pagar a un abogado, nombrar a un abogado

0
votes
  1. "Si no puede pagar a un abogado, la corte nombrará a un abogado antes de interrogarle, si lo quiere."

Is the pronoun a superfluous here? Is this considered incorrect?

  1. "Usted puede decidir usar la palabra ..." or "Usted puede decidir a usar la palabra ..."

Which is correct'

3321 views
updated MAY 21, 2011
posted by hhmdirocco

12 Answers

1
vote
  1. "Si no puede pagar a un abogado, la corte nombrará a un abogado antes de interrogarle, si lo quiere."

Is the pronoun a superfluous here? Is this considered incorrect?

I wouldn't say it is superfluous. If you say:

Si no puede pagar un abogado

you can rephrase it and understand it like

Si un abogado no puede pagar

It is less likely, and most people would go for "Si (usted) not puede pagar...", with "usted" being the subject, but the above interpretation is far from unlikely.

Si no puede pagar un abogado, con el dinero que tienen los abogados, ¿quién va a poder pagar'
(If a lawyer can't pay, with all the money lawyers have, who is going to be able to pay')

The preposition removes any potential misunderstanding. Keep in mind that "Juan ama María" can be both "Juan loves María" and "María loves Juan", which is why we say "Juan ama a María". English has a strict subject-object structure; Spanish doesn't.

  1. "Usted puede decidir usar la palabra ..." or "Usted puede decidir a usar la palabra ..."

Which is correct?

The first one, since it is a direct object (a nominal subordinate clause):

Usted puede decidir [CD]algo
Usted puede decidir [CD]usar la palabra

Your confusion comes from the (intransitive) pronominal form "decidirse a", which requires the preposition "a":

Usted puede decidirse a usar la palabra

This pronominal form is rarely used without an infinitive clause (ie. decidirse a algo)

updated MAY 21, 2011
posted by lazarus1907
1
vote

Por eso lo llaman a veces "a personal específico", pero aparte de implicar especificidad, una de las funciones de esta preposición es evitar ambigüedades y tergiversaciones, así que yo me decanto por su uso en este caso.

updated MAY 21, 2011
posted by lazarus1907
1
vote

Interesting question!

I think one could also misunderstand (if one wanted to) "Si no puede pagar un abogado.." by answering "Perdón, se me han agotado los abogados; ¿puedo pagar con dinero'" smile

The most relevant portion of the DPD that I've found about this case is the following:

b) Con verbos como contratar, llevar, traer, etc., así como con los verbos de percepción ver y conocer, el complemento directo de persona desempeñado por un nombre común puede aparecer con preposición o sin ella. Como en el caso anterior (? a), la presencia de la preposición implica un mayor grado de especificidad o concreción del referente del complemento en la mente del hablante: Han contratado (a) un nuevo colaborador;

If this is the governing principle, I'd guess it would be better to leave out the a in this case?

Saludos smile

updated MAY 21, 2011
posted by Vikingo
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Actually I am contrasting this sentence with a friend right now who is saying a or no a...a question of semanthics.


An unfortunate phrase. Semantics is the study of "meanings" as opposed to, say, of grammar or phonetics (other aspects of language). Granted, it is widely used in the U.S. (and from your comment, is suspect, in the U.K.) to mean some sort of "trivial quibble" (redundancy for emphasis). This use is truly perverse, since it is the questions of grammar an pronunciation that are less important in communication than the transfer of meaning.

The better answer to someone who says "That's just a matter of semantics." would be "But of course, what matters most is what is meant."

On the other hand, you are, perhaps, to be complemented on having picked up, at least one, bad habit from native speakers.

updated AGO 4, 2009
posted by samdie
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Thank you, Heidita. We have the same discrepancy in English--the difference between how people talk and what is correct. Even among educated people speaking informally.

updated AGO 4, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
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  1. 'Si no puede pagar a un abogado, la corte nombrará a un abogado antes de interrogarle, si lo quiere.?

Here we go again, technically this is not correct in the context, but it is certainly "correct" as anybody would understand what this man wanted to say.

Actually, he might even have said this a, it simply got lost in the sentence as this man speaks fast and badly.

Actually I am contrasting this sentence with a friend right now who is saying a or no a...a question of semanthics.

I personally think not many people would use the a here actually, in spoken Spanish. My friend did not.

updated AGO 4, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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Very clear. Thank you, Lazarus.

updated AGO 4, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
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Surely he is asking the accused that if he cannot afford a lawyer to represent him, the court will appoint one free of charge, if he so desires.

That's almost for sure, given the context of the original sentence, but omit the context and the preposition, and both interpretations are perfectly possible. That's what the preposition is there for: to prevent ambiguities.

However, in the sentence I wrote (the one you quoted), the most likely interpretation is the one I provided in brackets, where the lawyer is the one to pay (the subject), not you. That's the thing: if someone comes and ask you to translate:

Si no puede pagar el abogado...

without further clarification, there would be two possible translations with two completely different meanings if no preposition were used. Provide the relevant context, and one interpretation will be pragmatically more likely than the other, although you can't discard the other one altogether. Add the preposition, and there is only one possible reading.

Si no puede pagar el abogado, tendrá que pagar usted.
If the lawyer can't pay, you'll have to.

updated AGO 4, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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answered

updated AGO 4, 2009
posted by 0074b507
0
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Si no puede pagar un abogado, con el dinero que tienen los abogados, ¿quién va a poder pagar'

(If a lawyer can't pay, with all the money lawyers have, who is going to be able to pay')

Surely he is asking the accused that if he cannot afford a lawyer to represent him, the court will appoint one free of charge, if he so desires.

updated AGO 4, 2009
posted by Eddy
0
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As usar already encompasses the word "to" I would have thought decidir usar would be correct.

The word "to" in English is used, among other things, to signal the presence of an infinitive, and connect these to auxiliary verbs. In Spanish this is not necessary, for the verb is fully conjugated, and it never looks like the infinitive. So, technically, that "to" simply does not exist, nor is necessary in Spanish, and try to use it as an argument to decide what is correct or not, it is -if you ask me- pointless. A syntactic analysis is far much more productive here.

updated AGO 4, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes
  1. "Si no puede pagar a un abogado, la corte nombrará a un abogado antes de interrogarle, si lo quiere."

Is the pronoun a superfluous here? Is this considered incorrect?

  1. "Usted puede decidir usar la palabra ..." or "Usted puede decidir a usar la palabra ..."

Which is correct?

As usar already encompasses the word "to" I would have thought decidir usar would be correct.

updated AGO 4, 2009
posted by Eddy