HomeQ&Aanother subjunctive question {yawn} and 'por la que'

another subjunctive question {yawn} and 'por la que'

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"Cualquier cosa por la que valga la pena vivir también vale la pena morir" dijo Nately.
"Y cualquier cosa por la que valga la pena morir" replicó el viejo blasfemo "vale la pena vivir".

It seems to me that 'por la' could be left out from 'por la que', so what is it adding, something like 'through which'?

Well yes, if someone wants to talk me through the forms of valer used here...

17022 views
updated NOV 30, 2008
posted by tad

6 Answers

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In "Y cualquier cosa por la que valga la pena morir", the subordinate clause ("por la que valga la pena morir") is not a declaration, because we are not referring to any specific thing.

I'm OK with this.

The second part uses the first one to express "Vale la pena vivir (por cualquier cosa por la que valga la pena morir)" without having to repeat the part in brackets, and since "vale la pena" is not a subordinate clause, no subjunctive can be used. To be grammatically consistent, they should have started by saying "Y por cualquier cosa..."

I'm still a bit hazy here. :-(

updated NOV 30, 2008
posted by tad
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tad said:

Yes, thanks, I guess it was really quite straightforward -as I suspect the other part of my question is: Why valga....vale?

In "Y cualquier cosa por la que valga la pena morir", the subordinate clause ("por la que valga la pena morir") is not a declaration, because we are not referring to any specific thing.

The second part uses the first one to express "Vale la pena vivir (por cualquier cosa por la que valga la pena morir)" without having to repeat the part in brackets, and since "vale la pena" is not a subordinate clause, no subjunctive can be used. To be grammatically consistent, they should have started by saying "Y por cualquier cosa..."

updated NOV 30, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Yes, thanks, I guess it was really quite straightforward -as I suspect the other part of my question is: Why valga....vale'

updated NOV 30, 2008
posted by tad
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Ruddy annoying isn't it Tad. As English speakers, we think we have spotted something wrong with their language, but when these experts explain it, everything falls into place. I am reading a book at the moment in which "por la que" has been appearing constantly. Thanks to your question, now I know why.

updated NOV 30, 2008
posted by Eddy
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In English you say "Something is worth dying for", but you don't omit the final "for", right? (in Theory) In Spanish we say "for which is worth dying", so you cannot omit "por la que" (=for which), or you end up with "Something is worth dying" instead of "worth dying for". It is unacceptable, and it sounds plain bad. More examples:

Te llamé por una razón. - Esta es la razón por la que te llamé.
Trabajo para unas personas. - Estas son las personas para las que trabajo.

The part that you want to remove gives the key information about the relationship between two parts of the sentence. "Cualquier cosa que valga la pena vivir" means "Anything that deserves to live" instead of "Anything worth living for".

updated NOV 30, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Cannot be left our, tad.

valer la pena vivir por algo.

So turned round:

Vale la pena morir por una cosa.
Una cosa por la que vale la pena morir.

I will leave the technical part to the specialists, raspberry

updated NOV 30, 2008
posted by 00494d19
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