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.
- 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."
- ¿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] "tú"?
¿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 tú, 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'