Me Cuesta

I’m a native English speaker. In Spanish class I was wrongly taught that the basic word “costs” translates as costar — so when you’re talking prices with a merchant, you should be saying ¿Cuánto cuesta?

Except that’s wrong.

When I spent time in Latin America, people either said cobra or vale. The only usage of cuesta that I heard was to mean opportunity cost. As in,

  • Cuesta mucho aprender inglés.
  • Hervir el agua cuesta un rato.

Which leaves me to wonder: does Spanish embed the concept of opportunity-cost into the language? So if Spaniards had been the first moral philosophers, they wouldn’t have needed to invent a separate term called “opportunity cost”?

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