te mantendré al tanto (indirect or direct object)

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by globos, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. globos Senior Member

    Chicago, IL
    English USA
    Hola a todos,

    Wordreference.com in the dictionary section uses "te" for all of its references of "you". So, how can I ever know if the verb is the kind like DAR that usually takes the indirect object pronoun or if it is a verb like llamar that usually takes the direct object pronoun. I wish they used le or lo for this.

    Here is an example from wordreference.com under the word TANTO. How would someone know if te is indirect o direct?

    te mantendré al ~ I'll keep you informed;

    Muchas Gracias por su perspicacia
  2. Pitt Senior Member


    according to the dictionaries mantener is a transitive verb. Therefore te is a direct object.

  3. _SantiWR_ Senior Member

    Spanish - Spain
    Well, I think you have a point there. The answer, as Pitt said, is to look for the specific entry that the dictionary has for the verb in question. You can't know it just by looking at that example, but you would if lo/los/la/las were used.
  4. globos Senior Member

    Chicago, IL
    English USA
    Hola Pitt

    These verbs can be listed both as transitive and intransitive. That is why they pose confusion.

  5. globos Senior Member

    Chicago, IL
    English USA

    En general en español y otras lenguas los verbos no son en sí mismos transitivos o intransitivos, sino que se convierten en tales según su uso concreto, y así es posible usar verbos típicamente intransitivos como transitivos, por ejemplo en La soprano canta una canción, y también expresar verbos transitivos sin la presencia de un objeto directo, por ejemplo en Déjaselo al técnico, que él seguro [que] entiende.

    Eso es de wikipedia.com
  6. Gabriel

    Gabriel Senior Member

    Buenos Aires
    Argentina / Español
    1- Turn it to 3rd person singular (non-leísta Spanish)
    2- If the "te" became a "lo" it's DO, if it became "le" it's IO.

    te mantendré al tanto ==> lo mantendré al tanto ==> DO
    te di las llaves ==> le di las llaves ==> IO
  7. kayokid

    kayokid Senior Member/Moderator

    English, USA
  8. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    I think the point of the original poster (and if not, it's my point), that we want to know what kind of object it is so we can know whether to use "le" or "lo"! As for me, deep down, I don't really care whether it's a DO or IO, I only want to know whether I should use "le" or "lo" when the object is a third person (or usted). We need to learn which verbs ordinarily use DO or IO. But if the dictionary doesn't indicate that, we can't learn it from the dictionary and we will be in the dark unless we have a reliable example to copy (such as a sentence in a book or an educated speaker).
  9. srb62 Senior Member

    British English
    I agree with much of this and the rest of what has been said.
    I'd just add that, to me, Spanish seems slightly less concrete than other languages (French for example). Sometimes there is no hard and fast rule as to whether something is a direct/indirect object, and grammatical 'rules' simply breakdown; not only does usage differ according to country/region, but (it seems ) according to the speakers' perceptions. Butt and Benjamin have some good pages on this.
  10. globos Senior Member

    Chicago, IL
    English USA
  11. globos Senior Member

    Chicago, IL
    English USA
    I agree Butt and Benjamin is more complete grammar book than a college text book and easy to use, too . Do you have any other ones you like srb62.
  12. srb62 Senior Member

    British English
    Yes, Butt & Benjamin seems very good to me - good examples, clear and thoughtful explanations. Though interested in languages and grammar (as both teacher and student), I don't have a Linguistics background, so this book is about right for me.
    I have another book called "Spanish/English Contrasts: A Course in Spanish Linguistics", by Stanley Whitley, which is also useful.

    Is Butt & Benjamin not known in the US? What's popular there?
    Any other suggestions?
  13. RicardoElAbogado Senior Member

    SF Bay Area, California
    American English
    Butt & Benjamin is known in the US, at least by me. I have a copy, which I bought from Amazon.
  14. James2000 Senior Member

    English - South Africa
    I think that trick only works if you're already a fluent Spanish speaker, and you know whether to use le or lo/la. The rest of us have to resort to dictionaries.

    In addition to verbs that can act transitively and intransitively, there are those that are transitive in some regions, and intransitive in others (like 'ayudar' for instance), and some tricky ones (like 'pagar' which is transitive but often used without a direct object).

    My best piece of advice is that the DPD (http://buscon.rae.es/dpd/) lists the vast majority of the difficult cases. It certainly helps me a lot.
  15. srb62 Senior Member

    British English
    Butt and Benjamin:

    There are two main reasons why it is not easy to define the relationship beetween the two sets of third person object pronouns, lo/la/los/las and le/les.
    The first is dialect differences not only within Spain and between Spain and Spanish-speaking America, but also between the various regions of Spanish America itself. These differences seem to be in constant flux so that in text written only a few years ago rules may operate which are different from those now in favour.

    The second is the fact that the distinction between le/les and lo/la/los/las is not governed by choice of verb alone, but also, in many cases, by the speaker's subjective assessment of the status of the person or thing affected by the verb, or by other considerations of context. Since a grammar book cannot easily account for context, abstract rules about these pronouns are of limited value.

    One can easily challenge the traditional rule that lo/la is the pronoun of the 'direct object', and le the pronoun of the 'indirect object'. In both of the following sentences 'her' is the direct object of 'flattered': (a) "He flattered her" (b) "The joke flattered her". Consequently we expect the Spanish translation to be "El la halagó" and "La broma la halagó" - and this indeed is what many native speakers accept. However, most seem to prefer "La broma le halagó".

    The picture is complicated by the fact that schools in the Hispanic world normally use Latin grammatical terms and teach that 'le' is the pronoun of the 'objecto indirecto'. As a result, educated native speakers are often uncertain about their own usage and condemn constructions which are instinctively produced by good speakers and writers everywhere.
  16. globos Senior Member

    Chicago, IL
    English USA
    I stumbled on, fortunately, Butt & Benjamin at the book store. As for other grammar books that are simple to understand, yet complete in their definition, I have not come across any others. Thanks for your recommendation of "Spanish/English Contrasts: A Course in Spanish Linguistics", by Stanley Whitley. I'm going to get it.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012

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