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1 Vote

I overheard my Spanish colleague that he kept saying over the phone ¿encontraron?. I asked him what did that mean. He explained it meant "Could you find them?". I think "encontraron" is third person plural past tense so it would mean "they found ....". Could some one explain in terms of Spanish grammar as to why or how ¿encontraron? could mean ""Could you find them?". Thanks

  • Posted Nov 8, 2010
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2 Answers

2 Vote

It is 3rd person plural preterite (ellos/ellas). It's also 2nd person plural preterite (ustedes). It could mean, "Did they find?". It could also mean, "Did you (all/guys) find?". It depends on the context, which I assume the person on the other end of the phone knew.

  • Kevin thanks for your quick reply which makes a lot of sense. However I thought the 2nd person plural preterite (ustedes) for encontrar is "encontrasteis". Please clarify. - Brandonzin Nov 8, 2010 flag
  • "encontrasteis" is 2nd person informal plural preterite (vosotros). For ustedes it is "encontraron". :-) - athegr8 Nov 8, 2010 flag
  • Got it! thanks - Brandonzin Nov 8, 2010 flag
  • Bear in mind that vosotros is only used in Spain. Everywhere else ustedes is used for both formal and familiar 2nd person plural. - KevinB Nov 8, 2010 flag
  • Kevin thanks once again. No wonder I often heard my Spanish speaking colleagues in the US use the "usted" and "ustedes" form addressing each other. - Brandonzin Nov 8, 2010 flag
2 Vote

In my experience with Spanish you don't really have the same structure as you do in English, "Did you...?" The question is implied by your tone. "¿Me pasas la leche, por favor?" literally means "You pass me the milk, please?" but the tone in which you use it turns the statement into a question.

  • Excellent point. You can't translate the words, you have to translate the meaning. - KevinB Nov 8, 2010 flag
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