Forum use of 'la' instead of 'una'

use of 'la' instead of 'una'



Lesson 4.3, checking into a hotel. The Hear it, say it section has the question: “¿Tiene la habitación con baño privado?”. “la habitación"? I don't get that, at least not in the context of someone checking into a hotel.



From lesson 4.3:


¿Tiene la habitación un baño privado?

Does the room have a private bathroom?


It's because they are discussing a specific room already presented as available by the desk attendant, such as “room 99.” “Tiene” is referring to the room, not the person or business renting out the room. “Con” is not part of the sentence as presented in “know it” of lesson 4.3.


¿Tiene una habitación con baño privado?

Do you have a room with a private bathroom?


This is asking if a room with a private bathroom is available before discussing a specific room. Here “tiene” is politely referring to either the clerk or the business.


Both of these may be reasonable questions in a third world nation which may have a notable percentage of hotels having a communal toilet at the end of the hallway the other end of the building and lacking toilets in the rooms.


Communal toilets may be appreciated or personally tolerated as necessary in the american mentality at restaurants and gas stations, but might be repelling concerning personal space or privacy and even disgusting as a hotel feature. Maybe also personally unsafe.


Something to be aware of because spanish doesn't always conform to our english expectations:


Where an english speaker would say “my leg” a spanish speaker says “la pierna.”


This is why one should be careful of language translaters, sometimes they directly translate rather than convey a more correct rendering.


“Hot chile” might translate as “chile caliente," which can be sexual as in “hot penis” instead of “chile picoso,” the fruit that “burns."


To tell a funny story about offering someone a hot chile could be understood very differently than intended.


Beware of using “excitado” to describe being extremely enthused about something. I believe “excitado” means sexually aroused which might not work for being excited to meet a total stranger.


Getting back to public / customer used toilets:

for various reasons, one might be wise to discreetly carry some toilet paper on their person while in mexico and particularly away from the usual tourist traps which depend on repeat and referred business.


Let's just say there are a lot of ways to extort some money out of an unwary / distressed / desperate passerby for a wildly overpriced item, be one a tourist or native, and no toilet paper in the restroom facilitates one particular scam - although people stealing toilet paper to pinch pennies may contribute to the ruse.


And, I understand some unscrupulous businesses habitually claim to lack change after you have already used or consumed or really need their product or service. In other words, if you don't have exact change you are fleeced right to your face and it may be detrimental to get loud about it.






I was very careful to make sure I heard what I thought I heard before posting. I listened to it many times. I was sure I heard:


¿tiene la habitación con baño privado?

Does the room have with private bathroom?


When I checked it just now though, it has ¿Tiene la habitación un baño privado?.


So it makes sense now. No problem.


Thanks for your reply. 







Hello team, 


I understand your confusion. In the context of checking into a hotel, the phrase "¿Tiene la habitación con baño privado?" means "Do you have the room with a private bathroom?" The word "la habitación" refers to "the room" that the person is inquiring about. 


Essentially, the question is asking whether the hotel has rooms available that come with a private bathroom. It's a common question that guests might ask to ensure that they are booking a room with the specific amenities they desire. So, in this context, "la habitación" is referring to the hotel room that the person is interested in.


Happy learning :) 


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