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Why does tu and te both appear in this sentence I heard in a song lyric? How can this be correct? If this is correct, is "si te vas'" also correct? What about simply "Si vas'"

  • Posted Nov 11, 2008
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22 Answers

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Songs are difficult, especially with only a phrase posted. My guess:

adds emphasis (If YOU go away)
te vas is "go away," "leave" as opposed to just "go". If you search for ir/irse on the forum, you can see a lot more about this.

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The real spanish speakers will no doubt correct me, but I think that si te vas is going to be from the verb irse, and mean if you go away.

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So, the seemingly redundant tu and te is simply to add emphasis'

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Not quite. is redundant, not because of te, but because the conjugated verb vas already tells us that is the subject.

te is necessary because without it the sentence changes in meaning. Someone more knowledgeable can tell you if this is an aspectual change or a truly pronominal verb, but the point is that irse (te vas) has a different meaning than just ir (vas).

Rich Waskowitz said:

So, the seemingly redundant tu and te is simply to add emphasis?

>

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Rich Waskowitz said:

So, the seemingly redundant tu and te is simply to add emphasis?

Not at all. "Vas" means "you go"; "te vas" means "you leave". Most of the time, that "tú" is used to contrast with others:

Si tú te vas... = If YOU leave (just you; not the others),...
Si te vas... = If you leave
Si vas = If you go

Removing the pronouns would be like turning "It is likely that we will find out soon" into "Is likely that we will find soon", just because in Spanish we wouldn't have used "it" or "out".

However, many people are starting to imitate English and use constructions that sound unnatural to the rest of the Spanish natives, especially in countries very close to USA, and often, in songs, so maybe that "tú" is there for no good reason at all.

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there's no complete sentence or line to see (context), but you should check out the reference section here. I think it's under grammar/pronouns. You will find more than you ever wanted to know about
spanish pronouns. Also, the te in the bit you submitted will look like an indirect object after reading that page, but it's not. Then we are into a completely different can of sardines.

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Here is more of the lyrics. I understand WHAT they are saying, I don't understand why "si tu vas" is not enough and why Te is added. Or for that matter, why "si vas" is not enough. Doesn't "vas" only apply to the "tu" person? Who else could 'vas" be speaking to?

"Si Tu Te Vas"

Si tu te vas
Te lleveras mi corazon
Y yo sin ti
ya no se por donde ir
Si tu te vas
Nunca te podre olvidar

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You could leave out tú, but not te. Without te, it sounds like "You are going to ___|\___|\___|", basically an incomplete thought.

Rich Waskowitz said:

Here is more of the lyrics. I understand WHAT they are saying, I don't understand why "si tu vas" is not enough and why Te is added. Or for that matter, why "si vas" is not enough. Doesn't "vas" only apply to the "tu" person? Who else could 'vas" be speaking to?

"Si Tu Te Vas"

Si tu te vas

Te lleveras mi corazon

Y yo sin ti

ya no se por donde ir

Si tu te vas

Nunca te podre olvidar

>

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Rich Waskowitz said:

Here is more of the lyrics. I understand WHAT they are saying, I don't understand why "si tu vas" is not enough and why Te is added. Or for that matter, why "si vas" is not enough. Doesn't "vas" only apply to the "tu" person? Who else could 'vas" be speaking to?

Please read my comment above, and ask if you don't understand it.

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Lazarus, I do not understand. If "vas" is the tu form of the verb ir, then vas must clearly be referring to the second person singular "tu" and no one else. So why is Tu required to contrast with anyone else? Second, I believe you if you tell me that "si vas" means one thing (go) and "si te vas" means something different (leave), but I would have never known that by the definition of the verb ir. So I still do not understand why the tu is needed. Sorry if I am being dense.

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Rich Waskowitz said:

Lazarus, I do not understand. If "vas" is the tu form of the verb ir, then vas must clearly be referring to the second person singular "tu" and no one else. So why is Tu required to contrast with anyone else?

Why says that it is required? Languages have lots of different expressive resources available for different things, and you can use them or not, depending on how you want to sound. For example, if you say "Wash up the dishes" (British), you don't really have to say "up", do you? "Wash the dishes" is correct English, so why using "up"? Well, it specifies that you are washing different kitchen utensils, like dishes, but since "dishes" is there anyway, it is not necessary. It just sounds more "expressive" for natives.

"SI te vas..." is just "If you leave...", but if you also use "tú", the idea is not to indicate that we are referring to "you", since that can be known from the conjugation ("vas"), but to actually stress the idea that it is you, only you and no one else. We are making the other person the absolute focus of all our thoughts by using that pronoun, as opposed to just saying a plain "If you leave...". In English you can do this when you speak by stressing the word "YOU" and saying it slower and louder, to reinforce the idea. In Spanish this is done by actually using the pronoun "tú".

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Rich Waskowitz said:

Lazarus, I do not understand. If "vas" is the tu form of the verb ir, then vas must clearly be referring to the second person singular "tu" and no one else. So why is Tu required to contrast with anyone else? Second, I believe you if you tell me that "si vas" means one thing (go) and "si te vas" means something different (leave), but I would have never known that by the definition of the verb ir. So I still do not understand why the tu is needed. Sorry if I am being dense.


"irse" -- Yes, there are Spanish linguists who feel that "irse" should, indeed, have a separate entry in the dictionary (and not just be treated in the entry for "ir) because it means something different and because the "se" (or "te", in this case is crucial to recognizing the difference and cannot be omitted without changing the meaning).

"tú" -- As Lazarus pointed out, in conversational/spoken English we most often indicate special emphasis/contrast by simply stressing (saying louder) the word we wish to emphasize. There are, however, other (less common) ways of signaling stress in English. Consider Patrick Henry's famous line "I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!". Take out the "as for me" and the basic meaning remains the same. By putting it in, he emphasizes/contrasts his choice with the choice(s) of others. Similarly, in the song, the speaker is suggesting that he will not be so affected, if other people leave but if she leaves he will be devastated. (feel free to adjust the sexes of the speaker and addressee according to the sex of the singer).

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I don't know this particular song, but I have a song by Thalia called Si Tú Te Vas, and if for no other reason, the "tú" is needed for musical reasons. That is, it fits into the meter. In that song, the line is:

Si tú te vas, qué voy a hacer

This is a couplet of four syllables each (the A before hacer is not pronounced). If the "tú" were not there, the lyrics wouldn't sound right.

Music, like poetry, often allows the writer some liberty with words. Poetic license, as they say.

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James Santiago said:

I don't know this particular song, but I have a song by Thalia called Si Tú Te Vas, and if for no other reason, the "tú" is needed for musical reasons. That is, it fits into the meter. In that song, the line is:Si tú te vas, qué voy a hacerThis is a couplet of four syllables each (the A before hacer is not pronounced). If the "tú" were not there, the lyrics wouldn't sound right.Music, like poetry, often allows the writer some liberty with words. Poetic license, as they say.

>

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Now THAT I understand and it was my first thought that this is why it was worded that way. I cannot understand any of the other explanations that were offfered. That does not mean that I think any of them are incorrect.......

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