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https://www.duolingo.com/abhijeetm

anything = nada?

In the flash cards, "anything" is translated as "nada" but Google translate says otherwise. What did I miss?

3 years ago

13 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Taloua
Taloua
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Anything in its own does not mean precisely nada, but it does when it comes in a sentence

For example : No tengo nada = I don't have anything

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/abhijeetm

Ah, I see. Thanks for the example - helps a lot!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vandej
Vandej
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Try thinking of nada as "not anything", in other words "nothing", when the sentence is positive (Yo tengo nada). When the sentence is negative (Yo no comí nada) think of it as "anything".

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elizabeth261736

Nada can mean nothing too.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/abhijeetm

Yeah, that's what I had thought as we use it in informal English conversations too. Just didn't know the origin - and the flash card tripped me up.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elizabeth261736

Yes, sometimes words can be confusing out of context.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/b05aplmun.ca
b05aplmun.ca
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The base meaning of "nada" is nothing, but because of the way English avoids double negatives, it is sometimes most appropriately translated as "anything." Example: "No como nada" translates literally into English as "I do not eat nothing." We cannot use double negatives in English, however. (We say the two negatives cancel each other out, as they would when you multiply negative numbers.) Hence the correct (but non-literal) translation into English is "I do not eat anything" (or alternatively, "I eat nothing").

In Spanish, on the other hand, adding negative words to the sentence just makes it more negative (like adding negative numbers to each other), so the original, with two negative words, is completely grammatical.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/abhijeetm

Makes sense! Thank you.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/artischocke

What does Google Translate say? I can think of two meanings:

I haven't done anything today = No he hecho nada hoy. Are you bringing anything tonight? = Vas a llevar algo esta noche?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/abhijeetm

Google says "cualquier cosa" (among other things, including algo that you pointed out above)

https://www.google.com/search?q=anything+in+spanish

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/artischocke

It may seem weird that it can mean both something and nothing, but note that this has to do with the double negatives –more specifically with the fact that you can't use them in English and you must in Spanish. My first example is negative so it translates as nothing, and the second is positive so it translates to something.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/abhijeetm

Didn't know about the double negation thing. Guess I haven't reached that lesson yet. Thanks for the clarification.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elizabeth261736

When you think about it:

"not anything" means the same thing as "nothing."

"I don't have any" would mean "I have none."

3 years ago