A usted qué le gusta / Qué te gusta

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Spanishn00b, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. Spanishn00b Member

    Virginia, USA
    English-United States

    i had a similar topic earlier but I came across some examples featuring those 2 in my Rosetta Stone course.

    ¿A usted, qué zapatos le gustan más? Which shoes do you like more?
    ¿Qué camisa te gusta más? Which shirt do you like more?

    Does the usage have to do with formality? For instance, do you use "¿A usted,...?" to someone whom you don't know and "¿Qué....?" you personally know?

  2. blasita

    blasita Senior Member

    Spain. Left more than two years ago

    It's not a question of the words/phrases at the beginning of the questions (A usted or Qué) but (more informal) vs usted (more formal, polite, etc). Yes, generally speaking, you would tend to use the usted form with someone you don't know in that context, but usage may vary and there may be regional differences. There are quite a lot of threads on tú/(vos) vs usted; please have a look at them.

    The second one could be also: ¿(A usted) Qué camisa le gusta más? And the first one: ¿(A ti) Qué zapatos te gustan más?

  3. Alisterio

    Alisterio Senior Member

    Mexico City
    UK English
    I agree with blasita - adding "A usted" or "A ti" before a question is just a slightly more emphatic way of asking for someone's opinion about something.
  4. diegosanchez19

    diegosanchez19 Member

    Espanol y/and English
    You would use "Usted" to someone you respect like your elders, parents, teachers, counselers etc..
    A usted le gusta hablar Ingles?
    I was raised to use "usted" and still use it with my parents and elders but it seems like "usted" is dying here in the United States and people would now use "Ti". "A ti te gusta hablar Ingles?"
    To keep it simple use "usted/le " for older people and "ti/tu/te" for young people


    Tu eres muy bonita y te pareces a mi novia

    Usted es muy bonita y se parece a mi novia

    Theres alot of practice within this and usually if you say and use this right you will sound more like a native.
  5. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    The difference between the two sample sentences has to do with the indirect object pronouns, te and le, not with formality vs. informality.

    In Spanish, you must use the indirect object pronouns (almost always). These pronouns are clitic pronouns, which go before the conjugated verb (or attached at the end of the affirmative imperative or gerund or infintive). The indirect object pronoun is not optional, even if you include "a usted" or "a ti" or "a Roberto." Those are "clarifiers" which are optional, unlike English where those "clarifiers" stand alone (without any need for an indirect object pronoun) and convey the meaning in English.

    In English, you can say "I sent the letter to Roberto," but you can't say in Spanish "Mandé la carta a Roberto." It's not grammatical because you don't have the le. You can either say "Le mandé la carta" (I sent him the letter) or "Le mandé la carta a Roberto" (I sent the letter to Robert). In either case, you must use the le.

    Because le can mean you, he, or she, it's ambiguous. You can eliminate the ambiguity by adding the clarifier "a usted" or "a ella," for example. But te is unambiguous. It doesn't need a clarifier. It means you (and only you). If you add a ti, then you are adding emphasis (as opposed to clarification).

    Thus, if you added a ti to the second sentence, this would make the two sentences dissimilar even though they appear similar to an English-speaker. The a usted in the first sentence would not be emphasizing "you" (it would simply be eliminating ambiguity) whereas the a ti in the second sentence would be emphasizing "you."
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  6. blasita

    blasita Senior Member

    Spain. Left more than two years ago
    No, sorry, this is not correct. "Mandé la carta a Roberto" is grammatical and can be used, but the fact is that we usually add the pronoun (le) in these cases (more idiomatic and commonly used in spoken language).
    You don't have to use le in the second one. You must do it if the complement precedes the verb, "A Roberto mandé la carta" (incorrect; it must be: ... le mandé ...).
    I think it may depend on the context, and both 'a usted' and 'a ti' can be used to emphasise you (i.e. it is a ti or a usted to whom I'm asking, not someone else.

