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it had been four months since I had seen them

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Espanol3200, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. Espanol3200 Senior Member

    English Britain
    I would like to say this in Spanish: It had been four months since I had seen them.

    My attempt: Hacía cuatro meses que no los había visto.

    Thank you!!!
     
  2. Qualityservant

    Qualityservant Senior Member

    Utah, USA
    English-USA
    You are almost correct in your attempt. Because your English implies that it had been four months of not seeing them since you had seen them, your translation would be more specific to say the following: Hacía cuatro meses desde que los había visto.
     
  3. Espanol3200 Senior Member

    English Britain
    So if I wanted to say "It had been two years since I had been skiing" would it be: "Hacía dos años desde que había esquiado"
     
  4. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    It had been four months since I had [last] seen them = Hacía cuatro meses que no los había visto = No los había visto desde hacía cuatro meses.

    Correct?
     
  5. inib

    inib Senior Member

    La Rioja, Spain
    British English
    I think so.
     
  6. yorhiu

    yorhiu Junior Member

    Madrid, España
    Español, Uruguay
    I would go for Hacía cuatro meses que no los veía.
    The same for the other examples in the thread. I think is better to use the "imperfecto" here, than the "pluscuanperfecto".

    Hacía cuatro meses desde que los había visto: something sound strange to me, unnatural, although I think it's grammaticaly correct.
    I would add "por última vez", or change it to Pasaron cuatro meses desde que los ví/había visto por última vez.

    Hacía dos años desde que había esquiado doesn't sound good. Hacía dos años que no esquiaba o Hacía dos años desde que esquié por última vez.
     
  7. Qualityservant

    Qualityservant Senior Member

    Utah, USA
    English-USA
    A simple way to remember the correct translation is this: When the English is written in the positive, so is the Spanish. When the English is written in the negative (such as when using "no"), so is the Spanish. English: It had been four months since I had seen them. The sentence is in the past perfect and doesn't use the negative word "no". Therefore, the Spanish will use the past imperfect and also not use the negative "no". The Spanish would then be: Hacía cuatro meses desde que los había visto. By contrast, "hacía cuatro meses que no los había visto" is translated to "it had been four months since I had not seen them", which is incorrect because it not only carries the implied negative but also the negative word "no", giving the sentence a double negative which is not allowed in English.
     
  8. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    Thanks for the advice, but I remain a bit confused. You say:

    "Therefore, the Spanish will use the past imperfect and also not use the negative "no". The Spanish would then be: Hacía cuatro meses desde que los había visto."

    But isn't había visto pluperfect rather than past imperfect?

    You also say:

    "hacía cuatro meses que no los había visto" is translated to "it had been four months since I had not seen them", which is incorrect because it not only carries the implied negative but also the negative word "no", giving the sentence a double negative which is not allowed in English"

    So what is the correct translation?
     
  9. Qualityservant

    Qualityservant Senior Member

    Utah, USA
    English-USA
    Sorry for the confusion, RicardoElAbogado. Let me clarify both points a little more. Regarding your first question, you are correct in that había visto is pluperfect rather than past imperfect. My explanation, however, is referring to the first word in the sentence: Hacía.​ The English "It had been" (pluperfect/past perfect) equals the Spanish "Hacía" (imperfect indicative/past imperfect) in usages as the subject.

    To your second question, the correct translation is as indicated in the first example: "Hacía cuatro meses desde que los había visto." I translated the incorrect Spanish-"hacía cuatro meses que no los había visto"- to the incorrect English-"it had been four months since I had not seen them"- to show how a translation using the negative "no" can distort the intended meaning in either language. I used the incorrect Spanish translation only because it was used in your previous post. I thought that using the sentence would help emphasize the point, but maybe not. I hope this helps.
     
  10. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    Thanks. That clarifies it.
     
  11. yorhiu

    yorhiu Junior Member

    Madrid, España
    Español, Uruguay
    Hola Qualityservant,

    "hacía cuatro meses que no los había visto" is not incorrect spanish. Althought, as i said before, i think it sounds more natural to use de imperfect indicative "... que no los veía". But this may depend on the phrase or context.

    Saludos
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013

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