A sus hijos/para sus hijos

miklo3600

Senior Member
English-United States
Hola:

I want to know if you can say the following sentences both ways in Spanish.

He has not been a good father to his children.
A sus hijos no les ha sido un buen padre.
Para sus hijos no ha sido un buen padre.


Gracias por ayudarme con mi castellano. Saludos.
 
  • Brianse

    Senior Member
    Argentina - Spanish
    A sus hijos no les ha sido un buen padre.:cross:
    Para sus hijos no ha sido un buen padre.:tick:

    The first one could be correct in this way:

    Con sus hijos no ha sido un buen padre.
     

    edw

    Senior Member
    Dominican Spanish
    Hola:


    He has not been a good father to his children.
    A sus hijos no les ha sido un buen padre.:cross:
    Para sus hijos no ha sido un buen padre.:tick:
    The second is possible, but it sounds a little odd. Whether or not it sounds good depends on the context.
     

    Brianse

    Senior Member
    Argentina - Spanish
    Para sus hijos no ha sido un buen padre. This means that their children think that his father, wasn't a good one.


    He has not been a good father to his children > Also can be translated like this > El no ha sido un buen padre con sus hijos.
     

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    Me interesaría saber por qué no se puede usar la A personal en este caso, tal como en el primer ejemplo dado por Miklo. Entiendo que a ustedes hispanoparlantes no les suena, pero ¿por qué no? ¿Es por el uso del verbo ser?
     

    AndresTM

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    En español no eres algo a alguien sino con alguien, sin importar el adjetivo. Por ejemplo, cuando visité mis amigos en Boston ellos fueron muy especiales conmigo, y Joey ha sido un buen amigo con Elliott (para también puede usarse en este caso, pero tiene una connotación ligeramente diferente). Supongo que hay varios ejemplos del verbo ser seguido por el a, pero el único que se me ocurre en este momento es, por ejemplo, "soy un fanático a morir de Breaking Bad".
     
    Last edited:

    miklo3600

    Senior Member
    English-United States
    When can you use indirect object pronouns (me, te, le, nos, les) with ser?
    I have heard...
    La vida no TE ha sido fácil.

    can you say....Él no te ha sido un buen padre. (He has not been a good father to you)

    Gracias por las respuestas
     

    AndresTM

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Always glad to help, Mexico RV'er! Do expect someone else to give you a more thorough/accurate explanation, but what I said is, needless to say, correct as far as I know.

    Good question, miklo. The best answer I can come up with is that me/te/le es is equivalent to es para mi/ti/él, so your examples can also be written like so:
    La vida no ha sido fácil para ti.
    Él no ha sido un buen padre para ti.

    The difference between "ha sido un buen padre contigo" y "para ti" is one of perspective: "Contigo" evaluates a character trait of the father (he's been a good father to his children) and "para ti" assesses the father's impact on the son's life (for the son, having his father in his life has been good). It's similar to the difference between a father's being good to or for his children in English: a really subtle one, but it's there nonetheless. Does that make sense, anyone?
     

    ptak30

    Senior Member
    Hi,AndresTM
    I presume that if the sentence "Para sus hijos no ha sido un buen padre" had been written " No ha sido un buen padre, para sus hijos" you would have still translated "para sus hijos" as "in the opinion of his children"
    Are you saying that the "para ti" should be translated as "in your opinion" for these 2 phrases;
    La vida no ha sido fácil para ti.
    Él no ha sido un buen padre para ti.?
    And if not, what is the difference?
    Thanks in advance
    Regards
    ptak
     

    AndresTM

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    I understand that this may not be an easy thing to understand for anyone here (myself included) because the use of these expressions in English and Spanish is not completely symmetric.

    You're right in that "para mí" is a perfectly good alternative for "en mi opinión", as the padre example shows. The plot begins to thicken, however, when you bring up the vida example, as it shows that word order and tense can change the meaning of the expression. "Para mí, la vida no es fácil" means "In my opinion, life isn't easy." "La vida no ha sido fácil para mí," however, means "Life has not been easy for me." If you say something like "para mí, la vida no ha sido fácil," it would be understood that you're not emitting a general opinion about life but stating a fact about yours, because "ha sido" (has been) gives it that personal touch. "La vida no es fácil para mí" is a bit more ambiguous, and you should avoid saying things like that. Likely, the listener will ask you, "¿Quieres decir que tu vida no ha sido fácil o que piensas que la vida en general no es fácil?"

