Quiero que compres, les dice que

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Ethandanial, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. Ethandanial New Member

    I just started learning about the subjunctive......I have quite a few questions about it already but I got a few things I need clarification on.

    I want you to buy something = quiero que compres algo.

    He tells them to study = les dice que estudien.

    I don't understand why the second sentence has to take the "les." These two sentences appear to have very similar structure in English yet very much different in Spanish. Why aren't these sentences set up one set way.......either both with or without the pronoun. ( ie. dice que estudien. Quiero que compres algo.) or ( les dice que estudien. Te quiro que compres algo.). So.....could somone explain why these require different grammatical structure

    Could explanations be in English as I am reletively new to the language and can't always fully grasp what is being said on some of the forums.
  2. Milton Sand

    Milton Sand Senior Member

    Bucaramanga, Colombia
    Español (Colombia)
    Maybe it's just how the verbs are functioning in your examples; subjunctive is not the reason for sure. Let me make your examples more similar:

    I want them to buy something. = [Yo] quiero que [ellos] compren algo. —> Literally: I want that they buy something.
    —> "Querer" is transitive; the direct object is a substantive clause marked by the "que," there's no indirect object. "Ellos" is the subject for the subordinate/substantive clause, not a complement to the main verb.

    I tell them to buy something. = [Yo] les digo [a ellos] que [ellos] compren algo. —> Literally: I say to them that they buy something.
    —>Transitive "decir" takes the said thing as a D.O. ("que estudien," the subordinate/substantive clause), and as I.O. the [receiver] recipient of the message ("les, a ellos"). Again, the subordinate clause has "ellos" as the subject of "compren".

    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  3. kayokid

    kayokid Senior Member/Moderator

    English, USA
    Hello and welcome to the forum!

    The only comment I have is that the IO pronouns of the person(s) addressed are quite often used/expressed with the verb 'decir.' This is just a part of how this Spanish verb works and how the language is spoken and written. This point, in and of itself, has nothing to do with the use of the subjunctive.

    Wait for other more knowledgeable answers.
  4. Julvenzor

    Julvenzor Senior Member

    Español propio (Andalucía, España)
    Hello Ethandanial,

    I'm not a profesional or teacher, but I'll try to explain. These sentences have a similar structure in English because to want and to tell work in the same way (they are transitive). In English, there are intransitive verbs too, but in Latin based languages, the contrast between transitive and intransitive verbs is stronger (some are transitive and intransitive at the same time). "Querer" is transitive, "decir", intransitive.

    Please, pay attention (Sorry for my poor expressive capacity):

    Case 1 (transitive verb):

    I want you to buy something ==> LITERALLY (Incorrect): Yo querer tú comprar algo.

    First, conjugate and add a "que" (that). ==> (Incorrect) Yo quiero que tú compras algo.

    Then, remember that "querer" expresses desire and it needs subjunctive.

    ==> Correct: (Yo) quiero que (tú) compres algo.

    Case 2 (intransitive verb):

    You have to duplicate the OI. Examples: Le dijo a su hermano.

    A common mistake is to put a pronoun OI with a transitive verb. You can not say: Te quiero que compres algo.

    There are no rules about if a verb is working like transitive or not, you have to learn them one to one.

  5. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Spanish does not have an exact equivalent of tell, but decir (= "say") works in most cases. We would not say "He says them to study" but, if we had to use say, "He says to them to study" or "To them he says to study." Decir works essentially the same way as say.
  6. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    I will add that in Spanish, unlike English, the "le" is mandatory when there is an indirect object and the "a [person]" is considered optional, something that clarifies who the "le" refers to. Once you add "them" or "her" or "him" to the statement "tell them" you have an indirect object (the person).

    So, in English, we can say "Tell her." But in Spanish you can't say "Diga a ella." It would be a word-for-word translation of the English (except for the non-translatable "personal a"), but it's not Spanish. You must say "Digale" and if you want to be clear as to whom the "le" relates, you can add "a ella."

    So your second sentence would take the "le" whether or not the subjunctive is used.

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