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No, I think he stayed at home.

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by zeppo, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. zeppo Senior Member

    I had to put something in the subject line, but my uncertainty is really two-fold. Below I would like to check both how the negative is used in Spanish as well as reaffirming my understanding of the subjective. I wonder if by making "No" in Spanish a single word reply and not part of the sentence that follows if the translation works, and if this wording would sound awkward or uncommon in Spanish.

    Mary: Is John not coming to the party?

    Peter: No, I think he stayed at home. I don't think he is coming.

    ¿No viene Juan a la fiesta?

    "No. Pienso que se queda a casa. No pienso que venga."

  2. swift

    swift Senior Member

    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    Hola Zeppo:

    En el caso que planteas, el primer 'no' responde a la pregunta dicotómica Is John not coming to the party?, y por tanto no modifica al verbo que sigue:

    No, creo que se quedó en casa.

    Lo que sigue a 'no' completa la respuesta, ampliando sobre el motivo por el que se cree que no vendrá.

    En la segunda oración, 'no' sí modifica al verbo, y puesto que niega la acción, la afecta también en cuanto al modo: No pienso que venga, que expresa incertidumbre.

    En otras palabras: lo entiendes perfectamente. :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  3. duvija

    duvija Senior Member

    Spanish - Uruguay
    The first one is fine, but you don't really need change the word order.
    M : ¿Juan no viene a la fiesta?
    In the second one, we use 'creer' en lugar de 'pensar'. Not wrong, just less used.
    P: No. Creo que se queda en (su) casa. Creo que no viene/No creo que venga.

    ('a casa' is wrong. The normal is 'en casa' but it tends to mean 'at my place/home')
  4. zeppo Senior Member

    Thanks, swift and duvija.

    As far as the use of subjunctive is concerned, the example clearly shows the level of uncertainty is the same with both of Peter's sentences, since it comes from the same person at the same time. So I was just testing that "uncertainty" felt by the speaker is not actually the determining factor in the use of the subjunctive, but instead is simply a grammatical determination. So though the uncertainty of the speaker is equal in both of Peter's sentences, the subjunctive is only used in the second because that is what fits grammatically.
  5. zeppo Senior Member

    It occurs to me that I chose to use the present tense for the Spanish instead of the preterite.

    Should the translation be "Creo que se quedó en casa" rather than "Creo que se queda en casa"? Or if both are correct, is one more typical or natural response in Spanish than the other in this context?
  6. swift

    swift Senior Member

    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    Ambas formas son posibles, claro está. El presente podría, en determinados contextos, referirse a una acción habitual: hoy se queda en casa (como todos los sábados).

    Sin embargo, para traducir 'he stayed home', lo más apegado al original sería 'se quedó en casa'.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  7. zeppo Senior Member

    Thanks for this distinction.

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