Ok. According to the audio lessen "Que se le ofrece" literally means "What can be offered to you" Right? Why are there two pronouns? I realize that "se" is the indirect object pronoun as in "to you". Why is "le" also used here?
June 9, 2006
I'm not really sure, but I think that the construction "se ofrece" is
somewhat like "se habla" in "Se habla español aquí" (Spanish is spoken
here). It's a type of passive construction. Literally, "Qué se le
ofrece" can be translated as "What can be offered to you?" (or,
more colloquially, "What can I do for you?"). The indirect object
is not "se" but "le"; "se" is part of the passive construction "se ofrece."
Some additional examples of this passive construction (taken from
_Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Verb Tenses_ by Dorothy Devney Richmond):
Se necesitan huevos para cocer una torta. (Eggs are needed in order to bake a cake)
Se pagan las cuentas cada viernes. (The bills are paid every Friday)
If I'm mistaken, I hope someone more knowledgeable will correct what I've said.
June 9, 2006
Gracias nohablo,(necesito ayuda)
Can you explain to me what you mean by "passive construction"? Bye the way, I'm on lesson 5.1 in Rocket Spanish. Am I jumping to far ahead of myself with these types of questions? Should I complete the course and then worry about stuff like this?
June 9, 2006
Hola True. In most sentences, we use *active* constructions. For example, *John hit the ball*. "John" is the subject, "hit" is the verb, and "the ball" is what's called a direct object. The subject (John) is also the thing that's performing the action. However, we could also convey the same information by using a *passive* construction: *The ball was hit by John*. Now the subject of the sentence is "the ball," and the verb is "was hit." The subject is not performing the action--something else (John) is performing the action on the ball.
OK, when you have a sentence where the subject is not perfoming the action but is being acted upon by someone or something else, you have a *passive construction.* Thus, "I speak Spanish" is active ("I" am the subject of the verb "speak," and "I" am performing the action), while "Spanish is spoken by me" and "Spanish is spoken here" are passive ("Spanish" is the subject of the verb "is spoken," but "Spanish" isn't performing the action--other people are performing the action (they're speaking Spanish).
So, getting back to the sentence you asked about, "Qué se le ofrece?" I think it can be translated literally as "What can be offered to you?" "Can be offered" is a passive construction (compare it to the active construction "I offer you some fruit," where the subject "I" is what's performing the action, "offer").
I hope this helps you understand what a passive construction is. It's the difference between "I love" and "I am loved." In the first sentence, the subject is doing the loving, but in the second, the subject is not doing the loving but is passively being loved.
I'll leave it to someone else to advise you about whether to worry about such things as you're going along or finish the course first. I know grammar pretty well, and I like to understand how things work grammatically as I go along. However, lots of people don't know much grammar, and they manage to learn languages without necessarily understanding why things are as they are. I can't really say what would be best for you.
June 9, 2006
I would put myself into the same category of one who likes to understand how things work grammatically.
I started learning Spanish last fall at the same time my 12 year old son began his first foreign language class as school (7th grade Spanish). To someone listening to us, they probably would say we sound like we are at the same level of conversation ability.
My son can recall and use more words and phrases than I can but he has not learned grammer yet. I can formulate and build sentences in my head to convey my thoughts but don't know as many words and phrases.
I suspect we will converge at some point down the road even though we are going about this on different tracks.
I have found that bombarding my brain from all directions using TV with closed captioning, audio lessons and written materials is helping me a great deal. People see me all the time with my MP3 player and headphones mouthing the words to songs.... if the only knew !! :D
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