Les duelen los pies.

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Does "Les duelen los pies" mean "Their feet hurt" or "They hurt their feet" or neither? Does "Me atraen los hombres guapos" mean "I am attracted to handsome men" or "Handsome men are attracted to me" or neither? These are from the Exercises in Verbs-like-gustar that I got to through a link in the forum. It is a very good explanation, but I am obviously still a bit fuzzy on the subject.

6147 views
updated MAY 8, 2009
posted by Becky-C

12 Answers

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"doler" is applied only to human organs that make you feel pain, but not for pain you inflict to others.

If you want to hurt someone, you have to use a different verb: herir, dañar,...

I find this use in English rather weird for us:

I am hurting badly, she is hurting...= she is feeling pain.I have seen this in context of some kind of emotional pain.

Very weird, that would translate to: Ella está doliendo....

different to: she is hurt = ella está dolida, which makes perfect sense.

updated MAY 8, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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English relies too often on common sense (ignoring logic and syntax), making it an easy ONE-DIRECTION language (the reverse is not true, of course).

updated MAY 8, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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I'm now trying to say They hurt (damage, broke some toes, etc.) their feet.

We'd use a different verb and construction, probably. If they damaged their OWN feet, it would be "Se hirieron sus (propios) pies". If you are talking about someone else's toes, "Les hirieron los pies".

I think that the problem here is the verb. "Doler" can only have as a subject a part of someone's body, something that can send pain signals directly to the brain. In English, your leg hurts, and you can hurt someone, but in Spanish, your leg sends pain signals (duele), but you "hieres/causas dolor/martirizas/torturas/..." someone else. You never use "doler" applied to another person, because you are not a human organ.

"doler" is applied only to human organs that make you feel pain, but not for pain you inflict to others.
If you want to hurt someone, you have to use a different verb: herir, dañar,...

updated MAY 7, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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I'm now trying to say They hurt (damage, broke some toes, etc.) their feet.

ohhh, I didn't get that at all, i wonder if Lazarus did.

That would be:

Ellos se hicieron daño en los pies. Se dañaron los pies (this sounds weird...)

updated MAY 7, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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Les duelen los pies. A los pies los hacen daño ellos. No me suena bien.

What am I missing?

Quentin, you have not done the change properly.

Les duelen los pies = Los pies duelen/hacen daño a ellos (should be , les duelen a ellos, just trying to simplify)

ellos= a los hombres

I'm not trying to restate (equivalence)Their feet hurt. (them) properly.
I'm now trying to say They hurt (damage, broke some toes, etc.) their feet.

I was trying to do this by merely changing (switching positions around the verb) who was the receiver and doer of the action from the 1st sentence.

Since both of you are telling me that I am either incorrect or that the basic construction is awkward in this situation, I got my answer. As I said, the construction didn't sound right to me. I was just curious as to why it wasn't correct gramattically as it followed the basic construction of object+verb+subject.

Heidita,
I was trying to make ellos the subject so a ellos wouldn't have been correct in my construction.

updated MAY 7, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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I don't sure I understand what you are trying to say here, but you could say (in a rather unusual way) "Los pies le causan daño". If you talk about shoes, you can say "Los zapatos le hacen daño", but this would mean "to hurt a part of the body so someone feels pain"; when we say "Los pies duelen" we mean that it is this part of the body that sends pain signals to the brain.

object+verb+subject

action receiver+action+doer of action

Their feet hurt.
They hurt their feet.

I was trying to translate her two sentences using the basic construction according to your explanation of where the subject and object are placed.

Their feet hurt.
Les duelen los pies according to the construction.

They hurt their feet (I switched to hacer daño because doler doesn't mean damage and ache like hurt does in English)
I just wanted to switch the positions of the subject and object to form her 2nd sentence.
A los pies los hacen daño ellos. And yes, it doesn't sound right.

