A nosotros nos ayuda Juan. A ellos los ayuda Juan.

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I have two questions. Can anyone help explain them?

  1. Please look at the following two sentences.
    A nosotros nos ayuda Juan. (We help John. Translation is from the same web.)
    A ellos los ayuda Juan. (They helped John.Translation is from the same web.)

Why "nos" is used here? It's hard to understand. It seems redundant to use both "nosotros" and "nos", "ellos" and "los" together. Is it a customary expression in Spanish that is not found in English?

  1. Cuando te mudas? (When will you move')
    From the English context, "you" should be the subject, not the object pronoun. Why the object pronoun of "te" is used here instead of the subject pronoun of "tu"?

Thank you for your help.

2279 views
updated AGO 2, 2009
posted by Min-Chen

9 Answers

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My Gran Diccionario Oxford lists verbs as "vt" (transitive), "vi" (intransitive and clear to me) and then "v. pron.", which the legend on the inside cover expands to pronominal verb. But I recently purchased a desktop version of this dictionary, Concise Oxford Spanish Dictionary Spanish/English which, of course, has no front cover and no legend. Where its brother, the hard-cover, printed edition gives v.pron." the desktop version expands to v proneuter".

I know what a neuter verb is, but not proneuter.

Usually v pron means a verb pronoun and prep pron mean a prepostional pronoun.

The object pronouns (i.o., d.o.) would be verb pronouns.

He gives us the book. (v. pron)
He gives the book to us. (prep pron)

definition using prep pron and v pron

I looked in my Spanish hardback dictionary and it uses v pron for pronominal verb. Still haven't found v proneuter. My concise dictionary uses vpr for pronominal verbs.

updated AGO 2, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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  1. Cuando te mudas? (When will you move')

From the English context, "you" should be the subject, not the object pronoun. Why the object pronoun of "te" is used here instead of the subject pronoun of "tu"?

In Spanish, if you say "¿Cuando mudas'", the sentence sounds incomplete, because you'd be expecting to hear what are you going to shed, change or move. If you say that, a native will automatically say "Mudas... ¿el qué'" (You are shedding/changing... what'). However, if it is you who is moving to a new place, and you are not changing or shedding anything, in Spanish the use of the reflexive pronoun attached to the verb is required.

(Yo) Me mudo
(Tú) Te mudas
(ÿl) Se muda

Furthermore, the verb "mudar" does not mean "to go to a different place to live" unless it goes with those pronouns, so it is better to think of "mudar" as a verb meaning "to change/shed", and "mudarse" as "to go to a different place to live".

To use "a mí", "a nosotros",... is not exactly redundant: it is required when you want to establish contrasts (like personal pronouns):

A mí me gusta el vino, y a él (le gusta) la ginebra.

Here, without "a mí" and "a él", it sounds like you are giving a list of preferences. With "a mí" and "a él", you are focusing on the differences between what YOU like and what HE likes.

Though not necessary, if it helps you understand what the subject is, you can include the subject pronoun in the sentence.

¿Cuándo te mudas tú?

Again, it is unnecessary, since it is understood by the conjugation of the verb; including it makes it redundant and emphatic, in a similar manner to the sentences above.?

I don't know the context, but if I hear someone saying "¿Cuándo te mudas'", I assume it is a simple question, but if I hear "¿Cuándo te mudas tú'", I would assume that there is at least someone else moving, and you want to ask about this person in particular AS OPPOSED TO the other ones who are moving. Again, it is a contrast, and it sounds different.

updated AGO 2, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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HI Min, welcome to the forum smile

I have moved your thread to the correct category. Please read the rules for `posting with a meaningful title.

FORUM RULES

updated AGO 2, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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Yes, it is a machine translation--actually a compilation of various internet "translation" software programs. They are very unreliable. On occasion, they can give you an idea of what a text means, if there is nothing ambiguous there, or very few pronouns. I would not recommend using them at all.

Funny thing ... when I type in "A nosotros nos ayuda Juan," Google's program says, "We support John"; FreeTranslation says, "To Juan helps us us"; and BabelFish gets it right, "Juan helps us."

When I type in "A ellos los ayuda Juan," Google says, "They helped John"; FreeTranslation says, "To them the aid Juan"; and BabelFish says, "To them the aid Juan."

When I type the same things in several times, I get completely different translations every time, a few of them actually being correct. What should that tell you about machine translations, if they don't even give you the same answer when you type in the same text time after time?

Yes, Min, the learning experience is fun, especially on this site. I really enjoy it, myself, and have learned a lot here. People here are always glad to help when you have questions, and I wish you well in your quest for yet another language.

updated AGO 2, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
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I have two questions. Can anyone help explain them?
Hello Min, and welcome to the forums.

For starters, these questions should be posted in the Vocabulary & Grammar forum; this forum is for questions/problems/feedback concerning the operation of the website. Not to worry, an Administrator will be along to take care of putting an appropriate title on your thread and moving it to the correct forum.

  1. Please look at the following two sentences.

A nosotros nos ayuda Juan. (We help John. Translation is from the same web.)

A ellos los ayuda Juan. (They helped John.Translation is from the same web.)

Why is "nos" used here? It's hard to understand. It seems redundant to use both "nosotros" and "nos", "ellos" and "los", together. Is it a customary expression in Spanish that is not found in English?

What is "the same web" you refer to? These translations are absolutely incorrect. They are exactly backwards!

