The Personal "a" - Exposure Draft

3
votes

The Personal "a"

 

1. Introduction

SpanishDict.com has a Reference Page dealing with other uses of prepositions. You may read it at this page Prepositions

Here we will look at:

2. Terminology........................... 5. Pets as Person(s)
3. Person or Person(s)................6. Places as Person(s)
4. Pronouns About Person(s)...... 7. Conclusion (Including "Verbs Like Gustar")

2. Terminology

Before continuing, let’s review some terminology.

Consider this example, "Veo a mi madre" ("I see my mother"). In English, “I” is the subject of the sentence. In Spanish, the word “I” or “yo” is implicit in the verb “veo” which means “I see”. “See (veo)” is the verb. “Mother (Madre)” is the direct object because it is the object receiving the action of the verb. Don’t lose sight of these relationships and terms.

3. Person or Persons

The personal “a” is used where the direct object of a sentence is a person. In our examples, “Isabela” and “madre” are identifiable individuals and persons. The basic rule applies so that the personal “a” must precede the mention of one or more individual person(s) when the person(s) are the direct object(s) of a sentence. Also be sure to read the following items below. This rule will also apply to some indefinite pronouns and to pets and places which are personified. Indefinite pronouns, pets and places are discussed later on this page.

Consider these examples:

3.1 Veo a mi hermana. 3.2 Veo mi libro y mis gafas.
     I see my sister      I see my book and glasses

In example 3.2, the personal “a” is not used because the direct objects are not persons.

3.3 Veo a tres personas quienes son mis primos. 3.4 Necesito tres personas para hacer un trabajo.
I see three people who are my cousins.   I need three people to do a job.

Here in example 3.4 the personal “a” is not used because the direct object persons are not anyone specific.

4. Indefinite Pronouns about Person(s)

The personal “a” will be used as explained above with the following indefinite pronouns:
Alguien (somebody/someone/anyone)..Alguno (some) in reference to people
Nadie (nobody/no-one)........................Ninguno (none) in reference to people
Quién (who/whom)..............................Cualquiera (any) in reference to people

Consider these examples:

4.1 No veo a alguien con que trabajo. I do not see anybody I work with. 4.2 ¿A quién aquí trabajo conmigo? Who here works with me?
4.3 No veo a nadie quien conozco. I do not see anyone who I know.

5. Pets as Person(s)

You will also use the personal “a” with your own pets or the pets of other persons. This is so because, in a way, such pets are personified. Do not use the personal “a” where there is no personal relationship as for insects, fish, birds of the air or animals in the wild or where no personal relationship (strays/street animals) is known.

6. Places as Person(s)

A country, a city or a building can take on a personal association and you will use the personal “a” in such references.
Consider these examples:

6.1 A mi casa, me encanta mucho. I love my house a lot. 6.2 Amo a mi país nativo. I love my native country
6.3 Extraño mucho a mi ciudad donde vivo. I miss the city where I live very much.

7. The Verbs "Tener" & "Hay"

In general you will not use the personal “a” after the verb “tener” or any form of “hay” (from haber). Then, there is an exception to this rule where the direct object of “tener” means to hold or to have someone physically or emotionally close to you at a particular time. Consider the difference between these examples:

7.1 Cuando necesitan el consuelo y el soporte, tengo a mis niños en los brazos.
When they need comfort and support I have my young children in my arms.
7.2 Tengo cuatro hijos y solo un marido.
I have four children and only one husband.

8. Conclusion

This page has only referred to those cases where the personal "a" is used together with a direct object. Remember that at 2. above you were asked not to lose sight of those relationships and terms. Other situations where "a" is used are referred to in the Reference Page Prepositions, and, in the Reference Page Verbs Like Gustar.

8128 views
updated NOV 27, 2009
edited by Moe
posted by Moe
CAn I nominate you for the longest post award? - lol
if nominated I will not stand. If elected I will not serve.
Edited-Close up Spacing - Add numbers for referencing - Correct spelling per Heidita - Enter Qfreed suggestions to Nov. 23/09/2:30PM E.S.T.

