We're sorry that they didn't stay.

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by zeppo, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. zeppo Senior Member

    "We're sorry that they didn't stay."

    I found this translated as "Sentimos que no se hayan quedado."

    But this really means "We're sorry that they haven't stayed."

    Is there anything wrong with "Sentimos que no se quedaban/quedaron/quedaran?" that they wouldn't choose one of them instead?

    I am too much of a novice to know which of the three might be used, even if one of them is better than "se hayan quedado." But the only semi-valid explanation I can think of for this translation to "se hayan quedado" is that "didn't stay" is just not as commonly used in Spanish as it is in English for this. Otherwise, I'll guess I'll just chalk it up to another aggravatingly sloppy translation (particularly so because it came from a text-book, "The Big Red Book of Spanish Verbs.")
  2. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Dutch - Belgium
    In Spain, "quedaran" is OK if it refers to a distant period; in many parts of LA, "quedaran" would be considered at least strange (if not incorrect) in this context.

    But in any case, you need a subjunctive.
  3. Agró

    Agró Senior Member

    High Navarre
    "Sentimos que no se hayan quedado" (I'd used this for a recent action)
    "Sentimos que no se quedaran" (I'd use this for a more distant action)

    This distinction might not be applicable (surely it's not) all over the Spanish-speaking universe.

    Edit: me he cruzado con Peter.
  4. zeppo Senior Member

    Ok, thank you for your responses.

    So where I might say "I'm sorry that they didn't stay" in English when I come home and find that I had just missed some friends that had stopped by earlier, I will have to learn to change the tense when I translate to Spanish and say "Sentimos que no se hayan quedado" instead.

    This is very helpful information. It would be a leap forward if text-books would give explanations when the more literal translations are not the appropriate ones. Especially in the digital age with digital textbooks. A simple footnote could be linked. But for now I shall just have to be extremely grateful for the internet and websites like this. It is making learning Spanish, as difficult as it is while living in an English speaking country, far easier than it was in my youth.
  5. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Dutch - Belgium
    Hi Zeppo,

    My experience with textbooks is that they "suck" (forgive me the expression). For some reason (well, I think to know why), they think that explaining things as they are will de-motivate people learning the language. Instead, they feed pupils with half-thruths and inexact pseudo-explanations because, for some reason, they think the truth is too complex. As such, for the motivated student who really wants to understand things, they only add to the confusion.

    My advice to you: buy a good grammar (in your language, buy Butt and Benjamin: it's an excellent work with many examples; also, it does not use those half-boiled theories for dummies). If you are further and you want to learn more detail: buy the NGLE. It's immense, but it contains much detail (it's 4000 pages though; it's not something you read like a novel before you go to bed).
  6. zeppo Senior Member

    Peterdg, I really appreciate these recommendations. You are so right. The really good textbook is still waiting to be made, and in this digital age, shouldn't be out of the question. I only wish I was already fluent in both languages so I could be the one to do it. :)

    Ultimately, the most effective way of learning to speak a language is to be immersed in it and phrases will be learned and stored in the brain much like images. The meaning of the phrases are identified and retrieved from the brain almost like you would retrieve the name of an object. But you need to be immersed and using these phrases daily for that to work. A textbook taking Spanish language phrases and "naming" them with English phrases will not work in the same way. Especially since textbooks are geared to both speaking and writing. So yes, it is extremely frustrating, even when they may be trying to be helpful when the more literal translations don't carry over to English. Because usually, without offering explanations, they just end up as road blocks along the way. Instead of speeding along, you have to pull over, spend a lot of wasted time getting the road block out of the way, before proceeding again on your journey. And then, "oh crap", another road block. Arrghh!!!!
  7. leon_lp New Member

    The correct forms are "Sentimos que no se hayan quedado" and "Sentimos que no se quedaran", because you have to use the subjunctive, not the indicative. "quedaban" and "quedaron" are wrong in this context. If you use them, people will not understand indicative present of sentir=to be sorry (we are sorry) but indicative simple past of sentir=to feel (we felt). In this case, your "didn't stay"= our "se hayan quedado/se quedaran"
  8. zeppo Senior Member

    Would it not also be necessary then to use "Nos sentimos" if I were to use quedarse in the indicative and wanted the meaning to be "we felt?"

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