need help with tambien, solo, poquito, & "at me"

1
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I would say I'm an intermediate Spanish student but I'm having trouble understanding a few terms:

Is tambien only usable when you say "yo tambien..etc" or in other situations?

Is solo used similar to an adjective? Like if I wanted to say, "I am only 18 years old" would it be, "Yo tengo solo diez y ocho anos"? Also how do you know when to use solo, solomente, etc?

Do poquito and pequeno have the same meaning? How would you know which to use?

How do you say "at me" or "at you"? Such as, "Look at you!" or "Look at me!". I understand "oye me" is listen to me, so would "mira me" be correct? How would you say "laugh at me"? I know the verb is reir but that's all.

Any help would be appreciated!!

11095 views
updated NOV 15, 2009
posted by Noah

11 Answers

1
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the difference between poco or poquito and pequeño is that poco and poquito mean a small quantity, eg a little sugar, and pequeño means a small size, eg a little glass.

poquito is sometimes used to mean very little and sometimes because people like to use the diminutive (like Scots use wee)

It is 'reirse de mi' not 'reirse de me'
me is only used for a direct object. the addition of the preposition de makes it indirect and therefore must be used with mi.

Unfortunately the rules have changed and now you can use 'solo' or 'sólo' indistinctly as motley says. I preeferred it the old way as I knew that if I could substitute solo with solamente then it had to have an accent, ie it had to be sólo.
Now you have solo meaning both alone and only.
remember that when it means alone it is an adjective and therefore has gender, solo and sola.
él está solo y ella está sola.
when it means only it is an adverb and is only solo or sólo.

as to the use of 'at me.'
it can get confusing but only because you are an English speaker and are trying to translate. There are (according to my copy of the Short Oxford) 29 different meaning/uses of at. Some of them used with verbs and some with othe parts of speech.
So the problem is which one are we using and how would we say that in Spanish.
I know that when you are learning you initially want to translate but remember that children learn a language through use not through translation.
When you ask me how to translate I need context and a full sentence. Note that translation is a difficult skill and knowing a language does not qualify you to translate. A friend of mine is a Spanish author who has had some of her books translated into English. I read one of them and if I didn't speak Spanish I would not have understood a word of what the book was about.

We have an old joke in English that is only understood by Spanish speakers. It is about this Argentine (in the original) that goes to New York and is waiting for someone to arrive. When he hears the knock on the door, he says: "Between, between no more! Drink a chair!" (we call this Spanglish)
This is translated literally from the Spanish
Entre, entre no más! Tome asiento!

There was even an journalist in Buenos Aires, Basil Thompson, that wrote a column in the Buenos Aires Herald, a British newspaper, where he poked fun at people that translated literally using phrases like "There armed itself a scandal of the great seven!"
'Se armó un escándalo de la gran siete.' is Spanish slang for there was a very big scandal or ruckus. (see escándalo can be literally a scandal but it can also be a conmotion, a ruckus. THe context will tell you.)

So the problem is to learn how to use Spanish words not how to translate English words to Spanish words.
The question should always be how do you say this in this setup not how you translate.

Well, I have spoken too long and I know it is not easy to start to think in a foreign language but you have to try or you will always speak Spanglish. grin

updated NOV 15, 2009
posted by RicardoN
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Me gusta la respuesta y el consejo de Ricardo. Hace 18 meses que estudio español y tengo que mucho más aprender. (Mi español no quizás sea correcto pero trato.) grin

updated NOV 15, 2009
posted by SheilaS
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Thanks for your input! I will definitely take your advice! smile

updated ABR 5, 2008
posted by Noah
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hi ricardo
very well put and thanks for the advice.

updated ABR 3, 2008
posted by Eddy
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hi motley
i don't remeber what i did yesterday let alone the discussion you mention.
anyway, thanks for the reminder.

updated ABR 2, 2008
posted by Eddy
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Eddy,
remember the discussion on solo vs sólo, you don't need the accent anymore, updated rules. One less thing we have to remember.

estaba sola = she was alone
se siente solo = he feels lonely

y no solamente eso = and not only that

updated ABR 2, 2008
posted by motley
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hi noah
it is best to understand the meaning as there are two solo's. see below

solo is an adjective and an adverb and means alone, lonely - me siento muy solo (i feel very alone)
Sólo with an accent is an adverb and means only - es sólo un teniente (he's only a lieutenant)
solamente is an adverb and means the same as sólo ie only - es solamente un teniente.

i know it seems complicated but with use you will understand

updated ABR 2, 2008
posted by Eddy
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Awesome! Thanks both of you for your help.
Now i just don't understand:
When would you use solo vs. solomente'

updated ABR 1, 2008
posted by Noah
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some verbs already include the word "at" such as mirar which means to look OR to look AT, hence
¿qué mira usted? - what are you looking AT?
miro mi libro - i am looking AT my book

it is something that you will learn to use over a period of time.

updated ABR 1, 2008
posted by Eddy
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i think that "to" is translated by putting the indirect object after the command. oir is "to hear". i think escuchar is better for "to listen". so in your example, listen to me would be "escúcheme".
to laugh at somebody or something is "reírse de alguien/algo" so laugh at me could be "ríase de me". not too sure about "me" for that one.
i have used the present subjunctive for all these commands.
i think "at" as in at me is translated by "de", but in all honesty, you had better wait for a clearer answer from a spanish speaker.

updated MAR 31, 2008
posted by Eddy
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tambien means also. if your sentence is in the negative, it's tampoco = neither, either
Quiero ir también = I want to go too
Ellos no pueden ir a la fiesta tampoco. They can't go to the party either.
pequeño/a means small, poco/a is little poquito is really little.
solo/a = single, alone, by oneself
solamente= only
soledad = solitude, loneliness

I'll let someone else handle the others

updated MAR 31, 2008
posted by motley