To me this is analogous to active and passive voice. In some cases it sounds better to use one construction over the other. I wouldn't use this construction, but I was curious as to whether it made grammatical sense. I would certainly go with one of your alternative ways of expressing the concept.

updated MAY 7, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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Les duelen los pies. A los pies los hacen daño ellos. No me suena bien.

What am I missing?

Quentin, you have not done the change properly.

Les duelen los pies = Los pies duelen/hacen daño a ellos (should be , les duelen a ellos, just trying to simplify)

ellos= a los hombres

updated MAY 7, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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What you said makes perfect sense when you read the sentence from right to left rather than normally. One would logically think that to change the sentence:

I am attracted to handsome men (Me atraen los hombres guapos) to Handsome men are attracted to me that you only need to exchange the locations of the subject and object... A los hombres guapos les atraigo yo. It doesn't look correct. How do you do it?

How do you say it in English? Attractive men are attracted to me'?
Your "A los hombres guapos les atraigo yo" is correct anyway. An easier way to say it would be: "Atraigo a los hombres guapos" or "Los hombres guapos se sienten atraídos por mí".

Les duelen los pies. A los pies les hacen daño ellos. No me suena bien.

What am I missing?

I don't sure I understand what you are trying to say here, but you could say (in a rather unusual way) "Los pies le causan daño". If you talk about shoes, you can say "Los zapatos le hacen daño", but this would mean "to hurt a part of the body so someone feels pain"; when we say "Los pies duelen" we mean that it is this part of the body that sends pain signals to the brain.

updated MAY 7, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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Does "Les duelen los pies" mean "Their feet hurt" or "They hurt their feet" or neither?

Their feet hurt. "Les" indicate whose feet hurt. "Los pies" is the subject; they are the ones who hurt, and "les" points to whoever suffers the pain.

Does "Me atraen los hombres guapos" mean "I am attracted to handsome men" or "Handsome men are attracted to me" or neither?

The first one. "Me" indicates who feels attracted. "Los hombres guapos" is the subject; they are the ones who attract women, and "me" points to whoever feels the attraction.

You're going to make us work for it, aren't you? Ok, how do you express the alternate translation?
What you said makes perfect sense when you read the sentence from right to left rather than normally. One would logically think that to change the sentence:
I am attracted to handsome men (Me atraen los hombres guapos) to Handsome men are attracted to me that you only need to exchange the locations of the subject and object... A los hombres guapos les atraigo yo. It doesn't look correct. How do you do it?

Les duelen los pies. A los pies los hacen daño ellos. No me suena bien.

What am I missing'

updated MAY 7, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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In many parts of America, the present perfect in Spanish is rarely used, but it is an easy tense to learn in terms of conjugation, since there are only a small number of irregular past participles (much less than in English).

The main challenges are the uses of the imperfect and preterite, plus all the subjunctive tenses. The rest are not that different from English, which has a rather wide and complex repertoire of tenses for English students form many countries where they have less tenses (for example, Chinese does not even have tenses).

Many of the perfect tenses are virtually used the same in Spanish and in English, so you shouldn't worry much about them.

In any case, don't count them; just practice them.

updated MAY 7, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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Thank you Lazarus. Also, thank you for your reply to Zoltan about the verb tenses you consider necessary to be understood. Learning all 14 is daunting for many of us.

updated MAY 7, 2009
posted by Becky-C
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Does "Les duelen los pies" mean "Their feet hurt" or "They hurt their feet" or neither?

Their feet hurt. "Les" indicate whose feet hurt. "Los pies" is the subject; they are the ones who hurt, and "les" points to whoever suffers the pain.

Does "Me atraen los hombres guapos" mean "I am attracted to handsome men" or "Handsome men are attracted to me" or neither?

The first one. "Me" indicates who feels attracted. "Los hombres guapos" is the subject; they are the ones who attract women, and "me" points to whoever feels the attraction.

updated MAY 7, 2009
posted by lazarus1907