definite article - Bebo (el) café

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by shalomz, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. shalomz Member

    Please correct my Spanish if you are willing? :)
    ?Por favor, me corrijan si lo pudieras?
    ?Por favor, me corregiría si estan dispuestos?

    Hola a todos. Ya veo esto es algo de que lo que se habían hablado Ad nauseam, pero todavía me lo confunde. Entiendo que en español se usa el artículo en muchas más casos que en ( los de?) ingles. Por ejemplo cuando querría decir algo en general como, "I like coffee" (all coffee)--->"Me gusta el café."

    Pero si hablas de un café en especifico diría,

    ?"Bebo el cafe a sorbos."?
    ?"Bebo cafe a sorbos?"

    Apologies for my struggles.
    Disculpas por mis struggles.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  2. Sharifa345

    Sharifa345 Senior Member

    US English, DR Spanish
    I woud say "bebo el café a sorbos" to say "I sip the coffee," speaking of specific moment in time where I am drinking coffee.

    I would say "bebo café a sorbos" to say "I sip coffee." although for me the meaning of that sentence would be weird, as a general statement.
  3. Armando González Rivas Member

    Español, mexicano
    Hi shalomz.

    Look, the definite articles in Spanish are called "artículos definidos" o "determinados", while the indefinit ones are called "artículos indefinidos" o "indeterminados".

    Both articles belong to a grammar cathegory called "determinantes", which contains "artículos definidos (el, la, los, las)", "artículos indefinidos (un, una, unos, unas)" and "neutro (lo)".

    In this particular case, I would say that in Spanish we use to almost ALWAYS include an article before a noun (definit or indefinit), so we speak in noun phrases eventhough if we are referring to a generic concept, opposite to English. Example:

    "I like women." - "Me gustan las mujeres."

    Generally, the usage of one article or the other is very closed to English, except this generic cases and the plural forms of the definit articles which English does not have and Spanish sometimes represents and sometimes does not. Example:

    "I have a problem."
    "Tengo un problema."

    "I have problems."
    "Tengo unos problemas/Tengo problemas."

    "Felipe Calderón is the President of Mexico."
    "Felipe Calderón es el presidente de México."

    The case you exposed, about the coffee, is very close to that generic concepts I mentioned before. If you, on the other hand, mention the specific name of the coffee, you'll need the article in Spanish, but not always in English. Nevertheless, if this article is NOT mentioned in Spanish, it's because a case of omission is present. Omission or "Omisión" is a linguistic phenomena in which you omit words because they are not needed in your speech, wether you mentioned them before or not. The "Omisión" must NOT be confused with "Elisión".


    "I drink Starbucks coffee./I drink the Starbucks cofee."
    "Bebo café de Starbucks./Bebo el café de Starbicks."

    Notice that in the case of Spanish, the article can be used or not and there are no changes in the idea or expression, so you may omit the article.

    Hope that helps.

  4. shalomz Member

    Muchas gracias a ambos(o a los dos). Para aclarar sobre el tema de los artículos definidos: Se usa el artículo en casi todos los casos con el excepción del omisión. ¿Con el caso del omisíon no se tiene que usar el artículo definido porque se refiere a un sustantivo específico( o nombre) en el cláusula?

    For future reference, if anyone has an answer:

    Is there somewhere on the forum or otherwise I can have my Spanish corrected? For instance my Spanish in both this post and the initial post. I feel my syntax reveals that I am translating rather than writing in Spanish. In speech I tend to form my sentences in a way that I know is correct, but that hinders my communication greatly. I want to become more fluent when writing or expressing complex sentences like those I attempted above such as:

    "Ya veo esto es algo de que lo que se habían hablado Ad nauseam, pero todavía me lo confunde. Entiendo que en español se usa el artículo en muchas más casos que en ( los de?) ingles."

    I feel it would be helpful to have someone point out my errors or awkwardness so I could then practice those forms etc...

    Thanks again. Perhaps I am posting this on the wrong forum or thread?
  5. Istriano

    Istriano Senior Member

    Me gusta el pescado. I like fish.
    Hacer el amor. To make love.

    Spanish uses the definite article much more than English or Portuguese.
    When in doubt, feel free to use it.
  6. aldonzalorenzo

    aldonzalorenzo Senior Member

    castellano de España
    This sentence is not very clear.
    You'll just have to ask for the corrections, as you have done, and wait for a kind forero -like me :)- to correct you. You can also write it down on your signature, so you don't have to ask everytime for it. In general, everybody here wants to be corrected. We all want to learn.
    Paco is another forero who loves correcting Spanish: you can call him :)
  7. shalomz Member

    Gracias a todo el mundo!

    aldonzalorenzo, muchas gracias por corregirme. Quién es éste Paco?
  8. aldonzalorenzo

    aldonzalorenzo Senior Member

    castellano de España
    I was kidding, but he'll appear, don't worry.
    (Me va a matar):D

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