A nosotros nos ayuda Juan. = Juan helps us.

Perhaps I am not the best one to explain this, but the "A nosotros" is an emphatic redundancy in Spanish that is perfectly acceptable and commonly used. It has a clarifying and distinguishing effect, for example, in contexts where the preceding statement might have been "Pedro me ayuda a mí" ("Pedro helps me," with emphasis/distinction on "me"). Thus the response, "A nosotros nos ayuda Juan." (Juan helps us. Or you might think of it as "Us, on the other hand, Juan helps us.")

A ellos los ayuda Juan. = Juan helps them.

This sentence is structured identical to the first one. Ellos and nosotros are both objects of the pronoun a, so that is your first clue that they are not the subjects of their corresponding sentences.

Many times in Spanish, things are ordered differently than in English. That places emphasis on different parts of the sentence, and adds nuances that are difficult for me to explain. In English we typically see [Subject] [verb] [direct object]. In Spanish, these can be arranged in any order and be correct without sounding awkward, depending on the context and precisely what it is one is emphasizing.

Is it a customary expression in Spanish that is not found in English?
The point is, that English and Spanish are two different languages, each having features and "customary expressions" that the other doesn't. From the very beginning, one needs to get rid of the idea that "That can't be that way in "X" language, because we don't do it that way in "Y" language."

  1. ¿Cuándo te mudas? (When will you move')

From the English context, "you" should be the subject, not the object pronoun. Why is the object pronoun [del]of[/del] "te" used here instead of the subject pronoun [del]of[/del] ""?

¿Cuándo te mudas? (When are you moving? or When will you move')

"You" (tú) is the subject of the sentence, but here is not seen since it is part of the verb "mudarse," conjugated in the second person singular (tú form) "mudarte," in the present indicative active "te mudas." This is a reflexive verb, meaning the action is performed by the subject to/on himself.

(Yo) Me mudo. = I move.
(Tú) Te mudas. = You move.
(Nosotros) Nos mudamos. = We move.

Though not necessary, if it helps you understand what the subject is, you can include the subject pronoun in the sentence.
¿Cuándo te mudas tú?

Again, it is unnecessary, since it is understood by the conjugation of the verb; including it makes it redundant and emphatic, in a similar manner to the sentences above.

If you want to see the same thing with a non-proniminal verb (one that does not have an included pronoun, like a reflexive verb), consider this similar example with the verb venir.
¿Cuándo vienes? = When are you coming? The subject is , but the pronoun is unnecessary, since it is understood from the verb conjugation (vienes).
¿Cuándo vienes tú? Here, including the pronoun makes it emphatic, as in, When are you coming'

updated AGO 2, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
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Hello hhmdirocco,

Thank you very much for taking the time to explain in detail the sentences and other aspects of the language.

Thank you for the tip, too. Now I know the right place to go for questions from beginners like me. I started learning Spanish early this year and am enjoying it. But I have questions from time to time and don't know where to go for help.

What I meant by 'the same web? is the 'Translation? tab at the top of the page on www.spanishdict.com. Now I know it is not a reliable way to have sentences translated here. It must be done automatically by a software.

From my past experience learning some other languages before and understand how each one may differ from another in terms of expression and use of words including conjugation of verbs. The leaning experience is fun.

Janice , thank you for your help as well.

Min

updated AGO 2, 2009
posted by Min-Chen
0
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I have no idea what "proneuter" means. Maybe one of our staff grammarians can answer that.

A pronominal verb is one that includes a pronoun (levantarse, irse, lavarse, arrepentirse, etc.). Most have non-pronominal forms; some do not. Reflexive verbs are one type of pronominal verb.

Wikipedia has an article on pronominal verbs, although I think we all know the potential weaknesses of Wikipedia articles. It also includes a lot of information about other languages, but it at least makes some distinctions among the various types of pronominal verbs.

updated AGO 2, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
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If you want to see the same thing with a non-proniminal verb (one that does not have an included pronoun, like a reflexive verb),

Oh, this is wonderful! I have never quite understood what one of those kinds of verbs, a non pronominal verb, is! I won't claim to really "get it" yet, but perhaps I'm closer.

My Gran Diccionario Oxford lists verbs as "vt" (transitive), "vi" (intransitive and clear to me) and then "v. pron.", which the legend on the inside cover expands to pronominal verb. But I recently purchased a desktop version of this dictionary, Concise Oxford Spanish Dictionary Spanish/English which, of course, has no front cover and no legend. Where its brother, the hard-cover, printed edition gives v.pron." the desktop version expands to v proneuter".

Can you also perhaps shed some light on where that designation might come from? ...or could it simply be that I need a newer version of this software...a mistake (and one that has contributed to my confusion).

updated AGO 2, 2009
posted by Janice
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With regard to your question about pronouns used as objects of a preposition -- (a nosotros, a ellos in your sentences)-- you may want to have a look here: http://www.studyspanish.com/lessons/oppro.htm

All but the pronouns mí and ti have a different form from the subject pronoun when the pronoun is the object of a preposition. Yo-mí, tú-ti, but él-él, ella-ella, nosotros-nostotros, vosotros-vosotros and ellos-ellos.

Does this help or were you asking something different such as why one would use the preposition and its pronoun object "a nosotros" right before using the direct or indirect object preposition "nos" or "los" in your examples'

updated AGO 1, 2009
posted by Janice