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kgs

Dec 14, 2002, 8:01 AM

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a question

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Hi All:

Can you help me clarify something really basic? I must not quite understand it, as I get corrected often.

Question: how do I use un/una for "a"? As in

"a" glass of water, or....

I have "a" question...?

What is the difference between I'll take "a Coke" and I'll take "one Coke" ? Native speakers: what are the most common errors you hear from English-as-first-language speakers in this regard?

¡Gracias!



Mereja

Dec 14, 2002, 4:35 PM

Post #2 of 42 (5620 views)

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Re: [kgs] a question

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un vaso de agua, una pregunta

It depends on if the word is feminine or masculine whether you use un or una. And, I believe "a coke" and "one coke" would be said in the same way: "una coka".

One of the main problems I had when learning spanish was to remember which words are feminine or masculine. Such as the word "tema" is masculine even though it ends in "a" and "mano" is "la mano" even though it ends in "o".


scott

Dec 14, 2002, 5:23 PM

Post #3 of 42 (5610 views)

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Re: [Mereja] a question

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I wish I could get you proper details, but I can't remember which of my books I read it in. But technical sounding words ending in "ma" such as tema, sistema, diploma, coma, and a dozen or so more that are all taken from a common ancient language which I can't remember off hand, will be masculine.

As far as I know, you would say something like "Quiero agua, por favor", "quieres coca?" ... I don't think the article is used in this situation in spanish.


Mereja

Dec 14, 2002, 6:12 PM

Post #4 of 42 (5586 views)

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Re: [scott] a question

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Recently, in Morelia, when I took a few classes of Spanish, the teacher told me the same thing. Of course by now I have pretty much memorized the most common ones. I think it is from latin.

The other problem that I have had most is the use of preterite and imperfect tenses of verbs. I probably get it right half the time now, but at least in the classes that I took I finally got an explanation and some notes to go by. I haven't taken any college courses or anything like that to learn spanish. Most of what I know, I've learned on my own and with people, so it was really good for me to take the classes that I did. The teacher talked to me for awhile and figured out what I needed to learn. He is a really good teacher.

You can say "quieres coca" or "quieres una coca" and with agua, "quieres agua" or "quieres un agua de coco, fresa, orchata, etc."


scott

Dec 14, 2002, 7:03 PM

Post #5 of 42 (5585 views)

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Re: [Mereja] a question

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Where did you study in Morelia?

I guess what there is not a translation for is 'Do you want some agua'. In that situation at least you simply say "quieres agua". According to a book of mine...


esperanza

Dec 14, 2002, 7:35 PM

Post #6 of 42 (5574 views)

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Re: [scott] a question

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Most Spanish nouns have Latin roots, similar to the other romance languages. However, the words that you mentioned (the technical ones, and some others (such as día and mano) come from the Greek and although they appear to have either feminine (día) or masculine (mano) gender, they are actually the opposite. These are the ones you just have to memorize...like other nouns which end in e, u, i, or a consonant which don't give a hint as to their gender.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









jturpen

Dec 14, 2002, 7:52 PM

Post #7 of 42 (5579 views)

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Re: [scott] a question

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Scott .. If the formal is allowed here, wouldn't 'Usted desea algún agua' be the question of 'Do you want some agua? And quieres agua would be the informal shorten question of , '(you) Want water? Joe


jturpen

Dec 14, 2002, 7:56 PM

Post #8 of 42 (5583 views)

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Re: [scott] a question

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Scott ...



I forgot to enter the last part. So would not 'quieres algunos agua' be translatable to, 'Do you want some water?

Joe


esperanza

Dec 14, 2002, 8:10 PM

Post #9 of 42 (5598 views)

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Re: [jturpen] a question

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If you want to say, "Do you want some water?" you say, as Scott already posted, 'Quiere (or quieres) agua?' Your use of algunos is incorrect, as it is (a) not used in this construction and (b) when it IS used, as an adjective, it must agree in gender and number with the noun it modifies. For example: Voy a comprar algunos refrescos. Compré algunas manzanas. (I'm going to buy SOME soft drinks. I bought SOME apples.)

