Para comer

nancy-a

nancy-a

Hola, I am a newbie. I have a pretty basic question I think. The sentence "Quiero algo para comer" to me translates as "I want something to to eat". Obviously that is not correct. Can someone explain?
ricardo-rich

ricardo-rich

Hola Nancy,

Bienvenida al foro. You're translation is correct.

Saludos,

Ricardo
Ava Dawn

Ava Dawn

It should only have one "to" to eat (comer). Quiero algo para comer sounds right.
Ava Dawn

Ava Dawn

How about "Mi gustaria algo para comer"?. Is this okay?
ricardo-rich

ricardo-rich

Hola a todos,

I missed that "to' was used twice and as Aurora said that is incorrect. Aurora, it should be: "Me" gustaría algo para comer. otherwise that's perfectly okay.

Saludos,

Ricardo
nancy-a

nancy-a

Perhaps if I ask in a different way my question will be clearer. If "para" translates as "to" and " comer" translates as "to eat", doesn't the sentence translate as "I want something to to eat."?
ricardo-rich

ricardo-rich

Hola Nancy,
 In this case para does not translate as "to" but rather as "for" expressing purpose before an infinitive. Una pluma es para  escbribir. A fountain pen is for writing. In English more literally this would be: I want something " for to" eat an odd construction, though it is used in a song I've heard titled If I needed you: " If I needed you would you come to me, would you come to me for to ease my pain." So the translation is: I want something to eat. Para is used in several ways. Los astronautas van para la luna. The astronauts go to the moon. Salimos para la iglesia a las nueve. We leave for church at nine. Hope this helps and keeping asking questions, it helps us all.

Saludos,

Ricardo
Dan-H24

Dan-H24

Just to add my dos centavos:

1. Nancy: remember that in some cases Spanish and English does translate word for word. But in many cases, it does not. You will drive yourself nuts...or at least I did...trying to make direct translations. Language is more art than science and so has more ambiguity. I either read or heard somewhere that people who can accept ambiguity do better at learning new languages than those who must have a precise go/no go reason for everything.

2. Aurora: from questions that I have asked of several different native Spanish speakers, I believe that it is not considered rude to just say what you want, using quiero. I would not think of saying to a waitress in a restaurant here in the US, "I want a hamburger." Doing so would probably ensure poor service, perhaps a glass of water "accidentally" spilled in your lap, and God knows what added to your burger back in the kitchen!

I, you, and probably most Estadounidenses have been raised to say, "I would like..." and I continue to ask that way in Spanish, even though I know it is not at all considered rude. If that marks me as a gringo, so be it. I believe that there is no such thing as being too polite.
ricardo-rich

ricardo-rich

Hola Nancy,
P.D. ( P. S. en español.) To clarify, para is needed in the example to make sense in Spanish but it's not translated into English.

Saludos,

Ricardo
george-gmh

george-gmh

Nancy
I am also a newbie.  Pero, mi esposa, Aurora-cls, is tutoring me.
She asked me to look at Premium Level 1, lesson 6.7, which is ahead of where I am.  The following quote is from this lesson:

“It can be quite unhelpful if you feel as if you have to understand every expression in terms of its direct English translation. When you are learning a new language for the first time, you may feel as if you need to know exactly what each word means in English so that you can do the translation in your head. Languages don’t work like that! If you are going to learn to speak a new language, you have to allow your mind to connect words and ideas in Spanish ways … ways that may be untranslatable in English.”

That being said, when Spanish speakers use the infinitive form of a verb like comer, they use it simply as an infinitive verb.  One that they don’t have to conjugate to assign a tense, or personal pronoun to.  They would know that this information is contained else ware in the sentence.


So they may not know or even care that English speakers translate their infinitive form (comer) as (to eat).  Thus in Spanish they need para to make sense of the sentence.  
Since I am a newbie, if anybody sees anything wrong with this, please let me know.
George
 
ricardo-rich

ricardo-rich

Hola George,
¡Bien dicho! No veo nada incorrecto, es buen consejo.

Saludos,

Ricardo
george-gmh

george-gmh

Thanks Ricardo
George
the-hefay

the-hefay

Interesting thread.  Although I can appreciate the "ambiguity" or lack of a direct translation, I personally find it helpful to "solve" the puzzle so to speak, into what is really being said.  Perhaps that's just me and perhaps it's because I live in an area where there is a substantial Mexican population.  Their English is typically a word for word translation and that is why it sounds strange.  For example, a Mexican I know says, "I no want to go."  This is a word for word translation into English from Spanish.  However, knowing how he talks, I can sometimes reverse translate so to speak, in order to speak a proper Spanish translation.  If I can answer the question, "how would my friend say this in English?"  I can usually get a pretty good idea how to say it in Spanish.  That being said, when I figure out what the literal translation of a Spanish phrase is, I often find myself speaking Mexican English.  To me it's fascinating.  To others it's only extra baggage. 

"Quiero algo para comer"
I want something for to eat.
Matthew-H68

Matthew-H68

Very interesting thread. Though I'm not one to translate what is said in Spanish into English very often, it's nice to know that there isn't just one way to translate it. 
george-gmh

george-gmh

I agree with the-hefay.  Speaking with and being understood by our Spanish friends is the ultimate goal.   What ever gets you there the quickest is good.   For me at this point I'm weak on the amount of vocabulary can process quickly.

 
marieg-rocket languages

marieg-rocket languages

Hi!

I see how "I want something to to eat" would be a literal translation, but unfortunately is grammatically incorrect. As you all have commented before, each person learns differently, so Nancy, just keep in mind that in Spanish we don't need a preposition (to) to identify the verb in infinitive. Now it is confusing because you're trying to translate Spanish into English. You already know that "I want something to to eat" is incorrect. If you get stuck in these type of sentences, try saying it backwards: "I want something to eat."

I (Yo)
Want (Quiero)
Something (Algo)
To (Para)
Eat (Comer)

*I'm not sure, maybe it's like those cases where you don't say "I do do" but "I do make", to avoid a cacophony situation...
 
ricardo-rich

ricardo-rich

Hola a todos,

Más información sobre la traducción de español a inglés.

http://spanish.about.com/od/Translating-From-Spanish/fl/Context-Needed-in-Determing-Word-Meanings.htm?utm_source=exp

Saludos,

Ricardo

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