1. WARNING: The forums will close for maintenance for 30-40 minutes starting at 10 am US Eastern Time (GMT -4, 4 pm in most of Europe).

El tal Alejandro se acaba de meter

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Andrew25, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. Andrew25 Junior Member

    U.S. - English
    This phrase is from the move Ladrón Que Roba A Ladrón and it's where one of the thieves has broke through the front gate and the guard yells into his radio "¡El tal Alejandro se acaba de meter!". The English subtitles translate it as simply "It's that Alejandro guy!" but I really don't think that's all of it. I'm very confused by...pretty much everything here, and there are two confusing phrases:


    1. El tal Alejandro - I have no idea what that means.
    2. Se acaba de meter - "using up to put in"? No clue.

    If it makes any difference the guard is supposed to be Cuban. Thanks in advance for any help.
     
  2. SolAguila

    SolAguila Senior Member

    India
    Bengali-India
    I would interpret el tal Alejandro as "that Alejandro" (the well-known thief).
    Now, se acaba de meter is "that Alejandro" who broke through the front gate.

    Let's see.
     
  3. colombo-aussie

    colombo-aussie Senior Member

    Australia
    Spanish - Colombian
    It's the other way around. "Tal" is used for an unknown or unspecific person and it does mean "that".

    In the other hand, "se acaba de meter" is used as in "he just broke in"
     
  4. SolAguila

    SolAguila Senior Member

    India
    Bengali-India
    So why tal Alejandro, just a fictitious name?... and how would you translate tal Alejandro?
     
  5. colombo-aussie

    colombo-aussie Senior Member

    Australia
    Spanish - Colombian
    No, it's not fictitious, maybe they they've heard of him before. I'd say "This Alejando guy just broke in"
     
  6. flyingcabbage Senior Member

    Dublin, Ireland
    English - Ireland
    "Se acaba de meter"
    The "se" goes with "meter", not "acabar", so you need to translate "acabar de" and "meterse".

    Acabar de...
    = "to have just done" (eg. Acabo de comer - I've just eaten. It's a handy phrase to have if you didn't know it already)
    Meterse = to enter, to get in. (maybe "to break in" South America?)

    "That Alejandro guy just got in!" / "That guy, Alejandro, just got in!" (In Ireland we'd say "Your man Alejandro just got in!" but I don't think you use"your man" in that way anywhere else :D)
    I'd assume they know him but not personally - they've seen him before or they've heard of him.
     
  7. Andrew25 Junior Member

    U.S. - English
    Oh wow, yes, that makes a lot more sense, thank you! Can I ask how you knew that "se" went with "meter" and not "acaba"? I never would've guessed that.
     
  8. Milton Sand

    Milton Sand Modómano, 'mano

    Bucaramanga, Colombia
    Español (Colombia)
    Hi,
    When we say "el tal Alejandro" we mean we don't know him, as colombo-aussie has said. It's like saying, "the one [supposedly] called Alejandro."
    It's because "acabar de +infinitive" is a very usual verbal periphrasis equivalent to "to have just +past participle". (Look it up in the WR dictionary: acabar.) Without an infinitive, it has no meaning; just like the English one meaning nothing without the past participle.

    The verb "acabarse" (come to an end) doesn't have a "de" attached (Look it up in the WR dictionary: acabarse.)

    Regards,
    ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  9. Andrew25 Junior Member

    U.S. - English
    Ok, thank you, I understand. It still seems like a very strange way to say that, although it is technically correct. It seems to me that the much better way to say it would be: "El tal Alejandro acaba de meterse". Let me ask you something: which one would you, as a native speaker, use? Which one sounds more natural: "El tal Alejandro se acaba de meter" or "El tal Alejandro acaba de meterse"?
     
  10. juan082937 Senior Member

    español
    El tal =a demonstrative pronoun that implies an already known burglar by the guard (thief Alejandro) with a tinge of derogatory, comtemptuous meaning added 'TAL' to ALEJANDRO.

    El tal Alejandro = I am not sure if THAT carries that scornful, disparaging shade. What about 'The such Alejandro'?? just broke in . The 'se' it is a marker that means to finish doing something.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  11. SolAguila

    SolAguila Senior Member

    India
    Bengali-India
    :thumbsup: an already known thief by the guard.
     
  12. Milton Sand

    Milton Sand Modómano, 'mano

    Bucaramanga, Colombia
    Español (Colombia)
    Technically correct indeed. It seems we simply love placing the clitic pronouns before the verbal group, but maybe it's the preferred way for less formal contexts (although it's even used in a presidential speech); so, at least to my ears, attaching the reflexive pronoun at the end of the (main) infinitive verb is a bit more formal.

    Anyway, both ways sounds completely natural.

    Another example, more colloquial and bit more complex:
    Mr. Officer, someone supposedly called Alejandro has just broken into my dear friend's house.
    Señor agente, a mi amiga se me le acaba de meter un tal Alejandro a la casa a la fuerza.
    Señor agente, a mi amiga acaba de metérsemele un tal Alejandro a la casa
    a la fuerza.

    Just in case, let me clarify: The "se" comes with "meterse"; the "le" is an I.O. in its dative function making it clear it's my friend's house; the "me" is an I.O. of interest meaning I'm emotionally affected by that happening to my dear friend.

    Regards,
    ;)
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  13. flyingcabbage Senior Member

    Dublin, Ireland
    English - Ireland
    Milton Sand has already explained - it's just that "acabar de" is a set phrase, and you never have "de" with "acabarse". It's just confusing here because both acabar and meter can be reflexive. The pronouns can go at the start or at the end when there's two verbs in the phrase, so if it doesn't translate properly at first, try moving the pronoun to the other verb and see if that makes more sense :)


    “Acabo de levantarme” (I’ve just got up)
    “Me acabo de levantar


    “Quiero comprármelo”. (I want to buy it for myself)
    “Me lo quiero comprar”.




    The such Alejandro” no tiene sentido en inglés. “That” sí puede tener el sentido derrogatorio si lo dices de una manera enfática.

    Otra manera de expresarlo (si hay que darle un sentido muy negativo) sería de poner un nombre un poco ofensivo después:
    eg. “That Alejandro tosser just broke in!”.
    (“Tosser” sólo es un ejemplo, ¡hay muchísimas palabras así!)
    Claro que es muy coloquial.



    Hola, Milton Sand:
    Your signature says to alert you about mistakes, so just some small corrections for you:
    Both ways sound completely natural. [verbo en plural]
    (You could say "It sounds completely natural both ways" though.)

    Mr. Officer [con mayúsculo, como es un título], someone supposedly called Alejandro has just broken into my friend's house. [tercera persona singular].

    Saludos :)
     

Share This Page