured or uncultured. Translate accordingly.
The citations from the Academy can usually be verified in other unabridged Spanish dictionaries; for these habitually copy the Academy verbatim. The student must not expect that the Academy shall be always right or always wrong.
Periods after abbreviations have been omitted where the abbreviation stands in especially close connection with the Spanish word.