Quick answer
"Derecho" is an adjective which is often translated as "right", and "recto" is an adverb which is often translated as "straight". Learn more about the difference between "derecho" and "recto" below.
derecho(
deh
-
reh
-
choh
)
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
1. (direction)
a. right
El futbolista se lastimó el pie derecho.The soccer player injured his right foot.
b. right-hand
Tu oficina está a la mano derecha al entrar.Your office is on the right-hand side as you go in.
2. (not curved or crooked)
a. straight
Este árbol ha crecido completamente derecho.This tree has grown completely straight.
b. upright
Hay que poner derecho las sillas que tumbó el viento.We need to put upright the chairs the wind blew over.
3. (honorable)
a. honest
Mi vecino es un hombre derecho y humilde.My neighbor is an honest, humble man.
b. upright
Ojalá me pareciera derecho por lo menos uno de los candidatos.I wish at least one of the candidates seemed upright to me.
c. straight
No temas tratar con ella. Es derecha cuando se trata de los negocios.Don’t be afraid of dealing with her. She’s straight when it comes to business.
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
4. (in a straight line)
a. straight on
Sigue derecho por esta calle y llegarás en seguida.Walk straight on down this street and you'll be there in no time.
5. (not bent over)
a. upright
Camina derecho, con los hombros hacia atrás y la cabeza en alto.Walk upright with your shoulders back and your head held high.
6. (directly)
a. straight
Después de trabajar, fui derecho al gimnasio.After work, I went straight to the gym.
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
7. (legal)
a. law
Mi hijo va a estudiar derecho en la universidad.My son is going to study law at college.
8. (entitlement)
a. right
Todos los niños tienen derecho a la educación.Every child has the right to an education.
9. (exterior side)
a. right side (clothing)
No planches el pantalón por el derecho o le darás brillo.Don't iron the pants on the right side or they'll shine.
b. outside
El derecho de este suéter está lleno de pelusas.The outside of this sweater is covered in lint.
derechos
A plural noun indicates that there is more than one person, place, thing, or idea.
plural noun
10. (charge)
a. duties
Tuvieron que pagar los derechos de aduana para importar la mercancía.They had to pay the customs duties to import the goods.
b. fees
¿Cuánto vienen siendo los derechos de admisión a esta escuela?How much are the admission fees at this school?
c. dues
Denunciaron a la empresa por no pagar los derechos portuarios.They sued the company for not paying the harbor dues.
11. (property)
a. rights
Tenemos los derechos exclusivos para su autobiografía.We have the exclusive rights to her autobiography.
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recto(
rrehk
-
toh
)
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
1. (without turning)
a. straight
Cuando llegues al primer semáforo, sigue recto.When you get to the first light, continue straight.
b. straight on
Nada recto hasta que llegues a la otra orilla del lago.Swim straight on until you reach the other shore of the lake.
c. straight ahead
Camina recto 100 metros y dobla a la izquierda.Walk straight ahead for 100 meters and turn left.
2. (of good posture)
a. straight
Siéntate recto o te va a comenzar a doler la espalda.Sit up straight or your back will begin to hurt.
b. upright
Se sentó recta en el sofá cuando oyó a alguien entrar en la casa.She sat upright on the sofa when she heard someone entering the house.
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
3. (irreproachable)
a. upright
Robinson es un ciudadano recto que trabaja duro y ama su país.Robinson is an upright citizen who works hard and loves his country.
b. straight
David es demasiado recto para probar alguna droga ilegal.David is too straight to try any ilegal drugs.
c. honest
Martha es una mujer recta que nunca diría semejante mentira.Martha is a honest woman who would never tell such a lie.
d. honorable
Regionalism used in the United States
(United States)
Es un hombre recto que solo quiere lo mejor para su familia.He is an honorable man who only wants the best for his family.
e. honourable (United Kingdom)
Detrás de ese político recto, hay un tirano despiadado.Behind that honourable politician there is a ruthless tyrant.
4. (not curved)
a. straight
Dibuja una línea recta que vaya desde el punto A hasta el punto B.Draw a straight line from point A to point B.
5. (geometry)
a. right
¿Cuántos ángulos rectos puede tener un triángulo equilátero?How many right angles can an equilateral triangle have?
A masculine noun is used with masculine articles and adjectives (e.g. el hombre guapo, el sol amarillo).
6. (anatomy)
a. rectum
El tumor fue descubierto gracias a una inspección de colon, recto y ano.The tumor was discovered after an inspection of the colon, rectum, and anus.
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