Quick Question with "Amar"

1
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Okay, so recently a little discussion came up in the chat about "amar." I was saying that, since "amar" is transitive, you can say "Amo a ti" to mean, "I love you." I know it is much more common to say "Te amo", using the direct object pronoun. But I reasoned it this way: If you can say something like "Amo a mi esposo", with "esposo" being the direct object, then you must also be able to say "Amo a ti." But others were saying that it sounds wrong. Am I completely wrong on the subject or is my reasoning correct'

9228 views
updated JUN 13, 2011
posted by Nick-Cortina

16 Answers

1
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Okay, so recently a little discussion came up in the chat about "amar." I was saying that, since "amar" is transitive, you can say "Amo a ti" to mean, "I love you." I know it is much more common to say "Te amo", using the direct object pronoun. But I reasoned it this way: If you can say something like "Amo a mi esposo", with "esposo" being the direct object, then you must also be able to say "Amo a ti." But others were saying that it sounds wrong. Am I completely wrong on the subject or is my reasoning correct?

Your reasoning seems fine, but grammars do not behave like mathematical theorems, and sometimes, the reasons why we do things are not that clear, unless you check how the language has evolved over centuries.

Now, these are called "tonic" clitics in Spanish: mí, ti, él, ella, usted, nosotros, vosotros/as, ellos/as, ustedes.

If a direct or indirect object is one of these pronouns (with or without the "a"), you must also use the corresponding "atonic" pronoun. "Amo a mi esposa" is fine, but "Amo a ti" is wrong, because it has that "ti", so you must say "Te amo a ti". Alternatively, you can drop that "a ti", and simply say "Te amo", which is more common.

This applies to any verb, by the way.

updated JUN 9, 2010
posted by lazarus1907
0
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La única solución es que "Eso, sí****, que es". A veces no entendemos, pero necesitamos aceptar <español> | the way it is said. If it sounds right> and it does not sound right the way you say it and does sound right when it is said "te amo". I learn by listening. wink

It is good to learn by listening; that is a must, but the weakness here is that you pick up all the errors that you hear. Also, if you are going to attempt reading or writing, you must have some other form of learning besides listening.

updated JUL 28, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
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I still have the same question as above ... when you include the "a ella," don't you switch to the IO pronoun (le) instead of the DO pronoun?

No, you don't do any switching; the rule applies to both IO and DO pronouns alike.So it is ...

Invítala a ella. (imperative)
La invita a ella. (indicative)

Did I understand correctly'

updated JUL 28, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
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Rocco: I think what was confusing you is that you can use "a ___|__" to clarify who the indirect object is referring to in a sentence like "Le doy el lápiz." Le can refer to Usted, ella, or él... so you can add "Le doy el lápiz a Ud/él/ella." But in the case of "La invita a ella" this "a" is the personal a.

updated JUL 27, 2009
posted by Nick-Cortina
0
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I still have the same question as above ... when you include the "a ella," don't you switch to the IO pronoun (le) instead of the DO pronoun?

No, you don't do any switching; the rule applies to both IO and DO pronouns alike.

updated JUL 27, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
0
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Right. Aren't we English speakers so egocentrical'? Why can't the whole world see that every language, ancient, contemporary, or otherwise, must be based on my language, and patterned after it, right'? And my culture ... etc.

OK. I perceived he was referring to something like that, and that the "seemingly pointless" might have had something to do with foreigners' complaints. Now it is clear, that without the pronoun, "Invita a ella" could be present indicative or imperative. Yes, the pronoun does serve to disambiguate that.

I still have the same question as above ... when you include the "a ella," don't you switch to the IO pronoun (le) instead of the DO pronoun'

updated JUL 27, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
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Also, what is the "seemingly pointless 'duplication' rule" you refer to here? That is the only part of your explanations I haven't caught; the rest has been clear, helpful, and informing, as usual.
The "seemingly pointless 'duplication' rule" is a nod to English speakers who frequently complain (at least in this forum), saying "Well, if you are saying "a ella", why do you need the "la" (before 'invito'); isn't this redundant? As Lazarus pointed out in his earlier reply, it serves (at the very least) to disambiguate the simple present indicative from the familiar command but, nonetheless, many English speakers insist "Well we don't repeat the pronoun/reference-to-the-direct-object, so why should you? Based, presumably, on the assumption that, if something is phrased in a particular way in English, then a parallel construction should be used in all other languages.

updated JUL 27, 2009
posted by samdie
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"For clarification, if you include the (a ella) redundancy for emphasis in either of these two statements, don't you then use the indirect object pronoun'"

No, I don't think so, because in this case, the "a ella" is using the "personal a", used when the direct object is a person. I think you would have to say something like "Le me invitó" (She/He invited me for her/him) in order to use an indirect object. In "Le invita" (She/he invites for her/him) I would think... She/He invites whom for him/her?

