a + infinitivo con valor condicional

Jasonismo

Member
English; USA
Hi everyone.

I'm studying the uses of the preposition 'a' in Spanish. The Oxford Spanish dictionary has one following usage:

H.2 (con valor condicional) a + inf: a decir verdad to tell you the truth; a juzgar por lo que tú dices judging from what you say

---

I have the two idioms listed above already memorized. But I don't understand what is meant (in a usage sense) by "con valor condicional" (with conditional value).

How does "to tell you the truth" (a decir verdad) exhibit conditional value? And the same question goes for "judging by what you say".

Would anyone care to help my insight into this usage of the preposition? (Said another way: besides giving me two expressions to memorize, the dictionary entry isn't giving me insight into how to use the general rule.)

Thanks
 
  • lazarus1907

    Senior Member
    Spanish, Spain
    These rewrites may explain why they have a conditional value:

    a decir verdad = If I have/had to tell the truth...
    a juzgar por lo que tú dices = If I have/had to judge from what you say...

    In theory this preposition can be used with many other verbs, but those two are the most common ones. Others, such as "A saber yo que..." are more rare.
     

    mhp

    Senior Member
    American English
    I’m looking at the same page in Oxford, and I’m not sure about what they mean either. My guess is:

    A decir verdad, no tengo ni idea cómo usarlo
    (to tell you the truth, I have no idea how to use it)
    (if I may tell the truth, I have no idea how to use it)

    A juzgar por lo que tú dices, ...
    Judging from what you say, ...
    If I’m to make a judgment from what you say,...

    If I may suggest another place to study the use of the preposition “a”:
    www.rae.es
    In the lower box type “a” and hit enter.
     

    lazarus1907

    Senior Member
    Spanish, Spain
    That dictionary won't help much here:
    a
    13.
    prep. Ante infinitivo, en expresiones de sentido condicional, equivale a la conjunción si con indicativo o subjuntivo. A decir verdad. A saber yo que había de venir.

    Real Academia Española © Todos los derechos reservados
    Las traducciones que puse antes no eran las más acertadas en inglés, pero las escribí para aclarar el sentido condicional.
     

    San

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    I’m looking at the same page in Oxford, and I’m not sure about what they mean either. My guess is:

    A decir verdad, no tengo ni idea cómo usarlo
    (to tell you the truth, I have no idea how to use it)
    (if I may tell the truth, I have no idea how to use it)

    A juzgar por lo que tú dices, ...
    Judging from what you say, ...
    If I’m to make a judgment from what you say,...

    If I may suggest another place to study the use of the preposition “a”:
    www.rae.es
    In the lower box type “a” and hit enter.
    A decir verdad are "throw away" words most of the time, it means nothing. Literally: Si fuera a hablar y decir lo que creo que es cierto, entonces diría lo siguiente: [...]

    It can also be placed at the end of the sentence, then it means: [...], si la verdad tiene que ser dicha.

    Sometimes it is used to soften something you have to tell, like "si he de ser sincero":

    A decir verdad, no me cae muy bien.
    Si he ser sincero, no me gusta mucho.


    A juzgar por lo que dices = si lo que dices es cierto.

    Saludos.
     

    mhp

    Senior Member
    American English
    A decir verdad are "throw away" words most of the time, it means nothing. Literally: Si fuera a hablar y decir lo que creo que es cierto, entonces diría lo siguiente: [...]

    It can also be placed at the end of the sentence, then it means: [...], si la verdad tiene que ser dicha.

    Sometimes it is used to soften something you have to tell, like "si he de ser sincero":

    A decir verdad, no me cae muy bien.
    Si he ser sincero, no me gusta mucho.


    A juzgar por lo que dices = si lo que dices es cierto.

    Saludos.
    Thank you :)
     
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