What does Pertinent Mean?

The Latin term attĭnens came to the Castilian as pertains. It is an adjective that refers to what is concerned, related or relative. For example: “Regarding security, the president announced that the State will buy new satellites to monitor borders and fight drug trafficking”, “We are going to do the following: you are in charge of contacting clients and I am dedicated to to everything pertaining to suppliers ”, “ I consider that I have the professional preparation related to this position ”.

The pertinent refers to that which concerns. Suppose the governor of a province is giving a speech about the inauguration of a new hospital. In this framework, in addition to informing the characteristics of the hospital, the president provides details on the investment made by his government in public health. These data are relevant to the inauguration in question since they are part of the same theme. On the other hand, if the governor began to talk about football or music, to name two possibilities, said comments would not be relevant to the act.


For something to be relevant, it must always be put in relation to another element: nothing is relevant by itself. A wheel is a circular piece that has the ability to rotate around an axis. The wheels are related to the operation of a bicycle, but they have nothing to do with the operation of a telephone or a camera. Therefore, wheels are only “relevant” in some contexts, when they are related to certain things (such as a bicycle, a car or a truck).

According to the definition provided by the dictionary for the term concern, we know that it means «to correspond, to concern », and this is clearly explained in the previous paragraphs: the professional preparation that corresponds to the position for which you are applying, the speech that concerns the participants of the inauguration of a hospital, and so on.

The word attentive is the adjective that is part of the family of the verb to concern, and that is why they share their meanings even if their use varies: “This content concerns our research” is the same as saying “This content is relevant to our research.

Among the most common synonyms for the term pertains find the following: relevant, belonging, reference and respect. On the other hand, it is also related to the words concerning and allusive, since they can be used in similar contexts, with certain differences and considerations.

It is important to note that the adjective pertains is not commonly used in everyday speech, but reserves especially for the press and literature. In informal conversation, it is more natural to say “it is related” or “has to do with” than it is “relevant.” It is not an isolated phenomenon or, much less, exclusive to this term; on the contrary, it responds to a tendency of Spanish-speakers to avoid the conciseness of an adjective and to opt for an extensive and untidy construction.

The word that, used as a relative pronoun or conjunction, tends to abound in everyday speech. Thanks to its great flexibility, it allows us to get out of trouble when we do not remember a very specific term, such as an adjective, but it carries a very high price: it negatively affects the clarity of the message, since it requires greater attention to the concordances between verb tense and number.

Let’s look at an example in which one of the disadvantages of avoiding conciseness is clearly demonstrated: “The boss told me that this is the document that concerns what she expressed in the meeting we had this morning” is more difficult to understand —and less aesthetic than “the boss told me that this is the document pertains to expressed at the meeting of this morning”.