de / que / por + infinitivo

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by longevidad, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. longevidad New Member

    English
    Hola -

    Hay algo con las preposiciones antes del infinitivo que me confunda. Por ejemplo:

    Quiero algo de beber
    I want something to drink

    Tengo cosas que hacer
    I have things to do

    Hay mucho camino por recorrer
    There is a long way to go

    En estos casos, en inglés siempre se usa "to." Pero en español no entiendo la regla que determina cual palabra es correcta (que, de, por). Por favor puede ayudarme a entenderlo algien?

    Gricias
     
  2. St. Nick Senior Member

    English
    Hi Longevidad

    I can't give you a simple answer. Prepositions (and connectors equivalent to the Spanish "que") are a nightmare for students of English as well. For instance, why do we say "in the world" rather than "on the world." They're mostly idiomatic uses and have to be memorized.

    But, here's one thing that might be causing you a little confusion. The "to" in "to drink," "to do," and "to go" is not a preposition. It is an infinitive marker, part of the name of the action. In your examples, the infinitive phrases are functioning as adjectives, modifying "something," "things," and "way." Spanish infinitives incorporate but do not add the separate 'to' element.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2011
  3. jmx

    jmx Senior Member

    Barcelona
    Spain / incorrect Spanish
    Let's try with a somewhat contrived example:

    Tengo algo de beber - I have something that can be drunk, that I could drink if I wanted to.

    Tengo algo que beber - I have something that I must drink.

    Tengo algo por beber - I have something that is pending to be drunk, that I have not yet drunk.

    So you see, the meanings are different. Though of course the last 2 sentences in this example would be quite unusual!
     
  4. CarolinaGuy

    CarolinaGuy Senior Member

    U.S. - North Carolina
    U. S. English
    Are your examples unique to tener, or would they also hold for other verbs?

    Quiero (o me gustaría) algo de beber, quiero algo que beber, quiero algo por beber?
     
  5. jmx

    jmx Senior Member

    Barcelona
    Spain / incorrect Spanish
    As a general rule, the examples could be built for any verb, but in many cases the meanings of the resulting sentences would be too far-fetched.
     
  6. blasita

    blasita Senior Member

    Spanish - Spain (Madrid)
    Hola.

    Tengo mucho por hacer.
    (=Hay muchas cosas que necesito hacer y no he hecho. También, ej. Eso está por ver/decidir. 'Por', se refiere a una acción futura y más o menos significa 'sin'.) Pero, en cambio,
    p.ej. no diría: 'Quiero algo por beber' (No tiene sentido para mí), pero sí p.ej. Quiero algo de beber/¿Hay algo de/que beber? Y con algunos verbos, 'por' seguido de infinitivo a veces significa 'para'; ej. Por no molestarte.

    Algo de beber y Algo para beber se usan en muchos casos, en la práctica, de manera parecida. No me extiendo más, que todo esto puede ser muy largo; es sólo mi opinión sobre unas pocas construcciones. A ver lo que dicen los demás foreros.

    Saludos.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
  7. SevenDays Senior Member

    Spanish
    The "to" in I have something to drink is syntactically required; it is, as already mentioned, the infinitive marker. Without it, the sentence is ungrammatical (I have something drink). Because the only infinitive marker is "to," "to" is the only word that can fill that syntactic slot. The Spanish preposition is syntactically needed insofar as to have a complete sentence, but Spanish doesn't require a specific preposition; both "de" and "para" can be used. The Spanish prepositions,then, play a semantic function: they convey the precise intended meaning. As I see it (and we are now into the realm of the subjective), the "de" in tengo algo de beber speaks to a quality, something inherent, in that "algo;" the "para" in tengo algo para beber suggests the purpose of that "algo."

    Cheers
     
  8. longevidad New Member

    English
    Gracias. Todo ésto es muy útil. Pero qué significa "que" utilizado así? Tal como, "hay cosas que hacer." En este caso, tiene "que" algo que ver con la obligación de hacerlo?
     
  9. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Chicago
    Spanish - Uruguay
    There is stuff that has to be done/There is stuff to do.
    In English you skip the 'that', in Spanish you use 'que'.
     

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