To le or not to le, that is the question

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After so many years of learning and speaking Spanish, it seems I still have trouble with the basics. {sigh}

I read this joke today:

Dos peces en el mar. Un pez dice al otro: "¿Qué hace tu padre'," y el otro pez dice: "Nada."

Good joke, but it makes me wonder if "le" is missing, as in "Un pez le dice al otro." Is there a rule that I have forgotten, that would tell me why the le should or should not be used here?

''''''''''''''''

This just in: It was reported today that over 70% of dyslexics voted for Bomama.

2078 views
updated NOV 7, 2008
posted by 00bacfba

3 Answers

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iker said:

It sounds much better with "le". I think it should be: Dos peces en el mar. Un pez le dice al otro: "¿Qué hace tu padre'," y el otro pez le dice: "Nada."

Thanks. So, does it just sound better, or is there a grammatical need for it? I encounter this problem all the time, and it's bugging me. I'm talking about formal rules, not street speech.

As for the misspelling (now corrected), I copied and pasted the whole joke from somewhere else, and didn't notice the error. At least I wouldn't make THAT one myself.

updated NOV 7, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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It sounds much better with "le". I think it should be:

Dos peces en el mar. Un pez le dice al otro: "¿Qué hace tu padre'," y el otro pez le dice: "Nada."

updated NOV 7, 2008
posted by iker
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I wish I could help you James but I have the same dilemma with respect to 'le'. I feel sometimes that I want to use it too much. The other day I was watching 'Don Francisco' and this lady was talking about her mother's dying wish. She quoted her mother as saying, 'Yo me voy a fallecer pronto hija,' which I knew right off the bat was not said correctly. But in the case of your joke, I would think 'le' is needed.

updated NOV 7, 2008
posted by LadyDi