Aprender Inglés | SpanishDict Answers
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On your homepage it says Aprender Inglés. It also says Learn Spanish. Does using the infinitive 'aprender Inglés' translate to 'Learn Spanish' (command form) or 'Learning Spanish' or 'To learn Spanish'' I notice that often the infinitive is used in the sense of 'doing something' like baking cookies, or am I totally off base here'

  • Posted Nov 1, 2008
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6 Answers

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In Spanish, when a verb functions as a noun, the infinitive is used. In English, the gerund (verbs that end in -ing) is used in these instances, but not in Spanish where the gerund is only used in expressing continuous actions such as the present progressive.

This was cut and pasted from the reference section on this site in verbs/infinitives

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in Spanish the infinitive is not a command, but a noun, like -ing words in English, and the above sentence should have been written as "Aprender inglés", in lower case.

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Thanx, on the website it's capitalized. I understand that in Spanish the infinitive is used where in English the gerund is used (banking, fishing, baking) and that phrase is in fact really a title so I suppose it would customary to capitalize the words in a title or heading? In English the title says "Learn English" which is sort of a command form, or maybe as a heading a sort of shorthand for "here you can get help if you want to Learn English." Thanx for the input, all this back and forth helps alot.

lazarus1907 said:

in Spanish the infinitive is not a command, but a noun, like -ing words in English, and the above sentence should have been written as "Aprender inglés", in lower case.

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Hi Pergo, no, in Spanish it should not be capitalized.

In any case, I think they wanted to keep it short, so they used the imperative in English and the infinitive in Spanish here, to keep things simple.

Otherwise it should have been:

aprendan inglés/aprenda inglés

But then a choice would have to be made...it looks less complicated like this to me.

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I know that "inglés" does not translate to "Spanish". "Inglés" translates to "English". I'm not sure what "aprender" means though.

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Sam Nichols said:

I know that "inglés" does not translate to "Spanish". "Inglés" translates to "English". I'm not sure what "aprender" means though.

The infinitive, aprender, means "to learn". However...

...In Spanish, the English suffix "-ing" is translated differently. Specifically, there are 3 "ing" forms in English (as a noun, adverb, or adjective); there are 6 "ing" forms in Spanish (infinitivo, infinitivo compuesto, participio activo/ de presente, participio pasivo/ de pretérito, gerundio, gerundio compuesto)'. In the example of "Aprender Español", "aprender" can also be thought of as "el aprender" -- i.e., the act of learning (learning as a noun). The "el" is optional and hence is omitted in this case. Hence, the correct translation would be "Learning Spanish".

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