10 Answers

1
vote

comment: (I need more room):

I wouldn't separate your comments concerning pets from the rule about when to use the personal a . I would combine them into one rule. The reason being is that people are lazy. They won't read the entire article and will go away with wrong impressions. For instance, your statement below is false prima facia.

The basic rule applies so that the personal “a” must precede the mention of one or more individual person or persons when the person or persons are the direct object(s) of a sentence. Otherwise, the personal “a” will not be used.

2nd suggestion:

You failed to mention concerning people the concept of "personification" or more specifically "de-personification".

You use the personal "a" before the direct object if the person is known or someone we have feelings for just like with animals. If the person is unknown to us (no feelings like a wild animal) the personal "a" is not used.

If the direct object is an indefinite person, the personal "a" is not used. The result is that the person becomes "depersonalized."

Necesito médico. I need (any) doctor. (or) I need medical assistance.

Necesito jardinero. I need (any) gardener. (or) I need someone to tend my garden.

Mention this rule:

The personal "a" is not used after the verb tener, or the verb form hay. This is true even if the direct object is a person.

Tengo dos hermanos. (tener) I have two brothers.

Hay cinco chicas. There are five girls.

Contrast the use of the prepositional phrase "a+ person" when used as a clarifier to the personal a. (a different prepositional phrase.)

A Juan le gusta manzanas. (not the personal "a" since John is not a d.o.-this is an intransitive sentence)

Lo viste a él ayer. (You saw him yesterday). Since this is a d.o. is it the personal "a" or is the a él a clarifier for the d.o.p.?

updated NOV 23, 2009
posted by 0074b507
Just read Robert's links. Same one that I always use and clip from.
0
votes

H e i d i t a !

O.K. I have transferred this document to a Reference Page and titled it:

Personal "a"

I will watch for any additional comments here but in the meantime, I think this is a mostly completed project and we can just let it slip down the "new" and "hot" lists to oblivion.

Moe

Reference Page Link ----> Personal "a"

updated NOV 27, 2009
edited by Moe
posted by Moe
0
votes

Moe, can you simplify? This is too long somehow.

I would delete some parts:

  1. Introduction

-- Uses In most cases, prepositions are used the same way in Spanish as they are used in English -- -- 1. a (to, at, by, for) "Personal a" - to introduce a person as a direct object ....................(the “a” is not translated directly into English) 1.a.(1) ¿Conoces a Isabela? (Do you know Isabela?)

1.a.(2) Veo a mi madre. (I see my mother.)

This page will look at:

* 2. Terminology
* 3. Person or Person(s)
* 4. Pronouns About Person(s)
* 5 Pets as Person(s)
* 6. Places as Person(s)
* 7. Conclusion (Including "Verbs Like Gustar")
  1. Terminology

--

-- Veo a mi madre. I see my mother. In English, “I” is the subject of the sentence. In Spanish, the word “I” or “yo” is implicit in the verb “veo” which means “I see”. “See (veo)” is the verb. “Mother (Madre)” is the direct object because it is the object receiving the action of the verb. Don’t lose sight of these relationships and terms. 3. Person or Persons

As it states on our Reference Page for prepositions, the personal “a” is used where the direct object of a sentence is a person. In our examples, “Isabela” and “madre” are identifiable individuals. The basic rule applies so that the personal “a” must precede the mention of one or more individual person or persons when the person or persons are the direct object(s) of a sentence. --

*

  4.**--** indefinite pronouns,
*

  5. & 6. -- things which are personified (pets & places), and
*

  7. **--** verbs "tener" & "hay".

Examples

3.1 Veo a mi hermana. I see my sister

3.2 Veo mi libro y mis gafas. I see my book and glasses.

In the second example above {3.2}, the personal “a” is not used because the direct objects are not persons.

3.3 Veo a tres personas quienes son mis primos. I see three people who are my cousins.

3.4 Necesito tres personas para hacer un trabajo. I need three people to do a job.

In 3.4 the personal “a” is not used because the direct object persons are not anyone specific. 4. Indefinite Pronouns about Person(s)

The personal “a” will be used as explained above with the following indefinite pronouns: Alguien (somebody/someone/anyone) Nadie (nobody/no-one/) Quién (who/whom) Alguno (some) when referring to people, Cualquiera (any) when referring to people, and Ninguno (none) when referring to people.

