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Finessing participles

I was trying to write, "Turning away from the window, I saw her."

It looks like the verb I want is either 'apartarse' or 'alejarse.' If you have recommendations for which one, or for another verb altogether, I'd be happy to hear them. But the main question is in how to use the participle.

Should it be, "Me apartando de la ventana, la vi"? Or, "Apartandose de la ventana, la vi"?

Or something else?

Please help!

3 years ago

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/writchie4
writchie4
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From what I've seen, the first form is less common, if not wrong. I'd go with option number 2, but you've got to keep the correct pronoun, and use an accent mark to keep the stress on the same syllable.

  • Apartándome de la ventana, la vi.

As far as whether that's the correct verb to use, I don't know. From a quick look at the dictionary, I suspect that apartarse suggests more of a stepping away from the window, rather than just turning around and remaining in the same spot. My instinct would be to use girar, or girarse instead. But that's almost totally a guess coming from a non-native speaker, take it with a large grain of salt.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/beadspitter

Thank you! I wasn't sure if I should change it to -me. I should have guessed, but I'm flinchy and shy around moving reflexive and object pronouns around. :)

That's very clear and helpful. My also-non-native-speaker guess is that if I wanted to emphasize turning, I would use girar, but if I wanted to emphasize turning away (with a sense of abandoning or rejecting), I would use apartarse. And the latter works better for this story, I think. I simplified a little for the sample sentence. Thanks again.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/writchie4
writchie4
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I looked again at the definitions for apartar and apartarse, and it looks to me like if you want to use that verb in the context of turning away (no matter what emphasis you intend), you'd want to use the non-reflexive form and attach "..la mirada" or "...los ojos" to the end.

  • "apartar los ojos (la mirada) de..." - to look away from
  • "apartarse de..." - to move away from

My grain of salt still applies of course, but a quick Google search for the corresponding phrases seems to back up the guess. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ErikBoyle
ErikBoyle
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This is just another non-native guess, but I would think even with apartar los ojos a reflexive would be possible, because so often when the direct object is a body part the reflexive is used to indicate that it is one's own body part. Who knows, I don't have anything to back that up with.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ErikBoyle
ErikBoyle
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SpanishDict, which is my preferred resource, gives apartarse with the example "Me aparté lleno de asco." — "I turned away in disgust." And it also lists apartar and desviar for "(move) [+eyes, head, gun]".

You're on the right track, but let me explain why. To figure out whether you want apartándome or apartarme (those are basically the two impersonal forms to choose from), look at how it functions within the sentence. The -ndo form is the present participle, and the infinitive form is actually a gerund (it's not what Duolingo calls a gerund, but I digress). Participles act as adjectives or adverbs, while gerunds act as a crossover between verbs and nouns (they can work with other verbs in a verb phrase, but that verb phrase functions as if it were a noun phrase instead).

In your sentence, the main clause is "I saw her." The whole introductory phrase is adverbial because it describes how you saw her. therefore, the verb should be in its present participle form apartándome. I don't think whether you attach the pronoun or not is crucial, but it still has to be me, not se. Stylistically, I would probably attach the pronoun.

"Apartándome de la ventana, la vi."

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/beadspitter

Oh, I knew I wanted the participle, not the infinitive. I just didn't know where to put the reflexive pronoun with it. But thank you! This is very well thought out and helpful.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ErikBoyle
ErikBoyle
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Well, I actually misread your post at first and started explaining it, and when I realized what you had said, I figured I might as well still give the explanation just for clarity or anyone else who was wondering.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/beadspitter

That works. :)

3 years ago
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