HomeQ&A¿Cómo se dice - I bought it FROM my friend?

¿Cómo se dice - I bought it FROM my friend?

0
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Hola a todos. Acabo de encontrar un ejemplo de supuestos errores que cometimos al aprender el español, y el libro dice que la forma correcta de decir "I bought it from my friend" debe ser "lo compré A mi amigo" en vez de "lo compré DE mi amigo." Pero la cosa es que ya he preguntado a varios hispanohablantes en mi vecindario y me han dado varias respuestas contradictorias.

Unos mexicanos me dicen que "lo compré DE mi amigo" es lo correcto, pero un colombiano me dijo que se puede decir o "Se lo compré A mi amigo" o "lo compré DE mi amigo."

La misma cosa se aplica a la frase "I bought if FOR my friend". El libro de gramática me dice que debe ser "lo compré A mi amigo" (y que se determina el significado por el contexto), pero algunos nativohablantes me dicen que debe ser "lo compré PARA mi amigo".

¿Me pueden aclarar el chisme? Soy profesor de español en una escuela secundaria y quisiera usar la forma correcta. Gracias,

Will K

9475 views
updated JUL 9, 2008
posted by Will-Kinney2

21 Answers

1
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I would use "Se lo compré a mi amigo" and "Lo compre para mi amigo"
I think that if you say "Lo compre a mi amigo" sounds more like you bought your friend, and not from your friend, so it doesn't make sense.
"Lo compre de mi amigo" is probably gramatically right but it does not sound as good as the other to me.

updated DIC 13, 2010
posted by 00e657d4
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Thanks Will.

updated JUL 10, 2008
posted by tad
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Does that make sense'

It certainly does.

...in Spanish what is important is that someone was affected by the action of the verb.

This is very helpful.

updated JUL 10, 2008
posted by tad
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Think of it like this: "Lo compré" means, of course, "I bought it. "A mi amigo" indicates that mi amigo was the recipient of that action. That is, the friend was affected by the action of buying. The le (se) performs the same function, indicating the recipient ("a mi amigo" is really just clarifying who the le refers to).

So while in English the direction of flow of the purchased object, FROM the seller TO the buyer, is most important, in Spanish what is important is that someone was affected by the action of the verb.

I think this is a little easier to see in the example sentence I gave before: "Al turista le quitaron el pasaporte." In English the concept would be, using Spanish words, "Quitaron el pasaporte del turista," but in Spanish the idea is that the tourist was affected by the action of the verb quitar.

Does that make sense'

updated JUL 10, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
0
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I guess so, ignoring the ambiguity side then: looking at the original phrase
"I bought it from my friend" = "Se lo compré a mi amigo" seems to be the educated choice.

So what bit does what? Where is the 'from' in English -part of le (se) or deduced from the 'a' ?

I did ask one of the Colombians at work (who went for "Se lo compré a mi amigo" BTW) and when I asked her what bit did what she couldn't explain it.

updated JUL 10, 2008
posted by tad
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'to him I bought it to my friend' -well, that can't be right.

Actually, I think that IS right. That is, the concept is approached differently in Spanish and English. One of the hardest things about learning a foreign language is realizing that there is more than one way to conceptualize a basic situation.

As for the ambiguity in the Spanish, yes, it is there, but I have a hunch that if they wanted to say "I bought it for my friend," they would either use para (Lo compré para mi amigo), or use a different verb, such as regalar (Lo compré y se lo regalé a amigo), or just say it in a completely different way. Or, they would use "Se lo compré a mi amigo" if the context made it clear what they were talking about. The wonderful thing about languages is that each one is perfectly suited, through evolution, to the needs of its native speakers, and natives can always find a way to express themselves.

updated JUL 10, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
0
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Hola tad. It is a bit confusing for us English speakers but as I continue to ask native Spanish speakers (there are a lot of them here in Colorado) they too seem to be all over the board on how to say it correctly. I often hear (particularly from los mexicanos) that it is perfectly good Spanish to say "lo compré DE mi amigo" when they want to say 'I bought if from my friend.' (aunque los libros de gramática nos informan que es incorrecto)

I think it varies from country to country. In the perhaps more grammatically correct expression - 'SE lo compré A mi amigo", the 'se' is the indirect object pronoun 'le' converted to 'se' because of the presence of the 'lo'. It seems the 'A' is either a 'personal a' or else it is the preposition 'a' which can have several meanings, one of which is "from".

Sigo aprendiendo también, pero es así que lo entiendo por el momento.

Suerte,

Will K

updated JUL 10, 2008
posted by Will-Kinney2
0
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[nb I wrote the reply below as though I am explaining it to people; in reality I'm trying to explain it to myself and I am unsure of most of it]

This is confusing on a few levels. For me it always seems to be the little things that cause the most problems. This is just what I think about this, but would like to have some confirmation/correction.

Here there are two little things, 'le' and 'a'.

lazarus has said that the correct (or most normal) way to say this is:
"Se lo compré a mi amigo"

why does this seem strange to English speakers and contain ambiguity for Spanish speakers?

Well, first we have to see that 'se' here is 'le' in disguise as 'le lo' is not allowed.

The first thing we learn about 'le' is that it is 'to him/her'

'a' as a preposition is often translated as 'to' and so we could look at the above and read something like:
'to him I bought it to my friend' -well, that can't be right.
Of course 'le' can also be 'for him', which is better as we now have:
'For him I bought it to my friend'

In English this sounds strange because there is redundancy 'for him' and 'my friend' but in Spanish this is very normal -if you left out the 'le' (which has here turned to 'se') it would sound strange.
(Q: Would it just sound strange ommiting the 'le' or would it also be grammatically incorrect')

Still the 'a' as 'to' doesn't fit. I think it is because the 'a' here is a personal 'a' which doesn't exist in English.

"Se lo compré a mi amigo" ="I bought it for my friend" or "I bought it from my friend" (') which is why a clarifying phrase might need to be added.

Q: so 'le' can be 'to him' 'for him' and 'from him'?

Sorry if I'm putting stuff here that is really obvious, I'm trying to get it all straight in my own mind!

Anyway I'm particularily confused about the role of 'a' in the above.

updated JUL 10, 2008
posted by tad
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No, you are not wrong.

updated JUL 9, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Great, I'm missing closer.

Gracias lazarus

updated JUL 9, 2008
posted by motley
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Me alegro de que alguien como tú (,) tengas el mismo problema.

Sorry.

updated JUL 9, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Not badly at all.

Me alegro de que alguien como tú tenga el mismo problema.

I think it should be tenga rather than tengas because the verb agrees with alguien, rather than with tú, but I could be wrong on that, in which case you'll be even happier. {wink}

updated JUL 9, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

James.
Me alegro que alguien como ti, tengas el mismo problema.

How badly did I mess that up?

Quiero decir

I am happy that someone such as yourself has the same problem.

updated JUL 9, 2008
posted by motley
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Hola james. "This is a very difficult concept for English speakers to accept. I suspect it was invented to torment us."

De acuerdo. A veces sospecho lo mismowink

Will K

updated JUL 9, 2008
posted by Will-Kinney2
0
votes

Sí, tienes razón en cuanto a la diferencia entre 'por' y 'para'. Es otro de los elementos encantadores del español para nosotros que aprendemos este idiomawink

Will

updated JUL 9, 2008
posted by Will-Kinney2
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