But, maybe I'm wrong about this. Lazarus will surely be able to give a better and less jumbled response. tongue laugh

updated JUL 27, 2009
posted by Nick-Cortina
0
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For a statement, it would be "La invita (a ella)", and for imperative "Invítala (a ella)". Without this seemingly pointless "duplication" rule, the confusion between the statement and the command would happen all the time.
For clarification, if you include the (a ella) redundancy for emphasis in either of these two statements, don't you then use the indirect object pronoun?

"Le invita a ella."
"Invítale a ella."

Also, what is the "seemingly pointless 'duplication' rule" you refer to here? That is the only part of your explanations I haven't caught; the rest has been clear, helpful, and informing, as usual.

updated JUL 27, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
0
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Okay, thank you very much! grin I understand it now. I just have one more question: in your final example, with "Invita a ella"... that can also mean "He/she invites her" instead of being an affirmative tú command with "Invítala", right? (Of course, you would then have to say "La invita (a ella)" since you can not say "Invita a ella" without the atonic pronoun.)

For the "He/she invites her" interpretation, one needs either a context, or the personal pronoun must be used:

Jorge llama a su novia todos los días, la lleva al parque, la invita,...

Besides, "Invita a ella" is wrong, so there is no room for confusion here. For a statement, it would be "La invita (a ella)", and for imperative "Invítala (a ella)". Without this seemingly pointless "duplication" rule, the confusion between the statement and the command would happen all the time.

updated JUL 27, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
0
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Okay, thank you very much! grin I understand it now. I just have one more question: in your final example, with "Invita a ella"... that can also mean "He/she invites her" instead of being an affirmative tú command with "Invítala", right? (Of course, you would then have to say "La invita (a ella)" since you can not say "Invita a ella" without the atonic pronoun.)

updated JUL 27, 2009
posted by Nick-Cortina
0
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Okay... I think I get it. So, you can say "Amo a mi esposa", without using the atonic pronoun. But if you were just to say "I love her", without specifying who "her" is, then you must say "La amo" instead of "Amo a ella"? Also, can you please give me a couple examples of this used with other verbs? Sorry for being such a bother. I think I understand, it's just still a bit "fuzzy".

Veo a tu madre.
[del]Veo a ti.[/del]
Te veo (a ti).

Escucho a tu madre.
[del]Escucho a ti[/del]
Te escucho (a ti)

Saludan a mi madre.
[del]Saludan a mí[/del]
Me saludan (a mí).

Invita a tu madre.
[del]Invita a ella.[/del]
Invítala (a ella).

What is weird...is that in most spanish text I see "Le Amo"...it is hard for an english speaking person to understand, but apparently Spanish speaking people can determine a gender. I dont know.

Pretty bad, then. For "I (profoundly) love him", "le amo" is a common "leísmo", but for "I (profoundly) love her", "le amo" is pretty unusual. In any case, the recommended forms are "lo/la amo", since the loved person is the direct object.

updated JUL 27, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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"What is weird'is that in most spanish text I see 'Le Amo'...it is hard for an english speaking person to understand, but apparently Spanish speaking people can determine a gender. I dont know."

I think the use of "le" in "Le amo" is a leísmo: using "le" instead of "lo" if the direct object is a male. Leísmos vary depending on region... I think they are most common in Spain, but I am not sure about this. A native can tell us more about that. Anyway, the "correct" way to say "I love him", is "Lo amo", since the verb "amar" is transitive, and would thus take a direct object. (I think leísmos are used to clarify that the person is in love with a male, not in love with an object. Like, for some, "Le amo" = "I love him", and "Lo amo" = "I love it".) But don't quote me on any of this. tongue laugh

updated JUL 27, 2009
posted by Nick-Cortina
0
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Okay... I think I get it. So, you can say "Amo a mi esposa", without using the atonic pronoun. But if you were just to say "I love her", without specifying who "her" is, then you must say "La amo" instead of "Amo a ella"? Also, can you please give me a couple examples of this used with other verbs? Sorry for being such a bother. I think I understand, it's just still a bit "fuzzy".

What is weird...is that in most spanish text I see "Le Amo"...it is hard for an english speaking person to understand, but apparently Spanish speaking people can determine a gender. I dont know.

updated JUL 27, 2009
posted by WhyAmIHere
0
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Okay... I think I get it. So, you can say "Amo a mi esposa", without using the atonic pronoun. But if you were just to say "I love her", without specifying who "her" is, then you must say "La amo" instead of "Amo a ella"? Also, can you please give me a couple examples of this used with other verbs? Sorry for being such a bother. I think I understand, it's just still a bit "fuzzy".

updated JUL 27, 2009
posted by Nick-Cortina