Caer a/en , Caerse a/en

nobogui

New Member
American English
Hola,

I'm supposed to talk about why the last sentence is grammatically incorrect. I've included my thoughts on the translation in bold after the sentences:


a. La bomba cayó al mar. The bomb fell to the sea.
b. La bomba cayó en el mar. The bomb fell in the sea.
c. La bomba se cayó al mar. The bomb dropped to the sea.
d. * La bomba se cayó en el mar. The bomb dropped into the sea.

My thoughts were that D is grammatically incorrect because it doesn't say who dropped the bomb into the sea, but I'm also not sure if my translations are correct. Basically, I'd like to know if my translations are correct, but if someone has an idea as to why the last sentence is grammatically incorrect I'd be happy to hear it.
 
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  • mhp

    Senior Member
    American English
    Tricky question. :)

    The problem is the translation, not the Spanish sentence.

    Caer(se) shouldn't be used as transitive verb:
    3. No pertenece a la lengua culta general, y debe evitarse, el uso de este verbo como transitivo, con los sentidos de ‘dejar caer o tirar [algo o a alguien] al suelo’: :cross:Ten cuidado, que vas a caer el jarrón. [DPD]
    If you want to say "it got dropped" (i.e. someone dropped it), then you should use another verb such as lanzar, tirar, dejar caer, etc.

    Edit: I see that you changed the translation. Originally the last sentence was translated as "it got dropped."
     
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    nobogui

    New Member
    American English
    So how would the sentences be translated then? What is tripping me up here is that C is grammatically correct and D is grammatically INcorrect. Does the preposition "a" not constitute a direct object while the preposition "en" does?
     

    mhp

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hi,

    No, 'a' does not always introduce a direct object. It can be a simple preposition. I don't find the last sentence grammatically incorrect, unless the intended meaning is "The bomb was dropped into the sea". However, others may have a better explanation.
     

    nobogui

    New Member
    American English
    This is everything that came with the problem. I don't know if the "Orientacion" helps or not, but I thought I should include everything that came with the problem. Don't know why I didn't think to do that before =-\



    El problema que le planteamos a continuación se basa en la diferencia semántica existente entre las preposiciones a y en, en uno de sus sentidos. De las cuatro oraciones que le presentamos a continuación, la última es agramatical. ¿Sabría decir por qué?
    a. La bomba cayó al mar.
    b. La bomba cayó en el mar.
    c. La bomba se cayó al mar.
    d. * La bomba se cayó en el mar.
    ORIENTACION. Tenga en cuenta que el verbo caerse no excluye de por sí la preposición en. Observe, por ejemplo, la diferencia que existe entre Juan se cayó en el patio y Juan se cayó al patio. ¿A qué generalización llega a partir de estos ejemplos y los anteriores?

    EDIT: Here are my new thoughts on the problem. Hopefully someone can confirm I'm correct:

    La bomba cayó al mar.
    En ingles, significa “The bomb fell to the sea [from some height].”

    La bomba cayó en el mar.
    En ingles, significa “The bomb fell in the sea [from some height].”

    La bomba se cayó al mar.
    En ingles, significa “The bomb fell into the sea [from somewhere else].”

    La bomba se cayó en el mar.
    En ingles, significa “The bomb fell in the sea [when it was already there].”
     
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    Meyer Wolfsheim

    Senior Member
    English
    This is everything that came with the problem. I don't know if the "Orientacion" helps or not, but I thought I should include everything that came with the problem. Don't know why I didn't think to do that before =-\



    El problema que le planteamos a continuación se basa en la diferencia semántica existente entre las preposiciones a y en, en uno de sus sentidos. De las cuatro oraciones que le presentamos a continuación, la última es agramatical. ¿Sabría decir por qué?
    a. La bomba cayó al mar.
    b. La bomba cayó en el mar.
    c. La bomba se cayó al mar.
    d. * La bomba se cayó en el mar.
    ORIENTACION. Tenga en cuenta que el verbo caerse no excluye de por sí la preposición en. Observe, por ejemplo, la diferencia que existe entre Juan se cayó en el patio y Juan se cayó al patio. ¿A qué generalización llega a partir de estos ejemplos y los anteriores?

    EDIT: Here are my new thoughts on the problem. Hopefully someone can confirm I'm correct:

    La bomba cayó al mar.
    En ingles, significa “The bomb fell to the sea [from some height].”

    La bomba cayó en el mar.
    En ingles, significa “The bomb fell in the sea [from some height].”

    La bomba se cayó al mar.
    En ingles, significa “The bomb fell into the sea [from somewhere else].”

    La bomba se cayó en el mar.
    En ingles, significa “The bomb fell in the sea [when it was already there].”
    I am no expert on the semantics of Spanish prepositions but I think I may have an idea of why D is wrong but C is correct. The explanation says that it is possible to use caerse with en or a; the key is to understand the usage given in the examples with Juan. Here's what I think:

    Juan se cayó en el patio=en here deals more with a "surface," where Juan was when he fell down.

    Juan se cayó al patio.=directionality, he fell towards the floor.

    Sorry I didn't even look at your attempt at explaining it, but it looks like we came to similar conclusions. I think grammatically the example is fine, but semantically it is bizarre, as it would indicate the bomb was already on the ocean surface and then it fell.

    I agree completely with your reasoning.

    *Just a question for context: Are you taking some kind of semantics course on Spanish or an advanced translation class? It's a really small detail that this problem is dealing with!
     
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    nobogui

    New Member
    American English
    Thanks for the reply, it really helps to know someone else is in line with my thinking!

    The course I'm taking is an advanced linguistics course, called Spanish 427 - The Structure of Spanish. And believe me, I know what a small detail this is! I've been looking around the internet and for the most part, native speakers have said there is no difference between the two or at most a negligible difference.
     

    caniho

    Senior Member
    Andalusian Spanish
    Hola,

    I'm supposed to talk about why the last sentence is grammatically incorrect. I've included my thoughts on the translation in bold after the sentences:


    a. La bomba cayó al mar. The bomb fell to the sea.
    b. La bomba cayó en el mar. The bomb fell in the sea.
    c. La bomba se cayó al mar. The bomb dropped to the sea.
    d. * La bomba se cayó en el mar. The bomb dropped into the sea.

    My thoughts were that D is grammatically incorrect because it doesn't say who dropped the bomb into the sea, but I'm also not sure if my translations are correct. Basically, I'd like to know if my translations are correct, but if someone has an idea as to why the last sentence is grammatically incorrect I'd be happy to hear it.
    There are no grammatically incorrect sentences, but I would translate the last one more or less as 'the bomb drop while (it was) in/on the sea'. (Nothing bizarre about it)

    Regards.
     
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