- 4.1 No veo a alguien con que trabajo. I do not see anybody I work with.

4.2 ¿A quién aquí trabajo conmigo? Who here works with me?

4.3 No veo a nadie quien conozco. I do not see anyone who I know. 5. Pets as Person(s)

You will also use the personal “a” with pets. such pets are personified. Do not use the personal “a” where there is no personal relationship --- 6. Places as Person(s)

A country, a city or a building can take on a personal association --

6.1 A mi casa, me encanta mucho. I love my house a lot. 6.2 Amo a mi país nativo. I love my native country 6.3 Extraño mucho a mi ciudad donde vivo. I miss the city where I live very much. 7. The Verbs "Tener" & "Hay"

Have a look if you can simplify this further, if it is too long, nobody will read it. Remember that Lazarus had to simplify his pronounciation articlewink I haven't looked at the examples yet, first we must simplify and shorten the text.

updated NOV 24, 2009
posted by 00494d19
0
votes

To Lzanoni:

Thanks for your review and comments. I hope I have fixed all the spell errors. I have also made your suggested changes in re ninguno/nadie. On my own closer review, I agree with your observations and comments.

The rough edges are disappearing and I hope we end up with a Page we can all represent as our own. (Can be proud of seems too trite.)

Thanks for your help,

Moe.

updated NOV 23, 2009
posted by Moe
Good luck Moe...that{s quite a chunk that you've bitten off for yourself and I applaud both the effort and the ambition in adding to the utility of this already great site.
0
votes

Hola:

That's a nice peace of work you've come up with Moe. I can definitely appreciate the effort that I can tell you put into this

No content related questions, but a couple of spelling errors...

4.1 No veo a alguin con que trabajo.


Other situations where "a" is used are referred to in the Refersnce Page


Cualquiere (any) when referring to people, and


6.2 Amo a mi pais nativo. [add accent]


4.3 Aquí, no veo a ningunos personas quiénes conozco. I do not see anyone here who I know. [match gender with noun personas]


I didn't go through this with a fine tooth comb or anything. These were just some of the spelling errors that I noticed as I was reading.

4.3 Aquí, no veo a ningunos personas quiénes conozco. I do not see anyone here who I know.

I might change ningunos personas to nadie, but I don't know that there is anything wrong with it as it stands other than needing to match the gender of ningunos with personas (i.e. ningunas personas).

I also am not sure that the accent should be placed over the e in quiénes because, as I understand it (and I could be wrong), by placing the accent over the quiénes you make the clause interrogative as though there were uncertainty as to who you know (whom do I know? rather than whom I do know). Instead I think that you would be better off using it as a relative pronoun quien(es) to give a meaning similar to las que.

I thought that it might be:

Aquí, no veo a nadie/ninguna persona quien conozco

My reasoning was that you have two clauses here:

1). No veo a nadie - I don't see anyone

2). Aquí, no conozco a nadie - I don't know anyone here

Joining the two, you end up with:

I don't see anyone here that (whom) I know - No veo a nadie quien conozco

My other instinct would be to use a preposition before the relative pronoun, but if you use a preposition then I think that you would need to use lo que rather than quien - No veo a nadie a lo que conozco or No veo a ninguna persona a la que conozco.

If you are interested, here are a couple of links to an explanation of quien and quién that you can read and decide for yourself. Either that or you can wait for one of the real brains of this site to support or condemn my own observations.

updated NOV 23, 2009
edited by Izanoni1
posted by Izanoni1
0
votes

4.2 ¿A quién aquí trabajo conmigo? Who here works with me?

I would like to hear Heidita's opinion on this. Sound weird to me.

4.3 Aquí, no veo a ningunos personas quiénes conozco. I do not see anyone here who I know.

I would have thought, "Aquí, no veo a ninguna persona a quién conozco." or "Aquí, no veo a ninguna persona que conozco."

updated NOV 23, 2009
posted by samdie
Samdie - I take suggestions. If there is any doubt, let's throw them out. Offer any substitutes that use the indef. pronouns in 4. One example in question format. Happy for any help.
0
votes

To Qfreed:

I have tried to deal with your suggestions, which I am very pleased to have, in the following ways. I hope you will feel the manner is acceptable even though it may not be exemplary.

