I've been meaning to . . .

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This evening, I happened to run into an acquaintance in the store parking lot and wanted to say something like the following:

"I've been meaning to call Amy [his wife], but I never got around to it."

How would you say that in Spanish? I'll attempt it, but it doesn't carry quite the shade of meaning I want.

Quiso llamarle a Amy por teléfono varias veces, pero me he ocupado mucho.

6337 views
updated AGO 16, 2008
posted by Natasha

8 Answers

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Natasha said:

Are you saying that in the Southern Hemisphere, the rule is different? I was taught that in Spanish, "le" is often used (although it appears redundant) because in Spanish the indirect object can exist without a direct object. For example: Siempre le hablo a mi hermana. (Of course, in English this cannot occur.) Also, surely you do not mean that just because a verb is transitive, it cannot take le'? Take "dar" for example. It is a transitive verb and the dictionary on this site gives this example:

se lo di a mi hermano -> I gave it to my brother

where I understand that "se" replaces "le" because it comes before "lo".

Maybe I'm overcomplicating all this . . . but I was taught to use "le" a lot . . .

No, there are not many rules. Although there is a fairly standard Spanish that we all share, there are regional variations of use, like in USA and England.

For example: Siempre le hablo a mi hermana. (Of course, in English this cannot occur.)

This verb is a bit peculiar, and I've been trying to avoid getting into details, because it can be confusing. In standard Spanish, it is better to used "lo" or "la", and not "le", as I said before. This "le" is there for historical reasons, and can't be crossed as incorrect, but even if you use it, it cannot be treated as a proper "le", unfortunatelly. If you have already called (using the phone) Amy, then it is acceptable; otherwise is not. Stick to "Llamé a Amy" and "La llamé", trust me: Spanish people use too many "le".

The verb dar takes both direct and indirect objects, and the indirect one (le) can easily be duplicated virtually all the time.

updated AGO 16, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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lazarus1907 said:

You don't use "le" because "llamar" is transitive, and although "le" is also used (for reasons I won't get into now), the proper thing to do is to use the direct object pronouns "lo", "la", "los" and "las", which generally don't accept reduplication like indirect object pronouns do: "La llamé" or "Llamé a Amy", but not both (this is not so strange in the Southern Cone, but it is not advisable).I am not sure how much is "liado" used in these contexts countries other than Spain, but we use it there a lot to mean that we are busy and can't find the right time to do everything we'd like to.

Are you saying that in the Southern Hemisphere, the rule is different?

I was taught that in Spanish, "le" is often used (although it appears redundant) because in Spanish the indirect object can exist without a direct object. For example: Siempre le hablo a mi hermana. (Of course, in English this cannot occur.)

Also, surely you do not mean that just because a verb is transitive, it cannot take le'? Take "dar" for example. It is a transitive verb and the dictionary on this site gives this example:

se lo di a mi hermano -> I gave it to my brother

where I understand that "se" replaces "le" because it comes before "lo".

Maybe I'm overcomplicating all this . . . but I was taught to use "le" a lot . . .

updated AGO 16, 2008
posted by Natasha
0
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Natasha said:

liado is a new word for me. It seems to match the intent very well. Why wouldn't I use "le"?

He estado pensando en llamarle a Amy, pero he estado muy liada últimamente.

You don't use "le" because "llamar" is transitive, and although "le" is also used (for reasons I won't get into now), the proper thing to do is to use the direct object pronouns "lo", "la", "los" and "las", which generally don't accept reduplication like indirect object pronouns do: "La llamé" or "Llamé a Amy", but not both (this is not so strange in the Southern Cone, but it is not advisable).

I am not sure how much is "liado" used in these contexts countries other than Spain, but we use it there a lot to mean that we are busy and can't find the right time to do everything we'd like to.

updated AGO 16, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Thank you everyone; I can see that "he pensado" is the best tense to start with.

updated AGO 16, 2008
posted by Natasha
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lazarus1907 said:

He estado pensando en llamar a Amy, pero nunca he encontrado tiempo para hacerlo.He estado pensando en llamar a Amy, pero no he estado muy ocupado / liado últimamente. (ocupada/liada)

liado is a new word for me. It seems to match the intent very well.

Why wouldn't I use "le"?

He estado pensando en llamarle a Amy, pero he estado muy liada últimamente.

updated AGO 16, 2008
posted by Natasha
0
votes

He estado pensando en llamar a Amy, pero nunca he encontrado tiempo para hacerlo.
He estado pensando en llamar a Amy, pero no he estado muy ocupado / liado últimamente. (ocupada/liada)

updated AGO 16, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
0
votes

SoKuhl said:

I think it's:"He pensado de llamar a la Amy, pero nunca tengo ganas" O,"Había pensado de llamar a la Amy, pero nunca tengo ganas.I think I'm close.

The first part sounds good, but the second part sounds negative "nunca tengo ganas"
I will say:
He pensado en llamar a Amy, pero siempre lo olvido.
He pensado en llamar a Amy, pero he estado muy ocupada.
He pensado en llamar a Amy, pero he estado muy ocupada y siempre lo olvido.

updated AGO 16, 2008
posted by Shrek
0
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SoKuhl said:

I think it's:"He pensado de llamar a la Amy, pero nunca tengo ganas" O,"Había pensado de llamar a la Amy, pero nunca tengo ganas.I think I'm close.

The first part of the sentence is good, but the last part seems to imply that I didn't want to call her. That's not what I meant at all.

updated AGO 16, 2008
posted by Natasha