el / lo mismo & el / lo que
I was reading through earlier posts and I came across this one.
The person asking the question asked if this sentence was ok:
El incesto de las novelas de Isabel Allende no es el mismo de lo que aparece en las novelas escritas por otras escritores bien conocidos.
And a response said that this was better:
El incesto de las novelas de Isabel Allende no es lo mismo que lo que aparece en las novelas de otros escritores bien conocidos.
And then a comment to that response said this:
"El incesto de las novelas de Isabel Allende no es el mismo como el que aparece en las novelas de otros escritores bien conocidos."
I feel like the sentence would be translated as "The incest in Isabel Allende's novels is not the same (kind of incest) as the kind (of incest) that appears in the novels of other well known authors." So to me, it seems like using "el mismo" and "el que" would work the best in Spanish, but maybe that's not the case.
Can some other people weigh in on what sounds best?
If we're taking a vote, I vote for the 2nd example using lo mismo and lo que.
The reason that this neuter use is so confusing is that it is used with "unknown" objects. The definition of "unknown" is unclear and that is what causes the confusion. El or la is used when we refer to a definite, physical object or person. In our example we know that lo mismo an lo que refers to incest so is it known or unknown? Abstract concepts are not specific, concrete objects like "that book" and are considered "unknown objects" which is where the confusion often arises.
Lo is used before adjectives used as nouns (lo mismo) when they refer to abstract concepts or categories.
By the same reasoning (since the relative pronoun lo que refers to incest, a non-physical object) the neuter form should be used.
The same confusion arises when we use specific, concrete nouns as to whether they are "known" or not. If I refer to the man standing over there, or "to him", is he unknown or known? They are specific, physical objects and are "known" even though we may not know the individual in the sense of his name or anything about him. It is the same criteria used with "known" such as when deciding to use the indicative or subjunctive mood in the classic context of "busco un hombre que...". If the "noun hombre" refers to a specific individual (even if a total stranger) then it is "known". If it refers to "any man that" then it is "unknown",even though, it refers to a category of physical objects.
So my vote goes to using the neuter form for those pronouns referring to the "unknown" noun incest.
So, if you are referring to something abstract, even when the noun itself is known, you should use "lo"?
Good question, and this isn't really an answer, so sorry: I, myself, have always received different responses as to how to properly form expression with "el / lo mismo & el / lo que"
It always depend on to whom you ask the question. However, you can be pretty sure that once Heidita (or one of the other Castellan monitors) sees your inquiry, they will give you the "correct" grammatical rules/translation on this. I curious to see what the response is, also! =)