1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

accidental action vs. purposeful action

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by rolandofthewhite, Apr 9, 2008.

  1. rolandofthewhite New Member

    English - American
    Hola, compadres!

    My best friend is taking a Spanish course at another college, and she mentioned to me a topic her teacher brought up: how to differentiate between accidental and purposeful actions without the use of "por casualidad" or "a propósito" (I think that's how they're said, at least).

    The example my friend used was:
    • "The girl forgot her homework" - this implying that she purposefully and willfully left her homework at home
    • "The girl forgot her homework" - this implying that she forgot her homework on accident

    She said the two were said entirely differently in Spanish. I can't remember exactly how she said them, but here is my best guess:

    • PURPOSEFUL - "La chicha olvidió su tarea."
    • ACCIDENTAL - "La tarea se olvidió de la chica."

    Still doesn't seem right, though. Is there a way to imply purpose of an action in the verb tense/word order, and if so, what is it? I figure it could be fairly important. I don't want to go to Mexico and say "I broke the plate (on accident of course)", and have people look at me like I'm a psychopath with anger issues. :eek:

    Any help would be appreciated. Gracias!
  2. Magmod Senior Member

    England English
    :arrow: Pero tú has contestado tu pregunta con :
    • por casualidad o
    • a propósito
    1. Me olvidé de mandarle un regalo :thumbsdown:
    2. Se me olvidó mandarle un regalo = I forgot to send him a present
    3. Se me olvidó por completo = I completely forgot = It slipped my mind completely => accidental
    Parece a veces el uso del reflexivo puede significar por casualidad. Lo dejo a los nativos

    Saludos :)
  3. Cecilio

    Cecilio Senior Member

    Valencia, Spain
    Spanish, Valencian/Catalan
    Please notice: the sentence "La tarea se olvidó de la chica" actually means "The task forgot about the girl"...
  4. Magmod Senior Member

    England English
    Y por eso:
    • La chica se olvidó de traer la tarea
    • = The girl forgot to bring the homework
    ¿Pero la pregunta es algo como así?:
    • La chica se olvidó de traer la tarea
    • = La chica se olvidó de traer la tarea por casualidad, o
    • = La chica se olvidó de traer la tarea a propósito
    1. caer = to fall
    2. caerse = to fall over/down, es decir la acción es por casualidad ¿no?
    3. salir = to leave/come out
    4. salirse = to leave unexpectedley/to leak liquids, gases por casualidad

Share This Page