    In general, I think if you use the expression "para mí" to express a general opinion (as opposed to stating something about your life), you should place it at the beginning of the sentence and follow it with a short pause (comma) for emphasis, like so: "para mí, la mejor película de la historia es 2001: A Space Odyssey" or "para mí, él es una de las personas más valiosas del mundo".

    The distinction I made above between "conmigo" and "para mí" (NOT meaning "en mi opinión) was probably not a good one and could certainly use some more explanation/correction (or a more expert opinion), but I might as well try to wing it: I think it mostly depends on which noun you use and what kind of relationship it implies. For example, usted es un buen padre con sus hijos, pero usted es una buena influencia para ellos.
    Para is used with nouns that imply that the subject somehow serves a function for you: tú eres un(a) buen(a) influencia/amistad/conexión/contacto/solución para mí.
    Use Con when you do not want to imply that the other person is merely a tool or something that you use to accomplish a goal, and want to make explicit the relationship you have with them: tú eres un buen padre/doctor/empleado/tío/amigo/familiar conmigo.

    If anyone has a better/more accurate explanation, please let us know. But I think that works pretty well. When in doubt, use con if talking about people.
     
    Last edited:

    Mexico RV'er

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Thanks for taking the time to give such a thorough and helpful explanation. Right now it seems clear to me, but just wait until someone says something slightly different! :eek:
     

    AndresTM

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    That someone turned out to be me (I just edited my last post). Sorry! :D I think you can still connect my two explanations, as they don't necessarily contradict each other. It's just that the second one is more in general terms.
     

    Billbasque

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    I presume that if the sentence "Para sus hijos no ha sido un buen padre" had been written " No ha sido un buen padre, para sus hijos" you would have still translated "para sus hijos" as "in the opinion of his children"
    Are you saying that the "para ti" should be translated as "in your opinion" for these 2 phrases;
    La vida no ha sido fácil para ti.
    Él no ha sido un buen padre para ti.?
    And if not, what is the difference?
    Thanks in advance
    Regards
    ptak
    No, that's not what it is. In "No ha sido un buen padre, para sus hijos" what changes the meaning of the sentence is the comma, not the preposition. If you had written "No ha sido un buen padre para sus hijos" I would say with a fairly high degree of confidence that the intended meaning was "to his sons", rather than "in the opinion of his children". Word order plays a big role in things like these. It's only when you replace "para" with "con" that the meaning becomes unequivocal, regardless of the word order.

    It's a pretty similar deal with "La vida no ha sido fácil para ti". Here, "para ti" is a lot less ambiguous, meaning "for you" also. In that case the word order would be almost irrelevant -as long as you don't add a comma- and to change its meaning to "in your opinion" you could say: "Según tú, la vida no ha sido fácil".

    As for rules... I'm afraid I can't think of any rule pertaining to this.
     

    Mexico RV'er

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    It seems the easiest way to avoid confusing the listener is to use 'con' when expressing an opinion about what kind of father he has been to his kids, and if it is the kids who think he has not been a good father, I would probably state it that way . . . "Según sus hijos . . " o "En la opinión de sus hijos . . ." As a non-native speaker I try to be fairly precise when expressing myself. However, since I cannot control what is being said to me, it is helpful to hear all the subtleties and then I can at least ask for clarification if I still am not clear.

    Thanks to all who have taken time to address this.
     

    ptak30

    Senior Member
    Thank you all for the explanations. For me, the distinction between "para" and "por" has been a major difficulty. Every time I think I've got it, another English phrase crops up which causes me to have a think. By the time I post my message, the question has already been answered by 3 or 4 people and I end up deleting my message.:).
    I'm not sure I've got it yet, but I will keep reading your messages until I do.
    Once again my thanks to all for taking the time to help.
    Regards
    ptak
     
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