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butterfly1334 April 20, 2016 09:21 AM

Do you use formal spanish to indicate anger?
Hi I'm new to the forums. I speak pretty decent Spanish and have several friends from Mexico who only speak Spanish. I have noticed that one of my close Spanish Speaking friends uses formal Spanish when he gets mad with someone. All of a sudden he says "Usted" and "Señor/Señora" to people he is close with once he gets angry. I've never noticed anyone else do this and wonder if this is normal culturally or just a quirk he has.

wrholt April 20, 2016 03:11 PM

Many years ago I knew a woman from Medellín, Colombia, who told me about this type of phenomenon. I don't know how commonly used it is, but I don't think it's just a quirk that your friend has.

AngelicaDeAlquezar April 20, 2016 05:23 PM

It is common. It's a way of distancing oneself from the person one is mad at.

butterfly1334 April 20, 2016 05:49 PM

Thanks for your replies. I had just never heard anyone do that before so it struck me as odd. Your explanation makes perfect sense though Angelica.

Sancho Panther September 25, 2016 10:48 AM

"Tu" is informal and fairly affectionate; no good when you're angry! But I'd never use "Usted" when I'm cross with family and/or close friends though!

Although a chap from Gibraltar I used to work with was married to una española and her mother lived with them in Britain right from when they first married, yet he always addressed his mother-in-law as 'usted'! I couldn't understand it yet my wife tells me it used to be quite common in Andalucía.

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