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jturpen

Dec 14, 2002, 8:54 PM

Post #10 of 42 (5572 views)

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Re: [esperanza] a question

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Thanks ...

Would 'quieres alguna agua' be acceptable for 'Want you /do you want (quieres) some (alguna) water (agua)?

The objective is to use the word 'some'. I understand the incorrect gender issue but can't alguna/o algunas/os be used as the english word some?

How do you say all three words in mexican spanish?

Joe


scott

Dec 14, 2002, 9:31 PM

Post #11 of 42 (5556 views)

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Re: [jturpen] a question

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En algunos casos some can translate as alguno. But before substances and vague quantities of countable nouns: there is no spanish equivalent to the word some . Paraphrased from one of my books.


esperanza

Dec 14, 2002, 10:10 PM

Post #12 of 42 (5556 views)

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Re: [jturpen] a question

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The point Scott and I are trying to make is...you don't say all three words in this Spanish construction, you just use two. The 'some' is implied. When you say 'Quieres agua?', it means 'Do you want SOME water?'.

Sometimes Spanish sentence construction is a little more complex than the English; sometimes it's a little less complex. This is one of the 'less' times.

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(This post was edited by esperanza on Dec 14, 2002, 10:11 PM)


quevedo

Dec 14, 2002, 11:00 PM

Post #13 of 42 (5563 views)

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Re: [Mereja] Horchata (nm)

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jturpen

Dec 15, 2002, 9:21 AM

Post #14 of 42 (5543 views)

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Re: [scott] a question

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Thanks Scott ...

So when is the rule for " before substances and vague quantities of countable nouns: there is no spanish equivalent to the word some" applied? Is there a list or method for determining when to use or when one should can use or when one can use alguno/a (algunos/as)?

Would one be laughed at if the question "quieres alguna agua"? Or would the other person reply or correct the question?

Is it a situation where you get some 'ojt'?

It looks like one of theose rules in english like i before e except after c ... blah blah blah.

Joe


jturpen

Dec 15, 2002, 9:37 AM

Post #15 of 42 (5541 views)

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Re: [esperanza] a question

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Thanks Esperanza ...

Is it a rule that the word alguno/a ... algunos/algunas is never used or is it just in this situation. I ask because my translation source says that if I say "Quieres alguno dinero"? it is equal to "You want some money"? So I know the words dinero = money and I understand the verb conjugation for do you want ... so I assumed the alguno was the missing word 'some'. I applied that to the same question for do you want water. But the expalantion that Scott offered is understandable (albeit situation specific?).

Where is the "definitive" or at least a most of the time correct resource for those of us who do not have spanish as a birth language or have not had the experience of acquiring the rules through on the job training?



Joe


jturpen

Dec 15, 2002, 9:47 AM

Post #16 of 42 (5552 views)

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Re: [quevedo] Horchata (nm)

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So Quevedo ...

What is meant by Horchata?



Joe


esperanza

Dec 15, 2002, 9:56 AM

Post #17 of 42 (5535 views)

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Re: [jturpen] a question

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OK one more time:

Quieres algunas manzanas? Do you want a few (i.e., some) apples? Si, quiero algunas manzanas. Yes, I want a few (i.e., some) apples. Cúantas quiere? How many do you want? Quiero varias...como seis. I want several, like six.

Quieres agua? Do you want some (indefinite or uncountable amount of) water? Si, permítame dos vasos, uno para mi, otro para mi amigo. Yes, may I have two glasses, one for me and one for my friend.

Read the preceding post by Scott about indefinite or uncountable amounts. And then, as the old joke says...how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, man, practice.

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esperanza

Dec 15, 2002, 9:58 AM

Post #18 of 42 (5546 views)

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Re: [jturpen] Horchata (nm)

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Turpen for pity sakes...horchata is a sweetened, cinnamon-flavored rice drink. Are these things you TRULY don't know or are you trolling?