    More information: DPD-5. Duplicación de complementos.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2013
  7. Cenzontle

    Cenzontle Senior Member

    English, U.S.
    You have two decisions to make with this sentence: (1) "familiar" (tú) or "formal" (usted), and (2) using or not using a stressed pronoun.
    "Te" or "le" is obligatory, but cannot be stressed.
    "A ti" or "a usted" can optionally be added, either to emphasize the person, or to shift the focus from one person to another.
    If we have been talking about your preferences all along, and I want to ask which one you like, there's no change of focus, so I'll say either
    • "¿Cuál te gusta más?"
    • "¿Cuál le gusta más?"
    But if we've been talking about my preferences and I want to shift the focus to you, then I'll ask
    • "¿A ti, cuál te gusta más?"
    • "¿A usted, cuál le gusta más?"
  8. saintcasper91 Senior Member

    English (UK)
  9. diegosanchez19

    diegosanchez19 Member

    Espanol y/and English
    Sorry about not specifying what region i am from. In Mexico and the United States, this is how "tu" and "usted" are used.
    And because they creator of the thread lives in The United States it'll be of help if he speaks the Spanish that is spoken here.
    Again sorry for misunderstandings.
  10. rajenjo Senior Member

    The tú/usted issue is very complex, as usages are dramatically different depending on the region:

    However, maybe this can help you:
    · In Spain, you can use "tú/vosotros" in most of the cases. You only must use "usted/ustedes" when it's absolutely clear that you have to show respect in a strictly formal setting.
    · In most Latin countries, you can use "usted/ustedes" in most of the cases. If you are in a non-formal setting and you are not speaking to someone who is clearly above you in some way (age, position, authority, etc.), it's not considered incorrect to say "tú" (although it could be considered a lack of politeness). Remember, though, not to use "vosotros" in Latin America, as it is completely unused there.

    BTW, wouldn't it be:
    Which shoes do you like BEST?
    Which shirt do you like BEST?
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  11. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    1. "More" is fine in this context.

    2. "Best" is used only if there is a choice of more than two. If only two, then "better" would be used.
  12. rajenjo Senior Member

    Interesting, thanks!
  13. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    Interesting. What we learners are taught (or at least this learner) is that the "le" is mandatory, but perhaps that is to spare us the trouble of learning when it is mandatory and when it is not mandatory when, as a practical matter, "le" will nornally be used whether or not it is mandatory
  14. blasita

    blasita Senior Member

    Spain. Left more than two years ago
    Yes, I suppose that they teach it that way because the duplication of the indirect object is always possible. But I'm sure you understand that I had to comment on it because what you stated wasn't correct.;)
  15. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    Yes, I understand. Thank you for pointing that out.
  16. Spanishn00b Member

    Virginia, USA
    English-United States
    Out of all the posts, this is the closest that came to answering my question. However, it is still not answered. :/

    Yes, I understand usted vs. tu but that is still not answering my original question. I guess I should have made it more clear and say "Why do you need a usted​?"
  17. juan082937 Banned

    Ricardo of course when you put A Roberto heading the clause then it's mandatory the (IO LE) after him.

    A Roberto le mande la carta
    (a él) se la mandé
  18. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    I think that it is to eliminate the ambiguity that "le" could refer to a third party. That keeps the sentences parallel. You formal and you informal.
  19. blasita

    blasita Senior Member

    Spain. Left more than two years ago
    Hello again. Yes, I'm afraid that your original question was not too clear (at least to me).

    You don't need a usted (a ti either). It's unnecessary. Depending on context it's used and I think this is a nice summary:
    ¿Qué zapatos le gustan más?
    ¿Qué camisa te gusta más?

    Normal usage.

    A usted, ¿qué zapatos le gustan más?
    A ti, ¿qué camisa te gusta más?

    For example, some friends and I are in a shop. I've been trying on several pairs of shoes and I can't decide which ones to buy. The shop assistant asks me which ones I like best but I can't make up my mind, and then he/she asks one of my friends the first question above or probably something like "Y a usted, ¿cuáles le gustan más?". This friend says that she likes the red ones and asks another friend "¿Y a ti?/Y a ti, ¿cuáles te gustan más/qué zapatos te gustan más?".

    Hope this helps. It's just an example. I've been trying to keep the original sentences as much as possible. Ah, Ricardo's comment about ambiguity is very good too.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013

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