HomeQ&AHelp to to think/write like a Spaniard instead of an Englishman.

Help to to think/write like a Spaniard instead of an Englishman.

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Little story in English, then Spanish. Below you'll see questions about passive voice and use of preterit and imperfect.

Thanks to all in advance.

Alex and Megan, are in love and are engaged to be married. Alex had just graduated from law school, and had recently begun work at one of the top law firms in the city. Today was Alex’s birthday, and while attending a meeting with some very important clients, a large 6 foot tall by 4 foot wide cake was brought into the meeting room. From inside the cake, one could hear the song Happy Birthday. The clients looked at each and then to Alex with confusion and surprise. All of a sudden, Megan jumped out from inside the cake, and wished happy birthday to her fiancé. Alex was not only embarrassed and shocked but was left speechless as Megan was only wearing a very skimpy bikini. Alex was not amused, and wondered how Megan could do such a stupid thing. Throughout the next week, Alex was the subject of a lot of office gossip, and was very embarrassed. Alex questioned his love for Megan so much that he broke up with her that same week.

Alex and Megan, se aman mucho y fueron comprometidos. ( I tried not to use the passive voice here and tried to make the verb reflexive, but the rules say to do so only if the agent is unknown and the subject is not a person but a thing. Am I right?)
Alex acaba graduarse de escuela de ley, y recientemente ha empezado a trabajar por una firma de abogados, el más respetado en la ciudad. Hoy era el cumpleaños de Alex, y cuando estaba reunido en una cita con clientes muy importantes, una tarta de cumpleaños, muy grande que mide 6 pie por 4 pie fue llevado en la sala de conferencias. Adentro en la torta se puede oír la canta, Feliz Cumpleaños. Los clientes se miran y a Alex y todos fueran muy confundidos y llenado con mucho sorpresa. De repente, Megan se saltó de la tarta y dijo a su prometido, Feliz Cumpleaños. Alex fue no sólo avergonzado y conmocionado pero fue dejado sin palabras y la boca abierta, como ella fue llevada un bikini muy pequeña. ( I used the preterit, in bold. and not the imperfect, as there was a definite start and end. What do you think?) Alex no fue en un buen humor, y se preguntó cómo ella podía hacer algo tan estúpido. En la semana próxima, la gente en la oficina hablaba de Alex detrás de la espalda, y de nuevo fue avergonzado. Alex se puso en duda suficiente para su amor para Megan que decidió a terminar la relación en la misma semana.

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updated JUL 14, 2010
posted by Escomillo

2 Answers

0
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Alex and Megan, se aman mucho y se comprometieron. Alex acaba de graduarse de la escuela de ley, y recientemente ha empezado a trabajar por una firma de abogados, la más respetada en la ciudad. Hoy fue el cumpleaños de Alex, y mientras estaba reunido en una cita con clientes muy importantes, una tarta de cumpleaños muy grande que medía 6 pies por 4 pies fue llevada en la sala de conferencias. Dentro de la torta se escuchaba el canto, Feliz Cumpleaños. Los clientes se miraron y miraron a Alex y todos estuvieron muy confundidos y llenos de mucha sorpresa. De repente, Megan saltó de la tarta y le dijo a su prometido, Feliz Cumpleaños. Alex no sólo tuvo vergüenza y asusto sino se quedó sin palabras y con la boca abierta, como ella llevaba un bikini muy pequeño. A Alex no le hizo gracia y se preguntó cómo ella podría (o pudo) hacer algo tan estúpido. La próxima semana, la gente en la oficina hablaba de Alex detrás de la espalda, y de nuevo le dio vergüenza. Alex tuvo suficiente duda de su amor para Megan que decidió terminar la relación la misma semana.

updated JUL 14, 2010
edited by maripositaxx
posted by maripositaxx
Maripositaxx, Thank you for your corrections and I see that you've used the estar+pp, as well as the reflexive se in the first sentence. I see that you added IOs as well. Excellent! - Escomillo, JUL 14, 2010
You're welcome :) I would actually change something, it's bugging me xD: no sólo tuvo vergüenza y asusto sino... I'll edit it now. - maripositaxx, JUL 14, 2010
I also noticed something I completely missed. It's not llenados but llenos. - maripositaxx, JUL 14, 2010
1
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Alex and Megan, se aman mucho y fueron comprometidos. ( I tried not to use the passive voice here and tried to make the verb reflexive, but the rules say to do so only if the agent is unknown and the subject is not a person but a thing. Am I right?)

I am not sure that I understood your comment. You did use the passive voice with fueron comprometidos and the classical (ser+pp) passive voice often has an agent introduced by por. See this article I think that you are referring to using "passive se" where the agent is often unknown.

In the passive voice, the action described by the verb is being done to the subject by an agent. (they are referring to Ser+pp)

As you see in the part of the article on avoiding using the passive (ser+pp) voice, the passive voice is used for 2 purposes:

  1. To focus on the person or thing performing the action
  2. To focus on an action without identifying the performer (passive se in this category)

I don't understand why you wanted to use the passive voice at all. Why not use Estar+ pp to form an adjective describing a state of being.

...están prometido. They are engaged. (you switched from present to past tense in your translation from English to Spanish.)

use of the passive voice is used to say ...they were engaged by the match maker (ser+pp) or they were engaged in 2010. (ser+pp) or (passive se) Use an adjective if you wish to describe their state of being..estaban prometido they were engaged. (They were an engaged couple)

Using the "passive se" is one of the 4 methods to avoid using the passive (ser+pp) voice.

updated NOV 19, 2010
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
qfreed, thanx again, for sentence 1 I was trying to use passive say. I think maripataxx - Escomillo, JUL 14, 2010
I think Maripotaxx's suggestion of se compremetieron was what I had in mind. Thanks for suggesting the estar+pp. I was concentrating so much on using ser+pp that I couldn't switch to Estarpp. Very, very good answer and thanks again - Escomillo, JUL 14, 2010
qfreed, I wanted to vote for your answer too. How can I give you credit as well? - Escomillo, JUL 14, 2010
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