HomeQ&AUse of "a" to Clarify Word Order/Meaning

Use of "a" to Clarify Word Order/Meaning

1
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This time, I seriously have a quick question tongue laugh In a question posted a couple of weeks ago, someone was asking how to say "Live the present; wait for the future", and this was translated as "Vive el presente, espera al futuro." Lazarus explained that the "a" comes before "futuro" in order to indicate the correct word order/meaning of the sentence, since "espera el futuro" can mean "wait for the future" or "the future waits", due to the flexibility of Spanish word placement. My question is: why is the "a" not used with "vive"? It seems to me that the exact same ambiguity can arise, with "vive el presente" being interpreted as either "live the future" or "the future lives." Could anyone clarify this for me?

3579 views
updated AGO 30, 2009
posted by Nick-Cortina

7 Answers

1
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NO need of the a here, Londres is not a person.

I understand that Londres is not a person that it is a place. Is it untrue that when speaking of a specific destination the preposition a is used? When I looked up a in my own reference book, this is what it said:

Used before the direct object when it denotes a person or the name of a place...Visitamos a Londres el año pasado, We visited London last year.

also in the RAE and another reference book I have in my possession it says that a is used to denote

  1. Dirección: Voy a Buenos Aires.

  2. Término del movimiento: llegó a Paris

Is it that my original sentence did not include el año pasado to indicate that the verb visitar was in the past tense?

If so then I suppose that would mean that el presente could not be the end of a movement because it is constantly occurring and could not be pinned down to a single event as it is in constant state of flux.

I think that I will just stick to

it is as simple as this: esperar always takes a. (in the meaning of wait for)

Thanks confused

updated AGO 30, 2009
posted by Izanoni1
0
votes

OMG, This book of yours is really something!confused I don't mean to be rude, people can give wrong anwers, often happens on forums, but books should have the correct info.

Used before the direct object when it denotes a person or the name of a place...Visitamos a Londres el año pasado, We visited London last year.

This is wrong, we use a, destination, in combination with a movement, as you can see in our other sentences:

Dirección: Voy a Buenos Aires.

Término del movimiento: llegó a Paris

For example with the verb ver:

Veo a Juan.

Pero: Veo la Torre Eifel, veo el Impire State..

Visito a Pepe, visito Londres y Nueva York. confused

I am upvoting you for your intelligent questions , Izan, always nice reading you .

updated AGO 30, 2009
posted by 00494d19
0
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HI Izan, this sentence is not correct:

Visitamos a Londres

NO need of the a here, Londres is not a person.

"Vive el presente, espera al futuro.

Nick, I think in this particular case, it is as simple as this: esperar always takes a. (in the meaning of wait for)

Esperar al autobús, esperar a mi primo, esperar a que alguien conteste....

updated AGO 30, 2009
posted by 00494d19
0
votes

Well, I thought the rule was that the personal a is added hen the DOP is a person. I don't know if the "al" in "Espera al futuro" is the personal a.

But don't forget that this construct is used when the direct object is the name of a specific destination.

Visitamos a Londres

I think that I am probably just over-thinking this (I often tend to think too much in metaphors and abstractions), but what I was thinking by this was that, in this context it, seemed like The Future and The Present represented the names of specific destination/places (i.e. in time). In this sense, the preposition a indicates direction toward or to the future/past; however, I am sure that I am just over thinking this.

The forceps of our minds are clumsy things and crush the truth a little in the course of taking hold of it.

updated AGO 30, 2009
edited by Izanoni1
posted by Izanoni1
0
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So, you don't use the "a" with "vive" just because it would almost always be interpreted as "live the present" instead of "the present lives"?

updated AGO 30, 2009
posted by Nick-Cortina
0
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"El presente vive" doesn't seem to make much sense to me, unless it is a poetical way of saying... God knows!

"El futuro espera" means "the future awaits", which is a fairly common sentence.

updated AGO 30, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
0
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I see what you mean Nick. It seems like the first part should read

Vive al presente so as to avoid the same ambiguity (i.e does the present live or is it live the present).

It would make more sense to put the a in both as this would make the sentence

Live in the present, wait for the future

Also, in both cases it seems (and I could be wrong) that both "the present" and "the future" are acting as places (i.e. destinations). If this is so, then it would seem logical to put the preposition a before the noun as that is the rule when the direct object is the name of a person or a place. Do you think that the direct objects (the future and the present) are indeed acting as the names of specific destinations when used in this context?

updated AGO 30, 2009
edited by Izanoni1
posted by Izanoni1
Well, I thought the rule was that the personal a is added hen the DOP is a person. I don't know if the "al" in "Espera al futuro" is the personal a. - Nick-Cortina, AGO 30, 2009
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