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lo contrario o el contrario?

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by Philippa, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. Philippa

    Philippa Senior Member

    Reading
    Britain - English
    ¿Por qué es a veces lo y a veces el? ¿Hay otras palabras como esta? ¡Todavía estoy bastante confundida con lo, le etc pero tal vez puedo entender esto!
     
  2. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
    A veces puedes ver 'contraria' también, just to confuse things. Since we both speak English, and it would be faster for me to answer in that language, I'll use it. As an adjective, 'contrario/a' takes 'el' or 'la' according to the gender of the noun it qualifies. As a noun, it's 'el contrario', meaning 'the opposite'.

    However, in some cases you might not want to be specific about the gender you want to refer to, so you'd use 'lo', and you might see it in phrases like 'Lo contrario es...'. Quite a few abstract nouns are used in this way, for example 'lo mejor sería...' ['it would be better (to/if)...' or, literally, 'the best (thing) would be (to/if)...'], or 'lo importante es...' ['what's important is (to)...' or, literally, 'the important (thing) is...'].

    Does this make some sense? If not, maybe it would be best to stick to saying 'al contrario'... ;)
     
  3. Philippa

    Philippa Senior Member

    Reading
    Britain - English
    Thanks garryknight! Just one more question ... In the lo importante etc ones it is the gender that you're not specifically referring to and not that you're referring to an abstract idea (which is what my Spanish teacher said, I think)?
     
  4. Artrella Banned

    BA
    ARGENTINA Sp/Eng


    Lo importante es preguntar antes de hacer algo/ es la amistad/ es el dinero/es tener amigos.

    Philippa, in this case "LO importante" is fixed. You don't have to change gender because it refers to an abstract idea.

    Saludos, Art
     
  5. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Hola Philippa,

    You are far too kind to deserve this, but here's a 'joke' a Spanish professor once told in class, to help us poor buffoons understand the topic...

    ¿Cuáles son los tres géneros de la palabra 'pez'?


    El pez, la pez......




    y








    López!
     
  6. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
    That's one way of thinking of it. Another way is that abstract ideas have neutral gender.
     
  7. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
    ¡Ufff! De Guatemala en Guatepeor, Don C. Still, they say the old ones are the best... :)
     
  8. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Garry,

    Were you referring to tired old jokes, or to us!??

    C
     
  9. Alpha0ne

    Alpha0ne Senior Member

    England English/Spanish
  10. garryknight Senior Member

    Kent, UK
    UK, English
    Hmmm... Let me think about this for a while... I could easily make a mistake here... Before I answer, I'd better be absolutely sure I know the difference... ;)
     
  11. el_novato

    el_novato Senior Member

    Comentario:

    Ahmmm, no quiero ser contrario. "el contrario", "lo contrario", pueden dar un sentido especial a la frase, "de lo contrario", no se usarían ambas expresiones.


    Tienes que estudiar para el examen, de lo contrario vas a sacar una mala calificación.

    Estudiar para el examen no es aburrido, por el contrario, te ayuda a sacar buenas calificaciones.

    El contrario es el otro equipo.

    Lo contrario a llorar es reír .

    " ... Si siempre vuelves rápidamente a la T, persiguiendo la pelota, el contrario se verá abrumado respecto a la forma de apartarte de ella. ... "

    " ... Se entenderá que toda indicación del derecho u ordenamiento jurídico de un país determinado se refiere, a menos que se exprese lo contrario, al derecho sustantivo de ese país y no a sus normas de conflicto de leyes. ..."

    Saludos.
     

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