Asking questions

Brian--216

Brian--216

Hi! I'm a little confused on the way to ask questions in spanish. Some questions are asked as a direct translation: Puedo sacar su foto (Can I take your picture)? However, other questions: Me puede decir la hora (me can you tell the time), or: En que le puedo ayudar (in what you can I help) Why the different structures?
Dan-H24

Dan-H24

Brian: I think in your second example, "¿Me puede decir la hora?", me is an object pronoun, which in Spanish is placed in front of the conjugated verb. The third question, "¿En que le puedo ayudar?" is the same construction: le is the object pronoun for he, she, or it, and goes in front of the verb. Alternatively, the pronoun can be placed at the end of an infinitive, so the second sentence could be constructed as, "¿Puede decirme la hora?" and the third as "¿En que puedo ayudarle?" It is not just questions where the object pronoun precedes the verb; statements do the same thing: "Manuel lo tiene." (Manuel has it.) The same holds true with reflexive pronouns, such as "Me gusta la comida." (The food pleases me.) If I have misled you I hope someone corrects me...
ricardo-rich

ricardo-rich

Hola a todos, Dan has explained this very well and I don't see anything that is misleading with the exception of the use of "gustar". The indirect object pronouns, which are similar to the reflexive pronouns, are used with "gustar" in the third person. However this is not reflexive. One says in the plural "les gusta la comida" the plural reflexive would be "se" and that construction is not used. While we are on questions, to ask a question is to "hacer una pregunta".¿Puedo hacer una pregunta? not "¿Puedo preguntar una pregunta? Saludos, Ricardo
Dan-H24

Dan-H24

Ricardo: thanks for the clarification. I knew I should have quit while I was ahead! I was trying to make the point that it is pronoun placement, not whether a sentence is a statement or a question, that determines the structure of a sentence. I think I confused the issue in my desire to show off my knowledge. Best, Dan
Brian--216

Brian--216

Dan, thanks so much for the explanation!
Dan-H24

Dan-H24

Brian: de nada. While working on lesson 11.5 this morning, I found a statement that illustrates the two places that pronouns can be placed: "Gracias por ayudarme. Bueno, te explico." Thank you for helping me. Well, I'll explain it to you. The first, ayudarme, flows a lot better to the English-speaking mind, and I notice that when I am constructing a sentence I prefer to use it. But again, these pronouns can only be used like this with an infinitive. For a conjugated verb you just have to get used to placing them the Spanish way.
Brian--216

Brian--216

Thank you Dan! That is a great explanation. I'm absolutely loving Rocket Languages, I just wish that they would note some these important things during the lesson, even if they just say that they'll get into further detail during a later lesson. This subject is a great example. Another is during lesson 2:1: In the beginning of the conversation, Amy asks Marico "for how many people?" (Para cuantas personas?); later she asks: "for how many days?" (Por cuantos dias?). She than explains that the latter question is the same as the former except she is asking for how many days instead of people...PERIOD! Meanwhile, I'm thinking you just used 2 different words as a translation for "for", but it isn't even acknowledged, much less as to why or when each should be used.
ricardo-rich

ricardo-rich

Hola Brian, This link might clear things up for you. Espero que sí. http://spanish.about.com/cs/grammar/a/porpara.htm Saludos, Ricardo
Dan-H24

Dan-H24

Brian: I feel your pain. Early in my lessons I started wondering why esta was sometimes accented on the a, sometimes on the e, and sometimes not at all. Was it a typo? Did it not make a difference? Finally one day I did some independent research and discovered that ésta, está, and esta were indeed separate words with different meanings. I wondered at the time why RS didn't give me a little hint about this. But I did teach myself a valuable lesson. You have probably already encountered the so-called "evil twins" ser and estar. Both mean "to be," but are used in different circumstances. Now you have met the other set of evil twins, por and para. Both usually (but not always) mean "for," but like ser and estar are used differently. One of the things por is used for is to indicate a duration of time: por cuantas diás. Para, on the other hand, is used to indicate the end recipient of something: four people will use the rooms. I see that while I was typing this response that Ricardo posted a link. Here is another link to a graph that I have found very helpful when deciding whether to use por o para: http://www.drlemon.com/Grammar/por-para.html#at_pco=smlre-1.0&at_si=542ef2e8fd0fbee9&at_ab=per-2&at_pos=0&at_tot=4 Regards, Dan
Brian--216

Brian--216

Gracias Dan & Ricardo! I will definitely check out the links. Yes, I have encountered ser vs. estar. I think I understand the basic difference, but haven't gotten to the estar conjugations (other than estoy) yet. Recently, I discovered Culture Alley on you tube, which has been a great supplement to RL. Incidentally, I just watched the lesson this morning on indirect pronouns which was the source of my confusion in the beginning of this topic.
ricardo-rich

ricardo-rich

Hola Brian, De nada amigo. I might add that with time, por y para and much more will become second nature to you. Saludos, Ricardo

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