Drug dealers have been multiplying like rabbits over the past few years.

señorgringo

Senior Member
English & German
I guess the regular way of saying this in Spanish would be:

Los narcos se han multiplicado como conejos en los últimos años.

Or perhaps:

Los narcos se estaban multiplicando como conejos en los últimos años.


But I wonder if this periphrasis also would be understood:

Los narcos vienen multiplicando como conejos en los últimos años.

I am wondering if this periphrasis is applicable similarly as to in 'I have been eating' - 'vengo comiendo'.

Thanks in advance.
 
  • SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    I guess the regular way of saying this in Spanish would be:

    Los narcos se han multiplicado como conejos en los últimos años.

    Or perhaps:

    Los narcos se estaban multiplicando como conejos en los últimos años.


    But I wonder if this periphrasis also would be understood:

    Los narcos vienen multiplicando como conejos en los últimos años.

    I am wondering if this periphrasis is applicable similarly as to in 'I have been eating' - 'vengo comiendo'.

    Thanks in advance.
    If you think about the English phrase, we don't really interpret it as "drug dealers" being involved in an organized effort to increase their numbers, that they themselves are the cause of it (the grammatical "agent"). More to the point, it's market forces (supply and demand) that have led to the outcome of "more drug dealers". While this is a semantic phenomena in English, in Spanish we need a marker to prevent us from reading "drug dealers" as grammatical agent, and that's the point of "se" in Los narcos se estaban multiplicando and Los narcos se vienen multiplicando. Without "se," "drug dealers" begins to take an air of grammatical agent, which opens the door to an undesirable (and funny) result: Los narcos vienen multiplicando como conejos begins to read like "drug dealers come doing (math) multiplication like rabbits." So, yes, we need that "se."
     
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