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quevedo

Dec 15, 2002, 10:12 AM

Post #19 of 42 (5534 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Horchata con ache

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In Reply To
...horchata is a sweetened, cinnamon-flavored rice drink.


Muchas gracias por la aclaración, estimada Esperanza. Me permití escribir la palabra aquí para mostrar su ortografía correcta, con h, no como se había escrito en una nota anterior.

Salud,

Quevedo

(This post was edited by quevedo on Dec 15, 2002, 2:33 PM)


jturpen

Dec 15, 2002, 1:34 PM

Post #20 of 42 (5517 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Horchata (nm)

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Thanks for the 'warm' response Esperanza ...

Your reply

"Turpen for pity sakes...horchata is a sweetened, cinnamon-flavored rice drink. Are these things you TRULY don't know or are you trolling? "

sounds very condescending. If I knew these language idioms, I would not be perusing the Learning Spanish Forum. I do not know what trolling means to you ... but if it means am I looking to better understand the particulars of a language I believe to be very interesting, then I would say yes, I am trolling. If this is an attempt on your part to be patronizing then I would ask that please answer either in a civil manner or not ... but I don't appreciate your insults.

I would ask you " for pity sakes Esperanza ... you truly don't know " let's say how to instantiate a collection of arrays or let's say parsing a cursor ... but I don't know whether or not you speak .NET or PL/SQL languages.

Sorry I caused your life to be uncomfortable.


Joe


jturpen

Dec 15, 2002, 1:41 PM

Post #21 of 42 (5514 views)

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Re: [esperanza] a question

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Esperanza ...

I am uncertain about your tone in this reply. Are you unhappy that I ask questions or seek specifics? I thought the idea of the forum is to be a source of questions and answers. Your opening comment " OK one more time " ... does not appear to be a statement of help rather an impatient scolding.

I am so sorry that spanish is not a language that I have matered, please forgive my asking.

Joe


Mereja

Dec 15, 2002, 2:06 PM

Post #22 of 42 (5499 views)

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Re: [jturpen] a question

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Instead of "algunos" you could use "poquito de agua". If you use algunos it would be like saying "I would like 2 or 3 waters", which would not be correct unless of course you were asking for 2 or 3 bottles of water. If someone asked you when you came back from the store what kind of "aguas de sabor" did you buy, you could say "algunos diferentes".


Mereja

Dec 15, 2002, 2:09 PM

Post #23 of 42 (5506 views)

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Re: [scott] a question

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I went to Baden-Powell Institute. I only took 1 hour a day for a week. I was going to take two hours a day but I guess they figured I didn't need it. It was well worth it. Next year I plan to do the same.


Mereja

Dec 15, 2002, 2:12 PM

Post #24 of 42 (5499 views)

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Re: [quevedo] Horchata (nm)

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Gracias. Ya escribir como hace mi esposo.


Mereja

Dec 15, 2002, 2:40 PM

Post #25 of 42 (5487 views)

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Re: [jturpen] Horchata (nm)

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Keep asking questions, and ignore the attitudes. This happened a lot to me also. Even now, with the preterite and imperfect tense I have to keep consulting my notes or I just do what I think sounds best. Most people can't explain how you know which one to use. There are also times when my husband or brother-in-laws tell me what is correct and the books or others tell me I am wrong. But nobody bothered to explain to me why. For example the word "traducir". I thought for years you would say "traduci" for "I translated". Most of the people from Mexico that I asked said "traduci". Recently, I learned it is "traduje" even though a lot of native speakers say it wrong. I finally found out it is an irregular verb.

Some things you just have to learn by listening how others use it, and remembering. My experience is also that most Mexicans will not correct you. It is like they are too polite. That was a little bit of a hinderance for me, because I didn't know if I was saying things right or not. Even when I told them to correct me, a lot of them wouldn't.
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