I wouldn't separate your comments concerning pets from the rule about when to use the personal a . I would combine them into one rule. The reason being is that people are lazy. They won't read the entire article and will go away with wrong impressions. For instance, your statement below is false prima facia.<

The basic rule applies so that the personal “a” must precede the mention of one or more individual person or persons when the person or persons are the direct object(s) of a sentence. Otherwise, the personal “a” will not be used.

While it is probably not wholly adequate, I added numbers to the various paragraphs and then in the pretty much start of discussion paragraph (i.e. # 3.) I have prodded or encouraged readers to look at all the subsequent paras. for additional information. It may work. It may fail. It was an attempt to act on your suggestion.

2nd suggestion:

You failed to mention concerning people the concept of "personification" or more specifically "de-personification".

You use the personal "a" before the direct object if the person is known or someone we have feelings for just like with animals. If the person is unknown to us (no feelings like a wild animal) the personal "a" is not used.

If the direct object is an indefinite person, the personal "a" is not used. The result is that the person becomes "depersonalized."

Necesito médico. I need (any) doctor. (or) I need medical assistance.

Necesito jardinero. I need (any) gardener. (or) I need someone to tend my garden.

I had hoped that I had covered this in the last two lines of Para 3. But, I may have short shrifted it. The editing is not finished and I would welcome any more "fleshed out" example to cover these thoughts of yours if you feel I've been too muted in dealing with it

Mention this rule:

The personal "a" is not used after the verb tener, or the verb form hay. This is true even if the direct object is a person.

Tengo dos hermanos. (tener) I have two brothers.

Hay cinco chicas. There are five girls.

See para 7. of the document in re "Tener" and "Hay". Does this address your concerns? I hope it does but I am open to your review of it and any new comment you may wish to make.

Contrast the use of the prepositional phrase "a+ person" when used as a clarifier to the personal a. (a different prepositional phrase.)

I have not dealt with this suggestion. In such a large document, I was afraid to try to put more into it. I hope no-one is misled by this deliberate omission.

A Juan le gusta manzanas. (not the personal "a" since John is not a d.o.-this is an intransitive sentence)

I have added a link to the "Verbs Like Gustar" Ref Page in the concluding paragraph (8.) and I'm hoping serious students are willing to follow the link to see this additional use of "a" because I don't think it is covered in the "Prepositions" Ref Page. The use of "a" to introduce an indirect object is covered in the "Preposition" Ref Page.

Lo viste a él ayer. (You saw him yesterday). Since this is a d.o. is it the personal "a" or is the a él a clarifier for the d.o.p.?

Nice question, Q. Since I'm not sure how this use qualifies, I'm guessing it is covered in this "Personal "a"" Exposure Draft. But I'm not putting any money on that.

updated NOV 23, 2009
edited by Moe
posted by Moe
0
votes

Quentin, I do hope Moe understands thiswink

You do not say: necesito jardinero it needs an article. Necesito un jardinero

Moe, you need to check some spelling mistakes, alguien etc.

updated NOV 23, 2009
posted by 00494d19
Not my sentence-clipped from source that Robertico and I used.
Alguien is now corrected. Let me know if there are more spelling errors. Gracias, Heidita.
0
votes
updated NOV 23, 2009
edited by 0068e2f4
posted by 0068e2f4
Gracias, Robertico. He leído esa página como uno de mis guías y referencias.
0
votes

Roberto, tu segundo enlace nos lleva a esto:

No results found

Would you like to ask a question?

Moe quiere una revisión para su texto, para poner una reference page de este foro. Así un enlace como el primero ya no es necesario.

updated NOV 22, 2009
posted by 00494d19
aaaah era una lista de hilos sobre el tema....no se como hacer para ponerlos todos.
Bueno, ya creo que es suficiente con todo lo que todo el mundo le ha dado