...el mas dado a saber...

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Un poco de ayuda por favor:

A sentence in a book I'm reading says 'Era el más lector de los tres, él era el más dado a saber palabras de vocabulario y frases en otros idiomas.?

At first I felt like 'dado a saber? meant 'most likely to know? but if that were the case maybe it would have said 'él era el más probable (a,de,para'') saber'?

A little help on this phrase would be great and also on the correct preposition that would follow 'probable? in my example above.

Thanks again! Me fascina este foro.

2390 views
updated JUL 24, 2009
posted by Lezipo

8 Answers

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After further discussing this matter with Lazarus in private, I am now convinced that "dado a" is as formal and uncommon in Spanish as "given to" is in English. Therefore, to maintain the register, or level and style of language, "the most given to" would be a correct translation of the passage.

There are other synonymous expressions that Lazarus proposed which would also be correct/acceptable in this context. I will let him share those, if he wishes. Maybe some others have ideas on how to render this passage in English, as well.

updated JUL 24, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
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That's the literal translation. In this context we would probably say it in English the way you did ... "he was the most likely to know ...."

It is not a literal translation; maybe just a British expression. That phrase does not mean "most likely" at all.

**be given to (doing) something

formal to tend to do something, especially something that you should not do: He was a quiet man, not usually given to complaining.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English**

"Yo soy dado al vino", for example, has nothing to do with probability.

I agreed with you on the literal translation. I am very familiar with the term "given to" in English and in Spanish, and use it in both languages where it is appropriate.

My point was, unless this was some technical psychological discussion comparing the aptitudes, abilities, and tendencies of the three, "he was the most likely to know vocabulary words and phrases in other languages" conveys in English the same idea without sounding like one is trying to sound like a 21st Century William Shakespeare. Nobody today, at least in this country, says "he was the most given to know vocabulary words and phrases in other languages."

Taking your English definition above and making the same comparison that you have with my "interpretation" and your Spanish example (dado al vino), "knowing vocab words and phrases in other languages" usually has nothing to do with "something you tend to do that you should not do." It is not a "vice or absorbing activity" (from María Moliner's definition) to which one gives himself totally, as he would to a hobby or pasttime, like "Se ha dado a la lectura de novelas policiacas". Notice that in your English definition the first word is "formal"; I didn't get the impression that what Lezipo is reading is a formal treatise. And that is my point, that it is a formal-sounding expression in this country.

That is why I said:

In this context we would probably say it in English the way you did ... "he was the most likely to know ...."

Maybe I should have specified, "in commonly spoken American English." Maybe you have touched on the problem ... that "given to" is a more common expression in British English.

updated JUL 24, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
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That's the literal translation. In this context we would probably say it in English the way you did ... "he was the most likely to know ...."

It is not a literal translation; maybe just a British expression. That phrase does not mean "most likely" at all.

be given to (doing) something
formal to tend to do something, especially something that you should not do: He was a quiet man, not usually given to complaining.
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English

Compare this with the definition in my dictionary VOX of Spanish:
**
ser dado a o ser muy dado a
Tener tendencia o inclinación a una cosa: es muy dado a dar consejos.**

I think the definitions are close enough, and "dado a dar consejos" is not a statement about probability, but tendencies in behaviour.

updated JUL 23, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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¡Hola Lezipo y bienvenido a los foros de español e inglés!

¡Buena suerte Lezipo!

updated JUL 22, 2009
posted by eric_collins
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delete

updated JUL 22, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
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The dictionary María Moliner explains the expression in a different manner:

darse a Entregarse a un 'vicio o a una actividad absorbente: 'Se dio a la bebida. Se ha dado a la lectura de novelas policiacas'.

updated JUL 22, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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Dado a (hacer) algo = given to (doing) something

That's the literal translation. In this context we would probably say it in English the way you did ... "he was the most likely to know ...."

updated JUL 22, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
0
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A sentence in a book I'm reading says 'Era el más lector de los tres, él era el más dado a saber palabras de vocabulario y frases en otros idiomas.?

At first I felt like 'dado a saber? meant 'most likely to know? but if that were the case maybe it would have said 'él era el más probable (a,de,para'') saber'?

Dado a (hacer) algo = given to (doing) something

It doesn't mean "probable", but if you wanted to say that, it would be (depending on the sentence):

(él) era el que probablemente sabía
(él) era el que con mayor probabilidad sabía
Es más probable que (él) supiera...

updated JUL 22, 2009
posted by lazarus1907